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Title: Great Fortunes, and How They Were Made
Author: McCabe, James Dabney, 1842-1883
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 "Great Fortunes, and How They Were Made" ***

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Or, The Struggles and Triumphs of Our Self-Made Men



Author of _Planting the Wilderness_, etc., etc.

Numerous Illustrations from Original Designs by G. F. & E. B. Bensell


"MAN, it is not thy works, which are mortal, infinitely little, and the
greatest no greater than the least, but only the _spirit thou workest
in_, that can have worth or continuance."--CARLYLE.

George Maclean,
Philadelphia, New York and Boston
Electrotyped at the Franklin Type Foundry, Cincinnati


"The physical industries of this world have two relations in them: one
to the actor, and one to the public. Honest business is more really a
contribution to the public than it is to the manager of the business
himself. Although it seems to the man, and generally to the community,
that the active business man is a self-seeker, and although his motive
may be self-aggrandizement, yet, in point of fact, no man ever manages a
legitimate business in this life, that he is not doing a thousand-fold
more for other men than he is trying to do even for himself. For, in the
economy of God's providence, every right and well organized business is
a beneficence and not a selfishness. And not less is it so because the
merchant, the mechanic, the publisher, the artist, think merely of their
profit. They are in fact working more for others than they are for



The chief glory of America is, that it is the country in which genius
and industry find their speediest and surest reward. Fame and fortune
are here open to all who are willing to work for them. Neither class
distinctions nor social prejudices, neither differences of birth,
religion, nor ideas, can prevent the man of true merit from winning the
just reward of his labors in this favored land. We are emphatically a
nation of self-made men, and it is to the labors of this worthy class
that our marvelous national prosperity is due.

This being the case, it is but natural that there should be manifested
by our people a very decided desire to know the history of those who
have risen to the front rank of their respective callings. Men are
naturally cheered and encouraged by the success of others, and those who
are worthy of a similar reward will not fail to learn valuable lessons
from the examples of the men who have preceded them.

With the hope of gratifying this laudable desire for information, and
encouraging those who are still struggling in the lists of fame and
fortune, I offer this book to the reader. I have sought to tell simply
and truthfully the story of the trials and triumphs of our self-made
men, to show how they overcame where others failed, and to offer the
record of their lives as models worthy of the imitation of the young men
of our country. No one can hope to succeed in life merely by the force
of his own genius, any more than he can hope to live without exerting
some degree of influence for good or evil upon the community in which
his lot is cast. Success in life is not the effect of accident or of
chance: it is the result of the intelligent application of certain fixed
principles to the affairs of every day. Each man must make this
application according to the circumstances by which he is surrounded,
and he can derive no greater assistance or encouragement in this
undertaking than by informing himself how other men of acknowledged
merit have succeeded in the same departments of the world's industry.
That this is true is shown by the fact that many of the most eminent men
attribute their great achievements to the encouragement with which the
perusal of the biographies of others inspired them at critical periods
of their careers. It is believed that the narrations embraced in these
pages afford ample instruction and entertainment to the young, as well
as food for earnest reflection on the part of those who are safely
advanced upon their pathway to success, and that they will prove
interesting to all classes of intelligent readers.

Some explanation is due to the reader respecting the title that has been
chosen for the work. The term "Great Fortunes" is not used here to
designate pecuniary success exclusively. A few of the men whose lives
are herein recorded never amassed great wealth. Yet they achieved the
highest success in their vocations, and their lives are so full of
interest and instruction that this work must have been incomplete and
unsatisfactory had they been passed over in silence. The aim of the
writer has been to present the histories of those who have won the
highest fame and achieved the greatest good in their respective
callings, whether that success has brought them riches or not, and above
all, of those whose labors have not only opened the way to fortune for
themselves, but also for others, and have thus conferred lasting
benefits upon their country.

In short, I have sought to make this work the story of the _Genius of
America_, believing as I do that he whose achievements have contributed
to the increase of the national wealth, the development of the national
resources, and the elevation of the national character, though he
himself be poor in purse, has indeed won a great fortune, of which no
reverse can ever deprive him.

J.D. McC., JR.

NEW YORK, _24th October, 1870_.







The fog in the Delaware--News of the war--Alarm of the French skipper--A
narrow escape from capture--Arrival of Girard in Philadelphia--Early
history of Stephen Girard--An unhappy childhood--Goes to sea--Is
licensed to command--Becomes a trader in Philadelphia--Marries Mary
Lum--Unfortunate issue of the marriage--Capture of Philadelphia by the
British--Early commercial life of Stephen Girard--How he earned his
first money, and the use he made of it--Aid from St. Domingo--His rigid
attention to business--Thoroughness of his knowledge--One of his letters
of instructions--His subordinates required to obey orders though they
ruin him--Anecdote of Girard and one of his captains--His promptness and
fidelity in business--He never breaks his word--How he lost five hundred
dollars--Buys the old Bank of the United States and becomes a
banker--Cuts down the salaries of his clerks--Refuses his watchman an
overcoat--Indifference to his employés--Contrast between his personal
and business habits--His liberality in financial operations--He
subscribes for the entire Government loan in 1814, and enables the
United States to carry on the war--His generosity toward the
Government--The suspension of specie payments--Financial troubles--How
Girard saved his own notes--His public spirit--How he made half a
million of dollars on a captured ship--Personal characteristics--Why he
valued money--His ambition--His infidelity--Causes of the defects of his
character--A favorable view--Heroic conduct of Stephen Girard during
the prevalence of the yellow fever in Philadelphia--The Good
Samaritan--He practices medicine, and congratulates himself that he has
killed none of his patients--His industry--Visit of Mr. Baring to Mr.
Girard--A curious reception--Failing health and death of Stephen
Girard--His will--His noble bequests--Establishment of Girard College.



Legitimate business the field of success--Reasons for claiming Astor as
an American--Birth and early life--Religious training--The village of
Waldorf--Poverty--The jolly butcher--Young Astor's repugnance to his
father's trade--Unhappy at home--Loses his mother--His desire to
emigrate to the "New Land"--Leaves home--His voyage down the
Rhine--Reaches London and enters the service of his brother--His efforts
to prepare for emigration--Learns to speak English--Peace between the
United States and Great Britain--The road to the "New Land" open--Astor
sets out for America--His first ventures in commerce--The voyage--How he
proposed to save his Sunday clothes--Arrival in the Chesapeake--The
ice-blockade--Astor makes a friend--The fur trader's story--Astor sees
the way to fortune--Reaches New York--His first situation--Learning the
business--His method of proceeding--An example to young men--His capacity
for business operations--He is promoted--His journeys to Canada, and
their results--Sets up in business for himself--The fur trade of North
America--A survey of the field of Astor's operations--His capital--His
tramps into the wilderness in search of furs--Predictions as to the
future settlement of the country--His first consignment to England--His
marriage--A good wife--Improvement in his prospects--Buys his first
ship--The secret of his success--Close attention to business--His
economical habits--His indorsement disputed by a bank clerk--Statements
of the profits on furs--He engages in the Chinese trade--How the
Government aided the early China traders--Amount made by Astor in his
legitimate business--His real estate operations--His foresight and
courage--How eight thousand dollars yielded eighty thousand--His real
estate in the City of New York--Purchases the half of Putnam County--The
Roger and Mary Morris estate controversy--Astor wins his suit, and makes
half a million of dollars--Astor's scheme of colonization--A grand
enterprise--Settlement of Astoria--Betrayed by his agents, and the
scheme brought to failure--Astor withdraws from active business--His
boyhood's vow and its fulfillment--Builds the Astor House--His voyage to
Europe--The return--The troubles of a millionaire--The great man
seasick--A curious draft--The last years of his life--His fondness for
literary men--His death and burial--His will--Opposite views of his
character--How his refusal to buy a chronometer cost him seventy
thousand dollars--He remembers an old friend--His gift of a lease--His
humor--"William has a rich father."



Birth and early life--Becomes his grandfather's ward--Designed for the
ministry--A change in his plans--Comes to America--Teaches school in New
York--Becomes a dry goods merchant--Receives a legacy--His first
importation--How he began business--An energetic trader--His sample lots
and their history--Success of his enterprise--He begins by encouraging
honesty in trade--Wins a name for reliability--The system of selling at
one price--Inaugurates the "selling off at cost" feature--His courage in
business--How he raised the money to meet his note--Improvement in his
business--He enlarges his store--As an inducement to the ladies, employs
for clerks handsome young men--The crisis of 1837--Stewart comes out of
it a rich man--How he did so--Builds his lower store--Predictions of
failure--The result--Compels the Government to purchase goods from
him--His foresight and liberality--Charged with superstition--Lucky and
unlucky persons--Story of the old apple woman--Remarks at the opening of
the St. Nicholas Hotel--Reasons of Stewart's success--A hard worker--How
he receives visitors--Running the gauntlet--How he gets rid of
troublesome persons--Estimate of Mr. Stewart's real estate in New
York--His new residence--His benevolence--Aid for Ireland, and free
passages to America--Home for women--Political sentiments--Mr. Stewart's
appointment as Secretary of the Treasury--Feeling of the country--The
retail store of A.T. Stewart & Co.--A palace of glass and iron--Internal
arrangements--The managers and salesmen--List of sales--Wages
given--Visitors--The principal salesroom--The parcel department--The
wagons and stables--Extravagant purchases--Mr. Stewart's supervision of
the upper store--The system of buying--The foreign agencies--Statement
of the duties paid each day--Personal appearance of Mr. Stewart.



The Lawrence family--A poor boy--Early education--Delicate
health--Obtains a situation at Dunstable--Returns to Groton--Becomes Mr.
Brazer's apprentice--The variety store--An amateur doctor--Importance of
Groton in "old times"--Responsibility of young Lawrence--Is put in
charge of the business--High character--Drunkenness the curse of New
England--Lawrence resolves to abstain from liquors and tobacco--His
self-command--Completes his apprenticeship--Visits Boston--An unexpected
offer--Enters into business in Boston--Is offered a partnership, but
declines it--His sagacity justified--Begins business for
himself--Commercial importance of Boston--Aid from his father--A narrow
escape--lesson for life--Amos Lawrence's method of doing business---An
example for young men--His business habits--He leaves nothing unfinished
over Sunday--Avoids speculation--His views upon the subject--Introduces
double entry in book-keeping into Boston--His liberality to his
debtors--Does not allow his business to master him--Property gained by
some kinds of sacrifices not worth having--Forms a partnership with his
brother Abbott--Business of the firm--They engage in manufactures--Safe
business principles--A noble letter--Political opinions--His
charities--Statement of his donations--Requests that no public
acknowledgment of his gifts be made--Character as a merchant and a
man--Advice to his son--His religious character--Loss of his health--His
patience and resignation--The model American merchant.



Early struggles--Acquires an education--Undertakes the support of his
family--The boy teacher--Hard work--Is made instructor of Latin--A
trying position--How he conquered his difficulties--Is made principal of
a public school--His first business ventures--Engages in the building of
houses--His platform of integrity--His success--A great mistake--He
indorses a note--The consequence of a false step--Liberal action of the
bank--Mr. Stout resolves to accept no accommodation--Pays the notes, and
loses twenty-three thousand dollars--Establishes himself as a wholesale
boot and shoe dealer--Enters the dry goods trade--Close attention to
business--His system and its success--Organization of the Shoe and
Leather Bank of New York--Mr. Stout is made Vice President, and
subsequently President--Character as a citizen--Is made City
Chamberlain--Generosity to the police force--Interest in church
affairs--Kindness to the poor--Encouragement which his career affords



The largest building in the United States--The Chickering piano
factory--Birth of Jonas Chickering--Early love of music--Is apprenticed
to a cabinet-maker--Is employed to repair a piano--Succeeds in the
undertaking--Consequence of this success--Becomes a piano-maker--Removes
to Boston--Is employed as a journeyman--The labor of his life--His
patience and skill--Is known as the best workman in the
establishment--History of the piano--Chickering's first discovery--His
hope of success based on intelligence--Becomes a master of the theory of
sound--His studies and their result--Makes an improvement in the framing
of pianos--Invents the circular scale for square pianos--Generously
makes his invention free--A noble gift to the world--His business
operations--Increase in the demand for his instruments--Death of Captain
Mackay--Mr. Chickering undertakes the sole charge of his affairs--Fears
of his friends--Magnitude of the business--The lawyer's question
answered--The mortgages paid--Rapid success of Mr. Chickering--His
varied duties--Sharp competition--A bogus Chickering--How a Boston bank
lost his custom--His independence in business--His character as a
merchant--Trains his sons to succeed him in business--The result of his
efforts--The present house of Chickering & Sons--Destruction of the
factory--Offers of aid--Mr. Chickering's kindness to his workmen--Sets
to work to re-establish his business--The new factory begun--Sudden
death of Mr. Chickering.



The grape interest of the United States--Growing demand for American
wines--Instrumentality of Mr. Longworth in producing this success--Early
life of Mr. Longworth--Apprenticed to a shoemaker--Removes to South
Carolina--Returns to Newark and studies law--Removes to
Cincinnati--Admitted to the bar--His first case--Is paid in whisky
stills, and trades them for lands which make his fortune--Rapid growth
of Cincinnati--The oldest native inhabitant of Chicago--Longworth's
investments in real estate--Immense profits realized by him--His
experiments in wine growing--History of the Catawba grape--Longworth
decides to cultivate it entirely--His efforts to promote the grape
culture in the Ohio Valley--Offers a market for all the grape juice that
can be brought to him--The result of his labors seen in the Ohio
vineyards of to-day--His wine cellars--Amount of wine made annually by
him--The process used--How "Sparkling Catawba" is made--Longworth's
experiments with strawberries--His liberality--Gift of land to the
Observatory--His challenge to a grumbler--Estimate of his character--His
eccentricities--His generosity to his tenants--How he made money by
helping others to grow rich--His politics--How he subscribed one hundred
dollars to elect Clay--His hatred of vagabondage--His stone quarry--How
he provided it with laborers--His system of helping the poor--Is charged
with stinginess--The "devil's poor"--Personal appearance--The
"Hard-times" overcoat--Charity to a millionaire--Death of Mr. Longworth.



Birth and parentage--Early education--His first lessons in business--An
apprentice in a country store--Youthful ambition--A desire for
change--The visit to Post Mills--Removal to Newburyport--Reasons for his
attachment to that place--His first patron--Peabody goes south--A
soldier in the War of 1812-15--A young merchant--A change of
prospects--A partner in the house of Riggs & Peabody--Peabody's business
capacity--An irregular banker--His reputation as a business
man--Promising opening of a brilliant career--Retirement of Mr.
Riggs--Growth of the business--A branch house in London--Mr. Peabody
saves the credit of the State of Maryland--Tribute from Edward
Everett--Success in London--A model American merchant--Establishment of
the house of George Peabody & Co.--The Fourth of July dinner--The
exhibition of 1851--Patriotism of Mr. Peabody--How he saved the United
States from humiliation--Admission of the "London Times"--Mr. Peabody's
business habits--His economy--Adventure with a conductor--Finds a
conscientious hackman--Personal simplicity--Visits to the United
States--His munificent donations--His last visit--Returns to London and
dies--Honors paid to his memory--The funeral ceremonies--His burial at
Peabody--Statement of his donations and bequests--His example
encouraging to the young.




Staten Island seventy-six years ago--The establishment of the Staten
Island ferry--Birth of Cornelius Vanderbilt--His boyhood--Defective
education--A famous rider--His early reputation for
firmness--Superintends the removal of a ship's cargo at the age of
twelve--How he pawned a horse--Becomes a boatman--How he bought his
boat--A disastrous voyage--His life as a boatman--His economy and
industry--Earns three thousand dollars--The alarm at Fort
Richmond--Vanderbilt's perilous voyage for aid for the forts--His
marriage--His first contract--How he supplied the harbor
defenses--Builds his first schooner--His winter voyages--Becomes a
steamboat captain--His foresight--Leases the hotel at New Brunswick--The
dangers of navigating the New York waters--The steamboat war--How
Captain Vanderbilt eluded the sheriff--Becomes manager of the steamboat
line--Declines an increase of salary--Only wants to carry his
point--Refuses to buy Mr. Gibbons's interest in the steamboat company,
and builds his own boat--Narrow escape from ruin--Final
triumph--Systematic management of his vessels--How he ruined the
"Collins Line"--The "North Star"--Becomes a railroad director--How he
foiled a plan to ruin him--dishonest legislature--Vanderbilt's
triumph--His gift to the Government--His office in New York--Vanderbilt
in business hours--Personal characteristics--Love for horses--His



Birth-place--Birth and parentage--A farmer's boy--Goes to New York to
seek his fortune--Becomes a cattle drover--Leases the Bull's Head
Tavern--His energy and success in his business--Brings the first western
cattle to New York--Helps a friend to build a steamboat--The fight with
Vanderbilt--Drew buys out his friend, and becomes a steamboat
owner--Vanderbilt endeavors to discourage him--He perseveres--His
success--Formation of the "People's Line" on the Hudson River--The
floating palaces--Forms a partnership with George Law, and establishes
the Stonington line--Opening of the Hudson River Railway--Drew's
foresight--Room enough for the locomotive and the steamboat--Buys out
the Champlain Company--Causes of his success as a steamboat
manager--Becomes a banker--His success in Wall Street--Indorses the
acceptances of the Erie Railway Company--His courage and calmness in the
panic of 1857--He saves "Erie" from ruin--Elected a director of the Erie
Road--Is made Treasurer--His interest in the road--His operations in
Wall Street--His farm in Putnam County--Joins the Methodist Church--His
liberality--Builds a church in New York--Founds the Drew Theological
Seminary--Estimate of his wealth--His family--Personal appearance.



Birth--Childhood--Fondness for machinery--Early mechanical
skill--Constructs a steam engine at the age of nine years--His
work-shop--Death of his father--Works his way to St. Louis--Sells apples
on the streets--Finds employment and a friend--Efforts to
improve--Becomes a clerk on a Mississippi steamer--Undertakes the
recovery of wrecked steamboats--Success of his undertaking--Offers to
remove the obstacles to the navigation of the Mississippi--Failure of
his health--Retires from business--Breaking out of the war--Summoned to
Washington--His plan for the defense of the western rivers--Associated
with Captain Rodgers in the purchase of gunboats--His first contract
with the Government--Undertakes to build seven ironclads in sixty-five
days--Magnitude of the undertaking--His promptness--Builds other
gunboats during the war--The gunboat fleet at Forts Henry and Donelson
the private property of Mr. Eads--Excellence of the vessels built by
him--A model contractor--Residence in St. Louis.



Birth--Parentage--Early education--Goes to New York in search of
employment--Obtains a clerkship in a city house, and in a few years
becomes a partner--A rich man at thirty-four--Retires from
business--Travels in South America--Meets Mr. Gisborne--Plan of the
Newfoundland Telegraph Company--Mr. Field declines to embark in
it--Conceives the idea of a telegraph across the Atlantic
Ocean--Correspondence with Lieut. Maury and Prof. Morse--The scheme
pronounced practicable--Mr. Field secures the co-operation of four New
York capitalists--Organization of the New York, Newfoundland, and London
Telegraph Company--Building of the line from New York to St. John's--A
herculean task--The Governmental ocean surveys of the United States and
England--Efforts to secure aid in England--Liberal action of the
Government--Organization of the Atlantic Telegraph Company--A hard-won
success in America--Passage of the bill by Congress--The first attempt
to lay the cable--The expedition of 1857--The telegraph fleet--Scenes on
board--Loss of the cable--Failure of the expedition--Difficulties
remedied--The new "paying-out" machinery--The expedition of 1858--The
second attempt to lay the cable--Dangerous storm--Failures--Loss of the
cable--The third attempt--The cable laid successfully--Messages across
the Atlantic--Celebrations in England and the United States--The signals
cease--The cable a failure--Discouraging state of affairs--Courage of
Mr. Field--Generous offer of the British Government--Fresh
soundings--Investigations of the Telegraph Board--Efforts of Mr. Field
to raise new capital--Purchase of the Great Eastern--The fourth attempt
to lay the cable--Expedition of 1865--Voyage of the Great Eastern--Loss
of the cable--Efforts to recover it unsuccessful--What the expedition
demonstrated--Efforts to raise more capital--They are pronounced
illegal--The new company--The fifth attempt to lay the cable--Voyage of
the Great Eastern--The cable laid at last--Fishing up and splicing the
cable of 1865--The final triumph--Credit due to Mr. Field.




Trinity churchyard--The Livingston vault--An interesting place--Fulton's
tomb--Birth of Robert Fulton--Boyhood--Early mechanical skill--Robert
astonishes his tutor--Robert's fireworks--"Nothing is
impossible"--"Quicksilver Bob"--The fishing excursion--The first
paddle-wheel boat--Fulton's success as an artist--His gift to his
mother--His removal to England--Intimacy with Benjamin West--Goes to
Devonshire--Acquaintance with the Duke of Bridgewater--His interest in
canal navigation--His first inventions--Goes to Paris--Residence with
Mr. Barlow--Studies in engineering--Invents the diving boat--The
infernal machine--His patriotic reply to the British ministry--His
marriage--Returns to America--The General Government declines to
purchase his torpedo--Brief history of the first experiments in steam
navigation--Fulton's connection with Livingston--The trial boat on the
Seine--Determines to build a boat on the Hudson--Fulton and Livingston
are given the sole right to navigate the waters of New York by
steam--Popular ridicule--Disbelief of scientific men--Launch of the
"Clermont"--The trial trip--The first voyage up the Hudson--Fulton's
triumph--Scenes along the river--Efforts to sink the
steamer--Establishment of steam navigation on the Hudson River--The
first New York ferry-boats--The floating docks--Boats for the West--New
York threatened by the British fleet in 1814--Fulton's plan for a steam
frigate--The "Fulton the First"--The steamboat war--Illness of
Fulton--His death and burial--His last will--True character of his



Discovery of India-rubber--Mode of collecting it--Preparation and use by
the natives--Its introduction into the United States--Mr. E.M. Chaffee's
process--The India-rubber fever--Brief success of the India-rubber
companies--Their sudden failure--Visit of Mr. Goodyear to New York--He
invents an improvement in the life preserver--Early history of Charles
Goodyear--His failure as a merchant--Offers his invention to the Roxbury
Company--The agent's disclosures--Mr. Goodyear finds his mission--His
first efforts--A failure--Discouraging state of his affairs--Renews his
efforts--Experiments in India-rubber--Coldness of his friends--His
courage and perseverance--Goes to New York--Accidental discovery of the
aqua fortis process--Partial success--Ruined--Life on Staten
Island--Removes to Boston--Delusive prosperity--The mail bag
contract--His friends urge him to abandon his efforts--He refuses--On
the verge of success--Discovers the usefulness of sulphur--The
inventor's hope--The revelation--Discovers the secret of
vulcanization--Down in the depths--Kept back by poverty--A beggar--A
test of his honesty--Starvation at hand--The timely loan--Removal to New
York--Difficulties in the way--Death of his youngest child--Finds
friends in New York--His experiments in vulcanization--Final
success--His heart in his work--Fails to secure patents in Europe--His
losses from dishonest rivals--Declaration of the Commissioner of
Patents--Death of Mr. Goodyear--Congress refuses to extend his
patent--His true reward.



The home of General Greene in Georgia--The soldier's widow--An arrival
from New England--The young schoolmaster--A mechanical genius--Early
history of Whitney--Mrs. Greene's invitation--Visit of the
planters--State of the cotton culture in 1792--A despondent
planter--Mrs. Greene advises them to try Whitney--Origin of the cotton
gin--Whitney's first efforts--His workshop--The secret labors--How he
provided himself with materials--Finds a partner--Betrayal of his
secret--He is robbed of his model--He recovers it and completes it--The
first cotton gin--Statement of the revolution produced by the invention
in the cotton culture of the South--Opinion of Judge Johnson--The story
of an inventor's wrongs--Whitney is cheated and robbed of his
rights--The worthlessness of a patent--A long and disheartening
struggle--Honorable action of North Carolina--Congress refuses to extend
the patent--Whitney abandons the cotton gin--Engages in the manufacture
of firearms--His improvements in them--Establishes an armory in
Connecticut, and makes a fortune--Death.



The old-fashioned clocks--Their expensiveness--Condition of the clock
trade of Connecticut sixty years ago--Early history of Chauncey
Jerome--A hard life--Death of his father--Becomes a farmer's boy--Is
anxious to become a clock-maker--An over-wise guardian--Hardships of an
apprentice--How Jerome became a carpenter--Hires his winters from his
master--Becomes a dial-maker--The clock-making expedition--Jerome's
first savings--Takes a wife--A master carpenter--Poor pay and hard
work--Buys a house--A dull winter--Enters Mr. Terry's factory--The
wooden clock business--Sets up in business for himself--Industry and
energy rewarded--His first order--Sends his clocks South--Enlarges his
business--Improvements in his clocks--Losses on southern shipments from
dampness--Depression of business--Jerome's anxiety--A wakeful
night--Invention of the brass--A new era in the clock trade--Beneficial
effects of Jerome's invention--Magnitude of the Connecticut clock trade
at present--Growth of Jerome's business--Makes a fortune--Organization
of the "Jerome Clock-making Company"--Practical withdrawal of Mr.
Jerome--Difficulties of the company--Jerome a ruined man--Honest
independence--Finds employment--Becomes the manager of the Chicago



The first sewing-machine--Birth of Elias Howe--A poor man's son--Raised
to hard work--His first employment--The little mill-boy--Delicate
health--Goes to Lowell to seek his fortune--Thrown out of
employment--Removes to Cambridge--Works in a machine shop with N.P.
Banks--Marries--A rash step--Growing troubles--A hard lot--Conceives the
idea of a sewing-machine--His first experiments unsuccessful--Invents
the lock stitch and perfects the sewing-machine--Hindered by his
poverty--A hard struggle--Finds a partner--His winter's task--His attic
work-shop--Completion of the model--Perfection of Howe's
invention--Efforts to dispose of the invention--Disappointed
hopes--Popular incredulity--Becomes an engine driver--Amasa Howe goes to
England with the sewing-machine--Bargain with the London
merchant--Elias removes to London--Loses his situation--The rigors of
poverty--Returns to America--Death of his wife--Fate's last blow--The
sewing-machine becomes better known--Adoption by the public--A tardy
recognition--Elias Howe sets up in business for himself--Buys out his
partner's interest--The sewing-machine war--Rapid growth of the
sewing-machine interest--Earnings of the inventor--A royal
income--Honors conferred upon him--Enlists in the United States Army--A
liberal private--Last illness and death.



Growth of the art of printing--Birth of Richard M. Hoe--Sketch of the
career of Robert Hoe--He comes to America--His marriage--Founds the
house of "Robert Hoe & Co."--The first steam printing presses--He
retires from business--Richard M. Hoe is brought up in the business--The
mechanical genius of the house--The new firm--Richard Hoe's first
invention--Obtains a patent for it--Visits England--Invents the
double-cylinder press--Demand for increased facilities for printing--Mr.
Hoe's experiments with his press--His failures--How the "Lightning
Press" was invented--A good night's work--Patents his invention--The
first "Lightning Press"--Demand for it--Rapid growth of the business of
the firm--Statement of the operations of the house--Personal
characteristics of Richard M. Hoe--The "Lightning Press" at work.



Birth and parentage--A restless boy--Dislikes school--Early fondness for
mechanical inventions--Is sent to boarding-school--Runs away to sea--The
story of a boy's invention, and what came of it--Origin of the
revolver--Returns home--His chemical studies--Dr. Coult--The lecturing
tour--His success--Completes his design for the revolver--Patents his
invention--Visits England--Discovery at the Tower of London--Returns
home--Formation of the "Patent Arms Company"--Objections of the
officers of the army and navy to the revolver--The Florida War--It is
decided by the revolver--Triumph of Col. Colt--Cessation of the demand
for arms--Failure of the company--Beginning of the Mexican War--Action
of General Taylor--No revolvers to be had--A strange dilemma for an
inventor--The new model--Contracts with the Government--Success of the
revolver in Mexico--The demand from the frontier--Emigration to
California and Australia--Permanent establishment of Col. Colt's
business--The improved weapon--Builds a new armory--Description of his
works at Hartford--A liberal employer--Other inventions of Col.
Colt--His submarine telegraph--His fortune--His marriage--Visits to
Europe--Attentions from European dignitaries--Witnesses the coronation
of the Emperor of Russia--His last illness and death.



Birth--Parentage--Early education--Graduates at Yale College--Becomes an
artist--His masters--Visits England--His first attempt--"The Dying
Hercules"--Opinion of Benjamin West--Wins the medal of the Adelphi
Society of Arts--Ambition as an artist--His cold reception by the
Americans--Mr. Tuckerman's comments--Organizes the National Academy of
Design--Visits Europe the second time--The homeward voyage in the
"Sully"--News of the experiments at Paris with the electro-magnet--How
the electric telegraph was invented--Morse is made a professor in the
University of New York--Completion of his model--An imperfect
telegraph--His first experiments--The duplicate finished--First
exhibition of the telegraph--Morse applies for a patent--Visits Europe
to introduce his invention--His failure--Seeks aid from Congress--A
disheartening effort--A long struggle--Independence of Morse--Despondent
at last--A sudden lifting of the cloud--The experimental line--The
trial--A curious Cabinet Minister--Success of the
telegraph--Establishment of companies in the United States--Professor
Morse wins fame and fortune--The telegraph in Europe--Honors at home and
abroad--A list of his rewards--Morse originates submarine telegraphy,
and predicts the laying of an Atlantic telegraph--Personal characteristics.




The Brothers Harper--Birth and parentage of James Harper--The Long
Island home--James Harper goes to New York--Becomes a "devil"--Winning
his way--How he gave his card to a stranger--Arrival of "Brother
John"---Good habits--Sets up for himself--"J. & J. Harper,
Printers"--How they started in business--Integrity rewarded--First
job--Their first effort at stereotyping--The Harpers become publishers
on their own account--Their early ventures--Feeling their way to
success--Their publications--Character of their books--How they drove
the "yellow covers" out of the market--Their prosperity--Admission of
new partners--The great fire--Destruction of the establishment of Harper
& Brothers--Energy of the firm--Re-establishment of their
business--Their new premises--Description of the buildings--Personal
characteristics of Mr. James Harper--Religious life--Liberality of
sentiment--His industry--Elected Mayor of New York--Kindness to his
operatives--Physical Vigor--"The Lord knows best"--Accident to Mr.
Harper and his daughter--His death.



The old "Corner Book-store" in Boston and its associations--Carter &
Bendee employ a new clerk--Birth and early life of James T. Fields--His
literary talent--Governor Woodbury's advice--Enters mercantile
life--Determined to rise--His studies--The result--Associated with
Edward Everett at the age of eighteen--His business talent--Steady
promotion--Becomes head clerk with Allen & Ticknor--Establishment of the
firm of Ticknor & Fields--Success as a publisher--High character of his
house--Relations toward authors--Publications of Ticknor &
Fields--Removal--Organization of the firm of Fields, Osgood & Co.--The
new book-store--An elegant establishment--Mr. Field's literary
success--Statement of a friend--"Common Sense"--His contributions to the
periodicals of the firm--Travels in Europe--Personal appearance.




Birth--Intended for the Romish priesthood--How he was induced to come to
America--Arrival in Halifax--Comes to the United States--What came of a
shilling--Employment in Boston--Reaches New York--Attempts to establish
a school--Becomes connected with the press--Success of his Washington
letters--Services on the "Courier and Inquirer"--Leaves that
journal--Removes to Philadelphia--Establishes "The
Pennsylvanian"--Ingratitude of his political associates--Returns to New
York--Establishment of "The New York Herald"--Early difficulties of that
paper, and how Bennett surmounted them--The first "Herald" office--A
determined effort to succeed--First numbers of "The Herald"--How one man
carried on a newspaper--A lucky hit--The first "money article"--The
office burned down--The great fire--Bennett's reports of the
disaster--Success of "The Herald"--His first advertising
contract--Increasing prosperity--The journal of to-day--How it is
conducted--The new "Herald" office--Bennett's pride in his
paper--Personal characteristics--His independence.



Birth and parentage--Emigration to America--Becomes a printer--A
first-class compositor--Engaged upon the "Evening Mirror"--The
"Merchant's Ledger"--Bonner purchases the paper, and changes its name to
the "New York Ledger"--The new literary journal--Predictions of
failure--Bonner confident of success--Engages Fanny Fern to write for
him--A handsome price for a story--Wonderful success of the
"Ledger"--Skillful advertising--Popularity of the paper--How Bonner
silenced the critics--"Edward Everett writes for the 'Ledger'"--How
Bonner treats his contributors--"Henry Ward Beecher writes for the
'Ledger'"--Immense circulation of the paper--The new "Ledger"
building--Private residence of Mr. Bonner--His stable--His love for




The model American lawyer--Birth and early life of John Marshall--A
devoted father--Early education--The young patriot--Troubles with
England--Marshall becomes a soldier--The "Culpepper Minute
Men"--Marshall's popularity in the army--Finishes his law studies--His
journey from Williamsburg to Philadelphia--Commences the practice of the
law--Elected to the Legislature--Establishes himself in Richmond--The
power of a powdered wig and velvet coat--Marshall's services in the
Virginia Convention of 1798--Becomes the champion of Washington's
Administration--Refuses public honors--Is made Minister to France
--Public reception in New York--Elected Member of Congress--His
memorable speech--Enters the Cabinet of President Adams as Secretary of
State--Is made Chief Justice of the United States--His record--His "Life
of Washington"--Personal characteristics--His generosity--William
Wirt's pen and ink sketch of him--His courtesy and kindness--Fondness
for manly sports--The quoit club--How he carried a proud man's turkey
home--The supper party--The Chief Justice loses the wager--Mode of
traveling on his circuit--The scene at Maguire's Hotel in Winchester,
Virginia--The unknown champion of Christianity--A brilliant
defense--Last illness and death of Judge Marshall.



Birth and early life--His "big head"--His kindliness of
disposition--Enters his father's office to study law--Merry nature--How
he studied law--A model for ambitious youths--His father's opinion of
him--Admitted to the bar--His first case--The newsboy case--sudden rise
in popularity--Practices in the Supreme Court--The India-rubber suit--A
compliment from Daniel Webster--Brady's integrity--Professional success
and generosity--His readiness in managing his cases--Conduct toward
witnesses--His fearlessness--A bold declaration in Tammany Hall--His
profound knowledge of his profession--His industry--His disinterested
kindness--His humor--Meets his match--Political life--Personal
appearance--A genial old bachelor--Literary tastes and labors--His
generosity to the poor--Devotion to his relatives--Last appearance in




A native of Pennsylvania--Circumstances attending his birth--The child
of promise--First indications of genius--The baby's portrait--Lessons
from the Indians--The box of colors--The truant pupil--The mother's
discovery---West's opinion of his first picture--The little portrait
painter--The first attempt at historical painting--"The Death of
Socrates"--Choosing a profession--Dedicated to his work--A fighting
Quaker--Establishes himself in New York--Visits Europe--Arrival at Rome,
and reception there--Visit to the Apollo Belvidere--West's
criticism--Travels and labors on the continent--Visits England--His
reception there--Urged to stay--Decides to make England his home--Sends
for his bride--Marriage--"Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of
Germanicus"--Success of the picture--The king becomes his friend--The
most famous works of Benjamin West--"The Death of Wolfe"--Reception of
the picture by the public--West triumphs over the critics, and
inaugurates a new era of historical painting--Death of the king--West is
elected President of the National Academy--His resignation and
re-election--Closing years of a great career--Personal appearance--Leigh
Hunt's description of him--Death--Burial in St. Paul's Cathedral.



Birth--Early years--Begins life as a clerk in a dry goods
store--Artistic talent--Opposition of his parents--A change in his
plans--Becomes an engineer--Failure of his eyes--Voyage to Spain--Return
home--Becomes a machinist--Promoted--Learns to model in clay--Commences
his studies in art--A hard life, and a noble perseverance--A change for
the better--A sudden reverse--Out of work--Visits Europe to study his
art--Returns home in despair--Enters the service of the surveyor of the
city of Chicago--His first statuettes--Their success--A new field opened
to him--Visits New York, and learns the new method of casting
figures--Establishes himself in New York--His first studio--Immediate
popularity of his works--Description of them--Removes to a new
studio--His later works--Process by which they are made-Originality of
the artist rewarded by the public--Personal characteristics.



Birth--Juvenile mechanical skill--The life of a Vermont boy--Hard
times--Removal of the Powers family to the West--The new
farm--Misfortunes never come singly--Breaking up of the
household--Hiram's first employment--The reading-room scheme--Hiram
becomes a collector of bad debts--Reminiscences of the young
West--Powers becomes a mechanic--Story of the brass plates--Rapid
promotion--The silver watch--How Hiram purchased it--The Cincinnati
Museum--The artist's first lessons in modeling--His first sitter--The
trial of skill--The king of the Cannibal Islands--The man-eater--Hiram
becomes interested in the museum--How he played the devil in
Cincinnati--A dishonest employer--Mr. Longworth's offer--Powers goes to
Washington--His success there--Visit to "Old Hickory"--The first
critic--Kindness of Senator Preston--Powers goes to Italy--Arrival in
Florence--His first works in Italy--Visit to Thorwaldsen--Works of
Powers--His rapid success--His life in Italy--Views of Mr. Powers
respecting an artist life--Personal characteristics--Popularity with



An American by adoption--Early life and education--How he learned to
draw--Becomes an artist--His first picture--The evils of too much
haste--His first professional engagement--Despondency--A ramble through
the Virginia woods, and what came of it--A friend in need--Greater
success--Friendship of Mr. Carey--Leutze goes to Europe--Studies at
Dusseldorf-His reception there--Becomes Lessing's pupil--His first
picture finds a purchaser--Travels and studies in Europe--Returns to
Dusseldorf, marries, and makes his home in that place--His
paintings--Returns to New York--Success in America--The Government
commission--Journey to the Rocky Mountains--The great fresco in the
Capitol--"Westward the Star of Empire takes it Way"--Revisits
Dusseldorf--Reception by the artists--Returns to the United
States--Further commissions from the Government--His sudden death--His
unfinished works--Mr. Tuckerman's remarks.




A Connecticut boy--The minister's family--A gloomy childhood--Ma'arm
Kilbourn's school--The loss of his curls--The dull boy--A bad voice for
an orator--His first religious impressions--Aunt Esther--The Sunday
catechism--Sent to boarding school--Love of nature--Enters his sister's
school--The hopeless case--An inveterate joker and an indifferent
scholar--Removal to Boston--Gets through the Latin school--The sea-going
project--Dr. Beecher's ruse--Life at Mount Pleasant--Conquers
mathematics--Embraces religion at a revival--Resolves to become a
minister--Removal to Cincinnati--Course at the Lane Seminary--How he
learned to preach--Marries--His first charge--Life at
Lawrenceburg--Removal to Indianapolis--Life in the West--His
popularity--His theory of preaching and its success--Conversion of his
brother--Mr. Beecher accepts a call to Plymouth Church in
Brooklyn--Political record--Literary labors--Pastoral work--A large
audience--Government of Plymouth Church--Description of the edifice--The
congregation--The services--Mr. Beecher as a preacher--Sympathy between
the pastor and his hearers--His ideas of religion--How he prepares his
sermons--His prayers unstudied--The social receptions--The Friday
evening meeting--A characteristic scene--Labors during the war--Visit to
Europe--An unpopular sermon in a good cause--Personal characteristics.



Birth--Removal to Kentucky--"Rogue's harbor"--Condition of the country
and the people--Frontier life--Early life of a preacher--Becomes a
Christian--His account of his conversion--Is made an exhorter in the
Methodist Church--Removal to Lewiston County--Begins
preaching--Qualifications of a backwoods preacher--His energy--The
jerks--How Peter frightened a bully--A brimstone angel--Enters the
ministry--Appointed to the Marietta Circuit--A good school--Hard
times--Marries--Quiet heroism--How the old-time people married--His
devotion to the Methodist Church--Troubles with other denominations--How
he argued with a Universalist--How he met a wrathful dame--Encounter
with a Baptist preacher--Adventure with Father Teel--Taming a
shrew--Removal to Illinois--His reasons for taking that step--Death of
his daughter--Arrival at his new home--Life on the frontier--A large
district--The Methodist circuit riders of sixty years ago--Perils of
frontier traveling--Success of Cartwright's ministry--How he was
superannuated--His courage--How he cleared a camp of rowdies--Encounter
on a ferry-boat--Frightens a bully--Advocates temperance--A practical
joke--Is elected to the Legislature--His opinion of politics--How he
raised the devil--"Another sinner down"--Missionaries from the
East--Indignation of the backwoods preacher--The proposed mission to New
England--Cartwright declines it--He visits Boston--His reception--How he
preached for Father Taylor--Summing up--Sixty-seven years of a
preacher's life.




Birth and early life--The old house by the sea--College life--Early
literary productions--Becomes a professor in Bowdoin College--Travels in
Europe--Marriage--Literary labors--"Outre Mer"--Is made a professor in
Harvard College--His second visit to Europe--Death of his wife--Goes to
live in the Craigie House--Historical associations--Washington's
headquarters--A congenial home--Literary labors--"Hyperion"--Great
popularity of the book--"Voices of the Night"--"The Spanish
Student"--Mr. Longfellow buys the Craigie House--Summary of his
works--The "Song of Hiawatha"--Death of Mrs. Longfellow--Mr. Longfellow
again visits Europe--His popularity with the English-speaking
race--Cause of his popularity--"Resignation"--Scene from "The Golden
Legend"--The poet's home.



The Hawthornes of Salem--A sea-going race--Birth of Nathaniel
Hawthorne--A sad home--Early life--His college days--Longfellow's
recollection of him--Returns home--The young recluse--Literary
efforts--"Twice-Told Tales"--"The most unknown author in
America"--Enters the Boston Custom House--His duties--Popularity with
the sailors--Loses his office--Becomes a member of the Brook Farm
Community--Marries and goes to live at Concord--"The Old Manse"--Life at
Concord--Curiosity of the village people--"Mosses from an Old
Manse"--Hawthorne's visitors--Hawthorne and his friends--George William
Curtis' recollections--Removes to Salem--Is made surveyor of that
port--"The Scarlet Letter"--Removal to the Berkshire Hills--"The House
of the Seven Gables"--Returns to Concord--"Life of Franklin Pierce"--Is
made Consul to Liverpool---Life abroad--Depressed by the war--Moncure D.
Conway's recollections--Juvenile works--Death of Mr. Ticknor--Effect
upon Hawthorne--Goes traveling with Ex-President Pierce--Sudden death of
Hawthorne--Burial at Concord.




The elder Booth--His success as an actor--His sons--Birth of Edwin
Booth--Early life--Brought up on the stage--Admiration for his
father--Travels with him--First appearance--Appears frequently with his
father--Plays Richard III. in New York--A bold venture--Learns the
details of his profession--Visits Australia and the Sandwich
Islands--Re-appearance in New York in 1857--Recollections of him at that
time--His labors in his profession--Successful tours throughout the
country--Visits England--Appears at the Haymarket Theater in
London--Studies on the continent--Appearance at the Winter Garden--The
Shakespearian revivals--Destruction of the Winter Garden by fire--Loss
of Mr. Booth's theatrical wardrobe--Popular sympathy--The new
theater--Opening of the building--Description of Booth's Theater--A
magnificent establishment--A splendid stage--Novel mode of setting the
scenes--Magnificent mounting of the plays produced there--Mr. Booth's
performances--Personal--Genius as an actor--Beneficial influence upon
the drama.



The Jefferson family--A race of actors--Jefferson the first--"Old
Jefferson"--Jefferson the third--Birth of Joseph
Jefferson--Childhood--Brought up on the stage--Olive Logan's
reminiscence--First appearance in public--Early training--Career as a
stock actor--Becomes a "star"--His success--Visits Australia, the
player's El Dorado--Pecuniary success of Jefferson in Australia--His
merits as an actor--Visits England--First appearance at the Adelphi
Theater--"Our American Cousin"--Production of Rip Van Winkle--Makes the
part his specialty--Description of his performance of Rip Van
Winkle--Personal characteristics--Devotion to his profession--Love of
art--A capital sportsman--Buys a panorama--A visit to John Sefton--"The
Golden Farmer"--Private life.




Birth and early life--Adopts medicine as a profession--Studies in
Europe--Returns home, and is made a professor in the Philadelphia
Medical College--Political career--Elected to the Provincial Conference
of Pennsylvania--Action with respect to the independence of the
colonies--Elected to the Continental Congress--Signs the Declaration of
Independence--Marriage--Is made Surgeon-General of the army--Becomes
Physician-General--Troubles--Resigns his commission--Letters to the
people of Pennsylvania--Services in the State conventions--Resumes his
practice in Philadelphia--Plans the Philadelphia Dispensary--Resumes his
professor's chair--The yellow fever in Philadelphia--A scene of
terror--"The Hundred Days"--Dr. Rush's treatment of the
disease--Opposition of the Faculty--Success of Rush's
treatment--Testimony of Dr. Ramsay--Suit for damages--Dr. Rush's
services during the fever--Reminiscences--Honors from European
sovereigns--Is made Treasurer of the United States Mint--Literary
labors--Zeal in behalf of Christianity--His connection with the Bible



Birth--Early life--Enters Columbia College--His medical
studies--Continues his studies in Europe--Great surgical genius--His
early success as an operator--Returns home--Is made Professor of Surgery
in Columbia College--His career and success as a teacher--Introduces the
system of clinical instruction--Difficulty of procuring "subjects" for
dissection--Desperate expedients--midnight adventure--A ready
rebuke--Success and skill as a surgeon--Tribute from Sir Astley
Cooper--A wonderful operation--Sketch of his original operations--His
mode of operating--Careful preparation--Success as a physician--A
progressive mind--Professional honors--Visits Europe--Reception
abroad--Operates upon the Sultan of Turkey--A cool
proposition--Personal--His last illness and death--"President Lincoln

[Illustration: GIRARD COLLEGE]





One May morning, in the year 1776, the mouth of the Delaware Bay was
shrouded in a dense fog, which cleared away toward noon, and revealed
several vessels just off the capes. From one of these, a sloop, floated
the flag of France and a signal of distress. An American ship ran
alongside the stranger, in answer to her signal, and found that the
French captain had lost his reckoning in a fog, and was in total
ignorance of his whereabouts. His vessel, he said, was bound from New
Orleans to a Canadian port, and he was anxious to proceed on his voyage.
The American skipper informed him of his locality, and also apprised him
of the fact that war had broken out between the colonies and Great
Britain, and that the American coast was so well lined with British
cruisers that he would never reach port but as a prize. "What shall I
do?" cried the Frenchman, in great alarm. "Enter the bay, and make a
push for Philadelphia," was the reply. "It is your only chance."

The Frenchman protested that he did not know the way, and had no pilot.
The American captain, pitying his distress, found him a pilot, and even
loaned him five dollars, which the pilot demanded in advance. The sloop
got under weigh again, and passed into the Delaware, beyond the defenses
which had been erected for its protection, just in time to avoid capture
by a British war vessel which now made its appearance at the mouth of
the bay. Philadelphia was reached in due time, and, as the war bade fair
to put an end to his voyages, the captain sold the sloop and her cargo,
of which he was part owner, and, entering a small store in Water Street,
began the business of a grocer and wine-bottler. His capital was small,
his business trifling in extent, and he himself labored under the
disadvantage of being almost unable to speak the English language. In
person he was short and stout, with a dull, repulsive countenance, which
his bushy eyebrows and solitary eye (being blind in the other) made
almost hideous. He was cold and reserved in manner, and was disliked by
his neighbors, the most of whom were afraid of him.

This man was Stephen Girard, who was afterward destined to play so
important a part in the history of the city to which the mere chances of
war sent him a stranger.

He was born at Bordeaux, in France, on the 21st of May, 1750, and was
the eldest of the five children of Captain Pierre Girard, a mariner of
that city. His life at home was a hard one. At the age of eight years,
he discovered that he was blind in one eye, and the mortification and
grief which this discovery caused him appear to have soured his entire
life. He afterward declared that his father treated him with
considerable neglect, and that, while his younger brothers were sent to
college, he was made to content himself with the barest rudiments of an
education, with merely a knowledge of reading and writing. When he was
quite young, his mother died, and, as his father soon married again,
the severity of a step-mother was added to his other troubles. When
about thirteen years of age, he left home, with his father's consent,
and began, as a cabin-boy, the life of a mariner. For nine years he
sailed between Bordeaux and the French West Indies, rising steadily from
his position of cabin-boy to that of mate. He improved his leisure time
at sea, until he was not only master of the art of navigation, but
generally well informed for a man in his station. His father possessed
sufficient influence to procure him the command of a vessel, in spite of
the law of France which required that no man should be made master of a
ship unless he had sailed two cruises in the royal navy and was
twenty-five years old. Gradually Girard was enabled to amass a small sum
of money, which he invested in cargoes easily disposed of in the ports
to which he sailed. Three years after he was licensed to command, he
made his first appearance in the port of Philadelphia. He was then
twenty-six years old.

From the time of his arrival in Philadelphia he devoted himself to
business with an energy and industry which never failed. He despised no
labor, and was willing to undertake any honest means of increasing his
subsistence. He bought and sold any thing, from groceries to old "junk."
His chief profit, however, was in his wine and cider, which he bottled
and sold readily. His business prospered, and he was regarded as a
thriving man from the start.

In July, 1777, he married Mary Lum, a servant girl of great beauty, and
something of a virago as well. The union was an unhappy one, as the
husband and wife were utterly unsuited to each other. Seven years after
her marriage, Mrs. Girard showed symptoms of insanity, which became so
decided that her husband was compelled to place her in the State Asylum
for the Insane. He appears to have done every thing in his power to
restore her to reason. Being pronounced cured, she returned to her
home, but in 1790 He was compelled to place her permanently in the
Pennsylvania Hospital, where, nine months after, she gave birth to a
female child, which happily died. Mrs. Girard never recovered her
reason, but died in 1815, and was buried in the hospital grounds.

Girard fled from Philadelphia, with his wife, in September, 1777, at the
approach of the British, and purchased a house at Mount Holly, near
Burlington, New Jersey, where he carried on his bottling business. His
claret commanded a ready sale among the British in Philadelphia, and his
profits were large. In June, 1778, the city was evacuated by Lord Howe,
and he was allowed to return to his former home.

Though he traded with the British, Girard considered himself a true
patriot, as indeed he was. On the 27th of October, 1778, he took the
oath of allegiance required by the State of Pennsylvania, and renewed it
the year following. The war almost annihilated the commerce of the
country, which was slow in recovering its former prosperity; but, in
spite of this discouraging circumstance, Girard worked on steadily,
scorning no employment, however humble, that would yield a profit.
Already he had formed the plans which led to his immense wealth, and he
was now patiently carrying out the most trying and disheartening
preliminaries. Whatever he undertook prospered, and though his gains
were small, they were carefully husbanded, and at the proper time
invested in such a manner as to produce a still greater yield. Stephen
Girard knew the value of little things, and he knew how to take
advantage of the most trifling circumstance. His career teaches what may
be done with these little things, and shows how even a few dollars,
properly managed, may be made to produce as many thousands.

In 1780, Mr. Girard again entered upon the New Orleans and St. Domingo
trade, in which he was engaged at the breaking out of the Revolution. He
was very successful in his ventures, and was enabled in a year or two to
greatly enlarge his operations. In 1782, he took a lease of ten years on
a range of frame buildings in Water Street, one of which he occupied
himself, with the privilege of a renewal for a similar period. Rents
were very low at that time, as business was prostrated and people were
despondent; but Girard, looking far beyond the present, saw a prosperous
future. He was satisfied that it would require but a short time to
restore to Philadelphia its old commercial importance, and he was
satisfied that his leases would be the best investment he had ever made.
The result proved the correctness of his views. His profits on these
leases were enormous.

About this time he entered into partnership with his brother, Captain
John Girard, in the West India trade. But the brothers could not conduct
their affairs harmoniously, and in 1790 the firm was dissolved by mutual
consent. Stephen Girard's share of the profits at the dissolution
amounted to thirty thousand dollars. His wealth was greatly increased by
a terrible tragedy which happened soon afterward.

At the outbreak of the great insurrection in St. Domingo, Girard had two
vessels lying in one of the ports of that island. At the first signal of
danger, a number of planters sent their valuables on board of these
ships for safe-keeping, and went back to their estates for the purpose
of securing more. They never returned, doubtless falling victims to the
fury of the brutal negroes, and when the vessels were ready to sail
there was no one to claim the property they contained. It was taken to
Philadelphia, and was most liberally advertised by Mr. Girard, but as no
owner ever appeared to demand it, it was sold, and the proceeds--about
fifty thousand dollars--turned into the merchant's own coffers. This was
a great assistance to him, and the next year he began the building of
those splendid ships which enabled him to engage so actively in the
Chinese and East India trades.

His course was now onward and upward to wealth. At first his ships
merely sailed between Philadelphia and the port to which they were
originally destined; but at length he was enabled to do more than this.
Loading one of his ships with grain, he would send it to Bordeaux, where
the proceeds of her cargo would be invested in wine and fruit. These she
would take to St. Petersburg and exchange for hemp and iron, which were
sold at Amsterdam for coin. From Amsterdam she would proceed to China
and India, and, purchasing a cargo of silks and teas, sail for
Philadelphia, where the final purchase was sold by the owner for cash or
negotiable paper. His success was uniform, and was attributed by his
brother merchants to _luck_.

Stephen Girard had no faith in luck. He never trusted any thing to
chance. He was a thorough navigator, and was perfect master of the
knowledge required in directing long voyages. He understood every
department of his business so well that he was always prepared to survey
the field of commerce from a high stand-point. He was familiar with the
ports with which he dealt, and was always able to obtain such
information concerning them as he desired, in advance of his
competitors. He trusted nothing of importance to others. His
instructions to the commanders of his ships were always full and
precise. These documents afford the best evidence of the statements I
have made concerning his system, as the following will show:

     _Copy of Stephen Girard's Letter to Mr. ----, Commander and
     Supercargo of the ship ----, bound to Batavia._

     PHILADELPHIA, ----.

     SIR--I confirm my letters to you of the ---- ult., and the ----
     inst. Having recently heard of the decease of Mr. ----, merchant at
     Batavia, also of the probable dissolution of his house, under the
     firm of Messrs. ----, I have judged it prudent to request my
     Liverpool correspondents to consign the ship ----, cargo, and
     specie on board, to Mr. ----, merchant at Batavia, subject to your
     control, and have requested said Liverpool friends to make a
     separate invoice and bill of lading for the specie, which they will
     ship on my account, on board of the ship ----, and similar
     documents for the merchandise, which they will ship in the same
     manner; therefore, I request that you will sign in conformity.

     I am personally acquainted with Mr. ----, but not with Mr. ----,
     but I am on very friendly terms with some particular friends of the
     latter gentleman, and consequently I give him the preference. I am
     sorry to observe, however, that he is alone in a country where a
     partner appears to me indispensable to a commercial house, as well
     for the safety of his own capital as for the security of the
     interests of those who may confide to them property, and reside in
     distant parts of the globe.

     The foregoing reflections, together with the detention of my ship
     V----, at Batavia, from June last, epoch of her arrival at that
     port, until the 15th of September, ----, when she had on board only
     nineteen hundred peculs of coffee, are the motives which have
     compelled me to request of my Liverpool friends to consign the
     specie and goods, which they will ship on my account, on board of
     the ship ----, under your command, to said Mr. ----, subject to
     your control.

     Therefore, relying upon your activity, perseverance, correctness,
     zeal, and attention for my interest, I proceed in pointing out to
     you the plan of conduct which I wish you to pursue on your arrival
     at Batavia, and during your stay at that or any port of that
     island, until your departure for Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, to
     await my subsequent orders.

     First. On your arrival at Batavia, you are to go on shore and
     ascertain Mr. ----'s residence, and, if you have reason to believe
     that he is still considered at that place as a man of good credit,
     and merits full confidence, you are to deliver to him my Liverpool
     consignees' letters to his address, and also the goods which you
     have on board, in such proportion as he may request, except the
     specie, which is to continue on board, as mentioned in the next

     Second. The specie funds of the ship ----, which will consist of
     old Carolus dollars, you are to retain on board untouched, and in
     the said boxes or packages as they were in when shipped from
     Liverpool, well secured, and locked up in your powder magazine, in
     the after run of the said ship under the cabin floor.

     The bulkhead and floor of said magazine, scuttle, iron bar,
     staples, etc., must be made sufficiently strong, if not already so,
     while you are at Liverpool, where you are to procure a strong
     padlock and key, for the purpose of securing said specie in the
     most complete and safest manner; and when you have the certainty
     that it is wanted to pay for the coffee purchased on account of the
     ship ----, then you are to receive the said coffee, and pay or
     deliver to your consignee Spanish dollars to the amount of said
     purchase, and no more, having due regard to the premium or advance
     allowed at Batavia on old Spanish dollars; and in that way you are
     to continue paying or delivering dollars as fast as you receive
     coffee, which is not to exceed the quantity which can be
     conveniently stowed on board said ship ----, observing to take a
     receipt for each payment, and to see that the net proceeds of the
     goods, which will have been shipped at Liverpool, must be invested
     in coffee, as far as the sales will permit, and shipped on board of
     said ship.

     Should it happen that on your arrival at Batavia you should find
     that death, absence, etc., should deprive you of the services of
     Mr. ----, or that, owing to some causes before mentioned, it would
     be prudent to confide my interests elsewhere, in either case you
     are to apply to Messrs. ----, merchants of that place, to
     communicate your instructions relative to the disposal of the
     Liverpool cargo, on board of the ship ----, the loading of that
     ship with good merchantable coffee, giving the preference to the
     first quality whenever it can be purchased on reasonable terms for
     cash, or received in payment for the sales of the said Liverpool
     cargo, or for a part thereof, observing that I wished said coffee
     to be purchased at Samarang, or any other out-port, if practicable;
     and in all cases it must be attentively examined when delivered,
     and put up in double gunny bags.

     If the purchase of said cargo is made at an out-port, the ship
     ----must proceed there to take it in.

     On the subject of purchasing coffee at government sales, I have no
     doubt that it is an easy way to obtain a cargo, but I am of opinion
     that it is a very dear one, particularly as the fair purchaser, who
     has no other object in view but to invest his money, does not stay
     on the footing of competitors, who make their payments with
     Netherland bills of exchange, or wish to raise the prices of their
     coffee which they may have on hand for sale.

     Under these impressions, I desire that all the purchases of coffee
     on my account be made from individuals, as far as practicable, and
     if the whole quantity necessary to load the ship can not be
     obtained at private sale, recourse must then be had to government

     In many instances I have experienced that whenever I had a vessel
     at Batavia, the prices of coffee at the government sales have risen
     from five to ten per cent., and sometimes higher.

     On the subject of coffee I would remark that, owing to the increase
     of the culture of that bean, together with the immense imports of
     tea into the several ports of Europe, the price of that leaf has
     been lowered to such a degree as to induce the people of those
     countries, principally of the north, to use the latter article in
     preference to the first.

     That circumstance has, for these past three years, created a
     gradual deduction from the consumption of coffee, which has
     augmented the stock on hand throughout every commercial city of the
     northern part of the globe, so as to present a future unfavorable
     prospect to the importers of that article. Indeed, I am convinced
     that, within a few months from this date, coffee will be ten per
     cent. cheaper in the United States than what it has been at Batavia
     for these two years past; nevertheless, being desirous to employ my
     ships as advantageously as circumstances will permit, and
     calculating also that the price at Java and other places of its
     growth will fall considerably, I have no objection to adventure.

     Therefore, you must use every means in your power to facilitate
     the success of the voyage.

     Should the invoice-cost of the entire cargo of coffee shipped at
     Java, on board of the ship ----, together with the disbursements of
     that ship (which must be conducted with the greatest economy), not
     amount to the specie funds and net proceeds of her Liverpool cargo,
     in that event you are to deliver the surplus to your consignee, who
     will give you a receipt for the same, with a duplicate, expressing
     that it is on my account, for the purpose of being invested on the
     most advantageous terms, in good dry coffee, to be kept at my order
     and disposal.

     Then you will retain the original in your possession, and forward
     to me the duplicate by first good vessel to the United States, or
     via Europe, to care of my correspondents at Liverpool, London,
     Antwerp, or Amsterdam, the names of whom you are familiar with.

     If you should judge it imprudent, however, to leave that money at
     Batavia, you are to bring it back in Spanish dollars, which you
     will retain on board for that purpose.

     Although I wish you to make a short voyage, and with as quick
     dispatch at Java as practicable, yet I desire you not to leave that
     island unless your consignee has finally closed the sales of the
     Liverpool cargo, so that you may be the bearer of all the
     documents, and account-current, relative to the final transactions
     of the consignment of the ship ---- and cargo. Duplicate and
     triplicate of said documents to be forwarded to me by your
     consignees, by the two first safe conveyances for the ports of the
     United States.

     Being in the habit of dispatching my ships for Batavia from this
     port, Liverpool, or Amsterdam, as circumstances render it
     convenient, it is interesting to me to be from time to time
     informed of the several articles of produce and manufactures from
     each of those places which are the most in demand and quickest of
     sale at Java. Also of the quantity of each, size of package, and
     the probable price which they may sell for, cash, adding the
     Batavia duty, charges for selling, etc. Please to communicate this
     to your Batavia consignee.

     The rates of commission I will allow for transacting the business
     relative to the ship and cargo at Java are two and a half per cent,
     for selling, and two and a half per cent, for purchasing and
     shipping coffee and other articles.

     The consignees engaging to place on board of each prow one or two
     men of confidence, to see that the goods are safely delivered on
     board of the ship, to prevent pilfering, which is often practiced
     by those who conduct the lighter.

     I am informed that the expenses for two men are trifling,
     comparatively, to the plunder which has been committed on board of
     the prows which deliver coffee on board of the ships.

     No commissions whatever are to be allowed in the disbursements of
     my ships, whenever ship and cargo belong to me, and are consigned
     to some house.

     While you remain at Batavia, I recommend you to stay on board of
     your ship, and not to go on shore except when the business of your
     ship and cargo may render it necessary.

     Inclosed is an introductory letter to ----, which I request you to
     deliver, after you have made the necessary arrangements with Mr.
     ----for the consignment of the ship and cargo, or after the
     circumstance aforementioned has compelled you to look elsewhere for
     a consignee. Then you are to call upon said Messrs. ----, deliver
     them the aforesaid letter and the consignment of the ship ---- and
     cargo, after having agreed with them in writing, which they will
     sign and deliver to you, that they engage to transact the business
     of the ship and cargo on the terms and conditions herein stated;
     and when that business is well understood and finally closed, you
     are to press them in a polite manner, so that they many give you a
     quick dispatch, without giving too great a price for the coffee,
     particularly at this present moment, when its price is declining
     throughout those countries where it is consumed.

     Indeed, on the subject of purchasing coffee for the ship ----, the
     greatest caution and prudence should be exercised. Therefore, I
     request that you will follow the plan of conduct laid down for you
     throughout. Also, to keep to yourself the intention of the voyage,
     and the amount of specie you have on board; and in view to satisfy
     the curious, tell them that it is probable that the ship will take
     in molasses, rice, and sugar, if the price of that produce is very
     low, adding that the whole will depend on the success in selling
     the small Liverpool cargo. The consignees of said cargo should
     follow the same line of conduct, and if properly attended to by
     yourself and them, I am convinced that the cargo of coffee can be
     purchased ten per cent. cheaper than it would be if it is publicly
     known there is a quantity of Spanish dollars on board, besides a
     valuable cargo of British goods intended to be invested in coffee
     for Stephen Girard, of Philadelphia.

     During my long commercial experience, I have noticed that no
     advantage results from telling one's business to others, except to
     create jealousy or competitors when we are fortunate, and to
     gratify our enemies when otherwise.

     If my remarks are correct, I have no doubt they will show you the
     necessity of being silent, and to attend with activity,
     perseverance, and modesty, to the interests of your employer.

     As my letters of instruction embrace several interesting objects, I
     request you to peruse them in rotation, when at sea in fine
     climates, during your voyage to Batavia, and to take correct
     extracts, so as to render yourself master of the most essential
     parts. I conclude by directing your attention to your health and
     that of your crew.

     I am yours, respectfully,


Mr. Girard was not only rigidly precise in his instructions, but he
permitted no departure from them. He regarded it as dangerous to allow
discretion to any one in the execution of _his_ plans. Where a deviation
from his instructions might cause success in one case, it would cause
loss in ninety-nine others. It was understood among all his employés
that a rigid obedience to orders, in even the most trifling particulars,
was expected, and would be exacted. If loss came under such
circumstances, the merchant assumed the entire responsibility for it.

Upon one occasion one of his best captains was instructed to purchase
his cargo of teas at a certain port. Upon reaching home he was summoned
by the merchant to his presence.

"Captain ----," said Mr. Girard, sternly, "your instructions required
you to purchase your cargo at ----."

"That is true, Mr. Girard," replied the Captain, "but upon reaching that
port I found I could do so much better at ----, that I felt justified in
proceeding to the latter place."

"You should have obeyed your orders, sir," was the stern retort.

"I was influenced by a desire to serve your interests, sir. The result
ought to justify me in my act, since it puts many thousands more into
your pocket than if I had bought where I was instructed."

"Captain ----," said Girard, "I take care of my own interests. You
should have obeyed your orders if you had broken me. Nothing can excuse
your disobedience. You will hand in your accounts, sir, and consider
yourself discharged from my service."

He was as good as his word, and, though the captain's disobedience had
vastly increased the profit of the voyage, he dismissed him, nor would
he ever receive him into his service again.

To his knowledge of his business Mr. Girard joined an unusual capacity
for such ventures. He was, it must be said, hard and illiberal in his
bargains, and remorseless in exacting the last cent due him. He was
prompt and faithful in the execution of every contract, never departed
in the slightest from his plighted word, and never engaged in any
venture which he was not perfectly able to undertake. He was prudent and
cautious in the fullest sense of those terms, but his ventures were
always made with a boldness which was the sure forerunner of success.

His fidelity to his word is well shown by a circumstance which had
occurred long after he was one of the "money kings" of the land. He was
once engaged with his cashier in a discussion as to the length of time a
man would consume in counting a million of dollars, telling out each
dollar separately. The dispute became animated, and the cashier declared
that he could make a million of dots with ink in a few hours.

"I'll tell you what I'll do," said Girard, who was thoroughly vexed by
the opposition of the other, "I'll wager five hundred dollars that I can
ride in my gig from here to my farm, spend two hours there, and return
before you can make your million of dots with ink."

The cashier, after a moment's reflection, accepted the wager, and Mr.
Girard departed to his farm. He returned in a few hours, confident that
he had won. The cashier met him with a smile.

"Where is my money?" asked Girard, triumphantly.

"The money is mine," replied the cashier. "Come and see."

He led the merchant to an unused room of the bank, and there, to his
dismay, Girard saw the walls and ceiling covered with spots of ink,
which the cashier had dashed on them with a brush.

"Do you mean to say there are a million of dots here?" he cried,

"Count them, and see," replied his subordinate, laughing. "You know the
wager was a million of dots with ink."

"But I expected you would make them with the pen."

"I did not undertake any thing of the kind."

The joke was too good, and the merchant not only paid the amount of the
wager, but the cost of cleaning the walls.

In 1810 the question of renewing the charter of the old Bank of the
United States was actively discussed. Girard was a warm friend of that
institution, which he believed had been the cause of a very great part
of the prosperity of the country, and was firmly convinced that Congress
would renew the charter. In this belief he ordered the Barings, of
London, to invest all his funds in their hands in shares of the Bank of
the United States, which was done, during the following year, to the
amount of half a million of dollars. When the charter expired, he was
the principal creditor of that institution, which Congress refused to
renew. Discovering that he could purchase the old Bank and the cashier's
house for one hundred and twenty thousand dollars, he at once secured
them, and on the 12th of May, 1812, opened the Girard Bank, with a
capital of one million two hundred thousand dollars, which he increased
the next year by one hundred thousand dollars more. He retained all the
old officers of the Bank of the United States, especially the cashier,
Mr. Simpson, to whose skill and experience he was greatly indebted for
his subsequent success.

Finding that the salaries which had been paid by the Government were
higher than those paid elsewhere, he cut them down to the rate given by
the other banks. The watchman had always received from the old Bank the
gift of an overcoat at Christmas, but Girard put a stop to this. He gave
no gratuities to any of his employés, but confined them to the
compensation for which they had bargained; yet he contrived to get out
of them service more devoted than was received by other men who paid
higher wages and made presents. Appeals to him for aid were unanswered.
No poor man ever came full-handed from his presence. He turned a deaf
ear to the entreaties of failing merchants to help them on their feet
again. He was neither generous nor charitable. When his faithful cashier
died, after long years spent in his service, he manifested the most
hardened indifference to the bereavement of the family of that
gentleman, and left them to struggle along as best they could.

Yet from the first he was liberal and sometimes magnificent in the
management of his bank. He would discount none but good paper, but it
was his policy to grant accommodations to small traders, and thus
encourage beginners, usually giving the preference to small notes, by
this system doing very much to avert the evils that would of necessity
have sprung from the suspension of the old Bank of the United States.
The Government credit was almost destroyed, and money was needed to
carry on the war. He made repeated advances to the treasury, unsolicited
by the authorities, and on more than one occasion kept the Government
supplied with the sinews of war. In 1814, when our prospects, both
military and financial, were at their lowest ebb, when the British
forces had burned Washington and the New England States were threatening
to withdraw from the Union, the Government asked for a loan of five
millions of dollars, with the most liberal inducements to subscribers.
Only twenty thousand dollars could be obtained, and the project seemed
doomed to failure, when it was announced that Stephen Girard had
subscribed for the whole amount. This announcement at once restored the
public confidence, and Mr. Girard was beset with requests from persons
anxious to take a part of the loan, even at an advanced rate. They were
allowed to do so upon the original terms. When the Government could not,
for want of funds, pay the interest on its debt to him, he wrote to the
Secretary of the Treasury:

"I am of opinion that those who have any claim for interest on public
stock, etc., should patiently wait for a more favorable moment, or at
least receive in payment treasury notes. Should you be under the
necessity of resorting to either of these plans, as one of the public
creditors, I shall not murmur."

"A circumstance soon occurred, however, which was a source of no little
discomfiture to the financial arrangements of his individual
institution. This fact was the suspension of specie payments by the
State banks, resulting from the non-intercourse act, the suspension of
the old bank, and the combined causes tending to produce a derangement
of the currency of the country. It was then a matter of great doubt with
him how he should preserve the integrity of his own institution, while
the other banks were suspending their payments; but the credit of his
own bank was effectually secured by the suggestion of his cashier, Mr.
Simpson, who advised the recalling of his own notes by redeeming them
with specie, and by paying out the notes of the State banks. In this
mode not a single note of his own was suffered to be depreciated, and he
was thus enabled, in 1817, to contribute effectually to the restoration
of specie payments."

He was instrumental in securing the establishment of the new Bank of the
United States, and was its largest stockholder and one of its directors.
He even offered to unite his own institution with it upon certain
liberal conditions, which were refused. Yet he was always a firm friend
to it.

"One of the characteristics of Mr. Girard was his public spirit. At one
time he freely subscribed one hundred and ten thousand dollars for the
navigation of the Schuylkill; at another time he loaned the company two
hundred and sixty-five thousand eight hundred and fifty dollars. When
the credit of the State of Pennsylvania was prostrated by what was
believed to have been an injudicious system of internal improvement, and
it was found expedient for the Governor to resort to its metropolis in
order to replenish its coffers, he made a voluntary loan to Governor
Shultz of one hundred thousand dollars. So far was his disposition to
promote the fiscal prosperity of the country manifested, that, as late
as 1831, when the country was placed in extreme embarrassment from the
scarcity of money, he perceived the cause in the fact that the balance
of trade was against us to a considerable extent, and he accordingly
drew upon the house of Baring Brothers & Co. for bills of exchange to
the amount of twelve thousand pounds sterling, which he disposed of to
the Bank of the United States at an advance of ten per cent., which
draft was followed up by another for ten thousand, which was disposed of
in like manner to other institutions. This act tended to reduce the
value of bills, and the rate of exchange suddenly fell. The same spirit
which he manifested toward the national currency he exhibited to the
corporation of Philadelphia, by erecting new blocks of buildings, and
beautifying and adorning its streets; less, apparently, from a desire of
profit than from a wish to improve the place which was his adopted home,
and where he had reaped his fortunes. His subscription of two hundred
thousand dollars to the Danville and Pottsville Railroad, in 1831, was
an action in keeping with the whole tenor of his life; and his
subscription of ten thousand dollars toward the erection of an exchange
looked to the same result."

The war of 1812, which brought financial ruin to so many others, simply
increased Girard's wealth. He never lost a ship, and as war prices
prevailed, his profits were in accordance with them. One of his ships
was taken by a British cruiser at the mouth of the Delaware, in the
spring of 1813. Fearing that his prize would be recaptured by an
American ship of war if he attempted to send her into port, the English
admiral dispatched a flag of truce to Mr. Girard, and proposed to him to
ransom the vessel for one hundred and eighty thousand dollars in coin.
Girard consented, paid the money, and the ship was allowed to come up to
the city. Her cargo consisted of silks, nankeens, and teas, and afforded
her owner a profit of half a million of dollars.

Yet in the midst of all his wealth, which in 1828 was estimated at ten
millions of dollars, he was a solitary old man.

He lived in a dingy little house in Water Street. His wife had died in
an insane asylum, and he was childless. He was repulsive in person. He
was feared by his subordinates--by all who had dealings with him--and
liked by none. He was mean and close in his personal habits, living on
less, perhaps, than any of his clerks, and deriving little or no benefit
from his vast wealth, so far as his individual comfort was concerned. He
gave nothing in charity. Lazarus would have lain at his doors a
life-time without being noticed by him. He was solitary, soured, cold,
with a heart of stone, and fully conscious of his personal unpopularity.
Yet he valued wealth--valued it for the power it gave him over men.
Under that cold, hardened exterior reigned an ambition as profound as
that which moved Napoleon. He was ambitious of regulating the financial
operations of the land, and proud of his power in this respect, and it
should be remembered in his favor that he did not abuse that power after
it had passed into his hands.

He had no vices, no dissipations; his whole soul was in his business. He
was conscious that his only hope of distinction above his fellow-men was
in his wealth, and he was resolved that nothing should make him swerve
from his endeavor to accumulate a fortune which should make him all
powerful in life and remembered in death. He sought no friends, and was
reticent as to his career, saying to those who questioned him about it,
"Wait till I am dead; my deeds will show what I was."

Religion had no place in his heart. He was an avowed unbeliever, making
a boast of his disbelief. He always worked on Sunday, in order that he
might show his disapproval of the observance of it as a day of rest.
Rest, he said, made a man rusty, and attendance upon the worship of God
he denounced as worse than folly. His favorite books were the works of
Voltaire, and he named his best ships after the most celebrated French

Yet this man, so unloved, so undeserving of love, is said to have once
had a warm heart. His early troubles and his domestic griefs are said to
have soured and estranged him from mankind.

"No one who has had access to his private papers can fail to be
impressed with the belief that these early disappointments furnish the
key to his entire character. Originally of warm and generous impulses,
the belief in childhood that he had not been given his share of the love
and kindness which were extended to others, changed the natural current
of his feelings, and, acting on a warm and passionate temperament,
alienated him from his home, his parents, and his friends. And when in
after time there were superadded years of bitter anguish, resulting from
his unfortunate and ill-adapted marriage, rendered even more poignant by
the necessity of concealment, and the consequent injustice of public
sentiment, marring all his cherished expectations, it may be readily
understood why constant occupation became a necessity and labor a

This is the testimony of Mr. Henry W. Arey, the distinguished secretary
of Girard College, in whose keeping are the papers of the subject of
this memoir, and it must be confessed that his view of Girard's
character is sustained by the following incidents, the narration of
which I have passed over until now, in order that the history of his
commercial career might not be interrupted:

In the summer of 1793 the yellow fever broke out with fearful violence
in Philadelphia. The citizens fled in dismay, leaving the plague-smitten
city to its fate. Houses were left tenantless, and the streets were
deserted. It was a season of horror and dread. Those who could not get
away avoided each other, and the sufferers were left to languish and
die. Money could not buy nurses in sufficient numbers, and often the
victims lay unburied for days in the places where they had died. So
terrible was the panic that it seemed that nothing could stay it.

On the 10th of September the _Federal Gazette_, the only paper which had
not suspended its publication, contained an anonymous card, stating that
of the visitors of the poor all but three had succumbed to the disease
or fled from the city, and begging assistance from such benevolent
citizens as would consent to render their aid. On the 12th and 14th,
meetings were held at the City Hall, at the last of which a volunteer
committee was appointed to superintend the measures to be taken for
checking the pestilence. Twenty-seven men volunteered to serve, but only
twelve had the courage to fulfill their promise. They set to work
promptly. The hospital at Bush Hill was reported by the physician to be
in a deplorable state--without order, dirty and foul, and in need of
nurses. The last, he stated, could not be had for any price. Two of the
committee now stepped forward and nobly offered themselves as managers
of the hospital. They were Stephen Girard and Peter Helm.

Girard was now a man of wealth and influence, and with a brilliant
commercial career opening before him. Above all, he was a foreigner, and
unpopular in the city. Yet he did not hesitate to take the post from
which others shrank. He and Helm were regarded as doomed men, but they
did not falter from their self-imposed task. They went to work at once.
Girard chose the post of honor, which was the post of danger--the
management of the interior of the hospital. His decisive character was
at once felt. Order began to appear, medicines and nurses were procured,
and the very next day the committee were informed that the hospital had
been cleaned and reorganized, and was prepared to receive patients.

Girard opened his purse liberally, and spared no expense where money
would avail. But this was not all. Besides personally superintending the
interior of the hospital, he went about through the city seeking the
sick and conveying them to the hospital.

"In the great scarcity of help, he used frequently to receive the sick
and dying at the gate, assist in carrying them to their beds, nurse
them, receive their last messages, watch for their last breath, and
then, wrapping them in the sheet on which they had died, carry them out
to the burial ground and place them in the trench. He had a vivid
recollection of the difficulty of finding any kind of fabric in which to
wrap the dead, when the vast number of interments had exhausted the
supply of sheets. 'I would put them,' he would say, 'in any old rag I
could find.'"

[Illustration: GIRARD'S HEROISM.]

"If he ever left the hospital, it was to visit the infected districts,
and assist in removing the sick from the houses in which they were dying
without help. One scene of this kind, witnessed by a merchant who was
hurrying past with camphored handkerchief pressed to his mouth, affords
us a vivid glimpse of this heroic man engaged in his sublime vocation. A
carriage, rapidly driven by a black man, broke the silence of the
deserted and grass-grown street. It stopped before a frame house, and
the driver, first having bound a handkerchief over his mouth, opened the
door of the carriage, and quickly remounted to the box. A short,
thick-set man stepped from the coach and entered the house. In a minute
or two the observer, who stood at a safe distance watching the
proceedings, heard a shuffling noise in the entry, and soon saw the
stout little man supporting with extreme difficulty a tall, gaunt,
yellow-visaged victim of the pestilence. Girard held round the waist the
sick man, whose yellow face rested against his own; his long, damp,
tangled hair mingled with Girard's; his feet dragging helpless upon the
pavement. Thus he drew him to the carriage door, the driver averting his
face from the spectacle, far from offering to assist. Partly dragging,
partly lifting, Girard succeeded, after long and severe exertion, in
getting him into the vehicle. He then entered it himself, closed the
door, and the carriage drove away toward the hospital."[A]

For sixty days Mr. Girard continued to discharge his duties, never
absenting himself from his post, being nobly sustained by Peter Helm.

Again, in 1797 and 1798, when the city was scourged a second and a third
time with the fever, he volunteered his services, and more than earned
the gratitude of his fellow-citizens. In the absence of physicians, he
took upon himself the office of prescribing for the sick, and as his
treatment involved careful nursing and the use of simple remedies only,
he was very successful. In 1799 he wrote to his friend Devize, then in
France, but who had been the physician at the Bush Hill Hospital in

"During all this frightful time I have constantly remained in the city,
and, without neglecting any public duties, I have played a part which
will make you smile. Would you believe it, my friend, that I have
visited as many as fifteen sick people in a day, and what will surprise
you still more, I have lost only one patient, an Irishman, who would
drink a little. I do not flatter myself that I have cured one single
person, but you will think with me that in my quality of Philadelphia
physician I have been very moderate, and that not one of my confreres
have killed fewer than myself."

[Footnote A: James Parton.]

Such acts as these should go far in his favor in estimating his
character, for they are the very height of true heroism.

Mr. Girard was never idle. Work, as has before been said, was a
necessity with him. Nothing would draw him from his labors. His only
recreation was to drive to his little farm, which lay a few miles out of
the city, and engage with his own hands in the work of tilling it. He
was very proud of the vegetables and fruits he raised himself, and took
great interest in improving their growth. During the visit of the
present head of the house of Baring Bros, (then a young man) to this
country, that gentleman supposed he would give Mr. Girard pleasure by
informing him of the safe arrival of one of his ships, the Voltaire,
from India. Engaging a carriage, he drove to the banker's farm, and
inquired for Mr. Girard.

"He is in the hay-loft," was the answer.

"Inform him that I wish to see him," said Mr. Baring; but almost before
the words had left his lips Girard was before him.

"I came to inform you," he said, addressing the banker, "that your ship,
the Voltaire, has arrived safely."

"I knew that she would reach port safely," said Girard; "my ships always
arrive safe. She is a good ship. Mr. Baring, you must excuse me; I am
much engaged in my hay." And so saying, he ascended to the loft again.

To the last he was active. In 1830, having reached the age of eighty, he
began to lose the sight of his eye; yet he would have no assistance. In
attempting to cross a crowded street, he was knocked down by a passing
wagon and injured severely. His ear was cut off, his face bruised, and
his sight entirely destroyed. His health now declined rapidly, and on
the 26th of December, 1831, he died, in the back room of his plain
little house in Water Street.

His immense wealth was carefully divided by his will. He gave to his
surviving brother and eleven of his nieces sums ranging from five to
twenty thousand dollars, and to his remaining niece, who was the mother
of a very large family, he gave sixty thousand dollars. He gave to each
of the captains then in his employ who had made two voyages in his
service, and who should bring his ship safely into port, fifteen hundred
dollars. To each of his apprentices he gave five hundred dollars. To his
old servants he gave annuities, ranging from three to five hundred
dollars each.

He gave thirty thousand dollars to the Pennsylvania Hospital, in which
his wife had been cared for; twenty thousand to the Deaf and Dumb
Asylum; ten thousand to the Orphan Asylum; ten thousand to the Lancaster
schools; ten thousand for the purpose of providing the poor in
Philadelphia with free fuel; ten thousand to the Society for the Relief
of Distressed Sea-Captains and their Families; twenty thousand to the
Masonic Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, for the relief of poor members; six
thousand for the establishment of a free school in Passyunk, near
Philadelphia; five hundred thousand dollars to the Corporation of
Philadelphia for certain improvements in the city; three hundred
thousand to the State of Pennsylvania for her canals; and a portion of
his valuable estates in Louisiana to the Corporation of New Orleans, for
the improvement of that city.

The remainder of his property, worth then about six millions of dollars,
he left to trustees for the erection and endowment of the noble College
for Orphans, in Philadelphia, which bears his name.

Thus it will be seen that this man, who seemed steeled to resist appeals
for private charity in life, in death devoted all the results of his
unusual genius in his calling to the noblest of purposes, and to
enterprises of the most benignant character, which will gratefully hand
his name down to the remotest ages of posterity.



Those who imagine that the mercantile profession is incapable of
developing the element of greatness in the mind of man, find a perfect
refutation in the career of the subject of this memoir, who won his
immense fortune by the same traits which would have raised him to
eminence as a statesman. It may be thought by some that he has no claim
to a place in the list of famous Americans, since he was not only German
by birth, but German in character to his latest day; but it must be
borne in mind that America was the theater of his exploits, and that he
owed the greater part of his success to the wise and beneficent
institutions of the "New Land," as he termed it. In his own country he
would have had no opportunity for the display of his great abilities,
and it was only by placing himself in the midst of institutions
favorable to progress that he was enabled to make use of his talents. It
is for this reason, therefore, that we may justly claim him as one of
the most celebrated of American merchants.

John Jacob Astor was born in the village of Waldorf, near Heidelberg, in
the Grand Duchy of Baden, on the 17th of July, 1763. This year was
famous for the conclusion of the Treaties of Paris and Hubertsburg,
which placed all the fur-yielding regions of America, from the Gulf of
Mexico to the Frozen Sea, in the hands of England. He was the youngest
of four sons, and was born of Protestant parents. He was early taught to
read Luther's Bible and the Prayer-book, and throughout his whole life
remained a zealous Protestant. He was trained to the habit of rising
early, and giving the first of his waking hours to reading the Bible and
Prayer-book. This habit he continued all through life, and he often
declared that it was to him the source of unfailing pleasure and
comfort. His religious impressions were mainly due to his mother, who
was a pious, thrifty, and hard-working woman, given to saving, and
devoted to her family.

His father, on the contrary, was a jolly "ne'er do well," a butcher by
trade, and not overburdened with industry. The business of a butcher in
so small a village as Waldorf, where meat was a luxury to the
inhabitants, was merely a nominal calling. It knew but one season of
real profit. It was at that time the custom in Germany for every farmer
to set apart a calf, pig, or bullock, and fatten it against harvest
time. As that season approached, the village butcher passed from house
to house to slaughter the animal, cure its flesh, or make sausage meat
of it, spending, sometimes, several days at each house. This season
brought Jacob Astor an abundance of work, and enabled him to provide
liberally for the simple wants of his family; but during the rest of the
year it was with difficulty that he could make bread for them. Yet Jacob
took his hard lot cheerfully. He was merry over his misfortunes, and
sought to forget them in the society of companions who gathered at the
village beer-house. His wife's remonstrances against such a course of
life were sometimes so energetic that the house became any thing but a
pleasant place for the children.

Here John Jacob grew up to boyhood. His brothers left home to earn their
livelihood elsewhere, as soon as they were old enough to do so, and he
alone remained under the paternal roof. His father destined him for his
own calling, but the boy shrank from it with disgust. To crown his
misfortunes, his mother died, and his father married again, and this
time a woman who looked with no favor upon the son. The newly-married
pair quarreled continually, and the boy was glad to escape occasionally
to the house of a schoolmate, where he passed the night in a garret or
outhouse. By daylight he was back at his father's slaughter-house, to
assist in carrying out the meat. He was poorly clad and badly fed, and
his father's bad reputation wounded him so keenly that he shrank from
playing with other boys, and led a life of comparative isolation.

Fortunately for him, he had a teacher, Valentine Jeune by name, the son
of French Protestants, who was better fitted for his position than the
majority of the more liberally-patronized Catholic instructors. He was
well taught by Valentine Jeune in the rudiments of a plain education,
and the tutor and the Protestant minister of the village together
succeeded so well in his religious instruction that at the age of
fourteen he was confirmed. Confirmation is the decisive point in the
career of the German youth. Until then he is only a child. Afterward he
is regarded as on the threshold of manhood, and is given to understand
that the time has come for him to make choice of a career in life.

To the German peasant two courses only lie open, to learn a trade or go
out to service. John Jacob was resolved not to do the latter, and he was
in no condition to adopt the former. He was already familiar with his
father's trade, but he shrank from it with disgust, and he could not
hope to obtain money enough to pay for his tuition as an apprentice in
any other calling. No workman in the village would receive him as an
apprentice for less than fifty dollars, and fifty dollars were then
further beyond his reach than as many millions in after years. The
harvest was approaching, and Jacob Astor, seeing an unusual amount of
work in store for him at that season, decided the matter for his son by
informing him that he must prepare to settle down as his assistant. He
obeyed, but discontentedly, and with a determination to abandon his home
at the earliest practicable moment.

His chief desire was to leave Germany and emigrate to America. The
American Revolution had brought the "New Land" into great prominence;
and one of the brothers, Henry Astor, had already settled in New York as
a butcher, and his letters had the effect of increasing John Jacob's
desire to follow him. It was impossible to do so then, for the war which
was raging in this country made it any thing but inviting to an
emigrant, and the boy was entirely ignorant of the English language.
Nevertheless, he knew that the war could not last always, and he
resolved to go as soon as peace would allow him. Meanwhile he wished to
join his elder brother, who had removed to London, and was now engaged
with his uncle in the manufacture of musical instruments. In London he
thought he could acquire a knowledge of English, and save from his wages
the amount necessary to pay his passage from England to America. He
could reach some of the seaports of the Continent by walking. But he
needed money to pay his passage from there to Great Britain. His
determination thus formed, he made no secret of it, and succeeded at
length in extorting a reluctant consent from his father, who was not
inclined to expect very much from the future career of his son. His
teacher, however, had more faith in him, and said to the butcher, on the
morning of the lad's departure: "I am not afraid of John Jacob; he'll
get through the world. He has a clear head, and every thing right behind
the ears."

He was seventeen years old when he left home; was stout and well built,
and had a constitution of iron. He was possessed of a good plain
education, and a remarkable degree of common sense. He had no vicious
habits or propensities, and was resolved that he would never set foot
again in his native town until he could do so as a rich man.

Ardently as he was bent on seeking his fortune in distant lands, it cost
him a struggle to go away, for he was a true German in his attachment to
his home and family. This attachment he never lost. After providing
liberally for his relatives in his will, he made a munificent donation
to his native village for the benefit of its poor children.

With his scanty wardrobe in a bundle, which he slung over his shoulder
by a stick, and a mere pittance in his purse, he set out from Waldorf,
on foot, for the Rhine. "Soon after I left the village," said he, in
after-life, "I sat down beneath a tree to rest, and there I made three
resolutions: to be honest, to be industrious, and not to gamble." He had
but two dollars in his pocket; but this was enough for his purpose. The
Rhine was not far distant from his native village, and this part of his
journey he easily accomplished on foot. Upon reaching the river, he is
said to have secured a place as oarsman on a timber raft. The timber
which is cut in the Black Forest for shipment is made up into rafts on
the Rhine, but instead of being suffered to float down the stream, as in
this country, is rowed by oarsmen, each raft having from sixty to eighty
men attached to it. As the labor is severe and attended with some risk,
the wages are high, and the lot of the oarsmen not altogether a hard
one, as they manage to have a great deal of sport among themselves. The
amount paid as wages on these voyages is about ten dollars, besides the
coarse fare furnished the men, and the time occupied is about two weeks.

Upon reaching the Dutch seaport at the mouth of the Rhine, young Astor
received his wages--the largest sum he had ever possessed--and took
passage in a vessel for London, where he was welcomed cordially by his
brother, and provided with employment in his manufactory.

He now set to work to prepare himself for his emigration to America. His
industry was unflagging. He worked literally from dawn till dark, and
practiced the most rigid economy in his expenditures. His leisure time,
which was brief, was spent in trying to master the English language, and
in acquiring information respecting America. He had anticipated great
difficulty in his efforts to learn English, but succeeded beyond his
hopes. In six weeks he could make himself understood in that language,
and some time before starting for America could speak it with ease,
though he never could at any period of his life rid himself of his
strong German accent. He was never able to write English correctly, but
after being some years in this country acquired a style which was
striking and to the point, in spite of its inaccuracy. England, however,
was not a favorable place for acquiring information respecting America.
The Colonies had exasperated the mother country by their heroic struggle
for freedom, which was just drawing to its close, and the New World was
pictured to the imagination of the young German in any thing but a
favorable light. His most accurate information was gained from those who
had returned from America, and these persons, as often as chance threw
them in his way, he questioned with eagerness and precision; their
answers were carefully stored up in his memory.

In September, 1783, the news of the peace which established the
independence of the United States was published in Europe. Young Astor
had now been in London two years, and had saved money enough to take him
to America. He was the possessor of a suit of good clothes, besides his
ordinary wearing apparel, and fifteen guineas in English money, which he
had saved from his slender earnings by the absolute denial to himself of
every thing not essential to his existence. The way to America was now
open, and he resolved to set out at once. For five guineas he bought a
steerage passage in a ship bound for Baltimore, and reserving about five
pounds sterling of the remainder of his capital in money, invested the
rest in seven German flutes, which he bought of his brother, and
embarked for the "New Land."

The winter was memorable on land and sea for its severity, and our
hero's first voyage was a stormy one. It is said that on one occasion,
when the tempest was unusually violent, and the ship in imminent danger,
he made his appearance in his Sunday clothes. In reply to those who
asked his reason for so strange an act, he said that if he should reach
land he would save his best clothes, and that if he was drowned it was
immaterial what became of them.

Although the ship sailed in November, it did not reach the Chesapeake
until near the end of January, and there, when only one day distant from
Baltimore, was caught in the ice, where it was compelled to remain until
late in March. This delay was very vexatious to the young emigrant, but
it proved in the end the greatest blessing that could have befallen him.
During the voyage Astor had made the acquaintance of one of his fellow
passengers, a German, somewhat older than himself, and, while the ship
lay fast in the ice, the two were constantly together. As a consequence
of the intimacy which thus sprung up between them, they exchanged
confidences, told each other their history, and their purpose in coming
to America. Astor learned that his friend had emigrated to the New World
a few years before, friendless and penniless, but that, beginning in a
little way, he had managed to become a fur trader. He bought his furs
from the Indians, and from the boatmen plying on the Hudson River. These
he sold at a small profit to larger dealers, until he had accumulated a
considerable sum for one in his position. Believing that he could find a
better market in Europe than in America, he had embarked all his capital
in skins, which he had taken to England and sold at a heavy advance. The
proceeds he had invested in toys and trinkets valued by the savages, and
was now on his way back with them, intending to go into the wilderness
himself and purchase an additional stock of furs from the Indians. He
recommended Astor to enter upon the same business; gave him valuable
information as to the value of peltries in America and in England; told
him the best way of buying, packing, preserving, and shipping the skins,
and gave him the names of the leading furriers in New York, Montreal,
and London. Astor was deeply impressed with the views of his friend, but
he could not see his own way clear to such a success, as he had no
capital. His friend assured him that capital was unnecessary if he was
willing to begin in an humble way. He could buy valuable furs on the
wharves of New York for toys and trinkets, and even for cakes, from the
Indians who visited the city, and these he could sell at an advance to
the New York dealers. He advised the young man, however, not to be
satisfied with the American market, but to work for a position which
would enable him to send his furs to England, where they would bring
four or five times as much as in this country. Astor carefully treasured
up all that his friend said to him, and quietly resolved that he would
lose no time in entering upon this business, which seemed to promise so

The two friends traveled together from Baltimore to New York, where they
were warmly received by Aster's brother, Henry, who had succeeded in
laying the foundation of a prosperous business as a butcher, in which he
afterward made a large fortune. Both brothers were men of business
habits, and on the very first evening after the arrival of the new-comer
they began to discuss plans for his future. Astor's friend stated all
the advantages of the fur trade, and convinced Henry Astor that it was a
fine field for the energies of his brother; and it was agreed that it
would be best for the young man to seek employment in the service of
some furrier in the city, in order that he might thoroughly learn the
business, and familiarize himself with the country and its customs. To
his great delight, young Astor learned that, so far from being compelled
to pay his employer for learning him the business, as in Europe, he
would be certain here to receive his board and nominal wages from the
first. The next day the three started out, and succeeded in obtaining a
situation for the young man in the store of Mr. Robert Bowne, a Quaker,
and a merchant of long experience in the business, as well as a most
estimable man. He is said to have engaged Astor at two dollars per week
and his board.

Astor was at once set to work by his employer to beat furs, this method
of treating them being required to prevent the moths from lodging in and
destroying them. From the first he applied himself to the task of
learning the business. He bent all the powers of his remarkable mind to
acquiring an intimate knowledge of furs, and of fur-bearing animals, and
their haunts and habits. His opportunities for doing so were very good,
as many of the skins were sold over Bowne's counters by the hunters who
had taken them. These men he questioned with a minuteness that
astonished them, and the result was that in a few years he was as
thoroughly familiar with the animals, their habits, their country, and
the mode of taking them, as many of the trappers themselves. He is said
to have been in his prime the best judge of furs in America. He
appreciated the fact that no man can succeed in any business or
profession without fully understanding it, and he was too much
determined upon success to be satisfied with a superficial knowledge. He
was resolved that there should be no detail in the business, however
minute, with which he was unfamiliar, and he toiled patiently to acquire
information which most salesmen in his place would have esteemed
trivial. Nothing was trivial with him, however, and it is remarkable
that he never embarked in any scheme until he had mastered its most
trifling details. Few men have ever shown a deeper and more far-reaching
knowledge of their profession and the issues involved in it than he. He
fully understood that his knowledge would give him a power which a man
of less information could not obtain, and he never failed to use that
knowledge as a power. His instructions to his subordinates were always
drawn up with the strictest regard to details, and show not only how
thoroughly he had mastered the subject before him, but also how much
importance he attached to the conscientious fulfillment of a
well-digested plan of operations. He recognized no such thing as luck.
Every thing with him was the result of a deliberate plan based upon
knowledge. In this respect his career affords one of the best models to
be found in our history.


Astor's employer was not insensible to his merits, and soon promoted him
to a better place. In a little while the latter intrusted him with the
buying of the furs from the men who brought them to the store, and he
gave such satisfaction to his employer that he was rewarded with a still
more confidential post. Montreal was at that time the chief fur depot of
the country, and it was the custom of Mr. Bowne to make an annual
journey to that city for the purpose of replenishing his stock. The
journey was long and fatiguing, and as soon as the old gentleman found
that he could intrust the mission to his clerk, he sent him in his
place. Ascending the Hudson to Albany, Astor, with a pack on his back,
struck out across the country, which was then almost unsettled, to Lake
George, up which he passed into Lake Champlain. Sailing to the head of
the lake, he made his way to Montreal. Then returning in the same way,
he employed Indians to transport his furs from Lake George to Albany,
and dropped down the Hudson in the way he had come. Mr. Bowne was
delighted with the success of his clerk, who proved more than a match
for the shrewd Indians in his bargains. It was doubtless here that Mr.
Astor obtained that facility in "driving a hard bargain" for which he
was afterwards noted.

As soon as Mr. Astor felt himself master of his business, he left the
employ of Mr. Bowne, and began life on his own account. The field upon
which he purposed entering was extensive, but it was one of which he had
made a careful survey. Previous to the peace of 1763, the French and
English divided the control of the fur-bearing regions of America. The
British possessions, extending from Canada to the unexplored regions of
the North, had been granted by a charter of Charles II. to Prince
Rupert, and were, by virtue of that instrument, under the exclusive
control of the Hudson Bay Company. Large quantities of furs were
obtained in this region, and collected at the principal settlement, York
Factory, from which they were shipped to England.

South of this region was Canada, then possessed by the French, who
carried on an extensive trade with the Indians, who brought their furs
down to Montreal in their birch canoes. The French finally settled in
the country of the savages, and married among the natives,
thenceforward entirely devoting themselves to the life of the trapper
and hunter. These marriages produced a race of half-breeds who were
especially successful in securing furs. The cession of Canada to England
was a severe blow to the French traders, as it opened the country to the
enterprise of the English, a few of whom were quick to avail themselves
of its advantages. The French and Indians at first regarded them with
hostility, but gradually became reconciled to their presence.

Under the French rule the savages had not been furnished with liquors,
but the English soon sold whisky and rum in great quantities to them,
receiving the best furs in return. As a consequence, intemperance spread
rapidly among the savages, and threatened to put an end to their
industry as gatherers of furs. To check the evil results of this
irregular trading, a company was established in 1785, called the
North-west Company. It was managed by twelve partners, some of whom
resided at Montreal, and others at the trading posts in the interior.
Their chief station was at Fort William, on Lake Superior. Here, at
stated times, the agents would come up from Montreal and hold a
consultation for the purchase of furs. These meetings always drew crowds
of French and Indian trappers, boatmen, and others, who brought in large
quantities of skins.

