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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 09, No. 55, May, 1862
Author: Various
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 "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 09, No. 55, May, 1862" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.




       *       *       *       *       *

VOL. IX.--MAY, 1862.--NO. LV.

       *       *       *       *       *


A vessel of war leaves its port, but no one on board knows for what
object, nor whither it is bound. It is a secret Government expedition.
As it sets out, a number of documents, carefully sealed, are put in
charge of the commander, in which all his instructions are contained.
When far away from his sovereign, these are to be the authority which he
must obey; as he sails on in the dark, these are to be the lights on the
deep by which he must steer. They provide for every stage of the way.
They direct what ports to approach and what ports to avoid, what to do
in different seas, what variation to make in certain contingencies, and
what acts to perform at certain opportunities. Each paper of the series
forbids the opening of the next until its own directions have been
fulfilled; so that no one can see beyond the immediate point for which
he is making.

The wide ocean is before that ship, and a wider mystery. But in the
passage of time, as the strange cruise proceeds, its course begins to
tell upon the chart. The zigzag line, like obscure chirography, has an
intelligible look, and seems to spell out intimations. As order after
order is opened, those sibyl leaves of the cabin commence to prophesy,
glimpses multiply, surmises come quick, and shortly the whole ship's
company more than suspect, from the accumulating _data_ behind them,
what must be their destination, and the mission they have been sent to

People are beginning to imagine that the career of the human race is
something like this. There is a fast-growing conviction that man has
been sent out, from the first, to fulfil some inexplicable purpose, and
that he holds a Divine commission to perform a wonderful work on the
earth. It would seem as if his marvellous brain were the bundle of
mystic scrolls on which it is written, and within which its terms are
hid,--and as if his imperishable soul were the great seal, bearing the
Divine image and superscription, which attests its Almighty original.

This commission is yet obscure. It has so far only gradually opened to
him, for he is sailing under sealed orders. He is still led on from
point to point. But the farther he goes, and the more his past gathers
behind him, the better is he able to imagine what must be before him.
His chart is every day getting more full of amazing indications. He is
beginning to feel about him the increasing press of some Providential
design that has been permeating and moulding age after age, and to
discover that be has been all along unconsciously prosecuting a secret
mission. And so it comes at last that everything new takes that look;
every evolution of mind, every addition to knowledge, every discovery of
truth, every novel achievement appearing like the breaking of seals and
opening of rolls, in the performance of an inexhaustible and mysterious
trust that has been committed to his hands.

It is the purpose of this paper to collect together some of these facts
and incidents of progress, in order to show that this is not a mere
dream, but a stupendous reality. History shall be the inspiration of our

There is a past to be recounted, a present to be described, and a future
to be foretold. An immense review for a magazine article, and it will
require some ingenuity to be brief and graphic at the same time. In the
attempt to get as much as possible into the smallest space, many things
will have to be omitted, and some most profound particulars merely
glanced at; but enough will be furnished, perhaps, to make the point we
have in view.

We may compare human progress to a tall tree which has reared itself,
slowly and imperceptibly, through century after century, hardly more
than a bare trunk, with here and there only the slight outshoot of some
temporary exploit of genius, but which in this age gives the signs of
that immense foliage and fruitage which shall in time embower the whole
earth. We see but its spring-time of leaf,--for it is only within fifty
years that this rich outburst of wonders began. We live in an era when
progress is so new as to be a matter of amazement. A hundred years
hence, perhaps it will have become so much a matter of course to
develop, to expand, and to discover, that it will excite no comment. But
it is yet novel, and we are yet fresh. Therefore we may gaze back at
what has been, and gaze forward at what is promised to be, with more
likelihood of being impressed than if we were a few centuries older.

If we look down at the roots out of which this tree has risen, and then
up at its spreading branches,--omitting its intermediate trunk of ages,
through which its processes have been secretly working,--perhaps we may
realize in a briefer space the wonder of it all.

In the beginning of history, according to received authority, there
was but a little tract of the earth occupied, and that by one family,
speaking but one tongue, and worshipping but one God,--all the rest of
the world being an uninhabited wild. At _this_ stage of history the
whole globe is explored, covered with races of every color, a host of
nations and languages, with every diversity of custom, development of
character, and form of religion. The physical bound from that to this is
equalled only by the leap which the world of mind has made.

Once upon a time a man hollowed a tree, and, launching it upon the
water, found that it would bear him up. After this a few little floats,
creeping cautiously near the land, were all on which men were wont to
venture. _Now_ there are sails fluttering on every sea, prodigious
steamers throbbing like leviathans against wind and wave; harbors are
built, and rocks and shoals removed; lighthouses gleam nightly from ten
thousand stations on the shore; the great deep itself is sounded by
plummet and diving-bell; the submarine world is disclosed; and man
is gathering into his hands the laws of the very winds that toss its

Once the earth had a single rude, mud-built hamlet, in which human
dwellings were first clustered together. _Now_ it is studded with
splendid cities, strewn thick with towns and villages, diversified by
infinite varieties of architecture: sumptuous buildings, unlike in every
clime, each as if sprung from its own soil and made out of its air.

Once there were only the elementary discoveries of the lever, the wedge,
the bended bow, the wheel; Tubal worked in iron and copper, and Naamah
twisted threads. Since then what a jump the mechanical arts have made!
These primitive elements are now so intricately combined that we can
hardly recognize them; new forces have been added, new principles
evolved; ponderous engines, like moving mountains of iron, shake the
very earth; many-windowed factories, filled with complex machinery
driven by water or its vapor, clatter night and day, weaving the plain
garments of the poor man and the rich robes of the prince, the curtains
of the cottage and the upholstery of the palace.

Once there were but the spear and bow and shield, and hand-to-hand
conflicts of brute strength. See now the whole enginery of war, the art
of fortification, the terrific perfection of artillery, the mathematical
transfer of all from the body to the mind, till the battlefield is but
a chess-board, and the battle is really waged in the brains of the
generals. How astonishing was that last European field of Solferino,
ten miles in sweep,--with the balloon floating above it for its spy
and scout,--with the thread-like wire trailing in the grass, and
the lightning coursing back and forth, Napoleon's ubiquitous
aide-de-camp,--with railway-trains, bringing reinforcements into the
midst of the _melée_, and their steam-whistle shrieking amid the
thunders of battle! And what a picture of even greater magnificence, in
some respects, is before us to-day! A field not of ten, but ten
thousand miles in sweep! McClellan, standing on the eminence of present
scientific achievement, is able to overlook half the breadth of a
continent, and the widely scattered detachments of a host of six hundred
thousand men. The rail connects city with city; the wire hangs between
camp and camp, and reaches from army to army. Steam is hurling his
legions from one point to another; electricity brings him intelligence,
and carries his orders; the aëronaut in the sky is his field-glass
searching the horizon. It is practically but one great battle that is
raging beneath him, on the Potomac, in the mountains of Virginia,
down the valley of the Mississippi, in the interiors of Kentucky and
Tennessee, along the seaboard, and on the Gulf coast. The combatants are
hidden from each other, but under the chieftain's eye the dozen armies
are only the squadrons of a single host, their battles only the separate
conflicts of a single field, the movements of the whole campaign only
the evolutions of a prolonged engagement. The spectacle is a good
illustration of the day. Under the magic of progress, war in its essence
and vitality is really diminishing, even while increasing in _materiel_
and grandeur. Neither time nor space will permit the old and tedious
contests of history to be repeated. Military science has entered upon a
new era, nearer than ever to the period when wars shall cease.

But to go on with a few more contrasts of the past with the present.
Once men wrote only in symbols, like wedges and arrow-heads, on
tiles and bricks, or in hieroglyphic pictures on obelisks and
sepulchres,--afterward in crude, but current characters on stone, metal,
wax, and papyrus. In a much later age appeared the farthest perfection
of the invention: books engrossed on illuminated rolls of vellum, and
wound on cylinders of boxwood, ivory, or gold,--and then put away like
richest treasures of art. What a difference between perfection then and
progress now! To-day the steam printing-press throws out its sheets in
clouds, and fills the world with books. Vast libraries are the vaulted
catacombs of modern times, in which the dead past is laid away, and the
living present takes refuge. The glory of costly scrolls is dimmed by
the illustrated and typographical wonders which make the bookstore a
gorgeous dream. Knowledge, no longer rare, no longer lies in precarious
accumulations within the cells of some poor monk's crumbling brain, but
swells up like the ocean, universal and imperishable, pouring into the
vacant recesses of all minds as the ocean pours into the hollows under
its shore. To-day, newspapers multiplied by millions whiten the whole
country every morning, like the hoar-frost; and books, numerous and
brilliant as the stars, seem by a sort of astral influence to unseal the
latent destinies of many an intellect, as by their illumination they
stimulate thought and activity everywhere.

Once art seemed to have reached perfection in the pictures and
sculptures of Greece and Rome. Yet now those master-pieces are not only
equalled on canvas and in fresco, but reproduced by tens of thousands
from graven sheets of copper, steel, and even blocks of wood,--or, if
modelled in marble or bronze, are remodelled by hundreds, and set up in
countless households as the household gods. It is the glory of to-day
that the sun himself has come down to be the rival and teacher of
artists, to work wonders and perform miracles in art. He is the
celestial limner who shall preserve the authentic faces of every
generation from now until the world is no more. He holds the mirror up
to Nature, paralyzes the fleeting phantom, by chemical subtilty, on the
burnished plate,--and there it is fixed forever. He prepares the optical
illusion of the stereoscope, so that through tiny windows we may look as
into fairy-land and find sections of this magnificent world modelled in

Once men imagined the earth to be a flat and limited tract. Now they
realize that it is a ponderous ball floating in infinite ether. Once
they thought the sky was a solid blue concave, studded with blazing
points, an empire of fate, the gold-and-azure floor of the abode of
gods and spirits. Now all that is dissolved away; the wandering planets
become at will broad disks, like sisters of the moon; and countless
millions of stars are now mirrored in the same retina with which the
Magi saw the few thousands of the firmament that were visible from the
plains of Chaldea.

Once men were aware of nothing in the earth beneath its hills and
valleys and teeming soil. Now they walk consciously over the ruins
of old worlds; they can decipher the strange characters and read the
strange history graven on these gigantic tablets. The stony veil is
rent, and they can look inimitable periods back, and see the curious
animals which then moved up and down in the earth.

Once a glass bubble was a wonder for magnifying power. Now the lenses of
the microscope bring an inverted universe to light. Men can look into a
drop and discover an ocean crowded with millions of living creatures,
monsters untypified in the visible world, playing about as in a great

Once a Roman emperor prized a mysterious jewel because it brought the
gladiators contending in the arena closer to the imperial canopy. Now
observatories, with their revolving domes, crown the heights at every
centre of civilization, and the mighty telescope, poised on exquisite
mechanism, turns infinite space into a Coliseum, brings its invisible
luminaries close to the astronomer's seat, and reveals the harmonies and
splendors of those distant works of God.

Once the supposed elements were fire, and water, and earth, and air;
once the amber was unique in its peculiar property, and the loadstone
in its singular power. Now chemistry holds in solution the elements and
secrets of creation; now electricity would seem to be the veil which
hangs before the soul; now the magnetic needle, true to the loadstar,
trembles on the sea, to make the mariner brave and the haven sure.

We have by no means exhausted the wonders that have accumulated upon
man, in being accumulated by man. Their enumeration would be almost
endless. But we leave all to mention one, with which there is nothing of
old time to compare. It had no beginning then,--not even a germ. It is
the peculiar leap and development of the age in which we live. Many
things have combined to bring it to pass.

A spirit that had been hid, since the world began, in a coffer of metal
and acid,--the genie of the lightning,--shut down, as by the seal of
Solomon in the Arabian tale, was let loose but the other day, and
commenced to do the bidding of man. Every one found that he could
transport his thought to the ends of the earth in the twinkling of an
eye. That spirit, with its electric wings, soon flew from city to city,
and whithersoever the magnetic wire could be traced through the air,
till the nations of all Europe stood as face to face, and the States
of this great Union gazed one upon another. It made a continent like a
household,--a cluster of peoples like members of a family,--each within
hearing of the other's voice.

But one achievement remained to be performed before the whole world
could become one. The ocean had hitherto hopelessly severed the globe
into two hemispheres. Could man make it a single sphere? Could man, like
Moses, smite the waves with his electric rod, and lead the legions of
human thought across dry shod? He could,--and he did. We all remember
it well. A range of submarine mountains was discovered, stretching from
America to Europe. Their top formed a plateau, which, lying within two
miles of the surface, offered an undulating shoal within human reach. A
fleet of steamers, wary of storms, one day cautiously assembled midway
over it. They caught the monster asleep, safely uncoiled the wire, and
laid it from shore to shore. The treacherous, dreadful, omnipotent ocean
was conquered and bound!

How the heart of the two worlds leaped when the news came! Then, more
than at any time before, were most of us startled into a conviction of
how _real_ progress was,--how tremendous, and limitless, apparently, the
power which God had put into man. Not that this, in itself, was greater
than that which had preceded it, but it was the climax of all. The
mechanical feat awoke more enthusiasm than even the scientific
achievement which was its living soul,--not because it was more
wonderful, but because it dispelled our last doubt. We all began to form
a more definite idea of something great to come, that was yet lying
stored away in the brain,--laid there from the beginning. Like the
Magian on the heights of Moab, as he saw the tents of Israel and the
tabernacle of God in the distance, we grew big with an involuntary
vision, and were surprised into prophecies.

It was wonderful to see the Queen of England, on one side of that chasm
of three thousand miles, wave a greeting to the President, and the
President wave back a greeting to the Queen. But it was glorious to see
that chord quiver with the music and the truth of the angelic song:--

  "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth
  Good-will toward men!"

Soon, however, came a check to the excitement. For above a score of days
was that mysterious highway kept open from Valentia to Trinity Bay. But
then the spell was lost, the waves flowed back, old ocean rolled on as
before, and the crossing messages perished, like the hosts of Pharaoh in
the sea.

That the miracle is ended is no indication that it cannot be repeated.
For the very reason that the now dead, inarticulate wire, like an
infant, lisped and stammered once, it is certain that another will
soon be born, which will live to trumpet forth like the angel of
civilization, its minister of flaming fire! No one should abate a jot
from the high hope excited then. No imagination should suffer a cloud on
the picture it then painted. Governments and capitalists have not
been idle, and will not be discouraged. Already Europe and Africa are
connected by an electric tunnel under the sea, five hundred miles in
length; already Malta and Alexandria speak to each other through a tube
lying under thirteen hundred miles of Mediterranean waters; already
Britain bound to Holland and Hanover and Denmark by a triple cord of
sympathy which all the tempests of the German Ocean cannot sever. And if
we come nearer home, we shall find a project matured which will carry a
fiery cordon around the entire coast of our country, linking fortress to
fortress, and providing that last, desperate resource of unity, an outer
girdle and jointed chain of force, to bind together and save a nation
whose inner bonds of peace and love are broken.

Such energy and such success are enough to revive the expectation and to
guaranty the coming of the day when we shall behold the electric light
playing round the world unquenched by the seas, illuminating the land,
revealing nation to nation, and mingling language with language, as if
the "cloven tongues like as of fire" had appeared again, and "sat upon
each of them."

It will be a strange period, and yet we shall see it. The word spoken
here under the sun of mid-day, when it speaks at the antipodes, will be
heard under the stars of midnight. Of the world of commerce it may be
written, "There shall be no night there!" and of the ancient clock of
the sun and stars, "There shall be time no longer!"

When the electric wire shall stretch from Pekin, by successive India
stations, to London, and from India, by leaps from island to island, to
Australia, and from New York westward to San Francisco, (as has been
already accomplished,) and southward to Cape Horn, and across the
Atlantic, or over the Strait to St. Petersburg,--when the endless
circle is formed, and the magic net-work binds continent, and city, and
village, and the isles of the sea, in one,--then who will know the world
we live in, for the change that shall come upon it?

Time no more! Space no more! Mankind brought into one vast neighborhood!

Prophesy the greater union of all hearts in this interblending of all
minds. Prophesy the boundless spread of civilization, when all barriers
are swept away. Prophesy the catholicity of that religion in which as
many phases of a common faith shall be endured as there are climes for
the common human constitution and countries in a common world!

In those days men will carry a watch, not with a single face, as now,
telling only the time of their own region, but a dial-plate subdivided
into the disks of a dozen timepieces, announcing at a glance the hour of
as many meridian stations on the globe. It will be the fair type of
the man who wears it. When human skill shall find itself under this
necessity, and mechanism shall reach this perfection, then the soul
of that man will become also many-disked. He will be alive with the
perpetual consciousness of many zeniths and horizons beside his own, of
many nations far different from his own, of many customs, manners, and
ideas, which he could not share, but is able to account for and respect.

We can peer as far as this into the future; for what we predict is only
a reasonable deduction from certain given circumstances that are nearly
around us now. We do not lay all the stress upon the telegraph, as if to
attribute everything to it, but because that invention, and its recent
crowning event, are the last great leap which the mind has made, and
because in itself, and in its carrying out, it summoned all the previous
discoveries and achievements of man to its aid. It is their last-born
child,--the greater for its many parents. There is hardly a science, or
an art, or an invention, which has not contributed to it, or which is
not deriving sustenance or inspiration from it.

This latter fact makes it particularly suggestive. As it was begotten
itself, and is in its turn begetting, so has it been with everything
else in the world of progress. Every scientific or mechanical idea,
every species of discovery, has been as naturally born of one or more
antecedents of its own kind as men are born of men. There is a kith and
kin among all these extraordinary creatures of the brain. They have
their ancestors and descendants; not one is a Melchizedek, without
father, without mother. Every one is a link in a regular order of
generations. Some became extinct with their age, being superseded or no
longer wanted; while others had the power of immense propagation, and
produced an innumerable offspring, which have a family likeness to this
day. The law of cause and effect has no better illustration than the
history of inventions and discoveries. If there were among us an
intellect sufficiently encyclopedic in knowledge and versatile in
genius, it could take every one of these facts and trace its intricate
lineage of principles and mechanisms, step by step, up to the original
Adam of the first invention and the original Eve of the first necessity.

There is a period between us and these first parents of our present
progress that is strangely obscure. It is a sort of antediluvian age, in
which there were evidently stupendous mechanical powers of some kind,
and an extensive acquaintance with some things. The ruins of Egypt alone
would prove this. But a deluge of oblivion has washed over them, and
left these colossal bones to tell what story they can. The only way to
account for such an extinction is, that they were monstrous contrivances
out of all proportion to their age, spasmodic successes in science,
wonders born out of due time,--deriving no sustenance or support from a
wide and various kindred, and therefore, like the giants which were of
old, dying out with their day.

It is different with what has taken place since. Every work has come in
its right time, just when best prepared for, and most required. There is
not one but is sustained on every side, and fits into its place, as each
new piece of colored stone in a mosaic is sustained by the progressive
picture. Every one is conserved by its connections. Whatever has been
done is sure,--and the past being secure, the future is guarantied.
It is impossible that the present knowledge in the world should be
extinguished. Nothing but a stroke of imbecility upon the race, nothing
but the destruction of its libraries, nothing but the paralysis of
the printing-press, and the annihilation of these means of
intercommunication,--nothing but some such arbitrary intervention
could accomplish it. The facts already in human possession, and the
constitution of the mind, together insure what we have as imperishable,
and what we are to obtain as illimitable.

We come now to another suggestive characteristic of the time,--another
of its promises. So far we find Progress gathering fulness and
strength,--making sure of itself. It has also been gathering impetus. It
has been, all along, accumulating momentum, and now it sweeps on with
breathless _rapidity_. The reason is, that, the farther it has gone, the
more it has multiplied its agents. The present generation is not only
carried forward, but is excited in every quarter. The activity and
versatility of the intellect would appear to be inexhaustible. Instead
of getting overstrained, or becoming lethargic, it never was so
powerful, never had so many resources, never was so wide-awake. Men
are busy turning over every stone in their way, in the hope of finding
something new. Nothing would seem too small for human attention, nothing
too great for human undertaking. The government Patent-Office, with
its countless chambers, is not so large a museum of inventions as the
capacious brain of to-day.

One man is engrossed over an apple-parer; another snatches the needle
from the weary fingers of the seamstress, and offers her in return the
sewing-machine. That man yonder has turned himself into an armory, and
he brings out the deadliest instrument he can produce, something perhaps
that can shoot you at sight, even though you be a speck in the horizon.
His next-door neighbor is an iron workshop, and is forging an armor of
proof for a vessel of war, from which the mightiest balls shall bound
as lightly as the arrows from an old-time breastplate. There is another
searching for that new motive power which shall keep pace with the
telegraph, and hurl the bodies of men through space as fast as their
thoughts are hurled; there is another seeking that electro-magnetic
battery which shall speak instantly and distinctly to the ends of
the earth. The mind of that astronomer is a telescope, through whose
increasing field new worlds float daily by; the mind of that geologist
is a divining-rod, forever bending toward the waters of chaos, and
pointing out new places where a shaft can be sunk into periods of almost
infinite antiquity; the mind of that chemist is a subtile crucible, in
which aboriginal secrets lie disclosed, and within whose depths the true
philosopher's stone will be found; the mind of that mathematician is a
maze of ethereal stair-ways, rising higher and higher toward the heaven
of truth.

The ambition is everywhere,--in every breast; the power is
everywhere,--in every brain. The giant and the pigmy are alike active
in seeking out and finding out many inventions. And in this very
universality of effort and result we discover another guaranty of the
great future. The river of Progress multiplies its tributaries the
farther it flows, and even now, unknown ages from its mouth, we already
see that magnificent widening of its channel, in which, like the Amazon,
it long anticipates the sea.

Man, the great achiever! the marvellous magician! Look at him! A head
hardly six feet above the ground out of which he was taken. His "dome
of thought and palace of the soul" scarce twenty-two inches in
circumference; and within it, a little, gray, oval mass of "convoluted
albumen and fibre, of some four pounds' weight," and there sits the
intelligence which has worked all these wonders! An intelligence, say,
six thousand years old next century. How many thousand years more will
it think, and think, and wave the wand, and raise new spirits out of
Nature, open her sealed-up mysteries, scale the stars, and uncover a
universe at home? How long will it be before this inherent power, laid
in it at the beginning by the Almighty, shall be exhausted, and reach
its limit? Yes, how long? We cannot begin to know. We cannot imagine
where the stopping-place could be. Perhaps there is none.

To take up the nautical figure which has furnished our title,--we are in
the midst of an infinite sea, sailing on to a destination we know not
of, but of which the vague and splendid fancies we have formed hang
before our prow like illusions in the sky. We are meeting on every hand
great opportunities which must not be lost, new achievements which must
be wrought, and strange adventures which must be undertaken: every day
wondering more to what our commission shall bring us at last, full of
magnificent hopes and a growing faith,--the inscrutable bundle of orders
not nearly exhausted: whole continents of knowledge yet to be discovered
and explored; the gates of yet distant sciences to be sought and
unlocked; the fortresses of yet undreamed necessities to be taken;
Arcadias of beauty to be visited and their treasures garnered by the
imagination; an intricate course to be followed amid all future nations
and governments, and their winding histories, as if threading the
devious channels of endless archipelagoes; the spoils of all ages to
be gathered, and treaties of commerce with all generations to be made,
before the mysterious voyage is done.

And now, before we leave this fascinating theme, or suffer another
dream, let us stop where we are, in order to see where we are. Let us
take our bearings. What says our chart? What do we find in the horizon
of the present, which may give us the wherewithal to hope, to doubt, or
to fear?

The era in which we live presents some remarkable characteristics,
which have been brought into it by this immense material success. It
is preeminently an age of _reality:_ an age in which a host of
unrealities--queer and strange old notions--have been destroyed forever.
Never were the vaulted spaces in this grand old temple of a world swept
so clean of cobwebs before. The mind has not gone forth working outside
wonders, without effecting equal inside changes. In achieving abroad, it
has been ennobling at home. At no time was it so free from superstition
as now, and from the absurdities which have for centuries beset and
filled it. What numberless delusions, what ghosts, what mysteries, what
fables, what curious ideas, have disappeared before the besom of the
day! The old author long ago foretasted this, who wrote,--"The divine
arts of printing and gunpowder have frightened away Robin Goodfellow,
and all the fairies." It is told of Kepler, that he believed the planets
were borne through the skies in the arms of angels; but science shortly
took a wider sweep, killed off the angels, and showed that the wandering
luminaries had been accustomed from infancy to take care of themselves.
And so has the firmament of all knowledge been cleared of its vapors and
fictions, and been revealed in its solid and shining facts.

Here, then, lies the great distinction of the time: the accumulation of
_Truth_, and the growing appetite for the true and the real. The year
whirls round like the toothed cylinder in a threshing-machine, blowing
out the chaff in clouds, but quietly dropping the rich kernels within
our reach. And it will always be so. Men will sow their notions and reap
harvests, but the inexorable age will winnow out the truth, and scatter
to the winds whatsoever is error.

Now we see how that impalpable something has been produced which we call
the "Spirit of the Age,"--that peculiar atmosphere in which we live,
which fills the lungs of the human spirit, and gives vitality and
character to all that men at present think and say and feel and do. It
is this identical spirit of courageous inquiry, honest reality, and
intense activity, wrought up into a kind of universal inspiration,
moving with the same disposition, the same taste, the same thought,
persons whole regions apart and unknown to each other. We are frequently
surprised by coincidences which prove this novel, yet common _afflatus_.
Two astronomers, with the ocean between them, calculate at the same
moment, in the same direction, and simultaneously light upon the same
new orb. Two inventors, falling in with the same necessity, think of the
same contrivance, and meet for the first time in a newspaper war, or
a duel of pamphlets, for the credit of its authorship. A dozen widely
scattered philosophers as quickly hit upon the self-same idea as if
they were in council together. A more rational development of some old
doctrine in divinity springs up in a hundred places at once, as if a
theological epidemic were abroad, or a synod of all the churches were in
session. It has also another peculiarity. The thought which may occur at
first to but one mind seems to have an affinity to all minds; and if
it be a free and generous thought, it is instantly caught, intuitively
comprehended, and received with acclamations all over the world. Such a
spirit as this is rapidly bringing all sections and classes of mankind
into sympathy with one another, and producing a supreme caste in human
nature, which, as it increases in numbers, will mould the character and
control the destinies of the race.

So far we speak of the upper air of the day. But there is no denying the
prevalence of a lower and baser spirit. We are uncomfortably aware that
there is another extreme to the freaks of the imagination. There are
superstitions of the reason and of realism,--the grotesque fancies,
mysticisms, and vagaries which prevail, and the diseased gusto for
something ultra and outlandish which affects many raw and undisciplined
minds. Yet even these are, in their way, indications of the pervading
disposition,--the unhealthy exhalations to be expected from hitherto
stagnant regions, stirred up by the active and regenerating thought of
the time. There is promise even in them, and they serve to distinguish
the more that purer and higher spirit of honesty and reality, which
clarifies the intellect, and invigorates the faculties that apprehend
and grasp the noble and the true.

We glory in this triumph of the reason over the imagination, and in this
predominance of the real over the ideal. We prefer that common sense
should lead the van, and that mere fancy, like the tinselled conjurer
behind his hollow table and hollow apparatus, should be taken for what
it is, and that its tricks and surprises should cease to bamboozle,
however much they may amuse mankind. Nothing, in the course of
Providence, conveys so much encouragement as this recent and growing
development of reality in thought and pursuit. In its presence the
future of the world looks substantial and sure. We dream of an immense
change in the tone of the human spirit, and in the character of the
civilization which shall in time embower the earth.

But, as it has always been, the greater the good, the nearer the evil;
Satan is next-door neighbor to the saint; Eden had a lurking-hole for
the serpent. Just here the voyaging is most dangerous; just here we drop
the plummet and strike upon a shoal; we lift up our eyes, and discover a

The mind that is not profound enough to perceive and believe even what
it cannot comprehend,--that is the shoal. Unless the reason will permit
the sounding-lead to fall illimitably down into a submarine world
of mystery, too deep for the diver, and yet a true and living
world,--unless there is admitted to be a fathomless gulf, called
_faith_, underlying the surface-sea of demonstration, the race will
surely ground in time, and go to pieces. There is the peril of this
all-prevailing love of the real. It may become such an infatuation that
nothing will appear actual which is not visible or demonstrable, which
the hand cannot handle or the intellect weigh and measure. Even to this
extreme may the reason run. Its vulnerable point is pride. It is easily
encouraged by success, easily incited to conceit, readily inclined to
overestimate its power. It has a Chinese weakness for throwing up a wall
on its involuntary boundary-line, and for despising and defying all
that is beyond its jurisdiction. The reason may be the greatest or the
meanest faculty in the soul. It may be the most wise or the most foolish
of active things. It may be so profound as to acknowledge a whole
infinitude of truth which it cannot comprehend, or it may be so
superficial as to suspect everything it is asked to believe, and refuse
to trust a fact out of its sight. There is the danger of the day. There
is the lee-shore upon which the tendencies of the age are blowing our
bark: a gross and destructive materialism, which is the horrid and
treacherous development of a shallow realism.

In the midst of this splendid era there is a fast-increasing class who
are disposed to make the earth the absolute All,--to deny any outlet
from it,--to deny any capacity in man for another sphere,--to deny any
attribute in God which interests Him in man,--to shut out, therefore,
all faith, all that is mysterious, all that is spiritual, all that is
immortal, all that is Divine.

  "There live, alas! of heaven-directed mien,
  Of cultured soul, and sapient eye serene,
  Who hail thee Man!--the pilgrim of a day,
  Spouse of the worm, and brother of the clay,
  Frail as the leaf in autumn's yellow bower,
  Dust in the wind, or dew upon the flower,
  A friendless slave, a child without a sire.
         *       *       *       *       *
  Are these the pompous tidings ye proclaim,
  Lights of the world, and demigods of Fame?
  Is this your triumph, this your proud applause,
  Children of Truth, and champions of her cause?
  For this hath Science searched on weary wing,
  By shore and sea, each mute and living thing?
  Launched with Iberia's pilot from the steep,
  To worlds unknown, and isles beyond the deep?
  Or round the cope her living chariot driven,
  And wheeled in triumph through the signs of heaven?
  O star-eyed Science, hast thou wandered there,
  To waft us home the message of despair?"

Is shipwreck, after all, to be the end of the mysterious voyage? Yes,
unless there is something else beside materialism in the world. Unless
there is another spirit blowing _off_ that dreadful shore, unless the
chart opens a farther sea, unless the needle points to the same distant
star, unless there are other orders, yet sealed and secret, there is no
further destiny for the race, no further development for the soul. The
intellect, however grand, is not the whole of man. Material progress,
however magnificent, is not the guaranty, not even the cardinal element,
of civilization. And civilization, in the highest possible meaning of
that most expressive word, is that great and final and all-embosoming
harbor toward which all these achievements and changes dimly, but
directly, point. Upon that we have fixed our eyes, but we cannot imagine
how it can be attained by intellectual and material force alone.

In order to indicate this more vividly, let us suppose that there is
no other condition necessary to the glory of human nature and the
world,--let us suppose that no other provision has been made, and that
the age is to go on developing only in this one direction,--what a
dreary grandeur would soon surround us! As icebergs floating in an
Arctic sea are splendid, so would be these ponderous and glistering
works. As the gilded and crimsoned cliffs of snow beautify the Polar
day, so would these achievements beautify the present day. But expect no
life, no joy, no soul, amid such ice-bound circumstances as these. The
tropical heart must congeal and die; its luxuriant fruits can never
spring up. The earth must lie sepulchred under its own magnificence; and
the divinest feelings of the spirit, floating upward in the instinct of
a higher life, but benumbed by the frigid air, and rebuked by the leaden
sky, must fall back like clouds of frozen vapor upon the soul: and "so
shall its thoughts perish."

It would be a gloomy picture to paint, if one could for a moment imagine
that intellectual power and material success were all that enter into
the development of the race. For if there is no other capacity, and no
other field in which at least an equal commission to achieve is given,
and for which equal arrangements have been made by the Providence that
orders all, then the soul must soon be smothered, society dismembered,
and human nature ruined.

But this very fact, which we purposely put in these strong colors,
proves that there must be another and greater element, another and
higher faculty, another and wider department, likewise under express and
secret conditions of success. It shall come to pass, as the development
goes on, that this other will become the foremost and all-important,
--the relation between them will be reversed,--this must increase, that
decrease,--the Material, although the first in time, the first in the
world's interest, and the first in the world's effort, will be found to
be only an ordained forerunner, preparing the way for Something Else,
the latchet of whose shoes it is not worthy to unloose.

There is that in man--also wrapt up and sealed within his inscrutable
brain--which provides for his inner as well as outer life; which
insures his highest development; which shall protect, cherish, warm, and
fertilize his nature now, and perpetuate and exalt his soul forever.
It is a commission which begins, but does not end, in time. It is a
commission which makes him the agent and builder of an immense moral
work on the earth. Under its instructions he shall add improvement to
improvement in that social fabric which is already his shelter and
habitation. He has found it of brick,--he shall leave it of marble. He
shall seek out every contrivance, and perfect every plan, and exhaust
every scheme, which will bring a greater prosperity and a nobler
happiness to mankind. He shall quarry out each human spirit, and carve
it into the beauty and symmetry of a living stone that shall be worthy
to take its place in the rising structure. This is the work which is
given him to do. He must develop those conditions of virtue, and peace,
and faith, and truth, and love, by which the race shall be lifted
nearer its Creator, and the individual ascend into a more conscious
neighborhood and stronger affinity to the world which shall receive him
at last. All this must that other department be, and this other capacity
achieve or there is a fatal disproportion in the progress of man.

The beauty of this as a dream perhaps all men will admit; but they
question its possibility. "It is the old Utopia," they say, "the
impracticable enterprise that has always baffled the world." Some will
doubt whether the Spiritual has an existence at all. Others will doubt,
if it does exist, whether man can accomplish anything in it. It is
invisible, impalpable, unknown. It cannot be substantial, it cannot
be real,--at least to man as at present constituted. Its elements and
conditions cannot be controlled by his spirit. That spirit cannot
control itself,--how much less go forth and work solid wonders in that
phantom realm! There can be no success in this that will be coequal with
the other; nor a coequal grandeur. There is no such thing as keeping
pace with it. The heart cannot grow better, society cannot be built
higher, mankind cannot become happier, God will not draw nearer, the
hidden truth of all that universe will never be more ascertained than
it is,--can never be accumulated and stored away among other human
acquisitions. It is utterly, gloomily impracticable. In this respect we
shall forever remain as we are, and where we are. So they think.

And now we venture to contradict it all, and to assert that there
is, there must be, just such a corresponding field, and just such a
corresponding progress, or else (we say it reverently) God's ways are
not equal. So great is our faith. Like Columbus, therefore, we dream
of the golden Indies, and of that "unknown residue" which must yet be
found, and be taken possession of by mankind.

We look far out to where the horizon dips its vapory veil into the sea,
and beyond which lies that other hemisphere, and ask,--Is there no world
there to be a counterpoise to the world that is here? Has the Creator
made no provision for the equilibrium of the soul? Is all that infinite
area a shoreless waste, over which the fleets of speculation may sail
forever, and discover nothing? Or is there not, rather, a broad
and solid continent of spiritual truth, eternally rooted in that
ocean,--prepared, from the beginning, for the occupation of man, when
the fulness of time shall have come,--ordained to take its place in the
historic evolution of the race, and to give the last and definite shape
to its wondrous destinies?

Is there, or is there not, another region of truth, of enterprise, of
progress,--to finish, to balance, to consummate the world?

Such is the Problem.

       *       *       *       *       *


I can speak of it calmly now; but there have been moments when the
lightest mention of those words would sway my soul to its profoundest

I am a woman. I nip this fact in the bud of my narrative, because I like
to do as I would be done by, when I can just as well as not. It rasps a
person of my temperament exceedingly to be deceived. When any one tells
a story, we wish to know at the outset whether the story-teller is a man
or a woman. The two sexes awaken two entirely distinct sets of feelings,
and you would no more use the one for the other than you would put
on your tiny teacups at breakfast, or lay the carving-knife by the
butter-plate. Consequently it is very exasperating to sit, open-eyed and
expectant, watching the removal of the successive swathings which hide
from you the dusky glories of an old-time princess, and, when the
unrolling is over, to find it is nothing, after all, but a great
lubberly boy. Equally trying is it to feel your interest clustering
round a narrator's manhood, all your individuality merging in his, till,
of a sudden, by the merest chance, you catch the swell of crinoline,
and there you are. Away with such clumsiness! Let us have everybody
christened before we begin.

I do, therefore, with Spartan firmness depose and say that I am a woman.
I am aware that I place myself at signal disadvantage by the avowal. I
fly in the face of hereditary prejudice. I am thrust at once beyond
the pale of masculine sympathy. Men will neither credit my success nor
lament my failure, because they will consider me poaching on their
manor. If I chronicle a big beet, they will bring forward one twice
as large. If I mourn a deceased squash, they will mutter, "Woman's
farming!" Shunning Scylla, I shall perforce fall into Charybdis. (_Vide_
Classical Dictionary. I have lent mine, but I know one was a rock and
the other a whirlpool, though I cannot state, with any definiteness,
which was which.) I may be as humble and deprecating as I choose, but
it will not avail me. A very agony of self-abasement will be no armor
against the poisoned shafts which assumed superiority will hurl against
me. Yet I press the arrow to my bleeding heart, and calmly reiterate, I
am a woman.

The full magnanimity of which reiteration can be perceived only when I
inform you that I could easily deceive you, if I chose. There is about
my serious style a vigor of thought, a comprehensiveness of view, a
closeness of logic, and a terseness of diction commonly supposed to
pertain only to the stronger sex. Not wanting in a certain fanciful
sprightliness which is the peculiar grace of woman, it possesses also,
in large measure, that concentrativeness which is deemed the peculiar
strength of man. Where an ordinary woman will leave the beaten track,
wandering in a thousand little by ways of her own,--flowery and
beautiful, it is true, and leading her airy feet to "sunny spots of
greenery" and the gleam of golden apples, but keeping her not less
surely from the goal,--I march straight on, turning neither to the
right hand nor to the left, beguiled into no side-issues, discussing no
collateral question, but with keen eye and strong hand aiming right at
the heart of my theme. Judge thus of the stern severity of my virtue.
There is no heroism in denying ourselves the pleasures which we cannot
compass. It is not self-sacrifice, but self-cherishing, that turns the
dyspeptic alderman away from turtle-soup and the _pâté de foie gras_ to
mush and milk. The hungry newsboy, regaling his nostrils with the scents
that come up from a subterranean kitchen, does not always know whether
or not he is honest, till the cook turns away for a moment, and a
steaming joint is within reach of his yearning fingers. It is no credit
to a weak-minded woman not to be strong-minded and write poetry. She
couldn't, if she tried; but to feed on locusts and wild honey that the
soul may be in better condition to fight the truth's battles,--to
go with empty stomach for a clear conscience's sake,--to sacrifice
intellectual tastes to womanly duties, when the two conflict,--

  "That's the true pathos and sublime,
  Of human life."

You will, therefore, no longer withhold your appreciative admiration,
when, in full possession of what theologians call the power of contrary
choice, I make the unmistakable assertion that I am a woman.

Of the circumstances that led me to inchoate a garden it is not
necessary now to speak. Enough that the first and most important step
had been taken, the land was bought,--a few acres, with a smart little
house peeking up, a crazy little barn tumbling down, and a dozen or so
fruit-trees that might do either as opportunity offered, and I set out
on my triumphal march from the city of my birth to the estate of my
adoption. Triumphal indeed! My pathway was strewed with roses. Feathery
asparagus and the crispness of tender lettuce waved dewy greetings from
every railroad-side; green peas crested the racing waves of Long Island
Sound, and unnumbered carrots of gold sprang up in the wake of the
ploughing steamer; till I was wellnigh drunk with the new wine of my own
purple vintage. But I was not ungenerous. In the height of my innocent
exultation, I remembered the dwellers in cities who do all their
gardening at stalls, and in my heart I determined, when the season
should be fully blown, to invite as many as my house could hold to
share with me the delight of plucking strawberries from their stems and
drinking in foaming health from the balmy-breathed cows. Moreover, in
the exuberance of my joy, I determined to go still farther, and despatch
to those doomed ones who cannot purchase even a furlough from burning
pavements baskets of fragrance and sweetness. I pleased myself with
pretty conceits. To one who toils early and late in an official Sahara,
that the home atmosphere may always be redolent of perfume, I would send
a bunch of long-stemmed white and crimson rose-buds, in the midst of
which he should find a dainty note whispering, "Dear Fritz: Drink this
pure glass of my overflowing June to the health of weans and wife, not
forgetting your unforgetful friend." To a pale-browed, sad-eyed woman,
who flits from velvet carpets and broidered flounces to the bedside
of an invalid mother, whom her slender fingers and unslender and most
godlike devotion can scarcely keep this side the pearly gates, I would
heap a basket of summer-hued peaches smiling up from cool, green leaves
into their straitened home, and, with eyes, perchance, tear-dimmed, she
should read, "My good Maria: The peaches are to go to your lips, the
bloom to your cheeks, and the gardener to your heart." Ah me! How much
grace and gladness may bud and blossom in one little garden! Only
three acres of land, but what a crop of sunny surprises, unexpected
tendernesses, grateful joys, hopes, loves, and restful memories!--what
wells of happiness, what sparkles of mirth, what sweeps of summer in the
heart, what glimpses of the Upper Country!

Halicarnassus was there before me (in the garden, I mean, not in the
spot last alluded to). It has been the one misfortune of my life that
Halicarnassus got the start of me at the outset. With a fair field and
no favor I should have been quite adequate to him. As it was, he was
born and began, and there was no resource left to me but to be born and
follow, which I did as fast as possible; but that one false move could
never be redeemed. I know there are shallow thinkers who love to prate
of the supremacy of mind over matter,--who assert that circumstances are
plastic as clay in the hands of the man who knows how to mould them.
They clench their fists, and inflate their lungs, and quote Napoleon's
proud boast,--"Circumstances! I _make_ circumstances!" Vain babblers!
Whither did this Napoleonic Idea lead? To a barren rock in a waste of
waters. Do we need St. Helena and Sir Hudson Lowe to refute it? Control
circumstances! I should like to know if the most important circumstance
that can happen to a man isn't to be born? and if that is under his
control, or in any way affected by his whims and wishes? Would not Louis
XVI. have been the son of a goldsmith, if he could have had his way?
Would Burns have been born a slaving, starving peasant, if he had been
consulted beforehand? Would not the children of vice be the children of
virtue, if they could have had their choice? and would not the whole
tenor of their lives have been changed thereby? Would a good many of
us have been born at all, if we could have helped it? Control
circumstances, forsooth! when a mother's sudden terror brings an idiot
child into the world,--when the restive eye of his great-grandfather,
whom he never saw, looks at you from your two-year-old, and the spirit
of that roving ancestor makes the boy also a fugitive and a vagabond on
the earth! No, no. We may coax circumstances a little, and shove them
about, and make the best of them, but there they are. We may try to get
out of their way; but they will trip us up, not once, but many times.
We may affect to tread them under foot in the daylight, but in the
night-time they will turn again and rend us. All we can do is first to
accept them as facts, and then reason from them as premises. We cannot
control them, but we can control our own use of them. We can make them a
savor of life unto life, or of death unto death.

Application.--If mind could have been supreme over matter, Halicarnassus
should, in the first place, have taken the world at second-hand from
me, and, in the second place, he should not have stood smiling on the
front-door steps when the coach set me down there. As it was, I made the
best of the one case by following in his footsteps,--not meekly, not
acquiescently, but protesting, yet following,--and of the other, by
smiling responsive and asking pleasantly,--

"Are the things planted yet?"

"No," said Halicarnassus.

This was better than I had dared to hope. When I saw him standing there
so complacent and serene, I felt certain that a storm was brewing, or
rather had brewed, and burst over my garden, and blighted its fair
prospects. I was confident that he had gone and planted every square
inch of the soil with some hideous absurdity which would spring up a
hundred-fold in perpetual reminders of the one misfortune to which I
have alluded.

So his ready answer gave me relief, and yet I could not divest myself of
a vague fear, a sense of coming thunder. In spite of my endeavors,
that calm, clear face would lift itself to my view as a mere
"weather-breeder"; but I ate my supper, unpacked my trunks, took out my
papers of precious seeds, and sitting in the flooding sunlight under the
little western porch, I poured them into my lap, and bade Halicarnassus
come to me. He came, I am sorry to say, with a pipe in his mouth.

"Do you wish to see my jewels?" I asked, looking as much like Cornelia
as a little woman, somewhat inclined to dumpiness, can.

Halicarnassus nodded assent.

"There," said I, unrolling a paper, "that is _Lychnidea acuminala_.
Sometimes it flowers in white masses, pure as a baby's soul. Sometimes
it glows in purple, pink, and crimson, intense, but unconsuming, like
Horeb's burning bush. The old Greeks knew it well, and they baptized
its prismatic loveliness with their sunny symbolism, and called it the
Flame-Flower. These very seeds may have sprung centuries ago from the
hearts of heroes who sleep at Marathon; and when their tender petals
quiver in the sunlight of my garden, I shall see the gleam of Attic
armor and the flash of royal souls. Like heroes, too, it is both
beautiful and bold. It does not demand careful cultivation,--no
hot-house, tenderness"--

"I should rather think not," interrupted Halicarnassus. "Pat Curran has
his front-yard full of it."

I collapsed at once, and asked humbly,--

"Where did he get it?"

"Got it anywhere. It grows wild almost. It's nothing but phlox. My
opinion is, that the old Greeks knew no more about it than that brindled

Nothing further occurring to me to be said on the subject, I waived
it and took up another parcel, on which I spelled out, with some
difficulty, "_Delphinium exaltatum_. Its name indicates its nature."

"It's an exalted dolphin, then, I suppose," said Halicarnassus.

"Yes!" I said, dexterously catching up an _argumentum ad hominem_, "It
_is_ an exalted dolphin,--an apotheosized dolphin,--a dolphin made
glorious. For, as the dolphin catches the sunbeams and sends them back
with a thousand added splendors, so this flower opens its quivering
bosom and gathers from the vast laboratory of the sky the purple of a
monarch's robe and the ocean's deep, calm blue. In its gracious cup you
shall see"--

"A fiddlestick!" jerked out Halicarnassus, profanely. "What are you
raving about such a precious bundle of weeds for? There isn't a
shoemaker's apprentice in the village that hasn't his seven-by-nine
garden overrun with them. You might have done better than bring
cartloads of phlox and larkspur a thousand miles. Why didn't you import
a few hollyhocks, or a sunflower or two, and perhaps a dainty slip
of cabbage? A pumpkin-vine, now, would climb over the front-door
deliciously, and a row of burdocks would make a highly entertaining

The reader will bear me witness that I had met my first rebuff with
humility. It was probably this very humility that emboldened him to a
second attack. I determined to change my tactics and give battle.

"Halicarnassus," said I, severely, "you are a hypocrite. You set up for
a Democrat"--

"Not I," interrupted he; "I voted for Harrison in '40, and for Fremont
in '56, and"--

"Nonsense!" interrupted I, in turn; "I mean a Democrat etymological, not
a Democrat political. You stand by the Declaration of Independence, and
believe in liberty, equality, and fraternity, and that all men are of
one blood; and here you are, ridiculing these innocent flowers, because
their brilliant beauty is not shut up in a conservatory to exhale its
fragrance on a fastidious few, but blooms on all alike, gladdening the
home of exile and lightening the burden of labor."

Halicarnassus saw that I had made a point against him, and preserved a
discreet silence.

"But you are wrong," I went on, "even if you are right. You may laugh to
scorn my floral treasures, because they seem to you common and unclean,
but your laughter is premature. It is no ordinary seed that you see
before you. It sprang from no profane soil. It came from the--the--some
kind of an office at WASHINGTON, Sir! It was given me by one whose name
stands high on the scroll of fame,--a statesman whose views are as
broad as his judgment is sound,--an orator who holds all hearts in his
hand,--a man who is always found on the side of the feeble truth against
the strong falsehood,--whose sympathy for all that is good, whose
hostility to all that is bad, and whose boldness in every righteous
cause make him alike the terror and abhorrence of the oppressor, and the
hope and joy and staff of the oppressed."

"What is his name?" said Halicarnassus, phlegmatically.

"And for your miserable pumpkin-vine," I went on, "behold this
morning-glory, that shall open its barbaric splendor to the sun and
mount heavenward on the sparkling chariots of the dew. I took this from
the white hand of a young girl in whose heart poetry and purity have
met, grace and virtue have kissed each other,--whose feet have danced
over lilies and roses, who has known no sterner duty than to give
caresses, and whose gentle, spontaneous, and ever active loveliness
continually remind me that of such is the kingdom of heaven."

"Courted yet?" asked Halicarnassus, with a show of interest.

