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Title: A Backward Glance at Eighty - Recollections & comment
Author: Murdock, Charles A. (Charles Albert), 1841-1928
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 "A Backward Glance at Eighty - Recollections & comment" ***


Recollections & Comment



Massachusetts 1841
Humboldt Bay 1855
San Francisco 1864








FRANCIS BRET HARTE (Saroney, 1874)
THOMAS STARR KING (Original given Bret Harte)


In the autumn of 1920 the Board of Directors of the Pacific Coast
Conference of Unitarian Churches took note of the approaching eightieth
birthday of Mr. Charles A. Murdock, of San Francisco. Recalling Mr.
Murdock's active service of all good causes, and more particularly his
devotion to the cause of liberal religion through a period of more than
half a century, the board decided to recognize the anniversary, which
fell on January 26, 1921, by securing the publication of a volume of Mr.
Murdock's essays. A committee was appointed to carry out the project,
composed of Rev. H.E.B. Speight (chairman), Rev. C.S.S. Dutton, and Rev.
Earl M. Wilbur.

The committee found a very ready response to its announcement of a
subscription edition, and Mr. Murdock gave much time and thought to the
preparation of material for the volume. "A Backward Glance at Eighty" is
now issued with the knowledge that its appearance is eagerly awaited by
all Mr. Murdock's friends and by a large number of others who welcome
new light upon the life of an earlier generation of pioneers.

The publication of the book is an affectionate tribute to a good
citizen, a staunch friend, a humble Christian gentleman, and a fearless
servant of Truth--Charles A. Murdock.



In the beginning, the publication of this book is not the deliberate act
of the octogenarian. Separate causes seem to have co-operated
independently to produce the result. Several years ago, in a modest
literary club, the late Henry Morse Stephens, in his passion for
historical material, urged me from time to time to devote my essays to
early experiences in the north of the state and in San Francisco. These
papers were familiar to my friends, and as my eightieth birthday
approached they asked that I add to them introductory and connecting
chapters and publish a memorial volume. To satisfy me that it would find
acceptance they secured advance orders to cover the expense.

Under these conditions I could not but accede to their request. I would
subordinate an unimportant personal life. My purpose is to recall
conditions and experiences that may prove of historical interest and to
express some of the conclusions and convictions formed in an active and
happy life.

I wish to express my gratitude to the members of the committee and to my
friend, George Prescott Vance, for suggestions and assistance in
preparation and publication.




My very early memories alternate between my grandfather's farm in
Leominster, Massachusetts, and the Pemberton House in Boston. My father
and mother, both born in Leominster, were schoolmates, and in due time
they married. Father was at first a clerk in the country store, but at
an early age became the tavern-keeper. I was born on January 26, 1841.
Soon thereafter father took charge of the Pemberton House on Howard
Street, which developed into Whig headquarters. Being the oldest
grandson, I was welcome at the old homestead, and I was so well off
under the united care of my aunts that I spent a fair part of my life in
the country.

My father was a descendant of Robert Murdock (of Roxbury), who left
Scotland in 1688, and whose descendants settled in Newton. My father's
branch removed to Winchendon, home of tubs and pails. My grandfather
(Abel) moved to Leominster and later settled in Worcester, where he
died when I was a small boy. My father's mother was a Moore, also of
Scotch ancestry. She died young, and on my father's side there was no
family home to visit.

My mother's father was Deacon Charles Hills, descended from Joseph
Hills, who came from England in 1634.

Nearly every New England town was devoted to some special industry, and
Leominster was given to the manufacture of horn combs. The industry was
established by a Hills ancestor, and when I was born four Hills brothers
were co-operative comb-makers, carrying on the business in connection
with small farming. The proprietors were the employees. If others were
required, they could be readily secured at the going wages of one dollar
a day.

My grandfather was the oldest of the brothers. When he married Betsy
Buss his father set aside for him twenty acres of the home farm, and
here he built the house in which he lived for forty years, raising a
family of ten children.

I remember quite clearly my great-grandfather Silas Hills. He was old
and querulous, and could certainly scold; but now that I know that he
was born in 1760, and had nineteen brothers and sisters, I think of him
with compassion and wonder. It connects me with the distant past to
think I remember a man who was sixteen years old when the Declaration
of Independence was signed. He died at ninety-five, which induces

My grandfather's house faced the country road that ran north over the
rolling hills among the stone-walled farms, and was about a mile from
the common that marked the center of the town. It was white, of course,
with green blinds. The garden in front was fragrant from Castilian
roses, Sweet Williams, and pinks. There were lilacs and a barberry-bush.
A spacious hall bisected the house. The south front room was sacred to
funerals and weddings; we seldom entered it. Back of that was grandma's
room. Stairs in the hall led to two sleeping-rooms above. The north
front room was "the parlor," but seldom used. There on the center-table
reposed Baxter's "Saints' Rest" and Young's "Night Thoughts." The
fireplace flue so seldom held a fire that the swallows utilized the
chimney for their nests. Back of this was the dining-room, in which we
lived. It had a large brick oven and a serviceable fireplace. The
kitchen was an ell, from which stretched woodshed, carriage-house,
pigpen, smoking-house, etc. Currant and quince bushes, rhubarb,
mulberry, maple, and butternut trees were scattered about. An apple
orchard helped to increase the frugal income.

We raised corn and pumpkins, and hay for the horse and cows. The corn
was gathered into the barn across the road, and a husking-bee gave
occasion for mild merrymaking. As necessity arose the dried ears were
shelled and the kernels taken to the mill, where an honest portion was
taken for grist. The corn-meal bin was the source of supply for all
demands for breakfast cereal. Hasty-pudding never palled. Small incomes
sufficed. Our own bacon, pork, spare-rib, and souse, our own butter,
eggs, and vegetables, with occasional poultry, made us little dependent
on others. One of the great-uncles was a sportsman, and snared rabbits
and pickerel, thus extending our bill of fare. Bread and pies came from
the weekly baking, to say nothing of beans and codfish. Berries from the
pasture and nuts from the woods were plentiful. For lights we were
dependent on tallow candles or whale-oil, and soap was mostly home-made.

Life was simple but happy. The small boy had small duties. He must pick
up chips, feed the hens, hunt eggs, sprout potatoes, and weed the
garden. But he had fun the year round, varying with the seasons, but
culminating with the winter, when severity was unheeded in the joy of
coasting, skating, and sleighing in the daytime, and apples, chestnuts,
and pop-corn in the long evenings.

I never tired of watching my grandfather and his brothers as they worked
in their shops. The combs were not the simple instruments we now use to
separate and arrange the hair, but ornamental structures that women wore
at the back of the head to control their supposedly surplus locks. They
were associated with Spanish beauties, and at their best estate were
made of shell, but our combs were of horn and of great variety. In the
better quality, shell was closely imitated, but some were frankly horn
and ornamented by the application of aquafortis in patterns artistic or
grotesque according to the taste and ability of the operator. The horns
were sawed, split, boiled in oil, pressed flat, and then died out ready
to be fashioned into the shape required for the special product. This
was done in a separate little shop by Uncle Silas and Uncle Alvah. Uncle
Emerson then rubbed and polished them in the literally one-horsepower
factory, and grandfather bent and packed them for the market. The power
was supplied by a patient horse, "Log Cabin" by name, denoting the date
of his acquisition in the Harrison campaign. All day the faithful nag
trod a horizontal wheel in the cellar, which gave way to his efforts and
generated the power that was transmitted by belt to the simple machinery

Uncle Emerson generally sung psalm-tunes as he worked. Deacon Hills, as
he was always called, was finisher, packer, and business manager. I was
interested to notice that in doing up the dozen combs in a package he
always happened to select the best one to tie on the outside as a
sample. That was his nearest approach to dishonesty. He was a
thoroughly good man, but burdened and grave. I do not know that I ever
heard him laugh, and he seldom, if ever, smiled. He worked hard, was
faithful to every duty, and no doubt loved his family; but soberness was
inbred. He read the _Cultivator_, the _Christian Register_, and the
almanac. After the manner of his time, he was kind and helpful; but life
was hard and joyless. He was greatly respected and was honored by a
period of service as representative in the General Court.

My grandmother was a gentle, patient soul, living for her family, wholly
unselfish and incapable of complaint. She was placid and cheerful,
courageous and trusting. I had four fine aunts, two of whom were then
unmarried and devoted to the small boy. One was a veritable ray of
sunshine; the other, gifted of mind and nearest my age, was most
companionable. Only one son lived to manhood. He had gone from the home,
but faithfully each year returned from the city to observe Thanksgiving,
the great day of New England.

Holidays were somewhat infrequent. Fourth of July and muster, of course,
were not forgotten, and while Christmas was almost unnoticed
Thanksgiving we never failed to mark with all its social and religious
significance. Almost everybody went to meeting, and the sermon, commonly
reviewing the year, was regarded as an event. The home-coming of the
absent family members and the reunion at a bountiful dinner became the
universal custom. There were no distractions in the way of professional
football or other games. The service, the family, and plenty of good
things to eat engrossed the day. It was a time of rejoicing--and
unlimited pie.

Sunday was strictly observed. Grandfather always blacked his boots
before sundown of Saturday night, and on Sunday anything but going to
meeting was regarded with suspicion, especially if it was associated
with any form of enjoyment. In summer "Log Cabin" was hitched into the
shafts of the chaise, and with gait slightly accelerated beyond the
daily habit jogged to town and was deposited in the church shed during
the service. At noon we rejoined him and ate our ginger-bread and cheese
while he disposed of his luncheon of oats. Then we went back to
Sunday-school, and he rested or fought flies. In winter he was decked
with bells and hitched in the sleigh. Plenty of robes and a foot-stove,
or at least a slab of heated soap-stone, provided for grandmother's

The church when it was formed was named "The First Congregational." When
it became Unitarian, the word, in parentheses, was added. The Second
Congregational was always called "The Orthodox." The church building was
a fine example of early architecture. The steeple was high, the walls
were white, the pews were square. On a tablet at the right of the pulpit
the Ten Commandments were inscribed, and at the left the Beatitudes
were found.

The first minister I remember was saintly Hiram Withington, who won my
loyalty by his interest manifested by standing me up by the door-jamb
and marking my growth from call to call. I remember Rufus P. Stebbins,
the former minister, who married my father and mother and refused a fee
because my father had always cut his hair in the barberless days of old.
Amos A. Smith was later in succession. I loved him for his goodness.
Sunday-school was always a matter of course, and was never dreaded.

I early enjoyed the Rollo books and later reveled in Mayne Reid. The
haymow in the barn and a blessed knothole are associated with many happy

Reading has dangers. I think one of the first books I ever read was a
bound volume of _Merry's Museum_. There was a continued story recounting
the adventures of one Dick Boldhero. It was illustrated with horrible
woodcuts. One of them showed Dick bearing on a spirited charger the
clasped form of the heroine, whom he had abducted. It impressed me
deeply. I recognized no distinction of sex or attractiveness and lived
in terror of suffering abduction. When I saw a stranger coming I would
run into the shop and clasp my arms around some post until I felt the
danger past. This must have been very early in my career. Indeed one of
my aunts must have done the reading, leaving me to draw distress from
the thrilling illustrations.

A very early trial was connected with a visit to a school. I was getting
proud of my ability to spell small words. A primer-maker had attempted
to help the association of letters with objects by placing them in
juxtaposition, but through a mistake he led me to my undoing. I knew my
letters and I knew some things. I plainly distinguished the letters
P-A-N. Against them I was puzzled by a picture of a spoon, and with
credulity, perhaps characteristic, I blurted out "P-a-n--spoon," whereat
to my great discomfiture everybody laughed. I have never liked being
laughed at from that day to this.

I am glad that I left New England early, but I am thankful that it was
not before I realized the loveliness of the arbutus as it braved the
snow and smiled at the returning sun, nor that I made forts or played
morris in the snow at school.

I have passed on from my first impressions in the country perhaps
unwarrantedly. It is hard to differentiate consistently. I may have
mixed early memories with more mature realization. I did not live with
my grandmother continuously. I went back and forth as convenience and
others' desires prompted. I do not know what impressions of life in the
Pemberton House came first. Very early I remember helping my busy
little mother, who in the spring of the year uncorded all the bedsteads
and made life miserable for the festive bedbugs by an application of
whale oil from a capable feather applied to the inside of all holes
through which the ropes ran. The re-cording of the beds was a tedious
process requiring two persons, and I soon grew big enough to count as
one. I remember also the little triangular tin candlesticks that we
inserted at the base of each of the very small panes of the window when
we illuminated the hotel on special nights. I distinctly recall the
quivering of the full glasses of jelly on tapering disks that formed
attractive table ornaments.

Daniel Webster was often the central figure at banquets in the
Pemberton. General Sam Houston, Senator from Texas, was also
entertained, for I remember that my father told me of an incident that
occurred many years after, when he passed through San Antonio. As he
strolled through the city he saw the Senator across the street, but,
supposing that he would not be remembered, had no thought of speaking,
whereupon Houston called out, "Young man, are you not going to speak to
me!" My father replied that he had not supposed that he would be
remembered. "Of course I remember meeting you at the Pemberton House in

I remember some of the boarders, regular and transient, distinguished
and otherwise. There was a young grocery clerk who used to hold me in
his lap and talk to me. He became one of the best of California's
governors, Frederick F. Low, and was a close friend of Thomas Starr
King. A wit on a San Francisco paper once published at Thanksgiving time
"A Thanksgiving proclamation by our stuttering reporter--'Praise God
from whom all blessings f-f-low.'" In my memory he is associated with
Haymaker Square.

I well remember the famous circus clown of the period, Joe Pentland,
very serious and proper when not professionally funny. A minstrel who
made a great hit with "Jim Crow" once gave me a valuable lesson on table
manners. One Barrett, state treasurer, was a boarder. He had a standing
order: "Roast beef, rare and fat; gravy from the dish." Madame
Biscaccianti, of the Italian opera, graced our table. So did the
original Drew family.

The hotel adjoined the Howard Athenaeum, and I profited from peeping
privileges to the extent of many pins. I recall some wonderful trained
animals--Van Amberg's, I think. A lion descended from back-stage and
crawled with stealth upon a sleeping traveler in the foreground. It was
thrilling but harmless. There were also some Viennese dancers, who
introduced, I believe, the Cracovienne. I remember a "Sissy Madigan,"
who seemed a wonder of beauty and charm.

There was great excitement when the Athenaeum caught on fire. I can see
the trunks being dragged down the stairs to the damage of the banisters,
and great confusion and dismay among our boarders. A small boy was
hurried in his nightie across the street and kept till all danger had
passed. A very early memory is the marching through the streets of
soldiers bound for the Mexican War.

Off and on, I lived in Boston till 1849, when my father left for
California and the family returned to Leominster.

My first school in Boston was in the basement of Park Street Church.
Hermann Clarke, son of our minister, Rev. James Freeman Clarke, was a
fellow pupil. Afterward I went to the Mayhew Grammar School, connected
in my mind with a mild chastisement for imitating a trombone when a
procession passed by. The only other punishment I recall was a spanking
by my father for playing "hookey" and roaming in the public garden. I
remember Sunday-school parades through certain public streets. But the
great event was the joining of all the day schools in the great parade
when Cochituate water was introduced into the city. It was a proud
moment when the fountain in the frogpond on the Common threw on high the
water prodigiously brought from far Cochituate.

Another Boston memory is the Boston Theater, where William Warren
reigned. Cinderella and her pumpkin carriage are fresh in my mind. I
also recall a waxwork representation of the Birth in the Manger. I still
can see the heads of the cattle, the spreading horns, and the blessed

As I recall my early boyhood, many changes in customs seem suggested.
There may be trundle-beds in these days, but I never see them. No
fathers wear boots in this era, and bootjacks are as extinct as the
dodo. I have kept a few letters written by my mother when I was away
from her. They were written on a flat sheet, afterward folded and
fastened by a wafer. Envelopes had not arrived; neither had
postage-stamps. Sealing-wax was then in vogue and red tape for important
documents. In all well-regulated dwellings there were whatnots in the
corner with shells and waxworks and other objects of beauty or mild
interest. The pictures did not move--they were fixed in the family
album. The musical instruments most in evidence were jew's-harps and
harmonicas. The Rollo books were well calculated to make a boy sleepy.
The Franconia books were more attractive, and "The Green Mountain Boy"
was thrilling. A small boy's wildest dissipation was rolling a hoop.

And now California casts her shadow. My father was an early victim. I
remember his parting admonition, as he was a man of few words and seldom
offered advice. "Be careful," he said, "of wronging others. Do not
repeat anything you hear that reflects on another. It is a pretty good
rule, when you cannot speak well of another, to say nothing at all." He
must have said more, but that is all that I recall.

Father felt that in two years he would return with enough money to
provide for our needs. In the meantime we could live at less expense and
in greater safety in the country. We returned to the town we all loved,
and the two years stretched to six. We three children went to school, my
mother keeping house. In 1851 my grandfather died, and in 1853 my
grandmother joined him.

During these Leominster days we greatly enjoyed a visit from my father's
sister, Charlotte, with her husband, John Downes, an astronomer
connected with Harvard University. They were charming people, bringing a
new atmosphere from their Cambridge home. Uncle John tried to convince
me that by dividing the heavens I might count the visible stars, but he
did not succeed. He wrote me a fine, friendly letter on his returning
home, in 1852, using a sheet of blue paper giving on the third page a
view of the college buildings and a procession of the alumni as they
left the church Sept. 6, 1836. In the letter he pronounced it a very
good view. It is presented elsewhere, in connection with the picture of
a friend who entered the university a few years later.

School life was pleasant and I suppose fairly profitable. Until I
entered high school I attended the ungraded district school. It was on
the edge of a wood, and a source of recess pleasure was making
umbrageous homes of pine boughs. On the last day of school the school
committee, the leading minister, the ablest lawyer, and the best-loved
doctor were present to review and address us. We took much pride in the
decoration. Wreaths of plaited leaves were twisted around the stovepipe;
the top of the stove was banked with pond-lilies gathered from a pond in
our woods. Medals were primitive. For a week I wore a pierced ninepence
in evidence of my proficiency in mental arithmetic; then it passed to
stronger hands.

According to present standards we indulged in precious little amusement.
Entertainments were few. Once in a while a circus came to town, and
there were organizations of musical attractions like The Hutchinson
Family and The Swiss Bell Ringers. Ossian E. Dodge was a name with which
to conjure, and a panorama was sometimes unrolled alternating with
dissolving views. Seen in retrospect, they all seem tame and unalluring.
The Lyceum was, the feature of strongest interest to the grownups.
Lectures gave them a chance to see men of note like Wendell Phillips,
Emerson, or William Lloyd Garrison. Even boys could enjoy poets of the
size of John G. Saxe.

Well do I remember the distrust felt for abolitionists. I had an uncle
who entertained Fred Douglass and was ready at any time to help a
fugitive slave to Canada. He was considered dangerous. He was a
shoemaker, and I remember how he would drop his work when no one was by
and get up to pace the floor and rehearse a speech he probably never
would make.

Occasionally our singing-school would give a concert, and once in a
farmers' chorus I was costumed in a smock cut down from one of
grandfather's. I carried a sickle and joined in "Through lanes with
hedgerows, pearly." I kept up in the singing but let my attention wander
as the farmers made their exit and did not notice that I was left till
the other boys were almost off the stage. I then skipped after them,
swinging my scythe in chagrin.

In the high school we gave an exhibition in which we enacted some Scotch
scene. I think it had to do with Roderick Dhu. We were to be costumed,
and I was bothered about kilts and things. Mr. Phillips, the principal,
suggested that the stage be set with small evergreen trees. The picture
of them in my mind's eye brought relief, and I impulsively exclaimed,
"That will be good, because we will not have to wear pants," meaning, of
course, the kilts. He had a sense of humor and was a tease. He pretended
to take me literally, and raised a laugh as he said, "Why, Murdock!"

One bitterly cold night we went to Fitchburg, five miles away, to
describe the various pictures given at a magic-lantern exhibition. My
share was a few lines on a poor view of Scarborough Castle. At this
distance it seems like a poor investment of energy.

I wonder if modern education has not made some progress in a generation.
Here was a boy of fourteen who had never studied history or physics or
physiology and was assigned nothing but Latin, algebra and grammar. I
left at fourteen and a half to come to California, knowing little but
what I had picked up accidentally.

A diary of my voyage, dating from June 4, 1855, vividly illustrates the
character of the English inculcated by the school of the period. It
refers to the "crowd assembled to witness our departure." It recounts
all we saw, beginning with Washacum Pond, which we passed on our way to
Worcester: "of considerable magnitude, ... and the small islands which
dot its surface render it very beautiful." The buildings of New York
impressed the little prig greatly. Trinity Church he pronounces "one of
the most splendid edifices which I ever saw," and he waxes into
"Opalian" eloquence over Barnum's American Museum, which was
"illuminated from basement to attic."

We sailed on the "George Law," arriving at Aspinwall, the eastern
terminal of the Panama Railroad, in ten days. Crossing the isthmus,
with its wonders of tropical foliage and varied monkeys, gave a glimpse
of a new world. We left Panama June 16th and arrived at San Francisco on
the morning of the 30th.

Let the diary tell the tale of the beginning of life in California: "I
arose about 4-1/2 this morning and went on deck. We were then in the
Golden Gate, which is the entrance into San Francisco Bay. On each side
of us was high land. On the left-hand side was a lighthouse, and the
light was still burning. On my right hand was the outer telegraph
building. When they see us they telegraph to another place, from which
they telegraph all over San Francisco. When we were going in there was a
strong ebb tide. We arrived at the wharf a little after five o'clock.
The first thing which I did was to look for my father. Him I did not

Father had been detained in Humboldt by the burning of the connecting
steamer, so we went to Wilson's Exchange in Sansome near Sacramento
Street, and in the afternoon took the "Senator" for Sacramento, where my
uncle and aunt lived.

The part of a day in San Francisco was used to the full in prospecting
the strange city. We walked its streets and climbed its hills, much
interested in all we saw. The line of people waiting for their mail up
at Portsmouth Square was perhaps the most novel sight. A race up the
bay, waiting for the tide at Benicia, sticking on the "Hog's Back" in
the night, and the surprise of a flat, checkerboard city were the most
impressive experiences of the trip to Sacramento.

A month or so on this compulsory visit passed very pleasantly. We found
fresh delight in watching the Chinese and their habits. We had never
seen a specimen before. A very pleasant picnic and celebration on the
Fourth of July was another attractive novelty. Cheap John auctions and
frequent fires afforded amusement and excitement, and we learned to
drink muddy water without protest.

On the 15th the diary records: "Last night about 12 o'clock I woke, and
who should I behold, standing by me, but my father! Is it possible that
after a separation of nearly six years I have at last met my father? It
is even so. This form above me is, indeed, my father's." The day's entry
concludes: "I have really enjoyed myself today. I like the idea of a
father very well."

We were compelled to await an upcoast steamer till August, when that
adventurous craft, the steamer "McKim," now newly named the "Humboldt,"
resumed sea-voyages. The Pacific does not uniformly justify the name,
but this time it completely succeeded. The ocean was as smooth as the
deadest mill-pond--not a breath of wind or a ripple of the placid
surface. Treacherous Humboldt Bar, sometimes a mountain of danger, did
not even disclose its location. The tar from the ancient seams of the
Humboldt's decks responded to the glowing sun until pacing the deck was
impossible, but sea-sickness was no less so. We lazily steamed into the
beautiful harbor, up past Eureka, her streets still occupied by stumps,
and on to the ambitious pier stretching nearly two miles from Uniontown
to deep water.

And now that the surroundings may be better understood, let me digress
from the story of my boyhood and touch on the early romance of Humboldt
Bay--its discovery and settlement.



The northwesterly corner of California is a region apart. In its
physical characteristics and in its history it has little in common with
the rest of the state. With no glamour of Spanish occupancy, its romance
is of quite another type. At the time of the discovery of gold in
California the northwestern portion of the state was almost unknown
territory. For seven hundred miles, from Fort Ross to the mouth of the
Columbia, there stretched a practically uncharted coast. A few headlands
were designated on the imperfect map and a few streams were poorly
sketched in, but the great domain had simply been approached from the
sea and its characteristics were mostly a matter of conjecture. So far
as is known, not a white man lived in all California west of the Coast
Range and north of Fort Ross.

Here is, generally speaking, a mountainous region heavily timbered along
the coast, diversified with river valleys and rolling hills. A marked
peculiarity is its sharp slope toward the northwest for its entire
length. East of the Coast Range the Sacramento River flows due south,
while to the west of the broken mountains all the streams flow
northwesterly--more northerly than westerly. Eel River flows about 130
miles northerly and, say, forty miles westerly. The same course is taken
by the Mattole, the Mad, and the Trinity rivers. The watershed of this
corner to the northwest is extensive, including a good part of what are
now Mendocino, Trinity, Siskiyou, Humboldt, and Del Norte counties. The
drainage of the westerly slope of the mountain ranges north and west of
Shasta reaches the Pacific with difficulty. The Klamath River flows
southwest for 120 miles until it flanks the Siskiyous. It there meets
the Trinity, which flows northwest. The combined rivers take the
direction of the Trinity, but the name of the Klamath prevails. It
enters the ocean about thirty miles south of the Oregon line. The whole
region is extremely mountainous. The course of the river is tortuous,
winding among the mountains.

The water-flow shows the general trend of the ranges; but most of the
rivers have numerous forks, indicating transverse ridges. From an
aeroplane the mountains of northern California would suggest an immense
drove of sleeping razor-backed hogs nestling against one another to keep
warm, most of their snouts pointed northwest.

Less than one-fourth of the land is tillable, and not more than a
quarter of that is level. Yet it is a beautiful, interesting and
valuable country, largely diversified, with valuable forests, fine
mountain ranges, gently rolling hills, rich river bottoms, and, on the
upper Trinity, gold-bearing bars.

Mendocino (in Humboldt County) was given its significant name about
1543. When Heceta and Bodega in 1775 were searching the coast for
harbors, they anchored under the lee of the next northerly headland.
After the pious manner of the time, having left San Blas on Trinity
Sunday, they named their haven Trinidad. Their arrival was six days
before the battle of Bunker Hill.

It is about forty-five miles from Cape Mendocino to Trinidad. The bold,
mountainous hills, though they often reach the ocean, are somewhat
depressed between these points. Halfway between them lies Humboldt Bay,
a capacious harbor with a tidal area of twenty-eight miles. It is the
best and almost the only harbor from San Francisco to Puget Sound. It is
fourteen miles long, in shape like an elongated human ear. It eluded
discovery with even greater success than San Francisco Bay, and the
story of its final settlement is striking and romantic.

Neither Cabrillo nor Heceta nor Drake makes mention of it. In 1792
Vancouver followed the coast searchingly, but when he anchored in what
he called the "nook" of Trinidad he was entirely ignorant of a near-by
harbor. We must bear in mind that Spain had but the slightest
acquaintance with the empire she claimed. The occasional visits of
navigators did not extend her knowledge of the great domain. It is
nevertheless surprising that in the long course of the passage of the
galleons to and from the Philippines the bays of San Francisco and
Humboldt should not have been found even by accident.

The nearest settlement was the Russian colony near Bodega, one hundred
and seventy-five miles to the south. In 1811 Kuskoff found a river
entering the ocean near the point. He called it Slavianski, but General
Vallejo rescued us from that when he referred to it as Russian River.
The land was bought from the Indians for a trifle. Madrid was applied to
for a title, but the Spaniards declined to give it. The Russians held
possession, however, and proceeded with cultivation. To better protect
their claims, nineteen miles up the coast, they erected a stockade
mounting twenty guns. They called the fort Kosstromitinoff, but the
Spaniards referred to it as _el fuerte de los Rusos_, which was
anglicized as Fort Russ, and, finally, as Fort Ross. The colony
prospered for a while, but sealing "pinched out" and the territory
occupied was too small to satisfy agricultural needs. In 1841 the
Russians sold the whole possession to General Sutter for thirty thousand
dollars and withdrew from California, returning to Alaska.

In 1827 a party of adventurers started north from Fort Ross for Oregon,
following the coast. One Jedidiah Smith, a trapper, was the leader. It
is said that Smith River, near the Oregon line, was named for him.
Somewhere on the way all but four were reported killed by the Indians.
They are supposed to have been the first white men to enter the Humboldt

Among the very early settlers in California was Pearson B. Redding, who
lived on a ranch near Mount Shasta. In 1845, on a trapping expedition,
he struck west through a divide in the Coast Range and discovered a
good-sized, rapid river flowing to the west. From its direction and the
habit of rivers to seek the sea, he concluded that it was likely to
reach the Pacific at about the latitude of Trinidad, named seventy years
before. He thereupon gave it the name of Trinity, and in due time left
it running and returned to his home.

Three years passed, and gold was discovered by Marshall. Redding was
interested and curious and visited the scene of Marshall's find. The
American River and its bars reminded him of the Trinity, and when he
returned to his home he organized a party to prospect it. Gold was found
in moderate quantities, especially on the upper portions. The Trinity
mines extended confidence and added to the excitement. Camps sprang up
on every bar. The town of Weaverville took the lead, and still holds it.
Quite a population followed and the matter of provisioning it became
serious. The base of supplies was Sacramento, two hundred miles distant
and over a range of mountains. To the coast it could not be more than
seventy miles. If the Trinity entered a bay or was navigable, it would
be a great saving and of tremendous advantage. The probability or
possibility was alluring and was increasingly discussed.

In October, 1849, there were at Rich Bar forty miners short of
provisions and ready for any adventure. The Indians reported that eight
suns to the west was a large bay with fertile land and tall trees. A
vision of a second San Francisco, a port for all northern California,
urged them to try for it. Twenty-four men agreed to join the party, and
the fifth of November was set for the start. Dr. Josiah Gregg was chosen
leader and two Indians were engaged as guides. When the day arrived the
rain was pouring and sixteen of the men and the two guides backed out,
but the remaining eight were courageous (or foolhardy) and not to be
thwarted. With a number of pack animals and eight days' supplies they
started up the slippery mountainside. At the summit they encountered a
snowstorm and camped for the night. In the morning they faced a western
view that would have discouraged most men--a mass of mountains,
rough-carved and snow-capped, with main ridges parallel on a
northwesterly line. In every direction to the most distant horizon
stretched these forbidding mountains. The distance to the ocean was
uncertain, and their course to it meant surmounting ridge after ridge of
the intervening mountains. They plunged down and on, crossed a swollen
stream, and crawled up the eastern side of the next ridge. For six days
this performance was repeated. Then they reached a large stream with an
almost unsurmountable mountain to the west. They followed down the
stream until they found it joined another of about equal size. They had
discovered the far-flowing south fork of the Trinity. They managed to
swim the united river and found a large Indian village, apparently
giving the inhabitants their first view of white men. The natives all
fled in fright, leaving their camps to the strange beings. The invaders
helped themselves to the smoked salmon that was plentiful, leaving flour
in exchange. At dusk about eighty of the fighting sex returned with
renewed courage, and threateningly. It took diplomacy to postpone an
attack till morning, when powder would be dry. They relied upon a
display of magic power from their firearms that would impress superior
numbers with the senselessness of hostilities. They did not sleep in
great security, and early in the morning proceeded with the
demonstration, upon which much depended.

When they set up a target and at sixty yards pierced a scrap of paper
and the tree to which it was pinned the effect was satisfactory. The
Indians were astonished at the feat, but equally impressed by the
unaccountable noise from the explosion. They became very friendly,
warned the wonder-workers of the danger to be encountered if they headed
north, where Indians were many and fierce, and told them to keep due

The perilous journey was continued by the ascent of another
mountainside. Provisions soon became very scarce, nothing but flour
remaining, and little of that. On the 18th they went dinnerless to their
cold blankets. Their animals had been without food for two days, but the
next morning they found grass. A redwood forest was soon encountered,
and new difficulties developed. The underbrush was dense and no trails
were found. Fallen trees made progress very slow. Two miles a day was
all they could accomplish. They painfully worked through the section of
the marvelous redwood belt destined to astonish the world, reaching a
small prairie, where they camped. The following day they devoted to
hunting, luckily killing a number of deer. Here they remained several
days, drying the venison in the meantime; but when, their strength
recuperated, they resumed their journey, the meat was soon exhausted.
Three days of fasting for man and beast followed. Two of the horses
were left to their fate. Then another prairie yielded more venison and
the meat of three bears. For three weeks they struggled on; life was
sustained at times by bitter acorns alone.

At length the welcome sound of surf was heard, but three days passed
before they reached the ocean. Three of the animals had died of
starvation in the last stretch of the forest. The men had not eaten for
two days, and devoted the first day on the beach to securing food. One
shot a bald eagle; another found a raven devouring a cast-up fish, both
of which he secured. All were stewed together, and a good night's sleep
followed the questionable meal.

The party struck the coast near the headland that in 1775 had been named
Trinidad, but not being aware of this fact they named it, for their
leader, Gregg's Point.

After two days' feasting on mussels and dried salmon obtained from the
Indians, they kept on south. Soon after crossing a small stream, now
named Little River, they came to one by no means so little. Dr. Gregg
insisted on getting out his instruments and ascertaining the latitude,
but the others had no scientific interest and were in a hurry to go on.
They hired Indians to row them across in canoes, and all except the
doctor bundled in. Finding himself about to be left, he grabbed up his
instruments and waded out into the stream to reach the canoe, which had
no intention of leaving him. He got in, wet and very angry, nursing his
wrath till shore was reached; then he treated his companions to some
vigorous language. They responded in kind, and the altercation became so
violent that the row gave the stream its name, Mad River.

They continued down the beach, camping when night overtook them. Wood,
the chronicler of the expedition, [Footnote: "The Narrative of L.K.
Wood," published many years after, and largely incorporated in Bledsoe's
"History of the Indian Wars of Northern California," is the source of
most of the incidents relating to Gregg's party embraced in this
chapter.] and Buck went in different directions to find water. Wood
returned first with a bucketful, brackish and poor. Buck soon after
arrived with a supply that looked much better, but when Gregg sampled it
he made a wry face and asked Buck where he found it. He replied that he
dipped it out of a smooth lake about a half mile distant. It was good
plain salt water; they had discovered the mythical bay--or supposed they
had. They credulously named it Trinity, expecting to come to the river
later. The next day they proceeded down the narrow sand strip that now
bounds the west side of Humboldt Bay, but when they reached the harbor
entrance from the ocean they were compelled to retrace their steps and
try the east shore. The following day they headed the bay, camping at a
beautiful plateau on the edge of the redwood belt, giving a fine view
of a noble landlocked harbor and a rich stretch of bottom land reaching
to Mad River. Here they found an abundant spring, and narrowly missed a
good supper; for they shot a large elk, which, to their great
disappointment, took to the brush. It was found dead the next morning,
and its head, roasted in ashes, constituted a happy Christmas
dinner--for December 25th had arrived, completing an even fifty days
since the start from Rich Bar.

They proceeded leisurely down the east side of the bay, stopping the
second day nearly opposite the entrance. It seemed a likely place for a
townsite, and they honored the water-dipping discoverer by calling it
Bucksport. Then they went on, crossing the little stream now named Elk
River, and camping near what was subsequently called Humboldt Point.
They were disappointed that no river of importance emptied into so fine
a bay, but they realized the importance of such a harbor and the value
of the soil and timber. They were, however, in no condition to settle,
or even to tarry. Their health and strength were impaired, ammunition
was practically exhausted, and there were no supplies. They would come
back, but now they must reach civilization. It was midwinter and raining
almost constantly. They had little idea of distance, but knew there were
settlers to the south, and that they must reach them or starve. So they
turned from the bay they had found to save their lives.

The third day they reached a large river flowing from the south,
entering the ocean a few miles south of the bay. As they reached it they
met two very old Indians loaded down with eels just taken from the
river, which the Indians freely shared with the travelers. They were so
impressed with them and more that followed that they bestowed on the
magnificent river which with many branches drains one of the most
majestic domains on earth the insignificant, almost sacrilegious name of

For two days they camped, consuming eels and discussing the future. A
most unfortunate difference developed, dividing the little group of men
who had suffered together so long. Gregg and three others favored
following the ocean beach. The other four, headed by Wood, were of the
opinion that the better course would be to follow up Eel River to its
head, crossing the probably narrow divide and following down some stream
headed either south or east. Neither party would yield and they parted
company, each almost hopeless.

Wood and his companions soon found their plan beset with great
difficulties. Spurs of the mountains came to the river's edge and cut
off ascent. After five days they left the river and sought a mountain
ridge. A heavy snowfall added to their discomfiture. They killed a small
deer, and camped for five days, devouring it thankfully. Compelled by
the snow, they returned to the river-bed, the skin of the deer their
only food. One morning they met and shot at five grizzly bears, but none
were killed. The next morning in a mountain gully eight ugly grizzlies
faced them. In desperation they determined to attack. Wood and Wilson
were to advance and fire. The others held themselves in reserve--one of
them up a tree. At fifty feet each selected a bear and fired. Wilson
killed his bear; Wood thought he had finished his. The beast fell,
biting the earth and writhing in agony. Wilson sensibly climbed a tree
and called upon Wood to do likewise. He started to first reload his
rifle and the ball stuck. When the two shots were fired five of the
bears started up the mountain, but one sat quietly on its haunches
watching proceedings. As Wood struggled with his refractory bullet it
started for him. He gained a small tree and climbed beyond reach. Unable
to load, he used his rifle to beat back the beast as it tried to claw
him. To his horror the bear he thought was killed rose to its feet and
furiously charged the tree, breaking it down at once. Wood landed on his
feet and ran down the mountain to a small buckeye, the bear after him.
He managed to hook his arm around the tree, swinging his body clear. The
wounded bear was carried by its momentum well down the mountain. Wood
ran for another tree, the other bear close after him, snapping at his
heels. Before he could climb out of reach he was grabbed by the ankle
and pulled down. The wounded bear came jumping up the mountain and
caught him by the shoulder. They pulled against each other as if to
dismember him. His hip was dislocated and he suffered some painful flesh

His clothing was stripped from his body and he felt the end had come,
but the bears seemed disinclined to seize his flesh. They were evidently
suspicious of white meat. Finally one disappeared up the ravine, while
the other sat down a hundred yards away, and keenly watched him. As long
as he kept perfectly still the bear was quiet, but if he moved at all it
rushed upon him.