A few years later a third company was organized, with its principal
station at Michilimackinac, near Lake Huron. It was called the Mackinaw
Company, and its field of operations was the country bordering Lake
Superior, and that lying between the Mississippi and the Rocky
Mountains. The company was English, but did not hesitate to operate in
American territory, so little regard did Great Britain pay to the rights
of the infant republic.

"Although peace had been concluded, the frontier forts had not been
given up. Oswego, Niagara, Detroit, Michilimackinac, and other posts
were still in the hands of the English. The Indian tribes continued
hostile, being under English influence. No company had as yet been
formed in the United States. Several French houses at St. Louis traded
with the Indians, but it was not until 1807 that an association of
twelve partners, with a capital of forty thousand dollars, was formed at
St. Louis, under the name of the Missouri Company.

"The trade, it will thus be seen, was almost wholly in the hands of the
English companies--the Hudson's Bay Company in the north, the North-west
Company in the Canadas, the Mackinaw Company in the territories of the
United States--and the few American traders in the field had to rely on
their individual resources, with no aid from a Government too feeble in
its infancy to do more than establish a few Indian agencies, and without
constitutional power to confer charter privileges."

The voyage of Captain Cook had brought to the notice of the fur dealers
of the world the sea otter of the northern Pacific, and the announcement
made upon the return of the expedition drew large numbers of adventurers
to the west coast of America, in search of the valuable skins of these
animals. In 1792, there were twenty-one vessels, principally American,
on the coast.

It was into this field, already occupied by powerful and hostile
corporations, that the young German entered. He was perfectly aware of
the opposition his efforts would encounter from them, but he was not
dismayed. He began business in 1786, in a small store in Water Street,
which he furnished with a few toys and notions suited to the tastes of
the Indians who had skins to sell. His entire capital consisted of only
a few hundred dollars, a portion of which was loaned him by his
brother. He had no assistants. He did all his own work. He bought his
skins, cured, beat, and sold them himself.

Several times during the year he made journeys on foot through western
New York, buying skins from the settlers, farmers, trappers, savages,
wherever he could find them. He tramped over nearly the entire State in
this way, and is said to have had a better knowledge of its geography
and topography than any man living.

"He used to boast, late in life, when the Erie Canal had called into
being a line of thriving towns through the center of the State, that he
had himself, in his numberless tramps, designated the sites of those
towns, and predicted that one day they would be the centers of business
and population. Particularly he noted the spots where Rochester and
Buffalo now stand, one having a harbor on Lake Erie and the other upon
Lake Ontario. He predicted that those places would one day be large and
prosperous cities; and that prediction he made when there was scarcely a
settlement at Buffalo, and only wigwams on the site of Rochester."

During these tramps his business in the city was managed by a partner,
with whom he was finally compelled to associate himself.

As soon as he had collected a certain number of bales of skins he
shipped them to London, and took a steerage passage in the vessel which
conveyed them. He sold his skins in that city at a fine profit, and
succeeded in forming business connections which enabled him afterward to
ship his goods direct to London, and draw regularly upon the houses to
which they were consigned. He also made an arrangement with the house of
Astor & Broadwood, in which his brother was a partner, by which he
became the agent in New York for the sale of their musical instruments,
a branch of his business which became quite profitable to him. He is
said to have been the first man in New York who kept a regular stock of
musical instruments on hand.

Slowly, and by unremitting industry, Mr. Astor succeeded in building up
a certain business. His personal journeys made him acquainted with the
trappers, and enabled him to win their good will. The savages sold their
skins to him readily, and he found a steady market and a growing demand
for his commodities in the Old World.

It was about this time that he married Miss Sarah Todd, of New York. She
was a connection of the Brevoort family, and was of better social
position than her husband. She entered heartily into his business, doing
much of the buying and beating of the furs herself. She was a true
helpmate to him, and long after he was a millionaire, he used to boast
of her skill in judging furs and conducting business operations.

In 1794, Jay's treaty placed the frontier forts in the hands of the
Americans, and thus increased the opportunities of our own traders to
extend their business. It was of the greatest service to Mr. Astor. It
enabled him to enlarge the field of his operations, and, at the same
time, to send his agents on the long journeys which he formerly made,
while he himself remained in New York to direct his business; which by
this time had grown to considerable proportions.

He was now on the road to wealth. He had scores of trappers and hunters
working for him in the great wilderness, and his agents were kept busy
buying and shipping the skins to New York. As soon as he was able to do
so he purchased a ship, in which he sent his furs to London,
occasionally making a voyage thither himself. He manifested the greatest
interest in the markets of the Old World, especially in those of Asia,
and informed himself so accurately concerning them that he was always
enabled to furnish his captains with instructions covering the most
minute detail of their transactions in those markets; and it is said
that he was never unsuccessful in his ventures there, except when his
instructions were disobeyed.

In this again, as in the fur trade, we see him patiently acquiring
knowledge of the eastern trade before venturing to engage in it. His
first step was always to fully comprehend his task, to examine it from
every possible point of view, so that he should be prepared to encounter
any sudden reverse, or ready to take advantage of good fortune. Here lay
the secret of his success--that he never embarked in an enterprise until
he had learned how to use it to advantage.

Under his skillful management his business grew rapidly; but he avoided
speculation, and confined himself to legitimate commerce. He was plain
and simple in his habits, carrying this trait to an extreme long after
economy had ceased to be necessary to him. He worked hard, indulged in
no pleasures except horseback exercise and the theater, of both which he
was very fond. It was only after he had amassed a large fortune that he
ever left his business before the close of the day. Then he would leave
his counting-room at two in the afternoon, and, partaking of an early
dinner, would pass the rest of the day in riding about the island. So
plain was his style of living that, before he became generally known as
a wealthy man, a bank clerk once superciliously informed him that his
indorsement of a note would not be sufficient, as it was not likely he
would be able to pay it in case the bank should be forced to call upon

"Indeed," said Mr. Astor, "how much do you suppose I am worth?"

The clerk named a moderate amount, at which the merchant smiled

"Would the indorsement of Mr. ----, or Mr. ----, be sufficient?" asked
Mr. Astor, naming several well-known merchants who lived in great style.

"Entirely sufficient," was the reply. "Each one of them is known to be

"How much do you think each is worth?"

The clerk named large sums in connection with each of the gentlemen.

"Well, my friend," said the merchant, "I am worth more than any of them.
I will not tell you how much I am worth, but it is more than any sum you
have named."

The clerk looked at him in surprise, and then said, bluntly, "Then you
are a greater fool than I took you for, to work as hard as you do."

Mr. Astor was very fond of telling this story, which he regarded as one
of the best jokes of the day.

All this time Mr. Astor had lived over his store, but in 1800, after he
had been in business fifteen years, he moved his dwelling to 223
Broadway, on the site of the Astor House of to-day. He lived here, with
one removal, for upwards of twenty-five years. The house was plain and
simple, but he was satisfied with it. He was now worth a quarter of a
million dollars, and his business was growing rapidly. The fur trade was
exceedingly profitable. A beaver skin could be bought from the trappers
in western New York for one dollar and sold in London for six dollars
and a quarter. By investing this amount in English manufactures, the six
dollars and a quarter received for the skin could be made to produce ten
dollars paid for the English goods in New York.

The Chinese trade was also very profitable. China was an excellent
market for furs. They brought high prices, and the proceeds could always
be invested in teas and silks, which sold well in New York. His profit
on a voyage would sometimes reach seventy thousand dollars, and the
average gain on a lucky venture of this kind was thirty thousand
dollars. The high prices produced by the war of 1812-15 were also in Mr.
Astor's favor. His ships were all remarkably lucky in escaping capture
by the enemy, and he was almost the only merchant who had a cargo of tea
in the market. Tea having reached double its usual price, he was enabled
to reap immense profits from his ventures.

Mr. Francis, in his _Old Merchants of New York_, makes the following
revelation of the manner in which Mr. Astor found it possible to carry
on such an immense business. He says:

"A house that could raise money enough, thirty years ago, to send
$260,000 in specie, could soon have an uncommon capital; and this was
the working of the old system. The Griswolds owned the ship Panama. They
started her from New York in the month of May, with a cargo of perhaps
$30,000 worth of ginseng, spelter, lead, iron, etc., and $170,000 in
Spanish dollars. The ship goes on the voyage, reaches Whampoa in safety
(a few miles below Canton). Her supercargo, in two months, has her
loaded with tea, some chinaware, a great deal of cassia, or false
cinnamon, and a few other articles. Suppose the cargo mainly tea,
costing about thirty-seven cents (at that time) per pound on the

"The duty was enormous in those days. It was twice the cost of the tea,
at least; so that a cargo of $200,000, when it had paid duty of
seventy-five cents per pound (which would be $400,000), amounted to
$600,000. The profit was at least fifty per cent, on the original cost,
or $100,000, and would make the cargo worth $700,000.

"The cargo of teas would be sold almost on arrival (say eleven or
twelve months after the ship left New York in May), to wholesale
grocers, for their notes at four and six months--say for $700,000. In
those years there was _credit given by the United States_ of nine,
twelve, and eighteen months! So that the East India or Canton merchant,
after his ship had made one voyage, had the use of Government capital to
the extent of $400,000, on the ordinary cargo of a China ship.

"No sooner had the ship Panama arrived (or any of the regular East
Indiamen), than her cargo would be exchanged for grocers' notes for
$700,000. These notes could be turned into specie very easily, and the
owner had only to pay his bonds for duty at nine, twelve, and eighteen
months, giving him time actually to send two more ships, with $200,000
each, to Canton, and have them back again in New York before the bonds
on the first cargo were due.

"John Jacob Astor, at one period of his life, had several vessels
operating in this way. They would go to the Pacific, and carry furs from
thence to Canton. These would be sold at large profits. Then the cargoes
of tea to New York would pay enormous duties, which Astor did not have
to pay to the United States for a year and a half. His tea cargoes would
be sold for good four and six months paper, or perhaps cash; so that,
for eighteen or twenty years, John Jacob Astor had what was actually a
free-of-interest loan from Government of over _five millions_ of

It is estimated that Mr. Astor made about two millions of dollars by his
trade in furs and teas. The bulk of his immense fortune was made by
investments in real estate. His estate was estimated at twenty millions
of dollars at the time of his death, and has now increased to over forty
millions. He had a firm faith in the magnificent future of New York as
the greatest city of the continent, and as fast as his gains from his
business came in, they were regularly invested in real estate. A part
was expended in leasing for a long period property which the owners
would not sell, and the rest in buying property in fee simple. These
leases, some of which have but recently expired, were extremely
profitable. In his purchases of land Mr. Astor was very fortunate. He
pursued a regular system in making them. Whenever a favorable purchase
could be made in the heart of the city, he availed himself of the
opportunity, but as a rule he bought his lands in what was then the
suburb of the city, and which few besides himself expected to see built
up during their lifetime. His sagacity and foresight have been more than
justified by the course of events. His estate now lies principally in
the heart of New York, and has yielded an increase greater even than he
had ventured to hope for. Seventy hundred and twenty houses are said to
figure on the rent roll of the Astor estate at present, and besides
these are a number of lots not yet built upon, but which are every day
increasing in value. "When Mr. Astor bought Richmond Hill, the estate of
Aaron Burr, he gave one thousand dollars an acre for the hundred and
sixty acres. Twelve years later, the land was valued at fifteen hundred
dollars per lot."

In 1810, he sold a lot near Wall Street for eight thousand dollars. The
price was so low that a purchaser for cash was found at once, and this
gentleman, after the sale, expressed his surprise that Mr. Astor should
ask only eight thousand for a lot which in a few years would sell for
twelve thousand.

"That is true," said Mr. Astor, "but see what I intend doing with these
eight thousand dollars. I shall buy eighty lots above Canal Street, and
by the time your one lot is worth twelve thousand dollars, my eighty
lots will be worth eighty thousand dollars."

His expectations were realized.

During the war of the Revolution, Roger Morris and his wife, Mary, of
Putnam County, were obliged to flee from the country to England for
adhering to the cause of King George, and, being attainted by the
authorities as public enemies, their immense estate, consisting of
fifty-one thousand one hundred and two acres, was seized by the State of
New York, and sold in small parcels to farmers, who believed the title
thus acquired valid. In 1809, there were upwards of seven hundred
families residing on this land. Mr. Astor, having learned that Roger and
Mary Morris possessed only a life interest in their property, and having
ascertained to his satisfaction that the State could not confiscate the
rights of the heirs, purchased their claim, which was good not only for
the land, but for all the improvements that had been put upon it. He
paid twenty thousand pounds sterling for it. A few years previous to the
death of Mrs. Morris, who survived her husband some years, Mr. Astor
presented his claim. The occupants of the land were thunderstruck, but
the right was on his side. The State of New York had simply robbed the
heirs of their rights. There was no weak point in the claim. Having
given defective titles to the farmers, the State was of course
responsible for the claim; and upon finding out their mistake, the
authorities asked Mr. Astor to name the sum for which he would be
willing to compromise. The lands were valued at six hundred and
sixty-seven thousand dollars, but Mr. Astor expressed his willingness to
sell for three hundred thousand dollars. His offer was refused. In 1819,
a second proposition was made to Mr. Astor by the Legislature of the
State. He replied: "In 1813 or 1814 a similar proposition was made to me
by the commissioners then appointed by the Honorable the Legislature of
this State when I offered to compromise for the sum of three hundred
thousand dollars, which, considering the value of the property in
question, was thought very reasonable, and, at the present period, when
the life of Mrs. Morris is, according to calculation, worth little or
nothing, she being near eighty-six years of age, and the property more
valuable than it was in 1813. I am still willing to receive the amount
which I then stated, with interest on the same, payable in money or
stock, bearing an interest of -- per cent., payable quarterly. The stock
may be made payable at such periods as the Honorable the Legislature may
deem proper. This offer will, I trust, be considered as liberal, and as
a proof of my willingness to compromise on terms which are reasonable,
considering the value of the property, the price which it cost me, and
the inconvenience of having so long _lain out_ of my money, which, if
employed in commercial operations, would most likely have produced
better profits."

This offer was not accepted by the Legislature, and the cause was
delayed until 1827, when it was brought before the courts. It was argued
by such men as Daniel Webster and Martin Van Buren, on the part of the
State, and by Thomas Addis Emmett, Ogden, and others for Astor. The
State had no case, and the matter was decided in Astor's favor. Then the
State consented to compromise. The famous Astor stock, which paid that
gentleman about five hundred thousand dollars, was issued, and the
titles of the possessors of the lands confirmed.

The most important of all of Mr. Astor's undertakings was his effort at
founding the settlement of Astoria, on the coast of Oregon. This
enterprise has been made so familiar to the majority of readers by the
pen of Washington Irving, that I can only refer to it here. "His
design," says a writer of thirteen years ago, "was to organize and
control the fur trade from the lakes to the Pacific, by establishing
trading posts along the Missouri and Columbia to its mouth. He designed
establishing a central depot and post at the mouth of the Columbia. He
proposed sending regular supply-ships to the Pacific posts around the
Horn. By these, stores were to be sent also to the Russian
establishments. It was part of his plan, if possible, to obtain
possession of one of the Sandwich Islands as a station, for from the
Pacific coast he knew that the Chinese market for his peltries could be
most conveniently reached, and thus the necessity for a long and
circuitous voyage be avoided. Instead of bringing the furs intended for
China to New York, they could be sent from the Pacific. By the
supply-ships, too, the stock of goods suitable for the Indian trade
would be kept up there, and the cargoes purchased with the proceeds of
the furs sold in China brought back to New York. The line of posts
across the continent would become a line of towns; emigration would
follow, and civilization would belt the continent.

"In this grand scheme, Mr. Astor was only anticipating the course of
events which, fifty years later, we are beginning to witness. When he
laid his plans before the Government, Mr. Jefferson, who was then
President, 'considered as a great acquisition,' as he afterward
expressed himself in a letter to Mr. Astor, 'the commencement of a
settlement on the western coast of America, and looked forward with
gratification to the time when its descendants should have spread
themselves through the whole length of that coast, covering it with free
and independent Americans, unconnected with us except by ties of blood
and interest, and enjoying, like us, the rights of self-government.'
Even Jefferson's mind, wide as it was, could not take in the idea of a
national unity embracing both ends of the continent; but not so thought
Astor. The merchant saw farther than the statesman. It was precisely
this political unity which gave him hope and chance of success in his
worldwide schemes. When the Constitution was adopted, the chief source
of apprehension for its permanence with men like Patrick Henry, and
other wise statesmen, was the extent of our territory. The Alleghanies,
it was thought, had put asunder communities whom no paper constitution
could unite. But at that early day, when Ohio was the far West, and no
steamboat had yet gone up the Mississippi, Astor looked beyond the Ohio,
beyond the Mississippi, and the Rocky Mountains, and saw the whole
American territory, from ocean to ocean, the domain of one united
nation, the seat of trade and industry. He saw lines of trading posts
uniting the Western settlements with the Pacific; following this line of
trading posts, he saw the columns of a peaceful emigration crossing the
plains, crossing the mountains, descending the Columbia, and towns and
villages taking the places of the solitary posts, and cultivated fields
instead of the hunting-grounds of the Indian and the trapper.

"No enterprise, unless it be the Atlantic telegraph, engages more deeply
the public attention than a railroad communication with the Pacific
coast.[A] The rapid settlement of Oregon and California, the constant
communication by steam to the Pacific coast, render it easy now to feel
the nearness of that region, and the oneness of the nationality which
covers the continent. But to Astor's eye the thing was as palpable then
as now. And yet but two or three attempts had then been made to explore
the overland routes."

It would be deeply interesting to examine the details of this fast
scheme of colonization and trade, for it is certain that Mr. Astor was
as anxious to do an act which, by building up the continent, should hand
his name down to posterity as a national benefactor, as to increase his
business; but the limits of this article forbid more than a mere glance
at the subject.

[Footnote A: The reader will bear in mind that the above extract was
written in 1857.]

A company was formed, at the head of which stood Mr. Astor, and an
elaborate and carefully-arranged plan of operations prepared. Two
expeditions were dispatched to the mouth of the Columbia, one by land
and the other by sea. Many hardships were encountered, but the
foundation of a settlement was successfully made on the Columbia. In
spite of the war with England (1812-15), which now occurred, the
enterprise would have been successful had Mr. Astor's positive
instructions been obeyed. They were utterly disregarded, however, and
his partners and agents not only betrayed him in every instance, but
sold his property to a rival British company for a mere trifle. His
pecuniary loss was over a million of dollars, and his disappointment
bitter beyond expression. When the enterprise was on the point of
failure, and while he was still chafing at the conduct of his
treacherous subordinates, he wrote to Mr. Hunt, the most faithful of all
his agents: "Were I on the spot, and, had the management of affairs, I
would defy them all; but as it is, every thing depends on you and your
friends about you. Our enterprise is grand, and deserves success, and I
hope in God it will meet it. _If my object was merely gain of money_, I
should say, think whether it is best to save what we can, and abandon
the place; but the very idea is like a dagger to my heart." When the
news of the final betrayal reached him, he wrote to the same gentleman:
"Had our place and property been fairly captured, I should have
preferred it; I should not feel as if I were disgraced."

Mr. Astor remained in active business for fifty years. During that
entire period he scarcely committed an error of judgment which led to a
loss in business. He was thorough master of every thing pertaining to
his affairs, and his strength and accuracy of judgment was remarkable.
The particulars of his transactions were indelibly impressed upon his
mind. His intellect was vigorous and quick, and he grasped a subject
with a readiness which seemed like intuition. He was always careful of
the present, but he loved to undertake enterprises which extended far
into the future. He was a man of the utmost punctuality in all his
habits. He rose early, and, until he was fifty-five years old, was
always in his office before seven o'clock. His capacity for work was
very great, so that, in spite of his heavy labors, he was always able to
leave his office by two o'clock, while many of his associates, who
really did less than he, were compelled to remain in their
counting-rooms until four or five. He was noted for his unvarying
calmness, which he doubtless owed to his German temperament. In the
midst of disaster and loss he was cooler and more cheerful than ever. To
those who chafed at their troubles, he would say, smilingly, "Keep
quiet; keep cool." This was his safeguard.

He was a devoted citizen of the United States, and, though he took no
active interest in politics, was a steady supporter of the Whig party.
Henry Clay was his personal friend, and his last donation to any
political cause was a subscription of fifteen hundred dollars to aid the
election of his old friend to the Presidency.

About the year 1830, Mr. Astor, now the possessor of millions, began to
withdraw from active business, confining his efforts chiefly to such
investments as the management of his immense estate made necessary. He
now put into execution an enterprise which he had long cherished. When a
poor stranger in the city, he had once stopped in Broadway to notice a
row of buildings which had just been erected, and which were considered
the finest in the street, and had then made a vow that he would one day
build a larger and finer house than any in Broadway. He now set to work
to carry out the plan he had cherished ever since. He owned the entire
block on Broadway, between Vesey and Barclay streets, with the
exception of one house, which was the property of a Mr. Coster, a
merchant who had amassed a large fortune and retired from business. Mr.
Astor made him many offers for his house, but the old gentleman was
unwilling to remove. Mr. Astor offered him the full value of his house,
which was thirty thousand dollars, and increased the bid to forty
thousand, but Mr. Coster was obstinate. At length Mr. Astor, in despair,
was compelled to reveal his plan to his neighbor.

"I want to build a hotel," said he. "I have got all the other lots. Now
name your own price."

Mr. Coster replied that he would sell for sixty thousand dollars if his
wife would consent, and that Mr. Astor could see her the next morning.
Mr. Astor was punctual to the appointment, and his offer was accepted by
the good lady, who said to him, condescendingly, "I don't want to sell
the house, but we are such old friends that I am willing for your sake."

Mr. Astor used to remark with great glee that any one could afford to
exhibit such condescension after receiving double the value of a piece
of property.

Having got possession of the entire block, he commenced the demolition
of the old buildings, and on their site reared the Astor House, then the
largest and most elegant hotel in the country. This building, when
completed, he gave to his eldest son, William B. Astor.

In 1832, Mr. Astor sailed for Europe to visit one of his daughters, who
had married a nobleman, and remained abroad until 1835. In that year he
was compelled to return home by the action of General Jackson with
regard to the Bank of the United States. "He reached Havre," says Mr.
Parton, "when the ship, on the point of sailing, had every stateroom
engaged, but he was so anxious to get home, that the captain, who had
commanded ships for him in former years, gave up to him his own
stateroom. Head winds and boisterous seas kept the vessel beating about
and tossing in the channel for many days. The great man was very sick,
and still more alarmed. At length, being persuaded that he should not
survive the voyage, he asked the captain to run in and set him ashore on
the coast of England. The captain dissuaded him. The old man urged his
request at every opportunity, and said, at last, 'I give you tousand
dollars to put me aboard a pilot boat.' He was so vehement and
importunate, that one day the captain, worried out of all patience,
promised him that if he did not get out of the channel before next
morning, he would run in and put him ashore. It happened that the wind
changed in the afternoon and wafted the ship into the broad ocean. But
the troubles of the sea-sick millionaire had only just begun. A heavy
gale of some days' duration blew the vessel along the western coast of
Ireland. Mr. Astor, now thoroughly panic-stricken, offered the captain
ten thousand dollars if he would put him ashore anywhere on the wild and
rocky coast of the Emerald Isle. In vain the captain remonstrated. In
vain he reminded the old gentleman of the danger of forfeiting his

"'Insurance!' exclaimed Astor, 'can't I insure your ship my self?'

"In vain the captain mentioned the rights of the other passengers. In
vain he described the solitary and rock-bound coast, and detailed the
dangers and difficulties which attended its approach. Nothing would
appease him. He said he would take all the responsibility, brave all the
perils, endure all the consequences, only let him once more feel the
firm ground under his feet. The gale having abated, the captain yielded
to his entreaties, and engaged, if the other passengers would consent to
the delay, to stand in, and put him ashore. Mr. Astor went into the
cabin, and proceeded to write what was expected to be a draft for ten
thousand dollars in favor of the owners of the ship on his agent in New
York. He handed to the captain the result of his efforts. It was a paper
covered with writing that was totally illegible.

"'What is this?' asked the captain.

"'A draft upon my son for ten thousand dollars,' was the reply.

"'But no one can read it.'

"'O yes, my son will know what it is. My hand trembles so that I can not
write any better.'

"'But,' said the captain, 'you can at least write your name. I am acting
for the owners of the ship, and I can not risk their property for a
piece of paper that no one can read. Let one of the gentlemen draw up a
draft in proper form; you sign it, and I will put you ashore.'

"The old gentleman would not consent to this mode of proceeding, and the
affair was dropped."

During the last twenty years of his life Mr. Astor lived in the
retirement of his family, leaving even the greater part of the
management of his estate to the hands of others. He was exceedingly fond
of literary men. Irving was his friend, and Halleck his business
manager. He died at the age of eighty-four years and eight months,
literally from old age. He was buried in St. Thomas's Church, on

His immense estate was left to his children, the bulk of it being
bequeathed to his eldest son. All of his relatives were made
comfortable. The village of Waldorf, his native place, received a legacy
of fifty thousand dollars for the benefit of its poor, and an amount in
land and funds equal to four hundred thousand dollars was left to
certain trustees to establish the Astor Library in the city of New York.
Besides these, several charitable and benevolent associations received
handsome donations from him.

His career has been related in these pages as an example to those who
are seeking to rise in legitimate commerce. It is the Best instance on
record of the facility with which success may be won by patient and
intelligent industry. In his capacity for grasping and carrying out an
enterprise, in his prudent and economical management of his business,
in his tact, courage, sagacity, Mr. Astor's example is one which will
lead many to success, and none to injury.

He was a thoroughly upright man, his transactions were rigidly honest;
but as a man, candor compels the acknowledgment that he was not a safe
or admirable model. He was utterly devoid of generosity. Liberal to an
extreme with his own family, he was close and hard with others. He paid
small wages to his employés and never gave more than the man bargained
for, no matter what extra service might be rendered. He carried his
economy to a degree of meanness painful to contemplate. At his death,
out of his vast estate, he left to his friend and faithful manager an
annuity of only two hundred dollars, which his son increased to fifteen

One of his captains once succeeded in saving for him property in China
to the amount of seven hundred thousand dollars, which had become
jeopardized by the sudden death of the agent in charge of it. This
service was purely voluntary, and was one which required the greatest
skill, determination, and courage on the part of the captain, and Astor
acknowledged it, frequently saying: "If you had not done just as you
did, I should never have seen one dollar of my money; no, not one dollar
of it." This was the only acknowledgment he made, however. He was worth
ten millions of dollars, and the captain had only his pay--twelve
hundred dollars a year--and a family. At his father's death Mr. William
B. Astor sent a considerable sum to the old seaman in return for this

"We have all heard much of the closeness, or rather the meanness, of
this remarkable man. Truth compels us to admit that he was not generous,
except to his own kindred. His liberality began and ended in his own
family. Very seldom during his lifetime did he willingly do a generous
act, outside of the little circle of his relations and descendants. To
get all he could, and to keep nearly all that he got--those were the
laws of his being.... He enjoyed keenly the consciousness, the feeling,
of being rich. The roll-book of his possessions was his Bible. He
scanned it fondly, and saw, with quiet but deep delight, the catalogue
of his property lengthening from month to month. The love of
accumulation grew with his years, until it ruled him like a tyrant. If
at fifty he possessed his millions, at sixty-five his millions possessed
him. Only to his own children and to their children was he liberal; and
his liberality to them was all arranged with a view to keeping his
estate in the family, and to cause it at every moment to tend toward a
final consolidation in one enormous mass."

This is the estimate of his character formed by Mr. James Parton. His
friend Dr. Coggswell presents him in quite a different light. He says:

"Mr. Astor lived to the good old age of four score and four years and
eight months. For some years previous to his death, which happened March
29, 1848, his manly form was bowed down by age, and his bodily strength
greatly enfeebled, but his mind retained much of its original Vigor and
brightness. Considering his extraordinary activity until a late period
of his life, he submitted to the helplessness of age with uncommon
resignation. When his impaired eye-sight no longer permitted him to
read, his principal relief from the wearisomeness of unoccupied time was
in the society of his friends and near relatives. All who knew him well
were strongly attached to him, and none but those who were ignorant of
his true character believed him unamiable and repulsive.

"His smile was peculiarly benignant and expressive of genuine kindness
of heart, and his whole manner cordial and courteous to every one
entitled to his respect. There was something so impressive in his
appearance, no one could stand before him without feeling that he was in
the presence of a superior intelligence. His deep, sunken eye, beneath
his overarched brow, denoted the prophetic--it might almost be said the
inspired--mind within. Although he lived many years beyond the age when
the grasshopper is a burden, and was the victim of much suffering, he
did not murmur, nor did he become unreasonable and peevish. He was not
wont to talk much on the subject of religion, or freely communicate his
views in relation to the life beyond the grave; but it can not be
doubted that such tranquility as he exhibited in his near approach to
it must have been derived from 'that peace which the world can neither
give nor take away,'"

Perhaps a medium between Mr. Parton's bitterness and Dr. Coggswell's
enthusiasm will be as correct an estimate of his personal character as
can be formed. It is a singular fact that Mr. Astor managed, in spite of
the closeness which marked his operations, in spite of the small wages
he paid, to inspire his employés with a zeal in his service that made
them willing to undertake any thing, to endure any amount of labor, for

"He once lost seventy thousand dollars by committing a piece of petty
injustice toward his best captain. This gallant sailor, being notified
by an insurance office of the necessity of having a chronometer on
board his ship, spoke to Mr. Astor on the subject, who advised the
captain to buy one.

"'But,' said the captain, 'I have no five hundred dollars to spare for
such a purpose; the chronometer should belong to the ship.'

"'Well,' said the merchant, 'you need not pay for it now; pay for it at
your convenience,'

"The captain still objecting, Astor, after a prolonged higgling,
authorized him to buy a chronometer and charge it to the ship's account,
which was done.

"Sailing day was at hand. The ship was hauled into the stream. The
captain, as is the custom, handed in his account. Astor, subjecting it
to his usual close scrutiny, observed the novel item of five hundred
dollars for the chronometer. He objected, averring that it was
understood between them that the captain was to pay for the instrument.
The worthy sailor recalled the conversation, and firmly held to his
recollection of it. Astor insisting on his own view of the matter, the
captain was so profoundly disgusted that, important as the command of
the ship was to him, he resigned his post. Another captain was soon
found, and the ship sailed for China.

"Another house, which was then engaged in the China trade, knowing the
worth of this 'king of captains,' as Astor himself used to style him,
bought him a ship and dispatched him to Canton two months after the
departure of Astor's vessel. Our captain, put upon his mettle, employed
all his skill to accelerate the speed of his ship, and had such success
that he reached New York, with a full cargo of tea, just seven days
after the arrival of Mr. Astor's ship. Astor, not expecting another ship
for months, and therefore sure of monopolizing the market, had not yet
broken bulk, nor even taken off the hatchways. Our captain arrived on a
Saturday. Advertisements and handbills were immediately issued, and on
the Wednesday morning following, as the custom then was, the auction
sale of the tea began on the wharf--two barrels of punch contributing to
the _eclat_ and hilarity of the occasion. The cargo was sold to good
advantage, and the market was glutted. Astor lost in consequence the
entire profits of the voyage, not less than the sum previously named.
Meeting the captain some time after in Broadway, he said:

"'I had better have paid for that chronometer of yours,'"

Yet he could do a kind act when he was in the humor. When he was poor
and struggling for fortune, he had a friend in the city named Pell, a
coachmaker. As he advanced in the world he lost sight of his friend. One
day a young man called on him to ask if he would sell one of his leases
which he (the visitor) then held. He replied promptly and decidedly that
he would not sell.

"But what is your name?" he asked.

"It is Pell," was the reply.

"Pell--Pell--" said the old man, hesitating a moment, "I knew a man by
that name once; he was a dear friend of mine, but I have not seen him
for years."

"That man," said the visitor, "was my father."

"Indeed," exclaimed the old man, warmly; "your father? Why, he used to
give me rides in his coaches. How I should like to see him."

Then pausing a moment, and smiling as he recalled the past to his mind,
he said:

"You shall have the lease, young man. Go home, have the papers drawn,
come here at eleven o'clock on Thursday, and I'll sign them. But don't
put in any consideration."

The engagement was kept punctually by both parties.

"Have you got the papers?" asked the merchant. "Did you put in the
consideration? Well, let it be one hundred dollars. Have you got the
money about you? Well, no matter, Bruce will keep the lease till you
come and pay. I've given you two thousand dollars, young man. Don't you
buy any more, for I sha'n't do it again. You tell your father that I
remember him, and that I have given you two thousand dollars."

Mr. Astor dearly liked a joke, and occasionally indulged in a sly bit of
humor himself. On one occasion a committee called upon him to solicit a
donation for some charitable object. The old man took the subscription
list, and, after examining it, signed it and gave the committee a check
for fifty dollars. They had expected much more, and one of them ventured
to say:

"We did hope for more, Mr. Astor. Your son gave us a hundred dollars."

"Ah!" replied the old man, dryly, "William has a rich father. Mine was
very poor."



In the year 1818, a European vessel anchored in the harbor of New York,
after a long and weary voyage from the Old World. She brought many
passengers to the young metropolis, the majority of whom came with the
intention of seeking fortunes in this land of promise.

Among them was a young Irishman who had left his home in his native land
to seek in America the means of bettering his condition. This was
ALEXANDER T. STEWART. He was the son of Scotch-Irish parents, and was
born in Belfast in 1802. Being only three years old when his father
died, his grandfather took charge of him, and proved a kind and
judicious guardian. As he was designed for the ministry by his relative,
and as his own tastes inclined him to that profession, he was given a
good common school education, and placed at college, where he made
favorable progress in his class. He was particularly successful in the
classics, and is said to retain his relish for them at the present day.

During his second term his grandfather died, and he was by this event
obliged to leave college. Abandoning the idea of entering the ministry,
he embarked for America, determined to make a fortune in the New World.
He came sufficiently supplied with ready money to insure him against
immediate want, and with letters of introduction which at once secured
him an excellent social position.

After trying in vain for some time to secure employment in a business
house, he obtained a position as assistant in a commercial school. This
he soon resigned for a similar place in a more celebrated school. His
salary here was $300, which was considered ample compensation in those

Not wishing to continue in this career, however, he opened a small
retail dry goods store in New York, and began business on a humble
scale. Here he remained until the age of twenty-one, manifesting no
extraordinary business capacity, and in no way distinguished from the
many small dealers around him. Upon reaching his majority he returned to
Ireland, to look after the inheritance left him by his grandfather. The
amount which thus came to him was nearly one thousand pounds, and the
greater part of this he invested in "insertions" and "scollop
trimmings," which he shipped to America by the vessel in which he
returned. He rented a little store, on his return, at 283 Broadway, and
there displayed his stock, which met with a ready sale at a fair profit.

Without mercantile experience, and possessing little advantage, save his
own Scotch-Irish energy and courage, Mr. Stewart started boldly on what
proved the road to fortune. No young merchant ever worked harder than
he. From fourteen to eighteen hours each day were given to his business.
He was his own book-keeper, salesman, and porter. He could not afford to
employ help. Credit was hard to obtain in those days, and young
merchants were not favorites with those who had such favors to bestow.
Mr. Stewart was one of the least favored, inasmuch as he was almost a
total stranger to the business community in which he lived. He kept a
small stock of goods on hand, which he purchased for cash chiefly at
the auction sales. He was a regular attendant at these sales, and his
purchases were invariably "sample lots"--that is, collections of small
quantities of various articles thrown together in confusion, and sold in
heaps for what they would bring. He had these purchases conveyed to his
store, and after the business of the day was over, he and his wife would
take these "sample lots," and by carefully assorting them, bring order
out of the confusion. Every article was patiently gone over. Gloves were
redressed and smoothed out, laces pressed free from the creases which
careless bidders had twisted into them, and hose made to look as fresh
as if they had never been handled. Each article being good in itself,
was thus restored to its original excellence. The goods were then
arranged in their proper places on the shelves of the store, and by
being offered at a lower price than that charged by retail dealers
elsewhere in the city, met with a ready sale. Even at this low price the
profit was great, since they had been purchased for a mere trifle. For
six years Mr. Stewart continued to conduct his business in this way,
acquiring every day a larger and more profitable trade. Here he laid
down those principles of business and personal integrity from which he
has never departed, and which have led-him to the honorable position he
now holds.

"His first rule was _honesty_ between seller and buyer. His career is a
perfect exemplification of Poor Richard's maxim: 'Honesty is the best
policy,' and of the poet's declaration: 'Nothing can need a lie,' His
interest consorted with his inclination, his policy with his principles,
and the business with the man, when he determined that the truth should
be told over his counter, and that no misrepresentation of his goods
should be made. He never asked, he never would suffer, a clerk to
misrepresent the quality of his merchandise. Clerks who had been
educated at other stores to cheat customers, and then to laugh off the
transaction as 'cuteness,' or defend it as 'diamond cut diamond,' found
no such slipshod morality at Stewart's little store, and learned
frankness and fairness in representation at the peril of dismissal.
Their employer asked no gain from deceit in trade. On his part, too, in
buying, he rarely gave a seller a second opportunity to misrepresent
goods to him.

"A second innovation of the young dry goods dealer was selling at _one
price_--a custom which has also lasted without interruption, and which
has spread to all the great houses. He fixed his price, after careful
consideration, at what he thought the goods could and would bring, and
would not deviate from it for any haggling, or to suit individual cases.
Of course, he followed the fluctuations of the market, and marked his
goods up or down in accordance with it; but no difference in the price
was made to different people. Perhaps those who had some art in 'beating
down' prices were offended, but people in general were pleased.

"The third principle he adopted was that of _cash on delivery_. It is
said that his own early experience of buying on credit, and selling on
credit, drove him to this rule.

"A fourth principle with him was to conduct business as business--not as
sentiment. His aim was honorable profit, and he had no purpose of
confusing it by extraneous considerations."

While still engaged in his first struggles in his little store, Mr.
Stewart found himself called on to make arrangements to pay a note which
would soon become due. It was for a considerable sum, and he had neither
the money nor the means of borrowing it. It was a time when the
mercantile community of New York regarded a failure to pay a note as a
crime, and when such a failure was sure to bring ruin to any new man.
Mr. Stewart knew this, and felt that he must act with greater resolution
and daring than he had ever before exhibited, if he would save himself
from dishonor. To meet the crisis he adopted a bold and skillful
maneuver. He marked down every article in his store far below the
wholesale price. This done, he had a number of handbills printed,
announcing that he would sell off his entire stock of goods below cost,
within a given time. He scattered these handbills broadcast through the
city, and it was not long before purchasers began to flock to his store
to secure the great bargains which his advertisements offered them. His
terms were "cash," and he had little difficulty in selling. Purchasers
found that they thus secured the best goods in the market at a lower
figure than they had ever been offered before in New York, and each one
was prompt to advise relatives and friends to avail themselves of the
favorable opportunity. Customers were plentiful; the little Broadway
store was thronged all day, and long before the expiration of the period
he had fixed for the duration of his sales, Mr. Stewart found his
shelves empty and his treasury full. He paid his note with a part of the
money he had thus received, and with the rest laid in a fresh stock of
goods. He was fortunate in his purchases at this time, for, as the
market was extremely dull and ready money scarce, he, by paying cash,
bought his goods at very low prices.

The energy, industry, patience, and business tact displayed by Mr.
Stewart during these first years of his commercial life brought him
their sure reward, and in 1828, just six years after commencing
business, he found his little store too small and humble for the large
and fashionable trade which had come to him. Three new stores had just
been erected on Broadway, between Chambers and Warren Streets, and he
leased the smallest of these and moved into it. It was a modest
building, only three stories high and but thirty feet deep, but it was a
great improvement on his original place. He was enabled to fill it with
a larger and more attractive stock of goods, and his business was
greatly benefited by the change. He remained in this store for four
years, and in 1832 removed to a two-story building located on Broadway,
between Murray and Warren Streets. Soon after occupying it, he was
compelled, by the growth of his business, to add twenty feet to the
depth of the store and a third story to the building. A year or two
later a fourth story was added, and in 1837 a fifth story, so rapidly
did he prosper.

His trade was now with the wealthy and fashionable class of the city. He
had surmounted all his early difficulties, and laid the foundation of
that splendid fortune which he has since won. The majority of his
customers were ladies, and he now resolved upon an expedient for
increasing their number. He had noticed that the ladies, in "shopping,"
were given to the habit of gossiping, and even flirting with the clerks,
and he adopted the expedient of employing as his salesmen the handsomest
men he could procure, a practice which has since become common. The plan
was successful from the first. Women came to his store in greater
numbers than before, and "Stewart's nice young men" were the talk of the

The great crisis of 1837 found Mr. Stewart a prosperous and rising man,
and that terrible financial storm which wrecked so many of the best of
the city firms did not so much as leave its mark on him. Indeed, while
other men were failing all around him, he was coining money. It had
always been his habit to watch the market closely, in order to profit by
any sudden change in it, and his keen sagacity enabled him to see the
approach of the storm long before it broke, and to prepare for it.

He at once marked down all his goods as low as possible, and began to
"sell for cost," originating the system which is now so popular. The
prices were very low, and the goods of the best quality. Every body
complained of the hard times, and all were glad to save money by
availing themselves of "Stewart's bargains." In this way he carried on a
retail cash trade of five thousand dollars per day in the midst of the
most terrible crisis the country has ever seen. Other merchants were
reduced to every possible expedient, and were compelled to send their
goods to auction to be sold for what they would bring, so great was
their need of ready money. Stewart attended all these auctions
regularly, and purchased the goods thus offered. These he sold rapidly
by means of his "cost system," realizing an average profit of forty per
cent. It is said that he purchased fifty thousand dollars worth of silks
in this way, and sold the whole lot in a few days, making a profit of
twenty thousand dollars on the transaction. Thus he not only passed
through the "crisis," but made a fortune in the midst of it.

From that time to the present day his march to fortune has been
uninterrupted. Nearly a quarter of a century ago he purchased the
property which is now the site of his wholesale store, and commenced to
erect the splendid marble warehouse which he still occupies. His friends
were surprised at his temerity. They told him it was too far up town,
and on the wrong side of Broadway, but he quietly informed them that a
few years would vindicate his wisdom, and see his store the center of
the most flourishing business neighborhood of New York. His predictions
have been more than realized.

He moved into his new store in 1846, and continued to expand and enlarge
his business every year. Some years ago he purchased the old
Ninth-Street Dutch Church and the lots adjacent to it, comprising the
entire block lying between Ninth and Tenth Streets, Broadway and Fourth
Avenue. When he found the retail trade going up town, and deserting its
old haunts below Canal Street, he erected a fine iron building at the
corner of Broadway and Tenth Street, to which he removed the retail
department of his business, continuing his wholesale trade at his old
store on Chambers Street. This new "upper store" has increased with the
business. The building now covers the entire block upon which it is
erected, and is the largest, most complete, and magnificent
establishment of its kind in the world.

Though he took no active part in politics, he was too much interested in
public affairs, by reason of his immense wealth, not to watch them
closely. He was satisfied, some time before our late troubles began,
that war must come, and quietly made contracts with nearly all the
manufacturers for all their productions for a considerable period of
time. Accordingly, when the war did come, it was found that nearly all
the articles of clothing, blankets, etc., needed for the army had been
monopolized by him. His profits on these transactions amounted to many
millions of dollars, though it should be remarked that his dealings with
the Government were characterized by an unusual degree of liberality.
The gains thus realized by him more than counterbalanced the losses he
sustained by the sudden cessation of his Southern trade.

Fifty years have now passed away since the young school-teacher landed
in New York, and he stands to-day at the head of the mercantile
interests of the New World. In the half-century which has elapsed since
then, he has won a fortune which is variously estimated at from
twenty-five to forty millions of dollars. He has gained all this wealth
fairly, not by trickery and deceit, or even by a questionable honesty,
but by a series of mercantile transactions the minutest of which bears
the impress of his sterling integrity, and by a patience, energy, tact,
and genius of which few men are possessed. Surely, then, it must be a
proud thought to him that he has done all this _himself_, by his own
unaided efforts, and that amid all his wonderful success there does not
rest one single stain upon his good name as a man or a merchant.

It is said that Mr. Stewart regards himself as a "lucky man," rather
than as one who has risen by the force of his own genius. A writer in
the New York _Herald_ relates the following incident, as illustrative of
the superstition which this feeling of "luck" has given rise to with
him: "When he kept his store on Broadway, between Murray and Warren
Streets, there sat on the sidewalk before it, on an orange box, an old
woman, whose ostensible occupation was the selling of apples. This
business was, however, merely a pretense; the main object being beggary.
As years rolled on, Mr. Stewart became impressed with the idea that the
old dame was his guardian angel of good luck, and this impression took
so firm a hold upon his mind that when he removed to Chambers Street,
he, in person, took up the old woman's box, and removed her to the front
of his new establishment. In further illustration of Mr. Stewart's faith
in the Irish traditional belief in 'lucky' and 'unlucky' persons, it may
be mentioned that, after the completion of the St. Nicholas Hotel in
this city, an undertaking in which he was largely interested, and when
the building was just about to be opened for the reception of guests,
the millionaire, standing in the drawing-room, ejaculated, 'It is now
finished; I hope its first visitors may be lucky people.'

"A gentleman present, who had heard of Mr. Stewart's care for the aged
apple vendor, remarked, 'I presume, sir, you do not in reality care
about lucky or unlucky persons;' to which he immediately replied,
'Indeed, I do. There are persons who are unlucky. I sometimes open a
case of goods, and sell the first from it to some person who is unlucky,
and lose on it to the end. I frequently see persons to whom I would not
sell if I could avoid it.'"

The first incident, if true, doubtless illustrates the quiet kindness
with which Mr. Stewart watches over the poor that he takes under his
care--and they are many. He has won his success too fairly to be a
believer in mere _luck_. There is no such thing as chance in this world.
Men are the architects of their own fortunes.

One of the principal reasons of his success is the rigid system with
which he conducts his business. He has a place for every thing, and a
time for every duty, and requires the same regularity from his
subordinates. His salesmen and managers are thoroughly versed in their
duties, and the more important of them are selected with great care.
Every thing works smoothly under the master's eye, and there is a
penalty for each and every delinquency, which is rigidly exacted.

Mr. Stewart is one of the hardest workers in his establishment. His
partners relieve him of the details, but the general management of his
immense business he trusts to no other hands. His eye is on every thing.
He is familiar with every detail, though he does not take upon himself
its direction. He goes to his business between nine and ten in the
morning, stopping first at his upper store. He makes a brief but
thorough inspection here, and learns the general progress of the day,
and then repairs to his lower or wholesale store, where he remains
during business hours, and returns home between five and six in the
afternoon, stopping again at the upper store. He works hard, and is
never absent from his post unless detained by sickness.

His time is valuable, and he is not willing to waste it.

Many persons endeavor to see him merely to gratify their impertinent
curiosity, and others wish to intrude upon him for purposes which would
simply consume his time. To protect himself, he has been compelled to
resort to the following expedient: A gentleman is kept on guard near the
main door of the store, whose duty is to inquire the business of
visitors. If the visitor wishes to see Mr. Stewart, the "sentinel"
informs him that he must first state his business to him. If the visitor
urges that it is private, he is told that Mr. Stewart has no private
business. If his errand meets the approval of the gentleman on guard, he
is allowed to go up stairs, where he is met by the confidential agent of
the great merchant, to whom he must repeat the object of his visit. If
this gentleman is satisfied, or can not get rid of the visitor, he
enters the private office of his employer and lays the case before him.
If the business of the visitor is urgent he is admitted, otherwise, he
is refused an interview. If admitted, the conference is brief and to the
point. There is no time lost. Matters are dispatched with a method and
promptitude which astonish strangers. If the visitor attempts to draw
the merchant into a friendly conversation, or indulges in useless
complimentary phrases, after the matter on which he came is settled, Mr.
Stewart's manner instantly becomes cold and repelling, and troublesome
persons are sometimes given a hint which hastens their departure. This
is his working time, and it is precious to him. He can not afford to
waste it upon idlers. In social life he is said to be exceedingly

The greater portion of Mr. Stewart's immense fortune is invested in real
estate. Besides his two stores on Broadway, he owns the Metropolitan
Hotel and the New York Theater, also on Broadway; nearly all of Bleecker
Street from Broadway to Depauw Row, several churches, a number of
buildings, and many valuable lots. He resides at the north-east corner
of the Fifth Avenue and Thirty-fourth Street. Immediately opposite he is
building one of the finest residences in the world, and the most superb
in America. He owns more real estate than any man in America except
William B. Astor, and is the most successful merchant in the world.

Mr. Stewart is said to be extremely liberal in his donations to objects
which meet with his sympathy. The majority of these donations are
quietly made, as he has a repugnance to public charities. He gave
liberally to the cause of the Union during the war. During that struggle
he sent a cargo of provisions to Ireland, where much distress existed,
and then invited as many emigrants as the vessel would carry to take
passage to America in her, free of charge. One hundred and thirty-nine
persons availed themselves of his offer, and upon reaching America were
all provided with good situations by him. At present he is engaged in
erecting on the Fourth Avenue a large building, in which homes will be
provided for poor working females, at a small expense to them. It is
said that this noble project will require an outlay of several millions
of dollars. His friends--and he has many--speak of him as exceedingly
kind and liberal, and seem much attached to him.

As I have said before, Mr. Stewart has not cared for political
distinction, but has rather shunned it. He was a member of the Union
Defense Committee during the war, and in 1866 was one of the signers of
the Saratoga address, calling on the people of the country to sustain
the policy of President Johnson. His warm friendship for General Grant
caused him to be one of the earliest advocates of the election of the
latter to the Presidency. He was a candidate for Presidential Elector on
the Republican ticket for the State of New York, but was defeated, with
his associates, by the Democracy.

His intimate relations with General Grant, together with his vast
financial experience, induced many persons to believe that he would be
offered a place in the Cabinet of the new President. These expectations
were realized by his nomination to the post of Secretary of the
Treasury, on the 5th of March, 1869, and his immediate and unanimous
confirmation by the Senate. He was about to enter upon his new duties,
when it was discovered that there existed an old and almost forgotten
law forbidding any merchant from becoming the head of the Treasury
Department. As soon as this discovery was made, Mr. Stewart expressed
his desire to withdraw from the position, and thus relieve the President
of all embarrassment upon the subject, but the latter, wishing, if
possible, to retain him in the Cabinet, urged him to delay his action,
with the hope that the difficulty might be obviated. Willing to oblige
his friend, and anxious to serve the country, Mr. Stewart consented to
do this, but finding that certain persons were seeking to make his
nomination a source of trouble to the Administration, offered either to
resign the place or to relinquish his entire interest in his business
during the period of his Secretaryship, and to donate his immense
profits for that time to the poor of the city of New York. This
sacrifice, he hoped, would render him eligible; but the President was
unwilling to accept the princely offer--the noblest ever made by any
man--and Mr. Stewart finally withdrew from the contest.

There can be no doubt that he would have been the best Secretary that
could have been placed at the head of the Treasury. His great financial
experience and his unquestioned ability were better qualifications than
those possessed by any politician in the land. Perhaps the best proof of
the satisfaction which his appointment produced in the minds of the
thinking men of the country is the manner in which the news affected
the money market. Gold fell as soon as the announcement was made.

Few strangers ever come to New York and depart without visiting
Stewart's famous store at the corner of Tenth Street and Broadway. The
lower, or wholesale store, is far more important to its owner; but it
conducts its operations exclusively with dealers, and in such a quiet
and systematic way that it seems to attract but little attention among
the masses. It is the upper or retail store that is the wonder of the
great city in which it is located.

It is constructed of iron, in the style of arcade upon arcade, and is
lighted by numerous windows. It fronts two hundred feet on Broadway, and
three hundred feet on Ninth and Tenth Streets. It covers an area of
about two acres, is five stories and an attic in height, and has two
cellars underneath. It is warmed by steam, and contains several
steam-engines for hoisting goods, running the machines employed in the
manufacturing department, and forcing water into the immense tank at the
top of the building. Six elevators and several handsome stairways
connect the various floors. Three of the elevators are used for
conveying customers up and down, and the others for hoisting and
lowering goods. The building is lighted by several thousand gas jets,
which are all set aflame simultaneously by electricity.

The various floors, with the exception of the first, are broken only by
a rotunda, which extends to the roof, and is inclosed at each floor by a
massive iron balustrade. Leaning over one of these balustrades, and
looking up or down, the sight is brilliant and attractive. Thousands of
persons are scattered about the floors making purchases. Hundreds of
clerks, salesmen, and cash boys are busy serving them, and the buzz and
hum of human voices under the vast roof sounds like the droning of a
hive of bees.

The service of this immense establishment is arranged as follows: There
is one general superintendent, with nineteen assistants, each of whom is
at the head of a department. Nine cashiers receive and pay out money;
twenty-five book-keepers keep the record of the day; thirty ushers
direct purchasers to the department they seek; two hundred cash boys
receive the money and bring back the change of purchasers; four hundred
and seventy clerks, a few of whom are females, make the sales of the
day; fifty porters do the heavy work, and nine hundred seamstresses are
employed in the manufacturing department. Besides these, there are
usually about five hundred other persons employed about the
establishment in various capacities, bringing the total strength of the
_personelle_ of the house to twenty-two hundred.

The accounts of each department are kept separate, and the sales of each
for the day constitute a separate return. These sales will average
something like the following figures:

  Silks       $15,000
  Dress goods   6,000
  Muslins       3,000
  Laces         2,000
  Shawls        2,500
  Suits         1,000
  Calicoes      1,500
  Velvets       2,000
  Gloves        1,000
  Furs          1,000
  Hosiery         600
  Boys' clothing  700
  Notions         600
  Embroideries  1,000
  Carpets       5,500

The total daily receipts average $60,000, and have been known to amount
to $87,000.

Salaries of subordinate clerks range from $5 to $25 per week. The cash
boys receive $5 per week. If not fined for misconduct they receive a
reward of $1 per month, and a further reward of $5 at the end of each
half year. They are promoted as fast as their conduct and vacancies in
the force of salesmen will allow. The number of employés being so large,
the proprietor is compelled to keep them under the constant espionage of
two experienced detectives, and each evening when they leave the store
they are required to do so through a private door on Ninth Street, where
the detectives are stationed to see that none of them carry away
articles which do not belong to them.

The number of visitors to the establishment in the busy season is very
large. On special occasions, such as opening days, it is said to have
reached fifty thousand, but the general average is placed at fifteen
thousand, and they represent every grade in life. Rich and poor mingle
here freely.

The floors are arranged simply, and with regard to business rather than
for show, but every thing is elegant and tasteful. The sub-cellar is
used as a store-room for goods in cases. Here the fabrics are opened and
sent to their departments. The cellar is the carpet sales-room. The
first floor is the general sales-room, and is the most attractive place
in the building. It is three hundred feet long by two hundred wide, and
is provided with one hundred counters, each fifty feet in length. Behind
these counters the goods are arranged, with no effort at display, on the
shelves, which rise but a few feet above the counters. There is an
abundance of light in all parts of the house, especially over the silk
counters, which are just under the rotunda. The second floor is taken up
with ladies' suits, shawls, curtain goods, etc., and the next floor is
devoted to the same purpose. The fourth floor is used as a manufactory
for making up the suits, etc., placed on sale or ordered by customers;
on the fifth is the fur-room and upholstery manufactory; and the sixth
is occupied as a laundry. The most perfect order is maintained in every
part of the establishment, the mere direction of which requires
administrative ability of a very high character.

As fast as the sales are made, the articles, unless taken away by the
purchaser, are sent to the parcel desk, which is located in the cellar.
This is the busiest department in the house, and one of the most
important. Each order is accompanied by a ticket stating the quality and
amount of the goods, the price, and the address of the purchaser. It is
remeasured and examined here, so that any error on the part of the
salesman may be detected and repaired. Errors of this kind, however, are
rare, and the burden of the labor in this department consists of making
the goods up into secure packages and sending them to their
destinations. The tickets delivered at the parcel desk are then sent to
the checking desk, which is also in the basement, where they are
compared with those delivered by the salesmen to the cashiers, and if no
error is discovered, the goods are sent to the wagons for delivery.

The wagon department constitutes a very important branch of the
business. The vehicles and horses are accommodated in a fine stable on
Amity Street, near Broadway. The building was formerly a Baptist church,
and was presided over by the Rev. Dr. Williams. When the congregation
went higher up town, they sold the old church, which found a purchaser
in Mr. Stewart. He converted it into a stable, and has since more than
doubled its size. The floor was taken up, a sewer built to carry off the
waste water, and the place paved with brick and cement. It is now one of
the best stables in the city. It contains over forty horses, and five
grooms are on hand to attend to them. There are eight wagons employed at
the up-town store to deliver parcels to purchasers, while thirteen
single wagons are used by the lower store to cart single cases around
town. In addition to these, there are ten double trucks to haul heavy
goods. Twenty-seven drivers are employed, and thirteen hundred bushels
of oats and fifty tons of hay are fed out during a year. The place is in
charge of a watchman at night, and during the day is managed by a
superintendent. At half-past eight the trucks report at the down-town
store, and remain there all day. At the same moment one of the light
wagons is dispatched to the retail store, and at once takes out the
early sales. In an hour another wagon follows it, and this course is
pursued all day until six o'clock, when the last wagon takes the last
sales. By this system purchasers receive their parcels with dispatch,
and the immense business of the day is entirely finished. Every week the
superintendent of the stables makes a report of the condition of the
horses and wagons, and this "stable report" is carefully inspected at
head-quarters. In case of sickness or stubborn lameness, the horses are
sent to the country to recruit.

Mr. Stewart has a farm at Tuckahoe, where the invalid horses are kept,
and where much of their provender is raised. This farm is noted for the
valuable marble quarry which furnished the stone from which his new
mansion on Fifth Avenue is built.

The retail store contains fabrics of every description and price. The
wife of a millionaire can gratify her fancy here to its utmost limit,
while the poor sewing-girl can obtain her simple necessities at the same
price which is demanded for them from the rich. In the shawl department,
there are "wraps" worth as much as $4,500, but not more than one or two
find a purchaser in the course of a year. Shawls at $3,000 find a sale
of about twenty a year, and the number of purchasers increases as the
price diminishes. The wealthy ladies of New York deal here extensively.
One of the clerks of the establishment recently made a statement that a
fashionable lady ran up a bill of $20,000 here in two months.

Mr. Stewart, though leaving the details of the retail business in the
hands of Mr. Tuller, the general superintendent, yet keeps himself
thoroughly informed respecting it, and exercises over it a general
supervision, to which its increasing success is due. He knows exactly
what is in the house, how much is on hand, and how it is selling. He
fixes the prices himself, and keeps them always at a popular figure. He
is said to have an aversion to keeping goods over from one season to
another, and would rather sacrifice them than do so. He has no dead
stock on hand. His knowledge of the popular taste and its variations is
intuitive, and his great experience enables him to anticipate its

"There can not be so much selling without proportionate buying, and
Stewart is as systematic in the latter as the former. Of late he has not
acted personally in making purchases, but has trusted to the system
which he organized some years ago, and which he has found to admirably
answer as his substitute. He has branch establishments exercising
purchasing functions only in Boston and Philadelphia, in the United
States; in Manchester, England; and in Paris and Lyons, France. But
while these are his agencies, his buyers haunt the marts of the whole
world. There is no center of commerce or manufacture of the wide range
of articles in which he deals, on either of the continents, where he is
not always present by deputy to seize upon favorable fluctuations of the
market, or pounce upon some exceptionally excellent productions. He
owns entire the manufactory of the celebrated Alexandre kid-glove. He
has a body of men in Persia, organized under the inevitable
superintendent, chasing down the Astrachan goat heavy with young, from
which the unborn kids are taken and stripped of their skins, thus
sacrificing two animals for every skin obtained. He rifles Lyons of its
choicest silks, the famous productions of Bonnet and Ponson. Holland and
Ireland yield him the first fruits of their looms. Belgium contributes
the rarest of her laces, and the North sends down the finest of its
Russian sables. All the looms of France, England, Belgium, and the
United States are closely watched, and the finest fabrics in dress
goods, muslins, carpets, and calicoes are caught up the moment the
workmen put on the finishing touches. He buys for cash the world over,
and is a customer every-where so recognized as desirable that he has his
choice of industrial productions, and on more advantageous terms than
his rivals can purchase what he leaves. He has been so long in the
business, and has become so thoroughly versed in the productions of
different looms in different countries, that it is now his practice to
select certain mills noted for excellence of work, and take their entire
supply, and thus it happens that there are many looms in the busiest
haunts of the Old and New Worlds that toil unceasingly on his account.

"By buying thus largely in foreign lands, he is, of course, the largest
importer in the nation, and his duties average $30,000 gold per day.
Every year his business steadily increases, and there is apparently no
practical limit at which it will stop. As prudent in vast affairs as
other men are in small, he insures liberally, and has policies renewed
every third day throughout the year. But, while leaning upon the
insurance companies, he is utterly independent of the banks; he has
never asked one of them to 'carry' him through a crisis, and should such
a contingency arise, there is no bank in the world competent to the

Mr. Stewart is now sixty-eight years old, but looks much younger, being
still as vigorous and active, both mentally and physically, as most men
of forty-five. He is of the medium size, has light-brown hair and beard,
which are closely trimmed. His features are sharp, well cut, his eye
bright, and his general expression calm and thoughtful. His manner is
reserved, and to all but his intimate friends cold. He dresses with
great simplicity, but with taste, and in the style of the day. His
habits are simple, and he avoids publicity in all things. Standing as he
does at the head of the mercantile interests of the country, he affords
a fine example of the calm and dignified manner in which a man of true
merit may enjoy his legitimate success, and of the good use he may make
of its fruits.



Amos Lawrence was born at Groton, Massachusetts, on the 22d of April,
1786. His ancestor came of a good English family, and was one of the
company which sailed from England for the New World under Governor
Winthrop, in 1630, and which, according to Grahame, contained "several
wealthy and high-born persons, both men and women, who expressed their
determination to follow truth and liberty into a desert, rather than to
enjoy all the pleasures of the world under the dominion of superstition
and slavery." This Lawrence settled in Watertown, and was one of the
original proprietors of the town of Groton, which was founded in 1655.
Samuel Lawrence, the father of the subject of this memoir, was the fifth
in descent from the founder of the family, and was himself a gallant
officer of the American army in the War of the Revolution, the close of
which found him the possessor of a small farm, which yielded a modest
support for his family.

Young Amos was brought up on the farm, with none of the advantages of
wealth, and with but a limited education, which he gained at the village
schools, and which was seriously interfered with by his delicate health.
He received his final training at the Groton Academy, to which, in after
life, he became a liberal patron. "As we children came forward," he
wrote, late in life, "we were carefully looked after, but were taught
to use the talents intrusted to us; and every nerve was strained to
provide for us the academy which is now doing so much there." Toward the
close of the year 1799, when but a little over thirteen years of age, he
took his final departure from school, and entered a store in the village
of Dunstable, as clerk.

He remained there but a few months, and then returned to Groton, where
he obtained a place as apprentice in the store of a Mr. Brazer. This was
the largest establishment in the place, and conducted a very important
trade with the country for miles around. Boston was so far, and so
difficult to reach in those days, that Groton came in for nearly all the
business of its vicinity which the railroads have now taken to the city.
Mr. Brazer's establishment, which was known as a "variety store," came
in for the best part of this trade. Every thing was sold there;
"puncheons of rum and brandy, bales of cloth, kegs of tobacco, with
hardware and hosiery, shared attention in common with silks and threads,
and all other articles for female use." Even medicines were sold there;
and Dr. Wm. B. Lawrence, the son of our hero, assures us that his father
was obliged to sell medicines, not only to customers, but to all the
physicians within a circuit of twenty miles, who depended on this
establishment for their supplies. "The confidence in his good judgment,"
he adds, "was such that he was often consulted in preference to the
physician, by those who were suffering from minor ails; and many were
the extemporaneous doses which he administered for the weal or woe of
the patient."

The Brazer store was a prominent feature in Groton. It was a place of
general resort, and close by was the tavern where the mail coaches
stopped. Travelers were constantly passing through the town, bringing
the news of those stirring days when Napoleon was rushing over Europe
with his armies, overturning old states and building up new ones, and
changing the destinies of the world. The domestic politics of the day
were exciting, and it is likely that they aided, together with the
events in the Old World, in imparting to the character of Mr. Lawrence
the earnestness and gravity for which he was noted when a mere lad.

Mr. Brazer had in his employ a number of clerks, but it was not long
before the energy and business talent of young Lawrence made him the
most trusted of all. Mr. Brazer did not give much personal attention to
the store, and when he found that his young clerk was so admirable and
reliable a manager, he left the business entirely in his hands. This was
a post of unusual responsibility for one so young, but Amos Lawrence
accepted it promptly, and labored to discharge its duties faithfully. He
at once established the character for probity and fairness which
distinguished him through life; his simple assertion was sufficient in
any matter, being received with implicit trust by all who knew him. His
duties kept him constantly employed, and though he lived within a mile
of his father's house, weeks sometimes passed without giving him the
opportunity of visiting it.

Drunkenness was at that day the curse of New England. Every body drank,
and such fiery fluids as brandy, whisky, rum, and gin were the
favorites. Men, women, and children were addicted to the vice, and
Groton was no exception to the rule. Mr. Brazer's store was famous for
the good liquors served out to its customers, and his clerks were aware
that their employer did not object to their helping themselves when they
felt thirsty. Amos Lawrence fell into the habit to which all were given,
and for some time went along with the rest; but at length he came to the
conclusion that such indulgence was wantonly ruining his health, and he
resolved to abstain entirely. "We five boys," said he, years afterward,
"were in the habit, every forenoon, of making a drink compounded of rum,
raisins, sugar, nutmegs, etc., with biscuit--all palatable to eat and
drink. After being in the store four weeks, I found myself admonished by
my appetite of the approach of the hour for indulgence. Thinking the
habit might make trouble if allowed to grow stronger, without further
apology to my seniors, I declined partaking with them. My first
resolution was to abstain for a week, and, when the week was out, for a
month, and then for a year. Finally, I resolved to abstain for the rest
of my apprenticeship, which was for five years longer. During that whole
period I never drank a spoonful, though I mixed gallons daily for my old
master and his customers."

At the same time, Mr. Lawrence determined that he would not use tobacco
in any form. He was very fond of the odor of "the weed," and at one
period of his life always kept a fine Havana in his drawer that he might
enjoy the scent of it; but he was totally free from our disgusting
national vice in any of its forms. In this respect, as indeed in all
others, he offers a fine example to the rising youth of the present

On the 22d of April, 1807, Mr. Lawrence completed his twenty-first year,
and his seven years' apprenticeship with Mr. Brazer came to an end. He
was now of an age to enter into business for himself, and it was his
intention to open a small store in Groton, in connection with a brother
apprentice, but before doing so he decided to visit Boston for the
purpose of establishing a credit. He reached the city with but twenty
dollars in his pocket, richer, he subsequently declared, in his own
estimation, than he ever felt before or afterward. While in the city, he
received the offer of a clerkship from a mercantile house of good
standing. It was entirely unsolicited, and took him by surprise, but he
decided to accept it, and abandoned his idea of going into business for
himself in Groton; and this act led to a career entirely different from
that to which he had looked forward.

Boston, in 1807, had a population of about thirty thousand, and the
commercial position of the city was relatively much greater than at
present. The foreign trade of the United States was enormous, and was
carried on in American ships, and not, as at present, in foreign
vessels. The total tonnage of American shipping engaged in this trade
was seven hundred thousand tons, and of this Boston possessed a fair
share. Her domestic trade was also important.

"The merchants of Boston had then high places in the estimation of the
world. The Perkinses, the Sargeants, the Mays, the Cabots, the
Higginsons, and others, were known throughout the world for their
integrity, their mercantile skill, and the extent and beneficial
character of their operations. These were the golden days of Boston's
commerce.... The standard of integrity was high, and though it would be
absurd to suppose that there was not the usual amount of evil in the
place, it may be assumed that in no part of the world was the young
trader more likely to find severer judges of character and conduct, or
to be better treated if he should afford unquestionable proofs of
capacity and honesty."

It was into this community that Mr. Lawrence now entered, and in which
his life was spent. He gave such satisfaction to his employers that,
when he had been with them a short time, they astonished him with the
offer of a partnership. He was but partially acquainted with their
affairs, but their manner of conducting their business did not please
him, and he declined their offer. His sagacity was verified by the
result. In a few months the firm failed, and the creditors appointed
him to settle their affairs, which he did to their satisfaction.

Being now out of employment, he resolved to commence business on his own
account in Boston. He had made such a favorable impression upon the
merchants of the city that he had no difficulty in obtaining credit. He
rented a store in Cornhill, stocked it with dry goods, and began his
career as a merchant. Four months after this, his father, who was keenly
interested in his son's success, without consulting the latter,
mortgaged his farm for one thousand dollars, and, repairing to Boston,
placed the money in Amos Lawrence's hands. Mr. Lawrence was profoundly
affected by this proof of his father's devotion, but he regretted it
none the less, as he knew that his failure would bring ruin to his
parent as well as to himself. "I told him," said he, forty years later,
"that he did wrong to place himself in a situation to be made unhappy if
I lost the money. He told me he _guessed I wouldn't lose it_, and I gave
him my note." Mr. Lawrence made a prompt use of the money, and paid the
mortgage at the proper time; but he had a narrow escape from loss, as
the bank on which he had bills for the amount of the mortgage failed
almost immediately after he had obtained specie for them.

"This incident," he said, "shows how dangerous it is to the independence
and comfort of families for parents to take pecuniary responsibilities
for their sons in trade, beyond their power of meeting them without
embarrassment. Had any Hillsborough bank-notes not been paid as they
were, nearly the whole amount would have been lost, and myself and my
family might have been ruined. The incident was so striking that I have
uniformly discouraged young men who have applied to me for credit,
offering their fathers as bondsmen; and by doing so I believe I have
saved some respectable families from ruin. My advice, however, has
sometimes been rejected with anger. A young man who can not get along
without such aid will not be likely to get along with it."

He began his business upon principles of prudence and economy, which he
rigidly maintained throughout his whole life. He never allowed himself
to anticipate his gains, and having fixed his personal expenses at a
certain sum, he never went beyond it. His system, which is thus stated
by himself, is offered here as a safe and admirable rule for all

"When I commenced, the embargo had just been laid, and with such
restrictions on trade that many were induced to leave it. But I felt
great confidence that, by industry, economy, and integrity, I could get
a living; and the experiment showed that I was right. Most of the young
men who commenced at that period failed by spending too much money, and
using credit too freely.

"I adopted the plan of keeping an accurate account of merchandise bought
and sold each day, with the profit, as far as practicable. This plan was
pursued for a number of years, and I never found my merchandise fall
short in taking an account of stock, which I did as often at least as
once in each year. I was thus enabled to form an opinion of my actual
state as a business man. I adopted also the rule always to have
property, after my second year's business, to represent forty per cent,
at least more than I owed--that is, never to be in debt more than two
and a half times my capital. This caution saved me from ever getting
embarrassed. If it were more generally adopted, we should see fewer
failures in business. Excessive credit is the rock on which so many
business men are broken."

Mr. Lawrence was very successful from the first. His profits during his
first year were fifteen hundred dollars, and over four thousand during
the second. In seven years he made over fifty thousand dollars. He paid
the closest attention to his business, and nothing could draw him from
it in working hours. After these were over he would take his pleasure.
His aim was to keep every thing in the most complete state possible.
During the first seven years of his business he never allowed a bill
against him to stand unsettled over the Sabbath. If he made a purchase
of goods on Saturday, and they were delivered to him that day, he always
examined and settled the bill by note, or by crediting it, and leaving
it clear, so that there should be no unfinished business to go over to
the next week, and make trouble for his clerks in case he should not be
at his post. "Thus," said he, "I always kept my business _before_ me,
instead of allowing it to drive me."

The first years of Mr. Lawrence's mercantile experience covered the
darkest period of the history of the Republic. They were marked by the
embargo, the crippling of our commerce by the hostility of England and
France, and the second war with Great Britain, in all of which there was
much to dis-hearten a beginner, even if he escaped positive loss.
Nothing was certain. The events of a single hour might undo the labor of
years, and baffle the best laid plans. Yet he persevered, and went
steadily on to fortune. He was remarkable for his keen foresight, as
well as for his prudence, and was always on the alert to profit by the
fluctuations of the market. Yet he abominated speculation. He averred
that speculation made men desperate and unfit for legitimate business,
and that it led them, when under excitement, to the commission of acts
against which their cooler judgment would have warned them. The fair
profits of legitimate business were, in his opinion, sure to reward any
honest and capable man. His aim was to elevate commerce, and not to
degrade it. He introduced into Boston the system of double-entry in
book-keeping, in advance of any other city merchant. He was prompt and
faithful in the performance of every contract, and required a similar
course toward himself from all indebted to him, as long as they were
able to do so. When they became unfortunate, he was kind and generous,
ready to compromise upon the most liberal terms, or to give them their
own time for payment; and it is recorded of him that he never dealt
harshly with a debtor who had failed in business.

As long as such a course was necessary, Mr. Lawrence devoted himself
entirely to his business, but after he had placed it on a safe footing,
he was careful to reserve to himself time for other duties and for
relaxation. No man, he said, had the right to allow his business to
engross his entire life. "Property acquired at such sacrifices as I have
been obliged to make the past year," he wrote at the commencement of
1826, "costs more than it is worth; and the anxiety in protecting it is
the extreme of folly." He never lost sight of the fact that man is a
responsible, intelligent being, placed in the world for other purposes
than the mere acquisition of wealth.

In October, 1808, his brother, Abbott Lawrence, afterward famous as a
merchant and statesman, came to him as an apprentice, and on the 1st of
January, 1814, he was admitted to partnership, the style of the firm
being A. & A. Lawrence. This partnership was terminated only by the
death of the elder brother in 1852. Their business was the importation
and sale of foreign manufactures, and the firm soon took its place at
the head of the Boston merchants engaged in this trade. The tariffs of
1816 and 1824 gave a new and powerful impetus to the manufacture of
woolens and cottons in this country, and the Lawrences entered largely
into the sale of these goods on commission. In 1830, they became
interested in the cotton mills at Lowell; and on the establishment of
the Suffolk, Tremont, and Lawrence Companies, as well as subsequently in
other corporations, they became large proprietors. From this time their
business as selling agents was on the most extensive scale, and their
income from all sources large in proportion. They amassed large
fortunes, and won names which are the most precious heritages of their

Perhaps the best exposition of the principles upon which these brothers
conducted their commercial operations is found in the following letter
from the elder to the younger, written on the 11th of March, 1815, upon
the occasion of a visit to England by the latter on business for the

     MY DEAR BROTHER--I have thought best, before you go abroad, to
     suggest a few hints for your benefit in your intercourse with the
     people among whom you are going. As a first and leading principle,
     let every transaction be of that pure and honest character that you
     would not be ashamed to have appear before the whole world as
     clearly as to yourself. In addition to the advantages arising from
     an honest course of conduct with your fellow-men, there is the
     satisfaction of reflecting within yourself that you have endeavored
     to do your duty; and however greatly the best may fall short of
     doing all they ought, they will be sure not to do more than their
     principles enjoin.

     It is, therefore, of the highest consequence that you should not
     only cultivate correct principles, but that you should place your
     standard of action so high as to require great vigilance in living
     up to it.

     In regard to your business transactions, let every thing be so
     registered in your books, that any person, without difficulty, can
     understand the whole of your concerns. You may be cut off in the
     midst of your pursuits, and it is of no small consequence that your
     temporal affairs should always be so arranged that you may be in

     If it is important that you should be well prepared in this point
     of view, how much more important is it that you should be prepared
     in that which relates to eternity!

     You are young, and the course of life seems open, and pleasant
     prospects greet your ardent hopes; but you must remember that the
     race is not always to the swift, and that, however flattering may
     be our prospects, and however zealously you may seek pleasure, you
     can never find it except by cherishing pure principles and
     practicing right conduct. My heart is full on this subject, my dear
     brother, and it is the only one on which I feel the least anxiety.

     While here, your conduct has been such as to meet my entire
     approbation; but the scenes of another land may be more than your
     principles will stand against. I say _may be_, because young men of
     as fair promise as yourself have been lost by giving a small
     latitude (innocent in the first instance) to their propensities.
     But I pray the Father of all mercies to have you in his keeping,
     and preserve you amid temptations.

     I can only add my wish to have you write me frequently and
     particularly, and that you will embrace every opportunity of
     gaining information.

     Your affectionate brother, AMOS LAWRENCE.


In his politics, Mr. Lawrence was a Federalist, and then a Whig. He
served for one term in the State Legislature as a Representative from
Boston, with credit to himself, but afterward avoided any active
participation in public events. When his nephew-by-marriage, General
Pierce, was a candidate for the Presidency, he was very much gratified
personally by the selection of the Democracy, but declined to vote for
him. In a letter to a friend, written at this time, he said: "I had a
charming ride yesterday with my nephew, Frank Pierce, and told him I
thought he must occupy the White House the next term, but that I would
go for Scott. Pierce is a fine, spirited fellow, and will do his duty
wherever placed. Scott will be my choice for President of the United

Regarding himself as a steward of the riches committed to him, Amos
Lawrence was liberal in his charities. During the last twenty-four years
of his life he kept an accurate account of the sums he thus distributed,
but with no idea that the statement, which he intended for his own eye
only, would ever be made public. During this period he gave away six
hundred and thirty-nine thousand dollars. The greater part of this was
given away in ten years, and during a period when his average income was
sixty thousand dollars a year. He was a liberal patron of education,
giving large sums to its extension; and it was his delight to assist
poor clergymen, without regard to denominations. He gave away clothing,
food, books, etc., in large quantities, as well as ready money. "Two
rooms in his house," says his son and biographer, "and sometimes three,
were used principally for the reception of useful articles for
distribution. There, when stormy weather or ill-health prevented him
from taking his usual drive, he was in the habit of passing hours in
selecting and packing up articles which he considered suitable to the
wants of those whom he wished to aid." He did not forget the children,
and many of his packages contained toys, and books, and other things
calculated to promote their enjoyment.

He was beset with beggars of all kinds, many of whom he was compelled to
refuse. In his diary, he wrote on the 11th of April, 1849, "Applications
come in from all quarters, for all objects. The reputation of giving
freely is a very bad reputation, so far as my personal comfort is

It pained him to have his charities made public, and he frequently
requested the recipients to say nothing about them. He once made a
present of some books to the Johnson school for girls, and the gift
being acknowledged through the columns of a newspaper, he wrote to the
principal of the school: "I merely want to say that I hope you will not
put me in the newspaper at present, and when my work is done here, if
you have any thing to say about me that will not hurt my children and
grandchildren, say on," To another party he wrote: "I must request that
my name be not thrust forward, as though I was to be a by-word for my
vanity. I want to do good, but am sorry to be published, as in the
recent case."

As a merchant, Mr. Lawrence was upright, prudent, far-seeing, sagacious,
and courageous; as a citizen, he was patriotic, public-spirited, and
devoted; and as a man, he was a sincere, earnest, Christian husband,
father, and friend. Viewed in any light, his character affords one of
the most perfect models to be found in our history. He was the Christian
_gentleman_ in all things, even in the minutest detail of his business.
His standard was very high, but he came up to it. Courteous and
dignified in manner, with a face handsome and winning in youth, and
gentle and benignant in age, he made scores of friends wherever he went,
for it was a true index to his character. It is a significant and
interesting fact that, during the hottest passages of the old
nullification times, although his views were known to be
uncompromisingly opposed to the attitude of the South, he never lost the
warmest friendship of some of the most advanced of the South Carolina
leaders. When one thinks of the friendships that were wrecked amid the
passions of those days, this fact speaks volumes for the personal
attributes of Mr. Lawrence.

He was a true American--proud of his country's past, hopeful for her
future, and desiring nothing better than to live and die in the land of
his birth. He sent his children abroad that they might see the Old
World, and profit by the lessons learned there, but he strove earnestly
to keep them true to their country. To his son, who was traveling in
France in 1829, he wrote:

"Bring home no foreign fancies which are inapplicable to our state of
society. It is very common for our young men to come home and appear
quite ridiculous in attempting to introduce their foreign fashions. It
should be always kept in mind that the state of society is widely
different here from that in Europe; and our comfort and character
require it should long remain so. Those who strive to introduce many of
the European habits and fashions, by displacing our own, do a serious
injury to the republic, and deserve censure. An idle person, with good
powers of mind, becomes torpid and inactive after a few years of
indulgence, and is incapable of making any high effort. Highly important
it is, then, to avoid this enemy of mental and moral improvement. I have
no wish that you pursue trade; I would rather see you on a farm, or
studying any profession.

"It should always be your aim so to conduct yourself that those whom you
value most in the world would approve your conduct, if your actions were
laid bare to their inspection; and thus you will be pretty sure that He
who sees the motive of all our actions will accept the good designed,
though it fall short in its accomplishment. You are young, and are
placed in a situation of great peril, and are, perhaps, sometimes
tempted to do things which you would not do if you knew yourself under
the eye of your guardian. The blandishments of a beautiful city may lead
you to forget that you are always surrounded, supported, and seen by
that best Guardian."

He was an eminently just man, and he carried this trait into the little
details of his domestic life. His household adored him; and his friends
were bound to him by ties unusually strong. He was firm and positive in
his own opinions; but he was tolerant of those who differed from him. He
was a man of quick, nervous temperament, but he possessed a powerful
self-control. He was a sincere and earnest Christian, and while
attaching himself to the sect of his choice, his sympathies and aid went
out to the whole Christian Church.

Denominational differences had no place in his heart. He stood on the
broad platform of the "faith of Christ crucified."

During the last years of his life, Mr. Lawrence was a constant invalid.
To a man of his temperament this was a great trial, but he bore it
unflinchingly, exhibiting, in the long years of feeble health which
preceded his death, a cheerfulness and patience which plainly showed the
aid of the Arm on which he leaned for support. For sixteen years he did
not take a meal with his family. His food and drink, of the simplest
kind, were regularly weighed, a pair of scales being kept in his chamber
for that purpose. He wrote to his friend President Hopkins, of Williams
College: "If your young folks want to know the meaning of epicureanism,
tell them to take some bits of coarse bread (one ounce or a little
more), soak them in three gills of coarse meal gruel, and make their
dinner of them, and nothing else; beginning very hungry, and leaving off
more hungry."

Mr. Lawrence continued in this condition until December, 1852, when he
was seized with a severe attack of the stomachic trouble to which he was
a martyr. He died peacefully, on the last day of that month and year, at
the age of sixty-six years, eight months, and eight days. He was buried
in Mount Auburn Cemetery, and was followed to the grave by a host of
friends who mourned him as a brother, and by strangers to whom his
kindness in life had brought relief from many a care and suffering.



There are few men in the city of New York who have won more fairly their
proud positions in the mercantile world than he whose name stands at the
top of this page. For more than forty years he has carried on a large
and increasing business with an energy, skill, and probity which could
not fail of success.

ANDREW V. STOUT was born in the city of New York, at No. 6 Canal Street,
or, as it was then called, Pump Street, about the year 1814. When he was
scarcely more than a child he was left fatherless, and thrown upon his
own resources for a living. He was a manly little fellow, and, young as
he was, was fully alive to the importance of the position he was
compelled to assume. He was resolved not only to support himself, but
also to acquire a good education, and by studying hard while most boys
are at play, mastered the ordinary English branches by the time he was
twelve years old.

He had a mother and sister to support, and applied himself manfully to
the task of accomplishing this. He was well grown for his age, and was
generally supposed to be several years older than he really was. When he
was fourteen years old he applied for and received a position as
assistant teacher of the English branches in one of the public schools
of the city. The trustees of the school supposed he was at least
eighteen or nineteen years old. Had his true age been known to them, it
is probable he would not have received the appointment. He was not
questioned upon the subject, and he was wise enough to keep his own
counsel. He performed the duties of his position to the entire
satisfaction of the school officials, and made such a good impression on
his friends that at the age of sixteen he was made assistant principal
in one of the most important and popular private schools of the day,
taught by Shepherd Johnson, a name well known to the old residents of
New York.

He was very young to fill this position, and, as may be supposed, it was
peculiarly trying to one whose learning was mainly self-acquired. He was
determined to succeed, however, and he applied himself energetically to
master the course he was teaching. He studied harder and more constantly
than any of his pupils, and was always fresh on the lessons for the day.

When he was sixteen years old he was so well grown and so mature that he
passed for twenty. Having succeeded so well in the management of his
English classes, he was offered the position of instructor of Latin,
with an increase of his salary. The offer at first dismayed him. He was
thoroughly ignorant of the Latin language, and utterly unprepared for
the duties demanded of him. He was very anxious to have the place,
however, for he needed the increase of salary offered him, and, after
hesitating a little while, accepted it. He purchased a Latin grammar,
and engaged a private tutor. He studied hard, and soon mastered the
rudiments of the language. In this way he managed to keep ahead of his
classes. If a question was asked him which he could not answer, he
postponed his reply, looked into the matter at night, and explained it
the next morning. By such hard study and patient efforts did this boy,
himself a mere novice, turn out what was admitted by all to be the best
drilled Latin class Shepherd Johnson's school had ever boasted of.

When he was eighteen years old he was made principal of Public School
No. 2 of New York. He was living at Bushwick, where he resided with his
mother and sister in a cozy little cottage, the garden of which was his
pride, since he tended it with his own hands. It was his custom to rise
every morning at four o'clock, and work in his garden until seven. Then
he rode into the city, and attended to his school duties until four
o'clock, when he returned home.

He was now in possession of a comfortable living; but he was not
satisfied to do this and nothing more. He was anxious to win fortune, to
enter upon a more active and stirring pursuit, and he kept himself
always on the watch for an opening. About the time he became the head of
the public school we have referred to, he commenced to engage in various
ventures of a commercial nature, devoting to them his evenings, and the
hours of the day not demanded by his school.

One of his relatives was a builder, with a fair trade, and had made some
money by erecting houses in New York. Young Stout, who had saved a
little money, proposed to him that they should take out a contract for
building a number of dwellings on the then fashionable thoroughfare of
East Broadway. The elder man was pleased with the plan, and at once
consented to it. The houses were built at a handsome profit; others
followed them, and by attending closely to this business, as well as his
other duties, Andrew Stout, by the time he was twenty years old, had
saved seventeen thousand dollars--a very large sum in those steady-going

He was greatly aided by the custom of doing business on time, which
then prevailed, but he never allowed one of his notes to be protested,
and never asked for an extension. When he began business, he did so with
the firm resolve that he would conduct his most insignificant
transaction as a Christian man of honor. If he could not make money
honestly, he would remain poor. Every body saw the energy and judgment
with which he conducted his affairs, and the strict integrity which
marked them all, and he was not long in building up a reputation as a
business man of which any one might have been proud. The promptness and
apparent ease with which he met every contract, and took up every note,
caused it to be generally believed that he was a very rich man. Further
than this, it was known that he was a zealous and earnest Christian, one
who carried his religion into his business, and who lived up to his
professions. He was an active member of the Methodist Church, and the
business man of the congregation to which he belonged. In his hands its
finances prospered as they had never done before. Such was the
reputation of this young man, who had not yet attained his majority.

He held his position in the public school for several years after his
appointment to it, but the requirements of his business at length
compelled him to relinquish it.

In the midst of his prosperity Mr. Stout made one mistake. A friend with
whom he had been interested in building wished to procure some money
from the bank, and Mr. Stout was induced, with considerable reluctance,
to indorse his note for five thousand dollars. One false step in
business, as in other affairs of life, leads to another, and, in order
to save this money, Mr. Stout was forced to renew his indorsements until
his liabilities amounted to twenty-three thousand dollars. To his dismay
he was now informed by the builder for whose sake he had incurred this
risk, that he (the builder) had failed, without making provision for the
payment of the notes, and that Mr. Stout would have to account to the
bank for them.

"Several methods of relief were open to Mr. Stout. He was worth
seventeen thousand dollars, which he had earned by nights of toil, by
economy, and by daily and earnest attention to business. To pay the
notes would not only sweep away every penny that he had, but would leave
him six thousand dollars in debt. He had never realized one cent from
the money, and his name was used simply to accommodate the builder.
Besides, he was not of age, though nobody suspected that fact, and he
could repudiate his debts as a minor. He took no counsel, made no
statement of his affairs to any one, shut himself up in his own room,
and considered thoughtfully what he should do, and then followed out the
decision that he had reached. Having become bankrupt in money, he
concluded he would not be so in character. He had earned seventeen
thousand dollars, and could earn seventeen thousand dollars more. He did
confide in one friend. He went to a relative, and asked him to lend him
six thousand dollars, the sum necessary to take up all the notes. The
relative was astonished at the request, and insisted upon knowing the
facts in the case. Mr. Stout made a full and frank statement. It was met
with the remark, 'Well, Andrew, I thought you would be a rich man, but
if this is the way you do your business, you will never be worth any
thing,' But Mr. Stout did not want preaching, he wanted money; and as
the relative seemed to hesitate about loaning the money, as no security
was offered, Mr. Stout curtly told him he could do as he pleased about
it; he could get the money somewhere, and pay the notes. The money was
promised, and he went on his way.

"The bank watched the young financier with a great deal of interest.
The whole matter had been discussed often in the bank, and the wonder
was how young Stout would meet the blow. It was supposed that he would
ask for an extension; and it was agreed to give it to him, and to make
the time of payment convenient to his ability. Had he proposed to
compromise the matter by paying one-half, the bank would have accepted
it. That would have left him a capital of nearly eight thousand dollars
for a fresh start. Had he offered his seventeen thousand dollars on
condition that he was released from all liability, the notes would have
been canceled with alacrity. He did neither. He proposed no compromise,
asked no extension, and attempted to negotiate no settlement. When the
first note became due, he paid it. He did the same with the second and
third. After the third payment, he was called into the office of the
president. Reference was made to the notes, and to the fact that he had
obtained no benefit from the money. The president told him the bank was
ready to renew the notes, and to give him any accommodation that he
might ask. Mr. Stout simply replied that the blow was a heavy one, but
that having assumed the obligation, he should discharge it; that he
asked no favors, and as the notes matured he should take them up. He
paid every dollar due, and every one was certain that his wealth must be
very large. His manliness, pluck, and integrity, which carried him
through that crisis, became the sure foundation-stone on which his great
fortune was laid. He took the front rank among successful financiers,
and his honorable course in that crisis established his fame as an
honest man, in whom it would be safe to confide. Years of earnest and
active business life have not changed that character, nor allowed a blot
or stain to cloud that reputation."[A]

[Footnote A: Matthew Hale Smith.]

Some years later, Mr. Stout became a merchant. He established a
wholesale boot and shoe store, and engaged actively in that business. He
brought to his new calling the energy, prudence, and integrity which had
distinguished him all through his life, and was successful from the
first. He worked hard. His business hours were from seven in the morning
until six in the evening. During his busy season, four months in the
year, he worked until ten, and often until twelve, paying his employés
extra wages for labor performed after the regular business hours.
Sometimes he worked until four in the morning, but that did not deter
him from being in the store at the usual hour for opening. He was always
the last to go home, never leaving the store until the business of the
day was over and the house was closed. He extended his operations into
dry goods, meeting with equal success in this department. As his
business expanded, he was compelled to form various partnerships, but in
all these arrangements he reserved to himself, like Stewart, the
exclusive management of the finances.

About eighteen years ago, the shoe and leather merchants of the city
decided to organize a bank, in which their interests should be the
principal consideration. Mr. Stout engaged in the effort with great
enthusiasm, and the Shoe and Leather Bank of New York was at length
organized under the most auspicious circumstances. Mr. Stout was the
largest stockholder in the new bank, and was elected one of its
directors. His influence was potent in directing its first operations,
and the next year he was elected vice-president, in which position he
really had the control of the enterprise left to him. A year later he
was elected president of the bank, a position which he still holds,
being in point of service the oldest bank president in New York. Upon
questions of banking and finance, his views are listened to with great
respect by his associates, who have proof of their soundness in the
splendid success of the institution over which he presides; and it may
be truly said that there are few men in the city who enjoy so large a
share of the public confidence as is bestowed upon him.

As a citizen, he is public-spirited and liberal. Some years ago, he held
the office of city chamberlain, and during his administration of it a
difficulty arose in regard to paying the police force their wages.
Knowing that the men and their families would suffer if the money were
not promptly paid them, Mr. Stout generously advanced the necessary sum
from his private means, looking to the city to reimburse him. In
grateful acknowledgment of this practical sympathy for them, the force
presented him with a handsome testimonial. His fortune is immense, and
is used liberally in behalf of the cause of the Christian religion. His
charities are said to be large, but one rarely hears of them, so quietly
are they done. He is married and has a family.

No man's career holds out more encouragement to young men seeking to
rise than that of Andrew V. Stout. It shows that courage, patient
industry, and business capacity will bring fortune to any honest worker.
His uniform success speaks volumes in favor of a young man's striving to
lead a Christian life in the midst of his business cares and struggles.
God's blessing follows such an one at every step, and he will succeed in
the end, whatever trials may beset his path at first. It is a great
mistake to suppose that a man's success depends on his "sharpness."
Shrewdness is a valuable quality, but it must be coupled with a plain,
practical honesty, or it will amount to nothing in the end. A man must
be faithful to his God if he would have his work stand.



On Tremont Street, in the City of Boston, near the Roxbury line, there
stands an immense building of brick, said to be larger than any edifice
in the United States, save the Capitol at Washington. It is built in the
form of a hollow square, with a large court-yard in the center, and the
building and court-yard together cover an area of five acres. It is five
stories in height on the outer side, and six on the inner, the
court-yard being one story lower than the street. The building is two
hundred and sixty-two feet in length from east to west, and two hundred
and forty-five from north to south, the shorter distance being the
length on Tremont Street. The width of the building all around the
court-yard is fifty feet. It contains nine hundred windows, with eleven
thousand panes of glass, and when lighted up at night seems almost a
solid mass of fire. From five to six hundred men are employed here in
various capacities, and an immense steam engine of one hundred and
twenty horse-power furnishes the motive power for the machinery.
Altogether, it is one of the most prominent and interesting of all the
sights of Boston, and the visitor is surprised to learn that it is due
entirely to the energy and genius of one who, but thirty-four years
previous to its erection, came to Boston a penniless stranger. The
building is the famous piano-forte manufactory of Chickering & Sons, and
its founder was Jonas Chickering, the subject of this sketch.

JONAS CHICKERING was born at New Ipswich, New Hampshire, on the 5th of
April, 1798. His father was a blacksmith by trade, and employed his
leisure time in cultivating a small farm of which he was the owner. He
was esteemed by his neighbors as an upright, reliable man, and prudent
and careful in his temporal affairs. The family being poor, young Jonas
was required to do his share toward cultivating the farm, and received
only such education as was afforded by the district schools in the
vicinity. He was noted at an early age for his passionate love of music.
When a mere child, he learned to play on the fife, and was such a
proficient performer that he was called upon with the town drummer to
furnish music for the militia musters, which were then the pride of the
town. These were happy days for the lad, but his pleasure was marred by
the ridicule which the contrast between his slender figure and the
stalwart frame of the "six-foot drummer" caused the fun-loving
towns-people to indulge in. Soon after this he learned to play on the
clarionet, and when only seventeen or eighteen years old, was so
advanced in his art that he could read at sight music of the most
difficult character.

At the age of seventeen he was apprenticed to a cabinet-maker to learn
his trade, and remained with him for three years, exerting himself to
become thorough master of every detail of the business. Toward the close
of his apprenticeship, an event occurred which changed the whole current
of his life, and placed him in what proved to him the road to fame and

One of the wealthiest citizens of New Ipswich was the fortunate owner of
a piano, the only instrument of the kind in the place; but his treasure
was almost useless to him, for the reason that it was out of tune and
seriously damaged in some respects. It had lain in this condition for a
long time, no one in or near the place being able to make the necessary
repairs. In this extremity the owner bethought him of Jonas Chickering,
who had acquired an enviable reputation for skill in his trade, and it
was thought that a good cabinet-maker ought of necessity to be a clever
piano-maker. Young Chickering, thus appealed to, consented to undertake
the task, as much for the purpose of becoming familiar with the
instrument as of earning the sum the owner of it proposed to pay for the
repairs. He had not the slightest knowledge of its internal
organization, but he believed that by patient investigation he could
master it, and he knew that the correctness of his ear would enable him
to tune it. He made a careful study of the instrument and of every
separate part, spent days over the task, discovered the injury and the
cause of it, and not only took the instrument to pieces and restored it
to its former condition, but did his work so well that the piano was
pronounced fully as good in every respect as when it was new. This was
not all. He discovered defects in the instrument which even its maker
was not able to remedy, and his fertile brain at once suggested to him a
plan for removing them.

Here was a chance for him, and he resolved to profit by it. He would
abandon cabinet-making and learn the manufacture of pianos. Then, when
master of his trade, he would make use of his discoveries, and earn both
fame and fortune. When his determination to change his business was made
known, his friends attributed it to his desire to be in the midst of
musical instruments, and where he could gratify his love of music; but
this was only a part of the motive which influenced him. He meant to
rise in the world, and he was sure that he held in his hands the means
of doing so.

In 1818, when twenty years old, he removed to Boston, and obtained
employment with a cabinet-maker. He did this in order to give him time
to look about him, to become familiar with the city and city life, and
to acquire such other information as would enable him to decide upon the
best means of putting his plans into execution. He saved his wages with
the greatest care, and at the end of his first year in Boston had
accumulated a modest little sum, which he meant should support him while
he was learning his new trade.

On the 15th of February, 1819, without the loss of a day, he began work
with a piano-maker.

He had now entered upon what he meant should be the business of his
life, and he was resolved that he would be master of it. From the first
he took rank in his employer's factory as the most careful workman in
it. He spared no pains to make his knowledge full in every detail. Time
was of no consequence compared with knowledge, and he was never anxious
to hurry through with his work. It soon came to be recognized by his
employer and fellow-workmen that he was the best fitted for those
portions of the work upon the instrument which required the greatest
patience as well as the greatest care, and the most difficult and
delicate work was always intrusted to him, his wages being, of course,
in proportion. Other men had no thought but to earn a living. This man
meant to win fame and fortune, and to enlarge the scope of that art to
which he was so passionately devoted. He labored with his mind as well
as his hands, familiarizing himself with every detail of the
manufacture, and devising in silence the means for improving the
instrument and the implements used in its construction. He could afford
to wait, to be slower than his fellows. Every moment spent over his
task made his workmanship the better, and opened to his mind new sources
of improvement. He spent three years as a journeyman, and then went into
business for himself. He associated himself with a Mr. Stewart, under
the firm of Stewart & Chickering.