I transfixed him with a look, and continued,--

"This _Maurandia_, a climber, it may be common or it may be a king's
ransom. I only know that it is rosy-hued, and that I shall look at
life through its pleasant medium. Some fantastic trellis, brown and
benevolent, shall knot supporting arms around it, and day by day it
shall twine daintily up toward my southern window, and whisper softly of
the sweet-voiced, tender-eyed woman from whose fairy bower it came in
rosy wrappings. And this _Nemophila_, 'blue as my brother's eyes,'--the
brave young brother whose heroism and manhood have outstripped his
years, and who looks forth from the dank leafiness of far Australia
lovingly and longingly over the blue waters, as if, floating above them,
he might catch the flutter of white garments and the smile on a sister's

"What are you going to do with 'em?" put in Halicarnassus again.

I hesitated a moment, undecided whether to be amiable or bellicose under
the provocation, but concluded that my ends would stand a better
chance of being gained by adopting the former course, and so answered
seriously, as if I had not been switched off the track, but was going on
with perfect continuity,--

"To-morrow I shall take observations. Then, where the situation seems
most favorable, I shall lay out a garden. I shall plant these seeds in
it, except the vines and such things, which I wish to put near the house
to hide as much as possible its garish white. Then, with every little
tender shoot that appears above the ground, there will blossom also a
pleasant memory or a sunny hope or an admiring thrill."

"What do you expect will be the market-value of that crop?"

"Wealth which an empire could not purchase," I answered, with
enthusiasm. "But I shall not confine my attention to flowers. I shall
make the useful go with the beautiful. I shall plant vegetables,--
lettuce, and asparagus, and--so forth. Our table shall be garnished with
the products of our own soil, and our own works shall praise us."

There was a pause of several minutes, during which I fondled the seeds
and Halicarnassus enveloped himself in clouds of smoke. Presently there
was a cessation of puffs, a rift in the cloud showed that the oracle was
opening his mouth, and directly thereafter he delivered himself of the
encouraging remark,--

"If we don't have any vegetables till we raise 'em, we shall be
carnivorous some time to come."

It was said with that provoking indifference more trying to a sensitive
mind than downright insult. You know it is based on some hidden
obstacle, palpable to your enemy, though hidden from you,--and that he
is calm because he know that the nature of things will work against you,
so that he need not interfere. If I had been less interested, I would
have revenged myself on him by remaining silent; but I was very much
interested, so I strangled my pride and said,--

"Why not?"

"Land is too old for such things. Soil isn't mellow enough."

I had always supposed that the greater part of the main-land of our
continent was of equal antiquity, and dated back alike to the alluvial
period; but I suppose our little three acres must have been injected
through the intervening strata by some physical convulsion, from the
drift, or the tertiary formation, perhaps even from the primitive

"What are you going to do?" I ventured to inquire. "I don't suppose the
land will grow any younger by keeping."

"Plant it with corn and potatoes for at least two years before there can
be anything like a garden."

And Halicarnassus put up his pipe and betook himself to the house, and
I was glad of it, the abominable bore! to sit there and listen to my
glowing schemes, knowing all the while that they were soap-bubbles.
"Corn and potatoes," indeed! I didn't believe a word of it.
Halicarnassus always had an insane passion for corn and potatoes. Land
represented to him so many bushels of the one or the other. Now corn
and potatoes are very well in their way, but, like every other innocent
indulgence, carried too far, become a vice; and I more than suspected he
had planned the strategy simply to gratify his own weakness. Corn and
potatoes, indeed!

But when Halicarnassus entered the lists against me, he found an
opponent worthy of his steel. A few more such victories would be his
ruin. A grand scheme fired and filled my mind during the silent watches
of the night, and sent me forth in the morning, jubilant with high
resolve. Alexander might weep that he had no more worlds to conquer;
but I would create new. Archimedes might desiderate a place to stand
on before he could bring his lever into play; I would move the world,
self-poised. If Halicarnassus fancied that I was cut up, dispersed, and
annihilated by one disaster, he should weep tears of blood to see me
rise, Phoenix-like, from the ashes of my dead hopes, to a newer and more
glorious life. Here, having exhausted my classics, I took a long sweep
down to modern times, and vowed in my heart never to give up the ship.

Halicarnassus saw that a fell purpose was working in my mind, but a
certain high tragedy in my aspect warned him to silence; so he only
dogged me around the corners of the house, eyed me askance from the
wood-shed, and peeped through the crevices of the demented little barn.
But his vigilance bore no fruit. I but walked moodily "with folded arms
and fixed eyes," or struck out new paths at random, so long as there
were any vestiges of his creation extant. His time and patience being at
length exhausted, he went into the field to immolate himself with ever
new devotion on the shrine of corn and potatoes. Then my scheme came to
a head at once. In my walking, I had observed a box about three feet
long, two broad, and one foot deep, which Halicarnassus, with his usual
disregard of the proprieties of life, had used to block up a gate-way
that was waiting for a gate. It was just what I wanted. I straightway
knocked out the few nails that kept it in place, and, like another
Samson, bore it away on my shoulders. It was not an easy thing to
manage, as any one may find by trying,--nor would I advise young ladies,
as a general thing, to adopt that form of exercise,--but the end, not
the means, was my object, and by skilful diplomacy I got it up the
backstairs and through my window, out upon the roof of the porch
directly below. I then took the ash-pail and the fire-shovel and went
into the field, carefully keeping the lee side of Halicarnassus. "Good,
rich loam" I had observed all the gardening books to recommend; but
wherein the virtue or the richness of loam consisted I did not feel
competent to decide, and I scorned to ask. There seemed to be two kinds:
one black, damp, and dismal; the other fine, yellow, and good-natured.
A little reflection decided me to take the latter. Gold constituted
riches, and this was yellow like gold. Moreover, it seemed to have more
life in it. Night and darkness belonged to the other, while the very
heart of sunshine and summer seemed to be imprisoned in this golden
dust. So I plied my shovel and filled my pail again and again, bearing
it aloft with joyful labor, eager to be through before Halicarnassus
should reappear; but he got on the trail just as I was whisking
up-stairs for the last time, and shouted, astonished,--

"What are you doing?"

"Nothing," I answered, with that well-known accent which says,
"Everything! and I mean to keep doing it."

I have observed, that, in managing parents, husbands, lovers, brothers,
and indeed all classes of inferiors, nothing is so efficacious as to let
them know at the outset that you are going to have your own way. They
may fret a little at first, and interpose a few puny obstacles, but
it will be only a temporary obstruction; whereas, if you parley and
hesitate and suggest, they will but gather courage and strength for a
formidable resistance. It is the first step that costs. Halicarnassus
understood at once from my one small shot that I was in a mood to be let
alone, and he let me alone accordingly.

I remembered he had said that the soil was not mellow enough, and I
determined that my soil should be mellow, to which end I took it up by
handfuls and squeezed it through my fingers, completely pulverizing it.
It was not disagreeable work. Things in their right places are very
seldom disagreeable. A spider on your dress is a horror, but a spider
outdoors is rather interesting. Besides, the loam had a fine, soft feel
that was absolutely pleasant; but a hideous black and yellow reptile
with horns and hoofs, that winked up at me from it, was decidedly
unpleasant and out of place, and I at once concluded that the soil was
sufficiently mellow for my purposes, and smoothed it off directly. Then,
with delighted fingers, in sweeping circles, and fantastic whirls, and
exact triangles, I planted my seeds in generous profusion, determined,
that, if my wilderness did not blossom, it should not be from
niggardliness of seed. But even then my box was full before my basket
was emptied, and I was very reluctantly compelled to bring down from the
garret another box, which had been the property of my great-grandfather.
My great-grandfather was, I regret to say, a barber. I would rather
never have had any. If there is anything in the world besides worth that
I reverence, it is ancestry. My whole life long have I been in search of
a pedigree, and though I ran well at the beginning, I invariably stop
short at the third remove by running my head into a barber's shop. If
he had only been a farmer, now, I should not have minded. There is
something dignified and antique in land, and no one need trouble himself
to ascertain whether "farmer" stood for a close-fisted, narrow-souled
clodhopper, or the smiling, benevolent master of broad acres. Farmer
means both these, I could have chosen the meaning I liked, and it is not
probable that any troublesome facts would have floated down the years to
intercept any theory I might have launched. I would rather he had been
a shoemaker; it would have been so easy to transform him, after his
lamented decease, into a shoe-manufacturer,--and shoe-manufacturers, we
all know, are highly respectable people, often become great men, and
get sent to Congress. An apothecary might have figured as an M.D.
A greengrocer might have been apotheosized into a merchant. A
dancing-master would flourish on the family-records as a professor of
the Terpsichorean art. A taker of daguerreotype portraits would never
be recognized in "my great-grandfather _the artist_." But a barber is
unmitigated and immitigable. It cannot be shaded off nor toned down
nor brushed up. Besides, was greatness ever allied to barbarity?
Shakspeare's father was a wool-driver, Tillotson's a clothier, Barrow's
a linen-draper, Defoe's a butcher, Milton's a scrivener, Richardson's a
joiner, Burns's a farmer; but did any one ever hear of a barber's
having remarkable children? I must say, with all deference to my
great-grandfather, that I do wish he would have been considerate enough
of his descendants' feelings to have been born in the old days when
barbers and doctors were one, or else have chosen some other occupation
than barbering. Barber he did, however; in this very box he kept his
wigs, and, painful as it was to have continually before my eyes this
perpetual reminder of plebeian great-grand-paternity, I consented to it
rather than lose my seeds. Then I folded my hands in sweet, though calm
satisfaction. I had proved myself equal to the emergency, and that
always diffuses a glow of genial complacency through the soul. I had
outwitted Halicarnassus. Exultation number two. He had designed to cheat
me out of my garden by a story about land, and here was my garden ready
to burst forth into blossom under my eyes. He said little, but I knew
he felt deeply. I caught him one day looking out at my window with
corroding envy in every lineament. "You might have got some dust out of
the road; it would have been nearer." That was all he said. Even that
little I did not fully understand.

I watched, and waited, and watered, in silent expectancy, for several
days, but nothing came up, and I began to be anxious. Suddenly I thought
of my vegetable-seeds, and determined to try those. Of course a hanging
kitchen-garden was not to be thought of, and as Halicarnassus was
fortunately absent for a few days, I prospected on the farm. A sunny
little corner on a southern slope smiled up at me, and seemed to offer
itself as a delightful situation for the diminutive garden which mine
must be. The soil, too, seemed as fine and mellow as could be desired.
I at once captured an Englishman from a neighboring plantation, hurried
him into my corner, and bade him dig me and hoe me and plant me a garden
as soon as possible. He looked blankly at me for a moment, and I looked
blankly at him,--wondering what lion he saw in the way.

"Them is planted with potatoes now," he gasped, at length.

"No matter," I returned, with sudden relief to find that nothing but
potatoes interfered. "I want it to be unplanted, and planted with
vegetables,--lettuce and--asparagus--and such."

He stood hesitating.

"Will the master like it?"

"Yes," said Diplomacy, "he will be delighted."

"No matter whether he likes it or not," codiciled Conscience. "You do

"I--don't exactly like--to--take the responsibility," wavered this
modern Faint-Heart.

"I don't want you to take the responsibility," I ejaculated, with
volcanic vehemence. "I'll take the responsibility. You take the hoe."

These duty-people do infuriate me. They are so afraid to do anything
that isn't laid out in a right-angled triangle. Every path must be
graded and turfed before they dare set their scrupulous feet in it.
I like conscience, but, like corn and potatoes, carried too far, it
becomes a vice. I think I could commit a murder with less hesitation
than some people buy a ninepenny calico. And to see that man stand
there, balancing probabilities over a piece of ground no bigger than a
bed-quilt, as if a nation's fate were at stake, was enough to ruffle a
calmer temper than mine. My impetuosity impressed him, however, and he
began to lay about him vigorously with hoe and rake and lines, and, in
an incredibly short space of time, had a bit of square flatness laid out
with wonderful precision. Meanwhile I had ransacked my vegetable-bag,
and though lettuce and asparagus were not there, plenty of beets and
parsnips and squashes, etc., were. I let him take his choice. He took
the first two. The rest were left on my hands. But I had gone too far to
recede. They burned in my pocket for a few days, and I saw that I must
get them into the ground somewhere. I could not sleep with them in the
room. They were wandering shades craving at my hands a burial, and I
determined to put them where Banquo's ghost would not go,--down. Down
accordingly they went, but not symmetrically nor simultaneously. I faced
Halicarnassus on the subject of the beet-bed, and though I cannot say
that either of us gained a brilliant victory, yet I can say that I
kept possession of the ground; still, I did not care to risk a second
encounter. So I kept my seeds about me continually, and dropped them
surreptitiously as occasion offered. Consequently, my garden, taken as
a whole, was located where the Penobscot Indian was born,--"all along
shore." The squashes were scattered among the corn. The beans were
tucked under the brushwood, in the fond hope that they would climb
up it. Two tomato-plants were lodged in the potato-field, under the
protection of some broken apple-branches dragged thither for the
purpose. The cucumbers went down on the sheltered side of a wood-pile.
The peas took their chances of life under the sink-nose. The sweet-corn
was marked off from the rest by a broomstick,--and all took root alike
in my heart.

May I ask you now, O Friend, who, I would fain believe, have followed me
thus far with no hostile eyes, to glide in tranced forgetfulness through
the white blooms of May and the roses of June, into the warm breath of
July afternoons and the languid pulse of August, perhaps even into
the mild haze of September and the "flying gold" of brown October? In
narrating to you the fruition of my hopes, I shall endeavor to preserve
that calm equanimity which is the birthright of royal minds. I shall
endeavor not to be unduly elated by success nor unduly depressed by
failure, but to state in simple language the result of my experiments,
both for an encouragement and a warning. I shall give the history of the
several ventures separately, as nearly as I can recollect in the
order in which they grew, beginning with the humbler ministers to our
appetites, and soaring gradually into the region of the poetical and the

BEETS.--The beets came up, little red-veined leaves, struggling for
breath among a tangle of Roman wormwood and garlic; and though they
exhibited great tenacity of life, they also exhibited great irregularity
of purpose. In one spot there would be nothing, in an adjacent spot a
whorl of beets, big and little, crowding and jostling and elbowing each
other, like school-boys round the red-hot stove on a winter's morning.
I knew they had been planted in a right line, and I don't, even now,
comprehend why they should not come up in a right line. I weeded them,
and though freedom from foreign growth discovered an intention, of
straightness, the most casual observer could not but see that skewiness
had usurped its place. I repaired to my friend the gardener. He said
they must be thinned out and transplanted. It went to my heart to pull
up the dear things, but I did it, and set them down again tenderly in
the vacant spots. It was evening. The next morning I went to them.
Flatness has a new meaning to me since that morning. You can hardly
conceive that anything could look so utterly forlorn, disconsolate,
disheartened, and collapsed. In fact, they exhibited a degree of
depression so entirely beyond what the circumstances demanded, that I
was enraged. If they had shown any symptoms of trying to live, I could
have sighed and forgiven them; but, on the contrary, they had flopped
and died without a struggle, and I pulled them up without a pang,
comforting myself with the remaining ones, which throve on their
companions' graves, and waxed fat and full and crimson-hearted, in their
soft, brown beds. So delighted was I with their luxuriant rotundity,
that I made an internal resolve that henceforth I would always plant
beets. True, I cannot abide beets. Their fragrance and their flavor are
alike nauseating; but they come up, and a beet that will come up is
better than a cedar of Lebanon that won't. In all the vegetable kingdom
I know of no quality better than this, growth,--nor any quality that
will atone for its absence.

PARSNIPS.--They ran the race with an indescribable vehemence that fairly
threw the beets into the shade. They trod so delicately at first that
I was quite unprepared for such enthusiasm. Lacking the red veining, I
could not distinguish them even from the weeds with any certainty, and
was forced to let both grow together till the harvest. So both grew
together, a perfect jungle. But the parsnips got ahead, and rushed up
gloriously, magnificently, bacchanalianly,--as the winds come when
forests are rended,--as the waves come when navies are stranded. I am,
indeed, troubled with a suspicion that their vitality has all run to
leaves, and that, when I go down into the depths of the earth for
the parsnips, I shall find only bread of emptiness. It is a pleasing
reflection that parsnips cannot be eaten till the second year. I am told
that they must lie in the ground during the winter. Consequently it
cannot be decided whether there are any or not till next spring. I shall
in the mean time assume and assert without hesitation or qualification
that there are as many tubers below the surface as there are leaves
above it. I shall thereby enjoy a pleasant consciousness, and the
respect of all, for the winter; and if disappointment awaits me in the
spring, time will have blunted its keenness for me, and other people
will have forgotten the whole subject. You may be sure I shall not
remind them of it.

CUCUMBERS.--The cucumbers came up so far and stuck. It must have been
innate depravity, for there was no shadow of reason why they should not
keep on as they began. They did not. They stopped growing in the prime
of life. Only three cucumbers developed, and they hid under the vines so
that I did not see them till they were become ripe, yellow, soft, and
worthless. They are an unwholesome fruit at best, and I bore their loss
with great fortitude.

TOMATOES.--Both dead. I had been instructed to protect them from the
frost by night and from the sun by day. I intended to do so ultimately,
but I did not suppose there was any emergency. A frost came the first
night and killed them, and a hot sun the next day burned up all there
was left. When they were both thoroughly dead, I took great pains to
cover them every night and noon. No symptoms of revival appearing to
reward my efforts, I left them to shift for themselves. I did not think
there was any need of their dying, in the first place; and if they would
be so absurd as to die without provocation, I did not see the necessity
of going into a decline about it. Besides, I never did value plants
or animals that have to be nursed, and petted, and coaxed to live.
If things want to die, I think they'd better die. Provoked by my
indifference, one of the tomatoes flared up and took a new start,--put
forth leaves, shot out vines, and covered himself with fruit and glory.
The chickens picked out the heart of all the tomatoes as soon as they
ripened, which was of no consequence, however, as they had wasted
so much time in the beginning that the autumn frosts came upon them
unawares, and there wouldn't have been fruit enough ripe to be of any
account, if no chicken had ever broken a shell.

SQUASHES.--They appeared above-ground, large-lobed and vigorous. Large
and vigorous appeared the bugs, all gleaming in green and gold, like
the wolf on the fold, and stopped up all the stomata and ate up all the
parenchyma, till my squash-leaves looked as if they had grown for the
sole purpose of illustrating net-veined organizations. In consternation
I sought again my neighbor the Englishman. He assured me he had 'em
on his, too,--lots of 'em. This reconciled me to mine. Bugs are not
inherently desirable, but a universal bug does not indicate special want
of skill in any one. So I was comforted. But the Englishman said they
must be killed. He had killed his. Then I said I would kill mine, too.
How should it be done? Oh! put a shingle near the vine at night and they
would crawl upon it to keep dry, and go out early in the morning and
kill 'em. But how to kill them? Why, take 'em right between your thumb
and finger and crush 'em!

As soon as I could recover breath, I informed him confidentially, that,
if the world were one great squash, I wouldn't undertake to save it in
that way. He smiled a little, but I think he was not overmuch pleased. I
asked him why I couldn't take a bucket of water and dip the shingle in
it and drown them. He said, well, I could try it. I did try it,--first
wrapping my hand in a cloth to prevent contact with any stray bug. To
my amazement, the moment they touched the water they all spread unseen
wings and flew away, safe and sound. I should not have been much more
surprised to see Halicarnassus soaring over the ridge-pole. I had not
the slightest idea that they could fly. Of course I gave up the design
of drowning them. I called a council of war. One said I must put a
newspaper over them and fasten it down at the edges; then they couldn't
get in. I timidly suggested that the squashes couldn't get out. Yes,
they could, he said,--they'd grow right through the paper. Another said
I must surround them with round boxes with the bottoms broken out; for,
though they could fly, they couldn't steer, and when they flew up, they
just dropped down anywhere, and as there was on the whole a good deal
more land on the outside of the boxes than on the inside, the chances
were in favor of their dropping on the outside. Another said that ashes
must be sprinkled on them. A fourth said lime was an infallible remedy.
I began with the paper, which I secured with no little difficulty; for
the wind--the same wind, strange to say--kept blowing the dirt at me
and the paper away from me; but I consoled myself by remembering the
numberless rows of squash-pies that should crown my labors, and May took
heart from Thanksgiving. The next day I peeped under the paper and the
bugs were a solid phalanx. I reported at head-quarters, and they asked
me if I killed the bugs before I put the paper down. I said no, I
supposed it would stifle them,--in fact, I didn't think anything about
it, but if I thought anything, that was what I thought. I wasn't pleased
to find I had been cultivating the bugs and furnishing them with free
lodgings. I went home and tried all the remedies in succession. I could
hardly decide which agreed best with the structure and habits of the
bugs, but they throve on all. Then I tried them all at once and all o'er
with a mighty uproar. Presently the bugs went away. I am not sure that
they wouldn't have gone just as soon, if I had let them alone. After
they were gone, the vines scrambled out and put forth some beautiful,
deep golden blossoms. When they fell off, that was the end of them. Not
a squash,--not one,--not a single squash,--not even a pumpkin. They
were all false blossoms.

APPLES.--The trees swelled into masses of pink and white fragrance.
Nothing could exceed their fluttering loveliness or their luxuriant
promise. A few days of fairy beauty, and showers of soft petals floated
noiselessly down, covering the earth with delicate snow; but I knew,
that, though the first blush of beauty was gone, a mighty work was going
on in a million little laboratories, and that the real glory was yet to
come. I was surprised to observe, one day, that the trees seemed to be
turning red. I remarked to Halicarnassus that that was one of Nature's
processes which I did not remember to have seen noticed in any
botanical treatise. I thought such a change did not occur till autumn.
Halicarnassus curved the thumb and forefinger of his right hand into an
arch, the ends of which rested on the wrist of his left coat-sleeve. He
then lifted the forefinger high and brought it forward. Then he lifted
the thumb and brought it up behind the forefinger, and so made them
travel up to his elbow. It seemed to require considerable exertion in
the thumb and forefinger, and I watched the progress with interest. Then
I asked him what he meant by it.

"That's the way they walk," he replied.

"Who walk?"

"The little fellows that have squatted on our trees."

"What little fellows do you mean?"

"The canker-worms."

"How many are there?"

"About twenty-five decillions, I should think, as near as I can count."

"Why! what are they for? What good do they do?"

"Oh! no end. Keep the children from eating green apples and getting

"How do they do that?"

"Eat 'em themselves."

A frightful idea dawned upon me. I believe I turned a kind of ghastly

"Halicarnassus, do you mean to tell me that the canker-worms are eating
up our apples and that we shan't have any?"

"It looks like that exceedingly."

That was months ago, and it looks a great deal more like it now. I
watched those trees with sadness at my heart. Millions of brown, ugly,
villanous worms gnawed, gnawed, gnawed, at the poor little tender leaves
and buds,--held them in foul embrace,--polluted their sweetness with
hateful breath. I could almost feel the shudder of the trees in that
slimy clasp,--could almost hear the shrieking and moaning of the young
fruit that saw its hope of happy life thus slowly consuming; but I
was powerless to save. For weeks that loathsome army preyed upon the
unhappy, helpless trees, and then spun loathsomely to the ground, and
buried itself in the reluctant, shuddering soil. A few dismal little
apples escaped the common fate, but when they rounded into greenness and
a suspicion of pulp, a boring worm came and bored them, and they,
too, died. No apple-pies at Thanksgiving. No apple-roasting in winter
evenings. No pan-pie with hot brown bread on Sunday mornings.

CHERRIES.--They rivalled the apple-blooms in snowy profusion, and the
branches were covered with tiny balls. The sun mounted warm and high in
the heavens and they blushed under his ardent gaze. I felt an increasing
conviction that here there would be no disappointment; but it soon
became palpable that another class of depredators had marked our trees
for their own. Little brown toes could occasionally be seen peeping from
the foliage, and little bare feet left their print on the garden-soil.
Humanity had evidently deposited its larva in the vicinity. There was a
schoolhouse not very far away, and the children used to draw water from
an old well in a distant part of the garden. It was surprising to see
how thirsty they all became as the cherries ripened. It was as if the
village had simultaneously agreed to breakfast on salt fish. Their
wooden bucket might have been the urn of the Danaïdes, judging from the
time it took to fill it. The boys were as fleet of foot as young zebras,
and presented upon discovery no apology or justification but their
heels,--which was a wise stroke in them. A troop of rosy-cheeked,
bright-eyed little snips in white pantalets, caught in the act, reasoned
with in a semi-circle, and cajoled with candy, were as sweet as
distilled honey, and promised with all their innocent hearts and hands
not to do so any more. But the real _pièce de résistance_ was a mass of
pretty well developed crinoline which an informal walk in the infested
district brought to light, engaged in a systematic raid upon the
tempting fruit. Now, in my country, the presence of unknown individuals
in your own garden, plucking your fruit from your trees, without your
knowledge and against your will, is universally considered as affording
presumptive evidence of--something. In this part of the world, however,
I find they do things differently. It doesn't furnish presumptive
evidence of anything. If you think it does, you do so at your own risk.
I thought it did, and escaped by the skin of my teeth. I hinted my
views, and found myself in a den of lions, and was thankful to come out
second-best. Second? nay, third-best, fourth-best, no best at all, not
even good,--very bad. In short, I was glad to get out with my life. Nor
was my repulse confined to the passing hour. The injured innocents come
no more for water. I am consumed with inward remorse as I see them daily
file majestically past my house to my neighbor's well. I have resolved
to plant a strawberry-bed next year, and offer them the fruit of it by
way of atonement, and never, under any provocation, hereafter, to assert
or insinuate that I have any claim whatever to anything under the sun.
If this course, perseveringly persisted in, does not restore the state
of quo, I am hopeless. I have no further resources.

The one drop of sweetness in the bitter cup was, that the cherries,
being thus let severely alone, were allowed to hang on the trees and
ripen. It took them a great while. If they had been as big as hogsheads,
I should think the sun might have got through them sooner than he did.
They looked ripe long before they were so; and as they were very
plenty, the trees presented a beautiful appearance. I bought a stack of
fantastic little baskets from a travelling Indian tribe, at a fabulous
price, for the sake of fulfilling my long-cherished design of sending
fruit to my city friends. After long waiting, Halicarnassus came in one
morning with a tin pail full, and said that they were ripe at last, for
they were turning purple and falling off; and he was going to have them
gathered at once. He had brought in the first-fruits for breakfast. I
put them in the best preserve-dish, twined it with myrtle, and set it
in the centre of the table. It looked charming,--so ruddy and rural and
Arcadian. I wished we could breakfast out-doors; but the summer was one
of unusual severity, and it was hardly prudent thus to brave its rigor.
We had cup-custards at the close of our breakfast that morning,--very
vulgar, but very delicious. We reached the cherries at the same moment,
and swallowed the first one simultaneously. The effect was instantaneous
and electric. Halicarnassus puckered his face into a perfect wheel,
with his mouth for the hub. I don't know how I looked, but I felt badly

"It was unfortunate that we had custards this morning," I remarked.
"They are so sweet that the cherries seem sour by contrast. We shall
soon get the sweet taste out of our mouths, however."

"That's so!" said Halicarnassus, who _will_ be coarse.

We tried another. He exhibited a similar pantomime, with improvements.
My feelings were also the same, intensified.

"I am not in luck to-day," I said, attempting to smile. "I got hold of a
sour cherry this time."

"I got hold of a bitter one," said Halicarnassus.

"Mine was a little bitter, too," I added.

"Mine was a little sour, too," said Halicarnassus.

"We shall have to try again," said I.

We did try again.

"Mine was a good deal of both this time," said Halicarnassus. "But we
will give them a fair trial."

"Yes," said I, sepulchrally.

We sat there sacrificing ourselves to abstract right for five minutes.
Then I leaned back in my chair, and looked at Halicarnassus. He rested
his right elbow on the table, and looked at me.

"Well," said he, at last, "how are cherries and things?"

"Halicarnassus," said I, solemnly, "it is my firm conviction that
farming is not a lucrative occupation. You have no certain assurance of
return, either for labor or capital invested. Look at it. The bugs eat
up the squashes. The worms eat up the apples. The cucumbers won't grow
at all. The peas have got lost. The cherries are bitter as wormwood and
sour as you in your worst moods. Everything that is good for anything
won't grow, and everything that grows isn't good for anything."

"My Indian corn, though," began Halicarnassus; but I snapped him up
before he was fairly under way. I had no idea of travelling in that

"What am I to do with all those baskets that I bought, I should like to
know?" I asked, sharply.

"What did you buy them for?" he asked in return.

"To send cherries to the Hudsons and the Mavericks and Fred Ashley," I
replied promptly.

"Why don't you send 'em, then? There's plenty of them,--more than we
shall want."

"Because," I answered, "I have not exhausted the pleasures of
friendship. Nor do I perceive the benefit that would accrue from turning
life-long friends into life-long enemies."

"I'll tell you what we can do," said Halicarnassus. "We can give a party
and treat them to cherries. They'll have to eat 'em out of politeness."

"Halicarnassus," said I, "we should be mobbed. We should fall victims to
the fury of a disappointed and enraged populace."

"At any rate," said he, "we can offer them to chance visitors."

The suggestion seemed to me a good one,--at any rate, the only one that
held out any prospect of relief. Thereafter, whenever friends called
singly or in squads,--if the squads were not large enough to be
formidable,--we invariably set cherries before them, and with generous
hospitality pressed them to partake. The varying phases of emotion which
they exhibited were painful to me at first, but I at length came to take
a morbid pleasure in noting them. It was a study for a sculptor. By long
practice I learned to detect the shadow of each coming change, where a
casual observer would see only a serene expanse of placid politeness.
I knew just where the radiance, awakened by the luscious, swelling,
crimson globes, faded into doubt, settled into certainty, glared into
perplexity, fired into rage. I saw the grimace, suppressed as soon as
begun, but not less patent to my preternaturally keen eyes. No one
deceived me by being suddenly seized with admiration of a view. I
knew it was only to relieve his nerves by making faces behind the

I grew to take a fiendish delight in watching the conflict, and the
fierce desperation which marked its violence. On the one side were
the forces of fusion, a reluctant stomach, an unwilling oesophagus, a
loathing palate; on the other, the stern, unconquerable will. A natural
philosopher would have gathered new proofs of the unlimited capacity of
the human race to adapt itself to circumstances, from the _débris_ that
strewed our premises after each fresh departure. Cherries were chucked
under the sofa, into the table-drawers, behind the books, under the
lamp-mats, into the vases, in any and every place where a dexterous hand
could dispose of them without detection. Yet their number seemed to
suffer no abatement. Like Tityus's liver, they were constantly renewed,
though constantly consumed. The small boys seemed to be suffering from a
fit of conscience. In vain we closed the blinds and shut ourselves up in
the house to give them a fair field. Not a cherry was taken. In vain we
went ostentatiously to church all day on Sunday. Not a twig was touched.
Finally I dropped all the curtains on that side of the house, and
avoided that part of the garden in my walks. The cherries may be hanging
there to this day, for aught I know.

But why do I thus linger over the sad recital? _"Ab uno disce omnes."_
(A quotation from Virgil: means, "All of a piece.") There may have been,
there probably was, an abundance of sweet-corn, but the broomstick that
had marked the spot was lost, and I could in no wise recall either spot
or stick. Nor did I ever see or hear of the peas,--or the beans. If our
chickens could be brought to the witness-box, they might throw light on
the subject. As it is, I drop a natural tear, and pass on to

THE FLOWER-GARDEN.--It appeared very much behind time,--chiefly Roman
wormwood. I was grateful even for that. Then two rows of four-o'clocks
became visible to the naked eye. They are cryptogamous, it seems.
Botanists have hitherto classed them among the Phaenogamia. A sweet-pea
and a china-aster dawdled up just in time to get frost-bitten. _"Et
praeterea nihil."_ (Virgil: means, "That's all.") I am sure it was no
fault of mine. I tended my seeds with assiduous care. My devotion was
unwearied. I was a very slave to their caprices. I planted them just
beneath the surface in the first place, so that they might have an easy
passage. In two or three days they all seemed to be lying round loose on
the top, and I planted them an inch deep. Then I didn't see them at
all for so long that I took them up again, and planted them half-way
between. It was of no use. You cannot suit people or plants that are
determined not to be suited.

Yet, sad as my story is, I cannot regret that I came into the country
and attempted a garden. It has been fruitful in lessons, if in nothing
else. I have seen how every evil has its compensating good. When I am
tempted to repine that my squashes did not grow, I reflect, that, if
they had grown, they would probably have all turned into pumpkins, or if
they had stayed squashes, they would have been stolen. When it seems
a mysterious Providence that kept all my young hopes underground, I
reflect how fine an illustration I should otherwise have lost of what
Kossuth calls the solidarity of the human race,--what Paul alludes to,
when he says, if one member suffer, all the members suffer with it. I
recall with grateful tears the sympathy of my neighbors on the right
hand and on the left,--expressed not only by words, but by deeds. In my
mind's eye, Horatio, I see again the baskets of apples, and pears, and
tomatoes, and strawberries,--squashes too heavy to lift,--and corn
sweet as the dews of Hymettus, that bore daily witness of human
brotherhood. I remember, too, the victory which I gained over my own
depraved nature. I saw my neighbor prosper in everything he undertook.
_Nihil tetigit quod non crevit._ Fertility found in his soil its
congenial home, and spanned it with rainbow hues. Every day I walked by
his garden and saw it putting on its strength, its beautiful garments.
I had not even the small satisfaction of reflecting that amid all his
splendid success his life was cold and cheerless, while mine, amid all
its failures, was full of warmth,--a reflection which, I have often
observed, seems to go a great way towards making a person contented with
his lot,--for he had a lovely wife, promising children, and the whole
village for his friends. Yet, notwithstanding all these obstacles, I
learned to look over his garden-wall with sincere joy.

There is one provocation, however, which I cannot yet bear with
equanimity, and which I do not believe I shall ever meet without at
least a spasm of wrath, even if my Christian character shall ever become
strong enough to preclude absolute tetanus; and I do hereby beseech all
persons who would not be guilty of the sin of Jeroboam who made Israel
to sin, who do not wish to have on their hands the burden of my ruined
temper, to let me go quietly down into the valley of humiliation and
oblivion, and not pester me, as they have hitherto done from all parts
of the North-American continent, with the infuriating question, "How did
you get on with your garden?"

       *       *       *       *       *




  Bring the hearse to the station,
    When one shall demand it, late;
  For that dark consummation
    The traveller must not wait.
  Men say not by what connivance
    He slid from his weight of woe,
  Whether sickness or weak contrivance,
    But we know him glad to go.
            On, and on, and ever on!
                     What next?

  Nor let the priest be wanting
    With his hollow eyes of prayer,
  While the sexton wrenches, panting,
    The stone from the dismal stair.
  But call not the friends who left him,
    When Fortune and Pleasure fled;
  Mortality hath not bereft him,
    That they should confront him, dead.
            On, and on, and ever on!
                     What next?

  Bid my mother be ready:
    We are coming home to-night:
  Let my chamber be still and shady,
    With the softened nuptial light.
  We have travelled so gayly, madly,
    No shadow hath crossed our way;
  Yet we come back like children, gladly,
    Joy-spent with our holiday.
             On, and on, and ever on!
                      What next?

  Stop the train at the landing,
    And search every carriage through;
  Let no one escape your handing,
    None shiver or shrink from view.
  Three blood-stained guests expect him,
    Three murders oppress his soul;
  Be strained every nerve to detect him
    Who feasted, and killed, and stole.
              On, and on, and ever on!
                       What next?

  Be rid of the notes they scattered;
    The great house is down at last;
  The image of gold is shattered,
    And never can be recast.
  The bankrupts show leaden features,
    And weary, distracted looks,
  While harpy-eyed, wolf-souled creatures
    Pry through their dishonored books.
              On, and on, and ever on!
                       What next?

  Let him hasten, lest worse befall him,
    To look on me, ere I die:
  I will whisper one curse to appall him,
    Ere the black flood carry me by.
  His bridal? the friends forbid it;
    I have shown them his proofs of guilt:
  Let him hear, with my laugh, who did it;
    Then hurry, Death, as thou wilt!
              On, and on, and ever on!
                       What next?

  Thus the living and dying daily
    Flash forward their wants and words,
  While still on Thought's slender railway
    Sit scathless the little birds:
  They heed not the sentence dire
    By magical hands exprest,
  And only the sun's warm fire
    Stirs softly their happy breast.
              On, and on, and ever on!
                       God next!




Just a cap-full of wind, and Dan shook loose the linen, and a straight
shining streak with specks of foam shot after us. The mast bent like
eel-grass, and our keel was half out of the water. Faith belied her
name, and clung to the sides with her ten finger-nails; but as for me, I
liked it.

"Take the stick, Georgie," said Dan, suddenly, his cheeks white. "Head
her up the wind. Steady. Sight the figurehead on Pearson's loft. Here's
too much sail for a frigate."

But before the words were well uttered, the mast doubled up and coiled
like a whip-lash, there was a report like the crack of doom, and half of
the thing crashed short over the bows, dragging the heavy sail in the

Then there came a great laugh of thunder close above, and the black
cloud dropped like a curtain round us: the squall had broken.

"Cut it off, Dan! quick!" I cried. "Let it alone," said he, snapping
together his jack-knife; "it's as good as a best bower-anchor. Now I'll
take the tiller, Georgie. Strong little hand," said he, bending so that
I didn't see his face. "And lucky it's good as strong. It's saved us
all.--My God, Georgie! where's Faith?"

I turned. There was no Faith in the boat. We both sprang to our feet,
and so the tiller swung round and threw us broadside to the wind, and
between the dragging mast and the centre-board drowning seemed too good
for us.

"You'll have to cut it off," I cried again; but he had already ripped
half through the canvas and was casting it loose.

At length he gave his arm a toss. With the next moment, I never shall
forget the look of horror that froze Dan's face.

"I've thrown her off!" he exclaimed. "I've thrown her off!"

He reached his whole length over the boat, I ran to his side, and
perhaps our motion impelled it, or perhaps some unseen hand; for he
caught at an end of rope, drew it in a second, let go and clutched at a
handful of the sail, and then I saw how it had twisted round and swept
poor little Faith over, and she had swung there in it like a dead
butterfly in a chrysalis. The lightnings were slipping down into the
water like blades of fire everywhere around us, with short, sharp
volleys of thunder, and the waves were more than I ever rode this side
of the bar before or since, and we took in water every time our hearts
beat; but we never once thought of our own danger while we bent to pull
dear little Faith out of hers; and that done, Dan broke into a great
hearty fit of crying that I'm sure he'd no need to be ashamed of. But it
didn't last long; he just up and dashed off the tears and set himself at
work again, while I was down on the floor rubbing Faith. There she
lay like a broken lily, with no life in her little white face, and no
breath, and maybe a pulse and maybe not. I couldn't hear a word Dan
said, for the wind; and the rain was pouring through us. I saw him take
out the oars, but I knew they'd do no good in such a chop, even if they
didn't break; and pretty soon he found it so, for he drew them in and
began to untie the anchor-rope and wind it round his waist. I sprang to

"What are you doing, Dan?" I exclaimed.

"I can swim, at least," he answered.

"And tow us?--a mile? You know you can't! It's madness!"

"I must try. Little Faith will die, if we don't get ashore."

"She's dead now, Dan."

"What! No, no, she isn't. Faith isn't dead. But we must get ashore."

"Dan," I cried, clinging to his arm, "Faith's only one. But if you die
so,--and you will!--I shall die too."


"Yes; because, if it hadn't been for me, you wouldn't have been here at

"And is that all the reason?" he asked, still at work.

"Reason enough," said I.

"Not quite," said he.

"Dan,--for my sake"----

"I can't, Georgie. Don't ask me. I mustn't"--and here he stopped short,
with the coil of rope in his hand, and fixed me with his eye, and his
look was terrible--"_we_ mustn't let Faith die."

"Well," I said, "try it, if you dare,--and as true as there's a Lord in
heaven, I'll cut the rope!"

He hesitated, for he saw I was resolute; and I would, I declare I would
have done it; for, do you know, at the moment I hated the little dead
thing in the bottom of the boat there.

Just then there came a streak of sunshine through the gloom where we'd
been plunging between wind and water, and then a patch of blue sky, and
the great cloud went blowing down river. Dan threw away the rope and
took out the oars again.

"Give me one, Dan," said I; but he shook his head. "Oh, Dan, because I'm
so sorry!"

"See to her, then,--fetch Faith to," he replied, not looking at me, and
making up with great sturdy pulls.

So I busied myself, though I couldn't do a bit of good. The instant we
touched bottom, Dan snatched her, sprang through the water and up the
landing. I stayed behind; as the boat recoiled, pushed in a little,
fastened the anchor and threw it over, and then followed.

Our house was next the landing, and there Dan had carried Faith; and
when I reached it, a great fire was roaring up the chimney, and the
tea-kettle hung over it, and he was rubbing Faith's feet hard enough to
strike sparks. I couldn't understand exactly what made Dan so fiercely
earnest, for I thought I knew just how he felt about Faith; but
suddenly, when nothing seemed to answer, and he stood up and our eyes
met, I saw such a haggard, conscience-stricken face that it all rushed
over me. But now we had done what we could, and then I felt all at once
as if every moment that I effected nothing was drawing out murder.
Something flashed by the window, I tore out of the house and threw up my
arms, I don't know whether I screamed or not, but I caught the doctor's
eye, and he jumped from his gig and followed me in. We had a siege of
it. But at length, with hot blankets, and hot water, and hot brandy
dribbled down her throat, a little pulse began to play upon Faith's
temple and a little pink to beat up and down her cheek, and she opened
her pretty dark eyes and lifted herself and wrung the water out of her
braids; then she sank back.

"Faith! Faith! speak to me!" said Dan, close in her ear. "Don't you know

"Go away," she said, hoarsely, pushing his face with her flat wet palm.
"You let the sail take me over and drown me, while you kissed Georgie's

I flung my hand before her eyes.

"Is there a kiss on those fingers?" I cried, in a blaze. "He never
kissed my hands or my lips. Dan is your husband, Faith!"

For all answer Faith hid her head and gave a little moan. Somehow I
couldn't stand that; so I ran and put my arms round her neck and lifted
her face and kissed it, and then we cried together. And Dan, walking the
floor, took up his hat and went out, while she never cast a look after
him. To think of such a great strong nature and such a powerful depth of
feeling being wasted on such a little limp rag! I cried as much for that
as anything. Then I helped Faith into my bedroom, and running home, I
got her some dry clothes,--after rummaging enough, dear knows! for you'd
be more like to find her nightcap in the tea-caddy than elsewhere,--and
I made her a corner on the settle, for she was afraid to stay in the
bedroom, and when she was comfortably covered there she fell asleep.
Dan came in soon and sat down beside her, his eyes on the floor, never
glancing aside nor smiling, but gloomier than the grave. As for me, I
felt at ease now, so I went and laid my hand on the back of his chair
and made him look up. I wanted he should know the same rest that I
had, and perhaps he did,--for, still looking up, the quiet smile came
floating round his lips, and his eyes grew steady and sweet as they used
to be before he married Faith. Then I went bustling lightly about the
kitchen again.

"Dan," I said, "if you'd just bring me in a couple of those chickens
stalking out there like two gentlemen from Spain."

While he was gone I flew round and got a cake into the bake-kettle, and
a pan of biscuit down before the fire; and I set the tea to steep on the
coals, because father always likes his tea strong enough to bear up an
egg, after a hard day's work, and he'd had that to-day; and I put on the
coffee to boil, for I knew Dan never had it at home, because Faith liked
it and it didn't agree with her. And then he brought me in the chickens
all ready for the pot, and so at last I sat down, but at the opposite
side of the chimney. Then he rose, and, without exactly touching me,
swept me back to the other side, where lay the great net I was making
for father; and I took the little stool by the settle, and not far from
him, and went to work.

"Georgie," said Dan, at length, after he'd watched me a considerable
time, "if any word I may have said to-day disturbed you a moment, I want
you to know that it hurt me first, and just as much."

"Yes, Dan," said I.

I've always thought there was something real noble between Dan and me
then. There was I,--well, I don't mind telling you. And he,--yes, I'm
sure he loved me perfectly,--you mustn't be startled, I'll tell you how
it was,--and always had, only maybe he hadn't known it; but it was deep
down in his heart just the same, and by-and-by it stirred. There we
were, both of us thoroughly conscious, yet neither of us expressing it
by a word, and trying not to by a look,--both of us content to wait for
the next life, when we could belong to one another. In those days I
contrived to have it always pleasure enough for me just to know that Dan
was in the room; and though that wasn't often, I never grudged Faith her
right in him, perhaps because I knew she didn't care anything about it.
You see, this is how it was.

When Dan was a lad of sixteen, and took care of his mother, a ship went
to pieces down there on the island. It was one of the worst storms that
ever whistled, and though crowds were on the shore, it was impossible to
reach her. They could see the poor wretches hanging in the rigging, and
dropping one by one, and they could only stay and sicken, for the surf
stove the boats, and they didn't know then how to send out ropes on
rockets or on cannon-balls, and so the night fell, and the people wrung
their hands and left the sea to its prey, and felt as if blue sky could
never come again. And with the bright, keen morning not a vestige of the
ship, but here a spar and there a door, and on the side of a sand-hill
a great dog watching over a little child that he'd kept warm all night.
Dan, he'd got up at turn of tide, and walked down,--the sea running over
the road knee-deep,--for there was too much swell for boats; and when
day broke, he found the little girl, and carried her up to town. He
didn't take her home, for he saw that what clothes she had were the very
finest,--made as delicately,--with seams like the hair-strokes on that
heart's-ease there; and he concluded that he couldn't bring her up as
she ought to be. So he took her round to the rich men, and represented
that she was the child of a lady, and that a poor fellow like
himself--for Dan was older than his years, you see--couldn't do her
justice: she was a slight little thing, and needed dainty training
and fancy food, maybe a matter of seven years old, and she spoke some
foreign language, and perhaps she didn't speak it plain, for nobody knew
what it was. However, everybody was very much interested, and everybody
was willing to give and to help, but nobody wanted to take her, and the
upshot of it was that Dan refused all their offers and took her himself.

His mother'd been in to our house all the afternoon before, and she'd
kept taking her pipe out of her mouth,--she had the asthma, and
smoked,--and kept sighing.

"This storm's going to bring me something," says she, in a mighty
miserable tone. "I'm sure of it!"

"No harm, I hope, Miss Devereux," said mother.

"Well, Rhody,"--mother's father, he was a queer kind,--called his girls
all after the thirteen States, and there being none left for Uncle Mat,
he called him after the state of matrimony,--"Well, Rhody," she replied,
rather dismally, and knocking the ashes out of the bowl, "I don't know;
but I'll have faith to believe that the Lord won't send me no ill
without distincter warning. And that it's good I _have_ faith to

And so when the child appeared, and had no name, and couldn't answer for
herself, Mrs. Devereux called her Faith.

We're a people of presentiments down here on the Flats, and well we
may be. You'd own up yourself, maybe, if in the dark of the night, you
locked in sleep, there's a knock on the door enough to wake the dead,
and you start up and listen and nothing follows; and falling back,
you're just dozing off, and there it is once more, so that the lad in
the next room cries out, "Who's that, mother?" No one answering, you're
half lost again, when _rap_ comes the hand again, the loudest of the
three, and you spring to the door and open it, and there's nought there
but a wind from the graves blowing in your face; and after a while you
learn that in that hour of that same night your husband was lost at sea.
Well, that happened to Mrs. Devereux. And I haven't time to tell you the
warnings I've known of. As for Faith, I mind that she said herself, as
we were in the boat for that clear midnight sail, that the sea had a
spite against her, but third time was trying time.

So Faith grew up, and Dan sent her to school what he could, for he set
store by her. She was always ailing,--a little, wilful, pettish thing,
but pretty as a flower; and folks put things into her head, and she
began to think she was some great shakes; and she may have been a matter
of seventeen years old when Mrs. Devereux died. Dan, as simple at
twenty-six as he had been ten years before, thought to go on just in
the old way, but the neighbors were one too many for him; and they all
represented that it would never do, and so on, till the poor fellow got
perplexed and vexed and half beside himself. There wasn't the first
thing she could do for herself, and he couldn't afford to board her out,
for Dan was only a laboring-man, mackerelling all summer and shoemaking
all winter, less the dreadful times when he stayed out on the Georges;
and then he couldn't afford, either, to keep her there and ruin the poor
girl's reputation;--and what did Dan do but come to me with it all?