Wilson came to his aid and both finally managed to climb trees beyond
reach. The bear then sat down between the trees, watching both and
growling threateningly if either moved. It finally tired of the game and
to their great relief disappeared up the mountain. Wood, suffering
acutely, was carried down to the camp, where they remained twelve days,
subsisting on the bear Wilson had killed.

Wood grew worse instead of better, and the situation was grave. Little
ammunition was left, they were practically without shoes or clothing,
and certain death seemed to face them. Wood urged them to seek their own
safety, saying they could leave him with the Indians, or put an end to
his sufferings at any time. Failing to induce the Indians to take him,
it was decided to try to bind him on his horse and take him along on
the hard journey. He suffered torture, but it was a day at a time and he
had great fortitude. After ten days of incredible suffering they reached
the ranch of Mrs. Mark West, thirty miles from Sonoma. The date was
February 17th, one hundred and four days from Rich Bar.

The four who started to follow the beach had experiences no less trying.
They found it impossible to accomplish their purpose. Bold mountains
came quite to the shore and blocked the way. They finally struck east
for the Sacramento Valley. They were short of food and suffered
unutterably. Dr. Gregg grew weaker day by day until he fell from his
horse and died from starvation, speaking no word. The other three pushed
on and managed to reach Sacramento a few days after the Wood party
arrived at Sonoma.

While these adventurous miners were prosecuting the search for the
mythical harbor, enterprising citizens of San Francisco renewed efforts
to reach it from the ocean. In December, 1849, soon after Wood and his
companions started from the Trinity River, the brig "Cameo" was
dispatched north to search carefully for a port. She returned without
success, but was again dispatched. On this trip she rediscovered
Trinidad. Interest grew, and by March of 1850 not less than forty
vessels were enlisted in the search.

My father, who left Boston early in 1849, going by Panama and the
Chagres River, had been through three fires in San Francisco and was
ready for any change. He joined with a number of acquaintances on one of
these ventures, acting as secretary of the company. They purchased the
"Paragon," a Gloucester fishing-boat of 125 tons burden, and early in
March, under the command of Captain March, with forty-two men in the
party, sailed north. They hugged the coast and kept a careful lookout
for a harbor, but passed the present Humboldt Bay in rather calm weather
and in the daytime without seeing it. The cause of what was then
inexplicable is now quite plain. The entrance has the prevailing
northwest slant. The view into the bay from the ocean is cut off by the
overlapping south spit. A direct view reveals no entrance; you can not
see in by looking back after having passed it. At sea the line of
breakers seems continuous, the protruding point from the south
connecting in surf line with that from the north. Moreover, the bay at
the entrance is very narrow. The wooded hills are so near the entrance
that there seems no room for a bay.

The "Paragon" soon found heavy weather and was driven far out to sea.
Then for three days she was in front of a gale driving her in shore. She
reached the coast nearly at the Oregon line and dropped anchor in the
lee of a small island near Point St. George. In the night a gale sprang
up, blowing fiercely in shore toward an apparently solid cliff. One
after another the cables to her three anchors parted, and my father said
it was with a feeling of relief that they heard the last one snap, the
suspense giving way to what they believed to be the end of all. But
there proved to be an unsuspected sandspit at the base of the cliff, and
the "Paragon" at high tide plowed her way to a berth she never left. Her
bones long marked the spot, and for many years the roadstead was known
as Paragon Bay. No lives were lost and no property was saved. About
twenty-five of the survivors returned to San Francisco on the "Cameo,"
but my father stayed by, and managed to reach Humboldt Bay soon after
its discovery, settling in Uniontown in May, 1850.

The glory of the ocean discovery remained for the "Laura Virginia," a
Baltimore craft, commanded by Lieutenant Douglass Ottinger, a revenue
officer on leave of absence. She left soon after the "Paragon," and kept
close in shore. Soon after leaving Cape Mendocino she reached the mouth
of Eel River and came to anchor. The next day three other vessels
anchored and the "General Morgan" sent a boat over the river bar. The
"Laura Virginia" proceeded north and the captain soon saw the waters of
a bay, but could see no entrance. He proceeded, anchoring first at
Trinidad and then at where Crescent City was later located. There he
found the "Cameo" at anchor and the "Paragon" on the beach. Remaining in
the roadstead two days, he started back, and tracing a stream of
fresh-looking water discovered the mouth of the Klamath. Arriving at
Trinidad, he sent five men down by land to find out if there was an
entrance to the bay he had seen. On their favorable report, Second
Officer Buhne was instructed to take a ship's boat and sound the
entrance before the vessel should attempt it. On April 9, 1850, he
crossed the bar, finding four and a half fathoms. Buhne remained in the
bay till the ship dropped down. On April 14th he went out and brought
her in. After much discussion the bay and the city they proposed to
locate were named Humboldt, after the distinguished naturalist and
traveler, for whom a member of the company had great admiration.

Let us now return to L.K. Wood, whom we left at the Mark West home in
the Sonoma Valley, recovering from the serious injuries incident to the
bear encounter on Eel River. After about six weeks of recuperation, Wood
pushed on to San Francisco and organized a party of thirty men to return
to Humboldt and establish a settlement. They were twenty days on the
journey, arriving at the shore of the bay on April 19th, five days after
the entrance of the "Laura Virginia." They were amazed to see the vessel
at anchor off Humboldt Point. They quietly drew back into the woods,
and skirting the east side of the bay came out at the Bucksport site.
Four men remained to hold it. The others pushed on to the head of the
bay, where they had enjoyed their Christmas dinner. This they considered
the best place for a town. For three days they were very busily engaged
in posting notices, laying foundations for homes, and otherwise
fortifying their claims. They named the new settlement Uniontown. About
six years afterward it was changed to Arcata, the original Indian name
for the spot. The change was made in consideration of the confusion
occasioned by there being a Uniontown in El Dorado County.

And so the hidden harbor that had long inspired legend and tradition,
and had been the source of great suffering and loss, was revealed. It
was _not_ fed by the Trinity or any other river. The mouth of the
Trinity was _not_ navigable; it did not boast a mouth--the Klamath just
swallowed it. The Klamath's far-northern mouth was a poor affair,
useless for commercial purposes. But a great empire had been opened and
an enormously serviceable harbor had been added to California's assets.
It aided mining and created immense lumber interests.

Strange as it may seem, Humboldt Bay was not discovered at this time.
Some years ago a searcher of the archives of far-off St. Petersburg
found unquestionable proof that the discovery was made in 1806, and not
in 1849-50. Early in the nineteenth century the Russian-American Company
was all-powerful and especially active in the fur trade. It engaged an
American captain, Jonathan Winship, who commanded an American crew on
the ship "Ocean." The outfit, accompanied by a hundred Aleut Indians,
with fifty-two small boats, was sent from Alaska down the California
coast in pursuit of seals. They anchored at Trinidad and spread out for
the capture of sea-otter. Eighteen miles south they sighted a bay and
finally found the obscure entrance. They entered with a boat and then
followed with the ship, which anchored nearly opposite the location of
Eureka. They found fifteen feet of water on the bar. From the large
number of Indians living on its shores, they called it the Bay of the
Indians. The entrance they named Resanof. Winship made a detailed sketch
of the bay and its surroundings, locating the Indian villages and the
small streams that enter the bay. It was sent to St. Petersburg and
entered on a Russian map. The Spaniards seem never to have known
anything of it, and the Americans evidently considered the incident of
no importance.

Humboldt as a community developed slowly. For five years its real
resources were neglected.

HARBOR--THRICE DISCOVERED Winship, 1806. Gregg, 1849. Ottinger, 1850.]

It was merely the shipping point from which the mines of the Trinity
and Klamath rivers were supplied by mule trains. Gradually agriculture
was developed, and from 1855 lumber was king. It is now a great domain.
The county is a little less than three times the size of the state of
Rhode Island, and its wealth of resources and its rugged and alluring
beauty are still gaining in recognition.

Its unique glory is the world-famous redwood belt. For its entire
length, one hundred and six miles of coast line, and of an average depth
of eight miles, extends the marvelous grove. Originally it comprised
540,000 acres. For more than sixty years it has been mercilessly
depleted, yet it is claimed that the supply will not be exhausted for
two hundred years. There is nothing on the face of the earth to compare
with this stand of superb timber. Trees reach two hundred and fifty feet
in height, thirty feet in diameter, and a weight of 1,250,000 pounds.
Through countless centuries these noble specimens have stood, majestic,
serene, reserved for man's use and delight. In these later years fate
has numbered their days, but let us firmly withstand their utter
demolition. It is beyond conception that all these monuments to nature's
power and beauty should be sacrificed. We must preserve accessible
groves for the inspiration and joy of those who will take our places.

The coast highway following down one of the forks of the Eel River
passes through the magnificent redwood belt and affords a wonderful
view of these superb trees. Efforts are now being made to preserve the
trees bordering the highway, that one of the most attractive features of
California's scenic beauty may be preserved for all time. California has
nothing more impressive to offer than these majestic trees, and they are
an asset she cannot afford to lose.



Uniontown (now Arcata) had enjoyed the early lead among the Humboldt Bay
towns. The first consideration had been the facility in supplying the
mines on the Trinity and the Klamath. All goods were transported by
pack-trains, and the trails over the mountains were nearer the head of
the bay. But soon lumber became the leading industry, and the mills were
at Eureka on deep water at the center of the bay, making that the
natural shipping point. It grew rapidly, outstripping its rival, and
also capturing the county-seat.

Arcata struggled valiantly, but it was useless. Her geographical
position was against her. In an election she shamelessly stuffed the
ballot box, but Eureka went to the legislature and won her point.

Arcata had the most beautiful location and its people were very
ambitious. In fruitless effort to sustain its lead, the town had built a
pier almost two miles in length to a slough navigable to ocean steamers.
A single horse drew a flat car carrying passengers and freight. It was
the nearest approach to a railroad in the state of California at the
time of our arrival on that lovely morning in 1855.

We disembarked from the ancient craft and were soon leisurely pursuing
our way toward the enterprising town at the other end of the track. It
seemed that we were met by the entire population; for the arrival of the
steamer with mail and passengers was the exciting event of the month.
The station was near the southwest corner of the plaza, which we crossed
diagonally to the post-office, housed in the building that had been my
father's store until he sold out the year before, when he was elected to
the Assembly. Murdock's Hall was in the second story, and a little way
north stood a zinc house that was to be our home. It had been shipped
first to San Francisco and then to Humboldt. Its plan and architecture
were the acme of simplicity. There were three rooms tandem, each with a
door in the exact middle, so that if all the doors were open a bullet
would be unimpeded in passing through. To add to the social atmosphere,
a front porch, open at both ends, extended across the whole front. A
horseman could, and in fact often did, ride across it. My brother and I
occupied a chamber over the post-office, and he became adept in going to
sleep on the parlor sofa every night and later going to bed in the store
without waking, dodging all obstructing objects and undressing while
sound asleep.

We were quite comfortable in this joke of a house. But we had no pump;
all the water we used I brought from a spring in the edge of the woods,
the one found by the Gregg party on the night of Christmas, 1849. The
first time I visited it and dipped my bucket in the sunken barrel that
protected it I had a shock. Before leaving San Francisco, being a
sentimental youth and knowing little of what Humboldt offered, I bought
two pots of fragrant flowers--heliotrope and a musk-plant--bringing them
on the steamer with no little difficulty. As I dipped into the barrel I
noticed that it was surrounded by a solid mass of musk-plants growing
wild. The misapprehension was at least no greater than that which
prompted some full-grown man to ship a zinc house to the one spot in the
world where the most readily splitting lumber was plentiful.

One of the sights shown to the newcomer was a two-story house built
before the era of the sawmill. It was built of split lumber from a
single redwood tree--and enough remained to fence the lot! Within a
stone's throw from the musk-plant spring was a standing redwood, with
its heart burned out, in which thirteen men had slept one night, just to
boast of it. Later, in my time, a shingle-maker had occupied the tree
all one winter, both as a residence and as a shop where he made shingles
for the trade.

We had a very pleasant home and were comfortable and happy. We had a
horse, cows, rabbits, and pigeons. Our garden furnished berries and
vegetables in plenty. The Indians sold fish, and I provided at first
rabbits and then ducks and geese. One delicious addition to our table
was novel to us. As a part of the redwood's undergrowth was a tall bush
that in its season yielded a luscious and enormous berry called the
salmon-berry. It was much like a raspberry, generally salmon in color,
very juicy and delicate, approximating an inch and a half in diameter.
Armed with a long pole, a short section of a butt limb forming a sort of
shepherd's crook, I would pull down the heavily laden branches and after
a few moments in the edge of the woods would be provided with a dessert
fit for any queen, and so appropriate for my mother.

California in those early days seemed wholly dependent on the foreign
markets. Flour came from Chile, "Haxall" being the common brand; cheese
from Holland and Switzerland; cordials, sardines, and prunes from
France; ale and porter from England; olives from Spain; whiskey from
Scotland. Boston supplied us with crackers, Philadelphia sent us boots,
and New Orleans furnished us with sugar and molasses.

The stores that supplied the mines carried almost
everything--provisions, clothing, dry goods, and certainly wet goods. At
every store there was found an open barrel of whiskey, with a convenient
glass sampler that would yield through the bunghole a fair-sized drink
to test the quality. One day I went into a store where a clever Chinaman
was employed. He had printed numerous placards announcing the stock. I
noticed a fresh one that seemed incongruous. It read, "Codfish and
Cologne Water." I said, "What's the idea?" He smilingly replied, "You
see its place? I hang it over the whiskey-barrel. Some time man come to
steal a drink. I no see him; he read sign, he laugh, I hear him, I see

There was no school in the town when we came. It troubled my mother that
my brother and sister must be without lessons. Several other small
children were deprived of opportunity. In the emergency we cleaned out a
room in the store, formerly occupied by a county officer, and I
organized a very primary school. I was almost fifteen, but the children
were good and manageable. I did not have very many, and fortunately I
was not called upon to teach very long. There came to town a clever man,
Robert Desty. He wanted to teach. There was no school building, but he
built one all by his own hands. He suggested that I give up my school
and become a pupil of his. I was very glad to do it. He was a good and
ingenious teacher. I enjoyed his lessons about six months, and then felt
I must help my father. My stopping was the only graduation in my

My father was an inveterate trader, and the year after our coming he
joined with another venturer in buying the standing crop of wheat in
Hoopa Valley, on the Trinity River. I went up to help in the harvesting,
being charged with the weighing of the sacked grain. It was a fine
experience for an innocent Yankee boy. We lived out of doors, following
the threshers from farm to farm, eating under an oak tree and sleeping
on the fragrant straw-piles. I was also the butt of about the wildest
lot of jokers ever assembled. They were good-natured, but it was their
concerted effort to see how much I could stand in the way of highly
flavored stories at mealtime. It was fun for them, besides they felt it
would be a service to knock out some of the Boston "sissiness." I do not
doubt it was. They never quite drove me away from the table.

In the meantime I had a great good time. It was a very beautiful spot
and all was new and strange. There were many Indians, and they were
interesting. They lived in rancherias of puncheons along the river. Each
group of dwellings had a musical name. One village was called Matiltin,
another Savanalta. The children swam like so many ducks, and each
village had its sweathouse from which every adult, to keep in health and
condition, would plunge into the swiftly flowing river. They lived on
salmon, fresh or dried, and on grass-seed cakes cooked on heated stones.
They were handsome specimens physically and were good workers. The river
was not bridged, but it was not deep and canoes were plenty. If none
were seen on the side which you chanced to find yourself, you had only
to call, "Wanus, matil!" (Come, boat!) and one would come. If in a
hurry, "Holish!" would expedite the service.

The Indian language was fascinating and musical. "Iaquay" was the word
of friendly greeting. "Aliquor" was Indian, "Waugee" was white man,
"Chick" was the general word for money. When "Waugee-chick" was
mentioned, it meant gold or silver; if "Aliquor-chick," reference was
made to the spiral quill-like shells which served as their currency,
their value increasing rapidly by the length. [Footnote: In the Hawaiian
Islands short shells of this variety are strung for beads, but have
little value.] There are frequent combined words. "Hutla" is night,
"Wha" is the sun; "Hutla-wha" is the moon--the night-sun. If an Indian
wishes to ask where you are going, he will say, "Ta hunt tow ingya?"
"Teena scoia" is very good. "Skeena" is too small. "Semastolon" is a
young woman; if she is considered beautiful, "Clane nuquum" describes

The Indians were very friendly and hospitable. If I wanted an
account-book that was on the other side of the river, they would not
bother for a canoe, but swim over with it, using-one hand and holding
the book high in the air. I found they had settled habits and usages
that seemed peculiar to them. If one of their number died, they did not
like it referred to; they wished for no condolence. "Indian die, Indian
no talk," was their expression.

It was a wonder to me that in a valley connected with civilization by
only a trail there should be found McCormick's reapers and Pitt's
threshers. Parts too large for a mule's pack had been cut in two and
afterwards reunited. By some dint of ingenuity even a millstone had been
hauled over the roadless mountains. The wheat we harvested was ground at
the Hoopa mill and the flour was shipped to the Trinity and Klamath

All the week we harvested vigorously, and on Sunday we devoted most of
the day to visiting the watermelon patches and sampling the product. Of
course, we spent a portion of the day in washing our few clothes,
usually swimming and splashing in the river until they were dry.

The valley was long and narrow, with mountains on both sides so high
that the day was materially shortened in the morning and at night. The
tardy sun was ardent when he came, but disturbed us little. The nights
were blissful--beds so soft and sweet and a canopy so beautiful! In the
morning we awoke to the tender call of cooing doves, and very soon lined
up for breakfast in the perfectly ventilated out-of-doors. Happy days
they were! Wise and genial Captain Snyder, Sonnichsen, the patient cook,
Jim Brock, happy tormentor--how clearly they revisit the glimpses of the

Returning to Uniontown, I resumed my placid, busy life, helping in the
garden, around the house, and in the post-office. My father was wise in
his treatment. Boylike I would say, "Father, what shall I do?" He would
answer, "Look around and find out. I'll not always be here to tell
you." Thrown on my own resources, I had no trouble in finding enough to
do, and I was sufficiently normal and indolent to be in no danger of
finding too much.

The post-office is a harborer of secrets and romance. The postmaster and
his assistants alone know "Who's Who." A character of a packer, tall,
straight, and bearded, always called Joe the Marine, would steal in and
call for comely letters addressed to James Ashhurst, Esq. Robert Desty
was found to be Mons. Robert d'Esti Mauville. A blacksmith whose letters
were commonly addressed to C.E. Bigelow was found entitled to one
inscribed C.E.D.L.B. Bigelow. Asked what his full name was, he
replied, "Charles Edward Decatur La Fitte Butterfield Bigelow." And,
mind you, he was a _blacksmith_! His christening entitled him to it all,
but he felt that all he could afford was what he commonly used.

Phonetics have a distinct value. Uncertain of spelling, one can fall
back on remembered sound. I found a letter addressed to "Sanerzay." I
had no difficulty in determining that San Jose was intended. Hard labor
was suggested when someone wrote "Youchiyer." The letter found its
resting-place in Ukiah.

Among my miscellaneous occupations was the pasturage of mules about to
start on the return trip to the mines. We had a farm and logging-claim
on the outskirts of town which afforded a good farewell bite of grass,
and at night I would turn loose twenty to forty mules and their beloved
bell-mare to feed and fight mosquitoes. Early the next morning I would
saddle my charger and go and bring them to the packing corral. Never
shall I forget a surprise given me one morning. I had a tall, awkward
mare, and was loping over the field looking for my charges. An innocent
little rabbit scuttled across Kate's path and she stopped in her tracks
as her feet landed. I was gazing for the mule train and I did not stop.
I sailed over her head, still grasping the bridle reins, which, attached
to the bit, I also had to overleap, so that the next moment I found
myself standing erect with the reins between my legs, holding on to a
horse behind me still standing in her arrested tracks. Remounting, I
soon found the frisky mules and started them toward misery. Driven into
the corral where their freight had been divided into packs of from one
hundred to one hundred and fifty pounds, they were one by one saddled,
cinched, and packed. A small mule would seem to be unequal to carrying
two side-packs, each consisting of three fifty-pound sacks of flour, and
perhaps a case of boots for a top-pack. But protests of groans and
grunts would be unavailing. Two swarthy Mexicans, by dint of cleverly
thrown ropes and the "diamond hitch," would soon have in place all that
the traffic would bear, and the small Indian boy on the mother of the
train, bearing a tinkling bell, would lead them on their way to Salmon
River or to Orleans Bar.

Another frequent duty was the preparation of the hall for some public
function. It might be a dance, a political meeting, or some theatrical
performance. Different treatment would be required, but all would
include cleaning and lighting. At a dance it was floor-scrubbing,
filling the camphene lamps, and making up beds for the babies to be
later deposited by their dancing mothers. Very likely I would tend door
and later join in the dance, which commonly continued until morning.

Politics interested me. In the Frémont campaign of 1856 my father was
one of four Republicans in the county, and was by no means popular. He
lived to see Humboldt County record a six hundred majority for the
Republican ticket. Some of our local legislative candidates surprised
and inspired me by their eloquence and unexpected knowledge and ability.
It was good to find that men read and thought, even when they lived in
the woods and had little encouragement.

Occasionally we had quite good theatrical performances. Very early I
recall a thespian named Thoman, who was supported by a Julia Pelby. They
vastly pleased an uncritical audience. I was doorkeeper, notwithstanding
that Thoman doubted if I was "hefty" enough. "Little Lotta" Crabtree was
charming. Her mother traveled with her. Between performances she played
with her dolls. She danced gracefully and sang fascinatingly such songs
as "I'm the covey what sings." Another prime favorite was Joe Murphy,
Irish comedian and violinist, pleasing in both roles. I remember a
singing comedian who bewailed his sad estate:

  "For now I have nothing but rags to my back,
    My boots scarce cover my toes,
  While my pants are patched with an old flour-sack,
    To jibe with the rest of my clo'es."

The singing-school was pleasure-yielding, its greatest joy being
incidental. When I could cut ahead of a chum taking a girl home and
shamelessly trip him up with a stretched rope and get back to the
drugstore and be curled up in the woodbox when he reached his final
destination, I am afraid I took unholy joy.

Not long after coming we started a public library. Mother and I covered
all the books, this being considered an economical necessity. Somewhat
later Arcata formed a debating society that was really a helpful
influence. It engaged quite a wide range of membership, and we discussed
almost everything. Some of our members were fluent of speech from long
participation in Methodist experience meetings. Others were self-trained
even to pronunciation. One man of good mind, always said "here_dit_ary."
He had read French history and often referred to the _Gridironists_ of
France. I have an idea he was the original of the man whom Bret Harte
made refer to the Greek hero as "old Ashheels." Our meetings were open,
and among the visitors I recall a clerk of a commander in the Indian
war. He afterwards became lieutenant-governor of the state, and later a
senator from Nevada--John P. Jones.

An especial pleasure were the thoroughness and zest with which we
celebrated the Fourth of July. The grown-ups did well in the daylight
hours, when the procession, the oration, and the reading of the
Declaration were in order; but with the shades of night the fireworks
would have been inadequate but for the activity of the boys. The town
was built around a handsome plaza, probably copied from Sonoma as an
incident of the Wood sojourn. On the highest point in the center a fine
flagstaff one hundred and twenty feet high was proudly crowned by a
liberty-cap. This elevated plateau was the field of our display. On a
spot not too near the flagstaff we planned for a spectacular center of
flame. During the day we gathered material for an enormous bonfire. Huge
casks formed the base and inflammable material of all kinds reached high
in the air. At dark we fired the pile. But the chief interest was
centered in hundreds of balls of twine, soaked in camphene, which we
lighted and threw rapidly from hand to hand all over the plaza. We could
not hold on to them long, but we didn't need to. They came flying from
every direction and were caught from the ground and sent back before
they had a chance to burn. The noise and excitement can be easily
imagined. Blackened and weary boys kept it up till the bonfire was out
and the balls had grown too small to pick up. Nothing interfered with
our celebrations. When the Indians were "bad" we forsook the redwoods
and built our speaker's stand and lunch tables and benches out in the
open beyond firing distance.

Our garden was quite creditable. Vegetables were plentiful and my
flower-beds, though formal, were pleasing. Stock-raising was very
interesting. One year I had the satisfaction of breaking three heifers
and raising their calves. My brother showed more enterprise, for he
induced a plump young mother of the herd to allow him to ride her when
he drove the rest to pasture.

Upon our arrival in Uniontown we found the only church was the
Methodist. We at once attended, and I joined the Sunday-school. My
teacher was a periodically reformed boatman. When he fell from grace he
was taken in hand by the Sons of Temperance, which I had also joined.
"Morning Star Division, No. 106," was never short of material to work
on. My first editorial experience was on its spicy little written
journal. I went through the chairs and became "Worthy Patriarch" while
still a boy. The church was mostly served by first-termers, not
especially inspiring. I recall one good man who seemed to have no other
qualification for the office. He frankly admitted that he had worked in
a mill and in a lumber-yard, and said he liked preaching "better than
anything he'd ever been at." He was very sincere and honest. He had a
uniform lead in prayer: "O Lord, we thank thee that it is as well with
us as what it is." The sentiment was admirable, but somehow the manner
grated. When the presiding elder came around we had a relief. He was
wide-awake and witty. One night he read the passage of Scripture where
they all began with one accord to make excuses. One said: "I have
married a wife and cannot come." The elder, looking up, said, "Why
didn't the pesky fool bring her with him?"

In the process of time the Presbyterians started a church, and I went
there; swept out, trimmed the lamps, and sang in the choir. The preacher
was an educated man, and out of the pulpit was kind and reasonable; but
he persisted that "Good deeds were but as filthy rags." I didn't believe
it and I didn't like it. The staid pastor had but little recreation, and
I am afraid I was always glad that Ulrica Schumacher, the frisky sister
of the gunsmith, almost always beat him at chess.

He was succeeded by a man I loved, and I wonder I did not join his
church. We were good friends and used to go out trout-fishing together.
He was a delightful man, but when he was in the pulpit he shrank and
shriveled. The danger of Presbyterianism passed when he expressed his
doubt whether it would be best for my mother to partake of communion, as
she had all her life in the Unitarian church. She was willing, but
waited his approval. My mother was the most saintly of women, absolutely
unselfish and self-sacrificing, and it shocked me that any belief or
lack of belief should exclude her from a Christian communion.

When my father, in one of his numerous trades, bought out the only
tinshop and put me in charge he changed my life and endangered my
disposition. The tinsmith left the county and I was left with the tools
and the material, the only tinsmith in Humboldt County. How I struggled
and bungled! I could make stovepipe by the mile, but it was a long time
before I could double-seam a copper bottom onto a tin wash-boiler. I
lived to construct quite a decent traveling oilcan for a Eureka sawmill,
but such triumphs come through mental anguish and burned fingers. No
doubt the experience extended my desultory education.

The taking over of the tinshop was doubly disappointing, since I really
wanted to go into the office of the _Northern Californian_ and become a
printer and journalist. That job I turned over to Bret Harte, who was
clever and cultivated, but had not yet "caught on." Leon Chevret, the
French hotelkeeper, said of him to a lawyer of his acquaintance, "Bret
Harte, he have the Napoleonic nose, the nose of genius; also, like many
of you professional men, his debts trouble him very little."

There were many interesting characters among the residents of the town
and county. At times there came to play the violin at our dances one
Seth Kinman, a buckskin-clad hunter. He became nationally famous when he
fashioned and presented elkhorn chairs to Buchanan and several
succeeding Presidents. They were ingenious and beautiful, and he himself
was most picturesque.

One of our originals was a shiftless and merry Iowan to whose name was
added by courtesy the prefix "Dr." He had a small farm in the outskirts.
Gates hung from a single hinge and nothing was kept in repair. He
preferred to use his time in persuading nature to joke. A single
cucumber grown into a glass bottle till it could not get out was worth
more than a salable crop, and a single cock whose comb had grown around
an inserted pullet breastbone, until he seemed the precursor of a new
breed of horned roosters, was better than much poultry. He reached his
highest fame in the cure of his afflicted wife. She languished in bed
and he diagnosed her illness as resulting from the fact that she was
"hidebound." His house he had never had time to complete. The rafters
were unobstructed by ceiling, so she was favorably situated for
treatment. He fixed a lasso under her arms, threw the end around a
rafter, and proceeded to loosen her refractory hide.

One of our leading merchants was a deacon in the Methodist church and so
enjoyed the patronage of his brother parishioners. One of them came in
one day and asked the paying price of eggs. The deacon told him "sixty
cents a dozen."

"What are sail-needles?"

"Five cents apiece."

The brother produced an egg and proposed a swap. It was smilingly
accepted and the egg added to the pile of stock.

The brother lingered and finally drawled, "Deacon, it's customary, isn't
it, to _treat_ a buyer?"

"It is; what will you take?" laughingly replied the deacon.

"Sherry is nice."

The deacon poured out the sherry and handed it to his customer, who
hesitated and timidly remarked that sherry was improved by a raw egg.
The amused deacon turned around and took from the egg-pile the identical
one he had received. As the brother broke it into his glass he noticed
it had an extra yolk. After enjoying his drink, he handed back the empty
glass and said: "Deacon, that egg had a double yolk; don't you think you
ought to give me another sail-needle?"

When Thomas Starr King was electrifying the state in support of the
Sanitary Commission (the Red Cross of the Civil War), Arcata caught the
fever and in November, 1862, held a great meeting at the Presbyterian
church. Our leading ministers and lawyers appealed with power and
surprising subscriptions followed. Mr. Coddington, our wealthiest
citizen, started the list with three hundred dollars and ten dollars a
month during the war. Others followed, giving according to their
ability. One man gave for himself, as well as for his wife and all his
children. On taking his seat and speaking to his wife, he jumped up and
added one dollar for the new baby that he had forgotten. When money gave
out other belongings were sacrificed. One man gave twenty-five bushels
of wheat, another ten cords of wood, another his saddle, another a gun.
A notary gave twenty dollars in fees. A cattleman brought down the house
when he said, "I have no money, but I will give a cow, and a calf a
month as long as the war lasts." The following day it was my joy as
secretary to auction off the merchandise. When all was forwarded to San
Francisco we were told we had won first honors, averaging over
twenty-five dollars for each voter in the town.

One interesting circumstance was the consignment to me of the first
shipments of two novelties that afterward became very common. The
discovery of coal-oil and the utilization of kerosene for lighting date
back to about 1859. The first coal-oil lamps that came to Humboldt were
sent to me for display and introduction. Likewise, about 1860, a Grover
& Baker sewing-machine was sent up for me to exhibit. By way of showing
its capabilities, I sewed the necessary number of yard-widths of the
length of Murdock's Hall to make a new ceiling, of which it chanced to
stand in need.

Humboldt County was an isolated community. Sea steamers were both
infrequent and uncertain, with ten days or two weeks and more between
arrivals. There were no roads to the interior, but there were trails,
and they were often threatened by treacherous Indians. The Indians
living near us on Mad River were peaceful, but the mountain Indians were
dangerous, and we never knew when we were really safe. In Arcata we had
one stone building, a store, and sometimes the frightened would resort
to it at night. In times of peace, settlers lived on Mad River, on
Redwood Creek, and on the Bald Hills, where they herded their cattle.
One by one they were killed or driven in until there was not a white
person living between the bay and Trinity River. Mail carriers were shot
down, and the young men of Arcata were often called upon at night to
nurse the wounded. We also organized a military company, and a night
duty was drilling our men on the plaza or up past the gruesome
graveyard. My command was never called out for service, but I had some
fortunate escapes from being waylaid. I walked around the bay one
morning; a few hours later a man was ambushed on the road.

On one occasion I narrowly escaped participation in warfare. In August,
1862, there had been outrages by daring Indian bands, killing
unprotected men close to town. Once a few of us followed the tracks of a
party and traced the marauders across Mad River and toward a small
prairie known to our leader, Ousley the saddler. As we passed along a
small road he caught the sign. A whiff of a shred of cotton cloth caught
on a bush denoted a smoky native. A crushed fern, still moist, told him
they had lately passed. At his direction we took to the woods and
crawled quietly toward the near-by prairie. Our orders were to wait the
signal. If the band we expected to find was not too large, we should be
given the word to attack. If there were too many for us, we should back
out and go to town for help. We soon heard them plainly as they made
camp. We found about three times our number, and we retired very quietly
and made for the nearest farmhouse that had a team.

In town many were anxious to volunteer. My mother did not want me to go,
and I must confess I was in full accord with her point of view. I
therefore served as commissary, collecting and preparing quantities of
bread, bacon, and cheese for a breakfast and distributing a packed bag
to each soldier. The attack at daylight resulted in one death to our
command and a number to the Indians. It was followed up, and a few days
later the band was almost annihilated. The plunder recovered proved them
guilty of many late attacks. This was toward the end of the Indian war
that had for so many years been disastrous to the community, and which
in many of its aspects was deeply pathetic. Originally the Indian
population was large. The coast Indians were spoken of as Diggers, and
inferior in character. They were generally peaceful and friendly while
the mountain dwellers were inclined to hostility. As a whole they did
not represent a very high type of humanity, and all seemed to take to
the vices rather than to the virtues of the white race, which was by no
means represented at its best. A few unprincipled whites were always
ready to stir up trouble and the Indians were treacherous and when
antagonized they killed the innocent rather than the guilty, for they
were cowards and took the fewest possible chances. I have known an
Indian hater who seemed to think the only good Indian was a dead one go
unmolested through an entire campaign, while a friendly old man was shot
from behind while milking his cow. The town was near the edge of the
woods and no one was secure. The fine character whom we greatly
respected,--the debater of original pronunciation,--who had never
wronged a human being of any race, was shot down from the woods quite
near the plaza.

The regular army was useless in protection or punishment. Their
regulations and methods did not fit. They made fine plans, but they
failed to work. They would locate the enemy and detail detachments to
move from various points to surround and capture the foe, but when they
got there the bushes were bare. Finally battalions of mountaineers were
organized among men who knew Indian ways and were their equals in
cunning. They soon satisfied the hostiles that they would be better off
on the reservations that were provided and the war was at an end.

It was to the credit of Humboldt County that in the final settlement of
the contest the rights of the Indians were quite fairly considered and
the reservations set aside for their residence were of valuable land
well situated and fitted for the purpose. Hoopa Valley, on the Trinity,
was purchased from its settlers and constituted a reservation protected
by Fort Gaston and a garrison. It was my pleasure to revisit the scene
of my boyhood experience and assist in the transfer largely conducted
through the leadership of Austin Wiley, the editor and owner of the
_Humboldt Times_. He was subsequently made Superintendent of Indian
Affairs for the state of California, and as his clerk I helped in the
administration. When I visited the Smith River reservation, to which the
Bay Indians had been sent, I was hailed with joy as "Major's pappoose,"
whom they remembered of old. (My father was always called Major.)

Among the warm friendships formed at this time two stand out. Two boys
of about my age were to achieve brilliant careers. Very early I became
intimate with Alexander Brizard, a clerk in the store of F. Roskill, a
Russian. He was my companion in the adventure of following the Indian
marauders, and my associate in the church choir and the debating club.
In 1863 he joined a fellow clerk in establishing a modest business
concern, the firm being known as A. Brizard & Co.; the unnamed partner
was James Alexander Campbell Van Rossum, a Hollander. They prospered
amazingly. Van Rossum died early, Brizard became the leading merchant of
northern California, and his sons still continue the chain of stores
that grew from the small beginning. He was a strong, fine character.

The other boy, very near to me, was John J. DeHaven, who was first a
printer, then a lawyer, then a State Senator, then a Congressman, and
finally a U.S. District Judge. He was very able and distinguished
himself in every place in life to which he advanced.

In 1861, when my father had become superintendent of a Nevada County
gold mine, he left me to run the post-office, cut the timothy hay, and
manage a logging-camp. It was wartime and I had a longing to enlist. One
day I received a letter from him, and as I tore it open a startling
sentence caught my eye, "Your commission will come by the next steamer."
I caught my breath and south particulars. It informed me that Senator
Sargent, his close friend, had secured for me the appointment of
Register of the Land Office at Humboldt.