Fifty years ago the piano-forte was a wretched piece of mechanism
compared with the superb instrument of to-day. It was originally a
progressive growth from the ancient lyre, through the harp, psaltery,
dulcimer, clavictherium, clavichord, virginal, spinet, harpsichord, to
the piano of Christofali in the early years of the last century. At the
period of Mr. Chickering's entrance into business, it was still very
imperfect, and the various manufacturers of the instrument were
earnestly endeavoring to discover some means of remedying the defects of
which they were all conscious. There are four divisions in the
manufacture of a piano, each of which requires great skill and care.
These are: First, The making of the framing and the sound-board; Second,
The stringing; Third, The keys and action; Fourth, The case and
ornamental work. The framing requires strength and simplicity. It is
this portion of the instrument which sustains the tension of the
strings, which in full to large-sized pianos is not less than from six
to twelve tons, and it is a matter of prime necessity that the portions
which serve as a strut or stretcher between the ends of the strings, and
which are to resist this enormous pull, must be made correspondingly
strong and rigid, since by any gradual yielding under the pull of the
strings, their lengths and tensions, and hence their tone, must undergo
proportionate change. In the old pianos, the frames were of wood, and it
was impossible to use any but small, short strings, for the reason given
above. Fullness and power were not to be thought of, and builders were
obliged to confine themselves to securing truthfulness of tone. A
multitude of causes, among which were the changes in the weather,
combined to render it impossible to keep the old-fashioned instrument in
tune. It was this defect which first attracted the attention of Jonas
Chickering, and his first endeavor was to produce an instrument which
would withstand the climatic changes which were so troublesome to the
old ones. He was fully aware of the fact that the piano trade in this
country was then so unimportant that it offered but little inducement to
a man who could manufacture only the old instrument; but he believed
that by producing an instrument of better proportions, and one fuller,
richer, and more lasting in tone, he could create a demand for it which
would insure the sale of all he could manufacture. His hope of success
lay not in the old, but in an improved and nobler instrument. That he
was correct in his belief, the magnificent instrument of to-day which
bears his name, and the lucrative business he has left to his sons,
amply demonstrate. Others besides himself were working for the same end,
and he knew that he would have to bear the test of determined and
intelligent competition. He applied himself to his purpose with
enthusiasm. He carefully studied the theory of atmospheric vibration and
musical combination, as well as an application of the principles of
mechanical philosophy to the construction of the instrument. He went
deep into the science involved in his work, into the philosophy of
melody. Passionately devoted to music, he was ambitious of placing that
which has been so truly called "the king of instruments" within the
reach of all lovers of harmony, and to give them the best instrument
that human invention could produce--an instrument which should not only
withstand atmospheric changes, but which should yield the richest,
fullest volume of melody, with the least exertion to the performer. His
progress was slow, but it was sure. Beginning with an improvement in
the action, he accomplished, in a great measure (in 1838), his plan for
preserving the permanence and purity of the tone of the instrument by
casting the entire iron framing with the parallel bars in one piece.
Iron had for some time before this been in general use for framing, but
the frame was cast in a few separate parts, which were put together by
means of bolts and screws, a plan which is still used to a considerable
extent in Europe. By his plan of casting the frame and its supporting
bars in one solid piece, Mr. Chickering not only prevented the frame
from yielding to the pull of the strings, thus securing permanence and
purity of tone, but was enabled to use larger frames and more strings,
which greatly increased the capacity of the instrument.

Several other improvements were made by him, the most important of which
was the invention, in 1845, of the circular scale for square pianos,
which is now in general use in this country and in Europe. "This consists
in giving to the row of tuning pins and wrest-planks--previously
straight in these instruments--a curved disposition, answering nearly to
an arc of a circle, the advantage being that the strings become less
crowded, larger hammers, and a more direct blow can be secured, and the
tone is both strengthened and improved." With a rare generosity, Mr.
Chickering declined to patent this improvement, which would have enabled
him to drive competition out of the market. He regarded it as so
necessary to a good piano that he declared that all makers ought to have
the use of it, as it would thus be within the power of all persons able
to purchase a piano to avail themselves of it, whether they bought a
"Chickering" or not. Such generosity is too rare to fail to receive the
praise it merits.

Mr. Chickering did not continue long in business with Mr. Stewart. The
latter withdrew in a few years, and Mr. Chickering carried on the
business alone. In 1830 he formed a partnership with Captain John
Mackay, a retired ship-merchant. In the new firm Captain Mackay took
charge of the finances and the office business, while Mr. Chickering
devoted himself entirely to the mechanical department. The operations of
the new house were very successful. The improvements made by Mr.
Chickering from the first created a demand for their instruments which
was sometimes so great that it was difficult to supply it. This demand
continued to increase, until the house was perfectly easy as to money
matters, and able to enlarge its facilities very greatly. It was Mr.
Chickering's design that each separate instrument should be an
improvement upon those which had preceded it, and he was careful that
this plan should not miscarry. In a few years the firm was enabled to
import the foreign materials needed, by the cargo, thus saving the
profit which they had hitherto been compelled to pay the importer.
Besides this saving, they were enabled to keep on hand a large stock of
the woods used in the instrument, and thus it was allowed to become more
thoroughly seasoned than that which they had been compelled to purchase,
from time to time, in small quantities. In 1841, Captain Mackay sailed
from Boston for South America, for the purpose of obtaining a supply of
the woods needed by the firm; but he never returned, and as no tidings
of him or his ship were ever received, it is supposed that the vessel
went down at sea with all on board.

Mr. Chickering now decided to continue the business without a partner.
His friends supposed that in assuming the management of the concern, in
addition to the direction of the mechanical department, and the constant
mental labor to which he subjected himself in his efforts to improve the
piano, he was undertaking more than he was capable of performing. They
feared his health would break down under it. Besides, it was generally
believed that, in spite of Mr. Chickering's undoubted skill in his own
department, he was not much of a business man. He was confident of his
own ability, however, and did not hesitate to assume the new

The business of which he now became the owner was very heavy and
extensive. Soon after the beginning of his connection with Captain
Mackay, the firm erected a large factory for the purpose of carrying on
their business. One hundred hands were employed in it when opened, but
in a few years it was necessary to employ more than twice that number,
so rapidly did the business increase. The supply of materials needed was
ample and of the very best quality, for Mr. Chickering never allowed an
inferior article to be used. The warerooms were large and handsomely
fitted up, and were filled with instruments ranging in price from a
thousand dollars downward. It was generally believed that while Mr.
Chickering's genius had created the demand for the pianos, it was
Captain Mackay's business knowledge and experience that had placed
affairs on their present footing, and when Mr. Chickering proposed to
buy Captain Mackay's interest from his heirs, which was valued at
several hundred thousand dollars, there was a very general belief, which
found expression, that he was incurring certain ruin. The condition of
the sale was that the purchase-money should be divided into
installments, for each of which Mr. Chickering should give his note,
secured by a mortgage on the premises. At Mr. Chickering's request each
note was made payable "on or before" a given day. The lawyer who
conducted the transaction smiled skeptically as he inserted this clause,
and asked the purchaser if he _ever_ expected to pay the notes at all.

"If I did not expect to pay them promptly, I should not give them," was
the simple reply. He was as good as his word. The notes were met
promptly, and although Captain Mackay's family requested that they might
stand as an investment for them, Mr. Chickering took up the last one at
its maturity.

With the business in his own hands, Mr. Chickering continued its
operations, displaying an ease in his mercantile transactions which
astonished and delighted his friends. The business prospered to a
greater degree than before, and all the while Mr. Chickering continued
his labors for the improvement of his instruments with still greater
success than in former years. His pianos were universally regarded as
the best in the market, and his competitors were unable to excel him.
Although conducting a business which required the constant exercise of
the highest mercantile talent, he did not relax his energy in the
mechanical department. To the end of his life, long after he had become
a wealthy and prominent man, he had his own little working-cabinet, with
an exquisite set of tools, with which he himself put the finishing touch
to each of his splendid instruments, a touch he would not intrust to any
other hands.

His competitors did all in their power to equal him, but he distanced
them all. One of them adopted a most startling expedient. He obtained
permission from the Legislature of Massachusetts to change his name to
_Chickering_, and at once sent out his instruments marked with his new
name, his object of course being to deceive the public, and Jonas
Chickering had the mortification of seeing the inferior instruments of
another maker mistaken for his own. He promptly laid before the
Legislature a petition for redress, setting forth the facts of the case
and the motives of his rival. The result was that the Legislature
reconsidered its action, and compelled the bogus Chickering to resume
his original name.

Mr. Chickering was noted for his simplicity and straight-forwardness in
business transactions. Conscious of his own integrity, he listened to no
proposition of a doubtful character, nor would he ever allow his credit
as a merchant to be questioned with impunity. Upon one occasion, he
applied through his clerk to the bank, with which he had dealt for many
years, for an accommodation which he needed. The president of the bank
sent for him, and told him that security would be required.

"I shall give you none," he replied. "I have done my business at this
bank for a long time, and if you do not know me, I shall apply where I
am better known."

The president was firm in his position, and Mr. Chickering applied to
another bank, which readily granted him the desired discount, and to
which he at once transferred his business, which was worth to the bank
about ten thousand dollars a year. Shortly after, a director of the
institution at which he had formerly dealt called on him, and urged him
to restore his business to the bank, assuring him that in future it
would readily grant him any accommodation he might desire.

"No," he replied; "I will deal with no institution which, having had the
opportunity of knowing me, suspects my responsibility."

Again having need of accommodation, he sent his notes for a large sum to
one of the city banks for discount. The president said an indorser would
be required.

"I shall indorse them myself," said Mr. Chickering.

"That will never do," replied the president.

"Very well," was the simple answer, and, without further words, he took
the notes to another bank, which promptly loaned him the money on them.

He tolerated no irregularity in his own business. He was true to the
spirit as well as to the letter of a contract, and never, during the
whole course of his long life, was he guilty of a transaction in which
the most rigid moralist could find a taint of sharp practice. What a
refutation of the theories of those who hold that cunning and trickery
are unavoidable some time in the course of a long and successful
mercantile career lies in the story of this man, who, beginning life
penniless, filled with a burning ambition to be rich and famous, never
swerved from the straight path of integrity, and by the exercise of only
the highest traits of his nature more than realized his boyish dreams!
Ponder it well, young man, and learn from it that honesty is indeed the
best policy in any calling.

Mr. Chickering had married early in life, and now had three sons just
entering upon manhood. These were carefully educated at the public
schools for which Boston is so justly famed, and then put into their
father's factory to learn the mechanical part of the business. It was
the father's ambition to be succeeded by his sons, but he was not
willing to trust the labor of his life to ignorant or incompetent hands.
At the age of seventeen, Thomas Chickering, the eldest son, was taken
from school, and, under his father's eye, taught every detail of the
mechanical branch of the business, until he understood it as well as the
senior Chickering himself. George, the second son, in due time passed
through the same course of training; while Francis, the youngest, was
brought up in the warehouse. The father thoroughly imbued his sons with
his own system and energy, and to-day we see the result. The firm of
Chickering & Sons is still the most prominent in America. Thomas is now
the acting head of the house, and has led it on to continued success;
Francis is the presiding genius of the mechanical department, and has
made many important improvements in the field in which his father won
success; and George exercises a general supervision at the immense
factory in Boston. The mantle of the father has fallen upon the sons,
and his labors have found their highest reward in their success.

Mr. Chickering's good fortune was not entirely uninterrupted. On the 1st
of December, 1852, his factory was burned to the ground, with all its
valuable patterns, stock, etc., involving a loss to him of two hundred
thousand dollars. The interruption to his business was very serious,
apart from the loss of his property. Expressions of sympathy poured in
upon him from his friends, coupled with offers of pecuniary assistance
in his efforts to reëstablish his business. His disaster seemed merely
to inspire him with fresh energy, but the kindness of his friends
entirely overcame him.

[Illustration: "MY MEN SHALL NOT SUFFER."]

He wasted no time in vain regrets, but at once went to work. He was
fifty-four years old, but he showed an energy and determination which
more than rivaled the fire of his young manhood. The loss of his factory
was not only a severe blow to him, but to the three hundred workmen who
had been employed in it, and who were dependent upon their wages for
their support. His first care was to assure them that they should not
suffer, but that they should continue to receive their wages as
regularly as though nothing had happened to interrupt their labor. He
had always been kind and generous to his employés, paying liberal wages,
and rewarding especial merit, but this act of kindness did more to
endear him to them than any previous benefaction. Having provided for
his men, he set to work to prepare temporary accommodations for his
business, and then began his arrangements for the construction of a new
factory. He took a great degree of interest in the plans for the new
building, the architect being almost entirely guided by his suggestions,
and the result of his labors is the magnificent building to which
reference was made at the opening of this chapter. He did not live to
see it completed, however. He died at the house of a friend from the
rupture of a blood-vessel, produced, it is believed, by severe mental
labor, on the 8th of December, 1853. His fortune at the time of his
death was estimated at a quarter of a million of dollars. His sons
assumed the charge of the business, which they still conduct.

The loss of Mr. Chickering was felt by all classes of his
fellow-citizens--especially by the poor. To them he had been a kind and
generous friend. Distress never appealed to him in vain, and he proved a
faithful steward of the riches committed to his care. Yet he performed
his charities with such a modesty and reticence that few beside the
grateful recipients were aware of them. Indeed, it was his custom to
enjoin secrecy upon those whom he assisted; but they would not remain
quiet. His liberality is in striking contrast with the closeness of many
who were worth more than twenty times his wealth, but who lacked his
warm and sympathizing nature.



The grape culture of the United States is yet in its infancy. Although
the annual wine product is estimated at nearly three millions of
gallons, there can be no doubt that ere many years shall have elapsed
America will rank as one of the most important wine countries of the
world. California is already extending her vineyards for miles along her
smiling valleys, where the clear sky and the balmy air, which are
unchangeable at the season of the grape harvest, permit a degree of
perfection in the fruit unattainable in any European country. Already
her wines are commanding an enviable place in the markets of the world,
with no apparent limits to the growing demand for them. The hillsides of
the lower Ohio Valley are lined with thriving vineyards, whose rich
clusters of Catawba and Isabella grapes delight the eye on every hand,
and thousands of acres are now given to successful grape culture, where
formerly only a few straggling vines were seen. More than five hundred
thousand gallons of wine are now annually produced in the neighborhood
of Cincinnati alone, and find a market in that city, and what was but a
few years ago a mere experiment is now one of the chief sources of the
wonderful prosperity of the Ohio Valley, and one of the most important
features in the commerce of the Queen City of the West. The success
which has attended this branch of our industry must be a matter of
congratulation to the whole country, and the man to whose courage,
energy, and liberality it is mainly due must be regarded as a public

This man, NICHOLAS LONGWORTH by name, was born at Newark, New Jersey, on
the 16th of January, 1782. His father had been a man of large property,
but in consequence of being a Tory during the Revolution, his
possessions were confiscated, and he and his family impoverished. Young
Nicholas's childhood was passed in indigence, and it is said that he was
apprenticed to a shoemaker, when a mere lad, to learn the trade as a
means of livelihood. However this may be, it is certain that when very
young he went to South Carolina as a clerk for his elder brother. The
climate of the South, however, did not suit his health, and he returned
to Newark, and began the study of the law.

He was poor, and the East was overcrowded, even at that early day, and
offered but few inducements to a young man entirely dependent upon his
own efforts. Ohio was then the "Far West," and emigration was setting in
toward it rapidly. Those who had seen the country related what then
seemed marvelous tales of its wonderful fertility and progress. Few
professional men were seeking the distant land, and Longworth felt
convinced that the services of such as did go would assuredly be in
demand, and he resolved to cast his lot with the West.

In 1803, at the age of twenty-one, he removed to the little village of
Cincinnati, and, having fixed upon this place as his future home,
entered the law office of Judge Jacob Burnet, long the ablest jurist in
Ohio. He soon won the confidence and esteem of his instructor, and
succeeded so well in his studies that in an unusually short time he was
admitted to the bar.

He entered upon the practice of his profession with energy, and soon
acquired a profitable business, which increased rapidly. He was a man of
simple habits, and lived economically. His savings were considerable,
and were regularly invested by him in real estate in the suburbs of the
town. Land was cheap at that time, some of his lots costing him but ten
dollars each. Long before his death they were worth more than as many
thousands. He had a firm conviction that Cincinnati was destined to
become one of the largest and most flourishing cities in the Union, and
that his real estate would increase in value at a rate which would
render him wealthy in a very few years.

His first client was a man accused of horse-stealing, in those days the
most heinous offense known to Western law. Longworth secured his
acquittal, but the fellow had no money to pay his counsel, and in the
absence of funds gave Longworth two second-hand copper stills, which
were his property. These the lawyer accepted, thinking that he could
easily dispose of them for cash, as they were rare and valuable there in
those days. They were in the keeping of Mr. Joel Williams, who carried
on a tavern adjacent to the river, and who was afterward one of the
largest property-holders in Cincinnati. Mr. Williams was building a
distillery at the time, and, as he had confidently reckoned upon using
the two stills in his possession, was considerably nonplussed when
Longworth presented his order for them. In his extremity he offered to
purchase them from the lawyer for a lot of thirty-three acres of barren
land in the town, which was then worth little or nothing. Longworth
hesitated, for although he had an almost prophetic belief in the future
value of the land, he was sorely in need of ready money; but at length
he accepted the offer. The deed for the land was made out in his name,
and the stills became the property of Mr. Williams. The distillery was
built, and its owner realized a fortune; but Longworth did more. His
thirty-three acres of barren land were soon in the very heart of
Cincinnati, and long before his death were valued at two millions of

The foresight of Mr. Longworth was fully justified by the course of
events. The growth of Cincinnati was almost marvelous in its rapidity.
In 1802, it contained about 800 inhabitants; in 1810, 2,540; in 1820,
9,060; in 1830, 24,831; in 1840, 46,338; in 1850, 118,761; and in 1860,
just three years before Mr. Longworth's death, 171,293 inhabitants. The
reader can easily imagine the immense profits which a half century's
increase placed in the hands of the far-seeing lawyer. It seems almost
like reading some old fairy tale to peruse the accounts of successful
ventures in real estate in American cities. They have sprung up as if by
magic, and it is impossible to say where their development will end.
Said a gentleman of less than thirty-five years of age to the writer of
these pages, "I am the oldest native-born citizen of Chicago. When I
first saw the light, my native place could not boast even the dignity of
a village; and young as I am, I have witnessed all this wonderful
growth." The prosperity of Cincinnati was scarcely less marked, as the
career of Mr. Longworth shows. The investment of a comparatively
insignificant sum laid the foundation of his fortune, and the first
counsel fee he ever earned, a sum trifling in itself, placed him in
possession of millions.

Mr. Longworth continued carefully to invest his gains in real estate.
The prices paid by him increased, of course, with the rise in the value
of property, but as he was persuaded that the limit had not yet been
reached, he extended his operations without fear of loss. He sold many
of his original purchases, but continued until the day of his death the
largest land-owner in the city. In 1850 his taxes were over $17,000, and
in the same year the taxes of William B. Astor amounted to $23,116. At
the time of his death Mr. Longworth's estate was valued at fifteen
millions of dollars, and is doubtless worth fully one-third more at the
present day.

Mr. Longworth retired from the practice of the law in 1819, to devote
himself to the management of his property, which was already
sufficiently important to require his undivided attention. He had always
been an enthusiast in horticultural matters, and believing that the
climate of the Ohio Valley was admirably adapted to the production of
grapes, had for some time been making experiments in that direction; but
he fell into the error of believing that only the foreign vines were
worth cultivating, and his experiments were unsuccessful. The foreign
grape did not mature well, and the wine produced from it was not good.
In 1828 his friend Major Adlum sent him some specimens of the Catawba
grape, which he had procured from the garden of a German living near
Washington City, and be began to experiment with it in his own vineyard.

The Catawba grape, now so popular and well-known throughout the country,
was then a comparative stranger to our people, and was regarded even by
many who were acquainted with it as unfit for vintage purposes. It was
first discovered in a wild condition about 1801, near Asheville,
Buncombe County, North Carolina, near the source of the Catawba River.
General Davy, of Rocky Mount, on that river, afterward Senator from
North Carolina, is supposed to have given the German in whose garden
Major Adlum found the grape a few of the vines to experiment upon.
General Davy always regarded the bringing of this grape into notice as
the greatest act of his life. "I have done my country a greater benefit
in introducing this grape into public notice," said he, in after years,
"than I would have done if I had paid the national debt."

Mr. Longworth's experiments with the Catawba were highly successful,
and induced him to abandon all his efforts with foreign vines, and
undertake only the Catawba, to which he afterward added the Isabella. He
now entered systematically upon grape-growing. He established a large
vineyard upon a hillside sloping down to the river, about four miles
above the city, and employed German laborers, whose knowledge of
vine-dressing, acquired in the Fatherland, made them the best workmen he
could have. He caused it to be announced that all the grape juice
produced by the small growers in the vicinity would find a cash
purchaser in him, no matter in what quantities offered. At the same time
he offered n reward of five hundred dollars for any improvement in the
quality of the Catawba grape.

The enthusiasm which he manifested, as well as the liberality of his
offer, had a decidedly beneficial effect upon the small growers in the
neighborhood. "It proved a great stimulus to the growth of the Catawba
vine in the country around Cincinnati," to know that a man of Mr.
Longworth's means stood ready to pay cash, at the rate of from a dollar
to a dollar and a quarter a gallon, for all the grape-juice that might
be brought to him, without reference to the quantity. It was in this
way, and by urgent popular appeals through the columns of the
newspapers, that he succeeded, after many failures, and against the
depressing influence of much doubt and indifference, in bringing the
enterprise up to its present high and stable position. When he took the
matter in hand there was much to discourage any one not possessed of the
traits of constancy of purpose and perseverance peculiar to Mr.
Longworth. Many had tried the manufacture of wine, and had failed to
give it any economical or commercial importance. It was not believed,
until Mr. Longworth practically demonstrated it, that a native grape
was the only one upon which any hope could be placed, and that the
Catawba offered the most assured promise of success, and was the one
upon which all vine-growers might with confidence depend. It took years
of unremitted care, multiplied and wide-spread investigations, and the
expenditure of large sums of money, to establish this fact, and bring
the agricultural community to accept it and act under its guidance. The
success attained by Mr. Longworth soon induced other gentlemen resident
in the vicinity of Cincinnati, and favorably situated for the purpose,
to undertake the culture of the Catawba, and several of them are now
regularly and extensively engaged in the manufacture of wine. The
impetus and encouragement thus given to the business soon led the German
citizens of Hamilton County to perceive its advantages, and, under their
thrifty management, thousands of acres, stretching up from the banks of
the Ohio, are now covered with luxuriant and profitable vineyards,
rivaling in profusion and beauty the vine-clad hills of Italy and
France. The oldest vineyard in the county of Hamilton is of Mr.
Longworth's planting.

Mr. Longworth subsequently increased the size of his vineyard to two
hundred acres, and toward the close of his life his wine houses annually
produced one hundred and fifty thousand bottles of wine. His vaults
usually contained a stock of three hundred thousand bottles in course of
thorough ripening.

His cellars were situated on the declivity of East Sixth Street, on the
road to Observatory Hill. They occupied a space ninety feet by one
hundred and twenty-five in size, and consisted of two tiers of massive
stone vaults, the lower of which was twenty-five feet below the surface
of the ground. The manufacture of the wine was placed under the charge
of a celebrated chemist from Rheims, and the mode of preparation was as

After the pressing of the grape, the juice is subjected to the vinous
fermentation, by which ten or eleven per cent, of alcohol is developed.
In the following spring, it is mixed with a small quantity of sugar, and
put into strong bottles, the corks of which are secured with twine and
wire. The sugar accelerates a second fermentation, which always takes
place about this time, and thus a strong movement is produced inside the
glass, which generates gas enough to burst the vessels briskly, adding
thereby considerably to the cost. This is known as the gaseous
fermentation, and the effect of it is to render the wine more
enlivening, more stinging to the taste, and more fruity. "This last
effect results from this, that the flavor of the fruit mostly passes off
with the carbonic acid gas, which is largely generated in the first or
vinous fermentation, and in a less degree in this second or gaseous
fermentation." It is impossible to avoid the loss of the flavor in the
first fermentation, but the strong bottles and securely-fastened corks
preserve it in the second. The liquid, which is muddy at first, becomes
clear in about a year, a thick sediment having collected at the bottom
of the bottle. The bottles are then placed in racks, with their necks
downward, and are shaken vigorously every day for about three weeks.
This forces the sediment to settle down in the neck against the cork.
When it is all in the neck, the wires are cut, and the cork blown out by
the gas, carrying the sediment with it. Fresh sugar, for sweetness, is
now added, new corks are driven in and secured, and in a few weeks the
wine is ready for the market.

Mr. Longworth continued his wine trade with great success for about
twenty-five years, and though for some time his expenditures were
largely in excess of his income from this source, he at length reaped a
steady and increasing profit from it, which more than reimbursed him for
his former losses. He was very fond of the strawberry, and succeeded,
by careful and expensive cultivation, in making several very important
improvements in that delicious fruit. His experiments in the sexual
character of the strawberry are highly interesting, but must be passed
by here. He manifested no selfishness with respect to his fruits. He was
anxious that their cultivation should become general, and his
discoveries and improvements were always at the service of any and every
one who desired to make use of them.

He was thoroughly devoted to his adopted home, and anxious to secure its
steady improvement. When it was proposed to establish an observatory,
the Mount Adams property, then owned by him, was regarded as the most
fitting site for it. He was asked to name the price for which he would
sell the property. To the astonishment of the parties in charge of the
enterprise, he made a free gift of the land--four acres in extent--to
the trustees. A gentleman who had hoped to dispose of some of his own
property for this purpose charged Mr. Longworth, through the press, with
being influenced by a desire to improve his adjoining property by the
erection of the observatory on Mount Adams. Longworth promptly replied
that if the writer of the article in question would donate four acres of
his own property for an observatory, he (Longworth) would put up, at his
own expense, a building on it equal to that which had been erected on
Mount Adams, and transfer the latter place to the city as a permanent
pleasure ground. He quietly added that in this way his accuser might
himself receive, for his adjacent property, all the benefits of such an
improvement, and at the same time win for himself the lasting gratitude
of the people of Cincinnati. This settled the matter, and no more was
heard from the other side.

"Longworth," says one who knew him, "is a problem and a riddle--a
problem worthy of the study of those who delight in exploring that
labyrinth of all that is hidden and mysterious, the human heart; and a
riddle to himself and others. He is a wit and a humorist of a high
order; of keen sagacity and shrewdness in many other respects than in
money matters; one who can be exact to a dollar, and liberal, when he
chooses, with thousands; of marked peculiarity and tenacity in his own
opinions, yet of abundant tolerance to the opinions, however
extravagant, of others--a man of great public spirit and sound general

"In addition to all this, it would be difficult to find an individual of
his position and standing so perfectly free from pride, in the ordinary
sense. He has absolutely none, unless it be the pride of eccentricity.
It is no uncommon circumstance for men to become rich by the
concentration of time, and labor, and attention to some one object of
profitable employment. This is the ordinary phase of money-getting, as
closing the ear and pocket to applications for aid is that of
money-saving. Longworth has become a rich man on a different principle.
He appears to have started upon the calculation that if he could put any
individual in the way of making a dollar for Longworth, and a dollar for
himself at the same time, by aiding him with ground for a lot, or in
building him a house on it; and if, moreover, he could multiply cases of
the kind by hundreds, or perhaps thousands, he would promote his own
interests just in the same measure as he was advancing those of others.
At the same time he could not be unconscious that, while their half was
subdivided into small possessions, owned by a thousand or more
individuals, his half was a vast, boundless aggregate, since it was the
property of one man alone. The event has done justice to his sagacity.
Hundreds, if not thousands, in and adjacent to Cincinnati, now own
houses and lots, and many have become wealthy, who would, in all
probability, have lived and died as tenants under a different state of
case. Had not Mr. Longworth adopted this course, he would have occupied
that relation to society which many wealthy men now sustain, that of
getting all they can and keeping all they get."

In politics, Mr. Longworth was a Whig, and afterward a Republican.
During the famous Clay campaign he was asked to give one hundred dollars
to help defray the expenses of the party.

"I never give something for nothing," said he. "We might fail to elect
Clay, as we did before, and I should fling away the hundred dollars."

The applicant, who was himself a man of wealth, assured him that there
was no doubt of Clay's election.

"There can be no chance of your losing," he said.

"Well," replied Longworth, "I'll tell you what I will do. I will give
you the hundred dollars, but mind, you shall be personally responsible
to me for its return if Clay is not elected."

The offer was accepted; and when the campaign resulted in the defeat of
Clay, Longworth demanded his money from the politician, who was
compelled to return it out of his own pocket.

In his own way--and a quaint, singular way it was--Mr. Longworth was
exceedingly charitable. Long after he was worth millions, and when every
moment of his time was valuable, he was supernumerary township trustee.
This was an office which required the expenditure of a considerable
portion of his time, and brought him in constant contact with some of
the most wretched of the lowest class of the poor. He was always in his
office, at stated times, and with a patience and kindness worthy of all
admiration, the millionaire listened to their sad tales, and provided
such aid as was necessary, oftentimes giving it out of his own purse
when the public funds failed.

He was a bitter foe to vagabondage and mendicity. If people in need were
willing to work, he would place them in the way of doing so. He was the
owner of a stone quarry on Deer Creek, the traces of which may still be
seen in the lines of the new Gilbert Avenue; and he kept in his office
a supply of picks and shovels. When a stout beggar asked him for alms,
he would inquire if he was willing to go to work. If answered
affirmatively, he would give him a pick and shovel, and start him for
the quarry, where the wages were promptly paid out every night. Many
availed themselves of the opportunity, and worked for him faithfully;
but others gave the quarry "a wide berth," and sold the pick and shovel
for money or liquor. It was his custom to buy large quantities of bread
tickets from the bakers, and to distribute them to those whom he
considered worthy; and he would also keep on hand large quantities of
shoes, dry goods, etc., which he gave away in the same manner.

Mr. Frank Pentland, who was once in his employ, relates the following

"One morning, just after Mr. Longworth had gone to his office, near the
Third-Street entrance, where he was accustomed to receive applicants for
charity, he was accosted by a man who craved assistance. In answer to a
question as to his needs, he replied that his main want was a pair of
shoes, and a glance at his feet showed that he spoke truthfully. Mr.
Longworth appeared 'to take his measure' at a glance, and impulsively
shaking his right foot (he seldom wore his shoes tied), kicked the shoe
over to the applicant, saying:

"'Try that on, my man. How does it fit?'

"'Illigant, yer honor,'

"'Well, try that, now,' said he, kicking off the other. 'How will they

"Illigant, yer honor; illigant! May many a blessing'--

"'Well, well, go now--that'll do,' and turning to Pentland, who was then
a young boy in his service, ordered him to the house to get another
pair. Frank obeyed, but was told by Mrs. Longworth that those he wore
away from the house were all that he had. The result was that Frank was
hurried off to William Hart's shoe store, on Fifth Street, for new ones,
with instructions to 'Ask Mr. Hart for the kind I always buy, and don't
pay over a dollar and a half for them.'"

Yet many persons charged this man with stinginess--a charge to which
every rich man lays himself open who does not give to all who ask him.
Even the rich must refuse sometimes, for there is no reason why they
should answer _all_ the calls made upon them--a course which would soon
impoverish them. They must discriminate somewhere, and how this shall be
done is a question which each must decide for himself. Longworth
exercised this discrimination in an eccentric manner, eminently
characteristic of him. He invariably refused cases that commended
themselves to others. A gentleman once applied to him for assistance for
a widow in destitute circumstances.

"Who is she?" asked the millionaire. "Do you know her? Is she a
deserving object?"

"She is not only a woman of excellent character," answered his friend,
"but she is doing all in her power to support a large family of

"Very well, then," said Mr. Longworth, "I shan't give a cent. Such
persons will always find a plenty to relieve them."

He was firm, and turned coldly from the entreaties of his friend. Yet
he opened his purse liberally to those whom others refused. Vagabonds,
drunkards, fallen women, those who had gone down far into the depths of
misery and wretchedness, and from whom respectable people shrank in
disgust, never appealed to him in vain. "The devil's poor," he
whimsically called them. He would listen to them patiently, moved to the
depths of his soul by their sad stories, and would send them away
rejoicing that they were not utterly friendless. "Decent paupers will
always find a plenty to help them," he would say, "but no one cares for
these poor wretches. Every body damns them, and as no one else will help
them, I must." Yet he aided them in such a manner as to encourage them
to rise above their wretchedness.

In his personal appearance Mr. Longworth was not prepossessing. He was
dry and caustic in his remarks, and rarely spared the object of his
satire. He was plain and careless in his dress, looking more like a
beggar than a millionaire. He cared nothing for dress, except, perhaps,
that he preferred common clothes to fine ones. One of his acquaintances
relates the following story in illustration of this phase of his

"Many winters ago, it will be remembered that a style of striped goods
was quite popular with poor people on account of its cheapness, and that
it acquired the name of 'Hard Times.' Every body with scant purses wore
coats or pants of it, for the reason that they could not very well buy
any other kind. As the story goes, it appears that 'Old Nick,' as he was
familiarly called, invested in an overcoat of this material, and took
great pride in wearing it, much to the annoyance of the women folks. It
happened that one cold, stormy night the faithful family coachman was at
the house without an overcoat, and Mrs. Longworth, after very feelingly
depicting his forlorn condition to her husband, solicited the privilege
of giving him the aforesaid overcoat. Much to her gratification, Mr.
Longworth assented, and the coachman wore off the 'Hard Times,' the good
wife replacing it by an elegant broadcloth that she had quietly provided
for the occasion. The next morning 'Old Nick' very innocently (?)
overlooked the new coat, and went off to make his usual morning rounds
without one; but it would be impossible to portray the annoyance of the
household when they saw him returning to dinner wearing a duplicate of
the veritable 'Hard Times,' and for weeks afterward it was no uncommon
occurrence to see the 'master and man' flitting about the old homestead
dressed in their gray stripes."

The shabbiness of his dress once led to an amusing adventure, which he
enjoyed very much. Climbing one of the hilly streets of the city one
broiling summer day, he sat down on a pile of bricks, under the cool
shade of a tree, to rest. Taking off his well-worn hat, he laid it on
his knee, and closing his eyes, sat enjoying the breeze which had just
then sprung up. He was very tired, and his whole figure expressed his
weariness. As he sat there in his shabby dress, with his eyes closed,
and his hat resting on his knees, he looked the very picture of a blind
beggar soliciting charity. For such, indeed, he was mistaken by a
working man who passed by a few minutes later, and who, pitying the
supposed unfortunate, tossed a few pennies into his hat. The noise of
the coppers made the old man open his eyes and look up; and to his
amazement the workman recognized in the object of his charity Nicholas
Longworth, the millionaire. Mr. Longworth looked at him a moment in his
dry, quizzical way, and then, thanking him politely, put the coins in
his pocket, and, closing his eyes, once more resumed his former

Mr. Longworth had erected a magnificent mansion in the midst of his
vineyard. He gathered there a fine library, and a collection of
paintings, statuary, and other art treasures, which were his pride. He
died there on the 10th of February, 1863, at the age of eighty-one. His
loss was severely felt by the community, especially by his "devil's
poor," for whom he had cared so tenderly.



It is not often that men who pass their lives in the acquisition of
money are able to retain the desire to give it to others who have had no
share in the earning of it. In European countries, the wealthy merchant
commonly uses his fortune for the purpose of founding a family, and
securing sometimes a title of nobility. His wealth is entailed, that it
may remain in his family and benefit remote generations; but few save
those of his own blood enjoy any benefit from it, and the world is no
better off for his life and success than if he had never been born. In
America, instances of personal generosity and benevolence on a large
scale are of more common occurrence than in the Old World. We have
already borne witness to the munificence of Girard, Astor, Lawrence,
Longworth, and Stewart, and shall yet present to the reader other
instances of this kind in the remaining pages of this work. We have now
to trace the career of one who far exceeded any of these in the extent
and magnitude of his liberality, and who, while neglecting none
connected with him by ties of blood, took the whole English-speaking
race for his family, and by scattering his blessings far and wide on
both sides of the Atlantic, has won a proud name

    "As one who loved his fellow-men."

[Illustration: GEORGE PEABODY.]

GEORGE PEABODY came of an old English family, which traced its
descent back to the year of our Lord 61, the days of the heroic
Boadicea, down through the brilliant circle of the Knights of the Round
Table, to Francis Peabody, who in 1635 went from St. Albans, in
Hertfordshire, to the New World, and settled in Danvers, Massachusetts,
where the subject of this memoir was born one hundred and sixty years
later, on the 18th of February, 1795. The parents of George Peabody were
poor, and hard work was the lot to which he was born, a lot necessary to
develop his sterling qualities of mind and heart. He was possessed of a
strong, vigorous constitution, and a quick, penetrating intellect. His
education was limited, for he was taken from school at the age of
eleven, and set to earning his living. Upon leaving school, he was
apprenticed to a Mr. Sylvester Proctor, who kept a "country store" in
Danvers. Here he worked hard and faithfully for four or five years,
devoting himself, with an energy and determination surprising in one so
young, to learn the first principles of business. His mind matured more
rapidly than his body, and he was a man in intellect long before he was
out of his teens. Having gained all the information it was possible to
acquire in so small an establishment, he began to wish for a wider field
for the exercise of his abilities. A retail grocery store was no longer
the place for one possessed of such talents, and thoroughly conscious of
them at such an early age, and it was natural that he should desire some
more important and responsible position.

Accordingly, he left Mr. Proctor's employment, and spent a year with his
maternal grandfather at Post Mills village, Thetford, Vermont. "George
Peabody's year at Post Mills," says a writer who knew him, "must have
been a year of intense quiet, with good examples always before him, and
good advice whenever occasion called for it; for Mr. Dodge and his wife
were both too shrewd to bore him with it needlessly.

"It was on his return from this visit that he spent a night at a tavern
in Concord, N.H., and paid for his entertainment by sawing wood the next
morning. That, however, must have been a piece of George's own voluntary
economy, for Jeremiah Dodge would never have sent his grandson home to
Danvers without the means of procuring the necessaries of life on the
way, and still less, if possible, would Mrs. Dodge...."


"The interest with which Mr. Peabody remembered this visit to Post Mills
is shown by his second visit so late in life, and his gift of a
library--as large a library as that place needs. Of its influence on his
subsequent career, of course, there is no record. Perhaps it was not
much. But, at least, it gave him a good chance for quiet thinking, at an
age when he needed it; and the labors of the farm may have been useful
both to mind and body."

At the age of sixteen, in the year 1811, he went to Newburyport, and
became a clerk in the store of his elder brother, David Peabody, who was
engaged in the dry goods business at that place. He exhibited unusual
capacity and promise in his calling, and soon drew upon himself the
favorable attention of the merchants of the place. He was prompt,
reliable, and energetic, and from the first established an enviable
reputation for personal and professional integrity. It is said that he
earned here the first money he ever made outside of his business. This
was by writing ballots for the Federal party in Newburyport. Printed
ballots had not then come into use.

He did not stay long in Newburyport, as a great fire, which burned up a
considerable part of the town, destroyed his brother's store, and
obliged him to seek employment elsewhere. He always retained a warm
attachment to the place, however, an attachment which a resident of the
town explains as follows:

"The cause of Mr. George Peabody's interest in Newburyport was not alone
that he had lived here for a brief period, or that his relatives had
lived here; but rather it was the warm friendship that had been shown
him, which was, in fact, the basis of his subsequent prosperity. He left
here in 1811, and returned in 1857. The forty-six intervening years had
borne to the grave most of the persons with whom he had formed
acquaintance. Among those he recognized were several who were in
business, or clerks, on State Street in 1811,--Messrs. John Porter,
Moses Kimball, Prescott Spaulding, and a few others. Mr. Spaulding was
fourteen years older than Mr. Peabody, and in business when the latter
was a clerk with his uncle, Colonel John Peabody. Mr. Peabody was here
in 1857, on the day of the Agricultural Fair, and was walking in the
procession with the late Mayor Davenport, when he saw Mr. Spaulding on
the sidewalk, and at once left the procession to greet him.

"Mr. Spaulding had rendered him the greatest of services. When Mr.
Peabody left Newburyport, he was under age, and not worth a dollar. Mr.
Spaulding gave him letters of credit in Boston, through which he
obtained two thousand dollars' worth of merchandise of Mr. James Reed,
who was so favorably impressed with his appearance, that he subsequently
gave him credit for a larger amount. This was his start in life, as he
afterward acknowledged; for at a public entertainment in Boston, when
his credit was good for any amount, and in any part of the world, Mr.
Peabody laid his hand on Mr. Reed's shoulder, and said to those present,
'My friends, here is my first patron; and he is the man who sold me my
first bill of goods.' After he was established in Georgetown, D.C., the
first consignment made to him was by the late Francis Todd, of
Newburyport. It was from these facts that Newburyport was always
pleasant in his memory; and the donation he made to the Public Library
was on his own suggestion, that he desired to do something of a public
nature for our town."

From New England, George Peabody turned his face southward, and entered
the employment of his uncle, Mr. John Peabody, who was engaged in the
dry goods business in Georgetown, in the District of Columbia. He
reached that place in the spring of 1812; but, as the second war with
England broke out about the same time, was not able to give his
immediate attention to business. He became a member of a volunteer
company of artillery, which was stationed at Fort Warburton, but as no
active duty was required of the company, he soon went back to his
uncle's store. His uncle was a poor man and a bad manager, and for two
years the business was conducted by George Peabody, and in his own name;
but at the end of that time, seeing the business threatened with ruin by
his uncle's incapacity, he resigned his situation, and entered the
service of Mr. Elisha Riggs, who had just established a wholesale dry
goods house in Georgetown. Mr. Riggs furnished the capital for the
concern, and Mr. Peabody was given the management of it. Soon after
this, the latter became a partner in the house. It is said that when Mr.
Riggs invited Mr. Peabody to become his partner, the latter informed him
that he could not legally assume the responsibilities of the business,
as he was only nineteen years old. This was no objection in the mind of
the merchant, as he wanted a young and active assistant, and had
discerned in his boy-manager the qualities which never fail to win

The new business in which he was engaged consisted chiefly in the
importation and sale of European goods, and consignments of dry goods
from the northern cities. It extended over a wide field, and gave Mr.
Peabody a fine opportunity for the display of his abilities. Mr. Riggs'
friends blamed him very much for leaving his business so entirely in the
hands of a boy of nineteen; but he had better proof than they that his
affairs were not only in good but in the best hands, and he answered
them all by telling them that time would justify his course. Mr. Peabody
traveled extensively in establishing his business, often journeying into
the wild and unsettled regions of the border States on horseback. He
worked with energy and intelligence, and in 1815 the business was found
to be so extensive that a removal to Baltimore became necessary. About
this time a sort of irregular banking business was added to the
operations of the house. This was chiefly the suggestion of Mr. Peabody,
and proved a source of great profit.

Mr. Peabody quickly took a prominent rank among the merchants of
Baltimore. His manner was frank and engaging, and won him many friends.
He was noted for "a judgment quick and cautious, clear and sound, a
decided purpose, a firm will, energetic and persevering industry,
punctuality and fidelity in every engagement, justice and honor
controlling every transaction, and courtesy--that true courtesy which
springs from genuine kindness--presiding over the intercourse of life."
His business continued to increase, and in 1822 it became necessary to
establish branches in Philadelphia and New York, over which Mr. Peabody
exercised a careful supervision. He was thoroughly familiar with every
detail of his business, and never suffered his vigilance to relax,
however competent might be the subordinates in the immediate charge of
those details. In 1827 he went to England on business for his firm, and
during the next ten years made frequent voyages between New York and

In 1829 Mr. Riggs withdrew from the firm, and Mr. Peabody become the
actual head of the house, the style of the firm, which had previously
been "Riggs & Peabody," being changed to "Peabody, Riggs & Co." The firm
had for some time been the financial agents of the State of Maryland,
and had managed the negotiations confided to them with great skill and
success; and every year their banking department became more important
and more profitable.

In 1836 Mr. Peabody determined to extend his business, which was already
very large, to England, and to open a branch house in London. In 1837 he
removed to that city for the purpose of taking charge of his house
there, and from that time London became his home.

The summer of this year was marked by one of the most terrible
commercial crises the United States has ever known. A large number of
the banks suspended specie payment, and the majority of the mercantile
houses were either ruined or in the greatest distress. Thousands of
merchants, until then prosperous, were hopelessly ruined. "That great
sympathetic nerve of the commercial world, credit," said Edward Everett,
"as far as the United States was concerned, was for the time paralyzed.
At that moment Mr. Peabody not only stood firm himself, but was the
cause of firmness in others. There were not at that time, probably, half
a dozen other men in Europe who, upon the subject of American
securities, would have been listened to for a moment in the parlor of
the Bank of England. But his judgment commanded respect; his integrity
won back the reliance which men had been accustomed to place in American
securities. The reproach in which they were all involved was gradually
wiped away from those of a substantial character; and if, on this solid
basis of unsuspected good faith, he reared his own prosperity, let it be
remembered that at the same time he retrieved the credit of the State of
Maryland, of which he was agent--performing that miracle by which the
word of an honest man turns paper into gold."

The conduct of Mr. Peabody, as well as the evidences which he gave of
his remarkable capacity for business, in this crisis, placed him among
the foremost merchants of London. He carried on his business upon a
large scale from his base of operations in that city. He bought British
manufactures in all parts of England and shipped them to the United
States. His vessels brought back in return all kinds of American produce
which would command a ready sale in England. Profitable as these
ventures were, there was another branch of his business much more
remunerative to him. The merchants and manufacturers on both sides of
the Atlantic who consigned their goods to him frequently procured from
him advances upon the goods long before they were sold. At other times
they would leave large sums in his hands long after the goods were
disposed of, knowing that they could draw whenever they needed, and that
in the meanwhile their money was being so profitably invested that they
were certain of a proper interest for their loans. Thus Mr. Peabody
gradually became a banker, in which pursuit he was as successful as he
had been as a merchant. In 1843 he withdrew from the house of Peabody,
Riggs & Co., and established the house of "George Peabody & Company, of
Warnford Court, City."

His dealings were chiefly with America, and in American securities, and
he was always regarded as one of the best specimens of the American
merchant ever seen in London. He was very proud of his country; and
though he passed so many years of his life abroad, he never forgot that
he was an American. In speaking of the manner in which he organized his
business establishment, he once said: "I have endeavored, in the
constitution of its members and the character of its business, to make
it an American house, and to give it an American atmosphere; to furnish
it with American journals; to make it a center of American news, and an
agreeable place for my American friends visiting London."

It was his custom, from his first settlement in England, to celebrate
the anniversary of the independence of his country by an entertainment
at one of the public houses in the city, to which the most distinguished
Americans in London were always invited, as were also many of the
prominent men of Great Britain; and this dinner was only discontinued in
deference to the general celebration of the day which was afterward
instituted by the whole body of Americans resident in the British
metropolis. In the year 1851, when it was thought that there would be no
representation of the achievements of American skill and industry in the
Great Exhibition of that year, from a lack of funds, Mr. Peabody
generously supplied the sum of fifteen thousand dollars, which enabled
the Commissioners to make a suitable display of the American
contributions. Said the Hon. Edward Everett, alluding to this act:

"In most, perhaps in all other countries, this exhibition had been a
government affair. Commissioners were appointed by authority to protect
the interests of the exhibitors; and, what was more important,
appropriations of money had been made to defray their expenses. No
appropriations were made by Congress. Our exhibitors arrived friendless,
some of them penniless, in the great commercial Babel of the world. They
found the portion of the Crystal Palace assigned to our country
unprepared for the specimens of art and industry which they had brought
with them; naked and unadorned by the side of the neighboring arcades
and galleries fitted up with elegance and splendor by the richest
governments in Europe. The English press began to launch its too ready
sarcasms at the sorry appearance which Brother Jonathan seemed likely to
make; and all the exhibitors from this country, as well as those who
felt an interest in their success, were disheartened. At this critical
moment, our friend stepped forward. He did what Congress should have
done. By liberal advances on his part, the American department was
fitted up; and day after day, as some new product of American ingenuity
and taste was added to the list,--McCormick's reaper, Colt's revolver,
Powers's Greek Slave, Hobbs's unpickable lock, Hoe's wonderful printing
presses, and Bond's more wonderful spring governor,---it began to be
suspected that Brother Jonathan was not quite so much of a simpleton as
had been thought. He had contributed his full share, if not to the
splendor, at least to the utilities of the exhibition. In fact, the
leading journal at London, with a magnanimity which did it honor,
admitted that England had derived more real benefit from the
contributions of the United States than from those of any other

As has been said, Mr. Peabody made the bulk of his colossal fortune in
the banking business. He had a firm faith in American securities, and
dealt in them largely, and with confidence. His business instinct was
remarkable, his judgment in mercantile and financial matters almost
infallible, and he made few mistakes. His course was now onward and
upward, and each year marked an increase of his wealth. His business
operations were conducted in pursuance of a rigid system which was never
relaxed. To the very close of his life he never abandoned the exact or
business-like manner in which he sought to make money. He gave away
millions with a generosity never excelled, yet he could be exacting to a
penny in the fulfillment of a contract.

In his youth he contracted habits of economy, and these he retained to
the last. Being unmarried, he did not subject himself to the expense of
a complete domestic establishment, but lived in chambers, and
entertained his friends at his club or at a coffee-house. His habits
were simple in every respect, and he was often seen making his dinner on
a mutton-chop at a table laden (at his cost) with the most sumptuous and
tempting viands. His personal expenses for ten years did not average
three thousand dollars per annum.

The conductor on an English railway once overcharged him a shilling for
fare. He promptly complained to the directors, and had the man
discharged. "Not," said he, "that I could not afford to pay the
shilling, but the man was cheating many travelers to whom the swindle
would be offensive."

Several years ago he chanced to ride in a hack in Salem, Massachusetts,
and upon reaching his destination tendered the driver his usual fee of
fifty cents.

"Here's your change, sir," said the man, handing him back fifteen cents.

"Change!" exclaimed Mr. Peabody; "why, I'm not entitled to any."

"Yes, you are; I don't charge but thirty-five cents for a ride in my

"How do you live, then?"

"By fair dealing, sir. I don't believe in making a man pay more than a
thing is worth just because I have an opportunity."

Mr. Peabody was so much pleased with this reply, that as long as he
remained in Salem he sought this man out and gave him his custom.

In his dress Mr. Peabody was simple and unostentatious. He was
scrupulously neat and tasteful, but there was nothing about him to
indicate his vast wealth. He seldom wore any jewelry, using merely a
black band for his watch-guard. Display of all kinds he abominated.

He made several visits to his native country during his last residence
in London, and commemorated each one of them by acts of princely
munificence. He gave large sums to the cause of education, and to
religious and charitable objects, and made each one of his near kindred
wealthy. None of his relatives received less than one hundred thousand
dollars, and some were given as much as three times that sum. He gave
immense sums to the poor of London, and became their benefactor to such
an extent that Queen Victoria sent him her portrait, which she had
caused to be executed for him at a cost of over forty thousand dollars,
in token of her appreciation of his services in behalf of the poor of
her realm.

Mr. Peabody made another visit to the United States in 1866, and upon
this occasion added large sums to many of the donations he had already
made in this country. He remained here until May, 1867, when he returned
to England. He came back in June, 1869, but soon sailed again for
England. His health had become very feeble, and it was his belief that
it would be better in the atmosphere of London, to which he had been so
long accustomed. His hope of recovery was vain. He failed to rally upon
reaching London, and died in that city on the 4th of November, 1869.

The news of his death created a profound sadness on both sides of the
Atlantic, for his native and his adopted country alike revered him as a
benefactor. The Queen caused his body to be placed in a vault in
Westminster Abbey, amidst the greatest and noblest of her kingdom, until
all was in readiness for its transportation to the United States in a
royal man-of-war. The Congress of the United States authorized the
President to make such arrangements for the reception of the body as he
should deem necessary. Sovereigns, statesmen, and warriors united to do
homage to the mortal remains of this plain, simple man, who, beginning
life a poor boy, and never departing from the character of an unassuming
citizen, had made humanity his debtor by his generosity and goodness. He
was borne across the ocean with kingly honors, two great nations acting
as chief mourners, and then, when the pomp and the splendor of the
occasion were ended, they laid him down in his native earth by the side
of the mother from whom he had imbibed those principles of integrity and
goodness which were the foundation of his fame and fortune.

It is impossible to obtain an accurate statement of the donations made
by Mr. Peabody to the objects which enlisted his sympathy. In addition
to those mentioned in the list below, he gave away for various public
purposes sums ranging from two hundred and fifty to one thousand
dollars, and extending back as far as the year 1835. He divided among
his relatives the sum of about three millions of dollars, giving them a
portion during his last visit to this country, and leaving them the
remainder at his death.

The following is a statement of his more important donations during his
life, including the bequests contained in his last will and testament:

To the State of Maryland, for negotiating the
   loan of $8,000,000.................................    $60,000
To the Peabody Institute, Baltimore, Md., including
   accrued interest...................................  1,500,000
To the Southern Education Fund........................  3,000,000
To Yale College.......................................    150,000
To Harvard College....................................    150,000
To Peabody Academy, Massachusetts.....................    140,000
To Phillips Academy, Massachusetts....................     25,000
To Peabody Institute, etc., at Peabody, Mass..........    250,000
To Kenyon College, Ohio...............................     25,000
To Memorial Church, in Georgetown, Mass...............    100,000
To Homes for the Poor in London.......................  3,000,000
To Libraries in Georgetown, Massachusetts,
   and Thetford, Vermont..............................     10,000
To Kane's Arctic Expedition...........................     10,000
To different Sanitary Fairs...........................     10,000
To unpaid moneys advanced to uphold the
   credit of States...................................     40,000

Total................................................. $8,470,000

The life of such a man affords lessons full of hope and encouragement to
others. In 1856, when on a visit to Danvers, now named Peabody, in honor
of him, its most distinguished son and greatest benefactor, he said:

"Though Providence has granted me an unvaried and unusual success in the
pursuit of fortune in other lands, I am still in heart the humble boy
who left yonder unpretending dwelling. There is not a youth within the
sound of my voice whose early opportunities and advantages are not very
much greater than were my own, and I have since achieved nothing that is
impossible to the most humble boy among you."






Staten Island lies in the beautiful bay of New York, seven miles distant
from the great city. Its lofty heights shut in the snug anchorage of the
inner bay, and protect it from the rude storms which howl along the
coast. It lies full in sight of the city, and is one of the most
beautiful and attractive of its suburbs. The commanding heights and
embowered shores are covered with villas and cottages, and afford a
pleasant and convenient summer resort for the people of New York. It now
contains a large and flourishing population, and maintains a speedy and
constant communication with the metropolis by means of steam
ferry-boats, the total travel on which sometimes reaches as many as ten
or twelve thousand passengers per day.

Seventy-six years ago, Staten Island was a mere country settlement, and
its communications with the city were maintained by means of a few
sail-boats, which made one trip each way per day.

One of these boats was owned and navigated by Cornelius Vanderbilt, a
thriving farmer, who owned a small but well cultivated estate on Staten
Island, near the present Quarantine Grounds. He was a man of exemplary
character, great industry, and was generally regarded as one of the most
prudent and reliable men on the island. Having a considerable amount of
produce to sell in the city, he purchased a boat of his own for the
purpose of transporting it thither. Frequently, residents of the island
would secure passage in this boat to the city in the morning, and return
with it in the evening. He realized a considerable sum of money in this
way, and finally ran his boat regularly between the island and the city.
This was the beginning of the New York and Staten Island Ferry. Mr.
Vanderbilt, by close application to his farm and boat, soon acquired a
property, which, though small, was sufficient to enable him to maintain
his family independently. His wife was a woman of more than usual
character, and aided him nobly in making his way in the world.

This admirable couple were blessed with nine children. The oldest of
these, CORNELIUS, the subject of this sketch, was born at the old
farm-house on Staten Island, on the 27th of May, 1794. He was a healthy,
active boy, fond of all manner of out-door sports, and manifesting an
unusual repugnance to the confinement and labors of the school-room. He
has since declared that the only books he remembers using at school were
the New Testament and the spelling-book. The result was, that he merely
learned to read, write, and cipher, and that imperfectly. He was
passionately fond of the water, and was never so well pleased as when
his father allowed him to assist in sailing his boat. He was also a
famous horseman from his earliest childhood, and even now recalls with
evident pride the fact that when but six years old he rode a race-horse
at full speed. When he set himself to accomplish any thing, he was not,
like most boys, deterred by the difficulties of his undertaking, but
persevered until success crowned his efforts. So early did he establish
his reputation for overcoming obstacles, that his boyish friends learned
to regard any task which he undertook as already virtually performed.

When he was only twelve years old his father contracted to remove the
cargo from a ship which had gone ashore near Sandy Hook, and to convey
it to New York. The lighters which were to carry the goods to the city
could not reach the ship, and it was necessary to haul the cargo,
transported in wagons, across the sands from the vessel to them. In
spite of his tender age, little Cornelius was placed by his father in
charge of the undertaking, which he accomplished promptly and
successfully. He loaded his lighters, sent them up to New York, and then
started for home with his wagons. Upon reaching South Amboy, where he
was to cross over to Staten Island, he found himself, with his wagons,
horses, and men, without any money to pay his ferriage across to the
island. The ferriage would amount to six dollars, and how he was to
raise this sum he was, for a time, at a loss to determine. Finally, he
went to the keeper of the tavern, to whom he was a stranger, and asked
for the loan of six dollars, offering to leave one of his horses as a
pledge for the money, which he promised to return within two days. The
tavern-keeper was so well pleased with the boy's energy, that he loaned
him the money, and the party crossed over to Staten Island. The pawned
horse was promptly redeemed.

Young Vanderbilt was always anxious to become a sailor, and, as he
approached his seventeenth year, he determined to begin life as a
boatman in the harbor of New York. On the 1st of May, 1810, he informed
his mother of his determination, and asked her to lend him one hundred
dollars to buy a boat.

The good lady had always opposed her son's wish to go to sea, and
regarded this new scheme as equally hair-brained. As a means of
discouraging him, she told him if he would plow, harrow, and plant with
corn a certain ten-acre lot belonging to the farm, by the twenty-seventh
of that month, on which day he would be seventeen years old, she would
lend him the money. The field was the worst in the whole farm; it was
rough, hard, and stony; but by the appointed time the work was done, and
well done, and the boy claimed and received his money. He hurried off to
a neighboring village, and bought his boat, in which he set out for
home. He had not gone far, however, when the boat struck a sunken wreck,
and filled so rapidly that the boy had barely time to get into shoal
water before it sank.


"Undismayed at this mishap," says Mr. Parton, from whose graphic memoir
the leading incidents of this sketch are taken, "he began his new
career. His success, as we have intimated, was speedy and great. He made
a thousand dollars during each of the next three summers. Often he
worked all night; but he was never absent from his post by day, and he
soon had the cream of the boating business of the port.

"At that day parents claimed the services and earnings of their children
till they were twenty-one. In other words, families made common cause
against the common enemy, Want. The arrangement between this young
boatman and his parents was, that he should give them all his day
earnings and half his night earnings. He fulfilled his engagement
faithfully until his parents released him from it, and with his own half
of his earnings by night, he bought all his clothes. He had forty
competitors in the business, who, being all grown men, could dispose of
their gains as they chose; but of all the forty, he alone has emerged to
prosperity and distinction. Why was this? There were several reasons. He
soon became the best boatman in the port. He attended to his business
more regularly and strictly than any other. He had no vices. His
comrades spent at night much of what they earned by day, and when the
winter suspended their business, instead of living on their last
summer's savings, they were obliged to lay up debts for the next
summer's gains to discharge. In those three years of willing servitude
to his parents, Cornelius Vanderbilt added to the family's common stock
of wealth, and gained for himself three things--a perfect knowledge of
his business, habits of industry and self-control, and the best boat in
the harbor."

During the War of 1812, young Vanderbilt was kept very busy. All the
harbor defenses were fully manned, and a number of war vessels were in
port all the time. The travel between these and the city was very great,
and boatmen were in demand.

In September, 1813, a British fleet attempted to run past Fort Richmond,
during a heavy gale. The commanding officer was anxious to send to New
York for reinforcements, but it was blowing so hard that none of the old
boatmen were willing to venture upon the bay. They all declared that if
the voyage could be made at all, Cornelius Vanderbilt was the only man
who could make it. The commandant at once sent for the young man, who,
upon learning the urgency of the case, expressed his belief that he
could carry the messengers to the city. "But," said he, "I shall have to
carry them part of the way under water." He set out with the messengers,
and in an hour landed them safe, but drenched through, at the foot of
Whitehall Street, which was then the landing place of all the boatmen of
the harbor.

He was now so prosperous in his calling that he determined to marry. He
had wooed and won the heart of Sophia Johnson, the daughter of a
neighbor, and he now asked his parents' consent to his marriage, and
also requested them to allow him to retain his own earnings, in order
that he might be able to support a wife. Both of his petitions received
the approval of his parents, and in the winter of 1813 he was married.
His wife was a woman of unusual personal beauty and strength of
character, and proved the best of partners. He has often declared since
that he owed his success in life as much to her counsel and assistance
as to his own efforts.

In the spring of 1814, it became known in America that the British were
fitting out a formidable military and naval expedition for the purpose
of attacking one of the Atlantic ports of the United States. The whole
coast was on the lookout, and, as it was feared that the blow would be
struck at New York, every precaution was taken to be ready. The militia
were called into service for three months, under a heavy penalty for
refusing to obey the call. The term of service thus marked out covered
the most prosperous season of the boatmen, and made the call fall
particularly hard upon them. About this time, an advertisement was
inserted in the city journals by the Commissary-General of the army,
calling for bids from boatmen for the purpose of conveying provisions
from New York to the various military posts in the vicinity. The labor
was to be performed during the three months for which the militia were
called out, and the contractor was to be exempted from all military duty
during that time. Bids poured in from the boatmen, who offered to do the
work at ridiculously low figures--the chief object of each one being to
secure the exemption.

Young Vanderbilt, knowing that the work could not be done at the rates
at which his comrades offered to perform it, at first decided not to bid
for it, but at length--and more to please his father than because he
expected to succeed--offered to transport the provisions at a price
which would enable him to be sure of doing it well and thoroughly. He
felt so little hope of success that he did not even trouble himself to
go to the office of the Commissary on the day of the awarding of the
contract, until he learned from his companions that all their efforts to
secure it had been ineffectual. Then he called on the Commissary, merely
through curiosity, to learn the name of the fortunate man, and to his
utter astonishment was told that the contract had been awarded to
himself. The Government was satisfied, from his sensible offer, that he
would do the business thoroughly, and this the Commissary assured him
was the reason why they had selected him.

There were six posts to be supplied--Harlem, Hell Gate, Ward's Island,
the Narrows, and one other in the harbor, each of which was to be
furnished with one load per week. The young contractor made arrangements
to have a daily load of stores ready for him each evening at six
o'clock, and thus performed all the duties of his contract at night,
which left him free to attend to his boating during the day. He never
failed to make a single delivery of stores, or to be absent from his
post on the beach at Whitehall one single day during the whole three
months. He was often without sleep, and performed an immense amount of
labor during this period; but his indomitable energy and powerful
physical organization carried him safely through it all.

He made a great deal of money that summer, and with his earnings built a
splendid little schooner, which he named the "Dread." In 1815, in
connection with his brother-in-law, Captain De Forrest, he built a fine
schooner, called the "Charlotte," for the coasting service. She was
celebrated for the beauty of her model and her great speed. He continued
to ply his boat in the harbor during the summer, but in the fall and
winter made voyages along the coast, often as far south as Charleston.
During the three years succeeding the termination of the war he saved
nine thousand dollars in cash, and built two or three small vessels.
This was his condition in 1818.

By this time it had become demonstrated to his satisfaction that the new
system of steamboats was a success, and was destined to come into
general use at no very distant day. He therefore determined to identify
himself with it at once, and thereby secure the benefits which he felt
sure would result from a prompt connection with it. Accordingly, in
1818, to the surprise and dismay of his friends, he gave up his
flourishing business, in order to accept the captaincy of a steamboat
which was offered him by Mr. Thomas Gibbons. The salary attached to this
position was one thousand dollars, and Captain Vanderbilt's friends
frankly told him that he was very foolish in abandoning a lucrative
business for so insignificant a sum. Turning a deaf ear to their
remonstrances, however, he entered promptly upon the duties of his new
career, and was given command of a steamboat plying between New York and
New Brunswick.

Passengers to Philadelphia, at that day, were transported by steamer
from New York to New Brunswick, where they remained all night. The next
morning they took the stage for Trenton, from which they were conveyed
by steamer to Philadelphia. The hotel at New Brunswick was a miserable
affair, and had never paid expenses. When Captain Vanderbilt took
command of the steamer, he was offered the hotel rent free, and accepted
the offer. He placed the house in charge of his wife, under whose
vigorous administration it soon acquired a popularity which was of the
greatest benefit to the line.

For seven years he was harassed and hampered by the hostility of the
State of New York, which had granted to Fulton and Livingston the sole
right to navigate New York waters by steam. Thomas Gibbons believed this
law to be unconstitutional, and ran his boats in defiance of it. The
authorities of the State resented his disregard of their monopoly, and a
long and vexatious warfare sprang up between them, which was ended only
in 1824, by the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in
favor of Mr. Gibbons.

As a means of crippling Gibbons, the New York authorities at one time
determined to arrest Vanderbilt and his crew; but the wary captain was
too cunning for them. He would land his crew in Jersey City, and take
charge of the engine himself, while a lady managed the helm. In this way
he approached the wharf at New York, landed his passengers, and took on
more. As soon as he had made his boat fast, he concealed himself in the
hold until the moment of his departure. As soon as he appeared on deck,
the Sheriff's officer (who was changed every day to avoid recognition)
would approach him with a warrant for his arrest. His reply was an
order to let go the line. The officer, unwilling to be carried off to
New Jersey, where he was threatened with imprisonment in the
penitentiary for interfering with the steamer, would at once jump
ashore, or beg to be landed. This was kept up for two months, but the
captain successfully baffled his enemies during the whole of that
period. The opponents of Mr. Gibbons offered a larger and better boat
than the one he commanded if he would enter their service, but he firmly
declined all their offers, avowing his determination to remain with Mr.
Gibbons until the difficulty was settled.

After the decision of the Supreme Court placed Mr. Gibbons in the full
enjoyment of his rights, Captain Vanderbilt was allowed to manage the
line in his own way, and conducted it with so much skill and vigor that
it paid its owner an annual profit of forty thousand dollars. Mr.
Gibbons offered to increase his salary to five thousand dollars, but he
refused to accept the offer.

"I did it on principle," he said, afterward. "The other captains had but
one thousand, and they were already jealous enough of me. Besides, I
never cared for money. All I ever cared for was to carry my point."


In 1829 he determined to leave the service of Mr. Gibbons, with whom he
had been connected for eleven years. He was thirty-five years old, and
had saved thirty thousand dollars. He resolved to build a steamer of his
own, and command her himself, and accordingly made known his intention
to his employer. Mr. Gibbons at once declared that he could not carry on
the line without his assistance, and told him he might make his own
terms if he would stay with him. Captain Vanderbilt had formed his
decision after much thought, and being satisfied that he was doing
right, he persisted in his determination to set up for himself. Mr.
Gibbons then offered to sell him the line on the spot, and to take his
pay as the money should be earned. It was a splendid offer, but it was
firmly and gratefully refused. The captain knew the men among whom he
would be thrown, and that they could never act together harmoniously. He
believed his own ideas to be the best, and wished to be free to carry
them out.

After leaving Mr. Gibbons he built a small steamer, called the
"Caroline," which he commanded himself. In a few years he was the owner
of several other small steamers plying between New York and the
neighboring towns. He made slow progress at first, for he had strong
opposition to overcome. The steamboat interest was in the hands of
powerful companies, backed by immense capital, and these companies were
not disposed to tolerate the interference of any new-comer. They met
their match in all cases, however, for Vanderbilt inaugurated so sharp a
business opposition that the best of them were forced to compromise with
him. These troubles were very annoying to him, and cost him nearly every
dollar he was worth, but he persevered, and at length "carried his

From that time he made his way gradually in his business, until he rose
to the head of the steamboat interest of the United States. He has owned
or been interested in one hundred steam vessels, and has been
instrumental in a greater degree than any other man in bringing down the
tariff of steamboat fares. He never builds a vessel without giving his
personal superintendence to every detail, so that all his various craft
have been models of their kind. He selects his officers with the
greatest care, pays them liberal salaries, and, as long as they do their
duty, sustains them against all outside interference or intrigue. In
this way he inspires them with zeal, and the result is that he has never
lost a vessel by fire, explosion, or wreck.

He built the famous steamer "North Star," and made a triumphal cruise
in her to the Old World. It is said that he was at one time very anxious
to divide the business of the ocean with the Collins Line of steamers.
When the "Arctic" was lost he applied to Mr. Collins to allow his
steamer to run in her place. He promised to make no claim for the mail
subsidy which Collins received, and to take the vessel off as soon as
Collins could build another to take her place. Mr. Collins was afraid to
let Mr. Vanderbilt get any hold on the foreign trade of the country, and
not only refused his request, but did so in a manner which roused the
anger of the veteran, who thereupon told Mr. Collins that he would run
his line off the ocean if it took his whole life and entire fortune to
do it. He kept his word. He at once offered the Government to carry the
mails more promptly and regularly than had ever been done before, and to
do this for a term of years without asking one single cent as subsidy.
It was well known that he was perfectly able to do what he promised, and
he pressed the matter upon the Government so vigorously that he was
successful. The subsidy to Collins was withdrawn, and the magnificent
line soon fell to pieces in consequence of the bankruptcy of its owner,
who might have averted his fate by the exercise of a little liberality.

Of late years, Mr. Vanderbilt has been withdrawing his money from ships
and steamers, and investing it in railroads and iron works. Success has
attended him in all his ventures, and he is to-day worth over thirty
millions of dollars. He controls the Hudson River, Harlem, and New York
Central Roads, and is largely interested in many others. He is all
powerful in the stock market, and can move it as he will.

A few years ago he wished to consolidate the Hudson River and Harlem
Railroads, and when the scheme was presented before the Legislature of
New York, secured a sufficient number of votes to insure the passage of
the bill authorizing the consolidation. Before the bill was called up on
its final passage, however, he learned from a trustworthy source that
the members of the Legislature who had promised to vote for the bill
were determined to vote against it, with the hope of ruining him. The
stock of Harlem Road was then selling very high, in consequence of the
expected consolidation. The defeat of the bill would, of course, cause
it to fall immediately. The unprincipled legislators at once commenced a
shrewd game. They sold Harlem right and left, to be delivered at a
future day, and found plenty of purchasers. They let their friends into
the secret, and there was soon a great deal of "selling 'short'" in this
stock.[A] Commodore Vanderbilt, although indignant at the treachery of
which he was to be made the victim, held his peace. He went into the
market quietly, with all the funds he could raise, purchased every
dollar's worth of Harlem stock he could lay his hands on, and locked it
up in his safe. When the bill came before the Legislature on its final
passage, the members who had pledged themselves to vote for it voted
against it, and it was rejected.

[Footnote A: For the benefit of the uninitiated reader, we will explain
the "game" more clearly. Harlem stock was selling at a high price, in
consequence of the expected consolidation. Those who sold "short" at
this time sold at the market price, which, as we have said, was high. By
engaging to deliver at some future day, they expected to be able to buy
the stock for little or nothing after the defeat of the bill, and then
to demand for it the price for which they had sold it in the first
place. Such a transaction was infamous, but would have enabled those
engaged in it to realize immense sums by the difference in the price of
the stock.]

The speculators were jubilant. They were sure that the defeat of the
bill would bring down "Harlem" with a rush. To their astonishment,
however, "Harlem" did not fall. It remained stationary the first day,
and then, to their dismay, began to rise steadily. Those to whom they
had sold demanded the delivery of the stock, but the speculators found
it impossible to buy it. There was none in the market at any price.
Being unable to deliver stock, they were forced to pay its equivalent in
money, and the result was, that all who were engaged in the infamous
scheme were ruined. One of the shrewdest operators in New York lost over
two hundred thousand dollars. He refused to pay, but his name was at
once stricken from the list of stock-brokers. This brought him to terms,
and he made good his contracts. Vanderbilt made enough money out of this
effort to crush him to pay for all the stock he owned in the Harlem

During the rebellion, Commodore Vanderbilt was one of the stanchest
supporters of the Government. Early in the struggle he equipped his
splendid steamer, the "Vanderbilt," as a man-of-war, and offered her to
the Navy Department at a fair price. He found that, in order to sell the
vessel, he would have to pay a percentage of the price received for her
to certain parties who stood between the Government and the purchase,
and levied black mail upon every ship the Government bought. Indignant
and disgusted, he withdrew his ship, and declared she was not for sale.
Then, satisfying himself that she was in perfect condition, he presented
her to the Navy Department _as a free gift to the nation_.

Says a recent writer, whose fondness for courtly similes the reader must
pardon, for the sake of the information he imparts: "No man is felt in
Wall Street more than Commodore Vanderbilt, yet he is seldom seen there.
All of his business is done in his office in Fourth Street. Here his
brokers meet him, receive their orders, and give reports. Here the plans
are laid that shake the street, and Wall Street trembles at the foot of
an invisible autocrat. If the reader would care to visit the court of
that great railroad king, whose name has become the terror of Wall
Street, he may accompany us to a plain brick residence in Fourth Street,
near Broadway, and distant from Wall Street nearly two miles. No sign
indicates its imperial occupant, except that the upper story being
occupied as a millinery establishment bears a legend of that character.
However, as we enter the hall, we notice the word 'office,' and open the
door thus inscribed. Here we see a table, a few chairs, and a desk, at
which a solitary clerk of middle age is standing at work.

"The walls are bare, with the exception of a few pictures of those
steamships which originated the title of 'Commodore,' This is the
ante-chamber, and a pair of folding doors screen the king from vulgar
gaze. He is closeted with his marshals, and this privy council will last
an hour or so. One after the other they depart, and before three o'clock
the effect of this council will not only be felt in Wall Street, but
will be flashed over the Union. At length you are permitted to enter.
The folding door is opened, and you behold an office as plain in
appearance as the one just described. It contains a few arm-chairs and a
long business-table, thrown flush before you, on the opposite side of
which sits a large man, with his face fronting you. He is writing, and
his eyes are fixed on the paper, so that you have a moment to note the
dignity of frame and the vast development of brain. In a few minutes the
countenance raises, and you meet its expansive and penetrating glance.

"You face the king. He smiles in a pleasant and whole-souled manner, and
in a moment puts you at ease. No stiffness nor formality here. His
kingship is in himself, not in etiquette. He is ready for a pleasantry,
and will initiate one if it comes in the line of conversation. You note
those wonderful eyes, bright and piercing, and so large and rich that
one is fascinated, and does not know how to stop gazing into them. Such
is the appearance of the railway king, and you take your leave,
conscious that some men, as Shakespeare says, 'are born great.' Indeed,
we know a man who would rather give five dollars to sit and look at
Commodore Vanderbilt for an hour than to see any other sight in this
city. Next door to the office is a building of brown stone, with
spacious doors and a roadway. This is the Commodore's stable, where are
some of the finest horses in the country.

"Every afternoon he is wont to take an airing, and after tea a game of
whist affords an evening amusement. The Commodore is simple in his
manners and habits. He is a representative of a former age, when men
lived less artificially than at the present time, and when there was
more happiness and less show. As for business, it is his nature. He can
not help being king. He is but developing himself, and any other mode of
life would be painful. He has in the Central afforded a third wonder,
the Harlem and the Hudson River being the first and second, and if he
gets the Erie he will soon show the world another wonder. On Sundays the
Commodore attends Dr. Hutton's church on Washington Square, and here his
tall and dignified form may be seen, head and shoulders above the rest
of the congregation. He is a friend of the pastor, who takes a deep
interest in his welfare, and we hope will meet him in a better world. He
stood by the Commodore's side when his wife was laid in the tomb, and
cheered him in that dark and trying hour. Among his more recent works is
the completing of a tomb in the old Moravian burial-ground in Staten
Island. The subterranean chamber is about thirty feet square, and is
surmounted by a lofty shaft, and a statue of grief adds a peculiar
finish to the spot. The cemetery is on an eminence, from which one gets
a fine view of the ocean, dotted with ships."

Commodore Vanderbilt's early passion for horses still survives, and his
stable contains some of the finest in the world. Nothing pleases him so
well as to sit behind a fast team, with the reins in his hands, and fly
along the road with almost the speed of the wind.

He is extremely generous to his friends, and gives liberally to
charitable objects. He never puts his name to a subscription paper, but
his donations are none the less liberal for that. His old
acquaintances--especially those of his boyhood--find him a tender
friend, and many of them owe to his bounty the comforts which surround
their age.[A]

He is the father of thirteen children--nine daughters and four
sons--nearly all of whom are still living. A few years ago, at the
celebration of his golden wedding, over one hundred and forty of his
descendants and relatives assembled to congratulate him. He lost a
promising son during the war, and his wife died two years ago. Not long
since he married a second time. He is still one of the handsomest and
most imposing men in New York, and will doubtless live to see his
children's grandchildren.

[Footnote A: In July, 1870, Mr. Vanderbilt chanced to hear that the Rev.
Dr. Deems, of New York, was in want of a church. Admiring the energy
with which the reverend gentleman had built up his congregation in the
short space of three years, Mr. Vanderbilt quietly made up his mind that
he should not want in vain. Accordingly he bought the Mercer Street
Presbyterian Church, and made the Doctor a present of it, keeping him in
ignorance of his intention until he placed the title deeds in his hand.]



The name of DANIEL DREW has so long been familiar in the financial
circles of the country, that it is surprising that the history of his
life is not more generally known.

He was born at Carmel, in Putnam County, New York, on the 29th of July,
1797. His father was a small farmer, with limited means, and had to work
hard to provide his family with food and clothing. Young Daniel was
brought up to work on the farm, and at such times as he could be spared
from this work, was sent to the country school in the neighborhood,
where he acquired but a meager stock of learning. When he was fifteen
years old, his father died, leaving his family in an almost helpless
condition. Young Daniel remained on the farm three years longer, and in
1815, being then eighteen years old, stared out to try and earn a living
for himself.

He came to New York in search of employment, but the country, just then,
was in too depressed a condition to afford him a chance in any regular
business. After looking around for awhile, he at length became a cattle
drover. He spent five years in driving cattle from Putnam County to New
York for sale, but failed to make any money at the business.

In 1820, he removed to New York, and established his headquarters at
the famous Bull's Head Tavern, in the Bowery, which was the great resort
of the butchers and drovers doing business in the city. He kept this
tavern a part of the time, and found it quite a profitable investment.
He soon formed a partnership with two other drovers, and commenced
buying cattle in the adjoining counties and bringing them to New York
for sale.


These ventures were so successful that the operations of the firm were
extended into Pennsylvania, and finally into Ohio and the other States
of the great West. Mr. Drew and his partners brought over the mountains
the first drove of cattle that ever came from the West into New York
city. The cattle, two thousand in number, were collected into droves of
one hundred each, and were driven by experienced and careful men. The
journey occupied two months, and the total cost of the purchase and trip
was twenty-four dollars per head. The profit on the venture was very

Mr. Drew continued in this business for fourteen years, slowly and
carefully laying the foundations of that immense fortune which has made
him so conspicuous, an example to others who have entered upon the
life-struggle since then.

In 1834, an event occurred which changed the whole tenor of his career.
In that year, the steamer "General Jackson," owned by Jacob Vanderbilt
(a brother of the famous Commodore), and plying between New York and
Peekskill, blew up at Grassy Point. A friend of Mr. Drew at once put a
boat called the "Water Witch" in her place, and Mr. Drew, to oblige his
friend, advanced one thousand dollars toward the enterprise. Commodore
Vanderbilt was not willing that any rival should contest the river trade
with him, and built a steamer called the "Cinderella," with which he ran
a sharp opposition to Mr. Drew. The contest was so sharp that fares and
freights were lowered to a ridiculous figure, and both parties lost
heavily. At the end of the season, the owner of the "Water Witch" found
himself ten thousand dollars in debt, and sold his boat to Drew, Kelly &
Richards for twenty thousand dollars.

Finding that Mr. Drew was not frightened off by his opposition,
Commodore Vanderbilt urged him to withdraw from his attempt, telling him
he knew nothing of the management of steamboats. Mr. Drew refused to be
intimidated; however, and continued his efforts. Since then, there have
been fifty attempts to run him off the river, but all alike have failed
of success.

In 1836, the "Water Witch" was replaced by a fine steamer called the
"Westchester," which was subsequently run as a day boat to Hartford,
Connecticut. The "Westchester" was run against the Hudson River Line,
from New York to Albany. The Hudson River Line at that time owned the
"De Witt Clinton," the "North America," and others--the finest
steamboats then afloat--and it seemed at first foolhardiness for any
one to attempt to oppose so popular a company. Mr. Drew and his
partners bought the "Bright Emerald," for which they gave twenty-six
thousand dollars, and ran her as a night boat between New York and
Albany, reducing the fare from three dollars to one dollar. During the
season, they bought the "Rochester" for fifty thousand dollars, and also
bought out the Hudson River Line, after which they restored the fare to
three dollars.

Several years later, Isaac Newton, who was largely interested in the
towing business of the Hudson, built two splendid passenger steamers
called the "North America" and the "South America." In 1840, Mr. Drew
formed a partnership with Mr. Newton, and the celebrated "People's Line"
was organized, which purchased all the passenger steamers owned by Drew
and Newton. Mr. Drew was the largest stockholder in this company, which,
to-day, after a lapse of nearly thirty years, still owns the most
magnificent and popular steamers in the world. Soon after its
organization, the company built the "Isaac Newton," the first of those
floating palaces for which the Hudson is famed. Since then, it has built
the "New World," the "St. John," the "Dean Richmond," and the "Drew,"
the last two of which cost over seven' hundred thousand dollars each.
Repeated efforts have been made to drive this line from the river, but
it has been conducted so judiciously and energetically, that, for nearly
thirty years, it has held the first place in the public favor.

In 1847, George Law and Daniel Drew formed a partnership, and
established a line of steamers between New York and Stonington, for the
purpose of connecting with the railroad from the latter place to Boston.
The "Oregon" and the "Knickerbocker" were placed on the route, and the
enterprise proved a success. Mr. Drew and Commodore Vanderbilt secured a
sufficient amount of stock in the railroad to give them a controlling
interest in it, and by the year 1850 the Stonington Steamboat Line was
firmly established.

When the Hudson River Railroad was opened, in 1852, it was confidently
expected that the steamboat trade on the river would be destroyed, and
the friends and enemies of Mr. Drew alike declared that he might as well
lay up his boats, as he would find it impossible to compete with the
faster time of the railroad. He was not dismayed, however, for he was
satisfied that the land route could not afford to carry freight and
passengers as cheap as they could be transported by water. He knew that
it would only be necessary to reduce his passenger and freight rates
below those of the railroad, to continue in the enjoyment of his immense
business, and his faith in the steady expansion of the trade of the city
induced him to believe that the time was close at hand when railroad and
steamers would all have as much as they could do to accommodate it. His
views were well founded, and his hopes have been more than realized. The
river trade has steadily increased, while the Hudson River Railroad is
taxed to its utmost capacity to accommodate its immense traffic.

In 1849, Mr. Drew, in connection with other parties, bought out the
Champlain Transportation Company. This corporation had a capital of one
hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and ran a line of five steamers from
White Hall to the Canada end of the lake. The new proprietors ran the
line seven years, and in 1856 sold out to the Saratoga and White Hall
Railroad Company.

As a steamboat manager, Daniel Drew has few equals and no superiors. His
ventures on the water have all been crowned with success, a result due
entirely to his judicious and liberal management His employés are chosen
with the greatest care, and generally remain with him during their
lives. He is very liberal in his dealings with those who serve him
faithfully, but will not tolerate a single careless or incompetent man,
however unimportant may be his position. The steamers owned by him are
almost entirely free from accidents, and such misfortunes as have
befallen them have been those against which no skill or foresight could
guard. He refuses to insure his boats, holding that care and prudence
are the best safeguards against accidents, and thus saves half a million
dollars. When the "Dean Richmond" was run down by the "Vanderbilt," a
year or two ago, he lost nearly three hundred thousand dollars. He paid
every claim presented by shippers and passengers, as soon as made,
without submitting one of them to the adjudication of the courts.

In 1836, Mr. Drew entered the banking business in Wall Street, and in
1840 established the widely-known firm of Drew, Robinson & Co. This
house engaged largely in the financial operations of the day, and became
known as one of the most uniformly successful in its dealings of any in
the city. Mr. Drew remained at the head of it for thirteen years, but in
1855 withdrew to make room for his son-in-law, Mr. Kelley. This
gentleman died soon after his connection with the firm, and Mr. Drew
resumed his old place.

Having succeeded so well in all his ventures, Mr. Drew now determined to
enter another field. Railroad stocks were very profitable, and might be
made to yield him an immense return for his investments, and he decided
to invest a considerable part of his fortune in them. In 1855, he
endorsed the acceptances of the Erie Railroad Company for five hundred
thousand dollars. This was the first decided evidence the public had
received of his immense wealth, and in 1857 another was given by his
endorsement of a fresh lot of Erie acceptances amounting to a million
and a half of dollars. This last indorsement was made in the midst of
the great financial panic of 1857, and occasioned no little comment. Men
could admire, though they could not understand, the sublime confidence
which enabled Mr. Drew to risk a million and a half of dollars in the
midst of such a terrible crisis. Some one asked him if he could sleep
quietly at night with such large interests at stake. "Sir," he replied,
calmly, "I have never lost a night's rest on account of business in my

In 1857, Mr. Drew was elected a director of the Erie Railroad Company, a
position he held until recently. He was subsequently elected treasurer
of the company, and is one of the principal holders of Erie stock. He is
also one of the principal creditors of the company. The recent
proceedings in the New York courts to prevent the Erie Road from issuing
the new stock necessary to complete its broad-gauge connections with the
West, are too fresh in the mind of the reader to need a recital of them
here. It was proposed to issue ten millions of dollars worth of new
stock, and Mr. Drew was to guarantee the bonds. After a tedious and
costly suit, in which the New York Central Road endeavored to prevent
the issue of the stock, in the hope of keeping the Erie Road from
forming through connections with the West, the New York Legislature
legalized the new issue, and a compromise was effected between Mr. Drew,
in behalf of the Erie Road, and Commodore Vanderbilt, who represented
the New York Central.

Mr. Drew still continues his operations in Wall Street, where he is
known as one of the boldest and most extensive, as well as one of the
most successful, of all the operators in railroad stocks. Though losing
heavily at times, he has nevertheless been one of fortune's favorites.
His efforts have not been confined to the Erie Road. He owns stock in
other roads, and, together with Commodore Vanderbilt, took up the
floating debt of over half a million of dollars which weighed down the
Harlem Road, and placed it in its present prosperous condition.

He owns a fine grazing farm on the Harlem Railroad, about fifty miles
from New York. It is situated in Carmel, in Putnam County; is nearly one
thousand acres in extent, and includes the old farm on which he was
born. He has made it one of the finest and most profitable in the State,
and, it is said, values it above all his other possessions. He has
improved and beautified it upon an extensive scale, and near the old
grave-yard, where his parents lie sleeping, he has built one of the most
beautiful churches in the land.

In 1811, Mr. Drew became a member of the Methodist Church, but for
twenty-five years this connection was merely nominal. During all the
years of his drover's life he kept himself free from the sins of
intemperance and swearing. Once while riding out in a buggy with a
friend, to look at some cattle, a thunder-storm came on, and his horse
was killed in the shafts by lightning. This narrow escape from death
made a deep impression on his mind, and in 1841 he united with the
Mulberry Street Methodist Church, of which he became an active member
and a trustee. The elegant marble structure now standing at the corner
of Fourth Avenue and Twenty-second Street attests his liberality to this
congregation. He is a trustee in the Wesleyan University, and has
largely endowed that institution; and within the past few years has
contributed several hundred thousand dollars for the endowment of the
Drew Theological Seminary, which has been established at Madison, New
Jersey, for the education of candidates for the Methodist ministry. He
gives largely in aid of missionary work, and is one of the most liberal
men in his denomination. It is said that he gives away at least one
hundred thousand dollars annually in private charities, besides the
large donations with which the public are familiar. He selects his own
charities, and refuses promptly to aid those which do not commend
themselves to him.

His property is estimated at twenty millions of dollars, and he is said
to earn at least half a million of dollars every year. He has two
children, a son and a daughter, the latter of whom is the wife of a
clergyman of the Baptist Church.

Mr. Drew is about five feet ten inches high, and slenderly made. He is
very active and vigorous for his age, and looks a much younger man than
he is. His expression is firm, but withal pleasant. His features are
regular, but dark and deeply marked, while his black hair is still
unstreaked with gray. He is courteous and friendly in his intercourse,
and is very much liked by his acquaintances.



James B. Eads was born in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, in the year 1820. His
father was a man of moderate means, and was able to give him a fair
English education. From his earliest childhood he evinced a remarkable
fondness for all sorts of machinery and mechanical arrangements. This
fondness became at length a passion, and excited the surprise of his
friends, who could not imagine why a mere child should be so much
interested in such things. His greatest delight was to go to the machine
shops in his neighborhood, in which he had many friends, and watch the
workings of the various inventions employed therein.

When he was nine years old his father removed to Louisville, Kentucky.
During the voyage down the Ohio, young Eads passed the most of his time
in watching the engines of the steamer. The engineer was so much pleased
to see his interest in the machinery that he explained the whole system
of the steam-engine to him. The boy listened eagerly, and every word
remained fixed in his mind. Two years later, with no further instruction
on the subject, he constructed a miniature engine, which was worked by
steam. This, for a boy of eleven years, was no insignificant triumph of
genius. His father, anxious to encourage such unmistakable talent, now
fitted up a small workshop for him, in which he constructed models of
saw mills, fire engines, steamboats, and electrotyping machines. When he
was only twelve years old he was able to take to pieces and reset the
family clock and a patent lever watch, using no tool for this purpose
but his pocket-knife.

At the age of thirteen his pleasant employment was brought to a sudden
end. His father lost all his property by the failure of some commercial
transactions, and the family was brought to the verge of ruin. It now
became necessary for young Eads to labor for his own support, and for
that of his mother and sisters. Boy as he was, he faced the crisis
bravely. Having in vain sought employment in Louisville, he resolved to
go to St. Louis. He worked his passage there on a river steamer, and
landed in that city so poor that he had neither shoes to his feet nor a
coat to his back. He found it as difficult to procure work here as it
had been in Louisville, and was at length compelled to resort to
peddling apples on the street in order to secure a living. He did this
for some time, never relaxing his efforts to obtain more desirable

After many attempts he succeeded in getting a situation in a mercantile
house, at a fair salary. One of his employers was a man of wealth and
culture, and was possessed of one of the finest private libraries in the
West. Learning the extraordinary mechanical talent possessed by his
young clerk, this gentleman placed his library at his disposal. The
offer was promptly and gratefully accepted, and young Eads devoted
almost all his leisure time to the study of mechanics, machinery, and
civil engineering. He remained with this house for several years, and
then obtained a clerkship on one of the Mississippi River steamers,
where he passed several years more. During this time he became
intimately acquainted with the great river and its tributaries, and
acquired an extensive knowledge of all subjects appertaining to western
navigation, which proved of great service to him in his after life.

In 1842, being then twenty-two years old, and having saved a moderate
sum of money, he formed a copartnership with Messrs. Case & Nelson, boat
builders, of St. Louis, for the purpose of recovering steamboats and
their cargoes which had been sunk or wrecked in the Mississippi.
Accidents of this kind were then very common in those waters, and the
business bade fair to be very profitable. The enterprise succeeded
better than had been expected, and the operations of the wrecking
company extended from Galena, Illinois, to the Balize, and into many of
the tributaries of the great river. The parties interested in the scheme
realized a handsome profit on their investments. Mr. Eads was the
practical man of the concern, and worked hard to establish it upon a
successful footing. In 1845 he sold out his interest in the company, and
established a glass manufactory in St. Louis. This was the first
enterprise of the kind ever attempted west of the Mississippi. Two years
later, in 1847, he organized a new company for the purpose of recovering
boats and cargoes lost in the Mississippi and its tributaries. This
company started with a capital of fifteen hundred dollars. It was slow
work at first, but a steady improvement was made every year, and in
1857, just ten years from the date of their organization, the property
of the firm was valued at more than half a million of dollars. During
the winter of 1856-'57, Mr. Eads laid before Congress a formal
proposition to remove the obstructions from the western rivers and keep
them open for a term of years, upon payment of a reasonable sum by the
General Government. Had this proposition been accepted, the benefits
thereby secured to all who were engaged in the navigation of those
rivers would have been very great. A bill was reported in Congress
authorizing the acceptance of Mr. Eads' offer, but was defeated through
the influence of the Senators from Mississippi (Jefferson Davis) and
Louisiana (J.P. Benjamin).

In 1857, Mr. Eads was compelled, on account of ill-health, to retire
from business. He had earned a handsome fortune by his industry and
enterprise, and could well afford to rest for a short time, preparatory,
as it afterward proved, to the most important part of his whole career.

When the secession troubles began to agitate the country, toward the
close of the year 1860, Mr. Eads cast the weight of his private and
public influence on the side of the Union. He felt that the war, if it
should come, would be a very serious affair for the West, as the
prosperity of that section depends largely upon the absolute freedom of
the navigation of the Mississippi. The Confederates well understood
this, and prepared from the first to close the great river until their
independence should be acknowledged by the General Government. Dr.
Boynton, in his "History of the United States Navy During the
Rebellion," thus describes the condition of affairs in the West, a
proper understanding of which will show the reader the importance of the
services subsequently rendered by Mr. Eads:

     The main features of the rebel plan of war in the West were to
     seize and hold Missouri, and, as a consequence, Kansas and
     Nebraska, and thus threaten or invade the free States of the
     North-west from that point; to hold Kentucky and Tennessee, and, if
     possible, to cross the Ohio, and make the Northern States the
     theater of the war; or, in case they should be unable to invade the
     North, to maintain their battle line unbroken along the Ohio and
     through Missouri; to keep the great rivers closed, and thus holding
     back the North, and being secure within their own territory, at
     length compel the recognition of their independence. They certainly
     presented to the North a most formidable front, a line of defenses
     which was indeed impregnable to any means of assault which the
     Government at first possessed. No army could be moved into
     Tennessee by land alone, because the line of communication with a
     Northern base could not be held secure, and a defeat far from the
     Ohio would be the destruction of an army, and open the road for an
     invasion of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, and the destruction of
     their cities.

     It was quite evident that no impression could be made upon the
     power of the rebellion in the West, until a firm foothold could be
     gained in Kentucky and Tennessee, and until the Mississippi could
     be wrested from the conspirators' control. It was clear that the
     whole seaboard might be regained, even to Florida, and yet the
     rebellion remain as dangerous as ever, if the rebels could hold the
     Mississippi River and the valley up to or near the Ohio.

     France was looking with eager eyes toward Texas, in the hope of
     securing and extending her Mexican usurpation. England was ready to
     give all the assistance in her power to any step which would weaken
     the North; and had the rebels been pressed back from the seaports
     and the Northern Atlantic slope, they would have had it in their
     power, if still holding the Mississippi, the South-west, including
     Tennessee, and the great natural fortresses of the mountains, to
     have so connected themselves with Mexico and France as to have
     caused the most serious embarrassment. It became absolutely
     necessary to the success of the Government that the rebels'
     northern line of defenses should be broken through, and that the
     Mississippi should be opened to its mouth.

     At first, and before the nature of the work was fully understood,
     the whole was placed under the direction of the War Department, as
     it was thought the few armed transports which would be needed would
     be a mere appendage of the army. The idea of a formidable river
     navy of a hundred powerful steamers did not in the beginning enter
     into the minds of any.

     It was soon seen, however, that an entirely new description of
     craft was needed for this work. It was clear that the river boats,
     which had been built for the common purposes of freight and
     passage, were not capable of resisting the fire of heavy artillery,
     and that the batteries of the rebels could not be captured nor even
     passed by them. They could not even be safely employed alone in the
     transportation of troops, for they could be sunk or crippled by the
     field batteries that could be moved from point to point. The
     question of iron-clads was proposed, but with only the ocean
     iron-clads as a guide, who should conceive the proper form of an
     armored boat which could navigate our rivers and compete
     successfully with the heavy guns, rifled as well as smooth-bore, of
     the fortifications. It was by no means easy to solve this problem,
     but it was absolutely necessary that the attempt should be made....
     These forts could only be reduced by the aid of gunboats, and
     these were almost literally to be created.

There was in the Cabinet of President Lincoln at this time a western
man, intimately acquainted with the steamboat interest of the
Mississippi. This was Edward Bates, the Attorney-General of the United
States. He was an old friend of Mr. Eads, and felt assured that in case
of war the services of that gentleman would be of the greatest value to
the country. When it was found that hostilities could not be avoided, he
mentioned the name of Mr. Eads to the Cabinet, and strongly urged that
his services should be secured at the earliest possible moment. On the
17th of April, 1861, three days after Fort Sumter had fallen, he wrote
to Mr. Eads, who was living in comfortable retirement, at St. Louis: "Be
not surprised if you are called here suddenly by telegram. If called,
come instantly. In a certain contingency it will be necessary to have
the aid of the most thorough knowledge of our western rivers, and the
use of steam on them, and in that event I have advised that you should
be consulted."

A few days later Mr. Eads was summoned to Washington. Mr. Bates there
explained to him in full a plan he had conceived for occupying Cairo,
and endeavoring to hold the Mississippi by means of gunboats. Mr. Eads
warmly indorsed the plan, and was introduced by Mr. Bates to the
President and members of the Cabinet. When the plan was proposed to the
Cabinet, the Secretary of War pronounced it unnecessary and
impracticable, but the Secretary of the Navy was much impressed with
it, and requested Mr. Eads to submit his views in writing, which was
done. The paper embodied Judge Bates's general plan in addition to Mr.
Eads's own views, and contained suggestions as to the kind of boats best
fitted for service on the western rivers, and also in regard to the best
points on those streams for the erection of land batteries. This paper
was submitted to the Navy Department on the 29th of April, 1861, and was
referred by the Secretary to Commodore Paulding, who reported in favor
of its adoption.

The Secretary of the Navy now detailed Captain John Rodgers to accompany
Mr. Eads to the West, and purchase and fit out such steamers as should
be found necessary for the service. Up to this time the Secretary of War
had manifested the most supreme indifference in regard to the whole
subject, but he now claimed entire jurisdiction in the matter, and this
interference caused considerable vexation and delay. At length he issued
an order to Mr. Eads and Captain Rodgers to proceed with their
purchases. These gentlemen obtained the approval of General McClellan,
in whose department the purchases were to be made, and began their

Upon arriving at Cairo, they found one of the old snag-boat fleet,
called the "Benton." Mr. Eads knew the boat well, as he had formerly
owned her, and proposed to purchase and arm her, but Captain Rodgers did
not approve the plan for converting her into a gunboat. Mr. Eads then
proposed to purchase and arm several of the strong, swift boats used for
the navigation of the Missouri River, and equip them at St. Louis, from
which point there would always be water enough to get them below Cairo.
Captain Rodgers disapproved this plan also, and went to Cincinnati,
where he purchased and equipped the "Conestoga," "Tyler," and
"Lexington," and started them down the river. They were not iron-clad,
but were merely protected around the boilers with coal bunkers, and
provided with bullet-proof oaken bulwarks. Mr. Eads had warned Captain
Rodgers that he could not depend upon the Ohio to get his boats down to
Cairo, and his predictions were realized. The boats were started from
Cincinnati some time in July; they were detained on the bars of the Ohio
for six or seven weeks, and did not reach Cairo until about the first of
September; then the bottom of the "Tyler" was found to be so badly
damaged by sand-bars that she had to be put on the marine railway for

In July, 1861, the War Department advertised for proposals to construct
a number of iron-clad gunboats for service on the Mississippi River. On
the 5th of August, when the bids were opened, it was found that Mr. Eads
proposed to build these boats in a shorter time and upon more favorable
terms than any one else. His offer was accepted, and on the 7th of
August he signed a contract with Quartermaster-General Meigs to have
ready for their crews and armaments, _in sixty-five days_, seven
vessels, of about six hundred tons each, each to draw six feet of water,
to carry thirteen heavy guns, to be plated with iron two and a half
inches thick, and to steam nine miles per hour. "They were one hundred
and seventy-five feet long, and fifty-one and a half feet wide; the
hulls of wood; their sides placed out from the bottom of the boat to the
water line at an angle of about thirty-five degrees, and from the water
line the sides fell back at about the same angle, to form a slanting
casemate, the gun-deck being but a foot above water. This slanting
casemate extended across the hull, near the bow and stern, forming a
quadrilateral gun-deck. Three nine or ten-inch guns were placed in the
bow, four similar ones on each side, and two smaller ones astern. The
casemate inclosed the wheel, which was placed in a recess at the stern
of the vessel. The plating was two and a half inches thick, thirteen
inches wide, and was rabbeted on the edges to make a more perfect

In undertaking to complete these vessels in sixty-five days, Mr. Eads
had assumed a heavy responsibility. The manufacturing interests of the
West were sadly crippled by the sudden commencement of hostilities, and
doubt and distrust prevailed every-where. The worst feature of all was,
that skilled workmen were either enlisting in the army or seeking
employment in States more remote from the scene of war. Every thing
needed for the gunboats was to be made. Even the timber for their hulls
was still standing in the forest, and the huge machinery which was to
roll out and harden their iron plates had yet to be constructed. No
single city, no two cities, however great in resources, could possibly
supply every thing needed within the stipulated time, and it was
necessary to employ help wherever it could be obtained.