Now for a number of years I'd been up in the other part of the town with
Aunt Netty, who kept a shop that I tended between schools and before and
after, and I'd almost forgotten there was such a soul on earth as Dan
Devereux,--though he'd not forgotten me. I'd got through the Grammar
and had a year in the High, and suppose I should have finished with an
education and gone off teaching somewhere, instead of being here now,
cheerful as heart could wish, with a little black-haired hussy tiltering
on the back of my chair.--Rolly, get down! Her name's Laura,--for his
mother.--I mean I might have done all this, if at that time mother
hadn't been thrown on her back, and been bedridden ever since. I haven't
said much about mother yet, but there all the time she was, just as she
is to-day, in her little tidy bed in one corner of the great kitchen,
sweet as a saint, and as patient; and I had to come and keep house for
father. He never meant that I should lose by it, father didn't; begged,
borrowed, or stolen, bought or hired, I should have my books, he said:
he's mighty proud of my learning, though between you and me it's little
enough to be proud of; but the neighbors think I know 'most as much as
the minister,--and I let 'em think. Well, while Mrs. Devereux was sick I
was over there a good deal,--for if Faith had one talent, it was total
incapacity,--and there had a chance of knowing the stuff that Dan was
made of; and I declare to man 'twould have touched a heart of stone to
see the love between the two. She thought Dan held up the sky, and Dan
thought she was the sky. It's no wonder,--the risks our men lead can't
make common-sized women out of their wives and mothers. But I hadn't
been coming in and out, busying about where Dan was, all that time,
without making any mark; though he was so lost in grief about his mother
that he didn't take notice of his other feelings, or think of himself at
all. And who could care the less about him for that? It always brings
down a woman to see a man wrapt in some sorrow that's lawful, and tender
as it is large. And when he came and told me what the neighbors said he
must do with Faith, the blood stood still in my heart.

"Ask mother, Dan," says I,--for I couldn't have advised him. "She knows
best about everything."

So he asked her.

"I think--I'm sorry to think, for I fear she'll not make you a good
wife," said mother, "but that perhaps her love for you will teach her to
be--you'd best marry Faith."

"But I can't marry her!" said Dan, half choking; "I don't want to marry
her,--it--it makes me uncomfortable-like to think of such a thing. I
care for the child plenty----Besides," said Dan, catching at a bright
hope, "I'm not sure that she'd have me."

"Have you, poor boy! What else can she do?"

Dan groaned.

"Poor little Faith!" said mother. "She's so pretty, Dan, and she's so
young, and she's pliant. And then how can we tell what may turn up about
her some day? She may be a duke's daughter yet,--who knows? Think of the
stroke of good-fortune she may give you!"

"But I don't love her," said Dan, as a finality.

"Perhaps----It isn't----You don't love any one else?"

"No," said Dan, as a matter of course, and not at all with reflection.
And then, as his eyes went wandering, there came over them a misty look,
just as the haze creeps between you and some object away out at sea, and
he seemed to be searching his very soul. Suddenly the look swept off
them, and his eyes struck mine, and he turned, not having meant to, and
faced me entirely, and there came such a light into his countenance,
such a smile round his lips, such a red stamped his cheek, and he bent
a little,--and it was just as if the angel of the Lord had shaken his
wings over us in passing, and we both of us knew that here was a man and
here was a woman, each for the other, in life and death; and I just hid
my head in my apron, and mother turned on her pillow with a little moan.
How long that lasted I can't say, but by-and-by I heard mother's
voice, clear and sweet as a tolling bell far away on some fair Sunday

"The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord's throne is in heaven: his
eyes behold, his eyelids try the children of men."

And nobody spoke.

"Thou art my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Thou wilt
light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. For with
thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light."

Then came the hush again, and Dan started to his feet, and began to walk
up and down the room as if something drove him; but wearying, he stood
and leaned his head on the chimney there. And mother's voice broke the
stillness anew, and she said,--

"Hath God forgotten to be gracious? His mercy endureth forever. And none
of them that trust in him shall be desolate."

There was something in mother's tone that made me forget myself and my
sorrow, and look; and there she was, as she hadn't been before for six
months, half risen from the bed, one hand up, and her whole face white
and shining with confident faith. Well, when I see all that such trust
has buoyed mother over, I wish to goodness I had it: I take more after
Martha. But never mind, do well here and you'll do well there, say I.
Perhaps you think it wasn't much, the quiet and the few texts breathed
through it; but sometimes when one's soul's at a white heat, it may be
moulded like wax with a finger. As for me, maybe God hardened Pharaoh's
heart,--though how that was Pharaoh's fault I never could see. But
Dan,--he felt what it was to have a refuge in trouble, to have a great
love always extending over him like a wing; he longed for it; he
couldn't believe it was his now, he was so suddenly convicted of all sin
and wickedness; and something sprang up in his heart, a kind of holy
passion that he felt to be possible for this great and tender Divine
Being; and he came and fell on his knees by the side of the bed, crying
out for mother to show him the way; and mother, she put her hand on his
head and prayed,--prayed, oh, so beautifully, that it makes the water
stand in my eyes now to remember what she said. But I didn't feel so
then, my heart and my soul were rebellious, and love for Dan alone kept
me under, not love for God. And in fact, if ever I'd got to heaven
then, love for Dan'd have been my only saving grace; for I was mighty
high-spirited, as a girl. Well, Dan he never made open profession; but
when he left the house, he went and asked Faith to marry him.

Now Faith didn't care anything about Dan,--except the quiet attachment
that she couldn't help, from living in the house with him, and he'd
always petted and made much of her, and dressed her like a doll,--he
wasn't the kind of man to take her fancy: she'd have maybe liked some
slender, smooth-faced chap; but Dan was a black, shaggy fellow, with
shoulders like the cross-tree, and a length of limb like Saul's, and
eyes set deep, like lamps in caverns. And he had a great, powerful
heart,--and, oh, how it was lost! for she might have won it, she might
have made him love her, since I would have stood wide away and aside for
the sake of seeing him happy. But Faith was one of those that, if they
can't get what they want, haven't any idea of putting up with what they
have,--God forgive me, if I'm hard on the child! And she couldn't give
Dan an answer right off, but was loath to think of it, and went flirting
about among the other boys; and Dan, when he saw she wasn't so easily
gotten, perhaps set more value on her. For Faith, she grew prettier
every day; her great brown eyes were so soft and clear, and had a wide,
sorrowful way of looking at you; and her cheeks, that were usually pale,
blossomed to roses when you spoke to her, her hair drooping over them
dark and silky; and though she was slack and untidy and at loose ends
about her dress, she somehow always seemed like a princess in disguise;
and when she had on any thing new,--a sprigged calico, and her little
straw bonnet with the pink ribbons, and Mrs. Devereux's black scarf, for
instance,--you'd have allowed that she might have been daughter to the
Queen of Sheba. I don't know, but I rather think Dan wouldn't have said
any more to Faith, from various motives, you see, notwithstanding the
neighbors were still remonstrating with him, if it hadn't been that Miss
Brown--she that lived round the corner there; the town's well quit
of her now, poor thing!--went to saying the same stuff to Faith,
and telling her all that other folks said. And Faith went home in a
passion,--some of your timid kind nothing ever abashes, and nobody gets
to the windward of them,--and, being perfectly furious, fell to accusing
Dan of having brought her to this, so that Dan actually believed he had,
and was cut to the quick with contrition, and told her that all the
reparation he could make he was waiting and wishing to make, and then
there came floods of tears. Some women seem to have set out with the
idea that life's a desert for them to cross, and they've laid in a
supply of water-bags accordingly,--but it's the meanest weapon! And then
again, there's men that are iron, and not to be bent under calamities,
that these tears can twist round your little finger. Well, I suppose
Faith concluded 'twas no use to go hungry because her bread wasn't
buttered on both sides, but she always acted as if she'd condescended
ninety degrees in marrying Dan, and Dan always seemed to feel that he'd
done her a great injury; and there it was.

I kept in the house for a time; mother was worse.--and I thought the
less Dan saw of me the better; I kind of hoped he'd forget, and find his
happiness where it ought to be. But the first time I saw him, when Faith
had been his wife all the spring, there was the look in his eyes that
told of the ache in his heart. Faith wasn't very happy herself, of
course, though she was careless; and she gave him trouble,--keeping
company with the young men just as before; and she got into a way of
flying straight to me, if Dan ventured to reprove her ever so lightly;
and stormy nights, when he was gone, and in his long trips, she always
locked up her doors and came over and got into my bed; and she was one
of those that never listened to reason, and it was none so easy for me,
you may suppose.

Things had gone on now for some three years, and I'd about lived in my
books,--I'd tried to teach Faith some, but she wouldn't go any farther
than newspaper stories,--when one day Dan took her and me to sail, and
we were to have had a clam-chowder on the Point, if the squall hadn't
come. As it was, we'd got to put up with chicken-broth, and it couldn't
have been better, considering who made it. It was getting on toward the
cool of the May evening, the sunset was round on the other side of the
house, but all the east looked as if the sky had been stirred up
with currant-juice, till it grew purple and dark, and then the two
light-houses flared out and showed us the lip of froth lapping the
shadowy shore beyond, and I--heard father's voice, and he came in.

There was nothing but the fire-light in the room, and it threw about
great shadows, so that at first entering all was indistinct; but I heard
a foot behind father's, and then a form appeared, and something, I never
could tell what, made a great shiver rush down my back, just as when a
creature is frightened in the dark at what you don't see, and so, though
my soul was unconscious, my body felt that there was danger in the air.
Dan had risen and lighted the lamp that swings in the chimney, and
father first of all had gone up and kissed mother, and left the stranger
standing; then he turned round, saying,--

"A tough day,--it's been a tough day; and here's some un to prove it.
Georgie, hope that pot's steam don't belie it, for Mr. Gabriel Verelay
and I want a good supper and a good bed."

At this, the stranger, still standing, bowed.

"Here's the one, father," said I. "But about the bed,--Faith'll have to
stay here,--and I don't see--unless Dan takes him over"----

"That I'll do," said Dan.

"All right," said the stranger, in a voice that you didn't seem to
notice while he was speaking, but that you remembered afterwards like
the ring of any silver thing that has been thrown down; and he dropped
his hat on the floor and drew near the fireplace, warming hands that
were slender and brown, but shapely as a woman's. I was taking up the
supper; so I only gave him a glance or two, and saw him standing there,
his left hand extended to the blaze, and his eye resting lightly and
then earnestly on Faith in her pretty sleep, and turning away much as
one turns from a picture. At length I came to ask him to sit by, and at
that moment Faith's eyes opened.

Faith always woke up just as a baby does, wide and bewildered, and the
fire had flushed her cheeks, and her hair was disordered, and she fixed
her gaze on him as if he had stepped out of her dream, her lips half
parted and then curling in a smile,--but in a second he moved off with
me, and Faith slipped down and into the little bedroom.

Well, we didn't waste many words until father'd lost the edge of his
appetite, and then I told about Faith.

"'F that don't beat the Dutch!" said father. "Here's Mr.--Mr."------

"Gabriel," said the stranger.

"Yes,--Mr. Gabriel Verelay been served the same trick by the same
squall, only worse and more of it,--knocked off the yacht--What's that
you call her?"

"La belle Louise."

"And left for drowned,--if they see him go at all. But he couldn't 'a'
sinked in that sea, if he'd tried. He kep' afloat; we blundered into
him; and here he is."

Dan and I looked round In considerable surprise, for he was dry as an
August leaf.

"Oh," said the stranger, coloring, and with the least little turn of his
words, as if he didn't always speak English, "the good captain reached
shore, and, finding sticks, he kindled a fire, and we did dry our
clothes until it made fine weather once more."

"Yes," said father; "but 't wouldn't been quite such fine weather, I
reckon, if this 'd gone to the fishes!" And he pushed something across
the table.

It was a pouch with steel snaps, and well stuffed. The stranger colored
again, and held his hand for it, and the snap burst, and great gold
pieces, English coin and very old French ones, rolled about the table,
and father shut his eyes tight; and just then Faith came back and
slipped into her chair. I saw her eyes sparkle as we all reached,
laughing and joking, to gather them; and Mr. Gabriel--we got into the
way of calling him so,--he liked it best--hurried to get them out of
sight as if he'd committed some act of ostentation. And then, to make
amends, he threw off what constraint he had worn in this new atmosphere
of ours, and was so gay, so full of questions and quips and conceits,
all spoken in his strange way, his voice was so sweet, and he laughed so
much and so like a boy, and his words had so much point and brightness,
that I could think of nothing but the showers of colored stars in
fireworks. Dan felt it like a play, sat quiet, but enjoying, and I saw
he liked it;--the fellow had a way of attaching every one. Father was
uproarious, and kept calling out, "Mother, do you hear?--d' you hear
_that_, mother?" And Faith, she was near, taking it all in as a flower
does sunshine, only smiling a little, and looking utterly happy. Then I
hurried to clear up, and Faith sat in the great arm-chair, and father
got out the pipes, and you could hardly see across the room for the wide
tobacco-wreaths; and then it was father's turn, and he told story after
story of the hardships and the dangers and the charms of our way of
living. And I could see Mr. Gabriel's cheek blanch, and he would bend
forward, forgetting to smoke, and his breath coming short, and then
right himself like a boat after lurching,--he had such natural ways, and
except that he'd maybe been a spoiled child, he would have had a good
heart, as hearts go. And nothing would do at last but he must stay and
live the same scenes for a little; and father told him 't wouldn't
pay;--they weren't so much to go through with as to tell of,--there was
too much prose in the daily life, and too much dirt, and 't wa'n't fit
for gentlemen. Oh, he said, he'd been used to roughing it,--woodsing,
camping and gunning and yachting, ever since he'd been a free man. He
was Canadian, and had been cruising from the St. Lawrence to Florida,
--and now, as his companions would go on without him, he had a mind to
try a bit of coast-life. And could he board here? or was there any handy
place? And father said, there was Dan,--Dan Devereux, a man that hadn't
his match at oar or helm. And Mr. Gabriel turned his keen eye and bowed
again,--and couldn't Dan take Mr. Gabriel? And before Dan could answer,
for he'd referred it to Faith, Mr. Gabriel had forgotten all about it,
and was humming a little French song and stirring the coals with the
tongs. And that put father off in a fresh remembrance; and as the hours
lengthened, the stories grew fearful, and he told them deep into the
midnight, till at last Mr. Gabriel stood up.

"No more, good friend," said he. "But I will have a taste of this life
perilous. And now where is it that I go?"

Dan also stood up.

"My little woman," said he, glancing at Faith, "thinks there's a corner
for you, Sir."

"I beg your pardon"--And Mr. Gabriel paused, with a shadow skimming
over his clear dark face.

Dan wondered what he was begging pardon for, but thought perhaps he
hadn't heard him, so he repeated,--

"My wife"--nodding over his shoulder at Faith, "she's my wife--thinks
there's a"----

"She's your wife?" said Mr. Gabriel, his eyes opening and brightening
the way an aurora runs up the sky, and looking first at one and then at
the other, as if he couldn't understand how so delicate a flower grew on
so thorny a stem.

The red flushed up Dan's face,--and up mine too, for the matter of
that,--but in a minute the stranger had dropped his glance.

"And why did you not tell me," he said, "that I might have found her
less beautiful?"

Then he raised his shoulders, gave her a saucy bow, with his hand on
Dan's arm,--Dan, who was now too well pleased at having Faith made
happy by a compliment to sift it,--and they went out.

But I was angry enough; and you may imagine I wasn't much soothed by
seeing Faith, who'd been so die-away all the evening, sitting up before
my scrap of looking-glass, trying in my old coral earrings, bowing up my
ribbons, and plaiting and prinking till the clock frightened her into

The next morning, mother, who wasn't used to such disturbance, was ill,
and I was kept pretty busy tending on her for two or three days. Faith
had insisted on going home the first thing after breakfast, and in
that time I heard no more of anybody,--for father was out with the
night-tides, and, except to ask how mother did, and if I'd seen the
stray from the Lobblelyese again, was too tired for talking when he came
back. That had been--let me see--on a Monday, I think,--yes, on a
Monday; and Thursday evening, as in-doors had begun to tell on me, and
mother was so much improved, I thought I'd run out for a walk along the
seawall. The sunset was creeping round everything, and lying in great
sheets on the broad, still river, the children were frolicking in
the water, and all was so gay, and the air was so sweet, that I went
lingering along farther than I'd meant, and by-and-by who should I see
but a couple sauntering toward me at my own gait, and one of them was
Faith. She had on a muslin with little roses blushing all over it,
and she floated along in it as if she were in a pink cloud, and she'd
snatched a vine of the tender young woodbine as she went, and, throwing
it round her shoulders, held the two ends in one hand like a ribbon,
while with the other she swung her white sun-bonnet. She laughed, and
shook her head at me, and there, large as life, under the dark braids
dangled my coral ear-rings, that she'd adopted without leave or license.
She'd been down to the lower landing to meet Dan,--a thing she'd done
before I don't know when,--and was walking up with Mr. Gabriel while Dan
stayed behind to see to things. I kept them talking, and Mr. Gabriel was
sparkling with fun, for he'd got to feeling acquainted, and it had put
him in high spirits to get ashore at this hour, though he liked the sea,
and we were all laughing, when Dan came up. Now I must confess I hadn't
fancied Mr. Gabriel over and above; I suppose my first impression had
hardened into a prejudice; and after I'd fathomed the meaning of Faith's
fine feathers I liked him less than ever. But when Dan came up, he
joined right in, gay and hearty, and liking his new acquaintance so
much, that, thinks I, he must know best, and I'll let him look out for
his interests himself. It would 'a' been no use, though, for Dan to
pretend to beat the Frenchman at his own weapons,--and I don't know that
I should have cared to have him. The older I grow, the less I think of
your mere intellect; throw learning out of the scales, and give me a
great, warm heart,--like Dan's.

Well, it was getting on in the evening, when the latch lifted, and in
ran Faith. She twisted my ear-rings out of her hair, exclaiming,--

"Oh, Georgie, are you busy? Can't you perse my ears now?"

"Pierce them yourself, Faith."

"Well, pierce, then. But I can't,--you know I can't. Won't you now,
Georgie?" and she tossed the ear-rings into my lap.

"Why, Faith," said I, "how'd you contrive to wear these, if your ears

"Oh, I tied them on. Come now, Georgie!"

So I got the ball of yarn and the darning-needle.

"Oh, not such a big one!" cried she.

"Perhaps you'd like a cambric needle," said I.

"I don't want a winch," she pouted.

"Well, here's a smaller one. Now kneel down."

"Yes, but you wait a moment, till I screw up my courage."

"No need. You can talk, and I'll take you at unawares."

So Faith knelt down, and I got all ready.

"And what shall I talk about?" said she. "About Aunt Rhody, or Mr.
Gabriel, or--I'll tell you the queerest thing, Georgie! Going to now?"

"Do be quiet, Faith, and not keep your head flirting about so!"--for
she'd started up to speak. Then she composed herself once more.

"What was I saying? Oh, about that. Yes, Georgie, the queerest thing!
You see, this evening, when Dan was out, I was sitting talkin' with Mr.
Gabriel, and he was wondering how I came to be dropped down here, so I
told him all about it. And he was so interested that I went and showed
him the things I had on when Dan found me,--you know they've been kept
real nice. And he took them, and looked them over, close, admiring them,
and--and--admiring me,--and finally he started, and then held the frock
to the light, and then lifted a little plait, and in the under side of
the belt-lining there was a name very finely wrought,--Virginie des
Violets; and he looked at all the others, and in some hidden corner of
every one was the initials of the same name,--V. des V.

"'That should be your name, Mrs. Devereux,' says he.

"'Oh, no!' says I. 'My name's Faith.'

"Well, and on that he asked, was there no more; and so I took off the
little chain that I've always worn and showed him that, and he asked if
there was a face in it, in what we thought was a coin, you know; and I
said, oh, it didn't open; and he turned it over and over, and finally
something snapped, and there _was_ a face,--here, you shall see it,

And Faith drew it from her bosom, and opened and held it before me; for
I'd sat with my needle poised, and forgetting to strike. And there was
the face indeed, a sad, serious face, dark and sweet, yet the image of
Faith, and with the same mouth,--that so lovely in a woman becomes weak
in a man,--and on the other side there were a few threads of hair, with
the same darkness and fineness as Faith's hair, and under them a little
picture chased in the gold and enamelled, which, from what I've read
since, I suppose must have been the crest of the Des Violets.

"And what did Mr. Gabriel say then?" I asked, giving it back to Faith,
who put her head into the old position again.

"Oh, he acted real queer. 'The very man!' he cried out. 'The man
himself! His portrait,--I have seen it a hundred times!' And then
he told me that about a dozen years ago or more, a ship sailed
from--from--I forget the place exactly, somewhere up there where _he_
came from,--Mr. Gabriel, I mean,--and among the passengers was this
man and his wife, and his little daughter, whose name was Virginie des
Violets, and the ship was never heard from again. But he says that
without a doubt I'm the little daughter and my name is Virginie, though
I suppose every one'll call me Faith. Oh, and that isn't the queerest.
The queerest is, this gentleman," and Faith lifted her head, "was very
rich. I can't tell you how much he owned. Lands that you can walk on a
whole day and not come to the end, and ships, and gold. And the whole of
it's lying idle and waiting for an heir,--and I, Georgie, am the heir."

And Faith told it with cheeks burning and eyes shining, but yet quite as
if she'd been born and brought up in the knowledge.

"It don't seem to move you much, Faith," said I, perfectly amazed,
although I'd frequently expected something of the kind.

"Well, I may never get it, and so on. If I do, I'll give you a silk
dress and set you up in a book-store. But here's a queerer thing yet.
Des Violets is the way Mr. Gabriel's own name is spelt, and his father
and mine--his mother and--Well, some way or other we're sort of
cousins. Only think, Georgie! isn't that--I thought, to be sure, when he
quartered at our house, Dan'd begin to take me to do, if I looked at
him sideways,--make the same fuss that he does, if I nod to any of the
other young men."

"I don't think Dan speaks before he should, Faith."

"Why don't you say Virginie?" says she, laughing.

"Because Faith you've always been, and Faith you'll have to remain, with
us, to the end of the chapter."

"Well, that's as it may be. But Dan can't object now to my going where
I'm a mind to with my own cousin!" And here Faith laid her ear on the
ball of yarn again.

"Hasten, headsman!" said she, out of a novel, "or they'll wonder where I

"Well," I answered, "just let me run the needle through the emery."

"Yes, Georgie," said Faith, going back with her memories while I
sharpened my steel, "Mr. Gabriel and I are kin. And he said that the
moment he laid eyes on me he knew I was of different blood from the rest
of the people"--.

"What people?" asked I.

"Why, you, and Dan, and all these. And he said he was struck to stone
when he heard I was married to Dan,--I must have been entrapped,--the
courts would annul it,--any one could see the difference between us"--

Here was my moment, and I didn't spare it, but jabbed the needle into
the ball of yarn, if her ear did lie between them.

"Yes!" says I, "anybody with half an eye can see the difference between
you, and that's a fact! Nobody'd ever imagine for a breath that you were
deserving of Dan,--Dan, who's so noble he'd die for what he thought was
right,--you, who are so selfish and idle and fickle and"--

And at that Faith burst out crying.

"Oh, I never expected you'd talk about me so, Georgie!" said she between
her sobs. "How could I tell you were such a mighty friend of Dan's? And
besides, if ever I was Virginie des Violets, I'm Faith Devereux now, and
Dan'll resent _any one's_ speaking so about his wife!"

And she stood up, the tears sparkling like diamonds in her flashing dark
eyes, her cheeks red, and her little fist clenched.

"That's the right spirit, Faith," says I, "and I'm glad to see you show
it. And as for this young Canadian, the best thing to do with him is to
send him packing. I don't believe a word he says; it's more than likely
nothing but to get into your good graces."

"But there's the names," said she, so astonished that she didn't
remember she was angry.

"Happened so."

"Oh, yes! 'Happened so' A likely story! It's nothing but your envy, and
that's all!"

"Faith!" says I, for I forgot she didn't know how close she struck.

"Well,--I mean----There, don't let's talk about it any more! How under
the sun am I going to get these ends tied?"

"Come here. There! Now for the other one."

"No, I sha'n't let you do that; you hurt me dreadfully, and you got
angry and took the big needle."

"I thought you expected to be hurt."

"I didn't expect to be stabbed."

"Well, just as you please. I suppose you'll go round with one ear-ring."

"Like a little pig with his ear cropped? No, I shall do it myself. See
there, Georgie!" and she threw a bit of a box into my hands.

I opened it, and there lay inside, on their velvet cushion, a pair of
the prettiest things you ever saw,--a tiny bunch of white grapes, and
every grape a round pearl, and all hung so that they would tinkle
together on their golden stems every time Faith shook her head,--and she
had a cunning little way of shaking it often enough.

"These must have cost a penny, Faith," said I. "Where'd you get them?"

"Mr. Gabriel gave them to me, just now. He went up-town and bought them.
And I don't want him to know that my ears weren't bored."

"Mr. Gabriel? And you took them?"

"Of course I took them, and mighty glad to get them."

"Faith, dear," said I, "don't you know that you shouldn't accept
presents from gentlemen, and especially now you're a married woman, and
especially from those of higher station?"

"But he isn't higher."

"You know what I mean. And then, too, he is; for one always takes rank
from one's husband."

Faith looked rather downcast at this.

"Yes," said I,--"and pearls and calico"----

"Just because you haven't got a pair yourself! There, be still! I don't
want any of your instructions in duty!"

"You ought to put up with a word from a friend, Faith," said I. "You
always come to me with your grievances. And I'll tell you what I'll do.
You used to like these coral branches of mine; and if you'll give those
back to Mr. Gabriel, you shall have the coral."

Well, Faith she hesitated, standing there trying to muster her mind to
the needle, and it ended by her taking the coral, though I don't believe
she returned the pearls,--but we none of us ever saw them afterwards.

We'd been talking in a pretty low tone, because mother was asleep; and
just as she'd finished the other ear, and a little drop of blood stood
up on it like a live ruby, the door opened and Dan and Mr. Gabriel came
in. There never was a prettier picture than Faith at that moment, and so
the young stranger thought, for he stared at her, smiling and at ease,
just as if she'd been hung in a gallery and he'd bought a ticket. So
then he sat down and repeated to Dan and mother what she'd told me, and
he promised to send for the papers to prove it all. But he never did
send for them,--delaying and delaying, till the summer wore away; and
perhaps there were such papers and perhaps there weren't. I've always
thought he didn't want his own friends to know where he was. Dan might
be a rich man to-day, if he chose to look them up; but he'd scorch at a
slow fire before he'd touch a copper of it. Father never believed a word
about it, when we recited it again to him.

"So Faith 'a come into her fortune, has she?" said he. "Pretty child!
She 'a'n't had so much before sence she fell heir to old Miss Devereux's
best chany, her six silver spoons, and her surname."

So the days passed, and the greater part of every one Mr. Gabriel was
dabbling in the water somewhere. There wasn't a brook within ten miles
that he didn't empty of trout, for Dan knew the woods as well as the
shores, and he knew the clear nights when the insects can keep free from
the water so that next day the fish rise hungry to the surface; and so
sometimes in the brightest of May noons they'd bring home a string of
those beauties, speckled with little tongues of flame; and Mr. Gabriel
would have them cooked, and make us all taste them,--for we don't care
much for that sort, down here on the Flats; we should think we were
famished, if we had to eat fish. And then they'd lie in wait all day for
the darting pickerel in the little Stream of Shadows above; and when
it came June, up the river he went trolling for bass, and he used
a different sort of bait from the rest,--bass won't bite much at
clams,--and he hauled in great forty-pounders. And sometimes in the
afternoons he took out Faith and me,--for, as Faith would go, whether or
no, I always made it a point to put by everything and go too; and I used
to try and get some of the other girls in, but Mr. Gabriel never would
take them, though he was hail-fellow-well-met with everybody, and was
everybody's favorite, and it was known all round how he found out Faith,
and that alone made him so popular, that I do believe, if he'd only
taken out naturalization-papers, we'd have sent him to General Court.
And then it grew time for the river-mackerel, and they used to bring in
at sunset two or three hundred in a shining heap, together with great
lobsters that looked as if they'd been carved out of heliotrope-stone,
and so old that they were barnacled. And it was so novel to Mr. Gabriel,
that he used to act as if he'd fallen in fairy-land.

After all, I don't know what we should have done without him that
summer: he always paid Dan or father a dollar a day and the hire of the
boat; and the times were so hard, and there was so little doing, that,
but for this, and packing the barrels of clam-bait, they'd have been
idle and fared sorely. But we'd rather have starved: though, as for
that, I've heard father say there never was a time when he couldn't
go out and catch some sort of fish and sell it for enough to get us
something to eat. And then this Mr. Gabriel, he had such a winning way
with him, he was as quick at wit as a bird on the wing, he had a story
or a song for every point, he seemed to take to our simple life as if
he'd been born to it, and he was as much interested in all our trifles
as we were ourselves. Then he was so sympathetic, he felt everybody's
troubles, he went to the city and brought down a wonderful doctor to see
mother, and he got her queer things that helped her more than you'd have
thought anything could, and he went himself and set honeysuckles out
all round Dan's house, so that before summer was over it was a bower of
great sweet blows, and he had an alms for every beggar, and a kind word
for every urchin, and he followed Dan about as a child would follow some
big shaggy dog. He introduced, too, a lot of new-fangled games; he was
what they called a gymnast, and in feats of rassling there wasn't a man
among them all but he could stretch as flat as a flounder. And then he
always treated. Everybody had a place for him soon,--even _I_ did; and
as for Dan, he'd have cut his own heart out of his body, if Mr. Gabriel
'd had occasion to use it. He was a different man from any Dan 'd ever
met before, something finer, and he might have been better, and Dan's
loyal soul was glad to acknowledge him master, and I declare I believe
he felt just as the Jacobites in the old songs used to feel for royal
Charlie. There are some men born to rule with a haughty, careless
sweetness, and others born to die for them with stern and dogged

Well, and all this while Faith wasn't standing still; she was changing
steadily, as much as ever the moon changed in the sky. I noticed it
first one day when Mr. Gabriel'd caught every child in the region and
given them a picnic in the woods of the Stack-Yard-Gate, and Faith was
nowhere to be seen tiptoeing round every one as she used to do, but
I found her at last standing at the head of the table,--Mr. Gabriel
dancing here and there, seeing to it that all should be as gay as he
seemed to be,--quiet and dignified as you please, and feeling every one
of her inches. But it wasn't dignity really that was the matter with
Faith,--it was just gloom. She'd brighten up for a moment or two and
then down would fall the cloud again, she took to long fits of dreaming,
and sometimes she'd burst out crying at any careless word, so that my
heart fairly bled for the poor child,--for one couldn't help seeing that
she'd some secret unhappiness or other; and I was as gentle and soothing
to her as it's in my nature to be. She was in to our house a good deal;
she kept it pretty well out of Dan's way, and I hoped she'd get over it
sooner or later, and make up her mind to circumstances. And I talked
to her a sight about Dan, praising him constantly before her, though I
couldn't hear to do it; and finally, one very confidential evening, I
told her that I'd been in love with Dan myself once a little, but I'd
seen that he would marry her, and so had left off thinking about it;
for, do you know, I thought it might make her set more price on him now,
if she knew somebody else had ever cared for him. Well, that did answer
awhile: whether she thought she ought to make it up to Dan, or whether
he really did grow more in her eyes, Faith got to being very neat and
domestic and praiseworthy. But still there was the change, and it didn't
make her any the less lovely. Indeed, if I'd been a man, I should have
cared for her more than ever: it was like turning a child into a woman:
and I really think, as Dan saw her going about with such a pleasant
gravity, her pretty figure moving so quietly, her pretty face so still
and fair, as if she had thoughts and feelings now, he began to wonder
what had come over Faith, and, if she were really as charming as this,
why he hadn't felt it before; and then, you know, whether you love a
woman or not, the mere fact that she's your wife, that her life is sunk
in yours, that she's something for you to protect and that your honor
lies in doing so, gives you a certain kindly feeling that might ripen
into love any day under sunshine and a south wall.

       *       *       *       *       *



Among the astounding discoveries of modern science is that of the
immense periods which have passed in the gradual formation of our earth.
So vast were the cycles of time preceding even the appearance of man on
the surface of our globe, that our own period seems as yesterday when
compared with the epochs that have gone before it. Had we only the
evidence of the deposits of rock heaped above each other in regular
strata by the slow accumulation of materials, they alone would convince
us of the long and slow maturing of God's work on the earth but when we
add to these the successive populations of whose life this world has
been the theatre, and whose remains are hidden in the rocks into which
the mud or sand or soil of whatever kind on which they lived has
hardened in the course of time,--or the enormous chains of mountains
whose upheaval divided these periods of quiet accumulation by great
convulsions,--or the changes of a different nature in the configuration
of our globe, as the sinking of lands beneath the ocean, or the gradual
rising of continents and islands above it,--or the wearing of great
river-beds, or the filling of extensive water-basins, till marshes first
and then dry land succeeded to inland seas,--or the slow growth of coral
reefs, those wonderful sea-walls raised by the little ocean-architects
whose own bodies furnish both the building-stones and the cement that
binds them together, and who have worked so busily during the long
centuries, that there are extensive countries, mountain-chains, islands,
and long lines of coast consisting solely of their remains,--or the
countless forests that must have grown up, flourished, died, and
decayed, to fill the storehouses of coal that feed the fires of the
human race to-day,--if we consider all these records of the past, the
intellect fails to grasp a chronology for which our experience furnishes
no data, and the time that lies behind us seems as much an eternity to
our conception as the future that stretches indefinitely before us.

The physical as well as the human history of the world has its mythical
age, lying dim and vague in the morning mists of creation, like that of
the heroes and demigods in the early traditions of man, defying all
our ordinary dates and measures. But if the succession of periods that
prepared the earth for the coming of man, and the animals and plants
that accompany him on earth, baffles our finite attempts to estimate its
duration, have we any means of determining even approximately the length
of the period to which we ourselves belong? If so, it may furnish us
with some data for the further solution of these wonderful mysteries of
time, and it is besides of especial importance with reference to the
question of permanence of Species. Those who maintain the mutability of
Species, and account for all the variety of life on earth by the gradual
changes wrought by time and circumstances, do not accept historical
evidence as affecting the question at all. The monuments of those oldest
nations, all whose history is preserved in monumental records, do not
indicate the slightest variation of organic types from that day to this.
The animals that were preserved within their tombs or carved upon their
walls by the ancient Egyptians were the same as those that have their
home in the valley of the Nile today; the negro, whose peculiar features
are unmistakable even in their rude artistic attempts to represent them,
was the same woolly-haired, thick-lipped, flat-nosed, dark-skinned being
in the days of the Rameses that he is now. The Apis, the Ibis, the
Crocodiles, the sacred Beetles, have brought down to us unchanged all
the characters that superstition hallowed in those early days. The
stony face of the Sphinx is not more true to its past, nor the massive
architecture of the Pyramids more unchanged, than they are. But the
advocates of the mutability of Species say truly enough that the most
ancient traditions are but as yesterday in the world's history, and that
what six thousand years could not do sixty thousand years might effect.
Leaving aside, then, all historical chronology, how far back can we
trace our own geological period, and the Species belonging to it? By
what means can we determine its duration? Within what limits, by what
standard, may it be measured? Shall hundreds, or thousands, or hundreds
of thousands, or millions of years be the unit from which we start?

I will begin this inquiry with a series of facts which I myself have
had an opportunity of investigating with especial care respecting the
formation and growth of the Coral Reefs of Florida. But first a few
words on Coral Reefs in general. They are living limestone walls that
are built up from certain depths in the ocean by the natural growth of a
variety of animals, but limited by the level of high-water, beyond which
they cannot rise, since the little beings that compose them die as soon
as they are removed from the vitalizing influence of the pure sea-water.
These walls have a variety of outlines: they may be straight, circular,
semicircular, oblong, according to the form of the coast along which
the little Reef-Builders establish themselves; and their height is, of
course, determined by the depth of the bottom on which they rest. If
they settle about an island on all sides of which the conditions for
their growth are equally favorable, they will raise a wall all around
it, thus encircling it with a ring of Coral growth. The Athols in the
Pacific Ocean, those circular islands inclosing sometimes a fresh-water
lake in mid-ocean, are Coral walls of this kind, that have formed a ring
around a central island. This is easily understood, if we remember that
the bottom of the Pacific Ocean is by no means a stable foundation
for such a structure. On the contrary, over a certain area, which has
already been surveyed with some accuracy by Professor Dana, during the
United States Exploring Expedition, it is subsiding; and if an island
upon which the Reef-Builders have established themselves be situated
in that area of subsidence, it will, of course, sink with the floor on
which it rests, carrying down also the Coral wall to a greater depth in
the sea. In such instances, if the rate of subsidence be more rapid than
the rate of growth in the Corals, the island and the wall itself will
disappear beneath the ocean. But whenever, on the contrary, the rate of
increase in the wall is greater than that of subsidence in the island,
while the latter gradually sinks below the surface, the former rises
in proportion, and by the time it has completed its growth the central
island has vanished, and there remains only a ring of Coral Reef, with
here and there a break, perhaps, at some spot where the more prosperous
growth of the Corals has been checked. If, however, as sometimes
happens, there is no such break, and the wall is perfectly
uninterrupted, the sheet of sea-water so inclosed may be changed to
fresh water by the rains that are poured into it. Such a water-basin
will remain salt, it is true, in its lower part, and the fact that it is
affected by the rise and fall of the tides shows that it is not entirely
secluded from communication with the ocean outside; but the salt water,
being heavier, sinks, while the lighter rain-water remains above, and it
is to all appearance actually changed into a fresh-water lake.

I need not dwell here on the further history of such a Coral island, or
follow it through the changes by which the summit of its circular wall
becomes covered with a fertile soil, a tropical vegetation springs up on
it, and it is at last perhaps inhabited by man. There is something very
attractive in the idea of these green rings inclosing sheltered harbors
and quiet lakes in mid-ocean, and the subject has lost none of its
fascination since the mystery of their existence has been solved by the
investigations of several contemporary naturalists who have enabled us
to trace the whole story of their structure. I would refer all who wish
for a more detailed account of them to Charles Darwin's charming
little volume on "Coral Reefs," where their mode of formation is fully
described, and also to James D. Dana's "Geological Report of the United
States Exploring Expedition."

Coral Reefs are found only in tropical regions: although Polyps, animals
of the same class as those chiefly instrumental in their formation,
are found in all parts of the globe, yet the Reef-Building Polyps are
limited to the Tropics. We are too apt to forget that the homes of
animals are as definitely limited in the water as on the land. Indeed,
the subject of the geographical distribution of animals according to
laws that are established by altitude, by latitude and longitude, by
pressure of atmosphere or pressure of water, already alluded to in
a previous article, is exceedingly interesting, and presents a most
important field of investigation. The climatic effect of different
degrees of altitude upon the growth of animals and plants is the same as
that of different degrees of latitude; and the slope of a high mountain
in the Tropics, from base to summit, presents, in a condensed form, an
epitome, as it were, of the same kind of gradation in vegetable growth
that may be observed from the Tropics to the Arctics. At the base of
such a mountain we have all the luxuriance of growth characteristic
of the tropical forest,--the Palms, the Bananas, the Bread-trees, the
Mimosas; higher up, these give way to a different kind of growth,
corresponding to our Oaks, Chestnuts, Maples, etc.; as these wane, on
the loftier slopes comes in the Pine forest, fading gradually, as it
ascends, into a dwarfish growth of the same kind; and this at last gives
way to the low creeping Mosses and Lichens of the greater heights, till
even these find a foothold no longer, and the summit of the mountain is
clothed in perpetual snow and ice. What have we here but the same series
of changes through which we pass, if, travelling northward from the
Tropics, we leave Palms and Pomegranates and Bananas behind, where the
Live-Oaks and Cypresses, the Orange-trees and Myrtles of the warmer
Temperate Zone come in, and these die out as we reach the Oaks,
Chestnuts, Maples, Elms, Nut-trees, Beeches, and Birches of the colder
Temperate Zone, these again waning as we enter the Pine forests of
the Arctic borders, till, passing out of these, nothing but a dwarf
vegetation, a carpet of Moss and Lichen, fit food for the Reindeer and
the Esquimaux, greets us, and beyond that lies the region of the snow
and ice fields, impenetrable to all but the daring Arctic voyager?

I have thus far spoken of the changes in the vegetable growth alone as
influenced by altitude and latitude, but the same is equally true of
animals. Every zone of the earth's surface has its own animals, suited
to the conditions under which they are meant to live; and with the
exception of those that accompany man in all his pilgrimages, and are
subject to the same modifying influences by which he adapts his home and
himself to all climates, animals are absolutely bound by the laws of
their nature within the range assigned to them. Nor is this the case
only on land, where river-banks, lake-shores, and mountain-ranges might
be supposed to form the impassable boundaries that keep animals within
certain limits; but the ocean as well as the land has its faunae and
florae bound within their respective zoölogical and botanical provinces;
and a wall of granite is not more impassable to a marine animal than
that ocean-line, fluid and flowing and ever-changing though it be, on
which is written for him, "Hitherto shalt thou come, but no farther."
One word as to the effect of pressure on animals will explain this.

We all live under the pressure of the atmosphere. Now thirty-two feet
under the sea doubles that pressure, since a column of water of that
height is equal in weight to the pressure of one atmosphere. At the
depth of thirty-two feet, then, any marine animal is under the pressure
of two atmospheres,--that of the air which surrounds our globe, and of a
weight of water equal to it; at sixty-four feet he is under the pressure
of three atmospheres, and so on,--the weight of one atmosphere being
always added for every thirty-two feet of depth. There is a great
difference in the sensitiveness of animals to this pressure. Some fishes
live at a great depth and find the weight of water genial to them, while
others would be killed at once by the same pressure, and the latter
naturally seek the shallow waters. Every fisherman knows that he must
throw a long line for a Halibut, while with a common fishing-rod he will
catch plenty of Perch from the rocks near the shore; and the differently
colored bands of sea-weed revealed by low tide, from the green line of
the Ulvas through the brown zone of the common Fucas to the rosy and
purple hued sea-weeds of the deeper water show that the florae as well
as the faunae of the ocean have their precise boundaries. This wider
or narrower range of marine animals is in direct relation to their
structure, which enables them to bear a greater or less pressure of
water. All fishes, and, indeed, all animals having a wide range of
distribution in ocean-depths, have a special apparatus of water-pores,
so that the surrounding element penetrates their structure, thus
equalizing the pressure of the weight, which is diminished from without
in proportion to the quantity of water they can admit into their bodies.
Marine animals differ in their ability to sustain this pressure, just
as land animals differ in their power of enduring great variations of
climate and of atmospheric pressure.

Of all air-breathing animals, none exhibits a more surprising power of
adapting itself to great and rapid changes of external influences than
the Condor. It may be seen feeding on the sea-shore under a burning
tropical sun, and then, rising from its repast, it floats up among the
highest summits of the Andes and is lost to sight beyond them, miles
above the line of perpetual snow, where the temperature must be lower
than that of the Arctics. But even the Condor, sweeping at one flight
from tropic heat to arctic cold, although it passes through greater
changes of temperature, does not undergo such changes of pressure as a
fish that rises from a depth of sixty-four feet to the surface of the
sea; for the former remains within the air that surrounds our globe,
and therefore the increase or diminution of pressure to which it is
subjected must be confined within the limits of one atmosphere, while
the latter, at a depth of sixty-four feet, is under a weight equal to
that of three such atmospheres, which is reduced to one when it reaches
the sea-level. The change is even much greater for those fishes that
come from a depth of several hundred feet. These laws of limitation in
space explain many facts in the growth of Coral Reefs that would be
otherwise inexplicable, and which I will endeavor to make clear to my

For a long time it was supposed that the Coral animals inhabited very
deep waters, for they were sometimes brought up on sounding-lines from a
depth of many hundreds or even thousands of feet, and it was taken for
granted that they must have had their home where they were found;
but the facts recently ascertained respecting the subsidence of
ocean-bottoms have shown that the foundation of a Coral wall may have
sunk far below the place where it was laid, and it is now proved beyond
a doubt that no Reef-Building Coral can thrive at a depth of more than
fifteen fathoms, though Corals of other kinds occur far lower, and that
the dead Reef-Corals sometimes brought to the surface from much greater
depths are only broken fragments of some Reef that has subsided with
the bottom on which it was growing. But though fifteen fathoms is the
maximum depth at which any Reef-Builder can prosper, there are many
which will not sustain even that degree of pressure, and this fact has,
as we shall see, an important influence on the structure of the Reef.

Imagine now a sloping shore on some tropical coast descending gradually
below the surface of the sea. Upon that slope, at a depth of from ten
to twelve or fifteen fathoms, and two or three or more miles from the
main-land, according to the shelving of the shore, we will suppose that
one of those little Coral animals to whom a home in such deep waters is
genial has established itself. How it happens that such a being, which
we know is immovably attached to the ground and forms the foundation of
a solid wall, was ever able to swim freely about in the water till it
found a suitable resting-place, I shall explain hereafter, when I say
something of the mode of reproduction of these animals. Accept, for the
moment, my unsustained assertion, and plant our little Coral on this
sloping shore some twelve or fifteen fathoms below the surface of the
sea. The internal structure of such a Coral corresponds to that of the
Sea-Anemone: the body is divided by vertical partitions from top to
bottom, leaving open chambers between, while in the centre hangs the
digestive cavity connecting by an opening in the bottom with all these
chambers; at the top is an aperture which serves as a mouth, surrounded
by a wreath of hollow tentacles, each one connecting at its base with
one of the chambers, so that all parts of the animal communicate freely
with each other. But though the structure of the Coral is identical in
all its parts with that of the Sea-Anemone, it nevertheless presents one
important difference. The body of the Sea-Anemone is soft, while that of
the Coral is hard. It is well known that all animals and plants have the
power of appropriating to themselves and assimilating the materials they
need, each selecting from the surrounding elements whatever contributes
to its well-being. The plant takes carbon, the animal takes oxygen, each
rejecting what the other requires. We ourselves build our bones with
the lime that we find unconsciously in the world around us; much of our
nourishment supplies us with it, and the very vegetables we eat have,
perhaps, themselves been fed from some old lime strata deposited
centuries ago. We all represent materials that have contributed to
construct our bodies. Now Corals possess, in an extraordinary degree,
the power of assimilating to themselves the lime contained in the salt
water around them; and as soon as our little Coral is established on a
firm foundation, a lime deposit begins to form in all the walls of its
body, so that its base, its partitions, and its outer wall, which in
the Sea-Anemone remain always soft, become perfectly solid in the Polyp
Coral and form a frame as hard as bone. It may naturally be asked
where the lime comes from in the sea which the Corals absorb in such
quantities. As far as the living Corals are concerned the answer is
easy, for an immense deal of lime is brought down to the ocean by
rivers that wear away the lime deposits through which they pass. The
Mississippi, whose course lies through extensive lime regions, brings
down yearly lime enough to supply all the animals living in the Gulf of
Mexico. But behind this lies a question not so easily settled, as to
the origin of the extensive deposits of limestone found at the very
beginning of life upon earth. This problem brings us to the threshold of
astronomy, for limestone is metallic in character, susceptible therefore
of fusion, and may have formed a part of the materials of our earth,
even in an incandescent state, when the worlds were forming. But though
this investigation as to the origin of lime does not belong either to
the naturalist or the geologist, its suggestion reminds us that the
time has come when all the sciences and their results are so intimately
connected that no one can be carried on independently of the others.
Since the study of the rocks has revealed a crowded life whose records
are hoarded within them, the work of the geologist and the naturalist
has become one and the same, and at that border-land where the first
crust of the earth condensed out of the igneous mass of materials which
formed its earliest condition their investigation mingles with that of
the astronomer, and we cannot trace the limestone in a little Coral
without going back to the creation of our solar system, when the worlds
that compose it were thrown off from a central mass in a gaseous

When the Coral has become in this way permeated with lime, all parts of
the body are rigid, with the exception of the upper margin, the stomach,
and the tentacles. The tentacles are soft and waving, projected or drawn
in at will, and they retain their flexible character through life, and
decompose when the animal dies. For this reason the dried specimens of
Corals preserved in museums do not give us the least idea of the living
Corals, in which every one of the millions of beings composing such
a community is crowned by a waving wreath of white or green or
rose-colored tentacles.

As soon as the little Coral is fairly established and solidly attached
to the ground, it begins to bud. This may take place in a variety of
ways, dividing at the top or budding from the base or from the sides,
till the primitive animal is surrounded by a number of individuals like
itself, of which it forms the nucleus, and which now begin to bud in
their turn, each one surrounding itself with a numerous progeny, all
remaining, however, attached to the parent. Such a community increases
till its individuals are numbered by millions; and I have myself counted
no less than fourteen millions of individuals in a Coral mass measuring
not more than twelve feet in diameter. These are the so-called Coral
heads which form the foundation of a Coral wall, and their massive
character and regular form seem to be especially adapted to give a
strong, solid base to the whole structure. They are known in our
classifications as the Astraeans, so named on account of the star-shaped
form of the little pits that are crowded upon the surface, each one
marking the place of a single individual in such a community.

