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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 09, No. 56, June, 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. 56, June, 1862" ***

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       *       *       *       *       *

VOL. IX.--JUNE, 1862.--NO. LVI.

       *       *       *       *       *


I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as
contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil,--to regard man as
an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member
of society. I wish to make an extreme statement, if so I may make an
emphatic one, for there are enough champions of civilization: the
minister, and the school-committee, and every one of you will take care
of that.

I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who
understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks,--who had a
genius, so to speak, for _sauntering_: which word is beautifully derived
"from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and
asked charity, under pretence of going _à la Sainte Terre_," to the Holy
Land, till the children exclaimed, "There goes a _Sainte-Terrer_" a
Saunterer,--a Holy-Lander. They who never go to the Holy Land in their
walks, as they pretend, are indeed mere idlers and vagabonds; but they
who do go there are saunterers in the good sense, such as I mean. Some,
however, would derive the word from _sans terre_, without land or
a home, which, therefore, in the good sense, will mean, having no
particular home, but equally at home everywhere. For this is the secret
of successful sauntering. He who sits still in a house all the time may
be the greatest vagrant of all; but the saunterer, in the good sense,
is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while
sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea. But I prefer the
first, which, indeed, is the most probable derivation. For every walk is
a sort of crusade, preached by some Peter the Hermit in us, to go forth
and reconquer this Holy Land from the hands of the Infidels.

It is true, we are but faint-hearted crusaders, even the walkers,
nowadays, who undertake no persevering, never-ending enterprises. Our
expeditions are but tours, and come round again at evening to the old
hearth-side from which we set out. Half the walk is but retracing our
steps. We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit
of undying adventure, never to return,--prepared to send back our
embalmed hearts only as relics to our desolate kingdoms. If you are
ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and
child and friends, and never see them again,--if you have paid your
debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free
man, then you are ready for a walk.

To come down to my own experience, my companion and I, for I sometimes
have a companion, take pleasure in fancying ourselves knights of a new,
or rather an old, order,--not Equestrians or Chevaliers, not Ritters or
Riders, but Walkers, a still more ancient and honorable class, I trust.
The chivalric and heroic spirit which once belonged to the Rider seems
now to reside in, or perchance to have subsided into, the Walker,--not
the Knight, but Walker Errant. He is a sort of fourth estate, outside of
Church and State and People.

We have felt that we almost alone hereabouts practised this noble art;
though, to tell the truth, at least, if their own assertions are to be
received, most of my townsmen would fain walk sometimes, as I do, but
they cannot. No wealth can buy the requisite leisure, freedom, and
independence, which are the capital in this profession. It comes only
by the grace of God. It requires a direct dispensation from Heaven
to become a walker. You must be born into the family of the Walkers.
_Ambulator nascitur, non fit_. Some of my townsmen, it is true, can
remember and have described to me some walks which they took ten years
ago, in which they were so blessed as to lose themselves for half
an hour in the woods; but I know very well that they have confined
themselves to the highway ever since, whatever pretensions they may make
to belong to this select class. No doubt they were elevated for a moment
as by the reminiscence of a previous state of existence, when even they
were foresters and outlaws.

  "When he came to grene wode,
    In a mery mornynge,
  There he herde the notes small
    Of byrdes mery syngynge.

  "It is ferre gone, sayd Robyn,
    That I was last here;
  Me lyste a lytell for to shote
    At the donne dere."

I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend
four hours a day at least--and it is commonly more than that--sauntering
through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from
all worldly engagements. You may safely say, A penny for your thoughts,
or a thousand pounds. When sometimes I am reminded that the mechanics
and shopkeepers stay in their shops not only all the forenoon, but all
the afternoon too, sitting with crossed legs, so many of them,--as if
the legs were made to sit upon, and not to stand or walk upon,--I think
that they deserve some credit for not having all committed suicide long

I, who cannot stay in my chamber for a single day without acquiring some
rust, and when sometimes I have stolen forth for a walk at the eleventh
hour of four o'clock in the afternoon, too late to redeem the day,
when the shades of night were already beginning to be mingled with the
daylight, have felt as if I had committed some sin to be atoned for,--I
confess that I am astonished at the power of endurance, to say nothing
of the moral insensibility, of my neighbors who confine themselves to
shops and offices the whole day for weeks and months, ay, and years
almost together. I know not what manner of stuff they are of,--sitting
there now at three o'clock in the afternoon, as if it were three o'clock
in the morning. Bonaparte may talk of the three-o'clock-in-the-morning
courage, but it is nothing to the courage which can sit down cheerfully
at this hour in the afternoon over against one's self whom you have
known all the morning, to starve out a garrison to whom you are bound
by such strong ties of sympathy. I wonder that about this time, or say
between four and five o'clock in the afternoon, too late for the morning
papers and too early for the evening ones, there is not a general
explosion heard up and down the street, scattering a legion of
antiquated and house-bred notions and whims to the four winds for an
airing,--and so the evil cure itself.

How womankind, who are confined to the house still more than men, stand
it I do not know; but I have ground to suspect that most of them do
not _stand_ it at all. When, early in a summer afternoon, we have been
shaking the dust of the village from the skirts of our garments, making
haste past those houses with purely Doric or Gothic fronts, which have
such an air of repose about them, my companion whispers that probably
about these times their occupants are all gone to bed. Then it is that I
appreciate the beauty and the glory of architecture, which itself never
turns in, but forever stands out and erect, keeping watch over the

No doubt temperament, and, above all, age, have a good deal to do with
it. As a man grows older, his ability to sit still and follow in-door
occupations increases. He grows vespertinal in his habits as the evening
of life approaches, till at last he comes forth only just before
sundown, and gets all the walk that he requires in half an hour.

But the walking of which I speak has nothing in it akin to taking
exercise, as it is called, as the sick take medicine at stated
hours,--as the swinging of dumb-bells or chairs; but is itself the
enterprise and adventure of the day. If you would get exercise, go in
search of the springs of life. Think of a man's swinging dumb-bells
for his health, when those springs are bubbling up in far-off pastures
unsought by him!

Moreover, you must walk like a camel, which is said to be the only
beast which ruminates when walking. When a traveller asked Wordsworth's
servant to show him her master's study, she answered, "Here is his
library, but his study is out of doors."

Living much out of doors, in the sun and wind, will no doubt produce a
certain roughness of character,--will cause a thicker cuticle to grow
over some of the finer qualities of our nature, as on the face and
hands, or as severe manual labor robs the hands of some of their
delicacy of touch. So staying in the house, on the other hand, may
produce a softness and smoothness, not to say thinness of skin,
accompanied by an increased sensibility to certain impressions. Perhaps
we should be more susceptible to some influences important to our
intellectual and moral growth, if the sun had shone and the wind blown
on us a little less; and no doubt it is a nice matter to proportion
rightly the thick and thin skin. But methinks that is a scurf that will
fall off fast enough,--that the natural remedy is to be found in the
proportion which the night bears to the day, the winter to the summer,
thought to experience. There will be so much the more air and sunshine
in our thoughts. The callous palms of the laborer are conversant with
finer tissues of self-respect and heroism, whose touch thrills the
heart, than the languid fingers of idleness. That is mere sentimentality
that lies abed by day and thinks itself white, far from the tan and
callus of experience.

When we walk, we naturally go to the fields and woods: what would become
of us, if we walked only in a garden or a mall? Even some sects
of philosophers have felt the necessity of importing the woods to
themselves, since they did not go to the woods. "They planted groves and
walks of Platanes," where they took _subdiales ambulationes_ in porticos
open to the air. Of course it is of no use to direct our steps to the
woods, if they do not carry us thither. I am alarmed when it happens
that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily, without getting there
in spirit. In my afternoon walk I would fain forget all my morning
occupations and my obligations to society. But it sometimes happens that
I cannot easily shake off the village. The thought of some work will run
in my head, and I am not where my body is,--I am out of my senses. In
my walks I would fain return to my senses. What business have I in the
woods, if I am thinking of something out of the woods? I suspect myself,
and cannot help a shudder, when I find myself so implicated even in what
are called good works,--for this may sometimes happen.

My vicinity affords many good walks; and though for so many years I have
walked almost every day, and sometimes for several days together, I have
not yet exhausted them. An absolutely new prospect is a great happiness,
and I can still get this any afternoon. Two or three hours' walking
will carry me to as strange a country as I expect ever to see. A single
farm-house which I had not seen before is sometimes as good as the
dominions of the King of Dahomey. There is in fact a sort of harmony
discoverable between the capabilities of the landscape within a circle
of ten miles' radius, or the limits of an afternoon walk, and the
threescore years and ten of human life. It will never become quite
familiar to you.

Nowadays almost all man's improvements, so called, as the building of
houses, and the cutting down of the forest and of all large trees,
simply deform the landscape, and make it more and more tame and cheap. A
people who would begin by burning the fences and let the forest stand!
I saw the fences half consumed, their ends lost in the middle of the
prairie, and some worldly miser with a surveyor looking after his
bounds, while heaven had taken place around him, and he did not see the
angels going to and fro, but was looking for an old post-hole in the
midst of paradise. I looked again, and saw him standing in the middle of
a boggy, stygian fen, surrounded by devils, and he had found his bounds
without a doubt, three little stones, where a stake had been driven, and
looking nearer, I saw that the Prince of Darkness was his surveyor.

I can easily walk ten, fifteen, twenty, any number of miles, commencing
at my own door, without going by any house, without crossing a road
except where the fox and the mink do: first along by the river, and then
the brook, and then the meadow and the wood-side. There are square miles
in my vicinity which have no inhabitant. From many a hill I can see
civilization and the abodes of man afar. The farmers and their works are
scarcely more obvious than woodchucks and their burrows. Man and
his affairs, church and state and school, trade and commerce, and
manufactures and agriculture, even politics, the most alarming of
them all,--I am pleased to see how little space they occupy in the
landscape. Politics is but a narrow field, and that still narrower
highway yonder leads to it. I sometimes direct the traveller thither. If
you would go to the political world, follow the great road,--follow that
market-man, keep his dust in your eyes, and it will lead you straight to
it; for it, too, has its place merely, and does not occupy all space. I
pass from it as from a beanfield into the forest, and it is forgotten.
In one half-hour I can walk off to some portion of the earth's surface
where a man does not stand from one year's end to another, and there,
consequently, politics are not, for they are but as the cigar-smoke of a

The village is the place to which the roads tend, a sort of expansion of
the highway, as a lake of a river. It is the body of which roads are
the arms and legs,--a trivial or quadrivial place, the thoroughfare
and ordinary of travellers. The word is from the Latin _villa_, which,
together with _via_, a way, or more anciently _ved_ and _vella_, Varro
derives from _veho_, to carry, because the villa is the place to and
from which things are carried. They who got their living by teaming were
said _vellaturam facere_. Hence, too, apparently, the Latin word _vilis_
and our vile; also _villain_. This suggests what kind of degeneracy
villagers are liable to. They are wayworn by the travel that goes by and
over them, without travelling themselves.

Some do not walk at all; others walk in the highways; a few walk across
lots. Roads are made for horses and men of business. I do not travel
in them much, comparatively, because I am not in a hurry to get to any
tavern or grocery or livery-stable or depot to which they lead. I am
a good horse to travel, but not from choice a roadster. The
landscape-painter uses the figures of men to mark a road. He would not
make that use of my figure. I walk out into a Nature such as the old
prophets and poets, Menu, Moses, Homer, Chaucer, walked in. You may
name it America, but it is not America: neither Americus Vespucius, nor
Columbus, nor the rest were the discoverers of it. There is a truer
account of it in mythology than in any history of America, so called,
that I have seen.

However, there are a few old roads that may be trodden with profit, as
if they led somewhere now that they are nearly discontinued. There
is the Old Marlborough Road, which does not go to Marlborough now,
methinks, unless that is Marlborough where it carries me. I am the
bolder to speak of it here, because I presume that there are one or two
such roads in every town.


    Where they once dug for money,
    But never found any;
    Where sometimes Martial Miles
    Singly files,
    And Elijah Wood,
    I fear for no good:
    No other man,
    Save Elisha Dugan,--
    O man of wild habits,
    Partridges and rabbits,
    Who hast no cares
    Only to set snares,
    Who liv'st all alone,
    Close to the bone,
    And where life is sweetest
    Constantly eatest.
  When the spring stirs my blood
   With the instinct to travel,
   I can get enough gravel
  On the Old Marlborough Road.
    Nobody repairs it,
    For nobody wears it;
    It is a living way,
    As the Christians say.
  Not many there be
   Who enter therein,
  Only the guests of the
   Irishman Quin.
  What is it, what is it,
   But a direction out there,
  And the bare possibility
   Of going somewhere?
    Great guide-boards of stone,
    But travellers none;
    Cenotaphs of the towns
    Named on their crowns.
    It is worth going to see
    Where you _might_ be.
    What king
    Did the thing,
    Set up how or when,
    By what selectmen,
    Gourgas or Lee,
    Clark or Darby?
    They're a great endeavor
    To be something forever;
    Blank tablets of stone,
    Where a traveller might groan,
    And in one sentence
    Grave all that is known;
    Which another might read,
    In his extreme need.
    I know one or two
    Lines that would do,
    Literature that might stand
    All over the land,
    Which a man could remember
    Till next December,
    And road again in the spring,
    After the thawing.
  If with fancy unfurled
   You leave your abode,
  You may go round the world
   By the Old Marlborough Road.

At present, in this vicinity, the best part of the land is not private
property; the landscape is not owned, and the walker enjoys comparative
freedom. But possibly the day will come when it will be partitioned off
into so-called pleasure-grounds, in which a few will take a narrow and
exclusive pleasure only,--when fences shall be multiplied, and man-traps
and other engines invented to confine men to the _public_ road, and
walking over the surface of God's earth shall be construed to mean
trespassing on some gentleman's grounds. To enjoy a thing exclusively
is commonly to exclude yourself from the true enjoyment of it. Let us
improve our opportunities, then, before the evil days come.

What is it that makes it so hard sometimes to determine whither we will

I believe that there is a subtile magnetism in Nature, which, if we
unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright. It is not indifferent
to us which way we walk. There is a right way; but we are very liable
from heedlessness and stupidity to take the wrong one. We would fain
take that walk, never yet taken by us through this actual world, which
is perfectly symbolical of the path which we love to travel in the
interior and ideal world; and sometimes, no doubt, we find it difficult
to choose our direction, because it does not yet exist distinctly in our

When I go out of the house for a walk, uncertain as yet whither I will
bend my steps, and submit myself to my instinct to decide for me,
I find, strange and whimsical as it may seem, that I finally and
inevitably settle southwest, toward some particular wood or meadow
or deserted pasture or hill in that direction. My needle is slow to
settle,--varies a few degrees, and does not always point due southwest,
it is true, and it has good authority for this variation, but it always
settles between west and south-southwest. The future lies that way to
me, and the earth seems more unexhausted and richer on that side.
The outline which would bound my walks would be, not a circle, but a
parabola, or rather like one of those cometary orbits which have been
thought to be non-returning curves, in this case opening westward, in
which my house occupies the place of the sun. I turn round and round
irresolute sometimes for a quarter of an hour, until I decide, for the
thousandth time, that I will walk into the southwest or west. Eastward I
go only by force; but westward I go free. Thither no business leads
me. It is hard for me to believe that I shall find fair landscapes or
sufficient wildness and freedom behind the eastern horizon. I am not
excited by the prospect of a walk thither; but I believe that the forest
which I see in the western horizon stretches uninterruptedly towards
the setting sun, and that there are no towns nor cities in it of enough
consequence to disturb me. Let me live where I will, on this side is the
city, on that the wilderness, and ever I am leaving the city more and
more, and withdrawing into the wilderness. I should not lay so much
stress on this fact, if I did not believe that something like this is
the prevailing tendency of my countrymen. I must walk toward Oregon, and
not toward Europe. And that way the nation is moving, and I may say that
mankind progress from east to west. Within a few years we have witnessed
the phenomenon of a southeastward migration, in the settlement of
Australia; but this affects us as a retrograde movement, and, judging
from the moral and physical character of the first generation of
Australians, has not yet proved a successful experiment. The eastern
Tartars think that there is nothing west beyond Thibet. "The world ends
there," say they; "beyond there is nothing but a shoreless sea." It is
unmitigated East where they live.

We go eastward to realize history and study the works of art and
literature, retracing the steps of the race; we go westward as into the
future, with a spirit of enterprise and adventure. The Atlantic is a
Lethean stream, in our passage over which we have had an opportunity to
forget the Old World and its institutions. If we do not succeed this
time, there is perhaps one more chance for the race left before it
arrives on the banks of the Styx; and that is in the Lethe of the
Pacific, which is three times as wide.

I know not how significant it is, or how far it is an evidence of
singularity, that an individual should thus consent in his pettiest walk
with the general movement of the race; but I know that something akin
to the migratory instinct in birds and quadrupeds,--which, in some
instances, is known to have affected the squirrel tribe, impelling them
to a general and mysterious movement, in which they were seen, say some,
crossing the broadest rivers, each on its particular chip, with its tail
raised for a sail, and bridging narrower streams with their dead,--that
something like the _furor_ which affects the domestic cattle in the
spring, and which is referred to a worm in their tails,--affects both
nations and individuals, either perennially or from time to time. Not
a flock of wild geese cackles over our town, but it to some extent
unsettles the value of real estate here, and, if I were a broker, I
should probably take that disturbance into account.

  "Than longen folk to gon on pilgrimages,
  And palmeres for to seken strange strondes."

Every sunset which I witness inspires me with the desire to go to a West
as distant and as fair as that into which the sun goes down. He appears
to migrate westward daily, and tempt us to follow him. He is the Great
Western Pioneer whom the nations follow. We dream all night of those
mountain-ridges in the horizon, though they may be of vapor only, which
were last gilded by his rays. The island of Atlantis, and the islands
and gardens of the Hesperides, a sort of terrestrial paradise, appear
to have been the Great West of the ancients, enveloped in mystery and
poetry. Who has not seen in imagination, when looking into the sunset
sky, the gardens of the Hesperides, and the foundation of all those

Columbus felt the westward tendency more strongly than any before. He
obeyed it, and found a New World for Castile and Leon. The herd of men
in those days scented fresh pastures from afar.

  "And now the sun had stretched out all the
  And now was dropped into the western bay;
  At last _he_ rose, and twitched his mantle blue;
  To-morrow to fresh woods and pastures new."

Where on the globe can there be found an area of equal extent with that
occupied by the bulk of our States, so fertile and so rich and varied in
its productions, and at the same time so habitable by the European, as
this is? Michaux, who knew but part of them, says that "the species of
large trees are much more numerous in North America than in Europe; in
the United States there are more than one hundred and forty species that
exceed thirty feet in height; in France there are but thirty that attain
this size." Later botanists more than confirm his observations. Humboldt
came to America to realize his youthful dreams of a tropical vegetation,
and he beheld it in its greatest perfection in the primitive forests of
the Amazon, the most gigantic wilderness on the earth, which he has so
eloquently described. The geographer Guyot, himself a European, goes
farther,--farther than I am ready to follow him; yet not when he
says,--"As the plant is made for the animal, as the vegetable world is
made for the animal world, America is made for the man of the Old
World .... The man of the Old World sets out upon his way. Leaving the
highlands of Asia, he descends from station to station towards Europe.
Each of his steps is marked by a new civilization superior to the
preceding, by a greater power of development. Arrived at the Atlantic,
he pauses on the shore of this unknown ocean, the bounds of which he
knows not, and turns upon his footprints for an instant." When he has
exhausted the rich soil of Europe, and reinvigorated himself, "then
recommences his adventurous career westward as in the earliest ages." So
far Guyot.

From this western impulse coming in contact with the barrier of the
Atlantic sprang the commerce and enterprise of modern times. The younger
Michaux, in his "Travels West of the Alleghanies in 1802," says that the
common inquiry in the newly settled West was, "'From what part of
the world have you come?' As if these vast and fertile regions would
naturally be the place of meeting and common country of all the
inhabitants of the globe."

To use an obsolete Latin word, I might say, _Ex Oriente lux; ex
Occidente_ FRUX. From the East light; from the West fruit.

Sir Francis Head, an English traveller and a Governor-General of Canada,
tells us that "in both the northern and southern hemispheres of the New
World, Nature has not only outlined her works on a larger scale, but has
painted the whole picture with brighter and more costly colors than she
used in delineating and in beautifying the Old World.... The heavens of
America appear infinitely higher, the sky is bluer, the air is fresher,
the cold is intenser, the moon looks larger, the stars are brighter, the
thunder is louder, the lightning is vivider, the wind is stronger,
the rain is heavier, the mountains are higher, the rivers longer, the
forests bigger, the plains broader." This statement will do at least
to set against Buffon's account of this part of the world and its

Linnaeus said long ago, "Nescio quae facies _laeta, glabra_ plantis
Americanis: I know not what there is of joyous and smooth in the aspect
of American plants"; and I think that in this country there are no, or
at most very few, _Africanae bestice_, African beasts, as the Romans
called them, and that in this respect also it is peculiarly fitted for
the habitation of man. We are told that within three miles of the centre
of the East-Indian city of Singapore, some of the inhabitants are
annually carried off by tigers; but the traveller can lie down in the
woods at night almost anywhere in North America without fear of wild

These are encouraging testimonies. If the moon looks larger here than in
Europe, probably the sun looks larger also. If the heavens of America
appear infinitely higher, and the stars brighter, I trust that these
facts are symbolical of the height to which the philosophy and poetry
and religion of her inhabitants may one day soar. At length, perchance,
the immaterial heaven will appear as much higher to the American mind,
and the intimations that star it as much brighter. For I believe
that climate does thus react on man,--as there is something in the
mountain-air that feeds the spirit and inspires. Will not man grow to
greater perfection intellectually as well as physically under these
influences? Or is it unimportant how many foggy days there are in his
life? I trust that we shall be more imaginative, that our thoughts will
be clearer, fresher, and more ethereal, as our sky,--our understanding
more comprehensive and broader, like our plains,--our intellect
generally on a grander scale, like our thunder and lightning, our rivers
and mountains and forests,--and our hearts shall even correspond in
breadth and depth and grandeur to our inland seas. Perchance there will
appear to the traveller something, he knows not what, of _laeta_ and
_glabra_, of joyous and serene, in our very faces. Else to what end does
the world go on, and why was America discovered?

To Americans I hardly need to say,--

"Westward the star of empire takes its way."

As a true patriot, I should be ashamed to think that Adam in paradise
was more favorably situated on the whole than the backwoodsman in this

Our sympathies in Massachusetts are not confined to New England; though
we may be estranged from the South, we sympathize with the West. There
is the home of the younger sons, as among the Scandinavians they took to
the sea for their inheritance. It is too late to be studying Hebrew; it
is more important to understand even the slang of to-day.

Some months ago I went to see a panorama of the Rhine. It was like
a dream of the Middle Ages. I floated down its historic stream in
something more than imagination, under bridges built by the Romans, and
repaired by later heroes, past cities and castles whose very names were
music to my ears, and each of which was the subject of a legend. There
were Ehrenbreitstein and Rolandseck and Coblentz, which I knew only in
history. They were ruins that interested me chiefly. There seemed to
come up from its waters and its vine-clad hills and valleys a hushed
music as of Crusaders departing for the Holy Land. I floated along under
the spell of enchantment, as if I had been transported to an heroic age,
and breathed an atmosphere of chivalry.

Soon after, I went to see a panorama of the Mississippi, and as I worked
my way up the river in the light of to-day, and saw the steamboats
wooding up, counted the rising cities, gazed on the fresh ruins of
Nauvoo, beheld the Indians moving west across the stream, and, as before
I had looked up the Moselle, now looked up the Ohio and the Missouri,
and heard the legends of Dubuque and of Wenona's Cliff,--still thinking
more of the future than of the past or present,--I saw that this was a
Rhine stream of a different kind; that the foundations of castles were
yet to be laid, and the famous bridges were yet to be thrown over the
river; and I felt that _this was the heroic age itself_, though we know
it not, for the hero is commonly the simplest and obscurest of men.

The West of which I speak is but another name for the Wild; and what I
have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of
the world. Every tree sends its fibres forth in search of the Wild. The
cities import it at any price. Men plough and sail for it. From the
forest and wilderness come the tonics and barks which brace mankind. Our
ancestors were savages. The story of Romulus and Remus being suckled by
a wolf is not a meaningless fable. The founders of every State which has
risen to eminence have drawn their nourishment and vigor from a similar
wild source. It was because the children of the Empire were not suckled
by the wolf that they were conquered and displaced by the children of
the Northern forests who were.

I believe in the forest, and in the meadow, and in the night in which
the corn grows. We require an infusion of hemlock-spruce or arbor-vitae
in our tea. There is a difference between eating and drinking for
strength and from mere gluttony. The Hottentots eagerly devour the
marrow of the koodoo and other antelopes raw, as a matter of course.
Some of our Northern Indians eat raw the marrow of the Arctic reindeer,
as well as various other parts, including the summits of the antlers, as
long as they are soft. And herein, perchance, they have stolen a march
on the cooks of Paris. They get what usually goes to feed the fire. This
is probably better than stall-fed beef and slaughter-house pork to
make a man of. Give me a wildness whose glance no civilization can
endure,--as if we lived on the marrow of koodoos devoured raw.

There are some intervals which border the strain of the wood-thrush, to
which I would migrate,--wild lands where no settler has squatted; to
which, methinks, I am already acclimated.

The African hunter Cummings tells us that the skin of the eland, as well
as that of most other antelopes just killed, emits the most delicious
perfume of trees and grass. I would have every man so much like a wild
antelope, so much a part and parcel of Nature, that his very person
should thus sweetly advertise our senses of his presence, and remind us
of those parts of Nature which he most haunts. I feel no disposition to
be satirical, when the trapper's coat emits the odor of musquash even;
it is a sweeter scent to me than that which commonly exhales from the
merchant's or the scholar's garments. When I go into their wardrobes and
handle their vestments, I am reminded of no grassy plains and flowery
meads which they have frequented, but of dusty merchants' exchanges and
libraries rather.

A tanned skin is something more than respectable, and perhaps olive is
a fitter color than white for a man,--a denizen of the woods. "The pale
white man!" I do not wonder that the African pitied him. Darwin the
naturalist says, "A white man bathing by the side of a Tahitian was like
a plant bleached by the gardener's art, compared with a fine, dark green
one, growing vigorously in the open fields."

  Ben Jonson exclaims,--

     "How near to good is what is fair!"

  So I would say,--

     How near to good is what is _wild!_

Life consists with wildness. The most alive is the wildest. Not yet
subdued to man, its presence refreshes him. One who pressed forward
incessantly and never rested from his labors, who grew fast and made
infinite demands on life, would always find himself in a new country
or wilderness, and surrounded by the raw material of life. He would be
climbing over the prostrate stems of primitive forest-trees.

Hope and the future for me are not in lawns and cultivated fields, not
in towns and cities, but in the impervious and quaking swamps. When,
formerly, I have analyzed my partiality for some farm which I had
contemplated purchasing, I have frequently found that I was attracted
solely by a few square rods of impermeable and unfathomable bog,--a
natural sink in one corner of it. That was the jewel which dazzled me. I
derive more of my subsistence from the swamps which surround my native
town than from the cultivated gardens in the village. There are no
richer parterres to my eyes than the dense beds of dwarf andromeda
(_Cassandra calyculata_) which cover these tender places on the earth's
surface. Botany cannot go farther than tell me the names of the shrubs
which grow there,--the high-blueberry, panicled andromeda, lamb-kill,
azalea, and rhodora,--all standing in the quaking sphagnum. I often
think that I should like to have my house front on this mass of dull red
bushes, omitting other flower plots and borders, transplanted spruce
and trim box, even gravelled walks,--to have this fertile spot under my
windows, not a few imported barrow-fulls of soil only to cover the sand
which was thrown out in digging the cellar. Why not put my house, my
parlor, behind this plot, instead of behind that meagre assemblage of
curiosities, that poor apology for a Nature and Art, which I call my
front-yard? It is an effort to clear up and make a decent appearance
when the carpenter and mason have departed, though done as much for the
passer-by as the dweller within. The most tasteful front-yard fence was
never an agreeable object of study to me; the most elaborate ornaments,
acorn-tops, or what not, soon wearied and disgusted me. Bring your sills
up to the very edge of the swamp, then, (though it may not be the best
place for a dry cellar,) so that there be no access on that side to
citizens. Front-yards are not made to walk in, but, at most, through,
and you could go in the back way.

Yes, though you may think me perverse, if it were proposed to me to
dwell in the neighborhood of the most beautiful garden that ever human
art contrived, or else of a dismal swamp, I should certainly decide for
the swamp. How vain, then, have been all your labors, citizens, for me!

My spirits infallibly rise in proportion to the outward dreariness. Give
me the ocean, the desert, or the wilderness! In the desert, pure air and
solitude compensate for want of moisture and fertility. The traveller
Burton says of it,--"Your _morale_ improves; you become frank and
cordial, hospitable and single-minded.... In the desert, spirituous
liquors excite only disgust. There is a keen enjoyment in a mere animal
existence." They who have been travelling long on the steppes of Tartary
say,--"On reëntering cultivated lands, the agitation, perplexity, and
turmoil of civilization oppressed and suffocated us; the air seemed to
fail us, and we felt every moment as if about to die of asphyxia." When
I would recreate myself, I seek the darkest wood, the thickest and most
interminable, and, to the citizen, most dismal swamp. I enter a swamp
as a sacred place,--a _sanctum sanctorum_. There is the strength, the
marrow of Nature. The wild-wood covers the virgin mould,--and the same
soil is good for men and for trees. A man's health requires as many
acres of meadow to his prospect as his farm does loads of muck. There
are the strong meats on which he feeds. A town is saved, not more by the
righteous men in it than by the woods and swamps that surround it. A
township where one primitive forest waves above, while another primitive
forest rots below,--such a town is fitted to raise not only corn and
potatoes, but poets and philosophers for the coming ages. In such a soil
grew Homer and Confucius and the rest, and out of such a wilderness
comes the Reformer eating locusts and wild honey.

To preserve wild animals implies generally the creation of a forest for
them to dwell in or resort to. So is it with man. A hundred years ago
they sold bark in our streets peeled from our own woods. In the very
aspect of those primitive and rugged trees, there was, methinks, a
tanning principle which hardened and consolidated the fibres of men's
thoughts. Ah! already I shudder for these comparatively degenerate days
of my native village, when you cannot collect a load of bark of good
thickness,--and we no longer produce tar and turpentine.

The civilized nations--Greece, Rome, England--have been sustained by the
primitive forests which anciently rotted where they stand. They survive
as long as the soil is not exhausted. Alas for human culture! little is
to be expected of a nation, when the vegetable mould is exhausted, and
it is compelled to make manure of the bones of its fathers. There
the poet sustains himself merely by his own superfluous fat, and the
philosopher comes down on his marrow-bones.

It is said to be the task of the American "to work the virgin soil," and
that "agriculture here already assumes proportions unknown everywhere
else." I think that the farmer displaces the Indian even because he
redeems the meadow, and so makes himself stronger and in some respects
more natural. I was surveying for a man the other day a single straight
line one hundred and thirty-two rods long, through a swamp, at whose
entrance might have been written the words which Dante read over
the entrance to the infernal regions,--"Leave all hope, ye that
enter,"--that is, of ever getting out again; where at one time I saw
my employer actually up to his neck and swimming for his life in his
property, though it was still winter. He had another similar swamp which
I could not survey at all, because it was completely under water, and
nevertheless, with regard to a third swamp, which I did _survey_ from a
distance, he remarked to me, true to his instincts, that he would not
part with it for any consideration, on account of the mud which it
contained. And that man intends to put a girdling ditch round the whole
in the course of forty months, and so redeem it by the magic of his
spade. I refer to him only as the type of a class.

The weapons with which we have gained our most important victories,
which should be handed down as heirlooms from father to son, are not the
sword and the lance, but the bush-whack, the turf-cutter, the spade, and
the bog-hoe, rusted with the blood of many a meadow, and begrimed with
the dust of many a hard-fought field. The very winds blew the Indian's
cornfield into the meadow, and pointed out the way which he had not
the skill to follow. He had no better implement with which to intrench
himself in the land than a clamshell. But the farmer is armed with
plough and spade.

In Literature it is only the wild that attracts us. Dulness is but
another name for lameness. It is the uncivilized free and wild thinking
in "Hamlet" and the "Iliad," in all the Scriptures and Mythologies, not
learned in the schools, that delights us. As the wild duck is more swift
and beautiful than the tame, so is the wild--the mallard--thought, which
'mid falling dews wings its way above the fens. A truly good book is
something as natural, and as unexpectedly and unaccountably fair and
perfect, as a wild flower discovered on the prairies of the West or in
the jungles of the East. Genius is a light which makes the darkness
visible, like the lightning's flash, which perchance shatters the temple
of knowledge itself,--and not a taper lighted at the hearth-stone of the
race, which pales before the light of common day.

English literature, from the days of the minstrels to the Lake
Poets,--Chaucer and Spenser and Milton, and even Shakespeare,
included,--breathes no quite fresh and in this sense wild strain. It
is an essentially tame and civilized literature, reflecting Greece and
Rome. Her wilderness is a green-wood,--her wild man a Robin Hood. There
is plenty of genial love of Nature, but not so much of Nature herself.
Her chronicles inform us when her wild animals, but not when the wild
man in her, became extinct.

The science of Humboldt is one thing, poetry is another thing. The
poet to-day, notwithstanding all the discoveries of science, and the
accumulated learning of mankind, enjoys no advantage over Homer.

Where is the literature which gives expression to Nature? He would be a
poet who could impress the winds and streams into his service, to speak
for him; who nailed words to their primitive senses, as farmers drive
down stakes in the spring, which the frost has heaved; who derived his
words as often as he used them,--transplanted them to his page with
earth adhering to their roots; whose words were so true and fresh and
natural that they would appear to expand like the buds at the approach
of spring, though they lay half-smothered between two musty leaves in a
library,--ay, to bloom and bear fruit there, after their kind, annually,
for the faithful reader, in sympathy with surrounding Nature.

I do not know of any poetry to quote which adequately expresses this
yearning for the Wild. Approached from this side, the best poetry is
tame. I do not know where to find in any literature, ancient or modern,
any account which contents me of that Nature with which even I am
acquainted. You will perceive that I demand something which no Augustan
nor Elizabethan age, which no _culture_, in short, can give. Mythology
comes nearer to it than anything. How much more fertile a Nature, at
least, has Grecian mythology its root in than English literature!
Mythology is the crop which the Old World bore before its soil was
exhausted, before the fancy and imagination were affected with blight;
and which it still bears, wherever its pristine vigor is unabated. All
other literatures endure only as the elms which overshadow our houses;
but this is like the great dragon-tree of the Western Isles, as old as
mankind, and, whether that does or not, will endure as long; for the
decay of other literatures makes the soil in which it thrives.

The West is preparing to add its fables to those of the East. The
valleys of the Ganges, the Nile, and the Rhine, having yielded their
crop, it remains to be seen what the valleys of the Amazon, the Plate,
the Orinoco, the St. Lawrence, and the Mississippi will produce.
Perchance, when, in the course of ages, American liberty has become
a fiction of the past,--as it is to some extent a fiction of the
present,--the poets of the world will be inspired by American mythology.

The wildest dreams of wild men, even, are not the less true, though they
may not recommend themselves to the sense which is most common among
Englishmen and Americans to-day. It is not every truth that recommends
itself to the common sense. Nature has a place for the wild clematis
as well as for the cabbage. Some expressions of truth are
reminiscent,--others merely sensible, as the phrase is,--others
prophetic. Some forms of disease, even, may prophesy forms of health.
The geologist has discovered that the figures of serpents, griffins,
flying dragons, and other fanciful embellishments of heraldry, have
their prototypes in the forms of fossil species which were extinct
before man was created, and hence "indicate a faint and shadowy
knowledge of a previous state of organic existence." The Hindoos dreamed
that the earth rested on an elephant, and the elephant on a tortoise,
and the tortoise on a serpent; and though it may be an unimportant
coincidence, it will not be out of place here to state, that a fossil
tortoise has lately been discovered in Asia large enough to support
an elephant. I confess that I am partial to these wild fancies, which
transcend the order of time and development. They are the sublimest
recreation of the intellect. The partridge loves peas, but not those
that go with her into the pot.

In short, all good things are wild and free. There is something in a
strain of music, whether produced by an instrument or by the
human voice,--take the sound of a bugle in a summer night, for
instance,--which by its wildness, to speak without satire, reminds me of
the cries emitted by wild beasts in their native forests. It is so
much of their wildness as I can understand. Give me for my friends and
neighbors wild men, not tame ones. The wildness of the savage is but a
faint symbol of the awful ferity with which good men and lovers meet.

I love even to see the domestic animals reassert their native
rights,--any evidence that they have not wholly lost their original wild
habits and vigor; as when my neighbor's cow breaks out of her pasture
early in the spring and boldly swims the river, a cold, gray tide,
twenty-five or thirty rods wide, swollen by the melted snow. It is the
buffalo crossing the Mississippi. This exploit confers some dignity
on the herd in my eyes,--already dignified. The seeds of instinct are
preserved under the thick hides of cattle and horses, like seeds in the
bowels of the earth, an indefinite period.

Any sportiveness in cattle is unexpected. I saw one day a herd of a
dozen bullocks and cows running about and frisking in unwieldy sport,
like huge rats, even like kittens. They shook their heads, raised their
tails, and rushed up and down a hill, and I perceived by their horns, as
well as by their activity, their relation to the deer tribe. But, alas!
a sudden loud _Whoa!_ would have damped their ardor at once, reduced
them from venison to beef, and stiffened their sides and sinews like the
locomotive. Who but the Evil One has cried, "Whoa!" to mankind?
Indeed, the life of cattle, like that of many men, is but a sort of
locomotiveness; they move a side at a time, and man, by his machinery,
is meeting the horse and ox half-way. Whatever part the whip has touched
is thenceforth palsied. Who would ever think of a _side_ of any of the
supple cat tribe, as we speak of a _side_ of beef?