The very day the contract was signed, the telegraph was kept busy
sending instructions all over the West for the commencement of the
various parts of the work. The saw-mills in Kentucky, Tennessee,
Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, and Missouri were set to getting out
the timber, which was hurried to St. Louis by railroad and steamboat as
fast as it was ready. There were twenty-one steam engines and
thirty-five boilers to be made, and the machine-shops in St. Louis,
Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh were put to work upon them. The huge
rolling-mills of Cincinnati and Portsmouth, Ohio, Newport, Kentucky, and
St. Louis were engaged in making the iron plates, and employed for this
purpose no less than four thousand men. Night and day, Sundays included,
the work went on with an almost superhuman swiftness. Mr. Eads paid the
workmen on the hulls large sums from his own pocket, in addition to
their wages, to induce them to continue steadily at their work.

On the 12th of October, 1861, just forty-five days from the time of
laying her keel, the first iron-clad, belonging to the United States,
was launched, with her engines and boilers on board. Rear Admiral Foote
(then a flag officer), appointed to command the Mississippi squadron,
named her the "St. Louis," but upon being transferred to the Navy
Department her name was changed to the "Baron de Kalb." She was followed
by the other vessels in rapid succession, all being completed within the
stipulated time.

In September, 1861, General Fremont ordered the purchase of the snag
boat "Benton," which had been proposed by Mr. Eads and rejected by
Captain Rodgers, and sent her to Mr. Eads to be armored and equipped as
a gunboat. Work was at once begun on her, and pushed forward with the
same energy that had been displayed in the construction of the other
iron-clads. Her performances during the war fully sustained the high
esteem in which she was held by the officers of the navy. Admirals Foote
and Davis pronounced her the "best iron-clad in the world."

By dint of such skill and energy as we have described, Mr. Eads, in the
brief period of one hundred days, built and had ready for service a
powerful iron-clad fleet of eight steamers, carrying one hundred and
seven heavy guns, and having an aggregate capacity of five thousand
tons. Such a work was one of the greatest in magnitude ever performed,
and, as may be supposed, required a heavy capital to carry it to
perfection. Mr. Eads soon exhausted his own means, and but for the
assistance of friends, whose confidence in his integrity and capacity
induced them to advance him large sums, would have been compelled to
abandon the undertaking; for the Government, upon various pretexts,
delayed for months the stipulated payments, and by its criminal
negligence came near bringing the iron-clad fleet, so necessary to its
success, to an untimely end. It was prompt enough, however, to
commission the vessels as soon as they were ready. At the time they
rendered such good service in the conquest of Forts Henry and Donelson,
and compelled the fall of Island No. 10, they were still unpaid for, and
the private property of Mr. Eads.

In the spring of 1862, Mr. Eads, in accordance with the desire of the
Navy Department, submitted plans for light-draught armored vessels for
service on the western rivers. He proposed an ingenious revolving turret
to be used on these vessels, the performance of which he agreed to
guarantee to the satisfaction of the Department; but the Government
decided to use the Ericsson turret, which the recent encounter between
the Monitor and Merrimac had proved to be a success. Mr. Eads was
allowed, however, to modify the Ericsson turret considerably, in order
to avoid making the draft of his steamers greater than was desired. He
built the "Osage" and "Neosho," and when these vessels were launched,
with all their weight on board, it was found that they were really
lighter than the contract called for, a circumstance which permitted the
thickness of their armor to be afterward increased half an inch without
injuring their draught or speed.

In May, 1862, at the request of the Navy Department, Mr. Eads submitted
plans for four iron-clads, iron hull propellers, to carry two turrets
each of eight inches thickness, four eleven inch guns, and
three-quarters inch deck armor, to steam nine nautical miles per hour,
to carry three days' coal, and not to exceed a draught of six feet of
water. His plans were accepted, and he constructed the "Winnebago,"
"Kickapoo," "Milwaukee," and "Chickasaw." Like the "Osage" and "Neosho,"
these vessels were found to be of lighter draught than had been agreed
upon, and the Department ordered all four to have an extra plating of
three-quarters inch armor, which was done. Three of the vessels were
also reported, by the officers of the navy sent to examine them, to
exceed the speed required by the contract, while the fourth was fully up
to the standard.

Of how many "Government Contractors" during the war can it be said that
their work was much better than they had agreed to furnish? Verily, we
think Mr. Eads stands almost alone in this respect, his proud position
made still more honorable by its comparative isolation.

Mr. Eads built, during the war, fourteen heavily armored gunboats, four
heavy mortar boats, and converted seven transports into musket-proof
gunboats, or "tin-clads," as they were called on the river. He had a
share in other enterprises of a similar nature during the war, and
besides rendering good service to the Union, was enabled to retire at
the close of the struggle with a handsome fortune, won by his own
patriotic skill and energy.

Whatever may be the distinction awarded to others, to him belongs the
credit of having been the first to provide the Government with the means
of securing that firm hold upon the great river of the West which, once
gained, was never relaxed.

Mr. Eads resides in St. Louis. He is still in the prime of life, is
admired and honored by his fellow-citizens, and affords a splendid
example of what genius and industry can do for a poor, friendless boy in
that glorious western country which is one day to be the seat of empire
in the New World.



Cyrus far we have been considering the struggles of men who have risen
from obscure positions in life, by the aid of their own genius,
industry, and courage, to the front rank of their respective callings.
We shall now relate the story of one who having already won fortune,
periled it all upon an enterprise in which his own genius had recognized
the path to fame and to still greater success, but which the almost
united voice of the people of his country condemned as visionary, and
from which they coldly held aloof until its brilliant success compelled
them to acknowledge the wisdom and foresight of its projector.

Fifteen years ago very few persons had heard of Cyrus W. Field. Ten
years ago he had achieved considerable notoriety as a visionary who was
bent on sinking his handsome fortune in the sea. To-day, the world is
full of his fame, as the man to whom, above all others, it is indebted
for the successful completion of the Atlantic Telegraph; and those who
were formerly loudest in ridiculing him are now foremost in his praise.
"Nothing succeeds like success," and what was once in their eyes mere
folly, and worthy only of ridicule, they now hail as the evidences of
his courage, foresight, and profound wisdom, and wonder that they never
could see them in their true light before.

Cyrus West Field was born at Stockbridge, Massachusetts, on the 30th day
of November, 1819, and is the son of the Rev. David Dudley Field, a
distinguished clergyman of that State. He was carefully educated in the
primary and grammar schools of his native county, and at the age of
fifteen went to New York to seek his fortune. He had no difficulty in
obtaining a clerkship in an enterprising mercantile house in that city,
and, from the first, gave evidence of unusual business capacity. His
employers, pleased with his promise, advanced him rapidly, and in a few
years he became a partner in the house. His success as a merchant was
uniform and marked--so marked, indeed, that in 1853, when only
thirty-four years old, he was able to partially retire from business
with a large fortune as the substantial reward of his mercantile career.

Mr. Field had devoted himself so closely to his business that, at his
retirement, he resolved to seek recreation and change of scene in
foreign travel, and accordingly he left New York, and passed the next
six months in journeying through the mountains of South America. Upon
his return home, at the close of the year 1853, he declared his
intention to withdraw entirely from active participation in business,
and to engage in no new schemes.

He had scarcely returned home, however, when his brother, Mr. Matthew D.
Field, a successful and well-known civil engineer, informed him that he
had just become acquainted with a Mr. Frederick N. Gisborne, of
Newfoundland, who had come to New York for the purpose of interesting
some American capitalists in a company which had been organized in
Newfoundland for the purpose of procuring news in America and Europe,
and transmitting it between the two continents with greater dispatch
than was possible in the then existing mode of communication between the
two countries. The scheme of Mr. Gisborne had commended itself to Mr.
Matthew Field, and he urged his brother to meet that gentleman and hear
his statements. Mr. Cyrus Field at once declined to undertake any share
in the enterprise, and said that it would be useless for him to meet Mr.
Gisborne; but his brother was so urgent that he at last consented to
grant Mr. Gisborne an interview, and at least hear what he had to say.
At the appointed time, Mr. Field received Mr. Gisborne at his house, and
was there made acquainted with the proposed plan of operations of the
"Electric Telegraph Company of Newfoundland." This company had gone into
bankruptcy a short time previous, but Mr. Gisborne hoped to be able to
revive it by the aid of American capital. The scheme which he laid
before Mr. Field, can not be better stated than by quoting the following
extract from the charter which the Legislature of Newfoundland had
granted the bankruptcy company:

"The telegraph line of this company is designed to be strictly an
'Inter-Continental Telegraph,' Its termini will be New York, in the
United States, and London, in the Kingdom of Great Britain; these points
are to be connected by a line of electric telegraph from New York to St.
John's, Newfoundland, partly on poles, partly laid in the ground, and
partly through the water, and a line of the swiftest steamships ever
built, from that point to Ireland. The trips of these steamships, it is
expected, will not exceed five days, and as very little time will be
occupied in transmitting messages between St. John's and New York, the
communication between the latter city and London or Liverpool, will be
effected in _six days,_ or less. The company will have likewise
stationed at St. John's a steam yacht, for the purpose of intercepting
the European and American steamships, so that no opportunity may be
lost in forwarding intelligence in advance of the ordinary channels of

Mr. Field listened attentively to his visitor, but declined to commit
himself to more than an expression of sympathy with the enterprise.
After the departure of his guest, he took the globe which stood in his
library, and turning it over, began to examine the proposed route of the
telegraph line and the distance to be traversed by the steamers. While
engaged in this examination, the idea flashed across his mind that
instead of undertaking such a complicated scheme, it would be better to
attempt to stretch a telegraph wire entirely across the ocean, from the
shores of Newfoundland to the coast of Ireland. The vastness of this
scheme pleased him, and its usefulness to the entire world, if it could
be carried out, was clear to his mind from the first.

He at once set to work to ascertain if such an undertaking as an
Atlantic telegraph was practicable. He wrote to Lieutenant Maury, then
the Chief of the National Observatory at Washington, and asked if the
laying of such a wire was possible; and to Professor Morse, the inventor
of the telegraph, to know if such a wire would be available for sending
messages if it could be laid. Lieutenant Maury promptly replied,
inclosing a copy of a report he had just made to the Secretary of the
Navy on the subject, from which Mr. Field learned that the idea of
laying a telegraph across the ocean was not original with himself. In
this report Lieutenant Maury demonstrated the entire practicability of
such an enterprise, and sustained his conclusions by a statement of the
recent discoveries concerning the bed of the ocean, made by Lieutenant
Berryman. Professor Morse came in person to visit Mr. Field, and assured
him of his entire faith in the possibility of sending telegraphic
messages across the ocean with rapidity and success.

The two highest authorities in the world thus having assured him of the
entire practicability of the undertaking, Mr. Field declared his
readiness, if he could procure the assistance of a sufficient number of
capitalists in the United States, to undertake the laying of a telegraph
across the Atlantic between Europe and America. Further deliberation
only made him better satisfied with the undertaking, and he set to work
to find ten capitalists, each of whom he proposed should contribute one
hundred thousand dollars, making the capital of the proposed company one
million of dollars. Mr. Field was convinced that the undertaking would
be expensive, but he had then but a faint conception of its magnitude,
and was very far from supposing that "he might yet be drawn on to stake
upon its success the whole fortune he had accumulated; that he was to
sacrifice for it all the peace and quiet he had hoped to enjoy, and that
for twelve years he was to be almost without a home, crossing and
recrossing the sea, urging his enterprise in Europe and America."

The scientific questions involved in the undertaking were so little
understood at the time by the public, and the popular judgment regarded
the attempt to stretch a cable across the deep, mysterious ocean with so
much incredulity, that Mr. Field had considerable trouble in finding
gentlemen willing or prepared to share his faith in the enterprise. His
first effort was to induce Mr. Peter Cooper, of New York, his next door
neighbor, to join him, and he succeeded so well that Mr. Cooper
consented to do so if several others would unite with them. Encouraged
by his success with Mr. Cooper, whose name was a tower of strength to
his cause, Mr. Field renewed his efforts, and succeeded in winning over
the following gentlemen, and in the order named: Moses Taylor, Marshall
O. Roberts, and Chandler White. These gentlemen were very slow to accept
the views of Mr. Field, but, once having done so, they never lost faith
in the ultimate success of the undertaking. The more thoroughly they
became acquainted with its magnitude and costliness, the stronger grew
their confidence in it, for this increase of knowledge not only showed
them more plainly its difficulties and dangers, but developed new
grounds on which to base their hopes.

Mr. Field was about to continue his efforts to procure additional names,
when Mr. Cooper proposed that the five gentlemen already pledged to the
scheme should undertake its entire cost without waiting for the other
four. The proposition was agreed to, and it was decided to take the
necessary steps to procure a charter for their company from the
Legislature of Newfoundland. Mr. Field consented to undertake this, and
at once set off for St. John's, accompanied by his brother, Mr. David
Dudley Field, who was made the legal adviser of the company. At St.
John's they were greatly aided by Mr. Archibald, then the
Attorney-General of the Colony, and afterward the British Consul at New
York, and by the Governor of Newfoundland. They succeeded in obtaining a
charter from the Legislature under the name of the "New York,
Newfoundland, and London Telegraph Company," with liberal grants in land
and money. This accomplished, they assumed and paid the liabilities of
the old Telegraph Company which had been brought to Mr. Field's notice
by Mr. Gisborne, and thus removed the last difficulty in their way. This
much accomplished, Mr. Field hastened back to New York, and on the 6th
of May, 1854, the Company was formally organized at the residence of Mr.
David Dudley Field. Messrs. Cooper, Taylor, Field, Roberts, and White
were the first directors. Mr. Cooper, was made President of the
Company, Mr. White, Vice-President, and Mr. Taylor Secretary. A capital
of one million and a half of dollars was subscribed on the spot, Mr.
Field contributing about two hundred thousand dollars in cash.

Work was at once begun on the section between New York and St. John's.
There was no road across the island of Newfoundland, and the Company had
not only to build their telegraph line, but to construct a road by the
side of it through an almost unbroken wilderness. It was a work which
required the highest executive ability, and the services of an army of
men. The distance across the island was four hundred miles, and there
were numerous rocky gorges, morasses, and rivers in the way. The country
was a desolation, and it was found that supplies would have to be
transported from St. John's. The execution of the work was committed to
Mr. White, the Vice-President, who went to St. John's to act as the
general agent of the Company, and to Mr. Matthew D. Field, who was
appointed constructing engineer. These gentlemen displayed such skill
and energy in their respective positions that in two years the Company
had not only built a telegraph line and a road of four hundred miles
across the island, but had constructed another line of one hundred and
forty miles in the island of Cape Breton, and had stretched a submarine
cable across the Gulf of St. Lawrence.[A] The line was now in working
order from New York to St. John's, Newfoundland, a distance of one
thousand miles, and it had required about a million of dollars for its
construction. It now remained to complete the great work by laying the
cable between Newfoundland and Ireland.

[Footnote A: The first effort to lay a cable in the Gulf of St. Lawrence
was made by this Company, in August, 1855. It was a failure, and the
cable was lost. The second attempt was made in the summer of 1856, and
was entirely successful.]

It being desirable to examine still further the bed of the ocean over
which the cable was to be laid, Mr. Field requested the Government of
the United States to send out an expedition over the route for the
purpose of taking deep sea soundings. His request was promptly granted,
and an expedition under Lieut. Berryman was dispatched, which proceeded
to examine the ocean bed, with the most satisfactory results. This was
accomplished in the summer of 1856, and the next year the same route was
surveyed by Commander Daymon, with the British war steamer Cyclops--this
survey being ordered by the Lords of the Admiralty, at Mr. Field's
request. These surveys made it plain beyond question that a cable could
lie safely on the bed of the sea, at a depth sufficient to protect it
from vessels' anchors, from icebergs, and from submarine currents, and
that it would receive sufficient support from that bed to free it from
all undue tension. There was no doubt of the ultimate success of the
enterprise in the minds of the directors, but it was necessary to
convince the public in both Europe and America that it was not an
impossibility, and also to enlist the sympathies of the Governments of
Great Britain and the United States, and secure their assistance.

Mr. Field, who had made several voyages to England and to Newfoundland
in behalf of the company, was elected Vice-President after the death of
Mr. White, in 1856, and was charged with the duty of proceeding to
England to obtain the assistance of the British Government, and to
organize the company in London. Thus far the directors had borne the
entire cost of the undertaking, and it was but fair that they should
seek the means for completing their work in the country which was to be
so much benefited by it. Mr. Field sailed for England in the summer of
1856, and upon reaching that country proceeded to consult some of its
most eminent engineers and electricians. The English people were slow to
believe that so long a cable could be successfully worked, even if laid
intact, and to remove their doubts, the opinions of Professor Morse and
Lieutenant Maury were published in their newspapers; and this
publication brought out communications from many scientific men on the
subject, a number of them advocating the undertaking. Thus, the
attention of the English public was gained. Experiments were made by
Professor Morse, Mr. Bright, and Dr. Whitehouse, which proved beyond all
doubt the ease with which a continuous line of more than two thousand
miles of wire could be worked; and Professor Morse was able, from these
experiments, to declare his conviction that an electric current could
pass between London and New York, on such a wire, in the space of one

Science had now done its utmost, and had in every thing sustained the
great plan. It was now necessary to ask the aid of Her Majesty's
Government. This effort was intrusted to Mr. Field, who carried it
through successfully. The English Government agreed to furnish the ships
necessary for making soundings and surveys, and to furnish vessels to
assist in laying the cable. It also agreed to pay to the company an
annual subsidy of fourteen thousand pounds for the transmission of the
government messages until the net profits of the company were equal to a
dividend of six pounds per cent., when the payment was to be reduced to
ten thousand pounds per annum, for a period of twenty-five years.
Provision was made for extra payment, in case the government messages
exceeded a certain amount; and it was provided that the messages of the
Governments of Great Britain and the United States should be placed upon
an equal footing, and should have priority in the order in which they
arrived at the stations. This last provision exhibited a decided
liberality on the part of the English Government, since both ends of the
proposed cable would be in British territory. Indeed, throughout the
whole negotiation, Great Britain cheerfully accorded to the United
States every privilege which she claimed for herself.

Having secured the aid of the Queen's Government on such liberal terms,
Mr. Field now undertook the organization of the company, in addition to
the task of raising a capital of three hundred and fifty thousand
pounds. In both efforts he was effectively assisted by Mr. John W.
Brett, who had laid the first cable across the English Channel, and by
Mr. Charles T. Bright and Dr. Edward O.W. Whitehouse. The efforts of
these gentlemen were successful. In a few weeks the whole capital was
subscribed. It had been divided into three hundred and fifty shares of a
thousand pounds each. One hundred and one of these were taken up in
London, eighty-six in Liverpool, thirty-seven in Glasgow, twenty-eight
in Manchester, and a few in other parts of England. Mr. Field, at the
final division of shares, took eighty-eight. He did not design making
this investment on his own account, but thinking it but fair that at
least one-fourth of the stock should be held in America, he made this
subscription with the intention of disposing of his shares after his
return home. Owing to his continued absence from New York, and the
straitened condition of the money market, it was nearly a year before he
could succeed in selling as much as twenty-seven shares. The company was
organized in December, 1856, a Board of Directors elected, and a
contract made for the cable, half of which was to be made in London and
the other half in Liverpool.

The day after the organization of the company, Mr. Field sailed for New
York, from which place he at once made a voyage to Newfoundland, to look
after some matters which required his presence. Returning home, he
hurried to Washington, to secure the aid of the General Government. He
met with more opposition here than he had encountered in England. A
powerful lobby opposed him, and a spirit of hostility to his bill
exhibited itself in Congress, and to such a degree that the measure
passed the Senate by a majority of only one vote. It came very near
failing in the House, but at length got through, and received the
President's signature on the 3d of March, 1857.

In the summer of 1857, Mr. Field having returned to England, the cable
was declared to be in readiness for laying. The United States Government
now placed at the disposal of the Telegraph Company the magnificent new
steam frigate "Niagara," as the most suitable vessel for laying the
cable, and ordered the "Susquehanna," the largest side-wheel frigate in
the service, to accompany her in the expedition. The British Government
provided the steam frigate "Agamemnon," a splendid vessel, which had
been the flagship of the English fleet at the bombardment of Sebastopol,
and ordered the "Leopard" to accompany her as an escort. The "Niagara"
was commanded by Captain W.L. Hudson, of the United States Navy, and the
"Agamemnon" by Captain Noddal, of the Royal Navy. The "Niagara" took on
her share of the cable at Liverpool, and the "Agamemnon" received hers
at London. It was agreed that the "Niagara" should begin the laying of
the cable, and continue it until her portion of it should be exhausted
in mid-ocean, when her end of it should be united with the cable on
board the "Agamemnon," which ship should continue laying the line until
the shores of Newfoundland were reached. After taking on the cable, the
ships were ordered to Queenstown.

The vessels left England in the midst of general rejoicings, and arrived
at the rendezvous at the proper time. Thence they sailed for the harbor
of Valentia, which was to be the eastern terminus of the line and the
starting point of the expedition. They were greeted every-where with
enthusiasm, and the greatest confidence in the success of the
enterprise was manifested by those on board. Mr. Field, Professor Morse,
and several other officers of the company were on board the "Niagara,"
as that ship was to conduct the first part of the sinking of the cable.

At length all was in readiness. The shore end of the cable was landed
and made fast on Wednesday afternoon, the 5th of August, and the next
morning the fleet stood out to sea. "Before they had gone five miles the
heavy shore end of the cable caught in the machinery and parted. The
'Niagara' put back, and the cable was 'underrun' the whole distance. At
length the end was lifted out of the water and spliced to the gigantic
coil, and as it dropped safely to the bottom of the sea, the mighty ship
began to stir. At first she moved very slowly, not more than two miles
an hour, to avoid the danger of accident; but the feeling that they are
at last away is itself a relief. The ships are all in sight, and so near
that they can hear each other's bells. The 'Niagara,' as if knowing that
she is bound for the land out of whose forests she came, bends her head
to the waves, as her prow is turned toward her native shores.

"Slowly passed the hours of that day. But all went well, and the ships
were moving out into the broad Atlantic. At length the sun went down in
the west, and stars came out on the face of the deep. But no man slept.
A thousand eyes were watching a great experiment, as those who have a
personal interest in the issue. All through that night, and through the
anxious days and nights that followed, there was a feeling in every soul
on board as if a friend in the cabin were at the turning-point of life
or death, and they were watching beside him. There was a strange,
unnatural silence in the ship. Men paced the deck with soft and muffled
tread, speaking only in whispers, as if a loud voice or a heavy footfall
might snap the vital cord. So much had they grown to feel for the
enterprise, that the cable seemed to them like a human creature, on
whose fate they hung, as if it were to decide their own destiny.

"There are some who will never forget that first night at sea. Perhaps
the reaction from the excitement on shore made the impression the
deeper. What strange thoughts came to them as they stood on the deck and
watched that mysterious cord disappearing in the darkness, and gliding
to its ocean bed! There are certain moments in life when every thing
comes back upon us--when the events of years seem crowded into an hour.
What memories came up in those long night hours! How many on board that
ship thought of homes beyond the sea, of absent ones, of the distant and
the dead! Such thoughts, mingling with those suggested by the scene
around, added to the solemnity of the hour, had left an impression which
can never be forgotten.

"But with the work in hand all is going on well. There are vigilant eyes
on deck. Mr. Bright, the engineer of the company, is there, and Mr.
Everett, Mr. De Sauty, the electrician, and Professor Morse. The
paying-out machinery does its work, and though it makes a constant
rumble in the ship, that dull, heavy sound is music to their ears, as it
tells them that all is well. If one should drop to sleep, and wake up at
night, he has only to hear the sound of 'the old coffee-mill,' and his
fears are relieved, and he goes to sleep again."

Saturday and Sunday passed away without accident, but on Monday, when
two hundred miles at sea, in deep water, and safely beyond the great
submarine mountain, the electrical continuity was suddenly lost. This
interruption amazed and perplexed all on board, but no one was able to
remedy it, or to account for it satisfactorily. It lasted for two hours,
and then, just as the order was about to be given to cut the cable and
endeavor to wind it in, it came back as suddenly and mysteriously as it
had disappeared. The greatest delight was now manifested by all on
board. "You could see," says the correspondent of the London _Times_,
"the tears of joy standing in the eyes of some as they almost cried for
joy, and told their mess-mates that it was all right."

That night, however, the expedition came to grief. The cable was running
out freely at the rate of six miles per hour, while the ship was making
only four. This was supposed to be owing to a powerful undercurrent. To
check this waste of the cable the engineer applied the brakes firmly,
which at once stopped the machine. The effect was to bring a heavy
strain on the cable that was in the water. The stern of the ship was
down in the trough of the sea, and as it rose upward on the swell, the
pressure was too great, and the cable parted. The alarm was at once
given, and the greatest consternation and grief prevailed on board. "It
made all hands of us through the day," says Captain Hudson, "like a
household or family which had lost their dearest friend, for officers
and men had been deeply interested in the success of the enterprise."

The fleet immediately put about and returned to England, where Mr. Field
at once informed the directors of the extent of the disaster. The
remaining portions of the cable were landed and stored safely away, and
the vessels were returned to their respective Governments. Orders were
given for the manufacture of seven hundred miles of cable to replace the
portion which had been lost, and to allow for waste in paying it out,
and the most energetic preparations were made for another attempt.

Being satisfied that the machine used for paying out the cable was
defective, Mr. Field went to Washington and procured from the Navy
Department the services of Mr. Wm. E. Everett, the chief engineer of the
"Niagara," stating to that gentleman the necessity for a new machine,
and urging him to invent it. This Mr. Everett succeeded in doing during
the winter. His machine was regarded as a great improvement on that
which had been used on the "Niagara." "It was much smaller and lighter.
It would take up only about one third as much room on the deck, and had
only one fourth the weight of the old machine. Its construction was much
more simple. Instead of four heavy wheels, it had but two, and these
were made to revolve with ease, and without danger of sudden check, by
the application of what were known as self-releasing brakes. These were
the invention of Mr. Appold, of London, a gentleman of fortune, but with
a strong taste for mechanics, which led him to spend his time and wealth
in exercising his mechanical ingenuity. These brakes were so adjusted as
to bear only a certain strain, when they released themselves. This
ingenious contrivance was applied by Mr. Everett to the paying-out
machinery. The strength of the cable was such that it would not break
except under a pressure of a little over three tons. The machinery was
so adjusted that not more than half that strain could possibly come upon
the cable, when the brakes would relax their grasp, the wheels revolve
easily, and the cable run out into the sea 'at its own sweet will.' The
paying-out machine, therefore, we are far from claiming as wholly an
American invention. This part of the mechanism was English. The merit of
Mr. Everett lay in the skill with which he adapted it to the laying of
the Atlantic cable, and in his great improvements of other parts of the
machinery. The whole construction, as it afterward stood upon the decks
of the 'Niagara' and the 'Agamemnon,' was the combined product of
English and American invention."

In January, 1858, the Board of Directors offered Mr. Field the sum of
five thousand dollars per annum if he would assume the post of general
manager of the company. He at once undertook the duties of the
position, but declined all compensation.

Every thing being in readiness for the second attempt at laying the
cable, the "Niagara" sailed from New York in March, 1858, to take on her
portion of the cable at Plymouth. The "Agamemnon" was again ordered to
assist in the undertaking, and the "Gorgon" was made her consort Mr.
Field had hoped that the "Susquehanna" would again be the consort of the
"Niagara," but a few days before the sailing of the fleet he was
officially informed that he could not have the ship, as she was then in
the West Indies, with the greater part of her crew down with the yellow
fever. This was a keen disappointment, as every arrangement had been
made with the expectation of having the assistance of the "Susquehanna."
It was too late to ask the Government at Washington for another ship,
and it was by no means certain that the request would be granted if
made. In this dilemma Mr. Field frankly stated his disappointment to the
Lords of the Admiralty of England, and asked for a ship to accompany the
"Niagara." He was informed that the English Government was at that
moment chartering vessels to convey troops to Malta, as it had not ships
enough of its own, and that it was doubtful whether it could contribute
a third ship to the expedition. Still, so greatly did the government
desire the success of the enterprise, that a little later on the same
day the "Valorous" was ordered to take the place of the "Susquehanna" in
the telegraph fleet. This generous assistance was all the more
praiseworthy, as it was given at a time when the need of England for
ships was very urgent.

After shipping the cable, the squadron sailed from Plymouth on the 29th
of May, 1868, for the Bay of Biscay, where the cable was subjected to
numerous and thorough tests, which demonstrated its strength and its
sensitiveness to the electric current. This accomplished, the vessels
returned to Plymouth.

"Among the matters of _personal_ solicitude and anxiety at this time,
next to the success of the expedition, was Mr. Field himself. He was
working with an activity which was unnatural--which could only be kept
up by great excitement, and which involved the most serious danger. The
strain on the man was more than the strain on the cable, and we were in
fear that both would break together. Often he had no sleep, except such
as he caught flying on the railway. Indeed, when we remonstrated, he
said he could rest better there than anywhere else, for then he was not
tormented with the thought of any thing undone. For the time being he
could do no more; and then, putting his head in the cushioned corner of
the carriage, he got an hour or two of broken sleep.

"Of this activity we had an instance while in Plymouth. The ships were
then lying in the Sound, only waiting orders from the Admiralty to go to
sea; but some business required one of the directors to go to Paris,
and, as usual, it fell upon him. He left on Sunday night, and went to
Bristol, and thence, by the first morning train, to London. Monday he
was busy all day, and that night went to Paris. Tuesday, another busy
day, and that night back to London. Wednesday, occupied every minute
till the departure of the Great Western train. That night back to
Plymouth. Thursday morning on board the 'Niagara,' and immediately the
squadron sailed."

The plan of operations this time was for the vessels to proceed to a
given point in mid-ocean, and there unite the two ends of the cable,
after which the "Niagara" should proceed toward Newfoundland and the
"Agamemnon" toward Ireland, and it was supposed that each vessel would
make land about the same time. This was believed to be a better plan
than the one pursued in the first expedition.

The squadron sailed from Plymouth on the 10th of June. The weather was
favorable for the first two or three clays of the voyage, but on the
13th a severe gale set in, which lasted for over a week, and came near
causing the "Agamemnon" to founder beneath her immense load, a portion
of which broke loose in her hold. All the vessels succeeded in
weathering the storm, however, and on the 25th reached the rendezvous in
mid-ocean. The next day the splice was made, and the ships set out for
their respective destinations. Before they had gone three miles the
machinery of the "Niagara" caught the cable and broke it. A second
splice was made, but when each ship had paid out about forty miles, the
electric current suddenly ceased. The cable was cut promptly, and the
two vessels at once returned to the rendezvous, where they rejoined each
other on the 28th. A comparison of the logs of the two ships "showed the
painful and mysterious fact that at the same second of time each vessel
discovered that a total fracture had taken place, at a distance of
certainly not less than ten miles from each ship, in fact, as well as can
be judged, at the bottom of the ocean." A third splice was made without
delay, and the two ships again set out for the opposite shores of the
Atlantic. This time about two hundred miles of the cable were
successfully laid, when it parted about twenty feet from the stern of
the "Agamemnon." The "Niagara," being unable to communicate with the
English frigate, bore away for Queenstown, where she was joined a few
days later by the "Agamemnon."

This second failure greatly disheartened the directors, and it required
all Mr. Field's persuasiveness to induce them to sanction another
attempt. Yet he prevailed, and, hastening from London to Queenstown,
sailed with the telegraph fleet on the third attempt to lay the cable,
leaving Queenstown on the 17th of July. The rendezvous was reached on
the 28th, and on the 29th the splice was made; and the "Niagara" and
"Agamemnon" parted company. This time the undertaking was successful.
The cable was laid across the Atlantic, the "Niagara" reaching Trinity
Bay, Newfoundland, on the 5th of August, and the "Agamemnon" arriving
at Valentia, Ireland, a few hours later on the same day. Signals were
sent across the entire length of the line, from shore to shore, with
ease and rapidity, and nothing occurred to mar the success of the mighty

The successful laying of the cable was hailed with the liveliest joy on
both sides of the Atlantic, and those who had participated in it were
regarded as heroes. But great as was the achievement, it was not
destined to be a lasting success. After working for four weeks, the
electric current suddenly ceased on the 1st of September. It never
worked _perfectly_ at any period of its existence, but it did transmit a
number of messages with intelligibleness, and thus put an end to all
doubt in the minds of the scientific men of the expedition of the
feasibility of laying a successful line across the ocean.

The public generally and the directors of the company were greatly
disappointed, and many of-the latter and nearly all of the former
declared that all such attempts must of necessity fail. Some persons
even went so far as to avow their belief that the statements as to the
successful transmission of signals over the wire were false; but the
proofs that the wire did work properly for awhile are too strong to
allow us to accord the slightest weight to this disbelief. But whether
signals had passed over the wire or not, there could be no doubt that
the cable had ceased to respond to the efforts of the electricians, and
was a total failure, and the discouragement of nearly every one
connected with it was most profound.

Mr. Field and one or two others were the only persons who retained the
slightest confidence in the enterprise, and it was clear to them that
any further effort to secure the aid of private capital would be useless
just then. An appeal was made to the British Government. It was urged
that the work was too great to be undertaken by private capital alone,
and that, since it was to be more of a public than a private nature, it
was but just that the Government should undertake it. The company asked
the Government to guarantee the interest on a certain amount of stock,
even if the second attempt should not prove a complete success. The
failure of the Red Sea cable, to which the British Government had given
an unconditional guarantee, had just occurred, and had caused a
considerable loss to the treasury, and the Government was not willing to
assume another such risk. Anxious, however, for the success of the
Atlantic telegraph, it increased its subsidy from fourteen thousand to
twenty thousand pounds, and agreed to guarantee eight per cent, on six
hundred thousand pounds of new capital for twenty-five years, upon the
single condition that the cable should be made to work successfully.

This was not all, however. The Government caused further soundings to be
made off the coast of Ireland, which effectually dispelled all the fears
which had been entertained of a submarine mountain which would prove an
impassable barrier in the path of an ocean telegraph. In addition to
this, it caused the organization of a board of distinguished scientific
men for the purpose of determining all the difficult problems of
submarine telegraphy. This board met in 1859, and sat two years. The
result of its experiments and investigations was a declaration, signed
by the members, that a cable properly made, "and paid into the ocean
with the most improved machinery, possesses every prospect of not only
being successfully laid in the first instance, but may reasonably be
relied upon to continue many years in an efficient-state for the
transmission of signals."

Meanwhile, Mr. Field labored energetically to revive the company. The
war which had broken out in the United States brought home to our
Government the urgent need of telegraphic communication with Europe, and
Mr. Field had no difficulty in obtaining from the President an assurance
that this Government would be most happy to join with Great Britain in
promoting this great international work. He addressed meetings of
merchants in various American cities, and displayed the greatest energy
in his efforts to enlist the aid of American capital. Very little was
accomplished, however, until 1863. By this time the success of the lines
in the Mediterranean and in the Persian Gulf had demonstrated the
practicability of long submarine telegraphs, and the public confidence
in the attempt had been revived to such an extent that the directors
ventured to call for proposals for the manufacture of a cable. Seventeen
offers were made, from which that of Messrs. Glass, Elliott & Co., of
London, was selected. Mr. Field now renewed his indomitable efforts, and
in a few months the new capital of six hundred thousand pounds was
subscribed, Messrs. Glass, Elliott &, Co. taking three hundred and
fifteen thousand pounds, besides one hundred thousand pounds in bonds.
This was accomplished in 1864, and work on the cable was immediately
begun. The cable now adopted was very different from, and much more
sensitive than, those which had been used before. It was heavier, and
less liable to be injured by the water.

The "Great Eastern" steamship, the greatest wonder of naval
architecture, was at this time advertised for sale, and it occurred to
several of the gentlemen interested in the telegraph company that she
was the best vessel for laying the cable that could be found. They at
once organized themselves into a company, purchased the ship, and fitted
her up for that service. They were fortunate in securing the services of
Captain James Anderson, and placing him in charge of her, sent her to
Sheerness, where the cable was sent down to her in lighters from the
factory at Greenwich. When the cable was on board, and all the other
arrangements had been completed, the big ship left the Thames and sailed
for Valentia harbor.

The point of landing had been changed from Valentia harbor, five or six
miles, to Foilhommerum Bay. On the 23d of July, 1865, the shore end was
connected with the cable on board the ship, and the voyage was begun. It
would be interesting to follow the huge steamer on this remarkable
voyage, and to relate to the reader the almost marvelous manner in which
faults were detected in the line hundreds of miles from the shore, and
how the cable was successfully hauled in and the damage repaired. All
went well until twelve hundred miles of cable had been paid out, and the
ship was but six hundred miles from the shores of Newfoundland, when the
cable broke again and plunged into the sea.

Mr. Canning, the engineer in charge, was dismayed, but not disheartened.
For nine days the ship hung around the spot grappling for the cable, in
the hope of raising it, and sinking its grapnels for this purpose to a
depth of two miles. The cable was caught several times, but the rope
which held the grapnel broke each time, and the precious coil fell back
again into the deep. At length, having marked the place where the cable
was lost with buoys, the ship put back for England, and the enterprise
was abandoned for that year.

Though unsuccessful in carrying the cable across the ocean, this
expedition was by no means a failure. Its results are thus summed up by
the officers in charge of it:

     1. It was proved by the expedition of 1858 that a submarine
     telegraph cable could be laid between Ireland and Newfoundland, and
     messages transmitted through the same.

     By the expedition of 1865 it has been fully demonstrated:

     2. That the insulation of a cable improves very much after its
     submersion in the cold deep water of the Atlantic, and that its
     conducting power is considerably increased thereby.

     3. That the steamship "Great Eastern," from her size and constant
     steadiness, and from the control over her afforded by the joint use
     of paddles and screw, renders it safe to lay an Atlantic cable in
     any weather.

     4. That in a depth of over two miles four attempts were made to
     grapple the cable. In three of them the cable was caught by the
     grapnel, and in the other the grapnel was fouled by the chain
     attached to it.

     5. That the paying-out machinery used on board the Great Eastern
     worked perfectly, and can be confidently relied on for laying
     cables across the Atlantic.

     6. That with the improved telegraphic instruments for long
     submarine lines, a speed of more than eight words per minute can be
     obtained through such a cable as the present Atlantic one between
     Ireland and Newfoundland, as the amount of slack actually paid out
     did not exceed fourteen per cent., which would have made the total
     cable laid between Valentia and Heart's Content nineteen hundred

     7. That the present Atlantic cable, though capable of bearing a
     strain of seven tons, did not experience more than fourteen
     hundred-weight in being paid out into the deepest water of the
     Atlantic between Ireland and Newfoundland.

     8. That there is no difficulty in mooring buoys in the deep water
     of the Atlantic between Ireland and Newfoundland, and that two
     buoys even when moored by a piece of the Atlantic cable itself,
     which had been previously lifted from the bottom, have ridden out a

     9. That more than four nautical miles of the Atlantic cable have
     been recovered from a depth of over two miles, and that the
     insulation of the gutta-percha covered wire was in no way whatever
     impaired by the depth of water or the strains to which it had been
     subjected by lifting and passing through the hauling-in apparatus.

     10. That the cable of 1865, owing to the improvements introduced
     into the manufacture of the gutta-percha core, was more than one
     hundred times better insulated than cables made in 1858, then
     considered perfect and still working.

     11. That the electrical testing can be conducted with such unerring
     accuracy as to enable the electricians to discover the existence of
     a fault immediately after its production or development, and very
     quickly to ascertain its position in the cable.

     12. That with a steam-engine attached to the paying-out machinery,
     should a fault be discovered on board whilst laying the cable, it
     is possible that it might be recovered before it had reached the
     bottom of the Atlantic, and repaired at once.

It was now placed beyond the possibility of a doubt that the cable would
be laid within the next year. More than this, it was determined not only
to lay a new cable between the two continents, but to fish up the cable
of 1865, splice it and continue it to Newfoundland, thus giving the
company two working lines.

It was necessary, however, to raise more capital, and in this effort Mr.
Field again put forth his restless and indomitable energies. As the
public confidence in the scheme had been effectually restored, it was
resolved to raise six hundred thousand pounds of new capital by the
issue of one hundred and twenty thousand shares of five pounds each,
which should be preferential shares, entitled to a dividend of twelve
per cent, before the eight per cent, dividend to be paid on the former
preference shares, and the four per cent, on the ordinary stock. They at
once proceeded to issue these bonds, when they were informed by the
Attorney-General that the proceeding was contrary to law.

In this dilemma work on the new cable was at once stopped, and the money
which had been paid in returned to the subscribers. As Parliament was
not in session, and a new issue of stock could not be made by the
company without its authorization, and as to wait for this would be to
postpone the laying of the cable for another year, Mr. Field was now
advised by Mr. Daniel Gooch, M.P., that the only way out of the
difficulty was to organize a new company at once, which should assume
the work, issue its own shares, and raise its own capital. Eminent legal
gentlemen sustained Mr. Gooch in this opinion, and Mr. Field again set
to work to organize a new company, under the name of the "Anglo-American
Telegraph Company." The capital was fixed at six hundred thousand
pounds, Mr. Field taking ten thousand pounds. The whole amount was
raised in a short time, and the company "contracted with the Atlantic
Cable Company to manufacture and lay down a cable in the summer of 1866,
for doing which it is to be entitled to what virtually amounts to a
preference dividend of twenty-five per cent., as a first claim is
secured to them by the Atlantic Telegraph Company upon the revenue of
the cable or cables (after the working expenses have been provided for)
to the extent of one hundred and twenty-five thousand pounds per annum,
and the New York, Newfoundland, and London Telegraph Company undertake
to contribute from their revenue a further annual sum of twenty-five
thousand pounds, on condition that a cable shall be working during

Once more the furnaces glowed and the hammers rang in the manufacture of
the cable. Great improvements were made in the cable itself and in the
machinery for laying it, and the "Great Eastern" was thoroughly
overhauled. The cable was completed and put on board in June, and the
big ship left the Medway on the last of the month and proceeded to
Berehaven, in Ireland, where she took on her final stores of coal. This
done, she proceeded to Valentia, where she arrived on the seventh of

The shore end was successfully laid and made fast to the cable on board
the "Great Eastern," and on Friday morning, the 13th of July, 1866, the
huge ship set sail for Newfoundland, accompanied by her consorts of the
telegraph fleet. The voyage occupied fourteen days, the ship making an
average run of about one hundred and eighteen miles per day, and paying
out about one hundred and thirty-one miles of cable in the same period
of time. The weather was fair during the whole voyage, but the anxiety
of the officers in charge was none the less on that account. There were
accidents to be dreaded more than unfavorable weather. The ship was run
at moderate speed all the way, as it was thought she had once or twice
run too fast on the last voyage, and exposed the cable to danger. "The
total slack of the cable was less than twelve per cent., showing that
the cable was laid almost in a straight line, allowing for the swells
and hollows in the bottom of the sea.

"As the next week drew toward its close, it was evident that they were
approaching the end of their voyage. By Thursday they had passed the
great depths of the Atlantic, and were off soundings. Besides, their
daily observations, there were many signs well known to mariners that
they were near the coast. There were the sea-birds, and even the smell
of the land, such as once greeted the sharp senses of Columbus, and made
him sure that he was floating to some undiscovered shore. Captain
Anderson had timed his departure so that he should approach the American
coast at the full moon; and so, for the last two or three nights, as
they drew near the Western shore, the round orb rose behind them,
casting its soft light over sea and sky; and these happy men seemed like
heavenly voyagers, floating gently on to a haven of rest.

"In England the progress of the expedition was known from day to day,
but on this side of the ocean all was uncertainty. Some had gone to
Heart's Content, hoping to witness the arrival of the fleet, but not so
many as the last year, for the memory of their disappointment was too
fresh, and they feared the same result again. But still a faithful few
were there, who kept their daily watch. Two weeks have passed. It is
Friday morning, the 27th of July. They are up early, and looking
eastward to see the day break, when a ship is seen in the offing. She is
far down on the horizon. Spy-glasses are turned toward her. She comes
nearer; and look, there is another, and another! And now the hull of the
'Great Eastern' looms up all glorious in that morning sky. They are
coming! Instantly all is wild excitement on shore. Boats put off to row
toward the fleet. The 'Albany' is the first to round the point and enter
the bay. The 'Terrible' is close behind; the 'Medway' stops an hour or
two to join on the heavy shore end, while the 'Great Eastern,' gliding
calmly in as if she had done nothing remarkable, drops her anchor in
front of the telegraph house, having trailed behind her a chain of two
thousand miles, to bind the old world to the new.

"Although the expedition reached Newfoundland on Friday, the 27th, yet,
as the cable across the Gulf of St. Lawrence was broken, the news was
not received in New York till the 29th. It was early Sunday morning,
before the Sabbath bells had rung their call to prayer, that the tidings
came. The first announcement was brief: 'Heart's Content, July 27th. We
arrived here at nine o'clock this morning. All well. Thank God, the
cable is laid, and is in perfect working order. Cyrus W. Field.'"

There was no failure in the communication this time. The electric
current has continued to flow strongly and uninterruptedly from that day
until the present, and experience has demonstrated for the wonderful
wire a capacity far beyond the hopes of its projectors.

Having laid the cable, the "Great Eastern" proceeded with surprising
accuracy to where the line had been lost the year before, and succeeded
in grappling and raising it to the surface. It was tested, and found to
be in perfect order, messages being sent with ease from the ship to
Valentia, and from that point back again. A splice was then made, and
the line was continued to Newfoundland. Both cables are still working,
and bid fair to be serviceable for many years to come.

Many persons had contributed to this great success, but to Cyrus W.
Field must be assigned the chief praise. His energy and perseverance
kept the subject constantly before the public. His courage inspired
others, and his faith in its ultimate success alone kept its best
friends from abandoning it in its darkest hours. In its behalf he spent
twelve years of constant toil, and made over fifty voyages, more than
thirty of which were across the Atlantic. He devoted his entire fortune
to the undertaking, of which he was the projector and cheerfully
incurred the risk of poverty rather than abandon it. Therefore, it is
but just that he, who was the chief instrument in obtaining for the
world this great benefit, should receive the chief measure of the praise
which it has brought to all connected with it.

[Illustration: ROBERT FULTON.]





One of the pleasantest as well as one of the most prominent places in
the city of New York is the grave-yard of old Trinity Church. A handsome
iron railing separates it from Broadway, and the thick rows of
grave-stones, all crumbling and stained with age, present a strange
contrast to the bustle, vitality, and splendor with which they are
surrounded. They stare solemnly down into Wall Street, and offer a
bitter commentary upon the struggles and anxiety of the money kings of
the great city. Work, toil, plan, combine as you may, they seem to say,
and yet it must all come to this.

Not far from the south door of the church, and shaded by a venerable
tree, is a plain brown stone slab, bearing this inscription: "The vault
of Walter and Robert C. Livingston, sons of Robert Livingston, of the
manor of Livingston." A stranger would pass it by without a second
glance; yet it is one of the Meccas of the world of science, for the
mortal part of Robert Fulton sleeps in the vault below, without monument
or legendary stone to his memory, but in sight of the mighty steam
fleets which his genius called forth. Very few visitors ever see this
part of the churchyard, and the grave of Fulton is unknown to nine out
of ten of his countrymen. Yet this man, sleeping so obscurely in his
grave without a name, did far more for the world than either Napoleon or
Wellington. He revolutionized commerce and manufactures, changed the
entire system of navigation, triumphed over the winds and the waves, and
compelled the adoption of a new system of modern warfare. Now he lies in
a grave not his own, with no monument or statue erected to his memory in
all this broad land.

ROBERT FULTON was born in the township of Little Britain (now called
Fulton), in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 1765. He was of Irish
descent, and his father was a farmer in moderate circumstances. He was
the eldest son and third child of a family of five children. The farm
upon which he was born was conveyed by his father in 1766 to Joseph
Swift, in whose family it still remains. It contains three hundred and
sixty-four acres, and is one of the handsomest farms in Lancaster

After disposing of his farm, Mr. Fulton, senior, removed to the town of
Lancaster, where he died in 1768, and there young Robert grew up under
the care of his mother. He learned to read and write quickly, but did
not manifest much fondness for his books after mastering his elementary
studies. He early exhibited an unusual talent for drawing, however,
greatly preferring the employment of his pencil to the more serious
duties of the school. His instructors and companions considered him a
dull boy, though all admitted that he showed no disposition to be idle.
All his leisure time was spent either in drawing, or in visiting the
shops of the mechanics in the place and eagerly watching their
operations. He displayed a remarkable talent for mechanism, which was
greatly assisted by his skill in drawing, and his visits to the machine
shops were always welcomed by both the apprentices and their employers,
who recognized the unusual genius of the boy, and predicted great things
for him in the future. But to his teacher, who seems to have been rather
more belligerent than is usual with Quakers, Robert's neglect of his
studies and visits to the machine shops were so many indications of
growing worthlessness. The indignant pedagogue once took occasion to
remonstrate with him upon his course, and, failing to convince him by
argument, rapped him sharply over the knuckles with a ruler, telling him
he would make him do something. Robert at once placed his arms akimbo,
and, looking his tutor sternly in the face, replied: "Sir, I came here
to have something beat into my brains, not into my knuckles."

Some time after this Mrs. Fulton, in conversation with the teacher,
expressed her solicitude lest her son should "turn out nothing," since
he neglected his books so entirely. The teacher frankly confessed that
he had done all in his power for the boy, but that he was discouraged,
and added: "Only yesterday, madam, Robert pertinaciously declared to me
that his head was so full of original notions that there was no vacant
chamber to store away the contents of any dusty books." The lad was only
ten years of age at the time, and, as may be supposed, the good Quaker
who directed his education was not a little dismayed by such a remark.

The boyhood of Fulton was passed during the stormy period of the
Revolution, and in a section so close to the theater of war that he was
in the midst of all the excitement engendered by the conflict. He was an
ardent patriot from the first, and used his pencil freely to caricature
all who showed the slightest leaning to the cause of the enemy.

In 1778 the supply of candles was so low in Lancaster that the town
authorities advised the people to refrain from illuminating their houses
on the 4th of July of that year, in order to save their candles. Robert,
at this time but thirteen years old, was determined not to forego a
patriotic display of some sort. He had prepared a quantity of candles
for the occasion, and after the proclamation of the Town Council was
issued, he took them to a Mr. John Fisher, who kept a store in the
place, and sold powder and shot. Mr. Fisher was somewhat astonished at
Robert's desire to part with the candles, which were at that time scarce
articles, and asked his reason for so doing. The boy replied: "Our
rulers have requested the citizens to refrain from illuminating their
windows and streets; as good citizens we should comply with their
request, and I prefer illuminating the heavens with sky-rockets." Having
procured the powder, he left Mr. Fisher's, and entered a small variety
store kept by a Mr. Cossart, where he purchased several sheets of
large-sized pasteboard. As Mr. Cossart was about to roll them, the boy
stopped him, saying he wished to carry them open. Mr. Cossart, knowing
Robert's mechanical genius, asked him what he was about to invent.

"Why," said the boy, "we are prohibited from illuminating our windows
with candles, and I'm going to shoot my candles through the air."

"Tut, tut, tut," said Mr. Cossart, laughingly; "that's an

"No, sir," said Robert, "there is nothing impossible."[A]

[Footnote A: He proved that this was not impossible, for he had his
display, making his rockets himself, and after his own model.]

"Robert was known," says one of his biographers, "to purchase small
quantities of quicksilver from Dr. Adam Simon Kuhn, druggist, residing
opposite the market-house. He was trying some experiments that he did
not wish to make public, and which the workmen in Mr. Fenno's and Mr.
Christian Isch's shops were anxious to find out, but could not. He was
in the habit almost daily of visiting those shops, and was a favorite
among the workmen, who took advantage of his talent for drawing by
getting him to make ornamental designs for guns, and sketches of the
size and shape of guns, and then giving the calculations of the force,
size of the bore and balls, and the distances they would fire; and he
would accompany them to the open commons near by potter's field, to
prove his calculations by shooting at a mark. On account of his
expertness in his calculations, and of their ineffectual efforts to
discover the use he was making of quicksilver, the shop-hands nicknamed
him 'quicksilver Bob.'

"Mr. Messersmith and Mr. Christian Isch were employed by the Government
to make and repair the arms for the troops; and on several occasions
guards were stationed at their shops to watch and see that the workmen
were constantly employed during whole nights and on Sunday, to prevent
any delay. The workmen had so much reliance and confidence in
'quicksilver Bob's' judgment and mechanical skill, that every suggestion
he would make as to the alteration of a gun, or any additional ornament
that he would design, was invariably adopted by common consent.

"In the summer of 1779, Robert Fulton evinced an extraordinary fondness
for inventions. He was a frequent visitor at Mr. Messersmith's and Mr.
Fenno's gunsmith shops, almost daily, and endeavored to manufacture a
small air-gun."

Among the acquaintances of Robert Fulton at this time was a young man,
about eighteen years of age, named Christopher Gumpf, who used
frequently to accompany his father in his fishing excursions on the
Conestoga. Mr. Gumpf, Sen., being an experienced angler, readily
consented to allow Robert to join himself and his son in these
expeditions, and made the two boys earn their pleasure by pushing the
boat about the stream, as he desired to move from point to point. As the
means of propulsion was simply a pole, the labor was very severe, and
Robert soon became tired of it. Not wishing, however, to give up his
pleasant fishing trips, he determined to devise some means of lightening
the labor.

"He absented himself a week, having gone to Little Britain township to
spend a few days at his aunt's; and while there he planned and completed
a small working model of a fishing boat, with paddle-wheels. On leaving
his aunt's, he placed the model in the garret, with a request that it
should not be destroyed. Many years afterward, that simple model was the
attraction of friends, and became, instead of lumber in the garret, an
ornament in the aunt's parlor, who prized it highly. That model was the
result of Robert's fishing excursions with Christopher Gumpf; and when
he returned from his aunt's he told Christopher that he must make a set
of paddles to work at the sides of the boat, to be operated by a double
crank, and then they could propel the old gentleman's fishing-boat with
greater ease. Two arms or pieces of timber were then fastened together
at right angles, with a paddle at each end, and the crank was attached
to the boat across it near the stern, with a paddle operating on a pivot
as a rudder; and Fulton's first invention was tried on the Conestoga
River, opposite Rockford, in the presence of Peter and Christopher
Gumpf. The boys were so pleased with the experiment, that they hid the
paddles in the bushes on the shore, lest others might use and break
them, and attached them to the boat whenever they chose; and thus did
they enjoy very many fishing excursions."

This was the first experiment in the science of navigation attempted by
the man who afterward became the author of a new system.

Having chosen the profession of an artist and portrait painter, young
Fulton removed to Philadelphia at the age of seventeen, and remained
there, pursuing his vocation, until the completion of his twenty-first
year. He formed there the acquaintance of Benjamin Franklin, by whom he
was much noticed. His success was rapid, and upon attaining his majority
he was enabled to purchase and stock a farm of eighty-four acres in
Washington County, Pennsylvania, which he gave to his mother for a home
as long as she should live. Having thus insured her comfort, he went to
England for the purpose of completing his studies in his profession. He
took with him letters to Benjamin West, then at the height of his fame,
and living in London. He was cordially received by Mr. West, who was
also a native of Pennsylvania, and remained an inmate of his family for
several years. West was then the President of the Royal Academy of Great
Britain, and was thus enabled to extend to Fulton, to whom he became
deeply attached, many advantages, both social and professional, of which
the young artist was prompt to avail himself.

Upon leaving the family of Mr. West, Fulton commenced a tour for the
purpose of examining the treasures of art contained in the residences of
the English nobility, and remained for two years in Devonshire. There he
became acquainted with the Duke of Bridgewater, to whom England is
indebted for the introduction of the canal system within her limits; and
it is said that he was induced by this nobleman to abandon the
profession of an artist, and enter upon that of a civil engineer. This
nobleman being devoted to mechanical investigations, proved a very
congenial acquaintance to Fulton. He was engaged at the time on a scheme
of steam navigation by a propeller, modeled after the foot of a water
fowl. His plan did not commend itself to Fulton's judgment, and he
addressed him a letter, setting forth its defects, and advancing some of
the views upon which he acted himself in after life. Here he also met
with Watt, who had just produced the steam-engine, which Fulton studied
enthusiastically. His own inventive genius was not idle, and while
living in Devonshire, he produced an improved mill for sawing marble,
which won him the thanks and medal of the British Society for the
Promotion of the Arts and Commerce; a machine for spinning flax and
making ropes; and an excavator for scooping out the channels of canals
and aqueducts, all of which were patented. He published a number of
communications on the subject of canals in one of the leading London
journals, and a treatise upon the same subject. Having obtained a patent
in England for canal improvements, he went to France in 1797, with the
design of introducing them in that country.

Upon reaching Paris, he took up his residence with Mr. Joel Barlow, and
thus was laid the foundation of a friendship between these two gentlemen
which lasted during their lives. He remained in Paris seven years,
residing during that time with Mr. Barlow, and devoting himself to the
study of modern languages, and engineering and its kindred sciences.

His work was continuous and severe in Paris. He invented and painted the
first panorama ever exhibited in that city, which he sold for the
purpose of raising money for his experiments in steam navigation; he
also designed a series of splendid colored illustrations for _The
Columbiad_, the famous poem of his friend Mr. Barlow. Besides these, he
invented a number of improvements in canals, aqueducts, inclined planes,
boats, and guns, which yielded him considerable credit, but very little

In 1801, he invented a submarine boat which he called the "Nautilus,"
which is thus described by M. de St. Aubin, a member of the Tribunate:

"The diving-boat, in the construction of which he is now employed, will
be capacious enough to contain eight men and provision for twenty days,
and will be of sufficient strength and power to enable him to plunge one
hundred feet under water, if necessary. He has contrived a reservoir of
air, which will enable eight men to remain under water eight hours. When
the boat is above water, it has two sails, and looks just like a common
boat; when it is to dive, the mast and sails are struck.

"In making his experiments, Mr. Fulton not only remained a whole hour
under water, with three of his companions, but had the boat parallel to
the horizon at any given distance. He proved that the compass points as
correctly under water as on the surface, and that while under water the
boat made way at the rate of half a league an hour, by means contrived
for that purpose.

"It is not twenty years since all Europe was astonished at the first
ascension of men in balloons: perhaps in a few years they will not be
less surprised to see a flotilla of diving-boats, which, on a given
signal, shall, to avoid the pursuit of an enemy, plunge under water, and
rise again several leagues from the place where they descended!

"But if we have not succeeded in steering the balloon, and even were it
impossible to attain that object, the case is different with the
diving-boat, which can be conducted under water in the same manner as
upon the surface. It has the advantage of sailing like the common boat,
and also of diving when it is pursued. With these qualities, it is fit
for carrying secret orders, to succor a blockaded fort, and to examine
the force and position of an enemy in their harbors."

In connection with this boat, Fulton invented a torpedo, or infernal
machine, for the purpose of destroying vessels of war by approaching
them under water and breaking up their hulls by the explosion. He
offered his invention several times to the French Government, and once
to the Ambassador of Holland at Paris, without being able to induce them
to consider it. Somewhat later, he visited London, at the request of the
British Ministry, and explained his invention to them. Although he
succeeded in blowing up a vessel of two hundred tons with one hundred
and seventy pounds of powder, and in extorting from Mr. Pitt the
acknowledgment that, if introduced into practice, the torpedo would
annihilate all navies, his invention was rejected, through the influence
of Lord Melville, who feared that its adoption might injure England more
than it would benefit her. At the first, when it was thought that
England would purchase Fulton's invention, it was intimated to him that
he would be required to pledge himself not to dispose of it to any other
power. He replied promptly:

"Whatever may be your award, I never will consent to let these
inventions lie dormant should my country at any time have need of them.
Were you to grant me an annuity of twenty thousand pounds, I would
sacrifice all to the safety and independence of my country."

In 1806, Mr. Fulton returned to New York, and in the same year he
married Miss Harriet Livingston, a niece of Chancellor Livingston, by
whom he had four children. He offered his torpedo to the General
Government, but the trial to which it was subjected by the Navy
Department was unsuccessful for him, and the Government declined to
purchase the invention.

But it was not as the inventor of engines of destruction that Robert
Fulton was to achieve fame. A still nobler triumph was reserved for
him--one which was to bring joy instead of sorrow to the world. From the
time that Fulton had designed the paddle-wheels for his fishing-boat, he
had never ceased to give his attention to the subject of propelling
vessels by machinery, and after his acquaintance with Watt, he was more
than ever convinced that the steam-engine could, under proper
circumstances, be made to furnish the motive power.

Several eminent and ingenious men, previous to this, had proposed to
propel vessels by steam power, among whom were Dr. Papin, of France,
Savery, the Marquis of Worcester, and Dr. John Allen, of London, in
1726. In 1786, Oliver Evans, of Philadelphia, and about the same time
Dr. Franklin, proposed to accomplish this result by forcing a quantity
of water, by means of steam power, through an opening made for that
purpose in the stern of the hull of the boat.

In 1737, Jonathan Hulls issued a pamphlet proposing to construct a boat
to be moved by steam power, for the purpose of towing vessels out of
harbors against tide and winds. In his plan the paddle-wheel was used,
and was secured to a frame placed far out over the stern of the boat. It
was given this position by the inventor because water fowls propelled
themselves by pushing their feet behind them.

In 1787, Mr. James Rumsey, of Shepherdstown, Virginia, constructed and
navigated the first steamboat in actual use. His boat was eighty feet in
length, and was propelled by means of a vertical pump in the middle of
the vessel, by which the water was drawn in at the bow and expelled at
the stern through a horizontal trough in her hull. The engine weighed
about one third of a ton, and the boat had a capacity of about three
tons burthen. When thus laden, a speed of about four miles an hour could
be attained. The boiler held only five gallons of water, and needed but
a pint at a time. Rumsey went to England to exhibit his plan on the
Thames, and died there in 1793.

About the same time the Marquis de Joffrey launched a steamer one
hundred feet long on the Loire, at Lyons, using paddles revolving on an
endless chain, but only to find his experiment a failure.

In December, 1786, John Fitch published the following account of a
steamer with which he had made several experiments on the Delaware, at
Philadelphia, and which came nearer to success than any thing that had
at that time been invented:

"The cylinder is to be horizontal, and the steam to work with equal
force at each end. The mode by which we obtain what I term a vacuum is,
it is believed, entirely new, as is also the method of letting the water
into it, and throwing it off against the atmosphere without any
friction. It is expected that the cylinder, which is of twelve inches
diameter, will move a clear force of eleven or twelve cwt. after the
frictions are deducted: this force is to be directed against a wheel of
eighteen inches diameter. The piston moves about three feet, and each
vibration of it gives the axis about forty revolutions. Each revolution
of the axis moves twelve oars or paddles five and a half feet: they work
perpendicularly, and are represented by the strokes of a paddle of a
canoe. As six of the paddles are raised from the water, six more are
entered, and the two sets of paddles make their strokes of about eleven
feet in each revolution. The crank of the axis acts upon the paddles
about one-third of their length from their lower ends, on which part of
the oar the whole force of the axis is applied. The engine is placed in
the bottom of the boat, about one-third from the stern, and both the
action and reaction turn the wheel the same way."

Fitch was unfortunate in his affairs, and became so disheartened that
he ceased to attempt to improve his invention, and finally committed
suicide by drowning himself in the Alleghany River at Pittsburgh.

In 1787, Mr. Patrick Miller, of Dalwinston, Scotland, designed a double
vessel, propelled by a wheel placed in the stern between the two keels.
This boat is said to have been very successful, but it was very small,
the cylinder being only four inches in diameter. In 1789, Mr. Miller
produced a larger vessel on the same plan, which made seven miles per
hour in the still water of the Forth and Clyde Canal, but it proved too
weak for its machinery, which had to be taken out.

It was in the face of these failures that Fulton applied himself to the
task of designing a successful steamboat. During his residence in Paris
he had made the acquaintance of Mr. Robert R. Livingston, then the
American minister in France, who had previously been connected with some
unsuccessful steamboat experiments at home. Mr. Livingston was delighted
to find a man of Fulton's mechanical genius so well satisfied of the
practicability of steam navigation, and joined heartily with him in his
efforts to prove his theories by experiments. Several small working
models made by Fulton convinced Mr. Livingston that the former had
discovered and had overcome the cause of the failure of the experiments
of other inventors, and it was finally agreed between them to build a
large boat for trial on the Seine. This experimental steamer was
furnished with paddle wheels, and was completed and launched early in
the spring of 1803. On the very morning appointed for the trial, Fulton
was aroused from his sleep by a messenger from the boat, who rushed into
his chamber, pale and breathless, exclaiming, "Oh, sir, the boat has
broken in pieces and gone to the bottom!" Hastily dressing and hurrying
to the spot, he found that the weight of the machinery had broken the
boat in half and carried the whole structure to the bottom of the river.
He at once set to work to raise the machinery, devoting twenty-four
hours, without resting or eating, to the undertaking, and succeeded in
doing so, but inflicted upon his constitution a strain from which he
never entirely recovered. The machinery was very slightly damaged, but
it was necessary to rebuild the boat entirely. This was accomplished by
July of the same year, and the boat was tried in August with triumphant
success, in the presence of the French National Institute and a vast
crowd of the citizens of Paris.

This steamer was very defective, but still so great an improvement upon
all that had preceded it, that Messrs. Fulton and Livingston determined
to build one on a larger scale in the waters of New York, the right of
navigating which by steam vessels had been secured by the latter as far
back as 1798. The law which granted this right had been continued from
time to time through Mr. Livingston's influence, and was finally amended
so as to include Fulton within its provisions. Having resolved to return
home, Fulton set out as soon as possible, stopping in England on his
return, to order an engine for his boat from Watt and Boulton. He gave
an exact description of the engine, which was built in strict accordance
with his plan, but declined to state the use to which he intended
putting it.

Very soon after his arrival in New York, he commenced building his first
American boat, and finding that her cost would greatly exceed his
estimate, he offered for sale a third interest in the monopoly of the
navigation of the waters of New York, held by Livingston and himself, in
order to raise money to build the boat, and thus lighten the burdens of
himself and his partner, but he could find no one willing to risk money
in such a scheme. Indeed, steam navigation was universally regarded in
America as a mere chimera, and Fulton and Livingston were ridiculed for
their faith in it. The bill granting the monopoly held by Livingston was
regarded as so utterly absurd by the Legislature of New York, that that
wise body could with difficulty be induced to consider it seriously.
Even among scientific men the project was considered impracticable. A
society in Rotterdam had, several years before Fulton's return home,
applied to the American Philosophical Society to be informed whether any
and what improvements had been made in the construction of steam-engines
in America. A reply to this inquiry was prepared, at the request of the
Society, by Mr. Benjamin H. Latrobe, a distinguished engineer. The
following extracts from this paper will show the reader how Fulton's
scheme was regarded by one who was confessedly one of the most brilliant
engineers of his day, and who has since accomplished so much for the
improvement of steam travel:

     During the general lassitude of mechanical exertion which succeeded
     the American Revolution, We utility of steam-engines appears to
     have been forgotten; but the subject afterward started into very
     general notice in a form in which it could not possibly be attended
     with success. A sort of mania began to prevail, which, indeed, has
     not yet entirely subsided, for impelling boats by steam-engines.
     Dr. Franklin proposed to force forward the boat by the immediate
     application of the steam upon the water. Many attempts to simplify
     the working of the engine, and more to employ a means of dispensing
     with the beam in converting the _libratory_ into a rotatory motion,
     were made. For a short time, a passage-boat, rowed by a
     steam-engine, was established between Borden-town and Philadelphia,
     but it was soon laid aside. The best and most powerful steam-engine
     which has been employed for this purpose--excepting, perhaps, one
     constructed by Dr. Kinsey, with the performance of which I am not
     sufficiently acquainted--belonged to a gentleman of New York. It
     was made to act, by way of experiment, upon oars, upon paddles, and
     upon flutter-wheels. Nothing in the success of any of these
     experiments appeared to be sufficient compensation for the expense
     and the extreme inconvenience of the steam-engine in the vessel.

     There are, indeed, general objections to the use of the
     steam-engine for impelling boats, from which no particular mode of
     application can be free. These are:

     First. The weight of the engine and of the fuel.

     Second. The large space it occupies.

     Third. The tendency of its action to rack the vessel, and render it

     Fourth. The expense of maintenance.

     Fifth. The irregularity of its motion, and the motion of the water
     in the boiler and cistern, and of the fuel-vessel in rough water.

     Sixth. The difficulty arising from the liability of the paddles and
     oars to break, if light, and from the weight, if made strong.

     Nor have I ever heard of an instance, verified by other testimony
     than that of the inventor, of a speedy and agreeable voyage having
     been performed in a steamboat of any construction.

     I am well aware that there are still many very respectable and
     ingenious men who consider the application of the steam-engine to
     the purpose of navigation as highly important, and as very
     practicable, especially on the rapid waters of the Mississippi, and
     who would feel themselves almost offended at the expression of an
     opposite opinion. And, perhaps, some of the objections against it
     may be avoided. That founded on the expense and weight of the fuel
     may not, for some years, exist on the Mississippi, where there is a
     redundance of wood on the banks; but the cutting and loading will
     be almost as great an evil.

Scientific men and amateurs all agreed in pronouncing Fulton's scheme
impracticable; but he went on with his work, his boat attracting no less
attention and exciting no less ridicule than the ark had received from
the scoffers in the days of Noah. The steam-engine ordered from Boulton
and Watt was received in the latter part of 1806; and in the following
spring the boat was launched from the ship-yard of Charles Brown, on the
East River. Fulton named her the "Clermont," after the country-seat of
his friend and partner, Chancellor Livingston. She was one hundred and
sixty tons burthen, one hundred and thirty feet long, eighteen feet
wide, and seven feet deep. Her engine was made with a single cylinder,
two feet in diameter, and of four feet stroke; and her boiler was twenty
feet long, seven feet deep, and eight feet broad. The diameter of the
paddle-wheels was fifteen feet, the boards four feet long, and dipping
two feet in the water. The boat was completed about the last of August,
and she was moved by her machinery from the East River into the Hudson,
and over to the Jersey shore. This trial, brief as it was, satisfied
Fulton of its success, and he announced that in a few days the steamer
would sail from New York for Albany. A few friends, including several
scientific men and mechanics, were invited to take passage in the boat,
to witness her performance; and they accepted the invitation with a
general conviction that they were to do but little more than witness
another failure.

Monday, September 10, 1807, came at length, and a vast crowd assembled
along the shore of the North River to witness the starting. As the hour
for sailing drew near, the crowd increased, and jokes were passed on all
sides at the expense of the inventor, who paid little attention to them,
however, but busied himself in making a final and close inspection of
the machinery. Says Fulton, "The morning I left New York, there were
not, perhaps, thirty persons in the city who believed that the boat
would ever move one mile per hour, or be of the least utility; and while
we were putting off from the wharf, which was crowded with spectators, I
heard a number of sarcastic remarks."

One o'clock, the hour for sailing, came, and expectation was at its
highest. The friends of the inventor were in a state of feverish anxiety
lest the enterprise should come to grief, and the scoffers on the wharf
were all ready to give vent to their shouts of derision. Precisely as
the hour struck, the moorings were thrown off, and the "Clermont" moved
slowly out into the stream. Volumes of smoke and sparks from her
furnaces, which were fed with pine wood, rushed forth from her chimney,
and her wheels, which were uncovered, scattered the spray far behind
her. The spectacle she presented as she moved out gradually from her
dock was certainly novel to the people of those days, and the crowd on
the wharf broke into shouts of ridicule. Soon, however, the jeers grew
silent, for it was seen that the steamer was by degrees increasing her
speed. In a little while she was fairly under weigh, and making a steady
progress up the stream at the rate of five miles per hour. The
incredulity of the spectators had been succeeded by astonishment, and
now this feeling gave way to undisguised delight, and cheer after cheer
went up from the vast throng. Many people followed the boat for some
distance up the river shore. In a little while, however, the boat was
observed to stop, and the enthusiasm of the people on the shore at once
subsided. The scoffers were again in their glory, and unhesitatingly
pronounced the boat a failure. Their chagrin may be imagined when, after
a short delay, the steamer once more proceeded on her way, and this time
even more rapidly than before. Fulton had discovered that the paddles
were too long, and took too deep a hold on the water, and had stopped
the boat for the purpose of shortening them.

Having remedied this defect, the "Clermont" continued her voyage during
the rest of the day and all night, without stopping, and at one o'clock
the next day ran alongside the landing at Clermont, the seat of
Chancellor Livingston. She lay there until nine the next morning, when
she continued her voyage toward Albany, reaching that city at five in
the afternoon, having made the entire distance between New York and
Albany (one hundred and fifty miles) in thirty-two hours of actual
running time, an average speed of nearly five miles per hour. On her
return trip, she reached New York in thirty hours running time--exactly
five miles per hour. Fulton states that during both trips he encountered
a head wind.

The river was at this time navigated entirely with sailing vessels, and
large numbers of these were encountered by the "Clermont" during her up
and down trips. The surprise and dismay excited among the crews of these
vessels by the appearance of the steamer was extreme. These simple
people, the majority of whom had heard nothing of Fulton's experiments,
beheld what they supposed to be a huge monster, vomiting fire and smoke
from its throat, lashing the water with its fins, and shaking the river
with its roar, approaching rapidly in the very face of both wind and
tide. Some threw themselves flat on the deck of their vessels, where
they remained in an agony of terror until the monster had passed, while
others took to their boats and made for the shore in dismay, leaving
their vessels to drift helplessly down the stream. Nor was this terror
confined to the sailors. The people dwelling along the shore crowded the
banks to gaze upon the steamer as she passed by. A former resident of
the neighborhood of Poughkeepsie thus describes the scene at that place,
which will serve as a specimen of the conduct of the people along the
entire river below Albany:

"It was in the early autumn of the year 1807 that a knot of villagers
was gathered on a high bluff just opposite Poughkeepsie, on the west
bank of the Hudson, attracted by the appearance of a strange,
dark-looking craft, which was slowly making its way up the river. Some
imagined it to be a sea-monster, while others did not hesitate to
express their belief that it was a sign of the approaching judgment
What seemed strange in the vessel was the substitution of lofty and
straight black smoke-pipes, rising from the deck, instead of the
gracefully tapered masts that commonly stood on the vessels navigating
the stream, and, in place of the spars and rigging, the curious play of
the working-beam and pistons, and the slow turning and splashing of the
huge and naked paddle-wheels, met the astonished gaze. The dense clouds
of smoke, as they rose wave upon wave, added still more to the
wonderment of the rustics.

"This strange-looking craft was the 'Clermont,' on her trial trip to
Albany; and of the little knot of villagers mentioned above, the writer,
then a boy in his eighth year, with his parents, formed a part. I well
remember the scene, one so well fitted to impress a lasting picture upon
the mind of a child accustomed to watch the vessels that passed up and
down the river.

"The forms of four persons were distinctly visible on the deck as she
passed the bluff--one of whom, doubtless, was Robert Fulton, who had on
board with him all the cherished hopes of years, the most precious cargo
the wonderful boat could carry.

"On her return trip, the curiosity she excited was scarcely less
intense. The whole country talked of nothing but the sea-monster,
belching forth fire and smoke. The fishermen became terrified, and rowed
homewards, and they saw nothing but destruction devastating their
fishing-grounds; while the wreaths of black vapor, and rushing noise of
the paddle-wheels, foaming with the stirred-up waters, produced great
excitement among the boatmen, which continued without abatement, until
the character of that curious boat, and the nature of the enterprise
which she was pioneering, had been understood."

The alarm of the sailors and dwellers on the river shore disappeared as
the character of the steamer became better known; but when it was found
that the "Clermont" was to run regularly between New York and Albany, as
a packet-boat, she became the object of the most intense hatred on the
part of the boatmen on the river, who feared that she would entirely
destroy their business. In many quarters Fulton and his invention were
denounced as baneful to society, and frequent attempts were made by
captains of sailing vessels to sink the "Clermont" by running into her.
She was several times damaged in this way, and the hostility of the
boatmen became so great that it was necessary for the Legislature of New
York to pass a law declaring combinations to destroy her, or willful
attempts to injure her, public offenses punishable by fine and

It had been supposed that Fulton's object was to produce a steamer
capable of navigating the Mississippi River, and much surprise was
occasioned by the announcement that the "Clermont" was to be permanently
employed upon the Hudson. She continued to ply regularly between New
York and Albany until the close of navigation for that season, always
carrying a full complement of passengers, and more or less freight.
During the winter she was overhauled and enlarged, and her speed
improved. In the spring of 1808 she resumed her regular trips, and since
then steam navigation on the Hudson has not ceased for a single day,
except during the closing of the river by ice.

In 1811 and 1812, Fulton built two steam ferry-boats for the North
River, and soon after added a third for the East River. These boats were
the beginning of the magnificent steam ferry system which is to-day one
of the chief wonders of New York. They were what are called twin-boats,
each of them consisting of two complete hulls, united by a deck or
bridge. They were sharp at both ends, and moved equally well with
either end foremost, so that they could cross and re-cross without being
turned around. These boats were given engines of sufficient power to
enable them to overcome the force of strong ebb tides; and in order to
facilitate their landing, Fulton contrived a species of floating dock,
and a means of decreasing the shock caused by the striking of the boat
against the dock. These boats could accommodate eight four-wheel
carriages, twenty-nine horses, and four hundred passengers. Their
average time across the North River, a mile and a half wide, was twenty

The introduction of the steamboat gave a powerful impetus to the
internal commerce of the Union. It opened to navigation many important
rivers (whose swift currents had closed them to sailing craft), and made
rapid and easy communication between the most distant parts of the
country practicable. The public soon began to appreciate this, and
orders came in rapidly for steamboats for various parts of the country.
Fulton executed these as fast as possible, and among the number several
for boats for the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

Early in 1814, the city of New York was seriously menaced with an attack
from the British fleet, and Fulton was called on by a committee of
citizens to furnish a plan for a means of defending the harbor. He
exhibited to the committee his plans for a vessel of war to be propelled
by steam, capable of carrying a strong battery, with furnaces for
red-hot shot, and which, he represented, would move at the rate of four
miles an hour. These plans were also submitted to a number of naval
officials, among whom were Commodore Decatur, Captain Jones, Captain
Evans, Captain Biddle, Commodore Perry, Captain Warrington, and Captain
Lewis, all of whom warmly united in urging the Government to undertake
the construction of the proposed steamer. The citizens of New York
offered, if the Government would employ and pay for her after she was
built, to advance the sum ($320,000) necessary for her construction. The
subject was vigorously pressed, and in March, 1814, Congress authorized
the building of one or more floating batteries after the plan presented
by Fulton. Her keel was laid on the 20th of June, 1814, and on the 31st
of October, of the same year, she was launched, amid great rejoicings,
from the ship-yard of Adam and Noah Brown. In May, 1815, her engines
were put on board, and on the 4th of July of that year she made a trial
trip to Sandy Hook and back, accomplishing the round trip--a distance of
fifty-three miles--in eight hours and twenty minutes, under steam alone.
Before this, however, peace had been proclaimed, and Fulton had gone to
rest from his labors.

The ship was a complete success, and was the first steam vessel of war
ever built. She was called the "Fulton the First," and was for many
years used as the receiving ship at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. She was an
awkward and unwieldy mass, but was regarded as the most formidable
vessel afloat; and as the pioneer of the splendid war steamers of to-day
is still an object of great interest. The English regarded her with
especial uneasiness, and put in circulation the most marvelous stories
concerning her. One of these I take from a treatise on steam navigation
published in Scotland at this period, the author of which assures his
readers that he has taken the utmost pains to obtain full and accurate
information respecting the American war steamer. His description is as

"Length on deck three hundred feet, breadth two hundred feet, thickness
of her sides, thirteen feet, of alternate oak plank and corkwood;
carries forty-four guns, four of which are 100-pounders, quarter-deck
and forcastle guns, 44-pounders; and further, to annoy an enemy
attempting to board, can discharge one hundred gallons of boiling water
in a minute, and by mechanism brandishes three hundred cutlasses, with
the utmost regularity, over her gunwales; works also an equal number of
heavy iron pikes of great length, darting them from her sides with
prodigious force, and withdrawing them every quarter of a minute!"

Fulton followed up the "Clermont," in 1807, with a larger boat, called
the "Car of Neptune," which was placed on the Albany route as soon as
completed. The Legislature of New York had enacted a law, immediately
upon his first success, giving to Livingston and himself the exclusive
right to navigate the waters of the State by steam, for five years for
every additional boat they should build in the State, provided the whole
term should not exceed thirty years. "In the following year the
Legislature passed another act, confirmatory of the prior grants, and
giving new remedies to the grantees for any invasion of them, and
subjecting to forfeiture any vessel propelled by steam which should
enter the waters of the State without their license. In 1809 Fulton
obtained his first patent from the United States; and in 1811 he took
out a second patent for some improvement in his boats and machinery. His
patents were limited to the simple means of adapting paddle wheels to
the axle of the crank of Watt's engine.

"Meanwhile the power of the Legislature to grant the steamboat monopoly
was denied, and a company was formed at Albany to establish another line
of steam passage boats on the Hudson, between that city and New York.
The State grantees filed a bill in equity, and prayed for an injunction,
which was refused by Chancellor Lansing, on the ground that the act of
the State Legislature was repugnant to the Constitution of the United
States, and against common right. This decree was unanimously reversed
by the Court of Errors, and a compromise was effected with the Albany
company by an assignment to them of the right to employ steam on the
waters of Lake Champlain.

"Legislative aid was again invoked, and an act was passed directing
peremptorily the allowance of an injunction on the prayer of the State
grantees, and the seizure of any hostile boat at the commencement of the
suit. Litigation was thus effectually arrested in New York, though by an
arbitrary and unconstitutional enactment, and the waters of the State
remained in the exclusive possession of Fulton and his partner during
the lifetime of the former. A similar controversy with Colonel Aaron
Ogden, of New Jersey, was compromised by advantageous concessions, which
converted the opponent of the monopoly into its firmest friend, and left
him many years afterward the defeated party in the famous suit of
Gibbons and Ogden, in the Supreme Court of the United States."

In January, 1815, Fulton was summoned to Trenton, New Jersey, as a
witness in one of the numerous suits which grew out of the efforts to
break down his monopoly. During his examination he was very much
exposed, as the hall of the Legislature was uncommonly cold. In
returning home, he crossed the Hudson in an open boat, and was detained
on the river several hours. This severe exposure brought on an attack of
sickness, which for a short time confined him to his bed. The steam
frigate, then almost ready for her engines, occasioned him great anxiety
at the time, and before he had fairly recovered his strength he went to
the ship-yard to give some directions to the workmen employed on her,
and thus exposed himself again to the inclemency of the weather. In a
few days his indisposition prostrated him again, and, growing rapidly
worse, he died on the 24th of February, 1815, at the age of fifty
years. His death was universally regarded as a national calamity, and
appropriate honors were paid to his memory by the General Government and
by many of the State and municipal governments of the Union. He was
buried from his residence, No. 1 State Street, on the 25th of February,
and his body was placed in the vault of the Livingston family, in
Trinity church-yard.

He left a widow and four children. By the terms of his will he
bequeathed to his wife an income of nine thousand dollars a year, and
five hundred dollars to each of his children until they were twelve
years old, after which they were each to receive one thousand dollars a
year until they should attain the age of twenty-one years.

In person, Fulton was tall and handsome. His manner was polished,
cordial, and winning. He made friends rapidly, and never failed in his
efforts to enlist capital and influence in support of his schemes. He
was manly, fearless, and independent in character, and joined to a
perfect integrity a patience and indomitable resolution which enabled
him to bear up under every disappointment, and which won him in the end
a glorious success. His name and fame will always be dear to his
countrymen, for while we can not claim that he was (nor did he ever
assume to be) the inventor of steam navigation, or even the inventor of
the means of such navigation, we do claim for him the honor of being the
first man to cross the gulf which lies between experiment and
achievement, the man whose skill and perseverance first conquered the
difficulties which had baffled so many others, and made steam navigation
both practicable and profitable. The Committee of the London Exhibition
of 1851 gave utterance in their report to a declaration which places his
fame beyond assault, as follows:

"Many persons, in various countries, claim the honor of having first
invented small boats propelled by steam, but it is to the undaunted
perseverance and exertions of the American Fulton that is due the
everlasting honor of having produced this revolution, both in naval
architecture and navigation."



In the year 1735, a party of astronomers, sent by the French Government
to Peru for purposes of scientific investigation, discovered a curious
tree growing in that country, the like of which no European had ever
seen before. It grew to a considerable size, and yielded a peculiar sap
or gum. It was the custom of the natives to make several incisions in
each tree with an ax, in the morning, and to place under each incision a
cup or jar made of soft clay. Late in the afternoon, the fluid thus
obtained was collected in a large clay vessel, each incision yielding
about a gill of sap per day. This process was repeated for several days
in succession, until the tree had been thoroughly drained. This sap was
simply a species of liquid gum, which, though clear and colorless in its
native state, had the property of becoming hard and tough when exposed
to the sun or artificial heat. It was used by the natives for the
manufacture of a few rude and simple articles, by a process similar to
that by which the old-fashioned "tallow-dip" candles were made. It was
poured over a pattern of clay or a wooden mold or last covered with
clay, and successive coatings were applied as fast as the former ones
dried, until the article had attained the desired thickness, the whole
taking the shape of the mold over which the gum was poured. As the
layers were applied, their drying was hastened by exposure to the heat
and smoke of a fire, the latter giving to the gum a dark-black hue.
Dried without exposure to the smoke, or by the sun alone, the gum became
white within and yellowish-brown without. The drying process required
several days, and during its progress the gum was ornamented with
characters or lines made with a stick. When it was completed, the clay
mold was broken to pieces and shaken out of the opening. The natives in
this manner made a species of rough, clumsy shoe, and an equally rough
bottle. In some parts of South America, the natives make it a rule to
present their guests with one of these bottles, furnished with a hollow
stern, which serves as a syringe for squirting water into the mouth in
order to cleanse it after eating. The articles thus made were liable to
become stiff and unmanageable in cold weather, and soft and sticky in
warm. The French astronomers, upon their return to their own country,
were quick to call attention to this remarkable gum, which was afterward
discovered in Cayenne by Trismau, in 1751. At present it is found in
large quantities in various parts of South America, but the chief
supplies used in commerce are produced in the province of Para, which
lies south of the equator, in Brazil. It is also grown largely in the
East Indies, vast and inexhaustible forests of the trees which yield it
being found in Assam, beyond the Ganges, although the quality can not
compare with that of the South American article.

This substance, variously known as cachuchu, caoutchouc, gum elastic,
and India-rubber, was first introduced into Europe in 1730, where it was
regarded merely as a curiosity, useful for erasing pencil marks, but
valueless for any practical use. Ships from South America brought it
over as ballast, but it was not until ninety years after its first
appearance in Europe that any effort was made to utilize it. About the
year 1820 it began to be used in France in the manufacture of suspenders
and garters, India-rubber threads being mixed with the materials used in
weaving those articles. It was also used in blacking and varnish, and
some years later, Mackintosh brought it into prominent notice by using
it in his famous water-proof coats, which were made by spreading a layer
of the gum between two pieces of cloth. The gum was thus protected from
the air, and preserved from injury.

Up to this time, it was almost an unknown article in the United States,
but in 1820 a pair of India-rubber shoes were exhibited in Boston. Even
then they were regarded as merely a curiosity, and were covered with
gilt foil to hide their natural ugliness. In 1823, a merchant, engaged
in the South American trade, imported five hundred pairs from the Para
district. He had no difficulty in disposing of them; and so great was
the favor with which they were received, that in a few years the annual
importation of India-rubber shoes amounted to five hundred thousand
pairs. It had become a matter of fashion to wear these shoes, and no
person's toilet was complete in wet weather unless the feet were incased
in them; yet they were terribly rough and clumsy. They had scarcely any
shape to them, and were not to be depended on in winter or summer. In
the cold season they froze so hard that they could be used only after
being thawed by the fire, and in summer they could be preserved only by
keeping them on ice; and if, during the thawing process, they were
placed too near the fire, there was danger that they would melt into a
shapeless and useless mass. They cost from three to five dollars per
pair, which was very high for an article so perishable in its nature.

The great popularity of India-rubber induced Mr. E.M. Chaflee, of
Boston, the foreman of a patent leather factory in that city, to attempt
to apply the new substance to some of the uses to which patent leather
was then put. His hope was that, by spreading the liquid gum upon cloth,
he could produce an article which, while possessing the durability and
flexibility of patent leather, would also be water-proof. His
experiments extended over a period of several months, during which time
he kept his plan a secret. He dissolved a pound of the gum in three
quarts of spirits of turpentine, and added to the mixture enough
lamp-black to produce a bright black color, and was so well satisfied
with his compound, that he felt sure that the only thing necessary to
his entire success was a machine for spreading it properly on the cloth.
Like a true son of New England, he soon overcame this difficulty by
inventing the desired machine. His compound was spread on the cloth, and
dried in the sun, producing a hard, smooth surface, and one sufficiently
flexible to be twisted into any shape without cracking. Mr. Chaffee was
now sure that he had mastered the difficulty. Taking a few capitalists
into his confidence, he succeeded so well in convincing them of the
excellence of his invention, that in February, 1833, a company, called
the "Roxbury India-rubber Company," was organized, with a capital of
thirty thousand dollars. In three years this sum was increased to four
hundred thousand dollars. The new company manufactured India-rubber
cloth according to Mr. Chaffee's process, and from it made wagon-covers,
piano-covers, caps, coats, and a few other articles, and, in a little
while, added to their list of products shoes without fiber. They had no
difficulty in disposing of their stock. Every body had taken the
"India-rubber fever," as the excitement caused by Mr. Chaffee's
discovery was called; and so high were the hopes of the public raised by
it, that buyers were found in abundance whenever the bonds of the
numerous India-rubber companies were offered for sale. The extraordinary
success of the Roxbury Company led to the establishment of similar
enterprises at Boston, Framingham, Salem, Lynn, Chelsea, Troy, and
Staten Island. The Roxbury Company could not supply the demand for its
articles, and the others appeared to have as much business as they could
attend to. Apparently, they were all on the high road to wealth.

Their prosperity was only fictitious, however, and a day of fearful
disaster was pending over them. The bulk of the goods produced in 1833
and 1834 had been manufactured in the cold weather, and the greater part
of them had succumbed to the heat of the ensuing summer. The shoes had
melted to a soft mass, and the caps, wagon-covers, and coats had become
sticky and useless in summer, and rigid in the cold of winter. In some
cases the articles had borne the test of one year's use, but the second
summer had ruined them. To make the matter worse, they emitted an odor
so offensive that it was necessary to bury them in the ground to get rid
of the smell. Twenty thousand dollars' worth were thrown back on the
hands of the Roxbury Company alone, and the directors were appalled by
the ruin which threatened them. It was useless for them to go on
manufacturing goods which might prove worthless at any moment; and, as
their capital was already taxed to its utmost, it was plain that unless
a better process should be speedily discovered, they must become
involved in irretrievable disaster. Their efforts were unavailing,
however. No better process was found, and the disgust of the public with
their goods was soon general and unmitigable. India-rubber stock fell
rapidly, and by the end of the year 1836 there was not a solvent company
in the Union. The loss of the stockholders was complete, and amounted in
the aggregate to two millions of dollars. People came to detest the
very name of India-rubber, since it reminded them only of blighted hopes
and heavy losses.

Before the final disaster, however, it chanced that a bankrupt merchant
of Philadelphia, being one day in New York on business, was led by
curiosity to visit the salesroom of the agency of the Roxbury Company in
that city. His visit resulted in the purchase of a life-preserver, which
he took home with him for the purpose of examining it. Subjecting it to
a careful investigation, he discovered a defect in the valve used for
inflating it, and promptly devised a simpler and better apparatus.

This man, afterward so famous in the history of India-rubber
manufacture, was CHARLES GOODYEAR. He was born at New Haven,
Connecticut, on the 29th of December, 1800. He attended a public school
during his boyhood, thus acquiring a limited education. When quite a
youth, he removed with his family to Philadelphia, where his father
entered into the hardware business. Upon coming of age, he was admitted
to partnership with his father and one of his brothers, the style of the
firm being A. Goodyear & Sons. The house was extensively engaged in the
manufacture of hardware, and among the other articles which they
introduced was a light hay-fork, made of spring steel, which gradually
took the place of the heavy wrought iron implement formerly in general
use among the farmers. It required a large outlay and a great deal of
time to introduce this fork, but, once in use, it rapidly drove the old
one out of the market, and proved a source of considerable profit to its
inventor. The prosperity of the house, however, soon began to wane, and
it was brought to bankruptcy by the crisis of 1836.

Mr. Goodyear's attention had for some time been attracted to the
wonderful apparent success of the India-rubber companies of the country,
and he was hopeful that his improvement in the inflating apparatus of
the life-preserver would bring him the means of partially extricating
himself from his difficulties. Repairing to New York, he called on the
agent of the Roxbury Company, and explaining his invention to him,
offered to sell it to the company. The agent was struck with the skill
displayed in the improvement of Mr. Goodyear, but, instead of offering
to buy it, astounded the inventor by informing him of the real state of
the India-rubber trade of the country. He urged Mr. Goodyear to exert
his inventive skill to discover some means of imparting durability to
India-rubber goods, and assured him that if he could discover a process
which would secure that end, the various companies of the United States
would eagerly buy it at his own price. He explained to him the process
then in use, and pointed out its imperfections. Mr. Goodyear listened
carefully to his statements, forgot all about his disappointment in
failing to sell his improved inflating apparatus, and went home firmly
convinced that he had found his true mission in life. In after years,
when success had crowned his labors, he modestly referred to this period
of his career in language the substance of which is thus recorded:

"From the time that his attention was first given to the subject, a
strong and abiding impression was made upon his mind that an object so
desirable and important, and so necessary to man's comfort, as the
making of gum elastic available to his use was most certainly placed
within his reach. Having this presentiment, of which he could not divest
himself under the most trying adversity, he was stimulated with the
hope, of ultimately attaining this object. Beyond this, he would refer
the whole to the great Creator, who directs the operations of the mind
to the development of properties of matter, in his own way, at the time
when they are specially needed, influencing some mind for every work or

There was something sublime in the attitude of this one man, now feeble
in health, the only dependence of a young family, a bankrupt in
business, starting out to seek success in a field in which so many had
found only ruin. He was convinced in his own mind that he would master
the secret, while his friends were equally sure that he would but
increase his difficulties. The firm of which he had been a member had
surrendered all their property to their creditors; but they still owed
thirty thousand dollars, and immediately upon his return from New York,
after his visit to the agent of the Roxbury Company, he was arrested for
debt, and though not actually thrown in jail, was compelled to take up
his residence within prison limits.

Strong in the conviction before named, that he was the man of all others
to discover the secret of controlling India-rubber, he at once began his
experiments. This was in the winter of 1834-35. The gum had fallen in
price to five cents per pound, and, poor as he was, he had no difficulty
in procuring a sufficient quantity to begin with. By melting and working
the gum thoroughly, and by rolling it upon a stone table with a
rolling-pin, he succeeded in producing sheets of India-rubber which
seemed to him to possess the properties which those of Mr. Chaffee had
lacked. He explained his process to a friend, who, becoming interested
in it, loaned him the money to manufacture a number of shoes, which at
first seemed all that could be desired. Fearful, however, of meeting the
fate which had befallen the Roxbury Company, Mr. Goodyear put his shoes
away until the next summer, to ascertain whether they would bear the
heat. His doubts were more than realized. The warm weather completely
ruined them, reducing them to a mass of so offensive an odor that he was
glad to throw them away.

The friend of the inventor was thoroughly disheartened by this failure,
and refused to have any thing more to do with Goodyear's schemes; but
the latter, though much disappointed, did not despair. He set to work to
discover the cause of his failure, and traced it, as he supposed, to the
mixing of the gum with the turpentine and lamp-black. Having procured
some barrels of the gum in its native liquid state, he spread it on
cloth without smoking it or mixing it with any thing else. He succeeded
in producing a very handsome white rubber cloth, but it was one that
became soft and sticky as quickly as the other had done.

It now occurred to him that there must be some mineral substance which,
mixed with the gum, would render it durable, and he began to experiment
with almost every substance that he could lay his hands on. All these
proved total failures, with the exception of magnesia. By mixing half a
pound of magnesia with a pound of the gum, he produced a compound much
whiter than the pure gum, and one which was at first as firm and
flexible as leather. He made book-covers and piano-covers out of it, and
for a time it seemed that he had discovered the longed-for secret; but
in a month his pretty product was ruined. The heat caused it to soften;
then fermentation set in, and, finally, it became as hard and brittle as
thin glass.

His friends, who had aided him at first, now turned from him coldly,
regarding him as a dreamer; and his own stock of money was exhausted. In
his extremity he was forced to pawn all his own valuables, and even some
of the trinkets of his wife. In spite of this, he felt sure that he was
on the road to success, and that he would very soon be enabled to rise
above his present difficulties, and win both fame and fortune. He was
obliged for the time, however, to remove his family to the country,
depositing with his landlord, as security for the payment of the first
quarter's rent, some linen which had been spun by his wife, and which he
was never able to redeem. Having settled his family in the country, he
set out for New York, where he hoped to find some one willing to aid him
in extending his researches still further.

Arrived in the great city, he found two old acquaintances, to whom he
stated his plans and his hopes. One of them offered him the use of a
room in Gold Street, as a laboratory, and the other, who was a druggist,
agreed to let him have such chemicals as he needed on credit. He now
proceeded to boil the gum, mixed with magnesia, in quicklime and water,
and, as the result, obtained sheets of his compound whose firmness and
smoothness of surface won them a medal at the fair of the American
Institute in 1835. He seemed now on the point of success, and readily
disposed of all the sheets he could manufacture. The newspapers spoke
highly of his invention, for which he obtained a patent; and he was
about to endeavor to enlist some persons of means in its manufacture on
a large scale, when, to his dismay, he discovered that a single drop of
the weakest acid, such as the juice of an apple, or diluted vinegar,
would utterly destroy the influence of the lime in the compound, and
reduce it to the old sticky substance that had baffled him so often.