Thus firmly and strongly is the foundation of the reef laid by the
Astraeans; but we have seen that for their prosperous growth they
require a certain depth and pressure of water, and when they have
brought the wall so high that they have not more than six fathoms of
water above them, this kind of Coral ceases to grow. They have, however,
prepared a fitting surface for different kinds of Corals that could not
live in the depths from which the Astraeans have come, but find their
genial home nearer the surface; such a home being made ready for them
by their predecessors, they now establish themselves on the top of the
Coral wall and continue its growth for a certain time. These are the
Mandrinas, or the so-called Brain-Corals, and the Porites. The Mandrinas
differ from the Astraeans by their less compact and definite pits. In
the Astraeans the place occupied by the animal in the community is
marked by a little star-shaped spot, in the centre of which all the
partition-walls meet. But in the Mandrinas, although all the partitions
converge toward the central opening, as in the Astraeans, these central
openings elongate, run into each other, and form waving furrows all over
the surface, instead of the small round pits so characteristic of the
Astraeans. The Porites resemble the Astraeans, but the pits are smaller,
with fewer partitions and fewer tentacles, and their whole substance is
more porous.

But these also have their bounds within the sea: they in their turn
reach the limit beyond which they are forbidden by the laws of their
nature to pass, and there they also pause. But the Coral wall continues
its steady progress; for here the lighter kinds set in,--the Madrepores,
the Millepores, and a great variety of Sea-Fans and Corallines, and the
reef is crowned at last with a many-colored shrubbery of low feathery
growth. These are all branching in form, and many of them are simple
calciferous plants, though most of them are true animals, resembling,
however, delicate Algae more than any marine animals; but, on
examination of the latter, one finds them to be covered with myriads of
minute dots, each representing one of the little beings out of which the
whole is built.

I would add here one word on the true nature of the Millepores, long
misunderstood by naturalists, because it throws light not only on some
interesting facts respecting Coral Reefs, especially the ancient ones,
but also because it tells us something of the early inhabitants of the
globe, and shows us that a class of Radiates supposed to be missing in
that primitive creation had its representatives then as now. In the
diagram of the geological periods introduced in a previous article, I
have represented all the three classes of Radiates, Polyps, Acalephs,
and Echinoderms, as present on the first floor of our globe that was
inhabited at all. But it is only recently that positive proofs have been
found of the existence of Acalephs or Jelly-Fishes, as they are
called, at that early period. Their very name indicates their delicate
structure; and were there no remains preserved in the rocks of these
soft, transparent creatures, it would yet be no evidence that they did
not exist. Fragile as they are, however, they have left here and there
some faint record of themselves, and in the Museum at Carlsruhe, on a
slab from Solenhofen, I have seen a very perfect outline of one which
remains undescribed to this day. This, however, does not carry them
farther back than the Jurassic period, and it is only lately that I have
satisfied myself that they not only existed, but were among the most
numerous animals in the first representation of organic life.

The earliest Corals correspond in certain features of their structure to
the Millepores. They differ from them as all early animals differ from
the succeeding ones, every geological period having its special set of
representatives. But still they are always true to their class, and have
a certain general correspondence with animals of like kind that follow
them in later periods. In this sense the Millepores are in our epoch the
representatives of those early Corals called by naturalists Tabulata and
Rugosa,--distinguished from the Polyp Corals by the horizontal floors,
waving in some, straight in others, which divide the body transversely
at successive heights through its whole length, and also by the absence
of the vertical partitions, extending from top to bottom of each animal,
so characteristic of the true Polyps. As I have said, they were for a
long time supposed, notwithstanding these differences, to be Polyps, and
I had shared in this opinion, till, during the winter of 1857, while
pursuing my investigations on the Coral Reefs of Florida, one of these
Millepores revealed itself to me in its true character of Acaleph. It is
by its soft parts alone--those parts which are seen only in its living
state, and when the animal is fully open--that its Acalephian character
can be perceived, and this accounts for its being so long accepted as
a Polyp, when studied in the dry Coral stock. Nothing could exceed
my astonishment when for the first time I saw such an animal fully
expanded, and found it to be a true Acaleph. It is exceedingly difficult
to obtain a view of them in this state, for, at any approach, they draw
themselves in, and remain closed to all investigation. Only once, for a
short hour, I had this opportunity; during that time one of these little
creatures revealed to me its whole structure, as if to tell me, once for
all, the story of its existence through all the successive epochs from
the dawn of Creation till now, and then withdrew. With my most patient
watching, I have never been able to see one of them open again. But to
establish the fact that one of the Corals represented from the earliest
period till now, and indeed far more numerous in the beginning than any
other, was in truth no Polyp, but an Acaleph, the glimpse I had was
all-sufficient. It came out as if to bear witness of its class,--as if
to say, "We, too, were among the hosts of living beings with which God
first peopled His earth."

With these branching Corals the reef reaches the level of high-water,
beyond which, as I have said, there can be no further growth, for want
of the action of the fresh sea-water. This dependence upon the vivifying
influence of the sea accounts for one unfailing feature in the Coral
walls. They are always abrupt and steep on the seaward side, but have a
gentle slope towards the land. This is accounted for by the circumstance
that the Corals on the outer side of the reef are in immediate contact
with the pure ocean-water, while by their growth they partially exclude
the inner ones from the same influence,--the rapid growth of the latter
being also impeded by any impurity or foreign material washed away from
the neighboring shore and mingling with the water that fills the channel
between the main-land and the reef. Thus the Coral Reefs, whether built
around an island, or concentric to a rounding shore, or along a straight
line of coast, are always shelving toward the land, while they
are comparatively abrupt and steep toward the sea. This should be
remembered, for, as we shall see hereafter, it has an important bearing
on the question of time as illustrated by Coral Reefs.

I have spoken of the budding of Corals, by which each one becomes the
centre of a cluster; but this is not the only way in which they multiply
their kind. They give birth to eggs also, which are carried on the inner
edge of their partition-walls, till they drop into the sea, where they
float about, little, soft, transparent, pear-shaped bodies, as unlike as
possible to the rigid stony structure they are to assume hereafter. In
this condition they are covered with vibratile cilia or fringes, that
are always in rapid, uninterrupted motion, and keep them swimming about
in the water. It is by means of these little germs of the Corals,
swimming freely about during their earliest stages of growth, that the
reef is continued, at the various heights where special kinds die
out, by those that prosper at shallower depths; otherwise it would be
impossible to understand how this variety of building material, as it
were, is introduced wherever it is needed. This point, formerly a puzzle
to naturalists, has become quite clear since it has been found that
myriads of these little germs are poured into the water surrounding a
reef. There they swim about till they find a genial spot on which to
establish themselves, when they become attached to the ground by one
end, while a depression takes place at the opposite end, which gradually
deepens to form the mouth and inner cavity, while the edges expand to
form the tentacles, and the productive life of the little Coral begins:
it buds from every side, and becomes the foundation of a new community.

I should add, that, beside the Polyps and the Acalephs, Mollusks also
have their representatives among the Corals. There is a group of small
Mollusks called Bryozoa, allied to the Clams by their structure, but
excessively minute when compared to the other members of their class,
which, like the other Corals, harden in consequence of an absorption of
solid materials, and contribute to the formation of the reef. Besides
these, there are certain plants, limestone Algae,--Corallines, as they
are called,--which have their share also in the work.

I had intended to give some account of the Coral Reefs of Florida,
and to show what bearing they have upon the question of time and the
permanence of Species; but this cursory sketch of Coral Reefs in general
has grown to such dimensions that I must reserve a more particular
account of the Florida Reefs and Keys for a future article.

       *       *       *       *       *


"Did you ever see a ghost?" said a gentleman to his friend.

"No, but I once came very nigh seeing one," was the facetious reply.

The writer of this article has had still better luck,--having _twice_
come very nigh seeing a ghost. In other words, two friends, in whose
veracity and healthy clearness of vision I have perfect confidence, have
assured me that they have distinctly seen a disembodied spirit.

If I had permission to do so, I would record the street in Boston, and
the number of the house, where the first of these two apparitions was
seen; but that would be unpleasant to parties concerned. Years ago, the
lady who witnessed it told me the particulars, and I have recently heard
her repeat them. A cousin, with whom her relations were as intimate as
with a brother, was in the last stages of consumption. One morning, when
she carried him her customary offering of fruit or flowers, she found
him unusually bright, his cheeks flushed, his eyes brilliant, and his
state of mind exceedingly cheerful. He talked of his recovery and future
plans in life with hopefulness almost amounting to certainty. This made
her somewhat sad, for she regarded it as a delusion of his flattering
disease, a flaring up of the life-candle before it sank in the socket.
She thus reported the case, when she returned home. In the afternoon she
was sewing as usual, surrounded by her mother and sisters, and listening
to one who was reading aloud. While thus occupied, she chanced to raise
her eyes from her work and glance to the opposite corner of the room.
Her mother, seeing her give a sudden start, exclaimed, "What is the
matter?" She pointed to the corner of the room and replied, "There is
Cousin ------!" They all told her she had been dreaming, and was only
half wakened. She assured them she had not even been drowsy; and she
repeated with great earnestness, "There is Cousin ------, just as I saw
him this morning. Don't you see him?" She could not measure the time
that the vision remained; but it was long enough for several questions
and answers to pass rapidly between herself and other members of the
family. In reply to their persistent incredulity, she said, "It is very
strange that you don't see him; for I see him as plainly as I do any
of you." She was so obviously awake and in her right mind, that the
incident naturally made an impression on those who listened to her. Her
mother looked at her watch, and despatched a messenger to inquire how
Cousin ------ did. Word was soon brought that he died at the same moment
he had appeared in the house of his relatives. The lady who had
this singular experience is too sensible and well-informed to be
superstitious. She was not afflicted with any disorder of the nerves,
and was in good health at the time.

To my other story I can give "a local habitation and a name" well known.
When Harriet Hosmer, the sculptor, visited her native country a few
years ago, I had an interview with her, during which our conversation
happened to turn upon dreams and visions.

"I have had some experience in that way," said she. "Let me tell you a
singular circumstance that happened to me in Rome. An Italian girl named
Rosa was in my employ for a long time, but was finally obliged to return
to her mother, on account of confirmed ill-health. We were mutually
sorry to part, for we liked each other. When I took my customary
exercise on horseback, I frequently called to see her. On one of these
occasions, I found her brighter than I had seen her for some time past.
I had long relinquished hopes of her recovery, but there was nothing in
her appearance that gave me the impression of immediate danger. I left
her with the expectation of calling to see her again many times. During
the remainder of the day I was busy in my studio, and I do not recollect
that Rosa was in my thoughts after I parted from her. I retired to rest
in good health and in a quiet frame of mind. But I woke from a sound
sleep with an oppressive feeling that some one was in the room. I
wondered at the sensation, for it was entirely new to me; but in vain
I tried to dispel it. I peered beyond the curtain of my bed, but could
distinguish no objects in the darkness. Trying to gather up my thoughts,
I soon reflected that the door was locked, and that I had put the key
under my bolster. I felt for it, and found it where I had placed it. I
said to myself that I had probably had some ugly dream, and had waked
with a vague impression of it still on my mind. Reasoning thus, I
arranged myself comfortably for another nap. I am habitually a good
sleeper, and a stranger to fear; but, do what I would, the idea still
haunted me that some one was in the room. Finding it impossible to
sleep, I longed for daylight to dawn, that I might rise and pursue
my customary avocations. It was not long before I was able dimly to
distinguish the furniture in my room, and soon after I heard, in the
apartments below, familiar noises of servants opening windows and doors.
An old clock, with ringing vibrations, proclaimed the hour. I counted
one, two, three, four, five, and resolved to rise immediately. My bed
was partially screened by a long curtain looped up at one side. As I
raised my head from the pillow, Rosa looked inside the curtain, and
smiled at me. The idea of anything supernatural did not occur to me. I
was simply surprised, and exclaimed, 'Why, Rosa! How came you here,
when you are so ill?' In the old familiar tones, to which I was so much
accustomed, a voice replied, 'I am well, now.' With no other thought
than that of greeting her joyfully, I sprang out of bed. There was
no Rosa there! I moved the curtain, thinking she might perhaps have
playfully hidden herself behind its folds. The same feeling induced me
to look into the closet. The sight of her had come so suddenly, that, in
the first moment of surprise and bewilderment, I did not reflect that
the door was locked. When I became convinced there was no one in the
room but myself, I recollected that fact, and thought I must have seen a

"At the breakfast-table, I said to the old lady with whom I boarded,
'Rosa is dead.' 'What do you mean by that?' she inquired. 'You told me
she seemed better than common when you called to see her yesterday.'
I related the occurrences of the morning, and told her I had a strong
impression Rosa was dead. She laughed, and said I had dreamed it all. I
assured her I was thoroughly awake, and in proof thereof told her I had
heard all the customary household noises, and had counted the clock when
it struck five. She replied, 'All that is very possible, my dear. The
clock struck into your dream. Real sounds often mix with the illusions
of sleep. I am surprised that a dream should make such an impression on
a young lady so free from superstition as you are.' She continued to
jest on the subject, and slightly annoyed me by her persistence in
believing it a dream, when I was perfectly sure of having been wide
awake. To settle the question, I summoned a messenger and sent him to
inquire how Rosa did. He returned with the answer that she died that
morning at five o'clock."

I wrote the story as Miss Hosmer told it to me, and after I had shown
it to her, I asked if she had any objection, to its being published,
without suppression of names. She replied, "You have reported the story
of Rosa correctly. Make what use you please of it. You cannot think it
more interesting, or unaccountable, than I do myself."

A remarkable instance of communication between spirits at the moment of
death is recorded in the Life of the Rev. Joseph S. Buckminster, written
by his sister. When he was dying in Boston, their father was dying in
Vermont, ignorant of his son's illness. Early in the morning, he said to
his wife, "My son Joseph is dead." She told him he had been dreaming.
He calmly replied, "I have not slept, nor dreamed. He is dead." When
letters arrived from Boston, they announced that the spirit of the son
had departed from his body the same night that the father received an
impression of it.

Such incidents suggest curious psychological inquiries, which I think
have attracted less attention than they deserve. It is common to explain
all such phenomena as "optical illusions" produced by "disordered
nerves." But _is_ that any explanation? _How_ do certain states of the
nerves produce visions as distinct as material forms? In the two cases I
have mentioned, there was no disorder of the nerves, no derangement of
health, no disquietude of mind. Similar accounts come to us from all
nations, and from the remotest periods of time; and I doubt whether
there ever was a universal superstition that had not some great,
unchangeable truth for its basis. Some secret laws of our being are
wrapt up in these occasional mysteries, and in the course of the world's
progress we may perhaps become familiar with the explanation, and
find genuine philosophy under the mask of superstition. When any
well-authenticated incidents of this kind are related, it is a very
common inquiry, "What are such visions sent _for_?" The question implies
a supposition of miraculous power, exerted for a temporary and special
purpose. But would it not be more rational to believe that all
appearances, whether spiritual or material, are caused by the operation
of universal laws, manifested under varying circumstances? In the
infancy of the world, it was the general tendency of the human mind to
consider all occasional phenomena as direct interventions of the gods,
for some special purpose at the time. Thus, the rainbow was supposed
to be a celestial road, made to accommodate the swift messenger of the
gods, when she was sent on an errand, and withdrawn as soon as she had
done with it. We now know that the laws of the refraction and reflection
of light produce the radiant iris, and that it will always appear
whenever drops of water in the air present themselves to the sun's rays
in a suitable position. Knowing this, we have ceased to ask what the
rainbow appears _for_.

That a spiritual form is contained within the material body is a very
ancient and almost universal belief. Hindoo books of the remotest
antiquity describe man as a triune being, consisting of the soul, the
spiritual body, and the material body. This form within the outer body
was variously named by Grecian poets and philosophers. They called
it "the soul's image," "the invisible body," "the aërial body," "the
shade." Sometimes they called it "the sensuous soul," and described it
as "_all_ eye and _all_ ear,"--expressions which cannot fail to suggest
the phenomena of clairvoyance. The "shade" of Hercules is described by
poets as dwelling in the Elysian Fields, while his body was converted to
ashes on the earth, and his soul was dwelling on Olympus with the gods.
Swedenborg speaks of himself as having been a visible form to angels in
the spiritual world; and members of his household, observing him at such
times, describe the eyes of his body on earth as having the expression
of one walking in his sleep. He tells us, that, when his thoughts turned
toward earthly things, the angels would say to him, "Now we are losing
sight of you": and he himself felt that he was returning to his material
body. For several years of his life, he was in the habit of seeing and
conversing familiarly with visitors unseen by those around him. The
deceased brother of the Queen of Sweden repeated to him a secret
conversation, known only to himself and his sister. The Queen had asked
for this, as a test of Swedenborg's veracity; and she became pale with
astonishment when every minute particular of her interview with her
brother was reported to her. Swedenborg was a sedate man, apparently
devoid of any wish to excite a sensation, engrossed in scientific
pursuits, and remarkable for the orderly habits of his mind. The
intelligent and enlightened German, Nicolai, in the later years of his
life, was accustomed to find himself in the midst of persons whom he
knew perfectly well, but who were invisible to others. He reasoned very
calmly about it, but arrived at no solution more satisfactory than the
old one of "optical illusion," which is certainly a very inadequate
explanation. Instances are recorded, and some of them apparently well
authenticated, of persons still living in this world, and unconscious of
disease, who have seen _themselves_ in a distinct visible form, without
the aid of a mirror. It would seem as if such experiences had not been
confined to any particular part of the world; for they have given birth
to a general superstition that such apparitions are a forerunner of
death,--or, in other words, of the complete separation of the spiritual
body from the natural body. A friend related to me the particulars of a
fainting-fit, during which her body remained senseless an unusually long
time. When she was restored to consciousness, she told her attendant
friends that she had been standing near the sofa all the time, watching
her own lifeless body, and seeing what they did to resuscitate it. In
proof thereof she correctly repeated to them all they had said and
done while her body remained insensible. Those present at the time
corroborated her statement, so far as her accurate knowledge of all
their words, looks, and proceedings was concerned.

The most numerous class of phenomena concerning the "spiritual body"
relate to its visible appearance to others at the moment of dissolution.
There is so much testimony on this subject, from widely separated
witnesses, that an unprejudiced mind, equally removed from superstition
and skepticism, inclines to believe that they must be manifestations of
some hidden law of our mysterious being. Plato says that everything in
this world is merely the material form of some model previously existing
in a higher world of ethereal spiritual forms; and Swedenborg's
beautiful doctrine of Correspondences is a reappearance of the same
idea. If their theory be true, may not the antecedent type of that
strange force which in the material world we call electricity be a
_spiritual_ magnetism. As yet, we know extremely little of the laws of
electricity, and we know nothing of those laws of _spiritual_ attraction
and repulsion which are perhaps the _cause_ of electricity. There may be
subtile and as yet unexplained causes, connected with the state of the
nervous system, the state of the mind, the accord of two souls under
peculiar circumstances, etc., which may sometimes enable a person who is
in a material body to see another who is in a spiritual body. That such
visions are not of daily occurrence may be owing to the fact that it
requires an unusual combination of many favorable circumstances to
produce them; and when they do occur, they seem to us miraculous
simply because we are ignorant of the laws of which they are transient

Lord Bacon says,--"The relations touching the force of imagination and
the secret instincts of Nature are so uncertain, as they require a great
deal of examination ere we conclude upon them. I would have it first
thoroughly inquired whether there be any secret passages of sympathy
between persons of near blood,--as parents, children, brothers, sisters,
nurse-children, husbands, wives, etc. There be many reports in history,
that, upon the death of persons of such nearness, men have had an inward
feeling of it. I myself remember, that, being in Paris, and my father
dying in London, two or three days before my father's death I had a
dream, which I told to divers English gentlemen, that my father's house
in the country was plastered all over with black mortar. Next to those
that are near in blood, there may be the like passage and instincts of
Nature between great friends and great enemies. Some trial also would be
made whether pact or agreement do anything: as, if two friends should
agree, that, such a day in every week, they, being in far distant
places, should pray one for another, or should put on a ring or tablet
one for another's sake, whether, if one of them should break their vow
and promise, the other should have any feeling of it in absence."

This query of Lord Bacon, whether an agreement between two distant
persons to think of each other at a particular time may not produce an
actual nearness between their spirits, is suggestive. People partially
drowned and resuscitated have often described their last moments of
consciousness as flooded with memories, so that they seemed to be
surrounded by the voices and countenances of those they loved. If this
is common when soul and body are approaching dissolution, may not such
concentration of loving thoughts produce an actual nearness, filling the
person thought of with "a feeling as if somebody were in the room"? And
if the feeling thus induced is very powerful, may not the presence thus
felt become objective, or, in other words, a vision?

The feeling of the nearness of spirits to when the thoughts are busily
occupied with them may have led to the almost universal belief among
ancient nations that the souls of the dead came back on the anniversary
of their death to the places where their bodies were deposited. This
belief invested their tombs with peculiar sacredness, and led the
wealthy to great expense in their construction. Egyptians, Greeks, and
Romans built them with upper apartments, more or less spacious. These
chambers were adorned with vases, sculptures, and paintings on the
walls, varying in costliness and style according to the means or taste
of the builder. The tomb of Cestius in Rome contained a chamber much
ornamented with paintings. Ancient Egyptian tombs abound with sculptures
and paintings, probably representative of the character of the deceased.
Thus, on the walls of one a man is pictured throwing seed into the
ground, followed by a troop of laborers; farther on, the same individual
is represented as gathering in the harvest; then he is seen in
procession with wife, children, friends, and followers, carrying sheaves
to the temple, a thank-offering to the gods. This seems to be a painted
epitaph, signifying that the deceased was industrious, prosperous, and
pious. It was common to deposit in these tombs various articles of
use or ornament, such as the departed ones had been familiar with and
attached to, while on earth. Many things in the ancient sculptures
indicate that Egyptian women were very fond of flowers. It is a curious
fact, that little china boxes with Chinese letters on them, like those
in which the Chinese now sell flower-seeds, have been discovered in some
of these tombs. Probably the ladies buried there were partial to exotics
from China; and perhaps friends placed them there with the tender
thought that the spirit of the deceased would be pleased to see them,
when it came on its annual visit. Sometimes these paintings and
sculptures embodied ideas reaching beyond the earthly existence, and
"the aërial body" was represented floating among stars, escorted by
what we should call angels, but which they named "Spirits of the
Sun." Families and friends visited these consecrated chambers on the
anniversary of the death of those whose bodies were placed in the
room below. They carried with them music and flowers, cakes and wine.
Religious ceremonies were performed, with the idea that the "invisible
body" was present with them and took part in the prayers and offerings.
The visitors talked together of past scenes, and doubtless their
conversation abounded with touching allusions to the character and
habits of the unseen friend supposed to be listening. It was, in fact,
an annual family-gathering, scarcely sadder in its memories than is our
Thanksgiving festival to those who have travelled far on the pilgrimage
of life.

St. Paul teaches that "there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual
body." The early Christians had a very vivid faith, that, when the
soul dropped its outer envelope of flesh, it continued to exist in
a spiritual form. When any of their number died, they observed the
anniversary of his departure by placing on the altar an offering to the
church, in his name. On such occasions, they partook of the sacrament,
with the full belief that his unseen form was present with them, and
shared in the sacred rite, as he had done while in the material body. On
the anniversary of the death of martyrs, there were such commemorations
in all the churches; and that their spirits were believed to be present
is evident from the fact that numerous petitions were addressed to them.
In the Roman Catacombs, where many of the early Christians were buried,
are apartments containing sculptures and paintings of apostles and
martyrs. They are few and rude, because the Christians of that period
were poor, and used such worldly goods as they had more for benevolence
than for show. But these memorials, in such a place, indicate the same
feeling that adorned the magnificent tombs of Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
These subterranean apartments were used for religious meetings in the
first centuries of our era, and it is generally supposed that they were
chosen as safe hiding-places from persecution. Very likely it was so;
but it is not improbable that the spot had peculiar attractions to
worshippers, from the feeling that they were in the midst of an unseen
congregation, whose bodies were buried there. If it was so, it would be
but one of many proofs that the early Christians mixed with their new
religion many of the traditions and ceremonies of their forefathers, who
had been educated in other forms of faith. Even in our own time, threads
of these ancient traditions are more or less visible through the whole
warp and woof of our literature and our customs. Many of the tombs in
the Cemetery of Père la Chaise have pretty upper apartments. On the
anniversary of the death of those buried beneath, friends and relatives
carry thither flowers and garlands. Women often spend the entire day
there, and parties of friends assemble to partake of a picnic repast.

Most of the ancient nations annually observed a day in honor of the
Souls of Ancestors. This naturally grew out of the custom of meeting in
tombs to commemorate the death of relatives. As generations passed away,
it was unavoidable that many of the very old sepulchres should be seldom
or never visited. Still it was believed that the "shades" even of remote
ancestors hovered about their descendants and were cognizant of their
doings. It was impossible to observe separately the anniversaries of
departed millions, and therefore a day was set apart for religious
ceremonies in honor of _all_ ancestors. Hindoo and Chinese families have
from time immemorial consecrated such days; and the Romans observed a
similar anniversary under the name of Parentalia.

Christians retained this ancient custom, but it took a new coloring from
their peculiar circumstances. The ties of the church were substituted
for ties of kindred. Its members were considered _spiritual_ fathers
and brothers, and there was an annual festival in honor of _spiritual_
ancestors. The forms greatly resembled those of the Roman Parentalia.
The gathering-place was usually at the tomb of some celebrated martyr,
or in some chapel consecrated to his memory. Crowds of people came
from all quarters to implore the spirits of the martyrs to send them
favorable seasons, good crops, healthy children, etc., just as the old
Romans had been accustomed to invoke the names of their ancestors for
similar blessings. Prayers were repeated, hymns sung, and offerings
presented to the church, as aforetime to the gods. A great banquet was
prepared, and wine was drunk to the souls of the martyrs so freely that
complete intoxication was common. In view of this and other excesses,
the pious among the bishops exerted their influence to abolish the
custom. But it was so intertwined with the traditional faith of the
populace, and so gratifying to their social propensities, that it was
a long time before it could be suppressed. A vestige of the old
anniversaries in honor of the Souls of Ancestors remains in the Catholic
Church under the name of All-Souls' Day.

In France, the Parentalia of the ancient Romans is annually observed
under the name of "Le Jour des Morts." All Paris flock to the
cemeteries, bearing bouquets, crosses, and garlands to decorate the
tombs of departed ancestors, relatives, and friends. The gay population
is, for that day, sobered by tender and solemn memories. Many a tear
glistens on the wreaths, and the passing traveller notices many a one
whose trembling lips and swollen eyelids indicate that the soul is
immersed in recollections of departed loved ones. The "cities of the
dead" bloom with fresh flowers, in multifarious forms of crosses,
crowns, and hearts. From all the churches prayers ascend for those who
have dropped their earthly garment of flesh, and who live henceforth in
the "spiritual body," which becomes more and more beautiful with the
progress of the soul,--it being, as the ancients called it, "the soul's


  You shall not be over-bold
  When you deal with arctic cold,
  As late I found my lukewarm blood
  Chilled wading in the snow-choked wood.
  How should I fight? my foeman fine
  Has million arms to one of mine.
  East, west, for aid I looked in vain;
  East, west, north, south, are his domain.
  Miles off, three dangerous miles, is home;
  Must borrow his winds who there would come.
  Up and away for life! be fleet!
  The frost-king ties my fumbling feet,
  Sings in my ears, my hands are stones,
  Curdles the blood to the marble bones,
  Tugs at the heartstrings, numbs the sense,
  Hems in the life with narrowing fence.

  Well, in this broad bed lie and sleep,
  The punctual stars will vigil keep,
  Embalmed by purifying cold,
  The winds shall sing their dead-march old,
  The snow is no ignoble shroud,
  The moon thy mourner, and the cloud.
  Softly,--but this way fate was pointing,
  'Twas coming fast to such anointing,
  When piped a tiny voice hard by,
  Gay and polite, a cheerful cry,
  "_Chic-chic-a-dee-dee_!" saucy note,
  Out of sound heart and merry throat,
  As if it said, "Good day, good Sir!
  Fine afternoon, old passenger!
  Happy to meet you in these places,
  Where January brings few men's faces."

  This poet, though he live apart,
  Moved by a hospitable heart,
  Sped, when I passed his sylvan fort,
  To do the honors of his court,
  As fits a feathered lord of land,
  Flew near, with soft wing grazed my hand,
  Hopped on the bough, then, darting low,
  Prints his small impress on the snow,
  Shows feats of his gymnastic play,
  Head downward, clinging to the spray.
  Here was this atom in full breath
  Hurling defiance at vast death,
  This scrap of valor just for play
  Fronts the north-wind in waistcoat gray,
  As if to shame my weak behavior.
  I greeted loud my little saviour:
  "Thou pet! what dost here? and what for?
  In these woods, thy small Labrador,
  At this pinch, wee San Salvador!
  What fire burns in that little chest,
  So frolic, stout, and self-possest?
  Didst steal the glow that lights the West?
  Henceforth I wear no stripe but thine:
  Ashes and black all hues outshine.
  Why are not diamonds black and gray,
  To ape thy dare-devil array?
  And I affirm the spacious North
  Exists to draw thy virtue forth.
  I think no virtue goes with size:
  The reason of all cowardice
  Is, that men are overgrown,
  And, to be valiant, must come down
  To the titmouse dimension."

  'Tis good-will makes intelligence,
  And I began to catch the sense
  Of my bird's song: "Live out of doors,
  In the great woods, and prairie floors.
  I dine in the sun; when he sinks in the sea,
  I, too, have a hole in a hollow tree.
  And I like less when summer beats
  With stifling beams on these retreats
  Than noontide twilights which snow makes
  With tempest of the blinding flakes:
  For well the soul, if stout within,
  Can arm impregnably the skin;
  And polar frost my frame defied,
  Made of the air that blows outside."

  With glad remembrance of my debt,
  I homeward turn. Farewell, my pet!
  When here again thy pilgrim comes,
  He shall bring store of seeds and crumbs.
  Henceforth I prize thy wiry chant
  O'er all that mass and minster vaunt:
  For men mishear thy call in spring,
  As 'twould accost some frivolous wing,
  Crying out of the hazel copse, "_Phe--be!_"
  And in winter, "_Chic-a-dee-dee!_"
  I think old Caesar must have heard
  In Northern Gaul my dauntless bird,
  And, echoed in some frosty wold,
  Borrowed thy battle-numbers bold.
  And I shall write our annals new,

  And thank thee for a better clew:
  I, who dreamed not, when I came here,
  To find the antidote of fear,
  Now hear thee say in Roman key,
  "_Paean! Ve-ni, Vi-di, Vi-ci._"

       *       *       *       *       *


Every element of _strength_ in a civilized community demands special
notice. The present material progress of nations brings us every day in
contact with the application of power under various conditions, and the
most thoughtless person is to some extent influenced mentally by the
improvements, taking the places of older means and ways of adaptation,
in the arts of life.

We travel by the aid of steam-power, and we think and speak of a
locomotive or a steamboat as we once thought and spoke of a horse or
a man; and no little feeling of self-sufficiency is engendered by the
conclusion that this new source of power has been brought under control
and put to work in our day.

It is also true that we do not always entertain the most correct view of
what we term the new power of locomotive and steamboat; and as it may
aid us in some further steps connected with the subject of my remarks,
a familiar object, such as a steamboat, may be taken as illustrative of
the application of power, and we may thus obtain some simple ideas of
what power truly is, in Nature.

My travelled friend considers a steamboat as a ship propelled by wheels,
the shaft to which they are attached being moved by the machinery.
He follows back to the piston of the engine and finds the motor
there,--satisfied that he has discovered in the transference of
rectilinear to rotatory motion the reason for the progress of the boat.
A more inquisitive friend does not rest here, but assumes that the power
of the steam flowing through the machine sets in action its parts; and
he rests from farther pursuit of the power, where the larger number
of those who give any observation to the application of steam are
found,--gratified with the knowledge accumulated, and the readiness with
which an explanation of the motion of the boat can be traced to the
power of steam as its source.

We must proceed a little farther on our backward course from the point
where the power is applied, and in our analysis consider the steam as
only the vehicle or carrier of the power; and examining the conditions,
we find that water acted on by fire, while contained in a suitable
vessel, after some time takes up certain properties which enable it
to go forward and move the ponderous machinery of the boat. The water
evidently here derives its new character of steam from the fire, and we
have now reached the source of the _movement_ of steam, and traced it
to the fire. In fact, we have found the source of power, in this most
mechanical of all mechanical machines, to be removed from the department
of knowledge which treats of machines!

But we need not pause here, although we must now enter a little way into
chemical, instead of mechanical science. The fire prepares the water to
act as a carrier of power; it must contain power, therefore; and what
is it which we call fire? In placing on the grate coal or wood, and
providing for the contact of a continuous current of air, we intend to
bring about certain chemical actions as consequent on a disposition
which we know coal and wood to possess. When we apply fire, the chemical
actions commence and the usual effects follow. Now, if we for a moment
dismiss the consideration of the means adopted, it becomes apparent to
every one, that, as the fire will continue to increase with successive
additions of fuel, or as it will continue indefinitely with a regular
supply, there must be something else than mere motor action here. We
cannot call it chemical action, and dismiss the thought, and neglect
further inquiry, unless we would place ourselves with those who regard
the movement of the steamboat as being due to the machinery.

Our farther progress in this analysis will soon open a wide field of
knowledge and inquiry; but it is sufficient for our present purpose, if,
by a careful study of the composition and chemical disposition of the
proximate compounds of the coal and the wood fuel, we arrive at the
conclusion that both are the result of forces which, very slight in
themselves at any moment, yet when acting through long periods of time
become laid up in the form of coal and wood. All that effort which the
tree has exhibited during its growth from the germ of the seed to its
state of maturity, when taken as fuel, is pent up in its substance,
ready, when fire is applied, to escape slowly and continuously. In
the case of the coal, after the growth of the plant from which it was
formed, the material underwent changes which enabled it to conserve more
forces, and to exhibit more energy when fire is applied to its mass; and
hence the distinction between wood and coal.

Our analysis thus far has developed the source of the power moving
the steamboat as existing in the gradual action of forces influencing
vegetation, concentrated and locked up in the fuel. For the purpose of
illustrating the subject of this essay, we require no farther progress
in this direction. A moment of thought at this point and we shall cease
to consider steam-power as _new_; for, long before man appeared on this
earth, the vegetation was collecting and condensing those ordinary
natural powers which we find in fuel. In our time, too, the rains and
dews, heat, motion, and gaseous food, are being stored up in a wondrous
manner, to serve as elements of power which may be used and applied now
or hereafter.

In this view, too, we may include the winds, the falling of rain, the
ascent and descent of sap, the condensation of gases,--in short,
the natural powers, exerted before,--as the cause of motion in the

Passing from these considerations not unconnected with the subject, let
us inquire what saltpetre is, and how it is formed.

The term Saltpetre is applied to a variety of bodies, distinguished,
however, by their bases, as potash saltpetre, soda saltpetre, lime
saltpetre, etc., which occur naturally. They are all compounds of nitric
acid and bases, or the gases nitrogen and oxygen united to bases, and
are found in all soils which have not been recently washed by rains, and
which are protected from excessive moisture.

The decomposition of animal and of some vegetable bodies in the soil
causes the production of one constituent of saltpetre, while the earth
and the animal remains supply the other. Evaporation of pure water from
the surface of the earth causes the moisture which rises from below to
bring to the surface the salt dissolved in it; and as this salt is not
volatile, the escape of the moisture leaves it at or near the surface.
Hence, under buildings, especially habitations of men and animals, the
salt accumulates, and in times of scarcity it may be collected. In all
cases of its extraction from the earth several kinds of saltpetre are
obtained, and the usual course is to decompose these by the addition of
salts of potash, so as to form from them potash saltpetre, the kind most
generally consumed.

In this decomposition of animal remains and the formation of saltpetre
the air performs an important part, and the changes it effects are
worthy of our attention.

Let us consider the aërial ocean surrounding our earth and resting upon
it, greatly larger in mass and extent than the more familiar aqueous
ocean below it, and more closely and momentarily affecting our

The pure air, consisting of 20.96 volumes of oxygen gas and 79.04
volumes of nitrogen gas, preserves, under all the variations of climate
and height above the surface of the earth, a remarkable constancy of
composition,--the variation of one one-hundredth part never having been
observed. But additions and subtractions are being constantly made,
and the atmosphere, as distinguished from the pure air, is mixed with
exhalations from countless sources on the land and the sea. Wherever man
moves, his fire, his food, the materials of his dwellings, the soil he
disturbs, all add their volatile parts to the atmosphere. Vegetation,
death, and decay pour into it copiously substances foreign to the
composition of pure air. The combustion of one ton of coal adds at least
sixteen tons of impurity to the atmosphere; and when we estimate on
the daily consumption of coal the addition from this source alone, the
amount becomes enormous.

Experiments have been made for the purpose of estimating these
additions, and the results of those most carefully conducted show how
very slightly the combined causes affect the general composition of our
atmosphere; and although the present refined methods of chemists enable
them to detect the presence of an abnormal amount of some substances, no
research has yet been successful in determining how far this varies from
the natural quantity at all times necessarily present in the atmosphere.

It is, however, the comparatively minute portions of nitrogenous matter
in the atmosphere that we are to consider as the source of the nitrous
acids formed there, and of part of that found in the earth. From some
experiments made during the day and night it has been found, that, under
the most favorable circumstances, six millions six hundred and seventy
thousand parts of air afford one part of nitrogenous bodies, if the
whole quantity be abstracted! A portion only of this quantity can be
withdrawn in natural operations, such as the falling of rain and the
deposition of dew,--the larger part always remaining behind.

When the oxygen of our atmosphere is exposed, while in its usual
hygrometric state, to the influence of bodies attracting a portion of
it, such as decomposing substances, or when it forms the medium of
electrical discharges, it suddenly assumes new powers, acquires a
greatly increased activity, affects our organs of smell, dissolves
in fluids, and has been mistaken for a new substance, and even named
"ozone." Among the new characters thus conferred on it is the power of
uniting with or burning many substances. This ozonized oxygen, when
brought into mixture with many nitrogenized bodies, forms with them
nitrous acids, completely destroying their former condition and
composition; hence, in the atmosphere, this part of the oxygen becomes
a purifier of the whole mass, from which it removes putrescent
exhalations, miasmatic vapors, and the effluvia from every source of sea
or land. Very curious are the effects of this active oxygen, which is
ever present in some portion of the atmosphere. Moved by the wind, mixed
with the impure upward currents rising from cities, it seizes on
and changes rapidly all foulness, and if the currents are not too
voluminous, the impure air becomes changed to pure. As ozonized oxygen
can be easily detected, we may pass from the city, where (overpowered
by the exhalations) it does not exist, and find it in the air of the
vicinity; and moving away several miles, ascertain that a normal amount
there prevails, and that step by step, on our return to abodes of a
dense population, the quantity diminishes and finally all disappears.

We are now prepared to answer the second part of the question which was
suggested, and to find that nitrous acids formed in the atmosphere
by direct oxidation of nitrogenous matter may unite with the ammonia
present to produce one kind of saltpetre; and when the rains or the dews
carry this to the earth, the salts of lime, potash, and soda there found
will decompose this ammoniacal saltpetre, and set the ammonia free, to
act over again its part. So in regard to decomposing organic matters in
the soil: ozonized oxygen changes them in the same way. The earth
and calcareous rocks of caves, penetrated by the air, slowly produce
saltpetre, and before the theory of the action was understood,
artificial imitation of natural conditions enabled us to manufacture
saltpetre. Animal remains, stratified with porous earth or the sweepings
of cities, and disposed in long heaps or walls, protected from rain, but
exposed to the prevailing winds, soon form nitrous salts, and a large
space covered with these deposits carefully tended forms a saltpetre
plantation. France, Prussia, Sweden, Switzerland, and other countries,
have been supplied with saltpetre from similar artificial arrangements.

But the atmosphere is washed most thoroughly by the rains falling in and
near tropical countries, and the changes there are most rapid, so that
the production of saltpetre, favored by moisture and hot winds, attains
its highest limit in parts of India and the bordering countries.

During the prevalence of dry winds, the earth in many districts of India
becomes frosted over with nitrous efflorescences, and the great quantity
shipped from the commercial ports, and that consumed in China, is thus a
natural production of that region. The increased amount due to tropical
influences will be seen in the instances here given of the produce from
the rich earths of different countries:--


  France, Church of Mousseau,            5-3/8 per cent.
    "     Cavern of Fouquières,          3-1/2  "
  U. States, Tennessee, dirt of caves,   0.86   "
  Ceylon, Cave of Memoora,               3-1/10 "
  Upper Bengal, Tirhoot, earth simply,   1-6/10 "
  Patree in Guzerat, best sweepings,     8-7/10 "

In each case the salt is mixed saltpetres.


  France, 100 lbs. earth from
       plantations afford                 8 to 9 oz.
  Hungary and Sweden, from
       the same,                          1/2 to 2-3/10 per cent.

It may be calculated that the flesh of animals, free from bone,
carefully decomposed, will afford ninety-five pounds of saltpetre for
one thousand pounds thus consumed.

In the manufacture of saltpetre, the earths, whether naturally or
artificially impregnated, are mixed with the ashes from burnt wood, or
salts of potash, so that this base may take the place of all others, and
produce long prisms of potash saltpetre.

In this country there are numerous caves of great extent in Kentucky,
Tennessee, and Missouri, from which saltpetre has been manufactured.
Under the most favorable conditions of abundance of labor, obtainable
at a low price, potash saltpetre can be made at a cost about one-fourth
greater than the average price of India saltpetre, and those sources of
supply are the best natural deposits known on this side of the Rocky
Mountains. Where there is an insufficient supply of manure in a country,
resort to the artificial production of saltpetre is simply a robbery
committed on the resources of the agriculturists, and it is only during
the pressure of a great struggle like that of the wars of Napoleon, that
the conversion into saltpetre of materials which can become food for the
community would be permitted.

Hitherto, in peaceful times, our supply of saltpetre has come from India
through commercial channels; but twice within a few years this course of
trade has been interrupted by the British Government, and the price of a
necessary article has been greatly enhanced,--leading reflecting minds
to the inquiry after other sources whence to draw the quantity required
for an increasing consumption. On the boundary between Peru and Chili,
in South Peru, about forty miles from the ports of Conception and
Iquique, is a depression in the general surface of a saline desert,
where a bed of soda saltpetre, about two and a half feet thick and
one hundred and fifty miles long, exists. The salt is massive, and,
occurring in a rainless climate, it is dry, and contains about sixty per
cent. of pure soda saltpetre. In Brazil, on the San Francisco, the same
salt is found extending sixty or seventy miles,--and again near the town
of Pilao Arcado, the beds being about two hundred and forty miles from
Bahia, but at present inaccessible for want of roads. The Peruvian
native saltpetre is rudely refined in the desert, and then transported
on the backs of mules to the shipping-port. As found in commerce, it is
less impure than India saltpetre; and it might be usefully substituted
for the latter in the manufacture of gunpowder, were it less
deliquescent in damp atmospheres. For chemical purposes it now replaces
India saltpetre, but the larger consumption is perhaps as a fertilizer
of land, in the cool and humid climate of England, the low price it
bears in the market permitting this consumption.

We have found that the various saltpetres of natural production, or
those obtained in artificial arrangements, are converted by the use of
potash salts into potash saltpetre, and among the products so changed is
natural soda saltpetre. Now to us in this country, so near the sources
of abundant supply of soda saltpetre, this substitution becomes a matter
of great interest. We possess and can produce the alkaline salt of
potash in almost unlimited quantity, and, excepting for some special
purposes, it is consumed for its alkaline energy alone. When soda
saltpetre in proper proportion is dissolved and thus mixed with potash
salt, an exchange of bases takes place, and no loss of alkaline energy
follows. The soda in a quite pure state is eliminated from the soda
saltpetre, and will serve for the manufactures of glass and soap; while
the potash, taking the oxygen compound of the soda saltpetre, produces,
as a final result, a pure and beautiful prismatic saltpetre, most
economically and abundantly.

Instead of working on a hundred pounds of earth to obtain at most eight
or nine pounds of saltpetre, a hundred pounds of soda saltpetre will
afford more than one hundred and nine pounds of potash saltpetre, when
skilfully treated. Here, then, we have, by simple chemical treatment
of an imported, but very cheap salt, a result constituting a source of
abundant supply of potash saltpetre, _without the loss of the agent_
concerned in the transformation.

We have traced slightly in outline the formation of saltpetre to the
action of ozonized oxygen on nitrogen compounds, in the atmosphere, or
in the earth,--the conditions being the same in both cases. If we pursue
the study of this action of ozonized oxygen farther, we shall not
restrict its combining disposition to these compounds, but prove that it
has the power of uniting directly with the nitrogen naturally forming
part of the pure air. While nitrogenized bodies are present, however,
in the atmosphere, or in the humid artificial heaps of saltpetre
plantations, the action of ozonized oxygen is on these, and the nitrous
compounds formed unite with the bases lime, soda, and potash, also
present, to form saltpetre.

Under all the conditions necessary, we see the permanent gases, oxygen
and nitrogen, leaving the atmosphere and changing from their gaseous to
a solid dry state, when they become chemically combined with potash, and
there are 53-46/100 parts of the gaseous matter and 46-54/100 parts of
the potash in 100 parts of the saltpetre by weight.

Having now found what saltpetre is and how it is formed, let us advance
to the consideration of it as a source of power.

Through the exertion of chemical attraction the gaseous elements of the
atmosphere have become solid in the saltpetre; and as we know the weight
of this part in a cubic inch of saltpetre, the volume of the gases
combined is easily ascertained to be about eight hundred times that of
the saltpetre. Hence, as every cubic inch of condensation represents
an atmosphere as large as the cubic inch of saltpetre formed, we may
roughly estimate that the condensing force arising from chemical
attraction in this case is 800 times 15 lbs., or 12,000 lbs.!

Strictly speaking, only about four-tenths of a cubic inch of potash
holds this enormous power in connection with it so as to form a cubic
inch of saltpetre, which we may handle and bruise, may melt and cool,
dissolve and crystallize, without explosion or change. It contains
conserved a force which represents the aggregate result of innumerable
minute actions, taking place among portions of matter which escape
our senses from their minuteness and excite our wonder by their
transformation. Closely similar are these actions to the agencies in
vegetation which build up the wood of the tree or the material of
the coal destined to serve for the production of fire in all the
applications of steam which we have briefly noticed in illustration.

In availing ourselves of the concentrated power accumulated in
saltpetre, we resort to bodies which easily kindle when fire is applied,
such as sulphur and finely powdered charcoal: these substances are
most intimately mixed with the saltpetre in a powdered state, and the
dampened mass subjected to great pressure is afterwards broken into
grains of varied size, constituting gunpowder.

The substances thus added to the saltpetre have both the disposition and
the power of burning with and decomposing the nitrous element of the
saltpetre, and in so doing they do not simply open the way for the
energetic action of the gases escaping, but, owing to the high
temperature produced, a new force is added.

If the gases escaped from combination simply, they would exert for every
cubic inch of saltpetre, as we have here considered it, the direct power
of 12,000 lbs.; but under the new conditions, the volume of escaping gas
has a temperature above 2,000° Fahrenheit, and consequently its force
in overcoming resistance is more than four times as great, or at least
48,000 lbs.

Such, then, is the power which can be obtained from a cubic inch of
saltpetre, when it is so compounded as to form some of the kinds of
gunpowder; and the fact of greatest importance in this connection is the
control we have over the amount of the force exerted and the time in
which the energy can be expended, by variations in the proportions of
the eliminating agents employed.

We have used the well-known term Gunpowder to express the compound by
which we easily obtain the power latent in saltpetre; and the use of the
term suggests the employment of guns, which is secondary to the main
point we are illustrating. As the enormous consumption of power takes
place during peaceful times, so the consumption of saltpetre during a
state of war is much lessened, because the prosecution of public and
private works is then nearly suspended.

The value and importance of saltpetre as a source of power is seen in
the adaptation of its explosive force to special purposes. It performs
that work well which we cannot carry on so perfectly by means of any
other agent, and the great mining and engineering works of a country are
dependent on this source for their success, and for overcoming obstacles
where other forces fail. With positive certainty the engineer can remove
a portion of a cliff or rock without breaking it into many parts, and
can displace masses to convenient distances, under all the varying
demands which arise in the process of mining, tunnelling, or cutting
into the earth.

In all these cases of application we see that the powder contains within
itself both the material for producing force and the means by which that
force is applied, no other motor being necessary in its application.

Modern warfare has become in its simplest expression the intelligent
application of force, and that side will successfully overcome or resist
the other which can in the shortest time so direct the greater force.
In artillery as well as infantry practice, the control over the time
necessary in the decomposition of the powder has been obtained through
the refinements already made in the manufacture, and the best results
of the latest trials confirm in full the conclusion that saltpetre is a
source of great and easily controlled power, which can act through short
or extended space.

Under the view here presented, it is evident that saltpetre is
indispensable to progress in the arts of civilization and peace, as well
as in military operations, and that no nation can advance in material
interests, or even maintain strict independence, without possessing
within its boundaries either saltpetre or the sources from which it
can be drawn at all times. In its use for protecting the property of
a nation from the attacks of an enemy, and as the means of insuring
respect, we may consider saltpetre as an element of strength in a State,
and as such deserving a high place in the consideration of those who
direct the counsels or form the policy of a country.