[Illustration: Presidential Commission as Registrar of the Land Office
at Humboldt, California]

There had been a vacancy for some time, resulting from reduction in the
pay from $3000 in gold to $500 in greenbacks, together with commissions,
which were few. My father thought it would be good experience for me and
advised my acceptance. And so at twenty-two I became a Federal
officeholder. The commission from President Lincoln is the most
treasured feature of the incident. I learned some valuable lessons. The
honor was great and the position was responsible, but I soon felt
constrained to resign, to accept a place as quartermaster's clerk, where
I had more pay with more work. I was stationed at Fort Humboldt, where
Grant spent a few uncomfortable months in 1854. It was an experience
very different from any I had ever had. Army accounting is wholly unlike
civilian, books being dispensed with and accounts of all kinds being
made in quadruplicate. I shed quantities of red ink and made my monthly
papers appear well. I had no responsibility and obeyed orders, but I
could not be wholly comfortable when I covered in all the grain that
every mule was entitled to when I had judicial knowledge that he had
been turned out to grass. Nor could I believe that the full amount of
cordwood allowed officers was consumed when fires were infrequent. I was
only sure that it was paid for. Aside from these ethical informalities
the life was socially agreeable, and there is glamour in the military.
My period of service was not very long. My father had settled in San
Francisco and the family had joined him. I was lonely, and when my
friend, the new Superintendent of Indian Affairs, offered me employment
I forsook Fort Humboldt and took up my residence in the city by the
Golden Gate.



Before taking up the events related to my residence in San Francisco I
wish to give my testimony concerning Bret Harte, perhaps the most
interesting character associated with my sojourn in Humboldt. It was
before he was known to fame that I knew him; but I am able to correct
some errors that have been made and I believe can contribute to a more
just estimate of him as a literary artist and a man.

He has been misjudged as to character. He was a remarkable personality,
who interpreted an era of unusual interest, vital and picturesque, with
a result unparalleled in literary annals. When he died in England in
1902 the English papers paid him very high tribute. The _London
Spectator_ said of him: "No writer of the present day has struck so
powerful and original a note as he has sounded." This is a very unusual
acknowledgment from a source not given to the superlative, and fills us
with wonder as to what manner of man and what sort of training had led
to it.

Causes are not easily determined, but they exist and function. Accidents
rarely if ever happen. Heredity and experience very largely account for
results. What is their testimony in this particular case?

Francis Bret Harte was born in Albany, New York, February 25, 1836. His
father was a highly educated instructor in Greek, of English-Jewish
descent. His mother was an Ostrander, a cultivated and fine character of
Dutch descent. His grandmother on his father's side was Catherine Brett.
He had an elder brother and two younger sisters. The boys were voracious
readers and began Shakespeare when six, adding Dickens at seven. Frank
developed an early sense of humor, burlesquing the baldness of his
primer and mimicking the recitations of some of his fellow pupils when
he entered school. He was studious and very soon began to write. At
eleven he sent a poem to a weekly paper and was a little proud when he
showed it to the family in print. When they heartlessly pointed out its
flaws he was less hilarious.

His father died when he was very young and he owed his training to his
mother. He left school at thirteen and was first a lawyer's clerk and
later found work in a counting-room. He was self-supporting at sixteen.
In 1853 his mother married Colonel Andrew Williams, an early mayor of
Oakland, and removed to California. The following year Bret and his
younger sister, Margaret, followed her, arriving in Oakland in March,

He found the new home pleasant. The relations with his cultivated
stepfather were congenial and cordial, but he suffered the fate of most
untrained boys. He was fairly well educated, but he had no trade or
profession. He was bright and quick, but remunerative employment was not
readily found, and he did not relish a clerkship. For a time he was
given a place in a drugstore. Some of his early experiences are embalmed
in "How Reuben Allen Saw Life" and in "Bohemian Days." In the latter he
says: "I had been there a week,--an idle week, spent in listless outlook
for employment, a full week, in my eager absorption of the strange life
around me and a photographic sensitiveness to certain scenes and
incidents of those days, which stand out in my memory today as freshly
as on the day they impressed me."

It was a satisfaction that he found some congenial work. He wrote for
_Putnam's_ and the _Knickerbocker_.

In 1856, when he was twenty, he went to Alamo, in the San Ramon Valley,
as tutor in an interesting family. He found the experience agreeable and

A letter to his sister Margaret, written soon after his arrival, shows a
delightful relation between them and warm affection on his part. It
tells in a felicitous manner of the place, the people, and his
experiences. He had been to a camp-meeting and was struck with the
quaint, old-fashioned garb of the girls, seeming to make the ugly ones
uglier and the pretty ones prettier. It was raining when he wrote and he
felt depressed, but he sent his love in the form of a charming bit of
verse wherein a tear was borne with the flowing water to testify to his
tender regard for his "peerless sister." This letter, too personal for
publication, his sister lately read to me, and it was a revelation of
the matchless style so early acquired. In form it seemed perfect--not a
superfluous or an ill-chosen word. Every sentence showed rhythm and
balance, flowing easily and pleasantly from beginning to end, leaving an
impression of beauty and harmony, and testifying to a kindly, gentle
nature, with an admiring regard for his seventeen-year-old sister.

From Alamo he seems to have gone directly to Tuolumne County, and it
must have been late in 1856. His delightful sketch "How I Went to the
Mines" is surely autobiographical. He says: "I had been two years in
California before I ever thought of going to the mines, and my
initiation into the vocation of gold-digging was partly compulsory." He
refers to "the little pioneer settlement school, of which I was the
somewhat youthful, and, I fear, not over-competent master." What he did
after the school-teaching episode he does not record. He was a stage
messenger at one time. How long he remained in and around the mines is
not definitely known, but it seems clear that in less than a year of
experience and observation he absorbed the life and local color so
thoroughly that he was able to use it with almost undiminished freshness
for forty years.

It was early in 1857 that Bret Harte came to Humboldt County to visit
his sister Margaret, and for a brief time and to a limited extent our
lives touched. He was twenty-one and I was sixteen, so there was little
intimacy, but he interested and attracted me as a new type of manhood.
He bore the marks of good breeding, education, and refinement. He was
quiet of manner, kindly but not demonstrative, with a certain reserve
and aloofness. He was of medium height, rather slight of figure, with
strongly marked features and an aquiline nose. He seemed clever rather
than forcible, and presented a pathetic figure as of one who had gained
no foothold on success. He had a very pleasant voice and a modest
manner, and never talked of himself. He was always the gentleman,
exemplary as to habits, courteous and good-natured, but a trifle
aristocratic in bearing. He was dressed in good taste, but was evidently
in need of income. He was willing to do anything, but with little
ability to help himself. He was simply untrained for doing anything that
needed doing in that community.

He found occasional work in the drugstore, and for a time he had a small
private school. His surviving pupils speak warmly of his sympathy and
kindness. He had little mechanical ability. I recall seeing him try to
build a fence one morning. He bravely dug postholes, but they were
pretty poor, and the completed fence was not so very straight. He was
genial and uncomplaining, and he made a few good friends. He was an
agreeable guest, and at our house was fond of a game of whist. He was
often facetious, with a neatness that was characteristic. One day, on a
stroll, we passed a very primitive new house that was wholly destitute
of all ornaments or trimming, even without eaves. It seemed modeled
after a packing-box. "That," he remarked, "must be of the _Iowan_ order
of architecture."

He was given to teasing, and could be a little malicious. A proud and
ambitious schoolteacher had married a well-off but decidedly Cockney
Englishman, whose aspirates could be relied upon to do the expected.
Soon after the wedding, Harte called and cleverly steered the
conversation on to music and songs, finally expressing great fondness
for "Kathleen Mavourneen," but professing to have forgotten the words.
The bridegroom swallowed the bait with avidity. "Why," said he, "they
begin with 'The 'orn of the 'unter is 'eard on the 'ill.'" F.B.
stroked his Dundrearies while his dark eyes twinkled. The bride's eyes
flashed ominously, but there seemed to be nothing she felt like saying.

In October, 1857, he removed to the Liscom ranch in the suburbs at the
head of the bay and became the tutor of two boys, fourteen and thirteen
years of age. He had a forenoon session of school and in the afternoon
enjoyed hunting on the adjacent marshes. For his convenience in keeping
run of the lessons given, he kept a brief diary, and it has lately been
found. It is of interest both in the little he records and from the
significant omissions. It reveals a very simple life of a clever,
kindly, clean young man who did his work, enjoyed his outdoor
recreation, read a few good books, and generally "retired at 9 1/2 P.M."
He records sending letters to various publications. On a certain day he
wrote the first lines of "Dolores." A few days later he finished it, and
mailed it to the _Knickerbocker_.

He wrote and rewrote a story, "What Happened at Mendocino." What
happened to the story does not appear. He went to church generally, and
some of the sermons were good and others "vapid and trite." Once in a
while he goes to a dance, but not to his great satisfaction. He didn't
dance particularly well. He tells of a Christmas dinner that he helped
his sister to prepare. Something made him dissatisfied with himself and
he bewails his melancholy and gloomy forebodings that unfit him for
rational enjoyment and cause him to be a spectacle for "gods and men."
He adds: "Thermometer of my spirit on Christmas day, 1857, 9 A.M., 40°;
temperature, 12 A.M., 60°; 3 P.M., 80°; 6 P.M., 20° and falling
rapidly; 9 P.M., at zero; 1 A.M., 20° below."

His entries were brief and practical. He did not write to express his

At the close of 1857 he indulged in a brief retrospect, and an emphatic
statement of his determination for the future.

After referring to the fact that he was a tutor at a salary of
twenty-five dollars a month and board, and that a year before he was
unemployed, at the close he writes: "In these three hundred and
sixty-five days I have again put forth a feeble essay toward fame and
perhaps fortune. I have tried literature, albeit in a humble way. I have
written some passable prose and it has been successfully published. The
conviction is forced on me by observation, and not by vain enthusiasm,
that I am fit for nothing else. Perhaps I may succeed; if not, I can at
least make the trial. Therefore I consecrate this year, or as much as
God may grant for my services, to honest, heartfelt, sincere labor and
devotion to this occupation. God help me! May I succeed!"

Harte profited by his experience in tutoring my two boy friends, gaining
local color quite unlike that of the Sierra foothills. Humboldt is also
on the grand scale and its physical characteristics and its type of
manhood were fresh and inspiring.

His familiarity with the marsh and the sloughs is shown in "The Man on
the Beach" and the "Dedlow Marsh Stories," and this affords fine
opportunity for judging of the part played by knowledge and by
imagination in his literary work. His descriptions are photographic in
their accuracy. The flight of a flock of sandpipers, the flowing tides,
the white line of the bar at the mouth of the bay--all are exact. But
the locations and relations irrelevant to the story are wholly ignored.
The characters and happenings are purely imaginary. He is the artist
using his experiences and his fancy as his colors, and the minimum of
experience and small observation suffice. His perception of character is
marvelous. He pictures the colonel, his daughters, the spruce
lieutenant, and the Irish deserter with such familiarity that the reader
would think that he had spent most of his life in a garrison, and his
ability to portray vividly life in the mines, where his actual
experience was so very slight, is far better understood.

Many of the occurrences of those far-away days have faded from my mind,
but one of them, of considerable significance to two lives, is quite
clear. Uniontown had been the county-seat, and there the _Humboldt
Times_ was published; but Eureka, across the bay, had outgrown her older
sister and captured both the county-seat and the only paper in the
county. In frantic effort to sustain her failing prestige Uniontown
projected a rival paper and the _Northern Californian_ was spoken into
being. My father was a half owner, and I coveted the humble position of
printer's devil. One journeyman could set the type, and on Wednesday and
Saturday, respectively, run off on a hand-press the outside and the
inside of the paper, but a boy or a low-priced man was needed to roll
the forms and likewise to distribute the type. I looked upon it as the
first rung on the ladder of journalism, and I was about to put my foot
thereon when the pathetic figure of Bret Harte presented itself applying
for the job, causing me to put my foot on my hopes instead. He seemed to
want it and need it so much more than I did that I turned my hand to
other pursuits, while he mounted the ladder with cheerful alacrity and
skipped up several rungs, very promptly learning to set type and
becoming a very acceptable assistant editor.

In a community where popular heroes are apt to be loud and aggressive,
the quiet man who thinks more than he talks is adjudged effeminate.
Harte was always modest, and boasting was foreign to his nature; so he
was thought devoid of spirit and strength. But occasion brought out the
unsuspected. There had been a long and trying Indian war in and around
Humboldt. The feeling against the red men was very bitter. It culminated
in a wanton and cowardly attack on a tribe of peaceful Indians encamped
on an island opposite Eureka, and men, women, and children were
ruthlessly killed. Harte was temporarily in charge of the paper and he
denounced the outrage in unmeasured terms. The better part of the
community sustained him, but a violent minority resented his strictures
and he was seriously threatened and in no little danger. Happily he
escaped, but the incident resulted in his return to San Francisco. The
massacre occurred on February 5, 1860, which fixes the approximate time
of Harte's becoming identified with San Francisco.

His experience was of great advantage to him in that he had learned to
do something for which there was a demand. He could not earn much as a
compositor, but his wants were simple and he could earn something. He
soon secured a place on the _Golden Era_, and it became the doorway to
his career. He was soon transferred to the editorial department and
contributed freely.

For four years he continued on the _Golden Era_. These were years of
growth and increasing accomplishment. He did good work and made good
friends. Among those whose interest he awakened were Mrs. Jessie Benton
Frémont and Thomas Starr King. Both befriended and encouraged him. In
the critical days when California hung in the balance between the North
and the South, and Starr King, by his eloquence, fervor, and magnetism,
seemed to turn the scale, Bret Harte did his part in support of the
friend he loved. Lincoln had called for a hundred thousand volunteers,
and at a mass meeting Harte contributed a noble poem, "The Reveille,"
which thrillingly read by Starr King brought the mighty audience to its
feet with cheers for the Union. He wrote many virile patriotic poems at
this period.

In March, 1864, Starr King, of the glowing heart and golden tongue,
preacher, patriot, and hero, fell at his post, and San Francisco mourned
him and honored him as seldom falls to the lot of man. At his funeral
the Federal authorities ordered the firing of a salute from the forts in
the harbor, an honor, so far as I know, never before accorded a private

Bret Harte wrote a poem of rare beauty in expression of his profound
grief and his heartfelt appreciation:


  Came the relief. "What, sentry, ho!
    How passed the night through thy long waking?"
  "Cold, cheerless, dark--as may befit
    The hour before the dawn is breaking."

  "No sight? no sound?" "No; nothing save
    The plover from the marshes calling,
  And in yon western sky, about
    An hour ago, a star was falling."

  "A star? There's nothing strange in that."
    "No, nothing; but, above the thicket,
  Somehow it seemed to me that God
    Somewhere had just relieved a picket."

This is not only good poetry; it reveals deep and fine feeling.

[Illustration: FRANCIS BRET HARTE]

Through Starr King's interest, his parishioner Robert B. Swain,
Superintendent of the Mint, had early in 1864 appointed Harte as his
private secretary, at a salary of two hundred dollars a month, with
duties that allowed considerable leisure. This was especially
convenient, as a year or so before he had married, and additional income
was indispensable.

In May, 1864, Harte left the _Golden Era_, joining Charles Henry Webb
and others in a new literary venture, the _Californian_. It was a
brilliant weekly. Among the contributors were Mark Twain, Charles Warren
Stoddard, and Prentice Mulford. Harte continued his delightful
"Condensed Novels" and contributed poems, stories, sketches, and book
reviews. "The Society on the Stanislaus," "John Brown of Gettysburg,"
and "The Pliocene Skull" belong to this period.

In the "Condensed Novels" Harte surpassed all parodists. With clever
burlesque, there was both appreciation and subtle criticism. As
Chesterton says, "Bret Harte's humor was sympathetic and analytical. The
wild, sky-breaking humor of America has its fine qualities, but it must
in the nature of things be deficient in two qualities--reverence and
sympathy--and these two qualities were knit into the closest texture of
Bret Harte's humor."

At this time Harte lived a quiet domestic life. He wrote steadily. He
loved to write, but he was also obliged to. Literature is not an
overgenerous paymaster, and with a growing family expenses tend to
increase in a larger ratio than income.

Harte's sketches based on early experiences are interesting and
amusing. His life in Oakland was in many ways pleasant, but he evidently
retained some memories that made him enjoy indulging in a sly dig many
years after. He gives the pretended result of scientific investigation
made in the far-off future as to the great earthquake that totally
engulfed San Francisco. The escape of Oakland seemed inexplicable, but a
celebrated German geologist ventured to explain the phenomenon by
suggesting that "there are some things that the earth cannot swallow."

My last recollection of Harte, of a purely personal nature, was of an
occurrence in 1866, when he was dramatic critic of the _Morning Call_ at
the time I was doing a little reporting on the same paper. It happened
that a benefit was arranged for some charity. "Nan, the
Good-for-Nothing," was to be given by a number of amateurs. The _Nan_
asked me to play _Tom_, and I had insufficient firmness to decline.
After the play, when my face was reasonably clean, I dropped into the
_Call_ office, yearning for a word of commendation from Harte. I thought
he knew that I had taken the part, but he would not give me the
satisfaction of referring to it. Finally I mentioned, casually like,
that I was _Tom_, whereat he feigned surprise, and remarked in his
pleasant voice, "Was that you? I thought they had sent to some theater
and hired a supe."

In July, 1868, A. Roman & Co. launched the _Overland Monthly_, with
Harte as editor. He took up the work with eager interest. He named the
child, planned its every feature, and chose his contributors. It was a
handsome publication, modeled, in a way, on the _Atlantic Monthly,_ but
with a flavor and a character all its own. The first number was
attractive and readable, with articles of varied interest by Mark Twain,
Noah Brooks, Charles Warren Stoddard, William C. Bartlett, T.H. Rearden,
Ina Coolbrith, and others--a brilliant galaxy for any period. Harte
contributed "San Francisco from the Sea."

Mark Twain, long after, alluding to this period in his life, pays this
characteristic acknowledgment: "Bret Harte trimmed and trained and
schooled me patiently until he changed me from an awkward utterer of
coarse grotesqueness to a writer of paragraphs and chapters that have
found favor in the eyes of even some of the decentest people in the

The first issue of the _Overland_ was well received, but the second
sounded a note heard round the world. The editor contributed a
story--"The Luck of Roaring Camp"--that was hailed as a new venture in
literature. It was so revolutionary that it shocked an estimable
proofreader, and she sounded the alarm. The publishers were timid, but
the gentle editor was firm. When it was found that it must go in or he
would go out, it went--and he stayed. When the conservative and
dignified _Atlantic_ wrote to the author soliciting something like it,
the publishers were reassured.

Harte had struck ore. Up to this time he had been prospecting. He had
early found color and followed promising stringers. He had opened some
fair pockets, but with the explosion of this blast he had laid bare the
true vein, and the ore assayed well. It was high grade, and the fissure
was broad.

"The Luck of Roaring Camp" was the first of a series of stories
depicting the picturesque life of the early days which made California
known the world over and gave it a romantic interest enjoyed by no other
community. They were fresh and virile, original in treatment, with real
men and women using a new vocabulary, with humor and pathos delightfully
blended. They moved on a stage beautifully set, with a background of
heroic grandeur. No wonder that California and Bret Harte became
familiar household words. When one reflects on the fact that the
exposure to the life depicted had occurred more than ten years before,
from very brief experience, the wonder is incomprehensibly great.
Nothing less than genius can account for such a result. "Tennessee's
Partner," "M'liss," "The Outcasts of Poker Flat," and dozens more of
these stories that became classics followed. The supply seemed
exhaustless, and fresh welcome awaited every one.

It was in September, 1870, that Harte in the make-up of the _Overland_
found an awkward space too much for an ordinary poem. An associate
suggested that he write something to fit the gap; but Harte was not
given to dashing off to order, nor to writing a given number of inches
of poetry. He was not a literary mechanic, nor could he command his
moods. However, he handed his friend a bundle of manuscript to see if
there was anything that he thought would do, and very soon a neat draft
was found bearing the title "On the Sinfulness of Ah Sin as Reported by
Truthful James." It was read with avidity and pronounced "the very
thing." Harte demurred. He didn't think very well of it. He was
generally modest about his work and never quite satisfied. But he
finally accepted the judgment of his friend and consented to run it. He
changed the title to "Later Words from Truthful James," but when the
proof came substituted "Plain Language from Truthful James."

He made a number of other changes, as was his wont, for he was always
painstaking and given to critical polishing. In some instances he
changed an entire line or a phrase of two lines. The copy read:

  "Till at last he led off the right bower,
    That Nye had just hid on his knee."

As changed on the proof it read:

  "Till at last he put down a right bower,
    Which the same Nye had dealt unto me."

It was a happy second thought that suggested the most quoted line in
this famous poem. The fifth line of the seventh verse originally read:

  "Or is civilization a failure?"

On the margin of the proof-sheet he substituted the ringing line:

  "We are ruined by Chinese cheap labor,"

--an immense improvement--the verse reading:

  "Then I looked up at Nye,
    And he gazed unto me,
  And he rose with a sigh,
    And said, 'Can this be?
  We are ruined by Chinese cheap labor!'
    And he went for that heathen Chinee."

The corrected proof, one of the treasures of the University of
California, with which Harte was for a time nominally connected, bears
convincing testimony to the painstaking methods by which he sought the
highest degree of literary perfection. This poem was not intended as a
serious addition to contemporary verse. Harte disclaimed any purpose
whatever; but there seems just a touch of political satire. "The Chinese
must go" was becoming the popular political slogan, and he always
enjoyed rowing against the tide. The poem greatly extended his name and
fame. It was reprinted in _Punch_, it was liberally quoted on the floors
of Congress, and it "caught on" everywhere. Perhaps it is today the one
thing by which Harte is best known.

One of the most amusing typographical errors on record occurred in the
printing of this poem. In explanation of the manner of the duplicity of
_Ah Sin, Truthful James_ was made to say:

  "In his sleeves, which were long,
    He had twenty-one packs:"

and that was the accepted reading for many years, in spite of the
physical impossibility of concealing six hundred and ninety-three cards
and one arm in even a Chinaman's sleeve. The game they played was
euchre, where bowers are supreme, and what Harte wrote was "jacks," not
"packs." Probably the same pious proofreader who was shocked at the
"Luck" did not know the game, and, as the rhyme was perfect, let it
slip. Later editions corrected the error, though it is still often seen.

Harte gave nearly three years to the _Overland_. His success had
naturally brought him flattering offers, and the temptation to realize
on his reputation seems to have been more than he could withstand. The
_Overland_ had become a valuable property, eventually passing into
control of another publisher. The new owners were unable or unwilling to
pay what he thought he must earn, and somewhat reluctantly he resigned
the editorship and left the state of his adoption.

Harte, with his family, left San Francisco in February, 1871. They went
first to Chicago, where he confidently expected to be editor of a
magazine to be called the _Lakeside Monthly_. He was invited to a
dinner given by the projectors of the enterprise, at which a large-sized
check was said to have been concealed beneath his plate; but for some
unexplained reason he failed to attend the dinner and the magazine was
given up. Those who know the facts acquit him of all blame in the
matter; but, in any event, his hopes were dashed, and he proceeded to
the East disappointed and unsettled.

Soon after arriving at New York he visited Boston, dining with the
Saturday Club and visiting Howells, then editor of the _Atlantic_, at
Cambridge. He spent a pleasant week, meeting Lowell, Longfellow, and
Emerson. Mrs. Aldrich, in "Crowding Memories," gives a vivid picture of
his charm and high spirits at this meeting of friends and celebrities.
The Boston atmosphere as a whole was not altogether delightful. He
seemed constrained, but he did a fine stroke of business. James R.
Osgood & Co. offered him ten thousand dollars for whatever he might
write in a year, and he accepted the handsome retainer. It did not
stimulate him to remarkable output. He wrote four stories, including
"How Santa Claus Came to Simpson's Bar," and five poems, including
"Concepcion de Arguello." The offer was not renewed the following year.

For seven years New York City was generally his winter home. Some of his
summers were spent in Newport, and some in New Jersey. In the former he
wrote "A Newport Romance" and in the latter "Thankful Blossom." One
summer he spent at Cohasset, where he met Lawrence Barrett and Stuart
Robson, writing "Two Men of Sandy Bar," produced in 1876. "Sue," his
most successful play, was produced in New York and in London in 1896.

To earn money sorely needed he took the distasteful lecture field. His
two subjects were "The Argonauts" and "American Humor." His letters to
his wife at this time tell the pathetic tale of a sensitive, troubled
soul struggling to earn money to pay debts. He writes with brave humor,
but the work was uncongenial and the returns disappointing.

From Ottawa he writes: "Do not let this worry you, but kiss the children
for me, and hope for the best. I should send you some money, but there
_isn't any to send_, and maybe I shall only bring back myself." The next
day he added a postscript: "Dear Nan--I did not send this yesterday,
waiting to find the results of last night's lecture. It was a fair
house, and this morning--paid me $150, of which I send you the greater

A few days later he wrote from Lawrence, the morning after an
unexpectedly good audience: "I made a hundred dollars by the lecture,
and it is yours for yourself, Nan, to buy minxes with, if you want to."

From Washington he writes: "Thank you, dear Nan, for your kind, hopeful
letter. I have been very sick, very much disappointed; but I am better
now and am only waiting for money to return. Can you wonder that I have
kept this from you? You have so hard a time of it there, that I cannot
bear to have you worried if there is the least hope of a change in my
affairs. God bless you and keep you and the children safe, for the sake
of Frank."

No one can read these letters without feeling that they mirror the real
man, refined of feeling, kindly and humorous, but not strong of courage,
oppressed by obligations, and burdened by doubts of how he was to care
for those he loved. With all his talent he could not command
independence, and the lot of the man who earns less than it costs to
live is hard to bear.

Harte had the faculty of making friends, even if by neglect he sometimes
lost them, and they came to his rescue in this trying time. Charles A.
Dana and others secured for him an appointment by President Hayes as
Commercial Agent at Crefeld, Prussia. In June, 1878, he sailed for
England, leaving his family at Sea Cliff, Long Island, little supposing
that he would never see them or America again.

On the day he reached Crefeld he wrote his wife in a homesick and almost
despondent strain: "I am to all appearance utterly friendless; I have
not received the first act of kindness or courtesy from anyone. I think
things must be better soon. I shall, please God, make some good friends
in good time, and will try and be patient. But I shall not think of
sending for you until I see clearly that I can stay myself. If worst
comes to worst I shall try to stand it for a year, and save enough to
come home and begin anew there. But I could not stand it to see you
break your heart here through disappointment as I mayhap may do."

Here is the artistic, impressionable temperament, easily disheartened,
with little self-reliant courage or grit. But he seems to have felt a
little ashamed of his plaint, for at midnight of the same day he wrote a
second letter, half apologetic and much more hopeful, just because one
or two people had been a little kind and he had been taken out to a

Soon after, he wrote a letter to his younger son, then a small boy. It
told of a pleasant drive to the Rhine, a few miles away. He concludes:
"It was all very wonderful, but Papa thought after all he was glad his
boys live in a country that is as yet _pure_ and _sweet_ and _good_--not
in one where every field seems to cry out with the remembrance of
bloodshed and wrong, and where so many people have lived and suffered
that tonight, under this clear moon, their very ghosts seemed to throng
the road and dispute our right of way. Be thankful, my dear boy, that
you are an American. Papa was never so fond of his country before as in
this land that has been so great, powerful, and so very hard and

In May, 1880, he was made Consul at Glasgow, a position that he filled
for five years. During this period he spent a considerable part of his
time in London and in visiting at country homes. He lectured and wrote
and made many friends, among the most valued of whom were William Black
and Walter Besant.

A new administration came in with 1885 and Harte was superseded. He went
to London and settled down to a simple and regular life. For ten years
he lived with the Van de Veldes, friends of long standing. He wrote with
regularity and published several volumes of stories and sketches. In
1885 Harte visited Switzerland. Of the Alps he wrote: "In spite of their
pictorial composition I wouldn't give a mile of the dear old Sierras,
with their honesty, sincerity, and magnificent uncouthness, for a
hundred thousand kilometers of the picturesque Vaud."

Of Geneva he wrote: "I thought I should not like it, fancying it a kind
of continental Boston, and that the shadow of John Calvin and the old
reformers, or still worse the sentimental idiocy of Rousseau and the De
Staels, still lingered." But he did like it, and wrote brilliantly of
Lake Leman and Mont Blanc.

Returning to his home in Aldershot he resumed work, giving some time to
a libretto for a musical comedy, but his health was failing and he
accomplished little. A surgical operation for cancer of the throat in
March, 1902, afforded a little relief, but he worked with difficulty.
On April 17th he began a new story, "A Friend of Colonel Starbottle." He
wrote one sentence and began another; but the second sentence was his
last work, though a few letters to friends bear a later date. On May
5th, sitting at his desk, there came a hemorrhage of the throat,
followed later in the day by a second, which left him unconscious.
Before the end of the day he peacefully breathed his last.

Pathetic and inexplicable were the closing days of this gifted man. An
exile from his native land, unattended by family or kin, sustaining his
lonely life by wringing the dregs of memory, and clasping in farewell
the hands of a fancied friend of his dear old reprobate Colonel, he,
like Kentuck, "drifted away into the shadowy river that flows forever to
the unknown sea."

In his more than forty years of authorship he was both industrious and
prolific. In the nineteen volumes of his published work there must be
more than two hundred titles of stories and sketches, and many of them
are little known. Some of them are disappointing in comparison with his
earlier and perhaps best work, but many of them are charming and all are
in his delightful style, with its undertone of humor that becomes
dominant at unexpected intervals. His literary form was distinctive,
with a manner not derived from the schools or copied from any of his
predecessors, but developed from his own personality. He seems to have
founded a modern school, with a lightness of touch and a felicity of
expression unparalleled. He was vividly imaginative, and also had the
faculty of giving dramatic form and consistency to an incident or story
told by another. He was a story-teller, equally dexterous in prose or
verse. His taste was unerring and he sought for perfect form. His
atmosphere was breezy and healthful--out of doors with the fragrance of
the pine-clad Sierras. He was never morbid and introspective. His
characters are virile and natural men and women who act from simple
motives, who live and love, or hate and fight, without regard to
problems and with small concern for conventionalities. Harte had
sentiment, but was realistic and fearless. He felt under no obligation
to make all gamblers villains or all preachers heroes. He dealt with
human nature in the large and he made it real.

His greatest achievement was in faithfully mirroring the life of a new
and striking epoch. He seems to have discovered that it was picturesque
and to have been almost alone in impressing this fact on the world. He
sketched pictures of pioneer life as he saw or imagined it with
matchless beauty and compelled the interest and enjoyment of all

His chief medium was the short story, to which he gave a new vogue.
Translated into many tongues, his tales became the source of knowledge
to a large part of the people of Europe as to California and the
Pacific. He associated the Far West with romance, and we have never
fully outlived it.

That he was gifted as a poet no one can deny. Perhaps his most striking
use of his power as a versifier was in connection with the romantic
Spanish background of California history. Such work as "Concepcion de
Arguello" is well worth while. In his "Spanish Idylls and Legends" he
catches the fine spirit of the period and connects California with a
past of charm and beauty. His patriotic verse has both strength and
loveliness and reflects a depth of feeling that his lighter work does
not lead us to expect. In his dialect verse he revels in fun and shows
himself a genuine and cleanly humorist.

If we search for the source of his great power we may not expect to find
it; yet we may decide that among his endowments his extraordinary power
of absorption contributes very largely. His early reference to "eager
absorption" and "photographic sensitiveness" are singularly significant
expressions. Experience teaches the plodder, but the man of genius,
supremely typified by Shakespeare, needs not to acquire knowledge slowly
and painfully. Sympathy, imagination, and insight reveal truth, and as a
plate, sensitized, holds indefinitely the records of the exposure, so
Harte, forty years after in London, holds in consciousness the
impressions of the days he spent in Tuolumne County. It is a great gift,
a manifestation of genius. He had a fine background of inheritance and a
lifetime of good training.

Bret Harte was also gifted with an agreeable personality. He was
even-tempered and good-natured. He was an ideal guest and enjoyed his
friends. Whatever his shortcomings and whatever his personal
responsibility for them, he deserves to be treated with the
consideration and generosity he extended to others. He was never
censorious, and instances of his magnanimity are many. Severity of
judgment is a custom that few of us can afford, and to be generous is
never a mistake. Harte was extremely sensitive, and he deplored
controversy. He was quite capable of suffering in silence if defense of
self might reflect on others. His deficiencies were trivial but
damaging, and their heavy retribution he bore with dignity, retaining
the respect of those who knew him.

As to what he was, as man and author, he is entitled to be judged by a
jury of his peers. I could quote at length from a long list of
associates of high repute, but they all concur fully with the
comprehensive judgment of Ina Coolbrith, who knew him intimately. She
says, "I can only speak of him in terms of unqualified praise as author,
friend, and man."

In the general introduction that Harte wrote for the first volume of his
collected stories he refers to the charge that he "confused recognized
standards of morality by extenuating lives of recklessness and often
criminality with a single solitary virtue" as "the cant of too much
mercy." He then adds: "Without claiming to be a religious man or a
moralist, but simply as an artist, he shall reverently and humbly
conform to the rules laid down by a great poet who created the parables
of the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan, whose works have lasted
eighteen hundred years, and will remain when the present writer and his
generations are forgotten. And he is conscious of uttering no original
doctrine in this, but only of voicing the beliefs of a few of his
literary brethren happily living, and one gloriously dead, [Footnote:
Evidently Dickens.] who never made proclamation of this from the

Bret Harte had a very unusual combination of sympathetic insight,
emotional feeling, and keen sense of the dramatic. In the expression of
the result of these powers he commanded a literary style individually
developed, expressive of a rare personality. He was vividly imaginative,
and he had exacting ideals of precision in expression. His taste was
unerring. The depth and power of the great soul were not his. He was the
artist, not the prophet. He was a delightful painter of the life he saw,
an interpreter of the romance of his day, a keen but merciful satirist,
a humorist without reproach, a patriot, a critic, and a kindly, modest
gentleman. He was versatile, doing many things exceedingly well, and
some things supremely well. He discerned the significance of the
remarkable social conditions of early days in California and developed a
marvelous power of presenting them in vivid and attractive form. His
humor is unsurpassed. It is pervasive, like the perfume of the rose,
never offending by violence. His style is a constant surprise and a
never-ending delight. His spirit is kindly and generous. He finds good
in unsuspected places, and he leaves hope for all mankind. He was
sensitive, peace-loving, and indignant at wrong, a scorner of pretense,
independent in thought, just in judgment. He surmounted many
difficulties, bore suffering without complaint, and left with those who
really knew him a pleasant memory. It would seem that he was a greater
artist and a better man than is commonly conceded.

In failing to honor him California suffers. He should be cherished as
her early interpreter, if not as her spirit's discoverer, and ranked
high among those who have contributed to her fame. He is the
representative literary figure of the state. In her imaginary Temple of
Fame or Hall of Heroes he deserves a prominent, if not the foremost,
niche. As the generations move forward he must not be forgotten. Bret
Harte at our hands needs not to be idealized, but he does deserve to be
justly, gratefully, and fittingly realized.



We are familiar with the romantic birth of San Francisco and its
precocious childhood; we are well acquainted with its picturesque
background of Spanish history and the glorious days of '49; but I doubt
if we are as well informed as to the significant and perhaps equally
important second decade.

It was my fortune to catch a hurried glance of San Francisco in 1855,
when the population was about forty-five thousand. I was then on the way
from New England to my father's home in Humboldt County. I next saw it
in 1861 while on my way to and from attendance at the State Fair. In
1864 I took up my residence in the city and it has since been

That the almost neglected sixties may have some setting, let me briefly
trace the beginnings. Things moved slowly when America was discovered.
Columbus found the mainland in 1503. Ten years later Balboa reached the
Pacific, and, wading into the ocean, modestly claimed for his sovereign
all that bordered its shores. Thirty years thereafter the point
farthest west was named Mendocino, for Mendoza, the viceroy ordering the
expedition of Cabrillo and Ferrelos. Thirty-seven years later came
Drake, and almost found San Francisco Bay. But all these discoveries led
to no occupation. It seems incredible that two hundred and twenty-six
years elapsed from Cabrillo's visit to the day the first settlers landed
in San Diego, founding the first of the famous missions. Historically,
1769 is surely marked. In this year Napoleon and Wellington were born
and civilized California was founded.

San Francisco Bay was discovered by a land party. It was August 6, 1775,
seven weeks after the battle of Bunker Hill, that Ayala cautiously found
his way into the bay and anchored the "San Carlos" off Sausalito. Five
days before the Declaration of Independence was signed Moraga and his
men, the first colonists, arrived in San Francisco and began getting out
the timber to build the fort at the Presidio and the church at Mission

Vancouver, in 1792, poking into an unknown harbor, found a good
landing-place at a cove around the first point he rounded at his right.
The Spaniards called it Yerba Buena, after the fragrant running vine
that abounded in the lee of the sandhills which filled the present site
of Market Street, especially at a point now occupied by the building of
the Mechanics-Mercantile Library. There was no human habitation in
sight, nor was there to be for forty years, but friendly welcome came
on the trails that led to the Presidio and the Mission.

An occasional whaler or a trader in hides and tallow came and went, but
foreigners were not encouraged to settle. It was in 1814 that the first
"Gringo" came. In 1820 there were thirteen in all California, three of
whom were Americans. In 1835 William A. Richardson was the first foreign
resident of Yerba Buena. He was allowed to lay out a street and build a
structure of boards and ship's sails in the Calle de Fundacion, which
generally followed the lines of the present Grant Avenue. The spot
approximates number 811 of the avenue today. When Dana came in 1835 it
was the only house visible. The following year Jacob P. Leese built a
complete house, and it was dedicated by a celebration and ball on the
Fourth of July in which the whole community participated.