His next step was to mix quicklime with the gum. In order to work the
compound thoroughly, he used to carry the vessel containing it, on his
shoulder, to a place three miles distant from his laboratory, where he
had the use of horse power. The lime, however, utterly destroyed the
gum, and nothing came of this experiment.

The discovery which followed was the result of accident, and brought him
on the very threshold of success, yet did not entirely conquer his
difficulties. He was an ardent lover of the beautiful, and it was a
constant effort with him to render his productions as attractive to the
eye as possible. Upon one occasion, while bronzing a piece of rubber
cloth, he applied aqua fortis to it for the purpose of removing the
bronze from a certain part. It took away the bronze as he had designed,
but it also discolored the cloth to such a degree that he supposed it
ruined, and threw it away. A day or two later, he chanced to remember
that he had not examined very closely into the effect of the aqua fortis
upon the rubber, and thereupon instituted a search for it. He was
fortunate enough to find it, and was overjoyed to discover that the
rubber had undergone a remarkable change, and that the effect of the
acid was to harden it to such an extent that it would now stand a degree
of heat which would have melted it before. When the reader remembers
that aqua fortis is a compound two-fifths of which is sulphuric acid, he
will understand that Mr. Goodyear had almost mastered the secret of
vulcanizing rubber. He does not appear, however, to have known the true
nature of aqua fortis, and called his process the "curing" of
India-rubber by the use of that acid.

The "cured" India-rubber was subjected to many tests, and passed through
them successfully, thus demonstrating its adaptability to many important
uses. Mr. Goodyear readily obtained a patent for his process, and a
partner with a large capital was found ready to aid him. He hired the
old India-rubber works on Staten Island, and opened a salesroom in
Broadway. He was thrown back for six weeks at this important time by an
accident, which happened to him while experimenting with his fabrics,
and which came near causing his death. Just as he was recovering and
preparing to commence the manufacture of his goods on a large scale, the
terrible commercial crisis of 1836 swept over the country, and, by
destroying his partner's fortune at one blow, reduced Goodyear to
absolute beggary. His family had joined him in New York, and he was
entirely without the means of supporting them. As the only resource at
hand, he decided to pawn an article of value, one of the few which he
possessed, in order to raise money enough to procure one day's supply of
provisions. At the very door of the pawnbroker's shop he met one of his
creditors, who kindly asked if he could be of any further assistance to
him. Weak with hunger, and overcome by the generosity of his friend, the
poor man burst into tears, and replied that, as his family was on the
point of starvation, a loan of fifteen dollars would greatly oblige him.
The money was given him on the spot, and the necessity for visiting the
pawnbroker averted for several days longer. Still he was a frequent
visitor to that individual during the year; and thus, one by one, the
relics of his better days disappeared. Another friend loaned him one
hundred dollars, which enabled him to remove his family to Staten
Island, in the neighborhood of the abandoned rubber works, which the
owners gave him permission to use as far as he could. He contrived in
this way to manufacture enough of his "cured" cloth, which sold readily,
to enable him to keep his family from starvation. He made repeated
efforts to induce capitalists to come to the factory and see his samples
and the process by which they were made, but no one would venture near
him. There had been money enough lost in such experiments, they said,
and they were determined to risk no more.

Indeed, in all the broad land there was but one man who had the
slightest hope of accomplishing any thing with India-rubber, and that
one was Charles Goodyear. His friends regarded him as a monomaniac. He
not only manufactured his cloth, but even dressed in clothes made of it,
wearing it for the purpose of testing its durability, as well as of
advertising it. He was certainly an odd figure, and in his appearance
justified the remark of one of his friends, who, upon being asked how
Mr. Goodyear could be recognized, replied: "If you see a man with an
India-rubber coat on, India-rubber shoes, an India-rubber cap, and in
his pocket an India-rubber purse, with not a cent in it, that is

In September, 1836, a new gleam of hope lit up his pathway. A friend
having loaned him a small sum of money, he went to Roxbury, taking with
him some of his best specimens. Although the Roxbury Company had gone
down with such a fearful crash, Mr. Chaffee, the inventor of the process
in this country, was still firm in his faith that India-rubber would at
some future time justify the expectations of its earliest friends. He
welcomed Mr. Goodyear cordially, and allowed him to use the abandoned
works of the company for his experiments. The result was that Goodyear
succeeded in making slides and cloths of India-rubber of a quality so
much better than any that had yet been seen in America, that the hopes
of the friends of India-rubber were raised to a high point. Offers to
purchase rights for certain portions of the country came in rapidly, and
by the sale of them Goodyear realized between four and five thousand
dollars. He was now able to bring his family to Roxbury, and for the
time fortune seemed to smile upon him.

His success was but temporary, however. He obtained an order from the
General Government for one hundred and fifty India-rubber mail-bags,
which he succeeded in producing, and as they came out smooth, highly
polished, hard, well shaped, and entirely impervious to moisture, he was
delighted, and summoned his friends to inspect and admire them. All who
saw them pronounced them a perfect success; but, alas! in a single month
they began to soften and ferment, and finally became useless. Poor
Goodyear's hopes were dashed to the ground. It was found that the aqua
fortis merely "cured" the surface of the material, and that only very
thin cloth made in this way was durable. His other goods began to prove
worthless, and his promising business came to a sudden and disastrous
end. All his possessions were seized and sold for debt, and once more he
was reduced to poverty. His position was even worse than before, for his
family had increased in size, and his aged father also had become
dependent upon him for support.

Friends, relatives, and even his wife, all demanded that he should
abandon his empty dreams, and turn his attention to something that would
yield a support to his family. Four years of constant failure, added to
the unfortunate experience of those who had preceded him, ought to
convince him, they said, that he was hoping against hope. Hitherto his
conduct, they said, had been absurd, though they admitted that he was to
some extent excused for it by his partial success; but to persist in it
would now be criminal. The inventor was driven to despair, and being a
man of tender feelings and ardently devoted to his family, might have
yielded to them had he not felt that lie was nearer than ever to the
discovery of the secret that had eluded him so long.

Just before the failure of his mail-bags had brought ruin upon him, he
had taken into his employ a man named Nathaniel Hayward, who had been
the foreman of the old Roxbury works, and who was still in charge of
them when Goodyear came to Roxbury, making a few rubber articles on his
own account. He hardened his compound by mixing a little powdered
sulphur with the gum, or by sprinkling sulphur on the rubber cloth, and
drying it in the sun. He declared that the process had been revealed to
him in a dream, but could give no further account of it. Goodyear was
astonished to find that the sulphur cured the India-rubber as thoroughly
as the aqua fortis, the principal objection being that the sulphurous
odor of the goods was frightful in hot weather. Hayward's process was
really the same as that employed by Goodyear, the "curing" of the
India-rubber being due in each case to the agency of sulphur, the
principal difference between them being that Hayward's goods were dried
by the sun, and Goodyear's with nitric acid. Hay ward set so small a
value upon his discovery that he had readily sold it to his new


Goodyear felt that he had now all but conquered his difficulties. It was
plain that sulphur was the great controller of India-rubber, for he had
proved that when applied to thin cloth it would render it available for
most purposes. The problem that now remained was how to mix sulphur and
the gum in a mass, so that every part of the rubber should be subjected
to the agency of the sulphur. He experimented for weeks and months with
the most intense eagerness, but the mystery completely baffled him. His
friends urged him to go to work to do something for his family, but he
could not turn back. The goal was almost in sight, and he felt that he
would be false to his mission were he to abandon his labors now. To the
world he seemed a crack-brained dreamer, and some there were who, seeing
the distress of his family, did not hesitate to apply still harsher
names to him; but to the Great Eye that reads all hearts, how different
did this man appear! It saw the anguish that wrung the heart of Charles
Goodyear, and knew the more than heroic firmness with which, in the
midst of his poverty and suffering, he agonized for the great discovery.
Had it been merely wealth that he was working for, doubtless he would
have turned back and sought some other means of obtaining it; but he
sought more. He was striving for the good of his fellow-men, and
ambitious of becoming a benefactor of the race. He felt that he had a
mission to fulfill, and no one else could perform it.

He was right. A still greater success was about to crown his labors, but
in a manner far different from his expectations. His experiments had
developed nothing; chance was to make the revelation. It was in the
spring of 1839 that this revelation came to him, and in the following
manner: Standing before a stove in a store at Woburn, Massachusetts, he
was explaining to some acquaintances the properties of a piece of
sulphur-cured India-rubber which he held in his hand. They listened to
him good-naturedly, but with evident incredulity, when suddenly he
dropped the rubber on the stove, which was red hot. His old cloths would
have melted instantly from contact with such heat; but, to his surprise,
this piece underwent no such change. In amazement, he examined it, and
found that while it had charred or shriveled, like leather, it had not
softened at all. The bystanders attached no importance to this
phenomenon, but to him it was a revelation. He renewed his experiments
with enthusiasm, and in a little while established the facts that
India-rubber, when mixed with sulphur and exposed to a certain degree of
heat for a certain time, would not melt or even soften at any degree of
heat, that it would only char at two hundred and eighty degrees, and
that it would not stiffen from exposure to any degree of cold. The
difficulty now consisted in finding out the exact degree of heat
necessary for the perfection of the rubber, and the exact length of time
required for the heating.

He made this discovery in his darkest days; when, in fact, he was in
constant danger of arrest for debt, having already been a frequent
inmate of the debtor's prison. He was in the depths of bitter poverty,
and in such feeble health that he was constantly haunted by the fear of
dying before he had perfected his discovery--before he had fulfilled his
mission. His poverty was a greater drawback to him than ever before. He
needed an apparatus for producing a high and uniform heat for his
experiments, and he was unable to obtain it. He used to bake his
compound in his wife's bread oven, and steam it over the spout of her
tea-kettle, and to press the kitchen fire into his service as far as it
would go. When this failed, he would go to the shops in the vicinity of
Woburn, and beg to be allowed to use the ovens and boilers after working
hours were over. The workmen regarded him as a lunatic, but were too
good-natured to deny him the request. Finally, he induced a bricklayer
to make him an oven, and paid him in mason's aprons of India-rubber. The
oven was a failure. Sometimes it would turn out pieces of perfectly
vulcanized cloth, and again the goods would be charred and ruined.
Goodyear was in despair.

All this time he lived on the charity of his friends. His neighbors
pretended to lend him money, but in reality gave him the means of
keeping his family from starvation. He has declared that all the while
he felt sure he would, before long, be able to pay them back, but they
declared with equal emphasis that, at that time, they never expected to
witness his success. He was yellow and shriveled in face, with a gaunt,
lean figure, and his habit of wearing an India-rubber coat, which was
charred and blackened from his frequent experiments with it, gave him a
wild and singular appearance. People shook their heads solemnly when
they saw him, and said that the mad-house was the proper place for him.

The winter of 1839-40 was long and severe. At the opening of the season,
Mr. Goodyear received a letter from a house in Paris, making him a
handsome offer for the use of his process of curing India-rubber with
aqua fortis. Here was a chance for him to rise out of his misery. A year
before he would have closed with the offer, but since then he had
discovered the effects of sulphur and heat on his compound, and had
passed far beyond the aqua fortis stage. Disappointment and want had not
warped his honesty, and he at once declined to enter into any
arrangements with the French house, informing them that although the
process they desired to purchase was a valuable one, it was about to be
entirely replaced by another which he was then on the point of
perfecting, and which he would gladly sell them as soon as he had
completed it. His friends declared that he was mad to refuse such an
offer; but he replied that nothing would induce him to sell a process
which he knew was about to be rendered worthless by still greater

A few weeks later, a terrible snow-storm passed over the land, one of
the worst that New England has ever known, and in the midst of it
Goodyear made the appalling discovery that he had not a particle of fuel
or a mouthful of food in the house. He was ill enough to be in bed
himself, and his purse was entirely empty. It was a terrible position,
made worse, too, by the fact that his friends who had formerly aided him
had turned from him, vexed with his pertinacity, and abandoned him to
his fate. In his despair, he bethought him of a mere acquaintance who
lived several miles from his cottage, and who but a few days before had
spoken to him with more of kindness than he had received of late. This
gentleman, he thought, would aid him in his distress, if he could but
reach his house, but in such a snow the journey seemed hopeless to a man
in his feeble health. Still the effort must be made. Nerved by despair,
he set out, and pushed his way resolutely through the heavy drifts. The
way was long, and it seemed to him that he would never accomplish it.
Often he fell prostrate on the snow, almost fainting with fatigue and
hunger, and again he would sit down wearily in the road, feeling that he
would gladly die if his discovery were but completed. At length,
however, he reached the end of his journey, and fortunately found his
acquaintance at home. To this gentleman he told the story of his
discovery, his hopes, his struggles, and his present sufferings, and
implored him to aid him. Mr. Coolidge[A]--for such was the gentleman's
name--listened to him kindly, and after expressing the warmest sympathy
for him, loaned him money enough to support his family during the severe
weather, and to enable him to continue his experiments.

[Footnote A: O.B. Coolidge, of Woburn.]

"Seeing no prospect of success in Massachusetts, he now resolved to make
a desperate effort to get to New York, feeling confident that the
specimens he could take with him would convince some one of the
superiority of his new method. He was beginning to understand the causes
of his many failures, but he saw clearly that his compound could not be
worked with certainty without expensive apparatus. It was a very
delicate operation, requiring exactness and promptitude. The conditions
upon which success depended were numerous, and the failure of one
spoiled all.... It cost him thousands of failures to learn that a little
acid in his sulphur caused the blistering; that his compound must be
heated almost immediately after being mixed, or it would never
vulcanize; that a portion of white lead in the compound greatly
facilitated the operation and improved the result; and when he had
learned these facts, it still required costly and laborious experiments
to devise the best methods of compounding his ingredients, the best
proportions, the best mode of heating, the proper duration of the
heating, and the various useful effects that could be produced by
varying the proportions and the degree of heat. He tells us that many
times when, by exhausting every resource, he had prepared a quantity of
his compound for heating, it was spoiled because he could not, with his
inadequate apparatus, apply the heat soon enough.

"To New York, then, he directed his thoughts. Merely to get there cost
him a severer and a longer effort than men in general are capable of
making. First he walked to Boston, ten miles distant, where he hoped to
borrow from an old acquaintance fifty dollars, with which to provide for
his family and pay his fare to New York. He not only failed in this, but
he was arrested for debt and thrown into prison. Even in prison, while
his father was negotiating to procure his release, he labored to
interest men of capital in his discovery, and made proposals for
founding a factory in Boston. Having obtained his liberty, he went to a
hotel, and spent a week in vain efforts to effect a small loan. Saturday
night came, and with it his hotel bill, which he had no means of
discharging. In an agony of shame and anxiety, he went to a friend and
entreated the sum of five dollars to enable him to return home. He was
met with a point blank refusal. In the deepest dejection, he walked the
streets till late in the night, and strayed at length, almost beside
himself, to Cambridge, where he ventured to call upon a friend and ask
shelter for the night. He was hospitably entertained, and the next
morning walked wearily home, penniless and despairing. At the door of
his house a member of his family met him with the news that his youngest
child, two years old, whom he had left in perfect health, was dying. In
a few hours he had in his house a dead child, but not the means of
burying it, and five living dependents without a morsel of food to give
them. A storekeeper near by had promised to supply the family, but,
discouraged by the unforeseen length of the father's absence, he had
that day refused to trust them further. In these terrible circumstances,
he applied to a friend upon whose generosity he knew he could rely, one
who never failed him. He received in reply a letter of severe and
cutting reproach, inclosing seven dollars, which his friend explained
was given only out of pity for his innocent and suffering family. A
stranger who chanced to be present when this letter arrived sent them a
barrel of flour--a timely and blessed relief. The next day the family
followed on foot the remains of the little child to the grave."

He had now reached the lowest ebb of his misery, and a brighter day was
in store for him. Obtaining fifty dollars from a relative, he went to
New York, where he succeeded in interesting in his discovery two
brothers, William and Emory Rider. They agreed to advance him a certain
sum to support his family and continue his experiments. By means of this
aid he was enabled to keep his family from want in the future, and from
that time his experiments never flagged. Before entire success crowned
his efforts, the brothers Rider failed; but he had advanced his
experiments so greatly that his brother-in-law, William De Forrest, a
rich woolen manufacturer, came to his support, and supplied him with the
means to go on with his labors. Mr. De Forrest's total advances amounted
to forty-six thousand dollars, from which fact the reader may gain some
idea of the obstacles overcome by Goodyear in this last stage of his

The prize for which he had labored so long and so heroically was secured
at last, and in 1844, ten years after the commencement of his
experiments, he was able to produce perfectly vulcanized India-rubber
with expedition and economy, and, above all, with certainty. He had won
a success which added a new material to art and commerce, and one which
could be applied in a thousand different ways, and all of them useful to
man. But great as his success was, he was not satisfied with it. To the
end of his life his constant effort was to improve his invention, and
apply it to new uses. He had an unlimited faith in its adaptability,
believing that there was scarcely any article of general use that could
not be made of it. Upon one occasion he read in a newspaper that twenty
persons perished every hour by drowning. The statement impressed him
deeply, and his wife noticed that for several nights he scarcely slept
at all. "Try to compose yourself, and sleep," she said to him. "Sleep!"
he exclaimed, "how can I sleep when twenty human beings are drowning
every hour, and I am the man that can save them?" And at this time it
was his constant endeavor to invent some article of India-rubber which
could be easily carried by travelers, and which would render it
impossible for them to sink in water.

Having brought his process to a successful completion in this country,
and obtained patents for it, he went to Europe to secure similar
protections in the principal countries of the Old World. "The French
laws require that the patentee shall put and keep his invention in
public use in France within two years from its date. Goodyear had, at
great inconvenience and expense, endeavored to comply with this and with
all other requirements of the French laws, and thought he had
effectually done so; but the courts of France decided that he had not in
every particular complied with the strict requisitions of the law, and
that, therefore, his patent in France had become void. In England he was
still more unfortunate. Having sent specimens of vulcanized fabrics to
Charles Mackintosh & Co., in 1842, and having opened with them a
negotiation for the sale of the secret of the invention or discovery,
one of the partners of that firm, named Thomas Hancock, availing
himself, as he admits, of the hints and opportunities thus presented to
him, rediscovered, as he affirms, the process of vulcanization, and
described it in a patent for England, which was enrolled on May 21,
1844, _about five weeks after_ the specification and publication of the
discovery to the world by Goodyear's patent for vulcanization in France.
And the patent of Hancock, held good according to a peculiarity of
English law, thus superseded Goodyear's English patent for
vulcanization, which bore date a few days later. Goodyear, however,
obtained the great council medal of the exhibition of all nations at
London, the grand medal of the world's exhibition at Paris, and the
ribbon of the Legion of Honor, presented by Napoleon III."

In his own country, Mr. Goodyear was scarcely less unfortunate. His
patents were infringed and violated by others, even after the decision
of the courts seemed to place his rights beyond question. He was too
thoroughly the inventor and too little the man of business to protect
himself from the robberies of the wretches who plundered him of the
profits of his invention. It is said that his inability to manage sharp
transactions made him the victim of many who held nominally fair
business relations with him. The United States Commissioner of Patents,
in 1858, thus spoke of his losses:

"No inventor, probably, has ever been so harassed, so trampled upon, so
plundered by that sordid and licentious class of infringers known in the
parlance of the world, with no exaggeration of phrase, as 'pirates.' The
spoliation of their incessant guerrilla warfare upon his defenseless
rights have, unquestionably, amounted to millions."

Failing to accomplish any thing in Europe, Mr. Goodyear returned to this
country, and continued his labors. His health, never strong, gave way
under the continued strain, and he died in New York in July, 1860, in
the sixtieth year of his age, completely worn out. Notwithstanding his
great invention--an invention which has made millions for those engaged
in its manufacture--he died insolvent, and left his family heavily in
debt. A few years after his death an effort was made to procure from
Congress a further seven years' extension of his patent for
vulcanization, for the benefit of his family and his creditors. The men
who had trampled his rights under foot while living were resolved,
however, that he should not have justice done him in death; and, through
their influence, that august body, in strange contrast with its usual
lavish generosity in the matter of land grants and the like, coldly
declined to do any thing for the family of the man to whom civilization
owes so much, and the effort proved abortive.

But, though unfortunate in a pecuniary sense, though he died without
freeing himself from the embarrassments which haunted him through life,
there can be no question that Charles Goodyear richly merits the place
which we have given him in this gallery of "Our Self-made Men;" not only
on account of the great merit and usefulness of his discovery or
invention, but because that invention has been the source of many a
"great fortune" to others, as it might, indeed, have been to him, had
his rights been respected, or properly protected when infringed. It is
sad to reflect that he died poor who has given wealth to so many, and
accomplished results so beneficent to mankind. Yet he did not fail
entirely of his reward in life; he lived to see his invention give rise
to large factories in the United States, and in England, France, and
Germany, which employ sixty thousand operatives, and produce over five
hundred different kinds of articles, to the amount of eight millions of
dollars annually. He lived to see boots and shoes, clothing, caps, hats,
articles of commerce and of pleasure, mechanical, scientific, and
surgical instruments, toys, belting for machinery, packing for the
steam-engine, and many other articles now in common use, made of the
material, the discovery and perfection of which cost him long and
sorrowful years of toil. He lived to hear his name mentioned by millions
as one of their greatest benefactors; to know that he had conferred upon
the world benefits of which those who had robbed him could not deprive
his fellow-men; and to feel that he had at length accomplished his
mission--a mission which has been productive of good alone.




At the close of the Revolution the States of South Carolina and Georgia
presented large tracts of land to the gallant General Nathaniel Greene,
to whose genius they were indebted for their relief from British
tyranny. Soon after this grant was made, General Greene removed his
family to Mulberry Grove, a fine plantation on the Georgia side of the
Savannah River. Here he died in 1786, from sunstroke, but his family
continued to reside on the place. The mansion of Mrs. Greene was noted
for its hospitality, and was frequently filled with guests who came to
pay their respects to the widow of the most brilliant and best trusted
subordinate of the immortal Washington.

To this mansion there came one day, in the year 1792, ELI WHITNEY, then
a young man recently from New England. He was a native of Westborough,
Massachusetts, where he was born on the 8th of December, 1765. Of his
youth but little is known, save that he was gifted with unusual
mechanical genius, the employment of which enabled him to overcome some
of the difficulties incident to his poverty, and to acquire the means of
obtaining a good common school education. Adding to this the labors of a
teacher, he earned a sum sufficient to carry him through Yale College,
where he was graduated in the summer of 1702, a few months before his
arrival in Georgia. He had come South to accept the offer of a situation
as teacher, but the place had been filled before his arrival, and, being
without friends in that section, he sought employment from Mrs. Greene.
Though pleased with his modesty and intelligence, that lady could not
avail herself of his services as a tutor, but invited him to make her
house his home as long as he should desire to remain in Georgia. He was
sick in body and disheartened by his first failure, and gladly accepted
her invitation. While her guest he made her a tambour frame of an
improved pattern, and a number of ingenious toys for her children, which
so delighted the good lady that she enthusiastically declared him
capable of doing any thing.

Not long after Mr. Whitney's arrival at the plantation, Mrs. Greene was
entertaining a number of visitors from the surrounding country, several
planters of considerable wealth being among the number, when one of the
guests turned the conversation upon the subject of cotton-raising, by
declaring that he had met with such poor success that he was ready to
abandon the undertaking. His trouble was not, he said, that cotton would
not grow in his land, for it yielded an abundant return, but that the
labor of clearing it from the seed was so enormous that he could not do
more than pay expenses after selling it.

His case was simply one among a thousand. The far Southern States were
admitted by every one to be admirably adapted to the cultivation of
cotton, but, after it was grown and picked, the expense of cleaning it
destroyed nearly all the profits of the transaction. The cleaning
process was performed by hand, and it was as much as an able-bodied
negro could do to clean one pound per day in this manner. Disheartened
by this difficulty, which no one had yet been able to remove, the
planters of the South were seriously contemplating the entire
abandonment of this portion of their industry, since it only involved
them in debt. Their lands were heavily mortgaged, and general ruin
seemed to threaten them. All felt that the invention of a machine for
cleaning or ginning the cotton would not only remove their difficulties,
but enable them to plant the green cotton-seed, from the use of which
they were then almost entirely debarred, because, although more
productive and of a better quality than the black, and adapted by nature
to a much greater variety of climate, it was much more difficult to
clean, and therefore less profitable to cultivate.

These facts were discussed in the conversation at Mrs. Greene's table,
and it was suggested by one of the company that perhaps the very urgency
of the case would induce some ingenious man to invent a machine which
should solve the problem, and remove all the difficulties in the way.

"Is it a machine you want?" said Mrs. Greene, eagerly. "Then, gentlemen,
you should apply to my young friend, Mr. Whitney; _he_ can make any

She at once sent for Whitney, and introduced him to her guests, who
repeated to him the substance of their conversation, and urged him to
undertake the invention of what was so much needed. The young man
protested that he had never seen either a pod of cotton or a cotton-seed
in his life, and was utterly incompetent for the task they proposed. In
spite of this, however, his new acquaintances urged him to attempt it,
and assured him that if successful his invention would make his fortune.
Whitney would promise nothing more than to think of the matter, and the
planters departed in the belief that nothing would come of their
entreaties, and that the culture of cotton would languish until it
should finally die out.

Whitney _did_ think of the matter, and the result was that he decided
to attempt the production of a machine which should clean cotton both
expeditiously and cheaply. It was late in the season, and unginned
cotton, or cotton from which the seeds had not been removed, was hard to
procure. With considerable difficulty he succeeded in finding a few
pounds on the wharf at Savannah, and at once securing his prize, he
carried it home in his hands.


Mrs. Greene being confidentially informed of his plans, provided him
with a room in the cellar of her house, where he could carry on his work
in secret. All that winter he worked at it, with a patience and energy
which could not fail of success. Many difficulties confronted him. To
carry on his work successfully, he needed tools of a certain
description, which were not to be had in Savannah, or even in
Charleston, upon any terms. But when was the genius of a Yankee ever
baffled by difficulties? Whitney's mechanical skill came to his aid, and
he conquered this obstacle by manufacturing all the implements he
needed. He wanted wire, but none was to be found, and he was compelled
to make all that he used. A score or more of drawbacks presented
themselves, and were overcome in this way, and all through the winter
the young inventor applied himself with diligence to his task. The
children and servants regarded him with the greatest curiosity. They
heard him hammering and sawing in his room, the doors of which were
always kept locked, and into which they were never allowed to enter.
Mrs. Greene was kept fully informed of his progress. When sure of
success, Whitney revealed the secret to a Mr. Miller, a gentleman of
means, who consented to enter into a copartnership with him for the
manufacture of the machines, after the completion of the model should
have enabled Whitney to secure a patent for his invention.

Whitney had hoped to keep his work secret from all others, but this
proved to be impossible. It became rumored about the country that the
young man from New England, who was living at Mrs. Greene's, was engaged
in inventing a machine which would clean cotton with the rapidity of
thought, and the most intense eagerness was manifested to see the
wonderful production, which every one felt would entirely revolutionize
cotton culture in the South. Whitney endeavored to guard his invention
from the public curiosity, but without success. Before he had completed
his model, some scoundrels broke into the place containing it, and
carried it off by night. He succeeded in recovering it, but the
principle upon which it depended was made public, and before the model
was completed and a patent secured, a number of machines based on his
invention had been surreptitiously made, and were in operation.

In spite of this discouraging circumstance, Whitney brought his
invention to perfection, and in the spring of 1793 set up his first
cotton gin, under a shed on Mrs. Greene's plantation, and invited a
number of the neighboring planters to witness its operation.

His machine was very simple, but none the less ingenious on that
account. The cotton was placed in a trough, the bottom of which
consisted of parallel rows of wire, placed like the bars in a grating,
but so close together that the seed could not pass through them.
Underneath this trough revolved an iron roller, armed with teeth formed
of strong wires projecting from the roller, which passed between the
wire bars, and, seizing the cotton, drew it through the bars and passed
it behind the roller, where it was brushed off the wire teeth by means
of a cylindrical brush. The seed, unable to pass through the bars, were
left behind, and, completely stripped of the fiber, ran out in a stream
through a spout at one end of the trough. It was found that the cotton
thus ginned was cleaned thoroughly,[A] and far better than it could be
done by hand, and that a single man, by this process, could clean as
much as three hundred pounds in a day.

[Footnote A: The cotton for which Whitney's machine accomplished so
much, was the short staple, which is the principal product of the South.
The Sea Island cotton could not be cleaned by it, on account of the
length and delicacy of its fiber; and this species, for the want of some
cheap and expeditious method of preparing it, has seldom been grown to a
greater quantity than fifty thousand bags of three hundred pounds each.
Consequently, it has always commanded a high price.]

The spectators were delighted with Whitney's machine, and urged him to
lose no time in putting it in the market. They predicted an unlimited
success for it, and assured the inventor that it would not only make his
own fortune, but also render cotton culture the source of wealth to the
South. They did not exaggerate. As soon as it was made known to the
public, Whitney's machine came into general use. Planters had no longer
any thing to fear from the labor and expense of preparing their great
staple for market. Whitney's genius had swept away all their
difficulties, and they reaped a golden harvest from it. They were
enabled to send their cotton promptly and cheaply to market, where it
brought good prices. With the money thus obtained they paid their debts,
and increased their capacity for cultivation. Every year the area
devoted to cotton-growing became more extended, and the prosperity of
the South became greater and more durable. In 1793, the total export of
cotton from the United States was ten thousand bales; in 1860, it was
over four millions of bales. Hundreds of millions of dollars were
brought into the South by this invention--so that it is no exaggeration
to say that the remarkable prosperity enjoyed by the South at the
commencement of our late civil war was due entirely to the genius of Eli
Whitney. This opinion is fortified by the following remarks of Judge
Johnson, uttered in a charge to the jury in a suit brought by Whitney,
in Savannah, in 1807, to sustain the validity of his patent:

"With regard to the utility of this discovery ... the whole interior of
the Southern States was languishing, and its inhabitants emigrating for
want of some object to engage their attention and employ their industry,
when the invention of this machine at once opened views to them which
set the whole country in active motion. From childhood to age it has
presented to us a lucrative employment. Individuals who were depressed
with poverty, and sunk in idleness, have suddenly risen to wealth and
respectability. Our debts have been paid off, our capitals have
increased, and our lands have trebled themselves in value. We can not
express the weight of the obligation which the country owes to this
invention. The extent of it can not now be seen."

Surely, the reader will exclaim, if such was the profit of this
invention to the country at large, what a vast fortune must it have
been to its inventor! Let us see. In May, 1793, Whitney and Miller went
to Connecticut and established a factory for the construction of cotton
gins. They were in possession of a patent which was supposed to pledge
to them the protection of the United States. The demand for the machine
was increasing every day, and it seemed that they would reap a golden
harvest from it. They were disappointed. The machine was so simple that
any competent mechanic could easily manufacture one after examining the
model, and this temptation to dishonesty proved too strong for the
morality of the cotton-growing community. In a short time there were
hundreds of fraudulent machines at work in the South, made and sold in
direct and open violation of Whitney's rights. In vain the inventor
brought suit against those who infringed his patent. It was rare that a
jury in a cotton State gave a verdict in his favor. In Georgia it was
boldly asserted that Whitney was not the inventor of the cotton gin, but
that some persons in Switzerland had invented something similar to it,
and the substitution of teeth, cut in an iron plate, instead of wire,
was claimed as superseding his invention. The Legislature of South
Carolina granted him the beggarly sum of $50,000 for the use of his
invention by the planters of that State; but it was only by going to
law, and after several tedious and vexatious suits, that he was able to
secure this sum. Tennessee agreed to allow him a percentage for the use
of each saw for a certain period, but afterward repudiated her contract.
The action of North Carolina forms the only bright page in this history
of fraud and wrong. That State allowed him a percentage for the use of
each saw for the term of five years, and promptly collected the money
and paid it over to the patentee. For fourteen years Whitney continued
to manufacture his machines, reaping absolutely no profit from his
investments, and earning merely a bare support. During all this time his
rights were systematically violated, suits were wrongfully decided
against him by various Southern courts, and he was harassed and
plundered on every side. America never presented a more shameful
spectacle than was exhibited when the courts of the cotton-growing
regions united with the piratical infringers of Whitney's rights in
robbing their greatest benefactor. In 1807, Whitney's partner died, and
his factory was destroyed by fire. In the same year his patent expired,
and he sought its renewal from Congress. Here again he was met with the
ingratitude of the cotton States. The Southern members, then all
powerful in the Government, united in opposing the extension of his
patent, and his petition was rejected. At the same time a report was
industriously circulated that his machine injured the fiber of the
cotton; but it is a significant fact that, although the planters
insisted vehemently upon this assertion while Whitney was seeking an
extension of his patent, not one of them discontinued the use of his
machine, or sought to remedy the alleged defect.

Whitney, thoroughly disheartened, now abandoned the manufacture of
cotton gins in disgust, wound up his affairs, and found himself a poor
man. In spite of the far-reaching benefits of his invention, he had not
realized one dollar above his expenses. He had given millions upon
millions of dollars to the cotton-growing States, he had opened the way
for the establishment of the vast cotton-spinning interests of his own
country and Europe, and yet, after fourteen years of hard labor, he was
a poor man, the victim of a wealthy, powerful, and, in his case, a
dishonest class, who had robbed him of his rights and of the fortune he
had so fairly earned. Truly, "wisdom is better than strength, but the
poor man's wisdom is despised."

Whitney, however, was not the man to waste his time in repining. He
abandoned his efforts to protect his cotton gin because of his
conviction that there was not honesty enough in the country to sustain
him in his rights, but he did not abandon with it the idea of winning
fortune. He promptly turned his genius in another direction, and this
time with success.

The fire-arms then in use were heavy, clumsy weapons, and effective only
at very short range. He examined the system closely, and quickly
designed several important improvements in them, especially in the
old-fashioned musket. Although his improved arms were not to be compared
with the terribly effective weapons of to-day, they were admitted to be
the best then in use. By examining the Springfield musket, which is due
almost entirely to his genius, the reader can form an accurate estimate
of the service he rendered in this respect. He has the honor of being
the inaugurator of the system of progressive improvement in fire-arms,
which has gone on steadily and without flagging for now fully sixty
years past.

Some time before abandoning the manufacture of the cotton gin, Mr.
Whitney established an arms factory in New Haven, and obtained a
contract from the Government for ten thousand stand of arms, to be
delivered in two years. At this time he not only had to manufacture the
machinery needed by him for this purpose, but had to invent the greater
part of it. This delayed the execution of his contract for eight years,
but at the expiration of that time he had so far perfected his
establishment, which had been removed to Whitneyville, Conn., that he at
once entered into contracts for thirty thousand more arms, which he
delivered promptly at the appointed time. His factory was the most
complete in the country, and was fitted up in a great measure with the
machinery which he had invented, and without which the improved weapons
could not be fabricated. He introduced a new system into the
manufacture of fire-arms, and one which greatly increased the rapidity
of construction. "He was the first manufacturer of fire-arms who carried
the division of labor to the extent of leaking it the duty of each
workman to perform by machinery but one or two operations on a single
portion of the gun, and thus rendered all the parts adapted to any one
of the thousands of arms in process of manufacture at the same time."

His success was now marked and rapid. His factory was taxed to its
fullest capacity to supply the demand for arms. His genius was rewarded
at last, and he acquired a fortune which enabled him not only to pass
the evening of his days in comfort, but also to leave a handsome estate
to his family. He married a daughter of Judge Pierpont Edwards, a lady
of fine accomplishments and high character. He died at New Haven on the
8th of January, 1825, in his sixtieth year.



Any readers of these pages doubtless remember the huge old-fashioned
clocks, tower-like in shape, that in the days of their childhood
ornamented the remote corner of the hall, or stood solemnly near the
chimney in the sitting-room of the old homestead,--such a clock as that
which greeted little Paul Dombey, when he commenced to be a man, with
its "How, is, my, lit, tle, friend?--how, is, my, lit, tle, friend?"
Very different from the bright, pretty timepieces of to-day, which go
ticking away, as if running a race with time, was the clock of the olden
days, as it stood, solemn and dark, in its accustomed corner, from which
the strength of two men was necessary to move it, sending the sound of
its slow, steady strokes into all parts of the house. And in the night,
when all within was still, how its deep beats throbbed in the dark hall
louder and sterner even than in the day. There was something eminently
respectable about an old clock of this kind, and it would have been
audacity unheard of for any member of the family to doubt its
reliability. Set once a year, it was expected to retain its steady-going
habits for the rest of the twelvemonth. You dared not charge it with
being slow; and as for being too fast, why, the very idea was absurd.
There was sure to be some white-capped, silver-haired old lady, whose
long years had been counted by the venerable pendulum with unerring
precision, ready to defend the cause of the clock, to vouch for its
accuracy, and to plead its cause so well and so skillfully, that you
were ready to hide your face in shame at the thought of having even
suspected the veracity of so venerable and so honored an institution.

Truth to say, however, these old clocks, to the masses of the people of
this country, were objects of admiration, and nothing more; for their
exceeding high price placed them beyond the reach of all save the
wealthier classes. A good clock cost from seventy-five to one hundred
and fifty dollars, and the most indifferent article in the market could
not be obtained for less than twenty-five dollars. At the opening of the
present century, the demand for them was so small that but three hundred
and fifty clocks were made in the State of Connecticut, which was then,
as at present, the one most largely engaged in this branch of American
industry. To-day the annual manufacture of Connecticut is about six
hundred thousand clocks of all kinds, which command a wholesale price of
from fifty cents upward, the greater number bringing the maker less than
five dollars. Thus the reader will see that, while the business of the
clock-maker has prospered so extraordinarily, valuable timepieces have
been brought within the reach of even the poorest.

The man to whom the country is indebted for this wonderful and
beneficial increase is CHAUNCEY JEROME, who was born at Canaan,
Connecticut, in 1793. His father was a blacksmith and nail-maker, to
which trade he added the cultivation of the little farm on which he
lived; and being poor, it was necessary for him to labor hard in all his
callings in order to provide his family with a plain subsistence. Young
Chauncey had little or no time given him for acquiring an education.

He learned to read and write, but went no further; for, when he was but
a little more than seven years old, and barely able to do the lightest
kind of labor, he was put to work on the farm to help his father, who
kept him at this until he was nine, when he took him into his shop. All
the nails then in use were made by hand, for there were no huge iron
works in the country to send them out by the ton; and such articles were
scarce and high. The boy was set to work to make nails, and for two
years pursued his vocation steadily. He was a manly little fellow, and
worked at his hammer and anvil with a will, resolved that he would
become thorough master of his trade; but when he had reached the age of
eleven, the sudden death of his father made an entire change in his
career, and threw him upon the world a helpless and penniless orphan.

In order to earn his bread, he hired himself to a farmer, receiving for
his labor nothing but his "victuals and clothes," the latter being of
the plainest and scantiest kind. He worked very hard; but his employer
was cold and indifferent to him at all times, and occasionally used him
very badly. The boy was naturally of a cheerful disposition, and it did
him good service now in helping to sustain him in his hard lot. Four
years were passed in this way, and when he was fifteen years old his
guardian informed him that he had now reached an age when he must begin
his apprenticeship to some regular trade.

The boy was very anxious to learn clock-making, and begged his guardian
to apprentice him to that trade; but the wise individual who controlled
his affairs replied, sagely, that clock-making was a business in which
he would starve, as it was already overdone in Connecticut. There was
one man, he said, engaged in that trade who had been silly enough to
make two hundred clocks in one year, and he added that it would take the
foolish man a life-time to sell them, or if they went off quickly, the
market would be so glutted that no dealer would have need to increase
his stock for years to come. Clock-making, he informed the boy, had
already reached the limit of its expansion in Connecticut, and offered
no opportunities at all. The carpenter's trade, on the other hand, was
never crowded with good workmen, and always offered the prospect of
success to any enterprising and competent man. It was the custom then to
regard boys as little animals, possessed of a capacity for hard work,
but without any reasoning powers of their own. To the adage that
"children should be seen and not heard," the good people of that day
added another clause, in effect, "and should never pretend to think for
themselves." It was this profound conviction that induced parents and
guardians, in so many instances, to disregard the wishes of the children
committed to their care, and to condemn so many to lives for which they
were utterly unfitted. So it was with the guardian of Chauncey Jerome.
He listened to the boy's expression of a preference, it is true, but
paid no attention to it, and ended by apprenticing his ward to a

The life of an apprentice is always hard, and in those days it was
especially so. No negro slave ever worked harder, and but few fared
worse, so far as their bodily comfort was concerned, than the New
England apprentices of the olden time. Masters seemed almost to regard
the lads indentured to them as their property, and in return for the
support they gave them exacted from them the maximum amount of work they
were capable of performing. They granted them no privileges, allowed
them no holidays, except those required by the law, and never permitted
the slightest approach to laziness. Chauncey Jerome's master proved no
exception to the rule, and when the boy exhibited an unusual proficiency
and quickness in his trade, the only notice his employer took of it was
to require more work of him. When only a little over sixteen years old,
this boy was able to do the work of a full-grown man, and a man's work
was rigorously exacted of him. When sent to work at a distance from his
employer's home, he invariably had to make the entire journey on foot,
with his tools on his back, sometimes being required to go as far as
thirty miles in one day in this way. His mother was living at some
distance from the place where his master resided, and whenever he
visited her, he had to walk all night in order to avoid using his
master's time, not one hour of which was allowed him.

In 1811, he informed his master that he was willing to undertake to
clothe himself if he could have the five months of the cold season to
himself. As this part of the year was always a dull period, and
apprentices were little more than an expense to their masters, young
Jerome's employer promptly consented to the proposed arrangement.
Jerome, now eighteen years old, had never relinquished his old desire to
become a clock-maker. He had watched the market closely, and questioned
the persons engaged in the business, and he found that, so far from the
market being over-stocked, there was a ready sale for every clock made.
Greatly encouraged by this, he resolved to devote the five months of his
freedom to learning the business, and to apply himself entirely to it at
the expiration of his apprenticeship. As soon as he had concluded his
bargain with his master, he set out for Waterbury on foot, and upon
arriving there, sought and obtained work from a man who made clock-dials
for the manufacturers of clocks.

He worked with his new employer awhile, and then formed an arrangement
with two journeymen clock-makers. Having perfected their plans, the
three set out for New Jersey in a lumber wagon, carrying their
provisions with them. The two clock-makers were to make and set up the
works, and Jerome was to make the cases whenever they should succeed in
selling a clock on their journey. Clock-making was then considered
almost perfect. It had been reduced to a regular system, and the cost of
construction had been very greatly lessened. A good clock, with a case
seven feet high, could now be made for forty dollars, at which price it
yielded a fair profit to the maker. The three young men were tolerably
successful in their venture. Jerome worked fifteen hours a day at
case-making, and by living economically, managed to carry some money
with him when he went back to his master's shop in the spring. For the
remaining three years of his apprenticeship he employed his winters in
learning the various branches of clock-making, and not only earned
enough money to clothe himself, but laid by a modest sum besides.

In 1814, being twenty-one years of age and his own master, he set up a
carpenter shop of his own, being not yet sufficiently master of
clock-making to undertake that on his own account. In 1815, he married.
Times were hard. The war with England had just ended, and labor was
poorly compensated. He is said at this time to have "finished the whole
interior of a three-story house, including twenty-seven doors and an oak
floor, nothing being found for him but the timber," for the beggarly sum
of eighty-seven dollars--a task which no builder would undertake to-day
for less than a thousand dollars. Still, he declared that, in spite of
this poor rate of compensation, he was enabled to save enough to make a
partial payment on a small dwelling for himself. It required a constant
struggle, however, to live at this rate, and in the winter of 1816,
being out of work, and having a payment on his house to meet in the
spring, he determined to go to Baltimore to seek work during the winter.
He was on the eve of starting, when he learned that Mr. Eli Terry, the
inventor of the wooden clocks which were so popular fifty years ago, was
about to open a large factory for them in an adjoining town. He walked
to the town, and made his application to Mr. Terry, who at once engaged
him at liberal wages. Mr. Terry's factory was then the largest in the
country, and, as he used wooden instead of metal works, he was able to
manufacture his best clocks at fifteen dollars, and other grades in
proportion. This reduction in price largely increased the sale of his
clocks, and in a comparatively short time after opening his factory, Mr.
Terry made and sold about six thousand clocks a year.

Jerome was determined that he would spare no pains to make himself
master of every detail of clock-making, and applied himself to the
business with so much intelligence and energy, that by the spring of
1817 he felt himself competent to undertake their manufacture on his own
account. He began his operations very cautiously, at first buying the
works already made, putting them together, and making the cases himself.
When he had finished two or three, he would carry them about for sale,
and as his work was well done, he rarely had any difficulty in disposing
of them. Gradually he increased his business, and in a year or two was
able to sell every clock he could make, which kept him constantly busy.
A Southern dealer having seen one of his clocks, was so well pleased
with it that he gave the maker an order for twelve exactly like it,
which the latter agreed to furnish at twelve dollars each. It was an
enormous order to Jerome, and seemed to him almost too good to be real.
He completed the clocks at the stipulated time, and conveyed them in a
farmer's wagon to the place where the purchaser had agreed to receive
them. The money was paid to him in silver, and as the broad pieces were
counted into his hand, he was almost ready to weep for joy. One hundred
and forty-four dollars was the largest sum he had ever possessed at one
time, and it seemed almost a fortune to him. His clocks were taken to
Charleston, South Carolina, and sold. They gave entire satisfaction; and
when, some years later, he commenced to ship regular consignments to the
Southern cities, he found no difficulty in disposing of his wares.

Mr. Jerome's success was now more decided. He was enabled to pay for his
house in a short time, and having, soon afterward, an opportunity to
dispose of it at a fair profit, he did so, and took clock-works in
payment. He bought land and timber, and paid for them in clocks, and his
affairs prospered so well that, before long, he began to employ workmen
to assist him, and to dispose of his clocks to peddlers and merchants,
instead of carrying them around for sale himself. As his business
increased, he invented and patented labor-saving machinery for the
manufacture of the various parts of the clock, and thus greatly
decreased the cost of construction. He designed new and ornamental
cases, and exerted himself to render the exterior of his clocks as
tasteful and attractive as possible. His business now increased rapidly,
and he was soon compelled to take in a partner. He began to ship his
clocks to the Southern States, sending them by sea. They met with a
ready sale, but all his ventures of this kind were subject to serious
risks. The works, being of wood, would frequently become damp and
swollen on the voyage, thus rendering them unfit for use. Mr. Jerome
endeavored in various ways to remedy this defect, but was finally
compelled to admit that, until he could change the nature of the wood,
he could not prevent it from being influenced by moisture.

He passed many sleepless nights while engaged in seeking this remedy,
for he plainly foresaw that unless the defect could be removed, the days
of the wooden clock business were numbered.

In the midst of his depression, the idea occurred to him, one night
while lying awake, that the works of a clock could be manufactured as
cheaply of brass as of wood. The thought came to him with the force of a
revelation. He sprang out of bed, lit his candle, and passed the rest of
the night in making calculations which proved to him that he could not
only make brass works as cheaply as wooden ones, but, by the employment
of certain labor-saving machinery, at a cost decidedly less. There was
one important obstacle in his way, however. The machinery requisite for
cutting brass works cheaply was not in existence. Before making known
his plans, Mr. Jerome set to work to invent the clock-making machinery
which has made him famous among American inventors. When he had
completed it, he commenced to make brass clocks, which he sold at such a
low price that wooden clocks were speedily driven out of the market.
Little by little, he brought his machinery to perfection, applying it to
the manufacture of all parts of the clock; and to-day, thanks to his
patience and genius, clock-making in the United States has become a very
simple affair. By the aid of Jerome's machinery, one man and one boy can
saw veneers enough for three hundred clock cases in a single day. By the
aid of this same machinery, six men can manufacture the works of one
thousand clocks in a day; and a factory employing twenty-five workmen
can turn out two thousand clocks per week. By the aid of this same
machinery, the total cost of producing a good clock of small size has
been brought down to forty cents.

As the reader will suppose, Jerome made a large fortune--a princely
fortune--for himself, and entirely revolutionized the clock-making trade
of the Union. Thanks to him, scores of fortunes have been made by other
manufacturers also, and American clocks have become famous all over the
world for their excellence and cheapness. "Go where you will, in
Europe, Asia, Africa, or America, you will be sure to come upon Yankee
clocks. To England they go by the shipload. Germany, France, Russia,
Spain, Italy, all take large quantities. Many have been sent to China
and to the East Indies. At Jerusalem, Connecticut clocks tick on many a
shelf, and travelers have found them far up the Nile, in Guinea, at the
Cape of Good Hope, and in all the accessible places of South America."

After conducting his business for some years, Mr. Jerome organized the
Jerome Clock-Making Company, of New Haven. It began its operations with
a large capital, and conducted them upon an extensive scale. In a few
years Mr. Jerome retired from the active management of its affairs, but
continued nominally at its head as its president. He built for himself
an elegant mansion in New Haven, where he gathered about him his family
and the friends which his sterling qualities and upright character had
drawn to him, and here he hoped to pass the remainder of his days.

He was doomed to a bitter disappointment. Although nominally at the head
of the Clock Company, he left its control entirely to his partners, who,
by injudicious management, brought it at length to the verge of
bankruptcy. They made energetic efforts to ward off the final
catastrophe, but without success, and in 1860, almost before Mr. Jerome
was aware of the full extent of the trouble, the Company was ruined. Its
liabilities were heavy, and every dollar's worth of Jerome's property
was taken to meet them. Honest to the core, he gave up every thing. His
elegant mansion was sold, and he was forced to remove to an humble
cottage, a poorer man than when he had first set up for himself as a

He was not the man to repine, however, and he at once began to look
about him for employment. He was sixty-seven years old, and it was hard
to go out into the world to earn his bread again, but he bore his
misfortunes bravely, and soon succeeded in obtaining the employment he
desired. The great Clock Company of Chicago engaged him at a liberal
salary to superintend their manufactory in that city, which position he
still holds. The Company manufacture his own clocks, and are fortunate
in having the benefit of his genius and experience. Were he a younger
man, there can be no doubt that he would win a second fortune equal to
that which was swept from him so cruelly, through no fault of his own.
As it is, we can only venture to hope that his sturdy independence and
indomitable energy will provide him with the means of passing the
closing years of his life in comfort. Few men have done the world better
service, or been more worthy of its rewards.

[Illustration: ELIAS HOWE, JR.]



One of the busiest parts of the busy thoroughfare of Broadway, in the
city of New York, is the point of its intersection with Fourth Street.
Thousands and tens of thousands of people pass and repass there daily,
but few ever pause to look at the curious machine which stands in the
window of the shop at the north-west corner of these two streets. This
machine, clumsy and odd-looking as it is, nevertheless has a history
which makes it one of the most interesting of all the sights of the
great city. It is the first sewing-machine that was ever made.

ELIAS HOWE, its maker, was born in the town of Spencer, Massachusetts,
in 1819. He was one of eight children, and it was no small undertaking
on the part of his father to provide a maintenance for such a household.
Mr. Howe, Sen., was a farmer and miller, and, as was the custom at that
time in the country towns of New England, carried on in his family some
of those minor branches of industry suited to the capacity of children,
with which New England abounds. When Elias was six years old, he was
set, with his brothers and sisters, to sticking wire teeth through the
leather straps used for making cotton cards. When he became old enough
he assisted his father in his saw-mill and grist-mill, and during the
winter months picked up a meager education at the district school. He
has said that it was the rude and imperfect mills of his father that
first turned his attention to machinery. He was not fitted for hard
work, however, as he was frail in constitution and incapable of bearing
much fatigue. Moreover, he inherited a species of lameness which proved
a great obstacle to any undertaking on his part, and gave him no little
trouble all through life. At the age of eleven he went to live out on
the farm of a neighbor, but the labor proving too severe for him, he
returned home and resumed his place in his father's mills, where he
remained until he was sixteen years old.

When at this age, he conceived an ardent desire to go to Lowell to seek
his fortune. One of his friends had just returned from that place, and
had given him such a wonderful description of the city and its huge
mills, that he was eager to go there and see the marvel for himself.
Obtaining his father's consent, he went to Lowell, and found employment
as a learner in one of the large cotton-mills of the city. He remained
there two years, when the great financial disaster of 1837 threw him out
of employment and compelled him to look for work elsewhere. He obtained
a place at Cambridge, in a machine-shop, and was put to work upon the
new hemp-carding machinery of Professor Treadwell. His cousin, Nathaniel
P. Banks, afterward governor of Massachusetts, member of Congress, and
major-general, worked in the same shop with him, and boarded at the same
house. Howe remained in Cambridge only a few months, however, and was
then given a place in the machine-shop of Ari Davis, of Boston.

At the age of twenty-one he married. This was a rash step for him, as
his health was very delicate, and his earnings were but nine dollars per
week. Three children were born to him in quick succession, and he found
it no easy task to provide food, shelter, and clothing for his little
family. The light-heartedness for which he had formerly been noted
entirely deserted him, and he became sad and melancholy. His health did
not improve, and it was with difficulty that he could perform his daily
task. His strength was so slight that he would frequently return home
from his day's work too much exhausted to eat. He could only go to bed,
and in his agony he wished "to lie in bed forever and ever." Still he
worked faithfully and conscientiously, for his wife and children were
very dear to him; but he did so with a hopelessness which only those who
have tasted the depths of poverty can understand.


About this time he heard it said that the great necessity of the age was
a machine for doing sewing. The immense amount of fatigue incurred and
the delay in hand-sewing were obvious, and it was conceded by all who
thought of the matter at all that the man who could invent a machine
which would remove these difficulties would make a fortune. Howe's
poverty inclined him to listen to these remarks with great interest. No
man needed money more than he, and he was confident that his mechanical
skill was of an order which made him as competent as any one else to
achieve the task proposed. He set to work to accomplish it, and, as he
knew well the dangers which surround an inventor, kept his own counsel.
At his daily labor, in all his waking hours, and even in his dreams, he
brooded over this invention. He spent many a wakeful night in these
meditations, and his health was far from being benefited by this severe
mental application. Success is not easily won in any great undertaking,
and Elias Howe found that he had entered upon a task which required the
greatest patience, perseverance, energy, and hopefulness. He watched his
wife as she sewed, and his first effort was to devise a machine which
should do what she was doing. He made a needle pointed at both ends,
with the eye in the middle, that should work up and down through the
cloth, and carry the thread through at each thrust; but his elaboration
of this conception would not work satisfactorily. It was not until 1844,
fully a year after he began the attempt to invent the machine, that he
came to the conclusion that the movement of a machine need not of
necessity be an imitation of the performance of the hand. It was plain
to him that there must be another stitch, and that if he could discover
it his difficulties would all be ended. A little later he conceived the
idea of using two threads, and forming a stitch by the aid of a shuttle
and a curved needle with the eye near the point. This was the triumph of
his skill. He had now invented a perfect sewing-machine, and had
discovered the essential principles of every subsequent modification of
his conception. Satisfied that he had at length solved the problem, he
constructed a rough model of his machine of wood and wire, in October,
1844, and operated it to his perfect satisfaction. His invention is
thus described:

"He used a needle and a shuttle of novel construction, and combined them
with holding surfaces, feed mechanism and other devices, as they had
never before been brought together, in one machine One of the principal
features of Mr. Howe's invention is the combination of a grooved needle,
having an eye near its point, and vibrating in the direction of its
length, with a side-pointed shuttle for effecting a locked stitch, and
forming, with the threads, one on each side of the cloth, a firm and
lasting seam not easily ripped. The main action of the machine consists
in the interlocking of the loop, made by the thread carried in the point
of the needle through the cloth, with another thread passed through this
loop by means of a shuttle entering and leaving it at every stitch. The
thread attached to this shuttle remains in the loop and secures the
stitch as the needle is withdrawn to be ready to make the next one. At
the same time the cloth, held by little projecting pins to the baster
plate, is carried along with this by what is called the 'feed motion'
just the length of a stitch, the distance being readily adjusted for
finer or coarser work. .... The cloth is held in a vertical position in
the machine, and the part to be sewed is pressed against the side of the
shuttle-race by a presser plate hinged on its upper edge, and capable of
exerting any required pressure on the cloth, according as the adjusting
screw that regulates it is turned. A slot, or perforation through the
plate, also extended through the side of the shuttle-race near the
bottom, admits the passage of the needle; and when this is pushed in the
shuttle can still pass freely over it. The shuttle is pushed one way and
then the other through its race or trough by picker staves. The thread
for the needle is supplied by a bobbin, the movement of which is
checked by a friction band, this securing the proper tension, and the
slack of the thread is duly taken up by a suitable contrivance for the
purpose. Thus, all the essential features of the most approved
sewing-machine were first found in that of Mr. Howe; and the machines of
later date are, in fact, but modifications of it."

At this time, he had abandoned his work as a journeyman mechanic, and
had removed to his father's house. Mr. Howe, Sen., had established in
Cambridge a machine-shop for the cutting of strips of palm-leaf used in
the manufacture of hats. Elias and his family lived under his father's
roof, and in the garret of the house the half-sick inventor put up a
lathe, where he did a little work on his own account, and labored on his
sewing-machine. He was miserably poor, and could scarcely earn enough to
provide food for his family; and, to make matters worse, his father, who
was disposed to help him, lost his shop and its contents by fire. Poor
Elias was in a most deplorable condition. He had his model in his head,
and was fully satisfied of its excellence, but he had not the money to
buy the materials needed in making a perfect machine, which would have
to be constructed of steel and iron, and without which he could not hope
to convince others of its value. His great invention was useless to him
without the five hundred dollars which he needed in the construction of
a working model.

In this dilemma, he applied to a friend, Mr. George Fisher, a coal and
wood merchant of Cambridge, who was a man of some means. He explained
his invention to him, and succeeded in forming a partnership with him.
Fisher agreed to take Howe and his family to board with him while the
latter was making the machine, to allow his garret to be used as a
workshop, and to advance the five hundred dollars necessary for the
purchase of tools and the construction of a model. In return for this he
was to receive one-half of the patent, if Howe succeeded in patenting
his machine. About the first of December, 1844, Howe and his family
accordingly moved into Fisher's house, and the little workshop was set
up in the garret. All that winter he worked on his model. There was
little to delay him in its construction, as the conception was perfectly
clear in his mind. He worked all day, and sometimes nearly all night,
and in April, 1845, had his machine so far advanced that he sewed a seam
with it. By the middle of May the machine was completed, and in July he
sewed with it the seams of two woolen suits, one for himself and the
other for Mr. Fisher. The sewing was so well done that it outlasted the

It has been stated by Professor Renwick and other scientific men that
Elias Howe "carried the invention of the sewing-machine further on
toward its complete and final utility than any other inventor has ever
brought a first-rate invention at the first trial." Those who doubt this
assertion should examine the curious machine at the corner of Broadway
and Fourth Street, and their doubts will be dispelled; for they will
find in it all the essentials of the best sewing-machine of to-day.

Having patented his machine, Howe endeavored to bring it into use. He
was full of hope, and had no doubt that it would be adopted at once by
those who were so much interested in the saving of labor. He first
offered it to the tailors of Boston; but they, while admitting its
usefulness, told him it would never be adopted by their trade, as it
would ruin them. Considering the number of machines now used by the
tailoring interest throughout the world, this assertion seems
ridiculous. Other efforts were equally unsuccessful. Every one admitted
and praised the ingenuity of the machine but no one would invest a
dollar in it. Fisher became disgusted, and withdrew from his
partnership, and Howe and his family moved back to his father's house.
Thoroughly disheartened, he abandoned his machine. He then obtained a
place as engineer on a railroad, and drove a locomotive until his health
entirely broke down.

With the loss of his health his hopes revived, and he determined to seek
in England the victory which he had failed to win here. Unable to go
himself, he sent his machine by his brother Amasa, in October, 1846.
Upon reaching London, Amasa sought out Mr. William Thomas, of Cheapside,
and explained to him his brother's invention. He found Mr. Thomas
willing to use the machine in his business, but upon terms more
favorable to himself than to the inventor. He offered the sum of twelve
hundred and fifty dollars for the machine which Amasa Howe had brought
with him, and agreed to pay Elias fifteen dollars per week if he would
enter his service, and adapt the machine to his business of umbrella and
corset making. As this was his only hope of earning a livelihood, Elias
accepted the offer, and, upon his brother's return to the United States,
sailed for England. He remained in Mr. Thomas's employ for about eight
months, and at the end of that time left him, having found him hard,
exacting, and unreasonable.

Meanwhile his sick wife and three children had joined him in London, and
he had found it hard to provide for them on the wages given him by Mr.
Thomas; but after being thrown out of employment his condition was
desperate indeed. He was in a strange country, without friends or money,
and often he and his little family went whole days without food. Their
sufferings were very great, but at length Howe was able (probably by
assistance from home) to send his family back to his father's house. He
himself remained in London, still hoping to bring his machine into use.
It was in vain, however, and so, collecting what few household goods he
had acquired in England, he shipped them to America, and followed them
thither himself in another vessel, pawning his model and patent papers
to pay his passage. When he landed in New York he had half a crown in
his pocket, and there came to him on the same day a letter telling him
that his wife was dying with consumption in Cambridge. He could not go
to her at once, as he had no money, and was too feeble to undertake the
distance on foot. He was compelled to wait several days until he could
obtain the money for his fare to Cambridge, but at length succeeded in
reaching that place just in time to see his wife die. In the midst of
his grief he received the announcement that the vessel containing the
few household goods which he had shipped from England had been lost at
sea. It seemed to him that Fate was bent upon destroying him, so rapid
and stunning were the blows she dealt him.

But a great success was now in store for him, and he was to rise out of
his troubles to the realization of his brightest hopes. Soon after his
return home he obtained profitable employment, and, better still,
discovered that his machine had become famous during his absence.
Facsimiles of it had been constructed by unscrupulous mechanics, who
paid no attention to the patents of the^inventor, and these copies had
been exhibited in many places as "wonders," and had even been adopted in
many important branches of manufacture. Howe at once set to work to
defend his rights. He found friends to aid him, and in August, 1850,
began those famous suits which continued for four years, and were at
length decided in his favor. His adversaries made a bold resistance, but
the decision of Judge Sprague, in 1854, settled the matter, and
triumphantly established the rights of the inventor.

In 1850, Howe removed to New York, and began in a small way to
manufacture machines to order. He was in partnership with a Mr. Bliss,
but for several years the business was so unimportant that upon the
death of his partner, in 1855, he was enabled to buy out that
gentleman's interest, and thus become the sole proprietor of his patent.
Soon after this his business began to increase, and continued until his
own proper profits and the royalty which the courts compelled other
manufacturers to pay him for the use of his invention grew from $300 to
$200,000 per annum. In 1867, when the extension of his patent expired,
it is stated that he had earned a total of two millions of dollars by
it. It cost him large sums to defend his rights, however, and he was
very far from being as wealthy as was commonly supposed, although a very
rich man.

In the Paris Exposition of 1867, he exhibited his machines, and received
the gold medal of the Exposition, and the Cross of the Legion of Honor,
in addition, as a compliment to him as a manufacturer and inventor.

He contributed money liberally to the aid of the Union in the late war,
and enlisted as a private soldier in the Seventeenth Regiment of
Connecticut Volunteers, with which command he went to the field,
performing all the duties of his position until failing health compelled
him to leave the service. Upon one occasion the Government was so much
embarrassed that it could not pay the regiment of which he was a member.
Mr. Howe promptly advanced the money, and his comrades were saved from
the annoyances which would have attended the delay in paying them. He
died at Brooklyn, Long Island, on the 3d of October, 1867.

Mr. Howe will always rank among the most distinguished of American
inventors; not only because of the unusual degree of completeness shown
in his first conception of the sewing-machine, but because of the great
benefits which have sprung from it. It has revolutionized the industry
of the world, opened new sources of wealth to enterprise, and lightened
the labor of hundreds of thousands of working people. Many a pale-faced,
hollow-eyed woman, who formerly sat sewing her life away for a mere
pittance, blesses the name of Elias Howe, and there is scarcely a
community in the civilized world but contains the evidence of his
genius, and honors him as the benefactor of the human race.



To write the complete history of the printing press would require years
of patient labor and research, and a much larger space than the limits
of the present work will permit. There are few subjects more attractive
or more worthy of consideration than the history of this wonderful
invention, which seems more like a romance than a narration of facts.
The historian who should essay the task would be required to carry his
reader back to the darkest ages of the world, and, beginning with the
stamps used for affixing hieroglyphical characters to the now crumbling
ruins of Egypt and Nineveh, trace the gradual development of the
beneficent conception from the signets of the Israelites, and the stamps
used by the Romans for marking certain kinds of merchandise, through the
rude process of the Chinese, Japanese, and Tartars, to the invention of
Johannes Guttenberg, and, finally, to the wonderful lightning
steam-presses of to-day.

In these pages it is not proposed to offer to the reader any such
narrative. On the contrary, the story of the printing press will be
taken up just as it was on the point of reaching its greatest
perfection, since our subject concerns only the man who brought it to
that state.

This man, RICHARD MARCH HOE by name, was born in the city of New York,
on the 12th of September, 1812. His father, Robert Hoe, was a native of
the village of Hose, Leicester, England, and the son of a wealthy
farmer. Disliking his father's pursuit, he apprenticed himself to a
carpenter. When only sixteen years old, the elder Hoe purchased his
indentures from his master and sailed for the United States. He was
almost penniless when he reached New York, and in this condition entered
the store of Mr. Grant Thorburn one day in search of employment. Mr.
Thorburn manifested a sudden and strong liking to the youth, took him to
his own house, and when he was prostrated with the yellow fever, during
the epidemic of 1804, nursed him tenderly throughout. Setting to work
immediately upon his arrival in New York, he made friends rapidly, and
prospered in his trade so well that when but twenty years old he was
able to marry. His bride was a daughter of Matthew Smith, of
Westchester, and a sister of Peter Smith, the inventor of the hand
printing press, which bears his name. With this gentleman and Matthew
Smith, jr., his brother, Robert Hoe entered into partnership. Their
business was that of carpentering and printers' joinery; but after Peter
Smith had completed the invention of his hand press, it gradually grew
into the manufacture of presses and printers' materials. Both of the
brothers died in 1823, and Robert Hoe succeeded to the entire business.

The manufactory of "Robert Hoe & Co." was originally located in the
centre of the old block between Pearl and William Streets, and Pine
Street and Maiden Lane. Soon after their establishment there, the city
authorities ran Cedar Street right through their building, and they
removed to Gold Street, near John. They have been twice burned out here,
but still occupy these premises with their counting-room and lower shop.

Printing by steam had long attracted the attention of persons engaged
in the art, and many essays had been made in this direction by different
inventors, both in this country and in Europe. The most successful
results were the Adams press, the invention of Mr. Isaac Adams, of
Boston, Mass., and the Napier press, that of a British artisan. It was
the latter which was the means of identifying Mr. Hoe with the steam

The Napier press was introduced into this country in 1830, by the
proprietors of the _National Intelligencer_, but when it arrived, these
gentlemen were not able to release it from the Custom-house. Major Noah,
himself the proprietor of a newspaper, was at that time Collector of the
port of New York, and he, being anxious to see the press in operation,
requested Mr. Hoe to put it together. Mr. Hoe performed this task
successfully, although the press was a novelty to him, and was permitted
to take models of its various parts before it was reshipped to England.
It was found to be a better press than any that had ever been seen in
this country, and the _Commercial Advertiser,_ of New York, and the
_Chronicle_, of Philadelphia, at once ordered duplicates of it from

Mr. Hoe was very much pleased with this press, but believed that he
could construct a much better one. "To this end he despatched his new
partner, Mr. Sereno Newton, to England to examine all the improvements
in machinery there, and bring home samples of such as he thought might
be advantageously adopted in this country. Mr. Newton, besides being an
ingenious mechanic, was well-read in books, and was considered one of
the first mathematicians in New York. Returning from his mission, he
constructed a new two-cylinder press, which soon superseded all others
then in use." Mr. Hoe's health failed, compelling him, in 1832, to
retire from the business.

Young Richard M. Hoe had been brought up in his father's business,
after receiving a fair education. He inherited his father's inventive
genius, combined with a rare business capacity, and from the first was
regarded as the future hope of the establishment. Upon the withdrawal of
his father, a partnership was established between himself, his brother
Robert, Mr. Newton, and his cousin Matthew Smith, but the style of the
firm remained unchanged.

Richard Hoe's first invention was conceived in 1837, and consisted of a
valuable improvement in the manufacture of grinding saws. Having
obtained a patent for it in the United States, he visited England in
that year for the same purpose. By his process circular saws may be
ground with accuracy to any desired thickness. He readily obtained a
patent in England, as the excellence of his invention commended it to
every one. While there he gave especial attention to the improvements
which had been made in the printing press, in the manufacture of which
his firm was still largely engaged. Returning to New York, he devoted
himself entirely to this branch of his business, and soon produced the
machine known as "Hoe's Double-Cylinder Press," which was capable of
making about six thousand impressions per hour. The first press of this
kind ever made was ordered by the New York _Sun_, and was the admiration
of all the printers of the city. This style of press is now used
extensively for printing country newspapers.

As long as the newspaper interest of the country stood still, "Hoe's
Double-Cylinder Press" was amply sufficient for its wants, but as the
circulation of the journals of the large cities began to increase, the
"double-cylinder" was often taxed far beyond its powers. A printing
press capable of striking off papers with much greater rapidity was felt
to be an imperative and still-increasing need. It was often necessary
to hold the forms back until nearly daylight for the purpose of issuing
the latest news, and in the hurry which ensued to get out the morning
edition, the press very frequently met with accidents.

Mr. Hoe was fully alive to the importance of improving his press, and,
in 1842, he began to experiment with it for the purpose of obtaining
greater speed. It was a serious undertaking, however, and at every step
fresh difficulties arose. He spent four years in experimenting, and at
the end of that time was almost ready to confess that the obstacles were
too great to be overcome. One night, in. 1846, while in this mood, he
resumed his experiments. The more he pondered over the subject the more
difficult it seemed. In despair, he was about to relinquish the effort
for the night, when suddenly there flashed across his mind a plan for
securing the type on a horizontal cylinder. This had been his great
difficulty, and he now felt that he had mastered it. He sat up all
night, working out his design, and making a note of every idea that
occurred to him, in order that nothing should escape him. By morning the
problem which had baffled him so long had been solved, and the
magnificent "Lightning Press" already had a being in the inventor's
fertile brain.

He carried his model rapidly to perfection, and, proceeding with it to
Washington, obtained a patent. On his return home he met Mr. Swain, the
proprietor of the Baltimore _Sun_ and Philadelphia _Ledger_, and
explained his invention to him. Mr. Swain was so much pleased with it
that he at once ordered a four-cylinder press, which was completed and
ready for use on the 31st of December, 1848. This press was capable of
making ten thousand impressions per hour, and did its work with entire
satisfaction in every respect.

This was a success absolutely unprecedented--so marked, in fact, that
some persons were inclined to doubt it. The news flew rapidly from city
to city, and across the ocean to foreign lands, and soon wherever a
newspaper was printed men were talking of Hoe's wonderful invention.
Orders came pouring in upon the inventor with such rapidity that he soon
had as many on hand as he could fill in several years. In a
comparatively brief period the _Herald_, _Tribune_, and _Sun_, of New
York, were boasting of their "Lightning Presses," and soon the
_Traveller_ and _Daily Journal_, in Boston, followed their example. Mr.
Hoe was now not only a famous man, but possessed of an assured business
for the future, which was certain to result in a large fortune. By the
year 1860, besides supplying the principal cities of the Union (fifteen
lightning presses being used in the city of New York alone), he had
shipped eighteen presses to Great Britain, four to France, and one to
Australia. Two of the presses sent to England were ordered for the
London _Times_.

Mr. Hoe continued to improve his invention, adding additional cylinders
as increased, speed was desired, and at length brought it to the degree
of perfection exhibited in the splendid ten-cylinder press now in use in
the offices of our leading journals, which strikes off twenty-five
thousand sheets per hour. Whether more will be accomplished with this
wonderful machine the future alone can determine, but the inventor is
said to be still laboring to improve it.

In 1858, Mr. Hoe purchased the patent rights and manufactory of Isaac
Adams, in Boston, and since then has carried on the manufacture of the
Adams press from that place. He has also established a manufactory in
England, where he conducts a profitable business in both the Adams and
the Hoe press. Over a million and a half of dollars are invested in
these establishments in New York, Boston, and London, in land,
buildings, and stock. The firm manufacture presses of all kinds, and
all materials used by printers except type and ink. They also
manufacture circular saws, made according to Mr. Hoe's process.

Mr. Hoe, now fifty-eight years of age, is still as vigorous and active
as many a younger man. Besides being one of the most prominent and
distinguished inventors and manufacturers in the country, he is justly
esteemed for his many virtues and his commanding business talents. He is
still the active head of the house which he has carried to such a
brilliant success, and is the possessor of an ample fortune, which his
genius and industry have secured to him. He is courteous and obliging to
all, and very liberal to those whose needs commend them to his

The ten-cylinder press costs fifty thousand dollars, and is regarded as
cheap at that immense sum. It is one of the most interesting inventions
ever made. Those who have seen it working in the subterranean
press-rooms of the journals of the great metropolis will not soon forget
the wonderful sight. The ear is deafened with the incessant clashing of
the machinery; the printed sheets issue from the sides of the huge
engine in an unceasing stream; the eye is bewildered with the mass of
lines and bands; and it seems hard to realize that one single mind could
ever have adjusted all the various parts to work harmoniously.

The following is a description of the ten-cylinder steam printing-press
now used in the office of the New York _World_. It is one of the best
specimens of its kind to be seen in the great city:

The dimensions of the press are as follows: Entire length, 40 feet;
width, 15 feet; height, 16 feet. The large horizontal cylinder in the
center is about 4-1/2 feet in diameter, and on it are placed the "forms" of
type for the four pages of one side of the paper. Each of these
constitutes a segment of a circle, and the whole four occupy a segment
of only about one-fourth of the surface of the cylinder, the other
three-fourths being used as an ink-distributing surface. Around this
main cylinder, and parallel with it, are ten smaller impression
cylinders, according to the number of which a press is termed a four,
six, or ten-cylinder press. The large cylinder being set in revolution,
the form of types is carried successively to all the impression
cylinders, at each of which a sheet is introduced and receives the
impression of the types as the form passes. Thus as many sheets are
printed at each revolution of the main cylinder as there are impression
cylinders around it. One person is required at each impression cylinder
to supply the sheets of paper, which are taken at the proper moment by
fingers or grippers, and after being printed are conveyed out by tapes
and laid in heaps by means of self-acting flyers, thereby dispensing
with the hands required in ordinary machines to receive and pile the
sheets. The grippers hold the sheet securely, so that the thinnest
newspaper can be printed without waste.

The ink is contained in a fountain placed beneath the main cylinder, and
is conveyed by means of distributing rollers to the distributing surface
on the main cylinder. This surface being lower or less in diameter than
the form of types, passes by the impression cylinders without touching
them. For each impression there are two inking rollers, which receive
their supply of ink from the distributing surface of the main cylinder,
and raise and ink the form as it passes under them, after which they
again fall to the distributing surface.

Each page of the paper is locked up on a detached segment of the large
cylinder, called by the compositors a "turtle," and this constitutes its
bed and chase. The column-rules run parallel with the shaft of the
cylinder, and are consequently straight, while the head, advertising,
and dash-rules are in the form of segments of a circle. The column-rules
are in the form of a wedge, with the thin part directed toward the axis
of the cylinder, so as to bind the type securely, and at the same time
to keep the ink from collecting between the types and the rules. They
are held down to the bed by tongues projecting at intervals along their
length, which slide into rebated grooves, cut crosswise in the face of
the bed. The spaces in the grooves between the column-rules are
accurately fitted with sliding blocks of metal even with the surface of
the bed, the ends of the blocks being cut away underneath to receive a
projection on the sides of the tongues of the column-rules. The form of
type is locked up in the bed by means of screws at the foot and sides,
by which the type is held as securely as in the ordinary manner upon a
flat bed, if not even more so. The speed of the machine is limited only
by the ability of the feeders to supply the sheets. Twenty-five hundred
is about as many as a man can supply in an hour, and multiplying this by
ten--one man being at each cylinder--we have 25,000 sheets an hour as
the capacity of the press.



Samuel Colt was born at Hartford, Connecticut, on the 19th of July,
1814. He was descended from one of the original settlers of that city,
and his father, who possessed some means, was a man of great energy,
intelligence, and enterprise. The senior Colt began life as a merchant,
and afterward became a manufacturer of woolen, cotton, and silk goods.
The mother of our hero was the daughter of Major John Caldwell, a
prominent banker of Hartford, and is said to have been a woman of
superior character and fine mental attainments.

It was within the power of the parents of Samuel Colt to give him a
thorough education, and this they were anxious to do; but he was always
so full of restless energy that he greatly preferred working in the
factory to going to school. He loved to be where he could hear the busy
looms at work, and see the play of the intricate machinery in the great
building. In order to gratify him, his father placed him in his factory
at the age of ten years, and there he remained for about three years,
leaving it only at rare intervals and for short periods of time, which
he passed in attendance upon school and working on a farm. When he was
thirteen his father declared that he would not permit him to grow up
without an education, and sent him to a boarding-school at Amherst,
Massachusetts. He did not remain there long, for the spirit of adventure
came over him with such force that he could not resist it. He ran away
from school and shipped as a boy before the mast on a vessel bound for
the East Indies. The ship was called the Coroo, and was commanded by
Captain Spaulding.


The voyage was long, and the lad was subjected to great hardships, which
soon convinced him that running away to sea was not as romantic in real
life as in the books he had read, but his experience, though
uncomfortable enough, failed to conquer his restless spirit. While at
sea in the Coroo he had an abundance of leisure time for reflection, but
instead of devoting it to meditating upon the folly of his course, he
spent it in inventing a revolving pistol, a rough model of which he cut
in wood with his jack-knife. This was the germ of the invention which
afterward gave him such fame, and it is not a little singular that the
conception of such a weapon should have come to a boy of fourteen.

Returning home, he became an apprentice in his father's factory at
Ware, Massachusetts. He was put into the dyeing and bleaching
department, and was thoroughly trained in it by Mr. William T. Smith, a
scientific man, and one of the best practical chemists in New England.
Young Holt manifested a remarkable aptitude for chemistry, and when but
a mere boy was known as one of the most successful and dexterous
manipulators in New England.

When he had reached his eighteenth year, the old spirit of restlessness
came over him again, and he embarked in an unusually bold undertaking
for one so young, in which, however, he was much favored by the
circumstance that he was very much older in appearance than in reality,
commonly passing for a full-grown man. Assuming the name of Dr. Coult,
he traveled throughout the Union and British America, visiting nearly
every town of two thousand inhabitants and over, lecturing upon
chemistry, and illustrating his lectures with a series of skillful and
highly popular experiments. His tour was entirely successful, and he
realized in the two years over which it extended quite a handsome sum.
The use which he made of the money thus acquired was characteristic of
the man.

He had never abandoned the design of a revolving pistol which he had
conceived on board the Coroo, and he now set to work to perfect it,
using the proceeds of his lectures to enable him to take out patents in
this country and in Europe. He spent two years in working on his model,
making improvements in it at every step, and by 1835 had brought it to
such a state of excellence that he was enabled to apply for a patent in
the United States. His application was successful. Before it was
decided, however, he visited England and France, and patented his
invention in those countries. Though now only twenty-one years old, he
had given seven years of study and labor to his "revolver," and had
brought it to a state of perfection which was far in advance of his
early hopes.

"At this time, and, indeed, for several years after, he was not aware
that any person before himself had ever conceived the idea of a fire-arm
with a rotating chambered breech. On a subsequent visit to Europe, while
exploring the collection of fire-arms in the Tower of London and other
repositories of weapons of war in England and on the continent, he found
several guns having the chambered breech, but all were so constructed as
to be of little practical value, being far more liable to explode
prematurely and destroy the man who should use them than the objects at
which they might be aimed. Unwilling, however, to seem to claim that
which had been previously invented, he read before the Institution of
Civil Engineers in England (of which he was the only American
associate), in 1851, an elaborate paper on the subject, in which he
described and illustrated, with appropriate drawings, the various early
inventions of revolving fire-arms, and demonstrated the principles on
which his were constructed."

Having secured patents in the United States and in the principal
countries of Europe, Mr. Colt exerted himself to organize a company for
the manufacture of his revolver. He met with considerable opposition,
for it was commonly asserted that his pistol would never be of any
practical value. The wise ones said it was too complicated for general
use, and that its adoption would be attended by the killing or maiming
of the majority of those who used it. The inventor disregarded these
birds of ill omen, however, and, persevering in his efforts, finally
succeeded in securing the aid of some capitalists in New York. A company
was formed in 1835, called the "Patent Arms Company," with a capital of
$300,000, and an armory was established at Paterson, New Jersey. Mr.
Colt then endeavored to induce the Government of the United States to
adopt the arm in the military and naval service. Strange as it now
seems, however, the officers of the army and navy were not disposed to
regard the revolver with favor. They declared that the percussion cap
was entirely unreliable, and that no weapon requiring it could be
depended on with certainty; that there was great danger that two or more
of the charges would explode at the same time; and that the arm was
liable to get out of order very easily. They further protested that it
was much more difficult to repair than the arms then in use, and that
this alone rendered it unfit for adoption by the Government.
Notwithstanding these objections were fully met by Mr. Colt, who
explained carefully the principles of his weapon, it was two years
before the Government consented to give the revolver a trial.

In 1837, the Florida war raged with great violence, and the Seminoles,
secure in their fastnesses in the Everglades, were enabled to bid
defiance to all the efforts of the army of the United States. Their
superior skill in the use of the rifle gave them an advantage which the
bravery and determination of our troops could not overcome. In this
emergency, the Government consented to make a trial of Colt's revolver.
A regiment under Lieutenant-Colonel Harvey was armed with this weapon,
and its success was so marked from the first that the Government
promptly gave an order for more, and ended by making it the principal
arm of the troops in Florida. The savages were astounded and
disheartened at seeing the troops fire six or eight times without
reloading; and when the war was brought to a close, as it soon was, it
was plain to all that the revolver had played a decisive part in the
struggle. It was a great triumph for Colonel Colt, but in the end proved
a source of misfortune. The speedy termination of the war put an end to
the demand for his weapon, and his business fell off so greatly that in
1842 the Patent Arms Company was compelled to close its establishment
and wind up its affairs.

For five years none of the revolvers were manufactured, and, meanwhile,
the stock which had been put in the market was entirely exhausted by the
demand which had set in from Texas and the Indian frontier. In 1847 the
war with Mexico began, and General Taylor, who had witnessed the
performance of the revolver in Florida, was anxious to arm the Texan
Rangers with that weapon. He sent Captain Walker, the commander of the
Rangers, to Colonel Colt to purchase a supply. Walker was unsuccessful.
Colt had parted with the last one that he possessed, and had not even a
model to serve as a guide in making others. The Government now gave him
an order for one thousand, which he agreed to make for $28,000; but
there was still the difficulty caused by having no model to work by. In
this dilemma, he advertised extensively for one of his old pistols, to
serve as a model, but failing to procure one, was compelled to make a
new model. This was really a fortunate circumstance, as he made several
improvements in the weapon, which officers who had used it suggested to
him, so that his weapons were very much better than the old ones. Having
no factory of his own, Colonel Colt hired an armory at Whitneyville,
near New Haven, where he produced the first thousand pistols ordered by
the Government. These gave entire satisfaction, and further orders from
the War Department came in rapidly. Colonel Colt now hired and fitted up
larger and more complete workshops in Hartford, and began business on
his own account, supplying promptly every order that was given him. The
weapon proved most effective during the Mexican War, and the orders of
the Government were sufficiently large to allow the inventor to reap a
handsome profit from them, and lay the foundations of his subsequent
business success.

At the close of the war, Colonel Colt was apprehensive that the demand
for his weapon would again drop off, as it had done after the Florida
campaign; but he was agreeably disappointed. The success of the revolver
in Mexico had made it generally and favorably known throughout the
country, and there was now a steady and even a growing demand for it.
The discovery of gold in California, which so quickly followed the
cessation of hostilities, greatly stimulated this demand, for the most
essential part of the gold seeker's outfit was a revolver; and the
extraordinary emigration to Australia, which set in somewhat later,
still further extended the market for his weapon. Convinced by this time
that there would be no considerable falling off in his orders, Colonel
Colt began to take steps to assure the permanency of his business.

The experience of the American officers during the Mexican War enabled
them to point out many improvements to the inventor, who promptly
adopted them. This made his pistol almost a new weapon, and the most
formidable small arm then in use. He obtained a new patent for it, as
thus improved, and it was adopted by the Government as the regular arm
of the army and navy, different sizes being made for each service. The
Crimean and Indian wars, which followed soon after, brought the inventor
large orders from the British Government, and during the next few years
his weapon was formally introduced into the armies of the leading States
of Europe.

His success was so rapid that, as early as 1851, it became necessary to
provide still more ample accommodations for his manufactory. The next
year he began the execution of a plan, the magnitude of which caused
many of his friends to tremble for his future prosperity. He resolved to
build the largest and most perfect armory in the world, one which should
enable him to manufacture his weapons with greater rapidity and nicety
than had ever yet been possible.

Just to the south of the Little or Mill River there was a piece of
meadow land, about two hundred and fifty acres in extent, generally
regarded as useless, in consequence of its being submerged every spring
by the freshets in the river. Colonel Colt bought this meadow for a
nominal sum, and, to the astonishment of the good people of Hartford,
proceeded to surround it with a strong dike, or embankment. This
embankment was two miles in length, one hundred and fifty feet wide at
the base, from thirty to sixty feet wide at the top, and from ten to
twenty-five feet high. Its strength was further increased by planting
willows along the sides; and it was thoroughly tested just after its
completion by a freshet of unusual severity. Having drained the meadow,
Colonel Colt began the erection of his armory upon the land inclosed by
the embankment. It was constructed of Portland stone, and consisted of
three buildings--two long edifices, with a third connecting them in the
center, the whole being in the form of the letter H. The front parallel
was five hundred by sixty feet, the rear parallel five hundred by forty
feet, and the central building two hundred and fifty by fifty feet--the
front parallel and central building being three stories in height.
Connected with these buildings were other smaller edifices for offices,
warerooms, watchmen's houses, etc.

In 1861, the demand for the arms had become so enormous that the armory
was doubled in size, the new buildings being similar in style to the
old. "In this establishment there is ample accommodation for the
manufacture of one thousand fire-arms per day," which is more than the
arsenals at Harper's Ferry and Springfield combined could turn out in
the same time previous to the war. In 1861, Colt's armory turned out
about one hundred and twenty thousand stand of arms, and in 1860, the
two armories before mentioned made about thirty-five thousand between
them. A portion of the armory at Hartford is devoted to the fabrication
of the machinery invented by Colonel Colt for the manufacture of his
pistols. This machinery is usually sold to all parties purchasing the
right to manufacture the revolver. Colonel Colt supplied in this way a
large part of the machinery used in the Government manufactory at
Enfield, in England, and all of that used in the Imperial armory at
Tulin, in Russia. Near the armory, and in the area inclosed by the dike,
Colonel Colt erected a number of tasteful cottages for his workmen, and
warehouses for other kinds of business. His entire expenditure upon his
land and buildings here amounted to more than two million five hundred
thousand dollars.

"Among his other cares, the intellectual and social welfare of his
numerous employés were not forgotten. Few mechanics are favored with as
convenient residences as those he has erected for them; and a public
hall, a library, courses of lectures, concerts, the organization of a
fine band of music, formed entirely from his own workmen, to whom he
presented a superb set of musical instruments, and of a military company
of his operatives, provided by him with a tasteful uniform, and
otherwise treated by him with great liberality, were among the methods
by which he demonstrated his sympathy with the sons of toil."

The Hartford armory is the largest and most complete in the world, in
extent and perfection of machinery. All the articles needed with the
revolver, such as the powder flask, balls, lubricator, bullet molds,
cartridges, etc., are made here on a large scale. The establishment is a
noble monument to the inventive genius and business capacity of its

In addition to his inventions of fire-arms, Colonel Colt invented a
submarine battery, which was thoroughly tested by the officers of the
United States Navy, and is said to be one of the most formidable engines
for harbor defense ever known. He also invented a submarine telegraph
cable, which he laid and operated with perfect success, in 1843, from
Coney Island and Fire Island to the city of New York, and from the
Merchants Exchange to the mouth of the harbor. His insulating material
consisted of a combination of cotton yarn with asphaltum and beeswax;
the whole was inclosed in a lead pipe. This was one of the most
successful experiments of the early days of submarine telegraphy, and
entitles Colonel Colt to a conspicuous place in the list of those who
brought that science to perfection.

After the permanent establishment of his business, in 1847 and 1848,
Colonel Colt's success was rapid. He acquired a large fortune, and built
an elegant and tasteful mansion in Hartford, where he resided,
surrounded with all the luxuries of wealth and taste. In 1855, he
married Miss Elizabeth Jarvis, daughter of the Rev. Dr. Jarvis, of
Portland, Connecticut, a lady of great beauty and superior character and
accomplishments. She still survives him.

He repeatedly visited Europe after his settlement at Hartford, and as
the excellence of his weapons had made his name famous the world over,
he was the recipient of many attentions from the most distinguished
soldiers of Europe, and even from some of the monarchs of the Old World.
In 1856, being on a visit to Russia, with his family, he was invited
with them to be present at the coronation of the Emperor Alexander II.
He was decorated by nearly all the Governments of Europe, and by some of
the Asiatic sovereigns, with orders of merit, diplomas, medals, and
rings, in acknowledgment of the great services he had rendered to the
world by his invention.

He died, at his residence in Hartford, on the 10th of January, 1862, in
the forty-eighth year of his age. The community of which he was a member
lost in him one of its most enterprising and public-spirited citizens,
and the country one of the best representatives of the American
character it has ever produced.



Samuel Finley Breese Morse is the eldest son of the late Jedediah Morse,
one of the most distinguished Presbyterian clergymen of New England. He
was born at Charlestown, Massachusetts, on the 27th of April, 1791, was
carefully educated in the common schools of his native town, and at an
early age entered Yale College, where he graduated in 1810. He exhibited
an early fondness for art as well as studies of a scientific character,
and while a student at Yale displayed an especial aptness for chemistry
and natural philosophy. Upon leaving college he decided to adopt the
profession of an artist, and was sent abroad to study under the tuition
of West and Copley and Allston.

[Illustration: SAMUEL F.B. MORSE.]

"When Allston was painting his 'Dead Man Restored to Life,' in London,"
says Mr. Tuckerman, in his _Book of the Artists_, "he first modeled his
figure in clay, and explained to Morse, who was then his pupil, the
advantages resulting from a plan so frequently adopted by the old
masters. His young countryman was at this time meditating his first
composition--a dying Hercules--and proceeded at once to act upon this
suggestion. Having prepared a model that exhibited the upper part of the
body--which alone would be visible in the picture--he submitted it to
Allston, who recognized so much truth in the anatomy and expression that
he urgently advised its completion. After six weeks of careful labor,
the statue was finished and sent to West for inspection. That venerable
artist, upon entering the room, put on his spectacles, and as he walked
around the model, carefully examining its details and general effect, a
look of genuine satisfaction beamed from his face. He rang for an
attendant and bade him call his son. 'Look here, Raphael,' he exclaimed,
as the latter appeared; 'did I not always tell you that every painter
could be a sculptor?' We may imagine the delight of the student at such
commendation. The same day one of his fellow pupils called his attention
to a notice issued by the Adelphi Society of Arts, offering a prize for
the best single figure, to be modeled and sent to the rooms of the
association within a certain period. The time fixed would expire in
three days. Morse profited by the occasion, and placed his 'Dying
Hercules' with the thirteen other specimens already entered. He was
consequently invited to the meeting of the society on the evening when
the decision was to be announced, and received from the hands of the
Duke of Norfolk, the presiding officer, and in the presence of the
foreign ambassadors, the gold medal. Perhaps no American ever started in
the career of an artist under more flattering auspices; and we can not
wonder that a beginning so successful encouraged the young painter to
devote himself assiduously to study, with a view of returning to his own
country fully prepared to illustrate the historical department of the

Morse spent four years in Europe in close study, and was then obliged to
return to America by lack of means to carry on his education in the Old
World. He had not indeed reached the high degree of proficiency which he
had hoped to obtain before returning home, but he was possessed of
natural talents and acquired skill, which fairly entitled him to
recognition as one of our leading artists. This recognition never came
to him, however, and his artist life in this country was a series of
sorrowful disappointments. He found no opportunity of devoting himself
to the higher branches of his art, and was obliged to confine himself
entirely to portrait painting as a means of livelihood. His artist
career is thus referred to by Mr. Tuckerman:

     "Morse went abroad under the care of Allston, and was the pupil of
     West and Copley. Hence he is naturally regarded by a later
     generation as the connecting bond that unites the present and the
     past in the brief annals of our artist history. But his claim to
     such recognition does not lie altogether in the fact that he was a
     pioneer; it has been worthily evidenced by his constant devotion to
     the great cause itself. Younger artists speak of him with affection
     and respect, because he has ever been zealous in the promotion of a
     taste for, and a study of, the fine arts. Having entered the field
     at too early a period to realize the promise of his youth, and
     driven by circumstances from the high aims he cherished,
     misanthropy was never suffered to grow out of personal
     disappointment. He gazed reverently upon the goal it was not
     permitted him to reach, and ardently encouraged the spirit which he
     felt was only to be developed when wealth and leisure had given his
     countrymen opportunities to cultivate those tastes upon the
     prevalence of which the advancement of his favorite pursuit
     depends. When, after the failure of one of his elaborate projects,
     he resolved to establish himself in New York, he was grieved to
     find that many petty dissensions kept the artists from each other.
     He made it his business to heal these wounds and reconcile the
     animosities that thus retarded the progress of their common object.
     He sought out and won the confidence of his isolated brothers, and
     one evening invited them all to his room ostensibly to eat
     strawberries and cream, but really to beguile them into something
     like agreeable intercourse. He had experienced the good effect of a
     drawing club at Charleston, where many of the members were
     amateurs; and on the occasion referred to covered his table with
     prints, and scattered inviting casts around the apartment. A very
     pleasant evening was the result, a mutual understanding was
     established, and weekly meetings unanimously agreed upon. This
     auspicious gathering was the germ of the National Academy of
     Design, of which Morse became the first president, and before which
     he delivered the first course of lectures on the fine arts ever
     given in this country."

In 1829 Mr. Morse went abroad for the purpose of completing his art
studies. He remained in Europe for more than three years, residing in
the principal cities of the Continent. During his absence he was elected
"Professor of the Literature of the Fine" in the University of the City
of New York. He set out on his return home to accept this professorship
in the autumn of 1832, sailing from Havre on board the packet-ship

As has been stated, he had manifested a decided fondness for Chemistry
and Natural Philosophy while at Yale College, where he was a pupil of
Professor Silliman in the former science, and of Professor Day in the
latter, and after his departure from college he had devoted all his
leisure time to the pursuit of these studies. So great was his fondness
for them that some of his friends declared their belief that he ought to
abandon art and devote himself to science. In 1826-27 he had delivered,
at the Athenæum in New York, the course of fine-art lectures to which
reference has been made, and on alternate nights of the same season
Professor J. Freeman Dana had lectured upon electro-magnetism,
illustrating his remarks with the first electro-magnet (on Sturgeon's
principle) ever seen in this country. Morse and Dana had been intimate
friends, and had often held long conversations upon the subject of
magnetism, and the magnet referred to had at length been given to the
former by Professor Torrey. The interest which he had thus conceived in
this instrument had never diminished, and his investigations and studies
had never ceased, so that at the time of his departure from France in
the "Sully," in 1832, he was one of the best informed men upon the
subject to be found in any country.

Among his fellow-passengers were a number of persons of intelligence and
cultivation, one of whom had but recently witnessed in Paris some highly
interesting experiments with the electro-magnet, the object of which was
to prove how readily the electric spark could be obtained from the
magnet, and the rapidity with which it could be disseminated. To most of
the passengers this relation was deeply interesting, but to all save one
it was merely the recital of a curious experiment. That one exception
was Mr. Morse. To him the development of this newly-discovered property
of electricity was more than interesting. It showed him his true mission
in life, the way to his true destiny. Art was not his proper field now,
for however great his abilities as an artist, he was possessed of genius
of a higher, more useful type, and it was henceforth his duty to employ
it. He thought long and earnestly upon the subject which the words of
his fellow-passenger had so freshly called up, pacing the deck under the
silent stars, and rocked in his wakeful berth by the ocean whose terrors
his genius was to tame, and whose vast depths his great invention was to
set at naught. He had long been convinced that electricity was to
furnish the means of rapid communication between distant points, of
which the world was so much in need; and the experiments which his new
acquaintance had witnessed in Paris removed from his mind the last doubt
of the feasibility of the scheme. Being of an eminently practical
character, he at once set to work to discover how this could be done,
and succeeded so well that before the "Sully" reached New York he had
conceived "not merely the idea of an electric telegraph, but of an
electro-magnetic and chemical recording telegraph, substantially and
essentially as it now exists," and had invented an alphabet of signs,
the same in all important respects as that now in use. "The testimony to
the paternity of the idea in Morse's mind, and to his acts and drawings
on board the ship, is ample. His own testimony is corroborated by all
the passengers (with a single exception), who testified with him before
the courts, and was considered conclusive by the judges; and the date of
1832 is therefore fixed by this evidence as the date of Morse's
conception, and realization also--so far as the drawings could embody
the conception--of the telegraph system which now bears his name."

But though invented in 1832, it was not until 1835 (during which time he
was engaged in the discharge of the duties of his professorship in the
University of the City of New York) that he was enabled to complete his
first recording instrument. This was but a poor, rude instrument, at the
best, and was very far from being equal to his perfected invention. It
embodied his idea, however, and was a good basis for subsequent
improvements. By its aid he was able to send signals from a given point
to the end of a wire half a mile in length, but as yet there was no
means of receiving them back again from the other extremity. He
continued to experiment on his invention, and made several improvements
in it. It was plain from the first that he needed a duplicate of his
instrument at the other end of his wire, but he was unable for a long
time to have one made. At length he acquired the necessary funds, and
in July, 1837, had a duplicate instrument constructed, and thus
perfected his plan. His telegraph now worked to his entire satisfaction,
and he could easily send his signals to the remote end of his line and
receive replies in return, and answer signals sent from that terminus.
Having brought it to a successful completion, he exhibited it to large
audiences at the University of New York, in September, 1837. In October,
1837, Professor Morse filed a caveat to secure his invention, but his
patent was not obtained until 1840.

He now entered upon that period of the inventor's life which has proved
so disastrous to many, and so wearying and disheartening to all--the
effort to bring his invention into general use. It was commonly believed
that, although the invention was successful when used for such short
distances as had been tried in the City of New York, it would fail when
tested by longer lines. Morse was confident, however, that this was not
the case, and in December, 1837, he went to Washington to solicit from
the Government an appropriation for the construction of an experimental
line from Washington City to Baltimore--a distance of forty miles. This
line he declared would thoroughly test the practicability and utility of
the telegraph. His petition was laid before Congress, and a committee
appointed to consider it. He stated his plan to this body, and proved
its practicability by actual experiments with his instruments.
Considerable interest in the subject was thus aroused in Congress and
throughout the country, but he derived no benefit from it. If men spoke
of his telegraph, it was only to ridicule it, or to express their doubts
of its success. This was especially the case in Congress, and it was
very uncertain whether that body would sustain the report from the
committee in favor of the invention. The session wore away in this
manner, and at length ended without any action being taken in the

Having failed to secure the assistance of Congress, Professor Morse went
to Europe in the spring of 1838, for the purpose of enlisting the aid of
the governments there in bringing his invention into use. He was
unsuccessful. In England a patent was refused him, and in France he
merely obtained a worthless _brevet d'invention._ He tried several other
countries, but was equally unsuccessful in all, and he returned home
almost disheartened, but not entirely cast down. For four years he had
to struggle hard for a living. He was very poor, and, as one of his
friends has since declared, had literally "to coin his mind for bread."
His sturdy independence of character would not allow him to accept
assistance from any one, although there were friends ready and even
anxious to help him in his troubles. Alone and manfully he fought his
way through these dark days, still hopeful of success for his invention,
and patiently seeking to improve it wherever opportunity presented
itself. At length, in 1840, he received his long-delayed patent from the
General Government, and, encouraged by this, determined to make another
effort to bring his telegraph into use.