Has the subject of having an exhaustless supply of this important
product or the means of producing it been duly considered?

       *       *       *       *       *


It is not very flattering to that glory-loving, battle-seeking creature,
Man, that his best-arranged schemes for the destruction of his fellows
should often be made to fail by the condition of the weather. More
or less have the greatest of generals been "servile to all the skyey
influences." Upon the state of the atmosphere frequently depends the
ability of men to fight, and military hopes rise and fall with the
rising and falling of the metal in the thermometer's tube. Mercury
governs Mars. A hero is stripped of his plumes by a tempest, and his
laurels fly away on the invisible wings of the wind, and are seen no
more forever. Empires fall because of a heavy fall of snow. Storms of
rain have more than once caused monarchs to cease to reign. A hard
frost, a sudden thaw, a "hot spell," a "cold snap," a contrary wind, a
long drought, a storm of sand,--all these things have had their part in
deciding the destinies of dynasties, the fortunes of races, and the fate
of nations. Leave the weather out of history, and it is as if night were
left out of the day, and winter out of the year. Americans have fretted
a little because their "Grand Army" could not advance through mud that
came up to the horses' shoulders, and in which even the seven-league
boots would have stuck, though they had been worn as deftly as Ariel
could have worn them. They talked as if no such thing had ever before
been known to stay the march of armies; whereas all military operations
have, to a greater or a lesser extent, depended for their issue upon the
softening or the hardening of the earth, or upon the clearing or the
clouding of the sky. The elements have fought against this or that
conqueror, or would-be conqueror, as the stars in their courses fought
against Sisera; and the Kishon is not the only river that has through
its rise put an end to the hopes of a tyrant. The condition of rivers,
which must be owing to the condition of the weather, has often colored
events for ages, perhaps forever. The melting of the snows of the
Pyrenees, causing a great rise of the rivers of Northern Spain, came
nigh bringing ruin upon Julius Caesar himself; and nothing but the
feeble character of the opposing general saved him from destruction.

The preservation of Greece, with all its incalculable consequences, must
be credited to the weather. The first attempt to conquer that country,
made by the Persians, failed because of a storm that disabled their
fleet. Mardonius crossed the Hellespont twelve or thirteen years before
that feat was accomplished by Xerxes, and he purposed marching as far as
Athens. His army was not unsuccessful, but off Mount Athos the Persian
fleet was overtaken by a storm, which destroyed three hundred ships
and twenty thousand men. This compelled him to retreat, and the Greeks
gained time to prepare for the coming of their enemy. But for that
storm, Athens would have been taken and destroyed, the Persians having
an especial grudge against the Athenians because of their part in the
taking and burning of Sardis; and Athens was destined to become Greece
for all after-time, so that her as yet dim light could not have been
quenched without darkening the whole world. When Xerxes himself entered
Europe, and was apparently about to convert Hellas into a satrapy, it
was a storm, or a brace of storms, that saved that country from so sad a
fate, and preserved it for the welfare of all after generations of men.
The Great King, in the hope of escaping "the unseen atmospheric enemies
which howl around that formidable promontory," had caused Mount Athos to
be cut through, but, as the historian observes, "the work of destruction
to his fleet was only transferred to the opposite side of the
intervening Thracian sea." That fleet was anchored on the Magnesian
coast, when a hurricane came upon it, known to the people of the country
as the _Hellespontias_, and which blew right upon the shore. For three
days this wind continued to blow, and the Persians lost four hundred
warships, many transports and provision craft, myriads of men, and an
enormous amount of _matériel_. The Grecian fleet, which had fled before
that of Persia, now retraced its course, believing that the latter was
destroyed, and would have fled again but for the arts and influence
of Themistocles. The sea-fights of Artemisium followed, in which the
advantage was, though not decisively, with the Greeks; and that
they finally retreated was owing to the success of the Persians at
Thermopylae. Between the first and second battle of Artemisium the
Persians suffered from another storm, which inflicted great losses upon
them. These disasters to the enemy greatly encouraged the Greeks,
who believed that they came directly from the gods; and they made it
possible for them to fight the naval battle of Salamis, and to win it.
So great was the alarm of Xerxes, who thought that the victors would
sail to the Hellespont, and destroy the bridge he had thrown over that
strait, that he ordered his still powerful fleet to hasten to its
protection. He himself fled by land, but on his arrival at the
Hellespont he found that the bridge had been destroyed by a storm; and
he must have been impressed as deeply as Napoleon was in this century,
that the elements had leagued themselves with his mortal enemies. After
his flight, and the withdrawal of his fleet from the war, the Persians
had not a chance left, and the defeat of his lieutenant Mardonius, at
Plataea, was of the nature of a foregone conclusion.

It is not possible to exaggerate the importance of the assistance which
the Greeks received from the storms mentioned, and it is not strange
that they were lavish in their thanks and offerings to Poseidon the
Saviour, or that they continued piously to express their gratitude
in later days. Mankind at large have reason to be thankful for the
occurrence of those storms; for if they had not happened, Greece must
have been conquered, and all that she has been to the world would have
been that world's loss. It was not until after the overthrow of the
Persians that Athens became the home of science, literature, art, and
commerce; and if Athens had been removed from Greece, there would have
been little of Hellenic genius left for the delight of future days. Not
only was most of that which is known as Greek literature the production
of the years that followed the failure of Xerxes, but the success of the
Greeks was the means of preserving all of their earlier literature. The
Persians were not barbarians, and, had they achieved their purpose, they
might have promoted civilisation in Europe; but that civilization would
have been Asiatic in its character, and it might have been as fleeting
as the labors of the Carthaginians in Europe and Africa. Nor would they
have felt any interest in the preservation of the works of those Greeks
who wrote before the Marathonian time, which they would have regarded
with that contempt with which most conquerors look upon the labors of
those whom they have enslaved. That most brilliant of ages, the age of
Pericles, could never have come to pass under the dominion of Persia;
and the Greeks of Europe, when ruled by satraps from Susa, would have
been of as little weight in the ancient world as, under that kind of
rule, were the Greeks of Ionia. All future history was involved in the
decision of the Persian contest, and we may well feel grateful that the
event was not left for the hands of men to decide, but that the winds
and the waves of the Grecian seas so far equalized the power of the
combatants as to enable the Greeks, who fought for us as well as for
themselves, to roll back the tide of Oriental conquest. We might not
have had even the Secession War, if there had been no storms in the
Thracian seas in a summer the roses of which perished more than two
thousand three hundred years ago.[A]

[Footnote A: When the Athenian patriots under Thrasybulus occupied
Phyle, they would have been destroyed by the forces of the Thirty
Tyrants, had not a violent snow-storm happened, which compelled
the besiegers to retreat. The patriots characterized this storm as
Providential. Had the weather remained fair, the patriots would have
been beaten, the democracy would not have been restored, and we should
never have had the orations of Demosthenes; and perhaps even Plato might
not have written and thought for all after time.]

The modern contest which most resembles that which was waged between the
Greeks and the Persians is that war between England and Spain which
came to a crisis in 1588, when the Spanish Armada was destroyed by the
tempests of the Northern seas, after having been well mauled by the
English fleet. The English seamen behaved well, as they always do; but
the Spanish loss would not have been irreparable, if the weather had
remained mild. What men had begun so well storms completed. A contrary
wind prevented the Spanish Admiral from pursuing his course in a
direction that would have proved favorable to his second object, which
was the preservation of his fleet. He was forced to stand to the North,
so that he rushed right into the jaws of destruction. He encountered
in those remote and almost unknown waters tempests that were even more
merciless than the fighting ships and fireships of the island heretics.
Philip II. bore his loss with the same calmness that he bore the victory
of Lepanto. As, on hearing of the latter, he merely said, "Don John
risked a great deal," so, when tidings came to him that the Invincible
Armada had been found vincible, he quietly remarked, "I sent it out
against men, and not against the billows." Down to the very last year,
it had been the common, and all but universal opinion, that, if the
Spaniards had succeeded in landing in England, they would have been
beaten, so resolute were the English in their determination to oppose
them, and so extensive were their preparations for resistance. Elizabeth
at Tilbury had been one of the stock pieces of history, and her words of
defiance to Parma and to Spain have been ringing through the world ever
since they were uttered _after_ the Armada had ceased to threaten her
throne. We now know that the common opinion on this subject, like the
common opinion respecting some other crises, was all wrong, a delusion
and a sham, and based on nothing but plausible lies. Mr. Motley has put
men right on this point, as on some others; and it is impossible to
read his brilliant and accurate narrative of the events of 1588 without
coming to the conclusion that Elizabeth was in the summer of that year
in the way to receive punishment for the cowardly butchery which had
been perpetrated, in her name, if not by her direct orders, in the great
hall of Fotheringay. She was saved by those winds which helped the Dutch
to blockade Parma's army, in the first instance, and then by those
Orcadian tempests which smote the Armada, and converted its haughty
pride into a by-word and a scoffing. The military preparations of
England were of the feeblest character; and it is not too much to say,
that the only parallel case of Governmental weakness is that which is
afforded by the American history of last spring, when we had not an
efficient company or a seaworthy armed ship with which to fight the
Secessionists, who had been openly making their preparations for war for
months. The late Mr. Richard Rush mentions, in the second series of his
"Residence at the Court of London," that at a dinner at the Marquis of
Lansdowne's, in 1820, the conversation turned on the Spanish Armada; and
he was surprised to find that most of the company, which was composed of
members of Parliament and other public men, were of the opinion that the
Spaniards, could they have been landed, would have been victorious. With
genuine American faith in English invincibility, he wondered what the
company could mean, and also what the English armies would have been
about. It was not possible for any one then to have said that there were
no English armies at that time to be about anything; but now we see
that those armies were but imaginary bodies, having not even a paper
existence. Parma, who was even an abler diplomatist than soldier,--that
is, he was the most accomplished liar in an age that was made up of
falsehood,--had so completely gulled the astute Elizabeth that she was
living in the fools' paradise; and so little did she and most of her
counsellors expect invasion, that a single Spanish regiment of infantry
might, had it then been landed, have driven the whole organized force
of England from Sheerness to Bristol. Those Englishmen who sneer so
bitterly at the conduct of our Government but a year ago would do well
to study closely the history of their own country in 1588, in which they
will find much matter calculated to lessen their conceit, and to teach
them charity. The Lincoln Government of the United States had been in
existence but little more than thirty days when it found itself involved
in war with the Rebels; the Elizabethan Government had been in existence
for thirty years when the Armada came to the shores of England, to the
astonishment and dismay of those "barons bold and statesmen old in
bearded majesty" whom we have been content to regard as the bravest and
the wisest men that have lived since David and Solomon. Elizabeth, who
had a beard that vied with Burleigh's,--the evidence of her virgin
innocence,--felt every hair of her head curling from terror when she
learned how she had been "done" by Philip's lieutenant; and old Burleigh
must have thought that his mistress was in the condition of Jockey of
Norfolk's master at Bosworth,--"bought and sold." Fortunately for both
old women, and for us all, the summer gales of 1588 were adverse to the
Spaniards, and protected Old England. We know not whence the wind cometh
nor whither it goeth, but we know that its blows have often been given
with effect on human affairs; and it never blew with more usefulness,
since the time when it used up the ships of Xerxes, than when it sent
the ships of Philip to join "the treasures that old Ocean hoards." Had
England then been conquered by Spain, though but temporarily, Protestant
England would have ceased to exist, and the current of history would
have been as emphatically changed as was the current of the Euphrates
under the labors of the soldiers of Cyrus. We should have had no
Shakspeare, or a very different Shakspeare from the one that we have;
and the Elizabethan age would have presented to after centuries an
appearance altogether unlike that which now so impressively strikes the
mind. As that was the time out of which all that is great and good in
England and America has proceeded, in letters and in arms, in religion
and in politics, we can easily understand how vast must have been the
change, had not the winds of the North been so unpropitious to the
purposes of the King of the South.

The English are very proud of the victories of Crécy and Agincourt, as
well they may be; for, though gained in the course of as unjust and
unprovoked and cruel wars as ever were waged even by Englishmen, they
are as splendid specimens of slaughter-work as can be found in the
history of "the Devil's code of honor." But they owe them both to the
weather, which favored their ancestors, and was as unfavorable to the
ancestors of the French. At Crécy the Italian cross-bow men in the
French army not only came into the field worn down by a long march on a
hot day in August, but immediately after their arrival they were
exposed to a terrible thunder-storm, in which the rain fell in absolute
torrents, wetting the strings of their bows, and rendering them
unserviceable. The English archers, who carried the far more useful
long-bow, kept their bows in their cases until the rain ceased, and then
took them out dry, and in perfect condition; besides which, even if
the strings of the long-bows had been wetted, they could not have been
materially injured, as they were thin and pliable, while those of the
cross-bows were so thick and unpliable that they could not be tightened
or slackened at pleasure. In after-days this defect in the cross-bow was
removed, but it existed in full force in 1346. When the battle began,
the Italian _quarrel_ was found to be worthless, because of the strings
of the arbalists having absorbed so much moisture, while the English
arrows came upon the poor Genoese in frightful showers, throwing them
into a panic, and inaugurating disaster to the French at the very
beginning of the action. The day was lost from that moment, and there
was not a leader among the French capable of restoring it.

At Agincourt the circumstances were very different, but quite as fatal
to the French. That battle was fought on the 25th of October, 1415, and
the French should have won it according to all the rules of war,--but
they did not win it, because they had too much valor and too little
sense. A cautious coward makes a better soldier than a valiant fool, and
the boiling bravery of the French has lost them more battles than any
other people have lost through timidity. Henry V.'s invasion of France
was the most wicked attack that ever was made even by England on a
neighboring nation, and it was meeting with its proper reward, when
French folly ruined everything. The French overtook the English on the
24th of October, and by judicious action might have destroyed them, for
they were by far the more numerous,--though most English authorities,
with characteristic "unveracity," grossly exaggerate the inequality of
numbers that really did exist between the two armies. On the night of
the 24th the rain fell heavily, making the ground quite unfit for
the operations of heavy cavalry, in which the strength of the French
consisted, while the English had their incomparable archers, the
worthy predecessors of the English infantry of to-day, one of whom was
calculated to do more efficient service than could have been expected,
as the circumstances of the field were, from ten knights cumbered with
bulky mail. Sir Harris Nicolas, the most candid English historian of the
battle, and who prepared a very useful, but unreadable volume concerning
it, after speaking of the bad arrangements adopted by the French,
proceeds to say,--"The inconveniences under which the French labored
were much increased by the state of the ground, which was not only soft
from heavy rains, but was broken up by their horses during the preceding
night, the weather having obliged the valets and pages to keep them in
motion. Thus the statement of French historians may readily be credited,
that, from the ponderous armor with which the men-at-arms were
enveloped, and the softness of the ground, it was with the utmost
difficulty they could either move or lift their weapons, notwithstanding
their lances had been shortened to enable them to fight closely,--that
the horses at every step sunk so deeply into the mud, that it required
great exertion to extricate them,--and that the narrowness of the place
caused their archers to be so crowded as to prevent them from drawing
their bows." Michelet's description of the day is the best that can be
read, and he tells us, that, when the signal of battle was given by Sir
Thomas Erpingham, the English shouted, but "the French army, to their
great astonishment, remained motionless. Horses and knights appeared to
be enchanted, or struck dead in their armor. The fact was, that their
large battle-steeds, weighed down with their heavy riders and lumbering
caparisons of iron, had all their feet completely sunk in the deep wet
clay; they were fixed there, and could only struggle out to crawl on a
few steps at a walk," Upon this mass of chivalry, all stuck in the mud,
the cloth-yard shafts of the English yeomen fell like hailstones upon
the summer corn. Some few of the French made mad efforts to charge, but
were annihilated before they could reach the English line. The English
advanced upon the "mountain of men and horses mixed together," and
butchered their immovable enemies at their leisure. Plebeian hands that
day poured out patrician blood in torrents. The French fell into a
panic, and those of their number who could run away did so. It was the
story of Poitiers over again, in one respect; for the Black Prince owed
his victory to a panic that befell a body of sixteen thousand French,
who scattered and fled without having struck a blow. Agincourt was
fought on St. Crispin's day, and a precious strapping the French got.
The English found that there was "nothing like leather." It was the last
battle in which the oriflamme was displayed; and well it might be; for,
red as it was, it must have blushed a deeper red over the folly of the
French commanders.

The greatest battle ever fought on British ground, with the exceptions
of Hastings and Bannockburn,--and greater even than Hastings, if numbers
are allowed to count,--was that of Towton, the chief action in the Wars
of the Roses; and its decision was due to the effect of the weather on
the defeated army. It was fought on the 29th of March, 1461, which was
the Palm-Sunday of that year. Edward, Earl of March, eldest son of the
Duke of York, having made himself King of England, advanced to the North
to meet the Lancastrian army. That army was sixty thousand strong, while
Edward IV. was at the head of less than forty-nine thousand. After some
preliminary fighting, battle was joined on a plain between the villages
of Saxton and Towton, in Yorkshire, and raged for ten hours. Palm-Sunday
was a dark and tempestuous day, with the snow falling heavily. At first
the wind was favorable to the Lancastrians, but it suddenly changed, and
blew the snow right into their faces. This was bad enough, but it was
not the worst, for the snow slackened their bow-strings, causing their
arrows to fall short of the Yorkists, who took them from the ground, and
sent them back with fatal effect. The Lancastrian leaders then sought
closer conflict, but the Yorkists had already achieved those advantages
which, under a good general, are sure to prepare the way to victory. It
was as if the snow had resolved to give success to the pale rose. That
which Edward had won he was resolved to increase, and his dispositions
were of the highest military excellence; but it is asserted that he
would have been beaten, because of the superiority of the enemy in men,
but for the coming up, at the eleventh hour, of the Duke of Norfolk, who
was the Joseph Johnston of 1461, doing for Edward what the Secessionist
Johnston did for Beauregard in 1861. The Lancastrians then gave way,
and retreated, at first in orderly fashion, but finally falling into
a panic, when they were cut down by thousands. They lost twenty-eight
thousand men, and the Yorkists eight thousand. This was a fine piece of
work for the beginning of Passion-Week, bloody laurels gained in civil
conflict being substituted for palm-branches! No such battle was ever
fought by Englishmen in foreign lands. This was the day when

  "Wharfe ran red with slaughter,
  Gathering in its guilty flood
  The carnage, and the ill-spilt blood
  That forty thousand lives could yield.
  Crécy was to this but sport,
  Poitiers but a pageant vain,
  And the work of Agincourt
  Only like a tournament.
  Half the blood which there was spent
  Had sufficed to win again
  Anjou and ill-yielded Maine,
  Normandy and Aquitaine."

Edward IV., it should seem, was especially favored by the powers of the
air; for, if he owed victory at Towton to wind and snow, he owed it to a
mist at Barnet. This last action was fought on the 14th of April, 1471,
and the prevalence of the mist, which was very thick, enabled Edward so
to order his military work as to counterbalance the enemy's superiority
in numbers. The mist was attributed to the arts of Friar Bungay, a
famous and most rascally "nigromancer." The mistake made by Warwick's
men, when they thought Oxford's cognizance, a star paled with rays,
was that of Edward, which was a sun in full glory, (the White Rose _en
soleil,_) and so assailed their own friends, and created a panic, was in
part attributable to the mist, which prevented them from seeing clearly;
and this mistake was the immediate occasion of the overthrow of the army
of the Red Rose. That Edward was enabled to fight the Battle of Barnet
with any hope of success was also owing to the weather. Margaret of
Anjou had assembled a force in France, Louis XI. supporting her cause,
and this force was ready to sail in February, and by its presence
in England victory would unquestionably have been secured for the
Lancastrians. But the elements opposed themselves to her purpose with so
much pertinacity and consistency that it is not strange that men should
have seen therein the visible hand of Providence. Three times did she
embark, but only to be driven back by the wind, and to suffer loss. Some
of her party sought to persuade her to abandon the enterprise, as Heaven
seemed to oppose it; but Margaret was a strong-minded woman, and would
not listen to the suggestions of superstitious cowards. She sailed a
fourth time, and held on in the face of bad weather. Half a day of good
weather was all that was necessary to reach England, but it was not
until the end of almost the third week that she was able to effect a
landing, and then at a point distant from Warwick. Had the King-maker
been the statesman-soldier that he has had the credit of being, he never
would have fought Edward until he had been joined by Margaret; and he
must have known that her non-arrival was owing to contrary winds,
he having been himself a naval commander. But he acted like a
knight-errant, not like a general, gave battle, and was defeated and
slain, "The Last of the Barons." Having triumphed at Barnet, Edward
marched to meet Margaret's army, which was led by Somerset, and defeated
it on the 4th of May, after a hardly-contested action at Tewkesbury. It
was on that field that Prince Edward of Lancaster perished; and as his
father, Henry VI., died a few days later, "of pure displeasure and
melancholy," the line of Lancaster became extinct.

In justice to the memory of a monarch, to whom justice has never been
done, it should be remarked, in passing, that Edward IV. deserved the
favors of Fortune, if talent for war insures success in war. He was, so
far as success goes, one of the greatest soldiers that ever lived. He
never fought a battle that he did not win, and he never won a battle
without annihilating his foe. He was not yet nineteen when he commanded
at Towton, at the head of almost fifty thousand men; and two months
before he had gained the Battle of Mortimer's Cross, under circumstances
that showed skillful generalship. No similar instance of precocity is
to be found in the military history of mankind. His victories have been
attributed to Warwick, but it is noticeable that he was as successful
over Warwick as he had been over the Lancastrians, against whom Warwick
originally fought. Barnet was, with fewer combatants, as remarkable an
action as Towton; and at Mortimer's Cross Warwick was not present, while
he fought and lost the second battle of St. Alban's seventeen days after
Edward had won his first victory. Warwick was not a general, but a
magnificent paladin, resembling much Coeur de Lion, and most decidedly
out of place in the England of the last half of the fifteenth century.
What is peculiarly remarkable in Edward's case is this: he had received
no military training beyond that which was common to all high-born
youths in that age. The French wars had long been over, and what had
happened in the early years of the Roses' quarrel was certainly not
calculated to make generals out of children. In this respect Edward
stands quite alone in the list of great commanders. Alexander, Hannibal,
the first Scipio Africanus, Pompeius, Don John of Austria, Condé,
Charles XII., Napoleon, and some other young soldiers of the highest
eminence, were either all regularly instructed in the military art, or
succeeded to the command of veteran armies, or were advised and assisted
by old and skilful generals. Besides, they were all older than Edward
when they first had independent command. Gaston de Foix approaches
nearest to the Yorkist king, but he gained only one battle, was older at
Ravenna than Edward was at Towton, and perished in the hour of victory.
Clive, perhaps, may be considered as equalling the Plantagenet king in
original genius for war, but the scene of his actions, and the materials
with which he wrought, were so very different from those of other
youthful commanders, that no just comparison can be made between him and
any one of their number.

The English have asserted that they lost the Battle of Falkirk, in 1746,
because of the severity of a snow-storm that took place when they went
into action, a strong wind blowing the snow straight into their faces;
and one of the causes of the defeat of the Highlanders at Culloden,
three months later, was another fall of snow, which was accompanied by
wind that then blew into their faces. Fortune was impartial, and made
the one storm to balance the other.

That the American army was not destroyed soon after the Battle of Long
Island must be attributed to the foggy weather of the 29th of August,
1776. But for the successful retreat of Washington's army from Long
Island, on the night of the 29th-30th, the Declaration of Independence
would have been made waste paper in "sixty days" after its adoption; and
that retreat could not have been made, had there not been a dense fog
under cover of which to make it, and to deter the enemy from action.
Washington and his whole army would have been slain or captured, could
the British forces have had clear weather in which to operate. "The
fog which prevailed all this time," says Irving, "seemed almost
Providential. While it hung over Long Island, and concealed the
movements of the Americans, the atmosphere was clear on the New York
side of the river. The adverse wind, too, died away, the river became
so smooth that the rowboats could be laden almost to the gunwale; and a
favoring breeze sprang up for the sail-boats. The whole embarkation of
troops, ammunition, provisions, cattle, horses, and carts, was happily
effected, and by daybreak the greater part had safely reached the city,
thanks to the aid of Glover's Marblehead men. Scarce anything was
abandoned to the enemy, excepting a few heavy pieces of artillery. At
a proper time, Mifflin with his covering party left the lines, and
effected a silent retreat to the ferry. Washington, though repeatedly
entreated, refused to enter a boat until all the troops were embarked,
and crossed the river with the last." Americans should ever regard a fog
with a certain reverence, for a fog saved their country in 1776.

That Poland was not restored to national rank by Napoleon I. was in some
measure owing to the weather of the latter days of 1806. Those of the
French officers who marched through the better portions of that country
were for its restoration, but others who waded through its terrible
mud took different ground in every sense. Hence there was a serious
difference of opinion in the French councils on this vitally important
subject, which had its influence on Napoleon's mind. The severe
winter-weather of 1806-7, by preventing the Emperor from destroying the
Russians, which he was on the point of doing, was prejudicial to the
interests of Poland; for the ultimate effect was, to compel France to
treat with Russia as equal with equal, notwithstanding the crowning
victory of Friedland. This done, there was no present hope of Polish
restoration, as Alexander frankly told the French Emperor that the world
would not be large enough for them both, if he should seek to renew
Poland's rank as a nation. So far as the failure of the French in 1812
is chargeable upon the weather, the weather must be considered as having
been again the enemy of Poland; for Napoleon would have restored that
country, had he succeeded in his Russian campaign. Such restoration
would then have been a necessity of his position. But it was not the
weather of Russia that caused the French failure of 1812. That failure
was all but complete before the invaders of Russia had experienced any
very severe weather. The two powers that conquered Napoleon were those
which General Von Knesebeck had pointed out to Alexander as sure to
be too much for him,--Space and Time. The cold, frosts, and snows of
Russia simply completed what those powers had so well begun, and so well

In the grand campaign of 1813, the weather had an extraordinary
influence on Napoleon's fortunes, the rains of Germany really doing him
far more mischief than he had experienced from the snows of Russia; and,
oddly enough, a portion of this mischief came to him through the gate
of victory. The war between the French and the Allies was renewed the
middle of August, and Napoleon purposed crushing the Army of Silesia,
under old Blücher, and marched upon it; but he was recalled by the
advance of the Grand Army of the Allies upon Dresden; for, if that city
had fallen into their hands, his communications with the Rhine would
have been lost. Returning to Dresden, he restored affairs there on the
26th of August; and on the 27th, the Battle of Dresden was fought, the
last of his great victories. It was a day of mist and rain, the mist
being thick, and the rain heavy. Under cover of the mist, Murat
surprised a portion of the Austrian infantry, and, as their muskets were
rendered unserviceable by the rain, they fell a prey to his horse, who
were assisted by infantry and artillery, more than sixteen thousand men
being killed, wounded, or captured. The left wing of the Allies was
annihilated. So far all was well for the Child of Destiny; but Nemesis
was preparing to exact her dues very swiftly. A victory can scarcely be
so called, unless it be well followed up; and whether Dresden should be
another Austerlitz depended upon what might be done during the next two
or three days. Napoleon did _not_ act with his usual energy on that
critical occasion, and in seven months he had ceased to reign. Why did
he refrain from reaping the fruits of victory? Because the weather,
which had been so favorable to his fortunes on the 27th, was quite as
unfavorable to his person. On that day he was exposed to the rain for
twelve hours, and when he returned to Dresden, at night, he was wet to
the skin, and covered with mud, while the water was streaming from his
chapeau, which the storm had knocked _out_ of a cocked hat. It was a
peculiarity of Napoleon's constitution, that he could not expose himself
to damp without bringing on a pain in the stomach; and this pain seized
him at noon on the 28th, when he had partaken of a repast at Pirna,
whither he had gone in the course of his operations against the beaten
enemy. This illness caused him to cease his personal exertions, but not
from giving such orders as the work before him required him to issue.
Perhaps it would have had no evil effect, had it not been, that, while
halting at Pirna, news came to him of two great failures of distant
armies, which led him to order the Young Guard to halt at that
place,--an order that cost him his empire. One more march in advance,
and Napoleon would have become greater than ever he had been; but
that march was not made, and so the flying foe was converted into a
victorious army. For General Vandamme, who was at the head of the chief
force of the pursuing French, pressed the Allies with energy, relying on
the support of the Emperor, whose orders he was carrying out in the best
manner. This led to the Battle of Kulm, in which Vandamme was defeated,
and his army destroyed for the time, because of the overwhelming
superiority of the enemy; whereas that action would have been one of the
completest French victories, had the Young Guard been ordered to march
from Pirna, according to the original intention. The roads were in a
most frightful state, in consequence of the wet weather; but, as a
victorious army always finds food, so it always finds roads over which
to advance to the completion of its task, unless its chief has no head.
Vandamme had a head, and thought he was winning the Marshal's staff
which Napoleon had said was awaiting him in the midst of the enemy's
retiring masses. So confident was he that the Emperor would support him,
that he would not retreat while yet it was in his power to do so; and
the consequence was that his _corps d'armée_ was torn to pieces, and
himself captured. Napoleon had the meanness to charge Vandamme with
going too far and seeking to do too much, as he supposed he was slain,
and therefore could not prove that he was simply obeying orders, as
well as acting in exact accordance with sound military principles. That
Vandamme was right is established by the fact that an order came from
Napoleon to Marshal Mortier, who commanded at Pirna, to reinforce him
with two divisions; but the order did not reach Mortier until after
Vandamme had been defeated. Marshal Saint-Cyr, who was bound to aid
Vandamme, was grossly negligent, and failed of his duty; but even he
would have acted well, had he been acting under the eye of the Emperor,
as would have been the case, had not the weather of the 27th broken down
the health of Napoleon, and had not other disasters to the French, all
caused by the same storm that had raged around Dresden, induced Napoleon
to direct his personal attention to points remote from the scene of his
last triumph.[B]

[Footnote B: There was a story current that Napoleon's indisposition on
the 28th of August was caused by his eating heartily of a shoulder of
mutton stuffed with garlic, not the wholesomest food in the world; and
the digestive powers having been reduced by long exposure to damp, this
dish may have been too much for them. Thiers says that the Imperial
illness at Pirna was "a malady invented by flatterers," and yet only a
few pages before he says that "Napoleon proceeded to Pirna, where he
arrived about noon, and where, after having partaken of a slight repast,
he was seized with a pain in the stomach, to which he was subject after
exposure to damp." Napoleon suffered from stomach complaints from an
early period of his career, and one of their effects is greatly to
lessen the powers of the sufferer's mind. His want of energy at Borodino
was attributed to a disordered stomach, and the Russians were simply
beaten, not destroyed, on that field. When he beard of Vandamme's
defeat, Napoleon said, "One should make a bridge of gold for a flying
enemy, where it is impossible, as in Vandamme's case, to oppose to him
a bulwark of steel." He forgot that his own plan was to have opposed to
the enemy a bulwark of steel, and that the non-existence of that bulwark
on the 30th of August was owing to his own negligence. Still, the
reverse at Kulm might not have proved so terribly fatal, had it not been
preceded by the reverses on the Katzbach, which also were owing to the
heavy rains, and news of which was the cause of the halting of so large
a portion of his pursuing force at Pirna, and the march of many of his
best men back to Dresden, his intention being to attempt the restoration
of affairs in that quarter, where they had been so sadly compromised
under Macdonald's direction. He was as much overworked by the necessity
of attending to so many theatres of action as his armies were
overmatched in the field by the superior numbers of the Allies. He is
said to have repeated the following lines, after musing for a while on
the news from Kulm:--

  "J'ai servi, commandé, vaincu quarante années;
  Du monde entre mes mains j'ai tu les destinées,
  Et j'ai toujours connu qu'en chaque événement
  Le destin des états dépendait d'un moment."

But he had hours, we might say days, to settle his destiny, and was not
tied down to a moment. Afterward he had the fairness to admit that he
had lost a great opportunity to regain the ascendency in not supporting
Vandamme with the whole of the Young Guard.]

When Napoleon was called from the pursuit of Blücher by Schwarzenberg's
advance upon Dresden, he confided the command of the army that was to
act against that of Silesia to Marshal Macdonald, a brave and honest
man, but a very inferior soldier, yet who might have managed to hold his
own against so unscientific a leader as the fighting old hussar, had it
not been for the terrible rainstorm that began on the night of the 25th
of August. The swelling of the rivers, some of them deep and rapid, led
to the isolation of the French divisions, while the rain was so severe
as to prevent them from using their muskets. Animated by the most ardent
hatred, the new Prussian levies, few of whom had been in service half as
long as our volunteers, and many of whom were but mere boys, rushed upon
their enemies, butchering them with butt and bayonet, and forcing
them into the boiling torrent of the Katzbach. Puthod's division was
prevented from rejoining its comrades by the height of the waters, and
was destroyed, though one of the best bodies in the French army. The
state of the country drove the French divisions together on the same
lines of retreat, creating immense confusion, and leading to the most
serious losses of men and _matériel_. Macdonald's blunder was in
advancing after the storm began, and had lasted for a whole night. His
officers pointed out the danger of his course, but he was one of those
men who think, that, because they are not knaves, they can accomplish
everything; but the laws of Nature no more yield to honest stupidity
than to clever roguery. The Baron Von Müffling, who was present in
Blücher's army, says, that, when the French attempted to protect their
retreat at the Katzbach with artillery, the guns stuck in the mud; and
he adds,--"The field of battle was so saturated by the incessant rain,
that a great portion of our infantry left their shoes sticking in
the mud, and followed the enemy barefoot." Even a brook, called the
Deichsel, was so swollen by the rain that the French could cross it at
only one place, and there they lost wagons and guns. Old Blücher issued
a thundering proclamation for the encouragement of his troops. "In the
battle on the Katzbach," he said to them, "the enemy came to meet you
with defiance. Courageously, and with the rapidity of lightning, you
issued from behind your heights. You scorned to attack them with
musketry-fire: you advanced without a halt; your bayonets drove them
down the steep ridge of the valley of the raging Neisse and Katzbach.
Afterwards you waded through rivers and brooks swollen with rain. You
passed nights in mud. You suffered for want of provisions, as the
impassable roads and want of conveyance hindered the baggage from
following. You struggled with cold, wet, privations, and want of
clothing; nevertheless you did not murmur,--with great exertions you
pursued your routed foe. Receive my thanks for such laudable conduct.
The man alone who unites such qualities is a true soldier. One hundred
and three cannons, two hundred and fifty ammunition-wagons, the enemy's
field-hospitals, their field-forges, their flour-wagons, one general of
division, two generals of brigade, a great number of colonels, staff
and other officers, eighteen thousand prisoners, two eagles, and other
trophies, are in your hands. The terror of your arms has so seized upon
the rest of your opponents, that they will no longer bear the sight of
your bayonets. You have seen the roads and fields between the Katzbach
and the Bober: they bear the signs of the terror and confusion of your
enemy." The bluff old General, who at seventy had more "dash" than all
the rest of the leaders of the Allies combined, and who did most of the
real fighting business of "those who wished and worked" Napoleon's fall,
knew how to talk to soldiers, which is a quality not always possessed
by even eminent commanders. Soldiers love a leader who can take them to
victory, and then talk to them about it. Such a man is "one of them."

Napoleon never recovered from the effects of the losses he experienced
at Kulm and on the Katzbach,--losses due entirely to the wetness of the
weather. He went downward from that time with terrible velocity, and was
in Elba the next spring, seven months after having been on the Elbe. The
winter campaign of 1814, of which so much is said, ought to furnish
some matter for a paper on weather in war; but the truth is, that that
campaign was conducted politically by the Allies. There was never a
time, after the first of February, when, if they had conducted the war
solely on military principles, they could not have been in Paris in a

Napoleon's last campaign owed its lamentable decision to the peculiar
character of the weather on its last two days, though one would not look
for such a thing as severe weather in June, in Flanders. But so it was,
and Waterloo would have been a French victory, and Wellington where
_Henry_ was when he ran against _Eclipse_,--nowhere,--if the rain that
fell so heavily on the 17th of June had been postponed only twenty-four
hours. Up to the afternoon of the 17th, the weather, though very warm,
was dry, and the French were engaged in following their enemies. The
Anglo-Dutch infantry had retreated from Quatre-Bras, and the cavalry was
following, and was itself followed by the French cavalry, who pressed it
with great audacity. "The weather," says Captain Siborne, "during the
morning, had become oppressively hot; it was now a dead calm; not a leaf
was stirring; and the atmosphere was close to an intolerable degree;
while a dark, heavy, dense cloud impended over the combatants. The 18th
[English] Hussars were fully prepared, and awaited but the command to
charge, when the brigade guns on the right commenced firing, for the
purpose of previously disturbing and breaking the order of the enemy's
advance. The concussion seemed instantly to rebound through the still
atmosphere, and communicate, as an electric spark, with the heavily
charged mass above. A most awfully loud thunder-clap burst forth,
immediately succeeded by a rain which has never, probably, been exceeded
in violence even within the tropics. In a very few minutes the ground
became perfectly saturated,--so much so, that it was quite impracticable
for any rapid movement of the cavalry." This storm prevented the French
from pressing with due force upon their retiring foes; but that would
have been but a small evil, if the storm had not settled into a steady
and heavy rain, which converted the fat Flemish soil into a mud that
would have done discredit even to the "sacred soil" of Virginia, and the
latter has the discredit of being the nastiest earth in America. All
through the night the windows of heaven were open, as if weeping over
the spectacle of two hundred thousand men preparing to butcher each
other. Occasionally the rain fell in torrents, greatly distressing the
soldiers, who had no tents. On the morning of the 18th the rain ceased,
but the day continued cloudy, and the sun did not show himself until the
moment before setting, when for an instant he blazed forth in full glory
upon the forward movement of the Allies. One may wonder if Napoleon
then thought of that morning "Sun of Austerlitz," which he had so often
apostrophized in the days of his meridian triumphs. The evening sun of
Waterloo was the practical antithesis to the rising sun of Austerlitz.

The Battle of Waterloo was not begun until about twelve o'clock, because
of the state of the ground, which did not admit of the action of cavalry
and artillery until several hours had been allowed for its hardening.
That inevitable delay was the occasion of the victory of the Allies;
for, if the battle had been opened at seven o'clock, the French would
have defeated Wellington's army before a Prussian regiment could have
arrived on the field. It has been said that the rain was as baneful to
the Allies as to the French, as it prevented the early arrival of the
Prussians; but the remark comes only from persons who are not familiar
with the details of the most momentous of modern pitched battles.
Bülow's Prussian corps, which was the first to reach the field, marched
through Wavre in the forenoon of the 18th; but no sooner had its
advanced guard--an infantry brigade, a cavalry regiment, and one
battery--cleared that town, than a fire broke out there, which greatly
delayed the march of the remainder of the corps. There were many
ammunition-wagons in the streets, and, fearful of losing them, and of
being deprived of the means of fighting, the Prussians halted, and
turned firemen for the occasion. This not only prevented most of the
corps from arriving early on the right flank of the French, but it
prevented the advanced guard from acting, Bülow being too good a soldier
to risk so small a force as that immediately at his command in an attack
on the French army. It was not until about half-past one that the
Prussians were first seen by the Emperor, and then at so great a
distance that even with glasses it was difficult to say whether the
objects looked at were men or trees. But for the bad weather, it is
possible that Bülow's whole corps, supposing there had been no fire at
Wavre, might have arrived within striking distance of the French army
by two o'clock, P.M.; but by that hour the battle between Napoleon and
Wellington would have been decided, and the Prussians would have come
up only to "augment the slaughter," had the ground been hard enough for
operations at an early hour of the day. As the battle was necessarily
fought in the afternoon, because of the softness of the soil consequent
on the heavy rains of the preceding day and night, there was time gained
for the arrival of Bülow's corps by four o'clock of the afternoon of the
18th. Against that corps Napoleon had to send almost twenty thousand of
his men, and sixty-six pieces of cannon, all of which might have been
employed against Wellington's army, had the battle been fought in the
forenoon. As it was, that large force never fired a shot at the English.
The other Prussian corps that reached the field toward the close of the
day, Zieten's and Pirch's, did not leave Wavre until about noon. The
coming up of the advanced guard of Zieten, but a short time before the
close of the battle, enabled Wellington to employ the fresh cavalry of
Vivian and Vandeleur at another part of his line, where they did eminent
service for him at a time which is known as "the crisis" of the day.
Taking all these facts into consideration, it must be admitted that
there never was a more important rain-storm than that which happened on
the 17th of June, 1815. Had it occurred twenty-four hours later, the
destinies of the world might, and most probably would, have been
completely changed; for Waterloo was one of those decisive battles which
dominate the ages through their results, belonging to the same class
of combats as do Marathon, Pharsalia, Lepanto, Blenheim, Yorktown, and
Trafalgar. It was decided by water, and not by fire, though the latter
was hot enough on that fatal field to satisfy the most determined lover
of courage and glory.

If space permitted, we could bring forward many other facts to show the
influence of weather on the operations of war. We could show that it was
owing to changes of wind that the Spaniards failed to take Leyden, the
fall of which into their hands would probably have proved fatal to the
Dutch cause; that a sudden thaw prevented the French from seizing the
Hague in 1672, and compelling the Dutch to acknowledge themselves
subjects of Louis XIV.; that a change of wind enabled William of Orange
to land in England, in 1688, without fighting a battle, when even
victory might have been fatal to his purpose; that Continental
expeditions fitted out for the purpose of restoring the Stuarts to the
British throne were more than once ruined by the occurrence of tempests;
that the defeat of our army at Germantown was in part due to the
existence of a fog; that a severe storm prevented General Howe from
assailing the American position on Dorchester Heights, and so enabled
Washington to make that position too strong to be attacked with hope
of success, whereby Boston was freed from the enemy's presence; that a
heavy fall of rain, by rendering the River Catawba unfordable, put
a stop, for a few days, to those movements by which Lord Cornwallis
intended to destroy the army of General Morgan, and obtain compensation
for Tarleton's defeat at the Cowpens; that an autumnal tempest compelled
the same British commander to abandon a project of retreat from
Yorktown, which good military critics have thought well conceived, and
promising success; that the severity of the winter of 1813 interfered
effectively with the measures which Napoleon had formed with the view of
restoring his affairs, so sadly compromised by his failure in Russia;
that the "misty, chilly, and insalubrious" weather of Louisiana, and its
mud, had a marked effect on Sir Edward Pakenham's army, and helped us to
victory over one of the finest forces ever sent by Europe to the West;
that in 1828 the Russians lost myriads of men and horses, in the
Danubian country and its vicinity, through heavy rains and hard frosts;
that the November hurricane of 1854 all but paralyzed the allied forces
in the Crimea;--and many similar things that establish the helplessness
of men in arms when the weather is adverse to them. But enough has been
said to convince even the most skeptical that our Potomac Army did not
stand alone in being forced to stand still before the dictation of the
elements. Our armies, indeed, have suffered less from the weather than
it might reasonably have been expected they would suffer, having simply
been delayed at some points by the occurrence of winds and thaws; and
over all such obstacles they are destined ultimately to triumph, as
the Union itself will bid defiance to what Bacon calls "the waves and
weathers of time."

       *       *       *       *       *



  O Knightly soldier bravely dead!
  O poet-soul too early sped!
  O life so pure! O life so brief!
  Our hearts are moved with deeper grief,
  As, dwelling on thy gentle face,
  Its twilight smile, its tender grace,
  We fill the shadowy years to be
  With what had been thy destiny.
  And still, amid our sorrow's pain,
  We feel the loss is yet our gain;
  For through the death we know the life,
  Its gold in thought, its steel in strife,--
  And so with reverent kiss we say
  Adieu! O Bayard of our day!


Much that is in itself undesirable occurs in obedience to a general law
which is not only desirable, but of infinite necessity and benefit. It
is not desirable that Topper and Macaulay should be read by tens of
thousands, and Wilkinson only by tens. It is not desirable that a
narrow, selfish, envious Cecil, who could never forgive his noblest
contemporaries for failing to be hunchbacks like himself, should steer
England all his life as it were with supreme hand, and himself sail on
the topmost tide of fortune; while the royal head of Raleigh goes to the
block, and while Bacon, with his broad and bountiful nature,--Bacon,
one of the two or three greatest and humanest statesmen ever born to
England, and one of the friendliest men toward mankind ever born into
the world,--dies in privacy and poverty, bequeathing his memory "to
foreign nations and the next ages." But it is wholly desirable that
he who would consecrate himself to excellence in art or life should
sometimes be compelled to make it very clear to himself whether it be
indeed excellence that he covets, or only plaudits and pounds sterling.
So when we find our purest wishes perpetually hindered, not only in the
world around us, but even in our own bosoms, many of the particular
facts may indeed merit reproach, but the general fact merits, on the
contrary, gratitude and gratulation. For were our best wishes not, nor
ever, hindered, sure it is that the still better wishes of destiny
in our behalf would be hindered yet worse. Sure it is, I say, that
Hindrance, both outward and inward, comes to us not through any
improvidence or defect of benignity in Nature, but in answer to our
need, and as part of the best bounty which enriches our days. And to
make this indubitably clear, let us hasten to meditate that simple and
central law which governs this matter and at the same time many others.

And the law is, that every definite action is conditioned upon a
definite resistance, and is impossible without it. We walk in virtue of
the earth's resistance to the foot, and are unable to tread the elements
of air and water only because they are too complaisant, and deny the
foot that opposition which it requires. Precisely that, accordingly,
which makes the difficulty of an action may at the same time make its
possibility. Why is flight difficult? Because the weight of every
creature draws it toward the earth. But without this downward
proclivity, the wing of the bird would have no power upon the air.
Why is it difficult for a solid body to make rapid progress in water?
Because the water presses powerfully upon it, and at every inch of
progress must be overcome and displaced. Yet the ship is able to float
only in virtue of this same hindering pressure, and without it would not
sail, but sink. The bird and the steamer, moreover,--the one with
its wings and the other with its paddles,--apply themselves to this
hindrance to progression as their only means of making progress; so
that, were not their motion obstructed, it would be impossible.

The law governs not actions only, but all definite effects whatsoever.
If the luminiferous ether did not resist the sun's influence, it could
not be wrought into those undulations wherein light consists; if the
air did not resist the vibrations of a resonant object, and strive
to preserve its own form, the sound-waves could not be created and
propagated: if the tympanum did not resist these waves, it would not
transmit their suggestion to the brain; if any given object does not
resist the sun's rays,--in other words, reflect them,--it will not be
visible; neither can the eye mediate between any object and the brain
save by a like opposing of rays on the part of the retina.

These instances might be multiplied _ad libitum_, since there is
literally _no_ exception to the law. Observe, however, what the law is,
namely, that _some_ resistance is indispensable,--by no means that this
alone is so, or that all modes and kinds of resistance are of equal
service. Resistance and Affinity concur for all right effects; but it is
the former that, in some of its aspects, is much accused as a calamity
to man and a contumely to the universe; and of this, therefore, we
consider here.

Not all kinds of resistance are alike serviceable; yet that which is
required may not always consist with pleasure, nor even with safety. Our
most customary actions are rendered possible by forces and conditions
that inflict weariness at times upon all, and cost the lives of many.
Gravitation, forcing all men against the earth's surface with an energy
measured by their weight avoirdupois, makes locomotion feasible; but by
the same attraction it may draw one into the pit, over the precipice, to
the bottom of the sea. What multitudes of lives does it yearly destroy!
Why has it never occurred to some ingenious victim of a sluggish liver
to represent Gravitation as a murderous monster revelling in blood?
Surely there are woful considerations here that might be used with the
happiest effect to enhance the sense of man's misery, and have been too
much neglected!

Probably there are few children to whom the fancy has not occurred, How
convenient, how fine were it to weigh nothing! We smile at the little
wiseacres; we know better. How much better do we know? That ancient
lament, that ever iterated accusation of the world because it opposes a
certain hindrance to freedom, love, reason, and every excellence which
the imagination of man can portray and his heart pursue,--what is it, in
the final analysis, but a complaint that we cannot walk without weight,
and that therefore climbing _is_ climbing?

Instead, however, of turning aside to applications, let us push forward
the central statement in the interest of applications to be made by
every reader for himself,--since he says too much who does not leave
much more unsaid. Observe, then, that objects which so utterly submit
themselves to man as to become testimonies and publications of his
inward conceptions serve even these most exacting and monarchical
purposes only by opposition to them, and, to a certain extent, in the
very measure of that opposition. The stone which the sculptor carves
becomes a fit vehicle for his thought through its resistance to his
chisel; it sustains the impress of his imagination solely through its
unwillingness to receive the same. Not chalk, not any loose and friable
material, does Phidias or Michel Angelo choose, but ivory, bronze,
basalt, marble. It is quite the same whether we seek expression or
uses. The stream must be dammed before it will drive wheels; the steam
compressed ere it will compel the piston. In fine, Potentiality combines
with Hindrance to constitute active Power. Man, in order to obtain
instrumentalities and uses, blends his will and intelligence with a
force that vigorously seeks to pursue its own separate free course; and
while this resists him, it becomes his servant.