The settlement grew slowly. In 1840 there were sixteen foreigners. In
1844 there were a dozen houses and fifty people. In 1845 there were but
five thousand people in all the state. The missions had been disbanded
and the Presidio was manned by one gray-haired soldier. The Mexican War
brought renewed life. On July 9, 1846, Commodore Sloat sent Captain
Montgomery with the frigate "Portsmouth," and the American flag was
raised on the staff in the plaza of 1835, since called Portsmouth
Square. Thus began the era of American occupation. Lieutenant Bartlett
was made alcalde, with large powers, in pursuance of which, on February
27, 1847, he issued a simple order that the town thereafter be known as
San Francisco,--and its history as such began.

The next year gold was discovered. A sleepy, romantic, shiftless but
picturesque community became wide-awake, energetic, and aggressive. San
Francisco leaped into prominence. Every nation on earth sent its most
ambitious and enterprising as well as its most restless and
irresponsible citizens. In the last nine months of 1849, seven hundred
shiploads were landed in a houseless town. They largely left for the
mines, but more remained than could be housed. They lived on and around
hulks run ashore and thousands found shelter in Happy Valley tents. A
population of two thousand at the beginning of the year was twenty
thousand at the end. It was a gold-crazed community. Everything consumed
was imported. Gold dust was the only export.

From 1849 to 1860, gold amounting to over six hundred million dollars
was produced. The maximum--eighty-one millions--was reached in 1852. The
following year showed a decline of fourteen millions, and 1855 saw a
further decline of twelve millions. Alarm was felt. At the same ratio of
decline, in less than four years production would cease. It was plainly
evident, if the state were to exist and grow, that other resources must
be developed.

In the first decade there were periods of great depression. Bank and
commercial failures were very frequent occurrences in 1854. The state
was virtually only six years old--but what wonderful years they had
been! In the splendor of achievement and the glamour of the golden
fleece we lose sight of the fact that the community was so small. In the
whole state there were not more than 350,000 people, of whom a seventh
lived in San Francisco. There were indications that the tide of
immigration had reached its height. In 1854 arrivals had exceeded
departures by twenty-four thousand. In 1855 the excess dropped to six

My first view of San Francisco left a vivid impression of a city in
every way different from any I had ever seen. The streets were planked,
the buildings were heterogeneous--some of brick or stone, others
little more than shacks. Portsmouth Square was the general center of
interest, facing the City Hall and the Post Office. Clay Street Hill was
higher then than now. I know it because I climbed to its top to call on
a boy who came on the steamer and lived there. There was but little
settlement to the west of the summit.

The leading hotel was the International, lately opened, on Jackson
Street below Montgomery. It was considered central in location, being
convenient to the steamer landings, the Custom House, and the wholesale
trade. Probably but one building of that period has survived. At the
corner of Montgomery and California streets stood Parrott's granite
block, the stone for which was cut in China and assembled in 1852 by
Chinese workmen imported for the purpose. It harbored the bank of Page,
Bacon & Co., and has been continuously occupied, surviving an explosion
of nitroglycerine in 1866 (when Wells, Fargo & Co. were its tenants) as
well as the fire of 1906. Wilson's Exchange was in Sansome Street near
Sacramento. The American Theater was opposite. Where the Bank of
California stands there was a seed store. On the northeast corner of
California and Sansome streets was Bradshaw's zinc grocery store.

The growth of the city southward had already begun. The effort to
develop North Beach commercially had failed. Meiggs' Wharf was little
used; the Cobweb Saloon, near its shore end, was symbolic. Telegraph
Hill and its semaphore and time-ball were features of business life. It
was well worth climbing for the view, which Bayard Taylor pronounced the
finest in the world.

At this time San Francisco monopolized the commerce of the coast.
Everything that entered California came through the Golden Gate, and it
nearly all went up the Sacramento River. It was distinctly the age of
gold. Other resources were not considered. This all seemed a very
insecure basis for a permanent state. That social and political
conditions were threatening may be inferred when we recall that 1856
brought the Vigilance Committee. In 1857 came the Fraser River stampede.
Twenty-three thousand people are said to have left the city, and
real-estate values suffered severely.

In 1860 the Pony Express was established, bringing "the States," as the
East was generally designated, considerably nearer. It took but ten and
a half days to St. Louis, and thirteen to New York, with postage five
dollars an ounce. Steamers left on the first and fifteenth of the month,
and the twenty-eighth and fourteenth were religiously observed as days
for collection. No solvent man of honor failed to settle his account on
"steamer day."

The election of Lincoln, followed by the threat of war, was disquieting,
and the large southern element was out of sympathy with anything like
coercion. But patriotism triumphed. Early in 1861 a mass meeting was
held at the corner of Montgomery and Market streets, and San Francisco
pledged her loyalty.

In November, 1861, I attended the State Fair at Sacramento as
correspondent for the _Humboldt Times_. About the only impression of San
Francisco on my arrival was the disgust I felt for the proprietor of the
hotel at which I stopped, when, in reply to my eager inquiry for war
news, he was only able to say that he believed there had been some
fighting somewhere in Virginia. This to one starving for information
after a week's abstinence was tantalizing.

After a week of absorbing interest, in a fair that seemed enormously
important and impressive, I timed my return so as to spend Sunday in San
Francisco, and it was made memorable by attending, morning and evening,
the Unitarian church, then in Stockton near Sacramento, and hearing
Starr King. He had come from Boston the year before, proposing to fill
the pulpit for a year, and from the first aroused great enthusiasm. I
found the church crowded and was naturally consigned to a back seat,
which I shared with a sewing-machine, for it was war-time and the women
were very active in relief work.

The gifted preacher was thirty-seven years old, but seemed younger. He
was of medium height, had a kindly face with a generous mouth, a full
forehead, and dark, glowing eyes.

In June, 1864, I became a resident of San Francisco, rejoining the
family and becoming a clerk in the office of the Superintendent of
Indian Affairs. The city was about one-fifth its present size, claiming
a population of 110,000.

I want to give an idea of San Francisco's character and life at that
time, and of general conditions in the second decade. It is not easy to
do, and demands the reader's help and sympathy. Let him imagine, if he
will, that he is visiting San Francisco for the first time, and that he
is a personal friend of the writer, who takes a day off to show him the
city. In 1864 one could arrive here only by steamer; there were no
railways. I meet my friend at the gangplank of the steamer on the wharf
at the foot of Broadway. To reach the car on East Street (now the
Embarcadero), we very likely skirt gaping holes in the planked wharf,
exposing the dark water lapping the supporting piles, and are assailed
by bilge-like odors that escape. Two dejected horses await us. Entering
the car we find two lengthwise seats upholstered in red plush. If it be
winter, the floor is liberally covered by straw, to mitigate the mud. If
it be summer, the trade winds are liberally charged with fine sand and
infinitesimal splinters from the planks which are utilized for both
streets and sidewalks. We rattle along East and intersecting streets
until we reach Sansome, upon which we proceed to Bush, which practically
bounds the business district on the south, thence we meander by a
circuitous route to Laurel Hill Cemetery near Lone Mountain. A guide is
almost necessary. An incoming stranger once asked the conductor to let
him off at the American Exchange, which the car passed. He was surprised
at the distance to his destination. At the cemetery end of the line he
discovered that the conductor had forgotten him, but was assured that he
would stop at the hotel on the way back. The next thing he knew he
reached the wharf; the conductor had again forgotten him. His
confidence exhausted, he insisted on walking, following the track until
he reached the hotel.

In the present instance we alight from the car when it reaches
Montgomery Street, at the Occidental Hotel, new and attractive, well
managed by a New Yorker named Leland and especially patronized by army
people. We rest briefly and start out for a preliminary survey. Three
blocks to the south we reach Market Street and gaze upon the outer edge
of the bustling city. Across the magnificently wide but rude and
unfinished street, at the immediate right, where the Palace Hotel is to
stand, we see St. Patrick's Church and an Orphan Asylum. A little
beyond, at the corner of Third Street, is a huge hill of sand covering
the present site of the Glaus Spreckels Building, upon which a
steam-paddy is at work loading flat steam cars that run Mission-ward.
The lot now occupied by the Emporium is the site of a large Catholic
school. At our left, stretching to the bay are coal-yards, foundries,
planing-mills, box-factories, and the like. It will be years before
business crosses Market Street. Happy Valley and Pleasant Valley,
beyond, are well covered by inexpensive residences. The North Beach and
South Park car line connects the fine residence district on and around
Rincon Hill with the fine stretches of northern Stockton Street and the
environs of Telegraph Hill. At the time I picture, no street-cars ran
below Montgomery, on Market Street; traffic did not warrant it. It was a
boundary rather than a thoroughfare. It was destined to be one of the
world's noted streets, but at this time the city's life pulsed through
Montgomery Street, to which we will now return.

Turning from the apparent jumping-off place we cross to the "dollar
side" and join the promenaders who pass in review or pause to gaze at
the shop windows. Montgomery Street has been pre-eminent since the early
days and is now at its height. For a long time Clay Street harbored the
leading dry-goods stores, like the City of Paris, but all are struggling
for place in Montgomery. Here every business is represented--Beach,
Roman, and Bancroft, the leading booksellers; Barrett & Sherwood,
Tucker, and Andrews, jewelers; Donohoe, Kelly & Co., John Sime, and
Hickox & Spear, bankers; and numerous dealers in carpets, furniture,
hats, French shoes, optical goods, etc. Of course Barry & Patten's was
not the only saloon. Passing along we are almost sure to see some of the
characters of the day--certainly Emperor Norton and Freddie Coombs (a
reincarnated Franklin), probably Colonel Stevenson, with his Punch-like
countenance, towering Isaac Friedlander, the poor rich Michael Reese,
handsome Hall McAllister, and aristocratic Ogden Hoffman. Should the
fire-bell ring we will see Knickerbocker No. Five in action, with Chief
Scannell and "Bummer" and "Lazarus," and perhaps Lillie Hitchcock. When
we reach Washington Street we cross to make a call at the Bank Exchange
in the Montgomery Block, the largest structure on the street. The
"Exchange" is merely a popular saloon, but it boasts ten billiard tables
and back of the bar hangs the famous picture of "Samson and Delilah."

Luncheon being in order we are embarrassed with riches. Perhaps the Mint
restaurant is as good as the best and probably gives a sight of more
prominent politicians than any other resort; but something quite
characteristic is the daily gathering at Jury's, a humble
hole-in-the-wall in Merchant Street back of the _Bulletin_ office.

Four lawyers who like one another, and like good living as well, have a
special table. Alexander Campbell, Milton Andros, George Sharp, and
Judge Dwinelle will stop first in the Clay Street Market, conveniently
opposite, and select the duck, fish, or English mutton-chops for the
day's menu. One of the number bears the choice to the kitchen and
superintends its preparation while the others engage in shrimps and
table-talk until it is served. If Jury's is overflowing with custom,
there are two other French restaurants alongside.

After luncheon we have a glimpse of the business district, following
back on the "two-bit" side of the street. At Clay we pass a saloon with
a cigar-stand in front and find a group listening to a man with bushy
hair and a reddish mustache, who in an easy attitude and in a quaintly
drawling voice is telling a story. We await the laugh and pass on, and I
say that he is a reporter, lately from Nevada, called Mark Twain. Very
likely we encounter at Commercial Street, on his way to the _Call_
office, a well-dressed young man with Dundreary whiskers and an aquiline
nose. He nods to me and I introduce Bret Harte, secretary to the
Superintendent of the Mint, and author of the clever "Condensed Novels"
being printed in the _Californian_. At California Street we turn east,
passing the shipping offices and hardware houses, and coming to Battery
Street, where Israelites wax fat in wholesale dry goods and the clothing
business. For solid big business in groceries, liquors, and provisions
we must keep on to Front Street--Front by name only, for four streets on
filled-in land have crept in front of Front. Following this very
important street past the shipping offices we reach Washington Street,
passing up which we come to Battery Street, where we pause to glance at
the Custom House and Post Office at the right and the recently
established Bank of California on the southwest corner of the two

Having fairly surveyed the legitimate business we wish to see something
of the engrossing avocation of most of the people of the city, of any
business or no business, and we pass on to Montgomery, crossing over to
the center of the stock exchange activities. Groups of men and women
are watching the tapes in the brokers' offices, messengers are running
in and out the board entrances, intense excitement is everywhere
apparent. Having gained admission to the gallery of the board room we
look down on the frantic mob, buying and selling Comstock shares. How
much is really sold and how much is washing no one knows, but enormous
transactions, big with fate, are of everyday occurrence. As we pass out
we notice a man with strong face whose shoes show dire need of patching.
Asked his name, I answer, "Jim Keane; just now he is down, but some day
he is bound to be way up."

We saunter up Clay, passing Burr's Savings Bank and a few remaining
stores, to Kearny, and Portsmouth Square, whose glory is departing. The
City Hall faces it, and so does Exempt Engine House, but dentists'
offices and cheap theaters and Chinese stores are crowding in. Clay
Street holds good boarding-houses, but decay is manifest. We pass on to
Stockton, still a favorite residence street; turning south we pass, near
Sacramento, the church in which Starr King first preached, now proudly
owned by the negro Methodists. At Post we reach Union Square, nearly
covered by the wooden pavilion in which the Mechanics' Institute holds
its fairs. Diagonally opposite the southeast corner of the desecrated
park are the buildings of the ambitious City College, and east of them
a beautiful church edifice always spoken of as "Starr King's Church."

Very likely, seeing the church, I might be reminded of one of Mr. King's
most valued friends, and suggest that we call upon him at the Golden
Gate Flour-mill in Pine Street, where the California Market was to
stand. If we met Horace Davis, I should feel that I had presented one of
our best citizens.

Dinner presents many opportunities; but I am inclined to think we shall
settle on Frank Garcia's restaurant in Montgomery near Jackson, where
good service awaits us, and we may hear the upraised voices of some of
the big lawyers who frequent the place. For the evening we have the
choice between several bands of minstrels, but if Forrest and John
McCullough are billed for "Jack Cade" we shall probably call on Tom
Maguire. After the strenuous play we pass up Washington Street to Peter
Job's and indulge in his incomparable ice-cream.

On Sunday I shall continue my guidance. Churches are plentiful and
preachers are good. In the afternoon I think I may venture to invite my
friend to The Willows, a public garden between Mission and Valencia and
Seventeenth and Nineteenth streets. We shall hear excellent music in the
open air and can sit at a small table and sip good beer. I find such
indulgence far less wicked than I had been led to believe.

When there is something distinctive in a community a visitor is
supposed to take it in, and in the evening we attend the meeting of the
Dashaway Association in its own hall in Post Street near Dupont. It
numbers five thousand members and meets Sunday mornings and evenings.
Strict temperance is a live issue at this time. The Sons of Temperance
maintain four divisions. There are besides two lodges of Good Templars
and a San Francisco Temperance Union. And in spite of all this the city
feels called upon to support a Home for Inebriates at Stockton and
Chestnut streets, to which the supervisors contribute two hundred and
fifty dollars a month.

I shall feel that I am derelict if I do not manage a jaunt to the Cliff
House. The most desirable method demands a span of horses for a spin out
Point Lobos Avenue. We may, however, be obliged to take a McGinn bus
that leaves the Plaza hourly. It will be all the same when we reach the
Cliff and gaze on Ben Butler and his companion sea-lions as they disport
themselves in the ocean or climb the rocks. Wind or fog may greet us,
but the indifferent monsters roar, fight, and play, while the restless
waves roll in. We must, also, make a special trip to Rincon Hill and
South Park to see how and where our magnates dwell. The 600 block in
Folsom Street must not be neglected. The residences of such men as John
Parrott and Milton S. Latham are almost palatial. It is related that a
visitor impressed with the elegance of one of these places asked a
modest man in the neighborhood if he knew whose it was. "Yes," he
replied, "it belongs to an old fool by the name of John Parrott, and I
am he."

We shall leave out something distinctive if we do not call at the What
Cheer House in Sacramento Street below Montgomery, a hostelry for men,
with moderate prices, notwithstanding many unusual privileges. It has a
large reading-room and a library of five thousand volumes, besides a
very respectable museum. Guests are supplied with all facilities for
blacking their own boots, and are made at home in every way.
Incidentally the proprietor made a good fortune, a large part of which
he invested in turning his home at Fourteenth and Mission streets into a
pleasure resort known as Woodward's Gardens, which for many years was
our principal park, art gallery and museum.

These are a few of the things I could have shown. But to know and
appreciate the spirit and character of a city one must live in it and be
of it; so I beg to be dismissed as a guide and to offer experiences and
events that may throw some light on life in the stirring sixties.

When I migrated from Humboldt County and enlisted for life as a San
Franciscan I lived with my father's family in a small brick house in
Powell Street near Ellis. The Golden West Hotel now covers the lot. The
little houses opposite were on a higher level and were surrounded by
small gardens. Both street and sidewalks were planked, but I remember
that my brother and I, that we might escape the drifting sand, often
walked on the flat board that capped the flimsy fence in front of a
vacant lot. On the west of Powell, at Market, was St. Ann's Garden and
Nursery. On the east, where the Flood Building stands, was a stable and

Much had been accomplished in city building, but the process was
continuing. Few of us realize the obstacles overcome. Fifteen years
before, the site was the rugged end of a narrow peninsula, with high
rock hills, wastes of drifting sand, a curving cove of beach, bordered
with swamps and estuaries, and here and there a few oases in the form of
small valleys. In 1864 the general lines of the city were practically
those of today. It was the present San Francisco, laid out but not
filled out. There was little west of Larkin Street and quite a gap
between the city proper and the Mission.

Size in a city greatly modifies character. In 1864 I found a compact
community; whatever was going on seemed to interest all. We now have a
multitude of unrelated circles; then there was one great circle
including the sympathetic whole. The one theater that offered the
legitimate drew and could accommodate all who cared for it. Herold's
orchestral concerts, a great singer like Parepa Rosa, or a violinist
like Ole Bull drew all the music-lovers of the city. And likewise, in
the early springtime when the Unitarian picnic was announced at Belmont
or Fairfax, it would be attended by at least a thousand, and heartily
enjoyed by all, regardless of church connection. Such things are no
more, though the population to draw from be five times as large.

In the sixties, church congregations and lecture audiences were much
larger than they are now. There seemed always to be some one preacher or
lecturer who was the vogue, practically monopolizing public interest.
His name might be Scudder or Kittredge or Moody, but while he lasted
everybody rushed to hear him. And there was commonly some special fad
that prevailed. Spiritualism held the boards for quite a time.

Changes in real-estate values were a marked feature of the city's life.
The laying out of Broadway was significant of expectations. Banks in the
early days were north of Pacific in Montgomery, but very soon the drift
to the south began.

In 1862, when the Unitarian church in Stockton street near Sacramento
was found too small, it was determined to push well to the front of the
city's growth. Two lots were under final consideration, the northwest
corner of Geary and Powell, where the St. Francis now stands, and the
lot in Geary east of Stockton, now covered by the Whitney Building. The
first lot was a corner and well situated, but it was rejected on the
ground that it was "too far out." The trustees paid $16,000 for the
other lot and built the fine church that was occupied until 1887, when
it was felt to be too far down town, and the present building at
Franklin and Geary streets was erected. Incidentally, the lot sold for

The evolution of pavements has been an interesting incident of the
city's life. Planks were cheap and they held down some of the sand, but
they grew in disfavor. In 1864 the Superintendent of Streets reported
that in the previous year 1,365,000 square feet of planks had been laid,
and 290,000 square feet had been paved with cobbles, a lineal mile of
which cost $80,000. How much suffering they cost the militia who marched
on them is not reported. Nicholson pavement was tried and found wanting.
Basalt blocks found brief favor. Finally we reached the modern era and
approximate perfection.

Checker-board street planning was a serious misfortune to the city, and
it was aggravated by the narrowness of most of the streets. Kearny
Street, forty-five and one-half feet wide, and Dupont, forty-four and
one-half feet, were absurd. In 1865 steps were taken to add thirty feet
to the west side of Kearny. In 1866 the work was done, and it proved a
great success. The cost was five hundred and seventy-nine thousand
dollars, and the addition to the value of the property was not less than
four million dollars. When the work began the front-foot value at the
northern end was double that at Market Street. Today the value at Market
Street is more than five times that at Broadway.

The first Sunday after my arrival in San Francisco I went to the
Unitarian church and heard the wonderfully attractive and satisfying Dr.
Bellows, temporary supply. It was the beginning of a church connection
that still continues and to which I owe more than I can express.

Dr. Bellows had endeared himself to the community by his warm
appreciation of their liberal support of the Sanitary Commission during
the Civil War. The interchange of messages between him in New York and
Starr King in San Francisco had been stimulating and effective. When the
work was concluded it was found that California had furnished one-fourth
of the $4,800,000 expended. Governor Low headed the San Francisco
committee. The Pacific Coast, with a population of half a million,
supplied one-third of all the money spent by this forerunner of the Red
Cross. The other states of the Union, with a population of about
thirty-two million, supplied two-thirds. But California was far away and
it was not thought wise to drain the West of its loyal forces, and we
ought to have given freely of our money. In all, quite a number found
their way to the fighting front. A friend of mine went to the wharf to
see Lieutenant Sheridan, late of Oregon, embark for the East and active
service. Sheridan was grimly in earnest, and remarked: "I'll come back a
captain or I'll not come back at all." When he did come back it was with
the rank of lieutenant-general.

While San Francisco was unquestionably loyal, there were not a few
Southern sympathizers, and loyalists were prepared for trouble. I soon
discovered that a secret Union League was active and vigilant. Weekly
meetings for drill were held in the pavilion in Union Square, admission
being by password only. I promptly joined. The regimental commander was
Martin J. Burke, chief of police. My company commander was George T.
Knox, a prominent notary public. I also joined the militia, choosing the
State Guard, Captain Dawes, which drilled weekly in the armory in Market
Street opposite Dupont. Fellow members were Horace Davis and his brother
George, Charles W. Wendte (now an eastern D.D.), Samuel L. Cutter, Fred
Glimmer of the Unitarian church, Henry Michaels, and W.W. Henry, father
of the present president of Mills College. Our active service was mainly
confined to marching over the cruel cobble-stones on the Fourth of July
and other show-off occasions, while commonly we indulged in an annual
excursion and target practice in the wilds of Alameda.

Once we saw real service. When the news of the assassination of Lincoln
reached San Francisco the excitement was intense. Newspapers that had
slandered him or been lukewarm in his support suffered. The militia was
called out in fear of a riot and passed a night in the basement of
Platt's Hall. But preparedness was all that was needed. A few days later
we took part in a most imposing procession. All the military and most
other organizations followed a massive catafalque and a riderless horse
through streets heavily draped with black. The line of march was long,
arms were reversed, the sorrowing people crowded the way, and solemnity
and grief on every hand told how deeply Lincoln was loved.

I had cast my first presidential vote for him, at Turn Verein Hall, Bush
Street, November 6, 1864. When the news of his re-election by the voters
of every loyal state came to us, we went nearly wild with enthusiasm,
but our heartiest rejoicing came with the fall of Richmond. We had a
great procession, following the usual route--from Washington Square to
Montgomery, to Market, to Third, to South Park, where fair women from
crowded balconies waved handkerchiefs and flags to shouting
marchers--and back to the place of beginning. Processioning was a great
function of those days, observed by the cohorts of St. Patrick and by
all political parties. It was a painful process, for the street pavement
was simply awful.

Sometimes there were trouble and mild assaults. The only recollection I
have of striking a man is connected with a torchlight procession
celebrating some Union victory. When returning from south of Market, a
group of jeering toughs closed in on us and I was lightly hit. I turned
and using my oil-filled lamp at the end of a staff as a weapon, hit out
at my assailant. The only evidence that the blow was an effective one
was the loss of the lamp; borne along by solid ranks of patriots I clung
to an unilluminated stick. Party feeling was strong in the sixties and
bands and bonfires plentiful.

At one election the Democrats organized a corps of rangers, who marched
with brooms, indicative of the impending clean sweep by which they were
to "turn the rascals out." For each presidential election drill crops
were organized, but the Blaine Invincibles didn't exactly prove so.

The Republican party held a long lease of power, however. Governor Low
was a very popular executive, while municipally the People's Party,
formed in 1856 by adherents of the Vigilance Committee, was still in the
saddle, giving good, though not far-sighted and progressive, government.
Only those who experienced the abuses under the old methods of
conducting elections can realize the value of the provision for the
uniform ballot and a quiet ballot box, adopted in 1869. There had been
no secrecy or privacy, and peddlers of rival tickets fought for
patronage to the box's mouth. One served as an election officer at the
risk of sanity if not of life. In the "fighting Seventh" ward I once
counted ballots for thirty-six consecutive hours, and as I remember
conditions I was the only officer who finished sober.

During my first year in government employ the depreciation in
legal-tender notes in which we were paid was very embarrassing. One
hundred dollars in notes would bring but thirty-five or forty dollars in
gold, and we could get nothing we wanted except with gold.

My second year in San Francisco I lived in Howard Street near First and
was bookkeeper for a stock-broker. I became familiar with the
fascinating financial game that followed the development of the Comstock
lode, discovered in 1859. It was 1861 before production was large. Then
began the silver age, a new era that completely transformed California
and made San Francisco a great center of financial power. Within twenty
years $340,000,000 poured into her banks. The world's silver output
increased from forty millions a year to sixty millions. In September of
1862 the stock board was organized. At first a share in a company
represented a running foot on the lode's length. In 1871, Mr. Cornelius
O'Connor bought ten shares of Consolidated Virginia at eight dollars a
share. When it had been divided into one thousand shares and he was
offered $680 a share, he had the sagacity to sell, realizing a profit
of $679,920 on his investment of $80. At the time he sold, a share
represented one-fourteenth of an inch. In six years the bonanza yielded
$104,000,000, of which $73,000,000 was paid in dividends.

The effect of such unparalleled riches was wide-spread. It made Nevada a
state and gave great impetus to the growth of San Francisco. It had a
marked influence on society and modified the character of the city
itself. Fifteen years of abnormal excitement, with gains and losses
incredible in amount, unsettled the stability of trade and orderly
business and proved a demoralizing influence. Speculation became a
habit. It was gambling adjusted to all conditions, with equal
opportunity for millionaire or chambermaid, and few resisted altogether.
Few felt shame, but some were secretive.

A few words are due Adolph Sutro, who dealt in cigars in his early
manhood, but went to Nevada in 1859 and by 1861 owned a quartz-mill. In
1866 he became impressed with the idea that the volume of water
continually flowing into the deeper mines of the Comstock lode would
eventually demand an outlet on the floor of Carson Valley, four miles
away. He secured the legislation and surprised both friends and enemies
by raising the money to begin construction of the famous Sutro Tunnel.
He began the work in 1859, and in some way carried it through, spending
five million dollars. The mine-owners did not want to use his tunnel,
but they had to. He finally sold out at a good price and put the most
of a large fortune in San Francisco real estate. At one time he owned
one-tenth of the area of the city. He forested the bald hills of the San
Miguel Rancho, an immense improvement, changing the whole sky-line back
of Golden Gate Park. He built the fine Sutro Baths, planted the
beautiful gardens on the heights above the Cliff House, established a
car line that meant to the ocean for a nickel, amassed a library of
twenty thousand volumes, and incidentally made a good mayor. He was a
public benefactor and should be held in grateful memory.

The memories that cluster around a certain building are often
impressive, both intrinsically and by reason of their variety. Platt's
Hall is connected with experiences of first interest. For many years it
was the place for most occasional events of every character. It was a
large square auditorium on the spot now covered by the Mills Building.
Balls, lectures, concerts, political meetings, receptions, everything
that was popular and wanted to be considered first-class went to Platt's

Starr King's popularity had given the Unitarian church and Sunday-school
a great hold on the community. At Christmas its festivals were held in
Platt's Hall. We paid a hundred dollars for rent and twenty-five dollars
for a Christmas-tree. Persons who served as doorkeepers or in any other
capacity received ten dollars each. At one dollar for admission we
crowded the big hall and always had money left over. Our entertainments
were elaborate, closing with a dance. My first service for the
Sunday-school was the unobserved holding up an angel's wing in a
tableau. One of the most charming of effects was an artificial
snowstorm, arranged for the concluding dance at a Christmas festival.
The ceiling of the hall was composed of horizontal windows giving
perfect ventilation and incidentally making it feasible for a large
force of boys to scatter quantities of cut-up white paper evenly and
plentifully over the dancers, the evergreen garlands decorating the
hall, and the polished floor. It was a long-continued downpour, a
complete surprise, and for many a year a happy tradition.

In Platt's Hall wonderfully fine orchestral concerts were held, under
the very capable direction of Rudolph Herold. Early in the sixties
Caroline Richings had a successful season of English opera. Later the
Howsons charmed us for a time. All the noteworthy lecturers of the world
who visited California received us at Platt's Hall. Beecher made a great
impression. Carl Schurz, also, stirred us deeply. I recall one clever
sentence. He said, "When the time came that this country needed a
poultice it elected President Hayes and got it." Of our local talent
real eloquence found its best expression in Henry Edgerton. The height
of enthusiasm was registered in war-time by the mighty throng that
gathered at Lincoln's call for a hundred thousand men. Starr King was
the principal speaker. He had called upon his protégé, Bret Harte, for a
poem for the occasion. Harte doubted his ability, but he handed Mr. King
the result of his effort. He called it the "Reveille." King was greatly
delighted. Harte hid himself in the concourse. King's wonderful voice,
thrilling with emotion, carried the call to every heart and the audience
with one accord stood and cheered again and again.

One of the most striking coincidences I ever knew occurred in connection
with the comparatively mild earthquake of 1866. It visited us on a
Sunday at the last moments of the morning sermon. Those in attendance at
the Unitarian church were engaged in singing the last hymn, standing
with books in hand. The movement was not violent but threatening. It
flashed through my mind that the strain on a building with a large
unsupported roof must be great. Faces blanched, but all stood quietly
waiting the end, and all would have gone well had not the large central
pipe of the organ, apparently unattached, only its weight holding it in
place, tottered on its base and leaped over the heads of the choir,
falling into the aisle in front of the first pews. The effect was
electric. The large congregation waited for no benediction or other form
of dismissal. The church was emptied in an incredibly short time, and
the congregation was very soon in the middle of the street, hymnbooks
in hand. The coincidence was that the verse being sung was,

  "The seas shall melt,
    And skies to smoke decay,
  Rocks turn to dust,
    And mountains fall away."

We had evening services at the time, and Dr. Stebbins again gave out the
same hymn, and this time we sang it through.

The story of Golden Gate Park and how the city got it is very
interesting, but must be much abridged. In 1866 I pieced out a modest
income by reporting the proceedings of the Board of Supervisors and the
School Board for the _Call_. It was in the palmy days of the People's
Party. The supervisors, elected from the wards in which they lived, were
honest and fairly able. The man of most brains and initiative was Frank
McCoppin. The most important question before them was the disposition of
the outside lands. In 1853 the city had sued for the four square leagues
(seventeen thousand acres) allowed under the Mexican law. It was granted
ten thousand acres, which left all land west of Divisadero Street
unsettled as to title. Appeal was taken, and finally the city's claim
was confirmed. In 1866 Congress passed an act confirming the decree, and
the legislature authorized the conveyance of the lands to occupants.

They were mostly squatters, and the prize was a rich one. Congress had
decreed "that all of this land not needed for public purposes, or not
previously disposed of, should be conveyed to the persons in
possession," so that all the latitude allowed was as to what "needs for
public purposes" covered. There had been agitation for a park; indeed,
Frederick Law Olmstead had made an elaborate but discouraging report,
ignoring the availability of the drifting sand-hills that formed so
large a part of the outside lands, recommending a park including our
little Duboce Park and one at Black Point, the two to be connected by a
widened and parked Van Ness Avenue, sunken and crossed by ornamental

The undistributed outside lands to be disposed of comprised eighty-four
hundred acres. The supervisors determined to reserve one thousand acres
for a park. Some wanted to improve the opportunity to secure without
cost considerably more. The _Bulletin_ advocated an extension that would
bring a bell-shaped panhandle down to the Yerba Buena Cemetery, property
owned by the city and now embraced in the Civic Center. After long
consideration a compromise was made by which the claimants paid to those
whose lands were kept for public use ten per cent of the value of the
lands distributed. By this means 1,347.46 acres were rescued, of which
Golden Gate Park included 1,049.31, the rest being used for a cemetery,
Buena Vista Park, public squares, school lots, etc. The ordinances
accomplishing the qualified boon to the city were fathered by McCoppin
and Clement. Other members of the committee, immortalized by the streets
named after them, were Clayton, Ashbury, Cole, Shrader, and Stanyan.

The story of the development of Golden Gate Park is well known. The
beauty and charm are more eloquent than words, and John McLaren, ranks
high among the city's benefactors.

The years from 1860 to 1870 marked many changes in the character and
appearance of San Francisco. Indeed, its real growth and development
date from the end of the first decade. Before that we were clearing off
the lot and assembling the material. The foundation of the structure
that we are still building was laid in the second decade. Statistics
establish the fact. In population we increased from less than 57,000 to
150,000--163 per cent. In the first decade our assessed property
increased $9,000,000; in the second, $85,000,000. Our imports and
exports increased from $3,000,000 to $13,000,000. Great gain came
through the silver production, but greater far from the development of
the permanent industries of the land--grain, fruit, lumber--and the
shipping that followed it.

The city made strides in growth and beauty. Our greatest trial was too
much prosperity and the growth of luxury and extravagance.



In a brief chapter little can be offered that will tell the story of
half a century of life of a great city. No attempt will be made to trace
its progress or to recount its achievement. It is my purpose merely to
record events and occurrences that I remember, for whatever interest
they may have or whatever light they may throw on the life of the city
or on my experience in it.

For many years we greatly enjoyed the exhibits and promenade concerts of
the Mechanics' Institute Fairs. The large pavilion also served a useful
purpose in connection with various entertainments demanding capacity. In
1870 there was held a very successful musical festival; twelve hundred
singers participated and Camilla Urso was the violinist. The attendance
exceeded six thousand.

The Mercantile Library was in 1864 very strong and seemed destined to
eternal life, but it became burdened with debt and sought to extricate
itself by an outrageous expedient. The legislature passed an act
especially permitting a huge lottery, and for three days in 1870 the
town was given over to gambling, unabashed and unashamed. The result
seemed a triumph. Half a million dollars was realized, but it was a
violation of decency that sounded the knell of the institution, and it
was later absorbed by the plodding Mechanics' Institute, which had
always been most judiciously managed. Its investments in real estate
that it used have made it wealthy.

A gala day of 1870 was the spectacular removal of Blossom Rock. The
early-day navigation was imperiled by a small rock northwest of Angel
Island, covered at low tide by but five feet of water. It was called
Blossom, from having caused the loss of an English ship of that name.
The Government closed a bargain with Engineer Von Schmidt, who three
years before had excavated from the solid rock at Hunter's Point a dry
dock that had gained wide renown. Von Schmidt guaranteed twenty-four
feet of water at a cost of seventy-five thousand dollars, no payment to
be made unless he succeeded. He built a cofferdam, sunk a shaft, planted
twenty-three tons of powder in the tunnels he ran, and on May 25th,
after notice duly served, which sent the bulk of the population to
view-commanding hills, he pushed an electric button that fired the mine,
throwing water and debris one hundred and fifty feet in the air. Blossom
Rock was no more, deep water was secured, and Von Schmidt cashed his

On my trip from Humboldt County to San Francisco in 1861 I made the
acquaintance of Andrew S. Hallidie, an English engineer who had
constructed a wire bridge over the Klamath River. In 1872 he came to my
printing office to order a prospectus announcing the formation of a
small company to construct a new type of street-car, to be propelled by
wire cable running in a conduit in the street and reached by a grip
through a slot. It was suggested by the suffering of horses striving to
haul cars up our steep hills and it utilized methods successfully used
in transporting ores from the mines. On August 2, 1873, the first
cable-car made a successful trial trip of seven blocks over Clay Street
hill, from Kearny to Leavenworth. Later it was extended four blocks to
the west. From this beginning the cable-roads spread over most of the
city and around the world. With the development of the electric trolley
they were largely displaced except on steep grades, where they still
perform an important function. Mr. Hallidie was a public-spirited
citizen and an influential regent of the University of California.