I rejoice that horses and steers have to be broken before they can be
made the slaves of men, and that men themselves have some wild oats
still left to sow before they become submissive members of society.
Undoubtedly, all men are not equally fit subjects for civilization;
and because the majority, like dogs and sheep, are tame by inherited
disposition, this is no reason why the others should have their natures
broken that they may be reduced to the same level. Men are in the main
alike, but they were made several in order that they might be various.
If a low use is to be served, one man will do nearly or quite as well as
another; if a high one, individual excellence is to be regarded. Any man
can stop a hole to keep the wind away, but no other man could serve so
rare a use as the author of this illustration did. Confucius says,--"The
skins of the tiger and the leopard, when they are tanned, are as the
skins of the dog and the sheep tanned." But it is not the part of a true
culture to tame tigers, any more than it is to make sheep ferocious; and
tanning their skins for shoes is not the best use to which they can be

When looking over a list of men's names in a foreign language, as of
military officers, or of authors who have written on a particular
subject, I am reminded once more that there is nothing in a name. The
name Menschikoff, for instance, has nothing in it to my ears more human
than a whisker, and it may belong to a rat. As the names of the Poles
and Russians are to us, so are ours to them. It is as if they had
been named by the child's rigmarole,--_Iery wiery ichery van,
tittle-tol-tan_. I see in my mind a herd of wild creatures swarming over
the earth, and to each the herdsman has affixed some barbarous sound in
his own dialect. The names of men are of course as cheap and meaningless
as _Bose_ and _Tray_, the names of dogs.

Methinks it would be some advantage to philosophy, if men were named
merely in the gross, as they are known. It would be necessary only to
know the genus, and perhaps the race or variety, to know the individual.
We are not prepared to believe that every private soldier in a Roman
army had a name of his own,--because we have not supposed that he had a
character of his own. At present our only true names are nicknames. I
knew a boy who, from his peculiar energy, was called "Buster" by
his playmates, and this rightly supplanted his Christian name. Some
travellers tell us that an Indian had no name given him at first, but
earned it, and his name was his fame; and among some tribes he acquired
a new name with every new exploit. It is pitiful when a man bears a name
for convenience merely, who has earned neither name nor fame.

I will not allow mere names to make distinctions for me, but still
see men in herds for all them. A familiar name cannot make a man less
strange to me. It may be given to a savage who retains in secret his
own wild title earned in the woods. We have a wild savage in us, and
a savage name is perchance somewhere recorded as ours. I see that my
neighbor, who bears the familiar epithet William, or Edwin, takes it off
with his jacket. It does not adhere to him when asleep or in anger, or
aroused by any passion or inspiration. I seem to hear pronounced by some
of his kin at such a time his original wild name in some jaw-breaking or
else melodious tongue.

Here is this vast, savage, howling mother of ours, Nature, lying all
around, with such beauty, and such affection for her children, as the
leopard; and yet we are so early weaned from her breast to society, to
that culture which is exclusively an interaction of man on man,--a sort
of breeding in and in, which produces at most a merely English nobility,
a civilization destined to have a speedy limit.

In society, in the best institutions of men, it is easy to detect a
certain precocity. When we should still be growing children, we are
already little men. Give me a culture which imports much muck from
the meadows, and deepens the soil,--not that which trusts to heating
manures, and improved implements and modes of culture only!

Many a poor sore-eyed student that I have heard of would grow faster,
both intellectually and physically, if, instead of sitting up so very
late, he honestly slumbered a fool's allowance.

There may be an excess even of informing light. Niépce, a Frenchman,
discovered "actinism," that power in the sun's rays which produces a
chemical effect,--that granite rocks, and stone structures, and statues
of metal, "are all alike destructively acted upon during the hours of
sunshine, and, but for provisions of Nature no less wonderful, would
soon perish under the delicate touch of the most subtile of the agencies
of the universe." But he observed that "those bodies which underwent
this change during the daylight possessed the power of restoring
themselves to their original conditions during the hours of night, when
this excitement was no longer influencing them." Hence it has been
inferred that "the hours of darkness are as necessary to the inorganic
creation as we know night and sleep are to the organic kingdom." Not
even does the moon shine every night, but gives place to darkness.

I would not have every man nor every part of a man cultivated, any more
than I would have every acre of earth cultivated: part will be tillage,
but the greater part will be meadow and forest, not only serving an
immediate use, but preparing a mould against a distant future, by the
annual decay of the vegetation which it supports.

There are other letters for the child to learn than those which Cadmus
invented. The Spaniards have a good term to express this wild and dusky
knowledge,--_Gramática parda_, tawny grammar,--a kind of mother-wit
derived from that same leopard to which I have referred.

We have heard of a Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. It is
said that knowledge is power; and the like. Methinks there is equal need
of a Society for the Diffusion of Useful Ignorance, what we will call
Beautiful Knowledge, a knowledge useful in a higher sense: for what
is most of our boasted so-called knowledge but a conceit that we know
something, which robs us of the advantage of our actual ignorance?
What we call knowledge is often our positive ignorance; ignorance our
negative knowledge. By long years of patient industry and reading of
the newspapers--for what are the libraries of science but files of
newspapers?--a man accumulates a myriad facts, lays them up in his
memory, and then when in some spring of his life he saunters abroad into
the Great Fields of thought, he, as it were, goes to grass like a horse,
and leaves all his harness behind in the stable. I would say to the
Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, sometimes,----Go to
grass. You have eaten hay long enough. The spring has come with its
green crop. The very cows are driven to their country pastures before
the end of May; though I have heard of one unnatural farmer who kept his
cow in the barn and fed her on hay all the year round. So, frequently,
the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge treats its cattle.

A man's ignorance sometimes is not only useful, but beautiful,--while
his knowledge, so called, is oftentimes worse than useless, besides
being ugly. Which is the best man to deal with,--he who knows nothing
about a subject, and, what is extremely rare, knows that he knows
nothing, or be who really knows something about it, but thinks that he
knows all?

My desire for knowledge is intermittent; but my desire to bathe my head
in atmospheres unknown to my feet is perennial and constant. The highest
that we can attain to is not Knowledge, but Sympathy with Intelligence.
I do not know that this higher knowledge amounts to anything more
definite than a novel and grand surprise on a sudden revelation of the
insufficiency of all that we called Knowledge before,--a discovery that
there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in our
philosophy. It is the lighting up of the mist by the sun. Man cannot
_know_ in any higher sense than this, any more than he can look serenely
and with impunity in the face of the sun: [Greek: Os thi noon, on
kehinon nohaeseis,]--"You will not perceive that, as perceiving a
particular thing," say the Chaldean Oracles.

There is something servile in the habit of seeking after a law which we
may obey. We may study the laws of matter at and for our convenience,
but a successful life knows no law. It is an unfortunate discovery
certainly, that of a law which binds us where we did not know before
that we were bound. Live free, child of the mist,--and with respect to
knowledge we are all children of the mist. The man who takes the liberty
to live is superior to all the laws, by virtue of his relation to the
law-maker. "That is active duty," says the Vishnu Purana, "which is not
for our bondage; that is knowledge which is for our liberation: all
other duty is good only unto weariness; all other knowledge is only the
cleverness of an artist."

It is remarkable how few events or crises there are in our histories;
how little exercised we have been in our minds; how few experiences we
have had. I would fain be assured that I am growing apace and rankly,
though my very growth disturb this dull equanimity,--though it be with
struggle through long, dark, muggy nights or seasons of gloom. It would
be well, if all our lives were a divine tragedy even, instead of this
trivial comedy or farce. Dante, Bunyan, and others, appear to have been
exercised in their minds more than we: they were subjected to a kind of
culture such as our district schools and colleges do not contemplate.
Even Mahomet, though many may scream at his name, had a good deal more
to live for, ay, and to die for, than they have commonly.

When, at rare intervals, some thought visits one, as perchance he is
walking on a railroad, then indeed the cars go by without his hearing
them. But soon, by some inexorable law, our life goes by and the cars

  "Gentle breeze, that wanderest unseen,
  And bendest the thistles round Loira of storms,
  Traveller of the windy glens,
  Why hast thou left my ear so soon?"

While almost all men feel an attraction drawing them to society, few are
attracted strongly to Nature. In their relation to Nature men appear
to me for the most part, notwithstanding their arts, lower than the
animals. It is not often a beautiful relation, as in the case of the
animals. How little appreciation of the beauty of the landscape there is
among us! We have to be told that the Greeks called the world [Greek:
Kosmos], Beauty, or Order, but we do not see clearly why they did so,
and we esteem it at best only a curious philological fact.

For my part, I feel that with regard to Nature I live a sort of border
life, on the confines of a world into which I make occasional and
transient forays only, and my patriotism and allegiance to the State
into whose territories I seem to retreat are those of a moss-trooper.
Unto a life which I call natural I would gladly follow even a
will-o'-the-wisp through bogs and sloughs unimaginable, but no moon nor
fire-fly has shown me the causeway to it. Nature is a personality so
vast and universal that we have never seen one of her features. The
walker in the familiar fields which stretch around my native town
sometimes finds himself in another land than is described in their
owners' deeds, as it were in some far-away field on the confines of the
actual Concord, where her jurisdiction ceases, and the idea which the
word Concord suggests ceases to be suggested. These farms which I have
myself surveyed, these bounds which I have set up appear dimly still as
through a mist; but they have no chemistry to fix them; they fade from
the surface of the glass; and the picture which the painter painted
stands out dimly from beneath. The world with which we are commonly
acquainted leaves no trace, and it will have no anniversary.

I took a walk on Spaulding's Farm the other afternoon. I saw the setting
sun lighting up the opposite side of a stately pine wood. Its golden
rays straggled into the aisles of the wood as into some noble hall. I
was impressed as if some ancient and altogether admirable and shining
family had settled there in that part of the land called Concord,
unknown to me,--to whom the sun was servant,--who had not gone into
society in the village,--who had not been called on. I saw their
park, their pleasure-ground, beyond through the wood, in Spaulding's
cranberry-meadow. The pines furnished them with gables as they grew.
Their house was not obvious to vision; the trees grew through it. I do
not know whether I heard the sounds of a suppressed hilarity or not.
They seemed to recline on the sunbeams. They have sons and daughters.
They are quite well. The farmer's cart-path, which leads directly
through their hall, does not in the least put them out,--as the muddy
bottom of a pool is sometimes seen through the reflected skies.
They never heard of Spaulding, and do not know that he is their
neighbor,--notwithstanding I heard him whistle as he drove his team
through the house. Nothing can equal the serenity of their lives. Their
coat of arms is simply a lichen. I saw it painted on the pines and oaks.
Their attics were in the tops of the trees. They are of no politics.
There was no noise of labor. I did not perceive that they were weaving
or spinning. Yet I did detect, when the wind lulled and hearing was done
away, the finest imaginable sweet musical hum,--as of a distant hive in
May, which perchance was the sound of their thinking. They had no idle
thoughts, and no one without could see their work, for their industry
was not as in knots and excrescences embayed.

But I find it difficult to remember them. They fade irrevocably out
of my mind even now while I speak and endeavor to recall them, and
recollect myself. It is only after a long and serious effort to
recollect my best thoughts that I become again aware of their
cohabitancy. If it were not for such families as this, I think I should
move out of Concord.

We are accustomed to say in New England that few and fewer pigeons visit
us every year. Our forests furnish no mast for them. So, it would seem,
few and fewer thoughts visit each growing man from year to year, for the
grove in our minds is laid waste,--sold to feed unnecessary fires of
ambition, or sent to mill, and there is scarcely a twig left for them to
perch on. They no longer build nor breed with us. In some more genial
season, perchance, a faint shadow flits across the landscape of the
mind, cast by the _wings_ of some thought in its vernal or autumnal
migration, but, looking up, we are unable to detect the substance of
the thought itself. Our winged thoughts are turned to poultry. They
no longer soar, and they attain only to a Shanghai and Cochin-China
grandeur. Those _gra-a-ate thoughts_, those _gra-a-ate men_ you hear of!

We hug the earth,--how rarely we mount! Methinks we might elevate
ourselves a little more. We might climb a tree, at least. I found my
account in climbing a tree once. It was a tall white pine, on the top
of a hill; and though I got well pitched, I was well paid for it, for I
discovered new mountains in the horizon which I had never seen before,--
so much more of the earth and the heavens. I might have walked about
the foot of the tree for threescore years and ten, and yet I certainly
should never have seen them. But, above all, I discovered around me,--it
was near the end of June,--on the ends of the topmost branches only, a
few minute and delicate red cone-like blossoms, the fertile flower of
the white pine looking heavenward. I carried straightway to the village
the topmost spire, and showed it to stranger jurymen who walked the
streets,--for it was court-week,--and to farmers and lumber-dealers and
wood-choppers and hunters, and not one had ever seen the like before,
but they wondered as at a star dropped down. Tell of ancient architects
finishing their works on the tops of columns as perfectly as on the
lower and more visible parts! Nature has from the first expanded the
minute blossoms of the forest only toward the heavens, above men's heads
and unobserved by them. We see only the flowers that are under our feet
in the meadows. The pines have developed their delicate blossoms on the
highest twigs of the wood every summer for ages, as well over the heads
of Nature's red children as of her white ones; yet scarcely a farmer or
hunter in the land has ever seen them.

Above all, we cannot afford not to live in the present. He is blessed
over all mortals who loses no moment of the passing life in remembering
the past. Unless our philosophy hears the cock crow in every barn-yard
within our horizon, it is belated. That sound commonly reminds us that
we are growing rusty and antique in our employments and habits of
thought. His philosophy comes down to a more recent time than ours.
There is something suggested by it that is a newer testament,--the
gospel according to this moment. He has not fallen astern; he has got up
early, and kept up early, and to be where he is is to be in season,
in the foremost rank of time. It is an expression of the health and
soundness of Nature, a brag for all the world,--healthiness as of a
spring burst forth, a new fountain of the Muses, to celebrate this last
instant of time. Where he lives no fugitive slave laws are passed. Who
has not betrayed his master many times since last he heard that note?

The merit of this bird's strain is in its freedom from all
plaintiveness. The singer can easily move us to tears or to laughter,
but where is he who can excite in us a pure morning joy? When, in
doleful dumps, breaking the awful stillness of our wooden sidewalk on
a Sunday, or, perchance, a watcher in the house of mourning, I hear a
cockerel crow far or near, I think to myself, "There is one of us well,
at any rate,"--and with a sudden gush return to my senses.

We had a remarkable sunset one day last November. I was walking in a
meadow, the source of a small brook, when the sun at last, just before
setting, after a cold gray day, reached a clear stratum in the horizon,
and the softest, brightest morning sunlight fell on the dry grass and on
the stems of the trees in the opposite horizon, and on the leaves of the
shrub-oaks on the hill-side, while our shadows stretched long over the
meadow eastward, as if we were the only motes in its beams. It was such
a light as we could not have imagined a moment before, and the air also
was so warm and serene that nothing was wanting to make a paradise of
that meadow. When we reflected that this was not a solitary phenomenon,
never to happen again, but that it would happen forever and ever an
infinite number of evenings, and cheer and reassure the latest child
that walked there, it was more glorious still.

The sun sets on some retired meadow, where no house is visible, with all
the glory and splendor that it lavishes on cities, and, perchance, as it
has never set before,--where there is but a solitary marsh-hawk to have
his wings gilded by it, or only a musquash looks out from his cabin, and
there is some little black-veined brook in the midst of the marsh, just
beginning to meander, winding slowly round a decaying stump. We walked
in so pure and bright a light, gilding the withered grass and leaves,
so softly and serenely bright, I thought I had never bathed in such a
golden flood, without a ripple or a murmur to it. The west side of every
wood and rising ground gleamed like the boundary of Elysium, and the sun
on our backs seemed like a gentle herdsman driving us home at evening.

So we saunter toward the Holy Land, till one day the sun shall shine
more brightly than ever he has done, shall perchance shine into our
minds and hearts, and light up our whole lives with a great awakening
light, as warm and serene and golden as on a bank-side in autumn.


It would be a task worthy of a volume, and requiring that space in order
to be creditably performed, to show how war affects literature, at what
points they meet, where they are at variance, if any wars stimulate, and
what kinds depress the intellectual life of nations. The subject is very
wide. It would embrace a discussion of the effects of war when it occurs
during a period of great literary and artistic splendor, as in Athens
and in the Italian Republics; whether intellectual decline is postponed
or accelerated by the interests and passions of the strife; whether the
preliminary concentration of the popular heart may claim the merit of
adding either power or beauty to the intellectual forms which bloom
together with the war.

These things are not entirely clear, and the experience of different
countries is conflicting. The Thirty Years' War, though it commenced
with the inspiration of great political and religious ideas, did not
lift the German mind to any new demonstrations of truth or impassioned
utterances of the imagination. The nation sank away from it into a
barren and trivial life, although the war itself occasioned a multitude
of poems, songs, hymns, and political disquisitions. The hymns of this
period, which are filled with a sense of dependence, of the greatness
and awfulness of an invisible eternity, and breathe a desire for the
peaceful traits of a remote religious life, are at once a confession of
the weariness of the best minds at the turmoil and uncertainty of the
contest and a permanent contribution of the finest kind to that form of
sacred literature. But princes and electors were fighting as much for
the designation and establishment of their petty nationalities, which
first checkered the map of Europe after the imperial Catholic power was
rolled southwardly, as they were for the pure interest of Protestantism.
The German intellect did eventually gain something from this political
result, because it interrupted the literary absolutism which reigned at
Vienna; no doubt literature grew more popular and German, but it did
not very strikingly improve the great advantage, for there was at last
exhaustion instead of a generously nourishing enthusiasm, and the great
ideas of the period became the pieces with which diplomatists carried on
their game. The _Volkslied_ (popular song) came into vogue again, but it
was not so fresh and natural as before; Opitz, one of the best poets of
this period, is worth reading chiefly when he depicts his sources of
consolation in the troubles of the time. Long poetical bulletins were
written, in the epical form, to describe the battles and transactions
of the war. They had an immense circulation, and served the place of
newspapers. They were bright and characteristic enough for that; and
indeed newspapers in Germany date from this time, and from the doggerel
broadsides of satire and description which then supplanted minstrels
of whatsoever name or guild, as they were carried by post, and read in
every hamlet.[A] But the best of these poems were pompous, dull, and
tediously elaborated. They have met the fate of newspapers, and are now
on file. The more considerable poets themselves appeared to be jealous
of the war; they complained bitterly that Mars had displaced Apollo; but
later readers regret the ferocious sack of Magdeburg, or the death of
Gustavus Adolphus, more than the silencing of all those pens.

[Footnote A: Newspapers proper appeared as early as 1615 in Germany. But
these rhymed gazettes were very numerous. They were more or less bulky
pamphlets, with pithy sarcastic programmes for titles, and sometimes a
wood or copper cut prefixed. A few of them were of Catholic origin, and
one, entitled _Post-Bole_, (_The Express_,) is quite as good as anything
issued by the opposite party.]

On the other hand, Spain, while fighting for religion and a secure
nationality, had her Cervantes, Lope de Vega, and Calderon, all of whom
saw service in the field, and other distinguished names, originators
of literary forms and successful cultivators of established ones. They
created brilliant epochs for a bigoted and cruel country. All that was
noble or graceful in the Spanish spirit survives in works which that
country once stimulated through all the various fortunes of popular
wars. But they were not wars for the sake of the people; the country has
therefore sunk away from the literature which foretold so well how great
she might have become, if she had been fortunate enough to represent, or
to sympathize with, a period of moral and spiritual ideas. Her literary
forms do not describe growth, but arrested development.

A different period culminated in the genius of Milton, whose roots were
in that golden age when England was flowering into popular freedom. He
finally spoke for the true England, and expressed the vigorous thoughts
which a bloody epoch cannot quench. Some of his noblest things were
inspired by the exigencies of the Commonwealth, which he saw "as an
eagle nursing her mighty youth, and kindling her undazzled eyes at the
full mid-day beam."

The Dutch people, in their great struggle against Philip II., seemed to
find a stimulus in the very exhaustions of war. The protesting ideas for
which they fought drew fresh tenacity from the soil, wet with blood and
tears, into which generous passion and resolution sank with every death.
Here it is plain that a milder conflict, carried on by intrigue and
diplomatic forms alone, for peaceable separation from the Catholic
interest, would not have so quickened the intelligence which afterwards
nourished so many English exiles and helped to freight the Mayflower.
And we see the German mind first beginning to blossom with a language
and a manifold literature during and after the Seven Years' War, which
developed a powerful Protestant State and a native German feeling.
Frederic's Gallic predilections did not infect the country which his
arms had rendered forever anti-Gallic and anti-Austrian. The popular
enthusiasm for himself, which his splendid victories mainly created, was
the first instinctive form of the coming German sense of independence.
The nation's fairest period coincided with the French Revolution and
the aggressions of the Empire. "Hermann and Dorothea" felt the people's
pulse, which soon beat so high at Jena and Leipsic with rage and hope.
The hope departed with the Peace of 1815, and pamphleteering, pragmatic
writing, theological investigation, historical research, followed the
period of creative genius, whose flowers did not wither while the fields
ran red.

A war must be the last resort of truly noble and popular ideas, if it
would do more than stimulate the intelligence of a few men, who write
best with draughts of glory and success. It must be the long-repressed
understanding of a nation suffused with strong primitive emotions,
that flies to arms to secure the precious privilege of owning and
entertaining its knowledge and its national advantages. And in
proportion as any war has ever been leavened with the fine excitement of
religion or humanity, however imperfectly, and though tyrannized over
by political selfishness, we can see that the honest feeling has done
something to obliterate the traces of violence, to offer the comfort of
worth in the cause to wounded lips.

When the people themselves take to fighting, not for dynastic objects,
to secure the succession of an Infant to the throne, to fix a Pope in
his chair, or to horse a runaway monarch around their necks, not to
extort some commercial advantage, or to resist a tampering with the
traditional balance of power, but to drive back the billows of Huns or
Turks from fields where cities and a middle class must rise, to oppose
citizen-right to feudal-right, and inoculate with the lance-head Society
with the popular element, to assert the industrial against the baronial
interest, or to expel the invader who forages among their rights to
sweep them clean and to plant a system which the ground cannot receive,
then we find that the intense conviction, which has been long gathering
and brooding in the soul, thunders and lightens through the whole brain,
and quickens the germs of Art, Beauty and Knowledge. Then war is only a
process of development, which threatens terribly and shakes the locks
upon its aegis in the face of the brutes which infest its path. Minerva
is aware that wisdom and common sense will have to fight for recognition
and a world: she fends blows from her tranquil forehead with the
lowering crest; the shield is not always by her side, nor the
sword-point resting on the ground. What is so vital as this armed and
conscious intelligence? The pen, thus tempered to a sword, becomes a pen
again, but flows with more iron than before.

But the original intellectual life begins while the pen is becoming
tempered in the fires of a great national controversy, before it is hard
enough to draw blood. Magnetic streams attract each slender point to a
centre of prophesying thought long before the blood-red aurora stains
suddenly the midnight sky and betrays the influence which has been none
the less mighty because it has been colorless. Sometimes a people says
all that it has in its mind to say, during that comfortless period
while the storm is in the air and has not yet precipitated its cutting
crystals. The most sensitive minds are goaded to express emphatically
their moral feeling and expectation in such a rude climate, which
stimulates rather than depresses, but which is apt to fall away into
languor and content. This only shows that the people have no commanding
place in history, but are only bent upon relieving themselves from
sundry annoyances, or are talking about great principles which they are
not in a position, from ethnical or political disability, to develop.
Such is all the Panslavic literature which is not Russian.[B]
But sometimes a people whose intellect passes through a noble
pre-revolutionary period, illustrating it by impetuous eloquence,
indignant lyrics, and the stern lines which a protesting conscience
makes upon the faces of the men who are lifted above the crowd, finds
that its ideas reach beyond the crisis in its life into a century of
power and beauty, during which its emancipated tendency springs forward,
with graceful gestures, to seize every spiritual advantage. Its
movements were grand and impressive while it struggled for the
opportunity to make known the divine intent that inspired it; but when
the fetters burst, and every limb enjoys the victory and the release,
the movements become unbounded, yet rhythmical, like Nature's, and
smite, or flow, or penetrate, like hers. To such a people war comes
as the disturbance of the earth's crust which helps it to a habitable
surface and lifts fair slopes to ripen wine and grain.

[Footnote B: Some cultivated Bohemians who can recall the glories of
Ziska and his chiefs, and who comprehend the value of the tendency which
they strove to represent, think that there would have grown a Bohemian
people, a great centre of Protestant and Slavonic influence, if it
had not been for the Battle of Weissenberg in 1620, when the Catholic
Imperialists defeated their King Frederic. A verse of a popular song,
_The Patriot's Lament_, runs thus, in Wratislaw's translation:--

  "Cursed mountain, mountain white!
  Upon thee was crushed our might;
  What in thee lies covered o'er
  Ages cannot back restore."

If there had been a Bohemian people, preserving a real vital tendency,
the Battle of the White Mountain would have resulted differently, even
had it been a defeat.

Other patriots, cultivated enough to be Panslavists, indulge a more
cheerful vein. They see a good time coming, and raise the cry of _Hej

  "Hey, Slavonians! our Slavonic language still is living,
  Long as our true loyal heart is for our nation striving;
  Lives, lives the Slavonic spirit, and 't will live forever:
  Hell and thunder! vain against us all your rage shall shiver."

This is nothing but a frontier feeling. The true Slavonic centre is
at St. Petersburg; thence will roll a people and a language over all
kindred ground.]

After all, then, we must carefully discover what a war was about, before
we can trace it, either for good or for evil, into the subsequent life
of a nation. There can be no such thing as exhaustion or deterioration,
if the eternal laws have won the laurel of a fight; for they are
fountains of youth, from which new blood comes rushing through the
depleted veins. And it soon mantles on the surface, to mend the
financial and industrial distress. Its blush of pride and victory
announces no heady passion. It is the signal which Truth waves from the
hearts of her children.

If we wish directly to consider the effect of war upon our own
intellectual development, we must begin by asking what ideas of
consequence are suggested by our copious use of the word Country. What a
phrase is that--Our Country--which we have been accustomed for eighty
years to use upon all festivals that commemorate civic rights, with
flattering and pompous hopes! We never understood what it meant, till
this moment which threatens to deprive us of the ideas and privileges
which it really represents. We never appreciated till now its depth and
preciousness. Orators have built up, sentence by sentence, a magnificent
estimate of the elements which make our material success, and they
thought it was a patriotic chord which they touched with the climax of
their fine periods. It was such patriotism as thrives in the midst of
content and satisfactory circumstances, which loves to have an inventory
made of all the fixtures and conveniences and the crude splendor of a
country's housekeeping,--things which are not indeed to be despised, for
they show what a people can do when cast upon their own resources, at a
distance from Governmental interference, free to select their own way
of living, to be fervent in business, in charities, in the cause of
education, in the explorations which lay open new regions to the
emigration of a world, in the inventiveness which gives labor new
pursuits and increases the chances of poor men, in the enterprise which
has made foundries, mines, workshops, manufactories, and granaries of
independent States. We have loved to linger over the praises of our
common schools and our voluntary system of congregational worship, to
count the spires which mark every place that man clears to earn his
living in. It has been pleasant to trace upon the map the great arteries
of intercommunication, flowing east and west, churned by countless
paddle-wheels, as they force a vast freight of wealth, material, social,
intellectual, to and fro, a freshet of fertilizing life to swell every
stream. We love to repeat the names which self-taught men have hewn out
in rude places, with the only advantage of being members of Mankind,
holding their own share in the great heart and soul of it, and making
that itself more illustrious than lineage and fortune. Every element of
an unexhausted soil, and all the achievements of a people let loose upon
it to settle, build, sow, and reap, with no master but ambition and no
dread but of poverty, and a long list of rights thrust suddenly into
their hands, with liberty to exercise them,--the right to vote, to
speak, to print, to be tried by jury,--all this margin for unfettered
action, even the corresponding vastness of the country itself, whose
ruggedest features and greatest distances were playthings of the popular
energy,--to love and extol these things were held by us equivalent to
having a native land and feeding a patriotic flame. But now all at once
this catalogue of advantages, which we were accustomed to call "our
country," is stripped of all its value, because we begin to feel that it
depends upon something else, more interior and less easy to appraise,
which we had not noticed much before. Just as when suddenly, in a
favorite child, endowed with strength, beauty, and effective gifts of
every member, of whom we were proud and expected great things, and whom
we took unlimited comfort in calling our own, there appears the solemn
intention of a soul to use this fine body to express its invisible truth
and honor, a wonderful revelation of a high mind filled with aspirations
which we had not suspected,--a sudden lifting of the whole body like an
eyelid before an inner eye, and we are astonished at the look it gives
us: so this body of comfort and success, which we worshipped as our
country, is suddenly possessed by great passions and ideas, by a
consciousness that providential laws demand the use of it, and will not
be restrained from inspiring the whole frame, and directing every member
of it with a new plan of Unity, and a finer feeling for Liberty, and a
more generous sense of Fraternity than ever before. Lately we did as we
pleased, but now we are going to be real children of Liberty. Formerly
we had a Union which transacted business for us, secured the payment of
our debts, and made us appear formidable abroad while it corrupted and
betrayed us at home,--a Union of colporteurs, and caucuses, and drummers
of Southern houses; not a Union, but a long coffle of patriotic laymen,
southerly clergymen, and slaves. Now the soul of a Democracy, gazing
terribly through eyes that are weeping for the dead and for indignation
at the cause of their dying, holds the thing which we call Union, and
determines to keep its mighty hold till it can be informed with Unity,
of which justice is the prime condition. See a Country at last, that
is, a Republican Soul, making the limbs of free states shiver with the
excitement of its great ideas, turning all our comfortable and excellent
institutions into ministers to execute its will, resolved, to wring the
great sinews of the body with the stress of its awakening, and to tax,
for a spiritual purpose, all the material resources and those forms
of liberty which we had pompously called our native land. A people in
earnest, smarting with the wounds of war and the deeper inflictions of
treachery, is abroad seeking after a country. It has been repeating with
annual congratulations for eighty years the self-evident truths of the
document which declared its independence; now it discovers that more
evidence of it is needed than successful trading and building can
bring, and it sends it forth afresh, with half a million of glittering
specialities to enforce its doctrines, while trade, and speculation, and
all the ambitions of prosperous men, and delicately nurtured lives, and
other lives as dearly cherished and nursed to maturity, are sent out
with an imperative commission to buy, at all hazards, a real country, to
exchange what is precious for the sake of having finally what we dreamed
we had before,--the most precious of all earthly things,--a Commonwealth
of God. Yes, our best things go, like wads for guns, to bid our purpose
speak more emphatically, as it expresses the overruling inspiration of
the hour.

Is this really the character of our war, or is it only an ideal picture
of what the war might be? That depends solely upon ourselves.

Our soldiers kindle nightly their bivouac fires from East to West, and
set their watch. They are the advance posts of the great idea, which is
destined to make a country as it advances southwardly, and to settle
it with republicans. If we put it in a single sentence, "Freedom of
industry for hand and brain to all men," we must think awhile upon it
before we can see what truths and temporal advantages it involves. We
see them best, in this night of our distress and trial, by the soldiers'
watch-fires. They encroach upon the gloom, and open it for us with
hopes. They shine like the stare of a deeper sky than day affords, and
we can see a land stretching to the Gulf, and lying expectant between
either sea, whose surface is given to a Republic to people and civilize
for the sake of Man. Whoever is born here, or whoever comes here,
brought by poverty or violence, an exile from misery or from power,
and whatever be his ethnological distinction, is a republican of this
country because he is a man. Here he is to find safety, cooperation,
and welcome. His very ignorance and debasement are to be welcomed by
a country eager to exhibit the plastic power of its divine idea,--how
animal restrictions can be gradually obliterated, how superstition and
prejudice must die out of stolid countenances before the steady gaze of
republican good-will, how ethnic peculiarities shall subserve the
great plan and be absorbed by it. The country no longer will have a
conventional creed, that men are more important than circumstances and
governments; we always said so, but our opinion was at the mercy of a
Know-Nothing club, a slaveholding cabal, a selfish democracy: it will
have a living faith, born with the pangs of battle, that nothing on
earth is so precious as the different kinds of men. It will want them,
to illustrate its preeminent idea, and it will go looking for them
through all the neglected places of the world, to invite them in from
the by-lanes and foul quarters of every race, expressly to show that
man is superior to his accidents, by bringing their bodies into a place
where their souls can get the better of them. Where can that be except
where a democracy has been waging a religious war against its own great
evil, and has repented in blood for having used all kinds of men as the
white and black pawns in its games of selfish politics, with its own
country for the board, and her peace and happiness lying in the pool for
stakes? Where can man be respected best except here, where he has
been undervalued most, and bitterness and blood have sprung from that

This is the first truly religious war ever waged. Can there be such a
thing as a religious war? There can be wars in the interest of different
theologies, and mixed wars of diplomacy and confessions of belief, wars
to transfer the tradition of infallibility from a pope to a book, wars
of Puritans against the divine right of kings in the Old World and the
natural rights of Indians in the New, in all of which the name of God
has been invoked for sanction, and Scripture has been quoted, and Psalms
uplifted on the battle-field for encouragement. And it is true that
every conflict, in which there are ideas that claim their necessary
development against usage and authority, has a religious character so
far as the ideas vindicate God by being good for man. But a purely
religious war must be one to restore the attributes and prerogatives of
manhood, to confirm primitive rights that are given to finite souls as
fast as they are created, to proclaim the creed of humanity, which is so
far from containing a single article of theology, that it is solely and
distinctively religious without it, because it proclaims one Father in
heaven and one blood upon the earth. Manhood is always worth fighting
for, to resist and put down whatever evil tendency impairs the full
ability to be a man, with a healthy soul conscious of rights and duties,
owning its gifts, and valuing above everything else the liberty to place
its happiness in being noble and good. Every man wages a religious war,
when he attacks his own passions in the interest of his own humanity.
The most truly religious thing that a man can do is to fight his way
through habits and deficiencies back to the pure manlike elements of his
nature, which are the ineffaceable traces of the Divine workmanship, and
alone really worth fighting for. And when a nation imitates this private
warfare, and attacks its own gigantic evils, lighted through past
deficiencies and immediate temptations by its best ideas, as its human
part rallies against its inhuman, and all the kingly attributes of a
freeborn individual rise up in final indignation against its slavish
attributes, then commences the true and only war of a people, and the
only war of which we dare say, though it have the repulsive features
that belong to all wars, that it is religious. But that we do say; for
it is to win and keep the unity of a country for the great purposes of
mankind, a place where souls can have their chances to work, with the
largest freedom and under the fewest disabilities, at the divine image
stamped upon them,--to get here the tools, both temporal and spiritual,
with which to strike poverty and misery out of those glorious traces,
and to chisel deep and fresh the handwriting where God says, This is a

Here is a sufficient ground for expecting that intellectual as well as
political enlargement will succeed this trial of our country. It is well
to think of all the approaching advantages, even those remote ones which
will wear the forms of knowledge and art. For it is undeniable, that a
war cannot be so just as to bring no evils in its train,--not only the
disturbance of all kinds of industry, the suppression of some, the
difficulty of diverting, at a moment's notice, labor towards new
objects,--not only financial embarrassment and exhaustion, and the
shadow of a coming debt,--not the maiming of strong men and their
violent removal from the future labors of peace, nor the emotional
suffering of thousands of families whose hearts are in the field with
their dear ones, tossed to and fro in every skirmish, where the balls
slay more than the bodies which are pierced: not these evils alone,--nor
the feverish excitement of eighteen millions of people, whose gifts
and intelligence are all distraught, and at the mercy of every
bulletin,--nor yet the possible violations of private rights, and the
overriding of legal defences, which, when once attempted in a state of
war, is not always relinquished on the return of peace. These do not
strike us so much as the moral injury which many weak and passionate
minds sustain from the necessity of destroying life, of ravaging and
burning, of inflicting upon the enemy politic distresses. There will be
a taint in the army and the community which will endure in the relations
of pacific life. And more than half a million of men, who have tasted
the fierce joy of battle, have suffered the moral privations and dangers
of the camp, are to be returned suddenly to us, and cast adrift, with no
hope of finding immediate employment, and hankering for some excitements
to replace those of the distant field. If little truth and little
conscience have been at stake, these are the reasons which make wars so
demoralizing: they leave society restored to peace, but still at war
within itself, infested by those strange cravings, and tempted by a
new ambition, that of waging successful wars. This will be the most
dangerous country on the face of the earth, after the termination of
this war; for it will see its own ideas more clearly than ever before,
and long to propagate them with its battle-ardors and its scorn of
hypocritical foreign neutralities. We have the elements to make the most
martial nation in the world, with a peculiar combination of patience and
impulse, coldness and daring, the capacity to lie in watchful calm and
to move with the vibrations of the earthquake. And if ever the voice of
our brother, crying out to us from the ground of any country, shall sigh
among the drums which are then gathering dust in our arsenals, the long
roll would wake again, and the arms would rattle in that sound, which is
part of the speech of Liberty. But it is useless to affirm or to deny
such possibilities. It is plain, however, that we are organizing most
formidable elements, and learning how to forge them into bolts. The
spirit of the people, therefore, must be high and pure. The more
emphatically we declare, in accordance with the truth, that this war is
for a religious purpose, to prepare a country for the growing of souls,
a place where every element of material success and all the ambitions of
an enthusiastic people shall only provide fortunate circumstances, so
that men can be educated in the freedom which faith, knowledge, and awe
before the Invisible secure, the better will it be for us when peace
returns. A great believing people will more readily absorb the hurts of
war. Spiritual vitality will throw off vigorously the malaria which must
arise from deserted fields of battle. It must be our daily supplication
to feel the religious purport of the truths for which we fight. We must
disavow vindictiveness, and purge our hearts of it. There must be no
vulgar passion illustrated by our glorious arms. And when we say that we
are fighting for mankind, to release souls and bodies from bondage,
we must understand, without affectation, that we are fighting for the
slaveholder himself, who knows it not, as he hurls his iron disbelief
and hatred against us. For we are to have one country, all of whose
children, shall repeat in unison its noble creed, which the features of
the land itself proclaim, and whose railroads and telegraphs are its

How often we have enumerated and deprecated the evils of war! The
Mexican War, in which Slavery herself involved us, (using the power of
the Republic against which she conspired to further her conspiracy,)
gave us occasion to extol the benefits of peace, and to draw up a
formidable indictment against the spirit which lusted for the appeal to
arms. We have not lusted for it, and the benefits of peace seem greater
than ever; but the benefits of equity and truth seem greater than all.
Show me justice, or try to make me unjust,--force upon me at the point
of the sword the unspeakable degradation of abetting villany, and I will
seize the hilt, if I can, and write my protest clear with the blade, and
while I have it in my hand I will reap what advantages are possible in
the desolation which it makes.