But why not look at this fact in its largest light? For do we not here
touch upon the probable reason why God must, as it were, be offset by
World, Spirit by Matter, Soul by Body? The Maker must needs, if it be
lawful so to speak, heap up in the balance against His own pure, eternal
freedom these numberless globes of cold, inert matter. Matter is,
indeed, movable by no fine persuasions: brutely faithful to its own law,
it cares no more for AEschylus than for the tortoise that breaks his
crown; the purpose of a cross for the sweetest saint it serves no less
willingly than any other purpose,--stiffly holding out its arms there,
about its own wooden business, neither more nor less, centred utterly
upon itself. But is it not this stolid self-centration which makes it
needful to Divinity? An infinite energy required a resisting or doggedly
indifferent material, itself _quasi_ infinite, to take the impression of
its life, and render potentiality into power. So by the encountering of
body with soul is the product, man, evolved. Philosophers and saints
have perceived that the spiritual element of man is hampered and
hindered by his physical part: have they also perceived that it is the
very collision between these which strikes out the spark of thought
and kindles the sense of law? As the tables of stone to the finger of
Jehovah on Sinai, so is the firm marble of man's material nature to the
recording soul. But even Plato, when he arrives at these provinces of
thought, begins to limp a little, and to go upon Egyptian crutches. In
the incomparable apologues of the "Phaedrus" he represents our inward
charioteer as driving toward the empyrean two steeds, of which the one
is virtuously attracted toward heaven, while the other is viciously
drawn to the earth; but he countenances the inference that the earthward
proclivity of the latter is to be accounted pure misfortune. But to the
universe there is neither fortune nor misfortune; there is only the
reaper, Destiny, and his perpetual harvest. All that occurs on a
universal scale lies in the line of a pure success. Nor can the universe
attain any success by pushing past man and leaving him aside. That
were like the prosperity of a father who should enrich himself by
disinheriting his only son.

Principles necessary to all action must of course appear in moral
action. The moral imagination, which pioneers and produces inward
advancement, works under the same conditions with the imagination of
the artist, and must needs have somewhat to work _upon_. Man is both
sculptor and quarry,--and a great noise and dust of chiselling is there
sometimes in his bosom. If, therefore, we find in him somewhat which
does not immediately and actively sympathize with his moral nature, let
us not fancy this element equally out of sympathy with his pure destiny.
The impulsion and the resistance are alike included in the design of our
being. Hunger--to illustrate--respects food, food only. It asks leave to
be hunger neither of your conscience, your sense of personal dignity,
nor indeed of your humanity in any form; but exists by its own
permission, and pushes with brute directness toward its own ends. True,
the soul may at last so far prevail as to make itself felt even in
the stomach; and the true gentleman could as soon relish a lunch of
porcupines' quills as a dinner basely obtained, though it were of
nightingales' tongues. But this is sheer conquest on the part of
the soul, not any properly gastric inspiration at all; and it is in
furnishing opportunity for precisely such conquest that the lower nature
becomes a stairway of ascent for the soul.

And now, if in the relations between every manly spirit and the world
around him we discover the same fact, are we not by this time prepared
to contemplate it altogether with dry eyes? What if it be true, that
in trade, in politics, in society, all tends to low levels? What if
disadvantages are to be suffered by the grocer who will not sell
adulterated food, by the politician who will not palter, by the
diplomatist who is ashamed to lie? For this means only that no one can
be honest otherwise than by a productive energy of honesty in his own
bosom. In other words,--a man reaches the true welfare of a human
soul only when his bosom is a generative centre and source of noble
principles; and therefore, in pure, wise kindness to man, the world
is so arranged that there shall be perpetual need of this access and
reinforcement of principle. Society, the State, and every institution,
grow lean the moment there is a falling off in this divine fruitfulness
of man's heart, because only in virtue of bearing such fruit is man
worthy of his name. Honor and honesty are constantly consumed _between_
men, that they may be forever newly demanded _in_ them.

We cannot too often remind ourselves that the aim of the universe is
a personality. As the terrestrial globe through so many patient
aeons climbed toward the production of a human body, that by this
all-comprehending, perfect symbol it might enter into final union with
Spirit, so do the uses of the world still forever ascend toward man, and
seek a continual realization of that ancient wish. When, therefore,
Time shall come to his great audit with Eternity, persons alone will be
passed to his credit. "So many wise and wealthy souls,"--that is what
the sun and his household will have come to. The use of the world is not
found in societies faultlessly mechanized; for societies are themselves
but uses and means. They are the soil in which persons grow; and I no
more undervalue them than the husbandman despises his fertile acres
because it is not earth, but the wheat that grows from it, which comes
to his table. Society is the culmination of all uses and delights;
persons, of all results. And societies answer their ends when they
afford two things: first, a need for energy of eye and heart, of noble
human vigor; and secondly, a generous appreciation of high qualities,
when these may appear. The latter is, indeed, indispensable; and
whenever noble manhood ceases to be recognized in a nation, the days of
that nation are numbered. But the need is also necessary. Society must
be a consumer of virtue, if individual souls are to be producers of it.
The law of demand and supply has its applications here also. New waters
must forever flow from the fountain-heads of our true life, if the
millwheel of the world is to continue turning; and this not because the
supernal powers so greatly cared to get corn ground, but because the
Highest would have rivers of His influence forever flowing, and would
call them men. Therefore it is that satirists who paint in high colors
the resistances, but have no perception of the law of conversion into
opposites, which is the grand trick of Nature,--these pleasant gentlemen
are themselves a part of the folly at which they mock.

As a man among men, so is a nation among nations. Very freely I
acknowledge that any nation, by proposing to itself large and liberal
aims, plucks itself innumerable envies and hatreds from without, and
confers new power for mischief upon all blindness and savagery that
exist within it. But what does this signify? Simply that no nation can
be free longer than it nobly loves freedom; that none can be great in
its national purposes when it has ceased to be so in the hearts of its
citizens. Freedom must be perpetually won, or it must be lost; and this
because the sagacious Manager of the world will not let us off from
the disciplines that should make us men. The material of the artist is
passive, and may be either awakened from its ancient rest or suffered
to sleep on; but that marble from which the perfections of manhood and
womanhood are wrought quits the quarry to meet us, and converts us to
stone, if we do not rather transform that to life and beauty.
Hostile, predatory, it rushes upon us; and we, cutting at it in brave
self-defence, hew it above our hope into shapes of celestial and
immortal comeliness. So that angels are born, as it were, from the noble
fears of man,--from an heroic fear in man's heart that he shall fall
away from the privilege of humanity, and falsify the divine vaticination
of his soul.

Hence follows the fine result, that in life to hold your own is to make
advance. Destiny comes to us, like the children in their play, saying,
"Hold fast all I give you"; and while we nobly detain it, the penny
changes between our palms to the wealth of cities and kingdoms. The
barge of blessing, freighted for us by unspeakable hands, comes floating
down from the head-waters of that stream whereon we also are afloat; and
to meet it we have only to wait for it, not ourselves ebbing away, but
loyally stemming the tide. It may be, as Mr. Carlyle alleges, that the
Constitution of the United States is no supreme effort of genius; but
events now passing are teaching us that every day of fidelity to the
spirit of it lends it new preciousness; and that an adherence to it, not
petty and literal, but at once large and indomitable, might almost make
it a charter of new sanctities both of law and liberty for the human


Thus far, the struggles of the world have developed its statesmanship
after three leading types.

First of these is that based on faith in some great militant principle.
Strong among statesmen of this type, in this time, stand Cavour, with
his faith in constitutional liberty,--Cobden, with his faith in freedom
of trade,--the third Napoleon, with his faith that the world moves, and
that a successful policy must keep the world's pace.

The second style of statesmanship is seen in the reorganization of old
States to fit new times. In this the chiefs are such men as Cranmer and

But there is a third class of statesmen sometimes doing more brilliant
work than either of the others. These are they who serve a State in
times of dire chaos,--in times when a nation is by no means ripe for
revolution, but only stung by desperate revolt: these are they who are
quick enough and firm enough to bind all the good forces of the State
into one cosmic force, therewith to compress or crush all chaotic
forces: these are they who throttle treason and stab rebellion,--who
fear not, when defeat must send down misery through ages, to insure
victory by using weapons of the hottest and sharpest. Theirs, then, is a
statesmanship which it may be well for the leading men of this land and
time to be looking at and thinking of, and its representative man shall
be Richelieu.

Never, perhaps, did a nation plunge more suddenly from the height of
prosperity into the depth of misery than did France on that fourteenth
of May, 1610, when Henry IV. fell dead by the dagger of Ravaillac.
All earnest men, in a moment, saw the abyss yawning,--felt the State
sinking,--felt themselves sinking with it. And they did what, in such a
time, men always do: first all shrieked, then every man clutched at the
means of safety nearest him. Sully rode through the streets of Paris
with big tears streaming down his face,--strong men whose hearts had
been toughened and crusted in the dreadful religious wars sobbed
like children,--all the populace swarmed abroad bewildered,--many
swooned,--some went mad. This was the first phase of feeling.

Then came a second phase yet more terrible. For now burst forth that old
whirlwind of anarchy and bigotry and selfishness and terror which Henry
had curbed during twenty years. All earnest men felt bound to protect
themselves, and seized the nearest means of defence. Sully shut himself
up in the Bastille, and sent orders to his son-in-law, the Duke of
Rohan, to bring in six thousand soldiers to protect the Protestants.
All un-earnest men, especially the great nobles, rushed to the Court,
determined, now that the only guardians of the State were a weak-minded
woman and a weak-bodied child, to dip deep into the treasury which Henry
had filled to develop the nation, and to wrench away the power which he
had built to guard the nation.

In order to make ready for this grasp at the State treasure and power by
the nobles, the Duke of Epernon, from the corpse of the King, by
whose side he was sitting when Ravaillac struck him, strides into the
Parliament of Paris, and orders it to declare the late Queen, Mary of
Medici, Regent; and when this Parisian court, knowing full well that it
had no right to confer the regency, hesitated, he laid his hand on his
sword, and declared, that, unless they did his bidding at once, his
sword should be drawn from its scabbard. This threat did its work.
Within three hours after the King's death, the Paris Parliament, which
had no right to give it, bestowed the regency on a woman who had no
capacity to take it.

At first things seemed to brighten a little. The Queen-Regent sent such
urgent messages to Sully that he left his stronghold of the Bastille and
went to the palace. She declared to him, before the assembled Court,
that he must govern France still. With tears she gave the young King
into his arms, telling Louis that Sully was his father's best friend,
and bidding him pray the old statesman to serve the State yet longer.

But soon this good scene changed. Mary had a foster-sister, Leonora
Galligai, and Leonora was married to an Italian adventurer, Concini.
These seemed a poor couple, worthless and shiftless, their only stock in
trade Leonora's Italian cunning; but this stock soon came to be of
vast account, for thereby she soon managed to bind and rule the
Queen-Regent,--managed to drive Sully into retirement in less than a
year,--managed to make herself and her husband the great dispensers at
Court of place and pelf. Penniless though Concini had been, he was in a
few months able to buy the Marquisate of Ancre, which cost him nearly
half a million livres,--and, soon after, the post of First Gentleman of
the Bedchamber, and that cost him nearly a quarter of a million,--and,
soon after that, a multitude of broad estates and high offices at
immense prices. Leonora, also, was not idle, and among her many
gains was a bribe of three hundred thousand livres to screen certain
financiers under trial for fraud.

Next came the turn of the great nobles. For ages the nobility of France
had been the worst among her many afflictions. From age to age attempts
had been made to curb them. In the fifteenth century Charles VII. had
done much to undermine their power, and Louis XI. had done much to crush
it. But strong as was the policy of Charles, and cunning as was the
policy of Louis, they had made one omission, and that omission left
France, though advanced, miserable. For these monarchs had not cut
the root of the evil. The French nobility continued practically a
serf-holding nobility.

Despite, then, the curb put upon many old pretensions of the nobles, the
serf-owning spirit continued to spread a net-work of curses over every
arm of the French government, over every acre of the French soil, and,
worst of all, over the hearts and minds of the French people. Enterprise
was deadened; invention crippled. Honesty was nothing; honor everything.
Life was of little value. Labor was the badge of servility; laziness the
very badge and passport of gentility. The serf-owning spirit was an iron
wall between noble and not-noble,--the only unyielding wall between
France and prosperous peace.

But the serf-owning spirit begat another evil far more terrible: it
begat a substitute for patriotism,--a substitute which crushed out
patriotism just at the very emergencies when patriotism was most needed.
For the first question which in any State emergency sprang into the mind
of a French noble was not,--How does this affect the welfare of the
nation? but,--How does this affect the position of my order? The
serf-owning spirit developed in the French aristocracy an instinct which
led them in national troubles to guard the serf-owning class first and
the nation afterward, and to acknowledge fealty to the serf-owning
interest first and to the national interest afterward.

So it proved in that emergency at the death of Henry. Instead of
planting themselves as a firm bulwark between the State and harm, the
Duke of Épernon, the Prince of Condé, the Count of Soissons, the Duke of
Guise, the Duke of Bouillon, and many others, wheedled or threatened
the Queen into granting pensions of such immense amount that the great
treasury filled by Henry and Sully with such noble sacrifices, and to
such noble ends, was soon nearly empty.

But as soon as the treasury began to run low the nobles began a worse
work, Mary had thought to buy their loyalty; but when they had gained
such treasures, their ideas mounted higher. A saying of one among them
became their formula, and became noted:--"The day of Kings is past; now
is come the day of the Grandees."

Every great noble now tried to grasp some strong fortress or rich city.
One fact will show the spirit of many. The Duke of Épernon had served
Henry as Governor of Metz, and Metz was the most important fortified
town in France; therefore Henry, while allowing D'Épernon the honor of
the Governorship, had always kept a Royal Lieutenant in the citadel, who
corresponded directly with the Ministry. But, on the very day of the
King's death, D'Épernon despatched commands to his own creatures at Metz
to seize the citadel, and to hold it for him against all other orders.

But at last even Mary had to refuse to lavish more of the national
treasure and to shred more of the national territory among these
magnates. Then came their rebellion.

Immediately Condé and several great nobles issued a proclamation
denouncing the tyranny and extravagance of the Court,--calling on
the Catholics to rise against the Regent in behalf of their
religion,--calling on the Protestants to rise in behalf of
theirs,--summoning the whole people to rise against the waste of their
State treasure.

It was all a glorious joke. To call on the Protestants was wondrous
impudence, for Condé had left their faith, and had persecuted them; to
call on the Catholics was not less impudent, for he had betrayed their
cause scores of times; but to call on the whole people to rise in
defence of their treasury was impudence sublime, for no man had besieged
the treasury more persistently, no man had dipped into it more deeply,
than Condé himself.

The people saw this and would not stir. Condé could rally only a few
great nobles and their retainers, and therefore, as a last tremendous
blow at the Court, he and his followers raised the cry that the Regent
must convoke the States-General.

Any who have read much in the history of France, and especially in the
history of the French Revolution, know, in part, how terrible this cry
was. By the Court, and by the great privileged classes of France, this
great assembly of the three estates of the realm was looked upon as the
last resort amid direst calamities. For at its summons came stalking
forth from the foul past the long train of Titanic abuses and Satanic
wrongs; then came surging up from the seething present the great hoarse
cry of the people; then loomed up, dim in the distance, vast shadowy
ideas of new truth and new right; and at the bare hint of these, all
that was proud in France trembled.

This cry for the States-General, then, brought the Regent to terms at
once, and, instead of acting vigorously, she betook herself to her old
vicious fashion of compromising,--buying off the rebels at prices more
enormous than ever. By her treaty of Sainte-Ménehould, Condé received
half a million of livres, and his followers received payments
proportionate to the evil they had done.

But this compromise succeeded no better than previous compromises. Even
if the nobles had wished to remain quiet, they could not. Their lordship
over a servile class made them independent of all ordinary labor and of
all care arising from labor; some exercise of mind and body they must
have; Condé soon took this needed exercise by attempting to seize the
city of Poitiers, and, when the burgesses were too strong for him, by
ravaging the neighboring country. The other nobles broke the compromise
in ways wonderfully numerous and ingenious. France was again filled with

Dull as Regent Mary was, she now saw that she must call that dreaded
States-General, or lose not only the nobles, but the people: undecided
as she was, she soon saw that she must do it at once,--that, if she
delayed it, her great nobles would raise the cry for it, again and
again, just as often as they wished to extort office or money.
Accordingly, on the fourteenth of October, 1614, she summoned the
deputies of the three estates to Paris, and then the storm set in.

Each of the three orders presented its "portfolio of grievances" and its
programme of reforms. It might seem, to one who has not noted closely
the spirit which serf-mastering thrusts into a man, that the nobles
would appear in the States-General not to make complaints, but to answer
complaints. So it was not. The noble order, with due form, entered
complaint that theirs was the injured order. They asked relief from
familiarities and assumptions of equality on the part of the people.
Said the Baron de Sénecé, "It is a great piece of insolence to pretend
to establish any sort of equality between the people and the nobility":
other nobles declared, "There is between them and us as much difference
as between master and lackey."

To match these complaints and theories, the nobles made
demands,--demands that commoners should not be allowed to keep
fire-arms,--nor to possess dogs, unless the dogs were hamstrung,--nor to
clothe themselves like the nobles,--nor to clothe their wives like the
wives of nobles,--nor to wear velvet or satin under a penalty of five
thousand livres. And, preposterous as such claims may seem to us, they
carried them into practice. A deputy of the Third Estate having been
severely beaten by a noble, his demands for redress were treated as
absurd. One of the orators of the lower order having spoken of the
French as forming one great family in which the nobles were the elder
brothers and the commoners the younger, the nobles made a formal
complaint to the King, charging the Third Estate with insolence

Next came the complaints and demands of the clergy. They insisted on
the adoption in France of the Decrees of the Council of Trent, and the
destruction of the liberties of the Gallican Church.

But far stronger than these came the voice of the people.

First spoke Montaigne, denouncing the grasping spirit of the nobles.
Then spoke Savaron, stinging them with sarcasm, torturing them with
rhetoric, crushing them with statements of facts.

But chief among the speakers was the President of the Third Estate,
Robert Miron, Provost of the Merchants of Paris. His speech, though
spoken across the great abyss of time and space and thought and custom
which separates him from us, warms a true man's heart even now. With
touching fidelity he pictured the sad life of the lower orders,--their
thankless toil, their constant misery; then, with a sturdiness which
awes us, he arraigned, first, royalty for its crushing taxation,--next,
the whole upper class for its oppressions,--and then, daring death, he
thus launched into popular thought an _idea_:--

"It is nothing less than a miracle that the people are able to answer so
many demands. On the labor of _their_ hands depends the maintenance
of Your Majesty, of the clergy, of the nobility, of the commons. What
without _their_ exertions would be the value of the tithes and great
possessions of the Church, of the splendid estates of the nobility,
or of our own house-rents and inheritances? With their bones scarcely
skinned over, your wretched people present themselves before you, beaten
down and helpless, with the aspect rather of death itself than of living
men, imploring your succor in the name of Him who has appointed you to
reign over them,--who made you a man, that you might be merciful to
other men,--and who made you the father of your subjects, that you might
be compassionate to these your helpless children. If Your Majesty shall
not take means for that end, _I fear lest despair should teach the
sufferers that a soldier is, after all, nothing more than a peasant
bearing arms; and lest, when the vine-dresser shall have taken up his
arquebuse, he should cease to become an anvil only that he may become a

After this the Third Estate demanded the convocation of a general
assembly every ten years, a more just distribution of taxes, equality
of all before the law, the suppression of interior custom-houses, the
abolition of sundry sinecures held by nobles, the forbidding to leading
nobles of unauthorized levies of soldiery, some stipulations regarding
the working clergy and the non-residence of bishops; and in the midst of
all these demands, as a golden grain amid husks, they placed a demand
for the emancipation of the serfs.

But these demands were sneered at. The idea of the natural equality in
rights of all men,--the idea of the personal worth of every man,--the
idea that rough-clad workers have prerogatives which can be whipped out
by no smooth-clad idlers,--these ideas were as far beyond serf-owners
of those days as they are beyond slave-owners of these days. Nothing was
done. Augustin Thierry is authority for the statement that the clergy
were willing to yield something. The nobles would yield nothing. The
different orders quarrelled until one March morning in 1615, when, on
going to their hall, they were barred out and told that the workmen were
fitting the place for a Court ball. And so the deputies separated,--to
all appearance no new work done, no new ideas enforced, no strong men
set loose.

So it was in seeming,--so it was not in reality. Something had been
done. That assembly planted ideas in the French mind which struck more
and more deeply, and spread more and more widely, until, after a century
and a half, the Third Estate met again and refused to present petitions
kneeling,--and when king and nobles put on their hats, the commons put
on theirs,--and when that old brilliant stroke was again made, and the
hall was closed and filled with busy carpenters and upholsterers, the
deputies of the people swore that great tennis-court oath which blasted
French tyranny.

But something great was done _immediately_; to that suffering nation a
great man was revealed. For, when the clergy pressed their requests,
they chose as their orator a young man only twenty-nine years of age,

He spoke well. His thoughts were clear, his words pointed, his bearing
firm. He had been bred a soldier, and so had strengthened his will;
afterwards he had been made a scholar, and so had strengthened his mind.
He grappled with the problems given him in that stormy assembly with
such force that he seemed about to _do_ something; but just then came
that day of the Court ball, and Richelieu turned away like the rest.

But men had seen him and heard him. Forget him they could not. From that
tremendous farce, then, France had gained directly one thing at least,
and that was a sight at Richelieu.

The year after the States-General wore away in the old vile fashion.
Condé revolted again, and this time he managed to scare the Protestants
into revolt with him. The daring of the nobles was greater than ever.
They even attacked the young King's train as he journeyed to Bordeaux,
and another compromise had to be wearily built in the Treaty of Loudun.
By this Condé was again bought off,--but this time only by a bribe of
a million and a half of livres. The other nobles were also paid
enormously, and, on making a reckoning, it was found that this
compromise had cost the King four millions, and the country twenty
millions. The nation had also to give into the hands of the nobles some
of its richest cities and strongest fortresses.

Immediately after this compromise, Condé returned to Paris, loud,
strong, jubilant, defiant, bearing himself like a king. Soon he and his
revolted again; but just at that moment Concini happened to remember
Richelieu. The young bishop was called and set at work.

Richelieu grasped the rebellion at once. In broad daylight he seized
Condé and shut him up in the Bastille; other noble leaders he declared
guilty of treason, and degraded them; he set forth the crimes and
follies of the nobles in a manifesto which stung their cause to death in
a moment; he published his policy in a proclamation which ran through
France like fire, warming all hearts of patriots, withering all hearts
of rebels; he sent out three great armies: one northward to grasp
Picardy, one eastward to grasp Champagne, one southward to grasp Berri.
There is a man who can _do_ something! The nobles yield in a moment:
they _must_ yield.

But, just at this moment, when a better day seemed to dawn, came an
event which threw France back into anarchy, and Richelieu out into the
world again.

The young King, Louis XIII., was now sixteen years old. His mother the
Regent and her favorite Concini had carefully kept him down. Under their
treatment he had grown morose and seemingly stupid; but he had wit
enough to understand the policy of his mother and Concini, and strength
enough to hate them for it.

The only human being to whom Louis showed any love was a young falconer,
Albert de Luynes,--and with De Luynes he conspired against his mother's
power and her favorite's life. On an April morning, 1617, the King and
De Luynes sent a party of chosen men to seize Concini. They met him at
the gate of the Louvre. As usual, he is bird-like in his utterance,
snake-like in his bearing. They order him to surrender; he chirps forth
his surprise,--and they blow out his brains. Louis, understanding the
noise, puts on his sword, appears on the balcony of the palace, is
saluted with hurrahs, and becomes master of his kingdom.

Straightway measures are taken against all supposed to be attached
to the Regency. Concini's wife, the favorite Leonora, is burned as a
witch,--Regent Mary is sent to Blois,--Richelieu is banished to his

And now matters went from bad to worse. King Louis was no stronger
than Regent Mary had been,--King's favorite Luynes was no better than
Regent's favorite Concini had been. The nobles rebelled against the new
rule, as they had rebelled against the old. The King went through the
same old extortions and humiliations.

Then came also to full development yet another vast evil. As far back
as the year after Henry's assassination, the Protestants, in terror of
their enemies, now that Henry was gone and the Spaniards seemed to grow
in favor, formed themselves into a great republican league,--a State
within the State,--regularly organised in peace for political effort,
and in war for military effort,--with a Protestant clerical caste which
ruled always with pride, and often with menace.

Against such a theocratic republic war must come sooner or later, and in
1617 the struggle began. Army was pitted against army,--Protestant Duke
of Rohan against Catholic Duke of Luynes. Meanwhile Austria and the
foreign enemies of France, Condé and the domestic enemies of France,
fished in the troubled waters, and made rich gains every day. So France
plunged into sorrows ever deeper and blacker. But in 1624, Mary
de Medici, having been reconciled to her son, urged him to recall

The dislike which Louis bore Richelieu was strong, but the dislike he
bore toward compromises had become stronger. Into his poor brain, at
last, began to gleam the truth, that a serf-mastering caste, after a
compromise, only whines more steadily and snarls more loudly,--that, at
last, compromising becomes worse than fighting. Richelieu was called and
set at work.

Fortunately for our studies of the great statesman's policy, he left at
his death a "Political Testament" which floods with light his steadiest
aims and boldest acts. In that Testament he wrote this message:--

  "When Your Majesty resolved to give
  me entrance into your councils and a
  great share of your confidence, I can declare
  with truth that the Huguenots divided
  the authority with Your Majesty, that
  the great nobles acted not at all as subjects,
  that the governors of provinces took
  on themselves the airs of sovereigns, and
  that the foreign alliances of France were
  despised. I promised Your Majesty to
  use all my industry, and all the authority
  you gave me, to ruin the Huguenot party,
  to abase the pride of the high nobles,
  and to raise your name among foreign
  nations to the place where it ought to

Such were the plans of Richelieu at the outset. Let us see how he
wrought out their fulfilment.

First of all, he performed daring surgery and cautery about the very
heart of the Court. In a short time he had cut out from that living
centre of French power a number of unworthy ministers and favorites, and
replaced them by men, on whom he could rely.

Then he began his vast work. His policy embraced three great objects:
First, the overthrow of the Huguenot power; secondly, the subjugation
of the great nobles; thirdly, the destruction of the undue might of

First, then, after some preliminary negotiations with foreign
powers,--to be studied hereafter,--he attacked the great
politico-religious party of the Huguenots.

These held, as their great centre and stronghold, the famous seaport of
La Rochelle. He who but glances at the map shall see how strong was this
position: he shall see two islands lying just off the west coast at that
point, controlled by La Rochelle, yet affording to any foreign allies
whom the Huguenots might admit there facilities for stinging France
during centuries. The position of the Huguenots seemed impregnable. The
city was well fortressed,--garrisoned by the bravest of men,--mistress
of a noble harbor open at all times to supplies from foreign ports,--and
in that harbor rode a fleet, belonging to the city, greater than the
navy of France.

Richelieu saw well that here was the head of the rebellion. Here, then,
he must strike it.

Strange as it may seem, his diplomacy was so skillful that he obtained
ships to attack Protestants in La Rochelle from the two great Protestant
powers,--England and Holland. With these he was successful. He attacked
the city fleet, ruined it, and cleared the harbor.

But now came a terrible check. Richelieu had aroused the hate of that
incarnation of all that was and Is offensive in English politics,--the
Duke of Buckingham. Scandal-mongers were wont to say that both were in
love with the Queen,--and that the Cardinal, though unsuccessful in his
suit, outwitted the Duke and sent him out of the kingdom,--and that the
Duke swore a great oath, that, if he could not enter France in one way,
he would enter in another,--and that he brought about a war, and came
himself as a commander: of this scandal believe what you will. But, be
the causes what they may, the English policy changed, and Charles I.
sent Buckingham with ninety ships to aid La Rochelle.

But Buckingham was flippant and careless; Richelieu, careful when there
was need, and daring when there was need. Buckingham's heavy blows
were foiled by Richelieu's keen thrusts, and then, in his confusion,
Buckingham blundered so foolishly, and Richelieu profited by his
blunders so shrewdly, that the fleet returned to England without any
accomplishment of its purpose. The English were also driven from that
vexing position in the Isle of Rhé.

Having thus sent the English home, for a time at least, he led king and
nobles and armies to La Rochelle, and commenced the siege in full force.
Difficulties met him at every turn; but the worst difficulty of all was
that arising from the spirit of the nobility.

No one could charge the nobles of France with lack of bravery. The only
charge was, that their bravery was almost sure to shun every useful
form, and to take every noxious form. The bravery which finds outlet
in duels they showed constantly; the bravery which finds outlet in
street-fights they had shown from the days when the Duke of Orleans
perished in a brawl to the days when the _"Mignons"_ of Henry III.
fought at sight every noble whose beard was not cut to suit them. The
pride fostered by lording it over serfs, in the country, and by lording
it over men who did not own serfs, in the capital, aroused bravery of
this sort and plenty of it. But that bravery which serves a great, good
cause, which must be backed by steadiness and watchfulness, was not so
plentiful. So Richelieu found that the nobles who had conducted the
siege before he took command had, through their brawling propensities
and lazy propensities, allowed the besieged to garner in the crops from
the surrounding country, and to master all the best points of attack.

But Richelieu pressed on. First he built an immense wall and earthwork,
nine miles long, surrounding the city, and, to protect this, he raised
eleven great forts and eighteen redoubts.

Still the harbor was open, and into this the English fleet might return
and succor the city at any time. His plan was soon made. In the midst of
that great harbor of La Rochelle he sank sixty hulks of vessels filled
with stone; then, across the harbor,--nearly a mile wide, and, in
places, more than eight hundred feet deep,--he began building over these
sunken ships a great dike and wall,--thoroughly fortified, carefully
engineered, faced with sloping layers of hewn stone. His own men scolded
at the magnitude of the work,--the men in La Rochelle laughed at
it. Worse than that, the Ocean sometimes laughed and scolded at it.
Sometimes the waves sweeping in from that fierce Bay of Biscay destroyed
in an hour the work of a week. The carelessness of a subordinate once
destroyed in a moment the work of three months.

Yet it is but fair to admit that there was one storm which did not beat
against Richelieu's dike. There set in against it no storm of hypocrisy
from neighboring nations. Keen works for and against Richelieu were put
forth in his day,--works calm and strong for and against him have been
issuing from the presses of France and England and Germany ever since;
but not one of the old school of keen writers or of the new school of
calm writers is known to have ever hinted that this complete sealing of
the only entrance to a leading European harbor was unjust to the world
at large or unfair to the besieged themselves.

But all other obstacles Richelieu had to break through or cut through
constantly. He was his own engineer, general, admiral, prime-minister.
While he urged on the army to work upon the dike, he organized a French
navy, and in due time brought it around to that coast and anchored it so
as to guard the dike and to be guarded by it.

Yet, daring as all this work was, it was but the smallest part of his
work. Richelieu found that his officers were cheating his soldiers
in their pay and disheartening them; in face of the enemy he had to
reorganize the army and to create a new military system. He made the
army twice as effective and supported it at two-thirds less cost than
before. It was his boast in his "Testament," that, from a mob, the
army became "like a well-ordered convent." He found also that his
subordinates were plundering the surrounding country, and thus rendering
it disaffected; he at once ordered that what had been taken should be
paid for, and that persons trespassing thereafter should be severely
punished. He found also the great nobles who commanded in the army
half-hearted and almost traitorous from sympathy with those of their own
caste on the other side of the walls of La Rochelle, and from their fear
of his increased power, should he gain a victory. It was their common
saying, that they were fools to help him do it. But he saw the true
point at once--He placed in the most responsible positions of his army
men who felt for his cause, whose hearts and souls were in it,--men not
of the Dalgetty stamp, but of the Cromwell stamp. He found also, as he
afterward said, that he had to conquer not only the Kings of England and
Spain, but also the King of France. At the most critical moment of the
siege Louis deserted him,--went back to Paris,--allowed courtiers to
fill him with suspicions. Not only Richelieu's place, but his life,
was in danger, and he well knew it; yet he never left his dike and
siege-works, but wrought on steadily until they were done; and then the
King, of his own will, in very shame, broke away from his courtiers, and
went back to his master.

And now a Royal Herald summoned the people of La Rochelle to surrender.
But they were not yet half conquered. Even when they had seen two
English fleets, sent to aid them, driven back from Richelieu's dike,
they still held out manfully. The Duchess of Rohan, the Mayor Guiton,
and the Minister Salbert, by noble sacrifices and burning words, kept
the will of the besieged firm as steel. They were reduced to feed on
their horses,--then on bits of filthy shell-fish,--then on stewed
leather. They died in multitudes.

Guiton the Mayor kept a dagger on the city council-table to stab any man
who should speak of surrender; some who spoke of yielding he ordered
to execution as seditious. When a friend showed him a person dying of
hunger, be said, "Does that astonish you? Both you and I must come to
that." When another told him that multitudes were perishing, he said,
"Provided one remains to hold the city-gate, I ask nothing more."

But at last even Guiton had to yield. After the siege had lasted more
than a year, after five thousand were found remaining out of fifteen
thousand, after a mother had been seen to feed her child with her own
blood, the Cardinal's policy became too strong for him. The people
yielded, and Richelieu entered the city as master.

And now the victorious statesman showed a greatness of soul to which all
the rest of his life was as nothing. He was a Catholic cardinal,--the
Rochellois were Protestants; he was a stern ruler,--they were
rebellious subjects who had long worried and almost impoverished
him;--all Europe, therefore, looked for a retribution more terrible than
any in history.

Richelieu allowed nothing of the sort. He destroyed the old franchises
of the city, for they were incompatible with that royal authority
which he so earnestly strove to build. But this was all. He took no
vengeance,--he allowed the Protestants to worship as before,--he took
many of them into the public service,--and to Guiton he showed marks of
respect. He stretched forth that strong arm of his over the city, and
warded off all harm. He kept back greedy soldiers from pillage,--he kept
back bigot priests from persecution. Years before this he had said, "The
diversity of religions may indeed create a division in the other world,
but not in this"; at another time he wrote, "Violent remedies only
aggravate spiritual diseases." And he was now so tested, that these
expressions were found to embody not merely an idea, but a belief. For,
when the Protestants in La Rochelle, though thug owing tolerance
and even existence to a Catholic, vexed Catholics in a spirit most
intolerant, even that could not force him to abridge the religious
liberties he had given.

He saw beyond his time,--not only beyond Catholics, but beyond
Protestants. Two years after that great example of toleration in La
Rochelle, Nicholas Antoine w as executed for apostasy from Calvinism at
Geneva. And for his leniency Richelieu received the titles of Pope of
the Protestants and Patriarch of the Atheists. But he had gained the
first great object of his policy, and he would not abuse it: he had
crushed the political power of the Huguenots forever.

Let us turn now to the second great object of his policy. He must break
the power of the nobility: on that condition alone could France have
strength and order, and here he showed his daring at the outset. "It is
iniquitous," he was wont to tell the King, "to try to make an example by
punishing the lesser offenders: they are but trees which cast no shade:
it is the great nobles who must be disciplined."

It was not long before he had to begin this work,--and with
the highest,--with no less a personage than Gaston, Duke of
Orleans,--favorite son of Mary,--brother of the King. He who thinks
shall come to a higher idea of Richelieu's boldness, when he remembers
that for many years after this Louis was childless and sickly, and
that during all those years Richelieu might awake any morning to find

In 1626, Gaston, with the Duke of Vendôme, half-brother of the King, the
Duchess of Chevreuse, confidential friend of the Queen, the Count
of Soissons, the Count of Chalais, and the Marshal Ornano, formed a
conspiracy after the old fashion. Richelieu had his hand at their lofty
throats in a moment. Gaston, who was used only as a makeweight, he
forced into the most humble apologies and the most binding pledges;
Ornano he sent to die in the Bastille; the Duke of Vendôme and the
Duchess of Chevreuse he banished; Chalais he sent to the scaffold.

The next year he gave the grandees another lesson. The serf-owning
spirit had fostered in France, through many years, a rage for duelling.
Richelieu determined that this should stop. He gave notice that the law
against duelling was revived, and that he would enforce it. It was
soon broken by two of the loftiest nobles in France,--by the Count of
Bouteville-Montmorency and the Count des Chapelles. They laughed at the
law: they fought defiantly in broad daylight. Nobody dreamed that the
law would be carried out against _them_. The Cardinal would, they
thought, deal with them as rulers have dealt with serf-mastering
law-breakers from those days to these,--invent some quibble and screen
them with it. But his method was sharper and shorter. He seized both,
and executed both on the Place de Greve,--the place of execution for the
vilest malefactors.

No doubt, that, under the present domineering of the pettifogger caste,
there are hosts of men whose minds run in such small old grooves that
they hold legal forms not a means, but an end: these will cry out
against this proceeding as tyrannical. No doubt, too, that, under the
present palaver of the "sensationist" caste, the old ladies of both
sexes have come to regard crime as mere misfortune: these will lament
this proceeding as cruel. But, for this act, if for no other, an earnest
man's heart ought in these times to warm toward the great statesman. The
man had a spine. To his mind crime was cot mere misfortune: crime was
CRIME. Crime was strong; it would pay him well to screen it; it might
cost him dear to fight it. But he was not a modern "smart" lawyer, to
seek popularity by screening criminals,--nor a modern soft juryman,
to suffer his eyes to be blinded by quirks and quibbles to the great
purposes of law,--nor a modern bland governor, who lets a murderer loose
out of politeness to the murderer's mistress. He hated crime; he whipped
the criminal; no petty forms and no petty men of forms could stand
between him and a rascal. He had the sense to see that this course was
not cruel, but merciful. See that for yourselves. In the eighteen years
before Richelieu's administration, four thousand men perished in duels;
in the ten years after Richelieu's death, nearly a thousand thus
perished; but during his whole administration, duelling was checked
completely. Which policy was tyrannical? which policy was cruel?

The hatred of the serf-mastering caste toward their new ruler grew
blacker and blacker; but he never flinched. The two brothers Marillac,
proud of birth, high in office, endeavored to stir revolt as in their
good days of old. The first, who was Keeper of the Seals, Richelieu
threw into prison; with the second, who was a Marshal of France,
Richelieu took another course. For this Marshal had added to revolt
things more vile and more insidiously hurtful: he had defrauded the
Government in army-contracts. Richelieu tore him from his army and
put him on trial. The Queen-Mother, whose pet he was, insisted on his
liberation. Marillac himself blubbered, that it "was all about a little
straw and hay, a matter for which a master would not whip a lackey."
Marshal Marillac was executed. So, when statesmen rule, fare all who
take advantage of the agonies of a nation to pilfer a nation's treasure.

To crown all, the Queen-Mother began now to plot against Richelieu,
because he would not be her puppet,--and he banished her from France

The high nobles were now exasperate. Gaston tied the country, first
issuing against Richelieu a threatening manifesto. Now awoke the Duke
of Montmorency. By birth he stood next the King's family: by office, as
Constable of France, he stood next the King himself. Montmorency was
defeated and taken. The nobles supplicated for him lustily: they looked
on crimes of nobles resulting in deaths of plebeians as lightly as the
English House of Lords afterward looked on Lord Mohun's murder of Will
Mountfort, or as another body of lords looked on Matt Ward's murder of
Professor Butler: but Montmorency was executed. Says Richelieu, in his
Memoirs, "Many murmured at this act, and called it severe; but others,
more wise, praised the justice of the King, _who preferred the good of
the State to the vain reputation of a hurtful clemency._"

Nor did the great minister grow indolent as he grew old. The Duke of
Epernon, who seems to have had more direct power of the old feudal sort
than any other man in France, and who had been so turbulent under the
Regency,--him Richelieu humbled completely. The Duke of La Valette
disobeyed orders in the army, and he was executed as a common soldier
would have been for the same offence. The Count of Soissons tried to see
if he could not revive the good old turbulent times, and raised a rebel
army; but Richelieu hunted him down like a wild beast. Then certain
Court nobles,--pets of the King,--Cinq-Mars and De Thou, wove a new
plot, and, to strengthen it, made a secret treaty with Spain; but the
Cardinal, though dying, obtained a copy of the treaty, through his
agent, and the traitors expiated their treason with their blood.

But this was not all. The Parliament of Paris,--a court of
justice,--filled with the idea that law is not a means, but an end,
tried to interpose _forms_ between the Master of France and the vermin
he was exterminating. That Parisian court might, years before, have done
something. They might have insisted that petty quibbles set forth by the
lawyers of Paris should not defeat the eternal laws of retribution set
forth by the Lawgiver of the Universe. That they had not done, and the
time for legal forms had gone by. The Paris Parliament would not see
this, and Richelieu crushed the Parliament. Then the Court of Aids
refused to grant supplies, and he crushed that court. In all this the
nation braced him. Woe to the courts of a nation, when they have forced
the great body of plain men to regard legality as injustice!--woe to the
councils of a nation, when they have forced the great body of plain men
to regard legislation as traffic!--woe, thrice repeated, to gentlemen of
the small pettifogger sort, when they have brought such times, and God
has brought a man to fit them!

There was now in France no man who could stand against the statesman's

And so, having hewn, through all that anarchy and bigotry and
selfishness, a way for the people, he called them to the work. In 1626
he summoned an assembly to carry out reforms. It was essentially a
people's assembly. That anarchical States-General, domineered by great
nobles, he would not call; but he called an Assembly of Notables. In
this was not one prince or duke, and two-thirds of the members came
directly from the people. Into this body he thrust some of his own
energy. Measures were taken for the creation of a navy. An idea was now
carried into effect which many suppose to have sprung from the French
Revolution; for the army was made more effective by opening its high
grades to the commons.[A] A reform was also made in taxation, and shrewd
measures were taken to spread commerce and industry by calling the
nobility into them.

[Footnote A: See the ordonnances in Thierry, Histoire du Tiers Etat.]

Thus did France, under his guidance, secure order and progress. Calmly
he destroyed all useless feudal castles which had so long overawed the
people and defied the monarchy. He abolished also the military titles of
Grand Admiral and High Constable, which had hitherto given the army
and navy into the hands of leading noble families. He destroyed some
troublesome remnants of feudal courts, and created royal courts: in one
year that of Poitiers alone punished for exactions and violence against
the people more than two hundred nobles. Greatest step of all, he
deposed the hereditary noble governors, and placed in their stead
governors taken from the people,--_Intendants,_--responsible to the
central authority alone.[B]

[Footnote B: For the best sketch of this see Caillet, _L'Administration
sous Richelieu._]

We are brought now to the _third_ great object of Richelieu's policy.
He saw from the beginning that Austria and her satellite Spain must be
humbled, if France was to take her rightful place in Europe.

Hardly, then, had he entered the council, when he negotiated a marriage
of the King's sister with the son of James I. of England; next he signed
an alliance with Holland; next he sent ten thousand soldiers to drive
the troops of the Pope and Spain out of the Valtelline district of the
Alps, and thus secured an alliance with the Swiss. We are to note here
the fact which Buckle wields so well, that, though Richelieu was a
Cardinal of the Roman Church, all these alliances were with Protestant
powers against Catholic.[C] Austria and Spain intrigued against
him,--sowing money in the mountain-districts of South France which
brought forth those crops of armed men who defended La Rochelle. But he
beat them at their own game. He set loose Count Mansfyld, who revived
the Thirty Tears' War by raising a rebellion in Bohemia; and when one
great man, Wallenstein, stood between Austria and ruin, Richelieu sent
his monkish diplomatist, Father Joseph, to the German Assembly of
Electors, and persuaded them to dismiss Wallenstein and to disgrace him.

[Footnote C: History of Civilisation in England, Vol. I. Chap. VIII.]

But the great Frenchman's master-stroke was his treaty with Gustavus
Adolphus. With that keen glance of his, he saw and knew Gustavus while
yet the world knew him not,--while he was battling afar off in the wilds
of Poland. Richelieu's plan was formed at once. He brought about a
treaty between Gustavus and Poland; then he filled Gustavus's mind with
pictures of the wrongs inflicted by Austria on German Protestants,
hinted to him probably of a new realm, filled his treasury, and finally
hurled against Austria the man who destroyed Tilly, who conquered
Wallenstein, who annihilated Austrian supremacy at the Battle of Lüizen,
who, though in his grave, wrenched Protestant rights from Austria at the
Treaty of Westphalia, who pierced the Austrian monarchy with the most
terrible sorrows it ever saw before the time of Napoleon.

To the main objects of Richelieu's policy already given might be added
two subordinate objects.

The first of these was a healthful extension of French territory. In
this Richelieu planned better than the first Napoleon; for, while he did
much to carry France out to her natural boundaries, he kept her always
within them. On the South he added Roussillon, on the East, Alsace, on
the Northeast, Artois.

The second subordinate object of his policy sometimes flashed forth
brilliantly. He was determined that England should never again interfere
on French soil. We have seen him driving the English from La Rochelle
and from the Isle of Rhé; but he went farther. In 1628, on making some
proposals to England, he was repulsed with English haughtiness.
"They shall know," said the Cardinal, "that they cannot despise me."
Straightway one sees protests and revolts of the Presbyterians of
Scotland, and Richelieu's agents in the thickest of them.

And now what was Richelieu's statesmanship in its sum?

I. In the Political Progress of France, his work has already been
sketched as building monarchy and breaking anarchy.

Therefore have men said that he swept away old French liberties. What
old liberties? Richelieu but tore away the decaying, poisonous husks
and rinds which hindered French liberties from their chance at life and

Therefore, also, have men said that Richelieu built up absolutism. The
charge is true and welcome. For, evidently, absolutism was the only
force, in that age, which could destroy the serf-mastering caste. Many a
Polish patriot, as he to-day wanders through the Polish villages, groans
that absolutism was not built to crush that serf-owning aristocracy
which has been the real architect of Poland's ruin. Any one who reads to
much purpose in De Mably, or Guizot, or Henri Martin, knows that this
part of Richelieu's statesmanship was but a masterful continuation of
all great French statesmanship since the twelfth-century league of king
and commons against nobles, and that Richelieu stood in the heirship of
all great French statesmen since Suger. That part of Richelieu's work,
then, was evidently bedded in the great line of Divine Purpose running
through that age and through all ages.

II. In the _Internal Development of France_, Richelieu proved himself a
true builder. The founding of the French Academy and of the Jardin des
Plantes, the building of the College of Plessis, and the rebuilding of
the College of the Sorbonne, are among the monuments of this part of his
statesmanship. His, also, is much of that praise usually lavished on
Louis XIV. for the career opened in the seventeenth century to science,
literature, and art. He was also a reformer, and his zeal was proved,
when, in the fiercest of the La Rochelle struggle, he found time to
institute great reforms not only in the army and navy, but even in the

III. On the _General Progress of Europe_, his work must be judged as
mainly for good. Austria was the chief barrier to European progress, and
that barrier he broke. But a far greater impulse to the general progress
of Europe was given by the idea of Toleration which he thrust into the
methods of European statesmen. He, first of all statesmen in France,
saw, that, in French policy, to use his own words, "A Protestant
Frenchman is better than a Catholic Spaniard"; and he, first of all
statesmen in Europe, saw, that, in European policy, patriotism, must
outweigh bigotry.

IV. His _Faults in Method_ were many. His under-estimate of the
sacredness of human life was one; but that was the fault of his age.
His frequent working by intrigue was another; but that also was a vile
method accepted by his age. The fair questions, then, are,--Did he not
commit the fewest and smallest wrongs possible in beating back those
many and great wrongs? Wrong has often a quick, spasmodic force; but was
there not in _his_ arm a steady growing force, which could only be a
force of right?

V. His _Faults in Policy_ crystallized about one: for, while he subdued
the serf-mastering nobility, he struck no final blow at the serf-system

Our running readers of French history need here a word of caution. They
follow De Tocqueville, and De Tocqueville follows Biot in speaking of
the serf-system as abolished in most of France hundreds of years before
this. But Biot and De Tocqueville take for granted a knowledge in their
readers that the essential vileness of the system, and even many of its
most shocking outward features, remained.

Richelieu might have crushed the serf-system, really, as easily as Louis
X. and Philip the Long had crushed it nominally. This Richelieu did not.

And the consequences of this great man's great fault were terrible.
Hardly was he in his grave, when the nobles perverted the effort of
the Paris Parliament for advance in liberty, and took the lead in the
fearful revolts and massacres of the Fronde. Then came Richelieu's
pupil, Mazarin, who tricked the nobles into order, and Mazarin's pupil,
Louis XIV., who bribed them into order. But a nobility borne on high by
the labor of a servile class must despise labor; so there came those
weary years of indolent gambling and debauchery and "serf-eating" at

Then came Louis XV., who was too feeble to maintain even the poor decent
restraints imposed by Louis XIV.; so the serf-mastering caste became
active in a new way, and their leaders in vileness unutterable became at
last Fronsac and De Sade.