In 1874 there was forced upon the citizens of San Francisco the
necessity of taking steps to give better care and opportunity to the
neglected children of the community. A poorly conducted reform school
was encouraging crime instead of effecting reform. On every hand was
heard the question, "What shall we do with our boys?" Encouraged by the
reports of what had been accomplished in New York City by Charles L.
Brace, correspondence was entered into, and finally The Boys and Girls
Aid Society was organized. Difficulty was encountered in finding any one
willing to act as president of the organization, but George C. Hickox, a
well-known banker, was at last persuaded and became much interested in
the work. For some time it was a difficult problem to secure funds to
meet the modest expenses. A lecture by Charles Kingsley was a flat
failure. Much more successful was an entertainment at Platt's Hall at
which well-known citizens took part in an old-time spelling-match. In a
small building in Clementina Street we began with neighborhood boys, who
were at first wild and unruly. Senator George C. Perkins became
interested, and for more than forty years served as president. Through
him Senator Fair gave five thousand dollars and later the two valuable
fifty-vara lots at Grove and Baker streets, still occupied by the Home.
We issued a little paper, _Child and State_, in which we appealed for a
building, and a copy fell into the hands of Miss Helen McDowell,
daughter of the General. She sent it to Miss Hattie Crocker, who passed
it to her father, Charles Crocker, of railroad fame. He became
interested and wrote for particulars, and when the plans were submitted
he told us to go ahead and build, sending the bills to him. These two
substantial gifts made possible the working out of our plans, and the
results have been very encouraging. When the building was erected, on
the advice of the experts of the period, two lockups were installed, one
without light. Experience soon convinced us that they could be dispensed
with, and both were torn out. An honor system was substituted, to
manifest advantage, and failures to return when boys are permitted to
visit parents are negligible in number. The three months of summer
vacation are devoted to berry-picking, with satisfaction to growers and
to the boys, who last year earned eleven thousand dollars, of which
seven thousand dollars was paid to the boys who participated, in
proportion to the amount earned.

William C. Ralston was able, daring, and brilliant. In 1864 he organized
the Bank of California, which, through its Virginia City connection and
the keenness and audacity of William Sharon, practically monopolized the
big business of the Comstock, controlling mines, milling, and
transportation. In San Francisco it was _the_ bank, and its earnings
were huge. Ralston was public-spirited and enterprising. He backed all
kinds of schemes as well as many legitimate undertakings. He seemed the
great power of the Pacific Coast. But in 1875, when the silver output
dropped and the tide that had flowed in for a dozen years turned to ebb,
distrust was speedy. On the afternoon of August 26th, as I chanced to be
passing the bank, I saw with dismay the closing of its doors. The death
of Ralston, the discovery of wild investments, and the long train of
loss were intensely tragic. The final rehabilitation of the bank brought
assurance and rich reward to those who met their loss like men, but the
lesson was a hard one. In retrospect Ralston seems to typify that
extraordinary era of wild speculation and recklessness.

No glance at old San Francisco can be considered complete which does not
at least recognize Emperor Norton, a picturesque figure of its life. A
heavy, elderly man, probably Jewish, who paraded the streets in a dingy
uniform with conspicuous epaulets, a plumed hat, and a knobby cane.
Whether he was a pretender or imagined that he was an emperor no one
knew or seemed to care. He was good-natured, and he was humored.
Everybody bought his scrip in fifty cents denomination. I was his
favored printer, and he assured me that when he came into his estate he
would make me chancellor of the exchequer. He often attended the
services of the Unitarian church, and expressed his feeling that there
were too many churches and that when the empire was established he
should request all to accept the Unitarian church. He once asked me if I
could select from among the ladies of our church a suitable empress. I
told him I thought I might, but that he must be ready to provide for her
handsomely; that no man thought of keeping a bird until he had a cage,
and that a queen must have a palace. He was satisfied, and I never was
called upon.

The most memorable of the Fourth of July celebrations was in 1876, when
the hundredth anniversary called for something special. The best to be
had was prepared for the occasion. The procession was elaborate and
impressive. Dr. Stebbins delivered a fine oration; there was a poem, of
course; but the especial feature was a military and naval spectacle,
elaborate in character.

The fortifications around the harbor and the ships available were
scheduled to unite in an attack on a supposed enemy ship attempting to
enter the harbor. The part of the invading cruiser was taken by a large
scow anchored between Sausalito and Fort Point. At an advertised hour
the bombardment was to begin, and practically the whole population of
the city sought the high hills commanding the view. The hills above the
Presidio were then bare of habitations, but on that day they were black
with eager spectators. When the hour arrived the bombardment began. The
air was full of smoke and the noise was terrific, but alas for
marksmanship, the willing and waiting cruiser rode serenely unharmed and
unhittable. The afternoon wore away and still no chance shot went home.
Finally a Whitehall boat sneaked out and set the enemy ship on fire,
that her continued security might no longer oppress us. It was a most
impressive exhibit of unpreparedness, and gave us much to think of.

On the evening of the same day, Father Neri, at St. Ignatius College,
displayed electric lighting for the first time in San Francisco, using
three French arc lights.

The most significant event of the second decade was the rise and decline
of the Workingmen's Party, following the remarkable episode of the Sand
Lot and Denis Kearney. The winter of 1876-77 had been one of slight
rainfall, there had been a general failure of crops, the yield of gold
and silver had been small, and there was much unemployment. There had
been riots in the East and discontent and much resentment were rife. The
line of least resistance seemed to be the clothes-line. The Chinese,
though in no wise responsible, were attacked. Laundries were destroyed,
but rioting brought speedy organization. A committee of safety, six
thousand strong, took the situation in hand. The state and the national
governments moved resolutely, and order was very soon restored. Kearney
was clever and knew when to stop. He used his qualities of leadership
for his individual advantage and eventually became sleek and prosperous.
In the meantime he was influential in forming a political movement that
played a prominent part in giving us a new constitution. The ultra
conservatives were frightened, but the new instrument did not prove so
harmful as was feared. It had many good features and lent itself
readily to judicial construction.

While we now treat the episode lightly, it was at the time a serious
matter. It was Jack Cade in real life, and threatened existing society
much as the Bolshevists do in Russia. The significant feature of the
experience was that there was a measure of justification for the
protest. Vast fortunes had been suddenly amassed and luxury and
extravagance presented a damaging contrast to the poverty and suffering
of the many. Heartlessness and indifference are the primary danger. The
result of the revolt was on the whole good. The warning was needed, and,
on the other hand, the protestants learned that real reforms are not
brought about by violence or even the summary change of organic law.

In 1877 I had the good fortune to join the Chit-Chat Club, which had
been formed three years before on very simple lines. A few high-minded
young lawyers interested in serious matters, but alive to
good-fellowship, dined together once a month and discussed an essay that
one of them had written. The essayist of one meeting presided at the
next. A secretary-treasurer was the only officer. Originally the papers
alternated between literature and political economy, but as time went on
all restrictions were removed, although by usage politics and religion
are shunned. The membership has always been of high character and
remarkable interest has been maintained. I have esteemed it a great
privilege to be associated with so fine a body of kindly, cultivated
men, and educationally it has been of great advantage. I have missed few
meetings in the forty-four years, and the friendships formed have been
many and close. We formerly celebrated our annual meetings and invited
men of note. Our guests included Generals Howard, Gibbons, and Miles,
the LeContes, Edward Rowland Sill, and Luther Burbank. We enjoyed
meeting celebrities, but our regular meetings, with no formality, proved
on the whole more to our taste and celebrations were given up. When I
think of the delight and benefit that I have derived from this
association of clubbable men I feel moved to urge that similar groups be
developed wherever even a very few will make the attempt.

In 1879 I joined many of my friends and acquaintances in a remarkable
entertainment on a large scale. It was held in the Mechanics' Pavilion
and continued for many successive nights. It was called the "Carnival of
Authors." The immense floor was divided into a series of booths,
occupied by representative characters of all the noted authors,
Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dickens, Irving, Scott, and many others. A grand
march every evening introduced the performances or receptions given at
the various booths, and was very colorful and amusing. My character was
the fortune-teller in the Alhambra, and my experiences were interesting
and impressive. My disguise was complete, and in my zodiacal quarters I
had much fun in telling fortunes for many people I knew quite well, and
I could make revelations that seemed to them very wonderful. In the
grand march I could indulge in the most unmannered swagger. My own
sister asked in indignation: "Who is that old man making eyes at me?" I
held many charming hands as I pretended to study the lines. One evening
Charles Crocker, as he strolled past, inquired if I would like any help.
I assured him that beauty were safer in the hands of age. A young woman
whom I saw weekly at church came with her cousin, a well-known banker. I
told her fortune quite to her satisfaction, and then informed her that
the gentleman with her was a relative, but not a brother. "How
wonderful!" she exclaimed. A very well-known Irish stock operator came
with his daughter, whose fortune I made rosy. She persuaded her father
to sit. Nearly every morning I had met him as he rode a neat pony along
a street running to North Beach, where he took a swim. I told him that
the lines of his hand indicated water, that he had been born across the
water. "Yes," he murmured, "in France." I told him he had been
successful. "Moderately so," he admitted. I said, "Some people think it
has been merely good luck, but you have contributed to good fortune. You
are a man of very regular habits. Among your habits is that of bathing
every morning in the waters of the bay." "Oh, God!" he ejaculated, "he
knows me!"

Some experiences were not so humorous. A very hard-handed, poorly
dressed but patently upright man took it very seriously. I told him he
had had a pretty hard life, but that no man could look him in the face
and say that he had been wronged by him. He said that was so, but he
wanted to ask my advice as to what to do when persecuted because he
could not do more than was possible to pay an old debt for which he was
not to blame. I comforted him all I could, and told him he should not
allow himself to be imposed upon. When he left he asked for my address
down town. He wanted to see me again. The depth of suffering and the
credulity revealed were often embarrassing and made me feel a fraud when
I was aiming merely to amuse. I was glad again to become my undisguised

It was in the late eighties that Julia Ward Howe visited her sister near
the city, and I very gladly was of service in helping her fill some of
her engagements. She gave much pleasure by lectures and talks and
enjoyed visiting some of our attractions. She was charmed with the
Broadway Grammar School, where Jean Parker had achieved such wonderful
results with the foreign girls of the North Beach locality. I remember
meeting a distinguished educator at a dinner, and I asked him if he had
seen the school. He said he had. "What do you think of it?" I asked him.
"I think it is the finest school in the world," he said. I took Mrs.
Howe to a class. She was asked to say a few words, and in her beautiful
voice she gained instant and warm attention. She asked all the little
girls who spoke French in their homes to stand. Many rose. Then she
called for Spanish. Many more stood. She followed with Scandinavian and
Italian. But when she came to those who used English she found few. She
spoke to several in their own tongue and was most enthusiastically
greeted. I also escorted her across the bay to Mills College, with which
she was greatly pleased. She proved herself a good sport. With true
Bohemianism, she joined in luncheon on the ferryboat, eating ripe
strawberries from the original package, using her fingers and enjoying
the informality. She fitted every occasion with dignity or humor. In the
pulpit at our church she preached a remarkably fine sermon.

Mozoomdar, the saintly representative of the Brahmo Somaj, was a highly
attractive man. His voice was most musical, and his bearing and manner
were beautiful. He seemed pure spirit and a type of the deeply religious
nature. Nor was he without humor. In speaking of his visit to England he
said that his hosts generally seemed to think that for food he required
only "an unlimited quantity of milk."

Politics has had a wide range in San Francisco,--rotten at times, petty
at others, with the saving grace of occasional idealism. The
consolidation act and the People's Party touched high-water mark in
reform. With the lopping off of the San Mateo end of the peninsula in
1856, one board of supervisors was substituted for the three that had
spent $2,646,000 the year before. With E.W. Burr at its head, under the
new board expenditures were reduced to $353,000. The People's Party had
a long lease of power, but in 1876 McCoppin was elected mayor. Later
came the reigns of little bosses, the specter of the big corporation
boss behind them all, and then the triumph of decency under McNab, when
good men served as supervisors. Then came the sinister triumph of Ruef
and the days of graft, cut short by the amazing exposure, detection, and
overthrow of entrenched wickedness, and the administration of Dr.
Taylor, a high idealist, too good to last.

Early in 1904 twenty-five gentlemen (five of whom were members of the
Chit-Chat Club) formed an association for the improvement and adornment
of San Francisco. D.H. Burnham was invited to prepare a plan, and a
bungalow was erected on a spur of Twin Peaks from which to study the
problem. A year or more was given to the task, and in September, 1905, a
comprehensive report was made and officially sanctioned, by vote and
publication. To what extent it might have been followed but for the
event of April, 1906, cannot be conjectured, but it is matter of deep
regret that so little resulted from this very valuable study of a
problem upon which the future of the city so vitally depends. It is not
too late to follow its principal features, subject to such modifications
as are necessary in the light of a good deal that we have accomplished
since the report. San Francisco's possibilities for beauty are very

The earthquake and fire of April, 1906, many San Franciscans would
gladly forget; but as they faced the fact, so they need not shrink from
the memory. It was a never to be effaced experience of man's littleness
and helplessness, leaving a changed consciousness and a new attitude.
Being aroused from deep sleep to find the solid earth wrenched and
shaken beneath you, structures displaced, chimneys shorn from their
bases, water shut off, railway tracks distorted, and new shocks
recurring, induces terror that no imagination can compass. After
breakfasting on an egg cooked by the heat from an alcohol lamp, I went
to rescue the little I could from my office, and saw the resistless
approaching fire shortly consume it. Lack of provisions and scarcity of
water drove me the next morning across the bay. Two days afterward,
leaving my motherless children, I returned to bear a hand in relief and
restoration. Every person going up Market Street stopped to throw a few
bricks from the street to make possible a way for vehicles. For miles
desolation reigned. In the unburned districts bread-lines marked the
absolute leveling. Bankers and beggars were one. Very soon the mighty
tide of relief set in, beginning with the near-by counties and extending
to the ends of the earth.

Among our interesting experiences at Red Cross headquarters was the
initiation of Dr. Devine into the habits of the earthquake. He had come
from New York to our assistance. We were in session and J.S. Merrill was
speaking. There came a decidedly sharp shake. An incipient "Oh!" from
one of the ladies was smothered. Mr. Merrill kept steadily on. When he
had concluded and the shock was over he turned to Dr. Devine and
remarked: "Doctor, you look a little pale. I thought a moment ago you
were thinking of going out." Dr. Devine wanly smiled as he replied: "You
must excuse me. Remember that this is my first experience."

I think I never saw a little thing give so much pleasure as when a man
who had been given an old coat that was sent from Mendocino County found
in a pocket a quarter of a dollar that some sympathetic philanthropist
had slipped in as a surprise. It seemed a fortune to one who had
nothing. Perhaps a penniless mother who came in with her little girl was
equally pleased when she found that some kind woman had sent in a doll
that her girl could have. One of our best citizens, Frederick Dohrmann,
was in Germany, his native land, at the time. He had taken his wife in
pursuit of rest and health. They had received kindly entertainment from
many friends, and decided to make some return by a California reception,
at the town hostelry. They ordered a generous dinner. They thought of
the usual wealth of flowers at a California party, and visiting a
florist's display they bought his entire stock. The invited guests came
in large numbers, and the host and hostess made every effort to
emphasize their hospitality. But after they had gone Mr. Dohrmann
remarked to his wife: "I somehow feel that the party has not been a
success. The people did not seem to enjoy themselves as I thought they
would." The next morning as they sought the breakfast-room they were
asked if they had seen the morning papers. Ordering them they found
staring head-lines: "San Francisco destroyed by an earthquake!" Their
guests had seen the billboards on their way to the party, but could not
utterly spoil the evening by mentioning it, yet were incapable of
merriment. Mr. Dohrmann and his wife returned at once, and though far
from well, he threw himself into the work of restoration, in which no
one was more helpful. The dreadful event, however, revealed much good in
human nature. Helpfulness in the presence of such devastation and
suffering might be expected, but honor and integrity after the sharp
call of sympathy was over have a deeper meaning. One of my best
customers, the Bancroft-Whitney Company, law publishers, having accounts
with lawyers and law-booksellers all over the country, lost not only all
their stock and plates but all their books of accounts, and were left
without any evidence of what was owing them. They knew that exclusive of
accounts considered doubtful there was due them by customers other than
those in San Francisco $175,000. Their only means of ascertaining the
particulars was through those who owed it. They decided to make it
wholly a matter of honor, and sent to the thirty-five thousand lawyers
in the United States the following printed circular, which I printed at
a hastily assembled temporary printing office across the bay:

     _To Our Friends and Patrons_:

     _a_--We have lost all our records of accounts.

     _b_--Our net loss will exceed $400,000.


     _First_--Will each lawyer in the country send us a statement of
     what he owes us, whether due or not due, and names of books covered
     by said statement on enclosed blank (blue blank).

     _Second_--Information for our records (yellow blank).

     _Third_--Send us a postal money order for all the money you can now


     May 15, 1906.

Returns of money and of acknowledgment were prompt and encouraging. Some
of those considered doubtful were the first to acknowledge their
indebtedness. Before long they were able to reproduce their books and
the acknowledged balances nearly equaled their estimated total of good
accounts. Remittances were made until over $170,000 was paid. Of this
amount about $25,000 covered accounts not included in their estimate of
collectible indebtedness. This brought their estimated total to
$200,000, and established the fact that over eighty-five per cent of all
that was owed them was acknowledged promptly under this call on honor.

Four years later they were surprised by the receipt of a check for $250
from a lawyer in Florida for a bill incurred long before, of which they
had no memory. Let those who scoff at ideals and bemoan the dishonesty
of this materialistic age take note that money is not all, and let those
who grudgingly admit that there are a few honest men but no honest
lawyers take notice that even lawyers have some sense of honor.

Some few instances of escape are interesting. I have a friend who was
living on the Taylor Street side of Russian Hill. When the quake came,
his daughter, who had lived in Japan and learned wise measures,
immediately filled the bathtub with water. A doomed grocery-store near
by asked customers to help themselves to goods. My friend chose a dozen
large siphon bottles of soda water. The house was detached and for a
time escaped, but finally the roof caught from flying embers and the
fire was slowly extending. When the time came to leave the house a
large American flag was raised to a conspicuous staff. A company of
soldiers sent from the Presidio for general duty saw the flag several
blocks away, and made for the house to save the colors. Finding the
bathroom water supply, they mixed it with sand and plastered the burning
spots. They arrested the spreading flames, but could not reach the fire
under the cornice. Then they utilized the siphon bottles; one soldier,
held by his legs, hung over the roof and squirted the small stream on
the crucial spot. The danger was soon over and the house was saved with
quite a group of others that would have burned with it.

While many individuals never recovered their property conditions or
their nerve, it is certain that a new spirit was generated. Great
obstacles were overcome and determination was invincible. We were forced
to act broadly, and we reversed the negative policy of doing nothing and
owing nothing. We went into debt with our eyes open, and spent millions
in money for the public good. The city was made safe and also beautiful.
The City Hall, the Public Library, and the Auditorium make our Civic
Center a source of pride. The really great exposition of 1915 was
carried out in a way to increase our courage and our capacity. We have
developed a fine public spirit and efficient co-operation. We need fear
nothing in the future. We have character and we are gaining in

Vocation and avocation have about equally divided my time and energy
during my residence in San Francisco. I have done some things because I
was obliged to and many others because I wished to. When one is fitted
and trained for some one thing he is apt to devote himself steadily and
profitably to it, but when he is an amateur and not a master he is sure
to be handicapped. After about a year in the Indian department a change
in administration left me without a job. For about a year I was a
bookkeeper for a stock-broker. Then for another year I was a
money-broker, selling currency, silver, and revenue stamps. When that
petered out I was ready for anything. A friend had loaned money to a
printer and seemed about to lose it. In 1867 I became bookkeeper and
assistant in this printing office to rescue the loan, and finally
succeeded. I liked the business and had the hardihood to buy a small
interest, borrowing the necessary money from a bank at one per cent a
month. I knew absolutely nothing of the art and little of business. It
meant years of wrestling for the weekly pay-roll, often in apprehension
of the sheriff, but for better or for worse I stuck to it and gradually
established a good business. I found satisfaction in production and had
many pleasant experiences. In illustration I reproduce an order I
received in 1884 from Fred Beecher Perkins, librarian of the recently
established free public library. (He was father of Charlotte Perkins


[Handwritten: Dec 19 1884

C.A. Murdock & Co Gent.

We need two hundred (200) more of those blue chex. Please make and
deliver same PDQ and oblige

Yours truly

F.B. Perkins


P.S. The _substance_ of this order is official. The _form_ is slightly
speckled with the spice of unofficiality.



In 1892, as president of the San Francisco Typothetae, I had the great
pleasure of cooperating with the president of the Typographical Union in
giving a reception and dinner to George W. Childs, of Philadelphia. Our
relations were not always so friendly. We once resisted arbitrary
methods and a strike followed. My men went out regretfully, shaking
hands as they left. We won the strike, and then by gradual voluntary
action gave them the pay and hours they asked for. When the earthquake
fire of 1906 came I was unfortunately situated. I had lately bought out
my partner and owed much money. To meet all my obligations I felt
obliged to sell a controlling interest in the business, and that was the
beginning of the end. I was in active connection with the printing
business for forty-seven years.

I am forced to admit that it would have been much to my advantage had I
learned in my early life to say "No" at the proper time. The loss in
scattering one's powers is too great to contemplate with comfort. I had
a witty partner who once remarked, "I have great respect for James
Bunnell, for he has but one hobby at a time." I knew the inference. A
man who has too many hobbies is not respectable. He is not even fair to
the hobbies. I have always been overloaded and so not efficient. It is
also my habit to hold on. It seems almost impossible to drop what I have
taken up, and while there is gain in some ways through standing by
there is gross danger in not resolutely stopping when you have enough.
In addition to the activities I have incidentally mentioned I have
served twenty-five years on the board of the Associated Charities, and
still am treasurer. I have been a trustee of the California School of
Mechanical Arts for at least as long. I have served for years on the
board of the Babies Aid, and also represent the Protestant Charities on
the Home-Finding Agency of the Native Sons and Daughters. It is an
almost shameful admission of dissipation. No man of good discretion
spreads himself too thin.

When I was relieved from further public service, and had disposed of the
printing business, it was a great satisfaction to accept the field
secretaryship of the American Unitarian Association for the Pacific
Coast. I enjoyed the travel and made many delightful acquaintances. It
was an especial pleasure to accompany such a missionary as Dr. William
L. Sullivan. In 1916 we visited most of the churches on the coast, and
it was a constant pleasure to hear him and to see the gladness with
which he was always received, and the fine spirit he inspired. I have
also found congenial occupation in keeping alive _The Pacific
Unitarian_. Thirty years is almost venerable in the life of a religious
journal. I have been favored with excellent health and with unnumbered
blessings of many kinds. I rejoice at the goodness and kindness of my
fellow men. My experience justifies my trustful and hopeful
temperament. I believe "the best is yet to be."

I am thankful that my lot has been cast in this fair city. I love it and
I have faith in its future. There have been times of trial and of fear,
but time has told in favor of courage not to be lost and deep confidence
in final good. It cannot be doubted that the splendid achievement of the
Panama-Pacific Exposition gave strong faith in power to withstand
adverse influences and temporary weakness. When we can look back upon
great things we have accomplished we gain confidence in ability to reach
any end that we are determined upon. It is manifest that a new spirit,
an access of faith, has come to San Francisco since she astonished the
world and surprised herself by creating the magnificent dream on the
shores of the bay.

At its conclusion a few of us determined it should not be utterly lost.
We formed an Exposition Preservation League through which we salvaged
the Palace of Fine Arts, the most beautiful building of the last five
centuries, the incomparable Marina, a connected driveway from Black
Point to the Presidio, the Lagoon, and other features that will
ultimately revert to the city, greatly adding to its attractiveness.

Fifty years of municipal life have seen great advance and promise a rich
future. Materially they have been as prosperous as well-being demands or
as is humanly safe--years of healthy growth, free of fever and delirium,
in which natural resources have been steadily developed and we have
somewhat leisurely prepared for world business on a large scale. In
population we have increased from about 150,000 to about 550,000, which
is an average advance from decade to decade of thirty-three per cent.

Bank clearances are considered the best test of business. Our clearing
house was established in 1876, and the first year the total clearances
were $520,000. We passed the million mark in 1900, and in 1920 they
reached $8,122,000,000. In 1870 our combined exports and imports were
about $13,000,000. In 1920 they were $486,000,000, giving California
fourth rank in the national record.

The remarkable feature in all our records is the great acceleration in
the increase in the years since the disaster of 1906. Savings bank
receipts in 1920 are twice as large as in 1906, postal receipts three
times as large, national bank resources four times as large, national
bank deposits nine times as large.

There can be no reasonable doubt that San Francisco is to be a very
important industrial and commercial city. Every indication leads to this
conclusion. The more important consideration of character and spirit
cannot be forecast by statistics, but much that has been accomplished
and the changed attitude on social welfare and the humanities leave no
doubt on the part of the discerning that we have made great strides and
that the future is full of promise.



At twenty-two I found myself Register of the Humboldt Land Office, with
offices on the first floor of a building at Eureka, the second story of
which was occupied by a school. An open veranda extended across the
front. When I first let myself into the office, I carelessly left the
key in the lock. A mischievous girl simply gave it a turn and I was a
prisoner, with a plain but painful way of escape--not physically
painful, but humiliating to my official pride. There was nothing for it
but ignominiously to crawl out of the window onto the veranda and
recover the key--and that I forthwith did.

The archives of the office proved interesting. The original Register was
a Missouri Congressman, who had been instructed to proceed to Humboldt
City and open the office. Humboldt City was on the map and seemed the
logical location. But it had "died aborning" and as a city did not
exist. So the Register took the responsibility of locating the office at
Eureka, and in explanation addressed to the President, whom he
denominated "Buckhannan," a letter in which he went at length into the
"hole" subject. The original draft was on file.

I was authorized to receive homestead applications, to locate land
warrants, to hear contests, and to sell "offered land." The latter was
government land that had been offered for sale at $1.25 an acre and had
not been taken. Strangely enough, it embraced a portion of the redwood
belt along Mad River, near Arcata.

But one man seemed aware of the opportunity. John Preston, a tanner of
Arcata, would accumulate thirty dollars in gold and with it buy fifty
dollars in legal-tender notes. Then he would call and ask for the plat,
and, after considerable pawing, he would say, "Well, Charlie, I guess
I'll take that forty." Whereupon the transaction would be completed by
my taking his greenbacks and giving him a certificate of purchase for
the forty acres of timber-land that had cost him seventy-five cents an
acre, and later probably netted him not less than three hundred dollars
an acre for stumpage alone. Today it would be worth twice that. The
opportunity was open to all who had a few cents and a little sense.

Sales of land were few and locations infrequent, consequently
commissions were inconsiderable. Now and then I would hold a trial
between conflicting claimants, some of them quite important. It was
natural that the respective attorneys should take advantage of my youth
and inexperience, for they had known me in my verdant boyhood and
seemed to rejoice in my discomfiture. I had hard work to keep them in
order. They threatened one another with ink-bottles and treated me with
contempt. They would lure me on when I rejected evidence as
inadmissible, offering slightly changed forms, until I was forced to
reverse myself. When I was uncertain I would adjourn court and think it
over. These were trying experiences, but I felt sure that the claimants'
rights would be protected on appeal to the Commissioner of the General
Land Office and finally to the Secretary of the Interior. I was glad
that in the biggest case I guessed right.

One occurrence made a strong impression on me. It was war-time, and
loyalty was an issue. A rancher from Mendocino County came to Eureka to
prove up on his land and get a patent. He seemed to me a fine man, but
when he was asked to take the oath of allegiance he balked. I tried my
best to persuade him that it was harmless and reasonable, but he simply
wouldn't take it, and went back home without his patent.

My experiences while chief clerk in the office of the Superintendent of
Indian Affairs are too valuable to be overlooked. I traveled quite
freely and saw unfamiliar life. I had a very interesting trip in 1865,
to inspect the Round Valley Indian Reservation and to distribute
clothing to the Indians. It was before the days of railroads in that
part of California. Two of us drove a light wagon from Petaluma to
Ukiah, and then put saddles on our horses and started over the mountains
to the valley. We took a cold lunch, planning to stay overnight at a
stockman's ranch. When we reached the place we found a notice that he
had gone to a rodeo. We broke into his barn to feed our horses, but we
spared his house. Failing to catch fish in the stream near by, we made
our dinner of its good water, and after a troubled night had the same
fare for breakfast. For once in my life I knew hunger. To the nearest
ranch was half a day's journey, and we lost no time in heading for it.
On the way I had an encounter with a vicious rattlesnake. The outcome
was more satisfactory than it might have been. At noon, when we found a
cattleman whose Indian mate served venison and hot bread of good quality
and abundant quantity, we were appreciative and happy. The remainder of
the trip was uneventful.

The equal division of clothing or supplies among a lot of Indians throws
helpful light on the causes of inequality. A very few days suffice to
upset all efforts at impartiality. A few, the best gamblers, soon have
more than they need, while the many have little or nothing.

The valleys of Mendocino County are fascinatingly beautiful, and a trip
direct to the coast, with a spin along ten miles of perfect beach as we
returned, was a fine contrast to hungry climbing over rugged heights.

Another memorable trip was with two Indians from the mouth of the
Klamath River to its junction with the Trinity at Weitchpec. The whole
course of the stream is between lofty peaks and is a continuous series
of sharp turns. After threading its winding way, it is easy to
understand what an almost solid resistance would be presented to a
rapidly rising river. With such a watershed as is drained by the two
rivers, the run-off in a storm would be so impeded as to be very slow.
The actual result was demonstrated in 1861. In August of that year, A.S.
Hallidie built a wire bridge at Weitchpec. He made the closest possible
examination as to the highest point the river had reached. In an Indian
rancheria he found a stone door-sill that had been hollowed by constant
use for ages. This was then ninety-eight feet above the level of the
flowing river. He accepted it as absolutely safe. In December, 1861, the
river rose thirty feet above the bridge and carried away the structure.

The Indians living on lower Mad River had been removed for safety to the
Smith River Indian Reservation. They were not happy and felt they might
safely return, now that the Indian war was over. The white men who were
friendly believed that if one of the trusted Indians could be brought
down to talk with his friends he could satisfy the others that it would
be better to remain on the reservation. It was my job to go up and bring
him down. We came down the beach past the mouth of the Klamath, Gold
Bluff, and Trinidad, to Fort Humboldt, and interviewed many white
settlers friendly to the Indians until the representative was satisfied
as to the proper course to follow.

In 1851 "Gold Bluff" was the first great mining excitement. The Klamath
River enters the ocean just above the bluff that had been made by the
deposit of sand, gravel, and boulders to the height of a hundred feet or
more. The waves, beating against the bluff for ages, have doubtless
washed gold into the ocean's bed. In 1851 it was discovered that at
certain tides or seasons there were deposited on the beach quantities of
black sand, mingled with which were particles of gold. Nineteen men
formed a company to take up a claim and work the supposedly exhaustless
deposit. An expert report declared that the sand measured would yield
each of the men the modest sum of $43,000,000. Great excitement stirred
San Francisco and eight vessels left with adventurers. But it soon was
found that black sand was scarce and gold much more so. For some time it
paid something, but as a lure it soon failed.

When I was first there I was tremendously impressed when shown at the
level of the beach, beneath the bluff and its growing trees, an embedded
redwood log. It started the imagination on conjectures of when and where
it had been clad in beauty as part of a living landscape.

An interesting conclusion to this experience was traveling over the
state with Charles Maltby, appointed to succeed my friend, to turn over
the property of the department. He was a personal friend of President
Lincoln, and he bore a striking resemblance to him and seemed like him
in character.

In 1883 a nominee for the Assembly from San Francisco declined the
honor, and it devolved on a group of delegates to select a candidate in
his place. They asked me to run, and on the condition that I should
solicit no votes and spend no money I consented. I was one of four
Republicans elected from San Francisco. In the entire state we were
outnumbered about four to one. But politics ordinarily cuts little
figure. The only measure I introduced provided for the probationary
treatment of juvenile delinquents through commitment to an unsectarian
organization that would seek to provide homes. I found no opposition in
committee or on the floor. When it was reached I would not endanger its
passage by saying anything for it. It passed unanimously and was
concurred in by the Senate. My general conclusion is that the average
legislator is ready to support a measure that he feels is meritorious
and has no other motive than the general good.

We were summoned in extra session to act on matters affecting the
railroads. It was at a time when they were decidedly in politics. The
Central Pacific was generally credited with controlling the legislative
body of the state. A powerful lobby was maintained, and the company was
usually able to thwart the passage of any legislation the political
manager considered detrimental to its interests. The farmers and country
representatives did all in their power to correct abuses and protect the
interests of the people of the state, but the city representatives, in
many instances not men of character, were usually controlled by some
boss ready to do the bidding of the railroad's chief lobbyist. The hope
for decency is always in free men, and they generally are from the

It was pathetic at times to watch proceedings. I recall one instance,
where a young associate from San Francisco had cast a vote that was
discreditable and pretty plainly indicated corrupt influence. The
measure he supported won a passage, but a motion for reconsideration
carried, and when it came up the following day the father of the young
man was seated by his side as the vote was taken. He was a
much-respected plasterer, and he came from his home on a hurried call to
save his son from disgrace. It was a great relief when on recall the son
reversed his vote and the measure was lost.

Of course, there were punitive measures, unreasonable and unjust, and
some men were afraid to be just if the railroad would in any way be
benefited. I tried to be discriminating and impartial, judging each
measure on its merits. I found it was a thankless task and bred
suspicion. An independent man is usually distrusted. At the end of the
session a fine old farmer, consistently against the railroad, said to
me: "I couldn't make you out for a long time. Some days I gave you a
white mark, and some days a black one. I finally give you a white
mark--but it was a close shave."

I was impressed with the power of the Speaker to favor or thwart
legislation. At the regular session some Senator had introduced a bill
favoring the needs of the University of California. He wanted it
concurred in by the Assembly, and as the leading Democrats were pretty
busy with their own affairs he entrusted it to me. The Speaker favored
it, and he did not favor a bill in the hands of a leader of the house
involving an appropriation. He called me to his seat and suggested that
at the reassembling of the Assembly after luncheon I should take the
floor to move that the bill be placed on the first-reading file. He knew
that the leader would be ready with his pet bill, but he would recognize
me. When the gavel fell after luncheon three men leaped for the floor. I
arose well at the side of the chamber, while the leader stood directly
in front, but the Speaker happened (?) to see me first, and the
entrusted bill started for speedy success.

It is always pleasant to discover unsuspected humor. There was a very
serious-appearing country member who, with the others of a committee,
visited the State Prison at San Quentin. We were there at the midday
meal and saw the prisoners file in to a substantially laden table. He
watched them enjoy the spread, and quietly remarked, "A man who wouldn't
be satisfied with such food as that deserves to be turned out of the
State Prison."

Some reformer had introduced a bill providing for a complete new code of
criminal procedure. It had been referred to the appropriate committee
and in due time it made its report. I still can see the committee
chairman, a country doctor, as he stood and shook a long finger at the
members before him, saying: "Mr. Speaker, we ask that this measure be
read in full to the Assembly. I want you to know that I have been
obliged to hear it, and I am bound that every member of the house shall
hear it."

My conclusion at the end of the session was that the people of the state
were fortunate in faring no worse. The many had little fitness; a few
had large responsibility. Doubtful and useless measures predominate, but
they are mostly quietly smothered. The country members are watchful and
discriminating and a few leaders exercise great power. To me it was a
fine experience, and I made good friends. I was interested in proposed
measures, and would have willingly gone back the next term. Some of my
friends sounded the political boss of the period and asked if I could be
given a place on the ticket. He smiled and said, "We have no use for
him." When the nominating convention was held he sent in by a messenger
a folded piece of paper upon which was inscribed the name of the man for
whom they had use--and my legislative career was at an end.

I went back to my printing business, which never should have been
neglected, and stayed mildly by it for eleven years. Then, there being a
vacancy on the Board of Education, I responded to the wish of friends
and accepted the appointment to help them in their endeavor to better
our schools.

John Swett, an experienced educator, was superintendent. The majority of
the board was composed of high-minded and able men. They had turned over
the selection of teachers to the best-fitted professors of the
university and were giving an economical and creditable administration.
If a principalship was vacant, applications were apt to be disregarded,
and the person in the department considered most capable and deserving
was notified of election. There were, however, some loose methods. All
graduates of the high schools were privileged to attend a normal class
for a year and then were eligible without any examination to be
appointed teachers. The board was not popular with the teachers, many of
whom seemed to consider that the department was mainly for their
benefit. At the end of the unexpired term I was elected a member of the
succeeding board, and this was continued for five years.

When the first elected board held a preliminary canvass I naturally felt
much interest as to my associates, some of whom were entire strangers.
Among them was Henry T. Scott, of the firm of shipbuilders who had built
the "Oregon." Some one remarked that a prominent politician (naming him)
would like to know what patronage would be accorded him. Mr. Scott very
forcibly and promptly replied: "So far as I am concerned, not a damned
bit. I want none for myself, and I will oppose giving any to him or
anyone else." I learned later that he had been elected without being
consulted, while absent in the East. Upon his return a somewhat
notorious woman principal called on him and informed him that she was
responsible for his election--at least, his name had been submitted to
her and received her approval. He replied that he felt she deserved no
thanks for that, as he had no desire to serve. She said she had but one
request to make; her janitress must not be removed. He gave her no
assurances. Soon afterward the matter of appointments came up. Mr. Scott
was asked what he wanted, and he replied: "I want but one thing. It
involves the janitress of Mrs. ----'s school. I want her to be removed

"All right," replied the questioner. "Whom shall we name?"

"Whomever you please," rejoined Scott. "I have no candidate; but no one
can tell me what I must or must not do."

Substitution followed at once.