He was not able to do so until the session of Congress of 1842-43, when
he presented a second petition to that body, asking its aid in the
construction of an experimental line between Baltimore and Washington.
He had to encounter a great degree of skepticism and ridicule, with many
other obstacles, not the least of which was the difficulty of meeting
the expense of remaining in Washington and urging his invention upon the
Government. Still he persevered, although it seemed to be hoping against
hope, as the session drew near its close, and his scanty stock of money
grew daily smaller. On the evening of the 3d of March, 1843, he
returned from the Capitol to his lodgings utterly disheartened. It was
the last night of the session, and nothing had been done in the matter
of his petition. He sat up late into the night arranging his affairs so
as to take his departure for home on the following day. It was useless
to remain in Washington any longer. Congress would adjourn the next day,
and his last hope of success had been shattered.

On the morning of the 4th of March he came down to the breakfast-table
gloomy and despondent. Taking up the morning journal, he ran over it
listlessly. Suddenly his eye rested upon a paragraph which caused him to
spring to his feet in complete amazement. It was an announcement that,
at the very last hour of the session of the previous night, a bill had
been passed by Congress appropriating the sum of thirty thousand dollars
for the purpose of enabling Professor Morse to construct an experimental
line of telegraph between Baltimore and Washington. He could scarcely
believe it real, and, as soon as possible, hastened to the Capitol to
seek authentic information. The statement was confirmed by the proper
authorities, and Morse's dearest wish was realized. The hour of his
triumph was at hand, and his long and patient waiting was rewarded at

Work on the telegraph line was immediately begun, and carried on
actively. At first, an insulated wire was buried under ground in a lead
pipe, but this failing to give satisfaction, the wire was elevated upon
poles. On the 27th of May, 1844, the line was completed, and the first
trial of it made in the presence of the Government officials and many
other distinguished men. Professor Morse was confident of success; but
this occasion was a period of the most intense anxiety to him, for he
knew that his entire future was staked upon the result of this hour.
Among the company present to witness the trial was the Secretary of the
Treasury, John C. Spencer. Although very much interested in the
undertaking, he was entirely ignorant of the principles involved in it,
and, therefore, very apprehensive of its failure. It was upon this
occasion that he asked one of Professor Morse's assistants how large a
bundle could be sent over the wires, and if the United States mail could
not be sent in the same way.

When all was in readiness, Professor Morse seated himself at the
instrument, and sent his first message to Baltimore. An answer was
promptly returned, and messages were sent and replies received with a
rapidity and accuracy which placed the triumph of the invention beyond
the possibility of doubt. Congratulations were showered upon the
inventor, who received them as calmly as he had previously borne the
scoffs of many of these same men. Yet his heart throbbed all the while
with a brilliant triumph. Fame and fortune both rose proudly before him.
He had won a great victory, and conferred a lasting benefit upon his

The success of the experimental line brought Professor Morse numerous
offers for the use of his invention. Telegraph companies were organized
all over the country, and the stock issued by them was taken up as fast
as offered. At the present day, not only the United States, but the
whole world, is covered with telegraph lines. In July, 1862, just
eighteen years after the completion of Morse's experimental line, it was
estimated that the lines then in operation throughout the world amounted
to an aggregate length of 150,000 miles. The Morse system is adopted on
the principal lines of the United States, on all the lines of the
Eastern continent, and exclusively on all the continental lines of
Europe, "from the extreme Russian north to the Italian and Spanish
south, eastward through the Turkish empire, south into Egypt and
northern Africa, and through India, Australia, and parts of China."

The rapid growth of the telegraph interest of the United States placed
Professor Morse in the possession of a large fortune, which was greatly
increased by the adoption of his invention in Europe. The countries
which had refused him patents at first now did honor to his genius. Nor
was he the only gainer by this. In France, especially, the benefits of
his invention were great. The old system of semaphore telegraphs had
been an annual expense to the government of that country of 1,100,000
francs, but Morse's telegraph yielded to the French Government, in the
first three years after its introduction, a total revenue of 6,000,000

Fortune was not Morse's only reward. Honors were showered upon him from
all parts of the world. In 1848, his _alma mater_, Yale College,
conferred on him the complimentary degree of LL.D., and since then he
has been made a member of nearly all the American scientific and art
academies. From European Governments and scientific and art associations
he has received more honors than have ever fallen to the share of any
other American. In 1848, he received from the Sultan of Turkey the
decoration of the _Nishaun Iftiohar_ in diamonds, and subsequently gold
medals of scientific merit were awarded him by the King of Prussia, the
King of Würtemburg, and the Emperor of Austria. The gift of the King of
Prussia was set in a massive gold snuff-box. In 1856, the Emperor
Napoleon III gave him the Cross of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor; in
1857, he received from the King of Denmark the Cross of Knight of the
Danebrog; and in 1858, the Queen of Spain sent him the Cross of Knight
Commander of the order of Isabella the Catholic. In 1859, a convention
of the representatives of the various European powers met in Paris, at
the instance of the Emperor Napoleon III, for the purpose of
determining upon the best means of giving Professor Morse a collective
testimonial. France, Russia, Sweden, Belgium, Holland, Austria,
Sardinia, Tuscany, Turkey, and the Holy See were represented, and their
deliberations resulted in the presentation to Professor Morse, in the
name of their united governments, of the sum of 400,000 francs, as an
honorary and personal reward for his labors. In 1856, the telegraph
companies of Great Britain gave him a banquet in London, at which Mr.
William Fothergill Corke, himself the distinguished inventor of a system
of telegraphy, presided.

Professor Morse is also the inventor of submarine telegraphy. In 1842,
he laid the first submarine telegraph line ever put down, across the
harbor of New York, and for this achievement received the gold medal of
the American Institute. On the 10th of August, 1843, he addressed a
communication to the Secretary of the Treasury, in which he avowed his
belief that a telegraphic cable could and would be laid across the
Atlantic ocean, for the purpose of connecting Europe and America. His
words upon this occasion clearly prove that the idea of the Atlantic
telegraph originated with him. They were as follows: "The practical
inference from this law is, that a telegraphic communication on the
electro-magnetic plan may with certainty be established across the
Atlantic ocean. Startling as this may now seem, I am confident the time
will come when this project will be realized."

In February, 1854, Mr. Cyrus W. Field, of New York, ignorant of
Professor Morse's views upon this subject, wrote to him to ask if he
considered the working of a cable across the Atlantic practicable. The
Professor at once sought an interview with Mr. Field, and assured him of
his entire confidence in the undertaking. He entered heartily into Mr.
Field's scheme, and rendered great aid in the noble enterprise which
has been described elsewhere in these pages. He was present at each
attempt to lay the cable, and participated in the final triumph by which
his prediction, made twenty-three years previous, was verified.

Professor Morse is now in his eightieth year. He resides during the
winter in the city of New York, and passes his summers at his beautiful
country seat near Poughkeepsie, on the Hudson. He bears his great honors
with the same modesty which marked his early struggles, and is the
center of a host of friends whom he has attached to himself by the
tenderest ties. "Courage and patience have been his watchwords, and
although the snows of time have bleached his hair, the same intelligence
and enterprising spirit, the same urbane disposition that endeared him
to the friends of his youth, still cause all who know him to rejoice in
the honorable independence which his great invention has secured to his





Some years ago a gentleman having business with the great house of
Harper & Brothers asked one of the employés of that establishment,
"Which one is Harper, and which are the brothers?" He was answered,
"Either one is Harper, and all the rest are the brothers." This reply
fully sets forth the difficulty which must be experienced by any one
attempting to write the story of the life of either member of this
house. In such an undertaking it is very difficult to select "Harper,"
and impossible to pass by the "Brothers." The interests of each were so
thoroughly in harmony with those of all the others, and there was such
perfect unanimity of sentiment existing between them with regard to
their private as well as their public affairs, that it is hardly
possible to separate them. Since, however, it is not consistent with the
design of this work to relate the history of the "house," it is the
purpose of the writer to select the eldest of the brothers as the
representative of the group, and to offer him to the reader as a type of
the American publisher.

The grandfather of JAMES HARPER came to this country from England about
the year 1740, and was one of the first of the American Methodists. His
son Joseph was born in 1766. He married Elizabeth Kollyer, and settled
at Newtown, on Long Island, as a farmer. It was here that James, their
eldest child, was born, on the 13th of April, 1795. He grew up with a
vigorous constitution, and the pure influences of his home, together
with the sound religious training which he received from his parents,
laid the foundation of those simple and steady habits for which he was
noted through life. In the winter he attended the district school, and
in the summer he worked on his father's farm. Thus his life passed away
quietly and healthfully until he had completed his fifteenth year.

It now became necessary for him to make some choice of a profession in
life, and when the matter was presented to him he promptly decided to
become a printer. His father cheerfully seconded his wishes, and he was
accordingly apprenticed to a printer in New York. On the morning of his
departure from home, when the family assembled for "prayers," his
mother, who was a woman of superior character, took the father's place
and led the worship. With trembling tones she commended her boy to the
love and protection of the Saviour, and when the moment of leave-taking
came she sent him forth into the world with the tender warning never to
forget his home or his religious duties, or "that he had good blood in

The change from his happy home to the place of "devil" in the printing
office was one which tried the lad's fortitude to the utmost. His
position was but little better than that of a menial, and not only was
all the drudgery and disagreeable work put upon him, but he was made the
sport of the workmen, some of whom used him even roughly. He bore it all
good-naturedly, however, devoting himself to his trade with the
determination to master it.

The printing office in which he was employed was located near Franklin
Square, then occupied by the best people of the city. Often, as young
Harper passed across the square to and from his work, his rough "country
clothes" drew upon him the ridicule of the children of these "goodly
citizens." They teazed and insulted him, and sometimes carried their
cruelty to the extremity of offering him bodily violence. He bore it
patiently for a time, but at length determined to put a stop to it. He
was physically the superior of any of his tormentors, and had put up
with their conduct merely from his sincere desire to avoid a "street
fight." In accordance with his new resolution, however, when one of them
approached him one day and asked for his card, he set down a bucket
which he was carrying, and, seizing the fellow, kicked him across the
square, saying to him: "That's my card, take good care of it. When I am
out of my time, and set up for myself, and you need employment, as you
will, come to me, bring the card, and I will give you work." "Forty-one
years after," says the writer upon whose authority this incident is
related, "when Mr. Harper's establishment was known throughout all the
land, after he had borne the highest municipal honors of the city, and
had become one of our wealthiest men, the person who had received the
card came to Mr. James Harper's establishment and asked employment,
claiming it on the ground that he had kept the card given him forty-one
years before."

In a little while James was joined by his brother John, who was
apprenticed to another printer in the city, and the two lads spent with
each other much of their leisure time. Both worked hard. James soon
became noted as the best pressman in the city, his great personal
strength enabling him to work the old-fashioned hand-press with ease. It
is said that if he disliked a fellow pressman and wished to be rid of
him, he merely put forth his immense strength and outworked him. The
man being unable to keep up with him, was obliged to retire.

"The habits of his rural home followed him to the city. In an age when
every body drank ardent spirits freely, he was strictly temperate, and
the cold water disciple justified his faith by his works. With the
cheerful constancy of the fathers of his church he quietly resisted the
temptations of the city. He opened a prayer-meeting in the house of an
old colored woman in Ann Street, and joined the John Street Methodist
Church. Meanwhile, to their simple and thrifty method of life, James and
his brother added work out of hours, so that when their apprenticeship
was ended they had a little money saved."

James' excellent habits and great skill as a workman had given entire
satisfaction to his master during the whole period of his
apprenticeship, and he informed the young man at the expiration of his
indentures that he was willing to employ him again at fair wages. The
young workman surprised him by telling him that he intended to set up
for himself, and that all he wanted from him now was a certificate that
he was fit to be trusted with a book. This was given, and James and his
brother John took their little capital, which was increased by a loan of
a few hundred dollars from their father, and renting a small room in
Dover Street, set up an office on their own account, and began business
under the firm name of J. & J. Harper. Their capital was small--less
than the annual wages of some of their workmen to-day--but they were
sustained by industry, determination, and high moral principle. When
they began business, it was with a tacit agreement that each would
endeavor to deserve the confidence of the other, and of their
fellow-men. There was to be no evasion of principle, no sharp practice,
in their house. They were resolved to make money, but to make it
honestly. They would engage in no transaction which should cause a
doubt of their integrity in the breast of the good mother who had sent
them forth with her blessing.

More than fifty years have passed away since then, and the Harpers have
prospered steadily, and so greatly, too, that for many years their house
has stood at the head of the publishing interest of America. Their
career is an instructive one, giving an emphatic denial to the assertion
we hear so often repeated, that an "over-honest" man can not make money
in New York. Shut your ears to the calumny, young man, just staring out
in life. "Honesty _is_ the best policy;" and it is only by scrupulous
honesty that enduring success can be obtained. Trickery and sharp
practice may earn wealth rapidly, but depend upon it they have their
reward; for it is a curious fact in the history of man that wealth
acquired by knavery rarely stays with its possessors for more than a
generation, if so long.

In starting out, the young Harpers printed books to order, attempting
nothing at their own risk. They did a part of the composition and
press-work with their own hands, and were, perhaps, the hardest workers
in their establishment. Their first job was two thousand copies of
Seneca's Morals, and was intrusted to them by Evert Duyckinck, a famous
publisher of that day. The books were delivered in August, 1817, and
gave entire satisfaction.

Immediately after this, they undertook to stereotype an edition of the
"Book of Common Prayer" for the Protestant Episcopal Church of New York,
supposing that they would be able to make a fair profit at the rate at
which they had agreed to do the work. It was their original intention to
do the composition themselves, and have the stereotyping done at one of
the large establishments of the city; but upon a closer investigation
they found that this would cost them more than they had agreed to do the
work for. In this dilemma, they resolved to learn the art of
stereotyping themselves, and perform that portion of their contract on
their own premises. It was a tedious undertaking; but they went through
with it determinedly, and at the proper time delivered the books to the
officials of the Episcopal Church. Their profit was not very large, but
they had become stereotypers as well as printers, and had added a
valuable department to their business. Further than this, their Prayer
Book was pronounced the best piece of stereotyping that had ever been
seen in the city, and won the young men congratulations on all sides.
They next undertook twenty-five hundred copies of Mair's "Introduction
to Latin," which they delivered in December, 1817.

In April, 1818, they put forth their first venture on their own account.
This consisted of five hundred copies of Locke's "Essay upon the Human
Understanding." These were readily disposed of, and their success
encouraged them to further efforts. They proceeded very cautiously, and
it was for a long time their custom, when contemplating the publication
of a book, and especially in the case of a reprint, to send to the
leading booksellers in the large cities of the Union, and ascertain how
many copies each one would take. Thus they pushed their way forward,
seizing upon every favorable opportunity for the publication of original
and foreign works. They rarely made an unsuccessful venture, and as each
worked hard, and had constantly in view, above all other subjects, the
success of the house, they gradually extended their business until they
secured the foremost place among the publishers of the United States.

Beginning with works of a dry, philosophic nature, the Harpers have
extended their operations into every department of literature. Their
catalogue of publications, issued in 1869, lies on the writer's table.
It is a duodecimo volume of two hundred and ninety-six closely-printed
pages, and embraces a list of several thousand volumes. In this list are
histories, biographies, travels, adventures, novels, poems, educational
works, works on science, art, philosophy, metaphysics--in short, books
on every topic familiar to man. In the department of fiction, the
success of this house has been remarkable. They have published between
four and five hundred novels, in cloth and paper bindings, and the
demand for their early publications of this kind is still sufficiently
active to compel them to keep a stock always on hand. When they began to
issue their Library of Select Novels, they did so with a distinct
purpose in view. Novel-reading has always been a passion with Americans,
but at the period referred to the best novels were published at such
high prices that but few could afford to buy them. The masses were
compelled to put up with the cheap, flashy stories which were so well
known some years ago as "yellow covers." This style of fiction, now
confined to the lowest class of readers, at that time found its way into
almost every house, and the popular taste was at a very low ebb. The
Harpers felt sure that by issuing the best, and only the best, English
novels at a low price, they would not only meet a real want on the part
of the public, but in great measure supersede the "yellow covers," with
all their pernicious influences. The sequel proved the correctness of
these views, and resulted in large profits to them.

Soon after commencing business, James and John Harper received their
younger brothers, Joseph Wesley and Fletcher, into their establishment
as apprentices. These young men were taught the business thoroughly, and
when they had completed their apprenticeship were admitted into the firm
as partners, the former entering the firm in 1823, and the latter in
1826. In 1825 the style of the firm was changed to Harper & Brothers,
and the business was removed to 81 and 82 Cliff Street, on a portion of
the site of the present establishment. It was then the largest
printing-house in New York, employing fifty workmen and ten hand

In 1850; the Harpers decided to commence the publication of a monthly
periodical, and, accordingly, in the summer of that year they issued the
first number of "Harper's New Monthly Magazine," which, in point of
popularity, stands today, after a career of twenty years, at the head of
American magazines, and boasts of a circulation of 180,000 copies. The
recognition of another want of the public led, in 1857, to the
establishment of an illustrated newspaper, "Harper's Weekly," which has
at present a circulation of 100,000 copies. In 1869 they began the
publication of a new weekly fashion paper, called "the Bazaar," which
has reached a circulation of 75,000 copies.

From the first, the Harpers made their house a popular establishment.
They sought public favor by legitimate means, and generally managed to
retain it in the same way. From an early period in their history, their
imprint on a book has been sufficient to secure its sale; and they have
managed to identify themselves so thoroughly with American progress that
the whole country feels an interest in their success. By studying the
popular taste closely, they were enabled to publish in rapid succession
works suited to it; and by fair and liberal dealings with authors they
soon drew around them a corps of the best writers in the Union.

Their success was rapid, and by the year 1853 their establishment had
increased in size so much that it occupied "nine large contiguous
buildings, full of costly machinery of every kind, with stores of plates
and books." On the 10th of December of that year, a workman in one of
the upper rooms carelessly threw a piece of lighted paper into what he
supposed to be a pail of water, but which proved to be camphene. In a
few minutes the building was in flames; all efforts to save it were in
vain. The fire spread rapidly, and in a few hours the entire
establishment was in ruins. The loss was one million of dollars, of
which sum only about one-fourth was covered by insurance.

It was a terrible blow, but James Harper and his brothers wasted no time
in repining. Before the embers had ceased smoking they were taking
active measures to reëstablish their business. From the wreck of their
establishment they saved a part of the stereotype plates, which had been
stored in the vaults, out of the way of the fire. They immediately
rented Sheffield's paper warehouse, at the corner of Beckman and Gold
Streets, and went to work with greater energy than ever. "Presses were
employed in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. Nothing was forgotten.
The next monthly issue of the _Magazine_ had been made ready, and it was
reproduced at the earliest moment. One regular contributor, then in
Chicago, received the first news of the fire by a brief telegram: 'Copy
destroyed. Send fresh copy immediately.' Before the ruins were cleared
away the plans of the new buildings were ready, and the buildings
themselves were rapidly finished."

The new establishment of Harper & Brothers is one of the wonders of the
great city in which it is located. The buildings are of iron and brick,
and cover half an acre of ground. The establishment really consists of
two buildings. The front building faces Franklin Square, and is a
magnificent iron structure, painted white. Behind this is the second
building, which fronts on Cliff Street. A court-yard intervenes between
them, spanned by several bridges, connecting them. Each building is
seven stories in height, and completely fire-proof.

There are no openings in the floors for communication, but the various
floors are connected by circular stairways of iron, placed outside the
building. The front building, or that which faces Franklin Square, is
used for storerooms, salesrooms, and the editorial and business offices
of the establishment. In the rear building the various branches of the
book manufacture are carried on. The author's manuscript is received
here and sent back to him a complete book. Every portion of the work is
done under the same roof, and it is well done. The building is filled
with the most costly and complete machinery for saving time and labor.
Besides the machinery used in other departments, it contains in its
press-room forty-three Adams presses for book work, and five cylinder
presses for printing the "Weekly" and the "Bazaar." About 600 persons,
250 of whom are females, are employed in the establishment; and it is to
the credit of both employers and employés that but few changes occur in
this force. Many of the employés have been with the firm since its first
entrance into business. The old man in charge of the vaults--a curiosity
in his way--has been in the service of the house for fifty years, and to
leave it now would, doubtless, break his heart; for none of the Harpers
are as proud of their reputation as he is. The most perfect system
reigns throughout every department, and every thing goes on promptly and
in its proper place.

"Of course," says a writer who many years has witnessed the operations
of the house, "the development and organization of such a business were
due not to one brother alone, but to the cooperation of all.... The
business was to James, as to the others, the great central interest, but
prosperity could not relax his steady character. He did not forget his
early faith, nor the counsels and the habits of his Long Island home. He
remained strictly a 'temperance man,' and his marvelous physical vigor
was claimed by the temperance advocates as that of a cold-water mans He
was long an official member of John-Street Church, and when he left his
house in Rose Street, and went to live in the upper part of the city, he
joined the congregation of St. Paul's Church, in the Fourth Avenue. But
with all his fidelity to his ancestral faith, he cherished the largest
charity, and by much experience of the world had learned to agree with
his favorite apostle, James, that pure religion and undefiled, is to
visit the fatherless and widows, and keep himself unspotted from the
world. Thus, with all his conviction and devotion, there was nothing
hard or fanatical in his feeling or conduct, and he held pleasant
personal relations with men of every faith. Few men indulged in so
little harsh criticism of others, and he expressed censure or
disapprobation by humorous indirection rather than by open accusation.
'We must not be too hard,' he was fond of saying, 'it is so difficult to
know all the circumstances. If you should insist, for instance, that the
use of tobacco is a sin, dear me! dear me!'

"Mr. Harper was a Whig during the days of that party, and a natural
conservative. But in politics he showed the same moderation and
toleration. 'Don't try to drive men too roughly, my dear sir; it is much
easier to draw than to push.' He took no conspicuous or active part in
politics, except in 1844, when he was elected Mayor of the city. He was
constantly asked to serve in Congress and in other public stations, but
he steadily declined, saying, with a sly smile, that he preferred to
stick to the business that he understood.

"To that business his heart and life were given. Of late years its
active cares had naturally fallen into the hands of his younger
associates; but he never relaxed his interest and devotion. 'While I was
dressing,' said a much younger neighbor, 'I used to see Mayor Harper
coming out of his house to go down town, and felt ashamed of myself.
Early at the office, he opened and looked over the mail, and during the
hours of the morning he passed from one room to another, his shrewd eye
seeing every thing, and measuring men and work, chatting and jesting as
he went. But out of those shrewd eyes looked a kind and gentle heart. He
knew by name the men and women and children employed in the various
parts of the great buildings, interested himself in their family
stories, and often won a confidence that was never betrayed. His
charities, which were ample, were thus intelligent and effective, and
poor men as well as women bent to kiss his calm, unchanged face as he
lay in his coffin."

To the very last, James Harper retained his physical and mental vigor,
and was looked up to by all the members of the house as its brightest
ornament. To the last, he was one of the best known and most honored
citizens of the great metropolis. His great wealth had not ruffled the
serenity of his spirit, or caused the slightest variation in his
conduct. To the last he was the Christian merchant, citizen, and father,
offering to his children in himself a noble model by which to shape
their lives.

It had been his custom at family prayers to ask of God protection from
sudden death, but for some time before his death he ceased to do so. His
family noticed this, and one of them asked his reason for the omission.
He answered quietly, "The Lord knows best."

On the 25th of March, 1869, he was at his usual post in his office, and
after business hours, as was his habit, set out with his daughter for a
drive in the Central Park, As he neared the Park the pole of his
carriage broke suddenly, and the horses, becoming frightened, dashed off
furiously, dragging the carriage after them. Mr. Harper and his
daughter were both thrown violently upon the pavement. The latter was
but slightly injured, but Mr. Harper was taken up insensible, and
conveyed to St. Luke's Hospital, which was close at hand. He never
regained consciousness, but lingered until fifteen minutes after seven
on the evening of the 27th, when he expired, surrounded by all his
family, excepting his wife, who had long been an invalid. His death was
regarded as a calamity to the city, and all classes of the community
united to do honor to his memory.



The old "corner book-store" at the intersection of Washington and School
Streets, in the city of Boston, is one of the most notable places in the
New England metropolis. The memory of the oldest inhabitant can not
recall a time when this corner was not devoted to its present uses; and
around it, in the long years that have passed since the first book
merchant first displayed his wares here, there have gathered a host of
the most interesting, as well as the most brilliant, souvenirs of our
literary history. Here were sold, in "the days that tried men's souls,"
those stirring pamphlets that sounded the death-knell of British tyranny
in the New World; and it was from this old corner that the tender songs
of Longfellow, the weird conceptions of Hawthorne, the philosophic
utterances of Emerson, first found their way to the hearts of the

In 1884, the corner book-store was kept by Carter & Bendee, and was then
the leading book-house in Boston. One morning in that year there entered
the office of the proprietors a young lad from New Hampshire, who stated
that he came to seek employment in their service. His bright,
intelligent appearance was in his favor, scarcely less than the
testimonials which he brought, vouching for his integrity and industry.
His application was successful, and he entered the service of Messrs.
Carter & Bendee, being given the lowest clerkship in the establishment
and a salary barely sufficient to support him.

This lad was JAMES T. FIELDS. He was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire,
on the 30th of December, 1820. His father was a captain in the merchant
service, and died when the boy was only four years old, leaving him to
the care and guidance of one of the best of mothers. He was educated at
the common schools of the city, and was thence transferred to the high
school. He exhibited a remarkable fondness for study, and at the early
age of thirteen graduated at the high school, taking the first honors of
his class. He was regarded as one of the best classical scholars in the
institution, and during his course took several prizes in Latin and
Greek composition. Unusual abilities as a poet were also manifested very
early, and when but twelve years old he wrote a poem in blank verse,
which attracted the attention of the late Chief Justice Woodbury, then
Governor of New Hampshire, who was so much surprised and gratified to
find such talent in so young a boy, that he earnestly advised him to
endeavor to complete his studies at Harvard University. This, indeed,
was the chief desire of the boy, but a collegiate education required
means which he could not command, and he was forced to go out into the
world to seek his fortune. Having secured a good elementary education,
however, he was resolved that he would not abandon his efforts to
acquire knowledge. All his leisure time, after going to Boston to live,
was devoted to reading and study. While neglecting no duty in his
business, he gave the hours which most boys devote to amusement to
severe mental labor. Young as he was, he was ambitious.

He knew that knowledge was power, especially in the community in which
he lived, and he was resolved that this power should be his. The result
is plainly seen in his subsequent career. Although deprived of the
advantages of a collegiate course, Mr. Fields has more than made up that
deficiency by his faithful labors, and there are few men in New England
to-day possessed of more varied and extensive mental accomplishments
than he. Upon going to Boston he promptly identified himself with the
Mercantile Library Association of that place, availing himself of its
advantages, and exerting all the influence of which he was possessed to
insure its success. When but eighteen years old, he was chosen to
deliver an anniversary poem before the association. The value of the
compliment will be better appreciated by the reader when it is stated
that the oration upon that occasion was pronounced by Edward Everett.
His industry in his business duties was great. He entered the house of
Carter & Bendee with the determination to rise in it. He worked
faithfully, and was the first at his post in the morning, and the last
to leave it at night. When the style of the firm was changed to Allen &
Ticknor, he was promoted to a more important place. He proved himself
from the first one of the most valuable and trustworthy assistants in
the house, and his merits were promptly recognized. From the lowest
place in the house, he worked his way up steadily until he became the
manager of the establishment. Each promotion brought with it an increase
of salary. Knowing well that "a penny saved at present is a pound gained
in future" to a young man striving to rise in the world, he practiced
the most conscientious economy. He made himself thoroughly acquainted
with every detail of the publishing trade; and although, of late years,
he has had the supervision more especially of the literary department of
his large business, there are few publishers in this country more
intimate with the business and mechanical branches of their trade.

In 1846, just twelve years after his entrance into the house, his
clerkship came to an end, and he became a partner in the establishment,
the style of the firm being Ticknor & Fields. He took an active share in
the business; and while full credit must be given to Mr. Ticknor for the
extraordinary success which the firm enjoyed, it can not be denied that
Mr. Fields' share in this work was very great, and fully equal to that
of his partner. His acknowledged literary abilities won him friends
among the most gifted writers of the country, and these naturally sought
his assistance in presenting their works to the world. Their friendship
induced an intelligent confidence in his literary taste and mercantile
integrity, and it was a decided gain for them to secure one so generally
esteemed and trusted as their publisher. Young writers, still struggling
for fame, felt that in submitting their works to his inspection they
would receive the patient examination of not only a conscientious
reader, but of one whose own literary abilities rendered him unusually
competent for the task. The public generally learned to share this
confidence in his literary judgment. And so it came to pass that the
imprint of Ticknor & Fields was universally accepted as a sufficient
guarantee of the excellence of any book, and rarely failed to insure its
success. Naturally, the house was proud of this confidence, and it is
pleasant to record that they have never abused it. There is, perhaps, no
other publishing firm in the Union whose catalogue is so free from
objectionable or worthless publications as that issued by this house.

Gradually Messrs. Ticknor & Fields became the recognized publishers of a
large number of the leading writers of this country and of Great
Britain. In their catalogue we find the names of Longfellow, Bryant,
Whittier, Holmes, Aldrich, Agassiz, Beecher, Alice Gary, Cummins, Dana,
Emerson, Hawthorne, Gail Hamilton, Lowell, Parton, Saxe, Sprague, Stowe,
Bayard Taylor, Thoreau, and Tuckerman, in American literature; and in
English literature, the names of Browning, Dickens, George Eliot, Mrs.
Jameson, Kingsley, Owen Meredith, Charles Reade, and Tennyson. With
their English authors they maintain the pleasantest relations,
recognizing their moral right to their works, and paying them a fair
royalty upon the sales of their books. Of their relations with their
American authors, a popular periodical says:

"There are no business men more honorable or generous than the
publishers of the United States, and especially honorable and
considerate toward authors. The relation usually existing between author
and publisher in the United States is that of a warm and lasting
friendship, such as now animates and dignifies the intercourse between
the literary men of New England and Messrs. Ticknor & Fields.... The
relation, too, is one of a singular mutual trustfulness. The author
receives his semi-annual account from the publisher with as ablute a
faith in its correctness as though he had himself counted the volumes

In 1865, the firm removed from the old corner stand to a new and elegant
establishment on Tremont Street, near the Common, and in the same year
Mr. Howard Ticknor, who had succeeded his father in the business,
withdrew from it. New partners were admitted, and the style of the firm
became Fields, Osgood & Co., Mr. Fields still remaining at the head of
the house.

The new book store is one of the handsomest and most attractive in the
country. The store proper is eighty feet deep by fifty feet wide, and is
fitted up handsomely in hard wood.

There is no paint about it, every piece of wood in use presenting its
natural appearance. On the right in entering are the book shelves and
counters, and on the opposite side the desks devoted to the magazine
department. At the rear are the counting rooms and the private office of
Mr. J.R. Osgood, the active business man of the concern. The second
story is elegantly and tastefully fitted up. It contains the luxurious
private office of Mr. Fields, in which are to be seen excellent
likenesses of his two dearest friends, Longfellow and Dickens; and the
parlor of the establishment, which is known as the Author's Room. This
is a spacious and handsomely-appointed room, whose windows, overlooking
the Common, command one of the prettiest views in New England. It is
supplied with the leading periodicals of the day, and choice volumes of
current literature. Here one may always find one or more of the "gifted
few," whose names are familiar to the reader; and frequent reunions of
the book-making fraternity are designed to be held here, under the
genial auspices of the literary partner of the house.

It is not often that men win success in both literature and mercantile
life. Good authors have usually made very poor business managers, and
_vice versa_; but the subject of this memoir, besides winning a great
success as a merchant, and that in one of the most hazardous branches of
mercantile life, has also won an enviable reputation as a man of
letters. His poems have made him well known, both in this country and in
England. Besides the poems recited before various literary associations,
he has published two volumes of fugitive pieces. The first appeared in
1843, while he was still a clerk, and the second in 1858. His poems
abound in humor, pathos, and a delicate, beautiful fancy. One of his
friends has said of him:

"Little of the sad travail of the historic poet has Mr. Fields known.
Of the emaciated face, the seedy garment, the collapsed purse, the
dog-eared and often rejected manuscript, he has never known, save from
well-authenticated tradition. His muse was born in sunshine, and has
only been sprinkled with the tears of affection. Every effort has been
cheered to the echo, and it is impossible for so genial a fellow to fail
of an ample and approving audience for whatever may fall from his lip or

The following lines, from his second volume, will serve as a specimen of
the "homely beauty" of Mr. Fields' muse, though it hardly sets forth all
his powers:

     She came among the gathering crowd
       A maiden fair, without pretense,
     And when they asked her humble name,
       She whispered mildly, "Common Sense."

     Her modest garb drew every eye,
       Her ample cloak, her shoes of leather;
     And when they sneered, she simply said,
       "I dress according to the weather."

     They argued long and reasoned loud,
       In dubious Hindoo phrase mysterious;
     While she, poor child, could not divine
       Why girls so young should be so serious.

     They knew the length of Plato's beard,
       And how the scholars wrote in Laturn;
     She studied authors not so deep,
       And took the Bible for her pattern.

     And so she said, "Excuse me, friends,
       I feel all have their proper places,
     And _Common Sense_ should stay at home
       With cheerful hearts and smiling faces."

Mr. Fields has been a frequent contributor to his own periodicals, his
latest effort being a paper devoted to personal recollections of Charles
Dickens, which was published in the "Atlantic Monthly" soon after the
death of the great master.

He has made several extended tours throughout Europe, where he has
enjoyed social advantages rarely opened to travelers. One of his friends
says that, in his first visit to the Old World, "he passed several
months in England, Scotland, France, and Germany, visiting the principal
places of interest, and forming most delightful and profitable
intimacies with the most distinguished _literateurs_ of the day. He was
a frequent guest at the well-known breakfasts of the great banker-poet
of 'The Pleasures of Memory' and of 'Italy,' and listened or added his
own contributions to the exuberant riches of the hour, when such
visitors as Talfourd, Dickens, Moore, and Landor were the talkers." He
also formed a warm friendship with Wordsworth, and, during his stay in
Edinburgh, with Professor Wilson and De Quincey. The writings of the
last-named author were published by Ticknor and Fields, in eighteen
volumes, and were edited by Mr. Fields, at the author's own request.

Mr. Fields is now in his fiftieth year, but shows no sign of age, save
the whitening of his heavy, curling beard. He is still young and active
in mind and body. He is of medium height, and well proportioned, with an
erect carriage. Polished and courteous in manner, he is easily
accessible to all. To young writers he is especially kind, and it is a
matter of the truest pleasure to him to seek out and bring to notice
genuine literary merit. He has a host of friends, and is widely popular
with all classes.





James Gordon Bennett was born at New Mill, Keith, in Banffshire, on the
north-eastern coast of Scotland, about the year 1800. His relatives were
Roman Catholics, and he was brought up in a Catholic family of French
origin. In his fourteenth year, having passed through the primary
schools of his native place, he entered the Roman Catholic Seminary at
Aberdeen, for the purpose of studying for the priesthood of that Church.
During the two or three years which he passed here he was a close
student, and acquired the basis of an excellent education.

In 1817 he came into possession of a copy of Benjamin Franklin's
autobiography, which had been recently published in Scotland. The
perusal of this little book changed the course of his whole life. It
induced him to abandon all thoughts of the priesthood, and to try his
fortune in the New World, in which the great philosopher had succeeded
so well before him. A little more than a year later he left Glasgow, and
in May, 1819, being now about twenty years old, landed at Halifax, Nova
Scotia. He had less than twenty-five dollars in his purse, knew no
vocation save that of a book-keeper, and had not a friend on this side
of the ocean.

He secured a few pupils in Halifax, and gave lessons in book-keeping,
but his profits were so small that he determined to reach the United
States as soon as possible. Accordingly he made his way along the coast
to Portland, Maine, where he took passage for Boston in a small
schooner. He found great difficulty in procuring employment, for Boston
then, as now, offered but few inducements to new-comers. He parted with
his last penny, and was reduced to the most pressing want. For two whole
days he went without food, and a third day would doubtless have been
added to his fast had he not been fortunate enough to find a shilling on
the Common, with which he procured the means of relieving his hunger. He
now obtained a salesman's place in the bookstore of Messrs. Wells &
Lilly, who, upon discovering his fitness for the place, transferred him
to their printing-office as proof-reader; but his employers failed about
two years after his connection with them began, and he was again thrown
out of employment.

From Boston he went, in 1822, to New York, where he obtained a situation
on a newspaper. Soon after his arrival in the metropolis he was offered,
by Mr. Wellington, the proprietor of the "Charleston (S.C.) Courier,"
the position of translator from the Spanish, and general assistant. He
accepted the offer, and at once repaired to Charleston. He remained
there only a few months, however, and then returned to New York.

He now proposed to open a "Permanent Commercial School," at 148 Fulton
Street, and advertised to teach the usual branches "in the inductive
method." His advertisement set forth that his pupils would be taught
"reading, elocution, penmanship, and arithmetic; algebra; astronomy,
history, and geography; moral philosophy, commercial law, and political
economy; English grammar and composition, and, also, if required, the
French and Spanish languages by natives of those countries." This
elaborate scheme was never put into execution, as Mr. Bennett did not
receive a sufficient number of applications to warrant him in opening
the school. He next attempted a course of lectures on political economy
at the old Dutch Church in Ann Street, but this enterprise was also a
pecuniary failure. In 1825 he purchased the "New York Courier," a Sunday
paper, but did not succeed with it. He continued to write for the press,
principally for one or two papers, selling his articles where he could,
and in 1826 formed a regular connection with the "National Advocate," a
Democratic journal. To his duties in this position he applied himself
with an energy and industry never surpassed, and rarely equaled, in his
profession. He took an active part in politics, and wrote regularly and
constantly for his paper, acquiring considerable reputation by his
articles against the tariff and on banks and banking. He now embarked in
journalism as the business of his life, and with the determination to
succeed. In order to win success, he knew he must first learn to master
himself. He neither smoked, drank, nor gambled. He indulged in no
species of dissipation, but was temperate and prudent in all things. A
few years later he said of himself, "I eat and drink to live, not live
to eat and drink. Social glasses of wine are my aversion; public dinners
are my abomination; all species of gormandizing my utter scorn and
contempt. When I am hungry, I eat; when thirsty, drink. Wine or viands
taken for society, or to stimulate conversation, tend only to
dissipation, indolence, poverty, contempt, and death."

In 1827 the "National Advocate" changed hands, and, under its new
proprietors, supported John Quincy Adams for President. Mr. Bennett,
being a supporter of Martin Van Buren, then a United States Senator,
resigned his position on the paper, and soon after, in connection with
the late M.M. Noah, established "The Enquirer," which warmly espoused
the cause of Andrew Jackson in the Presidential canvass of 1828. About
this time he became a recognized member of the Tammany Society.

In the spring of 1828 he went to Washington, where he resided for some
time as the correspondent of "The Enquirer." In looking through the
library of Congress one day, he found an edition of Horace Walpole's
letters, which he read with a keen relish. These suggested the idea of a
series of similar letters to his own paper, and he at once put his plan
into execution. His letters were written and published. They were
"spicy," pleasant in style, full of gossip about the distinguished
personages who thronged the capital every winter, and, withal, free from
any offensive personality. They were read with eagerness, and widely
copied by the press throughout the country. Yet he was poorly paid for
them, and at a time when he had made a "real hit" was forced to labor
hard for a bare subsistence. He did all kinds of literary work. He wrote
editorials, letters, sketches, poetry, stories, police reports, in
short, every thing that a newspaper had use for, and yet his earnings
were barely more than sufficient to afford him a decent support.

In 1829, the "Courier and Enquirer" were united under one management,
and Mr. Bennett was made assistant editor, with James Watson Webb as his
chief. In the autumn of that year he became associate editor. Says Mr.
James Parton (by no means an ardent admirer of Mr. Bennett):

"During the great days of the 'Courier and Enquirer,' from 1829 to 1832,
when It was incomparably the best newspaper on the continent, James
Gordon Bennett was its most efficient hand. It lost him in 1832, when
the paper abandoned General Jackson and took up Nicholas Biddle, and in
losing him lost its chance of retaining the supremacy among American
newspapers to this day. We can truly say that at that time journalism,
as a thing by itself and for itself, had no existence in the United
States. Newspapers were mere appendages of party, and the darling object
of each journal was to be recognized as the organ of the party it
supported. As to the public, the great public, hungry for interesting
news, no one thought of it. Forty years ago, in the city of New York, a
copy of a newspaper could not be bought for money. If any one wished to
see a newspaper, he had either to go to the office and subscribe, or
repair to a bar-room and buy a glass of something to drink, or bribe a
carrier to rob one of his customers. The circulation of the 'Courier and
Enquirer' was considered something marvelous when it printed thirty-five
hundred copies a day, and its business was thought immense when its
daily advertising averaged fifty-five dollars. It is not very unusual
for a newspaper now to receive for advertising, in one day, six hundred
times that sum. Bennett, in the course of time, had a chance been given
to him, would have made the 'Courier and Enquirer' powerful enough to
cast off all party ties, and this he would have done merely by improving
it as a vehicle of news. But he was kept down upon one of those
ridiculous, tantalizing, corrupting salaries, which are a little more
than a single man needs, but not enough for him to marry upon. This
salary was increased by the proprietors giving him a small share in the
small profits of the printing-office; so that, after fourteen years of
hard labor and Scotch economy, he found himself, on leaving the great
paper, a capitalist to the extent of a few hundred dollars. The chief
editor of the paper which he now abandoned sometimes lost as much in a
single evening at the card-table. It probably never occurred to him
that this poor, ill-favored Scotchman was destined to destroy his paper
and all the class of papers to which it belonged. Any one who examines a
file of the 'Courier and Enquirer' of that time, and knows its interior
circumstances, will see plainly enough that the possession of this man
was the vital element in its prosperity. He alone knew the rudiments of
his trade. He alone had the physical stamina, the indefatigable
industry, the sleepless vigilance, the dexterity, tact, and audacity
needful for keeping up a daily newspaper in the face of keen

Mr. Bennett left the "Courier and Enquirer" in 1832, the cause of his
action being the desertion of General Jackson by that journal. He at
once started a cheap partisan paper, called "The Globe," devoted to the
interests of Jackson and Van Buren. It failed to receive the support of
the Democratic party, however, and went down after a precarious
existence of thirty days.

Undismayed by this failure, Mr. Bennett removed to Philadelphia, and
invested the remainder of his capital in a daily Democratic journal,
called "The Pennsylvanian," of which he was the principal editor,
laboring hard to win for it the assistance and support of the party. He
had rendered good and admitted service to the Democracy, but was to
experience the ingratitude for which political organizations are
proverbial. He applied to Martin Van Buren and other prominent leaders
of the party to aid him in securing a loan of twenty-five hundred
dollars for two years, which sum would have enabled him to establish his
paper on a paying basis, but the politicians turned deaf ears to his
appeals, and his paper failed, after a brief and desperate struggle.

He came back to New York about the beginning of 1835, a little sore
from his unsuccessful battle with fate, but far from being dismayed or
cast down. His failures to establish party organs had convinced him that
success in journalism does not depend upon political favor, and he
determined to make one more effort to build up a paper of his own, and
this time one which should aim to please no party but the public. That
there was need of an independent journal of this kind he felt sure, and
he knew the people of the country well enough to be confident that if
such a journal could be properly placed before them, it would succeed.
The problem with him was how to get it properly before them. He had
little or no money, and it required considerable capital to carry
through the most insignificant effort of the kind. He made several
efforts to inspire other persons with his confidence before he
succeeded. One of these efforts Mr. Parton thus describes, in his _Life
of Horace Greeley:_ "An incident connected with the job-office of
Greeley & Co. is perhaps worth mentioning here. One James Gordon
Bennett, a person then well known as a smart writer for the press, came
to Horace Greeley, and, exhibiting a fifty-dollar bill and some other
notes of smaller denominations as his cash capital, wanted him to join
in setting up a new daily paper, 'The New York Herald.' Our hero
declined the offer, but recommended James Gordon to apply to another
printer, naming one, who he thought would like to share in such an
enterprise. To him the editor of 'The Herald' did apply, and with

The parties to whom Mr. Greeley referred Mr. Bennett were two young
printers, whom he persuaded, after much painstaking, to print his paper
and share with him its success or failure. He had about enough cash in
hand to sustain the paper for ten days, after which it must make its own
way. He proposed to make it cheap--to sell it at one penny per copy,
and to make it meet the current wants of the day. The "Sun," a penny
paper, was already in existence, and was paying well, and this
encouraged Mr. Bennett to hope for success in his own enterprise.

He rented a cellar in Wall Street, in which he established his office,
and on the 6th of May, 1835, issued the first number of "The Morning
Herald." His cellar was bare and poverty-stricken in appearance. It
contained nothing but a desk made of boards laid upon flour barrels. On
one end of this desk lay a pile of "Heralds" ready for purchasers, and
at the other sat the proprietor writing his articles for his journal and
managing his business. Says Mr. William Gowans, the famous Nassau-Street
bookseller: "I remember to have entered the subterranean office of its
editor early in its career, and purchased a single copy of the paper,
for which I paid the sum of one cent United States currency. On this
occasion the proprietor, editor, and vendor was seated at his desk,
busily engaged in writing, and appeared to pay little or no attention to
me as I entered. On making known my object in coming in, he requested me
to put my money down on the counter and help myself to a paper, all this
time he continuing his writing operations. The office was a single
oblong underground room; its furniture consisted of a counter, which
also served as a desk, constructed from two flour barrels, perhaps
empty, standing apart from each other about four feet, with a single
plank covering both; a chair, placed in the center, upon which sat the
editor busy at his vocation, with an inkstand by his right hand; on the
end nearest the door were placed the papers for sale."


Standing on Broadway now, and looking at the marble palace from which
the greatest and wealthiest newspaper in the Union sends forth its huge
editions, one finds it hard to realize that just thirty-four years
ago this great journal was born in a cellar, an obscure little penny
sheet, with a poor man for its proprietor. Yet such was the beginning of
"The New York Herald."

The prospect was not a pleasant one to contemplate, but Mr. Bennett did
not shrink from it. He knew that it was in him to succeed, and he meant
to do it, no matter through what trials or vicissitudes his path to
fortune lay. Those who heard his expressions of confidence shook their
heads sagely, and said the young man's air-castles would soon fade away
before the blighting breath of experience. Indeed, it did seem a
hopeless struggle, the effort of this one poor man to raise his little
penny sheet from its cellar to the position of "a power in the land." He
was almost unknown. He could bring no support or patronage to his
journal by the influence of his name, or by his large acquaintance. The
old newspaper system, with its clogs and dead-weights, was still in
force, and as for newsboys to hawk the new journal over the great city,
they were a race not then in existence. He had to fight his battle with
poverty alone and without friends, and he did fight it bravely. He was
his own clerk, reporter, editor, and errand boy. He wrote all the
articles that appeared in "The Herald," and many of the advertisements,
and did all the work that was to be performed about his humble office.

"The Herald" was a small sheet of four pages of four columns each.
Nearly every line of it was fresh news. Quotations from other papers
were scarce. Originality was then, as now, the motto of the
establishment. Small as it was, the paper was attractive. The story that
its first numbers were scurrilous and indecent is not true, as a
reference to the old files of the journal will prove. They were of a
character similar to that of "The Herald" of to-day, and were marked by
the same industry, tact, and freshness, which make the paper to-day the
most salable in the land.

Says Mr. Parton: "The first numbers were filled with nonsense and gossip
about the city of New York, to which his poverty confined him. He had no
boat with which to board arriving ships, no share in the pony express
from Washington, and no correspondents in other cities. All he could do
was to catch the floating gossip, scandal, and folly of the town, and
present as much of them every day as one man could get upon paper by
sixteen hours' labor. He laughed at every thing and every body,--not
excepting himself and his squint eye,--and though his jokes were not
always good, they were generally good enough. People laughed, and were
willing to expend a cent the next day to see what new folly the man
would commit or relate. We all like to read about our own neighborhood;
this paper gratified the propensity.

"The man, we repeat, had really a vein of poetry in him, and the first
numbers of 'The Herald' show it. He had occasion one day to mention that
Broadway was about to be paved with wooden blocks. This was not a very
promising subject for a poetical comment, but he added: 'When this is
done, every vehicle will have to wear sleigh-bells, as in sleighing
times, and Broadway will be so quiet that you can pay a compliment to a
lady, in passing, and she will hear you.' This was nothing in itself;
but here was a man wrestling with fate in a cellar, who could turn you
out two hundred such paragraphs a week, the year round. Men can growl in
a cellar; this man could laugh, and keep laughing, and make the floating
population of a city laugh with him. It must be owned, too, that he had
a little real insight into the nature of things around him--a little
Scotch sense, as well as an inexhaustible fund of French vivacity.
Alluding, once, to the 'hard money' cry by which the lying politicians
of the day carried elections, he exploded that nonsense in two lines:
'If a man gets the wearable or the eatable he wants, what cares he if he
has gold or paper money?' He devoted two sentences to the Old School and
New School Presbyterian controversy: 'Great trouble among the
Presbyterians just now. The question is whether or not a man can do any
thing toward saving his own soul.' He had also an article upon the
Methodists, in which he said that the two religions nearest akin were
the Methodist and the Roman Catholic. We should add to these trifling
specimens the fact that he uniformly maintained, from 1835 to the crash
of 1837, that the prosperity of the country was unreal, and would end in

These things served the end for which they were intended. They brought
"The Herald" conspicuously before the public. While engaged in them,
the proprietor was anxiously planning the means of making his paper a
great _newspaper_. He worked sixteen or seventeen hours each day. He
rose before five o'clock in the morning, and gave three hours to writing
his editorials and the witty paragraphs to which allusion has been made.
At eight o'clock he went to his cellar, or "office," and was at his post
there during the morning, selling his papers, receiving advertisements,
and often writing them for those who were not able to prepare them,
doing such other work as was necessary, and finishing his editorial
labors. At one o'clock he went into Wall Street, gathering up financial
news and interesting items of the street. He returned to his office at
four o'clock, and remained there until six, when the business of the day
was over. In the evening he went to the theater, a ball, concert, or
some public gathering, to pick up fresh items for his paper.

All this while, however, he was losing money. He had a heavy load to
carry, and though he bore it unflinchingly and determinedly, the
enterprise seemed doomed to failure for lack of funds. At this juncture,
he resolved to make the financial news of the day a special feature of
"The Herald." The monetary affairs of the country were in great
confusion--a confusion which was but the prelude to the crash of 1837;
and Wall Street was the vortex of the financial whirlpool whose eddies
were troubling the whole land. Every body was anxious to get the first
news from the street, and to get it as full and reliable as possible. At
this time, too, our relations with France were exceedingly critical--a
circumstance which served to increase the trouble in financial matters.
Appreciating the anxiety which was generally felt on this subject, Mr.
Bennett resolved to create a demand for "The Herald" among the business
men of the country. On the 13th of June, 1835, just five weeks after the
establishment of the paper, he printed his first money article--the
first that ever appeared in an American newspaper. It was as follows:


     Stocks yesterday maintained their prices during the session of the
     Board, several going up. Utica went up 2 per cent.; the others
     stationary. Large quantities were sold. After the Board adjourned
     and the news from France was talked over, the fancy stocks
     generally went down 1 to 1-1/2 per cent.; the other stocks quite
     firm. A rally was made by the bulls in the evening under the trees,
     but it did not succeed. There will be a great fight in the Board
     to-day. The good people up town are anxious to know what the
     brokers think of Mr. Livingston. We shall find out, and let them

     The cotton and flour markets rallied a little. The rise of cotton
     in Liverpool drove it up here a cent or so. The last shippers will
     make 2-1/2 per cent. Many are endeavoring to produce the impression
     that there will be a war. If the impression prevails, naval stores
     will go up a good deal. Every eye is outstretched for the
     "Constitution." Hudson, of the Merchants News Room, says he will
     hoist out the first flag. Gilpin, of the Exchange News Room, says
     he will have her name down in his room one hour before his
     competitor. The latter claims having beat Hudson yesterday by an
     hour and ten minutes in chronicling the "England."

The money article was a success, and appeared regularly in "The Herald"
after this. It created a demand for the paper among the merchants, and
increased its circulation so decidedly that at the end of the third
month the daily receipts and expenditures balanced each other. Mr.
Bennett now ventured to engage a cheap police reporter, which gave him
more time to attend to other duties.

The paper now seemed on the point of becoming a success, when it
received a severe and unlooked-for blow. The printing-office was burned
down, and the gentlemen who had printed "The Herald" were so much
discouraged that they refused to renew their connection with it. Mr.
Bennett knew that he was too near to success to abandon the enterprise,
and courageously put his wits to work to devise means to carry on the
paper. By the greatest and most indomitable exertions he managed to
secure the means of going on with it, and bravely resumed its
publication alone.

A few months after this the "great fire" swept over New York, and laid
nearly the whole business portion of the city in ashes. This was Mr.
Bennett's opportunity. The other journals of the city devoted a brief
portion of their space to general and ponderous descriptions of the
catastrophe, but Mr. Bennett went among the ruins, note-book and pencil
in hand, and gathered up the most minute particulars of the fire. He
spent one-half of each day in this way, and the other half in writing
out reports of what he thus learned. These reports he published in "The
Herald." They were free, graphic, off-hand sketches of the fire and its
consequences, and were so full and complete that they left little or
nothing connected with the incidents they described to be added. Mr.
Bennett also went to the expense of publishing a picture of the burning
of the Merchants Exchange, and a map of the burnt district--a heavy
expense for his little journal. The result proved the sagacity of his
views. "The Herald" reports of the fire created a heavy demand for the
paper, and its circulation increased rapidly. Yet its success was not

When his first year closed, Mr. Bennett found his paper still struggling
for existence, but with a fair prospect of success, if it could follow
up the "hit" it had made with its reports of the fire. About this time
he received an offer from Dr. Benjamin Brandreth to advertise his pills
in "The Herald," and a contract was at once concluded between them. The
money thus paid to the paper was a considerable sum, and proved of the
greatest assistance to it. All the money received was conscientiously
expended in the purchase of news. The circulation grew larger as its
news facilities increased, and for some years its proprietor expended
all his profits in making the paper more attractive.

At the close of the fifteenth month of its career Mr. Bennett increased
the size of "The Herald," and raised the price of it to two cents per
copy. His success was now assured, and continued to increase, as, under
his able and far-seeing management, his paper expanded and enlarged its
facilities for securing and making public the promptest and most
reliable news of the day. Since that time his success has been
unvarying. He has made "The Herald" the leading newspaper of the world,
for no other journal upon the globe can compare with it in liberality
and energy in the collection of news or in promptness and completeness
of detail in laying it before the public. Its growth has been slow, but
sure. Every step has been won by hard and conscientious labor, as well
as by the force of real genius. Other journals have been compelled to
follow the example of "The Herald," but none have surpassed it. It still
stands at the head of the newspaper press of the world, and we are
justified in believing that it will continue to stand there as long as
its founder's hand controls it.

Instead of the little penny sheet of thirty-four years ago, "The New
York Herald" of to-day is an immense journal, generally of twelve, and
often of sixteen pages of six columns each, making a total of from
seventy-two to ninety-six closely printed columns of matter. From four
to nine pages are filled with advertisements, classified with the utmost
exactness. No reader has to search the paper over for the article or
advertisement he wishes to see; each subject has its separate place,
which can be discovered at a glance. Its advertisements have reference
to every trade, profession, or calling known to civilized man, and are a
faithful mirror of the busy age in which we live. Its news reports are
the freshest, most complete, and most graphic of any American journal,
and are collected at an expenditure of more time, care, and money than
any other journal sees fit to lay out. It has its correspondents in all
parts of the world, and when news is worth sending, these are instructed
to spare no pains or expense in transmitting it at once. During the late
war it had a small army of attachés in the field, and its reports were
the most eagerly sought of all by the public. During the Abyssinian war
its reporters and correspondents furnished the London press with
reliable news _in advance of their own correspondents_. Any price is
paid for news, for it is the chief wish of Mr. Bennett that "The Herald"
shall be the first to chronicle the events of the day.

"The Herald" office is now located at the corner of Broadway and Ann
Street. The building, of white marble, is five stories in height, and
is one of the handsomest in the country. It is the most complete
newspaper establishment in existence. It has two cellars, in which are
placed the two steam-engines that drive the huge presses which strike
off the various editions of "The Herald." Every thing is in perfect
order, and the machinery shines like polished gold and silver. The
proprietor's eye is upon the whole establishment, and he is quick to
notice and reprimand a fault. The street floor contains the business
office of the journal, a magnificent room, gorgeous with marble,
plate-glass, black walnut, and frescoes. The editorial rooms are above,
and near them are the reporters' rooms. The top floor constitutes the
finest composing room in the world, from which speaking-tubes and
vertical railways communicate with all the other parts of the building.
Every department of the paper has a responsible head, and the most rigid
discipline prevails throughout the office. There are twelve editors,
thirty-five reporters, and four hundred and fifty-three other employés,
making a total force of five hundred men engaged upon "The Herald." The
circulation of the various editions of the paper amounts to tens of
thousands. It is to be found in every town of importance in the land,
and its daily receipts from advertisements alone are counted by tens of
thousands of dollars.

Mr. Bennett rarely writes for the paper now. He assembles his editors in
his council at noon every day, hears their suggestions, decides what
topics shall be treated in the next day's issue, and assigns to each man
the subject upon which he is to write. In his absence his place at the
council-board is filled by his son, or by the managing editor. Mr.
Bennett in this way exercises a close supervision over all the articles
that appear in "The Herald," and imparts to them a considerable share of
his personality.

Mr. Bennett is married, and has two children, a son, James Gordon
Bennett, jr., who will succeed his father in the ownership of "The
Herald," and a daughter. He lives on Fifth Avenue at present, his
favorite residence, at Washington Heights, having been recently
destroyed by fire. He is said to be a courtly and agreeable host, and
one who rarely fails to send away his visitors with a pleasant
impression of himself.

In person he is tall and firmly built, and walks with a dignified
carriage. His head is large, and his features are prominent and
irregular. He has a thoroughly Scotch face, and is cross-eyed. His
forehead is broad and high, betokening great capacity and force of
character. His expression is firm and somewhat cold--that of a man who
has had a hard fight with fortune, and has conquered it. He is reserved
in his manner to strangers, but always courteous and approachable. To
his friends he is genial and unreserved. He is finely educated, and is
said to be a man of excellent taste. His favorite studies are history
and biography, and he still pursues them with a keen relish. His home is
one of the most elegant in the city. He is proud of his success, as he
may well be, and very proud of the fact that he owes it to himself
alone. While he was building the new "Herald" office, he was waited on
by the president of one of the national banks of the city, who said to

"Mr. Bennett, we know that you are at great expense in erecting this
building, besides carrying on your immense business. If you want any
accommodation, you can have it at our bank."

"Mr. ----," replied Mr. Bennett, "before I purchased the land, or began
to build, I had on deposit two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in the
Chemical Bank. There is not a dollar due on 'The Herald' building that
I can not pay. I would pay off the mortgage to-morrow, if the owner
would allow me to do so. When the building is opened, I shall not owe
one dollar to any man, if I am allowed to pay. I owe nothing that I can
not discharge in an hour. I have not touched one dollar of the money on
deposit in the bank, and while that remains I need no accommodation."



Robert Bonner was born in the north of Ireland, near the town of
Londonderry, about the year 1824. He came to this country when a mere
child, and was brought up in the State of Connecticut, where he received
a good common-school education.

Manifesting a decided liking for the printer's trade, he was placed at
an early age in the office of the "Hartford Courant," where he took his
first lessons in the art of setting type. He entered upon the business
with the determination to learn it thoroughly, and when he had mastered
his trade soon acquired the reputation of being the best workman in
Hartford. As a compositor, he was not only neat and thorough, but was
remarkably rapid as well. On one occasion, when the "Courant" was
endeavoring to publish the "President's Message" in advance of all its
competitors, Mr. Bonner is said to have worked at the rate of seventeen
hundred ems an hour--a feat absolutely unparalleled.

In 1844, he removed to New York and engaged in the office of a new
journal, called the "American Republican," then lately established as
the organ of the American party in that city, upon which he worked
steadily during its brief career. His wages were small, and it was only
by practicing the most rigid economy that he could live upon them.

When the "Republican" suspended publication, Mr. Bonner was employed in
the office of the "Evening Mirror," published by Morris, Willis &
Fuller. Here he made himself so useful, that the business of getting up
or displaying advertisements attractively was soon left entirely to him.
His taste in this department was almost faultless, and the
advertisements of the "Mirror" soon became noted for their neat and
handsome appearance.

At this time there was published in New York a small, struggling paper,
exclusively mercantile in its character, called the "Merchants' Ledger."
This paper was almost entirely dependent upon its advertising patronage,
and the attention of its proprietor was called to Mr. Bonner's skill, as
exhibited in the "Mirror," in displaying advertisements to the greatest
advantage. The result was that Mr. Bonner received an offer, which he
accepted, to take charge of this paper. This was the origin of his
connection with the journal which he has since rendered famous.

Being fond of composition, he made frequent contributions to the
editorial columns of the paper, which were well received by the general
public, but which seem to have aroused the petty jealousy of the
proprietor of the "Ledger."

Soon after forming his connection with the "Ledger," Mr. Bonner
purchased it. From his boyhood up, it had been his ambition to become
the proprietor of a journal which should be carried out upon his own
ideas, and he believed that the "Ledger" offered him the best means of
doing this. It was generally doubted at that time that a literary paper
could flourish in New York--Boston and Philadelphia having apparently
monopolized such enterprises. Mr. Bonner, however, had a clearer view
of the matter, and was convinced from the first that the great center of
American industry was the very best place for such an undertaking. He
proceeded very cautiously at first, however, changing the character of
his paper very gradually, from a commercial to a literary journal.

At this time Fanny Fern was the great literary sensation of the day. She
had just published her "Ruth Hall," which had attracted universal
attention, and had given rise to a sharp discussion in the public press
as to whether she was the sister of N.P. Willis or not. Mr. Bonner
resolved to profit by her sudden notoriety, and requested her to write a
story for the "Ledger," for which he offered to pay her twenty-five
dollars per column. She declined the proposition. He then offered her
fifty dollars a column, and, upon a second refusal, increased his offer
to seventy-five dollars a column. She was pleased with the energy
exhibited by Mr. Bonner, and flattered by his eagerness to secure her
services, but declared that she would write no more for the newspapers.
A little later Mr. Bonner was offered a story from her, about ten
columns long. He at once accepted her proposition, and upon the receipt
of the manuscript sent her a check for one thousand dollars.

With this story began that wonderful career of the "Ledger" which seems
more like a dream than hard reality. The story was double-leaded, and
made to fill twenty columns of the paper. The "Ledger" itself was
changed from its old style to its present form, and made a purely
literary journal. The price paid for the story was unparalleled in the
history of American journalism, and Mr. Bonner spread the announcement
far and wide that he was publishing a serial for which he had given one
hundred dollars a column. His advertisements were to be seen in almost
every newspaper of respectable circulation throughout the Union. In form
they were different from any that had preceded them. "Fanny Fern
writes for the 'Ledger.'" "Buy the 'New York Ledger,'" etc., appeared,
dozens of times repeated, until men were absolutely tired of seeing the
announcement. Nothing had ever been brought to the public notice so
prominently before. For awhile people were astonished at the audacious
boldness of "the 'Ledger' man." Then they began to buy the paper. Since
then the demand for it has steadily increased.

The venture was successful. Fanny Fern's reputation and Mr. Bonner's
energy and boldness made a demand for the "Ledger," at once, and out of
the profits of the story for which he had paid such an unheard-of price
Mr. Bonner purchased a handsome residence in New York City.

There was as much originality as boldness in the peculiar style in which
Mr. Bonner advertised his paper. As before stated, nothing of the kind
had ever been seen before, and the novelty of the announcements at once
attracted attention. It was seen that they were expensive also, and
people naturally felt some curiosity to see for themselves the paper for
which a man was willing to assume such risk and expense. These
announcements sometimes covered a whole page of a daily paper; sometimes
the page would be almost entirely blank, with only a few lines in each
column containing the announcement. Again the advertisement would be the
opening chapters of a story, which would be sure to excite the curiosity
of the reader, and induce him to purchase the remaining chapters in the
"Ledger" itself. It is to the credit of the "Ledger" that it rarely
loses a subscriber. It has become a family paper.

A recent writer thus refers to Mr. Bonner's early experience

"His mode of advertising was new, and it excited both astonishment and
ridicule. His ruin was predicted over and over again. But as he paid as
he went along, he alone would be the sufferer. He was assailed in
various ways. Men sneered at his writers, as well as at the method in
which he made them known. He had no competition. Just then it was
announced that the Harpers were to put a first-class weekly into the
field. The announcement was hailed with delight by many classes. Men who
had been predicting Bonner's ruin from the start were anxious to see it
accomplished. He had agents in all the leading cities in the land. These
held a monopoly of the 'Ledger.' The book men and newspaper men, who
were left out, were quite willing to have the 'Ledger' go under. The
respectability and wealth of the house, its enterprise, with the class
of writers it could secure, made the new paper a dangerous rival. Mr.
Bonner concluded to make the first issue serviceable to himself. His
paragraph advertising was considered sensational, and smacking of the
charlatan. He resolved to make it respectable. He wrote half a column in
sensational style: 'Buy Harper's Weekly!'--'Buy Harper's Weekly!'--'Buy
Harper's Weekly!'--'Buy Harper's Weekly!'--and so on through the half
column. Through his advertising agent he sent this advertisement to the
'Herald,' 'Tribune,' and 'Times,' and paid for its insertion. Among the
astonished readers of this 'Ledger' style of advertising were the quiet
gentlemen who do business on Franklin Square. The community were
astonished. 'The Harpers are waking up!' 'This is the Bonner style!'
'This is the way the Ledger man does it!' were heard on all sides. The
young Harpers were congratulated by the book men every-where on the
enterprise with which they were pushing the new publication. They said
nothing, and took the joke in good part. But it settled the
respectability of the 'Ledger' style of advertising. It is now imitated
by the leading publishers, insurance men, and most eminent dry goods
men in the country. The sums spent by Mr. Bonner in advertising are
perfectly marvelous. He never advertises unless he has something new to
present to the public. He pays from five to twenty-five thousand dollars
a week when he advertises."

Mr. Bonner well knew that all his advertising would be worth nothing in
the end unless he made the "Ledger" worthy of the public patronage, and
he exerted himself from the first to secure the services of a corps of
able and popular writers. In his arrangements with his contributors, he
inaugurated a system of liberality and _justness_ which might well put
his rivals to shame.

When Mr. Everett was engaged in his noble effort to assist the ladies of
the Mount Vernon Association in purchasing the home and tomb of
Washington, Mr. Bonner proposed to him to write a series of papers for
the "Ledger," for which he offered him ten thousand dollars, the money
to be appropriated to the purchase of Mount Vernon. Mr. Everett accepted
the offer, and the celebrated Mount Vernon Papers were the result. This
was a far-sighted move on the part of Robert Bonner. Under ordinary
circumstances Mr. Everett would probably have declined to "write for the
'Ledger;'" but in a cause so worthy he could not refuse. The association
of his name with the journal was of incalculable service to it, and the
Mount Vernon Papers were to its proprietor his very best advertisement.
(We are viewing the matter commercially.) The sale of the paper was
wonderfully increased, and a golden harvest was reaped.

This connection of Mr. Everett with the "Ledger" led to a warm personal
friendship between himself and its proprietor, which was broken only by
the statesman's death--a circumstance which speaks volumes for the
private worth of the younger man. Mr. Everett continued to write for
the paper after his Mount Vernon articles were finished, and is said to
have earned over fifty thousand dollars by his able contributions to it.

Soon after the completion of the Mount Vernon Papers, Mr. Bonner secured
the services of George Bancroft, the historian, who contributed a series
of admirable articles. Mr. Everett's connection with the "Ledger" had
settled the question that it was not beneath the dignity of the most
eminent literateur in the land to write for it. Fanny Fern's husband,
Mr. James Parton, Alice and Phoebe Carey, Mrs. Southworth, and a host of
others have helped, and still help, to fill its columns.

But perhaps its most profitable contributor, next to Mr. Everett, is
Henry Ward Beecher. That wonderful gift of the great preacher which
enables him to touch so constantly upon subjects nearest to the hearts
of most men, would make him invaluable to any paper. Mr. Bonner was
struck with this after hearing him preach several times, and resolved to
secure his services for the "Ledger." He proposed, to the parson's utter
astonishment, that Mr. Beecher should write a story for the paper, and
coupled it with the offer of a sum which many persons would consider a
fortune. The field was utterly new to Mr. Beecher. Novel-writing was
something he had never even thought of; but after some hesitation he
accepted the offer. Soon after this, the publication of "Norwood" was
begun in the columns of the "Ledger." The story was longer than was at
first agreed upon, and Mr. Bonner paid its author a handsome sum in
addition to the amount originally offered. The reward was princely, but
not out of proportion to the service rendered by Mr. Beecher, who has
won thousands of readers for the paper. Mr. Beecher still writes for the
"Ledger," and there is no present prospect of his genial and useful
contributions coming to a close.

Mr. Bonner has made his paper useful to young people as well as those of
maturer years. Each number contains articles, briefly and pointedly
written, upon some popular and useful topic, so that thousands find not
only amusement, but valuable hints and profitable instruction in the

It was for a long time the custom of the newspaper press to indulge in
sneers at the "Ledger," and, at the least, to treat it with a species of
mild contempt. In order to stop this, its proprietor secured and
published a series of articles from James Gordon Bennett of "The
Herald," Henry J. Raymond of "The Times," and Horace Greeley of "The
Tribune." By thus identifying the leading journalists of the country
with his enterprise, he effectually silenced the scoffers, and with them
the "lesser lights" of the press.

It was said by some over-careful persons that the "Ledger" was not a
proper paper for young persons to read. Mr. Bonner at once secured the
services of the Presidents of the twelve principal colleges of the
Union, and articles from each of these gentlemen appeared in his paper.
After this it was not to be presumed that a journal which had among its
contributors twelve such distinguished guides of youth could be unfit
for any one to read.

In order to make still less room for doubt on this subject, a series of
articles by twelve distinguished clergymen soon after appeared in the

Indeed, the greatest care is exercised to exclude from the columns of
the paper any thing savoring in the least of impurity. It is the
proprietor's aim to make it a help as well as an amusement to its
readers, and his object is to elevate, not to degrade them.

The "Ledger" now circulates over three hundred thousand copies per
week, and is growing in the public favor. From the profits of his
business Mr. Bonner has built a splendid marble publishing-house at the
corner of William and Spruce Streets, in New York, from which the
"Ledger" is now issued. It is one of the most complete establishments in
the world, and is fitted up with every convenience necessary to the
performance of the work upon the paper in the most perfect and
expeditious manner. Mr. Bonner has created all this by his own energy
and business talent, and richly deserves the success he enjoys. He
resides in an elegant mansion in New York, and has also a handsome
country seat at Morrisania, in Westchester County. He is married, and
has a family.

Mr. Bonner's great wealth has enabled him to achieve a distinction of
another kind. He is famous as the owner of the finest horses in America.
His stables are located in Twenty-seventh Street, and are the most
perfect of their kind in this country. They contain every thing needed
for the comfort and care of the horses, and the men employed in them are
thoroughly skilled in their business. The horses are seven in number.
First on the list is "Dexter," who has made his mile in the
unprecedented time of 2:17-1/4 in harness, and 2:18 under the saddle. He
is the fastest horse in the world. "Lantern," a splendid bay, fifteen
and a half hands high, has made his mile in 2:20. "Pocahontas," the most
perfectly formed horse in existence, has made her mile in 2:23; while
"Peerless," a fine gray mare, has followed close on to her in 2:23-1/4.
"Lady Palmer" has made two miles with a three hundred and fifty pound
wagon and driver in 4:59, while her companion, "Flatbush Mare," has made
a two-mile heat to a road wagon in 5:01-1/4. The "Auburn Horse," a large
sorrel, sixteen and a half hands high, with four white feet and a white
face, was declared by Hiram Woodruff to be the fastest horse he ever
drove. These horses cost their owner over two hundred thousand dollars,
and he would not part with them for double that sum. He does not race
them for money, but drives them for his own use, and holds the reins





To the writer's mind the most perfect specimen of the American lawyer
known to our history was JOHN MARSHALL, of Virginia, Chief Justice of
the United States. Profoundly learned in the law, irresistible in
argument, and possessed of an eloquence which drew men in throngs to
listen to him, he was also the soul of honor. Neither in his private nor
professional life could the most malicious find an action open to
reproach. Simple and earnest as a child, he was yet a tower of strength
to the cause of justice. Occupying the highest place in our judiciary
system, he was never unduly elated by his honors, and while gaining and
awarding fortunes in the discharge of his professional duties, he was
himself so true a man that the most brazen suitor would not have dared
to offer him a bribe. He was in all things the simple, honest gentleman,
the fearless advocate, the just judge, and the meek and earnest follower
of his Saviour. Although belonging to a past generation, his story is
presented here because I wish to offer to those who seek to follow him
in his noble calling the purest and highest model our history affords.

John Marshall was born in Fauquier County, Virginia, on the 24th of
September, 1755. He was the oldest of a family of fifteen children, and
was the son of Colonel Thomas Marshall, a planter of moderate fortune.
During the Revolution, Colonel Marshall commanded a regiment of Virginia
troops, and won considerable distinction at the battles of the Great
Bridge, Germantown, Brandywine, and Monmouth. At the Brandywine the
regiment bore the brunt of the attack of the British army, led by
Cornwallis in person.

John Marshall was born in a region so thinly settled as to be almost cut
off from civilization. The people were plain and even rough in their
habits, and the mode of life which prevailed in his native county
doubtless did much to lay the foundation of those habits of simplicity
for which he was noted in after life. Schools were almost unknown in
this region, and such as were in operation were so rude in character
that Colonel Marshall, who was a man of education and culture, decided
not to attempt to train his children in them. Being unable to raise the
means of sending them to better schools in other parts of the Colony, he
determined to become their teacher himself, and applied himself to his
task with a devotion which was signally rewarded by the brilliant career
of his eldest son. He laid especial weight upon their acquiring a
thorough knowledge of the English language and of history, and sought to
cultivate in them a love for the poetry of their native tongue.
Referring in after life to his father's devoted labors, Judge Marshall
once said, with great feeling, "To him I owe the solid foundation of all
my success in life." John Marshall did ample justice to his father's
labors, and when only fourteen years old was thoroughly familiar with
the writings of Shakespeare, Dryden, Milton, and Pope, and could repeat
by heart nearly the whole of the "Essay on Man." These poets were always
his favorites, and in mature life he would quote them with readiness and
the keenest relish.

He showed such marked talent that his father determined to make an
effort to secure him a better education than his private labors could
impart to him, and accordingly sent him for a year to the school of the
Rev. Mr. Campbell, in Westmoreland County, where he received a good
drilling in English and Latin. At this school began his acquaintance
with James Monroe, who was then one of Mr. Campbell's pupils. Returning
home at the end of the year, he continued his studies under the Rev. Mr.

He studied hard and was an industrious reader. Poetry and romance were
his favorites, but he read history with the deepest interest. He was
quiet and thoughtful in manner, and full of a dreamy, poetic enthusiasm.
He loved to wander in the thick woods, and would pass many of his
leisure hours in gazing at the beauties of nature. His constitution was
a sound and vigorous one, and he was not only fond of manly and athletic
sports, but excelled in them. He had no inclination toward dissipation,
and the simple, healthful life of his home was calculated to develop his
physical powers to the utmost. Colonel Marshall did not neglect the
moral training of his children, but always impressed upon them the
importance of Christianity as the basis of their characters, rearing
them in that simple code of true gentility which was so dear to our
fathers, but of which we of to-day are fast losing sight.

Being destined for the bar, young Marshall began his legal studies at
the age of eighteen, but in two years they were interrupted by the
troubles with Great Britain, which terminated in open hostilities. A
volunteer company was raised in the neighborhood, and John Marshall
promptly attached himself to it. He took a prominent part in the
questions of the day, and expressed himself boldly in favor of
resistance. In 1775 Patrick Henry made his memorable appeal for
volunteers to drive the Loyalist Governor, Lord Dunmore, out of
Virginia. Three companies were immediately organized in Marshall's
neighborhood. Among these were the famous "Culpepper Minute Men."
Marshall's father was elected major of the regiment, and he himself was
chosen a lieutenant in the Minute Men. The force at once hastened to the
lower counties, and bore a conspicuous part in the battle of Great
Bridge. In July, 1776, Marshall's company was assigned to the Eleventh
Virginia Regiment of the Continental Army, and sent North. In May, 1777,
he was made captain of his company. He participated in the fight at Iron
Hill, and in the battles of Germantown, Brandywine, and Monmouth, and
shared the sufferings of the army at the memorable encampment of Valley
Forge. Until the close of 1779 he was constantly in active service. He
was always patient, cheerful, and hopeful. In the severest hardships to
which the army was exposed his spirits never sank. One of his comrades
said that he did more than any other man to keep alive the hopes of the
army during the terrible winter at Valley Forge, and another has
declared that "the officers of the Virginia line appeared to idolize
him." His conduct attracted the attention of Washington, who conceived a
warm friendship for him, and Marshall, on his part, returned the
friendship of his chief with a feeling almost of worship. Washington
frequently appointed him deputy judge advocate during the winter.

At the close of 1779 he went to Virginia to take command of a new corps
which the Legislature was about to raise. The project remaining under
discussion for some months, he passed the time in attendance upon a
course of lectures on law, delivered by George Wythe, and a course of
lectures on natural philosophy, delivered by the Rev. Dr. Madison,
afterward Bishop of Virginia, at William and Mary College, in
Williamsburg. The next summer he received his license to practice law.
Meanwhile, the project for raising troops had taken the shape of a
definite failure, and he now set out to rejoin the army. Too poor to pay
his passage to the North, he walked the entire distance from
Williamsburg, Virginia, to Philadelphia, upon reaching which city he was
so travel-worn and shabby in appearance, that the landlord of the hotel
at which he wished to stop refused him admittance. He joined the army in
due time, and remained with it until the spring of 1781, when he
resigned his commission, a few months before the close of the war.

With the return of peace the courts were again thrown open, and Marshall
began that brilliant legal career which has made him one of the most
famous men in our history. His success was marked from the first, as his
professional talents were such as to make themselves felt anywhere, and
his personal popularity aided him greatly in overcoming the difficulties
which lie in the path of a young aspirant to legal honors. In 1782, the
people of Fauquier elected him to the House of Delegates in the General
Assembly of the Commonwealth, and in the fall of that year he was
appointed one of the Council of State. In January, 1783, he was married
to Miss Mary Willis Ambler, with whom he lived in the most perfect
happiness for over fifty years. His bride was a woman of great personal
beauty, and in every respect a fitting helpmate for such a man--than
which no higher tribute could be paid her. About this time, Mr. Marshall
decided not to return to Fauquier, but to locate himself permanently in
Richmond, where he could enjoy many more professional advantages. In
spite of this, however, his old friends in Fauquier re-elected him to
the Legislature, and in 1787 he sat in that body as representative from
the county of Henrico.

He was very plain and even careless in his personal attire, and this
often led to amusing occurrences. Soon after he began the practice of
his profession in Richmond, he was strolling through the streets one
morning, dressed in a plain linen suit and a straw hat. The hat was held
under his arm, and was filled with cherries, of which he ate as he
walked. In passing the Eagle Hotel, he stopped to exchange salutations
with the landlord, and then continued his walk. Sitting near the
landlord, on the hotel porch, was a Mr. P----, an elderly gentleman from
the country, who had come to the city to engage counsel in an important
case which was to be tried in a day or two. The landlord referred him to
Marshall as the best lawyer in the city; but the old gentleman was so
much prejudiced against the young advocate, by his careless appearance,
that he refused to engage him. On entering court, Mr. P---- was a second
time referred to Marshall by the clerk of the court, and a second time
he refused to employ him. At this moment entered Mr. V----, a
venerable-looking legal gentleman, in a powdered wig and black coat,
whose dignified appearance produced such an impression on Mr. P---- that
he engaged him at once. In the first case which came on, Marshall and
Mr. V---- each addressed the court. "The vast inferiority of his
advocate was so apparent that at the close of the case Mr. P----
introduced himself to young Marshall, frankly stated the prejudice which
had caused him, in opposition to advice, to employ Mr. V----; that he
extremely regretted the error, but knew not how to remedy it. He had
come to the city with one hundred dollars as his lawyer's fee, which he
had paid, and had but five left, which, if Marshall chose, he would
cheerfully give him for assisting in the case. Marshall, pleased with
the incident, accepted the offer, not, however, without passing a sly
joke at the _omnipotence_ of a powdered wig and black coat."

In 1788, Mr. Marshall was elected to the Virginia Convention which met
in June of that year for the purpose of considering the question of the
adoption or rejection of the Federal Constitution. The debates in this
body were among the most brilliant in history. Marshall took a decided
stand in favor of the Constitution, and is believed to have done more
than any other man, save Mr. Madison, to secure its adoption. He added
greatly to his reputation by his labors in this body, and the close of
the session found his practice very much enlarged. He was anxious to
devote himself entirely to his professional duties; but he was urged so
vehemently to accept a seat in the Legislature from the city of
Richmond, that he was forced to consent. He sat in that body from 1789
to 1791, and in those sessions which were marked by the brilliant
contests between the Federalists and Republicans took a decided stand
with the former, and sustained his position by an array of arguments
against which his opponents were powerless. The struggle was one of
great bitterness, but Marshall, although victorious in it, made no
enemies among his antagonists.

For the next three years he devoted himself industriously to his
profession, appearing in public only to defend with masterly eloquence
the course of President Washington with reference to the insolent
conduct of Citizen Genet, the French Agent. In 1795, he was again
elected to the Legislature, "not only without his approbation, but
against his known wishes;" but yielding to the desires of his friends he
took his seat in that body. The great question of the day was the
adoption of "Jay's Treaty" with Great Britain. In Virginia, a bitter
opposition assailed the treaty, and the entire State rang with
denunciations of it. Even the influence of Washington was powerless to
stay the tide of popular passion excited against the treaty and those
who upheld it. Meetings were held in Richmond, and the treaty was
fiercely denounced. Marshall now came to the rescue, and before a
meeting of the citizens of that place made such an unanswerable argument
in favor of the treaty, that the men who had been foremost in assailing
it now united in the adoption of resolutions indorsing the policy of the
Administration. In the Legislature his efforts were equally successful,
and the opponents of the Administration were forced to abandon their
constitutional objections to the treaty, and to content themselves with
a simple denial of the expediency of the measure at that time. President
Washington attached so much importance to these services that he offered
to his old friend and comrade the position of Attorney-General of the
United States, but Marshall declined the offer, as he wished to devote
himself to his practice, which had now become very lucrative. He
continued to sit in the Legislature, which did not interfere with his
private business, and remained the constant and vigilant friend of
Washington's Administration. In 1796, he was offered the post of
Minister to France, as Mr. Monroe's successor, but he declined it for
the same reason which had made him refuse the Attorney-Generalship. In
1797, when the offer was repeated, this time by President Adams,
Marshall yielded to the entreaties of Washington, and went to France
with Pinckney and Gerry, as Envoy Extraordinary. The object of the
mission was to remove the obstructions placed by France in the way of
American commerce. The Envoys were unsuccessful, but a correspondence
took place between Marshall and Talleyrand, which was a source of great
satisfaction to American publicists, and raised Marshall still higher
in their esteem and confidence. Upon his return home in 1798, he was
given a public reception in New York by the citizens, and a public
dinner by the two Houses of Congress, "as an evidence of affection for
his person, and of their grateful approbation of the patriotic firmness
with which he had sustained the dignity of his country during his
important mission." He subsequently took a prominent part in support of
the measures of retaliation directed against France by the
Administration, which were sharply assailed by the opposition. He
resumed his practice in Richmond, but was again drawn from it by a
message from Washington, who requested him to visit him at Mt. Vernon.
He did so, and the result was that he yielded to the solicitations of
his old chieftain, and consented to accept a seat in Congress. He was
elected to the Lower House of that body in 1799. During the canvass,
President Adams offered him a seat in the Supreme Court of the United
States, but he declined it.

His career in Congress was brief, but brilliant. The Federalist party
was hard pressed by the Republicans, and he promptly arrayed himself on
the side of the former, as the champion of the Administration of John
Adams. The excitement over the "Alien and Sedition Laws" was intense,
but he boldly and triumphantly defended the course of the
Administration. Mr. Binney says of him that, in the debates on the great
constitutional questions, "he was confessedly the first man in the
House. When he discussed them, he exhausted them; nothing more remained
to be said; and the impression of his argument effaced that of every one

His great triumph was his speech in the Jonathan Robbins affair. Robbins
had committed a murder on board an English ship-of-war, and had sought
refuge from punishment in the United States. In accordance with one of
the provisions of Jay's Treaty, his surrender had been demanded by the
British Minister, on the ground that he was a British subject, and he
had been surrendered by President Adams. The opposition in Congress made
this act a pretext for a famous assault upon the Administration, and a
resolution was introduced into the House of Representatives by Mr.
Livingston, censuring the President for his course in the matter. This
resolution produced an extended debate in the House, in the course of
which Marshall defended the President in a speech of great force and
eloquence. Judge Story has said of this speech, that "it was _rêponse
sans réplique_--an answer so irresistible that it admitted of no reply.
It silenced opposition, and settled then and forever the points of
national law upon which the controversy hinged."

In May, 1800, Mr. Adams offered Marshall a seat in his Cabinet as
Secretary of War, but before he could enter upon the duties of that
office he was made Secretary of State, in which capacity he acted for a
short while, conducting several important negotiations during that time,
and leaving behind him several of the most magnificent state papers to
be found in our archives. During his occupancy of this position, it
became necessary to appoint a Chief Justice of the United States, and
Marshall took advantage of the occasion to urge upon the President the
propriety of tendering the place to a distinguished gentleman who had
been a faithful friend to the Administration; but Mr. Adams quietly
informed him that he had made up his mind to confer the honor upon the
man best suited to it, and that he had sent to the Senate the name of
John Marshall, of Virginia. This appointment, which came to him entirely
unsolicited, was made on the 31st of January, 1801, and was unanimously
confirmed by the Senate.

He held the position of Chief Justice for more than thirty-four years,
and this period is justly regarded as the most brilliant portion of the
history of our highest court, a court of which a famous judge has said:

"The decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States have raised the
renown of the country not less than they have confirmed the
Constitution. In all parts of the world its judgments are spoken of with
respect. Its adjudications of prize law are a code for all future time.
Upon commercial law it has brought us nearly to one system, befitting
the probity of a great commercial nation. Over its whole path, learning
and intelligence and integrity have shed their combined luster."

Although holding so high a post in the General Government, he continued
to take a warm interest in the affairs of his native State, and in 1828
was a delegate to the Charlottesville Convention, which met for the
purpose of recommending to the Legislature a system of internal
improvements best suited to the needs of the State. In 1829, he was a
member of the Convention which met in Richmond for the purpose of
revising the Constitution of the State. Though now quite old and feeble,
he took an active part in the debates of the Convention, and was mainly
instrumental in effecting the settlement of the disputes between the
eastern and western sections of the State.

In 1805, Judge Marshall published, in five volumes, his "Life of
Washington." The first volume was devoted to the history of the
Colonies, from their settlement to the commencement of the Revolution.
This work has always held the first position in our Revolutionary
annals, and won for its author a place in the front rank of American
writers. It is, all in all, the best biography of Washington in

Sterling honesty was exemplified in Judge Marshall's whole career. His
word was indeed as good as his bond. He would never argue in behalf of a
cause which he had reason to think unjust, and he scorned to take a
legal advantage at the expense of moral honesty. He once indorsed a
bond to the amount of several thousand dollars. The drawer failed, and
Marshall paid it, although he knew he could avoid it, as the holder had
forfeited his claim in law by requiring more than legal interest.

He was generous to a fault. Once, as he passed through Culpepper County,
he met with Captain S----, one of his old comrades in the Revolution. In
the course of the conversation which ensued, S---- told him that his
estate was burdened with a mortgage for $3,000, which was about to fall
due, and that, as he was unable to pay it, he saw nothing but ruin in
store for him. At his departure, Marshall handed a note to the servant
who brought his horse to the door, and told him to give it to his
master. This was done as Marshall was riding away, and upon opening the
note Mr. S--- found that it contained a check for the amount of the
mortgage. Mounting his horse, he soon overtook Marshall, and, though he
thanked him warmly for his generosity, refused to accept it. Marshall
strenuously urged its acceptance, but the other persistently refused.
Finally, the former suggested a compromise. Marshall took up the
mortgage, and thus satisfied the first claim, but as his friend was
never prosperous, he never asked for the payment of the debt.

William Wirt has left us the following description of his personal
appearance: "He is tall, meager, emaciated; his muscles relaxed, and his
joints so loosely connected as not only to disqualify him apparently for
any vigorous exertion of body, but to destroy every thing like harmony
in his air or movements. Indeed, in his whole appearance and
demeanor,--dress, attitudes, gesture, sitting, standing, or walking,--he
is as far removed from the idolized graces of Lord Chesterfield as any
other gentleman on earth."

"In spite, however, of this ungainly person," says a writer, "no one
was a greater social favorite than the Chief Justice. The people of
Richmond regarded his eccentric figure with strong personal affection as
well as respect. The black eyes, under their bushy gray brows, beamed
with good nature, and the lips were habitually smiling. The courtesy of
the Judge was one of his most beautiful traits. It was the spontaneous
exhibition of the simple and kindly emotions of his heart. Pure
benevolence and philanthropy displayed itself in every word which he
uttered. He gave his hand to the plain yeoman clad in homespun as
courteously and sincerely as to the greatest personage in the country.
He had the same simple smile and good-humored jest for both, and seemed
to recognize no difference between them. It was instructive to estimate
in the good Chief Justice the basis and character of true politeness.
John Randolph, one of the most fastidious and aristocratic of men, left
his opinion that Marshall's manner was perfect good breeding. In dress
and bearing, it would be difficult to imagine any one more simple than
Judge Marshall. He presented the appearance of a plain countryman,
rather than a Chief Justice of the United States. He had a farm in
Fauquier County, and another near Richmond, and he would often return
from the latter to take his seat on the bench with burrs sticking to his
clothes. His great passion was the game of quoits, and he was a member
of the club which met, as it still meets, at Buchanan's Spring, near the
city, to play at this game. Here the Governor of Virginia, the Chief
Justice, and the most eminent lawyers of the Court of Appeals, were
found by a French gentleman, Baron Quinet, with their coats off, gayly
pitching quoits, with the ardor of a party of urchins. In these simple
amusements passed the hours of leisure which Judge Marshall could steal
from his exhausting judicial toil. At such times he seemed to become a
boy again, and to forget the ermine. His fondness for other social
enjoyments was great. He was the center of a brilliant circle of men,
many of whom were famous, and the tradition of their dinner parties, and
the jests which they circulated, is still preserved."

It was his custom always to provide for his table himself when at home,
and he might be seen every morning at the Shockoe Hill Market, with his
basket on his arm, engaged in making his purchases. Upon one of these
occasions he noticed a fashionably-dressed young man, swearing violently
because he could not find any one willing to carry home for him a turkey
which he had just purchased, and which his foolish pride would not
permit him to carry himself. Approaching him quietly, the Judge asked
where he lived, and upon being told, said, "I am going that way, and
will carry it for you." Taking the turkey, he set out and soon reached
the young man's door. Upon receiving his turkey, the young man thanked
him for his trouble, and asked, "How much shall I pay you?" "Oh,
nothing," replied the Judge, smiling, "you are welcome. It was on my
way, and no trouble." So saying, the Judge departed, and the young man,
with a faint suspicion of the truth, turned to a bystander, and asked,
in some confusion, "Who is that polite old gentleman who brought home my
turkey for me?" "That is John Marshall, the Chief Justice of the United
States," was the reply. "Why, then, did _he_ bring home my turkey?"
stammered the fop. "To give you a deserved rebuke," said the gentleman,
"and to teach you to conquer your silly pride."

Reference has been made to his carelessness in regard to his personal
appearance. A wager was once laid among his friends in Richmond that he
could not dress himself without leaving about his clothing some mark of
his carelessness. The Judge good-humoredly accepted the wager. A supper
was to be given to him upon these conditions. If his dress was found
faultless upon that occasion, the other parties were to pay for the
entertainment; but if any carelessness could be detected about his dress
or in his appearance, the expense was to fall upon him. Upon the
appointed evening the gentlemen and the Judge met at the place agreed
upon, and to the surprise of all, the Judge's dress seemed faultless. He
appeared the very perfection of neatness and taste. The supper followed,
the Judge being in high glee over his victory. Near the close of the
repast, however, one of the guests, who sat next to Judge Marshall,
chanced to drop his napkin, and stooping down to pick it up, discovered
that the Judge had put on one of his stockings with the wrong side out.
Of course the condition of affairs was immediately reversed, and, amid
roars of laughter, the Chief Justice acknowledged his defeat.

The means of locomotion in the Southern States being limited in the days
of Judge Marshall, it was his custom to travel about the country, when
holding his circuit courts, in an old-fashioned and very much
dilapidated gig. His plain and even rusty appearance often led him into
ludicrous adventures, which he related to his friends with keen
enjoyment. At other times people to whom he was personally unknown were
astonished to find that this shabbily-dressed old man was the famous
Chief-Justice Marshall. One of his adventures is thus related by an

"It is not long since a gentleman was traveling in one of the counties
of Virginia, and about the close of the day stopped at a public-house to
obtain refreshment and spend the night. He had been there but a short
time when an old man alighted from his gig, with the apparent intention
of becoming his fellow-guest at the same house. As the old man drove up,
he observed that both the shafts of his gig were broken, and that they
were held together by withes formed from the bark of a hickory sapling.
Our traveler observed, further, that he was plainly clad, that his
knee-buckles were loosened, and that something like negligence pervaded
his dress. Conceiving him to be one of the honest yeomanry of our land,
the courtesies of strangers passed between them, and they entered the
tavern. It was about the same time that an addition of three or four
young gentlemen was made to their number--most of them, if not all, of
the legal profession. As soon as they became conveniently accommodated,
the conversation was turned by the latter upon an eloquent harangue
which had that day been delivered at the bar. The other replied that he
had witnessed the same day a degree of eloquence no doubt equal, but
that it was from the pulpit. Something like a sarcastic rejoinder was
made to the eloquence of the pulpit, and a warm and able altercation
ensued, in which the merits of the Christian religion became the subject
of discussion. From six o'clock until eleven the young champions wielded
the sword of argument, adducing with ingenuity and ability every thing
that could be said pro and con. During this protracted period, the old
gentleman listened with all the meekness and modesty of a child, as if
he was adding new information to the stores of his own mind; or perhaps
he was observing, with philosophic eye, the faculties of the youthful
mind, and how new energies are evolved by repeated action; or, perhaps,
with patriotic emotion, he was reflecting upon the future destinies of
his country, and on the rising generation upon whom these future
destinies must devolve; or, most probably, with a sentiment of moral and
religious feeling, he was collecting an argument which--characteristic
of himself--no art would be 'able to elude and no force resist.' Our
traveler remained a spectator, and took no part in what was said."


"At last one of the young men, remarking that it was impossible to
combat with long-established prejudices, wheeled around, and, with some
familiarity, exclaimed, 'Well, my old gentleman, what think you of these
things?' If, said the traveler, a streak of vivid lightning had at that
moment crossed the room, their amazement could not have been greater
than it was with what followed. The most eloquent and unanswerable
appeal was made, for nearly an hour, by the old gentleman, that he ever
heard or read. So perfect was his recollection, that every argument used
against the Christian religion was met in the order in which it was
advanced. Hume's sophistry on the subject of miracles was, if possible,
more perfectly answered than it had already been done by Campbell. And
in the whole lecture there was so much simplicity and energy, pathos and
sublimity, that not another word was uttered. An attempt to describe it,
said the traveler, would be an attempt to paint the sunbeams. It was now
a matter of curiosity and inquiry who the old gentleman was. The
traveler concluded it was the preacher from whom the pulpit eloquence
was heard; but no--it was the Chief Justice of the United States."

Judge Marshall was a simple and earnest Christian, and held in the
deepest abhorrence the fashionable skepticism of his day. His conduct
was consistent with his profession, and to the last this good and great
man repeated night and morning the simple prayer he had learned at his
mother's knee.

For many years he suffered from an affection of the bladder, and was at
length compelled to resort to a surgical operation for relief. This had
the desired effect, but he was soon after taken with an attack of "liver
complaint." He repaired to Philadelphia for medical treatment, but
failed to derive any benefit from it, and died in that city on the 6th
of July, 1835.

His body was conveyed to Richmond for interment, and he now sleeps by
the side of his wife in the Shockoe Hill Cemetery in that city. The spot
is marked by a plain slab of marble, over which the weeds and the rank
grass are growing, and on which may be read the following inscription,
dictated (saving the last date) by himself:

"John Marshall, son of Thomas and Mary Marshall, was born 24th of
September, 1755; intermarried with Mary Willis Ambler, the 3d of
January, 1783; departed this life the 6th day of July, 1835."

[Illustration: JAMES T. BRADY.]



The father of James T. Brady was born in Ireland, and came to this
country during the second war with England, and just after his marriage.
Mr. Brady opened a school for boys, in New York, soon after his arrival,
and it was in that city, on the 9th of April, 1815, that his eldest son,
JAMES TOPHAM BRADY, was born. Other children followed, there being seven
in all, two boys (James T., and Judge John R. Brady) and five girls. Mr.
Brady, senior, was a man of rare abilities, and his wife was a woman of
great personal beauty and high character, "one of those mothers," says a
distinguished gentleman, who knew her, "whose quiet virtues shed their
blessed influence over families, and are felt so long in their durable
effect upon children."

James T. Brady grew up with a sound, vigorous constitution, and at an
early age was put at his studies in his father's school. He was only
seven years old when he began, and though so young, he worked hard,
storing his "big head"--which seemed too big for the little feet below
it--with knowledge. He endeared himself very greatly to his
school-fellows, and formed with several of them friendships which
continued through life. "He was so noted," says one of his former
school-fellows, "for his loving kindliness as a boy, that it almost
obliterates every other recollection." His amiable traits developed with
his years. He always delighted in acts of kindness, and could never bear
to give pain, even to the most insignificant animal or insect. He
detested hunting and fishing, which he regarded as a needless sacrifice
of life. Yet while so tender and gentle in his disposition, he was brave
and fearless, unusually independent, and, above all, as mirthful and
fond of a jest at fifty as at sixteen.