Then came "the deluge." The spirit of the serf-mastering caste, as left
by Richelieu, was a main cause of the miseries which brought on the
French Revolution. When the Third Estate brought up their "portfolio of
grievances," for one complaint against the exactions of the monarchy
there were fifty complaints against the exactions of the nobility.[D]

[Footnote D: See any _Résumé des Cahiers_,--even the meagre ones in
Buchez and Roux, or Le Bas, or Chéruel.]

Then came the failure of the Revolution in its direct purpose; and of
this failure the serf-mastering caste was a main cause. For this caste,
hardened by ages of domineering over a servile class, despite fourth of
August renunciations, would not, could not, accept a position compatible
with freedom and order: so earnest men were maddened, and sought to tear
out this cancerous mass, with all its burning roots.

But for Richelieu's great fault there is an excuse. His mind was
saturated with ideas of the impossibility of inducing freed peasants to
work,--the impossibility of making them citizens,--the impossibility, in
short, of making them _men_. To his view was not unrolled the rich newer
world-history, to show that a working class is most dangerous when
restricted,--that oppression is more dangerous to the oppressor than to
the oppressed,--that, if man will hew out paths to liberty, God will
hew out paths to prosperity. But Richelieu's fault teaches the world not
less than his virtues.

At last, on the third of December, 1642, the great statesman lay upon
his death-bed. The death-hour is a great revealer of motives, and as
with weaker men, so with Richelieu. Light then shot over the secret of
his whole life's plan and work.

He was told that he must die: he received the words with calmness. As
the Host, which he believed the veritable body of the Crucified, was
brought him, he said, "Behold my Judge before whom I must shortly
appear! I pray Him to condemn me, if I have ever had any other motive
than the cause of religion and my country." The confessor asked him if
he pardoned his enemies: he answered, "I have none but those of the

So passed from earth this strong man. Keen he was in sight, steady in
aim, strong in act. A true man,--not "non-committal," but wedded to a
great policy in the sight of all men: seen by earnest men of all times
to have marshalled against riot and bigotry and unreason divine forces
and purposes; seen by earnest men of these times to have taught the true
method of grasping desperate revolt, and of strangling that worst foe of
liberty and order in every age,--a serf-owning aristocracy.


The spring had tripped and lost her flowers,
  The summer sauntered through the glades,
The wounded feet of autumn hours
 Left ruddy footprints on the blades.

And all the glories of the woods
  Had flung their shadowy silence down,--
When, wilder than the storm it broods,
 She fled before the winter's frown.

For _her_ sweet spring had lost its flowers,
  She fell, and passion's tongues of flame
Ran reddening through the blushing bowers,
  Now haggard as her naked shame.

One secret thought her soul had screened,
  When prying matrons sought her wrong,
And Blame stalked on, a mouthing fiend,
  And mocked her as she fled along.

And now she bore its weight aloof,
  To hide it where one ghastly birch
Held up the rafters of the roof,
  And grim old pine-trees formed a church.

'Twas there her spring-time vows were sworn,
  And there upon its frozen sod,
While wintry midnight reigned forlorn,
  She knelt, and held her hands to God.

The cautious creatures of the air
  Looked out from many a secret place,
To see the embers of despair
  Flush the gray ashes of her face.

And where the last week's snow had caught
  The gray beard of a cypress limb,
She heard the music of a thought
  More sweet than her own childhood's hymn.

For rising in that cadence low,
  With "Now I lay me down to sleep,"
Her mother rocked her to and fro,
  And prayed the Lord her soul to keep.

And still her prayer was humbly raised,
  Held up in two cold hands to God,
That, white as some old pine-tree blazed,
  Gleamed far o'er that dark frozen sod.

The storm stole out beyond the wood,
  She grew the vision of a cloud,
Her dark hair was a misty hood,
  Her stark face shone as from a shroud.

Still sped the wild storm's rustling feet
  To martial music of the pines,
And to her cold heart's muffled beat
  Wheeled grandly into solemn lines.

And still, as if her secret's woe
  No mortal words had ever found,
This dying sinner draped in snow
  Held up her prayer without a sound.

But when the holy angel bands
  Saw this lone vigil, lowly kept,
They gathered from her frozen hands
  The prayer thus folded, and they wept.

Some snow-flakes--wiser than the rest--
  Soon faltered o'er a thing of clay,
First read this secret of her breast,
  Then gently robed her where she lay.

The dead dark hair, made white with snow,
  A still stark face, two folded palms,
And (mothers, breathe her secret low!)
  An unborn infant--asking alms.

God kept her counsel; cold and mute
  His steadfast mourners closed her eyes,
Her head-stone was an old tree's root,
  Be mine to utter,--"Here she lies."


Within the memory of men still in the vigor of life, American Slavery
was considered by a vast majority of the North, and by a large minority
of the South, as an evil which should, at best, be tolerated, and not
a good which deserved to be extended and protected. A kind of
lazy acquiescence in it as a local matter, to be managed by local
legislation, was the feeling of the Free States. In both the Slave and
the Free States, the discussion of the essential principles on which
Slavery rests was confined to a few disappointed Nullifiers and a few
uncompromising Abolitionists, and we can recollect the time when Calhoun
and Garrison were both classed by practical statesmen of the South and
North in one category of pestilent "abstractionists." Negro Slavery
was considered simply as a fact; and general irritation among most
politicians of all sections was sure to follow any attempt to explore
the principles on which the fact reposed. That these principles had the
mischievous vitality which events have proved them to possess, few of
our wisest statesmen then dreamed, and we have drifted by degrees into
the present war without any clear perception of its animating causes.

The future historian will trace the steps by which the subject of
Slavery was forced on the reluctant attention of the citizens of the
Free States, so that at last the most cautious conservative could not
ignore its intrusive presence, could not banish its reality from his
eyes, or its image from his mind. He will show why Slavery, disdaining
its old argument from expediency, challenged discussion on its
principles. He will explain the process by which it became discontented
with toleration within its old limits, and demanded the championship
or connivance of the National Government in a plan for its limitless
extension. He will indicate the means by which it corrupted the Southern
heart and Southern brain, so that at last the elemental principles of
morals and religion were boldly denied, and the people came to "believe
a lie." He will, not unnaturally, indulge in a little sarcasm, when
he comes to consider the occupation of Southern professors of ethics,
compelled by their position to scoff at the "rights" of man, and
Southern professors of theology, compelled by their position to teach
that Christ came into the world, not so much to save sinners, as to
enslave negroes. He will be forced to class these among the meanest
and most abject slaves that the planters owned. In treating of the
subserviency of the North, he will be constrained to write many a page
which will flush the cheeks of our descendants with indignation and
shame. He will show the method by which Slavery, after vitiating the
conscience and intelligence of the South, contrived to vitiate in part,
and for a time, the conscience and intelligence of the North. It will
be his ungrateful task to point to many instances of compliance and
concession on the part of able Northern statesmen which will deeply
affect their fame with posterity, though he will doubtless refuse to
adopt to the full the contemporary clamor against their motives. He will
understand, better than we, the amount of patriotism which entered
into their "concessions," and the amount of fraternal good-will which
prompted their fatal "compromises." But he will also declare that the
object of the Slave Power was not attained. Vacillating statesmen and
corrupt politicians it might address, the first through their fears,
the second through their interests; but the intrepid and incorruptible
"people" were but superficially affected. A few elections were gained,
but the victories were barren of results. From political defeat the free
people of the North came forth more earnest and more united than ever.

The insolent pretensions of the Slavocracy were repudiated; its
political and ethical maxims were disowned; and after having stirred the
noblest impulses of the human heart by the spectacle of its tyranny, its
attempt to extend that tyranny only roused an insurrection of the human
understanding against the impudence of its logic. The historian can then
only say, that the Slave Power "seceded," being determined to form a
part of no government which it could not control. The present war is to
decide whether its real force corresponds to the political force it has
exerted heretofore in our affairs.

That this war has been forced upon the Free States by the "aggressions"
of the Slave Power is so plain that no argument is necessary to sustain
the proposition. It is not so universally understood that the Slave
Power is aggressive by the necessities of the wretched system of labor
on which its existence is based. By a short exposition of the principles
of Slavery, and the expedients it has practised during the last twenty
or thirty years, we think that this proposition can be established.

And first it must be always borne in mind, that Slavery, as a system,
is based on the most audacious, inhuman, and self-evident of lies,--the
assertion, namely, that property can be held in men. Property applies to
things. There is a meta-physical impossibility implied in the attempt to
extend its application to persons. It is possible, we admit, to ordain
by local law that four and four make ten, but such an exercise of
legislative wisdom could not overcome certain arithmetical prejudices
innate in our minds, or dethrone the stubborn eight from its accustomed
position in our thoughts. But you might as well ordain that four and
four make ten as ordain that a man has no right to himself, but can
properly be held as the chattel of another. Yet this arrogant falsehood
of property in men has been organized into a colossal institution. The
South calls it a "peculiar" institution; and herein perhaps consists
its peculiarity, that it is an absurdity which has lied itself into a
substantial form, and now argues its right to exist from the fact of its
existence. Doubtless, the fact that a thing exists proves that it has
its roots in human nature; but before we accept this as decisive of
its right to exist, it may be well to explore those qualities in human
nature, "peculiar" and perverse as itself, from which it derives
its poisonous vitality and strength. It is plain, we think, that an
institution embodying an essential falsity, which equally affronts the
common sense and the moral sense of mankind, and which, as respects
chronology, was as repugnant to the instincts of Homer as it is to the
instincts of Whittier, must have sprung from the unblessed union of
wilfulness and avarice, of avarice which knows no conscience, and of
wilfulness that tramples on reason; and the marks of this parentage,
the signs of these its boasted roots in human nature, are, we are
constrained to concede, visible in every stage of its growth, in every
argument for its existence, in every motive for its extension.

It is not, perhaps, surprising that some of the advocates of Slavery do
not relish the analysis which reveals the origin of their institution
in those dispositions which connect man with the tiger and the wolf.
Accordingly they discourage, with true democratic humility, all
genealogical inquiries into the ancestry of their system, substitute
generalization for analysis, and, twisting the maxims of religion into
a philosophy of servitude, bear down all arguments with the sounding
proposition, that Slavery is included in the plan of God's providence,
and therefore cannot be wrong. Certain thinkers of our day have asserted
the universality of the religious element in human nature: and it must
be admitted that men become very pious when their minds are illuminated
by the discernment of a Providential sanction for their darling sins,
and by the discovery that God is on the side of their interests and
passions. Napoleon's religious perceptions were somewhat obtuse, as
tried by the standards of the Church, yet nothing could exceed the depth
of his belief that God "was with the heaviest column"; and the most
obdurate jobber in human flesh may well glow with apostolic fervor, as,
from the height of philosophic contemplation to which this principle
lifts him, he discerns the sublime import of his Providential mission.
It is true, he is now willing to concede, that a man's right to himself,
being given by God, can only by God be taken away. "But," he exultingly
exclaims, "it _has_ been taken away by God. The negro, having always
been a slave, must have been so by divine appointment; and I, the mark
of obloquy to a few fanatical enthusiasts, am really an humble agent in
carrying out the designs of a higher law even than that of the State, of
a higher will even than my own." This mode of baptizing man's sin and
calling it God's providence has not altogether lacked the aid of certain
Southern clergymen, who ostentatiously profess to preach Christ and Him
crucified, and by such arguments, we may fear, crucified _by them_.
Here is Slavery's abhorred riot of vices and crimes, from whose
soul-sickening details the human imagination shrinks aghast,--and over
all, to complete the picture, these theologians bring in the seraphic
countenance of the Saviour of mankind, smiling celestial approval of the
multitudinous miseries and infamies it serenely beholds!

It may be presumptuous to proffer counsel to such authorized expositors
of religion, but one can hardly help insinuating the humble suggestion,
that it would be as well, if they must give up the principles of
liberty, not to throw Christianity in. We may be permitted to doubt the
theory of Providence which teaches that a man never so much serves God
as when he serves the Devil. Doubtless, Slavery, though opposed to God's
laws, is included in the plan of God's providence, but, in the long run,
the providence most terribly confirms the laws. The stream of events,
having its fountains in iniquity, has its end in retribution. It is
because God's laws are immutable that God's providence can be _foreseen_
as well as seen. The mere fact that a thing exists, and persists in
existing, is of little importance in determining its right to exist,
or its eventual destiny. These must be found in an inspection of the
principles by which it exists; and from the nature of its principles,
we can predict its future history. The confidence of bad men and the
despair of good men proceed equally from a too fixed attention to the
facts and events before their eyes, to the exclusion of the principles
which underlie and animate them; for no insight of principles, and of
the moral laws which govern human events, could ever cause tyrants to
exult or philanthropists to despond.

If we go farther into this question, we shall commonly find that the
facts and events to which we give the name of Providence are the acts
of human wills divinely overruled. There is iniquity and wrong in these
facts and events, because they are the work of free human wills. But
when these free human wills organize falsehood, institute injustice, and
establish oppression, they have passed into that mental state where
will has been perverted into wilfulness, and self-direction has been
exaggerated into self-worship. It is the essence of wilfulness that it
exalts the impulses of its pride above the intuitions of conscience
and intelligence, and puts force in the place of reason and right. The
person has thus emancipated himself from all restraints of a law higher
than his personality, and acts _from_ self, _for_ self, and in sole
obedience _to_ self. But this is personality in its Satanic form; yet it
is just here that some of our theologians have discovered in a person's
actions the purposes of Providence, and discerned the Divine intention
in the fact of guilt instead of in the certainty of retribution.
The tyrant element in man is found in this Satanic form of his
individuality. His will, self-released from restraint, preys upon and
crushes other wills. He asserts himself by enslaving others, and mimics
Divinity on the stilts of diabolism. Like the barbarian who thought
himself enriched by the powers and gifts of the enemy he slew, he
aggrandizes his own personality, and heightens his own sense of freedom,
through the subjection of feebler natures. Ruthless, rapacious, greedy
of power, greedy of gain, it is in Slavery that he wantons in all
the luxury of injustice, for it is here that he tastes the exquisite
pleasure of depriving others of that which he most values in himself.

Thus, whether we examine this system in the light of conscience and
intelligence, or in the light of history and experience, we come to but
one result,--that it has its source and sustenance in Satanic energy, in
Satanic pride, and in Satanic greed. This is Slavery in itself, detached
from the ameliorations it may receive from individual slaveholders.
Now a bad system is not continued or extended by the virtues of any
individuals who are but partially corrupted by it, but by those who
work in the spirit and with the implements of its originators. Every
amelioration is a confession of the essential injustice of the thing
ameliorated, and a step towards its abolition; and the humane and
Christian slaveholders owe their safety, and the security of what they
are pleased to call their property, to the vices of the hard and stern
spirits whom they profess to abhor. If they invest in stock of the
Devil's corporation, they ought not to be severe on those who look out
that they punctually receive their dividends. The true slaveholder feels
that he is encamped among his slaves, that he holds them by the right of
conquest, that the relation is one of war, and that there is no crime he
may not be compelled to commit in self-defence. Disdaining all cant,
he clearly perceives that the system, in its practical working, must
conform to the principles on which it is based. He accordingly believes
in the lash and the fear of the lash. If he is cruel and brutal, it may
as often be from policy as from disposition, for brutality and cruelty
are the means by which weaker races are best kept "subordinated" to
stronger races; and the influence of his brutality and cruelty is felt
as restraint and terror on the plantation of his less resolute neighbor.
And when we speak of brutality and cruelty, we do not limit the
application of the words to those who scourge, but extend it to some of
those who preach,--who hold up heaven as the reward of those slaves who
are sufficiently abject on earth, and threaten damnation in the next
world to all who dare to assert their manhood in this.

If, however, any one still doubts that this system develops itself
logically and naturally, and tramples down the resistance offered by the
better sentiments of human nature, let him look at the legislation which
defines and protects it,--a legislation which, as expressing the average
sense and purpose of the community, is to be quoted as conclusive
against the testimony of any of its individual members. This legislation
evinces the dominion of a malignant principle. You can hear the crack
of the whip and the clank of the chain in all its enactments. Yet these
laws, which cannot be read in any civilized country without mingled
horror and derision, indicate a mastery of the whole theory and practice
of oppression, are admirably adapted to the end they have in view, and
bear the unmistakable marks of being the work of practical men,--of men
who know their sin, and "knowing, dare maintain." They do not, it
is true, enrich the science of jurisprudence with any large or wise
additions, but we do not look for such luxuries as justice, reason, and
beneficence in ordinances devised to prop up iniquity, falsehood, and
tyranny. Ghastly caricatures of justice as these offshoots of Slavery
are, they are still dictated by the nature and necessities of the
system. They have the flavor of the rank soil whence they spring.

If we desire any stronger evidence that slaveholders constitute a
general Slave Power, that this Slave Power acts as a unit, the unity of
a great interest impelled by powerful passions, and that the virtues of
individual slaveholders have little effect in checking the vices of the
system, we can find that evidence in the zeal and audacity with which
this power engaged in extending its dominion. Seemingly aggressive in
this, it was really acting on the defensive,--on the defensive, however,
not against the assaults of men, but against the immutable decrees of
God. The world is so constituted, that wrong and oppression are not, in
a large view, politic. They heavily mortgage the future, when they
glut the avarice of the present. The avenging Providence, which the
slaveholder cannot find in the New Testament, or in the teachings of
conscience, he is at last compelled to find in political economy; and
however indifferent to the Gospel according to Saint John, he must give
heed to the gospel according to Adam Smith and Malthus. He discovers, no
doubt to his surprise, and somewhat to his indignation, that there is an
intimate relation between industrial success and justice; and however
much, as a practical man, he may despise the abstract principles which
declare Slavery a nonsensical enormity, he cannot fail to read its
nature, when it slowly, but legibly, writes itself out in curses on the
land. He finds how true is the old proverb, that, "if God moves with
leaden feet, He strikes with iron hands." The law of Slavery is, that,
to be lucrative, it must have a scanty population diffused over large
areas. To limit it is therefore to doom it to come to an end by the laws
of population. To limit it is to force the planters, in the end, to free
their slaves, from an inability to support them, and to force the slaves
into more energy and intelligence in labor, in order that they may
subsist as freemen. People prattle about the necessity of compulsory
labor; but the true compulsory labor, the labor which has produced the
miracles of modern industry, is the labor to which a man is compelled by
the necessity of saving himself, and those who are dearer to him than
self, from ignominy and want. It was by this policy of territorial
limitation, that Henry Clay, before the annexation of Texas, declared
that Slavery must eventually expire. The way was gradual, it was
prudent, it was safe, it was distant, it was sure, it was according to
the nature of things. It would have been accepted, had there been any
general truth in the assertion that the slaveholders were honestly
desirous of reconverting, at any time, and on any practicable plan,
their chattels into men. But true to the malignant principles of their
system, they accepted the law of its existence, but determined to evade
the law of its extinction. As Slavery required large areas and scanty
population, large areas and scanty population it should at all times
have. New markets should be opened for the surplus slave-population;
to open new markets was to acquire new territory; and to acquire new
territory was to gain additional political strength. The expansive
tendencies of freedom would thus be checked by the tendencies no less
expansive of bondage. To acquire Texas was not merely to acquire an
additional Slave State, but it was to keep up a demand for slaves which
would prevent Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, and Kentucky from
becoming Free States. As soon as old soils were worn out, new soils were
to be ready to receive the curse; and where slave-labor ceased to be
profitable, slave-breeding was to take its place.

This purpose was so diabolical, that, when first announced, it
was treated as a caprice of certain hot spirits, irritated by the
declamations of the Abolitionists. But it is idle to refer to transient
heat thoughts which bear all the signs of cool atrocity; and needless
to seek for the causes of actions in extraneous sources, when they
are plainly but steps in the development of principles already known.
Slave-breeding and Slavery-extension are necessities of the system. Like
Romulus and Remus, "they are both suckled from one wolf."

But it was just here that the question became to the Free States a
practical question. There could be no "fanaticism" in meeting it at this
stage. What usually goes under the name of fanaticism is the habit of
uncompromising assault on a thing because its principles are absurd
or wicked; what usually goes under the name of common sense is the
disposition to assail it at that point where, in the development of its
principles, it has become immediately and pressingly dangerous. Now by
no sophistry could we of the Free States evade the responsibility of
being the extenders of Slavery, if we allowed Slavery to be extended. If
we did not oppose it from a sense of right, we were bound to oppose it
from a sense of decency. It may be said that we had nothing to do with
Slavery at the South; but we had something to do with rescuing the
national character from infamy, and unhappily we could not have anything
to do with rescuing the national character from infamy without having
something to do with Slavery at the South. The question with us was,
whether we would allow the whole force of the National Government to be
employed in upholding, extending, and perpetuating this detestable and
nonsensical enormity?--especially, whether we would be guilty of that
last and foulest atheism to free principles, the deliberate planting of
slave institutions on virgin soil? If this question had been put to
any despot of Europe,--we had almost said, to any despot of Asia,--his
answer would undoubtedly have been an indignant negative. Yet the South
confidently expected so to wheedle or bully us into dragging our common
sense through the mud and mire of momentary expedients, that we should
connive at the commission of this execrable crime!

There can be no doubt, that, if the question had been fairly put to the
inhabitants of the Free States, their answer would have been at once
decisive for freedom. Even the strongest conservatives would have been
"Free-Soilers,"--not only those who are conservatives in virtue of
their prudence, moderation, sagacity, and temper, but prejudiced
conservatives, conservatives who are tolerant of all iniquity which is
decorous, inert, long-established, and disposed to die when its time
comes, conservatives as thorough in their hatred of change as Lamennais
himself. "What a noise," says Paul Louis Courier, "Lamennais would have
made on the day of creation, could he have witnessed it. His first cry
to the Divinity would have been to respect that ancient chaos." But even
to conservatives of this class, the attempt to extend Slavery, though
really in the order of its natural development, must still have appeared
a monstrous innovation, and they were bound to oppose the Marats and
Robespierres of despotism who were busy in the bad work. Indeed, in our
country, conservatism, through the presence of Slavery, has inverted
its usual order. In other countries, the radical of one century is the
conservative of the next; in ours, the conservative of one generation
is the radical of the next. The American conservative of 1790 is the
so-called fanatic of 1820; the conservative of 1820 is the fanatic
of 1856. The American conservative, indeed, descended the stairs of
compromise until his descent into utter abnegation of all that civilized
humanity holds dear was arrested by the Rebellion. And the reason of
this strange inversion of conservative principles was, that the movement
of Slavery is towards barbarism, while the movement of all countries
in which labor is not positively chattellized is towards freedom and
civilization. True conservatism, it must never be forgotten, is the
refusal to give up a positive, though imperfect good, for a possible,
but uncertain improvement: in the United States it has been misused to
denote the cowardly surrender of a positive good from a fear to resist
the innovations of an advancing evil and wrong.

There was, therefore, little danger that Slavery would be extended
through the conscious thought and will of the people, but there
was danger that its extension might, somehow or other, _occur_.
Misconception of the question, devotion to party or the memory of
party, prejudice against the men who more immediately represented the
Anti-Slavery principle, might make the people unconsciously slide into
this crime. And it must be said that for the divisions in the Free
States as to the mode in which the free sentiment of the people should
operate the strictly Anti-Slavery men were to some extent responsible.
It is difficult to convince an ardent reformer that the principle
for which he contends, being impersonal, should be purified from the
passions and whims of his own personality. The more fervid he is, the
more he is identified in the public mind with his cause; and, in a large
view, he is bound not merely to defend his cause, but to see that the
cause, through him, does not become offensive. Men are ever ready to
dodge disagreeable duties by converting questions of principles into
criticisms on the men who represent principles; and the men who
represent principles should therefore look to it that they make no
needless enemies and give no needless shock to public opinion for
the purpose of pushing pet opinions, wreaking personal grudges, or
gratifying individual antipathies. The artillery of the North has
heretofore played altogether too much on Northerners.

But to return. The South expected to fool the North into a compliance
with its designs, by availing itself of the divisions among its
professed opponents, and by dazzling away the attention of the people
from the real nature of the wickedness to be perpetrated. Slavery was to
be extended, and the North was to be an accomplice in the business; but
the Slave Power did not expect that we should be active and enthusiastic
in this work of self-degradation. It did not ask us to extend Slavery,
but simply to allow its extension to occur; and in this appeal to our
moral timidity and moral laziness, it contemptuously tossed us a few
fig-leaves of fallacy and false statement to save appearances.

We were informed, for instance, that by the equality of men is meant the
equality of those whom Providence has made equal. But this is exactly
the sense in which no sane man ever understood the doctrine of equality;
for Providence has palpably made men unequal, white men as well as

Then we were told that the white and black races could dwell together
only in the relation of masters and slaves,--and, in the same breath,
that in this relation the slaves were steadily advancing in civilization
and Christianity. But, if steadily advancing in civilization and
Christianity, the time must inevitably come when they would not submit
to be slaves; and then what becomes of the statement that the white
and black races cannot dwell together as freemen? Why boast of their
improvement, when you are improving them only that you may exterminate
them, or they _you?_

Then, with a composure of face which touches the exquisite in
effrontery, we were assured that this antithesis of master and slave, of
tyrant and abject natures, is really a perfect harmony. Slavery--so said
these logicians of liberticide--has solved the great social problem of
the working-classes, comfortably for capital, happily for labor; and has
effected this by an ingenious expedient which could have occurred only
to minds of the greatest depth and comprehension, the expedient, namely,
of enslaving labor. Now doubtless there has always been a struggle
between employers and employed, and this struggle will probably continue
until the relations between the two are more humane and Christian. But
Slavery exhibits this struggle in its earliest and most savage stage,
a stage answering to the rude energies and still ruder conceptions of
barbarians. The issue of the struggle, it is plain, will not be that
capital will own labor, but that labor will own capital, and no _man_ be

Still we were vehemently told, that, though the slaves, for their own
good, were deprived of their rights as men, they were in a fine state
of physical comfort. This was not and could not be true; but even if it
were, it only represented the slaveholder as addressing his slave in
some such words of derisive scorn as Byron hurls at Duke Alphonso,--

"Thou! born to eat, and be despised, and die, Even as the brutes that

though we doubt if he could truly add,--

"save that thou Hast a more splendid trough and wider sty."

Then we were solemnly warned of our patriotic duty to "know no North and
no South." This was the very impudence of ingratitude; for we had long
known no North, and unhappily had known altogether too much South.

Then we were most plaintively adjured to to comply with the demands of
the Slave Power, in order to save the Union. But how save the Union?
Why, by violating the principles on which the Union was formed, and
scouting the objects it was intended to serve.

But lastly came the question, on which the South confidently relied as
a decisive argument, "What could we do with our slaves, provided we
emancipated them?" The peculiarity which distinguished this question
from all other interrogatories ever addressed to human beings was this,
that it was asked for the purpose of not being answered. The moment a
reply was begun, the ground was swiftly shifted, and we were overwhelmed
with a torrent of words about State Rights and the duty of minding our
own business.

But it is needless to continue the examination of these substitutes and
apologies for fact and reason, especially as their chief characteristic
consisted in their having nothing to do with the practical question
before the people. They were thrown out by the interested defenders of
Slavery, North and South, to divert attention from the main issue. In
the fine felicity of their in appropriateness to the actual condition of
the struggle between the Free and Slave States, they were almost a match
for that renowned sermon, preached by a metropolitan bishop before an
asylum for the blind, the halt, and the legless, on "The Moral Dangers
of Foreign Travel." But still they were infinitely mischievous,
considered as pretences under which Northern men could skulk from their
duties, and as sophistries to lull into a sleepy acquiescence the
consciences of those political adventurers who are always seeking
occasions for being tempted and reasons for being rogues. They were all
the more influential from the circumstance that their show of argument
was backed by the solid substance of patronage. These false facts and
bad reasons were the keys to many fat offices. The South had succeeded
in instituting a new political test, namely, that no man is qualified
serve the United States unless he is the champion or the sycophant of
the Slave Power. Proscription to the friends of American freedom, honors
and emoluments to the friends of American slavery,--adopt that creed,
or you did not belong to any "healthy" political organization! Now we
have heard of civil disabilities for opinion's sake before. In some
countries no Catholics are allowed to hold office, in others no
Protestants, in others no Jews. But it is not, we believe, in Protestant
countries that Protestants are proscribed; it is not in Catholic
countries that Catholics are incompetent to serve the State. It was left
for a free country to establish, practically, civil disabilities against
freemen,--for Republican America to proscribe Republicans! Think of
it,--that no American, whatever his worth, talents, or patriotism,--could
two years ago serve his country in any branch of its executive
administration, unless he was unfortunate enough to agree with the
slaveholders, or base enough to sham an agreement with them! The test,
at Washington, of political orthodoxy was modelled on the pattern of
the test of religious orthodoxy established by Napoleon's minister of
police. "You are not orthodox," he said to a priest "In what," inquired
the astonished ecclesiastic, "have I sinned against orthodoxy?"
"You have not pronounced the eulogium of the Emperor, or proved the
righteousness of the conscription."

Now we had been often warned of the danger of sectional parties, on
account of their tendency to break up the Government. The people gave
heed to this warning; for here was a sectional party in possession
of the Government. We had been often advised not to form political
combinations on one idea. The people gave heed to this advice; for here
was a triumphant political combination, formed not only on one idea, but
that the worst idea that ever animated any political combination. Here
was an association of three hundred and fifty thousand persons, spread
over some nine hundred and fifty thousand square miles of territory, and
wielding its whole political power, engaged in the work of turning the
United States into a sort of slave plantation, of which they were to be
overseers. We opposed them by argument, passion, and numerical power;
and they read us long homilies on the beauty of law and order,--order
sustained by Border Ruffians, law which was but the legalizing of
criminal instincts,--law and order which, judged by the code established
for Kansas, seemed based on legislative ideas imported from the Fegee
Islands. We opposed them again, and they talked to us about the
necessity of preserving the Union;--as if, in the Free States, the love
of the Union had not been a principle and a passion, proof against many
losses, and insensible to many humiliations; as if, with our teachers,
disunion had not been for half a century a stereotyped menace to scare
us into compliance with their rascalities; as if it were not known that
only so long as they could wield the powers of the National Government
to accomplish their designs, were they loyal to the Union! We opposed
them again, and they clamored about their Constitutional rights and our
Constitutional obligations; but they adopted for themselves a theory of
the Constitution which made each State the judge of the Constitution in
the last resort, while they held us to that view of it which made the
Supreme Court the judge in the last resort. Written constitutions, by a
process of interpretation, are always made to follow the drift of great
forces; they are twisted and tortured into conformity with the views
of the power dominant in the State; and our Constitution, originally
a charter of freedom, was converted into an instrument which the
slaveholders seemed to possess by right of squatter sovereignty and
eminent domain.

Did any one suppose that we could retard the ever-onward movement of
their unscrupulous force and defiant wills by timely compromises and
concessions? Every compromise we made with them only stimulated their
rapacity, heightened their arrogance, increased their demands. Every
concession we made to their insolent threats was only a step downwards
to a deeper abasement; and we parted with our most cherished convictions
of duty to purchase, not their gratitude, but their contempt. Every
concession, too, weakened us and strengthened them for the inevitable
struggle, into which the Free States were eventually goaded, to preserve
what remained of their dignity, their honor, and their self-respect. In
1850 we conceded the application of the Wilmot Proviso; in 1856 we were
compelled to concede the principle of the Wilmot Proviso. In 1850 we had
no fears that slaves would enter New Mexico; in 1861 we were threatened
with a view of the flag of the rattlesnake floating over Faneuil Hall.
If any principle has been established by events, with the certainty of
mathematical demonstration, it is this, that concession to the Slave
Power is the suicide of Freedom. We are purchasing this fact at the
expense of arming five hundred thousand men and spending a thousand
millions of dollars. More than this, if any concessions were to be made,
they ought, on all principles of concession, to have been made to the
North. Concessions, historically, are not made by freedom to privilege,
but by privilege to freedom. Thus King John conceded Magna Charta; thus
King Charles conceded the Petition of Right; thus Protestant England
conceded Catholic Emancipation to Ireland; thus aristocratic England
conceded the Reform Bill to the English middle class. And had not we,
the misgoverned many, a right to demand from the slaveholders, the
governing few, some concessions to our sense of justice and our
prejudices for freedom? Concession indeed! If any class of men hold in
their grasp one of the dear-bought chartered "rights of man," it is
infamous to concede it.

  "Make it the darling of your precious eye!
  _To lose or give 't away_ were such perdition
  As nothing else could match."

Considerations so obvious as these could not, by any ingenuity of
party-contrivance, be prevented from forcing themselves by degrees into
the minds of the great body of the voters of the Free States. The common
sense, the "large roundabout common sense" of the people, slowly, and
somewhat reluctantly, came up to the demands of the occasion. The
sophistries and fallacies of the Northern defenders of the pretensions
of the slave-holding sectional minority were gradually exposed, and were
repudiated in the lump. The conviction was implanted in the minds of the
people of the Free States, that the Slave Power, representing only a
thirtieth part of the population of the Slave States, and a ninth part
of the property of the country, was bent on governing the nation, and
on subordinating all principles and all interests to its own. Not being
ambitious of having the United States converted into a Western Congo,
with the traffic in "niggers" as its fundamental idea, the people
elected Abraham Lincoln, in a perfectly Constitutional way, President.
As the majority of the House of Representatives, of the Senate, and of
the Supreme Court was still left, by this election, on the side of the
"rights of the South," (humorously so styled,) and as the President
could do little to advance Republican principles with all the other
branches of the Government opposed to him, the people naturally imagined
that the slaveholders would acquiesce in their decision.

But such was not the result. The election was in November. The new
President could not assume office until March. The triumphs of the Slave
Power had been heretofore owing to its willingness and readiness to
peril everything on each question as it arose, and each event as it
occurred. South Carolina, perhaps the only one of the Slave States that
was thoroughly in earnest, at once "seceded." The "Gulf States" and
others followed its example, not so much from any fixed intention of
forming a Southern Confederacy as for the purpose of intimidating the
Free States into compliance with the extreme demands of the South. The
Border Slave States were avowedly neutral between the "belligerents,"
but indicated their purpose to stand by their "Southern brethren," in
case the Government of the United States attempted to carry out the
Constitution and the laws in the seceded States by the process of

The combination was perfect. The heart of the Rebellion was in South
Carolina, a State whose free population was about equal to that of the
city of Brooklyn, and whose annual productions were exceeded by those
of Essex County, in the State of Massachusetts. Around this centre was
congregated as base a set of politicians as ever disgraced human nature.
A conspiracy was formed to compel a first-class power, representing
thirty millions of people, to submit to the dictation of about three
hundred thousand of its citizens. The conspirators did not dream of
failure. They were sure, as they thought, of the Gulf States and of the
Border States, of the whole Slave Power, in fact. They also felt sure
of that large minority in the Free States which had formerly acted with
them, and obeyed their most humiliating behests. They therefore entered
the Congress of the nation with a confident front, knowing that
President Buchanan and the majority of his Cabinet were practically on
their side. Before Mr. Lincoln could be inaugurated they imagined they
could accomplish all their designs, and make the Government of the
United States a Pro-Slavery power in the eyes of all the nations of the
world. Mr. Calhoun's paradoxes had heretofore been indorsed only by
majorities in the national legislature and by the Supreme Court. What a
victory it would be, if, by threatening rebellion, they could induce
the people of the United States to incorporate those paradoxes into
the fundamental law of the nation, dominant over both Congress and the
Court! All their previous "compromises" had been merely legislative
compromises, which, as their cause advanced, they had themselves
annulled. They now seized the occasion, when the "people" had risen
against them, to compel the people to sanction their most extreme
demands. They determined to convert defeat, sustained at the polls, into
a victory which would have far transcended any victory they might have
gained by electing their candidate, Breckinridge, as President.

A portion of the Republicans, seeing clearly the force arrayed against
them, and disbelieving that the population of the Free States would be
willing, _en masse_, to sustain the cause of free labor by force of
arms, tried to avert the blow by proposing a new compromise. Mr.
Seward, the calmest, most moderate, and most obnoxious statesman of the
Republican party, offered to divide the existing territories of the
United States by the Missouri line, all south of which should be open
to slave labor. As he at the same time stated that by natural laws the
South could obtain no material advantage by his seeming concession, the
concession only made him enemies among the uncompromising champions of
the Wilmot Proviso. The conspirators demanded that the Missouri line
should be the boundary, not only between the territories which the
United States then possessed, but between the territories they might
hereafter _acquire_. As the country north of the Missouri line was held
by powerful European States which it would be madness to offend, and as
the country south of that line was held by feeble States which it would
be easy to conquer, no Northern or Western statesman could vote for such
a measure without proving himself a rogue or a simpleton. Hence all
measures of "compromise" necessarily failed during the last days of the
administration of James Buchanan.

It is plain, that, when Mr. Lincoln--after having escaped assassination
from the "Chivalry" of Maryland, and after having been subjected to a
virulence of invective such as no other President had incurred--arrived
at Washington, his mind was utterly unaffected by the illusions of
passion. His Inaugural Message was eminently moderate. The Slave
Power, having failed to delude or bully Congress, or to intimidate the
people,--having failed to murder the elected President on his way to
the capital,--was at wits' end. It thought it could still rely on its
Northern supporters, as James II. of England thought he could rely
on the Church of England. While the nation, therefore, was busy in
expedients to call back the seceded States to their allegiance, the
latter suddenly bombarded Fort Sumter, trampled on the American flag,
threatened to wave the rattlesnake rag over Faneuil Hall, and to make
the Yankees "smell Southern powder and feel Southern steel." All this
was done with the idea that the Northern "Democracy" would rally to the
support of their "Southern brethren." The result proved that the South
was, in the words of Mr. Davis's last and most melancholy Message, the
victim of "misplaced confidence" in its Northern "associates." The
moment a gun was fired, the honest Democratic voters of the North were
even more furious than the Republican voters; the leaders, including
those who had been the obedient servants of Slavery, were ravenous for
commands in the great army which was to "coerce" and "subjugate" the
South; and the whole organization of the "Democratic party" of the North
melted away at once in the fierce fires of a reawakened patriotism. The
slaveholders ventured everything on their last stake, and lost. A North,
for the first time, sprang into being; and it issued, like Minerva from
the brain of Jove, full-armed. The much-vaunted engineer, Beauregard,
was "hoist with his own petard."

Now that the slaveholders have been so foolish as to appeal to physical
force, abandoning their vantage-ground of political influence, they must
be not only politically overthrown, but physically humiliated. Their
arrogant sense of superiority must be beaten out of them by main force.
The feeling with which every Texan and Arkansas bully and assassin
regarded a Northern mechanic--a feeling akin to that with which the old
Norman robber looked on the sturdy Saxon laborer--must be changed, by
showing the bully that his bowie-knife is dangerous only to peaceful,
and is imbecile before armed citizens. The Southerner has appealed to
force, and force he should have, until, by the laws of force, he is not
only beaten, but compelled to admit the humiliating fact. That he is not
disposed "to die in the last ditch," that he has none of the practical
heroism of desperation, is proved by the actual results of battles.
When defeated, and his means of escape are such as only desperation can
surmount, he quickly surrenders, and is even disposed to take the oath
of allegiance. The martial virtues of the common European soldier he has
displayed in exceedingly scanty measure in the present conflict. He
has relied on engineers; and the moment his fortresses are turned or
stormed, he retreats or becomes a prisoner of war. Let Mr. Davis's
Message to the Confederate Congress, and his order suspending Pillow
and Floyd, testify to this unquestionable statement. Even if we grant
martial intrepidity to the members of the Slavocracy, the present war
proves that the system of Slavery is not one which develops martial
virtues among the "free whites" it has cajoled or forced into its
hateful service. Indeed, the armies of Jefferson Davis are weak on the
same principle on which the slave-system is weak. Everything depends on
the intelligence and courage of the commanders, and the moment these
fail the soldiers become a mere mob.

American Slavery, by the laws which control its existence, first rose
from a local power, dominant in certain States, to a national power,
assuming to dominate over the United States. At the first faint fact
which indicated the intention of the Free States to check its progress
and overturn its insolent dominion, it rebelled. The rebellion now
promises to be a failure; but it will cost the Free States the arming of
half a million of men and the spending of a thousand millions of dollars
to make it a failure. Can we afford to trifle with the cause which
produced it? We note that some of the representatives of the loyal Slave
States in Congress are furious to hang individual Rebels, but at the
same time are anxious to surround the system those Rebels represent
with new guaranties. When they speak of Jeff Davis and his crew, their
feeling is as fierce as that of Tilly and Pappenheim towards the
Protestants of Germany. They would burn, destroy, confiscate, and kill
without any mercy, and without any regard to the laws of civilized war;
but when they come to speak of Slavery, their whole tone is changed.
They wish us to do everything barbarous and inhuman, provided we do not
go to the last extent of barbarity and inhumanity, which, according to
their notions, is, to inaugurate a system of freedom, equality, and
justice. Provided the negro is held in bondage and denied the rights of
human nature, they are willing that any severity should be exercised
towards his rebellious master. Now we have no revengeful feeling towards
the master at all. We think that he is a victim as well as an oppressor.
We wish to emancipate the master as well as the slave, and we think that
thousands of masters are persons who merely submit to the conditions
of labor established in their respective localities. Our opposition is
directed, not against Jefferson Davis, but against the system whose
cumulative corruptions and enormities Jefferson Davis very fairly
represents. As an individual, Jefferson Davis is not worse than many
people whom a general amnesty would preserve in their persons and
property. To hang him, and at the same time guaranty Slavery, would be
like destroying a plant by a vain attempt to kill its most poisonous
blossom. Our opposition is not to the blossom, but to the root.

We admit that to strike at the root is a very difficult operation. In
the present condition of the country it may present obstacles which will
practically prove insuperable. But it is plain that we can strike lower
than the blossom; and it is also plain that we must, as practical
men, devise some method by which the existence of the Slavocracy as a
political power may be annihilated. The President of the United States
has lately recommended that Congress offer the cooperation and financial
aid of the whole nation in a peaceful effort to abolish Slavery,--with
a significant hint, that, unless the loyal Slave States accept the
proposition, the necessities of the war may dictate severer measures.
Emancipation is the policy of the Government, and will soon be the
determination of the people. Whether it shall be gradual or immediate
depends altogether on the slaveholders themselves. The prolongation of
the war for a year, and the operation of the internal tax bill, will
convert all the voters of the Free States, whether Republicans or
Democrats, into practical Emancipationists. The tax bill alone will
teach the people important lessons which no politicians can gainsay.
Every person who buys a piece of broadcloth or calico,--every person who
takes a cup of tea or coffee,--every person who lives from day to day
on the energy he thinks he derives from patent medicines, or beer, or
whiskey,--every person who signs a note, or draws a bill of exchange, or
sends a telegraphic despatch, or advertises in a newspaper, or makes a
will, or "raises" anything, or manufactures anything, will naturally
inquire why he or she is compelled to submit to an irritating as well as
an onerous tax. The only answer that can possibly be returned is this,--
that all these vexatious burdens are necessary because a comparatively
few persons out of an immense population have chosen to get up a civil
war in order to protect and foster their slave-property, and the
political power it confers. As this property is but a small fraction of
the whole property of the country, and as its owners are not a hundredth
part of the population of the country, does any sane man doubt that the
slave-property will be relentlessly confiscated in order that the Slave
Power may be forever crushed?

There are, we know, persons in the Free States who pretend to believe
that the war will leave Slavery where the war found it,--that our half
a million of soldiers have gone South on a sort of military picnic,
and will return in a cordial mood towards their Southern brethren in
arms,--and that there is no real depth and earnestness of purpose in the
Free States. Though one year has done the ordinary work of a century
in effecting or confirming changes in the ideas and sentiments of the
people, these persons still sagely rely on the party-phrases current
some eighteen months ago to reconstruct the Union on the old basis of
the domination of the Slave Power, through the combination of a divided
North with a united South. By the theory of these persons, there is
something peculiarly sacred in property in men, distinguishing it from
the more vulgar form of property in things; and though the cost of
putting down the Rebellion will nearly equal the value of the Southern
slaves, considered as chattels, they suppose that the owners of property
in things will cheerfully submit to be taxed for a thousand millions,--a
fourth of the almost fabulous debt of England,--without any irritation
against the chivalric owners of property in men, whose pride, caprice,
and insubordination have made the taxation necessary. Such may possibly
be the fact, but as sane men we cannot but disbelieve it. Our conviction
is, that, whether the war is ended in three months or in twelve months,
the Slave Power is sure to be undermined or overthrown.

The sooner the war is ended, the more favorable will be the terms
granted to the Slavocracy; but no terms will be granted which do not
look to its extinction. The slaveholders are impelled by their system to
complete victory or utter ruin. If they obey the laws of their system,
they have, from present appearances, nothing but defeat, beggary, and
despair to expect. If they violate the laws of their system, they must
take their place in some one of the numerous degrees, orders, and ranks
of the Abolitionists. It will be well for them, if the wilfulness
developed by their miserable system gives way to the plain reason and
logic of facts and events. It will be well for them, if they submit to a
necessity, not only inherent in the inevitable operation of divine laws,
but propelled by half a million of men in arms. Be it that God is on the
side of the heaviest column,--there can be no doubt that the heaviest
column is now the column of Freedom.

       *       *       *       *       *


  "At dawn," he said, "I bid them all farewell,
    To go where bugles call and rifles gleam."
  And with the restless thought asleep he fell,
    And glided into dream.

  A great hot plain from sea to mountain spread,--
    Through it a level river slowly drawn.
  He moved with a vast crowd, and at its head
    Streamed banners like the dawn.

  There came a blinding flash, a deafening roar,
    And dissonant cries of triumph and dismay;
  Blood trickled down the river's reedy shore,
    And with the dead he lay.

  The morn broke in upon his solemn dream;
    And still, with steady pulse and deepening eye,
  "Where bugles call," he said, "and rifles gleam,
    I follow, though I die!"

  Wise youth! By few is glory's wreath attained;
    But death or late or soon awaiteth all.
  To fight in Freedom's cause is something gained,--
    And nothing lost, to fall.


_To the Editors of the_ ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

Jaalam, 12th April, 1862.

GENTLEMEN,--As I cannot but hope that the ultimate, if not speedy,
success of the national arms is now sufficiently ascertained, sure as
I am of the righteousness of our cause and its consequent claim on the
blessing of God, (for I would not show a faith inferiour to that of the
pagan historian with his _Facile evenit quod Dis cordi est_,) it seems
to me a suitable occasion to withdraw our minds a moment from the
confusing din of battle to objects of peaceful and permanent interest.
Let us not neglect the monuments of preterite history because what
shall be history is so diligently making under our eyes. _Cras ingens
iterabimus aequor_; to-morrow will be time enough for that stormy sea;
to-day let me engage the attention of your readers with the Runick
inscription to whose fortunate discovery I have heretofore alluded. Well
may we say with the poet, _Multa renascuntur quae jam cecidere_. And I
would premise, that, although I can no longer resist the evidence of my
own senses from the stone before me to the ante-Columbian discovery of
this continent by the Northmen, _gens inclytissima_, as they are called
in Palermitan inscription, written fortunately in a less debatable
character than that which I am about to decypher, yet I would by no
means be understood as wishing to vilipend the merits of the great
Genoese, whose name will never be forgotten so long as the inspiring
strains of "Hail Columbia" shall continue to be heard. Though he must
be stripped also of whatever praise may belong to the experiment of the
egg, which I find proverbially attributed by Castilian authours to a
certain Juanito or Jack, (perhaps an offshoot of our giant-killing my
thus,) his name will still remain one of the most illustrious of modern
times. But the impartial historian owes a duty likewise to obscure
merit, and my solicitude to render a tardy justice is perhaps quickened
by my having known those who, had their own field of labour been less
secluded, might have found a readier acceptance with the reading
publick. I could give an example, but I forbear: _forsitan nostris ex
ossibus oritur ultor_.