Among these advantages of a war waged to secure the rights of
citizenship to all souls will be the excitement of a national
intellectual life, which will take on the various forms of a national
literature. This is to be expected for two reasons. First, because our
arms will achieve unity. By this is meant not only that there will be a
real union of all the States, consequent upon an eventual agreement in
great political and moral ideas, but also that this very consent will
bring the different characteristic groups of the country so near
together, in feeling and mutual appreciation, and with a free
interchange of traits, that we shall begin to have a nationality. And
there can be no literature until there is a nation; when the varieties
of the popular life begin to coalesce, as all sections are drawn
together towards the centre of great political ideas which the people
themselves establish, there will be such a rich development of
intellectual action as the Old World has not seen. Without this unity,
literature may be cultivated by cliques of men of talent, who are
chiefly stimulated to express themselves by observing the thought and
beauty which foreign intellects and past times produced; but their
productions will not spring from the country's manifold life, nor
express its mighty individuality. The sections of the country which are
nearest to the intelligence of the Old World will furnish the readiest
writers and the most polished thinkers, until the New World dwarfs the
Old World by its unity, and inspires the best brains with the collected
richness of the popular heart. Up to the period of this war the
country's most original men have been those who, by protesting against
its evils and displaying a genius emancipated from the prescriptions of
Church and State, have prophesied the revolution, and given to America
the first rich foretaste of her growing mind. The thunder rolled up the
sky in the orator's great periods, the lightning began to gleam in the
preacher's moral indignation, the glittering steel slumbered uneasily
and showed its half-drawn menace from the subtle lines of poets and
essayists who have been carrying weapons these twenty years; their souls
thirsted for an opportunity to rescue fair Liberty from the obscene rout
who had her in durance for their purposes, and to hail her accession to
a lawful throne with the rich gifts of knowledge, use, and beauty, a
homage that only free minds can pay, and only when freedom claims it.
We do not forget the literary activity with which a thousand ready
intellects have furnished convenient food for the people: there has been
no lack of books, nor of the ambition to attempt all the intellectual
forms. Some of this pabulum was not good for a growing frame; the excuse
for offering it may be found in the exigencies of squatter-life. We are
a notable people for our attachment to the frying-pan, and there is no
doubt that it is a shifty utensil: it can be slung at the saddle-bow or
carried in a valise, it will bear the jolting of a corduroy road, and
furnish a camp-mess in the minimum of time out of material that was
perhaps but a moment before sniffing or pecking at its rim. A very
little blaze sets the piece of cold fat swimming, and the black cavity
soon glows and splutters with extemporaneous content. But what dreams
howl about the camp-fires, what hideous scalping-humor creeps from the
leathery supper into the limbs and blood of the adventurous pioneer!

No better, and quite as scrofulous, has been the nourishment furnished
by the rhetorical time-servers and polished conventionalists, whose
gifts have been all directed against the highest good of the country's
mind, to offer sweets to its crying conscience, and draughts of fierce
or languid cordials to lull the uneasy moods of this fast-growing child
of Liberty. Such men are fabricators of smooth speech; they have brought
their gilding to put upon the rising pillars of the country, instead
of strength to plant them firmly in their places and to spread the
protecting roof. This period of storm will wash off their dainty
work. When the clean granite stands where it should to shelter the
four-and-thirty States as they walk the vast colonnades together, intent
upon the great interchanges of the country's thought and work, this
tinsel will not be missed; as men look upon the grave lines that
assure them of security, they will rejoice that the time for the truly
beautiful has arrived, and hasten to relieve the solid space with shapes
as durable as the imagination which conceives.

There must be a great people before there can be a great character in
its books, its instructions, or its works of art. This character is
prophesied only in part by what is said and thought while the people is
becoming great, and the molten constituents are sparkling as they run
into their future form. We have been so dependent upon traditional ideas
that we suppose an epic, for instance, to be the essential proof that
a people is alive and has something to express. Let us cease to wonder
whether there will ever be an American poem, an American symphony, or an
American Novum Organon. It is a sign of weakness and subservience: and
this is a period crowded with acts of emancipation. We cannot escape
from the past, if we would; we have a right to inherit all the previous
life of men that does not surfeit us and impede our proper work, but
let us stop our unavailing sighs for Iliads. The newspaper gathers and
circulates all true achievements faster than blind poets can plod round
with the story. The special form of the epic answered to a state of
society when the harper connected cities with his golden wire, slowly
unrolling its burden as he went. Vibrations travel faster now; men would
be foolish to expect that the new life will go journeying in classic
vehicles. When the imagination becomes free, it can invent forms equally
surprising and better adapted to the face of the country.

There is no part of this country which has not its broad characters and
tendencies, different from anything ever seen before, imperfect while
they are doomed to isolation, during which they show only a maimed and
grotesque vitality. The religious tendency is different, the humor is
different, the imagination differs from anything beyond the Atlantic.
And the East differs from the West, the North from the South; and
the Pacific States will have also to contribute gifts peculiar to
themselves, as the silt of the Sacramento glitters unlike that of the
Merrimac or the Potomac. We are not yet a People; but we have great,
vivid masses of popular life, which a century of literary expression
will not exhaust. All these passionate characters are running together
in this general danger, having seized a weapon: they have found an idea
in common, they are pervaded by their first really solemn feeling, they
issue the same word for the night from East to West. The nationality
thus commenced will introduce the tendency to blend in place of the
tendency to keep apart, and each other's gifts will pass sympathetically
from hand to hand.

The heightened life of this epoch is another cause which shall prepare
a great development of intellectual forms. Excitement and enthusiasm
pervade all classes of the people. All the primitive emotions of
the human heart--friendship, scorn, sympathy, human and religious
love--break into the liveliest expression, penetrate every quarter of
society; a great river is let loose from the rugged mountain-recesses of
the people; its waters, saturated with Nature's simple fertility, cover
the whole country, and will not retire without depositing their renewing
elements. A sincere and humble people Is feeling the exigency. A million
families have fitted out their volunteers with the most sumptuous of all
equipments, which no Government could furnish, love, tears of anxiety
and pride, last kisses and farewells, and prayers more heaven-cleaving
than a time of peace can breathe. What an invisible cloud of domestic
pathos overhung for a year the course of the Potomac, and settled upon
those huts and tents where the best part of home resided! what an ebb
and flow of letters, bearing solemnity and love upon their surface! what
anxiety among us, with all its brave housekeeping shifts, to keep want
from the door while labor is paralyzed, and the strong arms have beaten
their ploughshares into swords! What self-sacrifice of millions of
humble wives and daughters whose works and sorrows are now refining the
history of their country, and lifting the popular nobleness: they are
giving _all that they are_ to keep their volunteers in the field. The
flag waves over no such faithfulness; its stars sparkle not like this
sincerity. The feeling and heroism of women are enough to refresh and
to remould the generation. Like subtle lightning, the womanly nature
is penetrating the life of the age. From every railroad-station the
ponderous train bore off its freight of living valor, amid the cheers
of sympathizing thousands who clustered upon every shed and pillar, and
yearned forward as if to make their tumultuous feelings the motive
power to carry those dear friends away. What an ardent and unquenchable
emotion! Drums do not throb like these hearts, bullets do not patter
like these tears. There is not a power of the soul which is not
vitalized and expanded by these scenes. But long after the crowd
vanishes, there stands a woman at the corner, with a tired child asleep
upon her shoulder; the bosom does not heave so strongly as to break its
sleep. There are no regrets in the calm, proud face; no, indeed!--for it
is the face of our country, waiting to suffer and be strong for liberty,
and to put resolutely the dearest thing where it can serve mankind. In
her face read the history of the future as it shall be sung and written
by pens which shall not know whence their sharpened impulse springs; the
page shall reflect the working of that woman's face, daughter of the
people; and when exulting posterity shall draw new patriotism from it,
and declare that it is proud, pathetic, resolved, sublime, they shall
not yet call it by its Christian name, for that will be concealed with
moss upon her forgotten head-stone.

       *       *       *       *       *


  O good painter, tell me true,
    Has your hand the cunning to draw
    Shapes of things that you never saw?
  Ay? Well, here is an order for you.

  Woods and cornfields, a little brown,--
    The picture must not be over-bright,--
    Yet all in the golden and gracious light
  Of a cloud, when the summer sun is down.

    Alway and alway, night and morn,
    Woods upon woods, with fields of corn
      Lying between them, not quite sere,
  And not in the full, thick, leafy bloom,
  When the wind can hardly find breathing-room
      Under their tassels,--cattle near,
  Biting shorter the short green grass,
  And a hedge of sumach and sassafras,
  With bluebirds twittering all around,--
  (Ah, good painter, you can't paint sound!)--
    These, and the house where I was born,
  Low and little, and black and old,
  With children, many as it can hold,
  All at the windows, open wide,--
  Heads and shoulders clear outside,
  And fair young faces all ablush:
    Perhaps you may have seen, some day,
    Roses crowding the self-same way,
  Out of a wilding, way-side bush.

    Listen closer. When you have done
       With woods and cornfields and grazing herds,
    A lady, the loveliest ever the sun
  Looked down upon, you must paint for me:
  Oh, if I only could make you see
    The clear blue eyes, the tender smile,
  The sovereign sweetness, the gentle grace,
  The woman's soul, and the angel's face
    That are beaming on me all the while!
     I need not speak these foolish words:
    Yet one word tells you all I would say,--
  She is my mother: you will agree
    That all the rest may be thrown away.

  Two little urchins at her knee
  You must paint, Sir: one like me,--
      The other with a clearer brow,
    And the light of his adventurous eyes
    Flashing with boldest enterprise:
  At ten years old he went to sea,--
       God knoweth if he be living now,--
     He sailed in the good ship "Commodore,"--
  Nobody ever crossed her track
  To bring us news, and she never came back.
    Ah, 'tis twenty long years and more
  Since that old ship went out of the bay
    With my great-hearted brother on her deck:
   I watched him till he shrank to a speck,
  And his face was toward me all the way.

  Bright his hair was, a golden brown,
     The time we stood at our mother's knee:
  That beauteous head, if it did go down,
    Carried sunshine into the sea!

  Out in the fields one summer night
    We were together, half afraid
    Of the corn-leaves' rustling, and of the shade
       Of the high hills, stretching so still and far,--
  Loitering till after the low little light
    Of the candle shone through the open door,
  And over the hay-stack's pointed top,
  All of a tremble, and ready to drop,
       The first half-hour, the great yellow star,
    That we, with staring, ignorant eyes,
  Had often and often watched to see
    Propped and held in its place in the skies

  By the fork of a tall red mulberry-tree,
    Which close in the edge of our flax-field grew,--
  Dead at the top,--just one branch full
  Of leaves, notched round, and lined with wool,
    From which it tenderly shook the dew
  Over our heads, when we came to play
  In its handbreadth of shadow, day after day.
    Afraid to go home, Sir; for one of us bore
  A nest full of speckled and thin-shelled eggs,--
  The other, a bird, held fast by the legs,
  Not so big as a straw of wheat:
  The berries we gave her she wouldn't eat,
  But cried and cried, till we held her bill,
  So slim and shining, to keep her still.

  At last we stood at our mother's knee.
    Do you think, Sir, if you try,
    You can paint the look of a lie?
    If you can, pray have the grace
    To put it solely in the face
  Of the urchin that is likest me:
      I think't was solely mine, indeed:
    But that's no matter,--paint it so;
     The eyes of our mother--(take good heed)--
  Looking not on the nest-full of eggs,
  Nor the fluttering bird, held so fast by the legs,
  But straight through our faces down to our lies,
  And, oh, with such injured, reproachful surprise!
    I felt my heart bleed where that glance went, as though
    A sharp blade struck through it.
                                     You, Sir, know,
  That you on the canvas are to repeat
  Things that are fairest, things most sweet,--
  Woods and cornfields and mulberry-tree,--
  The mother,--the lads, with their bird, at her knee:
    But, oh, that look of reproachful woe!
  High as the heavens your name I'll shout,
  If you paint me the picture, and leave that out.




Blue-fish were about done with, when one day Dan brought in some
mackerel from Boon Island: they hadn't been in the harbor for some time,
though now there was a probability of their return. So they were going
out when the tide served--the two boys--at midnight for mackerel, and
Dan had heard me wish for the experience so often, a long while ago,
that he said, Why shouldn't they take the girls? and Faith snatched at
the idea, and with that Mr. Gabriel agreed to fetch me at the hour, and
so we parted. I was kind of sorry, but there was no help for it.

When we started, it was in that clear crystal dark that looks as if you
could see through it forever till you reached infinite things, and we
seemed to be in a great hollow sphere, and the stars were like living
beings who had the night to themselves. Always, when I'm up late, I feel
as if it were something unlawful, as if affairs were in progress which
I had no right to witness, a kind of grand freemasonry. I've felt it
nights when I've been watching with mother, and there has come up across
the heavens the great caravan of constellations, and a star that I'd
pulled away the curtain on the east side to see came by-and-by and
looked in at the south window; but I never felt it as I did this night.
The tide was near the full, and so we went slipping down the dark water
by the starlight; and as we saw them shining above us, and then looked
down and saw them sparkling up from below,--the stars,--it really seemed
as if Dan's oars must be two long wings, as if we swam on them through a
motionless air. By-and-by we were in the island creek, and far ahead,
in a streak of wind that didn't reach us, we could see a pointed sail
skimming along between the banks, as if some ghost went before to show
us the way; and when the first hush and mystery wore off, Mr. Gabriel
was singing little French songs in tunes like the rise and fall of the
tide. While he sang, he rowed, and Dan was gangeing the hooks. At length
Dan took the oars again, and every now and then he paused to let us
float along with the tide as it slacked, and take the sense of the
night. And all the tall grass that edged the side began to wave in a
strange light, and there blew on a little breeze, and over the rim of
the world tipped up a waning moon. If there'd been anything needed to
make us feel as if we were going to find the Witch of Endor, it was
this. It was such a strange moon, pointing such a strange way, with such
a strange color, so remote, and so glassy,--it was like a dead moon, or
the spirit of one, and was perfectly awful.

"She has come to look at Faith," said Mr. Gabriel; for Faith, who once
would have been nodding here and there all about the boat, was sitting
up pale and sad, like another spirit, to confront it. But Dan and I both
felt a difference.

Mr. Gabriel, he stepped across and went and sat down behind Faith, and
laid his hand lightly on her arm. Perhaps he didn't mind that he touched
her,--he had a kind of absent air; but if any one had looked at the
nervous pressure of the slender fingers, they would have seen as much
meaning in that touch as in many an embrace; and Faith lifted her face
to his, and they forgot that I was looking at them, and into the eyes of
both there stole a strange deep smile,--and my soul groaned within me.
It made no odds to me then that the air blew warm off the land from
scented hay-ricks, that the moon hung like some exhumed jewel in the
sky, that all the perfect night was widening into dawn. I saw and felt
nothing but the wretchedness that must break one day on Dan's head.
Should I warn him? I couldn't do that. And what then?

The sail was up, we had left the headland and the hills, and when they
furled it and cast anchor we were swinging far out on the back of the
great monster that was frolicking to itself and thinking no more of us
than we do of a mote in the air. Elder Snow, he says that it's singular
we regard day as illumination and night as darkness,--day that really
hems us in with narrow light and shuts us upon ourselves, night that
sets us free and reveals to us all the secrets of the sky. I thought of
that when one by one the stars melted and the moon became a breath, and
up over the wide grayness crept color and radiance and the sun himself,
--the sky soaring higher and higher, like a great thin bubble of flaky
hues,--and, all about, nothing but the everlasting wash of waters
broke the sacred hush. And it seemed as if God had been with us, and
withdrawing we saw the trail of His splendid garments,--and I remembered
the words mother had spoken to Dan once before, and why couldn't I leave
him in heavenly hands? And then it came into my heart to pray. I knew I
hadn't any right to pray expecting to be heard; but yet mine would be
the prayer of the humble, and wasn't Faith of as much consequence as a
sparrow? By-and-by, as we all sat leaning over the gunwale, the words
of a hymn that I'd heard at camp-meetings came into my mind, and I sang
them out, loud and clear. I always had a good voice, though Dan 'd never
heard me do anything with it except hum little low things, putting
mother to sleep; but here I had a whole sky to sing in, and the hymns
were trumpet-calls. And one after another they kept thronging up, and
there was a rush of feeling in them that made you shiver, and as I sang
them they thrilled me through and through. Wide as the way before us
was, it seemed to widen; I felt myself journeying with some vast host
towards the city of God, and its light poured over us, and there was
nothing but joy and love and praise and exulting expectancy in my heart.
And when the hymn died on my lips because the words were too faint and
the tune was too weak for the ecstasy, and when the silence had soothed
me back again, I turned and saw Dan's lips bitten, and his cheek white,
and his eyes like stars, and Mr. Gabriel's face fallen forward in his
hands, and he shaking with quick sobs; and as for Faith,--Faith, she
had dropped asleep, and one arm was thrown above her head, and the other
lay where it had slipped from Mr. Gabriel's loosened grasp. There's a
contagion, you know, in such things, but Faith was never of the catching

Well, this wasn't what we'd come for,--turning all out-doors into a
church,--though what's a church but a place of God's presence? and for
my part, I never see high blue sky and sunshine without feeling that.
And all of a sudden there came a school of mackerel splashing and
darkening and curling round the boat, after the bait we'd thrown out on
anchoring. 'Twould have done you good to see Dan just at that moment;
you'd have realized what it was to have a calling. He started up,
forgetting everything else, his face all flushed, his eyes like coals,
his mouth tight and his tongue silent; and how many hooks he had out I'm
sure I don't know, but he kept jerking them in by twos and threes, and
finally they bit at the bare barb and were taken without any bait at
all, just as if they'd come and asked to be caught. Mr. Gabriel, he
didn't pay any attention at first, but Dan called to him to stir
himself, and so gradually he worked back into his old mood; but he was
more still and something sad all the rest of the morning. Well, when
we'd gotten about enough, and they were dying in the boat there, as they
cast their scales, like the iris, we put in-shore; and building a fire,
we cooked our own dinner and boiled our own coffee. Many's the icy
winter-night I've wrapped up Dan's bottle of hot coffee in rolls on
rolls of flannel, that he might drink it hot and strong far out at sea
in a wherry at daybreak!

But as I was saying,--all this time, Mr. Gabriel, he scarcely looked at
Faith. At first she didn't comprehend, and then something swam all over
her face as if the very blood in her veins had grown darker, and there
was such danger in her eye that before we stepped into the boat again
I wished to goodness I had a life-preserver. But in the beginning the
religious impression lasted and gave him great resolutions; and then
strolling off and along the beach, he fell in with some men there and
did as he always did, scraped acquaintance. I verily believe that these
men were total strangers, that he'd never laid eyes on them before, and
after a few words he wheeled about. As he did so, his glance fell on
Faith standing there alone against the pale sky, for the weather 'd
thickened, and watching the surf break at her feet. He was motionless,
gazing at her long, and then, when he had turned once or twice
irresolutely, he ground his heel into the sand and went back. The men
rose and wandered on with him, and they talked together for a while, and
I saw money pass; and pretty soon Mr. Gabriel returned, his face vividly
pallid, but smiling, and he had in his hand some little bright shells
that you don't often find on these Northern beaches, and he said he had
bought them of those men. And all this time he'd not spoken with Faith,
and there was the danger yet in her eye. But nothing came of it, and I
had accused myself of nearly every crime in the Decalogue, and on the
way back we had put up the lines, and Mr. Gabriel had hauled in the
lobster-net for the last time. He liked that branch of the business;
he said it had all the excitement of gambling,--the slow settling
downwards, the fading of the last ripple, the impenetrable depth and
shade and the mystery of the work below, five minutes of expectation,
and it might bring up a scale of the sea-serpent, or the king of the
crabs might have crept in for a nap in the folds, or it might come up
as if you'd dredged for pearls, or it might hold the great
backward-crawling lobsters, or a tangle of seaweed, or the long yellow
locks of some drowned girl,--or nothing at all. So he always drew in
that net, and it needed muscle, and his was like steel,--not good for
much in the long pull, but just for a breathing could handle the biggest
boatman in the harbor. Well,--and we'd hoisted the sail and were in the
creek once more, for the creek was only to be used at high-water, and
I'd told Dan I couldn't be away from mother over another tide and so we
mustn't get aground, and he'd told me not to fret, there was nothing too
shallow for us on the coast--"This boat," said Dan, "she'll float in a
heavy dew." And he began singing a song he liked:--

  "I cast my line in Largo Bay,
    And fishes I caught nine:
  There's three to boil, and three to fry,
    And three to bait the line."

And Mr. Gabriel 'd never heard it before, and he made him sing it again
and again.

  "The boatie rows, the boatie rows,
    The boatie rows indeed,"

repeated Mr. Gabriel, and he said it was the only song he knew that held
the click of the oar in the rowlock.

The little birds went skimming by us, as we sailed, their breasts upon
the water, and we could see the gunners creeping through the marshes
beside them.

"The wind changes," said Mr. Gabriel. "The equinox treads close behind
us. Sst! Is it that you do not feel its breath? And you hear nothing?"

"It's the Soul of the Bar," said Dan; and he fell to telling us one
of the wild stories that fishermen can tell each other by the lantern
rocking outside at night in the dory.

The wind was dead east, and now we flew before it, and now we tacked in
it, up and up the winding stream, and always a little pointed sail came
skimming on in suit.

"What sail is that, Dan?" asked I. "It looks like the one that flitted
ahead this morning."

"It is the one," said Dan,--for he'd brought up a whole horde of
superstitious memories, and a gloom that had been hovering off and on
his face settled there for good. "As much of a one as that was. It's no
sail at all. It's a death-sign. And I've never been down here and seen
it but trouble was on its heels. Georgie! there's two of them!"

We all looked, but it was hidden in a curve, and when it stole in sight
again there _were_ two of them, filmy and faint as spirits' wings,--and
while we gazed they vanished, whether supernaturally or in the mist that
was rising mast-high I never thought, for my blood was frozen as it ran.

"You have fear?" asked Mr. Gabriel,--his face perfectly pale, and his
eye almost lost in darkness. "If it is a phantom, it can do you no

Faith's teeth chattered,--I saw them. He turned to her, and as their
look met, a spot of carnation burned into his cheek almost as a brand
would have burned. He seemed to be balancing some point, to be searching
her and sifting her; and Faith half rose, proudly, and pale, as if his
look pierced her with pain. The look was long,--but before it fell, a
glow and sparkle filled the eyes, and over his face there curled the
deep, strange smile of the morning, till the long lids and heavy lashes
dropped and made it sad. And Faith,--she started in a new surprise, the
darkness gathered and crept off her face as cream wrinkles from milk,
and spleen or venom or what-not became absorbed again and lost, and
there was nothing in her glance but passionate forgetfulness. Some souls
are like the white river-lilies,--fixed, yet floating; but Mr. Gabriel
had no firm root anywhere, and was blown about with every breeze, like a
leaf on the flood. His purposes melted and made with his moods.

The wind got round more to the north, the mist fell upon the waters or
blew away over the meadows, and it was cold. Mr. Gabriel wrapped the
cloak about Faith and fastened it, and tied her bonnet. Just now Dan was
so busy handling the boat--and it's rather risky, you have to wriggle up
the creek so--that he took little notice of us. Then Mr. Gabriel stood
up, as if to change his position; and taking off his hat, he held it
aloft, while he passed the other hand across his forehead. And leaning
against the mast, he stood so, many minutes.

"Dan," I said, "did your spiritual craft ever hang out a purple

"No," said Dan.

"Well," says I. And we all saw a little purple ribbon running up the
rope and streaming on the air behind us.

"And why do we not hoist our own?" said Mr. Gabriel, putting on his hat.
And suiting the action to the word, a little green signal curled up and
flaunted above us like a bunch of the weed floating there in the water
beneath and dyeing all the shallows so that they looked like caves of
cool emerald, and wide off and over them the west burned smoulderingly
red like a furnace. Many a time since, I've felt the magical color
between those banks and along those meadows, but then I felt none of it;
every wit I had was too awake and alert and fast-fixed in watching.

"Is it that the phantoms can be flesh and blood?" said Mr. Gabriel
laughingly; and lifting his arm again, he hailed the foremost.

"Boat ahoy! What names?" said he.

The answer came back on the wind full and round.

"'Speed,' and 'Follow.'"

"Where from?" asked Dan, with just a glint in his eye,--for usually he
knew every boat on the river, but he didn't know these.

"From the schooner Flyaway, taking in sand over at Black Rocks."

Then Mr. Gabriel spoke again, as they drew near,--but whether he spoke
so fast that I couldn't understand, or whether he spoke French, I never
knew; and Dan, with some kind of feeling that it was Mr. Gabriel's
acquaintance, suffered the one we spoke to pass us.

Once or twice Mr. Gabriel had begun some question to Dan about the
approaching weather, but had turned it off again before anybody could
answer. You see he had some little nobility left, and didn't want the
very man he was going to injure to show him how to do it. Now, however,
he asked him that was steering the Speed by, if it was going to storm.

The man thought it was.

"How is it, then, that your schooner prepares to sail?"

"Oh, wind's backed in; we'll be on blue water before the gale breaks, I
reckon, and then beat off where there's plenty of sea-room."

"But she shall make shipwreck!"

"'Not if the court know herself, and he think she do,'" was the reply
from another, as they passed.

Somehow I began to hate myself, I was so full of poisonous suspicions.
How did Mr. Gabriel know the schooner prepared to sail? And this man,
could he tell boom from bowsprit? I didn't believe it; he had the hang
of the up-river folks. But there stood Mr. Gabriel, so quiet and easy,
his eyelids down, and he humming an underbreath of song; and there sat
Faith, so pale and so pretty, a trifle sad, a trifle that her conscience
would brew for her, whether or no. Yet, after all, there was an odd
expression in Mr. Gabriel's face, an eager, restless expectation; and if
his lids were lowered, it was only to hide the spark that flushed and
quenched in his eye like a beating pulse.

We had reached the draw, it was lifted for the Speed, she had passed,
and the wind was in her sail once more. Yet, somehow, she hung back. And
then I saw that the men in her were of those with whom Mr. Gabriel had
spoken at noon. Dan's sail fell slack, and we drifted slowly through,
while he poled us along with an oar.

"Look out, Georgie!" said Dan, for he thought I was going to graze my
shoulder upon the side there. I looked; and when I turned again, Mr.
Gabriel was rising up from some earnest and hurried sentence to Faith.
And Faith, too, was standing, standing and swaying with indecision, and
gazing away out before her,--so flushed and so beautiful,--so loath and
so willing. Poor thing! poor thing! as if her rising in itself were not
the whole!

Mr. Gabriel stepped across the boat, stooped a minute, and then also
took an oar. How perfect he was, as he stood there that moment!--perfect
like a statue, I mean,--so slender, so clean-limbed, his dark face pale
to transparency in the green light that filtered through the draw! and
then a ray from the sunset came creeping over the edge of the high
fields and smote his eyes sidelong so that they glowed like jewels, and
he with his oar planted firmly hung there bending far back with it,
completely full of strength and grace.

"It is not the _bateaux_ in the rapids," said he.

"What are you about?" asked Dan, with sudden hoarseness. "You are
pulling the wrong way!"

Mr. Gabriel laughed, and threw down his oar, and stepped back again;
gave his hand to Faith, and half led, half lifted her, over the side,
and into the Speed, followed, and never looked behind him. They let
go something they had held, the Speed put her nose in the water and
sprinkled us with spray, plunged, and dashed off like an arrow.

It was like him,--daring and insolent coolness! Just like him! Always
the soul of defiance! None but one so reckless and impetuous as he would
have dreamed of flying into the teeth of the tempest in that shell of a
schooner. But he was mad with love, and they--there wasn't a man among
them but was the worse for liquor.

For a moment Dan took it, as Mr. Gabriel had expected him to do, as a
joke, and went to trim the boat for racing, not meaning they should
reach town first. But I--I saw It all.

"Dan!" I sung out, "save her! She's not coming back! They'll make for
the schooner at Black Rocks! Oh, Dan, he's taken her off!"

Now one whose intelligence has never been trained, who shells his five
wits and gets rid of the pods as best he can, mayn't be so quick as
another, but, like an animal, he feels long before he sees; and a vague
sense of this had been upon Dan all day. Yet now he stood thunderstruck,
and the thing went on before his very eyes. It was more than he could
believe at once,--and perhaps his first feeling was, Why should he
hinder? And then the flood fell. No thought of his loss,--though loss it
wa'n't,--only of his friend,--of such stunning treachery, that, if
the sun fell hissing into the sea at noon, it would have mattered
less,--only of _that_ loss that tore his heart out with it.

"Gabriel!" he shouted,--"Gabriel!" And his voice was heart-rending. I
know that Mr. Gabriel felt it, for he never turned nor stirred.

Then I don't know what came over Dan: a blind rage swelling in his heart
seemed to make him larger in every limb; he towered like a flame. He
sprang to the tiller, but, as he did so, saw with one flash of his eye
that Mr. Gabriel had unshipped the rudder and thrown it away. He seized
an oar to steer with in its place; he saw that they, in their ignorance
fast edging on the flats, would shortly be aground; more fisherman than
sailor, he knew a thousand tricks of boat-craft that they had never
heard of. We flew, we flew through cloven ridges, we became a wind
ourselves, and while I tell it he was beside them, had gathered himself
as if to leap the chasm between time and eternity, and had landed among
them in the Speed. The wherry careened with the shock and the water
poured into her, and she flung headlong and away as his foot spurned
her. Heaven knows why she didn't upset, for I thought of nothing but the
scene before me as I drifted off from it. I shut the eyes in my soul
now, that I mayn't see that horrid scuffle twice. Mr. Gabriel, he rose,
he turned. If Dan was the giant beside him, he himself was so well-knit,
so supple, so adroit, that his power was like the blade in the hand.
Dan's strength was lying round loose, but Mr. Gabriel's was trained, it
hid like springs of steel between brain and wrist, and from him the clap
fell with the bolt. And then, besides, Dan did not love Faith, and he
did love Gabriel. Any one could see how it would go. I screamed. I
cried, "Faith! Faith!" And some natural instinct stirred in Faith's
heart, for she clung to Mr. Gabriel's arm to pull him off from Dan. But
he shook her away like rain. Then such a mortal weakness took possession
of me that I saw everything black, and, when it was clean gone, I
looked, and they were locked in each other's arms, fierce, fierce and
fell, a death-grip. They were staggering to the boat's edge: only this I
saw, that Mr. Gabriel was inside: suddenly the helmsman interposed with
an oar, and broke their grasps. Mr. Gabriel reeled away, free, for a
second; then, the passion, the fury, the hate in his heart feeding his
strength as youth fed the locks of Samson, he darted, and lifted Dan in
his two arms and threw him like a stone into the water. Stiffened to
ice, I waited for Dan to rise; the other craft, the Follow, skimmed
between us, and one man managing her that she shouldn't heel, the rest
drew Dan in,--it's not the depth of two foot there,--tacked about, and
after a minute came along-side, seized our painter, and dropped him
gently into his own boat. Then--for the Speed had got afloat again--the
thing stretched her two sails wing and wing, and went ploughing up a
great furrow of foam before her.

I sprang to Dan. He was not senseless, but in a kind of stupor: his head
had struck the fluke of a half-sunk anchor and it had stunned him, but
as the wound bled he recovered slowly and opened his eyes. Ah, what
misery was in them! I turned to the fugitives. They were yet in sight,
Mr. Gabriel sitting and seeming to adjure Faith, whose skirts he
held; but she stood, and her arms were outstretched, and, pale as a
foam-wreath her face, and piercing as a night-wind her voice, I heard
her cry, "Oh, Georgie! Georgie!" It was too late for her to cry or to
wring her hands now. She should have thought of that before. But Mr.
Gabriel rose and drew her down, and hid her face in his arms and bent
over it; and so they fled up the basin and round the long line of sand,
and out into the gloom and the curdling mists.

I bound up Dan's head. I couldn't steer with an oar,--that was out of
the question,--but, as luck would have it, could row tolerably; so I got
down the little mast, and at length reached the wharves. The town-lights
flickered up in the darkness and flickered back from the black rushing
river, and then out blazed the great mills; and as I felt along, I
remembered times when we'd put in by the tender sunset, as the rose
faded out of the water and the orange ebbed down the west, and one by
one the sweet evening-bells chimed forth, so clear and high, and each
with a different tone, that it seemed as if the stars must flock,
tinkling, into the sky. And here were the bells ringing out again,
ringing out of the gray and the gloom, dull and brazen, as if they rang
from some cavern of shadows, or from the mouth of hell,--but no, _that_
was down-river! Well, I made my way, and the men on the landing took up
Dan, and helped him in and got him on my little bed, and no sooner there
than the heavy sleep with which he had struggled fell on him like lead.

The story flew from mouth to mouth, the region rang with it; nobody had
any need to add to it, or to make it out a griffin or a dragon that had
gripped Faith and carried her off in his talons. But everybody declared
that those boats could be no ship's yawls at all, but must belong to
parties from up-river camping out on the beach, and that a parcel of
such must have gone sailing with some of the hands of a sand-droger:
there was one in the stream now, that had got off with the tide, said
the Jerdan boys, who'd been down there that afternoon, though there was
no such name as "Flyaway" on her stern, and they were waiting for the
master of her, who'd gone off on a spree,--a dare-devil fellow, that
used to run a smuggler between Bordeaux and Bristol, as they'd heard
say: and all agreed that Mr. Gabriel could never have had to do with
them before that day, or he'd have known what a place a sand-droger
would be for a woman; and everybody made excuses for Gabriel, and
everybody was down on Faith. So there things lay. It was raw and chill
when the last neighbor left us, the sky was black as a cloak, not a star
to be seen, the wind had edged back to the east again and came in wet
and wild from the sea and fringed with its thunder. Oh, poor little
Faith, what a night! what a night for her!

I went back and sat down by Dan, and tried to keep his head cool. Father
was up walking the kitchen-floor till late, but at length he lay down
across the foot of mother's bed, as if expecting to be called. The
lights were put out, there was no noise in the town, every one
slept,--every one, except they watched like me, on that terrible night.
No noise in the town, did I say? Ah, but there was! It came creeping
round the corners, it poured rushing up the street, it rose from
everywhere,--a voice, a voice of woe, the heavy booming rote of the
sea. I looked out, but it was pitch-dark, light had forsaken the world,
we were beleaguered by blackness. It grew colder, as if one felt a fog
fall, and the wind, mounting slowly, now blew a gale. It eddied in
clouds of dead and whirling leaves, and sent big torn branches flying
aloft; it took the house by the four corners and shook it to loosening
the rafters, and I felt the chair rock under me; it rumbled down the
chimney as if it would tear the life out of us. And with every fresh
gust of the gale the rain slapped against the wall, the rain that fell
in rivers, and went before the wind in sheets,--and sheltered as I was,
the torrents seemed to pour over me like cataracts, and every drop
pierced me like a needle, and I put my fingers in my ears to shut out
the howl of the wind and the waves. I couldn't keep my thoughts away
from Faith. Oh, poor girl, this wasn't what she'd expected! As plainly
as if I were aboard-ship I felt the scene, the hurrying feet, the
slippery deck, the hoarse cries, the creaking cordage, the heaving and
plunging and straining, and the wide wild night. And I was beating
off those dreadful lines with them, two dreadful lines of white froth
through the blackness, two lines where the horns of breakers guard the
harbor,--all night long beating off the lee with them, my life in my
teeth, and chill, blank, shivering horror before me. My whole soul, my
whole being, was fixed in that one spot, that little vessel driving on
the rocks: it seemed as if a madness took possession of me, I reeled
as I walked, I forefelt the shivering shock, I waited till she should
strike. And then I thought I heard cries, and I ran out in the storm,
and down upon the causeway, but nothing met me but the hollow night and
the roaring sea and the wind. I came back, and hurried up and down and
wrung my hands in an agony. Pictures of summer nights flashed upon me
and faded,--where out of deep-blue vaults the stars hung like lamps,
great and golden,--or where soft films just hazing heaven caught the
rays, till all above gleamed like gauze faintly powdered and spangled
with silver,--or heavy with heat, slipping over silent waters, through
scented airs, under purple skies. And then storms rolled in and rose
before my eyes, distinct for a moment, and breaking,--such as I'd seen
them from the Shoals in broad daylight, when tempestuous columns
scooped themselves up from the green gulfs and shattered in loam on
the shuddering rock,--ah! but that was day, and this was midnight and
murk!--storms as I'd heard tell of them off Cape Race, when great
steamers went down with but one cry, and the waters crowded them out of
sight,--storms where, out of the wilderness of waves that far and wide
wasted white around, a single one came ploughing on straight to the
mark, gathering its grinding masses mast-high, poising, plunging, and
swamping and crashing them into bottomless pits of destruction,--storms
where waves toss and breakers gore, where, hanging on crests that slip
from under, reefs impale the hull, and drowning wretches cling to the
crags with stiffening hands, and the sleet ices them, and the spray, and
the sea lashes and beats them with great strokes and sucks them down
to death: and right in the midst of it all there burst a gun,--one,
another, and no more. "Oh, Faith! Faith!" I cried again, and I ran and
hid my head in the bed.