Later Mr. Scott played the star part in the most interesting political
struggle I ever knew. A Democratic victory placed in the
superintendent's office a man whose Christian name was appropriately
Andrew Jackson. He had the naming of his secretary, who was ex-officio
clerk of the board, which confirmed the appointment. One George Beanston
had grown to manhood in the office and filled it most satisfactorily.
The superintendent nominated a man with no experience, whom I shall call
Wells, for the reason that it was not his name. Mr. Scott, a Democratic
member, and I were asked to report on the nomination. The superintendent
and the committee discussed the matter at a pleasant dinner at the
Pacific-Union Club, given by Chairman Scott. At its conclusion the
majority conceded that usage and courtesy entitled the superintendent to
the appointment. Feeling that civil service and the interest of the
school department were opposed to removal from position for mere
political differences, I demurred and brought in a minority report.
There were twelve members, and when the vote to concur in the
appointment came up there was a tie, and the matter went over for a
week. During the week one of the Beanston supporters was given the
privilege of naming a janitor, and the suspicion that a trade had been
made was justified when on roll-call he hung his head and murmured
"Wells." The cause seemed lost; but when later in the alphabetical roll
Scott's name was reached, he threw up his head and almost shouted
"Beanston," offsetting the loss of the turncoat and leaving the vote
still a tie. It was never called up again, and Beanston retained the
place for another two years.

Early in 1901 I was called up on the telephone and asked to come to
Mayor Phelan's office at once. I found there some of the most ardent
civil service supporters in the city. Richard J. Freud, a member of the
Civil Service Commission, had suddenly died the night before. The
vacancy was filled by the mayor's appointment. Eugene Schmitz had been
elected mayor and would take his seat the following day, and the friends
of civil service distrusted his integrity. They did not dare to allow
him to act. Haste seemed discourteous to the memory of Freud, but he
would want the best for the service. Persuaded of the gravity of the
matter, I accepted the appointment for a year and filed my commission
before returning to my place of business. I enjoyed the work and its
obvious advantage to the departments under its operation. The Police
Department especially was given an intelligent and well-equipped force.
An amusing incident of an examination for promotion to the position of
corporal concerned the hopes we entertained for the success of a popular
patrolman. But he did not apply. One day one of the board met him and
asked him if he was not to try for it. "I think not," he replied. "My
early education was very unlimited. What I know, I know; but I'll be
damned if I'm going to give you fellows a chance to find out what I
don't know!"

I chanced to visit Washington during my term as commissioner, and
through the courtesy of Senator Perkins had a pleasant call on President
Roosevelt. A Senator seems to have ready access to the ordinary
President, and almost before I realized it we were in the strenuous
presence. A cordial hand-clasp and a genial smile followed my
introduction, and as the Senator remarked that I was a Civil Service
Commissioner, the President called: "Shake again. I used to be one of
those fellows myself."

Senator Perkins went on: "Mr. Murdock and I have served for many years
as fellow trustees of the Boys and Girls Aid Society."

"Ah," said the President, "modeled, I presume, on Brace's society, in
which my father was greatly interested. Do you know I believe work with
boys is about the only hope? It's pretty hard to change a man, but when
you can start a boy in the right way he has a chance." Turning to me he
remarked, "Did you know that Governor Brady of Alaska was one of
Brace's placed-out boys!" Then of Perkins he asked, "By the way,
Senator, how is Brady doing?"

"Very well, I understand," replied the Senator. "I believe he is a
thoroughly honest man."

"Yes; but is he also able? It is as necessary for a man in public life
to be able as to be honest."

He bade us a hearty good-by as we left him. He impressed me as
untroubled and courageous, ready every day for what came, and meeting
life with cheer.

The story of the moral and political revolution of 1907 has never been
adequately told, nor have the significance and importance of the event
been fully recognized. The facts are of greater import than the record;
but an eyewitness has responsibility, and I feel moved to give my

Perhaps so complete a reversal of spirit and administration was never
before reached without an election by the people. The faithfulness and
nerve of one official backed by the ability of a detective employed by a
public-spirited citizen rescued the city government from the control of
corrupt and irresponsible men and substituted a mayor and board of
supervisors of high character and unselfish purpose. This was
accomplished speedily and quietly.

With positive proof of bribery that left conviction and a term in
prison as the alternative to resignation, District Attorney William H.
Langdon had complete control of the situation. In consultation with
those who had proved their interest in the welfare of the city, he asked
Edward Robeson Taylor to serve as mayor, privileged to select sixteen
citizens to act as supervisors in place of the implicated incumbents,
who would be induced to resign. Dr. Taylor was an attorney of the
highest standing, an idealist of fearless and determined character. No
pledges hampered him. He was free to act in redeeming the city. In turn,
he asked no pledge or promise of those whom he selected to serve as
supervisors. He named men whom he felt he could trust, and he
subsequently left them alone, asking nothing of them and giving them no

It was the year after the fire. I was conducting a substitute
printing-office in the old car-barn at Geary and Buchanan streets. One
morning Dr. Taylor came in and asked if he might speak to me in private.
I was not supplied with facilities for much privacy, but I asked him in
and we found seats in the corner of the office farthest from the
bookkeeper. Without preliminary, he said, "I want you to act as one of
the supervisors." Wholly surprised, I hesitated a moment and then
assured him that my respect for him and what he had undertaken was so
great that if he was sure he wanted me I would serve. He went out with
no further comment, and I heard nothing more of it until I received a
notice to meet at his office in the temporary City Hall on July 16th.

In response to the call I found fifteen other men, most of whom I knew
slightly. We seemed to be waiting for something. Mr. Langdon was there
and Mr. Burns, the detective, was in and out. Mr. Gallagher, late acting
mayor and an old-time friend of the District Attorney, was helping in
the transfer, in which he was included. Langdon would suggest some
procedure: "How will this do, Jim?" "It seems to me, Billy, that this
will be better," Gallagher would reply. Burns finally reported that the
last of the "bunch" had signed his resignation and that we could go
ahead. We filed into the boardroom. Mayor Taylor occupied the chair, to
which the week before he had been obediently but not enthusiastically
elected by "those about to die." The supervisor alphabetically ranking
offered his written resignation, which the mayor promptly accepted. He
then appointed as successor the first, alphabetically, on his list. The
deputy county clerk was conveniently near and promptly administered the
oath and certified the commission. The old member slunk or swaggered out
and the new member took his place. So the dramatic scene continued until
the transformation was accomplished and a new era dawned. The atmosphere
was changed, but was very serious and determined. Everyone felt the
gravity of the situation and that we had no easy task ahead. Solemnity
marked the undertaking and full realization that hard work alone could
overcome obstacles and restore endurable conditions.

Many of the men selected by Dr. Taylor had enjoyed experience and all
were anxious to do their best. With firm grasp and resolute procedure,
quick results followed. There was to be an election in November. Some of
the strongest members had accepted service as an emergency call and
could not serve longer; but an incredible amount of planning was
accomplished and a great deal disposed of, so that though ten of the
appointed board served but six months they had rendered a great service
and fortunately were succeeded by other men of character, and the good
work went steadily on. In looking back to the problems that confronted
the appointed board and the first elected board, also headed by Dr.
Taylor, they seem insurmountable.

It is hard now to appreciate the physical conditions of the city. It was
estimated that not less than five million dollars would be required to
put the streets into any decent condition. It was at first proposed to
include this, sum in the bond issue that could not be escaped, but
reflection assured us that so temporary a purpose was not a proper use
of bond money, and we met the expenditure from the annual tax levy. We
found the smallest amount required for urgent expenditure in excess of
the tax levy was $18,200,000, and at a special election held early in
1908 the voters endorsed the proposed issue by a vote of over 21,000 to
1800. The three largest expenditures were for an auxiliary water system
for fire protection ($5,200,000), for school buildings ($5,000,000), and
for sewers ($4,000,000).

I cannot follow the various steps by which order was brought out of
chaos, nor can I give special acknowledgment where it is manifestly due;
but I can bear testimony to the unselfishness and faithfulness of a
remarkable body of public officials and to a few of the things
accomplished. To correct gross evils and restore good conditions is no
slight task; but to substitute the best for the worst is a great
achievement. This San Francisco has done in several marked instances.

There was a time when about the only thing we could boast was that we
spent a _less_ sum per capita than any city in the Union for the care of
hospital patients. I remember hearing that fine citizen, Frederick
Dohrmann, once say, "Every supervisor who has gone out of public service
leaving our old County Hospital standing is guilty of a municipal
crime." It was a disgrace of which we were ashamed. The fire had spared
the building, but the new supervisors did not. We now have one of the
best hospitals in the country, admirably conducted.

Our City Prison is equally reversed. It was our shame; it is our pride.
The old Almshouse was a discreditable asylum for the politician who
chanced to superintend it. Today our "Relief Home" is a model for the
country. In 1906 the city was destroyed because unprotected against
fire. Today we are as safe as a city can be. In the meantime the reduced
cost of insurance pays insured citizens a high rate of interest on the
cost of our high-pressure auxiliary fire system. Our streets were once
noted for their poor construction and their filthy condition. Recently
an informed visitor has pronounced them the best to be found. We had no
creditable boulevards or drives. Quietly and without bond expenditure we
have constructed magnificent examples. Our school buildings were shabby
and poor. Many now are imposing and beautiful.

This list could be extended; but turn for a moment to matters of
manners. Where are the awful corner-groceries that helped the saloons to
ruin men and boys, and where are the busy nickel-in-the-slot machines
and shameless smokers in the street-cars? Where are the sellers of
lottery tickets, where the horse-races and the open gambling?

It was my fortune to be re-elected for eight years. Sometimes I am
impressed by how little I seem to have individually accomplished in this
long period of time. One effect of experience is to modify one's
expectations. It is not nearly so easy to accomplish things as one who
has not tried is apt to imagine. Reforming is not an easy process.
Inertia is something really to be overcome, and one is often surprised
to find how obstinate majorities can be. Initiative is a rare faculty
and an average legislator must be content to follow. One can render good
service sometimes by what he prevents. Again, he may finally fail in
some good purpose through no fault of his own, and yet win something
even in losing. Early in my term I was convinced that one thing that
ought to be changed was our absurd liquor license. We had by far the
lowest tax of any city in the Union, and naturally had the largest
number of saloons. I tried to have the license raised from eighty-four
dollars to one thousand dollars, hoping to reduce our twenty-four
hundred saloons. I almost succeeded. When I failed the liquor interest
was so frightened at its narrow escape that it led the people to adopt a
five-hundred-dollar substitute.

I was led to undertake the correction of grave abuses and confusion in
the naming of the city streets. The post-office authorities were greatly
hampered in the mail delivery by the duplicate use of names. The
dignified word "avenue" had been conferred on many alleys. A commission
worked diligently and efficiently. One set of numbered streets was
eliminated. The names of men who had figured in the history of the city
were given to streets bearing their initials. Anza, Balboa, and
Cabrillo gave meaning to A, B, and C. We gave Columbus an avenue,
Lincoln a "way," and substituted for East Street the original name of
the waterfront, "The Embarcadero." In all we made more than four hundred
changes and corrections.

There were occasional humorous incidents connected with this task. There
were opposition and prejudice against names offered. Some one proposed a
"St. Francis Boulevard." An apparently intelligent man asked why we
wanted to perpetuate the name of "that old pirate." I asked, "Who do you
think we have in mind?" He replied, "I suppose you would honor Sir
Francis Drake." He seemed never to have heard of Saint Francis of

It was predicted that the Taylor administration with its excellent
record would be continued, but at the end of two years it went down to
defeat and the Workingmen's party, with P.H. McCarthy as mayor, gained
strong control. For two years, as a minority member, I enjoyed a
different but interesting experience. It involved some fighting and
preventive effort; but I found that if one fought fairly he was accorded
consideration and opportunity. I introduced a charter amendment that
seemed very desirable, and it found favor. The charter prescribed a
two-year term for eighteen supervisors and their election each alternate
year. Under the provision it was possible to have every member without
experience. By making the term four years and electing nine members
every other year experience was assured, and the ballot would be half
the length, a great advantage. It had seemed wise to me to allow the
term of the mayor to remain two years, but the friends of Mayor McCarthy
were so confident of his re-election that they insisted on a four-year
term. As so amended the matter went to the people and was adopted. At
the following election Mayor James Rolph, Jr., was elected for four
years, two of which were an unintentional gift of his political

I served for four years under the energetic Rolph, and they were
fruitful ones. Most of the plans inaugurated by the Taylor board were
carried out, and materially the city made great strides. The Exposition
was a revelation of what was possible, and of the City Hall and the
Civic Center we may well be proud.

Some of my supervisorial experiences were trying and some were amusing.
Discussion was often relieved by rare bits of eloquence and surprising
use of language. Pronunciation was frequently original and
unprecedented. Amazing ignorance was unconcealed and the gift of gab was
unrestrained. Nothing quite equaled in fatal facility a progress report
made by a former member soon after his debut: "We think we shall soon be
able to bring chaos out of the present disorder, now existing." On one
of our trips of investigation the City Engineer had remarked on the
watershed. One of the members later cornered him and asked "Where is the
watershed?" expecting to be shown a building that had escaped his

A pleasant episode of official duty early in Rolph's term was an
assignment to represent the city at a national municipal congress at Los
Angeles. We were called upon, in connection with a study of municipal
art, to make an exhibit of objects of beauty or ornament presented to
the city by its citizens. We felt that San Francisco had been kindly
dealt with, but were surprised at the extent and variety of the gifts.
Enlarged sepia photographs of structures, monuments, bronzes, statuary,
and memorials of all kinds were gathered and framed uniformly. There
were very many, and they reflected great credit and taste. Properly
inscribed, they filled a large room in Los Angeles and attracted much
attention. Interest was enhanced by the cleverness of the young woman in
charge. The general title of the collection was "Objects of Art
Presented by its Citizens to the City of San Francisco." She left a
space and over a conspicuous panel printed the inscription "Objects of
Art Presented by its Citizens to the City of Los Angeles." The panel was
empty. The ordinarily proud city had nothing to show.

Moses at Pisgah gazed upon the land he was not to enter. My Pisgah was
reached at the end of 1916. My halls of service were temporary. The new
City Hall was not occupied until just after I had found my political
Moab; the pleasure of sitting in a hall which is pronounced the most
beautiful in America was not for me.

As I look back upon varied public service, I am not clear as to its
value; but I do not regret having tried to do my part. My practical
creed was never to seek and never to decline opportunity to serve. I
feel that the effort to do what I was able to do hardly justified
itself; but it always seemed worth trying, and I do not hold myself
responsible for results. I am told that in parts of California
infinitesimal diatoms form deposits five thousand feet in thickness. If
we have but little to give we cannot afford not to give it.



On the morning of October 18, 1850, there appeared in San Francisco's
morning paper the following notice:

     RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE There will be Religious Services (Unitarian)
     on Sunday Morning next, October 20th, at Simmons' Athenaeum Hall.
     Entrance on Commercial and Sacramento Streets. A Discourse will be
     preached by Rev. Charles A. Farley.

San Francisco at this time was a community very unlike any known to
history. Two years before it is said to have numbered eight hundred
souls, and two years before that about two hundred. During the year
1849, perhaps thirty thousand men had come from all over the world, of
whom many went to the mines. The directory of that year contained
twenty-five hundred names. By October, 1850, the population may have
been twenty thousand. They were scattered thinly over a hilly and rough
peninsula, chaparral-covered but for drifting sand and with few
habitable valleys. From Pacific to California streets and from Dupont to
the bay was the beginning of the city's business. A few streets were
graded and planked. Clay Street stretched up to Stockton. To the south
mountains of sand filled the present Market Street, and protected by
them nestled Happy Valley, reaching from First to Third streets and
beyond Mission. In 1849 it was a city of tents. Wharves were pushing out
into the bay. Long Wharf (Commercial Street) reached deep water about
where Drumm Street now crosses it.

Among the motley argonauts were a goodly number of New Englanders,
especially from Boston and Maine. Naturally some of them were
Unitarians. It seems striking that so many of them were interested in
holding services. They had all left "home" within a year or so, and most
of them expected to go back within two years with their respective
fortunes. When it was learned that a real Unitarian minister was among
them, they arranged for a service. The halls of the period were west of
Kearny Street in Sacramento and California. They secured the Athenaeum
and gave notice in the _Alta California_.

It is significant that the day the notice appeared proved to be
historical. The steamer "Oregon" was due, and it was hoped she would
bring the news of favorable action by Congress on the application of
California to be admitted into the Union. When in the early forenoon the
steamer, profusely decorated with bunting, rounded Clark's Point
assurance was given, and by the time she landed at Commercial and Drumm
the town was wild with excitement.

[Illustration: THOMAS STARR KING. SAN FRANCISCO, 1860-1864]

Eastern papers sold readily at a dollar a copy. All day and night
impromptu celebrations continued. Unnumbered silk hats (commonly worn by
professional men and leading merchants) were demolished and champagne
flowed freely. It should be remembered that thirty-nine days had elapsed
since the actual admission, but none here had known it.

The Pilgrim Yankees must have felt like going to church now that
California was a part of the Union and that another free state had been
born. At any rate, the service conducted by Rev. Charles A. Farley was
voted a great success. One man had brought a service-book and another a
hymnbook. Four of the audience volunteered to lead the singing, while
another played an accompaniment on the violin. After the services
twenty-five men remained to talk things over, and arranged to continue
services from week to week. On November 17, 1850, "The First Unitarian
Church of San Francisco" was organized, Captain Frederick W. Macondray
being made the first Moderator.

Mr. Farley returned to New England in April, 1851, and services were
suspended. Then occurred two very serious fires, disorganizing
conditions and compelling postponement. It was more than a year before
an attempt was made to call another minister.

In May, 1852, Rev. Joseph Harrington was invited to take charge of the
church. He came in August and began services under great promise in the
United States District Court building. A few weeks later he was taken
alarmingly ill, and died on November 2d. It was a sad blow, but the
society withstood it calmly and voted to complete the building it had
begun in Stockton Street, near Sacramento. Rev. Frederic T. Gray, of
Bulfinch Street Chapel, Boston, under a leave of absence for a year,
came to California and dedicated the church on July 1, 1853. This was
the beginning of continuous church services. On the following Sunday,
Pilgrim Sunday-school was organized.

Mr. Gray, a kind and gentle soul, rendered good service in organizing
the activities of the church. He was succeeded by Rev. Rufus P. Cutler,
of Portland, Maine, a refined, scholarly man, who served for nearly five
years. He resigned and sailed for New York in June, 1859. During his
term the Sunday-school prospered under the charge of Samuel L. Lloyd.

Rev. J.A. Buckingham filled the pulpit for ten months preceding April
28, 1860, when Thomas Starr King arrived. The next day Mr. King faced a
congregation that crowded the church to overflowing and won the warm and
enthusiastic regard of all, including many new adherents. With a winning
personality, eloquent and brilliant, he was extraordinarily attractive
as a preacher and as a man. He had great gifts and he was profoundly in
earnest--a kindly, friendly, loving soul.

In 1861 I planned to pass through the city on Sunday with the
possibility of hearing him. The church was crowded. I missed no word of
his wonderful voice. He looked almost boyish, but his eyes and his
bearing proclaimed him a man, and his word was thrilling. I heard him
twice and went to my distant home with a blessed memory and an enlarged
ideal of the power of a preacher. Few who heard him still survive, but a
woman of ninety-three years who loves him well vividly recalls his
second service that led to a friendship that lasted all his life.

In his first year he accomplished wonders for the church. He had felt on
coming that in a year he should return to his devoted people in the
Hollis Street Church of Boston. But when Fort Sumter was fired upon he
saw clearly his appointed place. He threw himself into the struggle to
hold California in the Union. He lectured and preached everywhere,
stimulating patriotism and loyalty. He became a great national leader
and the most influential person on the Pacific Coast. He turned
California from a doubtful state to one of solid loyalty. Secession
defeated, he accomplished wonders for the Sanitary Commission.

A large part of 1863 he gave to the building of the beautiful church in
Geary street near Stockton. It was dedicated in January, 1864. He
preached in it but seven Sundays, when he was attacked with a malady
which in these days is not considered serious but from which he died on
March 4th, confirming a premonition that he would not live to the age of
forty. He was very deeply mourned. It was regarded a calamity to the
entire community. To the church and the denomination the loss seemed

To Dr. Henry W. Bellows, of New York, the acknowledged Unitarian leader,
was entrusted the selection of the one to fill the vacant pulpit. He
knew the available men and did not hesitate. He notified Horatio
Stebbins, of Portland, Maine, that he was called by the great disaster
to give up the parish he loved and was satisfied to serve and take the
post of the fallen leader on the distant shore.

Dr. Bellows at once came to San Francisco to comfort the bereaved church
and to prepare the way for Mr. Stebbins, who in the meantime went to New
York to minister to Dr. Bellows' people in his absence.

It was during the brief and brilliant ministry of Dr. Bellows that good
fortune brought me to San Francisco.

Dr. Bellows was a most attractive preacher, persuasive and eloquent. His
word and his manner were so far in advance of anything to which I was
accustomed that they came as a revelation of power and beauty. I was
entranced, and a new world of thought and feeling opened before me. Life
itself took on a new meaning, and I realized the privilege offered in
such a church home. I joined without delay, and my connection has been
uninterrupted from that day to this. For over fifty-seven years I have
missed few opportunities to profit by its services. I speak of it not in
any spirit of boasting, but in profound gratitude. Physical disability
and absence from the city have both been rare. In the absence of reasons
I have never felt like offering excuses.

Early in September, Horatio Stebbins and family arrived from New York,
and Dr. Bellows returned to his own church. The installation of the
successor of Starr King was an impressive event. The church building
that had been erected by and for King was a beautiful and commodious
building, but it would not hold all the people that sought to attend the
installation of the daring man who came to take up the great work laid
down by the preacher-patriot. He was well received, and a feeling of
relief was manifest. The church was still in strong hands and the
traditions would be maintained.

On September 9th Dr. Stebbins stood modestly but resolutely in the
pulpit so sanctified by the memory of King. Few men have faced sharper
trials and met them with more serenity and apparent lack of
consciousness. It was not because of self-confidence or of failure to
recognize what was before him. He knew very well what was implied in
following such a man as Starr King, but he was so little concerned with
anything so comparatively unimportant as self-interest or so unessential
as personal success that he was unruffled and calm. He indulged in no
illusion of filling Mr. King's place. He stood on his own feet to make
his own place, and to do his own work in his own way, with such results
as came, and he was undisturbed.

Toward the end of his life he spoke of always having preached from the
level of his own mind. It was always true of him. He never strained for
effect, or seemed unduly concerned for results. In one of his prayers he
expresses his deep philosophy of life: "Help us, each one in his place,
in the place which is providentially allotted to us in life, to act well
our part, with consecrated will, with pure affection, with simplicity of
heart--to do our duty, and to leave the rest to God." It was wholly in
that spirit that Dr. Stebbins took up the succession of Thomas Starr

Personally, I was very glad to renew my early admiration for Mr.
Stebbins, who had chosen his first parish at Fitchburg, adjoining my
native town, and had always attracted me when he came to exchange with
our minister. He was a strong, original, manly character, with great
endowments of mind and heart. He was to enjoy a remarkable ministry of
over thirty-five years and endear himself to all who knew him. He was a
great preacher and a great man. He inspired confidence, and was broad
and generous. He served the community as well as his church, being
especially influential in promoting the interests of education. He was a
kindly and helpful man, and he was not burdened by his large duties and
responsibilities, he was never hurried or harassed. He steadily pursued
his placid way and built up a really great influence. He was, above all
else, an inspirer of steadfast faith. With a great capacity for
friendship, he was very generous in it, and was indulgent in judgment of
those he liked. I was a raw and ignorant young man, but he opened his
great heart to me and treated me like an equal. Twenty years difference
in years seemed no barrier. He was fond of companionship in his travels,
and I often accompanied him as he was called up and down the coast. In
1886 I went to the Boston May Meeting in his company and found delight
in both him and it. He was a good traveler, enjoying the change of scene
and the contact with all sorts of people. He was courteous and friendly
with strangers, meeting them on their own ground with sympathy and

In his own home he was especially happy, and it was a great privilege to
share his table-talk and hospitality, for he had a great fund of kindly
humor and his speech was bright with homely metaphor and apt allusions.
Not only was he a great preacher, he was a leader, an inspirer, and a
provoker of good.

What it meant to fall under the influence of such a man cannot be told.
Supplementing the blessing was the association with a number of the best
of men among the church adherents. Hardly second to the great and
unearned friendship of Dr. Stebbins was that of Horace Davis, ten years
my senior, and very close to Dr. Stebbins in every way. He had been
connected with the church almost from the first and was a firm friend of
Starr King. Like Dr. Stebbins, he was a graduate of Harvard. Scholarly,
and also able in business, he typified sound judgment and common sense,
was conservative by nature, but fresh and vigorous of mind. He was
active in the Sunday-school. We also were associated in club life and as
fellow directors of the Lick School. Our friendship was uninterrupted
for more than fifty years. I had great regard for Mrs. Davis and many
happy hours were passed in their home. Her interpretation of Beethoven
was in my experience unequaled.

It is impossible even to mention the many men of character and
conscience who were a helpful influence to me in my happy church life.
Captain Levi Stevens was very good to me; C. Adolphe Low was one of the
best men I ever knew; I had unbounded respect for Horatio Frost; Dr.
Henry Gibbons was very dear to me; and Charles R. Bishop I could not but
love. These few represent a host of noble associates. I would I could
mention more of them.

[Illustration: HORATIO STEBBINS. SAN FRANCISCO, 1864-1900]

We all greatly enjoyed the meetings of a Shakespeare Club that was
sustained for more than twelve consecutive years among congenial friends
in the church. We read half a play every other week, devoting the latter
part of the evening to impromptu charades, in which we were utterly
regardless of dignity and became quite expert.

At our annual picnics we joined in the enjoyment of the children. I
recall my surprise and chagrin at having challenged Mr. Davis to a
footrace at Belmont one year, giving him distance as an age handicap,
and finding that I had overestimated the advantage of ten years

In 1890 we established the Unitarian Club of California. Mr. Davis was
the first president. For seventeen years it was vigorous and prosperous.
We enjoyed a good waiting-list and twice raised the limit of membership
numbers. It was then the only forum in the city for the discussion of
subjects of public interest. Many distinguished visitors were
entertained. Booker T. Washington was greeted by a large audience and so
were Susan B. Anthony and Anna H. Shaw. As time passed, other
organizations afforded opportunity for discussion, and numerous less
formal church clubs accomplished its purpose in a simpler manner.

A feature of strength in our church has been the William and Alice
Hinckley Fund, established in 1879 by the will of Captain William C.
Hinckley, under the counsel and advice of Dr. Stebbins. His wife had
died, he had no children, and he wanted his property to be helpful to
others. He appointed the then church trustees his executors and the
trustees of an endowment to promote human beneficence and charity,
especially commending the aged and lonely and the interests of education
and religion. Shortly after coming to San Francisco, in 1850, he had
bought a lot in Bush Street for sixty dollars. At the time of his death
it was under lease to the California Theater Company at a ground rent of
a thousand dollars a month. After long litigation, the will was
sustained as to $52,000, the full proportion of his estate allowed for
charity. I have served as secretary of the trust fund for forty years. I
am also surviving trustee for a library fund of $10,000 and another
charity fund of $5000. These three funds have earned in interest more
than $105,000. We have disbursed for the purposes indicated $92,000, and
have now on hand as capital more than $80,000, the interest on which we
disburse annually. It has been my fortune to outlive the eight trustees
appointed with me, and, also, eight since appointed to fill vacancies
caused by death or removal.

We worshiped in the Geary and Stockton church for more than twenty-three
years, and then concluded it was time to move from a business district
to a residential section. We sold the building with the lot that had
cost $16,000 for $120,000, and at the corner of Franklin and Geary
streets built a fine church, costing, lot included, $91,000. During
construction we met in the Synagogue Emanu-El, and the Sunday-school was
hospitably entertained in the First Congregational Church, which
circumstances indicate the friendly relations maintained by our
minister, who never arraigned or engaged in controversy with any other
household of faith. In 1889 the new church was dedicated, Dr. Hedge
writing a fine hymn for the occasion.

Dr. Stebbins generally enjoyed robust health, but in 1899 he was
admonished that he must lay down the work he loved so well. In September
of that year, at his own request, he was relieved from active service
and elected Minister Emeritus. Subsequently his health improved, and
frequently he was able to preach; but in 1900, with his family, he
returned to New England, where he lived with a good degree of comfort at
Cambridge, near his children, occasionally preaching, but gradually
failing in health. He suffered severely at the last, and found final
release on April 8, 1901.

Of the later history of the church I need say little. Recollections root
in the remote. For thirteen years we were served by Rev. Bradford
Leavitt, and for the past eight Rev. Caleb S.S. Dutton has been our
leader. The noble traditions of the past have been followed and the
place in the community has been fully maintained. The church has been a
steady and powerful influence for good, and many a life has been
quickened, strengthened, and made more abundant through its ministry. To
me it has been a never-failing source of satisfaction and happiness.

I would also bear brief testimony to the Sunday-school. All my life I
had attended Sunday-school,--the best available. I remember well the
school in Leominster and the stories told by Deacon Cotton and others. I
remember nay teacher in Boston. Coming to California I took what I could
get, first the little Methodist gathering and then the more respectable
Presbyterian. When in early manhood I came to San Francisco I entered
the Bible-class at once. The school was large and vigorous. The
attendance was around four hundred. Lloyd Baldwin, an able lawyer, was
my first teacher, and a good one, but very soon I was induced to take a
class of small boys. They were very bright and too quick for a youth
from the country. One Sunday we chanced to have as a lesson the healing
of the daughter of Jairus. In the gospel account the final word was the
injunction: "Jesus charged them that they tell no man." In all innocence
I asked the somewhat leading question: "What did Jesus charge them?"
Quick as a flash one of the boys answered, "He didn't charge them a
cent." It was so pat and so unexpected that I could not protest at the

In the Sunday-school library I met Charles W. Wendte, then a clerk in
the Bank of California. He had been befriended and inspired by Starr
King and soon turned from business and studied for the ministry. He is
now a D.D. and has a long record of valuable service.

In 1869 J.C.A. Hill became superintendent of the school and appointed me
his assistant. Four years later he returned to New Hampshire, much to
our regret, and I succeeded him. With the exception of the two years
that Rev. William G. Eliot, Jr., was assistant to Dr. Stebbins, and took
charge of the school, I served until 1914.

Very many pleasant memories cluster around my connection with the
Sunday-school. The friendships made have been enduring. The beautiful
young lives lured me on in service that never grew monotonous, and I
have been paid over and over again for all I ever gave. It is a great
satisfaction to feel that five of our nine church trustees are graduates
of the Sunday-school. I attended my first Christmas festival of the
Sunday-school in Platt's Hall in 1864, and I have never missed one
since. Fifty-seven consecutive celebrations incidentally testify to
unbroken health.

In looking back on what I have gained from the church, I am impressed
with the fact that the association with the fine men and women
attending it has been a very important part of my life. Good friends
are of untold value, and inspiration is not confined to the spoken words
of the minister. Especially am I impressed with the stream of community
helpfulness that has flowed steadily from our church all these years. I
wish I dared to refer to individual instances--but they are too many.
Finally, I must content myself with acknowledgment of great obligation
for all I have profited from and enjoyed in church affiliation. I cannot
conceive how any man can afford not to avail himself of the privilege of
standing by some church. As an investment I am assured that nothing pays
better and surer interest. Returns are liberal, dividends are never
passed, and capital never depreciates.



In the conduct of life we select, or have assigned, certain measures of
activity upon which we rely for our support and the self-respect that
follows the doing of our part. This we call our business, and if we are
wise we attend to it and prosecute it with due diligence and
application. But it is not all of life, and its claim is not the only
call that is made upon us. Exclusive interest and devotion to it may end
in the sort of success that robs us of the highest value, so that,
however much substance we accumulate, we are failures as men. On the
other hand, we take risks if we slight its just demands and scatter our
powers on miscellaneous interests. Whatever its value, every man, in
addition to what he primarily produces, turns out some by-product. If it
is worth anything, he may be thankful and add the amount to total

The extracts of which this chapter is composed are selections from the
editorial columns of _The Pacific Unitarian_, submitted not as exhibits
in the case of achievement, but as indicating the convictions I have
formed on the way of life.


Thirty years ago, a fairly active Sunday-school was instigated to
publish a monthly journal, nominally for all the organizations of the
First Unitarian Society. It was not expected to be of great benefit,
except to the school. After a year and a half it was adopted by the
Conference, its modest name, _The Guidon_, being expanded to _The
Pacific Unitarian_. Its number of pages was increased to thirty-two.

Probably the most remarkable circumstance connected with it is that it
has lived. The fact that it has enjoyed the opportunity of choice
between life and death is quite surprising. Other journals have had to
die. It has never been easy to live, or absolutely necessary to die.

Anyhow, we have the thirty years of life to look back upon and take
satisfaction in. We are grateful for friends far and near, and generous
commendation has been pleasant to receive, whether it has been justified
or not.


We realize more and more truly that Christianity in its spirit is a very
different thing from Christianity as a theological structure formulated
by the makers of the creed. The amazing thing is that such a
misconception of the message of Jesus as has generally prevailed has
given us a civilization so creditable. The early councils were incapable
of being led by the spirit of Jesus. They were prejudiced by their
preconceptions of the character of God and the nature of religion, and
evolved a scheme of salvation to fit past conceptions instead of
accepting as real the love of God and of man that Jesus added to the
religion of his fathers. Even the Christianity they fashioned has not
been fairly tried. The Christianity that Jesus proclaimed, a call to
trust, to love, and spiritual life, has hardly been tried at all. We
seem just to be awakening to what it is, and to its application to the
art of living.


What a difference in the thought of God and in the joy of life would
have followed had the hearers of Jesus given the parable of the Prodigal
Son its full significance! They would then have found in the happy,
loving father and his full forgiveness of the son who "came to himself"
a type of the Heavenly Father. The shadow of the olden fear still
persists, chilling human life. We do not trust the love of God and bear
life's burdens with cheerful courage. From lurking fear of the jealous
king of Hebrew tradition, we are even afraid to be happy when we might.
We fail of faith in the reality of God's love. We forget the robe, the
ring, the overflowing joy of the earthly father, not earned by the
prodigal, but given from complete love. The thing best worth while is
faith in the love of God.

If it be lacking, perhaps the best way to gain it is to assume it--to
act on the basis of its existence, putting aside our doubts, and giving
whatever love we have in our own hearts a chance to strengthen.


Whitsuntide is a church season that too often fails to receive due
acknowledgment or recognition. It is, in observance, a poor third.
Christmas is largely diverted to a giving of superfluous gifts, and is
popular from the wide-felt interest in the happiness of children. Easter
we can not forget, for it celebrates the rising or the risen life, and
is marked by the fresh beauty of a beautiful world. To appreciate the
pentecostal season and to care for spiritual inspiration appeals to the
few, and to those few on a higher plane. But of all that religion has to
give, it represents the highest gift, and it has to do with the world's
greatest need.

Spiritual life is the most precious of possessions, the highest
attainment of humanity. Happy are we if our better spirit be quickened,
if our hearts be lifted up, and our wills be strengthened, that worthy
life may bring peace and joy!


We cannot deny the truth that the things of the spirit are of first
importance; but when it comes to living we seem to belie our
convictions. We live as though we thought the spirit a doubtful matter.
There are those who take pride in calling themselves materialists, but
they are hardly as hopeless as those who are so indifferent that they
have no opinion whatever. The man who thinks and cares is quite apt to
come out right, but the mindless animal who only enjoys develops no
recognizable soul. The seeking first is not in derogation of any true
manhood. It is the full life, the whole life, that we are to
compass--but life subordinated and controlled by the spirit, the spirit
that recognizes the distinction between right and wrong. Those who
choose the right and bend all else to it, are of the Kingdom. That is
all that righteousness means.

The church has no monopoly of righteousness, but it is of immense
importance in cultivating the religious spirit, and cannot safely be
dispensed with. And so it must be strongly supported and made efficient.
To those who know true values this is an investment that cannot safely
be ignored. To it we should give generously of our money, but equally
generously we should give ourselves--our presence, our co-operation, our
loyal support of our leaders, our constant effort to hold it to high
ideals. If it is to give life, it must have life, and whatever life it
has is the aggregation of our collected and consecrated lives.

The church called Christian cannot win by holding its old trenches. It
must advance to the line that stretches from our little fortress where
the flag of Reason and Religion defiantly floats. Shall we retreat? No;
it is for us to hold the fort at all costs, not for our sake alone, but
for the army of humanity.

We believe in God and we believe in man. As President Eliot lately put
it, "We believe in the principles of a simple, practical, and democratic
religion. We are meeting ignorance, not with contempt, but with
knowledge. We are meeting dogmatism and superstition, not with
impatience, but with truth. We are meeting sin and injustice, not with
abuse, but with good-will and high idealism. We have the right message
for our time." To the church that seems to us to most nearly realize
these ideals, it is our bounden duty, and should be our glad privilege,
to present ourselves a reasonable sacrifice, that we may do our part in
bringing in God's Kingdom.


Reforms depend upon reformed men. Perhaps the greater need is _formed_
men. As we survey the majority of men around us, they seem largely
unconscious of what they really are and of the privileges and
responsibilities that appertain to manhood. It must be that men are
better, and more, than they seem. Visit a baseball game or a movie. The
crowds seem wholly irresponsible, and, except in the pleasure or
excitement sought, utterly uninterested--apparently without principle or
purpose. And yet, when called upon to serve their country, men will go
to the ends of the world, and place no limit on the sacrifice freely
made for the general good. They are better than they seem, and in ways
we know not of possess a sense of justice and a love of right which they
found we know not where.