Touching Runick inscriptions, I find that they may be classed under
three general heads: 1°. Those which are understood by the Danish Royal
Society of Northern Antiquaries, and Professor Rafn, their Secretary;
2°. Those which are comprehensible only by Mr Rafn; and 3º. Those which
neither the Society, Mr Rafn, nor anybody else can be said in any
definite sense to understand, and which accordingly offer peculiar
temptations to enucleating sagacity. These last are naturally deemed the
most valuable by intelligent antiquaries, and to this class the stone
now in my possession fortunately belongs. Such give a picturesque
variety to ancient events, because susceptible oftentimes of as many
interpretations as there are individual archaeologists; and since facts
are only the pulp in which the Idea or event-seed is softly imbedded
till it ripen, it is of little consequence what colour or flavour we
attribute to them, provided it be agreeable. Availing myself of the
obliging assistance of Mr. Arphaxad Bowers, an ingenious photographick
artist, whose house-on-wheels has now stood for three years on our
Meeting-House Green, with the somewhat contradictory inscription,--"_Our
motto is onward_,"--I have sent accurate copies of my treasure to many
learned men and societies, both native and European. I may hereafter
communicate their different and (_me judice_) equally erroneous
solutions. I solicit also, Messrs. Editors, your own acceptance of the
copy herewith inclosed. I need only premise further, that the stone
itself is a goodly block of metamorphick sandstone, and that the Runes
resemble very nearly the ornithichnites or fossil bird-tracks of Dr.
Hitchcock, but with less regularity or apparent design than is displayed
by those remarkable geological monuments. These are rather the _non bene
junctarum discordia semina rerum_. Resolved to leave no door open to
cavil, I first of all attempted the elucidation of this remarkable
example of lithick literature by the ordinary modes, but with no
adequate return for my labour. I then considered myself amply justified
in resorting to that heroick treatment the felicity of which, as applied
by the great Bentley to Milton, had long ago enlisted my admiration.
Indeed, I had already made up my mind, that, in case good-fortune should
throw any such invaluable record in my way, I would proceed with it
in the following simple and satisfactory method. After a cursory
examination, merely sufficing for an approximative estimate of its
length, I would write down a hypothetical inscription based upon
antecedent probabilities, and then proceed to extract from the
characters engraven on the stone a meaning as nearly as possible
conformed to this _a priori_ product of my own ingenuity. The result
more than justified my hopes, inasmuch as the two inscriptions were made
without any great violence to tally in all essential particulars. I then
proceeded, not without some anxiety, to my second test, which was, to
read the Runick letters diagonally, and again with the same success.
With an excitement pardonable under the circumstances, yet tempered
with thankful humility, I now applied my last and severest trial, my
_experimentum crucis_. I turned the stone, now doubly precious in my
eyes, with scrupulous exactness upside down. The physical exertion so
far displaced my spectacles as to derange for a moment the focus of
vision. I confess that it was with some tremulousness that I readjusted
them upon my nose, and prepared my mind to bear with calmness any
disappointment that might ensue. But, _O albo dies notanda lapillo!_
what was my delight to find that the change of position had effected
none in the sense of the writing, even by so much as a single letter!
I was now, and justly, as I think, satisfied of the conscientious
exactness of my interpretation. It is as follows:--





that is, drew smoke through a reed stem. In other words, we have here
a record of the first smoking of the herb _Nicotiana Tabacum_ by a
European on this continent. The probable results of this discovery are
so vast as to baffle conjecture. If it be objected, that the smoking
of a pipe would hardly justify the setting up of a memorial stone, I
answer, that even now the Moquis Indian, ere he takes his first whiff,
bows reverently toward the four quarters of the sky in succession, and
that the loftiest monuments have been reared to perpetuate fame, which
is the dream of the shadow of smoke. The _Saga_, it will be remembered,
leaves this Bjarna to a fate something like that of Sir Humphrey
Gilbert, on board a sinking ship in the "wormy sea," having generously
given up his place in the boat to a certain Icelander. It is doubly
pleasant, therefore, to meet with this proof that the brave old man
arrived safely in Vinland, and that his declining years were cheered by
the respectful attentions of the dusky denizens of our then uninvaded
forests. Most of all was I gratified, however, in thus linking forever
the name of my native town with one of the most momentous occurrences of
modern times. Hitherto Jaalam, though in soil, climate, and geographical
position as highly qualified to be the theatre of remarkable historical
incidents as any spot on the earth's surface, has been, if I may say it
without seeming to question the wisdom of Providence, almost maliciously
neglected, as it might appear, by occurrences of world-wide interest in
want of a situation. And in matters of this nature it must be confessed
that adequate events are as necessary as the _vates sacer_ to record
them. Jaalam stood always modestly ready, but circumstances made no
fitting response to her generous intentions. Now, however, she assumes
her place on the historick roll. I have hitherto been a zealous opponent
of the Circean herb, but I shall now reexamine the question without

I am aware that the Rev'd Jonas Tutchel, in a recent communication to
the Bogus Four Corners Weekly Meridian, has endeavoured to show that
this is the sepulchral inscription of Thorwald Eriksson, who, as is well
known, was slain in Vinland by the natives. But I think he has been
misled by a preconceived theory, and cannot but feel that he has thus
made an ungracious return for my allowing him to inspect the stone with
the aid of my own glasses (he having by accident left his at home)
and in my own study. The heathen ancients might have instructed this
Christian minister in the rites of hospitality; but much is to be
pardoned to the spirit of self-love. He must indeed be ingenious who can
make out the words _hèr hrilir_ from any characters in the inscription
in question, which, whatever else it may be, is certainly not mortuary.
And even should the reverend gentleman succeed in persuading some
fantastical wits of the soundness of his views, I do not see what useful
end he will have gained. For if the English Courts of Law hold the
testimony of grave-stones from the burial-grounds of Protestant
dissenters to be questionable, even where it is essential in proving a
descent, I cannot conceive that the epitaphial assertions of heathens
should be esteemed of more authority by any man of orthodox sentiments.

At this moment, happening to cast my eyes upon the stone, on which a
transverse light from my southern window brings out the characters
with singular distinctness, another interpretation has occurred to me,
promising even more interesting results. I hasten to close my letter in
order to follow at once the clue thus providentially suggested.

I inclose, as usual, a contribution from Mr. Biglow, and remain,
Gentlemen, with esteem and respect,

Your Ob't Humble Servant,


  I thank ye, my friens, for the warmth o' your greetin':
  Ther' 's few airthly blessins but wut's vain an' fleetin';
  But ef ther' is one thet hain't _no_ cracks an' flaws,
  An' is wuth goin' in for, it's pop'lar applause;
  It sends up the sperits ez lively ez rockets,
  An' I feel it--wal, down to the eend o' my pockets.
  Jes' lovin' the people is Canaan in view,
  But it's Canaan paid quarterly t' hev 'em love you;
  It's a blessin' thet's breakin' out ollus in fresh spots;
  It's a-follerin' Moses 'thout losin' the flesh-pots.

  But, Gennlemen,'scuse me, I ain't sech a raw cus
  Ez to go luggin' ellerkence into a caucus,--
  Thet is, into one where the call comprehens
  Nut the People in person, but on'y their friens;
  I'm so kin' o' used to convincin' the masses
  Of th' edvantage o' bein' self-governin' asses,
  I forgut thet _we_ 're all o' the sort thet pull wires
  An' arrange for the public their wants an' desires,
  An' thet wut we hed met for wuz jes' to agree
  Wut the People's opinions in futur' should be.

  But to come to the nuh, we've ben all disappinted,
  An' our leadin' idees are a kind o' disjinted,--
  Though, fur ez the nateral man could discern,
  Things ough' to ha' took most an oppersite turn.
  But The'ry is jes' like a train on the rail,
  Thet, weather or no, puts her thru without fail,
  While Fac's the ole stage thet gits sloughed in the ruts,
  An' hez to allow for your darned efs an' buts,
  An' so, nut intendin' no pers'nal reflections,
  They don't--don't nut allus, thet is--make connections:
  Sometimes, when it really doos seem thet they'd oughter
  Combine jest ez kindly ez new rum an' water,
  Both 'll be jest ez sot in their ways ez a bagnet,
  Ez otherwise-minded ez th' eends of a magnet,
  An' folks like you 'n me, thet ain't ept to be sold,
  Git somehow or 'nother left out in the cold.

  I expected 'fore this, 'thout no gret of a row,
  Jeff D. would ha' ben where A. Lincoln is now,
  With Taney to say 't wuz all legle an' fair,
  An' a jury o' Deemocrats ready to swear
  Thet the ingin o' State gut throwed into the ditch
  By the fault o' the North in misplacin' the switch.
  Things wuz ripenin' fust-rate with Buchanan to nuss 'em;
  But the People they wouldn't be Mexicans, cuss 'em!
  Ain't the safeguards o' freedom upsot, 'z you may say,
  Ef the right o' rev'lution is took clean away?
  An' doosn't the right primy-fashy include
  The bein' entitled to nut be subdued?
  The fact is, we'd gone for the Union so strong,
  When Union meant South ollus right an' North wrong,
  Thet the people gut fooled into thinkin' it might
  Worry on middlin' wal with the North in the right.
  We might ha' ben now jest ez prosp'rous ez France,
  Where politikle enterprise hez a fair chance,
  An' the people is heppy an' proud et this hour,
  Long ez they hev the votes, to let Nap hev the power;
  But _our_ folks they went an' believed wut we'd told 'em,
  An', the flag once insulted, no mortle could hold 'em.
  'T wuz pervokin' jest when we wuz cert'in to win,--
  An' I, for one, wunt trust the masses agin:
  For a people thet knows much ain't fit to be free
  In the self-cockin', back-action style o' J.D.

  I can't believe now but wut half on't is lies;
  For who'd thought the North wuz a-goin' to rise,
  Or take the pervokin'est kin' of a stump,
  'Thout't wuz sunthin' ez pressin' ez Gabr'el's las' trump?
  Or who'd ha' supposed, arter _sech_ swell an' bluster
  'Bout the lick-ary-ten-on-ye fighters they'd muster,
  Raised by hand on briled lightnin', ez op'lent 'z you please
  In a primitive furrest o' femmily-trees,
  Who'd ha' thought thet them Southerners ever 'ud show
  Starns with pedigrees to 'em like theirn to the foe,
  Or, when the vamosin' come, ever to find
  Nat'ral masters in front an' mean white folks behind?
  By ginger, ef I'd ha' known half I know now,
  When I wuz to Congress, I wouldn't, I swow,
  Hev let 'em cair on so high-minded an' sarsy,
  'Thout _some_ show o' wut you may call vicy-varsy.
  To be sure, we wuz under a contrac' jes' then
  To be dreffle forbearin' towards Southun men;
  We hed to go sheers in preservin' the bellance:
  An' ez they seemed to feel they wuz wastin' their tellents
  'Thout some un to kick, 't warn't more 'n proper, you know,
  Each should funnish his part; an' sence they found the toe,
  An' we wuzn't cherubs--wal, we found the buffer,
  For fear thet the Compromise System should suffer.

  I wun't say the plan hed n't onpleasant featurs,--
  For men are perverse an' onreasonin' creaturs,
  An' forgit thet in this life 't ain't likely to heppen
  Their own privit fancy should oltus be cappen,--
  But it worked jest ez smooth ez the key of a safe,
  An' the gret Union bearins played free from all chafe.
  They warn't hard to suit, ef they hed their own way;
  An' we (thet is, some on us) made the thing pay:
  'T wuz a fair give-an'-take out of Uncle Sam's heap;
  Ef they took wut warn't theirn, wut we give come ez cheap;
  The elect gut the offices down to tidewaiter,
  The people took skinnin' ez mild ez a tater,
  Seemed to choose who they wanted tu, footed the bills,
  An' felt kind o' 'z though they wuz havin' their wills,
  Which kep' 'em ez harmless an' clerfle ez crickets,
  While all we invested wuz names on the tickets:
  Wal, ther' 's nothin' for folks fond o' lib'ral consumption,
  Free o' charge, like democ'acy tempered with gumption!

  Now warn't thet a system wuth pains in presarvin',
  Where the people found jints an' their friens done the carvin',--
  Where the many done all o' their thinkin' by proxy,
  An' were proud on't ez long ez't wuz christened Democ'cy,--
  Where the few let us sap all o' Freedom's foundations,
  Ef you called it reformin' with prudence an' patience,
  An' were willin' Jeff's snake-egg should hetch with the rest,
  Ef you writ "Constitootional" over the nest?
  But it's all out o' kilter, ('t wuz too good to last,)
  An' all jes' by J.D.'s perceedin' too fast;
  Ef he'd on'y hung on for a month or two more,
  We'd ha' gut things fixed nicer 'n they hed ben before:
  Afore he drawed off an' lef all in confusion,
  We wuz safely intrenched in the ole Constitootion,
  With an outlyin', heavy-gun, casemated fort
  To rake all assailants,--I mean th' S.J. Court.
  Now I never 'II acknowledge (nut ef you should skin me)
  'T wuz wise to abandon sech works to the in'my,
  An' let him fin' out thet wut scared him so long,
  Our whole line of argyments, lookin' so strong,
  All our Scriptur' an' law, every the'ry an' fac',
  Wuz Quaker-guns daubed with Pro-slavery black.
  Why, ef the Republicans ever should git
  Andy Johnson or some one to lend 'em the wit
  An' the spunk jes' to mount Constitootion an' Court
  With Columbiad guns, your real ekle-rights sort,
  Or drill out the spike from the ole Declaration
  Thet can kerry a solid shot clearn roun' creation,
  We'd better take maysures for shettin' up shop,
  An' put off our stock by a vendoo or swop.

  But they wun't never dare tu; you 'll see 'em in Edom
  'Fore they ventur' to go where their doctrines 'ud lead 'em:
  They 've ben takin' our princerples up ez we dropt 'em,
  An' thought it wuz terrible 'cute to adopt 'em;
  But they'll fin' out 'fore long thet their hope 's ben deceivin' 'em,
  An' thet princerples ain't o' no good, ef you b'lieve in 'em;
  It makes 'em tu stiff for a party to use,
  Where they'd ough' to be easy 'z an ole pair o' shoes.
  Ef _we_ say 'n our pletform thet all men are brothers,
  We don't mean thet some folks ain't more so 'n some others;
  An' it's wal understood thet we make a selection,
  An' thet brotherhood kin' o' subsides arter 'lection.
  The fust thing for sound politicians to larn is,
  Thet Truth, to dror kindly in all sorts o' harness,
  Mus' be kep' in the abstract,--for, 'come to apply it,
  You're ept to hurt some folks's interists by it.
  Wal, these 'ere Republicans (some on 'em) acs
  Ez though gineral mexims 'ud suit speshle facs;
  An' there's where we 'll nick 'em, there 's where they 'll be lost:
  For applyin' your princerple's wut makes it cost,
  An' folks don't want Fourth o' July t' interfere
  With the business-consarns o' the rest o' the year,
  No more 'n they want Sunday to pry an' to peek
  Into wut they are doin' the rest o' the week.

  A ginooine statesman should be on his guard,
  Ef he _must_ hev beliefs, nut to b'lieve 'em tu hard;
  For, ez sure ez he doos, he'll be blartin' 'em out
  'Thout regardin' the natur' o' man more 'n a spout,
  Nor it don't ask much gumption to pick out a flaw
  In a party whose leaders are loose in the jaw:
  An' so in our own case I ventur' to hint
  Thet we'd better nut air our perceedins in print,
  Nor pass resserlootions ez long ez your arm
  Thet may, ez things heppen to turn, do us harm;
  For when you've done all your real meanin' to smother,
  The darned things'll up an' mean sunthin' or 'nother.
  Jeff'son prob'ly meant wal with his "born free an' ekle,"
  But it's turned out a real crooked stick in the sekle;
  It's taken full eighty-odd year--don't you see?--
  From the pop'lar belief to root out thet idee,
  An', arter all, sprouts on 't keep on buddin' forth
  In the nat'lly onprincipled mind o' the North.
  No, never say nothin' without you're compelled tu,
  An' then don't say nothin' thet you can be held tu,
  Nor don't leave no friction-idees layin' loose
  For the ign'ant to put to incend'ary use.

  You know I'm a feller thet keeps a skinned eye
  On the leetle events thet go skurryin' by,
  Coz it's of'ner by them than by gret ones you'll see
  Wut the p'litickle weather is likely to be.
  Now I don't think the South's more 'n begun to be licked,
  But I _du_ think, ez Jeff says, the wind-bag's gut pricked;
  It'll blow for a spell an' keep puffin' an' wheezin',
  The tighter our army an' navy keep squeezin',--
  For they can't help spread-eaglein' long 'z ther's a mouth
  To blow Enfield's Speaker thru lef' at the South.
  But it's high time for us to be settin' our faces
  Towards reconstructin' the national basis,
  With an eye to beginnin' agin on the jolly ticks
  We used to chalk up 'hind the back-door o' politics;
  An' the fus' thing's to save wut of Slav'ry ther's lef'
  Arter this (I mus' call it) imprudence o' Jeff:
  For a real good Abuse, with its roots fur an' wide,
  Is the kin' o' thing _I_ like to hev on my side;
  A Scriptur' name makes it ez sweet ez a rose,
  An' it's tougher the older an' uglier it grows--
  (I ain't speakin' now o' the righteousness of it,
  But the p'litickle purchase it gives, an' the profit).

  Things looks pooty squally, it must be allowed,
  An' I don't see much signs of a bow in the cloud:
  Ther' 's too many Decmocrats--leaders, wut's wuss--
  Thet go for the Union 'thout carin' a cuss
  Ef it helps ary party thet ever wuz heard on,
  So our eagle ain't made a split Austrian bird on.
  But ther' 's still some conservative signs to be found
  Thet shows the gret heart o' the People is sound:
  (Excuse me for usin' a stump-phrase agin,
  But, once in the way on 't, they _will_ stick like sin:)
  There's Phillips, for instance, hez jes' ketched a Tartar
  In the Law-'n'-Order Party of ole Cincinnater;
  An' the Compromise System ain't gone out o' reach,
  Long 'z you keep the right limits on freedom o' speech;
  'T warn't none too late, neither, to put on the gag,
  For he's dangerous now he goes in for the flag:
  Nut thet I altogether approve o' bad eggs,
  They're mos' gin'lly argymunt on its las' legs,--
  An' their logic is ept to be tu indiscriminate,
  Nor don't ollus wait the right objecs to 'liminate;
  But there is a variety on 'em, you 'll find,
  Jest ez usefie an' more, besides bein' refined,--
  I mean o' the sort thet are laid by the dictionary,
  Sech ez sophisms an' cant thet'll kerry conviction ary
  Way thet you want to the right class o' men,
  An' are staler than all't ever come from a hen:
  "Disunion" done wal till our resh Soutlun friends
  Took the savor all out on't for national ends;
  But I guess "Abolition" 'll work a spell yit,
  When the war's done, an' so will "Forgive-an'-forgit."
  Times mus' be pooty thoroughly out o' all jint,
  Ef we can't make a good constitootional pint;
  An' the good time 'll come to be grindin' our exes,
  When the war goes to seed in the nettle o' texes:
  Ef Jon'than don't squirm, with sech helps to assist him,
  I give up my faith in the free-suffrage system;
  Democ'cy wun't be nut a mite interestin',
  Nor p'litikle capital much wuth investin';
  An' my notion is, to keep dark an' lay low
  Till we see the right minute to put in our blow.--

  But I've talked longer now 'n I hed any idee,
  An' ther's others you want to hear more 'n you du me;
  So I'll set down an' give thet 'ere bottle a skrimmage,
  For I've spoke till I'm dry ez a real graven image.


_Record of an Obscure Man. Tragedy of Errors_, Parts I. and II. Boston:
Ticknor and Fields. 1861, 1862.

Among the marked literary productions long to be associated with our
present struggle--among them, yet not of them--are the volumes whose
titles we have quoted. They differ from the recent electric messages of
Holmes, Whittier, and Mrs. Howe, in not being obvious results of vivid
events. "Bread and the Newspaper," "The Song of the Negro Boatmen," and
"Our Orders" will reproduce for another generation the fervid feelings
of to-day. But the pathetic warnings exquisitely breathed in the
writings before us will then come to their place as a deep and tender
prelude to the voices heard in this passing tragedy.

The "Record of an Obscure Man" is the modest introduction to a dramatic
poem of singular pathos and beauty. A New-Englander of culture and
sensibility, naturalized at the South, is supposed to communicate the
results of his study and observation of that outcast race which has been
the easy contempt of ignorance in both sections of the country. Our
instructor has not only a clear judgment Of the value of different
testimonies, and the scholarly instinct of arrangement and
classification, but also that divine gift of sympathy, which alone, in
this world given for our observation, can tell us what to observe.
The illustrations of the negro's character, and the answers to vulgar
depreciation of his tendencies and capacities, are given with the simple
directness of real comprehension. It is the privilege of one acquainted
in no common degree with languages and their history to expose that
dreary joke of the dialect of the oppressed, which superficial people
have so long found funny or contemptible. The simplicity and earnestness
which give dignity to any phraseology come from the humanity behind it.
We are well reminded that divergences from the common use of language,
never held to degrade the meaning in Milton or Shakespeare, need not
render thought despicable when the negro uses identical forms. If he
calls a leopard a "libbard," he only imitates the most sublime of
English poets; and the first word of his petition, "_Gib_ us this day
our daily bread," is pronounced as it rose from the lips of Luther.
The highest truths the faith of man may reach are symbolized more
definitely, and often more picturesquely, by the warm imagination of the
African than by the cultivated genius of the Caucasian. Also it is shown
how the laziness and ferocity with which the negro is sometimes charged
may be more than matched in the history of his assumed superior.
Yet, while acknowledging how well-considered is the matter of this
introductory volume, we regret what seems to be an imperfection in
the form in which it is presented. There is too much _story_, or too
little,--too little to command the assistance of fiction, too much to
prevent a feeling of disappointment that romance is attempted at
all. The concluding autobiography of the friend of Colvil is hardly
consistent with his character as previously suggested; it seems
unnecessary to the author's purpose, and is not drawn with the
minuteness or power which might justify its introduction. We notice this
circumstance as explaining why this Introduction may possibly fail of a
popularity more extended than that which its tenderness of thought and
style at once claimed from the best readers.

The "Tragedy of Errors" presents, with the vivid idealization of
art, some of the results of American Slavery. Travellers, novelists,
ethnologists have spoken with various ability of the laborers of the
South; and now the poet breaks through the hard monotony of their
external lives, and lends the plasticity of a cultivated mind to take
impress of feeling to which the gift of utterance is denied. And it is
often only through the imagination of another that the human bosom can
be delivered "of that perilous stuff which weighs upon the heart." For
it is a very common error to estimate mental activity by a command
of the arts of expression; whereas, at its best estate, speech is an
imperfect sign of perception, and one which without special cultivation
must be wholly inadequate. Thus it will be seen that an employment of
the dialect and limited vocabulary of the negro would be obviously
unsuitable to the purpose of the poem; and these have been wisely
discarded. In doing this, however, the common license of dramatists
is not exceeded; and the critical censure we have read about "the
extravagant idealization of the negro" merely amounts to saying that the
writer has been bold enough to stem the current of traditional opinion,
and find a poetic view of humanity at the present time and in its most
despised portion. The end of dramatic writing is not to reproduce
Nature, but to idealize it; a literal copying of the same, as everybody
knows, is the merit of the photographer, not of the artist. Again, it
should be remembered that the highly wrought characters among the slaves
are whites, or whites slightly tinged with African blood. With the
commonest allowance for the exigencies of poetic presentation, we find
no individual character unnatural or improbable; though the particular
grouping of these characters is necessarily improbable. For grace of
position and arrangement every dramatist must claim. If the poet will
but take observations from real persons, however widely scattered,
discretion may be exercised in the conjunction of those persons, and
in the sequence of incidents by which they are affected. An aesthetic
invention may be as _natural_ as a mechanical one, although the
materials for each are collected from a wide surface, and placed in new
relations. Thus much we say as expressing dissent from objections which
have been hastily made to this poem.

Of the plot of the "Tragedy of Errors" we have only space to say that
the writer has cut a channel for very delicate verses through the heart
of a Southern plantation. Here, at length, seems to be one of those
thoroughly national subjects for which critics have long been clamorous.
The deepest passion is expressed without touching the tawdry properties
of the "intense" school of poetry. The language passes from the ease of
perfect simplicity to the conciseness of power, while the relation of
emotion to character is admirably preserved. The moral--which, let us
observe in passing, is decently covered with artistic beauty--relates,
not to the most obvious, but to the most dangerous mischiefs of Slavery.
Indeed, the story is only saved from being too painful by a fine
appreciation of the medicinal quality of all wretchedness that the
writer everywhere displays. In the First Part, the nice intelligence
shown in the rough contrast between Hermann and Stanley, and in the
finished contrast between Alice and Helen, will claim the reader's
attention. The sketches of American life and tendencies, both Northern
and Southern, are given with discrimination and truth. The dying scene,
which closes the First Part, seems to us nobly wrought. The "death-bed
hymn" of the slaves sounds a pathetic wail over an abortive life
shivering on the brink of the Unknown. In the Second Part we find less
of the color and music of a poem, and more of the rapid movement of a
drama. The doom of Slavery upon the master now comes into full relief.
The characters of Herbert and his father are favorable specimens of
well-meaning, even honorable, Southern gentlemen,--only not endowed
with such exceptional moral heroism as to offer the pride of life to be
crushed before hideous laws. The connection between lyric and tragic
power is shown in the "Tragedy of Errors." The songs and chants of the
slaves mingle with the higher dialogue like the chorus of the Greek
stage; they mediate with gentle authority between the worlds of natural
feeling and barbarous usage. Let us also say that the _sentiment_
throughout this drama is sound and sweet; for it is that mature
sentiment, born again of discipline, which is the pledge of fidelity to
the highest business of life.

Before concluding, we take the liberty to remove a mask, not
impenetrable to the careful reader, by saying that the writer is a
woman. And let us be thankful that a woman so representative of the best
culture and instinct of New England cannot wholly conceal herself by the
modesty of a pseudonyme. In no way has the Northern spirit roused to
oppose the usurpations of Slavery more truly vindicated its high quality
than by giving development to that feminine element which has mingled
with our national life an influence of genuine power. And to-day there
are few men justly claiming the much-abused title of thinkers who do
not perceive that the opportunity of our regenerated republic cannot be
fully realized, until we cease to press into factitious conformity
the faculties, tastes, and--let us not shrink from the odious
word--_missions_ of women. The merely literary privilege accorded a
generation or two ago is in itself of slight value. Since the success of
"Evelina," women have been freely permitted to jingle pretty verses for
family newspapers, and to _novelize_ morbid sentiments of the feebler
sort. And we see one legitimate result in that flightiness of the
feminine mind which, in a lower stratum of current literature, displays
inaccurate opinions, feeble prejudices, and finally blossoms into pert
vulgarity. But instances of perverted license increase our obligation to
Mrs. Child, Mrs. Stowe and to others whose eloquence is only in deeds.
Of such as these, and of her whom we may now associate with them, it is
not impossible some unborn historian may write, that in certain great
perils of American liberty, when the best men could only offer rhetoric,
women came forward with demonstration. Yet, after all, our deepest
indebtedness to the present series of volumes seems to be this: they
bear gentle testimony to what the wise ever believed, that the delicacy
of spirit we love to characterize by the dear word "womanly" is not
inconsistent with varied and exact information, independent opinion, and
the insights of genius.

Finally, we venture to mention, what has been in the minds of many
New-England readers, that these books are indissolubly associated with a
young life offered in the nation's great necessity. At the time when the
first of the series was made public, a shudder ran through our homes, as
a regiment, rich in historic names, stood face to face with death. Among
the fallen was the only son of her whose writings have been given us.
Let us think without bitterness of the sacrifice of one influenced and
formed by the rare nature we find in these poems. What better result of
culture than to dissipate intellectual mists and uncertainties, and to
fix the grasp firmly upon some great practical good? There is nothing
wasted in one who lived long enough to show that the refinement acquired
and inherited was of the noble kind which could prefer the roughest
action for humanity to elegant allurements of gratified taste. The best
gift of scholarship is the power it gives a man to descend with all the
force of his acquired position, and come into effective union with the
world of facts. For it is the crucial test of brave qualities that they
are truer and more practical for being filtered through libraries. In
reading the "Theages" of Plato we feel a certain respect for the young
seeker of wisdom whose only wish is to associate with Socrates; and
there is a certain admiration for the father, Demodocus, who joyfully
resigns his son, if the teacher will admit him to his friendship and
impart all that he can. But it is a higher result of a higher order of
society, when a young man with aptitude to follow science and assimilate
knowledge sees in the most perilous service of civilization a rarer
illumination of mind and heart. In the great scheme of things, where all
grades of human worthiness are shown for the benefit of man, this costly
instruction shall not fail of fruit. And so the deepest moral that comes
to us from the "Tragedy of Errors" seems a prophetic memorial of the
soldier for constitutional liberty with whom it will be long connected.
The wealth of life--so we read the final meaning of these verses--is in
its discipline; and the graceful dreams of the poet, and the quickened
intellect of the scholar, are but humble instruments for the helping of

_A Discourse on the Life, Character, and Policy of Count Cavour_.
Delivered in the Hall of the New York Historical Society, February 20,
1862. By VINCENZO BOTTA, Ph.D., Professor of Italian Literature in the
New York University, late Member of the Parliament, and Professor of
Philosophy in the Colleges of Sardinia. New York: G.P. Putnam. 8vo. pp.

This is a most admirable tribute to one of the greatest men of our age,
by a writer singularly well qualified in all respects to do justice
to his rich and comprehensive theme. Professor Botta is a native of
Northern Italy, in the first place, and thus by inheritance and natural
transmission is heir to a great deal of knowledge as to the important
movements of which Cavour was the mainspring, which a foreigner could
acquire only by diligent study and inquiry. In the next place, he has
not been exclusively a secluded student, but he has taken part in the
great political drama which he commemorates, and has been brought into
personal relations with the illustrious man whose worth he here sets
forth with such ample knowledge, such generous devotion, such patriotic
fervor. And lastly, he is a man of distinguished literary ability,
wielding the language of his adopted country with an ease and grace
which hardly leave a suspicion that he was not writing his vernacular
tongue. A namesake of his--whether a relation or not, we are not
informed--has written "in very choice Italian" a history of the American
Revolution; and the work before us, relating in such excellent English
the leading events of a glorious Italian revolution, is a partial
payment of the debt of gratitude contracted by the publication of that
classical production.

But a writer of inferior opportunities and inferior capacity to
Professor Botta could hardly have failed to produce an attractive and
interesting work, with such a subject. There never was a life which
stood less in need of the embellishments of rhetoric, which could rest
more confidently and securely upon its plain, unvarnished truth, than
that of Count Cavour. He was a man of the highest order of greatness;
and when we have said that, we have also said that he was a man of
simplicity, directness, and transparency. A man of the first class is
always easily interpreted and understood. The biographer of Cavour has
nothing to do but to recount simply and consecutively what he said and
what he did, and his task is accomplished: no great statesman has less
need of apology or justification; no one's name is less associated with
doubtful acts or questionable policy. His ends were not more noble than
was the path in which he moved towards them direct. Professor Botta
has fully comprehended the advantages derived from the nature of his
subject, and has confined himself to the task of relating in simple
and vigorous English the life and acts of Cavour from his birth to his
death. He has given us a rapid and condensed summary, but nothing of
importance is omitted, and surely enough is told to vindicate for Cavour
the highest rank which the enthusiastic admiration and gratitude of his
countrymen have accorded to him. Where can we find a nobler life? And,
take him all in all, whom shall we pronounce to have been a greater
statesman? What variety of power he showed, and what wealth of resources
he had at command! Without the pride and coldness of Pitt, the private
vices of Fox, the tempestuous and ill-regulated sensibility of Burke, he
had the useful and commanding intellectual qualities of all the three,
except the splendid and imaginative eloquence of the last.

This life of Cavour, and the incidental sketches of his associates which
it includes, will have a tendency to correct some of the erroneous
impressions current among us as to the intellectual qualities and
temperament of the Italian people. The common, or, at least, a very
prevalent, notion concerning them is that they are an impassioned,
imaginative, excitable, visionary race, capable of brilliant individual
efforts, but deficient in the power of organization and combination,
and in patience and practical sagacity. Some of us go, or have gone,
farther, and have supposed that the Austrian domination in Italy was the
necessary consequence of want of manliness and persistency in the people
of Italy, and was perhaps as much for their good as the dangerous boon
of independence would have been. All such prejudices will be removed by
a candid perusal of this memoir. Cavour himself, as a statesman and a
man, was of exactly that stamp which we flatter ourselves to be the
exclusive growth of America and England. He was nothing of a visionary,
nothing of a political pedant, nothing of a _doctrinaire_. Franklin
himself had not a more practical understanding, or more of large, plain,
roundabout sense. He had, too, Franklin's shrewdness, his love of humor,
and his relish for the natural pleasures of life. He had a large amount
of patience, the least showy, but perhaps the most important, of the
qualifications of a great statesman. And in his glorious career he was
warmly and generously sustained, not merely by the king, and by the
favored classes, but by the people, whose efforts and sacrifices have
shown how worthy they were of the freedom they have won. We speak here
more particularly of the people of the kingdom of Sardinia; but what we
say in praise of them may be extended to the people of Italy generally.
The history of Italy for the last fifteen years is a glorious chapter
in the history of the world. Whatever of active courage and passive
endurance has in times past made the name of Roman illustrious, the
events of these years have proved to belong equally to the name of

But we are wandering from Count Cavour and Professor Botta. We have to
thank the latter for enriching the literature of his adopted country
with a memoir which in the lucid beauty and transparent flow of its
style reminds the Italian scholar of the charm of Boccaccio's limpid
narrative, and is besides animated with a patriot's enthusiasm and
elevated by a statesman's comprehension. A more cordial, heart-warming
book we have not for a long time read.

_A Treatise on Some of the Insects Injurious to Vegetation_. By THADDEUS
WILLIAM HARRIS, M.D. A New Edition, enlarged and improved, with
Additions from the Author's Manuscripts, and Original Notes. Illustrated
by Engravings drawn from Nature under the Supervision of Professor
Agassiz. Edited by Charles L. Flint, Secretary of the Massachusetts
State Board of Agriculture. 8vo.

This handsome octavo, prepared with such scientific care, is for
the special benefit of Agriculture; and the order, method, and
comprehensiveness so evident throughout the Treatise compel the
admiration of all who study its beautifully illustrated pages. The
community is largely benefited by such an aid to the improvement of
pursuits in which so many are concerned; and no cultivator of the soil
can safely be ignorant of what Dr. Harris has studied and put on record
for the use of those whose honorable occupation it is to till the earth.

As a work of Art we cannot refrain from special praise of the book
before us. Turning over its leaves is like a spring or summer ramble in
the country. All creeping and flying things seem harmlessly swarming in
vivid beauty of color over its pages. Such gorgeous moths we never
saw before out of the flower-beds, and there are some butterflies and
caterpillars reposing here and there between the leaves that must have
slipped in and gone to sleep on a fine warm day in July.

The printing of the volume reaches the highest rank of excellence.
Messrs. Welch, Bigelow, & Company may take their place among the
Typographical Masters of this or any other century.

_Pictures of Old England_. By DR. REINHOLD PAULI, Author of "History of
Alfred the Great," etc. Translated, with the Author's Sanction, by E.C.
OTTÉ. Cambridge [England]: Macmillan & Co. Small 8vo. pp. xii., 457.

Dr. Pauli is already known on both sides of the Atlantic as the author
of two works of acknowledged learning and ability,--a "History of
England during the Middle Ages," and a "History of Alfred the Great."
In his new volume he furnishes some further fruits of his profound
researches into the social and political history of England in the
Middle Ages; and if the book will add little or nothing to his present
reputation, it affords at least new evidence of his large acquaintance
with English literature. It comprises twelve descriptive essays on as
many different topics, closely connected with his previous studies.
Among the best of these are the papers entitled "Monks and Mendicant
Friars," which give a brief and interesting account of monastic
institutions in England; "The Hanseatic Steel-Yard in London,"
comprising a history of that famous company of merchant-adventurers,
with a description of the buildings occupied by them, and a sketch of
their domestic life; and "London in the Middle Ages," which presents an
excellent description of the topography and general condition of the
city during that period, and is illustrated by a small and carefully
drawn plan. There are also several elaborate essays on the early
relations of England with the Continent, besides papers on "The
Parliament in the Fourteenth Century," "Two Poets, Gower and Chaucer,"
"John Wiclif," (as Dr. Pauli spells the name,) and some other topics.
All the papers show an adequate familiarity with the original sources of
information, and are marked by the same candor and impartiality which
have hitherto characterized Dr. Pauli's labors. The translation, without
being distinguished by any special graces of style, is free from the
admixture of foreign idioms, and, so far as one may judge from the
internal evidence, appears to be faithfully executed. As a collection of
popular essays, the volume is worthy of much praise.

_The Correspondence of Leigh Hunt_. Edited by his Eldest Son. London:
Smith, Elder, & Co. 1862. 2 vols. 12mo.

In Lamb's famous controversy with Southey in 1823, (the only controversy
"Elia" ever indulged in,) he says of the author of "Rimini," "He is one
of the most cordial-minded men I ever knew, and matchless as a fireside

Few authors have had warmer admirers of their writings, or more sincere
personal friends, than Leigh Hunt. He seemed always to inspire earnestly
and lovingly every one who came into friendly relations with him. When
Shelley inscribed his "Cenci" to him in 1819, he expressed in this
sentence of the Dedication what all have felt who have known Leigh Hunt

"Had I known a person more highly endowed than yourself with all that it
becomes a man to possess, I had solicited for this work the ornament of
his name. One more gentle, honorable, innocent, and brave,--one of more
exalted toleration for all who do and think evil, and yet himself more
free from evil,--one who knows better how to receive and how to confer a
benefit, though he must ever confer far more than he can receive,--one
of simpler, and, in the highest sense of the word, of purer life and
manners, I never knew; and I had already been fortunate in friendship
when your name was added to the list."

With this immortal record of his excellence made by Shelley's hand,
Leigh Hunt cannot be forgotten. Counting among his friends the best men
and women of his time, his name and fame are embalmed in their books
as they were in their hearts. Charles Lamb, Keats, Shelley, and Mrs.
Browning knew his worth, and prized it far above praising him; and there
are those still living who held him very dear, and loved the sound of
his voice like the tones of a father or a son.

A man's letters betray his heart,--both those he sends and those he
receives. Leigh Hunt's correspondence, as here collected by his son, is
full of the wine of life in the best sense of _spirit_.

_The Works of Charles Dickens_. Household Edition. _Martin Chuzzlewit_.
New York: Sheldon & Company.

It is not our intention, at the present writing, to enter into any
discussion concerning the characteristics or the value of the novels of
Charles Dickens: we have neither time nor space for it. Besides, to few
of our readers do these books need introduction or recommendation from
us. They have long been accepted by the world as worthy to rank among
those works of genius which harmonize alike with the thoughtful mind of
the cultivated and the simple feelings of the unlearned,--which discover
in every class and condition of men some truth or beauty for all
humanity. They are, in the full sense of the word, _household_ books, as
indispensable as Shakspeare or Milton, Scott or Irving.

We may fairly say of the various editions of Dickens's writings, that
their "name is Legion." None of them all, however, is better adapted to
common libraries than the new edition now publishing in New York. It
will be comprised in fifty volumes, to be published in instalments
at intervals of six or eight weeks. The mechanical execution is most
commendable in every respect: clear, pleasantly tinted paper; typography
in the best style of the Riverside Press; binding novel and tasteful. A
vignette, designed either by Darley or Gilbert, and engraved upon steel,
is prefixed to each volume. We have to congratulate the publishers that
they have so successfully fulfilled the promises of their prospectus,
and the public that an edition at once elegant and inexpensive is now


_Die Schweizerische Literatur des achzehnten Jahrhunderts_. Von T.C.
MÖRIKOFER. Leipzig: Verlag von S. Hirzel. 8vo. pp. 536.

In the early part of the Middle Ages Switzerland contributed
comparatively little to the literary glory of Germany. Beyond Conrad
of Würzburg, who is claimed as a native of Basel, no Swiss name can be
found among the poets of the Hohenstaufen period. In a later age it is
rather the practical than the romantic character of the Swiss that is
manifested in their productions. The Reformation brought them in closer
contact with German culture. There was need of this; for in no country
was the gap wider between the language of the people and that of the
learned. Scholars like Zwinglius and Bullinger were almost helpless,
when they sought to express themselves in German. Little appeal could,
therefore, be made to the masses in their own tongue by such writers.
During the whole of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the
vernacular was even more neglected than before. It was not until the
beginning of the eighteenth that Latin and French ceased to be the only
languages deemed worthy of use in literary composition. In 1715 Johannes
Muralt wrote his "Eidgnöszischen Lustgarten," and later several other
works, mostly scientific, in German. Political causes came in to help
the reaction, and from that time the Protestant portion of the Helvetic
Confederation may be said to have had a literature of its own.

It is the history of the literature of German Switzerland during the
eighteenth century that Mörikofer has essayed to write. He has chosen a
subject hitherto but little studied, and his work deserves to stand by
the side of the best German literary histories of our time.

The author begins with the first signs of the reaction against the
influence of France, agreeably portraying the awakening of Swiss
consciousness, and the gradual development of the enlightened patriotism
that impelled Swiss writers to lay aside mere courtly elegance of
diction for their own more terse and vigorous idiom.

This awakening was not confined to letters. Formerly the Swiss, instead
of appreciating the beauties of their own land, rather considered them
as impediments to the progress of civilization. It seems incredible to
us now that there ever could have been a time when mountain-scenery,
instead of being sought, was shunned,--when princes possessing the most
beautiful lands among the Rhine hills should, with great trouble
and expense, have transported their seats to some flat, uninviting
locality,--when, for instance, the dull, flat, prosy, wearisome gardens
of Schwetzingen should have been deemed more beautiful than the
immediate environs of Heidelberg. Yet such were the sentiments that
prevailed in Switzerland until a comparatively late date. It is only
since the days of Scheuchzer that Swiss scenery has been appreciated,
and in this appreciation were the germs of a new culture.

As in Germany societies had been established "for the practice of
German" at Leipsic and Hamburg, so in various Swiss cities associations
were formed with the avowed purpose of discouraging the imitation of
French models. Thus, at Zürich several literary young men, among them
Hagenbuch and Lavater, met at the house of the poet Bodmer. The example
was followed in other cities. Though these clubs and their periodical
organs soon fell into an unwarrantable admiration of all that was
English, the result was a gradual development of the national taste.
Since then the literary efforts of the Swiss have been characterized by
an ardent love of country. A direct popular influence may be felt in
their best productions; hence the nature of their many beauties, as well
as of their faults. To the same influence also we owe that phalanx of
reformers and philanthropists, Hirzel, Iselin, Lavater, and Pestalozzi.

A great portion of the work under consideration is devoted to the lives
and labors of these benefactors of their people. The book is, therefore,
not a literary history in the strict sense of the term. It gives a
comprehensive view of the culture of German Switzerland during the
eighteenth century. To Bodmer alone one hundred and seventy-five pages
are devoted. In this essay, as well as in that on the historian Müller,
a vast amount of information is presented, and many facts collated by
the author are now given, we believe, for the first time.

_Literaturbilder.--Darstellungen deutscher Literatur aus den Werken der
vorzüglichsten Literarhistoriker_, etc. Herausgegeben von J.W. SCHAEFER.
Leipzig: Friedrich Brandstetter. 8vo. pp. 409.

There is no lack of German literary histories. While English letters
have not yet found an historian, there are scores of works upon every
branch of German literature. Of these, many possess rare merits, and are
characterized by a depth, a comprehensiveness of criticism not to be
found in the similar productions of any other nation. Whoever has once
been guided by the master-minds of Germany will bear witness that the
guidance cannot be replaced by that of any other class of writers.
Nowhere can such universality, such freedom from national prejudice, be
found,--and this united to a love of truth, earnestness of labor, and
perseverance of research that may be looked for in vain elsewhere.

The difficulty for the student of German literary history lies, then, in
the selection. A new work, the "Literaturbilder" of J.W. Schaefer, will
greatly tend to facilitate the choice. This is a representation of
the chief points of the literature of Germany by means of well-chosen
selections from the principal historians of letters. The editor
introduces these by an essay upon the "Epochs of German Literature."
Then follow, with due regard to chronological order, extracts from the
works of Vilmar, Gervinus, Wackernagel, Schlosser, Julian Schmidt, and
others. These extracts are of such length as to give a fair idea of the
writers, and so arranged as to form a connected history. Thus, under
the third division, comprising the eighteenth century until Herder and
Goethe, we find the following articles following each other: "State of
Literature in the Eighteenth Century"; "Johann Christian Gottsched," by
F.C. Schlosser; "Gottsched's Attempts at Dramatic Reform," by R. Prutz;
"Hagedorn and Haller," by J.W. Schaefer; "Bodmer and Breitinger," by
A. Koberstein; "The Leipsic Association of Poets and the Bremen
Contributions," by Chr. F. Weisse; "German Literature in the Middle of
the Eighteenth Century," by Goethe; "Gottlieb Wilhelm Rabener," by H.
Gelzer; "Gellert's Fables," by H. Prutz. Those who do not possess the
comprehensive works of Gervinus, Cholerius, Wackernagel, etc., may thus
in one volume find enough to be able to form a fair opinion of the
nature of their labors.

The "Literaturbilder," though perhaps lacking in unity, is one of the
most attractive of literary histories. A few important names are missed,
as that of Menzel, from whom nothing is quoted. The omission seems the
more unwarrantable, as this writer, whatever we may think of his views,
still enjoys the highest consideration among a numerous class of German
readers. The contributions of the editor himself form no inconsiderable
part of the volume. Those quoted from his "Life of Goethe" deserve
special mention. The work does not extend beyond the first years of the
present century, and closes with Jean Paul.



The Works of Charles Dickens. Household Edition. Illustrated from
Drawings by F.O.C. Darley and John Gilbert. Martin Chuzzlewit. In Four
Volumes. New York. Sheldon & Co. 16mo. pp. 322, 299, 292, 322. $3.00.

The Earl's Heirs. A Tale of Domestic Life. By the Author of "East
Lynne," etc. Philadelphia. T.B. Peterson & Brothers. 8vo. paper, pp.
200. 50 cts.

The Spirit of Military Institutions; or, Essential Principles of the Art
of War. By Marshal Marmont, Duke of Ragusa. Translated from the Latest
Edition, revised and corrected by the Author; with Illustrative Notes
by Henry Coppée, Professor of English Literature in the University of
Pennsylvania, late an Officer of Artillery in the Service of the United
States. Philadelphia. Lippincott & Co. 12mo. pp. 272. $1.00.

Maxims, Advice, and Instructions on the Art of War; or, A Practical
Military Guide for the Use of Soldiers of all Arms and of all Countries.
Translated from the French by Captain Lendy, Director of the Practical
Military College, late of the French Staff, etc. New York. D. Van
Nostrand. 18mo. pp. 212. 75 cts.

Rhymed Tactics. By "Gov." New York. D. Van Nostrand. 18mo. paper, pp.
144. 25 cts.

Official Army Register, for 1862. From the Copy issued by the
Adjutant-General U.S. Army. New York. D. Van Nostrand. 8vo. paper, pp.
108. 50 cts.

Water: Its History, Characteristics, Hygienic and Therapeutic Uses. By
Samuel W. Francis, A.M., M.D., Physician to the Northern Dispensary, New
York. New York. S.S. & W. Wood. 8vo. paper, pp. 47. 25 cts.

An Exposition of Modern Spiritualism, showing its Tendency to a Total
Annihilation of Christianity. With other Miscellaneous Remarks and
Criticisms, in Support of the Fundamental Principles of the Christian
Religion. By Samuel Post. New York. Printed by James Egbert. 8vo. paper,
pp. 86. 25 cts.

Sybelle, and other Poems. By L. New York. G.W. Carleton. 12mo. pp. 192.
50 cts.

Aids to Faith: A Series of Theological Essays. By Several Writers. Being
a Reply to "Essays and Reviews." Edited by William Thomson, D.D., Lord
Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol. New York. Appleton & Co. 12mo. pp.
538. $1.50.

A Popular Treatise on Deafness: Its Causes and Prevention, by Drs.
Lighthill. Edited by E. Bunford Lighthill, M.D. With Illustrations. New
York. G.W. Carleton. 12mo. pp. 133. 50 cts.

Cadet Life at West Point. By an Officer of the United States Army.
With a Descriptive Sketch of West Point, by Benson J. Lossing. Boston.
T.O.H.P. Burnham. 12mo. pp. xviii., 367. $1.00.

Can Wrong be Right? By Mrs. S.C. Hall Boston. T.O.H.P. Burnham. 8vo.
paper. pp. 143. 38 cts.

The Old Lieutenant and his Son. By Norman Macleod. Boston. T.O.H.P.
Burnham, 8vo. paper, pp. 130. 30 cts.

Eighth Annual Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of
the State of New York. Transmitted to the Legislature January 8,1882.
Albany. C. Van Benthuysen, Printer. 8vo. pp. 133.

Nolan's System for Training Cavalry Horses. By Kenner Garrard, Captain
Fifth Cavalry, U.S.A. With Twenty-Four Lithographed Illustrations. New
York. D. Van Nostrand. 12mo. pp. 114. $1.50.

The Koran; commonly called the Alcoran of Mohammed. Translated into
English immediately from the Original Arabic. By George Sale, Gent. To
which is prefixed The Life of Mohammed; or, The History of that Doctrine
which was begun, carried on, and finally established by him in Arabia,
and which has subjugated a Larger Portion of the Globe than the Religion
of Jesus has set at Liberty. Boston. T.O.H.P. Burnham. 12mo. pp. 472.

A Strange Story. By Sir E. Bulwer Lytton. With Engravings on Steel by
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Fuller. Boston. Gardner A. Fuller. 12mo. pp. 387. paper, 25 cts. muslin,

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 09, No. 55, May, 1862" ***

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