How long did I stay so? An hour, or maybe two. Dan was still dead with
sleep, but mother had no more closed an eye than I. There was no rain
now, the wind had fallen, the dark had lifted; I looked out once more,
and could just see dimly the great waters swinging in the river from
bank to bank. I drew the bucket fresh, and bound the cloths cold on
Dan's head again. I hadn't a thought in my head, and I fell to counting
the meshes in the net that hung from the wall, but in my ears there was
the everlasting rustle of the sea and shore. It grew clearer,--it got
to being a universal gray; there'd been no sunrise, but it was day.
Dan stirred,--he turned over heavily; then he opened his eyes wide and
looked about him.

"I've had such a fright!" he said. "Georgie! is that you?"

With that it swept over him afresh, and he fell back. In a moment or two
he tried to rise, but he was weak as a child. He contrived to keep on
his elbow a moment, though, and to give a look out of the window.

"It came on to blow, didn't it?" he asked; but there he sank down again.

"I can't stay so!" he murmured soon. "I can't stay so! Here,--I must
tell you. Georgie, get out the spy-glass, and go up on the roof and
look over. I've had a dream, I tell you! I've had a dream. Not that
either,--but it's just stamped on me! It was like a storm,--and I
dreamed that that schooner--the Flyaway--had parted. And the half of
her's crashed down just as she broke, and Faith and that man are high
up on the bows in the middle of the South Breaker! Make haste, Georgie!
Christ! make haste!"

I flew to the drawers and opened them, and began to put the spy-glass
together. Suddenly he cried out again,--

"Oh, here's where the fault was! What right had I ever to marry the
child, not loving her? I bound her! I crushed her! I stifled her! If she
lives, it is my sin; if she dies, I murder her!"

He hid his face, as he spoke, so that his voice came thick, and great
choking groans rent their way up from his heart.

All at once, as I looked up, there stood mother, in her long white gown,
beside the bed, and bending over and taking Dan's hot head in her two

"Behold, He cometh with clouds!" she whispered.

It always did seem to me as if mother had the imposition of
hands,--perhaps every one feels just so about their mother,--but only
her touch always lightens an ache for me, whether it's in the heart or
the head.

"Oh, Aunt Rhody," said Dan, looking up in her face with his distracted
eyes, "can't you help me?"

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help,"
said mother.

"There's no help, there!" called Dan. "There's no God there! He wouldn't
have let a little child run into her damnation!"

"Hush, hush, Dan!" murmured mother. "Faith never can have been at sea in
such a night as this, and not have felt God's hand snatching her out of
sin. If she lives, she's a changed woman; and if she dies, her soul is
whitened and fit to walk with saints. Through much tribulation."

"Yes, yes," muttered father, in the room beyond, spitting on his hands,
as if he were going to take hold of the truth by the handle,--"it's best
to clean up a thing with the first spot, and not wait for it to get all
rusty with crime."

"And he!" said Dan,--"and he,--that man,--Gabriel!"

    "Between the saddle and the ground
    If mercy's asked, mercy's found,"

said I.

"Are you there yet, Georgie?" he cried, turning to me. "Here! I'll go
myself!" But he only stumbled and fell on the bed again.

"In all the terror and the tempest of these long hours,--for there's
been a fearful storm, though you haven't felt it," said mother,--"in all
that, Mr. Gabriel can't have slept. But at first it must have been that
great dread appalled him, and he may have been beset with sorrow. He'd
brought her to this. But at last, for he's no coward, he has looked
death in the face and not flinched; and the danger, and the grandeur
there is in despair, have lifted his spirit to great heights,--heights
found now in an hour, but which in a whole life long he never would have
gained,--heights from which he has seen the light of God's face and been
transfigured in it,--heights where the soul dilates to a stature it can
never lose. Oh, Dan, there's a moment, a moment when the dross strikes
off, and the impurities, and the grain sets, and there comes out the
great white diamond. For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that
not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,--of Him that maketh the seven
stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning. Oh, I
_will_ believe that Mr. Gabriel hadn't any need to grope as we do, but
that suddenly he saw the Heavenly Arm and clung to it, and the grasp
closed round him, and death and hell can have no power over him now.
Dan, poor boy, is it better to lie in the earth with the ore than to
be forged in the furnace and beaten to a blade fit for the hands of

And mother stopped, trembling like a leaf.

I'd been wiping and screwing the glass, and I'd waited a breath, for
mother always talked so like a preacher; but when she'd finished, after
a second or two Dan looked up, and said, as if he'd just come in--

"Aunt Rhody! how come you out of bed?"

And then mother, she got upon the bed, and she took Dan's head on her
breast and fell to stroking his brows, laying her cool palms on his
temples and on his eyelids, as once I'd have given my ears to do,--and I
slipped out of the room.

Oh, I hated to go up those stairs, to mount that ladder, to open the
scuttle! And once there, I waited and waited before I dared to look. The
night had unnerved me. At length I fixed the glass. I swept the broad
swollen stream, to the yellowing woods, and over the meadows, where a
pale transient beam crept under and pried up the hay-cocks,--the smoke
that began to curl from the chimneys and fall as soon,--the mists
blowing off from Indian Hill, but brooding blue and dense down the
turnpike, and burying the red spark of the moon, that smothered like a
half-dead coal in her ashes,--anywhere, anywhere but that spot! I don't
know why it was, but I couldn't level the glass there,--my arm would
fall, my eye haze. Finally I brought it round nearer and tried again.
Everywhere, as far as your eye could reach, the sea was yeasty and white
with froth, and great streaks of it were setting up the inky river,
and against it there were the twin light-houses quivering their little
yellow rays as if to mock the dawn, and far out on the edge of day the
great light at the Isles of Shoals blinked and blinked, crimson and
gold, fainter and fainter, and lost at last. It was no use, I didn't
dare point it, my hand trembled so I could see nothing plain, when
suddenly an engine went thundering over the bridge and startled me into
stillness. The tube slung in my hold and steadied against the chimney,
and there----What was it in the field? what ghastly picture?

The glass crashed from my hand, and I staggered shrieking down the

The sound wasn't well through my lips, when the door slammed, and Dan
had darted out of the house and to the shore. I after him. There was a
knot sitting and standing round there in the gray, shivering, with their
hands in their pockets and their pipes set in their teeth; but the gloom
was on them as well, and the pipes went out between the puffs.

"Where's Dennis's boat?" Dan demanded, as he strode.

"The six-oar's all the one not"----

"The six-oar I want. Who goes with me?"

There wasn't a soul in the ward but would have followed Dan's lead to
the end of the world and jumped off; and before I could tell their names
there were three men on the thwarts, six oars in the air, Dan stood in
the bows, a word from him, and they shot away.

I watched while I could see, and then in and up to the attic, forgetting
to put mother in her bed, forgetting all things but the one. And there
lay the glass broken. I sat awhile with the pieces in my hand, as if I'd
lost a kingdom; then down, and mechanically put things to rights, and
made mother comfortable,--and she's never stood on her feet from that
day to this. At last I seated myself before the fire, and stared into it
to blinding.

"Won't some one lend you a glass, Georgie?" said mother.

"Of course they will!" I cried,--for, you see, I hadn't a wit of my
own,--and I ran out.

There's a glass behind every door in the street, you should know, and
there's no day in the year that you'll go by and not see one stretching
from some roof where the heart of the house is out on the sea. Oh,
sometimes I think all the romance of the town is clustered down here on
the Flats and written in pale cheeks and starting eyes. But what's the
use? After one winter, one, I gave mine away, and never got another.
It's just an emblem of despair. Look, and look again, and look till your
soul sinks, and the thing you want never crosses it; but you're down in
the kitchen stirring a porridge, or you're off at a neighbor's asking
the news, and somebody shouts at you round the corner, and there, black
and dirty and dearer than gold, she lies between the piers.

All the world was up on their house-tops spying, that morning, but there
was nobody would keep their glass while I had none; so I went back
armed, and part of it all I saw, and part of it father told me.

I waited till I thought they were 'most across, and then I rubbed the
lens. At first I saw nothing, and I began to quake with a greater fear
than any that had yet taken root in me. But with the next moment there
they were, pulling close up. I shut my eyes for a flash with some kind
of a prayer that was most like an imprecation, and when I looked again
they had dashed over and dashed over, taking the rise of the long roll,
and were in the midst of the South Breaker. O God! that terrible South
Breaker! The oars bent lithe as willow-switches, a moment they
skimmed on the caps, a moment were hid in the snow of the spray. Dan,
red-shirted, still stood there, his whole soul on the aim before him,
like that of some leaper flying through the air; he swayed to the
stroke, he bowed, he rose, perfectly balanced, and flexile as the wave.
The boat behaved beneath their hands like a live creature: she bounded
so that you almost saw the light under her; her whole steal lifted
itself slowly out of the water, caught the back of a roller and rode
over upon the next; the very things that came rushing in with their
white rage to devour her bent their necks and bore her up like a bubble.
Constantly she drew nearer that dark and shattered heap up to which the
fierce surf raced, and over which it leaped. And there all the time, all
the time, they had been clinging, far out on the bowsprit, those two
figures, her arms close-knit about him, he clasping her with one, the
other twisted in the hawser, whose harsh thrilling must have filled
their ears like an organ-note as it swung them to and fro,--clinging
to life,--clinging to each other more than to life. The wreck scarcely
heaved with the stoutest blow of the tremendous surge; here and there,
only, a plank shivered off and was bowled on and thrown high upon the
beach beside fragments of beams broken and bruised to a powder; it
seemed to be as firmly planted there as the breaker itself. Great
feathers of foam flew across it, great waves shook themselves thin
around it and veiled it in shrouds, and with their every breath the
smothering sheets dashed over them,--the two. And constantly the boat
drew nearer, as I said; they were almost within hail; Dan saw her hair
streaming on the wind; he waited only for the long wave. On it came,
that long wave,--oh! I can see it now!--plunging and rearing and
swelling, a monstrous billow, sweeping and swooning and rocking in. Its
hollows gaped with slippery darkness, it towered and sent the scuds
before its trembling crest, breaking with a mighty rainbow as the sun
burst forth, it fell in a white blindness everywhere, rushed seething up
the sand,--and the bowsprit was bare!----

When father came home, the rack had driven down the harbor and left
clear sky; it was near nightfall; they'd been searching the shore all
day,--to no purpose. But that rainbow,--I always took it for a sign.
Father was worn out, yet he sat in the chimney-side, cutting off great
quids and chewing and thinking and sighing. At last he went and wound up
the clock,--it was the stroke of twelve,--and then he turned to me and

"Dan sent you this, Georgie. He hailed a pilot-boat, and's gone to the
Cape to join the fall fleet to the fish'ries; and he sent you this."

It was just a great hand-grip to make your nails purple, but there was
heart's-blood in it. See, there's the mark to-day.

So there was Dan off in the Bay of Chaleur. It was the best place for
him. And I went about my work once more. There was a great gap in my
life, but I tried not to look at it. I durstn't think of Dan, and I
wouldn't think of them,--the two. Always in such times it's as if a
breath had come and blown across the pool and you could see down its
dark depths and into the very bottom, but time scums it all over again.
And I tell you it's best to look trouble in the face: if you don't,
you'll have more of it. So I got a lot of shoes to bind, and what part
of my spare time I wa'n't at my books the needle flew. But I turned no
more to the past than I could help, and the future trembled too much to
be seen.

Well, the two months dragged away, it got to be Thanksgiving-week, and
at length the fleet was due. I mind me I made a great baking that
week; and I put brandy into the mince for once, instead of vinegar and
dried-apple juice,--and there were the fowls stuffed and trussed on
the shelf,--and the pumpkin-pies like slices of split gold,--and the
cranberry-tarts, plats of crimson and puffs of snow,--and I was brewing
in my mind a right-royal red Indian-pudding to come out of the oven
smoking hot and be soused with thick clots of yellow cream,--when one of
the boys ran in and told us the fleet'd got back, but no Dan with it,
--he'd changed over to a fore-and-after, and wouldn't be home at all,
but was to stay down in the Georges all winter, and he'd sent us word.
Well, the baking went to the dogs, or the Thanksgiving beggars, which is
the same thing.

Then days went by, as days will, and it was well into the New Year.
I used to sit there at the window, reading,--but the lines would run
together, and I'd forget what 'twas all about, and gather no sense, and
the image of the little fore-and-after, the "Feather," raked in between
the leaves, and at last I had to put all that aside; and then I sat
stitching, stitching, but got into a sad habit of looking up and looking
out each time I drew the thread. I felt it was a shame of me to be so
glum, and mother missed my voice; but I could no more talk than I could
have given conundrums to King Solomon, and as for singing--Oh, I used to
long so for just a word from Dan!

We'd had dry fine weeks all along, and father said he'd known we should
have just such a season, because the goose's breast-bone was so white;
but St. Valentine's day the weather broke, broke in a chain of storms
that the September gale was a whisper to. Ah, it was a dreadful winter,
that! You've surely heard of it. It made forty widows in our town. Of
the dead that were found on Prince Edward's Island's shores there were
four corpses in the next house yonder, and two in the one behind. And
what waiting and watching and cruel pangs of suspense for them that
couldn't have even the peace of certainty! And I was one of those.

The days crept on, I say, and got bright again; no June days ever
stretched themselves to half such length; there was perfect stillness in
the house,--it seemed to me that I counted every tick of the clock. In
the evenings the neighbors used to drop in and sit mumbling over their
fearful memories till the flesh crawled on my bones. Father, then, he
wanted cheer, and he'd get me to singing "Caller Herrin'." Once, I'd
sung the first part, but as I reached the lines,--

  "When ye were sleepin' on your pillows,
  Dreamt ye aught o' our puir fellows
  Darklin' as they face the billows,
  A' to fill our woven willows,"--

as I reached those lines, my voice trembled so's to shake the tears out
of my eyes, and Jim Jerdan took it up himself and sung it through for
me to words of his own invention. He was always a kindly fellow, and he
knew a little how the land lay between me and Dan.

"When I was down in the Georges," said Jim Jerdan----

"You? When was you down there?" asked father.

"Well,--once I was. There's worse places."

"Can't tell me nothing about the Georges," said father. "'Ta'n't the
rivers of Damascus exactly, but 'ta'n't the Marlstrom neither."

"Ever ben there, Cap'n?"

"A few. Spent more nights under cover roundabouts than Georgie'll have
white hairs in her head,--for all she's washing the color out of her
eyes now."

You see, father knew I set by my hair,--for in those days I rolled it
thick as a cable, almost as long, black as that cat's back,--and he
thought he'd touch me up a little.

"Wash the red from her cheek and the light from her look, and she'll
still have the queen's own tread," said Jim.

"If Loisy Currier'd heern that, you'd wish your cake was dough," says

"I'll resk it," says Jim. "Loisy knows who's second choice, as well as
if you told her."

"But what about the Georges, Jim?" I asked; for though I hated to hear,
I could listen to nothing else.

"Georges? Oh, not much. Just like any other place."

"But what do you do down there?"

"Do? Why, we fish,--in the pleasant weather."

"And when it's not pleasant?"

"Oh, then we make things taut, hoist fores'l, clap the hellum into the
lee becket, and go below and amuse ourselves."

"How?" I asked, as if I hadn't heard it all a hundred times.

"One way 'n' another. Pipes, and mugs, and poker, if it a'n't too rough;
and if it is, we just bunk and snooze till it gets smooth."

"Why, Jim,--how do you know when that is?"

"Well, you can jedge,--'f the pipe falls out of your pocket and don't
light on the ceiling."

"And who's on deck?"

"There's no one on deck. There's no danger, no trouble, no nothing.
Can't drive ashore, if you was to try: hundred miles off, in the first
place. Hatches are closed, she's light as a cork, rolls over and over
just like any other log in the water, and there can't a drop get into
her, if she turns bottom-side up."

"But she never can right herself!"

"Can't she? You just try her. Why, I've known 'em to keel over and rake
bottom and bring up the weed on the topmast. I tell you now! there was
one time we knowed she'd turned a somerset, pretty well. Why? Because,
when it cleared and we come up, there was her two masts broke short

And Jim went home thinking he'd given me a night's sleep. But it was
cold comfort; the Georges seemed to me a worse place than the Hellgate.
And mother she kept murmuring,--"He layeth the beams of His chambers in
the waters, His pavilion round about Him is dark waters and thick clouds
of the skies." And I knew by that she thought it pretty bad.

So the days went in cloud and wind. The owners of the Feather 'd been
looking for her a month and more, and there were strange kind of rumors
afloat; and nobody mentioned Dan's name, unless they tripped. I went
glowering like a wild thing. I knew I'd never see Dan now nor hear his
voice again, but I hated the Lord that had done it, and I made my heart
like the nether millstone. I used to try and get out of folks's sight;
and roaming about the back-streets one day, as the snow went off, I
stumbled on Miss Catharine. "Old Miss Catharine" everybody called her,
though she was but a pauper, and had black blood in her veins. Eighty
years had withered her,--a little woman at best, and now bent so that
her head and shoulders hung forward and she couldn't lift them, and she
never saw the sky. Her face to the ground as no beast's face is turned
even, she walked with a cane, and fixing it every few steps she would
throw herself back, and so get a glimpse of her way and go on. I looked
after her, and for the first time in weeks my heart ached for somebody
beside myself. The next day mother sent me with a dish to Miss
Catharine's room, and I went in and sat down. I didn't like her at
first; she'd got a way of looking sidelong that gave her an evil air;
but soon she tilted herself backward, and I saw her face,--such a happy

"What's the matter of ye, honey?" said she. "D'ye read your Bible?"

Read my Bible!

"Is that what makes you happy, Miss Catharine?" I asked.

"Well, I can't read much myself, I don't know the letters," says she;
"but I've got the blessed promises in my heart."

"Do you want me to read to you?"

"No, not to-day. Next time you come, maybe."

So I sat awhile and listened to her little humming voice, and we fell to
talking about mother's ailments, and she said how fine it would be, if
we could only afford to take mother to Bethesda.

"There's no angel there now," said I.

"I know it, dear,--but then there might be, you know. At any rate,
there's always the living waters running to make us whole: I often think
of that."

"And what else do you think of, Miss Catharine?"

"Me?" said she. "Oh, I ha'n't got no husband nor no child to think about
and hope for, and so I think of myself, and what I should like, honey.
And sometimes I remember them varses,--here! you read 'em now,--Luke
xiii. 11."

So I read:--

"And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen
years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And
when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, 'Woman,
thou art loosed from thine infirmity.' And he laid his hands on her: and
immediately she was made straight, and glorified God."

"Ay, honey, I see that all as if it was me. And I think, as I'm setting
here, What if the latch should lift, and the gracious stranger should
come in, His gown a-sweepin' behind Him and a-sweet'nin' the air, and He
should look down on me with His heavenly eyes, and He should smile, and
lay His hands on my head, warm?--and I say to myself, 'Lord, I am not
worthy,'--and He says, 'Miss Catharine, thou art loosed from thine
infirmity!' And the latch lifts, as I think, and I wait,--but it's not

Well, when I went out of that place I wasn't the same girl that had
gone in. My will gave way; I came home and took up my burden and was in
peace. Still I couldn't help my thoughts,--and they ran perpetually to
the sea. I hadn't need to go up on the house-tops, for I didn't shut my
eyes but there it stretched before me. I stirred about the rooms and
tried to make them glad once more; but I was thin and blanched as if I'd
been rising from a fever. Father said it was the salt air I wanted; and
one day he was going out for frost-fish, and he took me with him, and
left me and my basket on the sands while he was away. It was this side
of the South Breaker that he put me out, but I walked there; and where
the surf was breaking in the light, I went and sat down and looked over
it. I could do that now.

There was the Cape sparkling miles and miles across the way, unconcerned
that he whose firm foot had rung last on its flints should ring there no
more; there was the beautiful town lying large and warm along the river;
here gay craft went darting about like gulls, and there up the channel
sped a larger one, with all her canvas flashing in the sun, and
shivering a little spritsail in the shadow, as she went; and fawning in
upon my feet came the foam from the South Breaker, that still perhaps
cradled Faith and Gabriel. But as I looked, my eye fell, and there came
the sea-scenes again,--other scenes than this, coves and corners of
other coasts, sky-girt regions of other waters. The air was soft, that
April day, and I thought of the summer calms; and with that rose long
sheets of stillness, far out from any strand, purple beneath the noon;
fields slipping close in-shore, emerald-backed and scaled with sunshine;
long sleepy swells that hid the light in their hollows, and came
creaming along the cliffs. And if upon these broke suddenly a wild
glimpse of some storm careering over a merciless mid-ocean, of a dear
dead face tossing up on the surge and snatched back again into the
depths, of mad wastes rushing to tear themselves to fleece above clear
shallows and turbid sand-bars,--they melted and were lost in peaceful
glimmers of the moon on distant flying foam-wreaths, in solemn midnight
tides chanting in under hushed heavens, in twilight stretches kissing
twilight slopes, in rosy morning waves flocking up the singing shores.
And sitting so, with my lids still fallen, I heard a quick step on the
beach, and a voice that said, "Georgie!" And I looked, and a figure,
red-shirted, towered beside me, and a face, brown and bearded and
tender, bent above me.

Oh! it was Dan!


[Footnote A: This monograph, has been prepared almost entirely from
original authorities. Citations will be found in it from letters written
by General Gage, Governor Bernard, John Pownall, Lord Barrington, and
Lord Hillsborough, which have not been heretofore printed or used. They
are from the rich historical collections of JARED SPARKS,--who has
liberally permitted the writer to use original papers as freely as
though they were his own. Among other sources from which the narrative
has been drawn is an unfinished Life of Samuel Adams, in manuscript, by
Samuel Adams Wells, for the liberal use of which, and for other papers,
the writer is indebted to GEORGE BANCROFT. The materials have been
mostly taken, however, from a compilation which the writer has had for
several years in manuscript, entitled, "The Life and Times of Joseph


As John Adams, in the evening of his life, and in the retirement of
Quincy, looked back on the scenes through which he had passed, he dwelt
on the removal of the British troops from Boston in the month of March,
1770, as an event that profoundly stirred the public mind, and thus
contributed to promote that radical change in affections and principles
on the paramount subject of sovereignty, which he regarded as
constituting the real American Revolution.

The more this chapter of history is examined, the more there will be
found in it to justify the judgment of the venerable patriot. It is
fragrant with the political aroma of the time; and the event seems
worthy to stand out in the American Revolution, like the Arrest of the
Five Members in the English Revolution. It is identified with a great
principle. It formed the crisis of an issue of the deepest moment. It
culminated in the triumph of the people when roused by passion and high
resolve to heroic manhood. The trial-scene was on so important a stage,
was so richly dramatic, had actors of such dignity of character, and was
so instinct with the national life, as "to deserve to be painted as much
as the Surrender of Burgoyne." It was the moment when Samuel Adams, in
the name of a resolute people, made the demand, as an ultimatum, for an
immediate removal of the troops. The close connection of this patriot
with the whole transaction led Lord North, ever after, to call these
troops by the title of "Sam Adams's Two Regiments."

The story of the introduction of these troops into Boston, also, is rich
in matter illustrative of the springs of political action. The narrative
soon shows that it relates to far more than an ordinary transfer of
a military force from one station to another. Such transfers are not
preceded by long hesitation in cabinets, or by long torture of peaceful
communities in expectation of their arrival. Yet such was the preface
to the landing of this force in Boston. It was sent on an uncommon
service,--a service insulting to a loyal people; and though this people
had hailed the flag that waved over it with enthusiasm from the fields
of Louisburg and Quebec, they now looked upon it with sorrowing eyes as
the symbol of arbitrary power.

These troops were ordered to Boston at an interesting period of the
American struggle. The movement against the Stamp Act, noble as it
was in the main, had phases that were deeply deplored by reflecting
patriots. Such were the riots, attended by destruction of property and
personal outrage, which, though common in England, were violative of
that reverence for law that was thoroughly ingrained in the American
character; and they were, besides, rather in the spirit of hasty and
irregular insurrection than of the slow and majestic development of
revolution. "We are not able in this way," wrote Jonathan Mayhew, "to
contend against Great Britain."

On the repeal of the Stamp Act, there was an expression of general joy,
and controversy subsided. When fresh aggressions, in, the passage of
the Revenue Acts of 1767, required a new movement, the popular leaders,
profiting by past sad experience, strove to prevent excesses, and
patiently labored to build up their cause in the growth of an
intelligent public opinion. Even in reference to obnoxious local
officials, the word ran through the ranks,--"Let there be no mobs, no
riots. Let not the hair of their scalps be touched." Hard as it is to
restrain the rash, when the popular passion is excited, not a life was
sacrificed, not a limb even was dislocated, by the patriots of Boston in
political action, until the ripe hour of the Lexington rising.

In this way Massachusetts, when called upon to stand by old customs and
rights, acted not only in a spirit of fidelity to liberty, but also in a
spirit of loyalty to law and order. Her conduct in the Stamp Act crisis
turned towards her the eyes and drew towards her the hearts of the other
Colonies, and elevated her into what was then a perilous, but is now a
proud, pre-eminence; and the call was made on her (1767) in the journals
of other Colonies, and copied into the Boston papers, as "the liberties
of a common country were again in danger," "to kindle the sacred flame
that should warm and illuminate the continent." So instinctively did the
common peril suggest the thought and expression of a common country.

The Loyalists, for years, put Boston as in a pillory for punishment. It
was (they said) the head-quarters of sedition. It was the fountain of
opposition to the Government. It was under the rule of a trained mob.
It was swayed to and fro by a few popular leaders. It was the nest of a
faction. James Otis and Samuel Adams were the two consuls. Joseph Warren
was one of the chiefs. John Hancock was possessed of great wealth and of
large social and commercial influence. Such leaders, bankrupts on the
exchange or in character, controlled everything. They controlled the
clubs,--and there was not a social company or political club that
did not claim to have to do with the Government: they controlled the
town-meetings,--and these were the instrumentalities of rebellion: and
the town-meetings controlled the legislature, and this controlled the
Province. Then the local press was filled with incendiary matter from
the cabinet of the faction. Thus the spirits who led in the clubs, the
town-meetings, and the legislature supplied the seditious writing that
was scattered broadcast over the Colonies, and poisoned as it spread.

There was some truth in this Loyalist strain. Patriotic rays gathered
and drew to a focus in Boston, and there became intensified with a
steady power. The town had jealousies to encounter and prejudices to
overcome; but, as if to the manner born, it acted in a spirit of such
comprehensive patriotism that it came to be regarded as an exponent of
the feelings of the whole country. Its key-note was Union. In fitting
words Philadelphia (1768) grandly said to Boston,--"Let us never forget
that our strength depends on our union, and our liberty on our strength;
united we conquer, divided we die." Boston returned the pledge, "warmly
to recommend and industriously to promote that union among the several
Colonies which is so indispensably necessary for the security of the

Boston at this period is usually described as a noted and opulent
trading town,--the Great Town,--the Metropolis of New England,--the
best situated for commerce in North America,--the largest city in
the American British Empire. It had the air of an English city. Its
commodious residences had spacious lawns and gardens and fields; while
the contents of its stores, as seen in advertisements that sometimes
cover a broadside of the journals, and the number of ship-yards that
are shown by the maps to have girdled the town, betoken its business
activity. Its population of sixteen thousand, with its three thousand
voters, and no pauper class, had carefully nurtured the common school,
and was characterized not only by love of order, but by enterprise,
intelligence, and public spirit. It early welcomed the doctrine of a
right in the people to interpret the religious law and to fashion, the
political law, and thus practically welcomed freedom of thought and of
utterance, and acknowledged allegiance only to truth. It had tested for
more than a century the working of this principle, as it was carried out
in the congregation and in the municipality, in the Church and in the
State. By it each citizen was made deeply interested in the support of
liberty; and thus the town had not only a public, but a public life,
quietly nurtured as worthy citizens were successively called to manage
the local affairs. It furnished the instance of a community composed of
men of small estates who very rarely had to use a mark for their name,
and imbued by the spirit of individual independence toned into a respect
for law, which, on the decline of feudalism, began to play a part on
the national stage. Thus the political character of Boston was sharply
defined and firmly fixed. It started in the republican way, went on for
over a century in republican habits, and had the priceless heirloom of
principles and traditions that were certainly life-giving, and may not
inaptly be termed national. The prediction was publicly uttered here,
two centuries ago, and printed, that a day would come when "those that
were branded before for Huguenots and Lollards and Hereticks, they
should be thought the only men to be fit to have crowns upon their
heads, and independent government committed to them"; and the crown that
shone with superior lustre was progress in things that elevate and adorn

Such a government, so far as it regarded local affairs, the people
substantially enjoyed under the protecting wing of a proud nationality.
They loved the old flag. They claimed its history as their history, and
its glory as their glory. It gave security to their rights as men, as
Christians, and as Englishmen. It thus sheltered the precious body of
civil and religious liberties which they were in the habit of speaking
of as the rights of mankind. For this they were attached to the
English Constitution. For this they said, "Dear England!" Their strong
expressions in favor of the union with Great Britain were sincere. The
turn of the words showed the honest bent of the mind. No man respected
the English Constitution more than Samuel Adams, and his strong language
now (1768) was,--"I pray God that harmony may be cultivated between
Great Britain and the Colonies, and that they may long flourish in one
undivided empire." His resolution was no less strong to stand for
local self-government. As the idea began to be entertained that the
preservation of this right might require a new nationality, nothing legs
worthy for country was thought of than a union of all the Colonies in an
American commonwealth, with one constitution, which should be supreme
over all in questions common to country, and have one flag. The great
idea was expressed by New Jersey, that the continent must protect the

This idea of creating a new nationality was forced on the Colonies by
wanton aggressions on the local self-government. There was far from
unanimity of opinion as to the acts, much less as to the ascribed
purposes of the Ministry. Setting aside a class of no-party men in peace
and of non-combatants in war, the people of Boston, as of other places,
were divided into the friends and the opponents of the Administration,
Loyalists and Whigs. The Whigs held that the new policy was flat
aggression on the old republican way, hostile to their normal political
life,--in a word, unconstitutional: the Loyalists maintained that the
new policy was required to preserve the dependence on Great Britain, and
therefore a necessity. The Whigs, zealous as they were for the local
government, claimed to be loyal to the King: the Loyalists, however
zealous for the independence of Parliament, claimed, in supporting the
supremacy of law, to be friends of freedom. As it was not the original
purpose of the Loyalists to invoke for their country the curse of
arbitrary power, so it was not the original purpose of the Whigs
to sever relations with the British crown. Men, however, are but
instruments in the hands of Providence. Both parties drifted into
measures which neither party originally proposed or even desired; and
thus the Loyalist, to maintain the sovereignty of Parliament, grew into
the defender of arbitrary power, and the Whig, to preserve the local
government, grew into the asserter of national independence.

Nor was there unanimity among the Patriots themselves as to the way in
which the Revenue Acts ought to be opposed; indeed, some were averse to
making any opposition to them; but at length the policy of uniting the
Colonies in the non-importation agreement, after being talked over
at one of the political clubs in Boston, was agreed upon at a public
meeting, and sent out to the country. Hence this was the period
fixed upon by the Ministry as the time when the popular leaders made
themselves liable to the penalties of violated law. When, in England,
the idea was entertained and acted upon, that nothing would restore the
authority of the Government but the arrest and transportation to
London of the originators of the opposition to the Revenue Acts,
Lord Hillsborough's instructions to the Massachusetts Executive ran
thus:--"The King has thought fit to direct me to signify to you his
Majesty's commands that you do take the most effectual methods for
procuring the fullest information that can be obtained touching all
treasons or misprisions of treason committed within your government
since the 30th day of December, 1767, and transmit the same to me,
together with the names of persons who were most active in the
commission of such offences."

This language was addressed to Francis Bernard, who was at this time the
highest representative of British power in Boston. He was a native of
England, an Oxford graduate, and, from the training of Solicitor
of Doctors Commons, was sent over, by the favor of aristocratic
relationship, to be the Governor of New Jersey, and now for eight years
had been Governor of Massachusetts. He was a scholar, and kept his
memory of Alma Mater fresh. He loved literature and science, could write
elegies in Latin and Greek, used to say that he could repeat the whole
of Shakspeare, and had such gifts of conversation as to charm the social
circle. His politics were of the Oxford school, and old at that. He
looked upon the people with distrust, and upon the king with veneration:
the people had good claim to be well governed, and British Imperialism
had the divine right to govern them well. He was a good hater of
republican institutions; habitually spoke of the local self-government
as a trained mob; and to it (he was not far from right here) he ascribed
the temper of the community which he was set to care for and to rule. It
was vexatious to his Tory spirit to see the democratic element, which
had excluded primogeniture and the hereditary principle and large landed
estates, so firmly bedded here, as if for a mighty superstructure; and
his reform plans tended to a change to centralization. It was a marvel
to him, that this work, which he deemed essential to the maintenance of
British power here, had not been begun long before,--that Charles II.
had not made a clean sweep of the little New England republics. He urged
that this ought to be done now,--that more general governments ought
to take their place, with executives having vice-regal powers; and of
course, being English, he urged that they should be moulded by England
into a shape as nearly as possible like England and for the benefit of
England, and thus be made homogeneous. He sighed to impose the dazzle of
a miniature St. James on reality-loving New England: as though the soil
which had been furrowed for a race of sovereigns could grow a crop of
lords; as though the Norman _rôle_ of privilege could be engrafted on a
society imbued with the Saxon spirit of equality: and he clinched the
absurdity of his thought by uttering the prediction, that, though the
people might bluster a little when such reform was proposed, yet they
never would resist by force; and if they did, a demonstration of British
power, such as the presence of the King's troops in a few coast-towns
and the occupation of a few harbors by the royal navy, would soon settle
the contest.

As such an arrogant official, from yet unsealed Oxford heights, thus
paternally looked down over Boston and New England, he could see in
the little self-directing communities that clustered about the village
church and the public school but a race of nobodies. He may be pardoned
for not finding greatness in art, literature, or science in the circle
that has been called the Athens of America; he could not be expected to
measure the rich and enduring fame of a Jonathan Edwards; and it was an
article in the then Oxford creed, that there could not be, unmoulded by
the influences of an hereditary nobility, such a general product as a
people lifted up by education and religion into a self-directing race of
high-minded men, as the basis of a State. But a small class of British
observers, who had other principles and other eyes, saw now in Boston
the most orderly town and the most intelligent and moral people on the
face of the earth; and said--the words were printed (1768) in London,
and reproduced in the local press here--that no people since the ruin of
the Roman Commonwealth seemed to entertain more just ideas of liberty
or breathed forth a truer spirit of independence than these American
colonists. Now Governor Bernard and his political friends regarded the
chafings of such a people at what they held to be palpable aggressions
on their established system of local government as the acts of a trained
mob, and proofs of a long-matured design to cast off allegiance to the
British crown and of an immediate purpose of insurrection; and for years
they systematically urged, and attempted to fortify their policy by the
most unscrupulous misrepresentations, that nothing could check this
anarchical element and traitorous design but the abrogation of
fundamental parts of the local constitution and the implanting of a
feudal exotic by military power. The people claimed to be as free as the
English were, and the calumnies were heaped on them of being anarchists
and rebels.

This theory of insurrection was acted upon by the Governor as long as
he remained in the Province. Every hasty word of the violent, and every
public deliberation of the wise as well, were made to nurture this
theory. By acting on such premises, besides doing gross injustice to the
people, he made himself ridiculous. Still he clung tenaciously to his
error and his plans as long as he remained in office; and even after he
returned to England, the course of the Patriots continued to strengthen
his convictions, and he wrote back that it was "plainly the design of
the chiefs of the Boston faction to measure swords with Great Britain."

Though Governor Bernard had long thought a military force necessary to
sustain the new measures, yet he refused to make a requisition for it.
He expected the Government, of its own motion, would order troops to
Boston in the time of the Stamp Act, and looked for trouble on their
arrival. "The crisis," he wrote, (September 1, 1766,) "which I apprehend
most danger from, is the introduction of King's troops into this town,
which, having become necessary to the support of the Government, will be
placed to the account of the Governor." But no troops were ordered then.
He never was able to get his Council, even when he supposed a majority
agreed with him in politics, to recommend their introduction; for no
policy or measure which even such a Council indorsed required troops to
enforce it. The Governor, however, was a zealous advocate of the new
policy of the Ministry, which he judged could not be carried out
without military force; but his point was, that, along with the stiff
instructions to carry that policy out, the Ministry ought to supply
force enough to do it.