Before he had completed his education, his father abandoned the
profession of teaching for that of a lawyer, and young Brady entered his
office as office-boy and student, it being his desire to become an
advocate. He was bright, quick-witted, and remarkably apt in his
studies. His buoyant spirits and ready repartee often led him into
encounters with his elders, who were generally forced to confess that
his tongue was too much for them. His father encouraged him to form his
own opinions, and to hold them tenaciously until convinced of his error.
He made rapid progress in his legal studies, and soon acquired such
proficiency in the management of the details of the office business that
every thing which did not absolutely need his father's personal
attention was left to him.

Although fond of social enjoyment, and full of the fire and joyfulness
of youth, he knew how to seclude himself from the pleasures he relished
so much. He was a hard and faithful student, allowing nothing to draw
him from his books when he meant to devote himself to them. He read not
only law, but history, poetry, biography, romance, in short, every thing
that could store his mind with useful knowledge or add to its natural
graces. He slept at the office, and often sat up the entire night
engaged in study. Abbott speaks as follows of the early studies of
Napoleon II., and it requires no straining of language or ideas to
apply his remarks to this portion of the life of James T. Brady: "So
great was his ardor for intellectual improvement that he considered
every day as lost in which he had not made perceptible progress in
knowledge. By this rigid mental discipline he acquired that wonderful
power of concentration by which he was ever enabled to simplify subjects
the most difficult and complicated." Mr. Brady, senior, was very proud
of the energy and talent displayed by his son, and when the latter was
nineteen years old the father said to a friend who had been speaking to
him of the promise of the boy: "Yes, sir; he is a boy of great promise,
a boy of splendid intellect and noble character. Young as he is, I
regard him as a walking encyclopoedia; his mind seems to gild every
subject it touches."

In the year 1835, when but twenty years old, Mr. Brady was admitted to
the bar. "There were giants in those days" at the New York bar, and the
young man was now entering an arena in which his powers were to be
tested to the utmost. His native eloquence was well known to his
friends, and naturally he was not ignorant of it; but he did not, like
so many young men in his calling, trust entirely to his powers of
pleading. He had long since recognized the truth of Lord Erskine's
declaration that "no man can be a great advocate who is no lawyer," and
had stored his mind with a knowledge of the theories of his profession
which few men in coming to the bar have ever equaled.

In his first important case he was opposed to Charles O'Conor, and was
unsuccessful. He was engaged in a suit to recover a certain sum of money
from an insurance company, which his client claimed was due him for
certain goods which had been destroyed by fire. As Brady himself saw, he
had a very weak case, and Mr. O'Conor had no trouble in demolishing it;
yet the young counsel conducted it with a skill and an eloquence which
made him from that hour a marked man in his profession. Yet he had to
contend against that obstacle which meets most public men at the outset
of their careers--the feeling which actors call "stage fright." He said
that on this occasion every thing around him grew suddenly black, and he
could not even see the jury. By steadying himself against his table, and
keeping his eyes in the direction of the jury, he continued to speak
until he had recovered his self-control.

The case which brought him most prominently before the public, and which
may be said to have established his fame as a lawyer, was a peculiar
one. Some newsboys had been arrested for selling the "Sunday Morning
News" on the morning of the Sabbath day. It was claimed that the selling
of the paper on the streets on Sunday was contrary to law, and that the
boys disturbed the congregations in the churches by their cries. One of
these boys had been arrested at the instance of Mr. Gerard, and this
brought on a suit to determine the rights of the lads, in which Mr.
Brady appeared for the newsboys. Considerable feeling was manifested on
the subject, and when the trial came on the court-room was crowded. The
verdict of the jury was against him, but Mr. Brady won a remarkable
triumph by his management of the case, and the whole city rang with his
eloquence. So great was the effect of his speech upon the audience, that
many of them who were total strangers to him crowded around him as he
left the court-house to congratulate him. Though defeated in the verdict
of the jury, this case was a great triumph for Mr. Brady. It established
his fame as an advocate, and advanced him at once to a foremost place at
the bar. Business flowed in upon him more rapidly than he could attend
to it, and from this time to the close of his labors he was always in
the possession of a large and lucrative practice.

Mr. McKeon has said of him: "We may refer to the period of his
introduction to the bar of this city as an epoch in its history. In
looking back at the past, we see rising before us George Wood, treading
with no uncertain step through the labyrinth of the law of real
property; Daniel Lord, following, with his legal eye, commerce over the
long and dreary waste of waters; David Graham, the younger, and Ogden
Hoffman, standing in full panoply of intellectual power before our
criminal tribunals. Into the lists where stood these proud knights young
Brady sprang, ready to contend with the mightiest of them. How well he
contended many of you well remember, and the honors paid to his memory
are justified by the triumphs he has won."

He grew rapidly in popularity, and in the esteem and confidence of his
fellow-citizens, and was intrusted with numerous cases of a class which
had rarely until then been seen in the hands of a young lawyer. His
practice soon extended into the Supreme Court of the State, which at
that time met quarterly, at New York, Albany, Utica, and Rochester. The
practice of this court was entirely in the hands of men of high standing
in their profession,--the great lawyers of the State,--and it was no
slight honor to our young lawyer to hold a place, and a proud place,
too, among them.

He won additional honors in the famous India-rubber suits, which have
been mentioned elsewhere in this volume, acting as one of the counsel of
Charles Goodyear, and being associated with Daniel Webster. Brady
applied himself with intense energy to master the case, and when the
trial came off at Trenton, in the United States Circuit Court, before
Justices Grier and Dickerson, he opened the case in a speech which
lasted two days, and which Daniel Webster said in the beginning of his
remarks had so exhausted it as to leave him nothing to say.

Turning to Mr. Brady, Mr. Webster said, "You have cut a highway through
this case, and if it is won, it will be because of the manner in which
you have brought it before the court." The suit was won by Goodyear.

"In connection with the India-rubber cases is a fact which testifies to
his character. A salary of twenty-live thousand dollars a year for life
was offered to be settled on him by the rubber company, if he would
advise a certain course; but not deeming it right, he rejected the
offer. When in France, in 1851, the rubber cases coming in controversy
there, Mr. Brady substantially gave in French, to Etienne Blanc, the
French advocate, the materials for his brief."

Mr. Brady practiced law for thirty-four years, and during the major part
of that time there was scarcely a case of great importance, in either
the civil or criminal courts, in which he did not figure. He was
compelled to refuse case after case from lack of time to give to it; and
yet he frequently found time to respond to the appeals of the courts to
defend men indicted for capital offenses who were unable to procure
counsel. In some of these cases he had scarcely any chance of
preparation, but he always managed to secure the acquittal of his
client, in spite of this drawback. The spirit of kindliness which had so
endeared him to his boyhood's friends pervaded every action of his
maturer life, and he never displayed more energy, more unceasing
vigilance, more irresistible eloquence, than when pleading the cause of
some poor wretch who could only reward him with his thanks.

His readiness in mastering a case was remarkable, and was greatly
assisted by his profound knowledge of the law. As a rule, in the
ordinary run of cases, it was merely necessary for him to comprehend the
particular case under consideration, since he was already familiar with
the law bearing upon it.

This readiness is admirably illustrated in the following reminiscence
related of him by the Hon. Luther R. Marsh. Mr. Marsh was engaged in a
case of great importance, in which he desired Mr. Brady's assistance in
the trial. Marsh had thoroughly and patiently studied the case, but
Brady was totally ignorant of it. Nevertheless, he told Mr. Marsh he
would do his best, and that he (Marsh) must open the case as fully and
exhaustively as he could, without reference to him. Mr. Marsh did so,
and says that when he sat down he thought he had _exhausted_ the case,
and was wondering what Brady could find to say in addition to it. To his
astonishment and delight, Brady rose, and in his argument presented
seven new and telling points.

In the examination of a witness, he could be severe and decisive when he
had occasion to suspect that the person was trying to evade the truth;
but in general his manner was kind and considerate, and he succeeded in
eliciting evidence by his forbearance which others could not have
extorted by bullying. Upon one occasion, he was convinced that a witness
was about to relate a "made-up" story, and he at once fixed upon the man
a look so piercing that the fellow was overwhelmed with confusion and
could not go on with his evidence. Brady promptly changed his tactics,
sent for a glass of water for the witness, and soothed him so
effectually that the heart of the man was won, and, abandoning his false
tale, he made a simple statement of the truth.

The independence of character exhibited by Mr. Brady has already been
adverted to. Having once traced out the line of duty, nothing could make
him swerve from it, and he was as bold in the defense of the rights of
his clients as of his own. Mr. Edwards Clarke, from whose excellent
memoir is gleaned much of the information upon which this sketch is
based, relates the following incidents in illustration of this quality
of the man:

"The trial of Baker for the murder of Poole furnished a notable instance
of Mr. Brady's intrepidity in behalf of a client. It was at the height
of the 'Know-Nothing' excitement, and Poole, after receiving the fatal
bullet, having exclaimed, 'I die an American,' succeeded in causing
himself to be regarded as a martyr to the cause. Lingering for days
with--as the _post-mortem_ proved--a bullet deeply imbedded in his
heart, the interest and excitement became intense; and on the day of his
funeral twenty thousand men walked in solemn procession behind the
coffin of the martyred 'rough.' In such a state of public feeling, Baker
was put on trial for his life. At the opening of the charge by the
judge, aroused by its tenor, Mr. Brady seized a pen and commenced
writing rapidly, indignation showing itself in his set lips and frowning
brow. The moment the judge ceased he was on his feet, and began: 'You
have charged the jury thus and thus. I protest against your so stating
it.' The judge said he would listen to the objections after the jury had
retired. 'No!' exclaimed the indignant orator, 'I choose that the jury
should hear those objections;' and, defying interference, he poured
forth impetuously forty-five separate and formal objections, couching
them all emphatically in words of personal protest to the judge. The
force of the judge's charge on that jury was pretty effectually broken.
The indignation of the advocate at this time was real, not simulated;
and he, at least, of the New York bar dared to defy and to denounce
injustice, even when clad in ermine.

"Another instance of his intrepidity before a judge was in the Busteed
case. The judge had threatened to convict him for contempt. Busteed had
apologized, and Brady also, with his matchless grace and courtesy, had
tendered Busteed's apology; but the judge still said that he should
send him to prison. 'You will, will you?' said Brady; 'I say you will
not.' And, citing authority after authority against his power to do so,
he dared him to thus stretch his prerogative. The judge thought best to
excuse Mr. Busteed."

Perhaps one of the best instances of his moral courage to be found was
his conduct with reference to the late Edwin M. Stanton. He was
associated with Mr. Stan ton in the Sickles trial, and conceived a warm
personal attachment to him. Mr. Brady remained a Democrat to the last,
and was an active member of Tammany Hall. Upon one occasion, during a
meeting of the Tammany Committee, when the name of Stanton was received
with hisses and yells of objurgation, Brady rose, and facing the crowd
told them "that he knew they hated Edwin M. Stanton, but he, a Democrat,
knew him, and held him in his heart of hearts." It was a bold
declaration, considering the time and place, even for one so highly
esteemed as James T. Brady.

As before remarked, Mr. Brady never relied upon his eloquence alone for
success at the bar. He had a profound respect for his profession, and
scorned its trickeries. He worked faithfully over the cases intrusted to
him, studied them carefully, and never brought them to trial till he was
thorough master of the law bearing upon them. This enabled him
frequently to present issues which a less learned man would not have
dreamed of. When he was retained as counsel for Huntington the forger,
he conceived the idea that the man was morally unaccountable for his
deed, and his theory of moral insanity, as developed by him in this
case, is one of the most powerful arguments upon the subject to be found
in any language. He read every thing he could find on the subject of
insanity, and when he went into court there was not a physician in the
land better informed with respect to it than he. The cases in which he
was frequently engaged required an unusual acquaintance with medical
jurisprudence, and he was regarded as one of the best authorities on the
subject in the country.

His power over a jury was remarkable. He never lost sight of the "twelve
peers," and by his dexterous management soon had them so thoroughly
under the influence of his magnetic mind that they hung upon his words,
followed his every act, laughed or cried as he willed, and seemed
capable of thinking only as he permitted them. He defended fifty-one men
for their lives in the course of his practice, and brought them all off
in safety.


Mr. Clarke, from whose memoir I have already quoted, relates the
following incidents in his career:

"The case of a young man charged with murder, in what was claimed to be
an accidental fracas, attracted a good deal of interest. He was a Mason,
and that society applied to Mr. Brady to defend him, tendering
twenty-five hundred dollars as a fee; but for some cause he declined the
case. Not long after, one afternoon, a neatly-dressed, modest young girl
came to the office and asked for Mr. Brady. Told to walk into his
private office, she timidly approached his desk, and saying, 'Mr. Brady,
they are going to hang my brother, and you can save him. I've brought
you this money; please don't let my brother die,' she burst into tears.
It was a roll of two hundred and fifty dollars, which the poor girl had
begged in sums of five and ten dollars. The kind-hearted man heard her
story. 'They shall not hang your brother, my child,' said he, and
putting the roll of bills in an envelope, told her to take it to her
mother, and he would ask for it when he wanted it. The boy was cleared.
In Mr. Brady's parlor hangs an exquisite picture, by Durand, with a
letter on the back asking him to accept it as a mark of appreciation for
his generous kindness in defending this poor boy. Mr. Brady prized
_that_ picture....

"Once when, in the height of his appeal to the jury, a dog began barking
vigorously, he whirled around, shook his finger at the dog and said,
gravely, with the quickness of thought, 'I am Sir Oracle, and when I ope
my lips let no dog bark!'

"An Irishman once came to his office: 'And are yez Misther Brady?' 'I
am; come in, Patrick. What is it you wish?' 'I ax yer pardon; I oughtn't
to intrude upon yez,' 'But what is it, Patrick?' 'Well, yer honor, it
isn't for the likes o' me to be comin' troublin' yer honor.' 'But tell
me what you want, Pat.' 'Well, yer honor, I came to see ye about a
friend of mine as met wid an accident.' 'An accident?' said Mr. Brady;
'then why don't you go for a doctor?' 'Arrah, sure, you're the docther
for my friend; he had an accident which wants yer honor.' 'Well, what
_was_ it?' 'Well, yer honor, he was arristed for a thrifle of a
burglary, shure.' Quick as Mr. Brady was, with the readiness of his
race, for repartee, he sometimes met his match among his own countrymen.
He was once examining an unwilling witness who persistently called him
Mr. O'Brady. At length, even his proverbial good nature being a little
ruffled, he said to the witness: 'You need not call me Mr. O'Brady. I've
mended my name since I came here and dropped the O.' 'Have ye, now? 'Pon
my sowl it's a pity ye didn't mend yer manners at the same time.'"

In politics Mr. Brady was a Democrat of the States-Rights school, yet he
always maintained that it was the duty of the citizen to render the
promptest obedience to the General Government. At the outset of the late
war he gave his support to the Government in its war measures, though he
did not separate himself from the Democratic party. He was frequently
solicited by his friends to accept political honors, but he steadily
refused, saying that he wanted no honors outside of his profession.

In person Mr. Brady was slender and delicate in appearance. What
attracted the gazer at once was his massive head--a head which measured
in its circumference twenty-four and three-eighths inches. Age seemed to
have no effect upon his face. Severe mental labor in the course of years
took away some of the rosy hues of youth, but otherwise it continued as
fresh and as winning as when a boy.

Mr. Brady never married, but no one was more widely removed from the
typical old bachelor than he. If he had no family of his own, he was the
head of a family of devoted relatives, who gave him ample scope for the
exercise of the domestic affections which were so strong in him. Very
soon after entering upon the practice of his profession his parents
died, leaving his brother and five sisters, all much younger than
himself, helpless. The young lawyer at once declared that the care of
these dear ones should be his first thought, and he devoted himself to
his practice with redoubled energy, in order to provide for them. He
brought his personal expenses down to a low figure, and resolutely kept
them there, yet all the while he was lavish in his generosity to those
whom he loved. He once said to a friend who asked him why he had never
married: "When my father died he left five daughters, who looked to me
for support. All the affection which I could have had for a wife went
out to those sisters, and I have never desired to recall it." He
transferred a share of this affection to the children of those sisters
and of his brother, and was never so happy as when in their company. In
his will he mentions one of his nieces as his "dearly beloved Toot."

He was very fond of literature, especially of poetry, and devoted a
considerable portion of his time to literary efforts of his own. His
great fame as a lawyer so overshadowed the success he won in literature
that few besides himself knew how much pleasure the popularity of his
writings gave him.

In the exercise of his profession Mr. Brady won a large fortune. His
income was princely during the greater part of his life, but he saved
comparatively little. He delighted in giving to others. His relatives
were the constant recipients of substantial evidences of his affection
for them, and his charities to the poor were in keeping with his
generous nature. He could not look upon suffering unmoved, and "never
turned his face from any poor man."

His last appearance in public was at the Gerard dinner, where he was as
brilliant and genial as ever. He seemed to have a foreboding of his
approaching end, however, for the next day he said to one of his family:
"I feel that it is the last time I shall ever appear on a like public
occasion." His fears were prophetic. He was seized with an attack of
paralysis on the morning of the 9th of February, 1869, and breathed his
last at five o'clock in the afternoon of the same day. He died in the
communion of the Catholic Church, and was buried from St. Patrick's
Cathedral, in the city of New York. His death drew forth expressions of
sympathy and respect from all parts of the Union and from men of all
shades of opinion. All felt that a good and useful man, a great
advocate, and an incorruptible citizen had been taken away.

His was a happy fate. He died in the fullness of his fame, before age
had weakened his faculties or chilled his heart, and dying thus, it may
be said of him, as he once said of another, that he was "a man who had
no guile in his nature, and who died leaving no living creature to
rejoice at his death."





At a time when America was regarded in Europe as a savage region, and
when Americans were looked upon as little better than barbarians by the
people of the mother country, it was no slight achievement for an
American artist to rise by the force of his genius to the proud position
of President of the Royal Academy of Great Britain.

The man who won this triumph was BENJAMIN WEST. He was born in
Springfield, Pennsylvania, on the 10th of October, 1738. His parents
were Quakers, plain, simple people, who feared God, lived a just life,
and desired above all other things that their children should become
pious and useful men and women. The old mansion-house where the future
artist was born was situated in Chester County, and is still standing.
It is not far from Philadelphia, and the place is now called Westdale.
His father's family emigrated from England to America with William Penn,
at his second visit, in 1699. John West married the daughter of Thomas
Pearson, by whom he had ten children. Of these, Benjamin was the
youngest son. His mother was a woman of great piety, and, being once in
attendance upon a memorable religious revival, at which she was terribly
agitated by the preaching of one Edward Peckover, an itinerant Quaker
minister, was taken with premature labor, of which Benjamin West was

It was predicted that a child who had been brought into the world under
such circumstances would be a man of more than ordinary fame, and the
good mother treasured these prophecies in her heart, and watched the
career of her boy with the keenest interest.

When he was but seven years old, he was left one day to watch beside the
cradle of the infant child of his eldest sister, who, though married,
was still living at home. Being unusually silent for a long time, his
mother concluded that she would go and see what he was doing. Upon
entering the room where he had been left with his charge, she saw him
kneeling by a chair which he had placed close up to the cradle, gazing
at the infant, and making what she supposed to be marks on a paper which
lay on the chair. Stealing up behind him softly, she saw to her
astonishment that this boy, only seven years old, had executed, with
black and red ink and a pen, an accurate though rude likeness of the
sleeping babe. This was the first evidence he had ever given of his
predilection for art, and was indeed a most surprising performance for
so young a child.


The next summer a party of Indians came to Springfield to pay their
annual visit, and to please them little Benjamin showed them some
sketches of birds and flowers which he had executed with pen and ink.
The savages were delighted with them, and presented him with the red and
yellow pigments with which they colored their ornaments. In addition to
this gift, they taught him how to prepare these colors, to which he
added another, namely, indigo, which his mother gave him from her
laundry. His colors were rude enough, but his pencils were ruder. They
were made of the hairs which he had pulled from a cat's back and
fastened in the end of a goose-quill. Soon after this, a relative from
Philadelphia, chancing to visit the old homestead, was struck with the
talent of the little fellow, and upon his return to the city sent him a
box of colors, with pencils and canvas and a few prints. He was only
nine years old, but he was a born artist. He had never seen any painting
of merit, and the few prints which his relative gave him were the most
finished productions he had ever seen. The box of colors was his most
precious possession, and it opened to him new fields of enjoyment. The
day of its arrival he gave himself up entirely to the pleasure of
examining it. "Even after going to sleep," says his biographer, "he
awoke more than once during the night, and anxiously put out his hand to
the box, which he had placed by his bedside, half afraid that he might
find his riches only a dream. Next morning he rose at break of day, and,
carrying his colors and canvas to the garret, proceeded to work. Every
thing else was now unheeded; even his attendance at school was given up.
As soon as he got out of the sight of his father and mother, he stole to
his garret, and there passed the hours in a world of his own. At last,
after he had been absent from school some days, the master called at his
father's house to inquire what had become of him. This led to the
discovery of his secret occupation. His mother, proceeding to the
garret, found the truant; but so much was she astonished and delighted
by the creation of his pencil, which also met her view when she entered
the apartment, that, instead of rebuking him, she could only take him in
her arms and kiss him with transports of affection. He made a new
composition of his own out of two of the engravings, which he had
colored from his own feeling of the proper tints; and so perfect did
the appearance already appear to his mother, that, although half the
canvas yet remained uncovered, she would not suffer him to add another
touch to what he had done. Mr. Gait, West's biographer, saw the picture
in the state in which it had thus been left sixty-seven years afterward;
and the artist himself used to acknowledge that in none of his
subsequent efforts had he been able to excel some of the touches of
invention in this his first essay."

His next effort was a landscape, which comprehended a view of a river,
with vessels in the stream and cattle browsing on the banks. He could
not have been much over ten years of age at this time, and the picture,
though insignificant in itself, is remarkable as the work of a child. He
subsequently presented it to his friend, Mr. William Henry, of
Lancaster, whose family still retain possession of it. He visited
Philadelphia soon after, and received a few simple instructions in the
practical portion of his art, after which he went about through the
towns of the vicinity of his home, painting portraits of his friends. At
length he was sent for by Mrs. Ross, of Lancaster, a lady famed for her
great beauty, to paint the portraits of herself and her family--a great
honor for a lad of twelve.

It was in Lancaster, in the year 1750, that he made the acquaintance of
Mr. William Henry. That gentleman became deeply interested in the
precocious boy, and frequently came to watch him at his
portrait-painting. One day he said to Benjamin, that if he (Henry) could
paint equally well he would not waste his time upon portraits, but would
devote himself to historical subjects. In the course of the conversation
to which this remark gave rise, Mr. Henry proposed to him to make an
attempt in this direction, and suggested to him "The Death of Socrates"
as his first subject. The little artist frankly avowed that he had
never heard of the great philosopher, and Mr. Henry at once went to his
library and brought out a volume of Plutarch, from which he read to the
boy the beautiful story of the wise man's death. West listened with the
deepest interest, and expressed his perfect readiness to undertake the
task, but feared he would have difficulty in painting the figure of the
slave who presented the poison, and which he thought ought to be naked,
since he had hitherto painted only men with their clothes on. Mr. Henry
had in his employ a young man of fine appearance, and upon hearing
West's objection at once sent for him. As the workman entered the room
Henry pointed to him, and said to West, "There's your model." West took
the hint, painted the picture, which was purchased by Mr. Henry, and
thenceforth determined that in his art he would look only into nature
for his models.

At the age of sixteen he returned to Springfield. He was anxious to
continue his career as an artist, and as his parents were satisfied that
he was now old enough to enter upon some permanent occupation, they
agreed that his wishes should be submitted to a public meeting of the
Society of Friends. The meeting was called, and the matter was laid
before them, the boy himself being present. His relatives and friends
were all very proud of his talents, but as the profession of an artist
was so entirely at variance with all Quaker habits and ideas, they felt
that the subject was one which ought not to be rashly decided. Silence
prevailed for a long time after the opening of the meeting, but at
length John Williamson, moved by the Spirit, rose and addressed the
assemblage, declaring his belief that as the youth had not derived his
fondness for art from any of his associations or surroundings, and since
it was so manifestly a special gift from the Creator, it was their plain
duty to bid him go forward in the path that had been marked out for
him, and to wish him God-speed in his efforts. At the close of his
remarks silence again fell upon the assembly. Then the women rose, and
approaching the lad, one by one, kissed him on the cheek, and the men,
laying their hands on his head, prayed that the Lord might verify in his
life the value of the gift which had induced them, in spite of their
religious tenets on the subject, to allow him to enter upon the
permanent exercises of the profession so dear to his heart.

Thus was he dedicated to his art, and at the same time separated to a
certain degree from his Quaker brethren. Not long after this he violated
every principle of the Quaker dispensation by volunteering under Major
Sir Peter Halket to go in search of the remains of Braddock's army.

In 1756, at the age of eighteen, he established himself in Philadelphia
as a portrait painter, and soon after removed to New York, where he
painted portraits at five guineas a head, occasionally attempting an
historical piece. When he was twenty years old he made a visit to
Europe--a visit which decided his destiny. A famine in the south of
Europe induced a Philadelphia merchant to dispatch a vessel laden with
flour to Leghorn, and his son, who was to take passage in the ship,
proposed to West to accompany him, and thus secure an opportunity of
seeing the art-treasures of the Old World. West promptly accepted the
invitation, and some of his friends in New York provided him with an
outfit for the voyage. Upon arriving at Gibraltar, the vessel was
boarded by a British officer, who proved to be a kinsman of the son of
the owner of the ship, and he not only passed them without molestation,
but enabled them to secure unusual facilities in the voyage up the
Mediterranean. West arrived in Rome in July, 1759, and was kindly
received by the English Lord Grantham, to whom he bore letters of

"Among the distinguished persons whom Mr. West found in Rome, was the
celebrated Cardinal Albani. At an evening party, the Cardinal became
curious to witness the effect which the works of art in the Belvidere
and Vatican would produce on the young artist. The whole company, which
consisted of the principal Roman nobility and strangers of distinction
then in Rome, were interested in the event, and it was arranged, in the
course of the evening, that, on the following morning, they should
accompany West to the palaces. At the hour appointed, the company
assembled, and a procession consisting of upwards of thirty of the most
magnificent equipages in the capital of Christendom, and filled with
some of the most erudite characters in Europe, conducted the young
Quaker to view the masterpieces of art. It was agreed that the 'Apollo'
should be first submitted to his view, because it was the most perfect
work among all the ornaments of Rome, and, consequently, the best
calculated to produce that effect which the company were anxious to
witness. The statue then stood in a case, inclosed with doors, which
could be so opened as to disclose it at once to full view. West was
placed in the situation where it was seen to the most advantage, and the
spectators arranged themselves on each side. When the keeper threw open
the doors, the artist felt himself surprised with a sudden recollection
altogether different from the gratification which he had expected, and
without being aware of the force of what he said, exclaimed, 'My God!
how like it is to a young Mohawk warrior.' The Italians, observing his
surprise and hearing the exclamation, were excessively mortified to find
that the god of their idolatry was compared to a savage. They mentioned
their chagrin, and asked West to give some more distinct explanation, by
informing them what sort of people the Mohawk Indians were. He described
to them their education, their dexterity with the bow and arrow, the
admirable elasticity of their limbs, and how much their active life
expands the chest, while the quick breathing of their speed in the chase
dilates the nostrils with that apparent consciousness of vigor which is
so nobly depicted in the 'Apollo.' 'I have seen them often,' added he,
'standing in that very attitude, and pursuing with an intense eye the
arrow which they had just discharged from the bow,' The Italians were
delighted with this descriptive explanation, and allowed that a better
criticism had never been pronounced on the merits of the statue."

Soon after his arrival in Rome, West painted a portrait of Lord
Grantham, which won him considerable reputation. It was at first
attributed to Raphael Meugs, but when the true artist was announced, and
the circumstances of his history became known, West found himself
suddenly famous, with orders enough to place him at once in comfortable
circumstances. Cardinal Albani and Lord Grantham were very kind to him
during his stay in Rome, and Raphael Meugs advised him to make a careful
tour of study through the Italian art capitals. While in Rome he painted
two pictures, "Cimon and Iphigenia," and "Angelica and Medora," which
were well received, and during this period he was elected a member by
the Academies of Florence, Bologna, and Parma. He made the tour advised
by Meugs, remaining in Italy several years. Thence he proceeded to
France, where he passed a short time in studying the French masters,
after which he went to England, intending to sail from that country for
America, where he had left his heart behind him in the keeping of a
young Quakeress of Philadelphia.

He reached London in 1763, and while continuing his studies here,
whither his reputation had preceded him from Italy, undertook some
commissions for Archbishop Drummond and several other church
dignitaries. These attracted general admiration, and his countrymen
residing in London were prompt to recognize and proclaim his genius. He
had relatives living in England, so that he was not an entire stranger
there. His success was marked from the first, and his friends urged him
to profit by so favorable a beginning, give up his idea of returning to
America, and make his permanent home in England. This he at length
decided to do, and devoted himself with increased ardor to his labors.
In two years he considered himself sufficiently well established to send
to Philadelphia for his betrothed. This lady, Miss Elizabeth Shewell,
came out to England under the care of his father, and in the same year,
1765, West was married to her in London. She was a lady of great
amiability of character, and by the English was often spoken of as the
Philadelphia beauty.

Soon after his arrival in England he produced a large painting on a
subject from Tacitus, "Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus."
It was a decided success. George the Third was deeply impressed with it,
and congratulated West warmly upon its merits. At the same time the king
gave him a commission for a painting,--the subject to be "The Death of
Regulus,"--and thus began the friendship between the monarch and the
artist, which lasted for nearly forty years. He was a hard worker, and
during his long life his pictures followed each other in rapid
succession. They are estimated by a writer in Blackwood's Magazine at
three thousand in number. Mr. Dunlap says that they would cover a wall
ten feet high and a quarter of a mile long if arranged side by side on a
flat surface. The most famous are his "Death of Wolfe;" "Regulus, a
Prisoner to the Carthaginians;" "The Battle of La Hogue;" "The Death of
Bayard;" "Hamilcar Swearing the Infant Hannibal at the Altar;" "The
Departure of Regulus;" "Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of
Germanicus;" "Christ Healing the Sick;" "Death on the Pale Horse;" "The
Descent of the Holy Ghost on the Saviour in the Jordan;" "The
Crucifixion;" and "Christ Rejected."

The picture which brought him most prominently before the public, and
which placed his popularity beyond dispute, was "The Death of Wolfe at
Quebec." It was fashionable at this time to treat nothing but subjects
from ancient history, and when West announced his intention of painting
a picture of contemporary history his friends warned him that he was
incurring a serious risk. Nevertheless he finished his "Death of Wolfe,"
and it was exhibited in the National Gallery. The public "acknowledged
its excellence at once, but the lovers of old art--called
classical--complained of the barbarism of boots, buttons, and
blunderbusses, and cried out for naked warriors, with bows, bucklers,
and battering rams." Lord Grosvenor was much pleased with the picture,
and finally purchased it, though he did so with hesitation, daunted to
some extent by the fierce storm of opposition with which the critics
received it. Sir Joshua Reynolds, then the President of the Royal
Academy, and the Archbishop of York, called on West and protested
against his barbarous innovation, but he declared to them that "the
event to be commemorated happened in the year 1759, in a region of the
world unknown to Greeks and Romans, and at a period of the world when no
warrior who wore classic costume existed. The same rule which gives law
to the historian should rule the painter." When the king saw the picture
he was delighted both with it and West's originality, and declared that
he was sorry Lord Grosvenor had been before him in purchasing it. This
was the inauguration of a new era in British art, and Sir Joshua
Reynolds was obliged to declare, "West has conquered. I foresee that
this picture will not only become one of the most popular, but will
occasion a revolution in art." This frank avowal was as honorable to Sir
Joshua as to West.

West painted for George the Third a number of subjects taken from the
early history of England, and received from the same monarch a
commission for a series of paintings illustrating the progress of
revealed religion, with which the king designed to ornament the chapel
at Windsor Castle. Of these twenty-eight were finished when the Prince
of Wales, afterward George the Fourth, came into power as Prince Regent,
and the commission was withdrawn. The artist then began a series of
grand religious subjects, upon which he was still engaged when death
called him to rest from all his labors. Of those which were completed,
"Death on the Pale Horse" and "Christ Healing the Sick" are the best
known in this country.

In 1792, upon the death of Sir Joshua Reynolds, West was made President
of the Royal Academy. The king wished to confer upon him the honor of
knighthood, but he declined it, alleging that he was not wealthy enough
to support the dignity of the position. In consequence of dissensions in
the Academy, West resigned his presidency in 1802. The post was filled
for a year by James Wyatt, the architect, and at the close of that time
West was re-elected by every ballot but one--that of Fuseli, who voted
for Mrs. Lloyd, a member of the Academy, declaring that he considered
"one old woman as good as another." West continued in this office until
his death.

The close of his life was blessed with ample means, and, as he was in
the full possession of all his faculties and covered with art's
supremest honors, it may be regarded as the happiest portion of his
career. His house was always open to Americans visiting England, and few
things pleased him more than to listen to news from his native village.
He was a kind and judicious friend to young artists, especially to those
of his own country studying in England, and took a lively pleasure in
their success. Leigh Hunt, whose mother was a relative of West, has left
us the following description of him:

"The appearance of West was so gentlemanly that the moment he changed
his gown for a coat he seemed to be full dressed. The simplicity and
self-possession of the young Quaker, not having time enough to grow
stiff--for he went early to Rome--took up, I suppose, with more ease
than most would have done, the urbanities of his new position. Yet this
man, so well bred, and so indisputably clever in his art, whatever might
be the amount of his genius, had received a homely or careless
education, and pronounced some of his words with a puritanical
barbarism; he would talk of his art all day. There were strong
suspicions of his leaning to his native side in politics, and he could
not restrain his enthusiasm for Bonaparte. How he managed these matters
with the higher powers in England I can not say."

Possessed originally of a sound and vigorous constitution, which he had
not weakened by any species of dissipation, West lived to a good old
age, and died in London on the 11th of March, 1820, in his eighty-second
year. He was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral, by the side of Sir Joshua
Reynolds, and under the same great dome which covers the tombs of Nelson
and Wellington.



There is scarcely a family of means and taste in the country but is the
possessor of one or more of Rogers's groups in plaster. You see them in
every art or book-store window, and they are constantly finding new
admirers, and rendering the name of the talented sculptor more and more
a household word.

JOHN ROGERS, to whom the world is indebted for this new branch of art,
was born at Salem, Massachusetts, on the 30th of October, 1829. His
ancestors were among the original settlers of the colony, and have
resided in Salem for generations. His father, a merchant of moderate
means and good reputation, was anxious to train his son to some regular
and profitable business. As the basis of this, he gave the boy a good
education in the common schools of the town, and in 1845, when he was
sixteen years old, placed him in a dry-goods store in Boston to learn
the business. He remained there for two years.

He gave early evidence of his artistic genius, and when a mere child had
shown a taste and talent for drawing which increased with his years, and
made him eager to become an artist. His parents, however, were desirous
of seeing him rich rather than famous, and did all in their power to
discourage him from making choice of a vocation which they considered
but little better than vagabondage. They magnified the difficulties and
trials of an artist's career, and so far succeeded in their efforts that
he entirely abandoned his wish to make art a means of livelihood. He was
not willing to forsake it altogether, however--he was too true an artist
at heart for that--but contented himself for the time with continuing
his efforts, merely as a means of personal enjoyment.

In 1847, feeling satisfied that he was not suited to a mercantile life,
Mr. Rogers gave up his clerkship in Boston, and obtained a place in the
corps of engineers engaged in the construction of the Cochituate Water
Works. Here he had a fine opportunity for cultivating his talent for
drawing, but the constant labor which he underwent so injured his eyes
that he was compelled to give up his position. His physician advised him
to make an ocean voyage for the purpose of re-establishing his health.
Acting upon this advice, he made a short visit to Spain, and returned
home very much improved by the voyage and the rest his eyes had enjoyed.

In 1848, soon after his return to this country, he entered a machine
shop in Manchester, New Hampshire, to learn the trade of a machinist. He
worked at this trade for a period of seven years, applying himself to it
with great diligence and determination, and acquiring much mechanical
skill and a thorough knowledge of the trade. He rose steadily through
the various grades of his new calling--from the bench of the apprentice
to the post of draughtsman in the designing department.

During this period he devoted himself enthusiastically to his art. Soon
after his return from Spain, he had observed a young man modeling a
figure in clay, and by closely observing him had learned the process,
which until then was unknown to him. The labor of the youth pleased him
very much, and the more because he saw in it a new means of artistic
expression. He at once procured some clay, and, taking it to his room,
commenced to practice upon the lesson which he had just received. From
this time forward he continued his art labors, giving to them all the
leisure time he could spare from his duties in the shop, where he was
compelled to work from five A.M. until seven P.M. He would go to his
room after supper, and by the light of a tallow candle work late into
the night, modeling figures in clay, and bringing new fancies into
shape. He says that frequently, although exhausted by his severe labor
at the shop, he would be unable to sleep until he had molded into clay
the idea which possessed his mind. These night studies, superadded to
his daily duties, proved very trying to him. Yet he persevered,
encouraged by his success with his figures. He endeavored to persuade
some of his relatives to aid him in securing a better education as an
artist, such as would have enabled him to abandon the machine shop; but
they turned a deaf ear to him, and he was thus compelled to continue his
daily task, which, under these circumstances, naturally grew more and
more irksome.

In 1856, he was enabled to better his condition for a short time. He was
offered the place of manager of a railroad machine-shop at Hannibal,
Missouri, and promptly accepted it. In six months, however, he was out
of employment, the panic of 1857 having caused the machine-shop to
suspend operations. Having a little money in hand, which he had saved
from his wages, he resolved to visit Europe, and study the works of the
great masters in his art, and, if he could, to take lessons in sculpture
from some competent teacher in the Old World. He went to Paris and Rome,
remaining in those cities for a period of eight months, and endeavoring
to share the enthusiasm for the great works around him which the artist
world manifested. At the end of that time he came home convinced that
classic art had no attractions for him, and was almost ready to declare
that he had none of the true inspiration of an artist.

He did not stop long in the East upon his return. Going West at once, he
obtained a situation in the office of the Surveyor of the city of
Chicago. In this position he worked hard and faithfully, and his
employers soon found that in him they had obtained a prize.

Meantime, although so much disheartened by his failure to accomplish any
thing in Europe, he did not abandon his art studies, but continued to
model figures in clay, and shortly after his arrival in Chicago, gave
one of his groups to some ladies of that city, to be sold at a fair in
behalf of some benevolent purpose. This was the "Checker Players," and
was the first of his efforts ever submitted to the public. Its success
was immediate. It proved one of the most attractive features of the
fair, and the newspapers pronounced it one of the most satisfactory
evidences of native genius ever seen in Chicago. Mr. Rogers was much
pleased with its success, and soon followed it with "The Town Pump," one
of his most popular compositions.

The popularity which these efforts attained, opened John Rogers's eyes
to a correct perception of his true mission in life. He was not capable
of accomplishing any thing in classic art, but here was a field in which
a renown, unique and brilliant, might be won, and in which he might
endear himself to thousands of hearts in the great world in which he
lived. Both fame and wealth seemed opening up before him. He did not
hesitate long, but resolved to follow the leadings of his genius. Having
heard that a new process of flexible molds had been invented, by which
the most intricate designs could be cast with ease, he came to New York
in 1859, bringing with him his "Checker Players" and "Town Pump," and
the model of a new group on which he was then engaged. Seeking an
Italian familiar with the new process, he engaged him to cast his
figures in plaster by means of it, and from him he learned how to
practice the new method himself.

He now put forth his "Slave Auction," which he had modeled in Chicago
and brought to New York with him. The antislavery excitement was then at
its height, and this effort aroused the sympathy and won Mr. Rogers the
support of the greater part of the people of the Northern States. There
was a large demand for the group, and Mr. Rogers soon found himself
obliged to employ assistance to fill the orders which kept crowding in
upon him. By selecting a subject which was of the deepest interest to
the people of the country, he had thus attracted attention to his
merits, and he felt sure that by keeping the people supplied with works
illustrative of the topics of the day, he would win the success to which
he aspired.

He now ventured to establish himself permanently in New York, and,
renting the garret of a Broadway building, set up his studio in it, and
issued this modest card: "John Rogers, Artist, Designs and Executes
Groups of Figures in Composition at his Studio, 599 Broadway." The
success of his works had been so marked as to induce him to believe that
he would have no difficulty in establishing a permanent business, and he
set to work with enthusiasm. In quick succession he produced his
"Fairy's Whisper" and "Air Castles," the latter of which is the only
commission he has ever executed. The war began soon after, and supplied
him with an abundance of popular subjects. These war subjects attracted
universal attention, and sold as rapidly as he could supply them. A New
York journal thus describes the "sensation" which they created in that

"All day, and every day, week in and week out, there is an
ever-changing crowd of men, women, and children standing stationary amid
the ever-surging tides of Broadway, before the windows of Williams &
Stevens, gazing with eager interest upon the statuettes and groups of
John Rogers, the sculptor. These works appeal to a deep popular
sentiment. They are not pretentious displays of gods, goddesses, ideal
characters, or stupendous, world-compelling heroes. They are
illustrations of American domestic and especially of American military
life--not of our great generals or our bold admirals, or the men whose
praises fill all the newspapers, but of the common soldier of the Union;
not of the common soldier, either, in what might be called his high
heroic moods and moments, when, with waving sword and flaming eye, he
dashes upon the enemy's works, but of the soldier in the ordinary
moments and usual occupations of every-day camp life. For the last year
or more Mr. Rogers has been at work mainly on groups of this latter
class and character. Thus he has given us 'The Returned Volunteer, or
How the Fort was Taken,' being a group of three gathered in a
blacksmith's shop, the characters consisting of the blacksmith himself,
standing with his right foot on the anvil block, and his big hammer in
his hands, listening eagerly, with his little girl, to a soldier who
sits close by on his haunches, narrating 'how the fort was taken,' We
have also another group of three, 'The Picket Guard,' spiritedly
sketched, as in eager, close, and nervous search for the enemy; the
'Sharpshooters,' another group of three, or rather of two men and a
scarecrow, illustrating a curious practice in our army of deceiving the
enemy; the 'Town Pump,' a scene in which a soldier, uniformed and
accoutered, is slaking his thirst and holding blessed converse beside
the pump with a pretty girl who has come for a pail of water; the 'Union
Refugees,' a pathetic and noble group, consisting of a stalwart and
sad-faced East Tennesseean or Virginian, who accompanied by his wife,
who leans her head upon his bosom, and by his little boy, who looks up
eagerly into his face, has started off from home with only his gun upon
his shoulder and his powder-horn by his side, to escape the tyranny of
the rebels; 'The Camp Fire, or Making Friends with the Cook,' in which a
hungry soldier, seated upon an inverted basket, is reading a newspaper
to an 'intelligent contraband,' who is stirring the contents of a huge
and ebullient pot hung over the fire; 'Wounded to the Rear, or One More
Shot,' in which a soldier is represented as dressing his wounded leg,
while his companion, with his left arm in a sling, is trying to load his
gun to take another shot at the enemy, at whom he looks defiantly; 'Mail
Day,' which tells its own story of a speculative soldier, seated on a
stone and racking his poor brains to find some ideas to transcribe upon
the paper which he holds upon his knee, to be sent perchance to her he
loves; 'The Country Postmaster, or News from the Army,' which, though a
scene from civil life, tells of the anxiety of the soldier's wife or
sweetheart to get tidings from the brave volunteer who is periling his
life on the battle-field; 'The Wounded Scout, or a Friend in the Swamp,'
representing a soldier, torn, and bleeding, and far gone, rescued and
raised up by a faithful and kind-hearted negro--which we think is one of
the best, if not the very best, of Mr. Rogers's works; and lastly, a
group called 'The Home Guard, or Midnight on the Border,' in which a
heroic woman, accompanied by a little girl, is represented as stepping
out, pistol in hand, to confront the assailants of her humble home."

In 1862 Mr. Rogers removed his studio to the corner of Fifth Avenue and
Twenty-sixth Street, where he still remains. He has followed up the
earlier productions named above with "The Bushwhacker," a scene
representing a Tennessee loyalist dogging the footsteps of the Southern
army; "Taking the Oath and Drawing Rations," the best and certainly the
most popular of his works,--a group of four, representing a Southern
lady with her little boy, compelled to take the oath of allegiance in
order to obtain rations for her family. A negro boy, bearing a basket
for his mistress, leans on the barrel watching the proceeding with the
most intense interest. The woman's face is wonderful, and it expresses
eloquently the struggle in her breast between her devotion to the South
and her love for the boy before her, and the officer tendering the oath
almost speaks the sympathy which her suffering has awakened in him. The
other works of our artist are "Uncle Ned's School," "The Charity
Patient," "The School Examination," "The Council of War," "The Courtship
in Sleepy Hollow," "The Fugitive's Story," "Challenging the Union Vote,"
and "Rip Van Winkle."

The process by which these exquisite groups are produced is exceedingly
simple, but is one requiring considerable skill and delicacy of
manipulation, and although the casting could readily be done by
competent assistants, Mr. Rogers conscientiously gives his personal
attention to every detail of the process. The artist takes a mass of wet
clay of the desired consistency and size, and fashions it roughly with
his hands to something like the proper shape. "It is sometimes necessary
to make a little frame of wire upon which to lay the clay, to hold it in
its proper place, the wire being easily made to take any form. The rough
figure is then finished with the molding stick, which is simply a stick
of pine with a little spoon of box-wood attached to each end, one spoon
being more delicate than the other. With this instrument the artist
works upon the clay with surprising ease. The way in which the works are
reproduced is as follows: When the clay model is complete, a single
plaster cast is taken for a pattern, and is finished with the most
scrupulous care by Mr. Rogers himself. This cast is used as a pattern
for making whatever number of molds may be needed to supply the demand
for any particular group or statue. The molds are made of glue softened
with water, so as to be about as limber as India-rubber. This is poured
over the pattern while in a warm and liquid condition; it is, therefore,
necessary to surround the pattern with a stiff case to hold the glue in
place. This case is made of plaster, and is built up by hand around the
pattern. When the glue has become sufficiently hard, it is cut by a thin
sharp knife and pulled off the pattern. The parts are put together and
bound by cord, making a perfect glue mold. The plaster of Paris is then
poured into the mold inverted. A number of crooked pieces of wire are
also placed in the mold to strengthen the figure. In about twenty
minutes the plaster sets so as to allow the case to be opened, and the
glue mold to be pulled off. To his proficiency in the mechanical part of
his art Mr. Rogers attributes a considerable measure of his success, as
it enables him to execute with facility every suggestion of his
imagination, and to secure the perfect reproduction of his works by
those to whom he intrusts that labor."

By placing his works at popular prices, ranging from $10 to $25 each,
Mr. Rogers has insured the largest sale and greatest popularity for
them, and has thus become a national benefactor. It is now within the
power of every person of moderate means to possess one or more of his
exquisite groups, and in this way the artist has not only secured to
himself a sure means of wealth, but has done much to encourage and
foster a popular love for, and appreciation of, the art of which he is
so bright an ornament.

It was a bold venture to depart so entirely from all the precedents of
art, but the result has vindicated both the artist's genius and his
quick appreciation of the intelligence of his countrymen. "We can not
enter into the feelings of ancient Greece," says a popular journal, in
summing up his efforts, "and our artists who spend their time in
attempting to reproduce that ancient art are only imitators. Their works
interest only a small class of connoisseurs, and that interest is an
antiquarian interest. It is not a vital, living interest, such as a
Greek felt in his own work. It is not the natural, healthful, artistic
feeling, the feeling for the beauty of realities, except in so far as it
represents the feeling for the eternal attributes of beautiful form. It
is an effort on the part of our artists to impose the forms and features
of another age upon this one,--a task as impossible in art as in
society, religion, and national politics."

Mr. Rogers is now in his forty-first year, and of all our American
artists is, perhaps, the one best known to the masses, and the most
popular. He is of medium height, carries himself erectly, and is quick
and energetic in his movements. His face is frank, manly, and open, and
the expression, though firm and resolute,--as that of a man who has
fought so hard for success must be,--is winning and genial. He is a
gentleman of great cultivation of mind, and is said by his friends to be
one of the most entertaining of companions. In 1865 he married a
daughter of Mr. C.S. Francis, of New York, and his fondness for domestic
life leads him to pass his leisure hours chiefly by his own fireside.

[Illustration: HIRAM POWERS.]



Hiram Powers was born in Woodstock, Vermont, on the 29th of July, 1805.
He was the eighth in a family of nine children, and was the son of a
farmer who found it hard to provide his little household with the
necessaries of life. He grew up as most New England boys do, sound and
vigorous in health, passing the winters in attendance upon the district
schools, and the summers in working on the farm. "The only distinctive
trait exhibited by the child was mechanical ingenuity; he excelled in
caricature, was an adept in constructiveness, having made countless
wagons, windmills, and weapons for his comrades, attaining the height of
juvenile reputation as the inventor of what he called a 'patent fuse.'"

The Powers family lived just over the river, opposite the village, and
all joined heartily in the effort to keep the wolf from the doors. Mr.
Powers, Sen., was induced to become security for one of his friends,
and, as frequently happens, lost all he had in consequence. Following
close upon this disaster came a dreadful famine in the State, caused by
an almost total failure of the crops. "I recollect," says Mr. Powers,
"we cut down the trees, and fed our few cows on the browse. We lived so
long wholly on milk and potatoes, that we got almost to loathe them.
There were seven of us children, five at home, and it was hard work to
feed us."

One of the sons had managed to secure an education at Dartmouth College,
and had removed to Cincinnati, where he was at this time editing a
newspaper. Thither his father, discouraged by the famine, determined to
follow him. Accordingly, placing his household goods and his family in
three wagons, and being joined by another family, he set out on the long
journey to the West. This was in 1819, when young Hiram was fourteen
years old. It cost him a sharp struggle to leave his old home, and as
they climbed the hills beyond Woodstock he lingered behind with his
mother to take a last view of the place. They crossed the State, and
passing through western New York came to the vicinity of Niagara Falls.
They were near enough to the great cataract to hear its solemn roar
sounding high above the silent woods. The boy was eager to visit it, but
the distance was too great to the falls, and he was forced to relinquish
this pleasure. Continuing their journey westward, they reached the Ohio
River, down which stream they floated on a flatboat until they came to
Cincinnati, then a city of fourteen thousand inhabitants.

Through the assistance of his eldest son, the editor, Mr. Powers was
enabled to secure a farm not far from Cincinnati, and removing his
family to it, began the task of clearing and cultivating it.
Unfortunately for the new-comers, the farm was located on the edge of a
pestilential marsh, the poisonous exhalations of which soon brought the
whole family down with the ague. Mr. Powers the elder died from this
disease, and Hiram was ill and disabled from it for a whole year. The
family was broken up and scattered, and our hero, incapable of
performing hard work so soon after his sickness, obtained a place in a
produce store in Cincinnati, his duty being to watch the principal road
by which the farmers' wagons, laden with grain and corn whisky, came
into the city, and to inform the men in charge of them that they could
obtain better prices for their produce from his employers than from any
other merchants in the city. It was also a part of his duty to help to
roll the barrels from the wagons to the store. He made a very good
"drummer," and gave satisfaction to his employers, but as the concern
soon broke up, he was again without employment.

His brother, the editor, now came to his assistance, and made a bargain
with the landlord of a hotel in the city to establish a reading-room at
his hotel. The landlord was to provide the room and obtain a few paying
subscribers; the editor was to stock it with his exchange newspapers,
and Hiram was to be put in charge of it and receive what could be made
by it. The reading-room was established, but as the landlord failed to
comply with his agreement, Powers was forced to abandon the undertaking.


"About that time," said he, in relating his early life to the Rev. Dr.
Bellows, some years ago, "looking around anxiously for the means of
living, I fell in with a worthy man, a clock-maker and organ-builder,
who was willing to employ me to collect bad debts in the country. He put
me on an old horse which had one very bad fault. He was afflicted with
what the Western people called the 'swaleys,' and could not go downhill.
I frequently had to dismount and back him down, as the only way of
getting along. The road often lay through forests and clearings, in
mire, and among the roots of the beeches, with which my poor beast was
constantly struggling. I would sometimes emerge from a dark wood, five
miles through, perhaps, and find myself near a clearing where the
farmer's house I was seeking lay, half a mile off the road. Picking up
a stout club to defend myself against the inevitable dog, which, in the
absence of men-folks, guarded every log-house, I plodded across the
plowed field, soon to be met by the ferocious beast, who, not seeing a
stranger more than once a month, was always furious and dangerous. Out
would come, at length, the poor woman, too curious to see who it was
that broke up her monotonous solitude, to call off the dog, who
generally grew fiercer as he felt his backer near him, and it was
commonly with a feeling as of a bare escape of my life that I finally
got into the house. It was sad enough, too, often to find sickness and
death in those fever-stricken abodes--a wan mother nursing one dying
child, with perhaps another dead in the house. My business, too, was not
the most welcome. I came to dun a delinquent debtor, who had perhaps
been inveigled by some peddler of our goods into an imprudent purchase,
for a payment which it was inconvenient or impossible to make. There, in
the corner, hung the wooden clock, the payment for which I was after,
ticking off the last minutes of the sick child--the only ornament of the
poor cabin. It was very painful to urge my business under such
circumstances. However, I succeeded, by kindness, in getting more money
than I expected from our debtors, who would always pay when they could.
I recollect, one night, almost bewailing my success. I had reached the
entrance of a forest, at least nine miles through, and finding a little
tavern there, concluded it was prudent to put up and wait till morning.
There were two rough-looking fellows around, hunters, with rifles in
their hands, whose appearance did not please me, and I fancied they
looked at each other significantly when the landlord took off my
saddle-bags and weighted them, feeling the hundred dollars of silver I
had collected. I was put into the attic, reached by a ladder, and,
barricading the trap-door as well as I could, went to sleep with one
eye open. Nothing, however, occurred, and in the morning I found my
wild-looking men up as early as I, and was not a little disturbed when
they proposed to keep me company across the forest. Afraid to show any
suspicion, I consented, and then went and looked at the little
flint-pistol I carried, formidable only to sparrows, but which was my
only defense.

"About two miles into the wood, my fierce-looking friends, after some
exchange of understanding as to their respective ways and meeting-point,
started off on different sides of the road in search of game, as they
said, but, as I feared, with the purpose of robbing and perhaps
murdering me at some darker spot in the forest. I had gone perhaps two
miles farther, when I heard the breaking of a twig, and, looking on one
side, saw a hand signaling me to stop. Presently an eye came out behind
the tree, and then an arm, and I verily thought my hour had come. But,
keeping straight on, I perceived, almost instantly, to my great relief,
two fine deer, who appeared not at all disturbed by a man on horseback,
though ready enough to fly from a gun, and began to suspect that the
robber I was dreading was, after all, only a hunter in the honest
pursuit of his living. The crack of the rifle soon proved that the deer,
and not my saddle-bags, were the game aimed at, and I found my
imagination had for twelve hours been converting very harmless huntsmen
into highwaymen of a most malicious aspect."

His employer was so well pleased with the success of his young collector
that he offered to give him a place in the factory, saying there would
always be plenty of rough work at which an inexperienced hand could
employ himself. "I could refuse no proposition that promised me bread
and clothes," said he, "for I was often walking the streets hungry, with
my arms pressed close to my sides to conceal the holes in my coat
sleeves." His first task was to thin down with a file some brass plates
which were to be used as parts of the stops of an organ. Powers was
expected to do merely the rough work, after which the plates were to
pass into the hands of the regular finisher. His employer, knowing that
the task was one which would require time, told him he would look in in
a few days, and see how he had succeeded. The young man's mechanical
talent, on which he had prided himself when a boy in Vermont, now did
him good service, and he applied himself to his task with skill and
determination. When his employer asked for the plates, he was astonished
to find that Powers had not only done the rough work, but had finished
them much better than the regular finisher had ever done, and this
merely by his greater nicety of eye and his undaunted energy. He had
blistered his hands terribly, but had done his work well. His employer
was delighted, and, finding him so valuable an assistant, soon gave him
the superintendence of all his machinery, and took him to live in his
own family.

As has been stated, his employer's business was the manufacture of
organs and clocks. Powers displayed great skill in the management of the
mechanical department of the business, and this, added to the favor
shown him by the "boss," drew upon him the jealousy of the other
workmen. There hung in the shop at this time an old silver bull's-eye
watch, a good time-piece, but very clumsy and ungainly in appearance.
Powers was anxious to become its owner. Being too poor to buy it, he hit
upon the following expedient for obtaining it. He had carefully studied
the machine used in the shop for cutting out wooden clock wheels, and
had suggested to his employer several improvements in it. The workmen,
however, had ridiculed his suggestions, and had denounced as the most
barefaced presumption his belief that he could improve a machine which
had come all the way from Connecticut, where, they said, people were
supposed to know something about clocks. Nevertheless, he maintained his
opinions, and told his employer that if he would give him the silver
watch, he would invent a much better machine. His offer was accepted,
and in ten days he produced a machine, not only much simpler than the
old one, but capable of performing twice as much and better work. The
workmen promptly acknowledged his success, and his employer gave him the
watch. "The old watch," said he, a few years ago, "has ticked all my
children into existence, and three of them out of this world. It still
hangs at the head of my bed."

About this time, in a chance visit to the Museum in Cincinnati, he saw a
plaster cast of Houdon's "Washington." It was the first bust he had ever
seen, and he says it moved him strangely. He had an intense desire to
know how it was done, and a vague consciousness that he could do work of
the same kind if he could find an instructor. The instructor he soon
found in a German living in the city, who made plaster casts and busts,
and from him he learned the secret of the art. He proved an apt pupil,
and surprised his teacher by his proficiency. His first effort at
modeling from life was the bust of a little daughter of Mr. John P.
Foote. She sat to him during the hours he could spare from his regular
work. His model was made of beeswax, as he was afraid that clay would
freeze or stiffen. His success encouraged him very greatly. "I found I
had a correct eye," said he, "and a hand which steadily improved in its
obedience to my eye. I saw the likeness, and knew it depended on the
features, and that, if I could copy the features exactly, the likeness
would follow just as surely as the blood follows the knife. I found
early that all the talk about catching the expression was mere twaddle;
the expression would take care of itself if I copied the features

The true principles of his art seemed to come to him naturally, and
having the genius to comprehend them so readily, he had the courage to
hold on to them often in the face of adverse criticism. While conscious
of having a perfectly correct eye, however, he did not scorn the humbler
method of obtaining exactness by mathematical measurement. The following
incident, which he related to Dr. Bellows, illustrates this:

"One of the first busts I ever made was of an artist, a Frenchman, who
came over with Mrs. Trollope. He proposed to paint my picture, while I
was to make his bust. He was older, and considered himself much my
superior, and, indeed, undertook to be my instructor. I was to begin.
His first _canon_ was that I was to use no measurements, and he quoted
Michael Angelo's saying--'A sculptor should carry his compasses in his
eyes, not in his fingers,' I humbly submitted to his authority, and
finished the bust without a single measurement. He was very triumphant
at what he called the success of his method. I begged permission of him,
now that the bust was completed, to verify my work by the dividers. He
graciously consented, and I was pleased to find how nearly I had hit the
mark. A few imperfections, however, appeared, and these, in spite of his
objections, I corrected without his knowledge, for I was determined to
have the bust as near right as I could make it. It had taken me,
however, at least five times as long to measure the distances with my
eyes as it would have done to measure them with the calipers, and I saw
no advantage in the longer and more painful effort. The measurements are
mere preparations for the artist's true work, and are, like the
surveyor's lines, preparatory to the architect's labor. When my subject,
in his turn, undertook my portrait, he was true to his own principles,
and finished it without measurements. I then, though with some horror at
my temerity, asked permission to verify his work with the dividers, and
found at the first stroke a difference of at least half an inch in the
distance between the eyes. He looked very much mortified, but said that
it was done to 'give the effect.' I have had no misgivings since about
the economy and wisdom of using the calipers freely. To be useful, they
must be applied with the greatest precision--so small are the
differences upon which all the infinite variety in human countenances
depends. With the aid of my careful measurements, I do in one day what
it would cost me a week or two's work to accomplish without, and I am
then able to give my exclusive attention to the modeling."

He did not regularly devote himself to his art, however, but remained in
the employment of the organ and clock maker for some time longer, giving
his leisure hours to constant practice. When he was about twenty-three
years old, a Frenchman named Herview opened in Cincinnati a museum of
natural history and wax figures. The latter had been very much broken
and disfigured in transportation, and their owner, in despair, begged
Powers to undertake the task of restoring them. The figures were
representations of distinguished men and women, and as Powers readily
saw that it would be impossible to repair them without having proper
likenesses as his guides, he proposed to the Frenchman to make an
entirely new composition of the old materials, and one which should
attract attention by its oddity. This was agreed to, and the result was
a hideous and ungainly figure, which Powers proposed should be called
the "King of the Cannibal Islands," but to his amazement the Frenchman
advertised it as the embalmed body of a South Sea man-eater, "secured at
immense expense." Powers declared to his employer that the audience
would discover the cheat and tear down the museum; but the "man-eater"
drew immense crowds, and was regarded as the most wonderful natural
curiosity ever seen in the West. The Frenchman was so well pleased with
it that he employed the artist permanently as inventor, wax-figure
maker, and general mechanical contriver in the museum.

Powers remained in the Frenchman's employ for seven years, hoping all
the while to earn money enough to devote himself entirely to art, which
had now become his great ambition. His experience was not a pleasant
one. Some of it was so singular, not to say ludicrous, that he shall
relate one portion of it in his own language:

"One of the first things I undertook, in company with Herview, was a
representation of the infernal regions after Dante's description. Behind
a grating I made certain dark grottoes, full of stalactites and
stalagmites, with shadowy ghosts and pitchforked figures, all calculated
to work on the easily-excited imaginations of a Western audience, as the
West then was. I found it very popular and attractive, but occasionally
some countryman would suggest to his fellow spectator that a little
motion in the figures would add much to the reality of the show. After
much reflection I concluded to go in among the figures dressed like the
Evil One, in a dark robe, with a death's-head and cross-bones wrought
upon it, and with a lobster's claw for a nose. I had bought and fixed up
an old electrical machine, and connected it with a wire, so that, from a
wand in my hand, I could discharge quite a serious shock upon any body
venturing too near the grating. The plan worked admirably, and excited
great interest; but I found acting the part of wax-figure two hours
every evening in the cold no sinecure, and was put to my wits to devise
a figure that could be moved by strings, and which would fill my place.
I succeeded so well that it ended in my inventing a whole series of
automata, for which the old wax-figures furnished the materials, in
part, and which became so popular and so rewarding, that I was kept
seven years at the business, my employer promising me, from time to
time, an interest in the business, which he quite forgot to fulfill.
When, at last, I found out the vanity of my expectations, I left him. He
knew I kept no accounts, but he did not know that I reported all the
money he gave me to my wife, who did keep our accounts. He tried to
cheat me, but I was able to baffle him through her prudence and method.
For I had married in this interval, and had a wife and children to

Powers was now thirty years old, and had acquired considerable
reputation in Cincinnati as an artist. His abilities coming to the
notice of Mr. Nicholas Longworth, of that city, that good genius of
young men of talent called on him and offered to buy out the museum and
establish him in the business. The offer was declined with thanks. Mr.
Longworth then proposed to send him to Italy to study his profession,
but this, too, being declined, Mr. Longworth urged him to go to
Washington and try his fortune with the public men of the country. To
this Powers consented, and, aided by his generous friend, he repaired to
the national capital in 1835, and spent two years there. During this
period he modeled busts of Andrew Jackson, J.Q. Adams, Calhoun, Chief
Justice Marshall, Woodbury, Van Buren, and others. Being unable to
secure a model of Webster in Washington, the statesman invited him to go
with him to Marshfield for that purpose. Powers accepted the invitation,
and declares that he looks back upon his sojourn there as one of the
most delightful portions of his life.

General Jackson was very kind to him, and won his lasting esteem and
gratitude. Upon being asked if he would sit for his bust, the old hero
hesitated, and, looking at the artist nervously, asked: "Do you daub any
thing over the face? Because," he added, "I recollect poor Mr. Jefferson
got nearly smothered when they tried to take his bust. The plaster
hardened before they got ready to release him, and they pounded it with
mallets till they nearly stunned him, and then almost tore off a piece
of his ear in their haste to pull off a sticking fragment of the mold. I
should not like that." Powers assured him that such a terrible process
would not be necessary, but that he only wished to look at him for an
hour a day, sitting in his chair. The General brightened up at once, and
cordially told him it would give him pleasure to sit for him. He at once
installed the artist in a room in the White House, and gave him a
sitting of an hour every morning until the model was done.

Mr. Powers regards the bust of Jackson as one of his best efforts, and
the President himself was very much pleased with it. After he had
completed his model, Mr. Edward Everett brought Baron Krudener, the
Prussian Minister to Washington, to see it. The Baron was a famous art
critic, and poor Powers was terribly nervous as he showed him the bust.
The Baron examined it closely, and then said to the artist, "You have
got the General completely: his head, his face, his courage, his
firmness, his identical self; and yet it will not do! You have also got
all his wrinkles, all his age and decay. You forget that he is President
of the United States and the idol of the people. You should have given
him a dignity and elegance he does not possess. You should have employed
your _art_, sir, and not merely your _nature_." The artist listened in
silence, and Mr. Everett stood by without saying a word, "conscious," as
he afterward confessed, "of a very poor right to speak on such a
subject," after listening to so famous a critic. "_I_ did not dare,"
says Powers, "in my humility and reverence for these two great men, to
say what I wanted to in reply; to tell the Baron that my 'art' consisted
in concealing art, and that my 'nature' was the highest art I knew or
could conceive of. I was content that the 'truth' of my work had been so
fully acknowledged, and the Baron only confirmed my resolution to make
truth my only model and guide in all my future undertakings."

One of his sitters in Washington was Senator Preston, of South Carolina,
who conceived such an interest in him that he wrote to his brother,
General Preston, of Columbia, South Carolina, a gentleman of great
wealth, urging him to come to the artist's assistance, and send him to
Italy. General Preston at once responded to this appeal, of which Powers
was ignorant, and wrote to the artist to draw on him for a thousand
dollars, and go to Italy at once, and to draw on him annually for a
similar sum for several years. Powers was profoundly touched by this
noble offer, and accepted it as frankly as it had been made. He sent his
models to Italy, and took his departure for the Old World in 1837.
Speaking of Mr. Preston's generosity, he said, two years ago: "I have
endeavored to requite his kindness by sending him works of mine, equal
in money value to his gifts; but I can never extinguish my great
obligations. I fear he don't like me since the war,--for I could not
suppress my strong national feelings for any man's friendship,--but I
like and honor him; I would do any thing in my power to show him my
inextinguishable gratitude."

He reached Florence in advance of his models, and while waiting for them
made two busts, one of a professor in Harvard College, and the other of
an American lady. A severe domestic affliction, however, which came upon
him soon after his arrival in Italy, affected him so greatly that he was
not able to return to his work for a long time. Then he applied himself
to his busts, which were warmly praised by the artists in Florence and
by his countrymen traveling abroad. Thorwaldsen visited him in his
studio, and pronounced his bust of Webster the best work of its kind in
modern times, and praises from other distinguished artists were equally
as warm. Orders came in rapidly from English and Italians, and from
Americans in Europe, and the sculptor soon had as much business as he
could attend to. He gave his leisure time to work on an ideal figure,
which, when completed, was purchased by an English gentleman of wealth.
This was "The Greek Slave," the most popular of all his works.
Duplicates of it were exhibited in America and at the Crystal Palace in
England, and won him praise from all quarters. This single work
established his fame as an artist, and brought him orders from all parts
of the civilized world. His statue of "Eve," which had preceded "The
Greek Slave" by a year, had been pronounced by Thorwaldsen fit to be any
man's master-piece, but it had not created such a furore as "The Greek
Slave." Subsequently he made an exquisite bust of the Grand Duchess of
Tuscany, with which the Grand Duke was so pleased that he called on
Powers, and asked him as a favor to himself to apply to him whenever he
could do him a service. Powers asked permission to take a cast of the
Venus, and this much-coveted boon, which had been denied to other
artists for years, was at once granted to him.

Since then his works have been numerous. Among these are "The Fisher
Boy," of which three duplicates in marble have been made;
"Il Penseroso;" "Proserpine," a bust; "California;" "America," modeled
for the Crystal Palace at Sydenham, England; "Washington" and "Calhoun,"
portrait statues, the former for the State of Louisiana, and the latter
for the State of South Carolina; and "Benjamin Franklin" and "Thomas
Jefferson," in the Capitol at Washington. His works are all marked by
beauty and vigor of conception as well as by exquisite finish. Beautiful
as his ideal figures are, he yet excels in his busts and statues of the
great men of his native land. His "Jefferson" and "Franklin" are
wonderful works, and his "Calhoun" is said to be almost life-like. This
last was wrecked on the coast of Long Island on its voyage to America,
and remained in the sea for some time, but being well packed was found,
when raised, to be only slightly damaged by the water.

Mr. Powers has now resided in Italy for thirty-three years. Motives of
economy have controlled his action, for he would gladly return to his
own land did he feel justified in doing so. He has thus stated the
reasons which have influenced his long residence abroad:

     Sculpture is universal. The human form is of no country, and may be
     studied with equal advantage at home and abroad. The opportunities
     of studying it abroad are so immeasurably greater than at home,
     that I do not see how it is possible, without great loss, to
     neglect them.

     1. It is impossible to model successfully without living models;
     and in America, in my time, it was almost at the peril of
     reputation, both for model and sculptor, that an artist employed
     the living model, even if he could procure it. Now, I understand, a
     few models may be obtained in New York; but they are so rare and so
     expensive, that it is almost ruinous to employ them. It costs two
     or three dollars there to secure a model which here may be had for
     half a day for forty cents. There is no want of models here; but
     their history is a sad one, and makes one often seriously lament
     the necessity for employing them. Young women, especially, are
     driven to this employment by the want of bread. I have numerous
     offers of their services made by parents who are in great distress.
     I make it a point to discourage all who come to me from entering
     the business, and am only conquered when I feel sure that, if I
     decline, they will be driven to other studios. I prefer only
     professional models, already thoroughly committed to the calling,
     as I shrink from the responsibility of leading any into so perilous
     a vocation. They are usually accompanied by their mothers, and I
     strive to treat them in a way to save their self-respect and
     delicacy--a very hard task, which too often breaks down in less
     scrupulous hands.

     2. The opportunities of anatomical studies are here nearly perfect,
     and free from all expense. The medical schools not only illustrate
     anatomy by surgery on the cadaver, but standing by the side of the
     dead body is a living one, in which the action of the muscles
     dissected before the student may be studied in life. These colleges
     are open to all artists, and furnish the best possible schooling in
     anatomy, a thorough acquaintance with which is indispensable to the
     sculptor, and can only be obtained in America at great cost.

     3. Marble is no cheaper here than in New York, the long
     sea-carriage costing no more to America than the short
     land-carriage does from the quarries to Florence or Rome. But good
     workmen, who can not be dispensed with, are so abundant and so
     cheap here, so rare and so dear at home, that that alone is a
     decisive reason for coming abroad. Even here it is a heavy expense
     to procure sufficient and competent workmen; at home it is almost
     at ruinous cost and with nearly insuperable difficulty. I have two
     workmen--as good, certainly, as the best in America--to the finest
     of whom I pay only four dollars a day. He could make twice that
     cutting weeping-willows on American tomb-stones. What could he not
     justly demand in wages from a New York sculptor? I employ a dozen
     workmen in my studios; the poorest, at work on pedestals and rough
     work, earn about half a dollar a day; the moderately skilled, a
     little over a dollar. The whole cost me about fifteen dollars per
     day, which is wonderfully low. Then, my rent--which could not, for
     my extensive accommodations, be less than two thousand five hundred
     dollars a year in any eligible position which the public would
     visit--reaches only about four hundred and fifty dollars, annually.

     But, 4. The general expenses of maintaining a family are so much
     less here than at home, that a man without capital, possessing a
     profession so slow in reaching its pecuniary returns as an
     artist's, finds an immense inducement to live abroad. It is true
     that, music and accomplishment in languages apart, the
     opportunities of a substantial education for one's children are not
     as good here as at home. There are, however, less temptations to
     vice, and less exposures to the American habit of hard drinking
     among young men; but, no doubt, the general influences here, in
     the way of developing a manly, energetic, and self-relying
     character, are less favorable than at home. There is a softness, a
     disposition to take life easy, and a want of moral earnestness in
     Italy, which are not favorable to youthful ambition and
     independence. On the other hand, the money-getting propensities and
     social rivalries of America tend to harden human character, and to
     bring out a severe selfishness which is offensive. On the whole,
     the balance is on our side, and, other things apart, American youth
     are better brought up in America. But the artist must make this
     sacrifice to his art.

Mr. Powers is sixty-five years old, but is in full possession of his
mental and physical strength. He is a genuine American, notwithstanding
his long residence abroad, and has always a warm welcome for his
countrymen visiting his studio. He is a favorite with the younger
artists, who find in him a kind and judicious friend. Scorning servile
imitation, he still exhibits in his works the freshness of his youth and
the genuine originality which was the basis of his fame.



Emmanuel Leutze, by adoption an American, was born in the village of
Emingen, near the city of Reutlingen, in Wurtemberg, on the 24th of May,
1816. His father emigrated to America during the infancy of his son, and
the future artist spent his youth in the city of Philadelphia and the
town of Fredericksburg, Virginia. He received a good common school
education, and passed his time in comparative seclusion from society,
reading and studying, but showing no especial fondness for art. At
length, during his father's last illness, in which he nursed him with
great devotion, he took up drawing to beguile the weary hours of the
sick-room, and succeeded so well in his attempts that after his father's
death he continued his efforts under the instruction of a competent
drawing master. He improved rapidly, and was so well satisfied with his
success that he determined to adopt the profession of an artist as the
one best suited to his talents and inclination.


Having acquired considerable skill in drawing, he attempted rude
portraits of men and beasts, and at length undertook to copy from memory
a colored print after Westall. He completed it, and resolved to show it
to some of his friends. In his impatience for the colors to dry, he
placed the painting before the fire and went to summon his friends,
but found, to his dismay, upon returning with them, that the heat had
blistered the canvas so that the picture was hardly recognizable. Yet,
in spite of this, his critics saw such evidences of genius in the
painting that they urged the young artist to continue his labors, and
predicted a great success for him.

Leutze, however, was not willing to venture upon another composition,
either partly or wholly original, but applied himself with zeal to learn
the rudiments of his art, and with such success that when his portraits
appeared at the Artist's Fund Exhibition, a year or two later, they
received high praise, both from critics and the public. An enterprising
publisher, attracted by these portraits, engaged him to go to Washington
and paint the portraits of the leading statesmen of the country, to be
engraved for a "national work." Leutze at once proceeded to the capital,
full of hope and enthusiasm, but soon found that the schemes of the
politicians whose faces he was to transmit to canvas engrossed them so
much that they would not give him the sittings he desired. After waiting
impatiently for a considerable time he threw up the engagement in
disgust, and went into the woods of Virginia to console himself by
communing with nature. For some time he wandered about, making desultory
sketches, and abandoning himself to a melancholy which was closely akin
to despair. When this feeling was at its height, a friend, before
unknown, came to his aid.

"A gentleman, whose rich domain he chanced to approach in his wayward
rovings, perceived his abilities, understood his unhappiness, and
aroused him from inaction by a call upon his professional skill. The
artist obeyed, but he could not subdue the mood which possessed him. No
brilliant scene arose to his fancy, no humorous incident took form and
color from his pencil, and the fair landscape around appeared to mock
rather than cheer his destiny. He could not bring himself into relation
with subjects thus breathing of hope and gayety, but found inspiration
only in the records of human sorrow. As the royal mourner bade her
companions sit upon the ground and 'tell sad stories of the death of
kings,' the pensive artist found something analogous to his own fate in
the story of Hagar and Ishmael. He painted them as having followed up a
spent water-course, in hopes of finding wherewith to quench their
thirst, and sinking under the disappointment. He neither saw nor painted
the angel of God who showed the fountain in the wilderness, and yet the
angel was there, for now the sufferer acknowledges that early
vicissitudes nerved him for high endeavor, rendered his vision piercing,
his patience strong, and his confidence firm, and that this incidental
effort to triumph over difficulties was the first of a series which
inspired his subsequent career."

In 1840 he produced a painting which he called "An Indian Contemplating
the Setting Sun." It was exhibited in Philadelphia, and won general
praise for the artist. Better than this, it secured him the friendship
of the late Edward L. Carey, of that city, who, recognizing his genius,
determined to help him on in his labors. Mr. Carey was successful in
inducing his friends to give Leutze a number of commissions, and these
enabled him to carry out his wish to visit Europe and complete his
studies. Instead of going to Italy, as was then the almost universal
practice, he determined to study in Germany, and accordingly sailed for
that country. He went by way of Holland, and after a long and trying
voyage reached Amsterdam in January, 1841. Pausing here for awhile to
familiarize himself with the master-pieces of the Dutch school, he
repaired to Dusseldorf, where he became a pupil of the celebrated
painter Lessing, under whom he made marked progress. His reception by
the artists of Dusseldorf was at once hearty and encouraging, and won
for that school and its members his enthusiastic devotion. He became
Lessing's pupil at the personal request of the master, and these two
gifted men were soon bound to each other by the ties of an undying

Leutze devoted himself to historical subjects from the first, and soon
after his arrival in Dusseldorf began his picture of "Columbus Before
the Council of Salamanca." When it was finished, it was visited by
Director V. Schadow, who praised it warmly, and requested the artist to
offer it to the Art Union of Dusseldorf, which at once purchased it.
This high compliment to a beginner and a stranger proved an additional
stimulus to Leutze, and he soon after produced a companion picture to
his first, "Columbus in Chains," which procured him the gold medal of
the Brussels Art Exhibition, and was subsequently purchased by the Art
Union of New York.

Remaining two years in Dusseldorf, Leutze went to Munich to study the
works of Cornelius and Kaulbach, and while there painted another scene
in the life of the Great Discoverer, "Columbus before the Queen." Upon
completing this picture he went to Venice, Rome, and the other Italian
cities, making careful studies of the masters of that school. He gave
two years to his travels, visiting the Tyrol, and reveling in the
magnificent scenery through which he journeyed. He went into
Switzerland, sketching the glorious beauties of its Alps, and reached
the Rhine at Strasbourg. Then, sailing down that beautiful river, he set
foot once more in Dusseldorf, glad, as he declared, to end his
wanderings in the midst of his friends. Here he determined to locate
himself permanently, and soon after his return he married.

He lived in Dusseldorf for fourteen years, devoting himself assiduously
to his art. His labors were incessant. Historic subjects make up the
vast bulk of his productions during this period, and in his treatment of
them he adhered closely to the style of the Dusseldorf school. The best
known of his works during this portion of his career are "The Landing of
the Norsemen in America;" "Cromwell and his Daughter;" "The Court of
Queen Elizabeth;" "Henry VIII. and Anne Boleyn;" "The Iconoclast," and
his famous and brilliant series of pictures illustrative of the events
of the American War of Independence. The most prominent of these were,
"Washington Crossing the Delaware;" "Washington at Monmouth;"
"Washington at the Battle of Monongahela;" "News from Lexington;"
"Sergeant Jasper," and "Washington at Princeton." These are fine
paintings, possessing striking characteristics, and are all more or less
popular. "Washington Crossing the Delaware" is perhaps the best known,
since it has been engraved, and sold in all parts of the country in that

During his absence in Germany, Leutze did not forget the country of his
choice, as his devotion to American subjects amply testifies. When he
had won a proud name in his art by his labors in Dusseldorf, and had
laid by money enough to justify him in returning to a land where art was
in its infancy, and not over-remunerative, he came back to the United
States, after an absence of eighteen years, and opened a studio in New
York. He found a vast improvement in the public taste and in the demand
for works of art since his departure for the Old World, and, better
still, found that his peculiar field, the historic, was the one most
suited to the tastes of the American public.

It was his intention, in coming back to this country, to devote the time
during which he supposed he would be compelled to wait for orders, to
looking around him and familiarizing himself with the changes that had
taken place in the Union during his absence; but he was never able to
carry out this design, as he had no leisure time. His European
reputation had preceded him hither, and he had scarcely opened his doors
in New York before he was obliged to refuse orders, for lack of time to
execute them. His hands were full from the first, and he at once took
rank as the most thoroughly popular and accomplished artist in the

Early in 1860 he received from the Government of the United States a
commission to decorate one of the marble stairways in the Capitol at
Washington with a mural painting. The painting was to be executed in
fresco, and he chose as his subject, "Westward the Star of Empire Takes
its Way." He entered upon the undertaking with the keenest delight, and
in order to make himself thoroughly acquainted with the true character
of frontier scenery and life, performed what was then the long and
difficult journey to the Rocky Mountains, where he made numerous
sketches. Returning to the States, he sailed for Europe, and went to
Munich to learn from Kaulbach the new stereochromatic process which has
now superseded the fresco-painting of the middle ages. Returning to
Washington, he applied himself to his task, and in a couple of years
completed it.

The picture is the largest and finest mural painting in America, and
adorns the magnificent stairway at the north end of the west corridor of
the House of Representatives. It is lighted from a sky-light in the
roof, and is seen to the best advantage from the upper corridor. The
coloring is softer and more life-like than is often seen in such
paintings. The surface of the wall is rough, but the work has been done
by such a master hand that one seems to be gazing upon real life. It is
a wonderful picture--one that will repay weeks of study.

The scene represents a train of emigrants crossing the Rocky Mountains.
They have reached the summit of the range, from which a glorious view
stretches out before them to the westward. The adventurers consist of
the usual class of emigrants, men, women, and children. There are
several wagons and a number of horses in the train. The faces of the
emigrants express the various emotions which fill their hearts as they
gaze upon the glorious scene before them. Some are full of life and
vigor, and hope beams in every feature, while others are struggling with
sickness and despair. The advance of the train has been momentarily
checked by a huge tree which has fallen across the trail, and two stout
men, under the direction of the leader of the party, who is sitting on
his horse, are engaged in hewing it away with axes. Two others have
climbed to the summit of the neighboring rocky crag, on which they have
planted the banner of the Republic, which is seen flapping proudly from
its lofty perch. In the foreground stands a manly youth, clasping his
father's long rifle firmly, and gazing toward the promised land with a
countenance glowing with hope and energy. His sister, as hopeful as
himself, is seated by her mother's side, on a buffalo-robe which has
been thrown over a rock. The mother's face is sad, but patient. She
knows well the privations, toils, and hardships which await them in the
new home-land, but she tries to share the enthusiasm and hope of her
children. She clasps her nursing infant to her breast, and listens to
her husband, who stands by and points her to the new country where they
will have a home of their own. Her face is inexpressibly beautiful. The
rich, warm light of the rising sun streams brightly over the whole
scene, and gives to it a magical glow. The legend, "Westward the Star of
Empire Takes its Way," is inscribed over the painting, in letters of

An elaborate illuminated border, illustrative of the advance of
civilization in the West, surrounds the painting, and is in itself one
of the most perfect works of art in the Capitol.

Leutze received the sum of $20,000 for this painting. After completing
it, some matters connected with his family required him to make a visit
to Dusseldorf, and upon reaching that place he was warmly welcomed by
the artists, on the 10th of June, 1863, at their club. "About one
hundred and fifty lords of art," says a letter from Dusseldorf,
"assembled at the 'Mahlkasten,' just outside of the Hof-Garten. This is
the club-house of the painters, and, with its gardens, is their
property. Leutze was received with music, and when he came within reach
of the assembled company, there was a general rush to shake his hands,
kiss his cheeks, and hug him. The old fellows were much affected at the
scene, and were heartily glad to see their old companion once more. The
guest made a short and feeling address, whereupon all went in to supper.
Here two of the artists had arrayed themselves, one as a negro, the
other as an Indian; and these brought in the first dishes and handed
them to Leutze. Andreas Achenbach sat at Leutze's right, and his old
friend Tryst at his left. After dinner, the calumet cf peace was passed
around; there was speaking and drinking of healths, with songs afterward
in the illuminated garden. The occasion appears to have been a very
pleasant and right merry one, and is said to have been the happiest
festival ever given by the Society of Artists."

Returning to the United States a few months later, Leutze repaired to
Washington, where he had permanently settled. He was given several
commissions by the Government, and at once began to design his subjects.
They were only in the cartoon, however, at the time of his death. One of
these, "Civilization," was to have been placed in the Senate Chamber,
and was partly finished. It is said to have given promise of being his
finest production. He also left a sketch of an immense picture, "The
Emancipation." He was always a hard worker, and this doubtless
contributed to bring about his death, which took place on the 18th of
July, 1868. The immediate cause was apoplexy, superinduced by the
intense heat.

"Mr. Leutze," says a writer in the Annual Cyclopedia, "was altogether
the best educated artist in America, possessed of vast technical
learning, of great genius, and fine powers of conception. His weakest
point was in his coloring, but even here he was superior to most

"Leutze," says Mr. Tuckerman, "delights in representing adventure. He
ardently sympathizes with chivalric action and spirit-stirring events:
not the abstractly beautiful or the simply true, but the heroic, the
progressive, the individual, and earnest phases of life, warm his fancy
and attract his pencil. His forte is the dramatic.... If Leutze were not
a painter, he would certainly join some expedition to the Rocky
Mountains, thrust himself into a fiery political controversy, or seek to
wrest a new truth from the arcana of science.... We remember hearing a
brother artist describe him in his studio at Home, engaged for hours
upon a picture, deftly shifting palette, cigar, and maul-stick from hand
to hand, as occasion required; absorbed, rapid, intent, and then
suddenly breaking from his quiet task to vent his constrained spirits in
a jovial song, or a romp with his great dog, whose vociferous barking he
thoroughly enjoyed; and often abandoning his quiet studies for some
wild, elaborate frolic, as if a row was essential to his happiness. His
very jokes partook of this bold heartiness of disposition. He scorned
all ultra refinement, and found his impulse to art not so much in
delicate perception as in vivid sensation. There was ever a reaction
from the meditative. His temperament is Teutonic--hardy, cordial, and
brave. Such men hold the conventional in little reverence, and their
natures gush like mountain streams, with wild freedom and unchastened





Henry Ward Beecher was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, on the 24th of
June, 1813, and was the eighth child of Dr. Lyman Beecher, the famous
Presbyterian divine of New England. Dr. Beecher was regarded as one of
the most powerful champions of orthodox Christianity in the land of the
pilgrims, and had the good fortune to be the father of a family whose
members have become celebrated for their intellectual gifts.

The most of these gave early promise of their future distinction, but
the subject of this memoir was regarded as the dunce of the family. He
grew up as the children of most New England clergymen of that day
climbed the road to manhood. His father's family was large, and the
salary paid by the congregation never exceeded eight hundred dollars,
and was not always promptly paid at that. The good people of the land of
steady habits well knew how to drive hard bargains with the Lord's
messengers, and were adepts in the art of securing the "best talent" at
the lowest price. The stern, hard struggle for a livelihood in which
the father was engaged prevented him from giving much personal attention
to his children, and the mother of young Henry dying when he was but
three years old, the boy was left very much to himself. Like most
ministers' children, he was obliged to "set an example to the village,"
and this boy was dosed with Catechism and his father's stern and gloomy
theological tenets until he was sick of them.

"In those days," says Mrs. Stowe, "none of the attentions were paid to
children that are now usual. The community did not recognize them..
There was no child's literature; there were no children's books. The
Sunday-school was yet an experiment in a fluctuating, uncertain state of
trial. There were no children's days of presents and _fetes_, no
Christmas or New Year's festivals. The annual thanksgiving was only
associated with one day's unlimited range of pies of every sort--too
much for one day--and too soon things of the past. The childhood of
Henry Ward was unmarked by the possession of a single child's toy as a
gift from any older person, or a single _fete_. Very early, too, strict
duties devolved upon him. A daily portion of the work of the
establishment, the care of the domestic animals, the cutting and piling
of wood, or tasks in the garden, strengthened his muscles and gave vigor
and tone to his nerves. From his father and mother he inherited a
perfectly solid, healthy organization of brain, muscle, and nerves, and
the uncaressing, let-alone system under which he was brought up gave him
early habits of vigor and self-reliance."

When but three or four years old he was sent to the Widow Kilbourn's
school, where he said his letters twice a day, and passed the rest of
his time in hemming a brown towel or a checked apron. It was not
expected that he would learn very much from Marm Kilbourn, but the
school kept him out of the way of the "home folks" for the greater part
of the day.

He was a winning, sweet-faced child, with long golden curls, of which
he was very proud. Some of his female playfellows at school, thinking it
a shame that a boy should look so much like a girl, cut off one or two
of his curls with a pair of shears made of scraps of tin, and when the
little fellow complained of his loss at home it was decided that the
best way to protect him from such attacks in future was to cut his hair
close to his head, which was done at once. Little Henry was commonly
thought a dull child. His memory was lamentably deficient, and his
utterance was thick and indistinct, so much so that he could scarcely be
understood in reading or speaking. This was caused partly by an
enlargement of the tonsils of his throat, and partly by timidity. The
policy of repression worked badly in his case, and had there not been so
much real good at the basis of his character it might have led this
gentle, yearning boy far from the useful channel along which his life
has flown.

His stepmother was a lady of fine mental culture, of elegant breeding
and high character, but she was an invalid, and withal thoroughly imbued
with the gloomy sternness of her husband's faith. One day little Henry,
who was barely able to manage the steady-going old family horse, was
driving her in the chaise. They passed a church on their way, and the
bell was tolling for a death. "Henry," said Mrs. Beecher, solemnly,
"what do you think of when you hear a bell tolling like that?" The boy
colored and hung his head in silence, and the good lady went on. "_I_
think, was that soul prepared? It has gone into _eternity_." The little
fellow shuddered, in spite of himself, and thought, no doubt, what a
dreadful thing it was to be a Christian.

So it was with the religion that was crammed into him. There was no
effort made to draw him to religion by its beauty and tenderness. He
rarely heard of the Saviour as the loving one who took little children
in His arms and blessed them, but was taught to regard Him as a stern
and merciless judge, as one who, instead of being "touched with the
feeling of our infirmities," makes those infirmities the means of
wringing fresh sufferings from us. Sunday was a day of terror to him,
for on that day the Catechism was administered to him until he was more
than sick of it. "I think," said he to his congregation, not long since,
referring to this part of his life, "that to force childhood to
associate religion with such dry morsels is to violate the spirit, not
only of the New Testament, but of common sense as well. I know one
thing, that if I am 'lax and latitudinarian,' the Sunday Catechism is to
blame for a part of it. The dinners that I have lost because I could not
go through 'sanctification,' and 'justification,' and 'adoption,' and
all such questions, lie heavily on my memory! I do not know that they
have brought forth any blossoms. I have a kind of grudge against many of
those truths that I was taught in my childhood, and I am not conscious
that they have waked up a particle of faith in me. My good old aunt in
heaven--I wonder what she is doing. I take it that she now sits
beauteous, clothed in white, that round about her sit chanting cherub
children, and that she is opening to them from her larger range sweet
stories, every one fraught with thought, and taste, and feeling, and
lifting them up to a higher plane. One Sunday afternoon with my aunt
Esther did me more good than forty Sundays in church with my father. He
thundered over my head, and she sweetly instructed me down in my heart.
The promise that she would read Joseph's history to me on Sunday was
enough to draw a silver thread of obedience through the entire week; and
if I was tempted to break my promise, I said, 'No; Aunt Esther is going
to read on Sunday;' and I would do, or I would not do, all through the
week, for the sake of getting that sweet instruction on Sunday.

"And to parents I say, Truth is graded. Some parts of God's truth are
for childhood, some parts are for the nascent intellectual period, and
some parts are for later spiritual developments. Do not take the last
things first. Do not take the latest processes of philosophy and bring
them prematurely to the understanding. In teaching truth to your
children, you are to avoid tiring them."

"The greatest trial of those days," says Mrs. Stowe, "was the Catechism.
Sunday lessons were considered by the mother-in-law as inflexible duty,
and the Catechism as the _sine qua non_. The other children memorized
readily, and were brilliant reciters, but Henry, blushing, stammering,
confused, and hopelessly miserable, stuck fast on some sand-bank of what
is required or forbidden by this or that commandment, his mouth choking
up with the long words which he hopelessly miscalled, was sure to be
accused of idleness or inattention, and to be solemnly talked to, which
made him look more stolid and miserable than ever, but appeared to have
no effect in quickening his dormant faculties."

At the age of ten he was a well-grown, stout, stocky boy, strong and
hearty, trained to hard work, and to patient obedience of his elders. He
was tolerably well drilled in Calvinism, and had his head pretty well
filled with snatches of doctrine which he caught from his father's
constant discussions; but he was very backward in his education. He was
placed at the school of the Rev. Mr. Langdon, at Bethlehem, Connecticut,
and it was hoped that the labors of this excellent tutor would result in
making something of him. He spent a winter at this school, and boarded
at a neighboring farm-house, whose kind-hearted mistress soon became so
much attached to him that she indulged him to an extent which he had
never known at home. With his gun on his shoulder, he passed the greater
part of his hours out of school in tramping over the pretty Connecticut
hills, in search of game, or, lying down on the soft grass, would pass
hours in gazing on the beautiful landscape, listening to the dull whirr
of the partridges in the stubble-field or the dropping of the ripe
apples in the orchard. The love of nature was strong in the boy, and his
wonderful mistress taught him many of the profoundest lessons of his
life. He made poor progress at the school, however, and his father was
almost in despair. The whole family shook their heads in solemn
forebodings over the failure of this child of ten to become a mental

Miss Catharine Beecher, his eldest sister, was then teaching a young
ladies' school in Hartford, and she proposed to take the boy and see
what could be done with him. There were thirty or forty girls in the
school, and but this one boy, and the reader may imagine the amount of
studying he did. The girls were full of spirits, and in their society
the fun-loving feature of his disposition burst out and grew with
amazing rapidity. He was always in mischief of some kind, to the great
delight of the girls, with whom he was extremely popular, and to the
despair of his sister, who began to fear that he was hopelessly stupid.

The school was divided into two divisions in grammar recitations, each
of which had its leader. The leaders chose their "sides" with great
care, as these contests in grammar were esteemed the most important part
of the daily exercises. Henry's name was generally called last, for no
one chose him except as a matter of necessity. He was sure to be a dead
weight to his leader.

"The fair leader of one of these divisions took the boy aside to a
private apartment, to put into him with female tact and insinuation
those definitions and distinctions on which the honor of the class

"'Now, Henry, A is the indefinite article, you see, and must be used
only with the singular noun. You can say _a man_, but you can't say _a
men_, can you?' 'Yes, I can say _Amen_, too,' was the ready rejoinder.
'Father says it always at the end of his prayers.'

"'Come, Henry, now don't be joking. Now, decline He.' 'Nominative he,
possessive his, objective him.' 'You see, his is possessive. Now, you
can say his book, but you can't say him book.' 'Yes, I do say hymn book,
too,' said the impracticable scholar, with a quizzical twinkle. Each one
of these sallies made his young teacher laugh, which was the victory he

"'But now, Henry, seriously, just attend to the active and passive
voice. Now, _I strike_, is active, you see, because if you strike you do
something. But, _I am struck_, is passive, because if you are struck you
don't do any thing, do you?'

"'Yes, I do; I strike back again.'

"Sometimes his views of philosophical subjects were offered
gratuitously. Being held rather of a frisky nature, his sister appointed
his seat at her elbow when she heard her classes. A class in natural
philosophy, not very well prepared, was stumbling through the theory of
the tides. 'I can explain that,' said Henry. 'Well, you see, the sun, he
catches hold of the moon and pulls her, and she catches hold of the sea
and pulls that, and this makes the spring tides.'

"'But what makes the neap tides?'

"'Oh, that's when the sun stops to spit on his hands.'"

It will hardly surprise the reader to be told that Master Henry
remained with his sister only six months, and was returned at the end of
that time to his father as an indifferent scholar and a most inveterate

A change now occurred in his life. When he was twelve years old his
father removed to Boston to assume the charge of the Hanover-Street
Church. Here the boy had a chance to see something more than nature, and
to employ his powers of observation in receiving impressions from the
daily life and aspect of a large and crowded city. His father entered
him at the Boston Latin School, and appealed to him not to disgrace his
name any longer by his stupidity. The appeal roused the little fellow's
pride, and he set to work to show to his family that he was not the
dunce they had thought him. He went at his studies manfully, mastering
the tedious puzzle of the Latin verbs and nouns, and acquiring a
respectable acquaintance with the grammar of that language. It was a
terrible task to him, for he had no liking for the language, and did his
work merely to please his father and escape disgrace. His success cost
him a share of his health, and his vigorous constitution began to show
the effects of such intense application. His father noticed this, and as
a diversion to his mind advised him to enter upon a course of
biographical reading. He read the lives of Captain Cook, Nelson, and the
great naval commanders of the world, and at once became possessed of the
desire to go to sea. This feeling made him restless and discontented,
and he resolved to leave home and ship on board some vessel sailing from
the harbor. He hovered about the wharves, conversing with the sailors
and captains, and sometimes carrying his little bundle with him. But the
thoughts of home were too strong for him, and he could never quite
summon up resolution enough to run away. In a fit of desperation he
wrote a letter to his brother, telling him of his wish to go to sea, and
informing him that he should first ask his father's permission, and if
that were not granted he should go without it. This letter he dropped
where his father would be sure to find it. The old gentleman soon
discovered it, and, reading it, put it into his pocket without comment.
The next day he asked the boy if he had ever thought of any definite
avocation for his future life.

"Yes," said Henry, "I want to go to sea. I want to enter the navy, be a
midshipman, and rise to be a commander."

"Oh, I see," said the Doctor, cheerfully; "but in order to prepare for
that you must study mathematics and navigation."

"I am ready, sir."

"Very well. I'll send you up to Amherst next week, to Mount Pleasant,
and then you'll begin your preparatory studies at once. As soon as you
are well prepared, I presume I can make interest to get you an

The boy was delighted, and the next week started for Amherst. The Doctor
felt sure that the sailor scheme would never come to any thing, and
exclaimed, exultantly, as he bade his son good-by, "I shall have that
boy in the ministry yet."

At the Mount Pleasant Institute he roomed with his teacher in
mathematics, a young man named Fitzgerald, and a warm friendship sprung
up between them. Fitzgerald saw that his pupil had no natural talent or
taste for mathematics; but instead of despairing in consequence of this
discovery, he redoubled his efforts. Appealing to his pupil's pride and
ambition, he kept him well to his task, and succeeded in implanting in
him a fair knowledge of the science. Young Beecher also took lessons in
elocution from Professor John E. Lovell. Under the instructions of this
able teacher, he learned to manage his voice, and to overcome the
thickness and indistinctness of utterance which previous to this had
troubled him so much. He continued at this school for three years,
devoting himself to study with determination and success, and taking
rank as one of the most promising pupils of the school.

During his first year at Mount Pleasant, he became deeply impressed with
a sense of his religious responsibility at a famous revival which was
held in the place, and from that time resolved to devote himself
entirely to preparing for his entrance into the ministry when he should
attain the proper age. Henceforth he applied himself with characteristic
energy to his studies and to his religious duties, and rose steadily in
the esteem of his teachers and friends. He entered Amherst College upon
the completion of his preparatory course, and graduated from that
institution in 1834.