This is encouraging, but must not relieve us from doing our utmost to
inform more fully every son of man of his great opportunity and
responsibility, and also of inspiring him to use his life to his and our
best advantage.

It is so evident that world-welfare rests upon individual well-being
that we cannot escape the conviction that the best thing any one of us
can do is to help to make our fellow-men better and happier. And the
part of wisdom is to organize for the power we gain.

It would seem that the church should be the most effective agency for
promoting individual worth and consequent happiness. Is it?--and if not,
why not? We are apt to say we live in a new age, forgetting how little
change of form matters. Human nature, with its instincts and desires,
love of self, and the general enjoyment of, and through, possessions, is
so little changed that differences in condition and circumstance have
only a modifying influence. It is man, the man within, that counts--not
his clothing.

But it is true that human institutions do undergo great changes, and
nothing intimate and important has suffered greater changes than the
church. Religion itself, vastly more important than the church, has
changed and is changing. Martineau's illuminating classification helps
us to realize this. The first expression, the pagan, was based on fear
and the idea of winning favor by purchase, giving something to God--it
might be burnt-offerings--for his good-will. Then came the Jewish, the
ethical, the thought of doing, rather than giving. Righteousness earns
God's favor. The higher conception blossomed into Christianity with its
trust in the love of God and of serving him and fellow-man,
self-sacrifice being the highest expression of harmony with him.
Following this general advance from giving and doing to being, we have
the altar, the temple, and the church.


Unitarians owe first allegiance to the Kingdom of God on earth. It is of
little consequence through which door it is entered. If any other is
nearer or broader or more attractive, use it. We offer ours for those
who prefer it or who find others not to be entered without a password
they cannot pronounce.

A Unitarian who merely says he is one thereby gives no satisfactory
evidence that he is. There are individuals who seem to think they are
Unitarians because they are nothing else. They regard Unitarianism as
the next to nothing in its requirement of belief, losing all sight of
the fact that even one real belief exceeds, and may be more difficult
than, many half-beliefs and hundreds of make-beliefs, and that a
Unitarian church made up of those who have discarded all they thought
they believed and became Unitarian for its bald negations is to be
pitied and must be patiently nurtured.

As regards our responsibility for the growth of Unitarianism, we surely
cannot fail to recognize it, but it should be clearly qualified by our
recognition of the object in view. To regard Unitarianism as an end to
be pursued for its own sake does not seem compatible with its own true
spirit. The church itself is an instrument, and we are in right relation
when we give the Unitarian church our preference, as, to us, the best
instrument, while we hold first allegiance to the idealism for which it
stands and to the goodness it seeks to unfold in the heart of man.

Nor would we seek growth at any sacrifice of high quality or purpose. We
do not expect large numbers and great popular applause. Unitarians are
pioneers, and too independent and discriminating to stir the feverish
pulse of the multitude. We seek the heights, and it is our concern to
reach them and hold them for the few that struggle up. Loaves and fishes
we have not to offer, nor can we promise wealth and health as an
attractive by-product of righteousness.

There is no better service that anyone can render than to implant
higher ideals in the breast of another. In the matter of religious
education as sought through the ordinary Sunday-school, no one who has
had any practical experience has ever found it easy, or kept free from
doubt as to its being sufficiently efficacious to make it worth while.
But the problem is to recognize the difficulty, face all doubts, and
stand by. Perfect teachers are impossible, satisfactory ones are not
always to be had. If they are not dissatisfied with themselves, they are
almost always unfit. But as between doing the best you can and doing
nothing at all, it would seem that self-respect and a sense of deep
responsibility would leave no recourse. There is no place for a shirker
or a quitter in a real Unitarian church.


Now and then some indifferent Unitarian expresses doubt as to the future
value of our particular church. There are those who say, "Why should we
keep it up? Have we not done our work?" We have seen our original
protests largely effective, and rejoice that more liberal and generous,
and, we believe, more just and true, religious convictions prevail; but
have we been constructive and strengthening? And until we have made our
own churches fully free and fruitful in spiritual life are we absolved
from the call to service?

Have we earned our discharge from the army of life? Shall we be
deserters or slackers! We ask no man to fight with us if his loyalty to
any other corps is stronger, but to fight _somewhere_--to do his part
for God and his fellow-men wherever he can do the most effective

We are not Unitarians first. We are not even Christians first. We are
human first, seeking the best in humanity, in our appointed place in a
civilization that finds its greatest inspiration in the leadership of
Jesus of Nazareth, we are next Christians, and we are finally Unitarians
because for us their point of view embodies most truly the spirit that
animated his teachings and his life.

And so we appeal to those who really, not nominally, are of our
household of faith to feel that it is best worth while to stand by the
nearest church and to support it generously, that it may do its part in
soul service and world welfare, and also to encourage it and give it
more abundant life through attendance and participation in its


It is well for each soul, in the multiplicity of questions besetting
him, to deliberately face them and determine what is of first
importance. Aspects are so diverse and bewildering that if we do not
reduce them to some order, giving them rank, we are in danger of
becoming purposeless drifters on the sea of life.

What is the most important thing in life? What shall be our aim and
purpose, as we look about us, observing our fellows--what they have
accomplished and what they are--what commends itself to us as best worth
while? And what course can we pursue to get the most and the best out of

We find a world of infinite diversity in conditions, in aims, and in
results. One of the most striking differences is in regard to what we
call success. We are prone to conclude that he who is prosperous in the
matter of having is the successful man. Possessing is the proof of
efficiency, and he who possesses little has measurably failed in the
main object of life. This conclusion has a measure of truth, but is not
wholly true. We see not a few instances of utter poverty of life
concurrent with great possessions, and are forced to conclude that the
real value of possessions is dependent on what they bring us. Merely to
have is of no advantage. Indeed it may be a burden or a curse. Happiness
is at least desirable, but it has no necessary connection with property
accumulations. They may make it possible, but they never insure it.
Possession may be an incident, but seldom is a cause.

If we follow this thought further we shall find that in the accepted
methods of accumulation arise many of the causes of current misery and
unhappiness. Generally he who is said to succeed pays a price, and a
large one, for the prosperity he achieves. To be conspicuously
successful commonly involves a degree of selfishness that is almost
surely damaging. Often injustice and unfairness are added to the train
of factors, and dishonesty and absence of decency give the finishing
touch. Every dollar tinged with doubt is a moral liability. If it has
been wrested from its rightful owner through fraud or force of
opportunity, it would better be at the bottom of the sea.


The power and practical irresponsibility of money have ruined many a
man, and the misuse of wealth has left unused immense opportunity for
good. It has coined a word that has become abhorrent, and "Capitalism"
has, in the minds of the suspicious, become the all-sufficient cause of
everything deplorable in human conditions. No true-hearted observer can
conclude that the first consideration of life should be wealth. On the
other hand, no right-minded person will ignore the desirability and the
duty of judiciously providing the means for a reasonable degree of
comfort and self-respect, with a surplus for the furtherance of human
welfare in general, and the relief of misfortune and suffering. Thrift
is a virtue; greed is a vice. Reasonable possession is a commendable and
necessary object. The unrestrained avarice that today is making cowards
of us all is an unmeasured curse, a world-wide disgrace that threatens

In considering ends of life we cannot ignore those who consider
happiness as adequate. Perhaps there are few who formulate this, but
there are many who seem to give it practical assent. They apparently
conform their lives to this butterfly estimate, and, in the absence of
any other purpose, rest satisfied. Happiness is indeed a desirable
condition, and in the highest sense, where it borders on blessedness,
may be fairly termed "the end and aim of being." But on the lower
stretches of the senses, where it becomes mere enjoyment or pleasure,
largely concerned with amusement and self-indulgence of various sorts,
it becomes parasitic, robbing life of its strength and flavor and
preventing its development and full growth. It is insidious in its
deterioration and omnivorous in its appetite. It tends to habits that
undermine and to the appropriation of a preponderating share of the
valueless things of life. The danger is in the unrestrained appetite, in
intemperance that becomes habit. Pleasure is exhausting of both purse
and mind. We naturally crave pleasant experiences, and we need a certain
amount of relaxation. The danger is in overindulgence and indigestion
resulting in spiritual invalidism. Let us take life sanely, accepting
pleasures gratefully but moderately.

But what _is_ best in life? Why, life itself. Life is opportunity. Here
it is, around us, offered to us. We are free to take what we can or what
we like. We have the great privilege of choice, and life's ministry to
us depends on what we take and what we leave.

We are providentially assigned our place, whatever it is, but in no
fixed sense of its being final and unalterable. The only obligation
implied is that of acceptance until it can be bettered.

Our moral responsibility is limited to our opportunity, and the vital
question is the use we make of it. The great fact of life is that we are
spiritual beings. Religion has to do with soul existence and is the
field of its development. It is concerned primarily with being and
secondly with doing. It is righteousness inspired by love. It is
recognition of our responsibilities to do God's will.

Hence the best life is that which accepts life as opportunity, and
faithfully, happily seeks to make the most of it. It seeks to follow the
right, and to do the best it can, in any circumstances. It accepts all
that life offers, enjoying in moderation its varied gifts, but in
restraint of self-indulgence, and with kindly consideration of others.
It subordinates its impulses to the apprehended will of God, bears
trials with fortitude, and trusts eternal good.


One of the most impressive sights in the natural world is the
difficulties resisted and overcome by a tree in its struggle for life.
On the very summit of the Sentinel Dome, over eight thousand feet above
sea-level, there is rooted in the apparently solid granite a lone pine
two feet in diameter. It is not tall, for its struggle with the wind and
snow has checked its aspirations, but it is sturdy and vigorous, while
the wonder is that it ever established and maintained life at all. Where
it gains its nourishment is not apparent. Disintegrated granite seems a
hard diet, but it suffices, for the determined tree makes the best of
the opportunities offered. Like examples abound wherever a crevice holds
any soil whatever. In a niche of El Capitan, more than a thousand feet
from the valley's floor, grows a tree a hundred feet high. A strong
glass shows a single tree on the crest of Half Dome. Such persistence is
significant, and it enforces a lesson we very much need.

Reason should not be behind instinct in making the most of life. While
man is less rigidly conditioned and may modify his environment, he, too,
may nourish his life by using to the full whatever nutriment is offered.
Lincoln has been characterized as a man who made the most of his life.
Perhaps his greatness consisted mostly in that.

We are inclined to blame conditions and circumstances for failures that
result from our lack of effort. We lack in persistence, we resent
disparity in the distribution of talents, we blink at responsibility,
and are slothful and trifling. Our life is a failure from lack of will.

Who are we that we should complain that life is hard, or conclude that
it is not better so? Why do we covet other opportunities instead of
doing the best with those we have? What is the glory of life but to
accept it with such satisfaction as we can command, to enjoy what we
have a right to, and to use all it offers for its upbuilding and


How evident it is that much more than good intentions is needed in one
who would either maintain self-respect or be of any use in his daily
life! It is not easy to be good, but it is often less easy to be right.
It involves an understanding that presupposes both ability and effort.
Intelligence, thinking, often studious consideration, are necessary to
give a working hypothesis of what is best. It is seldom that anything is
so simple that without careful thought we can be sure that one course is
right and another wrong. Perhaps, after we have weighed all that is
ponderable, we can only determine which seems the better course of
action. Being good may help our judgment. Doing right is the will of


"Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith let us to
the end dare to do our duty as we understand it." Abraham Lincoln had a
marvelous aptitude for condensed statement, and in this compact
sentence from his Cooper Union address expresses the very essence of the
appeal that is made to us today. We can find no more fundamental slogan
and no nobler one.

Whatever the circumstances presented and whatever the immediate result
will be, we are to dare to do our duty as we understand it. And we are
so to dare and so to do in complete faith that right makes might and in
utter disregard of fear that might may triumph. The only basis of true
courage is faith, and our trust must be in right, in good, in God.

We live in a republic that sustains itself through the acceptance by all
of the will of the majority, and to talk of despotism whenever the
authority necessary for efficiency is exercised, and that with
practically unanimous concurrence, is wholly unreasonable. A man who
cannot yield allegiance to the country in which he lives should either
be silent and inactive or go to some country where his sympathy
corresponds with his loyalty.



As years increase we more and more value the personal and individual
element in human life. Character becomes the transcendent interest and
friends are our chief assets. As I approach the end of my story of
memories I feel that the most interesting feature of life has been the
personal. I wish I had given more space to the people I have known.
Fortune has favored me with friends worth mentioning and of
acquaintances, some of whom I must introduce.

Of Horatio Stebbins, the best friend and strongest influence of my life,
I have tried to express my regard in a little book about to be published
by the Houghton Mifflin Company of Boston. It will be procurable from
our San Francisco Unitarian Headquarters. That those who may not see it
may know something of my feeling, I reprint a part of an editorial
written when he died.


The thoughts that cluster around the memory of Horatio Stebbins so fill
the mind that nothing else can be considered until some expression is
made of them, and yet the impossibility of any adequate statement is so
evident that it seems hopeless to begin. The event of his death was not
unexpected. It has been imminent and threatening for years. His
feebleness and the intense suffering of his later days relieve the grief
that must be felt, and there springs by its side gratitude that rest and
peace have come to him. And yet to those who loved him the world seems
not quite the same since he has gone from it. There is an underlying
feeling of something missing, of loss not to be overcome, that must be
borne to the end.

In my early boyhood Horatio Stebbins was "the preacher from
Fitchburg"--original in manner and matter, and impressive even to a boy.
Ten years passed, and our paths met in San Francisco. From the day he
first stood in the historic pulpit as successor of that gifted preacher
and patriot, Starr King, till his removal to Cambridge, few
opportunities for hearing him were neglected by me. His influence was a
great blessing, association with him a delight, his example an
inspiration, and his love the richest of undeserved treasures.

Dr. Stebbins was ever the kindliest of men, and his friendliness and
consideration were not confined to his social equals. Without
condescension, he always had a kind word for the humblest people. He was
as gentlemanly and courteous to a hackdriver as he would be to a college
president. None ever heard him speak severely or impatiently to a
servant. He was considerate by nature, and patient from very largeness.
He never harbored an injury, and by his generosity and apparent
obliviousness or forgetfulness of the unpleasant past he often put to
shame those who had wronged him. He was at times stern, and was always
fearless in uttering what he felt to be the truth, whether it was to
meet with favor or with disapproval from his hearers.

As a friend he was loyalty itself, and for the slightest service he was
deeply appreciative and grateful. He was the most charitable of men, and
was not ashamed to admit that he had often been imposed upon.

Of his rank as a thinker and a preacher I am not a qualified judge, but
he surely was great of heart and strong of mind. He was a man of
profound faith, and deeply religious in a strong, manly way. He inspired
others by his trust and his unquestioned belief in the reality of
spiritual things. He never did anything for effect; his words fell from
his lips in tones of wonderful beauty to express the thought and feeling
that glowed within.

Noble man, great preacher, loving friend! thou art not dead, but
translated to that higher life of which no doubt ever entered thy
trusting mind!


Horace Davis was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, on March 16, 1831.
His father was John Davis, who served as Governor of Massachusetts and
as United States Senator. His mother was the daughter of Rev. Aaron
Bancroft, one of the pioneers of the Unitarian ministry.

Horace Davis graduated at Harvard in the class of 1849. He began the
study of the law, but his eyes failed, and in 1852 he came to California
to seek his fortune. He first tried the mines, starting a store at
Shaw's Flat. When the venture failed he came to San Francisco and sought
any employment to be found. He began by piling lumber, but when his
cousin, Isaac Davis, found him at it he put him aboard one of his
coasting schooners as supercargo. Being faithful and capable, he was
sought by the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, and was for several years
a good purser. He and his brother George had loaned their savings to a
miller, and were forced to take over the property. Mr. Davis become the
accepted authority on wheat and the production of flour, and enjoyed
more than forty years of leadership in the business which he
accidentally entered.

He was always a public-spirited citizen, and in 1877 was elected to
Congress, serving for two terms. He proved too independent and
unmanageable for the political leaders of the time and was allowed to
return to private life.

In 1887 he was urged to accept the presidency of the University of
California, and for three years he discharged the duties of the office
with credit.

His interest in education was always great, and he entered with ardor
and intelligence into the discharge of his duties as a trustee of the
School of Mechanical Arts established by the will of James Lick. As
president of the board, he guided its course, and was responsible for
the large plan for co-operation and co-ordination by which, with the
Wilmerding School and the Lux School (of which he was also a leading
trustee), a really great endowed industrial school under one
administrative management has been built up in San Francisco. A large
part of his energy was devoted to this end, and it became the strongest
desire of his life to see it firmly established. He also served for many
years as a trustee for Stanford University, and for a time was president
of the board. To the day of his death (in July, 1916) he was active in
the affairs of Stanford, and was also deeply interested in the
University of California. The degree of LL.D. was conferred by the
University of the Pacific, by Harvard, and by the University of

From his earliest residence in San Francisco he was a loyal and devoted
supporter of the First Unitarian Church and of its Sunday-school. For
over sixty years he had charge of the Bible-class, and his influence for
spiritual and practical Christianity has been very great. He gave
himself unsparingly for the cause of religious education, and never
failed to prepare himself for his weekly ministration. For eight years
he served on the board of trustees of the church and for seven years was
moderator of the board.

Under the will of Captain Hinckley he was made a trustee of the William
and Alice Hinckley Fund, and for thirty-seven years took an active
interest in its administration. At the time of his death he was its
president. He was deeply interested in the Pacific Unitarian School for
the Ministry, and contributed munificently to its foundation and

Mr. Davis preserved his youth by the breadth of his sympathies. He
seemed to have something in common with everyone he met; was young with
the young. In his talks to college classes he was always happy, with a
simplicity and directness that attracted close attention, and a sense of
humor that lighted up his address.

His domestic life was very happy. His first wife, the daughter of
Captain Macondray, for many years an invalid, died in 1872. In 1875 he
married Edith King, the only daughter of Thomas Starr King, a woman of
rare personal gifts, who devoted her life to his welfare and happiness.
She died suddenly in 1909. Mr. Davis, left alone, went steadily on. His
books were his constant companions and his friends were always welcome.
He would not own that he was lonely. He kept occupied; he had his round
of duties, attending to his affairs, and the administration of various
benevolent trusts, and he had a large capacity for simple enjoyments.
He read good books; he was hospitably inclined; he kept in touch with
his old associates; he liked to meet them at luncheon at the University
Club or at the monthly dinner of the Chit-Chat Club, which he had seldom
missed in thirty-nine years of membership. He was punctilious in the
preparation of his biennial papers, always giving something of interest
and value. His intellectual interest was wide. He was a close student of
Shakespeare, and years ago printed a modest volume on the Sonnets. He
also published a fine study of the Ministry of Jesus, and a
discriminating review of the American Constitutions.

Mr. Davis was a man of profound religious feeling. He said little of it,
but it was a large part of his life. On his desk was a volume of Dr.
Stebbins' prayers, the daily use of which had led to the reading again
and again of the book he very deeply cherished.

He was the most loyal of friends--patient, appreciative beyond deserts,
kindly, and just. The influence for good of such a man is incalculable.
One who makes no pretense of virtue, but simply lives uprightly as a
matter of course, who is genuine and sound, who does nothing for effect,
who shows simple tastes, and is not greedy for possessions, but who
looks out for himself and his belongings in a prudent, self-respecting
way, who takes what comes without complaint, who believes in the good
and shows it by his daily course, who is never violent and desperate,
but calmly tries to do his part to make his fellows happier and the
world better, who trusts in God and cheerfully bears the trials that
come, who holds on to life and its opportunities, without repining if he
be left to walk alone, and who faces death with the confidence of a
child who trusts in a Father's love and care--such a man is blessed
himself and is a blessing to his fellow-men.


In 1871 Ralph Waldo Emerson visited California. He was accompanied by
his daughter Ellen, and seemed thoroughly to enjoy the new scenes and
new experiences. He visited the Yosemite Valley and other points of
interest, and was persuaded to deliver a number of lectures. His first
appearance before a California audience was at the Unitarian church,
then in Geary Street near Stockton, on a Sunday evening, when he read
his remarkable essay on "Immortality," wherein he spoke of people who
talk of eternity and yet do not know what to do with a day. The church
was completely filled and the interest to hear him seemed so great that
it was determined to secure some week-day lectures if possible. In
company with Horace Davis, who enjoyed his acquaintance, I called on him
at the Occidental Hotel. He was the most approachable of men--as simple
and kindly in his manner as could be imagined, and putting one at ease
with that happy faculty which only a true gentleman possesses.



His features are familiar from the many published pictures, but no one
who had not met his smiling eyes can realize the charm of his

His talk was delightfully genial. I asked him if his journey had been
wearisome. "Not at all," he replied; "I have enjoyed it all." The
scenery seemed to have impressed him deeply. "When one crosses your
mountains," he said, "and sees their wonderful arches, one discovers how
architecture came to be invented." When asked if he could favor us with
some lectures, he smiled and said: "Well, my daughter thought you might
want something of that kind, and put a few in my trunk, in case of an
emergency." When it came to dates, it was found that he was to leave the
next day for a short trip to the Geysers, and it was difficult to
arrange the course of three, which had been fixed upon, after his
return. It was about eleven o'clock when we called. I asked him if he
could give us one of the lectures that evening. He smiled and said, "Oh,
yes," adding, "I don't know what you can do here, but in Boston we could
not expect to get an audience on such short notice." We assured him that
we felt confident in taking the chances on that. Going at once to the
office of the _Evening Bulletin,_ we arranged for a good local notice,
and soon had a number of small boys distributing announcements in the
business streets.

The audience was a good one in point of numbers, and a pleased and
interested one. His peculiar manner of reading a few pages, and then
shuffling his papers, as though they were inextricably mixed, was
embarrassing at first, but when it was found that he was not disturbed
by it, and that it was not the result of an accident, but a
characteristic manner of delivery, the audience withheld its sympathy
and rather enjoyed the novelty and the feeling of uncertainty as to what
would come next. One little incident of the lecture occasioned an
admiring smile. A small bunch of flowers had been placed on the
reading-desk, and by some means, in one of his shuffles, they were
tipped over and fell forward to the floor. Not at all disconcerted, he
skipped nimbly out of the pulpit, picked up the flowers, put them back
in the vase, replaced it on the desk, and went on with the lecture as
though nothing had happened.

He was much interested in the twenty-dollar gold pieces in which he was
paid, never before having met with that form of money. His encouraging
friendliness of manner quite removed any feeling that a great man's time
was being wasted through one's intercourse. He gossiped pleasantly of
men and things as though talking with an equal. On one occasion he
seemed greatly to enjoy recounting how cleverly James Russell Lowell
imitated Alfred Tennyson's reading of his own poems. Over the
Sunday-school of our church Starr King had provided a small room where
he could retire and gain seclusion. It pleased Emerson. He said, "I
think I should enjoy a study beyond the orbit of the servant girl." He
was as self-effacing a man as I ever knew, and the most agreeable to

After his return from his short trip he gave two or three more lectures,
with a somewhat diminishing attendance. Dr. Stebbins remarked in
explanation, "I thought the people would tire in the sockets of their
wings if they attempted to follow _him_."

At this distance, I can remember little that he said, but no distance of
time or space can ever dim the delight I felt in meeting him, or the
impression formed of a most attractive, penetrating, and inspiring

His kindliness and geniality were unbounded. During our arrangement of
dates Mr. Davis smiled as he said of one suggested by Mr. Emerson, "That
would not be convenient for Mr. Murdock, for it is the evening of his
wedding." He did not forget it. After the lecture, a few days later, he
turned to me and asked, "Is she here?" When I brought my flattered wife,
he chatted with her familiarly, asking where she had lived before coming
to California, and placing her wholly at ease.

Every tone of his voice and every glance of his eye suggested the most
absolute serenity. He seemed the personification of calm wisdom. Nothing
disturbed him, nothing depressed him. He was as serene and unruffled as
a morning in June. He radiated kindliness from a heart at peace with all
mankind. His gentleness of manner was an illustration of the possibility
of beauty in conduct. He was wholly self-possessed--to imagine him in a
passion would be impossible. His word was searching, but its power was
that of the sunbeam and not of the blast. He was above all teapot
tempests, a strong, tender, fearless, trustful _man_.


Julia Ward Howe is something more than a noble memory. She has left her
impress on her time, and given a new significance to womanhood. To hear
the perfect music of the voice of so cultivated a woman is something of
an education, and to have learned how gracious and kindly a great nature
really is, is an experience well worth cherishing. Mrs. Howe was
wonderfully alive to a wide range of interests--many-sided and
sympathetic. She could take the place of a minister and speak
effectively from deep conviction and a wide experience, or talk simply
and charmingly to a group of school-children.

When some years later than her San Francisco visit she spoke at a King's
Chapel meeting in Boston, growing feebleness was apparent, but the same
gracious spirit was undimmed. Later pictures have been somewhat
pathetic. We do not enjoy being reminded of mortality in those of
pre-eminent spirit, but what a span of events and changes her life
records, and what a part in it all she had borne! When one ponders on
the inspiring effect of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and of the arms
it nerved and the hearts it strengthened, and on the direct blows she
struck for the emancipation of woman, it seems that there has been
abundant answer to her prayer,

  "As He died to make men holy,
  Let us die to make men free."


In glancing back, I can think of no more charming man than Timothy
Rearden. He had a most attractive personality, combining rare
intelligence and kindly affection with humor and a modesty that left him
almost shy. He was scholarly and brilliant, especially in literature
and languages. His essays and studies in Greek attracted
world-acknowledgment, but at home he was known chiefly as a genial,
self-effacing lawyer, not ambitious for a large practice and oblivious
of position, but happy in his friends and in delving deep into whatever
topic in the world of letters engaged his interest.

He was born in Ohio in 1839 and graduated from the Cleveland High School
and from Kenyon College. He served in the Civil War and came to
California in 1866. He was a fellow-worker with Bret Harte in the Mint,
and also on the _Overland Monthly_, contributing "Favoring Female
Conventualism" to the first number. He was a sound lawyer, but hid with
his elders until 1872, when he opened his own office. He was not a
pusher, but his associates respected and loved him, so that when in 1883
the governor was called upon to appoint a judge, and, embarrassed by the
number of candidates, he called upon the Bar Association to recommend
someone, they took a vote and two-thirds of them named Rearden. He
served on the bench for eight years.

He was a favorite member of the Chit-Chat Club for many years and wrote
many brilliant essays, a volume of which was printed in 1893. The first
two he gave were "Francis Petrarch" and "Burning Sappho." Among the most
charming was "Ballads and Lyrics," which was illustrated by the equally
charming singing of representative selections by Mrs. Ida Norton, the
only time in its history when the club was invaded by a woman. Its
outside repetition was clamored for, and as the Judge found a good
excuse in his position and its requirements, he loaned the paper and I
had the pleasure of substituting for him.

When I was a candidate for the legislature he issued a card that was a
departure from political methods. It was during the time when all the
names were submitted on the ballot and voters crossed off those they did
not want to win. He sent his friends a neat card, as follows:

     (_Of C.A. Murdock & Co., 532 Clay Street_)

     If you prefer any candidate on any other ticket, scratch Murdock.

     If you require any pledge other than that he will vote according to
     his honest convictions, scratch Murdock.

His friend, Ambrose Bierce, spoke of him as the most scholarly man on
the Pacific Coast. He was surely among the most modest and affectionate.
He had remarkable poetic gifts. In 1892 the Thomas Post of the Grand
Army of the Republic held a memorial service, and he contributed a poem

  "Life's fevered day declines; its purple twilight falling
    Draws length'ning shadows from the broken flanks;
  And from the column's head a viewless chief is calling:
    'Guide right; close up your ranks!'"

He was ill when it was read. A week from the day of the meeting the
happy, well-loved man breathed his last.


John Muir, naturalist, enthusiast, writer, glorifier of the Sierras, is
held in affectionate memory the world over, but especially in
California, where he was known as a delightful personality. Real
pleasure and a good understanding of his nature and quality await those
who read of the meeting of Emerson and Muir in the Yosemite in 1871. It
is recorded in their diaries. He was a very rare and versatile man. It
was my good fortune to sit by him at a dinner on his return from Alaska,
where he had studied its glaciers, and had incidentally been honored by
having its most characteristic one named after him. He was tremendously
impressed by the wonder and majesty of what he had seen, but it in no
wise dimmed his enthusiasm for the beauty and glory of the Sierra
Nevada. In speaking of the exquisite loveliness of a mountain meadow he
exclaimed: "I could conceive it no punishment to be staked out for a
thousand years on one of those meadows." His tales of experiences in the
High Sierra, where he spent days alone and unarmed, with nothing but tea
and a few breadcrusts to sustain him, were most thrilling.

I was afterward charmed by his sketch of an adventure with a dog called
"Stickeen," on one of the great Alaskan glaciers, and, meeting him,
urged that he make a little book of it. He was pleased and told me he
had just done it. Late in life he was shocked at what he considered the
desecration of the Hetch-Hetchy Valley by the city of San Francisco,
which sought to dam it and form a great lake that should forever furnish
a supply of water and power. He came to my office to supervise the
publication of the _Sierra Club Bulletin_, and we had a spirited but
friendly discussion of the matter, I being much interested as a
supervisor of the city. As a climax he exclaimed, "Why, if San Francisco
ever gets the Hetch-Hetchy I shall _swear_, even if I am in heaven."


Among the many beneficent acts of Horatio Stebbins in his distinguished
ministry in San Francisco was his influence in the establishment of the
chair of Moral Philosophy in the University of California. It was the
gift of D.O. Mills, who provided the endowment on the advice of Dr.
Stebbins. The first occupant appointed was Professor Howison, who from
1884 to 1912 happily held a fruitful term. He was admirably fitted for
his duties, and with the added influence of the Philosophical Union
contributed much to the value of the university. A genial and kindly
man, with a keen sense of humor, he was universally and deeply respected
by the students and by his associates. He made philosophy almost
popular, and could differ utterly from others without any of the common
results of antagonism, for he generated so much more light than heat.
His mind was so stored that when he began to speak there seemed to be no
reason aside from discretion why he should ever stop.

I enjoyed to the full one little business incident with him. In my
publications I followed a somewhat severe style of typography,
especially priding myself on the possession of a complete series of
genuine old-style faces cast in Philadelphia from moulds cut a hundred
and seventy years ago. In these latter days a few bold men have tried to
improve on this classic. One Ronaldson especially departed from the
simplicity and dignity of the cut approved by Caxton, Aldus, and
Elzevir, and substituted for the beautiful terminal of, say the capital
T, two ridiculous curled points. I resented it passionately, and
frequently remarked that a printer who would use Ronaldson old-style
would not hesitate to eat his pie with a knife. One day Professor
Howison (I think his dog "Socrates" was with him) came into my office
and inquired if I had a cut of old-style type that had curved terminals
on the capital Ts. I had no idea why he asked the question; I might have
supposed that he wanted the face, but I replied somewhat warmly that I
had not, that I had never allowed it in the shop, to which he replied
with a chuckle, "Good! I was afraid I might get them."

Professor Howison furnished one of the best stories of the great
earthquake of 1906. In common with most people, he was in bed at
fourteen minutes past five on the 18th of April. While victims generally
arose and dressed more or less, the Professor calmly remained between
the sheets, concluding that if he was to die the bed would be the most
fitting and convenient place to be in. It took more than a full-grown
earthquake to disturb his philosophy.


It is doubtful if any son of California has won greater recognition than
Josiah Royce, born in Grass Valley in November, 1855. In 1875 he
graduated at the University of California. After gaining his Ph.D. at
Johns Hopkins, he returned to his _alma mater_ and for four years was
instructor in English literature and logic.

He joined the Chit-Chat Club in 1879 and continued a member until his
removal to Harvard in 1882. He was a brilliant and devoted member, with
a whimsical wit and entire indifference to fit of clothes and general
personal appearance. He was eminently good-natured and a very clever
debater. With all the honors heaped upon him, he never forgot his
youthful associates. At a reunion held in 1916 he sent this friendly
message to the club: "Have warmest memories of olden time. Send
heartiest greetings to all my fellow members. I used to be a long-winded
speaker in Chit-Chat, but my love far outlasts my speeches. You inspired
my youth. You make my older years glow."

In my youthful complacency I had the audacity to print an essay on "The
Policy of Protection," taking issue with most of my brother members,
college men and free-traders. Later, while on a visit to California, he
told me, with a twinkle in his eye, "I am using your book at Harvard as
an example of logic."

He died honored everywhere as America's greatest philosopher, one of the
world's foremost thinkers, and withal a very lovable man.


In the early days Rev. Charles Gordon Ames preached for a time in Santa
Cruz. Later he removed to San Jose, and occasionally addressed San
Francisco audiences. He was original and witty and was in demand for
special occasions. In an address at a commencement day at Berkeley, I
heard him express his wonder at being called upon, since he had
matriculated at a wood-pile and graduated in a printing-office. Several
years after he had returned East I was walking with him in Boston. We
met one of his friends, who said, "How are you, Ames?" "Why, I'm still
at large, and have lucid intervals," replied the witty preacher. He once
told me of an early experience in candidating. He was asked to preach in
Worcester, where there was a vacancy. Next day he met a friend who told
him the results, saying: "You seem to have been fortunate in satisfying
both the radicals and the conservatives. But your language was something
of a surprise; it does not follow the usual Harvard type, and does not
seem ministerial. You used unaccustomed illustrations. You spoke of
something being as slow as molasses. Now, so far as I know, molasses is
not a scriptural word. Honey is mentioned in the Bible, but not


The passing of Joaquin Miller removed from California her most
picturesque figure. In his three-score and twelve years he found wide
experience, and while his garb and habits were somewhat theatrical he
was a strong character and a poet of power. In some respects he was more
like Walt Whitman than any other American poet, and in vigor and grasp
was perhaps his equal. Of California authors he is the last of the
acknowledged leading three, Harte and Clemens completing the group. For
many years he lived with his wife and daughter at "The Heights," in the
foothills back of Oakland, writing infrequently, but with power and
insight. His "Columbus" will probably be conceded to be his finest poem,
and one of the most perfect in the language. He held his faculties till
the last, writing a few days before his death a tender message of faith
in the eternal.

With strong unconventionality and a somewhat abrupt manner, he was
genial and kindly in his feelings, with warm affections and great

An amusing incident of many years ago comes back to freshen his memory.
An entertainment of a social character was given at the Oakland
Unitarian church, and when my turn came for a brief paper on wit and
humor I found that Joaquin Miller sat near me on the platform. As an
illustration of parody, bordering on burlesque, I introduced a Miller
imitation--the story of a frontiersman on an Arizona desert accompanied
by a native woman of "bare, brown beauty," and overtaken by heat so
intense that but one could live, whereupon, to preserve the superior
race, he seized a huge rock and

  "Crushed with fearful blow
    Her well-poised head."

It was highly audacious, and but for a youthful pride of authorship and
some curiosity as to how he would take it I should have omitted it.

Friends in the audience told me that the way in which I watched him from
the corner of my eye was the most humorous thing in the paper. At the
beginning his head was bowed, and for some time he showed no emotion of
any sort, but as I went on and it grew worse and worse, he gave way to a
burst of merriment and I saw that I was saved.

I was gratified then, and his kindliness brings a little glow of
good-will--that softens my farewell.


Of Mark Twain my memory is confined to two brief views, both before he
had achieved his fame. One was hearing him tell a story with his
inimitable drawl, as he stood smoking in front of a Montgomery Street
cigar-store, and the other when on his return from a voyage to the
Hawaiian Islands he delivered his famous lecture at the Academy of
Music. It was a marvelous address, in which with apparently no effort he
led his audience to heights of appreciative enthusiasm in the most
felicitous description of the beautiful and wonderful things he had
seen, and then dropped them from the sublime to the ridiculous by some
absurd reference or surprisingly humorous reflection.

The sharp contrast between his incomparably beautiful word paintings and
his ludicrous humor was characteristic of two sides of the waggish
newspaper reporter who developed into a good deal of a philosopher and
the first humorist of his time.


Among my nearest friends I am proud to count Sheldon G. Kellogg,
associated through both the Unitarian church, the Sunday-school, and the
Chit-Chat Club. He was a lawyer with a large and serviceable conscience
as well as a well-trained mind. He grew to manhood in the Middle West,
graduated in a small Methodist college, and studied deeply in Germany.
He came to San Francisco, establishing himself in practice without
acquaintance, and by sheer ability and character compelled success. His
integrity and thoroughness were beyond any question. He went to the root
of any matter that arose. He was remarkably well read and a passionate
lover of books. He was exact and accurate in his large store of
information. Dr. Stebbins, in his delightful extravagance, once said to
Mrs. Kellogg, "Your husband is the only man I'm afraid of--he knows so
much." At the Chit-Chat no one dared to hazard a doubtful statement of
fact. If it was not so, Kellogg would know it. He was the most modest of
men and would almost hesitate to quote the last census report to set us
right, but such was our respect for him that his statements were never
questioned; he inspired complete confidence. I remember an occasion when
the Supreme Court of the state, or a department of it, had rendered an
opinion setting aside a certain sum as the share of certain trustees.
Kellogg was our attorney. He studied the facts and the decision until he
was perfectly sure the court had erred and that he could convince them
of it. We applied for a hearing in bank and he was completely sustained.