The new Revenue Acts provided for a Board called the Commissioners of
Customs, who were empowered to collect duties along a truly imperial
line of coast, extending from Labrador to the Gulf of Mexico. They were
appointed to reside in Boston. They were five in number,--Charles
Paxton, Henry Hulton, William Burch, John Robinson, and John Temple. Not
much is said of Hulton and Burch, who appear to have been simply zealous
partisans; Robinson's violent temper is seen in his savage assault on
Otis; Temple was not in favor of the creation of the Board, and won its
enmity by taking exceptions to its doings; Paxton was charged with being
the father of the Board and its chief. He was a zealous official, with a
clean Tory record, of bland, courtlike ways, and certificated to England
as Bernard's confidential friend. There he is said to have "whined,
cried, professed, swore, and made his will in favor of that great man,"
Charles Townshend, whom, when in Boston, he had supplied with funds, and
thus gained his objects. This Board soon became a severe and chronic
local irritant. The foreign ways of its members, for most of them were
strangers, supplied the wits of the town with material for satire, while
its main acts were as iron to the soul of a high-spirited community. As
it was created to collect taxes held to be unconstitutional, it could
not have been popular; but it discharged an ungracious task in an
ungracious way; and so singularly ill-judged was its action, that, while
it excited odium here, it elicited censure in England.

The Commissioners were full believers in the theory that the popular
leaders designed insurrection. The Governor, in a letter to Lord
Barrington, (March 8, 1768,) relates that they would ask him what
support he could give them, "if there should be insurrection." "I
answer," Bernard says, "'None at all.' They then desire me to apply to
the General for troops. I tell them I cannot do it; for I am directed to
consult the Council about requiring troops, and they will never advise
it, let the case be ever so desperate. Indeed, I no more dare apply
for troops than the Council dare advise me to it. Ever since I have
perceived that the wickedness of some and the folly of others will in
the end bring troops here, I have conducted myself so as to be able to
say, and swear to it, if the Sons of Liberty shall require it, that
I have never applied for troops; and therefore, my Lord, I beg that
nothing I now write may be considered such an application." This is a
fair show for this royal official. He begins his letter by telling how,
within ten days just passed, nights have been twice fixed upon for a
mob; at the close, he returns to the matter of a mob, and tells how he
has promised the Commissioners an asylum at the Castle in case of a
mob; and he warns his superior that a mob, unchecked, "might put the
Commissioners and all their officers on board ship, and send them back
to England." This was the Governor's method of not asking for troops.
The Commissioners, at least, asked for troops in a manly way. "About a
fortnight ago," Lieutenant-Governor Hutchinson writes, (March 23, 1768,)
"I was in consultation with the Commissioners. They were very desirous
the Governor should----for a R----. If he had done it, by some means
or other it would have transpired, and there is no saying to what
lengths the people would have gone in their resentment." The letter just
cited explains why the Governor did not send for a regiment.

A few days after this consultation the Patriots celebrated the
anniversary of the repeal of the Stamp Act by a day of general
rejoicing. There were things that could be perverted, and were
perverted, into signs of mob-rule and disloyalty. Daylight revealed
hanging on the Liberty Tree effigies of Commissioner Paxton and
Inspector Williams, the latter of whom, being a cabinet-maker, had a
glue-pot by his side, but by order of the popular leaders they were
soon removed; there were salutes, liberty toasts, and other joyful
demonstrations, and in the evening a procession, which was quite
harmless, though, as it went along the street by the Province House,
somewhat noisy, so that the Governor said that he and his family were
disturbed. But there was an allegation that ran deeper than processions,
and which went to the meaning of these rejoicings. The Loyalists said
that the Patriots congratulated one another on their glorious victory
over England in the repeal of the Stamp Act; and if the Tory relations
may be believed, there were men in Boston who were so foolish as
to say,--We have shown our spirit; we have convinced them of our
resentment; they repealed their foolish act; they durst not do
otherwise; if they had, we should have ruined them. And the Loyalists
said, that, when the mother-country had a right to look for gratitude,
she actually met with insult.

With such views of the day, it is easy to see how its proceedings might
be perverted. They were represented to the Ministry by Governor Bernard
as signs of a rebellious spirit; and were made the ground by the
Commissioners of a direct application to Commodore Hood, at Halifax, for
the protection of a naval force,--he being advised that the conduct
and temper of the people, the adverse aspect of things in general, the
security of the revenue, the safety of its officers, and the honor of
Government required immediate aid; and the hope being expressed that he
would find it consistent with the King's other service to afford such
assistance. The Commodore ordered the Romney to be fitted out with all
possible despatch, and, accompanied by two armed schooners, she sailed
for Boston. As they came into the harbor, being short of men, a
press-gang landed from them, who impressed on board Massachusetts
citizens. Ever since the revival of the aggressions on Colonial rights,
"Hyperion" (Josiah Quincy, Jr.) says, the Loyalists publicly threatened
the defenders of the rights of America with halters, fire, and fagots;
but there was nothing more serious than threats, or more authentic than
rumors, until this appearance of the Romney and her two tenders.

This show of naval force, though no troops came, was irritating, and
multiplied the sayings of the violent, which appear to have been
reported to the Governor, who advised the Ministry that he was "well
assured that it was the intention of the faction in Boston to cause an
insurrection against the crown officers." At this time he favored Lord
Hillsborough with a lucid explanation of a paradox,--how a few leaders
of bankrupt reputation ruled with a rod of iron the most virtuous town
in the world. "It has been a subject of wonder," are the Governor's
words, (May 19,1768,) "how the faction which harasses this town, and
through it the whole continent, which is known to consist of very few
of the lowest kind of gentry, and is directed by three or four persons,
bankrupts in reputation as well as in property, should be able to keep
in subjection the inhabitants of such a town as this, who possess a
hundred times the credit and property (I might say much more) of those
who rule them with a rod of iron. This paradox is at once solved by
showing that this town is governed by the lowest of the people, and from
the time of the Stamp Act to this hour has been and is in the hands
of the mob." He represented the friends of the Government as very
desponding, on seeing, unchecked, the imperial power treated with a
contempt not only indecent, but almost treasonable. Of such cast were
letters read to George III. in his closet, and made the basis of royal
instructions which it was claimed had the force of law.

This was an anxious hour in Boston. The journals carried into every
circle the reports, private and public, that the Ministry were resolved
upon new and decisive measures; and thus this show of force had a
painful significance. It was the common talk, that the people were
doomed to be taxed to maintain a parcel of sycophants, court
favorites, and hungry dependants; that needy lawyers from abroad
or tools of power at home would be their judges; and that
their governors, if natives, would be partisans rewarded for
mercenary service, or if foreigners, would be nobles of wasted fortunes
and greedy for salaries to replenish them. Kindling-matter from abroad
was thrown on this inflammable public mind at home; for after each
arrival the journals would be filled with the enthusiasm of the Wilkes
controversy, which then was at its height in England; and if "London
resounded the word Liberty from every corner and every voice," there was
an echo in every street and every home in Boston. The people knew they
were misrepresented and ill-used, and were sullen. They knew they were
in the right, and they were resolute.

In about a month after Governor Bernard had solved the problem how such
bankrupts in reputation as Joseph Warren, James Otis, John Hancock, and
Samuel Adams ruled the town as with a rod of iron, there was (June 10,
1768) a real mob. The Board of Customs directed the revenue officers,
for alleged violations of the revenue laws, to seize the sloop Liberty,
owned by Hancock, which they did on a Friday, near the hour of sunset,
as the men were going home from their day's work. And as though the
people contemplated forcible resistance to the law, and would refuse to
respect the arrest, the sloop, after the broad arrow was put upon her,
contrary to the advice of the Collector, was moved, with vulgar and
rough words by the officers, from the wharf where she lay, and moored
under the guns of the Romney. This was the beginning of a war of
epithets, in the usual way of brawls, between the crowd, which kept
increasing, and the custom-house officers,--and, by a sort of natural
law of mobs, grew into a riot, in which the offending officials were
severely pelted with dirt and stones. It is related, that, while Warren,
Hancock, and Samuel Adams were in consultation, the mob broke the
windows of the residences of the Comptroller and Inspector, and dragged
the pleasure-boat of the Collector to the Common, where they burned
it. But here Hancock and other popular leaders went among them, and
succeeded in restoring quiet. These were outrages, and could not be
justified, though the parents of them were the brutal words of the
captain of the Romney and the mob procedure of the officers in taking
the vessel, which was detained three days without any legal process
being filed against her. After all, this was a very slight affair when
compared with the contemporary terrific mobs of London and elsewhere,
which did not spare the highest officials, and, instead of stopping at
breaking glass, pushed into the most costly houses, made complete havoc
of furniture, destroyed life, and were checked only by military force
and bloodshed. In view of these, Colonel Barre might truly say in the
House of Commons, that, in this riot, "Boston was only mimicking the

But the officials, and especially the Commissioners, all but Temple,
chose to consider the mob as quite original and American, and as proof
that the people of Boston were ripe for open revolt. They regarded the
excitement that arose as confirming this view. The Commissioners, who
had not been harmed and were not threatened, were the most violent and
unreasonable; and though the Governor all Saturday and Sunday endeavored
to persuade them "to come into some pacific measures," yet it was all
to no purpose. On Monday morning, they, with the exception of Temple,
notified the Governor by a card that they were going on board the
Romney, and desired the necessary orders for them to use the Castle; and
they took their families with them. They immediately sent Hallowell off
to England, and advised the Lords of the Treasury,--"Nothing but the
immediate exertion of military power will prevent an open revolt of this
town, which may probably spread throughout the Colonies." Temple, and
a number of the subordinates of the Board, remained in town, were not
molested, and gathered in the revenue which importers continued to pay.

The town regarded the manner of the seizure of the Liberty as a gross
affront, and coupled with it the recent cases impressment; and on
Monday things looked threatening. But the popular leaders came out, put
themselves at the head of the movement, and guided the indignation along
the safe channels of law, in such a manner that it resulted in nothing
more violent than petition and remonstrance, calmly, but strongly,
expressed through the town-meeting. It is not necessary to detail what
took place at the Liberty Tree, in Faneuil Hall, and in the Old South,
where the Patriots held the greatest meetings, so it is written, that
were ever seen on the American continent At their commencement, on
Tuesday morning, at the Liberty Tree, the Governor, whose town-residence
was the Province House, was at his country-seat at Jamaica Plain, in
Roxbury. He received such startling advices from his friends, as to the
doings of the Sons of Liberty, that he sent one of his own sons
into town with a message desiring the immediate presence of
Lieutenant-Governor Hutchinson, as he was "in expectation of very
important news from town," and such as would make it necessary for
him to withdraw. While with perturbed nerves he awaited Hutchinson's
arrival, he must have been surprised to see moving towards his house,
not a Parisian populace, pell-mell, flourishing liberty-caps and pikes,
or even a growling London mob, but a peaceful train of eleven cozy
chaises, conveying a very respectable committee from a public meeting,
at the head of which were Warren, Otis, and Samuel Adams. They bore a
petition to the Governor from the town, which protested against the
right of Parliament to tax the Colonies, and denied the legality of
press-gangs in Massachusetts. "I received them," are the Governor's
words, "with all possible civility, and having heard their petition, I
talked very freely with them, but postponed giving a formal answer till
the next day, as it should be in writing. I then had wine handed round,
and they left me highly pleased with their reception, especially
that part of them which had not been used to an interview with me."
Considering the Governor's state of mind, the committee could not have
been more highly pleased when they left than he was when they arrived;
but his perturbations were over when Hutchinson came in, and there was
no occasion for unusual political action.

The Governor's reply to the town, on the next day, was conciliatory. The
petition which the committee presented to him was regarded by Hutchinson
as going beyond anything that had yet been advanced in the way of a
practical denial of Parliamentary authority; but the Governor wisely
declined to argue the vexed question of that day, and as wisely promised
redress for the press-gang outrage, all of which was highly satisfactory
to the meeting. The chairman, James Otis, made the reply more
satisfactory by acknowledging the Governor's hospitality. Still the
men who filled the Old South to overflowing did not omit the duty of
stern-worded protest against the aggressions of Parliament; and in an
elaborate and admirable paper, marked with Joseph Warren's energy of
soul, they alleged the unconstitutional imposition of taxes as the
groundwork of the recent troubles. It was oppression, and it "came down
upon the people like an armed man, though they were the subjects of an
empire which was the toast of the nations for freedom and liberty."

It was now the current rumor that this and other aggressions were to be
enforced by arms. The idea was abhorrent to the people. A committee, to
whom was referred the subject of the rumored introduction of troops,
reported to the meeting a resolve to the effect that whoever had urged
this measure was "a tyrant in his heart, a traitor and an open enemy to
his country"; but though this resolve was advocated by William Cooper,
the faithful and intrepid town-clerk, and by others, the resolution
finally adopted declared only that any person who should solicit or
promote the importation of any troops at this time was an enemy to the
town and the Province, and a disturber of the peace and good order of

The Governor was now on good terms with the people. He was in the habit
of saying that nothing which he had done would bring troops into the
town,--that he was desirous of promoting harmony between the Province
and the mother-country,--and the memorial to the Ministry in their
behalf contained the assurance that they bore "the same sentiments of
loyalty and duty towards their gracious King, and the same reverence for
the great council of the nation, the British Parliament, as ever." This
was the truth, touchingly expressed. The Bostonians never considered
the Parliament to be such an embodiment of Imperialism that it
could rightfully mould their local institutions, or control their
congregations and their town-meetings, their highways and their homes;
and always looked upon the Crown as the symbol of a national power that
would shield their precious body of customs and rights. Thus what the
Governor said on the paramount point of nationality met with an honest
response from those to whom it was addressed. "I am myself," he wrote,
(June 18,) "on better terms with the people than usual. A civil
treatment of a petition of the town to me, a plain and friendly answer
thereto, and some real service by interposing with the men-of-war, have
given me a little popularity. But it won't last a week. As soon as I
have executed the orders I have just received from the Secretary of
State, in the General Assembly, there will be an end of my popularity;
and I don't know whether I sha'n't be obliged to act like the captain of
a fire-ship,--provide for my retreat before I light my fusee."

But he quietly lighted his fusee, when the horizon became all aglow with
what to the Loyalists was the lurid flame of destruction, but to the
Patriots was as light from heaven. The occasion is too well known to
need more than a glance. The House of Representatives, on the eleventh
of February, had sent its famous Circular Letter to the other Colonies,
proposing, that, in the present crisis, there should be unity of action
among them. The Loyalists charged that this was an attempt to organize a
Confederacy, and therefore was revolutionary; the Patriots averred that
its sole object was to unite in petition and remonstrance for redress
of grievances, and therefore that it was constitutional; the Ministry
regarded the act as in the last degree dangerous to the prerogative, and
ordered Governor Bernard to demand of the House to recall or rescind
this Circular Letter. The communication of this order was what the
Governor called lighting his fusee. His daily letters show precisely his
state of mind as he touched it off. He saw a determination to resist
Great Britain; he was told that the people were making preparations to
do it; and he wrote to his relative, Viscount Barrington, who had the
_entrée_ of the royal closet,--sending the letter by Hallowell,--with
rather more than the usual emphasis of error,--"I am sure that things
are coming apace to a crisis, and I fear the Bostonians will get the
start of you." In this mood the Governor sent in the arrogant British
demand. The House, (June 26, 1768,) by the memorable vote of ninety-two
to seventeen, flatly refused to comply with the royal order; whereupon
the Governor, as the punishment, dissolved the General Court; and for
many months Massachusetts was without a legislature.

These were of the order of events that take fast hold of the public
mind. Far and wide and profound was the sensation; and the unity of the
response from abroad, made known to the people through the press, was
truly inspiring. "We all rejoice," says a letter, "in what your Assembly
has done, and join in acclamations to the glorious Ninety-Two. 'Twas
certainly the most important case an American assembly ever acted upon."
This brief narrative is uncommonly suggestive. The letter of Bernard is
a testimony to the kindly disposition of the people, who were ready to
return much gratitude for little service, and who only asked to be left
to the measure of freedom that was enjoyed by their brethren in England;
the magnificent No which the House gave to the royal command shows
how they could maintain their self-respect, and stand by their local
government; and the general indorsement of the action of the House
in other Colonies indicates a community of interest in each other's

The replies of local legislatures, as they were printed from time to
time in the journals, filled the hearts of the Boston patriots with joy.
Hutchinson, who kept constant watch of these things, and who rightly
estimated the importance of the formation of public opinion,
wrote,--"The action of the other Colonies keeps up the spirit of our
demagogues. I am told Adams and Cooper say it is the most glorious day
they ever saw." They saw a general manifestation of a spirit of unity in
the support of common rights. Without union they knew they were nothing;
with union they felt equal to all things. Thus here were working two of
the elements of our political system, local self-government and American

The June mob, the public meetings, the vote of the House of
Representatives, and the union feeling supplied zealous Loyalists with
rich material to pervert into fresh argument for the necessity of
troops to keep the people in order. It was promptly seized upon. The
Commissioners set out the Boston tumults as the heralds of a rebellion
that had begun its course over the continent. They not only sent a batch
of falsehoods to England by Hallowell, but they also sent letters to
General Gage, the Commander-in-Chief, whose head-quarters were in New
York, with a request for troops, and to Commodore Hood at Halifax asking
for more ships. General Gage was surprised at not receiving letters
from the Governor, but with a soldier's promptness he at once (June 24)
tendered to Governor Bernard all the force he might need to preserve the
public peace; yet regarding it as improper to order the King's forces
into a Province to quell a riot without a requisition from the
Executive, he frankly advised the Governor to this effect. But the
Governor did not want troops to quell a riot, and said so; and in answer
to the tender, returned a long and heavy disquisition, showing why,
though he considered troops essential to the promotion of the good of
his country, he did not and would not make a formal requisition for any,
and thus, all unconsciously, betrayed and condemned himself at every
word,--for while he was talking of country, he was thinking of self.
Commodore Hood, believing that the good people of Boston were actually
on the eve of a revolt, and that the precious lives of the Commissioners
were hardly safe in Castle William, where they now were, "immediately
sent two more ships," which, he says, "secured the Castle from all
attempts at surprising it." But, according to Hutchinson, though the
people were mad, yet they were not Don Quixotes, and though a few might
have talked of attacking it, yet the Castle was in no danger, even
though no one of His Majesty's ships had been in the harbor.

The ships promptly arrived, and were moored about Castle William; but no
troops appeared, though early in July the Governor felt sure they were
ordered here from Halifax, from the fact that General Gage sent a batch
of despatches, under cover to him, addressed to Lieutenant-Colonel
Dalrymple, the senior British officer in command at that station. On
forwarding these despatches, Bernard wrote to Dalrymple,--"You know that
my situation requires that I should appear to know as little in the
proceedings of this kind as can well be. I should, therefore, be obliged
to you, if in conducting a business of this kind you would let me appear
a stranger to it until it becomes necessary to communicate it to me
officially. In the mean time any private hints, conveyed to me by a safe
hand, will be acceptable."

A straightforward British officer must have conceived contempt for such
an official, even before subsequent action on the part of this official
elicited an expression of it.

The Governor was doomed to disappointment. The orders which he
transmitted merely placed troops in readiness to proceed to Boston on
his requisition, which requisition he steadily refused to make, and he
wrote,--"The crisis awaits the arrival of the troops, and I now learn
they are not coming." He next officially laid the tender of the
Commanding General before the Council, when he found that its members
were unanimously of the opinion that troops were not required. Now this
body contained decided Loyalists; and this unanimity of opinion appears
to have amazed the Governor. He advised Lord Barrington, that the fact
convinced him that he could "no longer depend upon the Council for the
support of the small remains of royal and parliamentary power now
left, the whole of which had been gradually impeached, arraigned, and
condemned under his eye"; which was arrant party-misrepresentation. He
further expressed the opinion that the sending of troops to Boston ought
to be a business of quartering and cantonment. "It is no secret," he
said, "that this ought to have been done two years and a half ago. If it
had, there would have been no opposition to Parliament now, and above
all, no such combinations as threaten (but I hope vainly) the overthrow
of the British Empire. If provision was to have been made against
faction and sedition, the head-quarters should have been secured."
Instead of this, "Boston has been left under a trained mob from August
14, 1765, to this present July 23, 1768."

While these things had been going on here, the die as to Massachusetts
and Boston had been cast in the British cabinet, by the conclusion to
place a military force at the command of the Governor. This decision was
reached before the June meeting or the June riot; and it is quite in
vain to seek the real reason for it in what appears on paper about the
processions on the eighteenth of March or the equally insignificant
prior manifestations. Hutchinson and Gage and other Loyalists admitted
that all these were trifles. The Ministers were no strangers to mobs;
even if there had been as violent ones in Boston as there were in
London, they could not have acted upon them as proofs of disloyalty.
Besides the calumnies that made out the popular leaders to be
anarchists, that perverted love of the local government into a
desire for independence, there was one that touched the pride of the
mother-country; for the Loyalists said of the Bostonians,--(there
is nothing like the language of the time to embody the spirit of
the time,)--that "every dirty fellow, just risen from his kennel,
congratulated his neighbor on their glorious victory over England; and
they were so intoxicated with their own vast importance, that the lowest
wretch among them conceived himself superior to the first English
merchant." This was falsehood; for it is certain that the joy for
the repeal of the Stamp Act was joy for harmony restored between the
Colonies and Great Britain.

Thus, owing to such representations, while the people of Boston were
deliberating in the great town-meetings of June, orders were on their
way to General Gage, whose head-quarters were in New York, to place
troops in Castle William, to station a detachment in Boston, and to
keep a naval force in the harbor. The despatch of Lord Hillsborough,
addressed to Governor Bernard, communicating this conclusion, was
elaborate and able, and laid down in full the policy of the Government.
The instructions were based on the pretence that Boston was "in
possession of a licentious and unrestrained mob"; that it was animated
by a disposition "to resist the laws and to deny the authority of
Parliament"; and that the alleged "illegal and unwarrantable measures
which had been pursued in opposing the officers of the revenue in the
execution of their duty, and for intimidating the civil magistrates,
showed the necessity of strengthening the hands of the Government."
This despatch refers to five of Bernard's letters as containing such
representations. It is worthy of remark, that Lord Hillsborough sharply
rebuked the Governor for having all along asked the advice of the
Council as to the introduction of the troops; for to admit such a
function in the Council, he said, was to concede a power inconsistent
with the Constitution. "It is you," are the official words, "to whom the
Crown has delegated its authority, and you alone are responsible for the
best use of it."

This action was unknown to the popular leaders, and the month of August
passed in doubt as to whether the Ministers would be persuaded to
quarter troops in Boston. The town was remarkably quiet, when the
Governor issued (August 3, 1768) a proclamation against riots, and
calling all magistrates to suppress tumults and unlawful assemblies, and
to restore vigor and firmness to the Government. "It cannot be wondered
at," said "Determinatus," (August 8,) in the "Gazette," "if the
mother-country should think that we are in a state of confusion equal
to what we hear from the orderly and very polite cities of London and
Westminster. There, we are told, is the weavers' mob, the seamen's mob,
the tailors' mob, the coal-miners' mob, and some say the clergy's mob;
and, in short, it is to be feared the whole kingdom, always excepting
the * * * * and P----t, will unite in one general scene of tumult.
I sincerely pray for the peace and prosperity of the nation and her
colonies, whose interest, if she would open her eyes, she would clearly
discern to be undivided." The journals during this month have full
details of these mobs. The coal-heavers of Wapping destroyed property
and committed murders, and two thousand keel-men and sailors of
Sunderland fairly beat off the King's troops that were sent against them
from Newcastle. Happily such want of reverence for law was unknown in
Boston or the Province. Still the Governor kept on representing that he
was under the control of a mob; and another day of rejoicing gave
him another opportunity of misrepresenting the people. This was the
fourteenth of August, being the third celebration of the uprising
against the Stamp Act. In the procession on this occasion there was one
man who had had a hand in the attack on the Lieutenant-Governor's house
on the twenty-sixth of August, and had in consequence incurred the
penalty of death, and who was now celebrating his mob-exploits; and at
the head of the procession were two Boston merchants, who thus were
charged with countenancing mobs. The Governor well knew that the
Patriots abhorred the outrages of the twenty-sixth of August as much as
they gloried in the uprising against the stamp-duty on the fourteenth of
August. Hutchinson, moreover, was a good deal disturbed by the public
affronts put upon the Commissioners, who were still at the Castle,
though their subordinates were in town collecting the revenue. The
Cadets, on motion of Hancock, voted to exclude them from the usual
public dinner; and the town voted to refuse the use of Faneuil Hall for
the dinner, unless with the stipulation that the Commissioners were not
to be invited. Such proceedings, with petitions and resolutions, made
nearly the whole outrage of the Boston "trained mob" that the Governor
talked about. Yet he affected to be in fear of an insurrection, and on
the last day of the month whiningly wrote,--"The town is at present just
as defensible as it was two years ago,--not a sergeant's guard of real
soldiers within two hundred miles of it."

In a few days after, on a Saturday night, William Sheriff, aide-de-camp
to General Gage, arrived in town from New York, which he left on
Wednesday morning, bearing the following letter to Governor Bernard, the
original of which is indorsed, "Received Sept. 3."

       *       *       *       *       *


"New York, Aug. 31,1768.

"Sir,--It is not necessary to trouble you with any answers to your
letters, and I only acknowledge the receipt of them.

"I am now to acquaint you that I have received orders to send forces
to Boston, and would regulate the number to be sent agreeable to your
opinion of the number that will be necessary. Captain Sheriff, my
aide-de-camp, goes to Boston under pretence of private business, and
will deliver you this letter. He is directed to settle this matter with
you; and you may rely on his discretion, prudence, and secrecy. I have
intrusted him with a letter of orders to the commander of his Majesty's
forces at Halifax to embark with the 14th Regiment, and left a blank in
the letter for Captain Sheriff to fill up with the like order for the
29th Regiment, in case you shall judge it proper to have the whole or
any part of the 29th Regiment, as well as the 14th, and not think one
regiment a sufficient force. When you shall have fixed the matter with
Captain Sheriff, you will be so good as to send me immediate notice,
that I may without delay write you a public letter to demand quarters
for the numbers that will be ordered into your Province. The contents of
this, as well as your answer, and everything I now transact with you,
will be kept a profound secret, at least on this side of the Atlantic.

"It is submitted in my letters, whether it would not be advisable, as
troops will probably continue at Boston, to take possession of Castle
William, which, being a place of some strength, may in case of emergency
be of great service, and it is said to belong to the Crown.

"You will be so good as to fix with Captain Sheriff, whether you would
have the whole, or any part of the troops ordered to Boston, quartered
in Castle William. If you should be of opinion that troops stationed
there will not answer the intention of sending them to Boston, for the
purposes of enforcing a due obedience to the laws, and protecting and
supporting the civil magistrates and the officers of the Crown in the
execution of their duty, part may be stationed there, and part in the
town. Should you require both the regiments from Halifax, one of them,
or three or four companies of one of them, might be quartered in the
Castle, and you would then have an entire regiment and five companies of
another in the city. I mention this, but leave it to your determination;
and you will regulate this matter with Captain Sheriff according to the
number of troops you think necessary to be sent to Boston. You will be
pleased to give me notice of your resolves on this head.

"I don't know if you can supply bedding for such of the troops as you
would choose to be lodged in the Castle; if not, Captain Sheriff will
write to Lieutenant-Colonel Dalrymple to bring bedding with him from
Halifax, sufficient for the number  of men you shall fix upon for the
garrison of Castle William.

"I have the honor to be with great regard,

      "Your most obedient,
        "Humble servant,
          "TH'S. GAGE."

Such was the mode in which the Sam Adams Regiments were ushered into
Boston According to this letter, the Governor himself, substantially,
gave the order that brought all but the Fourteenth Regiment,--an order
which was to "be kept a profound secret, at least on this side of the

At this time the mass of the citizens Boston were very bitter and
suspicious towards all who were in any way supposed to be concerned in
urging the introduction of troops among them; because troops had come to
be looked upon as means of subjugating them to laws to which they never
would give their consent through their representatives. The fiery Josiah
Quincy, Jr., would say,--"Before the freeborn sons of the North will
yield a general and united submission to any tyrannic power on earth,
fire and sword, desolation and ruin, will ravage the land." The intrepid
Samuel Adams would say,--"Before the King and Parliament shall dragoon
us, and we become slaves, we will take up arms and our last drop of
blood." The calm Andrew Eliot would say,--"You cannot conceive of our
distress: to have a standing army! What can be worse to a people who
have tasted the sweets of liberty?" Hutchinson wrote,--"Many of the
common people were in a frenzy, and talked of dying in defence of their
liberties," while "too many above the vulgar countenanced and encouraged
them." Such was the intensity of the public feeling; such the
earnestness with which liberty was ranked above material prosperity. It
was now to be seen whether the American cause was to suffer shipwreck on
the rock of premature insurrection, or whether it was to be led on by
such cautious and wise steps as develop into the majesty of revolution.

The present public alarm was occasioned by vague statements from abroad
or rumors started at home as to the coming of a military force. Troops
were ordered in from the outposts of Canada to Halifax; an unusual naval
force was gathering at that station; it was said that the destination of
both was Boston: but the Governor persisted in denying that he had
done anything that would bring troops here, and kept on playing the
know-nothing. This created a painful suspense, and, to cool observers,
the policy of the Government appeared inexplicable. But however deep
may have been the indignation of the people at the prospect of military
rule, it was no part of the plan of the popular leaders, if troops came
here, to resist the landing, or to allow the rash spirits, who are ever
ready for any imprudence, to do so; but their object was to fix in the
public mind a just sense of the rights thus violated, to guide the
general indignation into a safe channel of action, and thus turn the
insult to the benefit of the general cause.

Two days after the Governor received the letter of General Gage, a
communication appeared in the "Boston Gazette," under the head of
"READER! ATTEND!" which arraigned, with uncommon spirit and boldness,
the course of the officials who were urging the policy of arbitrary
power, as having a direct tendency "to dissolve the union between Great
Britain and her colonies." It proposed to remonstrate against this
policy to the King, and at the same time to declare that "there was
nothing this side eternity they dreaded more than being broken off
from his government." In urging resistance to this course the author
said,--"We will put our lives in our hands, and cry to the Judge of all
the Earth, who will do right."

This paper, like many similar appeals in that well-stored Liberty
arsenal, the "Boston Gazette," had the genuine Liberty ring, yet there
was in it nothing very unusual; but the royal circle at the Province
House lived in an unusual atmosphere, and this article came sounding in
among them like a great moral Dahlgren. "In the Boston Gazette of the
fifth instant," the Governor, with his usual acuteness, wrote to the
Secretary of State, "appeared a paper containing a system of politics
exceeding all former exceedings. Some took it for the casual ravings of
an occasional enthusiast. But I persuaded myself that it came out of the
cabinet of the faction, and was preparatory to some actual operations
against the Government. In this persuasion, I considered, that, if the
troops from Halifax were to come here on a sudden, there would be no
avoiding an insurrection, which would at least fall upon the crown
officers, if it did not amount to an opposition to the troops. I
therefore thought it would be best that the expectation of the troops
should be gradually communicated, that the heads of the faction might
have time to consider well what they were about, and prudent men
opportunity to interpose their advice." Accordingly (September 8) he
"took an occasion to mention to one of the Council, in the way of
discourse, that he had private advice that troops were ordered to
Boston, but had no public orders about it"; and before night, the
Governor adds, the intelligence was all over the town.

Before night, too, a petition, addressed to the Selectmen, was
circulating all over the town, and large numbers were affixing their
names to it. It prayed that the town might be legally convened to
require of the Governor the reasons for his declaration that three
regiments might be daily expected, and "to consider of the most wise,
consistent, and salutary measure suitable to meet the occasion." The
Selectmen acted promptly, (John Hancock was on the Board,) and summoned
the citizens to meet on the Monday following. In this way, openly before
men, not covertly like a body of conspirators, did the solid men and
prudent men of Boston prepare for council.

Though the Governor averred that his object, in his verbal
communication, was to give a chance for an interposition of such sound
advice, yet to Lord Hillsborough he actually represented the call
and the movement of these men as proofs that the long-contemplated
insurrection was now at hand. He informed the Secretary, that on the
next evening (Friday) there was a large private meeting, where "it was
the general opinion that they should raise the country and oppose the
troops"; and that on the succeeding evening (Saturday) there was a very
small private meeting at the house of one of the chiefs, where it was
resolved "to surprise and take the Castle the Monday night following."
The Governor evidently had misgivings about its being the fact that such
an object was planned. "I don't," he said, "relate these as facts,
but only as reported and believed." I have found no account of the
Friday-evening meeting, which undoubtedly was a meeting of one of the
political clubs of the time; but on Saturday evening James Otis and
Samuel Adams met at Warren's residence in Hanover Street (on the site
of the American House) for conference as to Monday's meeting,--for
instance, to draw up the resolves and decide upon the action that might
be expedient: whatever may have been the warmth of expression of popular
leaders, or the wishes of extremists among the people, the whole object
of this conference was to concentrate and use only the moral force of
public opinion; and there is not a trace of a design of insurrection in
all the known private correspondence of these patriots.

However, the belief in insurrection, at this time, appears to have been
as strongly rooted in the minds of prominent Loyalists as it was in the
mind of the again perturbed Governor. Signs of what is thought to be
near at hand are apt to be seen or fancied; and it was so in this case.
Somebody had put a turpentine barrel in the skillet that hung at the top
of the beacon-pole on Beacon Hill. Now it had been designed, for a
long time, by such a mode of bonfire, to alarm the country, in case of
invasion. This fact was put with another fact, namely, that the beacon
had been newly repaired; and from the two facts was drawn the startling
inference, that matters were ready for a rising in the town, and for
giving the concerted signal to summon in the country to aid this
rising,--and this, too, when the Governor had not a sergeant's guard
of real soldiers nearer than two hundred miles. And now members of the
Council flocked to the Governor and demanded a meeting of this imposing
body; and a meeting was promptly held at a gentleman's residence
half-way between Boston and Jamaica Plain, where, after grave debate
about taking down the barrel, it was finally voted to make a formal
demand on the Board of Selectmen to order it to be done. On the next
day, (Sunday,) the Fathers of the Town held a special meeting to
consider the vote of the Council, which resulted in declining to act on
this matter of taking down the barrel as too trivial. About the hour of
dining, on this day, however, Sheriff Greenleaf gave some peace to the
frightened officials by repairing to Beacon Hill with half a dozen
others and removing the obnoxious barrel, which proved to be empty. The
public did not hear the last of this affair for months, as may be seen
in the affidavits about it, afterwards, in the journals.

There was really no ground for all this alarm. The popular leaders, from
the excited state of the public mind, might have been apprehensive of an
explosion from the rash, which they meant, if possible, to prevent, and
if it came, to repress; but the Loyalist leaders would have it that
there was a deep-laid plot even for a revolution. "It is now known," is
Governor Bernard's malicious misrepresentation, as he reviewed these
scenes and justified the introduction of the troops, "that the plan was
to seize the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor and take possession of the
treasury, and then set up their standard." He said that five hundred men
had been enrolled to take the Castle, and it was likely that the names,
at least of the chief of them, would be discovered. There is no such
list in thirteen folio volumes of his correspondence. Hutchinson's
misrepresentation was as mischievous, but more cautious; for he assured
his British correspondents that at the time when the troops landed in
Boston the Province was on the brink of ruin, and that their arrival
prevented the most extravagant measures,--though, he said, he did not
certainly know what the dark designs of the heads of the opposition

On the morning of the town-meeting, (September 12,) Governor Bernard
believed that the popular leaders were resolved not merely to capture
the crown officials, but to resume the first charter, which, he said,
had not a single ingredient of royalty in it. But while he was looking
for insurrection, a committee of the highest respectability waited on
him, and asked him to be pleased to communicate to the town the grounds
and assurances on which he had intimated his apprehensions that one or
more regiments might he daily expected. On the next day the Governor
replied in writing,--"My apprehensions that some of his Majesty's troops
are to be expected in Boston arise from information of a private nature;
I have received no public letters notifying to me the coming of such
troops." The information came by letter from the only official in the
country who could order troops into Boston, and yet he said it was
private; according to this letter, he must have decided on the number of
troops that were to come, and yet he prattled about apprehensions. Such
was the way in which a royal Governor of the Stuart school dealt with
a people filled with patriotic concern for their country. It is the
dealing of a small man. If he can escape the charge of deliberate
falsehood, it is only, on demurrer, by the plea of a contemptible

It is not necessary here to follow the noble popular demonstrations that
rounded off by a delegate convention, which, at the simple request of
Boston, assembled in Faneuil Hall. The officials, who had long played
falsely with a liberty-loving, yet loyal people, now fairly quailed
before the whirlwind of their righteous indignation. Two days after
Bernard had "intimated his apprehensions," as though steps had
been taken to countermand the order for the troops, the following
semi-official doubt appeared in the "News-Letter":--"It is conjectured
that there are troops to come here; but at present we can find no
authentic accounts of it, nor that any person has declared that they
actually are, though there is great probability that they will soon be
here, if ever." This, from a Loyalist source, is a singularly worded
paragraph, and is richly Delphic.

The circular letter which Boston addressed (September 14) to the towns,
calling a Convention, accurately states the object of the military force
that was now expected:--"The design of these troops is, in every one's
apprehension, nothing short of enforcing by military power the execution
of Acts of Parliament, in the forming of which the Colonies have not,
and cannot have, any constitutional influence. This is one of the
greatest distresses to which a free people can be reduced." The object
of the Convention is as accurately stated to be, "to prevent any sudden
and unconnected measures," and to act in every constitutional way for
the preservation of invaluable rights. The Governor, as usual, acting
on his theory of insurrection, held that the Convention was designed to
mature plans for it; and he wrote (September l6) to Lord Hillsborough as
to his own plans,--"For my own part, if I had any place of protection
to resort to, I would publish a proclamation against the assembling of
the Convention, but I dare not take so spirited a step without first
securing my retreat"; and, with unusual good sense, he expressed "much
doubt whether the force already ordered by General Gage, namely, two
regiments, would be sufficient" to fight off the original charter, and
to keep the crown officers in their places. There was a small party who
were in favor of resuming the old charter; but the union of the towns of
Massachusetts, and then the union of all the Colonies, for the sake of
continued union with Great Britain, was the key of the action of the
leaders who were the exponents of the Patriots. They did not contemplate
going into acts of government; and neither now nor in the future did
they ever contemplate "sudden and unconnected measures."