In 1832, Dr. Beecher removed from Boston to Cincinnati, to enter upon
the Presidency of Lane Seminary, to which he had been elected. Henry
followed him to the West after his graduation at Amherst, and completed
his theological studies at the seminary, under the tuition of his father
and Professor Stowe, the latter of whom married Henry's sister Harriet,
in 1836. Having finished his course, he was ordained.

"As the time drew near in which Mr. Beecher was to assume the work of
the ministry," says Mrs. Stowe, "he was oppressed by a deep melancholy.
He had the most exalted ideas of what ought to be done by a Christian
minister. He had transferred to that profession all those ideals of
courage, enterprise, zeal, and knightly daring which were the dreams of
his boyhood, and which he first hoped to realize in the naval
profession. He felt that the holy calling stood high above all others;
that to enter it from any unholy motive, or to enter and not do a worthy
work in it, was a treason to all honor.

"His view of the great object of the ministry was sincerely and heartily
the same with that of his father, to secure the regeneration of the
individual heart by the Divine Spirit, and thereby to effect the
regeneration of human society. The problem that oppressed him was, how
to do this. His father had used certain moral and intellectual weapons,
and used them strongly and effectively, because employing them with
undoubting faith. So many other considerations had come into his mind to
qualify and limit that faith, so many new modes of thought and inquiry,
that were partially inconsistent with the received statements of his
party, that he felt he could never grasp and wield them with the force
which could make them efficient. It was no comfort to him that he could
wield the weapons of his theological party so as to dazzle and confound
objectors, while all the time conscious in his own soul of objections
more profound and perplexities more bewildering. Like the shepherd boy
of old, he saw the giant of sin stalking through the world, defying the
armies of the living God, and longed to attack him, but the armor in
which he had been equipped for the battle was no help, but only an

"His brother, who studied with him, had already become an unbeliever and
thrown up the design of preaching, and he could not bear to think of
adding to his father's trials by deserting the standard. Yet his
distress and perplexity were so great that at times he seriously
contemplated going into some other profession....

"In his last theological term he took a Bible class in the city of
Cincinnati, and began studying and teaching the Evangelists. With the
course of this study and teaching came a period of spiritual
clairvoyance. His mental perplexities were relieved, and the great
question of 'what to preach' was solved. The shepherd boy laid aside his
cumbrous armor, and found in a clear brook a simple stone that smote
down the giant; and so, from the clear waters of the Gospel narrative
Mr. Beecher drew forth that 'white stone with a new name,' which was to
be the talisman of his ministry. To present Jesus Christ personally as
the Friend and Helper of humanity, Christ as God impersonate, eternally
and by a necessity of His nature helpful, and remedial, and restorative;
the Friend of each individual soul, and thus the Friend of all
society,--this was the one thing which his soul rested on as a worthy
object in entering the ministry. He afterward said, in speaking of his
feelings at this time,'I was like the man in the story to whom a fairy
gave a purse with a single piece of money in it, which he found always
came again as soon as he had spent it. I thought I knew at least one
thing to preach. I found it included every thing.'"

Upon being ordained, Mr. Beecher married, and accepted a call to
Lawrenceburg, Indiana, a little town on the Ohio River, about twenty
miles below Cincinnati. His salary was small and the work was hard. He
was not only pastor, but sexton as well, and in this capacity he swept
out the church, made the fires, filled and trimmed the lamps, and rang
the bell. Says he, "I did all but come to hear myself preach--that they
had to do."

He did not remain here long, however, but soon accepted a call to
Indianapolis, the capital of the State, where he lived for eight years.
He occupied a tasteful cottage on the outskirts of the town, and
gathered about him his household treasures, which consisted of his
family, his library, his horse, cow, pigs, and chickens. He was an
enthusiast in matters of agriculture and horticulture, and besides
importing from the East the best varieties of fruit-trees, roses, etc.,
he edited a horticultural paper, which had a fair circulation.

The eight years of his ministry in Indianapolis make up a period of hard
and useful work. He held two services on Sunday, and five meetings
during the week in various parts of the city, and with the consent of
his people gave three months of each year to missionary work in other
parts of the State. While engaged in this latter duty he traveled about
the State on horseback and preached daily.

His experience in the ministry, as well as his study of the lives of the
apostles, convinced him that success in his profession--by which I mean
the successful winning of souls to God--was not to be won by preaching
controversial or dry doctrinal sermons. He must seize upon some vital
truth, admitted by all parties, and bring that home to men's minds. He
must preach to them of their daily, hourly trials and temptations, joys
and comforts, and he resolved that this should be the character of his
preaching. Then came the question, how shall one man know that which is
uppermost in the thoughts of the many? He went into the places of public
resort, where men were accustomed to lounge and to gather to hear the
news, and made it his practice to listen to their conversations. In this
way he began to know the people to whom he preached as few pastors know
their flocks, and he was enabled by this knowledge to apply his
teachings to their daily lives, and to send them forth to their duties
warned by his reproofs or cheered by his intelligent counsel and
sympathy. This practice, modified at times as circumstances have
required, he has steadfastly continued, and in it lies the secret of his
success as a preacher. Said a gentleman, not long since, himself a
member of a different denomination, "Beecher's sermons do me more good
than any I hear elsewhere. They never fail to touch upon some topic of
importance that has engaged my thoughts during the week. Dropping all
doctrinal technicalities, and steering clear of the vexed questions of
theology, he talks to me in such a way that I am able to carry Christ
into the most trifling of my daily affairs, and to carry Him there as my
Sympathizer and Helper, as well as my Judge." He soon became the most
popular preacher in the city, and, thanks to the genuineness of his
gifts and the earnestness of his zeal, he was enabled to add many to the
kingdom of Christ who had been drawn to hear him merely by their
curiosity. Among these was his brother Charles, whose skepticism has
been spoken of elsewhere in this chapter. Becoming deeply impressed at a
revival in Indianapolis, Charles Beecher, by his brother's advice, took
a Bible class, and began to teach the story of Christ. The plan worked
most happily. Charles solved all the questions which had perplexed his
mind, reentered upon his religious life with increased fervor, and soon
afterward entered the ministry.

In August, 1847, Mr. Beecher received a call to Plymouth Church,
Brooklyn, which had just been founded. He promptly accepted it. Breaking
up his home in Indiana, he removed to Brooklyn, and was publicly
installed pastor of Plymouth Church on the 11th of November, 1847. He at
once "announced in Plymouth pulpit the same principles that he had in
Indianapolis, namely, his determination to preach Christ among them not
as an absolute system of doctrines, not as a bygone historical
personage, but as the living Lord and God, and to bring all the ways and
usages of society to the test of His standards. He announced to all whom
it might concern, that he considered temperance and antislavery as a
part of the Gospel of Christ, and should preach them to the people

It is no part of my purpose to consider Mr. Beecher as a politician. I
deal with him here not as the partisan of a political organization, but
as a minister of the Gospel. In politics he has always been a Republican
of the Radical type, but has generally inclined to a conservative
construction of that creed. Many of his warmest friends take issue with
him in his political views, and he has not always been able to lead his
congregation with him in this respect.

Soon after assuming the charge of Plymouth Church Mr. Beecher became a
regular contributor to "The Independent," a paper which he had helped to
establish. His articles were marked with an asterisk, and were widely
read. They dealt with every topic of interest, principally with slavery,
and were vigorous and full of thought. A number of them were afterward
collected and published in book form as the "Star Papers." Since then he
has acted as editor of "The Independent," and is at present the editor
of "The Christian Union." He has written a novel of New England life,
called "Norwood," for "The New York Ledger," and still writes a weekly
paper for that journal. He is at present engaged upon a "Life of
Christ," which is to be the crowning labor of his life. Besides these
labors, he has been until recently almost constantly in the lecture
field, and has spoken frequently before popular assemblies on the
political questions of the day.

These labors have filled up the leisure time left him after discharging
his duties as pastor of his church, which have never been neglected upon
any occasion. In this field his work has been faithful and constant. He
has labored in it for nearly twenty-three years, and his work has not
been without its reward. Such sermons as his could not fail of doing
good even if spoken to half a dozen people. How great, then, must be
their effect when addressed to the vast audiences to which he speaks!
His congregation averages over twenty-five hundred at every service,
being the largest regular congregation in existence. His sermons are
reported by a stenographer, and are printed each week in pamphlet form,
and in this manner find their way into thousands of hands. The "Plymouth
Pulpit," in which they are published, has a regular weekly circulation
of six thousand copies, and it is estimated that each copy is read by
at least five persons, which gives the preacher, in addition to his own
congregation, an audience of more than thirty thousand persons per week.

When Plymouth Church was organized, the wise heads predicted a failure
for it; but it has grown and prospered, until it is now the most compact
and the best organized congregation in America. It is dependent upon no
synod or other religious body, but manages its affairs entirely as
it pleases. The control is vested in a board of trustees, of which Mr.
Beecher is _ex-officio_ a member. He has no superiority in this board
unless called by its members to preside over its meetings. His influence
is of course all-powerful; but as the trustees are shrewd business men,
they sometimes carry out their own views in preference to his. The
church is supported by the sale of its pews. This yields it an annual
income of between forty and fifty thousand dollars. The pastor receives
a handsome salary--said to be the largest in the United States--and the
rest goes into the treasury of the church. As the period of the annual
sale of pews approaches, Mr. Beecher makes it his practice to preach a
sermon in which he reviews the questions of the day, and as far as
possible marks out his course with regard to them during the ensuing
year. This he does in order that every one purchasing a seat in Plymouth
Church may know just what is in store for him from the pulpit. The
surplus revenue, after the pastor's salary and the current expenses are
paid, has until recently been devoted to extinguishing the debt upon the
church. That burden now being off the shoulders of the congregation, the
money is applied to missionary work in Brooklyn. "Two missions have been
largely supported by the funds derived from Plymouth Church, and the
time and personal labor of its members. A mechanics' reading-room is
connected with one of these. No church in the country furnishes a
larger body of lay teachers, exhorters, and missionaries in every
department of human and Christian labor."

Plymouth Church is located in Orange Street, between Hicks and Henry
Streets, in Brooklyn, and not far from the Fulton Ferry. Many strangers,
whose expectations are based upon the fame of the pastor, are
disappointed in the plain and simple exterior of red brick, as they come
prepared to see a magnificent Gothic temple. The interior, however,
rarely fails to please all comers. It is plain and simple, but elegant
and comfortable. It is a vast hall, around the four sides of which
sweeps an immense gallery. The interior is painted white, with a tinge
of pink, and the carpets and cushions of the seats are of a rich, warm
red. The rows of seats in the body of the church are semicircular, and
those in the gallery rise as in an amphitheater, from the front to the
wall. At the far end of the church is a raised platform containing
merely a chair and a table. The table is a pretty ornament, and is the
"Plymouth Pulpit." It is made of wood brought from the Garden of
Gethsemane. In the gallery behind the pulpit is the great organ--one of
the largest and finest in the Union. The church will seat over
twenty-five hundred people, but in order to do this, chairs are placed
in the aisles. These chairs are sold as well as the pews.

Every Sunday morning the streets are filled with persons on their way to
attend the services at Plymouth Church. They come not only from
Brooklyn, but from New York, and even from Jersey City and Hoboken. The
yard and street in front of the church are quickly filled with the
throng, but the doors are guarded by policemen, and none but pew-holders
are permitted to enter the church until ten minutes before the hour for
service. Without this precaution the regular congregation would be
crowded out of their seats every Sunday by strangers.

At ten minutes before the hour for service the doors are thrown open,
and very soon there is not even standing room in the vast interior, and
generally the vestibules are full.

Near the pulpit is placed a basket of exquisite flowers, and sometimes
the entire platform is decorated in the same way. Most commonly some
little child perches itself up among the flowers, and this pretty sight
never fails to bring a smile of pleasure to the pastor's face as he
enters the church. He comes in through a little door under the gallery,
behind the pulpit. He is dressed in a plain suit of black, with a Byron
collar and a black stock. His movements are quiet and graceful, although
quick and energetic. His manner in opening the services is quiet and
earnest, and at once impresses his hearers with the solemnity of the
occasion. He reads the Bible in an easy, unconstrained manner, as if he
enjoyed the task, and in his prayers, which are extempore, he carries
the hearts of all his hearers with him to the Throne of Grace. He joins
heartily in the singing, which is congregational. It was feared that the
organ would prove a great temptation to do away with this style of
singing, but this has not been the case. The magnificent instrument is
used only to accompany the congregation, and there swells up such a
volume of harmony from this vast throng as is never listened to outside
of Plymouth Church. The singing is wonderful.

The gem of the whole service, however, is the sermon; and these sermons
are characteristic of the man. They come warm and fresh from his heart,
and they go home to the hearer, giving him food for thought for days
afterward. To attempt to describe his manner would be to paint the
sunbeam. Eloquence can be felt, but it can not be described. He enchains
the attention of his auditors from the first, and they hang upon his
utterances with rapt eagerness until the close of the sermon.

He knows human nature thoroughly, and he talks to his people of what
they have been thinking of during the week, of trials that have
perplexed them, and of joys which have blessed them. He takes the clerk
and the merchant to task for their conduct in the walks of business, and
warns them of the snares and pitfalls which lie along their paths. He
strips the thin guise of honesty from the questionable transactions of
Wall Street, and holds them up to public scorn. He startles many a one
by his sudden penetration and denunciation of what that one supposes to
be the secrets of his heart. His dramatic power is extraordinary. He can
hardly be responsible for it, since it breaks forth almost without his
will. It is simply unavoidable with him. He moves his audience to tears,
or brings a mirthful smile to their lips, with a power that is
irresistible. His illustrations and figures are drawn chiefly from
nature, and are fresh and striking. They please the subtlest philosopher
who hears him, and illuminate the mind of the average listener with a
flood of light. He can startle his people with the terrors of the law,
but he prefers to preach the Gospel of Love. "God's love for those who
are scattered and lost," he says, "is intenser and deeper than the love
even of a mother.... God longs to bring you home more than you long to
get there. He has been calling, calling, calling, and listening for your
answer. And when you are found, and you lay your head on the bosom of
Jesus, and you are at rest, you will not be so glad as He will be who
declared that, like a shepherd, he had joy over one sinner that repented
more than over ninety and nine just persons that needed no repentance."

Religion is to him an abiding joy; it is perfect love, and casteth out
fear. It has no gloom, no terror in it, and he says to his people: "If
God gave you gayety and cheer of spirits, lift up the careworn by it.
Wherever you go, shine and sing. In every household there is drudgery;
in every household there is sorrow; in every household there is
low-thoughted evil. If you come as a prince, with a cheerful, buoyant
nature, in the name of God, do not lay aside those royal robes of yours.
Let humor bedew duty; let it flash across care. Let gayety take charge
of dullness. So employ these qualities that they shall be to life what
carbonic acid is to wine, making it foam and sparkle."

The sum and substance, the burden of all his preaching is Christ:
"'Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!' I
present Jesus to you as the atoning Saviour; as God's sacrifice for sin;
as that new and living way by which alone a sinful creature can ascend
and meet a pure and just God. I bring this question home to you as a
sinner. O man! full of transgressions, habitual in iniquities, tainted
and tarnished, utterly undone before God, what will you do with this
Jesus that comes as God's appointed sacrifice for sin, your only hope
and your only Saviour? Will you accept him? Will you, by personal and
living faith, accept him as your Saviour from sin? I ask not that you
should go with me into a discourse upon the relations of Christ's life,
of his sufferings, of his death; to the law of God, or to the government
of God. Whatever may be the philosophy of those relations, the matter in
hand is one of faith rather than of philosophy; and the question is,
Will you take Christ to be your soul's Saviour?"

Having selected his theme, and formed a general plan of treatment, Mr.
Beecher trusts a great deal to the inspiration of the moment for his
language and illustrations. Some time ago, in reply to a friend who
asked how he prepared his sermons, he said he generally has an idea
during the week as to what he will preach about on Sunday, but does not
attempt any thing like systematic preparation until an hour or two
before going into the pulpit. Sometimes it is easy to block out a
sermon; but again it is hard work, and he does not fairly get into it
until the first bell rings. He writes out the headings of his subject,
and marks the proper places for illustration. He does not confine
himself to this written outline, however, but, once in the pulpit,
changes it according to the impulse of the moment. He never preaches the
same sermon twice, though he may use the same text several times,
treating it in a different way each time. He endeavors to preach his
best sermons on stormy days, in order that the desire to hear his best
efforts may keep his congregation from degenerating into "fair-weather
Christians." "Once," he said, laughing, "it snowed or rained every
Sabbath in a certain winter, and the effort I had to make to remain
faithful to this rule came near killing me." When asked if he studied
his prayers, he answered promptly: "Never. I carry a feeling with me
such as a mother would have for her children were they lost in a great
forest. I feel that on every side my people are in danger, and that many
of them are like babes, weak and helpless. My heart goes out in sorrow
and in anxiety toward them, and at times I seem to carry all their
burdens. I find that when one's heart is wrapped and twined around the
hearts of others, it is not difficult to pray."

The church is provided with a large lecture-room, a study for the
pastor, and an elegant parlor. Mr. Beecher does not pay pastoral visits
to his people, unless he is sent for to visit the sick and dying, or
persons seeking help in their religious struggles. His parishioners are
scattered over so wide a territory that a systematic course of visiting
would consume all his time. In place of these visits, he meets his
congregation at stated times in social gatherings in the church parlor,
and these evenings are looked forward to with eagerness by both pastor
and people.

The most characteristic meeting of this congregation, however, even more
so than the Sunday services, is the Friday evening meeting, which is
held in the lecture-room. This room is plain and simple. It is provided
with comfortable seats and a grand piano. There is no pulpit in it, but
a small table and a chair are placed for the pastor on a low platform
covered with green baize. The object is to banish every thing like
formalism, and to make the meeting as free and unconstrained as a social
gathering. As at the Sunday services, the house is full, but now the
persons present are almost entirely members of the church. Strangers
rarely come to these meetings, and in staying away from them miss the
chance of seeing the true inner life of Plymouth Church. A gentleman who
was present at one of them, a few years ago, wrote the following account
of it for the "Atlantic Monthly:"

     Mr. Beecher took his seat on the platform, and, after a short
     pause, began the exercises by saying, in a low tone, these words:
     "Six twenty-two."

     A rustling of the leaves of hymn-books interpreted the meaning of
     this mystical utterance, which otherwise might have been taken as
     announcing a discourse upon the prophetic numbers. The piano
     confirmed the interpretation; and then the company burst into one
     of those joyous and unanimous singings which are so enchanting a
     feature of the services of this church. Loud rose the beautiful
     harmony of voices, constraining every one to join in the song, even
     those most unused to sing. When it was ended, the pastor, in the
     same low tone, pronounced a name, upon which one of the brethren
     rose to his feet, and the rest slightly inclined v their heads....
     The prayers were all brief, perfectly quiet and simple, and free
     from the routine or regulation expressions. There were but two or
     three of them, alternating with singing; and when that part of the
     exercises was concluded, Mr. Beecher had scarcely spoken. The
     meeting ran alone, in the most spontaneous and pleasant manner....
     There was a pause after the last hymn died away, and then Mr.
     Beecher, still seated, began, in the tone of conversation, to speak
     somewhat after this manner:

     "When," said he, "I first began to walk as a Christian, in my
     youthful zeal I made many resolutions that were well meant, but
     indiscreet. Among others, I remember I resolved to pray, at least
     once, in some way, every hour that I was awake. I tried faithfully
     to keep this resolution, but never having succeeded a single day, I
     suffered the pangs of self-reproach, until reflection satisfied me
     that the only wisdom possible, with regard to such a resolve, was
     to break it. I remember, too, that I made a resolution to speak
     upon religion to every person with whom I conversed,--on
     steamboats, in the streets, anywhere. In this, also, I failed, as I
     ought; and I soon learned that, in the sowing of such seed, as in
     other sowings, times, and seasons, and methods must be considered
     and selected, or a man may defeat his own object, and make religion

     In language like this he introduced the topic of the evening's
     conversation, which was, How far, and on what occasions, and in
     what manner, one person may invade, so to speak, the personality of
     another, and speak to him upon his moral condition. The pastor
     expressed his own opinion, always in the conversational tone, in a
     talk of ten minutes' duration, in the course of which he applauded,
     not censured, the delicacy which causes most people to shrink from
     doing it. He said that a man's personality was not a macadamized
     road for every vehicle to drive upon at will, but rather a sacred
     inclosure, to be entered, if at all, with the consent of the owner,
     and with deference to his feelings and tastes. He maintained,
     however, that there _were_ times and modes in which this might
     properly be done, and that every one _had_ a duty to perform of
     this nature. When he had finished his observations, he said the
     subject was open to the remarks of others; whereupon a brother
     instantly rose and made a very honest confession.

     He said that he had never attempted to perform the duty in question
     without having a palpitation of the heart, and a complete turning
     over of his inner man. He had often reflected upon this curious
     fact, but was not able to account for it. He had not allowed this
     repugnance to prevent his doing the duty; but he always had to rush
     at it and perform it by a sort of _coup de main_, for if he allowed
     himself to think about the matter, he could not do it at all. He
     concluded by saying that he should be very much obliged to any one
     if he could explain this mystery.

     The pastor said: "May it not be the natural delicacy we feel, and
     ought to feel, in approaching the interior consciousness of another

     Another brother rose. There was no hanging back at this meeting;
     there were no awkward pauses; every one seemed full of matter. The
     new speaker was not inclined to admit the explanation suggested by
     the pastor. "Suppose," said he, "we were to see a man in imminent
     danger of immediate destruction, and there was one way of escape,
     and but one, which _we_ saw, and he did not, should we feel any
     delicacy in running up to him and urging him to fly for his life?
     Is it not a want of faith on our part that causes the reluctance
     and hesitation we all feel in urging others to avoid a peril so
     much more momentous?"

     Mr. Beecher said the cases were not parallel. Irreligious persons,
     he remarked, were not in imminent danger of immediate death; they
     might die to-morrow; but in all probability they would not, and an
     ill-timed or injudicious admonition might forever repel them. We
     must accept the doctrine of probabilities, and act in accordance
     with it in this particular, as in all others.

     Another brother had a puzzle to present for solution. He said that
     he too had experienced the repugnance to which allusion had been
     made; but what surprised him most was, that the more he loved a
     person, and the nearer he was related to him, the more difficult he
     found it to converse with him upon his spiritual state. Why is
     this? "I should like to have this question answered," said he, "if
     there _is_ an answer to it."

     Mr. Beecher observed that this was the universal experience, and he
     was conscious himself of a peculiar reluctance and embarrassment in
     approaching one of his own household on the subject in question. He
     thought it was due to the fact that we respect more the personal
     rights of those near to us than we do those of others, and it was
     more difficult to break in upon the routine of our ordinary
     familiarity with them. We are accustomed to a certain tone which it
     is highly embarrassing to jar upon.

     Captain Duncan related two amusing anecdotes to illustrate the
     right way and the wrong way of introducing religious conversation.
     In his office there was sitting one day a sort of lay preacher, who
     was noted for lugging in his favorite topic in the most forbidding
     and abrupt manner. A sea captain came in, who was introduced to
     this individual.

     "Captain Porter," said he, with awful solemnity, "are you a captain
     in Israel?"

     The honest sailor was so abashed and confounded at this novel
     salutation, that he could only stammer out an incoherent reply; and
     he was evidently disposed to give the tactless zealot a piece of
     his mind, expressed in the language of the quarter-deck. When the
     solemn man took his leave, the disgusted captain said, "If ever I
     should be coming to your office again, and that man should be here,
     I wish you would send me word, and I'll stay away."

     A few days after another clergyman chanced to be in the office, no
     other than Mr. Beecher himself, and another captain came in, a
     roistering, swearing, good-hearted fellow. The conversation fell
     upon sea-sickness, a malady to which Mr. Beecher is peculiarly
     liable. The captain also was one of the few sailors who are always
     sea-sick in going to sea, and gave a moving account of his
     sufferings from that cause. Mr. Beecher, after listening
     attentively to his tale, said, "Captain Duncan, if I was a preacher
     to such sailors as your friend here, I should represent hell as an
     eternal voyage, with every man on board in the agonies of
     sea-sickness, the crisis always imminent, but never coming."

     This ludicrous and most unprofessional picture amused the old salt
     exceedingly, and won his entire good will toward the author of it;
     so that after Mr. Beecher left, he said, "That's a good fellow,
     Captain Duncan. I like _him_, and I'd like to hear him talk more."

     Captain Duncan contended that this free and easy way of address was
     just the thing for such characters. Mr. Beecher had shown him, to
     his great surprise, that a man could be a decent and comfortable
     human being although he was a minister, and had so gained his
     confidence and good will that he could say _any thing_ to him at
     their next interview. Captain Duncan finished his remarks by a
     decided expression of his disapproval of the canting regulation
     phrases so frequently employed by religious people, which are
     perfectly nauseous to men of the world.

     This interesting conversation lasted about three-quarters of an
     hour, and ended, not because the theme seemed exhausted, but
     because the time was up. We have only given enough of it to convey
     some little idea of its spirit. The company again broke into one
     of their cheerful hymns, and the meeting was dismissed in the usual

During the late war, Mr. Beecher took an active and energetic part in
support of the cause of the Union. His labors were so severe that his
health was considerably impaired, and his voice began to fail him. His
physicians ordered him to seek rest and recreation in a tour through
Europe, and he reluctantly obeyed them. He was much benefited by his
visit to the Continent, but on his return to England, on his way home,
being solicited to speak in that country in behalf of the Union, he
delivered a series of powerful appeals, which exhausted the greater part
of the strength he had gained on the Continent, and caused him to return
home almost as ill as when he went abroad.

Soon after his return the war closed, and he went to Charleston to
deliver the address at Fort Sumter upon the occasion of the rehoisting
of the flag of the United States over that work. The news of the
assassination of Mr. Lincoln met him upon his return to Brooklyn, and
drew from him one of his most memorable sermons. At the close of
hostilities, he preached a sermon to his congregation, urging
forgiveness and conciliation toward the South as the policy of the hour,
saying truly that that crisis was a rare opportunity which would never
come again, if spurned. The sermon was unpopular, and caused him some
trouble even in his own congregation.

Mr. Beecher is now fifty-seven years old, but is still in the flush of
his intellectual vigor. His eye is as bright, his step as firm and
elastic, and his voice as clear and ringing as when he preached his
first sermon. His powers have grown with his work, and every year he
seems to rise higher in his intellectual supremacy. As a pulpit orator,
he has no superior, and certainly there is no man in all this round
earth whose eloquence has been productive of greater good to the cause
he serves. He is a stout, stocky man in appearance, with a large square
face and heavy features. It is the face of a great orator and a genial,
warm-hearted man. He is careful and temperate in all his habits--except
that he will work too hard--and enjoys robust health. He lives plainly
and dresses simply. He impresses one at once with his immense energy,
and you would recognize him immediately as a man of unusual power in his
community. Said a friend not long since, "I was standing by Beecher in a
book-store to-day. He was perfectly still, as he was waiting for a
parcel to be done up, but he reminded me of a big locomotive full of
steam and fire, and ready to display its immense force at any moment."

Mr. Beecher is not only a preacher, but a capital farmer. He has a model
farm at Peekskill, on the Hudson, and is brimful of agricultural and
horticultural theories, which he carries into practice successfully. His
love for flowers is a perfect passion, and dates from his boyhood. He is
an excellent mechanic, and makes the repairs on his own premises, as far
as he can, with a keen relish, which he has doubtless inherited from his
father. He is thoroughly read in history, and as an art critic has no
superior. His house is filled with art gems, which are his pride. He has
not lost the love of reverie which marked his boyhood, but he is
eminently a practical man, and prefers the practical questions of
theology to those merely theoretical. He is as little like the typical
parson as one can imagine, and yet he is one whose place will be hard to
fill when he is gone, and whose works will live in the grateful memory
of those whom his counsel has saved from sin, and his sympathy
encouraged to continue in the path of duty.



One of the most remarkable men in the American ministry is PETER
CARTWRIGHT, the "Backwoods Preacher." Sixty-seven years of ministerial
labors have passed over his head, and yet he still continues in the
field in which he has done such good service, and retains all the
popularity and much of the fire of his younger days.

He was born in Amherst County, Virginia, on the 1st of September, 1785.
His father had been a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and his mother
was an orphan. Shortly after the close of the war, the Cartwrights
removed from Virginia to Kentucky, which was then an almost unbroken
wilderness. The journey was accompanied with considerable danger, as the
Indians were not yet driven west of the Ohio, but the family reached
their destination in safety. For two years they lived on a rented farm
in Lincoln County, Kentucky, and at the end of that time removed to what
was called the Green River Country, and settled in Logan County, nine
miles south of Russellville, the county seat, and within one mile of the
State line of Tennessee.

The portion of Logan County in which young Cartwright's childhood and
youth were passed was the very last place one Would have cared to bring
up a candidate for the ministry. It was called "Rogue's Harbor," and was
thickly settled with fugitives from justice from all parts of the Union.
They actually constituted a majority of the inhabitants of the district,
and when the respectable citizens sought to bring them to justice they
readily "swore each other clear," and thus set the law at defiance. They
carried on such a course of outrage and violence that the respectable
citizens were at length compelled to combine for defence against them by
means of an organization known as the Regulators. Several fierce
encounters took place between the desperadoes and the Regulators, in
which many lives were lost, before the supremacy of the law was

"When my lather settled in Logan County," says Mr. Cartwright, "there
was not a newspaper printed South of Green River, no mill short of forty
miles, and no schools worth the name. Sunday was a day set apart for
hunting, fishing, horse-racing, card-playing, balls, dances, and all
kinds of jollity and mirth. We killed our meat out in the woods, wild,
and beat our meal and hominy with a pestle and mortar. We stretched a
deer-skin over a hoop, burned holes in it with the prongs of a fork,
sifted our meal, baked our bread, eat it, and it was first-rate eating,
too. We raised, or gathered out of the woods, our own tea. We had sage,
bohea, cross-vine, spice, and sassafras teas in abundance. As for
coffee, I am not sure that I ever smelled it for ten years. We made our
sugar out of the water of the maple-tree, and our molasses, too. These
were great luxuries in those days. We raised our own cotton and flax. We
water-rotted our flax, broke it by hand, scutched it, picked the seed
out of the cotton with our fingers; our mothers and sisters carded,
spun, and wove it into cloth, and they cut and made our garments and
bed-clothes, etc. And when we got on a new suit thus manufactured, and
sallied out into company, we thought ourselves as _big as any body_."

Young Peter grew up in this rough country with a constitution of iron,
and a fair share of Western courage, independence, and energy. He was
sent by his father to a neighboring school, but the teacher was an
indifferent one, and he learned merely to read and write and cipher

He was a "wild, wicked boy," he tells us, and grew up to delight in
horse-racing, card-playing, and dancing. His father seems to have
enjoyed having so dashing a son, but his mother, who was a pious woman,
took his course seriously to heart, and wept and prayed over her boy as
only a Christian mother can. She often talked to him, and moved him so
deeply that he frequently vowed to lead a better life; but his pleasures
were too tempting, and he fell back again into his old habits. His
father presented him with a race-horse and a pack of cards, and he
became known among his youthful companions as one of the most fearless
riders and the luckiest fellow at cards in the county. The good mother
wept and prayed all the more, and the boy hid his cards from her to keep
her from burning them.

In 1801, when he was sixteen years old, a change came over him. He had
been out with his father and brother to attend a wedding in the
neighborhood. The affair was conducted with all the uproarious merriment
incident to those days, and when Peter returned home and began to think
over it, he felt condemned at having passed his time in such a manner.
"My mother was in bed," says he. "It seemed to me, all of a sudden, my
blood rushed to my head, my heart palpitated, in a few minutes I turned
blind, an awful impression rested on my mind that death had come to me
and I was unprepared to die. I fell on my knees and began to ask God to
have mercy on me. My mother sprang from her bed, and was soon on her
knees by my side, praying for me, and exhorting me to look to Christ for
mercy, and then and there I promised the Lord if he would spare me I
would seek and serve Him, and I never fully broke that promise. My
mother prayed for me a long time. At length we lay down, but there was
little sleep for me. Next morning I rose, feeling wretched beyond
expression. I tried to read in the Testament, and retired many times to
secret prayer through the day, but found no relief. I gave up my
race-horse to my father and requested him to sell him. I went and
brought my pack of cards and gave them to mother, who threw them into
the fire, and they were consumed. I fasted, watched, and prayed, and
engaged in regular reading of the Testament. I was so distressed and
miserable that I was incapable of any regular business."

Several months passed away, during which time Peter had seasons of
comfort and hopes of forgiveness, but during the greater portion he was
wretched and miserable, filled with such a fear of the devil that he was
almost convinced that Satan was really present with him to keep him from
God. A camp-meeting, held in the vicinity of his father's house, in the
spring of 1801, completed his conversion and gave him peace.

"To this meeting," says he, "I repaired a guilty, wretched sinner. On
the Saturday evening of said meeting I went, with weeping multitudes,
and bowed before the stand, and earnestly prayed for mercy. In the midst
of a solemn struggle of soul, an impression was made on my mind as
though a voice said to me: 'Thy sins are all forgiven thee,' Divine
light flashed all around me, unspeakable joy sprang up in my soul. I
rose to my feet, opened my eyes, and it really seemed to me as if I was
in heaven; the trees, the leaves on them, and every thing seemed, and I
really thought were, praising God. My mother raised the shout, my
Christian friends crowded around me and joined me in praising God.... I
have never doubted that the Lord did, then and there, forgive my sins
and give me religion." He went on his way rejoicing, and in June, 1801,
was formally received into the Methodist Episcopal Church. In May, 1802,
he was appointed an exhorter. He shrank from accepting the position, as
he distrusted his own abilities, but finally yielded to his presiding
elder's wishes and entered upon his work. In the fall of that year his
parents removed to Lewiston County, toward the mouth of the Cumberland

Although he was but eighteen years old, his presiding elder had detected
in him signs of unusual promise, and had resolved to bring him into
active labor for the Church at once, and accordingly, upon his departure
for his new home, Peter was given authority to lay out and organize a
new circuit, the plan of which he was to submit to the presiding elder
for approval. The boy hesitated, frightened by the magnitude of the
task, but being encouraged by his superiors, accepted the trust, and
thus began his labors as a preacher of the Word. Upon reaching his new
home, he attended a tolerably good school in the vicinity, hoping to
acquire a better education, but the pupils and teacher persecuted him so
sorely that he was obliged to withdraw. Determining to lose no time in
waiting for an education, he at once began the work of preaching. Being
possessed of strong natural sense, a ready wit, and being thoroughly
imbued with the spirit of frontier life, he was just the man to carry
the Gospel home to the hearts of the rude pioneers of the great West.
His manner was that of a backwoodsman, and he had no city airs and
graces to offend the plain, rough people to whom he preached. He was
emphatically one of them. He offered them the plain Gospel, and gave
theological theories a wide berth.

His plan of operations was adapted to the rudest intellect. It was to
thunder the terrors of the law into the ears of his converts, or, in his
own words, to "shake them over hell until they smelt brimstone right
strong," and make them see the fearful condition in which they lay by
reason of their sin. Man was to him a wretched, degraded creature, and
the only way to bring him to God was to drive him there by the terrors
of the law. Our preacher had very little faith in the quieter, more
persuasive means of grace. His first effort was to give the souls of his
hearers a good shaking up, bring them face to face with hell and its
torments, and then, having forced them to flee from the wrath to come,
to trust to their future Christian experience for the means of acquiring
a knowledge of the tender mercies of the Saviour. It must be confessed
that this was the only plan open to him in the field in which he
labored. The people to whom he preached were a rude, rough set, mainly
ignorant and superstitious, and many of them sunk in the depths of
drunkenness and viciousness. The Western country was almost a
wilderness. Vast forests and boundless prairies lay on every hand, with
but here and there a clearing with a solitary log cabin in it, or but
two or three at the most. The people lived in the most perfect solitude,
rarely seeing any but the members of their own households. Solitude and
danger made them superstitious, and the absence of schools kept them in
ignorance. They drank to keep off the blues, and when they came together
for amusement they made the most of their opportunities, and plunged
into the most violent sports, which were not always kept within the
bounds of propriety. Churches were as scarce as schools, and until the
Methodist circuit riders made their appearance in the West, the people
were little better than heathen. The law had scarcely any hold upon
these frontiersmen. They were wild and untamed, and personal freedom was
kept in restraint mainly by the law of personal accountability. They
were generous and improvident, frank, fearless, easy-going, and filled
with an intense scorn for every thing that smacked of Eastern refinement
or city life. They were proud of their buckskin and linsey-woolsey
clothes, their squirrel caps, and their horny hands and rough faces.
They would have been miserable in a city mansion, but they were lords
and kings in their log-cabins. To have sent a preacher bred in the
learned schools of New England to such a people would have been folly.
The smooth cadences, the polished gestures, and, above all, the
manuscript sermon of a Boston divine, would have disgusted the men and
women of the frontier. What cared they for predestination or free-will,
or for any of the dogmas of the schools? They wanted to hear the simple,
fundamental truths of the Gospel, and they wanted to hear them from a
man of their own stamp. They wanted a "fire and brimstone" preacher, one
whose fiery eloquence could stir the very depths of their souls, and set
their simple imaginations all ablaze; one who could shout and sing with
true Western abandon; who could preach in his shirt-sleeves, sleep with
them on the bare ground, brave all the dangers of a frontier life, and,
if necessary, thrash any one who dared to insult him. Such was the man
for these sturdy, simple Western folk, and such a man they found in
Peter Cartwright.

Peter went at the task before him with a will. The country being
sparsely settled, people had to travel a long way to get to church, and
it became a matter of expediency for the clergy to hold religious
gatherings at stated points, and to continue them for several days, so
that those who desired to attend might be able to avoid the necessity of
going home every evening and coming back next day. Church edifices being
scarce, these meetings were held in the woods, and a large encampment
was formed by the people in attendance. This was the origin of the
camp-meeting system, which for many years was the only effective way of
spreading the Gospel in the West. It was at a camp-meeting that Peter
obtained religion, and he has ever since been a zealous advocate of, and
a hard worker at, them. From the first he was successful. The fame of
the "boy preacher" went abroad into all the land, and people came in to
the camp from a hundred miles around to hear him. He had little
education, but he knew his Bible thoroughly, and was a ready speaker,
and, above all, he knew how to deal with the people to whom he preached.
He made many converts, and from the first took rank as the most popular
preacher in the West.

Peter not only believed in the overruling power of God, but he was
firmly convinced of the active and personal agency of the devil in human
affairs. Many of the follies and faults of the people around him took
place, he averred, because they were possessed of devils. Each
camp-meeting was to him a campaign against Satan, and in his opinion
Satan never failed to make a good fight for his kingdom. Certainly some
very singular things did occur at the meetings at which he was present,
and, naturally, perhaps, some persons began to believe that Peter
Cartwright possessed supernatural powers. The following incident,
related by him, not only explains some of the phenomena to which I
allude, but also the manner in which he was regarded by some of the

"A new exercise broke out among us, called the 'jerks,' which was
overwhelming in its effects upon the bodies and minds of the people. No
matter whether they were saints or sinners, they would be taken under a
warm song or sermon, and seized with a convulsive jerking all over,
which they could not by any possibility avoid, and the more they
resisted, the more they jerked. If they would not strive against it,
and pray in good earnest, the jerking would usually abate. I have seen
more than five hundred persons jerking at one time in my large
congregations. Most usually persons taken with the jerks, to obtain
relief, as they said, would rise up and dance. Some would run, but could
not get away. Some would resist; on such the jerks were very severe.

"To see those proud young gentlemen and young ladies, dressed in their
silks, jewelry, and prunella, from top to toe, take the jerks, would
often excite my risibilities. The first jerk or so you would see their
fine bonnets, caps, and combs fly, and so sudden would be the jerking of
the head that their long, loose hair would crack almost as loud as a
wagoner's whip.

"At one of my appointments, in 1804, there was a very large congregation
turned out to hear the 'Kentucky boy,' as they called me. Among the rest
there were two very finely dressed, fashionable young ladies, attended
by two brothers with loaded horsewhips. Although the house was large, it
was crowded. The two young ladies, coming in late, took their seats near
where I stood, and their two brothers stood in the door. I was a little
unwell, and I had a phial of peppermint in my pocket. Before I commenced
preaching I took out my phial and swallowed a little of the peppermint.
While I was preaching the congregation was melted into tears. The two
young gentlemen moved off to the yard fence, and both the young ladies
took the jerks, and they were greatly mortified about it....

"As I dismissed the assembly, a man stepped up to me and warned me to be
on my guard, for he had heard the two brothers swear they would
horsewhip me when meeting was out for giving their sisters the jerks.
'Well,' said I, 'I'll see to that.'

"I went out and said to the young men that I understood they intended
to horsewhip me for giving their sisters the jerks. One replied that he
did. I undertook to expostulate with him on the absurdity of the charge
against me, but he swore I need not deny it, for he had seen me take out
a phial in which I carried some truck that gave his sisters the jerks.
As quick as thought came into my mind how I would get clear of my
whipping, and, jerking out the peppermint phial, said I, 'Yes; if I gave
your sisters the jerks I'll give them to you,' In a moment I saw he was
scared. I moved toward him, he backed, I advanced, and he wheeled and
ran, warning me not to come near him or he would kill me. It raised the
laugh on him, and I escaped my whipping....

"I always looked upon the jerks as a judgment sent from God, first, to
bring sinners to repentance, and, secondly, that God could work with or
without means, and that he could work over and above means and do
whatsoever seemeth him good to the glory of his grace and the salvation
of the world. There is no doubt in my mind that, with weak-minded,
ignorant, and superstitious persons, there was a great deal of
sympathetic feeling with many that claimed to be under the influence of
this jerking exercise, and yet with many it was perfectly involuntary.
It was on all occasions my practice to recommend fervent prayer as a
remedy, and it almost universally proved an effectual antidote."

The excitement of the religious revivals plunged many of the people into
excesses. They prophesied, dreamed dreams, and saw visions, and troubled
the young preacher exceedingly, but he set his face sternly against all
such disorders, and pronounced their visions and messages to be from the
devil. One of these dreamers came to him one day and told him he had a
message from heaven for him.

"Well," said Cartwright, "what is it?"

"It has been revealed to me," said the fellow, "that you are never to
die, but are to live forever."

"Who revealed that to you?"

"An angel."

"Did you see him?" asked Cartwright, dryly.

"O, yes; he was a beautiful, white, shining being."

"Did you smell him?" asked Peter, bluntly.

The man looked at him in amazement, and the preacher continued, sternly,
"Well, did the angel you saw smell of brimstone? He must have smelled of
brimstone, for he was from a region that burns with fire and brimstone,
and consequently from hell, for he revealed a great lie to you if he
told you I was to live forever."

The dreamer turned off abruptly, and disappeared amidst the jeers of the
crowd that had listened to the conversation.

On the 16th of September, 1806, Mr. Cartwright was ordained a deacon in
the Methodist Episcopal Church by Bishop Asbury, and on the 4th of
October, 1808, Bishop McKendree ordained him an elder. Upon receiving
deacon's orders he was assigned to the Marietta Circuit. His appointment
dismayed him. Says he: "It was a poor, hard circuit at that time.
Marietta and the country round were settled at an early day by a colony
of Yankees. At the time of my appointment I had never seen a Yankee, and
I had heard dismal stories about them. It was said they lived almost
entirely on pumpkins, molasses, fat meat, and bohea tea; moreover, that
they could not bear loud and zealous sermons, and they had brought on
their learned preachers with them, and they read their sermons and were
always criticising us poor backwoods preachers. When my appointment was
read out it distressed me greatly. I went to Bishop Asbury and begged
him to supply my place and let me go home. The old father took me in
his arms and said: 'O, no, my son; go in the name of the Lord. It will
make a man of you.'

"Ah, thought I, if this is the way to make men, I do not want to be a
man. I cried over it bitterly, and prayed, too. But on I started,
cheered by my presiding elder, Brother J. Sale. If I ever saw hard
times, surely it was this year; yet many of the people were kind and
treated me friendly. I had hard work to keep soul and body together. The
first Methodist house I came to the brother was a Universalist. I
crossed over the Muskingum River to Marietta. The first Methodist family
I stopped with there, the lady was a member of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, but a thorough Universalist. She was a thin-faced, Roman-nosed,
loquacious Yankee, glib on the tongue, and you may depend upon it I had
a hard race to keep up with her, though I found it a good school, for it
set me to reading my Bible. And here permit me to say, of all the isms I
ever heard of, they were here. These descendants of the Puritans were
generally educated, but their ancestors were rigid predestinarians, and
as they were sometimes favored with a little light on their moral
powers, and could just 'see men as trees walking,' they jumped into
Deism, Universalism, Unitarianism, etc., etc. I verily believe it was
the best school I ever entered. They waked me up on all sides; Methodism
was feeble, and I had to battle or run, and I resolved on the former."

Just before he was made an elder, Mr. Cartwright left his circuit, and
went home on a visit to recruit. He had made a good fight with poverty
during his labors, and at the time of his departure for home he was in a
condition sufficiently hard to test any man's fortitude. "I had been
from my father's house for three years," says he; "was five hundred
miles from home, my horse had gone blind, my saddle was worn out, my
bridle reins had been eaten up and replaced (after a sort) at least a
dozen times, and my clothes had been patched till it was difficult to
detect the original. I had concluded to make my way home and get another
outfit. I was in Marietta, and had just seventy-five cents in my pocket.
How I would get home and pay my way I could not tell."

He did reach home, however, after many characteristic adventures, and
obtained another outfit, and while there he took an important step--he
married. "After a mature deliberation and prayer," he says, "I thought
it was my duty to marry, and was joined in marriage to Frances Gaines,
on the 18th of August, 1808, which was her nineteenth birthday." Peter
and his bride knew that a hard life was in store for them, but they felt
strong in the love they bore each other. They were simple backwoods
folk, and their wants were few. "When I started as a traveling
preacher," he said fifty-three years afterward, "a single preacher was
allowed to receive eighty dollars per annum if his circuit would give it
to him; but single preachers in those days seldom received over thirty
or forty dollars, and often much less; and had it not been for a few
presents made us by the benevolent friends of the church, and a few
dollars we made as marriage fees, we must have suffered much more than
we did. But the Lord provided, and, strange as it may appear to the
present generation, we got along without starving or going naked." There
is something awe-inspiring in the simple trust in God which this good
man displayed in every stage of his life. Once satisfied that he was in
the path of duty, he never allowed the future to trouble him. He
provided for it as far as he could, and left the rest to the Master
whose work he was doing. Poverty and hardship had no terrors for this
brave young couple, and it was very far from their thoughts to wait
until a better day to marry. They would go out hand in hand into the
world and meet their trials together. Children would come, they knew,
and those little mouths would have to be fed, but they would be
industrious, saving, and patient, and "God would provide."

Peter Cartwright's mission was to plant the Methodist Episcopal Church
in the West as well as to preach the Gospel. For that end he worked and
prayed. The Methodist Episcopal Church was his haven of safety. Without,
all was storm and darkness; within its fold all was peace and light. He
believed his church to be the best door to heaven, if indeed it was not
in his estimation the only one. He was a fanatic, pure and simple, as
regarded his own denomination, but a fanatic full of high and noble
purposes, and one whose zeal was productive only of good. This
fanaticism was necessary to the success of his labors. It was his
perfect belief that his was the only church in which sinners could find
perfect peace that carried him through the difficulties which
encompassed him. Men were dying all around him, and they must come into
his church. They had other denominations close at hand, but they, in his
estimation, would not do. The Methodist Episcopal Church was a necessity
for sinners, therefore it must be planted in all parts of the land. No
sacrifice was too great for the accomplishment of this object. He has
lived to see those sacrifices rewarded, to see his church one of the
most numerous and powerful religious bodies in the country.

Being so zealous in behalf of his own church, it is not strange that he
should have clashed frequently with other denominations. He got along
very well with the majority, but with the Baptists and Universalists he
was always on the war path. The latter especially excited his
uncompromising hostility, and he never failed to attack their doctrines
with all his forces wherever he encountered them. "I have thought,"
says he, "and do still think, if I were to set out to form a plan to
contravene the laws of God, to encourage wickedness of all kinds, to
corrupt the morals and encourage vice, and crowd hell with the lost and
the wailings of the damned, the Universalist plan should be the plan,
the very plan that I would adopt....

"A few years ago," he continues, "I had a neighbor who professed to be a
confirmed Universalist. He contended with me that there was no devil but
the evil disposition in man, and that there was no hell but the bad
feelings that men had when they did wrong: that this was all the
punishment any body would suffer. When this neighbor's father lay on his
dying bed (a confirmed Universalist, professedly) there was a faithful
minister of Christ who believed it his duty to visit this old
Universalist, warn him of his danger, and try to awaken his conscience,
if not seared, to a just view of his real situation. The minister,
however, failed in his faithful attempt and well-meant endeavors, for
the old man, then on his dying pillow, was greatly offended at the
preacher, and told him that he did not thank him for trying to shake his
faith in his dying moments. This neighbor of mine, and son of this old,
hardened sinner, was greatly enraged at the preacher, and cursed and
abused him in a violent manner. A few days after the demise of the old
man, he, in a furious rage, began to abuse and curse the preacher in my
presence, and said:

"D---- him; I wish he was in hell and the devil had him.'

"I stopped him short by saying, 'Pooh, pooh, man, what are you talking
about? There is no hell but the bad feelings that a man has when he does
wrong, and no devil but the evil disposition that is in man.' Thus
answering a fool according to his folly.

"'Well,' said he, 'if there is no hell there ought to be, to put such
preachers in.'

"'Now, sir,' said I, 'you see the utter untenableness of your creed, for
a man even in trying to do good honestly draws down your wrath, and, in
a moment, you want a hell to put him into and a devil to torment him for
giving you an offense, and for doing what no good man ought to be
offended about. But God must be insulted, his name blasphemed, his laws
trampled under foot, yet he must have no hell to put such a wretch in,
no devil to torment him. Now I would be ashamed of myself if I were in
your place, and let the seal of truth close my lips forever hereafter.'

"Although he was confounded, he still clave to his God-dishonoring
doctrine, waxing worse and worse, till it was generally believed he was
guilty of a most heinous crime."

Argumentative battles were not the only troubles Cartwright had to
encounter from Universalists. They came to his revivals, he says, to
hoot and create disturbance. At one of these meetings two sisters,
Universalists in belief, were present. They came to "make fun," but one
of them was overcome by Cartwright's preaching, and went up to the
mourner's bench to be prayed for. When her sister heard of it, she
commenced to make her way to the altar, with the angry determination to
force the penitent from it. "I rose and met her in the crowded aisle,"
says Mr. Cartwright, "and told her to be calm and desist. She made
neither better nor worse of it than to draw back her arm and give me a
severe slap in the face with her open hand. I confess this rather took
me by surprise, and, as the common saying is, made the fire fly out of
my eyes in tremendous sparkling brilliancy, but, collecting my best
judgment, I caught her by the arms near her shoulders and wheeled her to
the right about, moved her forward to the door, and said, 'Gentlemen,
please open the door; the devil in this Universalist lady has got
fighting hot, and I want to set her outside to cool.' The door was
opened, and I landed her out."

Concerning his tilts with the Baptists, he has given a mass of curious
reminiscences, from which we take the following:

"We preached in new settlements, and the Lord poured out his Spirit, and
we had many convictions and many conversions. It was the order of the
day, (though I am sorry to say it,) that we were constantly followed by
a certain set of proselyting Baptist preachers. These new and wicked
settlements were seldom visited by these Baptist preachers until the
Methodist preachers entered them; then, when a revival was gotten up, or
the work of the Lord revived, these Baptist preachers came rushing in,
and they generally sung their sermons; and when they struck the _long
roll_, or their sing-song mode of preaching, in substance it was:
'Water! water! You must follow your blessed Lord down into the water!' I
had preached several times in a large, populous, and wicked settlement,
and there was serious attention, deep convictions, and a good many
conversions; but, between my occasional appointments these preachers
would rush in and try to take off our converts into the water; and
indeed they made so much ado about baptism by immersion that the
uninformed would suppose that heaven was an island, and there was no way
to get there _but by diving or swimming_."

He once preached a sermon on the true nature of baptism, at which were
present the daughters of a Baptist minister, one of whom was converted.
That night it rained violently, and all the neighboring streams
overflowed their banks. Riding along the next day, he met the Baptist
minister on the road.

"We've had a tremendous rain," said Cartwright.

"Yes, sir," said the Baptist brother, "the Lord sent this rain to
convince you of your error."

"Ah! what error?"

"Why, about baptism. The Lord sent this flood to convince you that much
water was necessary."

"Very good, sir," said Cartwright, "and in like manner he sent this
flood to convince you of your error."

"What error?" asked the Baptist brother.

"Why," replied Cartwright, triumphantly, "to show you that water comes
by pouring, and not by immersion."

Free and easy as he was in his manner, our preacher had a deep sense of
the dignity of his mission, and he was resolved that others should share
the feeling, and accord him, in his ministerial capacity, the respect
and deference that were his due. His manner of accomplishing this was
characteristic, as the following incident will show: Traveling on his
circuit in 1805, he put up on one occasion at the house of an old man
known as Father Teel, a whimsical old fellow, and supposed to be
Cartwright's match in oddity. He had been warned that the old man,
though a good Methodist, showed little deference to preachers. It was
his custom to rise early, and, as soon as dressed, to give out his hymn,
sing it himself, and then go to prayers, without waiting for his family
to get up. He served preachers in the same way. Cartwright resolved to
beat him at his own game, but the old man was too wary for him.

"Just as day broke," says Cartwright, "I awoke, rose up, and began to
dress, but had not nigh accomplished it when I heard Teel give out his
hymn and commence singing, and about the time I had got dressed, I heard
him commence praying. He gave thanks to God that they had been spared
during the night, and were all permitted to see the light of a new day,
while at the same time I suppose every one of his family was fast
asleep. I deliberately opened the door and walked out to the well,
washed myself, and then walked back to my cabin. Just as I got to the
door, the old brother opened his door, and, seeing me, said, 'Good
morning, sir. Why, I didn't know you were up.'

"'Yes, said I, 'I have been up some time.'

"'Well, brother,' said he, 'why did you not come in to prayers?'

"'Because,' said I, 'it is wrong to pray of a morning in the family
before we wash.'

"The old brother passed on, and no more was said at that time. That
evening, just before we were about to retire to rest, the old brother
set out the book and said to me: 'Brother, hold prayers with us.'

"'No, sir,' said I.

"Said he, 'Come, brother, take the book and pray with us.'

"'No, sir,' said I; 'you love to pray so well, you may do it yourself.'

"He insisted, but I persistently refused, saying: 'You are so fond of
praying yourself, that you even thanked God this morning that he had
spared you all to see the light of a new day, when your family had not
yet opened their eyes, but were all fast asleep. And you have such an
absurd way of holding prayers in your family, that I do not wish to have
any thing to do with it.'

"He then took the book, read, and said prayers, but you may rely on it,
the next morning things were much changed. He waited for me, and had all
his family up in order. He acknowledged his error, and told me it was
one of the best reproofs he ever got. I then prayed with the family, and
after that all went well."

Among his clerical brethren was a poor hen-pecked husband, whose wife
was possessed of a temper that made her the terror of the neighborhood.
Cartwright had often been invited by the poor man to go home with him;
"but," he says, "I frankly confess I was afraid to trust myself" but at
length, yielding to his importunities, he went home with his oppressed
brother, intending to spend the night with him. His visit roused the
fury of the wife, and "I saw in a minute," says our preacher, "that the
devil was in her as big as an alligator, and I determined on my course."
The woman held her tongue until after supper, when her husband asked her
kindly to join them in prayers. She flew into a rage, and swore there
should be no praying in her house that night. Cartwright tried to reason
with her, but she cursed him roundly. Then, facing her sternly, he said,
"Madam, if you were my wife, I would break you of your bad ways, or I
would break your neck."

"The devil you would," said she. "Yes, you are a pretty Christian, ain't

She continued cursing him, but Cartwright sternly bade her hold her
peace, and let them pray. She declared she would not.

"Now," said he to her, "if you do not be still, and behave yourself,
I'll put you out of doors."

"At this," says he, "she clenched her fist and swore she was one-half
alligator and the other half snapping-turtle, and that it would take a
better man than I was to put her out. It was a small cabin we were in,
and we were not far from the door, which was then standing open. I
caught her by the arm, and swinging her round in a circle, brought her
right up to the door, and shoved her out. She jumped up, tore her hair,
foamed, and such swearing as she uttered was seldom equaled, and never
surpassed. The door, or shutter of the door, was very strongly made, to
keep out hostile Indians; I shut it tight, barred it, and went to
prayer, and I prayed as best I could; but I have no language at my
command to describe my feelings. At the same time, I was determined to
conquer, or die in the attempt. While she was raging and foaming in the
yard and around the cabin, I started a spiritual song, and sung loud, to
drawn her voice as much as possible. The five or six little children ran
and squatted about and crawled under the beds. Poor things, they were
scared almost to death.

"I sang on, and she roared and thundered on outside, till she became
perfectly exhausted, and panted for breath. At length, when she had
spent her force, she became perfectly calm and still, and then knocked
at the door, saying, 'Mr. Cartwright, please let me in.'

"'Will you behave yourself if I let you in?' said I.

"'O yes,' said she, 'I will;' and throwing myself on my guard, and
perfectly self-possessed, I opened the door, took her by the hand, led
her in, and seated her near the fire-place. She had roared and foamed
until she was in a high perspiration, and looked pale as death. After
she took her seat, 'O,' said she, 'what a fool I am,'

"'Yes,' said I, 'about one of the biggest fools I ever saw in all my
life.'... Brother C. and I kneeled down, and both prayed. She was as
quiet as a lamb."

Six months later, our preacher tells us, this woman was converted, and
became "as bold in the cause of God as she had been in the cause of the
wicked one."

In 1823, Mr. Cartwright resolved to move across the Ohio, and selected
Illinois as his new home. The reasons which influenced his actions are
thus stated by him:

"I had seen with painful emotions the increase of a disposition to
justify slavery.... and the legislatures in the slave States made the
laws more and more stringent, with a design to prevent emancipation.
Moreover, rabid abolitionism spread and dreadfully excited the South. I
had a young and growing family of children, two sons and four daughters;
was poor, owned a little farm of about one hundred and fifty acres;
lands around me were high and rising in value. My daughters would soon
be grown up. I did not see any probable means by which I could settle
them around or near us. Moreover, I had no right to expect our children
to marry into wealthy families, and I did not desire it, if it could be
so; and by chance they might marry into slave families. This I did not
desire. Besides, I saw there was a marked distinction made among the
people generally between young people raised without work and those that
had to work for their living.... I thought I saw clear indications of
Providence that I should leave my comfortable little home, and move into
a free State or territory, for the following reasons: First, I would get
entirely clear of the evil of slavery. Second, I could raise my children
to work where work was not considered a degradation. Third, I believed I
could better my temporal circumstances, and procure lands for my
children as they grew up. And fourth, I could carry the Gospel to
destitute souls that had, by removal into some new country, been
deprived of the means of grace."

It was the last reason, no doubt, that decided our preacher. Men of his
stamp were needed west of the Ohio. Kentucky was becoming too old a
State for him, and he felt that his true field of labor was still on the
frontier, and thither he turned his steps. Setting out first on
horseback to seek an eligible location, he reached Sangamon County,
Illinois, where he bought a claim on Richland Creek. He then returned to
Kentucky and wound up his affairs there, obtained a regular transfer
from the Kentucky Conference to the Indiana Conference, which then
controlled Illinois, and in October, 1824, set out for his new home in
Sangamon County. A great affliction overtook him on the way, in the
death of his third daughter, who was killed by the falling of a tree
upon their camp. The affliction was made more grievous by the heartless
refusal of the people in the vicinity to render them any aid. "We were
in great distress," he says, "and no one even to pity our condition....
I discovered that the tree had sprung up, and did not press the child;
and we drew her out from under it, and carefully laid her in our feed
trough, and moved on about twenty miles to an acquaintance's in Hamilton
County, Illinois, where we buried her."

Leaving that lonely little grave behind them, they hurried on to their
new home. Springfield, the capital of the State, was but a small
collection of shanties and log huts, and Sangamon County was the extreme
frontier. It was the most northern county of Illinois, and just beyond
it lay the unbroken Indian country. Numbers of Indians roamed through
the Sangamon River bottom, and spent their winters there. It was as wild
and unsettled a region as our preacher could have desired, and one which
gave him a fine field for the exercise of his peculiar abilities. Mr.
Cartwright was promptly received into the Indiana Conference, and he
lost no time in looking about him. He at once established his family in
their new home, and then set about his work. The work was hard, and
money was scarce. The first year he traveled the Sangamon Circuit he
received forty dollars, and the next year sixty dollars, which he says
was a great improvement in his financial affairs. He was successful from
the first, and in the two years referred to added one hundred and sixty
persons to the Methodist Church in this thinly settled district. For
forty-six years he has labored in this region, adding many souls to the
kingdom of God.

Arduous as his labors had been in the Kentucky Conference, they now
increased very greatly. He had a larger amount of territory to travel
over, people were more scattered, and the dangers to be encountered were
greater. In 1827, he was made presiding elder, and given the Illinois
District, then a very extensive region, and in 1828 Galena charge was
added to this district. The district thus enlarged extended from the
mouth of the Ohio River to Galena, the entire length of the present
State of Illinois, and over this immense distance our preacher was
obliged to travel four times in the year. The journeys were made either
on horseback or in an old-fashioned sulky or one-seat gig. There were
miles of lonely prairie and many rapid streams to cross, and roads,
bridges, or ferry-boats were almost unknown. Yet Peter Cartwright was
not the man to be deterred by obstacles. When he set out on his official
journeys, he allowed nothing that it was possible to overcome to prevent
him from keeping his appointments. In crossing the prairies, he would
guide himself by the points of timber, for there were no roads over
these vast plains. Oftentimes the streams to be crossed were swollen,
and then he would swim his horse across them, or ride along the shore
until he found a tree fallen over the current. Stripping himself, he
would carry his clothes and riding equipments to the opposite bank, and
then, returning, mount his horse and swim him across the river. Dressing
again, he would continue his journey, and perhaps repeat the proceeding
several times during the day. When overtaken by night, he would seek a
place in some grove, and, lighting a fire with his tinder-box and steel,
tie up his horse, and, throwing himself on the ground, sleep as
peacefully as on a bed of down. Sometimes night would come on before he
had crossed the prairie or made his way to the timber point he was
aiming for, and then he would sit down on the ground, in the darkness
and alone, and, holding his horse by the bridle, await the return of
light to enable him to see his landmark. Sometimes he would find a
little log-hut with a settler's family in it, and he says it was "a
great treat" to come upon one of these lonely cabins and enjoy the
privilege of a night's lodging. If the family were Methodists, there was
sure to be preaching that night; and if they were strangers to that
church, our preacher set to work at once to convert them. He labored
faithfully, faring hard, and braving dangers from which his city
brethren would have shrunk appalled. He carried the Gospel and the
Methodist Episcopal Church into all parts of the great State of
Illinois, and even into Iowa and the Indian country.

In 1832, the first Illinois Conference met in the town of Jacksonville,
and Mr. Cartwright attended it. He had now been a traveling preacher for
twenty-eight years, and, as he felt himself sorely in need of rest, he
asked and obtained a superannuated relation for one year. On the same
day, Bishop Soule, who presided at the Conference, came to him to ask
his advice with reference to the Quincy District. It was very important,
but the bishop could not find a presiding elder willing to take charge
of it, as it was an almost unbroken wilderness. The bishop was in sore
distress, as he feared that he would be obliged to merge it into another
district. The spirit of the backwoods preacher at once took fire, and,
declaring that so important a field ought not to be neglected, he
expressed his willingness to relinquish his superannuated relation and
accept the charge. The bishop took him at his word and appointed him to
the district, which he served faithfully. His adventures in traveling
from place to place to fill his appointments are intensely interesting,
and I would gladly reproduce them here did the limits of this chapter

It required no small amount of courage to perform the various duties of
a backwoods preacher, and in this quality our preacher was not
deficient. He was frequently called upon to exercise it in his camp
meetings. These assemblies never failed to gather large crowds from all
parts of the surrounding country, and among others came numerous
rowdies, whose delight it was to annoy the preachers and worshipers in
every conceivable way. Cartwright put up with the annoyance as long as
he could, and then determined to put a stop to it. He believed in
fighting the devil with fire, and put down many a disturbance. The
following is the way he went about it:

"Our last quarterly meeting was a camp meeting. We had a great many
tents and a large turnout for a new country, and, perhaps, there never
was a greater collection of rabble and rowdies. They came drunk and
armed with dirks, clubs, knives, and horsewhips, and swore they would
break up the meeting. After interrupting us very much on Saturday night,
they collected on Sunday morning, determined on a general riot. At eight
o'clock I was appointed to preach. About the time I was half through my
discourse, two very fine-dressed young men marched into the congregation
with loaded horsewhips, and hats on, and rose up and stood in the midst
of the ladies, and began to laugh and talk. They were near the stand,
and I requested them to desist and get off the seats; but they cursed me
and told me to mind my own business, and said they would not get down. I
stopped trying to preach, and called for a magistrate. There were two at
hand, but I saw they were both afraid. I ordered them to take these two
men into custody, but they said they could not do it. I told them as I
left the stand to command me to take them, and I would do it at the risk
of my life. I advanced toward them. They ordered me to stand off, but I
advanced. One of them made a pass at my head, but I closed in with him
and jerked him off the seat. A regular scuffle ensued. The congregation
by this time were all in commotion. I heard the magistrates giving
general orders, commanding all friends of order to aid in suppressing
the riot. In the scuffle I threw my prisoner down, and held him fast;
he tried his best to get loose. I told him to be quiet, or I would
pound his chest well. The mob rose and rushed to the rescue of the two
prisoners, for they had taken the other young man also. An old, drunken
magistrate came up to me, and ordered me to let my prisoner go. I told
him I should not. He swore if I did not he would knock me down. I told
him to crack away. Then one of my friends, at my request, took hold of
my prisoner, and the drunken justice made a pass at me; but I parried
the stroke, and, seizing him by the collar and the hair of the head, and
fetching him a sudden jerk forward, brought him to the ground and jumped
on him. I told him to be quiet, or I would pound him well. The mob then
rushed to the scene; they knocked down seven magistrates, several
preachers, and others. I gave up my drunken prisoner to another, and
threw myself in front of the friends of order. Just at this moment, the
ringleader of the mob and I met; he made three passes at me, intending
to knock me down. The last time he struck at me, by the force of his own
effort he threw the side of his face toward me. It seemed at that moment
I had not power to resist temptation, and I struck a sudden blow in the
burr of the ear and dropped him to the earth. Just at this moment, the
friends of order rushed by hundreds on the mob, knocking them down in
every direction."

Once, while crossing a river on a ferry-boat, he overheard a man cursing
Peter Cartwright and threatening dire vengeance against him, and
boasting that he could "whip any preacher the Lord ever made." This
roused our preacher's ire, and accosting the man, he told him he was
Peter Cartwright, and that if he wanted to whip him he must do so then.
The fellow became confused, and said he did not believe him.

"I tell you," said Cartwright, sternly, "I am the man. Now, sir, you
have to whip me, as you threatened, or quit cursing me, or I will put
you in the river and baptize you in the name of the devil, for you
surely belong to him." "This," says Cartwright, "settled him."

Once, having gone into the woods with a young man who had sworn he would
whip him, he sprained his foot slightly in getting over a fence, and
involuntarily placed his hand to his side. "My redoubtable antagonist,"
says he, "had got on the fence, and, looking down at me, said, 'D----
you, you are feeling for a dirk, are you?'

"As quick as thought it occurred to me how to get clear of a whipping.

"'Yes,' said I, 'and I will give you the benefit of all the dirks I
have,' and advanced rapidly toward him.

"He sprang back on the other side of the fence from me; I jumped over
after him, and a regular foot race followed."

"It may be asked," says the old man, naively, "what I would have done if
this fellow had gone with me to the woods. This is hard to answer, for
it was a part of my creed to love every body, but to fear no one, and I
did not permit myself to believe that any man could whip me until it was
tried, and I did not permit myself to premeditate expedients in such
cases. I should no doubt have proposed to him to have prayer first, and
then followed the openings of Providence."

Mr. Cartwright was from the beginning of his ministry an ardent advocate
of temperance, and, long before the first temperance society was
organized in the country, he waged a fierce war against dram-drinking.
This fearless advocate of temperance came very near getting drunk once.
He had stopped with a fellow preacher at a tavern kept by an Otterbein
Methodist, who, thinking to play them a trick, put whisky into the new
cider which he offered them. Cartwright drank sparingly of the beverage,
though he considered it harmless, but, "with all my forbearance," he
says, "presently I began to feel light-headed. I instantly ordered our
horses, fearing we were snapped for once.... When we had rode about a
mile, being in the rear, I saw Brother Walker was nodding at a mighty
rate. I suddenly rode up to Brother Walker and cried out, 'Wake up! wake
up!' He roused up, his eyes watering freely. 'I believe,' said I, 'we
are both drunk. Let us turn out of the road and lie down and take a nap
till we get sober,' But we rode on without stopping. We were not drunk,
but we both evidently felt it flying to our heads."

In 1826 Mr. Cartwright was elected to the Legislature of the State, and
at the expiration of his first term was reflected from Sangamon County.
He was induced to accept this position because of his desire to aid in
preventing the introduction of slavery into the State. He had no liking
for political strife, however, and was disgusted with the dishonesty
which he saw around him. "I say," he declares, "without any desire to
speak evil of the rulers of the people, I found a great deal of
corruption in our Legislature, and I found that almost every measure had
to be carried by a corrupt bargain and sale which should cause every
honest man to blush for his country."

He was full of a quaint humor, which seemed to burst out from every line
of his features, and twinkle merrily in his bright eyes. Often in the
midst of his most exciting revivals he could not resist the desire to
fasten his dry jokes upon one of his converts. No man loved a joke
better, or was quicker to make a good use of it. He was traveling one
day on his circuit, and stopped for the night at a cabin in which he
found a man and woman. Suspecting that all was not right, he questioned
the woman, and drew from her the confession that the man was her lover.
Her husband, she said, was away, and would not return for two days, and
she had received this man in his absence.


Cartwright then began to remonstrate with the guilty pair upon their
conduct, and while he was speaking to them the husband's voice was heard
in the yard. In an agony of terror the woman implored Cartwright to
assist her in getting her lover out of the way, and our preacher, upon
receiving from each a solemn promise of reformation, agreed to do so.
There was standing by the chimney a large barrel of raw cotton, and as
there was no time to get the man out of the house, Cartwright put him
into the barrel and piled the cotton over him.

The husband entered, and Cartwright soon engaged him in conversation.
The man said he had often heard of Peter Cartwright, and that it was the
common opinion in that part of the country that among his other
wonderful gifts our preacher had the power to call up the devil.

"That's the easiest thing in the world to do," said Cartwright. "Would
you like to see it?"

The man hesitated for awhile, and then expressed his readiness to
witness the performance.

"Very well," said Cartwright; "take your stand by your wife, and don't
move or speak. I'll let the door open to give him a chance to get out,
or he may carry the roof away."

So saying, he opened the door, and, taking a handful of cotton, held it
in the fire and lighted it. Then plunging it into the barrel of raw
cotton, he shouted lustily, "Devil, rise!" In an instant the barrel was
wrapped in flames, and the lover, in utter dismay, leaped out and rushed
from the house. The husband was greatly terrified, and ever afterward
avowed himself a believer in Cartwright's intimacy with "Old Scratch,"
for had he not had ocular proof of it?

Riding out of Springfield one day, he saw a wagon some distance ahead of
him containing a young lady and two young men. As he came near them they
recognized him, though he was totally unacquainted with them, and began
to sing camp-meeting hymns with great animation. In a little while the
young lady began to shout, and said, "Glory to God! Glory to God!" and
the driver cried out, "Amen! Glory to God!"

"My first impressions," says Mr. Cartwright, "were, that they had been
across the Sangamon River to a camp meeting that I knew was in progress
there, and had obtained religion, and were happy. As I drew a little
nearer, the young lady began to sing and shout again. The young man who
was not driving fell down, and cried aloud for mercy; the other two,
shouting at the top of their voices, cried out, 'Glory to God! another
sinner down.' Then they fell to exhorting the young man that was down,
saying, 'Pray on, brother; pray on, brother; you'll soon get religion.'
Presently up jumped the young man that was down, and shouted aloud,
saying, 'God has blessed my soul. Halleluiah! halleluiah! Glory to

Thinking that these were genuine penitents, Cartwright rode rapidly
toward them, intending to join in their rejoicings; but as he drew near
them, he detected certain unmistakable evidences that they were shamming
religious fervor merely for the purpose of annoying him. He then
endeavored to get rid of them, but as they were all going the same
direction, the party in the wagon managed to remain near him by driving
fast when he tried to pass them, and falling back when he drew up to let
them go ahead. "I thought," says our preacher, "I would ride up and
horsewhip both of these young men; and if the woman had not been in
company, I think I should have done so; but I forebore."

In a little while the road plunged into a troublesome morass. Around the
worst part of this swamp wound a bridle path, by which Mr. Cartwright
determined to escape his tormentors, who would be compelled to take the
road straight through the swamp. The party in the wagon saw his object,
and forgetting prudence in their eagerness to keep up with him, whipped
their horses violently. The horses bounded off at full speed, and the
wagon was whirled through the swamp at a furious rate. When nearly
across, one of the wheels struck a large stump, and over went the wagon.
"Fearing it would turn entirely over and catch them under," says Mr.
Cartwright, "the two young men took a leap into the mud, and when they
lighted they sunk up to the middle. The young lady was dressed in white,
and as the wagon went over, she sprang as far as she could, and lighted
on all fours; her hands sunk into the mud up to her arm-pits, her mouth
and the whole of her face immersed in the muddy water, and she certainly
would have strangled if the young men had not relieved her. As they
helped her up and out, I had wheeled my horse to see the fun. I rode up
to the edge of the mud, stopped my horse, reared in my stirrups, and
shouted, at the top of my voice, 'Glory to God! Glory to God!
Halleluiah! another sinner down! Glory to God! Halleluiah! Glory!

"If ever mortals felt mean, these youngsters did; and well they might,
for they had carried on all this sport to make light of religion, and to
insult a minister, a total stranger to them. When I became tired of
shouting over them, I said to them:

"'Now, you poor, dirty, mean sinners, take this as a just judgment of
God upon you for your meanness, and repent of your dreadful wickedness;
and let this be the last time that you attempt to insult a preacher; for
if you repeat your abominable sport and persecutions, the next time God
will serve you worse, and the devil will get you.'

"They felt so badly that they never uttered one word of reply."

Our preacher was determined that his work should be recognized, and as
he and his fellow traveling ministers had done a good work on the
frontier, he was in no humor to relish the accounts of the religious
condition of the West, which the missionaries from the East spread
through the older States in their letters home. "They would come," says
he, "with a tolerable education, and a smattering knowledge of the old
Calvinistic system of theology. They were generally tolerably well
furnished with old manuscript sermons, that had been preached, or
written, perhaps a hundred years before. Some of these sermons they had
memorized, but in general they read them to the people. This way of
reading sermons was out of fashion altogether in this Western world, and
of course they produced no effect among the people. The great mass of
our Western people wanted a preacher that could mount a stump or a
block, or stand in the bed of a wagon, and, without note or manuscript,
quote, expound, and apply the word of God to the hearts and consciences
of the people. The result of the efforts of these Eastern missionaries
was not very flattering; and although the Methodist preachers were in
reality the pioneer heralds of the cross through the entire West, and
although they had raised up numerous societies every five miles, and
notwithstanding we had hundreds of traveling and local preachers,
accredited and useful ministers of the Lord Jesus Christ, yet these
newly-fledged missionaries would write back to the old States hardly any
thing else but wailings and lamentations over the moral wastes and
destitute condition of the West."

The indignation of our preacher was fully shared by the people of the
West, who considered themselves as good Christians; as their New England
brethren, and the people of Quincy called a meeting, irrespective of
denomination, and pledged themselves to give Peter Cartwright one
thousand dollars per annum, and pay his traveling expenses, if he would
"go as a missionary to the New England States, and enlighten them on
this and other subjects, of which they were profoundly ignorant."
Circumstances beyond his control prevented his acceptance of this offer.
"How gladly and willingly would I have undertaken this labor of love,"
says he, "and gloried in enlightening them down East, that they might
keep their home-manufactured clergy at home, or give them some honorable
employ, better suited to their genius than that of reading old musty and
worm-eaten sermons."

Our preacher did visit New England in 1852, not as a missionary,
however, but as a delegate to the General Conference which met that year
in Boston. His fame had preceded him, and he was one of the marked men
of that body. Every one had heard some quaint story of his devotion to
his cause, his fearlessness, or his eccentricities, and crowds came out
to hear him preach. But our backwoods preacher was ill at ease. The
magnificence of the city, and the prim decorum of the Boston churches,
subdued him, and he could not preach with the fire and freedom of the
frontier log chapel. The crowds that came to hear him were disappointed,
and more than once they told him so.

"Is this Peter Cartwright, from Illinois, the old Western pioneer?" they
asked him once.

He answered them, "I am the very man."

"Well," said several of them, "brother, we are much disappointed; you
have fallen very much under our expectations, we expected to hear a much
greater sermon than that you preached to-day."

It was a regular Bostonian greeting, and it not only mortified and
disheartened the old pioneer, but it irritated him. "I tell you," says
he, "they roused me, and provoked what little religious patience I
had.... I left them abruptly, and in very gloomy mood retreated to my
lodgings, but took very little rest in sleep that night. I constantly
asked myself this question: Is it so, that I can not preach? or what is
the matter? I underwent a tremendous crucifixion in feeling."

The result was that he came to the conclusion that he _could_ preach,
and that the people of Boston had not "sense enough to know a good
sermon when they heard it." A little later old Father Taylor, that good
genius of the Boston Bethel, a man after Cartwright's own heart, came to
him and asked him to preach for him, and this, after hesitating, our
preacher agreed to do, upon the condition that he should be allowed to
conduct the services in regular Western style.

"In the meantime," says he, "I had learned from different sources that
the grand reason of my falling under the expectations of the
congregations I had addressed was substantially this: almost all those
curious incidents that had gained currency throughout the country
concerning Methodist preachers had been located on me, and that when the
congregations came to hear me, they expected little else but a bundle of
eccentricities and singularities, and when they did not realize
according to their anticipations, they were disappointed, and that this
was the reason they were disappointed. So on the Sabbath, when I came to
the Bethel, we had a good congregation, and after telling them that
Brother Taylor had given me the liberty to preach to them after the
Western fashion, I took my text, and after a few common-place remarks, I
commenced giving them some Western anecdotes, which had a thrilling
effect on the congregation, and excited them immoderately--I can not say
religiously; but I thought if ever I saw animal excitement, it was then
and there. This broke the charm. During my stay, after this, I could
pass anywhere for Peter Cartwright, the old pioneer of the West. I am
not sure that after this I fell under the expectations of my
congregations among them."

Sixty-seven years have passed away since the old pioneer began his
preaching, and still he labors in the cause of his Master. Age has not
subdued his zeal or dimmed his eye. His labors make up the history of
the West. Where he first reared his humble log-hut, smiling farms and
tasteful mansions cover the fertile prairies of the West; cities and
towns mark the spot where his backwoods camp-meetings drew thousands
into the kingdom of God; the iron horse dashes with the speed of the
wind over the boundless prairies which he first crossed with only the
points of timber for his guides; the floating palaces of the West plow
the streams over which he swam his horse or was ferried in a bark canoe;
and stately churches stand where the little log chapels of the infant
West were built by him. It is a long and a noble life upon which he
looks back, the only survivor of the heroic band who started with him to
carry Christ into the Western wilds. He has outlived all his father's
family, every member of the class he joined in 1800, every member of the
Western Conference of 1804, save perhaps one or two, every member of the
General Conference of 1816, the first to which he was elected, all his
early bishops, every presiding elder under whom he ever ministered, and
thousands of those whom he brought into the Church. "I have lived too
long," he said, in a recent lecture; but we take issue with him. He has
not lived too long whose declining age is cheered by the glorious
fruition of the seed sown in his youth and prime. Few, indeed, are given
so great a privilege; and few, having lived so long and worked so hard,
can say with him, that during such a long and exposed career, "I have
never been overtaken in any scandalous sin, though my shortcomings and
imperfections have been without number." A man who can boast such a
record, though he be as poor in purse as this simple-hearted backwoods
preacher, has earned a Great Fortune indeed, for his treasure is one
that can not be taken from him, since it is laid up in Heaven, "where
neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break
through nor steal."





Wherever the English language is spoken, the name of HENRY WADSWORTH
LONGFELLOW has become a household word, and there is scarcely a library,
however humble, but can boast a well-worn volume of his tender
songs,--songs that

     "Have power to quiet
       The restless pulse of care,
     And come like the benediction
       That follows after prayer."

He was born in the city of Portland, Maine, on the 27th of February,
1807, and was the son of the Hon. Stephen Longfellow, a distinguished
lawyer of that city. The house in which he was born was a square wooden
structure, built many years before, and large and roomy. It stood upon
the outskirts of the town, on the edge of the sea, and was separated
from the water only by a wide street. From its windows the dreamy boy,
who grew up within its walls, could look out upon the dark, mysterious
ocean, and, lying awake in his little bed in the long winter nights, he
could listen to its sorrowful roar as it broke heavily upon the shore.
That he was keenly alive to the fascination of such close intimacy with
the ocean, we have abundant proof in his writings.

He was carefully educated in the best schools of the city, and at the
age of fourteen entered Bowdoin College, at Brunswick, where he
graduated in his nineteenth year. He was an industrious student, and
stood high in his classes. He gave brilliant promise of his future
eminence as a poet in several productions written during his college
days, which were published in a Boston journal called the "United States
Literary Gazette." Among these were the "Hymn of the Moravian Nuns,"
"The Spirit of Poetry," "Woods in Winter," and "Sunrise on the Hills."

Upon leaving college he entered his father's office, in Portland, with
the half-formed design of studying law, which he never carried into
execution, as more congenial employment soon presented itself to him. In
1826 he was appointed Professor of Modern Languages and Literature at
Bowdoin College, with the privilege of passing several years abroad for
observation and study. He accepted the appointment with unaffected
delight, and promptly went abroad. He passed his first year in France,
studying the language and literature of that country, and the next in
Spain, engaged in similar pursuits. Italy claimed his third year, and
Germany his fourth. He traveled extensively, and made many pleasant
acquaintances among the most gifted men and women of the Old World.
Returning home toward the close of 1829, he entered upon the active
duties of his professorship, and for five years held this position,
winning considerable distinction by his academic labors.

During his professorship our poet married, and the years that followed
were very happy and very quiet. The life he led at Bowdoin was peaceful,
and in a measure retired, giving him ample opportunity for study and for
laying the sure foundation of his future fame. During this period of his
life he contributed articles to the "North American Review," and
extended his acquaintance gradually among the literary men of New
England. He was fond of recalling the experiences of his life abroad,
and being unwilling that they should be lost from his memory, determined
to transmit them to paper before they faded quite away. These sketches
he finally concluded to give to the public, under the title of "Outre
Mer; or, Sketches from Beyond Sea." They appeared originally in numbers,
and were published by Samuel Colman, of Portland. They were well
received, and brought Professor Longfellow into notice in New England.
Soon afterward he published a translation of the ode upon "Coplas de
Manrique," by his son, Don Jose Manrique, which won him additional
credit. His fugitive poems had become very popular, and had made his
name familiar to his countrymen, but as yet he had not collected them in
book form.

In 1835, on the resignation of Mr. George Ticknor, he was appointed
Professor of Modern Languages and Belles Lettres in Harvard College, and
accepted the position. Before entering upon his duties, however, he
resolved to devote two years more to foreign travel and improvement, and
accordingly sailed for Europe the second time. Before leaving America,
however, he committed the publication of "Outre Mer" to the Harpers, of
New York, who issued it complete in two volumes in 1835. Its popularity
was very decided. Soon after reaching Europe, Mr. Longfellow was visited
with a sad bereavement in the loss of his wife, who died at Rotterdam.
He devoted this European visit to the northern part of the continent,
Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and Holland, and to England, and spent some
time in Paris. Returning in the autumn of 1836, he entered upon his
duties at Harvard, and made his home in Cambridge. He continued his
contributions to the "North American Review," and a number of fugitive
pieces flowed from his pen into print.

In the summer of 1837 he went to live in the house which has ever since
been his home. This is the old Craigie House, in Cambridge, famous in
our history as having been the headquarters of Washington during the
siege of Boston. It had been built by Colonel John Vassal about the
middle of the last century, and had finally passed into the hands of
Andrew Craigie, "Apothecary General to the Northern Provincial Army" of
the infant Republic. Craigie had ruined himself by his lavish
hospitality, and his widow, a stately old lady, and worthy in every
respect of a better fate, had been reduced to the necessity of letting
rooms and parting with the greater portion of the lands which had
belonged to the mansion. Mr. Longfellow had been attracted to the house
not only by its winning and home-like appearance, but by its historical
associations. Mrs. Craigie had decided at the time to let no more rooms,
but the young professor's gentle, winning manner conquered her
determination, and she not only received him into the old mansion, but
installed him in the south-east corner room in the second story, which
had been used by Washington as his bed-chamber.

It was just the home for our poet. Its windows looked out upon one of
the loveliest landscapes in New England, with the bright river winding
through the broad meadow beyond the house, and the blue Milton Hills
dotting the distant background. The bright verdure of New England
sparkled on every side, and the stately old elms that stood guard by the
house screened it from the prying eyes of the passers on the public
road. The whole place was hallowed to its new inmate by the memories of
the brave soldiers, wise statesmen, and brilliant ladies who had graced
its heroic age, and of which the stately hostess was the last and worthy
representative. The old house was as serene and still as the dearest
lover of quiet could wish. The mistress lived quite apart from her
lodger, and left him to follow the bent of his own fancies; and rare
fancies they were, for it was of them that some of his best works were
born in this upper chamber. Here he wrote "Hyperion," in 1838 and 1839.
Its publication, which was undertaken by John Owen, the University
publisher in Cambridge, marked an era in American literature. Every body
read the book, and every body talked of it. It was a poem in prose, and
none the less the work of a poet because professedly "a romance of
travel." The young read it with enthusiasm, and it sent hundreds to
follow Paul Flemming's footsteps in the distant Fatherland, where the
"romance of travel" became their guidebook. The merchant and the lawyer,
the journalist and the mechanic, reading its pages, found that the stern
realities of life had not withered up all the romance of their natures,
and under its fascinations they became boys again. Even Horace Greeley,
that most practical and unimaginative of men, became rapturous over it.
It was a great success, and established the poet's fame beyond all
question, and since then its popularity has never waned.

In 1840, he published the "Voices of the Night," which he had heard
sounding to him in his haunted chamber. This was his first volume, and
its popularity was even greater than that of "Hyperion," although some
of the poems had appeared before, in the "Knickerbocker Magazine." In
1841, he published his volume of "Ballads, and Other Poems," which but
added to his fame, and the next year bade the old house under the elms
a temporary adieu, and sailed for Europe, where he passed the summer on
the Rhine. On the voyage home, he composed his "Poems on Slavery," and
soon after his return wrote "The Spanish Student," a drama, "which
smells of the utmost South, and was a strange blossoming for the garden
of Thomas Tracy."

In 1843 the stately mistress of the old house died, and Professor
Longfellow bought the homestead of Andrew Craigie, with eight acres of
land, including the meadow, which sloped down to the pretty river. There
have been very few prouder or happier moments in his life than that in
which he first felt that the old house under the elms was his. Yet he
must have missed the stately old lady who first had admitted him to a
place in it, and whom he had grown to love as a dear friend. She seemed
so thoroughly a part and parcel of the place, that he must have missed
the rustle of her heavy silks along the wide and echoing halls, and have
listened some time for the sound of her old-fashioned spinet in the huge
drawing-room below, and, entering the room where she was wont to receive
her guests, he must have missed her from the old window where she was
accustomed to sit, with the open book in her lap, and her eyes fixed on
the far-off sky, thinking, no doubt, of the days when in her royal
beauty, she moved a queen through the brilliant home of Andrew Craigie. A
part of the veneration which he felt for the old house had settled upon
its ancient mistress, and the poet doubtless felt that the completeness
of the quaint old establishment was broken up when she passed away.

In 1846, Mr. Longfellow published "The Belfry of Bruges, and Other
Poems;" in 1847, "Evangeline" (by many considered his greatest work); in
1850, "Seaside and Fireside;" in 1851, "The Golden Legend;" in 1855,
"The Song of Hiawatha;" in 1858, "The Courtship of Miles Standish;" in
1863, "The Wayside Inn;" in 1866, "The Flower de Luce;" in 1867, his
translation of the "Divina Commedia," in three volumes; and in 1868,
"The New England Tragedies." Besides these, he published, in 1845, a
work on the "Poets and Poetry of Europe," and in 1849, "Kavanagh," a

Mr. Longfellow continued to discharge his duties in the University for
seventeen years, winning fresh laurels every year, and in 1854 resigned
his position, and was succeeded in it by Mr. James Russell Lowell. He
now devoted himself exclusively to his profession, the income from his
writings affording him a handsome maintenance. In 1855. "The Song of
Hiawatha" was given to the public, and its appearance may be styled an
event in the literary history of the world. It was not only original in
the story it told, and in the method of treatment, but the rhythm was
new. It was emphatically an American poem, and was received by the
people with delight. It met with an immense sale, and greatly increased
its author's popularity with his countrymen.

In 1861 a terrible affliction befell the poet in his family. He had
married, some years after the death of his first wife, a lady whose many
virtues had endeared her to all who knew her. She was standing by the
open fire in the sitting-room, one day in the winter of 1861, when her
clothing took fire, and before her husband, summoned by her cries, could
extinguish the flames, she was terribly burned. Her injuries were
internal, and she soon afterwards died.

In 1868, Mr. Longfellow again visited Europe, and remained abroad more
than a year. His reception by all classes of the people of the Old World
was eminently gratifying to his countrymen. This welcome, so genuine and
heartfelt, was due, however, to the genius of the man, and not to his

He had overstepped the bounds of country, and had made himself the poet
of the English-speaking race. A man of vast learning and varied
acquirements, thoroughly versed in the ways of the world, he is still as
simple and unaffected in thought and ways as when he listened to and
wondered at the dashing of the wild waves on the shore in his boyhood's
home. A most gifted and accomplished artist, he has been faithful to
nature in all things. Earnest and aspiring himself, he has given to his
poems the ring of a true manhood. There is nothing bitter, nothing
sarcastic in his writings. He views all things with a loving eye, and it
is the exquisite tenderness of his sympathy with his fellow-men that has
enabled him to find his way so readily to their hearts. Without seeking
to represent the intensity of passion, he deals with the fresh, simple
emotions of the human soul, and in his simplicity lies his power. He
touches a chord that finds an echo in every heart, and his poems have a
humanity in them that is irresistible. We admire the "grand old
masters," but shrink abashed from their sublime measures. Longfellow is
so human, he understands us so well, that we turn instinctively to his
simple, tender songs for comfort in sorrow, or for the greater
perfection of our happiness.

Perhaps I can not better illustrate the power of his simplicity than by
the following quotations:

     There is no flock, however watched and tended,
         But one dead lamb is there!
     There is no fireside, howsoe'er defended,
         But has one vacant chair!

     The air is full of farewell to the dying,
         And mournings for the dead;
     The heart of Rachel, for her children crying,
         Will not be comforted.

     Let us be patient! These severe afflictions
         Not from the ground arise,
     But oftentimes celestial benedictions
         Assume this dark disguise.

     We see but dimly through the mists and vapors,
         Amid these earthly damps;
     What seem to us but sad funereal tapers,
         May be heaven's distant lamps.

     There is no death! What seems so is transition;
         This life of mortal breath
     Is but a suburb of the life elysian,
         Whose portal we call Death.

     She is not dead--the child of our affection--
         But gone unto that school
     Where she no longer needs our poor protection,
         And Christ himself doth rule.

     In that great cloister's stillness and seclusion,
         By guardian angels led,
     Safe from temptation, safe from sin's pollution,
         She lives, whom we call dead.

     Day after day we think what she is doing
         In those bright realms of air;
     Year after year, her tender steps pursuing,
         Behold her grow more fair.

     Thus do we walk with her, and keep unbroken
         The bond which nature gives,
     Thinking that our remembrance, though unspoken,
         May reach her where she lives.

     Not as a child shall we again behold her;
         For when with raptures wild
     In our embraces we again enfold her,
         She will not be a child--

     But a fair maiden, in her Father's mansion,
         Clothed with celestial grace,
     And beautiful with all the soul's expansion
         Shall we behold her face.

     And though at times impetuous with emotion,
         And anguish long suppressed,
     The swelling heart heaves, moaning like the ocean,
         That can not be at rest--

     We will be patient, and assuage the feeling
         We can not wholly stay;
     By silence sanctifying, not concealing,
         The grief that must have way.


SCENE.--_The Chamber of_ GOTTLIEB _and_ URSULA.--_Midnight_.--ELSIE
_standing by their bedside weeping_.

GOTTLIEB. The wind is roaring; the rushing rain
Is loud upon the roof and window-pane,
As if the wild Huntsman of Rodenstein,
Boding evil to me and mine,
Were abroad to-night with his ghostly train!
In the brief lulls of the tempest wild,
The dogs howl in the yard; and hark!
Some one is sobbing in the dark,
Here in the chamber.

ELSIE.              It is I.

URSULA.  Elsie! What ails thee, my poor child?

ELSIE.  I am disturbed and much distressed,
In thinking our dear Prince must die;
I can not close my eyes, nor rest.

GOTTLIEB. What wouldst thou? In the Power Divine
His healing lies, not in our own;
It is in the hand of God alone.

ELSIE.  Nay, He has put it into mine,
And into my heart.

GOTTLIEB.          Thy words are wild.

URSULA.  What dost thou mean? my child! my child!

ELSIE.  That for our dear Prince Henry's sake
I will myself the offering make,
And give my life to purchase his.

URSULA.  Am I still dreaming, or awake?
Thou speakest carelessly of death,
And yet thou knowest not what it is.

ELSIE.  'Tis the cessation of our breath.
Silent and motionless we lie;
And no one knoweth more than this.
I saw our little Gertrude die;
She left off breathing, and no more
I smoothed the pillow beneath her head.
She was more beautiful than before.
Like violets faded were her eyes;
By this we knew that she was dead.
Through the open window looked the skies
Into the chamber where she lay,
And the wind was like the sound of wings,
As if angels came to bear her away.
Ah! when I saw and felt these things,
I found it difficult to stay;
I longed to die, as she had died,
And go forth with her, side by side.
The saints are dead, the martyrs dead,
And Mary, and our Lord; and I
Would follow in humility
The way by them illumined.

URSULA.  My child I my child! thou must not die.

ELSIE.  Why should I live? Do I not know
The life of woman is full of woe?
Toiling on, and on, and on,
With breaking heart, and tearful eyes,
And silent lips, and in the soul
The secret longings that arise,
Which this world never satisfies!
Some more, some less, but of the whole
Not one quite happy; no, not one!

URSULA.  It is the malediction of Eve!

ELSIE.  In place of it, let me receive
The benediction of Mary, then.

GOTTLIEB. Ah, woe is me! Ah, woe is me!
Most wretched am I among men.

URSULA.  Alas! that I should live to see
Thy death, beloved, and to stand
Above thy grave! Ah, woe the day!

ELSIE.  Thou wilt not see it. I shall lie
Beneath the flowers of another land;
For at Salerno, far away
Over the mountains, over the sea,
It is appointed me to die!
And it will seem no more to thee
Than if at the village on market day
I should a little longer stay
Than I am used.

URSULA.         Even as thou sayest!
And how my heart beats when thou stayest!
I can not rest until my sight
Is satisfied with seeing thee.
What, then, if thou wert dead?

GOTTLIEB.                      Ah me,
Of our old eyes thou art the light!
The joy of our old hearts art thou!
And wilt thou die?

URSULA.            Not now! not now!

ELSIE.  Christ died for me, and shall not I
Be willing for my Prince to die?
You both are silent; you can not speak.
This said I, at our Saviour's feast,
After confession, to the priest,
And even he made no reply.
Does he not warn us all to seek
The happier, better land on high,
Where flowers immortal never wither;
And could he forbid me to go thither?

GOTTLIEB. In God's own time, my heart's delight!
When He shall call thee, not before!

ELSIE.  I heard Him call. When Christ ascended
Triumphantly, from star to star,
He left the gates of heaven ajar.
I had a vision in the night,
And saw Him standing at the door
Of His Father's mansion, vast and splendid,
And beckoning to me from afar.
I can not stay!

GOTTLIEB.       She speaks almost
As if it were the Holy Ghost
Spake through her lips and in her stead!
What if this were of God?

URSULA.                   Ah, then
Gainsay it dare we not.

GOTTLIEB.               Amen!

The old house under the elms is still the poet's home, and dear, as
such, to every lover of poetry. It is a stately building, of the style
of more than one hundred years ago, and is a very home-like place in its
general appearance. Entering by the main door-way, which is in the
center of the house, the visitor finds himself in a wide, old-fashioned
hall, with doors opening upon it on either hand.

"The library of the poet is the long north-eastern room upon the lower
floor," said a writer seventeen years ago. "It opens upon the garden,
which retains still the quaint devices of an antique design, harmonious
with the house. The room is surrounded with handsome book-cases, and one
stands also between two Corinthian columns at one end, which imparts
dignity and richness to the apartment. A little table by the northern
window, looking upon the garden, is the usual seat of the poet. A bust
or two, the rich carvings of the cases, the spaciousness of the room, a
leopard-skin lying upon the floor, and a few shelves of strictly
literary curiosities, reveal not only the haunt of the elegant scholar
and poet, but the favorite resort of the family circle. But the northern
gloom of a New England winter is intolerant of this serene delight, this
beautiful domesticity, and urges the inmates to the smaller room in
front of the house, communicating with the library, and the study of
General Washington. This is still distinctively 'the study,' as the rear
room is 'the library,' Books are here, and all the graceful detail of an
elegant household, and upon the walls hang crayon portraits of Emerson,
Sumner, and Hawthorne.

"Emerging into the hall, the eyes of the enamored visitor fall upon the
massive old staircase, with the clock upon the landing. Directly he
hears a singing in his mind:

      'Somewhat back from the village street,
       Stands the old-fashioned country-seat;
       Across its antique portico
       Tall poplar trees their shadows throw,
       And from its station in the hall
       An ancient time-piece says to all,

"But he does not see the particular clock of the poem, which stood upon
another staircase, in another quaint old mansion,--although the verse
belongs truly to all old clocks in all old country-seats, just as the
'Village Blacksmith' and his smithy are not alone the stalwart man and
dingy shop under the 'spreading chestnut-tree' which the Professor daily
passes on his way to his college duties, but belong wherever a smithy
stands. Through the meadows in front flows the placid Charles."

So calmly flows the poet's life. The old house has other charms for him
now besides those with which his fancy invested it when he first set
foot within its walls, for here have come to him the joys and sorrows of
his maturer life, and here, "when the evening lamps are lighted," come
to him the memories of the loved and lost, who but wait for him in the
better land. Here, too, cluster the memories of those noble achievements
in his glorious career which have made him now and for all times the
people's poet. Others, as the years go by, will woo us with their lays,
but none so winningly and tenderly as this our greatest master. There
was but one David in Israel, and when he passed away no other filled his



There came to the old town of Salem, in the Province of Massachusetts,
in the early part of the seventeenth century, an English family named
Hawthorne--Puritans, like all the other inhabitants of that growing
town. They proved their fidelity to Puritan principles by entering