Kellogg was an eminently fair man. He took part in a political
convention on one occasion and was elected chairman. There was a bitter
fight between contending factions, but Kellogg was so just in his
rulings that both sides were satisfied and counted him friendly.

He was a lovable personality and the embodiment of honor. He was
studious and scholarly and always justified our expectation of an able,
valuable paper on whatever topic he treated. I do not recall that in all
my experience I have ever known any other man so unreservedly and
universally respected.


It is a salutary experience to see the power of goodness, to know a man
whose loveliness of life and character exerts an influence beyond the
reach of great intellectual gift or conscious effort. Joseph Worcester
was a modest, shrinking Swedenborgian minister. His congregation was a
handful of refined mystics who took no prominent part in public affairs
and were quiet and unobtrusive citizens. He was not attractive as a
preacher, his voice trembled with emotion and bashfulness, and he read
with difficulty. He was painfully shy, and he was oppressed and suffered
in a crowd. He was unmarried and lived by himself in great simplicity.
He seemed to sustain generally good health on tea, toast, and marmalade,
which at noonday he often shared with his friend William Keith, the

He was essentially the gentle man. In public speaking his voice never
rang out with indignation. He preserved the conversational tone and
seemed devoid of passion and severity. He was patient, kind, and loving.
He had humor, and a pleasant smile generally lighted up his benignant
countenance. He was often playfully indignant. I remember that at one
time an aesthetic character named Russell addressed gatherings of
society people advising them what they should throw out of their
over-furnished rooms. In conversation with Mr. Worcester I asked him how
he felt about it. He replied, "I know what I should throw out--Mr.
Russell." It was so incongruous to think of the violence implied in Mr.
Worcester's throwing out anything that it provoked a hearty laugh. Yet
there was no weakness in his kindliness. He was simply "slow to wrath,"
not acquiescent with wrong. His strength was not that of the storm, but
of the genial shower and the smiling sun. His heart was full of love and
everybody loved him. His hold was through the affections and his
blissful unselfishness. He seemed never to think of himself at all.

He thought very effectually of others. He was helpfulness incarnate, and
since he was influential, surprising results followed. He was fond of
children and gave much time to the inmates of the Protestant Orphan
Asylum, conducting services and reading to them. They grew very fond of
him, and his influence on them was naturally great. He was much
interested in the education of the boys and in their finding normal
life. He took up especially the providing for them of a home where they
could live happily and profitably while pursuing a course of study in
the California School of Mechanical Arts. An incident of his efforts in
their behalf illustrates what an influence he had gained in the
community. A young man of wealth, not a member of his congregation and
not considered a philanthropist, but conversant with what Mr. Worcester
was doing and hoped to do, called upon him one day and said: "Mr.
Worcester, here is a key that I wish to leave with you. I have taken a
safe-deposit box; it has two keys. One I will keep to open the box and
put in bonds from time to time, and the other I give you that you may
open it and use coupons or bonds in carrying out your plans for helping
the boys." This illustrates how he was loved and what good he provoked
in others. Without knowing it or seeking it he was a great community
influence. He was gifted of the Spirit. He had beauty of character,
simplicity, unselfishness, love of God and his fellow-men. His special
beliefs interested few, his life gave life, his goodness was radiant. He
drew all men to him by his love, and he showed them the way.


I cannot forego the pleasure of referring with sincere affection to my
brother octogenarian, Frederick L. Hosmer. He achieved the fullness of
honor two months in advance of me, which is wholly fitting, since we are
much farther separated in every other regard. He has been a leader for
a great many years, and I am proud to be in sight of him.

His kindly friendship has long been one of the delights of my life, and
I have long entertained the greatest respect and admiration for his
ability and quality. As a writer of hymns he has won the first place in
the world's esteem, and probably his noble verse is (after the Psalms)
the most universally used expression of the religious feeling of
mankind. More worshipers unite in singing his hymns, Unitarian though he
be, than those of any other man, living or dead. It is a great
distinction, and in meriting it he holds enviable rank as one of the
world's greatest benefactors.

Yet he remains the most modest of men, with no apparent consciousness
that he is great. His humility is an added charm and his geniality is

He has made the most of a fancied resemblance to me, and in many
delightful ways has indulged in pleasantries based on it. In my room
hangs a framed photograph signed "Faithfully yours, Chas. A. Murdock."
It is far better-looking than I ever was--but that makes no difference.

We were once at a conference at Seattle. He said with all seriousness,
"Murdock, I want you to understand that I intend to exercise great
circumspection in my conduct, and I rely upon you to do the same."

I greatly enjoyed Dr. Hosmer's party, with its eighty candles, and I
was made happy that he could be at mine and nibble my cake. Not all good
and great men are so thoroughly lovable.


When Horatio Stebbins in 1864 assumed charge of the San Francisco church
he was the sole representative of the denomination on the Pacific Coast.
For years he stood alone,--a beacon-like tower of liberalism. The first
glimmer of companionship came from Portland, Oregon. At the solicitation
of a few earnest Unitarians Dr. Stebbins went to Portland to consult
with and encourage them. A society was formed to prepare the way for a
church. A few consecrated women worked devotedly; they bought a lot in
the edge of the woods and finally built a small chapel. Then they moved
for a minister. In St. Louis, Mo., Rev. William Greenleaf Eliot had been
for many years a force in religion and education. A strong Unitarian
church and Washington University resulted. He had also founded a family
and had inspired sons to follow in his footsteps. Thomas Lamb Eliot had
been ordained and was ready for the ministry. He was asked to take the
Portland church and he accepted. He came first to San Francisco on his
way. Dr. Stebbins was trying the experiment of holding services in the
Metropolitan Theater, and I remember seeing in the stage box one Sunday
a very prepossessing couple that interested me much--they were the
Eliots on their way to Portland. William G., Jr., was an infant-in-arms.
I was much impressed with the spirit that moved the attractive couple to
venture into an unknown field. The acquaintance formed grew into a
friendship that has deepened with the years.

The ministry of the son in Portland has been much like that of the
father in St. Louis. The church has been reverent and constructive, a
steady force for righteousness, an influence for good in personal life
and community welfare. Dr. Eliot has fostered many interests, but the
church has been foremost. He has always been greatly respected and
influential. Dr. Stebbins entertained for him the highest regard. He was
wont to say: "Thomas Eliot is the wisest man for his years I ever knew."
He has always been that and more to me. He has served one parish all his
life, winning and holding the reverent regard of the whole community.
The active service of the church has passed to his son and for years he
has given most of his time and strength to Reed College, established by
his parishioners. In a few months he will complete his eighty years of
beautiful life and noble service. He has kept the faith and passed on
the fine spirit of his inheritance.



I have not been much of a traveler abroad, or even beyond the Pacific
states. I have been to the Atlantic shore four times since my emigration
thence, and going or coming I visited Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, and
other points, but have no striking memories of any of them. In 1914 I
had a very delightful visit to the Hawaiian Islands, including the
volcano. It was full of interest and charm, with a beauty and an
atmosphere all its own; but any description, or the story of experiences
or impressions, would but re-echo what has been told adequately by
others. British Columbia and western Washington I found full of interest
and greatly enjoyed; but they also must be left unsung. My outings from
my beaten track have been brief, but have contributed a large stock of
happy memories. Camping in California is a joy that never palls, and
among the pleasantest pictures on memory's walls are the companionship
of congenial friends in the beautiful surroundings afforded by the Santa
Cruz Mountains. Twice in all the years since leaving Humboldt have I
revisited its hospitable shores and its most impressive redwoods. My
love for it will never grow less. Twice, too, have I reveled in the
Yosemite Valley and beyond to the valley that will form a majestic
lake--glorious Hetch-Hetchy.

I am thankful for the opportunity I have enjoyed of seeing so fully the
great Pacific empire. My church supervision included California, Oregon,
and Washington, with the southern fringe of Canada for good measure.
Even without this attractive neighbor my territory was larger than
France (or Germany) and Belgium, England, Wales, and Ireland combined.
San Diego, Bellingham, and Spokane were the triangle of bright stars
that bounded the constellation. To have found friends and to be sure of
a welcome at all of these and everywhere between was a great extension
to my enjoyment, and visiting them was not only a pleasant duty but a
delightful outing.


Belated vacations perhaps gain more than they lose, and in the sum total
at least hold their own. It is one advantage of being well distributed
that opportunities increase. In that an individual is an unsalaried
editor, extensive or expensive trips are unthinkable; that his calling
affords necessities but a scant allowance of luxuries, leaves recreation
in the Sierras out of the question; but that by the accidents of
politics he happens to be a supervisor, certain privileges, disguised
attractively as duties, prove too alluring to resist.

The city had an option on certain remote lands supposed to be of great
value for water and power, and no one wants to buy a pig of that size in
a poke, so it was ordained that the city fathers, with their engineer
and various clerks and functionaries entitled to a vacation and desiring
information (or _vice versa_), should visit the lands proposed to be

In 1908 the supervisors inspected the dam-sites at Lake Eleanor and the
Hetch-Hetchy, but gained little idea of the intervening country and the
route of the water on its way to the city. Subsequently the trip was
more thoroughly planned and the result was satisfactory, both in the end
attained and in the incidental process.

On the morning of August 17, 1910, the party of seventeen disembarked
from the Stockton boat, followed by four fine municipal automobiles.
When the men and the machines were satisfactorily supplied with fuel and
the outfit was appropriately photographed, the procession started
mountainward. For some time the good roads, fairly well watered, passed
over level, fruitful country, with comfortable homes. Then came gently
rolling land and soon the foothills, with gravelly soil and scattered
pines. A few orchards and ranches were passed, but not much that was
really attractive. Then we reached the scenes of early-day mining and
half-deserted towns known to Bret Harte and the days of gold. Knight's
Ferry became a memory instead of a name. Chinese Camp, once harboring
thousands, is now a handful of houses and a few lonely stores and
saloons. It had cast sixty-five votes a few days before our visit.

Then came a stratum of mills and mines, mostly deserted, a few operating
sufficiently to discolor with the crushed mineral the streams flowing
by. Soon we reached the Tuolumne, with clear, pellucid water in limited
quantities, for the snow was not very plentiful the previous winter and
it melted early.

Following its banks for a time, the road turned to climb a hill, and
well along in the afternoon we reached "Priests," a favorite roadhouse
of the early stage line to the Yosemite. Here a good dinner was enjoyed,
the machines were overhauled, and on we went. Then Big Oak Flat, a
mining town of some importance, was passed, and a few miles farther
Groveland, where a quite active community turned out en masse to welcome
the distinguished travelers. The day's work was done and the citizens
showed a pathetic interest which testified to how little ordinarily
happened. The shades of night were well down when Hamilton's was
reached--a stopping-place once well known, but now off the line of
travel. Here we were hospitably entertained and slept soundly after a
full day's exercise. In the memory of all, perhaps the abundance of
fried chicken for breakfast stands out as the distinguishing feature. A
few will always remember it as the spot where for the first time they
found themselves aboard a horse, and no kind chronicler would refer to
which side of the animal they selected for the ascent. The municipally
chartered pack-train, with cooks and supplies for man and beast,
numbered over sixty animals, and chaparejos and cowboys, real and near,
were numerous.

The ride to the rim of the South Fork of the Tuolumne was short. The new
trail was not sufficiently settled to be safe for the sharp descents,
and for three-quarters of a mile the horses and mules were turned loose
and the company dropped down the mountainside on foot. The lovely stream
of water running between mountainous, wooded banks was followed up for
many miles.

About midday a charming spot for luncheon was found, where Corral Creek
tumbles in a fine cascade on its way to the river. The day was warm, and
when the mouth of Eleanor Creek was reached many enjoyed a good swim in
an attractive deep basin.

Turning to the north, the bank of Eleanor was followed to the first
camping-place, Plum Flat, an attractive clearing, where wild plums have
been augmented by fruit and vegetables. Here, after a good dinner served
in the open by the municipal cooks, the municipal sleeping-bags were
distributed, and soft and level spots were sought for their spreading.
The seasoned campers were happy and enjoyed the luxury. Some who for the
first time reposed upon the breast of Mother Earth failed to find her
charm. One father awoke in the morning, sat up promptly, pointed his
hand dramatically to the zenith, and said, "Never again!" But he lived
to revel in the open-air caravansary, and came home a tougher and a
wiser man.

A ride of fifteen miles through a finely wooded country brought us to
the Lake Eleanor dam-site and the municipal camp, where general
preparations are being made and runoff records are being taken. In a
comfortable log house two assistants to the engineer spent the winter,
keeping records of rainfall and other meteorological data.

While we were in camp here, Lake Eleanor, a mile distant, was visited
and enjoyed in various ways, and those who felt an interest in the main
purpose of the trip rode over into the Cherry Creek watershed and
inspected the sites and rights whose purchase is contemplated. Saturday
morning we left Lake Eleanor and climbed the steep ridge separating its
watershed from that of the Tuolumne. From Eleanor to Hetch-Hetchy as the
crow would fly, if there were a crow and he wanted to fly, is five
miles. As mules crawl and men climb, it takes five hours. But it is well
worth it for association with granite helps any politician.

Hetch-Hetchy Valley is about half as large as Yosemite and almost as
beautiful. Early in the season the mosquitoes make life miserable, but
as late as August the swampy land is pretty well dried up and they are
few. The Tuolumne tumbles in less effectively than the Merced enters
Yosemite. Instead of two falls of nine hundred feet, there is one of
twenty or so. The Wampana, corresponding to the Yosemite Falls, is not
so high nor so picturesque, but is more industrious, and apparently
takes no vacation. Kolana is a noble knob, but not quite so imposing as
Sentinel Rock.

We camped in the valley two days and found it very delightful. The
dam-site is not surpassed. Nowhere in the world, it is said, can so
large a body of water be impounded so securely at so small an expense.

There is an admirable camping-ground within easy distance of the valley,
and engineers say that at small expense a good trail, and even a
wagon-road, can be built along the face of the north wall, making
possible a fine view of the magnificent lake.

With the argument for granting the right the city seeks I am not here
concerned. The only purpose in view is the casual recital of a good
time. It has to do with a delightful sojourn in good company, with songs
around the camp-fire, trips up and down the valley, the taking of
photographs, the appreciation of brook-trout, the towering mountains,
the moon and stars that looked down on eyes facing direct from welcome
beds. Mention might be made of the discovery of characters--types of
mountain guides who prove to be scholars and philosophers; of mules,
like "Flapjack," of literary fame; of close intercourse with men at
their best; of excellent appetites satisfactorily met; of genial sun and
of water so alluring as to compel intemperance in its use.

The climbing of the south wall in the early morning, the noonday stop at
Hog Ranch, and the touching farewell to mounts and pack-train, the
exhilarating ride to Crocker's, and the varied attractions of that
fascinating resort, must be unsung. A night of mingled pleasure and rest
with every want luxuriously supplied, a half-day of good coaching, and
once more Yosemite--the wonder of the West.

Its charms need no rehearsing. They not only never fade, but they grow
with familiarity. The delight of standing on the summit of Sentinel
Dome, conscious that your own good muscles have lifted you over four
thousand feet from the valley's floor, with such a world spread before
you; the indescribable beauty of a sunrise at Glacier Point, the beauty
and majesty of Vernal and Nevada falls, the knightly crest of the Half
Dome, and the imposing grandeur of the great Capitan--what words can
even hint their varied glory!

All this packed into a week, and one comes back strengthened in body and
spirit, with a renewed conviction of the beauty of the world, and a
freshened readiness to lend a hand in holding human nature up to a
standard that shall not shame the older sister.


There are many lovely spots in New England when June is doing her best.
Rolling hills dotted with graceful elms, meadows fresh with the greenest
of grass, streams of water winding through the peaceful stretches,
robins hopping in friendly confidence, distant hills blue against the
horizon, soft clouds floating in the sky, air laden with the odor of
lilacs and vibrant with songs of birds. There are many other spots of
great historic interest, beautiful or not--it doesn't matter much--where
memorable meetings have been held which set in motion events that
changed the course of history, or where battles have been fought that no
American can forget. There are still other places rich with human
interest where some man of renown has lived and died--some man who has
made his undying mark in letters, or has been a source of inspiration
through his calm philosophy. But if one would stand upon the particular
spot which can claim supremacy in each of these three respects, where
can he go but to Concord, Massachusetts!

It would be hard to find a lovelier view anywhere in the gentle East
than is to be gained from the Reservoir Height--a beautifully broken
landscape, hill and dale, woodland, distant trees, two converging
streams embracing and flowing in a quiet, decorous union beneath the
historic bridge, comfortable homes, many of them too simple and
dignified to be suspected of being modern, a cluster of steeples rising
above the elms in the center of the town, pastures and plowed fields,
well-fed Jerseys resting under the oaks, an occasional canoe floating on
the gentle stream, genuine old New England homes, painted white, with
green blinds, generous wood-piles near at hand, comfortable barns, and
blossoming orchards, now and then a luxurious house, showing the
architect's effort to preserve the harmonious--all of these and more, to
form a scene of pastoral beauty and with nothing to mar the picture--no
uncompromising factories, no blocks of flats, no elevated roads, no
glaring signs of Cuban cheroots or Peruna bitters. It is simply an ideal
exhibit of all that is most beautiful and attractive in New England
scenery and life, and its charm is very great.

Turning to its historic interest, one is reminded of it at every side.
Upon a faithful reproduction of the original meeting-house, a tablet
informs the visitor that here the first meeting was held that led to
national independence. A placard on a quaint old hostelry informs us
that it was a tavern in pre-Revolutionary times. Leaving the "common,"
around which most New England towns cluster, one soon reaches Monument
Street. Following it until houses grow infrequent, one comes to an
interesting specimen which seems familiar. A conspicuous sign proclaims
it private property and that sightseers are not welcome. It is the "Old
Manse" made immortal by the genius of Hawthorne. Near by, an interesting
road intersects leading to a river. Soon we descry a granite monument at
the famous bridge, and across the bridge "The Minute Man." The
inscription on the monument informs us that here the first British
soldier fell. An iron chain incloses a little plot by the side of a
stone wall where rest those who met the first armed resistance. Crossing
the bridge which spans a dark and sluggish stream one reaches French's
fine statue with Emerson's noble inscription,--

  "By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
     Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
   Here once the embattled farmers stood
     And fired the shot heard round the world."

No historic spot has a finer setting or an atmosphere so well fitted to
calm reflection on a momentous event.

On the way to Concord, if one is so fortunate as to go by trolley, one
passes through Lexington and catches a glimpse of its bronze "Minute
Man," more spirited and lifelike in its tense suspended motion than
French's calm and determined farmer-soldier. In the side of a farmhouse
near the Concord battle-field--if such an encounter can be called a
battle--a shot from a British bullet pierced the wood, and that historic
orifice is carefully preserved; a diamond-shaped pane surrounds it. Our
friend, Rev. A.W. Jackson, remarked, "I suppose if that house should
burn down, the first thing they would try to save would be that

But Concord is richest in the memory of the men who have lived and died
there, and whose character and influence have made it a center of
world-wide inspiration. One has but to visit Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to
be impressed with the number and weight of remarkable names associated
with this quiet town, little more than a village. Sleepy Hollow is one
of a number of rather unusual depressions separated by sharp ridges that
border the town. The hills are wooded, and in some instances their steep
sides make them seem like the half of a California canyon. The cemetery
is not in the cuplike valley, but on the side and summit of a gentle
hill. It is well kept and very impressive. One of the first names to
attract attention is "Hawthorne," cut on a simple slab with rounded top.
It is the sole inscription on the little stone about a foot high.
Simplicity could go no farther. Within a small radius are found the
graves of Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott, John Weiss, and Samuel Hoar.
Emerson's monument is a beautiful boulder, on the smoothed side of which
is placed a bronze tablet. The inscriptions on the stones placed to the
memory of the different members of the family are most fitting and
touching. This is also true of the singularly fine inscriptions in the
lot where rest several generations of the Hoar family. A good article
might be written on monumental inscriptions in the Concord
burial-ground. It is a lovely spot where these illustrious sons of
Concord have found their final resting-place, and a pilgrimage to it
cannot but freshen one's sense of indebtedness to these gifted men of
pure lives and elevated thoughts.

The most enjoyable incident of the delightful Decoration Day on which
our trip was made was a visit to Emerson's home. His daughter was in New
York, but we were given the privilege of freely taking possession of the
library and parlor. Everything is as the sage left it. His books are
undisturbed, his portfolio of notes lies upon the table, and his
favorite chair invites the friend who feels he can occupy it. The
atmosphere is quietly simple. The few pictures are good, but not
conspicuous or insistent. The books bear evidence of loving use.
Bindings were evidently of no interest. Nearly all the books are in the
original cloth, now faded and worn. One expects to see the books of his
contemporaries and friends, and the expectation is met. They are mostly
in first editions, and many of them are almost shabby. Taking down the
first volume of _The Dial_, I found it well filled with narrow strips
of paper, marking articles of especial interest. The authors' names not
being given, they were frequently supplied by Mr. Emerson on the margin.
I noticed opposite one article the words "T. Parker" in Mr. Emerson's
writing. The books covered one side of a good-sized room and ran through
the connecting hall into the quaint parlor, or sitting-room, behind it.
A matting covered the floor, candlesticks rested on the chimney-piece,
and there was no meaningless bric-a-brac, nor other objects of suspected
beauty to distract attention. As you enter the house, the library
occupies the large right-hand corner room. It was simple to the verge of
austerity, and the farthest possible removed from a "collection." There
was no effort at arrangement--they were just books, for use and for
their own sake. The portfolio of fugitive notes and possible material
for future use was interesting, suggesting the source of much that went
to make up those fascinating essays where the "thoughts" often made no
pretense at sequence, but rested in peaceful unregulated proximity, like
eggs in a nest. Here is a sentence that evidently didn't quite satisfy
him, an uncertain mark of erasure leaving the approved portion in doubt:
"Read proudly. Put the duty of being read invariably on the author. If
he is not read, whose fault is it? I am quite ready to be charmed--but I
shall not make believe I am charmed." Dear man! he never would "make
believe." Transparent, sincere soul, how he puts to shame all
affectation and pretense! Mr. Jackson says his townsmen found it hard to
realize that he was great. They always thought of him as the kindly
neighbor. One old farmer told of his experience in driving home a load
of hay. He was approaching a gate and was just preparing to climb down
to open it, when an old gentleman nimbly ran ahead and opened it for
him. It was Emerson, who apparently never gave it a second thought. It
was simply the natural thing for him to do.

Walden Pond is some little distance from the Emerson home, and the time
at our disposal did not permit a visit. But we had seen enough and felt
enough to leave a memory of rare enjoyment to the credit of that
precious day in Concord.


There are several degrees of rest, and there are many ways of resting.
What is rest to one person might be an intolerable bore to another, but
when one finds the ultimate he is never after in doubt. He knows what
is, to him, _the real thing_. The effect of a sufficient season, say
five days, to one who had managed to find very little for a
disgracefully long time, is not easy to describe, but very agreeable to

My friend [Footnote: Horace Davis] has a novel retreat. He is fond of
nature as manifested in the growth of trees and plants, and some
seventeen years ago he bought a few acres, mostly of woods, in the Santa
Cruz Mountains. There was a small orchard, a few acres of hillside
hayfield, and a little good land where garden things would grow.

There was, too, a somewhat eccentric house where a man who was trying to
be theosophical had lived and communed with his mystified soul. To
foster the process he had more or less blue glass and a window of Gothic
form in the peak of his rambling house. In his living-room a round
window, with Sanskrit characters, let in a doubtful gleam from another
room. In the side-hill a supposedly fireproof vault had been built to
hold the manuscript that held his precious thoughts. In the gulch he had
a sacred spot, where, under the majestic redwoods, he retired to write,
and in a small building he had a small printing-press, from which the
world was to have been led to the light. But there was some failure of
connection, and stern necessity compelled the surrender of these high
hopes. My friend took over the plant, and the reformer reformed and went
off to earn his daily bread.

His memory is kept alive by the name Mahatma, given to the gulch, and
the blue glass has what effect it may on a neighbor's vegetables. The
little house was made habitable. The home of the press was comfortably
ceiled and made into a guest-chamber, and apples and potatoes are
stored in the fireproof vault. The acres were fairly covered with a
second growth of redwood and a wealth of madroños and other native
trees; but there were many spaces where Nature invited assistance, and
my friend every year has planted trees of many kinds from many climes,
until he has an arboretum hardly equaled anywhere. There are pines in
endless variety--from the Sierra and from the seashore, from New
England, France, Norway, and Japan. There flourish the cedar, spruce,
hemlock, oak, beech, birch, and maple. There in peace and plenty are the
sequoia, the bamboo, and the deodar. Eucalypts pierce the sky and
Japanese dwarfs hug the ground.

These children of the woodland vary in age from six months to sixteen
years, and each has its interest and tells its story of struggle, with
results of success or failure, as conditions determine. At the entrance
to the grounds an incense-cedar on one side and an arbor-vitae on the
other stand dignified guard. The acres have been added to until about
sixty are covered with growing trees. Around the house, which wisteria
has almost covered, is a garden in which roses predominate, but
hollyhocks, coreopsis, and other flowers not demanding constant care
grow in luxuriance. There is abundance of water, and filtered sunshine
gives a delightful temperature. The thermometer on the vine-clad porch
runs up to 80 in the daytime and in the night drops down to 40.

A sympathetic Italian lives not far away, keeping a good cow, raising
amazingly good vegetables, gathering the apples and other fruit, and
caring for the place. The house is unoccupied except during the five
days each month when my friend restores himself, mentally and
physically, by rest and quiet contemplation and observation. He takes
with him a faithful servitor, whose old age is made happy by these
periodical sojourns, and the simple life is enjoyed to the full.

Into this Resthaven it was my happy privilege to spend five-sevenths of
a week of August, and the rare privilege of being obliged to do nothing
was a great delight. Early rising was permissible, but not encouraged.
At eight o'clock a rich Hibernian voice was heard to say, "Hot water,
Mr. Murdock," and it was so. A simple breakfast, meatless, but including
the best of coffee and apricots, tree-ripened and fresh, was enjoyed at
leisure undisturbed by thought of awaiting labor. Following the pleasant
breakfast chat was a forenoon of converse with my friend or a friendly
book or magazine, broken by a stroll through some part of the wood and
introduction to the hospitably entertained trees from distant parts. My
friend is something of a botanist, and was able to pronounce the court
names of all his visitors. Wild flowers still persist, and among others
was pointed out one which was unknown to the world till he chanced to
find it.

[Illustration: OUTINGS IN THE SIERRAS, 1910 IN HAWAII, 1914]

Very interesting is the fact that the flora of the region, which is a
thousand feet above sea-level, has many of the characteristics of beach
vicinity, and the reason is disclosed by the outcropping at various
points of a deposit of white sand, very fine, and showing under the
microscope the smoothly rounded form that tells of the rolling waves.
This deposit is said to be traceable for two hundred miles easterly, and
where it has been eroded by the streams of today enormous trees have
grown on the deposited soil. The mind is lost in conjecture of the time
that must have elapsed since an ancient sea wore to infinitesimal bits
the quartz that some rushing stream had brought from its native

Another interesting feature of the landscape was the clearly marked
course of the old "Indian trail," known to the earliest settlers, which
followed through this region from the coast at Santa Cruz to the Santa
Clara Valley. It followed the most accessible ridges and showed
elemental surveying of a high order. Along its line are still found bits
of rusted iron, with specks of silver, relics of the spurs and bridles
of the caballeros of the early days.

The maples that sheltered the house are thinned out, that the sun may
not be excluded, and until its glare becomes too radiant the
steamer-chair or the rocker seeks the open that the genial page of
"Susan's Escort, and Others," one of the inimitable books of Edward
Everett Hale, may be enjoyed in comfort. When midday comes the denser
shade of tree or porch is sought, and coats come off. At noon dinner is
welcome, and proves that the high cost of living is largely a
conventional requirement. It may be beans or a bit of roast ham brought
from home, with potatoes or tomatoes, good bread and butter, and a
dessert of toasted crackers with loganberries and cream. To experience
the comfort of not eating too much and to find how little can be
satisfying is a great lesson in the art of living. To supplement, and
dispose of, this homily on food, our supper was always baked potatoes
and cream toast,--but such potatoes and real cream toast! Of course,
fruit was always "on tap," and the good coffee reappeared.

In the cool of the afternoon a longer walk. Good trails lead over the
whole place, and sometimes we would go afield and call on some neighbor.
Almost invariably they were Italians, who were thriving where
improvident Americans had given up in despair. Always my friend found
friendly welcome. This one he had helped out of a trouble with a
refractory pump, that one he had befriended in some other way. All were
glad to see him, and wished him well. What a poor investment it is to
quarrel with a neighbor!

Sometimes my friend would busy himself by leading water to some
neglected and thirsty plant, while I was re-reading "Tom Grogan" or
Brander Matthews' plays, but for much of the time we talked and
exchanged views on current topics or old friends. When the evening came
we prudently went inside and continued our reading or our talk till we
felt inclined to seek our comfortable beds and the oblivion that blots
out troubles or pleasures.

And so on for five momentous days. Quite unlike the "Seven Days" in the
delightful farce-comedy of that name, in which everything happened, here
nothing seemed to happen. We were miles from a post-office, and
newspapers disturbed us not. The world of human activity was as though
it were not. Politics as we left it was a disturbing memory, but no
fresh outbreaks aggravated our discomfort. We were at rest and we
rested. A good recipe for long life, I think, would be: withdraw from
life's turmoil regularly--five days in a month.


The Humboldt County business established and conducted on honor by Alex.
Brizard was continued on like lines by his three sons with conspicuous
success. As the fiftieth anniversary approached they arranged to fitly
celebrate the event. They invited many of their father's and business
associates to take part in the anniversary observance in July, 1913.
With regret, I was about to decline when my good friend Henry Michaels,
a State Guard associate, who had become the head of the leading house in
drugs and medicines with which Brizard and his sons had extensively
dealt, came in and urged me to join him in motoring to Humboldt. He
wanted to go, but would not go alone and the double delight of his
company and joining in the anniversary led to prompt acceptance of his
generous proposal. There followed one of the most enjoyable outings of
my life. I had never compassed the overland trip to Humboldt, and while
I naturally expected much the realization far exceeded my anticipations.

From the fine highway following the main ridge the various branches of
the Eel River were clearly outlined, and when we penetrated the
world-famous redwood belt and approached the coast our enjoyment seemed
almost impious, as though we were motoring through a cathedral.

We found Arcata bedecked for the coming anniversary. The whole community
felt its significance. When the hour came every store in town closed.
Seemingly the whole population assembled in and around the Brizard
store, anxious to express kindly memory and approval of those who so
well sustained the traditions of the elders. The oldest son made a
brief, manly address and introduced a few of the many who could have
borne tribute. It was a happy occasion in which good-will was made very
evident. A ball in the evening concluded the festivities, and it was
with positive regret that we turned from the delightful atmosphere and
retraced our steps to home and duty.



  (After Bret Harte)

  On the south fork of Yuba, in May, fifty-two,
    An old cabin stood on the hill,
  Where the road to Grass Valley lay clear to the view,
    And a ditch that ran down to Buck's Mill.

  It was owned by a party that lately had come
    To discover what fate held in store;
  He was working for Brigham, and prospecting some,
    While the clothes were well cut that he wore.

  He had spruced up the cabin, and by it would stay,
    For he never could bear a hotel.
  He refused to drink whiskey or poker to play,
    But was jolly and used the boys well.

  In the long winter evenings he started a club,
    To discuss the affairs of the day.
  He was up in the classics--a scholarly cub--
    And the best of the talkers could lay.

  He could sing like a robin, and play on the flute,
    And he opened a school, which was free,
  Where he taught all the musical fellows to toot,
    Or to join in an anthem or glee.

  So he soon "held the age" over any young man
    Who had ever been known on the bar;
  And the boys put him through, when for sheriff he ran,
    And his stock now was much above par.

  In the spring he was lucky, and struck a rich lead,
    And he let all his friends have a share;
  It was called the New Boston, for that was his breed,
    And the rock that he showed them was rare.

  When he called on his partners to put up a mill,
    They were anxious to furnish the means;
  And the needful, of course, turned into his till
    Just as freely as though it was beans.

  Then he went to the Bay with his snug little pile--
    There was seventeen thousand and more--
  To arrange for a mill of the most approved style,
    And to purchase a Sturtevant blower.

  But they waited for Boston a year and a day,
    And he never was heard of again.
  For the lead he had opened was salted with pay,
    And he'd played 'em with culture and brain.


  O God of battles, who sustained
    Our fathers in the glorious days
  When they our priceless freedom gained,
    Help us, as loyal sons, to raise
  Anew the standard they upbore,
    And bear it on to farther heights,
  Where freedom seeks for self no more,
    But love a life of service lights.


  Is God our Father? So sublime the thought
    We cannot hope its meaning full to grasp,
  E'en as the Child the gifts the wise men brought
    Could not within his infant fingers clasp.

  We speak the words from early childhood taught.
    We sometimes fancy that their truth we feel;
  But only on life's upper heights is caught
    The vital message that they may reveal.

  So on the heights may we be led to dwell,
    That nearer God we may more truly know
  How great the heritage His love will tell
    If we be lifted up from things below.


  The stricken city lifts her head,
    With eyes yet dim from flowing tears;
  Her heart still throbs with pain unspent,
    But hope, triumphant, conquers fears.

  With vision calm, she sees her course,
    Nor shrinks, though thorny be the way.
  Shall human will succumb to fate,
    Crushed by the happenings of a day?

  The city that we love shall live,
    And grow in beauty and in power;
  Her loyal sons shall stand erect,
    Their chastened courage Heaven's dower.

  And when the story shall be told
    Of direful ruin, loss, and dearth,
  There shall be said with pride and joy:
    "But man survived, and proved his worth."


  O "city loved around the world,"
    Triumphant over direful fate,
  Thy flag of honor never furled,
    Proud guardian of the Golden Gate;

  Hold thou that standard from the dust
    Of lower ends or doubtful gain;
  On thy good sword no taint of rust;
    On stars and stripes no blot or stain.

  Thy loyal sons by thee shall stand,
    Thy highest purpose to uphold;
  Proclaim the word, o'er all the land,
    That truth more precious is than gold.

  Let justice never be denied,
    Resist the wrong, defend the right;
  Where West meets East stand thou in pride
    Of noble life,--a beacon-light.


  The past is gone beyond recall,
    The future kindly veils its face;
  Today we live, today is all
    We have or need, our day of grace.

  The world is God's, and hence 'tis plain
    That only wrong we need to fear;
  'Tis ours to live, come joy or pain,
    To make more blessed each New Year.


  We tarry in a foreign land,
    With pleasure's husks elate,
  When robe and ring and Father's hand
    At home our coming wait.


  Fierce Boreas in his wildest glee
  Assails in vain the yielding tree
  That, rooted deep, gains strength to bear,
  And proudly lifts its head in air.

  When loss or grief, with sharp distress,
  To man brings brunt of storm and stress,
  He stands serene who calmly bends
  In strength that trust, deep-rooted, lends.


  The sun still shines, and happy, blithesome birds
  Are singing on the swaying boughs in bloom.
  My eyes look forth and see no sign of gloom,
  No loss casts shadow on the grazing herds;
  And yet I bear within a grief that words
  Can ne'er express, for in the silent tomb
  Is laid the body of my friend, the doom
  Of silence on that matchless voice. Now girds
  My spirit for the struggle he would praise.
  A leader viewless to the mortal eye
  Still guides my steps, still calls with clarion cry
  To deeds of honor, and my thoughts would raise
  To seek the truth and share the love on high.
  With loyal heart I'll follow all my days.

  NEW YEAR, 1919

  The sifting sand that marks the passing year
  In many-colored tints its course has run
  Through days with shadows dark, or bright with sun,
  But hope has triumphed over doubt and fear,
  New radiance flows from stars that grace our flag.
  Our fate we ventured, though full dark the night,
  And faced the fatuous host who trusted might.
  God called, the country's lovers could not lag,
  Serenely trustful, danger grave despite,
  Untrained, in love with peace, they dared to fight,
  And freed a threatened world from peril dire,
  Establishing the majesty of right.
  Our loyal hearts still burn with sacred fire,
  Our spirits' wings are plumed for upward flight.

  NEW YEAR, 1920

  The curtain rises on the all-world stage,
  The play is unannounced; no prologue's word
  Gives hint of scene, or voices to be heard;
  We may be called with tragedy to rage,
  In comedy or farce we may disport,
  With feverish melodrama we may thrill,
  Or in a pantomimic role be still.
  We may find fame in field, or grace a court,
  Whate'er the play, forthwith its lines will start,
  And every soul, in cloister or in mart,
  Must act, and do his best from day to day--
  So says the prompter to the human heart.
  "The play's the thing," might Shakespear's Hamlet say.
  "The thing," to us, is playing well our part.


  *Walking in the Way*

  To hold to faith when all seems dark
  to keep of good courage when failure follows failure
  to cherish hope when its promise is faintly whispered
  to bear without complaint the heavy burdens that must be borne
  to be cheerful whatever comes
  to preserve high ideals
  to trust unfalteringly that well-being follows well-doing
  this is the Way of Life
  To be modest in desires
  to enjoy simple pleasures
  to be earnest
  to be true
  to be kindly
  to be reasonably patient and ever-lastingly persistent
  to be considerate
  to be at least just
  to be helpful
  to be loving
  this is to walk therein.

Charles A. Murdock

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