Three days later (September 19) Governor Bernard threw off all disguise.
He formally announced to the Council that troops were coming, and asked
this body to provide them quarters. And now began a long, irritating,
and arrogant endeavor on the part of the Executive to browbeat the local
authorities in the matter of providing quarters for the troops. The
official record is voluminous. The Patriots kept strictly to the law,
and won a moral victory: the royal officials persisted in virtually
urging burly British will as law, and suffered the shame of an
ignominious defeat. The Governor thought the Government had received
a blow that made it reel; and, in a garrulous, complaining letter,
supplies not only a vivid idea of the whole of this struggle, but an
idea of his well-deserved individual mortification. "The account up
to this time," (October 30, 1768,) he wrote, "will end in my having
employed myself from September nineteenth to October twenty-sixth, that
is, thirty-eight days, in endeavoring to procure quarters for the two
regiments here to no purpose. For having during this time been bandied
about from one to another, I at length got positive refusals from every
one that I could apply to, that is, the Council, the Selectmen, and the
Justices of the Peace; upon which the General, [Gage,] who came here on
purpose, has found himself obliged to hire and fit up buildings at the
expense of the Crown, by which means the two regiments are at length got
into good occasional barracks."

The new scene of an American States-General in Faneuil Hall,--so the
royal Governor and Parliamentary orators termed the Convention,--a
manifestation of the rising power of the people, was followed by the
spectacle of an imposing naval force in the harbor. The Sam Adams
Regiments, sent on the mission of warring against the republican idea,
were proudly borne to Boston by fifteen British men-of-war, which were
moored (September 29) in well-chosen fighting positions around the
north end of the quiet, but glorious town. In the evening the curious
Bostonians put out in their boats from the wharves to get a near view of
the ships. There were great rejoicings on board. The sky was brilliant
with the rockets that were shot off from the decks, and the air
resounded with the music of the bands. It was noticed that the favorite
piece seemed to be "the Yankee tune": it was played by the regimental
bands when Earl Percy led a British force out of Boston on Lexington
morning, but no mention is made of its being performed when this force
returned in the evening of that famous day, or when the Sam Adams
Regiments left the town.

The King's troops landed on the first day of October. Though it had
been printed in England that ten thousand men were enrolled to oppose
them,--though the local officials had predicted that the event would
occasion a crisis in affairs,--though John Bull had been so abominably
imposed upon that he as much expected to see a mob resist the landing as
he lately expected the mob would resist the delivery of the Confederate
Commissioners,--and though not merely ministerial circles, but all
England, were looking forward with serious apprehensions to the
result,--yet the day was so tame that little history was made worth
relating. As the spectators on board the ships, about noon, were looking
for a battle-scene, they saw only a naval and military show. The ships
of war were prepared for action by loading the guns and putting springs
on the cables. The troops, after sixteen rounds of powder and ball had
been served out to them, entered the boats. Rude artists were looking
on, and sketching the peaceful display, setting down each boat and ship
and island, with view undisturbed by the smoke of battle or even of
salute. They did not notice, however, that the commander of the land
force, Lieutenant-Colonel Dalrymple, went ashore privately, at about
eleven o'clock, and sauntered over the town. He met no local militia;
he saw nor horns nor hoofs of insurrection; he saw not even the royal
Governor, for he had retired to Jamaica Plain; and instead of a cordial
Executive greeting and proper directions as to what to do, he found that
everything was left to himself. He knew that neither the Council nor the
Governor had provided quarters for his command; but from the doings
or non-doings of this day he conceived feelings towards the runaway
official which he expressed by words, at the time, "full as plain as
pleasant," and afterwards officially in writing to his superiors.
Bernard met Dalrymple's intimations of cowardice by the truthful
allegation that there was not the least danger of insurrection, and of
want of attention by the mean allegation that the Colonel was chagrined
because he was not complimented with a dinner.

An hour after the Commander made his reconnoissance, about noon, the
boats moved in fine order towards the Long Wharf, so termed as being a
noble commercial pier running far out into the Bay. Here the Fourteenth
Regiment, under Colonel Dalrymple, landed, and, having formed, marched,
in the words of the time, with drums beating, fifes playing, and colors
flying, up King Street (now State Street) to the Town-House, where it
halted. It is not said that the troops were complimented by the presence
of the people, who, on holidays then as on holidays now, usually
appeared, having an air of self-respect, well-dressed, well-behaved,
with nothing moving among them more threatening than the baton of the
police as the sign of law and authority, but respecting that as the
symbol of their own law. What Tory writers and officials say warrants
the inference that the Patriots kept away. Dalrymple said that the
Convention was planet-stricken; "Sagittarius," a Tory scribbler, says
the Convention ran, and tells how they ran:--"The courage of the
faithful only consisted in blustering, for the morning that the troops
landed they broke up, and rushed out of town like a herd of scalded
hogs." If the Patriots generally were absent, it was from design. The
Fourteenth Regiment remained near the Town-House until the Twenty-Ninth
joined it, when the column marched to the Common. About four o'clock
these troops were joined by the Fifty-Ninth Regiment, and a train
of artillery with two field-pieces. This made a force of a thousand
fine-appearing and well-disciplined regulars.

Colonel Dalrymple ordered the Twenty-Ninth Regiment to encamp
immediately, which, as it had field-equipage, it was enabled to do, and
pitched its tents on the Common; but he had no cover for the Fourteenth
Regiment, and he now endeavored to obtain quarters for it. He was
directed to the Manufactory House, a large building owned by the
Province, in what is now Hamilton Place, near the Common, which was
hired by a zealous Patriot, who declined to let the troops occupy it;
whereupon he applied to the Selectmen for Faneuil Hall, promising that
the utmost care should be taken not to injure the property. "About
twilight," in the words of the "Gazette," "the Fourteenth Regiment
marched down to the Hall, where they stood under arms till near nine
o'clock, when the door, by some means or other, being opened, they took
up their lodgings there that night." The Colonel exultingly wrote,--"By
tolerable management I got possession of Faneuil Hall, the School of
Liberty, from the Sons thereof, without force, and thereby secured all
their arms": about four hundred had been recently placed there to be

Such was the day, so long looked forward to, of the landing of the
King's troops. The people were indignant, but were silent and preserved
their self-respect; but the object of the popular leaders had been
accomplished, so far as the reception of the military force was
concerned. A candid British observer, who was in Boston, saw the truth
and printed it in England:--"The Patriot leaders of the Opposition
were much more concerned at any mobs that happened than the Government
people. These last seem pleased with them, as countenancing their
representations,--the necessity of sending soldiers to keep them in
order." On this occasion, in the words of the "Gazette," "Not the least
attempt was made or contemplated to oppose the landing of the King's
troops or their encampment on the Common." There is no mention made of
even hisses or groans, as the colors that symbolized arbitrary power
were proudly borne up King Street. The peace and good order that marked
the day much chagrined the Loyalists, and fairly astonished "the
gentlemen of the military."

These gentlemen might have read in the next issues of the journals the
temper of the public mind, in the comments freely made on their mission
and on the events that were said to have occasioned their presence.
The pretext, the obnoxious proceedings of the eighteenth of March, was
characterized as the trifling hallooing of a harmless procession; the
mob of the tenth of June was more serious, but was soon over; but on
the all-important and vital point of allegiance, they might have seen
expressed, in the weighty words of the Council, infinite regret at the
reflection which that show of force implied on the loyalty of the people
to their sovereign, who had not in his wide-extended dominions any more
faithful subjects than in the town of Boston. And what really was the
offence of the Patriots? They had resolved, they had petitioned, they
had agreed not to import or to buy British goods. But they were not
law-breakers, for they could triumphantly challenge their opponents to
produce a single instance since the tenth of June of an interruption of
the public peace or of resistance to law; and they were not political
heretics, for the principles of colonial administration which they stood
on were such as their countrymen unanimously now indorse, and British
statesmanship is now pleased to accept. Yet they were threatened in the
streets with the whipping-post and the pillory, with the loss of their
ears or their heads,--and in official instructions, printed in the
journals, with transportation to England for trial. This last threat was
serious. The Government proposed to make arrests under a statute of the
reign of Henry VIII.: actually designed (Lord Mahon's words) "to draw
forth the mouldering edict of a tyrant from the dust where it had long
lain, and where it ever deserved to lie, and to fling it" against a band
of popular leaders who were wisely and well supporting a most sacred
cause. But these leaders were not actuated by the fanaticism that is
always blind and often cruel, nor by the ambition that is unworthy and
is then reckless and criminal; but, with a clear apprehension of their
ground and definite notions of policy, they went forward with no
faltering step. Their calm and true statement through the press
was,--"It is the part this town has taken on the side of Liberty,
and its noble exertions in favor of the rights of America, that have
rendered it so obnoxious to the tools of arbitrary power." "We are now
[October 3, 1768] become a spectacle to all North America. May our
conduct be such as not to disgrace ourselves or injure the common

Thus wove the solid men of Boston their mantle of enduring glory.


  Wearily, wearily, wearily:
  Sobbing through space like a south-wind,
  Floating in limitless ether,
  Ether unbounded, unfathomed,
  Where is no upward nor downward,
  Island, nor shallow, nor shore:
  Wearily floating and sobbing,
  Out of the body to God!

  Lost in the spaces of blankness,
  Lost in the deepening abysses,
  Haunted and tracked by the past:
  No more sweet human caresses,
  No more the springing of morning,
  Never again from the present
  Into a future beguiled:
  Lonely, defiled, and despairing,
  Out of the body to God!

  Reeling, and tearless, and desperate,
  On through the quiet of ether,
  Helpless, alone, and forsaken,
  Faithless in ignorant anguish,
  Faithless of gasping repentance,
  Measuring Him by thy measure,--
  Measure of need and desert,--
  Out of the body to God!

  Soft through the starless abysses,
  Soft as the breath of the summer
  Loosens the chains of the river,
  Sweeping it free to the sea,
  Murmurs a murmur of peace:--
  "Soul! in the deepness of heaven
  Findest thou shallow or shore?
  Hast thou beat madly on limit?
  Hast thou been stayed in thy fleeing
  Out of the body to God?

  "Thou that hast known Me in spaces
  Boundless, untraversed, unfathomed,
  Hast thou not known Me in love?
  Am I, Creator and Guider,
  Less than My kingdom and work?
  Come, O thou weary and desolate!
  Come to the heart of thy Father
  Home from thy wanderings weary,
  Home from the lost to the Loving,
  Out of the body to God!"


Among the lower animals, so far as the facts have been noticed, there
seems no great inequality, as to strength or endurance, between the
sexes. In migratory tribes, as of birds or buffaloes, the males are not
observed to slacken or shorten their journeys from any gallant
deference to female weakness, nor are the females found to perish
disproportionately through exhaustion. It is the English experience
that among coursing-dogs and race-horses there is no serious sexual
inequality. Aelian says that Semiramis did not exult when in the chase
she captured a lion, but was proud when she took a lioness, the dangers
of the feat being far greater. Hunters as willingly encounter the male
as the female of most savage beasts; and if an adventurous fowler,
plundering an eagle's nest, has his eyes assaulted by the parent-bird,
it is no matter whether the discourtesy proceeds from the gentleman or
the lady of the household.

Passing to the ranks of humanity, it is the general rule, that, wherever
the physical nature has a fair chance, the woman shows no extreme
deficiency of endurance or strength. Even the sentimental physiology
of Michelet is compelled to own that his elaborate theories of lovely
invalidism have no application to the peasant-women of France, that
is, to nineteen-twentieths of the population. Among human beings,
the disparities of race and training far outweigh those of sex. The
sedentary philosopher, turning from his demonstration of the hopeless
inferiority of woman, finds with dismay that his Irish or negro
handmaiden can lift a heavy coal-hod more easily than he. And while the
dream is vanishing of the superiority of savage races on every other
point, it still remains unquestionable that in every distinctive
attribute of physical womanhood the barbarian has the advantage.

The truth is, that in all countries female health and strength go with
peasant habits. In Italy, for instance, About says, that, of all useful
animals, the woman is the one that the Roman peasant employs with the
most profit. "She makes the bread and the cake of Turkish corn; she
spins, she weaves, she sews; she goes every day three miles for wood and
a mile for water; she carries on her head the load of a mule; she toils
from sunrise to sunset without resisting or even complaining. The
children, which she brings forth in great numbers, and which she nurses
herself, are a great resource; from the age of four years they can be
employed in guarding other animals."

Beside this may be placed the experience of Moffat, the African
missionary, who, seeing a party of native women engaged in their usual
labor of house-building, and just ready to put the roof on, suggested
that some of the men who stood by should lend a hand. It was received
with general laughter; but Mahuto, the queen, declared that the plan,
though hopeless of execution, was in itself a good one, and that men,
though excused from lighter labors, ought to take an equal share in the
severer,--adding, that she wished the missionaries would give their
husbands medicine and make them work.

The health of educated womanhood in the different European nations seems
to depend mainly upon the degree of conformity to these rustic habits
of air and exercise. In Italy, Spain, Portugal, the women of the upper
classes lead secluded and unhealthy lives, and hence their physical
condition is not superior to our own. In the Northern nations, women of
refinement do more to emulate the active habits of the peasantry,--only
substituting out-door relaxations for out-door toil,--and so they share
their health. This is especially the case in England, which accordingly
seems to furnish the representative types of vigorous womanhood.

"The nervous system of the female sex in England seems to be of a much
stronger mould than that of other nations," says Dr. Merei, a medical
practitioner of English and Continental experience. "They bear a degree
of irritation in their systems, without the issue of fits, which in
other races is not so easily tolerated." So Professor Tyndall, watching
female pedestrianism among the Alps, exults in his countrywomen:--"The
contrast in regard to energy between the maidens of the British Isles
and those of the Continent and of America is astonishing." When Catlin's
Indians first walked the streets of London, they reported with wonder
that they had seen many handsome squaws holding to the arms of men, "and
they did not look sick either";--a remark which no complimentary savage
was ever heard to make in any Cisatlantic metropolis.

There is undoubtedly an impression in this country that the English
vigor is bought at some sacrifice,--that it implies a nervous
organization less fine and artistic, features and limbs more rudely
moulded, and something more coarse and peasant-like in the whole average
texture. Making all due allowance for national vanity, it is yet easy to
see that superiority may be had more cheaply by lowering the plane of
attainment. The physique of a healthy day-laborer is a thing of inferior
mould to the physique of a healthy artist. Muscular power needs also
nervous power to bring out its finest quality. Lightness and grace are
not incompatible with vigor, but are its crowning illustration.
Apollo is above Hercules; Hebe and Diana are winged, not weighty. The
physiologist must never forget that Nature is aiming at a keener and
subtiler temperament in framing the American,--as beneath our drier
atmosphere the whole scale of sounds and hues and odors is tuned to a
higher key,--and that for us an equal state of health may yet produce
a higher type of humanity. To make up the arrears of past neglect,
therefore, is a matter of absolute necessity, if we wish this experiment
of national temperament to have any chance; since rude health, however
obtuse, will in the end overmatch disease, however finely strung.

But the fact must always be kept in mind that the whole problem
of female health is most closely intertwined with that of social
conditions. The Anglo-Saxon organization is being modified not only in
America, but also in England, with the changing habits of the people. In
the days of Henry VIII. it was "a wyve's occupation to winnow all manner
of cornes, to make malte, to wash and ironyng, to make hay, shere corne,
and in time of nede to help her husband fill the muchpayne, drive the
plough, load hay, corne, and such other, and go or ride to the market to
sell butter, cheese, egges, chekyns, capons, hens, pigs, geese, and all
manner of cornes." But now there is everywhere complaint of the growing
delicacy and fragility of the English female population, even in rural
regions; and the king of sanitary reformers, Edwin Chadwick, has lately
made this complaint the subject of a special report before the National
Association. He assumes, as a matter settled by medical authority, that
the proportion of mothers who can suckle their children is decidedly
diminishing among the upper and middle classes, that deaths from
childbirth are eight times as great among these classes as among the
peasantry, and that spinal distortion, hysteria, and painful disorders
are on the increase. Nine-tenths of the evil he attributes to the long
hours of school study, and to the neglect of physical exercises for

This shows that the symptoms of ill-health among women are not a matter
of climate only, but indicate a change in social conditions, producing
a change of personal habits. It is something which reaches all; for the
standard of health in the farm-houses is with us no higher than in the
cities. It is something which, unless removed, stands as a bar to any
substantial progress in civilization. It is a mere mockery for the
millionnaire to create galleries of Art, bringing from Italy a Venus on
canvas or a stone Diana, if meanwhile a lovelier bloom than ever artist
painted is fading from his own child's cheek, and a firmer vigor than
that of marble is vanishing from her enfeebled arms. What use to found
colleges for girls whom even the high-school breaks down, or to induct
them into new industrial pursuits when they have not strength to stand
behind a counter? How appeal to any woman to enlarge her thoughts beyond
the mere drudgery of the household, when she "dies daily" beneath the
exhaustion of even that?

And the perplexity lies beyond the disease, in the perils involved even
in the remedy. No person can be long conversant with physical training,
without learning to shrink from the responsibility of the health of
girls. The panacea for boyish health is commonly simple, even for
delicate cases. Removal from books, if necessary, and the substitution
of farm-life,--with good food, pure air, dogs, horses, oxen, hens,
rabbits,--and fresh or salt water within walking distance. Secure these
conditions, and then let him alone; he will not hurt himself. Nor
will, during mere childhood, his little sister experience anything but
benefit, under the same circumstances. But at the epoch of womanhood,
precisely when the constitution should be acquiring robust strength, her
perils begin; she then needs not merely to be allured to exertion, but
to be protected against over-exertion; experience shows that she cannot
be turned loose, cannot be safely left with boyish freedom to take her
fill of running, rowing, riding, swimming, skating,--because life-long
injury may be the penalty of a single excess. This necessity for caution
cannot be the normal condition, for such caution cannot be exerted for
the female peasant or savage, but it seems the necessary condition for
American young women. It is a fact not to be ignored, that some of the
strongest and most athletic girls among us have lost their health and
become invalids for years, simply by being allowed to live the robust,
careless, indiscreet life on which boys thrive so wonderfully. It is
fatal, if they do too little, and disastrous, if they do too much;
and between these two opposing perils the process of steering is so
difficult that the majority of parents end in letting go the helm and
leaving the fragile vessel to steer itself.

Everything that follows in these pages must therefore be construed in
the light of this admitted difficulty. The health of boys is a matter
not hard to treat, on purely physiological grounds; but in dealing with
that of girls caution is necessary. Yet, after all, the perplexities can
only obscure the details of the prescription, while the main substance
is unquestionable. Nowhere in the universe, save in improved habits, can
we ever find health for our girls. Special delicacy in the conditions of
the problem only implies more sedulous care in the solution. The great
laws of exercise, of respiration, of digestion are essentially the same
for all human beings; and greater sensitiveness in the patient should
not relax, but only stimulate, our efforts after cure. And the
unquestionable fact that there are among us, after the worst is said,
large numbers of robust and healthy women, should keep up our courage
until we can apply their standard to the whole sex.

In presence of an evil so great, it is inevitable that there should be
some fantastic theories of cure. But extremes are quite pardonable,
where it is so important to explore all the sources of danger. Special
ills should have special assailants, at whatever risk of exaggeration.
As water-cures and vegetarian boarding-houses are the necessary defence
of humanity against dirt and over-eating, so is the most ungainly
Bloomer that ever drifted on bare poles across the continent a
providential protest against the fashion-plates. It is probable, that,
on the whole, there is a gradual amelioration in female costume. These
hooded water-proof cloaks, equalizing all womankind,--these thick soles
and heavy heels, proclaiming themselves with such masculine emphasis
on the pavement,--these priceless india-rubber boots, emancipating all
juvenile femineity from the terrors of mud and snow,--all these indicate
an approaching era of good sense; for they are the requisite machinery
of air, exercise, and health, so far as they go.

The weight of skirts and the constraints of corsets are still properly
made the theme of indignant declamation. Yet let us be just. It is
impossible to make costume the prime culprit, when we recall what robust
generations have been reared beneath the same formidable panoply. For
instance, it seems as if no woman could habitually walk uninjured with a
weight of twelve pounds of skirts suspended at her hips,--Dr. Coale is
responsible for the statistics,--and as if salvation must therefore lie
in shoulder-straps. Yet the practice cannot be sheer suicide, when the
Dutch peasant-girl plods bloomingly through her daily duties beneath a
dozen successive involucres of flannel. So in regard to tight lacing,
no one can doubt its ill effects, since even a man's loose garments
are known to diminish by one-fourth his capacity for respiration. Yet
inspect in the shop-windows (where the facts of female costume are
obtruded too pertinaciously for the public to remain in ignorance)
the light and flexible corsets of these days, and then contemplate at
Pilgrim Hall in Plymouth the stout buckram stays that once incased the
stouter heart of Alice Bradford. Those, again, were to those of a still
earlier epoch as leather to chain-armor. The Countess of Buchan was
confined in an iron cage for life for assisting to crown Robert the
Bruce, but her only loss by the incarceration was that her iron cage
ceased to be portable.

Passing from costume, it must be noticed that there are many physical
evils which the American woman shares with the other sex, but which bear
with far greater severity on her finer organization. There is improper
food, for instance. The fried or salted meat, the heavy bread, the
perennial pork, the disastrous mince-pies of our farmers' houses are
sometimes pardoned by Nature to the men of the family, in consideration
of twelve or more hours of out-door labor. For the more sedentary and
delicate daughter there is no such atonement, and she vibrates between
dyspepsia and starvation. The only locality in America where I have ever
found the farming population living habitually on wholesome diet is the
Quaker region in Eastern Pennsylvania, and I have never seen anywhere
else such a healthy race of women. Yet here, again, it is not safe to
be hasty, or to lay the whole responsibility upon the kitchen, when we
recall the astounding diet on which healthy Englishwomen subsisted two
centuries ago. Consider, for instance, the housekeeping of the Duke of
Northumberland. "My lord and lady have for breakfast, at seven o'clock,
a quart of beer, as much wine, two pieces of salt fish, six red herring,
four white ones, and a dish of sprats." Digestive resources which
could, entertain this bill of fare might safely be trusted to travel in

The educational excesses of our schools, also, though shared by both
sexes, tell much more formidably upon girls, in proportion as they are
keener students, more submissive pupils, and are given to studying their
lessons at recess-time, instead of shouting and racing in the open
air. They are also easily coerced into devoting Wednesday and Saturday
afternoons to the added atrocity of music-lessons, and in general, but
for the recent blessed innovation of skating, would undoubtedly submit
to having every atom of air and exercise eliminated from their lives. It
is rare to find an American mother who habitually ranks physical vigor
first, in rearing her daughters, and intellectual culture only second;
indeed, they are commonly satisfied with a merely negative condition of
health. The girl is considered to be well, if she is not too ill to go
to school; and she therefore lives from hand to mouth, as respects her
constitution, and lays up nothing for emergencies. From this negative
condition proceeds her inability to endure accidents which to an active
boy would be trivial. Who ever hears of a boy's incurring a lame knee
for a year by slipping on the ice, or spinal disease for a lifetime by
a fall from a sled? And if a girl has not enough of surplus vitality to
overcome such trifles as these, how is she fitted to meet the coming
fatigues of wife and mother?

These are important, if superficial, suggestions; but there are other
considerations which go deeper. I take the special provocatives of
disease among American women to be in great part social. The one marked
step achieved thus far by our civilization appears to be the abolition
of the peasant class, among the native-born, and the elevation of the
mass of women to the social zone of music-lessons and silk gowns. This
implies the disappearance of field-labor for women, and, unfortunately,
of that rustic health also which in other countries is a standing
exemplar for all classes. Wherever the majority of women work in the
fields, the privileged minority are constantly reminded that they also
hold their health by the tenure of some substituted activity. With
us, all women have been relieved from out-door labor,--and are being
sacrificed in the process, until they learn to supply its place. Except
the graceful and vanishing pursuit of hop-picking, there is in New
England no agricultural labor in which women can be said to be
habitually engaged. Most persons never saw an American woman making hay,
unless in the highly imaginative cantata of "The Hay-Makers"; and Dolly
the Dairy-Maid is becoming to our children as purely ideal a being as
Cinderella. We thus lose not only the immediate effect, but the indirect
example, of these out-door toils.

This influence of the social transition bears upon all women: there
is another which especially touches wives and mothers. In European
countries, the aim at anything like gentility implies keeping one or
more domestics to perform house-hold labors; but in our Free States
every family aims at gentility, while not one in five keeps a domestic.
The aim is not a foolish one, though follies may accompany it,--for the
average ambition of our people includes a certain amount of refined
cultivation;--it is only that the process is exhausting. Every
woman must have a best-parlor with hair-cloth furniture and a
photograph--book; she must have a piano, or some cheaper substitute;
her little girls must have embroidered skirts and much mathematical
knowledge; her husband must have two or even three hot meals every day
of his life; and yet her house must be in perfect order early in the
afternoon, and she prepared to go out and pay calls, with a black silk
dress and a card-case. In the evening she will go to a concert or a
lecture, and then, at the end of all, she will very possibly sit up
after midnight with her sewing-machine, doing extra shop-work to pay for
little Ella's music-lessons. All this every "capable" New-England woman
will do, or die. She does it, and dies; and then we are astonished
that her vital energy gives out sooner than that of an Irishwoman in a
shanty, with no ambition on earth but to supply her young Patricks with
adequate potatoes.

Now it is useless to attempt to set back the great social flood. The
New-England housekeeper will never be killed by idleness, at any rate;
and if she is exposed to the opposite danger, we must fit her for it,
that is all. There is reason to be hopeful; the human race as a whole is
tending upward, even physically, and if we cannot make our girls healthy
quite yet, we shall learn to do it by-and-by. Meanwhile we must hold
hard to the conviction, that not merely decent health, but even a high
physical training, is a thing thoroughly practicable for both sexes. If
a young girl can tire out her partner in the dance, if a delicate wife
can carry her baby twice as long as her athletic husband, (for certainly
there is nothing in the gymnasium more amazing than the mother's left
arm,) then it is evident that the female frame contains muscular power,
or its equivalent, though it may take music or maternity to bring it
out. But other inducements have proved sufficient, and the results do
not admit of question. The Oriental _bayadères_, for instance, are
trained from childhood as gymnasts: they carry heavy jars on their
heads, to improve strength, gait, and figure; they fly kites, to acquire
"statuesque attitudes and graceful surprises"; they must learn to lay
the back of the hand flat against the wrist, to partially bend the
arm in both directions at the elbow, and, inclining the whole person
backward from the waist, to sweep the floor with the hair. So, among
ourselves, the great athletic resources of the female frame are
vindicated by every equestrian goddess of the circus, every pet of the
ballet. Those airy nymphs have been educated for their vocation by an
amount of physical fatigue which their dandy admirers may well prefer to
contemplate through the safe remoteness of an opera-glass.

Dr. Gardner, of New York, has lately contributed very important
professional observations upon this class of his patients; he describes
their physique as infinitely superior to that of ordinary women,
wonderfully adapting them not only to the extraordinary, but to the
common perils of their sex, "with that happy union of power and
pliability most to be desired." "Their occupation demands in its daily
study and subsequent practice an amount of long-continued muscular
energy of the severest character, little recognized or understood by
the community"; and his description of their habitual immunity in the
ordeals of womanhood reminds one of the descriptions of savage tribes.
But it is really a singular retribution for our prolonged offences
against the body, when our saints are thus compelled to take their
models from the reputed sinners,--prize-fighters being propounded as
missionaries for the men, and opera-dancers for the women.

Are we literally to infer, then, that dancing must be the primary
prescription? It would not be a bad one. It was an invaluable hint of
Hippocrates, that the second-best remedy is better than the best, if the
patient likes it best. Beyond all other merits of the remedy in question
is this crowning advantage, that the patient likes it. Has any form of
exercise ever yet been invented which a young girl would not leave for

"Women, it is well known," says Jean Paul, "cannot run, but only dance,
and every one could more easily reach a given point by dancing than by
walking." It is practised in this country under immense disadvantages:
first, because of late hours and heated rooms; and secondly, because
some of the current dances seem equally questionable to the mamma and
the physiologist. But it is doubtful whether any possible gymnastic
arrangement for a high-school would be on the whole so provocative
of the wholesome exercise as a special hall for dancing, thoroughly
ventilated, and provided with piano and spring-floor. The spontaneous
festivals of every recess-time would then rival those German
public-rooms, where it is said you may see a whole company waltzing like
teetotums, with the windows wide open, at four o'clock in the afternoon.

Skating is dancing in another form; both aim at flying, and skating
comes nearest to success. The triumph of this art has been so
astonishing, in the universality of its introduction among our girls
within the short space of four winters, that it is hardly necessary to
speak of it, except to deduce the hope that other out-door enjoyments,
equally within the reach of the girls, may be as easily popularized.

For any form of locomotion less winged than skating and dancing the feet
of American girls have hitherto seemed somehow unfitted by Nature. There
is every abstract reason why they should love walking, on this side of
the Atlantic: there is plenty of room for it, the continent is large;
the exercise, moreover, brightens the eye and purifies the complexion,
--so the physiologists declare: so that an English chemist classifies
red cheeks as being merely oxygen in another form, and advises young
ladies who wish for a pair to seek them where the roses get them,
out-of-doors,--upon which an impertinent damsel writes to ask "Punch"
if they might not as well carry the imitation of the roses a little
farther, and remain in their beds all the time? But it is a lamentable
fact, that walking, for the mere love of it, is a rare habit among our
young women, and rarer probably in the country than in the city; it is
uncommon to hear of one who walks habitually as much as two miles a day.
There are, of course, many exceptional instances: I know maidens who
love steep paths and mountain rains, like Wordsworth's Louisa, and I
have even heard of eight young ladies who walked from Andover to Boston,
twenty-three miles, in six hours, and of two who did forty-five miles in
two days. Moreover, with our impulsive temperaments, a special object
will always operate as a strong allurement. A confectioner's shop, for
instance. A camp somewhere in the suburbs, with dress-parades, and
available lieutenants. A new article of dress: a real ermine cape may be
counted as good for three miles a day, for the season. A dearest friend
within pedestrian distance: so that it would seem well to plant a circle
of delightful families just in the outskirts of every town, merely to
serve as magnets. Indeed, so desperate has the emergency become, that
one might take even ladies' hoops to be a secret device of Nature to
secure more exercise for the occupants by compelling them thus to make
the circuit of each other, as the two fat noblemen at the French court
vindicated themselves from the charge of indolence by declaring that
each promenaded twice round his friend every morning.

In view of this distaste for pedestrian exercise, it seems strange
that the present revival of athletic exercises has not yet reached to
horsemanship, the traditional type of all noble training, _chevalerie_,
chivalry. Certainly it is not for the want of horse-flesh, for never
perhaps was so much of that costly commodity owned in this community;
yet in New England you shall find private individuals who keep a
half-dozen horses each, and livery-stables possessing fifty, and never a
proper saddle-horse among them. In some countries, riding does half the
work of physical training, for both sexes; Sir Walter Scott, when at
Abbotsford, never omitted his daily ride, and took his little daughter
with him, from the time she could sit on horseback; but what New-England
man, in purchasing a steed, selects with a view to a side-saddle? This
seems a sad result of the wheel-maker's trade, and one grudges St.
Willegis the wheel on his coat-of-arms, if it has thus served to tame
down freeborn men and women to the slouching and indolent practice
of driving,--a practice in which the human figure appears at such
disadvantage, that one can hardly wonder at Horace Walpole's coachman,
who had laid up a small fortune by driving the maids-of-honor, and
left it all to his son upon condition that he never should take a
maid-of-honor for his wife.

An exercise to which girls take almost as naturally as to dancing is
that of rowing, an accomplishment thoroughly feminine, learned with
great facility, and on the whole safer than most other sports. Yet until
within a few years no one thought of it in connection with women, unless
with semi-mythical beings, like Ellen Douglas or Grace Darling. Even now
it is chiefly a city accomplishment, and you rarely find at rural or
sea-side places a village damsel who has ever handled an oar. But once
having acquired the art, girls will readily fatigue themselves with its
practice, unsolicited, careless of tan and freckles. At Dove Harbor it
is far easier at any time to induce the young ladies to row for two
hours than to walk in the beautiful wood-paths for fifteen minutes;--the
walking tires them. No matter; for a special exercise the rowing is the
most valuable of the two, and furnishes just what the dancing-school
omits. Unfortunately, the element of water is not quite a universal
possession, and no one can train Naiads on dry land.

One of the merits of boating is that it suggests indirectly the
attendant accomplishment of swimming, and this is some thing of
such priceless importance that no trouble can be too great for its
acquisition. Parents are uneasy until their children are vaccinated, and
yet leave them to incur a risk as great and almost as easily averted.
The barbarian mother, who, lowering her baby into the water by her
girdle, teaches it to swim ere it can walk, is before us in this duty.
Swimming, moreover, is not one of those arts in which a little learning
is a dangerous thing; on the contrary, a little may be as useful in
an emergency as a great deal, if it gives those few moments of
self-possession amid danger which will commonly keep a person from
drowning until assistance comes. Women are naturally as well fitted for
swimming as men, since specific buoyancy is here more than a match
for strength; but effort is often needed to secure for them those
opportunities of instruction and practice which the unrestrained
wanderings of boys secure for them so easily. For this purpose,
swimming-schools for ladies are now established in many places, at home
and abroad; and the newspapers have lately chronicled a swimming-match
at a girls' school in Berlin, where thirty-three competitors were
entered for the prize,--and another among titled ladies in Paris, where
each fashionable swimmer was allowed the use of the left hand only, the
right hand sustaining an open parasol. Our own waters have, it may be,
exhibited spectacles as graceful, though less known to fame. Never may I
forget the bevy of bright maidens who under my pilotage buffeted on many
a summer's day the surges of Cape Ann, learning a wholly new delight in
trusting the buoyancy of the kind old ocean and the vigor of their
own fair arms. Ah, my pupils, some of you have since been a prince's
partners in the ball-room; but in those days, among the dancing waves,
it was King Neptune who placed on you his crown.

Other out-door habits depend upon the personal tastes of the individual,
in certain directions, and are best cultivated by educating these. If a
young girl is born and bred with a love of any branch of natural history
or of horticulture, happy is she; for the mere unconscious interest of
the pursuit is an added lease of life to her. It is the same with all
branches of Art whose pursuit leads into the open air. Rosa Bonheur,
with her wanderings among mountains and pastures, alternating with the
vigorous work of the studio, needed no other appliances for health. The
same advantages come to many, in spite of delinquent mothers, in
the bracing habits of household labor, at least where mechanical
improvements have not rendered it too easy. Improved cooking-stoves and
Mrs. Cornelius have made the culinary art such a path of roses that
it is hardly now included in early training, but deferred till after
matrimony. Yet bread-making in well-ventilated kitchens and sweeping in
open-windowed rooms are calisthenics so bracing that one grudges them to
the Irish maidens, whose round and comely arms betray so much less need
of their tonic influence than the shrunken muscles exhibited so freely
by our short-sleeved belles.

Perhaps even well-developed arms are not so essential to female beauty
as erectness of figure, a trait on which our low school-desks have made
sad havoc. The only sure panacea for round shoulders in boys appears to
be the military drill, and Miss Mitford records that in her youth it was
the custom in girls' schools to apply the same remedy. Dr. Lewis relies
greatly on the carrying of moderate weights upon a padded wooden cap
which he has devised for this purpose; and certainly the straightest
female figure with which I am acquainted--aged seventy-four--is said to
have been formed by the youthful habit of pacing the floor for half an
hour dally, with a book upon the head, under rigid maternal discipline.
Another traditional method is to insist that the damsel shall sit erect,
without leaning against the chair, for a certain number of hours daily;
and Sir Walter Scott says that his mother, in her eightieth year, took
as much care to avoid giving any support to her back as if she had been
still under the stern eye of Mrs. Ogilvie, her early teacher. Such
simple methods may not be enough to check diseased curvatures or
inequalities when already formed: these are best met by Ling's system
of medical gymnastics, or "movement-cure," as applied by Dr. Lewis, Dr.
Taylor, and others.

The ordinary gymnastic apparatus has also been employed extensively by
women, and that very successfully, wherever the exercises have been
systematically organized, with agreeable classes and competent teachers.
If the gymnasium often fails to interest girls as much as boys, it is
probably from deficiency in these respects,--and also because the female
pupils, beginning on a lower plane of strength, do not command so great
a variety of exercises, and so tire of the affair more readily. But
hundreds, if not thousands, of American women have practised in these
institutions during the last ten years,--single establishments in large
cities having sometimes several hundred pupils,--and many have attained
a high degree of skill in climbing, vaulting, swinging, and the like;
nor can I find that any undue proportion of accidents has occurred.
Wherever Dr. Lewis's methods have been introduced, important advantages
have followed. He has invented an astonishing variety of games and
well-studied movements,--with the lightest and cheapest apparatus,
balls, bags, rings, wands, wooden dumb-bells, small clubs, and other
instrumentalities,--which are all gracefully and effectually used by his
classes, to the sound of music, and in a way to spare the weakest when
lightly administered, or to fatigue the strongest when applied in force.
Being adapted for united use by both sexes, they make more thorough
appeal to the social element than the ordinary gymnastics; and evening
classes, to meet several evenings in a week, have proved exceedingly
popular in some of our towns. These exercises do not require fixed
apparatus or a special hall. For this and other reasons they are
peculiarly adapted for use in schools, and it would be well if they
could be regularly taught in our normal institutions. Dr. Lewis himself
is now training regular teachers to carry on the same good work, and his
movement is undoubtedly the most important single step yet taken for the
physical education of American women.

There is withal a variety of agreeable minor exercises, dating back
farther than gymnastic professors, which must not be omitted. Archery,
still in fashion in England, has never fairly taken root among us, and
seems almost hopeless: the clubs formed for its promotion die out almost
as speedily as cricket-clubs, and leave no trace behind; though this may
not always be. Bowling and billiards are, however, practised by lady
amateurs, just so far as they find opportunity, which is not very far;
desirable public or private facilities being obtainable by few only,
except at the summer watering-places. Battledoor-and-shuttlecock seems
likely to come again into favor, and that under eminent auspices:
Dr. Windship holding it in high esteem, as occupying the mind while
employing every part of the body, harmonizing the muscular system,
giving quickness to eye and hand, and improving the balancing power.
The English, who systematize all amusements so much more than we, have
developed this simple entertainment into several different games,
arduous and complicated as their games of ball. The mere multiplication
of the missiles also lends an additional stimulus, and the statistics
of success in this way appear almost fabulous. A zealous English
battledoorean informs me that the highest scores yet recorded in the
game are as follows: five thousand strokes for a single shuttlecock,
five hundred when employing two, one hundred and fifty with three, and
fifty-two when four airy messengers are kept flying simultaneously.

It may seem trivial to urge upon rational beings the use of a
shuttlecock as a duty; but this is surely better than that one's health
should become a thing as perishable, and fly away as easily. There is
no danger that our educational systems will soon grow too careless of
intellect and too careful of health. Reforms, whether in physiology or
in smaller things, move slowly, when prejudice or habit bars the way.
Paris is the head-quarters of medical science; yet in Paris, to this
day, the poor babies in the great hospital of La Maternité are so
tortured in tight swathings that not a limb can move. Progress is not
in proportion to the amount of scientific knowledge on deposit in any
country, but to the extent of its diffusion. No nation in the world
grapples with its own evils so promptly as ours. It is but a few years
since there was a general croaking about the physical deterioration of
young men in our cities,--and now already the cities and the colleges
are beginning to lead the rural districts in this respect. The guaranty
of reform in American female health is to be found in the growing
popular conviction that reform is needed. The community is tired of
the reproaches of foreigners, and of the more serious evils of homes
desolated by disease, and lives turned to tragedies. Morbid anatomy has
long enough served as a type of feminine loveliness; our polite society
has long enough been a series of soirées of incurables. Health is coming
into fashion. A mercantile parent lately told me that already in his
town, if a girl could vault a five-barred gate, her prospects for a
husband were considered to be improved ten per cent.; and every one
knows that there is no metre of public sentiment so infallible as the
stock-market. Now that the country is becoming safe, we must again turn
our attention to the health of our girls. Unless they are healthy,
the country is not safe. No where can their physical condition be so
important as in a republic. The utmost attention was paid to the bodily
training of Victoria, because she was to be a queen and the mother of
kings. By the theory of our government, however imperfectly applied as
yet, this is the precise position of every American girl. Voltaire
said that the fate of nations had often depended on the gout of a
prime-minister; and the fate of our institutions may hang on the precise
temperament which our next President shall have inherited from his

       *       *       *       *       *


  The starry flower, the flower-like stars that fade
  And brighten with the daylight and the dark,
  The bluet in the green I faintly mark,
  And glimmering crags with laurel overlaid,
  Even to the Lord of light, the Lamp of shade,
  Shine one to me,--the least still glorious made
  As crownèd moon or heaven's great hierarch.
  And, so, dim grassy flower and night-lit spark
  Still move me on and upward for the True;
  Seeking, through change, growth, death, in new and old,
  The full in few, the statelier in the less,
  With patient pain; always remembering this,--
  His hand, who touched the sod with showers of gold,
  Stippled Orion on the midnight blue.




Among the stock fallacies which belong to public writers and thinkers,
and which exercise a kind of conventional influence as often as they are
paraded, there is none greater than this,--that History always repeats
herself, because Human Nature never changes. The Tories of all ages and
countries content themselves and alarm their neighbors by an adroit
interpolation of this formula in their speech. They create the alarm
because they are contented and intend to remain so. Successive audiences
yield, as to the circus-jokes of the clown, who hits his traditional
laugh in the same place so often that it is a wonder the place is not
worn through. But people of a finer wit are not so easily surprised. If
they bore a fair numerical proportion to the listeners of _doctrinaires_
and alarmists, the repetition would be eventually resisted, with an
indignation equal to the amount of literary and political damage which
it had effected.

If people mean, when they say that Human Nature is always the same, that
a few primitive impulses appear through the disguise of all ages and
races, which can be modified, but never extinguished, which work and
are worked upon, are capable of doing good or harm according to
circumstances, but are at all events the conditions of life and motion,
it is fortunately true. That is to say, it is very fortunate that men
and women inhabit the earth. Their great, simple features uplift and
keep all landscapes in their places, and prevent life from falling
through into the molten and chaotic forces underneath. These rugged
water-sheds inclose, configure, temper, fertilize, and also perturb,
the great scenes and stretches of history. They hold the moisture, the
metal, the gem, the seeds of alternating forests and the patient routine
of countless harvests. Superficially it is a great way round from
the lichen to the vine, but not so far by way of the centre. The
many-colored and astonishing life conceals a few simple motives.
Certainly it is a grand and lucky thing that there are so many people
grouped along the lines of divine consistency.

Men will not starve, if they can help it, nor thirst, if water can be
gathered in the palm or reached by digging. If they succeed in making a
cup, they betray a tendency to ornament its rim or stem, or to emboss a
story on its side. They are not disposed to become food for animals,
or to remain unprotected from the climate. They like to have the
opportunity of supplying their own wants and luxuries, and will resist
any tyrannical interference with the methods they prefer. They propagate
their race, and collect in communities for defence and social advantage.
When thus collected, they will learn to talk, to write, to symbolize,
to construct something, be it a medicine-lodge or a Parthenon. Their
primitive sense of an invisible and spiritual agency assumes the forms
of their ignorance and of their disposition: dread and cruelty, awe and
size, fancy and proportion, gentleness and simplicity, will be found
together in the rites and constructions of religion. They like to make
the whole tribe or generation conform; and it is dangerous to oppose
this tendency to preserve the shape of society from within and to
protect it against assaults from without. These are motives originally
independent of circumstances, and which made the first circumstances by
coming in contact with the elements of the physical world.

But these circumstances are not always and everywhere as invariable
as the primitive wants which first set them in motion. Enlargement of
knowledge, of political and human relations, of the tenure of the earth,
increases the number and variety of circumstances, and combines them
so unexpectedly that it is a science to discover their laws, and the
conditions of action and reaction between men and things that happen. We
can depend upon Human Nature, but the problem always remains, What shall
be expected of Human Nature under this or that modification of its
external environment? Great laws from without act as well as great
laws from within. If we knew all the laws, we should know what average
consequences to expect. But in the mean time we shall commit the error
of supposing that History does nothing but repeat itself, fretfully
crooning into the "dull ear" of age a twice-told tale, if we do not
allow for the modifications amid which the primitive impulses find
themselves at work.

And besides, there is a difference in individuals; one set of people
alone is too poor to furnish us with an idea of human nature. It is
natural for Themistocles, Pausanias, or Benedict Arnold, under suspicion
or ill-treatment, to desert to the enemy, and propose crushing his
country for a balm to apply to wounded feelings. But General Fremont,
in similar circumstances, will derive comfort from his loyal heart, and
wait in hopes that at least a musket may be put into his hands with
which to trust him against the foe. These are very simple variations;
they turn upon the proportion of selfish feeling which the men possess.
A self-seeking man will turn villain under the encroachment of other
people's egotism. The sight of too many trophies will convert a friend
into a covert enemy, who, without being treacherous, will nevertheless
betray a great cause by his jealousy of its great supporter. But the
latter will not always become a traitor to suit the expectations of an
envious friendship. And your own judgment of men and prophecy of events,
if based entirely upon selfish calculation, will entirely fail.

Nations differ also, in spite of the similar things that they do in
analogous circumstances. Both Rome and England will not have too
ambitious neighbors. They hate a preponderating power, and find out
some way to get rid of the threat to their national egotism. The Romans
exterminate the Veians and Carthaginians; they want no colonizing or
commercial rivals. If England rules the sea, and uses its advantage to
create markets where it can buy at the cheapest and sell at the dearest
rates, we can understand its inexpensive sympathy for the people who can
manufacture little and therefore have to import a great deal, who are
thus the natural, disinterested lovers of free trade. It is very easy to
see why England turns red in the Crimea with the effort to lift up that
bag of rags called Turkey, to set it on the overland route to India; one
decayed nation makes a very good buffer to break the shock of natural
competition in the using up of another. It was the constant policy of
Rome to tolerate and patronize the various people in its provinces, to
respect, if not to understand, their religions, and to protect them from
the peculator. She was not so drunk with dominion as not to see that her
own comfort and safety were involved in this bearing to inferior and
half-effete races. On the other hand, England, with far stronger motives
of interest to imitate that policy, disregarding the prophecies of her
best minds, takes no pains to understand, and of course misgoverns and
outrages her poor nebulous Bengalese, and forces the opium which they
cultivate upon the Chinese whom it demoralizes. Is this difference
merely the difference between a pocket in a toga and one in the
trousers? But a nerve from the moral sense does, nevertheless, spread
into _papilloe_ over the surface of the tighter pocket, not entirely
blunted by yellow potations; so that the human as well as financial
advantage of Jamaica emancipation is perceived. Should we expect this
from the nation which undertook the destruction of the Danish fleet
before Copenhagen in 1801, without even the formality of a declaration
of war, on the suspicion that the Dane preferred to sympathize with
France? What moral clamor could have made the selfish exigency of that
act appear more damaging than a coalition of all the fleets of Europe?
Yet plantation fanaticism did not prevent the great act from which we
augured English hatred of a slaveholders' rebellion. Probably the lining
membrane of a pocket may have intermitted accesses of induration:
we must consult circumstances, if we would know what to expect. An
extraordinary vintage or a great fruit year will follow a long series of
scant or average crops; but we can count upon the average.

But unless circumstances are constant, it matters little how constant
tempers and tendencies may be; and the expectations which we found upon
the general action of avarice, credulity, bigotry, self-seeking, or
any of the debased forms of legitimate human impulses, will often
be disappointed by results. Prepare the favorite climate, moisture,
exposure of a foreign plant, imitate its latitude and air and soil: it
will not necessarily grow at all, or, growing, it will only surprise you
by some alteration of its native features. Results are better chemists
than we, and their delicate root-fibres test the ground more accurately;
we shall find them languishing for some favorite elements, or colored
and persuaded by novel ones. History must remember the constants of
Man and of Nature, but be always expecting their variables, lest her
prophetic gift fall into ill-repute.

Thus, give unlimited power to the Catholic, and he cannot anywhere set
up his old-fashioned absolutism, unless you can manage at the same time
to furnish him with Roman and Spanish people, and the fifteenth century.
Yet we, too, have trembled at the imaginary horrors of Popery. All the
power you can thrust and pile upon the Catholic in America will become
an instrument to further the country's tendency towards light, as it
drags the human impulses away from the despotic past. All the Jesuits,
and prize bulls by every steamer, relays of papal agents, and
Corpus-Christi processions in the streets of Boston, will hardly lift
the shoulders of the great protesting country, as it turns to stare from
its tilling, steaming, pioneering, emancipating task.

It is not difficult to see why the revolts of peasants in the Middle
Ages were marked by horrible excesses,--why diplomatic Catholicism
prepared a St. Bartholomew's Eve for Paris,--why Dutch and Scotch
Protestants defaced and trampled under foot ecclesiastical Art,--why
German princes proclaimed a crusade against budding Protestantism and
Pan-slavism under Ziska and Procopius in Bohemia,--why the fagots were
fired at Constance, Prague, and Smithfield, and Pequod wigwams in New
England. All dreadful scenes, by simply taking place, show that they
have reason for it. But will they take place again? A Black Douglas did
undoubtedly live, and he was the nursery-threat for fractious Scotch
children during several generations; the Douglas never caught one of
them, but the threat did. So we are plied with stock-phrases, such as
"the Reign of Terror" and "the Horrors of San Domingo," and History is
abjectly conjured not to repeat herself, as she certainly will do, if
she goes on in the old way. Of course she will. But does she propose to
furnish a fac-simile of any critical epoch which haunts the imaginations
of mankind? That depends upon circumstances. The same barrel will play a
fresh tune by a hair's-breadth shifting of a spring. Two epochs may seem
to be exactly alike, and the men who only remember may seek to terrify
the men who hope by exposing the resemblance. But unless they can show
that all the circumstances are identical, they have no right to infect
the morning with their twilight fears. History insensibly modifies her
plan to secure the maximum of progress with the minimum of catastrophes,
and she repels the flippant insinuation that her children win all their
fresh advantages at the expense of the old crimes.

The story of Hayti is worth telling, apart from its bearing upon
questions connected with the emancipation of slaves. It is a striking
record of the degradation of fine races and the elevation of inferior
ones, and shows with what ease Nature can transfer her good points from
her gifted children and unexpectedly endow with them her neglected
ones,--thus affording us a hint of something that is more permanent and
irreversible than ethnological distinctions, by repeating within our own
time her humane way with her old barbarians whose hair was long. From
them sprang the races which never could have dominated by cunning and
force alone, and which have to lay down their dominion when they have
exhausted everything but force and cunning. It is a story of the
desolation in which the avarice and wrath of man must always travel:
colonial prosperity was nothing but a howling war-path blazed directly
across stately and beautiful human nature. It shows the blood which the
fine hands of luxury never could wash off; the terrible secret at last
betrayed itself. In telling this story, the horrors of San Domingo are
accounted for, and whatever was exceptional in the circumstances is
at the same time marked, to prevent them from being applied without
discrimination to the present condition of America. But the story must
be told from the beginning, for its own sake; otherwise it will be a
bad story, without a moral. If the main features of it are carefully
preserved, it will make its own application.

That, however, is fatal to any attempt to infect minds with the Haytian
bug-bear, now that political discussion threatens to ravage the country
which our arms are saving. It has been used before, when it was
necessary to save the Union and to render anti-slavery sentiment odious.
The weak and designing, and all who wait for the war to achieve a
constitutional recurrence of our national malady, will use it again to
defeat the great act of justice and the people's great necessity.

Slavery is a continual conspiracy. Its life depends upon intrigue,
aggression, adroit combinations with other forms of human selfishness.
The people at the North who at this moment hate to hear the word
Emancipation mentioned, and who insist that the war shall merely restore
things to their original position, are the people who always hated the
phrase "Anti-Slavery," who will be ready to form a fresh coalition with
Slavery for the sake of recovering or creating political advantages,
and whom the South will know how to use again, by reviving ancient
prejudices, and making its very wounds a cause for sympathy. Slavery
will be the nucleus of political combinations so long as it can preserve
its constitutional and commercial advantages,--while it can sell its
cotton and recover its fugitives. Is the precious blood already
spilled in this war to become, as it congeals, nothing but cement to
fugitive-slave bills, and the basis of three-fifths, and the internal
slave-trade? For this we spend three millions a day, and lives whose
value cannot be expressed in dollars,--for this anguish will sit for
years at thousands of desolate hearths, and be the only legacy of
fatherless children. For what glory will they inherit whose fathers fell
to save still a chance or two for Slavery? It is for this we are willing
to incur the moral and financial hazards of a great struggle,--to
furnish an Anti-Republican party of reconstructionists with a bridge
for Slavery to reach a Northern platform, to frown at us again from the
chair of State. The Federal picket who perchance fell last night upon
some obscure outpost of our great line of Freedom has gone up to Heaven
protesting against such cruel expectations, wherever they exist; and
they exist wherever apathy exists, and old hatred lingers, and wherever
minds are cowed and demoralized by the difficulties of this question. In
his body is a bullet run by Slavery, and sent by its unerring purpose;
his comrades will raise over him a little hillock upon which Slavery
will creep to look out for future chances,--ruthlessly scanning the
political horizon from the graves of our unnamed heroes. This, and eight
dollars a month, will his wife inherit; and if she ever sees his grave,
she will see a redoubt which the breast of her husband raises for some
future defence of Slavery. The People, who are waging this war, and
who are actually getting at the foe through the bristling ranks of
politicians and contractors, must have such a moral opinion upon this
question as to defeat these dreadful possibilities. Let us be patient,
because we see some difficulties; but let us give up the war itself
sooner than our resolution, that, either by this war, or after it,
Slavery shall be stripped of its insignia, and turned out to cold and
irretrievable disgrace, weaponless, fangless, and with no object in the
world worthy of its cunning. We can be patient, but we must also be
instant and unanimous in insisting that the whole of Slavery shall pay
the whole of Freedom's bill. Then the dear names whose sound summons
imperatively our tears shall be proudly handed in by us to History, as
we bid her go with us from grave to grave to see how the faith of a
people watched them against the great American Body Snatcher, and kept
them inviolate to be her memorials. We feel our hearts reinforced by the
precious blood which trickled from Ball's Bluff into the Potomac, and
was carried thence into the great sea of our conscience, tumultuous with
pride, anger, and resolve. The drops feed the country's future, wherever
they are caught first by our free convictions ere they sink into the
beloved soil. Let us be instant, be incisive with our resolution, that
peace may not be the mother of another war, and our own victory rout

Blow, North-wind, blow! Keep that bearded field of bayonets levelled
southward! Rustle, robes of Liberty, who art walking terribly over the
land, with sombre countenance, and garments rolled in blood! See, she
advances with one hand armed with Justice, while the other points to
that exquisite symmetry half revealed, as if beckoning thitherward her
children back again to the pure founts of life! "Be not afraid," she
cries, "of the noise of my garments and their blood-stains; for this is
the blood of a new covenant of Freedom, shed to redeem and perpetuate a
chosen land."



This old haunted house of Hayti had many occupants, who left as
heirlooms generation upon generation of hateful memories. Their dreams,
their deeds, their terrific tempers, lurked for the newcomers, and
harried them forth or made them kin. It is a cumulative story of dire
and fateful proceedings, like the story of the family of Pelops. It must
be told with deliberation. So the place, the climate, the aborigines,
the early atrocities, the importation of new races and characteristics,
command consideration as inevitable elements of the narrative.

This spot of the New World was the first to ache beneath the white man's
greedy and superstitious tread. A tenacious Gothic race, after its long
blockade by Moors in the northern mountains of the Iberian Peninsula,
had lately succeeded in recovering the last stronghold of Arab power and
learning. Fresh from the atrocities of that contest, its natural bigotry
deepened by its own struggle for national existence, sombre, fanatical,
cruel, and avaricious, but enterprising and indomitable, it is wafted
across the ocean by Columbus, to expend its propensities unchecked
against a weaker and less characteristic barbarism. What might be
expected, when a few noble men succeed in transporting the worst
features of their own country, in such numbers of intractable people,
the raking of seaports, with little on board in the way of religion,
save the traditions of the Church and the materials for exhibiting the
drama of the Mass! This is the contingent which civilization detaches
for the settlement of another world. It effaces a smiling barbarism by a
saturnine and gloomy one, as when a great forest slides from some height
over a wild gay meadow. These capable, cruel men went sailing among the
Bahamas, soothed by the novelty and delight of finding land, and tried
to behave at first as men do among artless children who measure every
thing by their own scantiness; for they compelled themselves to be very
mild and condescending, till, after various mischances and rebuffs by
sea and land, the temper breaks forth in rage at disappointments, and
Hayti is the first place which is blasted by that frightful Spanish
scowl. The change was as sudden as that from calm weather to one of her
tempests. The whole subsequent history seems as if it were the revenge
of Columbus's own imagination, when the sober truth was discovered
instead of Cipango and the King of India. Thus was the New World
unsettled, and the horrors of San Domingo committed to the soil.

Nearly the whole of Hayti lies between the eighteenth and twentieth
degrees of latitude, and the sixty-ninth, and seventy-fifth of
longitude. Its greatest length is three hundred and forty miles, its
greatest breadth, one hundred and thirty-two. It has a surface of
somewhat more than twenty-seven thousand square miles, or about eighteen
million square acres. The greater part of this is mountain-land. There
are three extensive plains,--La Vega in the east, Santiago in the
north, and Les Plaines in the southeast. These are distinct from the
Savannas.[A] The island is about the size of the State of Maine. Its
shape is peculiar, as it widens gradually from its southeastern end to
nearly the centre of its greatest length, whence the southern coast
trends rapidly to the north and west and stretches into a peninsula,
like a long mandible, corresponding to which on the northern coast is
another half as long, like a broken one, and between these lies a great
bay with the uncultivated island of Gonaive. The eastern part of the
island has also the small peninsula of Saniana, lying along the bay of
that name. The surface is covered by mountains which appear at first to
be tossed together wildly, without system or mutual relation, but they
can be described, upon closer inspection, as four ranges, with a general
parallelism, extending nearly east and west, but broken in the centre
by the Cibao ridge, which radiates in every direction from two or three
peaks, the highest in the island. Their height is reputed to be nine
thousand feet, but they have not yet been accurately measured. The
mountains of La Hotte, which form the long southern tongue of land,
rise to the height of seven thousand feet. They are all of calcareous
formation, and abound in the caverns which are found in limestone
regions. Some of these have their openings on the coast, and are
supposed to extend very far inland; they receive the tide, and reject it
with a bellowing noise, as the pent air struggles with it under their
arched roofs. These were called by the Spaniards _baxos roncadores_,
droning or snoring basses. The French had a name, _le gouffre_, the
gulf, to describe these noises; but they also applied it to the
subterranean rumbling, accompanied with explosions and violent
vibrations of the ground, which is caused by the heavy rains soaking
through the porous stone, after the dry season has heated the whole
surface of the island. The steaming water makes the earth groan and
shake as it forces its way through the crevices, feeling for an outlet,
or thrown back upon its own increasing current. These mysterious noises
filled with awe the native priests who managed the superstition of the
island before the Spaniards introduced another kind: no doubt they
served for omens, to incite or to deter, voices of Chthonian deities,
which needed interpreting in the interest of some great cacique who
would not budge upon his business without the sanction of religion. Many
a buccaneer, in after-times, who quailed before no mortal thunders made
by French or Spanish navies, was soundly frightened by the gigantic
snoring beneath his feet into reviewing his career, and calculating the
thickness of the crust between himself and his impatient retribution.

[Footnote A: Savanna was a Haytian word spelt and pronounced by
Spaniards. It is a plain of grass, affording pasturage in the rainy
season; but a few shrubs also grow upon it. _Pampas_ are vast plains
without vegetation except during three months of the rainy season, when
they yield fine grass. The word is Peruvian; was originally applied to
the plains at the mouth of the La Plata. But the plains of Guiana and
tropical America, which the Spaniards called _Llanos_, are also pampas.
The Hungarian pasture-lands, called _Puszta_, are savannas. A _Steppe_
is properly a vast extent of country, slightly rolling, without woods,
but not without large plants and herbs. In Russia there are sometimes
thickets eight or ten feet high. The salt deserts in Russia are not
called steppes, but _Solniye_. Pampas and deserts are found alternating
with steppes. A _Desert_ may have a sparing vegetation, and so differ
from pampas: if it has any plants, they are scrubby and fibrous, with
few leaves, and of a grayish color, and so it differs from steppes and
savannas. But there are rocky and gravelly, sandy and salt deserts:
gravelly, for instance, in Asia Minor, principally in the district known
to the ancients as the [Greek: katakekaumegae]. A _Heath_ is a level
covered with the plants to which that name has been applied. Finally, a
_Prairie_ differs from a savanna only in being under a zone where the
seasons are not marked as wet and dry, but where the herbage corresponds
to a variable moisture.]

The words _crête_, _pic_, and _montagne_ are sometimes applied to the
peaks and ridges of the island, but the word _morne_, which is a Creole
corruption of _montagne_, is in common use to designate all the elevated
land, the extended ridges which serve as water-sheds for the torrents
of the rainy season, as well as the isolated hillocks, clothed in wood,
which look like huge hay-cocks,--those, for instance, which rise in the
rear of Cap Haytien. The aspect of the higher hills in the interior
might mislead an etymologist to derive the word _morne_ from the French
adjective which means _gloomy_, they are so marked by the ravages of the
hurricane and earthquake, so ploughed up into decrepit features by the
rains, the pitiless vertical heat, the fires, and the landslides. The
soft rock cannot preserve its outlines beneath all these influences; its
thin covering of soil is carried off to make the river-silt, and then
it crumbles away beneath the weather. Great ruts are scored through the
forests where the rock has let whole acres of trees and rubbish slip;
they sometimes cover the negro-cabins and the coffee-walks below. These
mountains are capricious and disordered masses of grayish stone; there
are no sustained lines which sweep upward from the green plantations and
cut sharply across the sky, no unchangeable walls of cool shadow, no
delicate curves, as in other hills, where the symmetry itself seems
to protect the material from the wear and tear of the atmosphere. The
_mornes_ are decaying hills; they look as if they emerged first from the
ocean and were the oldest parts of the earth, not merely weather-beaten,
but profligately used up with a too tropical career, which deprives
their age of all grandeur: they bewilder and depress.

There are delightful valleys below these sullen hills. In the dry season
their torrents are stony bridle-paths, with only two or three inches
of water, along which the traveller can pass from the flourishing
plantations, where all the forms of a torrid vegetation are displayed,
into this upper region of decay. The transition is sudden and
unpleasant. Everything below is stately, exuberant: the sugar-cane, the
cotton-tree, the coffee-shrub are suggestive of luxury; the orange
and lemon shine through the glossy leaves; the palm-tree, the elegant
_papayo_, the dark green candle-wood, the feathery bamboo, the fig,
the banana, the mahogany, the enormous _Bombax ceiba_, the sablier,[B]
display their various shapes; shrubs and bushes, such as the green
and red pimento, the vanilla, the pomegranate, the citron, the
sweet-smelling acacia, and the red jasmine, contest the claim to delight
one's senses; and various flowers cover the meadows and cluster along
the shallow water-courses. No venomous reptiles lurk in these fragrant
places: the seed-tick, mosquito, and a spiteful little fly are the
greatest annoyances. The horned lizard, which the Indians esteemed so
delicate, and the ferocious crocodile, or caiman, haunt the secluded
sands and large streams, and the lagoons which form in marshy places.

[Footnote B: _Hura crepitans_, one of the handsomest trees in the West
Indies, called _sablier_ because its fruit makes a very convenient
sandbox, when not fully ripe, by removing the seeds. It is of a
horn-color, about three and a half inches wide and two high, and looks
like a little striped melon. The ripe fruit, on taking out one of the
twelve woody cells which compose it, will explode with a noise like a
pistol, each cell giving a double report. This sometimes takes place
while the fruit is hanging on the tree, and sometimes when it stands
upon the table filled with sand. To prevent this, it is prettily hooped
with gold, silver, or ivory.]

The trees and thickets do not glitter with fruits alone: gay birds fill
them with shifting colors, and a confusion of odd, plaintive, or excited
notes. Several kinds of pigeons, paroquets, thrushes, bright violet
and scarlet tanagras go foraging among the bananas, the rice, and
the millet. The ponds of the savannas are frequented by six or eight
varieties of wild ducks, and the wild goose; woodcock and plover abound
in the marshy neighborhoods; and the white crane, the swan, different
kinds of herons, and an ibis are found near the sea. On the shores
stand pelicans and cormorants absorbed in fishing enterprises, and the
flamingo,[C] whose note of alarm sounds like a trumpet.

[Footnote C: When the English were meditating a descent upon the coast
of Gonaive, a negro happened to see a prodigious number of these
red-coated birds ranked on the savanna near the sea, as their habit is,
in companies. He rushed into the town, shouting, _"Z'Anglais, yo après
veni, yo en pile dans savanne l'Hôpital!"_ "The English, they are after
coming, they are drawn up on l'Hôpital savanna!" The _générale_
was beaten, the posts doubled, and a strong party was sent out to

The pelican is a source of great amusement to the negroes. They call
this bird _blague à diable_, because of the incredible number of fish it
can stow away in its pouch. They call the cormorant _grand gosier_, big
gullet; and they make use of the membranous pocket which is found under
the lower mandible of its beak to carry their smoking tobacco, fancying
that it enhances the quality and keeps it fresh. Among the queer birds
is the _cra-cra_, or crocodile's valet, a bold and restless bird with
a harsh cry, represented in its name, which it uses to advertise the
dozing crocodile of any hostile approach. It is a great annoyance to the
sportsman by mixing with the wild ducks and alarming them with the same
nervous cry.]

Charming valleys open to sight from the coast, where the limestone
bluffs let in the bays. The eye follows the rivulets as they wind
through green, sequestered places, till the hills bar the view, but do
not prevent the fancy from exploring farther, and losing itself in a
surmise of glens filled with rare vegetation and kept quiet by the
inclosing shadows. From the sea this picture is especially refreshing,
with the heat left out which is reflected with great power from the
sandy rocks and every denuded surface. Below all appears beautiful,
luxurious, and new; but above the signs of decrepitude appear, and the
broad wastes stretch where little grows except the _bayaonde_, (_Mimosa
urens_,) with its long murderous spines and ugly pods. Sudden contrasts
and absence of delicate gradations mark the whole face of the island.
All is extreme; and the mind grows disquieted amid these isolated

The climate also corresponds to this region of luxury and desolation.
From November to April everything is parched with heat; some of the
trees lose their leaves, the rest become brown, and all growth ceases.
From April to November everything is wet; vegetation revives without a
spring, and the slender streams suddenly become furious rivers, which
often sweep away the improvements of man, and change the face of the
country in a single night. During the dry season the inhabitants depend
upon the sea-breeze which blows in over the heated land to replace
the rarefied air. It blows from six in the morning to three in the
afternoon, in the eastern part of the island; in other parts, from
nine to three. But frequently a furious northeast wind interrupts
this refreshing arrangement: the air becomes hard and cold; thick,
wintry-looking clouds sweep over the hills; the inhabitants shut
themselves up in their houses to escape the rheumatism, which is a
prevalent infliction; a March weather which was apparently destined for
New England seems to have got entangled and lost among these fervid
hills. The languid Creole life is overtaken by universal discomfort.

Great fires break out over the elevated plateaus and hill-sides, during
the dry season. They sweep with incredible rapidity across great tracts,
levelling everything in the way. The mountains seem tipped with volcanic
flames. The angry glow spreads over the night, and its smoke mixes with
the parched air by day. These fires commence by some carelessness,
though they are sometimes attributed to the action of the son's rays,
concentrated by the gray cliffs upon great masses of vegetation dried to

In the rainy season the earthquakes occur; and not a year passes without
the experience of several shocks in different parts of the island. The
northern part is exempt from them.[D] Those which take place in the
west, around the shores of the great bay upon which Port-au-Prince is
situated, are severe, and sometimes very disastrous. At mid-day the
wind falls instantly, there is a dead calm on land and sea, the heat
is consequently more intense, and the atmosphere suffocating; then the
vibrations occur, after which the wind begins to blow again. Sometimes,
at an interval of ten or twelve hours, there is a supplementary shock,
less violent than the first one. It is said that the coast-caves bellow
just before an earthquake. Their noise probably seems more emphatic In
the sudden calm which is the real announcement of the earth's shudder.

[Footnote D: Not entirely. The great earthquake of the 7th of May, 1842,
was very destructive at Cap Haytien. On this occasion Port-au-Prince
escaped with little injury.]

Port-au-Prince was entirely destroyed by an earthquake in June, 1770.
The Inhabitants built the new town upon the edge of the gulf which had
just swallowed up their old one, convinced that the same disaster would
not recur in the same spot. But that region is peculiarly sensitive: the
subterranean connections with the Mexican and South-American volcanic
districts chronicle disturbances whose centre is remote.

The rains are short and frequent showers, very heavy, and almost always
accompanied by violent electric phenomena. By June they are at their
height. Then the land-slides take place, which often affect seriously
the cultivation, not only by their direct ravages, but by the changes
which they make in the water-courses: large tracts of good soil are
turned into swamp-land, the rivers are forced to bend out of their
direction and to desert places which depended upon them for irrigation.
These damages were seldom repaired, for the indolent planter would not
undertake the work of draining and of permanently securing the tillable
surface of his land. It is good luck, if a land-slide, instead of
creating a new morass, fills up an old one.

As if completely to unsettle any claim that this Creole climate might
make to character, the hurricane leaves its awful trace upon the island.
This rotating storm of wind has its origin to the east of the Caribbee
Islands; its long parabolic curve sweeps over them, and bends to the
northeast below Florida. In its centre, as it moves, it carries a lull
whose breadth varies from five to thirty miles. This dreadful calm comes
suddenly in the height of the storm, and is as suddenly interrupted,
after lasting sometimes for half an hour, by the revolving edge of the
wind. Torrents of rain go with it, and heavy thunder, and it brings from
the sea an enormous wave, which sweeps harbors clean of their ships, and
runs up, like an earthquake-wave, upon the shore. This vortex, moving
often a hundred miles an hour, takes hold of the _Bombax ceiba_ like an
enormous proboscis, pulls it from the thin soil of the tropics despite
the great lateral clutch of its knotty roots, and swallows it up.
Houses, cultivated fields, men and animals, are obliterated by its heavy

In some years no less than three hurricanes have occurred in the West
Indies. Father Du Tertre, a French missionary in St. Christophe,
describes one which he witnessed in 1642,--a year memorable for three.
During the second of these, more than twenty vessels, laden with
colonial produce and just ready to sail for Europe, were wrecked in the
harbor, including the ship of De Ruyter, the Dutch Admiral. The island
was swept of houses, trees, cattle, and birds; the manioc and tobacco
plants were destroyed, and only one cotton shrub survived. The shores
were covered with dead fishes blown out of the water, and the bodies of
ship-wrecked men. The salt-works were flooded and spoiled, and all the
provisions on the island were so damaged that the inhabitants were put
on rations of biscuit till the arrival of vessels from France.

Another storm like this desolated Martinique in 1657; and the annals of
most of the islands abound in similar narratives. They are less severe
in Hayti, and seldom sweep violently over Cuba. The word _hurricane_ is
a European adaptation of a Carib word, borrowed by the Haytian Indians
from the natives of the Antilles.

The inhabitants of Hayti do not agree in the statements which they make
concerning their climate. The commencement of the two seasons, the range
of the thermometer, the duration of the different winds, the liability
to earthquakes, are subjects upon which the North is at variance with
the East, and the West with both. The most trustworthy notices of these
phenomena are held to represent that portion of the island which
was formerly occupied by the French. Still the variations cannot be
important over so small an area: the petty and fitful changes of every
day are more noticeable, but the climate has its average within which
these local caprices occur.

In another climate the mountains would present a gradation of vegetable
growth, from the tropical through the temperate to the northern zone.
And this can be traced in some quarters, where the palm and mahogany are
succeeded by resinous trees, of which there are several varieties, till
the bare summits show only lichens and stunted shrubs. But the seasons
do not harmonize with this graduated rise of the mountain-chains, and
the temperate forms are interrupted, or confined to a few localities.
Yet the people who live upon the _mornes_, those for instance which are
drained by Trois-Rivières in the northwestern part of the island, are
healthier and plumper, and the Creoles have a fresher look, than the
inhabitants of the plains. In the still more elevated regions the cold
is frequently so great that people do not like to live there. Newly
imported negroes frequently perished, if they were carried up into the
southern range of mountains; and the dependent Creole was forced to
abandon places where the slave could not go.

It would be singular, if a place of such marked natural features, and
with such phenomena of climate, should have no perceptible effects upon
the Eastern races of all kinds which have been transported there. We
shall expect that the Creole will betray a certain harmony with his
petulant and capricious skies, and imitate the grace and exuberance of
the tropical forms amid which he lives, the languor of the air that
broods over them, its flattering calms and fierce transitions; he will
mature early and wilt at maturity with passions that despise moderation
and impulses that are incapable of continuity. In Hayti the day itself
rushes precipitately into the sky, and is gone as suddenly: there is no
calm broadening of dawn, and no lingering hours of twilight. The light
itself is a passion which fiercely revels among the fruits and flowers
that exhale for it ardently; it gluts, and then suddenly spurns them
for new conquests. Nothing can live and flourish here which has not the
innate temperament of the place.

One would not expect to find great wealth in these gray-looking
mountains of simple and uniform structure; yet they abound in stones and
metals. Besides the different kinds of marble, which it is not strange
to find, diamonds also, jasper, agates, onyx, topaz, and other stones, a
kind of jade and of malachite, are found in a great many places. Copper
exists in considerable quantities in the neighborhood of Dondon and
Jacmel, and in the Cibao; silver is found near San Domingo, and in
various places in the Cibao, together with cinnabar, cobalt, bismuth,
zinc, antimony, and lead in the Cibao, near Dondon and Azua, blue cobalt
that serves for painting on porcelain, the gray, black specular nickel,
etc.; native iron near the Bay of Samana, in the Mornes-du-Cap, and at
Haut-and Bas-Moustique; other forms of that metal abound in numerous
places, crystallized, spathic, micaceous, etc. Nitre can be procured in
the Cibao, that great storehouse which has specimens of almost every
metal, salt, and mineral; borax at Jacmel and Dondon, native alum at
Dondon, and aluminous earth near Port-au-Prince; vitriol, of various
forms, in a dozen places; naphtha, petroleum, and asphaltum at Banique,
and sulphur in different shapes at Marmalade, La Soufrière, etc. The
catalogue of this wealth would be tedious to draw up.

The reports concerning gold do not agree. It is maintained that there
are mines and washings which have been neglected, or improperly worked,
and that a vigorous exploration would reopen this source of wealth; but
it is also said as confidently that the Spaniards took off all the gold,
and were reduced to working mines of copper, before the middle of the
sixteenth century. It is certain, however, that great quantities of gold
were taken from the island by the Spaniards, while they had the natives
to perform the labor. The principal sources from which gold can be
procured are in the part of the island formerly occupied by the
Spaniards; and when their power decayed, all important labors came to an
end. But Oviedo records several lumps of gold of considerable size: one
was Bobadilla's lump, found, during his government, at Bonne Aventure,
which was worth thirty-six hundred _castellanos_, or $19,153. This was
lost at sea on the way to Spain. The finding of pieces in the River
Yaqui weighing nine ounces was occasionally recorded, and pieces of
pure gold, without the least mixture, more than three inches in
circumference, in the River Verte: they were undoubtedly found much
oftener than recorded. Good authorities, writing at the close of the
last century, declare that the mines of Cibao alone furnished more gold
than all Europe had in circulation at that time. All the larger streams,
and the basins near their sources, furnished gold.

Bobadilla's lump was found by a slave of Francisco de Garay, afterwards
Governor of Jamaica. He and the famous Diaz worked a mine together in
San Domingo. His slave was poking about with a pike in the shallows of
the River Hayna, when the head struck the metal. Garay was so rejoiced
that he sacrificed a pig, which was served upon this extemporaneous
platter, and he boasted that there was no such dish in Europe. Twenty
other ships with gold on board went down in the storm which swallowed up
Garay's waif.[E]

[Footnote E: Great quantities of gold were embezzled by the Spanish
officials. Las Casas in his lively arguments with the Council of State
in behalf of the Indians, always insisted that his plan for controlling
them would be more profitable as well as humane. He promised large
increase of treasure, and showed how the royal officers appropriated the
gold which they extorted from the natives. Piedro Arias, for instance,
spent six years at Castilla-du-Oro, at a cost to the Government of
fifty-four thousand ducats, during which time he divided a million's
worth of gold with his officers, at the expense of thousands of natives,
whose lives were the flux of the metallic ore, while he paid only three
thousand _pesos_ for the king's fifth.--Llorente: _Oeuvres de Las
Casas_, Tom. II--p.472.]

Many French writers have maintained that the Indians procured their
golden ornaments from Yucatan and other points of the main-land, by way
of traffic. But they had nothing to barter, and their ornaments were
numerous. Besides, the Spaniards found in various places near the rivers
the holes and slight diggings whence the gold had been procured. It is
said that the Haytian natives only washed for gold, but the Caribs had
frequented the island long previously, and they without doubt earned
gold away from it. The Spaniards were deceived by the Haytians, who
did not wish to dig gold under the lash to glitter on the velvet of

It is difficult, as Humboldt says, to distinguish, in the calculations
by the Spanish writers of the amount of gold sent to Spain, "between
that obtained by washings and that which had been accumulated for ages
in the hands of the natives, who were pillaged at will." He inclines,
however, to the opinion, that a scientific system of mining would renew
the supply of gold, which may not be represented by the scanty washings
that have been occasionally tried in Hayti and Cuba. In Hayti, "as well
as at Brazil, it would be more profitable to attempt subterraneous
workings, on veins, in primitive and intermediary soils, than to renew
the gold-washings which were abandoned in the ages of barbarism, rapine,
and carnage."[F]

[Footnote F: _Personal Narrative_, Vol. III. p. 163, note. Bohn's

But the chief interest which Spain took in Hayti was derived from
the collars and bracelets which shone dully against the skins of the
caciques and native women in the streets of Seville. It did not require
an exhausted treasury, and the clamor of a Neapolitan war for sinews,
to stimulate the appetite of a nation whose sensibility for gold was as
great as its superstition. Columbus triumphed over the imaginations of
men through their avarice; the procession of his dusky captives to the
feet of Isabella was as if the Earth-Spirit, holding a masque to tempt
Catholic majesties to the ruin of the mine, sent his familiars, "with
the earth-tint yet so freshly embrowned," to flatter with heron-crests,
the plumes of parrots, and the yellow ore. Behind that naked pomp the
well-doubleted nobles of Castile and Aragon trooped gayly with priests
and crosses, the pyx and the pax, and all the symbols of a holy Passion,
to crime and death.

Columbus discovered Guanahani, which he named San Salvador, on the
morning of the 12th of October, 1492. After cruising among these Lucayan
Islands, or Bahamas, for some time, he reached Cuba on the 28th of the
same month. His Lucayan interpreters were understood by the natives of
Cuba, notwithstanding they spoke a different dialect. They were also
understood at Hayti, which was reached on the 6th of December; but here
the Cuban interpreter was found to be more useful. Each island appeared
to have a dialect of a language whose origin has been variously
attributed to Florida, to Central America, and to the Caribbee Islands.
But the Indians of Central America could not understand the Cubans and
Haytians, and they in turn spoke a different language from the Caribs,
some of whose words they had borrowed. A favorite theory is, that the
_Ygneris_ were ancient inhabitants of the West Indian Islands, distinct
from the Caribs, who made their way from Florida by the Lucayan Islands,
leaving Hayti to the right, and reaching South America by that fringe of
islands that stretches from Porto Rico to Trinidad, through which the
great current is strained into the Caribbean Sea. Humboldt says,[G] in
noticing the difference between the language of the Carib men and their
women, that perhaps the women descended from the female captives made
in this movement, the men being as usual slain. But the Haytians also
claimed to have come from Florida. Perhaps, then, an emigration from
Florida, which may be called, for want of any historical data, that of
the Ygneris, covered all the West Indian Islands at a very early period,
to be overlapped, in part, by a succeeding emigration of Caribs who were
pressed out of Florida by the Appalachians.[H]

[Footnote G: _Personal Narrative_, Vol. III. p. 78, where see the
subject discussed at length.]

[Footnote H: _Histoire Générale des Antilles_, par Du Tertre, Paris,
1667, Tom. II. p. 360.]

The Caribs are supposed to have derived the compliment of their name,
which means "valiant men," from the Appalachians, who had great trouble
in dislodging them. They were very different from the Haytians: they cut
their hair very short in front, leaving a tuft upon the crown, bandaged
the legs of their children to make a calf that Mr. Thackeray's Jeames
would have envied, pulled out their beard hair by hair, and then
polished the chin, with rough leaves. A grand toilet included a coat of
scarlet paint, which protected them from the burning effect of the sun
and from the bites of insects. It also saved their skins from the scurf
and chapping which the sea-water occasioned. A Carib chief, in a full
suit of scarlet, excited once the anger of Madame Aubert, wife of a
French governor of Dominica, because he sat upon her couch, which had a
snowy dimity cover, and left there the larger portion of his pantaloons.
But afterwards, upon being invited to dine at the Government-House, he
determined to respect the furniture, and, seeing nothing so appropriate
as his plate, he removed it to his chair before he took his seat. The
Caribs, however, had such an inveterate preference for dining _au
naturel_, that they frequently served up natives themselves, whenever
that expensive luxury could be obtained. The Spaniards brought home the
word _Cannibal_, which was a Haytian pronunciation of Cariba (Galiba);
and it gradually came into use to express the well-known idea of a
man-eater. The South-American Caribs preserve this vicious taste.

The Caribs had not overrun the island of Hayti, but it was never free
from their incursions. That hardy and warlike race was feared by the
milder Haytians, who had been compelled, especially in the southern
provinces of the island, to study the arts of defence, which do not
appear to have been much esteemed by them. Their arms were of the
simplest description: wood pointed and hardened in the fire, arrows
tipped with fish-bone or turtle-shell, and clubs of the toughest
kinds of wood. The Caribs used arrows poisoned with the juice of the
manchineel, or pointed with formidable shark's-teeth, their clubs of
Brazil-wood were three feet long, and their lances of hardened wood
were thrown with great adroitness and to a great distance. The southern
Haytians learned, warlike habits from these encroaching Caribs, and were
less gentle than the natives whom Columbus first met along the northern

But they were all gentler, fairer, more graceful and simple than the
Caribs, or the natives of the main. Their ambition found its limit when
the necessaries of daily life were procured. The greatest achievement
of their manual dexterity was the hollowing of a great trunk by fire to
fashion a canoe.[I] Their huts were neatly made of stakes and reeds,
and covered with a plaited roof, beneath which the _hamaca_, (hammock,)
coarsely knitted of cotton, swung. Every collection of huts had also one
of larger dimensions, like a lodge, open at the sides, where the natives
used to gather for their public business or amusement. This was called
_bohio_, a word improperly applied to the huts, and used by the
Spaniards to designate their villages. In the southern districts, the
_bohios_, and the dwellings of the caciques, were furnished with
stools wrought with considerable skill from hard wood, and sometimes
ornamented. But they could not have been made by the natives, who had
neither iron nor copper in use. Their golden ornaments were nothing more
than pieces of the metal, rudely turned, by pounding and rubbing, into
rings for the nose and ears, and necklace-plates. Whatever they had, for
use or ornament, which was more elaborate, came by way of trade from
Yucatan and the contiguous coasts. It is difficult to conjecture what
their medium of barter was, for they prepared nothing but cassava-cakes
for food and the fermented juice for drink, and raised only the pimento,
(red pepper,) the _agi_, (sweet pepper,) the _yuca_, whence the
cassava or manioc meal was obtained, and sweet potatoes; and all these
productions were common to the tribes along the coast. Tobacco may have
been cultivated by them and neglected by other tribes. The Haytian word
_tabaco_, which designated the pipe from which they sucked the smoke
into their nostrils, and also the roll of leaves,--for they employed
both methods,--has passed over to the weed. The pipe was a hollow tube
in the shape of a Y, the mystic letter of Pythagoras: the two branches
were applied to the nose, and the stem was held over the burning leaves.
The weed itself was called _cohiba_.

[Footnote I: _Canoa_ is Haytian, and is like enough to _Kayak_,
Esquimaux, to _Caïque_, Turkish and to _Kahn_, German, to unsettle an
etymologist with a theory of origin.]

At the time of the discovery, five principal caciques ruled the island,
which was divided into as many provinces, with inferior caciques, who
appear to have been the chiefs of settlements. We find, for instance,
that Guatiguana was cacique of a large town in the province of which
Guarionex was the chief cacique. The power of each cacique was supreme,
but nothing like a league existed between the different provinces.
When the Haytians in desperation tried the fortune of war against the
Spaniards, Caonabo, the cacique of the central province in the South,
like another Pontiac, rallied the natives from all quarters, and held
them together long enough to fight a great battle on the Vega. But he
was a Carib. His brother who succeeded him was also a Carib, and he
maintained a union of several caciques till his defeat by Ojeda. Then
the less warlike chiefs of the North readily submitted to the Spaniards,
and the bolder caciques of the South were compelled to ask for peace.[J]

[Footnote J: In Mr. Irving's _Life of Columbus_, the characters of the
different Indian chieftains are finely drawn, and the history of their
intercourse and warfare with the Spaniards admirably told.]

Thus were the natives bound together by the polity of instinct and
consanguinity alone. They had no laws, but only natural customs. The
cacique was an arbitrator: if his decision did not appease a litigant,
the parties had an appeal to arms in his presence. Their cacique
received unbounded reverence, and for him they would freely die.
Polygamy was permitted only to him, but not always practised by him. The
Spaniards were so surprised at the readiness with which the natives gave
them everything, both food and ornaments, that they declared them to be
defective in the sense of property, and to have everything in common.
This was a mistake: each man had his little possessions; stealing was
punished with death, as the crime that did the greatest violence to
the natural order; and crimes against domestic purity were severely
punished, till the people became demoralized by their conquerors, who
mistook the childish freedom of the women, for lustful invitation, and
imputed to the native disposition something which belonged to their

[Footnote K: They even accused the natives of communicating that
loathsome disease which results from promiscuous intercourse, when
in fact the _virus_ was shipped at Palos, with the other elements of
civilization, to give a new world to Castile and Leon! Nations appear to
be particularly sensitive upon this point, and accuse each other. But
the first time a disorder is observed is not the date of its origin. See
the European opinion in the fifteenth century, in Roscoe's _Lorenzo de'
Medici_, p. 350, and note, Bohn's edition. It has probably existed from
the earliest times, wherever population was dense and habits depraved.
The Romans suffered from it, but, like the Europeans of the Middle Ages,
did not always attribute it to its proper source. What did Persius mean
in one or two places in his _Third Satire, e.g._, 113-115? And see also
Celaus, _Medicina_, Lib. V. §3.

When the fighting-man of Europe became a mercenary, (soldier,
_soldner, paid-man_,) he carried this tinder from country to country,
and kindled the fire afresh. The Spaniards bore it to Hayti, and it
stung like a snake beneath that fervid sky.]

They were timid, credulous, extravagantly friendly, affected easily to
tears, not cunning enough for their own good, and little capable of
concealing or of planning anything. Yet when their eyes were opened, and
they understood at last that the strangers had not descended from the
skies, their indignation and loathing were well sustained, with a
frankness, indeed, which only embittered their condition. They suffered,
but could not dissimulate.

But they were at once volatile and of a languid frame, which could not
long repel the enticements of wine and passionate excess, liable to
petty rages, incapable of concentration, with no power of remembering
anything but a benefit, lavish fawners, but not hearty haters, easily
persuaded, and easily repenting of everything but hospitality. No abuse
of that put the drop of savage blood in motion, till the Spaniards began
to regard their women with indiscriminate desire. That was the first
outrage for which a Spanish life had to atone. But neither treachery nor
cruelty lurked beneath their flowery ways; it was sullen despair which
broke their gayety, brief spasms of wrath followed by melancholy. But
they could not keep their ideas well enough in hand to lay a plot.

These graceful children, with their curious prognostics of a Creole
temper, were not devoid of religion. The Creator has set none of His
children in the sun, to work or play, without keeping this hold
upon them. They defer to this restraint, with motions more or less
instinctive, but can never, in their wildest gambols, break entirely
loose. It is not easy to separate the real beliefs of the Haytians
from the conjectures of Catholic and Jewish observers. The former were
interested to discover analogies which would make it appear that they
had been foreordained to conversion; the latter were infested with the
notion that they were descendants of one of the Lost Tribes. What, for
instance, can be made of the assertion that the Haytian Supreme had a
mother? The natives were gentle enough to love such a conception, and to
be pleased with the Catholic presentation of it, but this is the only
proof we have that they originated it. It would be pleasant to believe
that they referred, in some dim way, their sense of the womanly quality
back to the great Source of Life.

But the Hebrew coincidences were as eagerly sought.[L] If a cacique
remarked to Columbus that he thought good men would be transported to a
place of delights, and bad men to a foul and dismal place where darkness
reigned, it was deemed to be a reminiscence of Sheol and a later Jewish
idea of Paradise. If Anacaona, the charming wife of Caonabo, came
forth to meet the _Adelantado_, at the head of thirty maidens of her
household, dancing and singing their native songs, and waving branches
of the palm-tree, a variety of Old and New Testament pictures occurred
to the mind. Their hospitality and pertinacious sheltering of fugitives
was another Oriental trait. But, above all, the horrible oppression
to which the Spaniards subjected them, the indignities and sufferings
heaped upon them, were considered to fulfil the divine curse which
rested upon Jews! What a choice morsel of theology is this!

[Footnote L: Consult a curious book, _The Ten Tribes of Israel
historically identified with the Aborigines of the Western Hemisphere_.
By Mrs. Simon. 1836.]

Cabrera found at Cuba, says Humboldt, a variation of the story
respecting the first inebriation of Noah. A wild grape grew in all the
West India Islands. The natives of Cuba preserved also the tradition of
a great terrestrial disturbance, in which water played the chief part.
This was probably held by the Haytians also, for we find it again among
the Caribs beyond, especially in South America. But Cabrera, mounting
with the waters of the Deluge, was not content till he had found in Cuba
the ark, the raven and dove, the uncovering of Noah, and his curse; in
fact, the Indians were descended from this unfortunate son whom Noah's
malediction reduced to nudity, but the Spaniards, descending from
another son, inherited his clothes. "Why do you call me a dog?" said an
old Indian of seventy years to Cabrera, who had been insulting him.
"Did we not both come out of the same large ship that saved us from the

[Footnote M: _Notes on Cuba, containing an Account of its Discovery and
Early History_. By Dr. Wurdemann. 1844.]

It is certain that the Haytians believed in continued existence after
death, and pointed, as all men do, to the sky, when talking of that
subject. They held, indefinitely, that there was some overruling Spirit;
but they believed also in malignant influences which it was advisable to
propitiate. Their worship was connected with the caverns of the island,
those mysterious formations beneath which the strange sounds were heard.
The walls of these caverns were covered with pictured distortions,
half man, half animal, which yielded to the priests, or _butios_,
interpretations according to the light and shadow. Some of these vaults
are lighted through a natural fissure in the roof, and the worship or
augury commenced at the moment the sun struck through it. There were
movable idols, called _Zemés_, which represented inferior deities. The
Catholic writers call them messengers and mediators, having their own
saints in mind. But their forms were sometimes merely animal, a toad, a
tortoise with a sun upon its back, and upon each side a star with the
moon in her first change; another was a monstrous figure in basalt,
representing a head surmounting a female bosom, diminishing to a ball;
another was a human figure made from a gypseous stalactite.[N]

[Footnote N: The savages of Martinique kept in their caverns idols
made of cotton, in the form of a man, with shining black seeds of the
soap-berry (_Sapindus_) for eyes, and a cotton helmet. These were the
original deities of the island. It cannot now be decided whether the
cotton thus worshipped was long-staple or upland; but the tendency
of the savage mind to make a fetich of its chief thing appears to be

The cacique took precedence of the _butios_, in theory, at least, and
designated the days for public worship. He led the procession of men
and women festively adorned, beating on a drum, to the cavern where the
priests awaited them. Presents were offered, and old dances and songs
repeated in honor of the Zemés, and of departed caciques. Then the
priests broke cakes and distributed the pieces to the heads of
families, who carefully kept them till the next festival as amulets and
preservatives against disease.

They had an original way of expressing their vague instinct that the
Supreme Being loves truth and cleanliness in the inward parts. Each
person presented himself, with singing, before the chief idol, and there
thrust a stick into his throat till the gorge rose, in order, as they
said, to appear before the Divinity with a heart clean and upon the

[Footnote O: _Histoire d'Hayti_, par M. Placide Justin, p. 8.]

The priests were diviners and doctors. If their predictions failed, they
did not want the usual cunning of mediums and spiritual quacks of all
ages, who are never known to be caught. But it became a more serious
affair for them in the case of a death. Friends consulted the soul at
the moment of its leaving the body, and if it could give no sign, or if
no omen of fair play appeared from any quarter, the _butio_ was held
to be the author of the death, and, if he was not a very popular
individual, he incurred the vengeance of the family. If at such a
time an animal was seen creeping near, the worst suspicions were

[Footnote P: _Voyages d'un Naturaliste_, etc., par M.E. Descourtilz,
Tom. II. p. 19, et seq. 1809.]

The natives had a legend that the sun and moon issued from one of these
caverns, which Mr. Irving says is the Voûte-à-Minguet, about eight
leagues from Cap Haytien.

They were very nervous, and did not like to go about after dark. Many
people of all races have this vague disquiet as soon as the sun goes
down. It is the absence of light which accounts for all the tremors and
tales of superstition. How these sunflowers of Hayti must have shuddered
and shrunk together at the touch of darkness! But they had a graceful
custom of carrying the _cocujos_[Q] in a perforated calabash, and
keeping them, in their huts, when the sudden twilight fell.

[Footnote Q: A Haytian word appropriated by the Spaniards, (_cocuyos_);
_Elater noctilucus_. Their light is brilliant enough to read by.]

Their festivals and public gatherings were more refined than those of
the Caribs, who held but one meeting, called a _Vin_, for consultation
upon war-matters and a debauch upon cassava-beer.[R] The Haytians loved
music, and possessed one or two simple instruments; their _maguey_ was
like a timbrel, made of the shells of certain fishes. Their speech,
with its Italian terminations, flowed easily into singing, and they
extemporized, as the negroes do, the slightest incidents in rhythmical
language. They possessed national ballads, called _areytos_, and held in
high repute the happy composers of fresh ones. Altogether their life was
full of innocence and grace.

[Footnote R: Father Du Tertre enjoys relating, that a Carib orator,
wishing to make his speech more impressive, invested his scarlet
splendor in a _jupe_ which he had lately taken from an Englishwoman,
tying it where persons of the same liturgical tendency tie their
cambric. But though his garrulity was thereby increased, the charms of
the liquor drew his audience away.]

Such were the aborigines of Hayti, the "Mountain-land." But as our
narrative does not propose a minute and consecutive survey, it will
detain us too long from certain essential points which deserve to be
made clear, if we follow step by step the dealings of the Spaniards with
these natives. All this can be found delightfully told by Mr. Irving
in his "Life of Columbus," in such a way as to render an attempt at
repeating it hazardous and useless. Our task is different,--to make
prominent first, the character of the natives, which we have just
striven to do, and next, the style of treatment in converting and in
enslaving them, which gave its first chapter of horrors to San Domingo,
and laid violent hands on the whole sequence of her history.

What influence could the noble elements of the Spanish character have,
when theology, avarice, and lust controlled the conquest? Pure minds and
magnanimous intentions went in the same ships with adventurers, diseased
soldiers, cold and superstitious men of business, and shaven monks with
their villanous low brows and thin inquisitorial smile. The average
character speedily obtained ascendency, because the best men were to
some extent partakers of it. Columbus was eager to make his great
discovery pay well, to preserve the means of continued exploration. In
one hand he lifted high the banner of possession with its promise of a
cross, which direful irony fulfilled; with the other he kept feeding the
ravenous nation with gold, to preserve its sympathy and admiration, that
the supply of men and vessels should not fail. Las Casas himself, a just
and noble man, the first advocate of the natural rights of men in the
New World, soon found that the situation was too strong and cruel; his
wishes and struggles went under before the flood of evil passions which
swept the island. He maintained his fight against Indian slavery by not
discountenancing negro slavery. And his fight was unavailing, because
mercy had no legitimate place upon the new soil. The logic of events
was with the evil majority, which was obliged at last to maintain its
atrocious consistency in self-defence. He might as well have preached
the benefits of Lenten diet to shipwrecked men upon a raft, insane with
thirst and the taste of comrade's flesh. It was a Devil's problem, which
is the kind that cannot hold back from its devilish conclusion.

But bad passions were not alone to blame. The Spanish notion of
conversion desolated like avarice. The religious bodies which from time
to time controlled the affairs of the island differed in their humanity
and general policy: the Dominicans were friends of the Indian and haters
of the turbulent oppressor; the Franciscans were the instruments of the
bad men whose only ambition was to wring pleasure and fortune out of the
Indian's heart; the monks of St. Jerome undertook in vain a neutral
and reconciling policy. But they all agreed that the Indians must be
baptized, catechized, and more or less chastised into the spirit of the
gospel and conformity to Rome. The _conquistadores_ drove with a whip,
the missionaries with a dogma. The spirit of the nation and of the age
sternly asked for theological conformity: it was seriously understood
that a man should believe or burn. For one of those two things he was
preordained. Everybody was convinced that a drop of water on the dusky
forehead of these natives quenched the flames of hell. The methods used
to get that holy drop applied lighted flames, to escape from which
anybody would take his chance of the remoter kind.

The cacique Hatuey understood the Spaniards. He was the first man in
the New World who saw by instinct what an after-age perceived by
philosophical reflection. He should have been the historian of the
Conquest. The Spaniards had destroyed his people, and forced him to fly
to Cuba for safety. There he also undertook a conversion of the natives.
"Do you expect to defend yourselves against this people," he said,
"while you do not worship the same God? This God I know; he is more
powerful than ours, and I reveal him to you." With this he shows them a
little piece of gold. "Here he is; let us celebrate a festival to honor
him, that his favor may be extended to us." The natives hold a solemn
smoking around the Spanish God, which is followed by singing and
dancing, as to one of their own Zemés. Having adroitly concentrated
their attention in this way upon the article of gold, Hatuey the next
morning reassembles the people and finishes his missionary labors. "My
mind is not at ease. There can be no safety for us while the God of the
Spaniard is in our midst. They seek him everywhere. Their devotion is so
great that they settle in a place only for the convenience of worship.
It is useless to attempt to hide him from their eyes. If you should
swallow him, they would disembowel you in the name of religion. Even the
bottom of the sea may not be too far, but there it is that we must throw
him. When he can no longer be found with us, they will leave us in

Admirable counsel, if the gold in veins, or their own blood, were not
also the object of search. The natives collected all their gold and
threw it into the sea. A party of Spaniards landing upon the island not
long after, Hatuey was taken prisoner, and condemned to be burnt alive
because he refused to be converted!

  "Was conduct ever more affronting?
  With all the ceremony settled!
  With the towel ready"--

and all the other apparatus for a first-class baptism, and the
annexation to Rome and heaven of a tribe! When he was tied to the stake,
and a priest conjured him to profess Christianity and make a sure thing
of paradise, he cut him short with,--

"Are there Spaniards in this place of delights of which you speak?"

"There are indeed, but only good ones."

"The best of them is good for nothing," said the cacique. "I would
rather not go where I might have to meet them."

Dying, he had his preference.

It seems to be one that is innate in the savage mind. An Ojibbeway was
apparently pleased with the new religion that was proffered to him,
and thought of being baptized, but, dreaming that he went up to a fair
prairie covered with numerous trails of white men, without the print
of a single moccasin, was cured of his desire. The Frisian Radbod also
expressed his disgust at the converting methods of Charles the Hammer.
"He had already immersed one of his royal legs in the baptismal font,
when a thought struck him. 'Where are my dead forefathers at present?'
he said, turning suddenly upon Bishop Wolfran. 'In hell, with all other
unbelievers,' was the imprudent answer. 'Mighty well!' replied Radbod,
removing his leg; 'then will I rather feast with my ancestors in the
halls of Woden than dwell with your little starveling band of Christians
in heaven.'"[S] And if he, too, died a heathen, it is certain that one
continued to live in Bishop Wolfran. For it is men of his narrow and
brutal theology who are not yet converted to Christianity, but who get a
dispensation to disgust men with that glorious name.

[Footnote S: Motley's _Dutch Republic_, Vol. I. p. 20.]

So it went on at Hayti. Catholic fetiches vied with the native ones for
ascendency. Ecclesiastics were charged with the management of secular as
well as spiritual matters, for it was the genius of Spain to govern
by the priest. A very few of them understood men, and had a head for
affairs; of these, some were pure, the rest were base, and readily
fraternized with the soldiers and politicians in their selfish policy. A
bad and cruel theology, a narrow priestly mind, became the instruments
of lust and murder.

Guarionex was the chief cacique of a province which comprised the middle
part of the Vega Real. His conversion was undertaken by Friar Roman,
a St. Jeromite, and Joan Borognon, a Franciscan. The cacique listened
attentively to their instructions, but the natives, already alienated
by the excesses of the Spaniards, would neither attend mass nor be
catechized, except upon compulsion. It was the policy of Guarionex to
offer no resistance to the addresses of the priests. But an outrage
committed upon his wife hindered the progress of religion in his
province. He dashed the cross to the ground in fury, and scattered the
utensils. The affrighted priests fled, leaving behind a chapel with some
pictures which they had instructed the converts to regard in offering up
their prayers. Guarionex buried all the pictures, and said over them,
instead of a Pater, "Now you will begin to bear fruit!" Friar Roman says
that a catechumen, digging his _agis_ (sweet pepper) in that field,
found two or three of them grown together in the shape of a cross. The
miracle and the outrage were reported at once, and the six natives who
had buried the pictures at the command of Guarionex were burnt alive!
This was the first _auto-da-fé_ on Haytian soil.

The preaching and the lust went on. But the preaching sometimes
addressed the sinner also. Montesino, a Dominican preacher, attacked the
cruelty of the colonists from the pulpit of San Domingo. He was accused
of treason; that is to say, the king was held to represent the policy
which enslaved and destroyed the Indian. The authorities threatened to
expel the Dominicans from the island, if the preacher did not apologize
and withdraw his charges. Montesino promised soon to preach in another
style. Having filled the church with his malignant audience, he bravely
maintained his position with fresh facts and arguments; he showed that
the system of _repartimientos,_ or partition of the Indians among the
colonists, was more disastrous than the first system, which imposed upon
each cacique a tax and left him to extort it from his subjects. He
urged the policy of interest; for the Indians, unused to labor, died in
droves: they dropped in the fields beneath the whip; they escaped by
whole families to the mountains, and there perished with hunger; they
threw themselves into the water, and killed each other in the forests;
families committed suicide in concert;--there would soon be no laborers,
and the Spaniard could rob and murder, but would not toil. Brave
preacher, worthy mouth-piece of the humane Las Casas, what could he
effect against the terrible exigency of the situation? For here was a
colony, into which all the prisons of Spain had just been emptied to
repair a failing emigration,--men bred in crime coalescing with men
whose awakened passions made them candidates for prison,--the whole
community, with the exception of the preacher and his scattered
sympathizers, animated by one desire, to get the gold, to exhaust the
soil, to glut voluptuous immunity, to fill the veins with a fiery
climate, and to hurry back with wealth enough to feed it more safely in
the privacies of Madrid and Seville. What were preaching and benevolent
intention, where shaven superstition was inculcating the cross by its
weight alone, and bearded ferocity desolated with the sword what the
cross could spare? The discussion which Montesino raised went home to
Spain; but when a board of commissioners, charged to investigate the
subject, advised that all Indians granted to Spanish courtiers, and to
all other persons who did not reside upon the island, should be set
at liberty, the colonists saw the entering wedge of emancipation. The
discontent was so great, and the alternative of slavery or ruin was
so passionately offered to the Government at home, that the system of
_repartimientos_ remained untouched; for the Government felt that it
must choose between the abandonment of the island and the destruction of
those who alone, if judiciously protected, could make it profitable to
retain it.

Protection and amelioration, then, became the cry. In consequence of the
great increase of cattle in the island, it was considered no more than
just that the Indians should no longer be used as beasts of burden. They
were also to have one day in the seven, besides the Church festivals,
for their own use; and intendants were appointed who were to have a
general supervision of their affairs, and to protect them from barbarous
punishments. These regulations were a weir of reeds thrown across a
turbid and tumultuous Amazon.

Las Casas was an eye-witness of the cruelties which he exposed in his
memoirs to the Government, those uncompromising indictments of his own
nation and of the spirit of the age. He had seen the natives slaughtered
like sheep in a pen, and the butchers laid bets with each other upon
their dexterity in cleaving them asunder at a stroke. Children, torn
from the bosoms of their mothers, were brained against the stones, or
thrown into the water with mocking cries,--"That will refresh you!" A
favorite mode of immolation, which had the merit of exciting theological
associations, was to bind thirteen of the natives to as many stakes,
one for each apostle and one for the Saviour, and then to make a
burnt-offering of them. Others were smeared with pitch and lighted.
Sometimes a fugitive who had been recaptured was sent into the forest
with his severed hand,--"Go, carry this letter to the others who have
escaped, with our compliments."

"I have seen," says Las Casas, "five chiefs and several other Indians
roasting together upon hurdles, and the Spanish captain was enraged
because their cries disturbed his _siesta_. He ordered them to be
strangled, that he might hear no more of it. But the superintendent,
whom I know, as well as his family, which is from Seville, more cruel
than the officer, refused to end their torture." He would not be
cheated of his after-dinner luxury, so he gagged them with sticks, and
replenished the fires.[T]

[Footnote T: Llorente's _Oeuvres de Las Casas; Première Mémoire,
contenant la Relation des Cruautés_, etc.]

Columbus first made use of dogs against the Indians, but merely to
intimidate. They were swift dogs of chase, impetuous and dangerous, but
did not yet deserve to be called blood-hounds. The Spaniards, however,
by frequently using them in the pursuit of escaping natives, without
thinking it worth while to restrain their motions, gradually educated
them to a taste for human blood. From the breed, thus modified, the
West-Indian blood-hound descended, possibly not without admixture with
other savage dogs of French and English breeds which were brought to the
island by their scarcely less savage owners. Many of the dogs which the
Spaniards carried to South America roamed at large and degenerated into
beasts of prey. Soldiers at one time were detailed to hunt them, and
were then nicknamed _Mataperros_, or dog-slayers.

But if the dogs fed upon the Indian's body, the monk was ever vigilant
to save his soul. A woman was holding her child of twelve months, says
Las Casas, when she perceived the approach of the hounds in full cry
after a party of natives. Feeling that she could not escape, she
instantly tied her babe to her leg and then suspended herself from a
beam. The dogs came up at the moment that a monk was baptizing the
child, thus luckily cutting off its purgatory just behind the jaws that
devoured it.

Spaniards were known to feed their dogs, when short of meat, by chopping
off a native's arm and throwing it to them; and a few fed their dogs
exclusively upon native-meat. We have the authority of Las Casas for the
fact, which he took care to have well attested from various sources,
that a Spaniard would borrow a quarter of native from a friend for his
hounds, promising to return it at a favorable opportunity. Somebody
asked one of these generous livers how his housekeeping flourished.
"Well enough," was the reply; "I have killed twenty of these rascally
Indians, and now, thank God, my dogs have something to eat."

The Spaniards paid their gambling debts in natives. If a governor lost
heavily at cards, he would give the winner an order upon some cacique
for a corresponding amount of gold, or natives in default of the metal,
knowing that the gold could no longer be procured. Sometimes the lucky
gambler made the levy without applying to the cacique. The stakes were
not unfrequently for three and four hundred Indians in the early days of
the colonies, when natives were so plenty that one could be bought for
a cheese, or an _arroba_ of vinegar, wine, or lard. Eighty natives were
swapped for a mare, and a hundred for a lame horse. When it began to be
difficult to lay hands upon them, it was only necessary to send for a
missionary, who would gradually collect them for purposes of instruction
and worship. When the habit of attending a chapel was pretty well
confirmed, the building was surrounded, the young and stout ones were
seized and branded, and carried away, with the most attractive females,
for further indoctrination in the Christian arts.

A device of the caciques which was practised in Nicaragua might easily
have been pursued in Hayti. But the account of Las Casas refers to the
former province. When a demand was made upon one cacique to supply
laborers, he would repair to another, and say, "The devil who has me in
his power wants so many men and women. I have no doubt that your devil
will say the same thing to you. Let us arrange the matter. Give me the
facility of procuring my quota in your tribe, and you shall take yours
from my tribe." "It is agreed; for my devil has just made a similar
demand of me." Each cacique would then swear to the Commanders, who were
very nice upon the technicality so long as slaves were plenty, that the
men furnished came from his own district, thus saving his life and his
credit with his people. This was a great convenience; for in all savage
exigencies and dire perils men must study how they can best arrange with
the inevitable.

But it will be too painful to recount the various inventions for
punishing these unhappy children of Nature. The dogs, perhaps, were
merciful, for they killed and ate a native on the spot. Cutting off the
ear and nose was an ordinary barbarity,--in its origin it was a way to
save time in collecting ornaments; shutting fifty or more into a house
and setting it in flames was a favorite method of extemporizing a
bonfire; pricking a crowd of insurgent natives over a precipice into the
sea was an exceptional act of mercy,--they would place one hand over
their eyes and take the plunge. It was a common sport to match
stout Indians with the hounds, and bet upon their wrestling. In the
pearl-fisheries, in rowing galleys, in agriculture, in the mines, in
carrying ship-timber, anchors, and pieces of ordnance, in transporting
produce, the Spaniards wasted the natives as if they were wind-and
water-power which Nature would supply without limit. How can this
ferocity be accounted for? It consulted neither interest nor personal
safety. They raged like men stung to madness by poisonous clouds of
insects; the future received no consideration; plans for improving the
methods of cultivating different crops, or for introducing new staples,
could not be carried out. Once having tasted native blood, like their
own dogs, the hunting mania possessed them, till two millions of
Haytians alone had perished. The population had become so reduced as
early as 1508 that they were obliged to organize great Indian chases on
the main-land, and a Coolie trade sprang up in the Lucayan Islands,
to keep the Haytian mines and plantations supplied with hands. Forty
thousand of these Lucayans were transported, on the assurance of the
Spaniards that they would be restored to the souls of their ancestry,
who had gone to reside in that Mountain-land of the West. Was there
a touch of grim Spanish humor in this inducement to emigrate? For
certainly the Lucayans did very soon rejoin those departed souls.

Wine and the climate maddened these unbridled Europeans. Avarice is a
calculating passion; but here were aimless and exhausting horrors, like
those which swarm in the drunkard's corrupted brain. What were vices at
home became transformed into manias here. The representatives of other
nations were not slow to imitate the example of the possessors of Hayti.
Venezuela was ceded to a company of Germans in 1526, whose object was
simply to strip the country of its treasures. Las Casas tries to believe
that the Spaniards seemed like just men by the side of these new
speculators; but it was not possible to destroy natives faster than was
done in the countries under Spanish rule. The Germans, after all, were
forced to employ Spaniards to pursue the Indians when they attempted
to escape from this new system of farming into the mountains, and they
profited so well by the lessons of their Catholic hunters, that, upon
their departure, they hit upon new expedients for making the natives
productive. The German Governor constructed a great palisaded park, into
which he managed to drive all the Indians of the neighborhood, and then
informed them that they could issue from it only as slaves, unless they
paid a certain ransom, whose value he fixed. They were deliberately
starved into adopting one or the other alternative. Those who could
procure gold were let out to collect it, leaving their wives and
children as pledges of their return. Many of the others preferred to
die of hunger and thirst. When the ransomed natives departed with their
families, the Governor had them pursued, reparked, and subjected to
a repetition of this sponging process, and again a third time, so
admirably did it work. This strikes Las Casas as a refinement of
cruelty, which can be attributed only to the fact that these Germans
were Lutheran heretics, and never assisted at the mass. "This is
the way," he says, "that they conformed to the royal intention of
establishing Christianity in these countries!"

How did the Spaniards conform to it? Rude soldiers became the managers
of the different working gangs into which the Indians had been divided,
and it devolved upon them to superintend their spiritual welfare. Enough
has been said about their brutality; but their ignorance was no less
remarkable. Las Casas complains that they could not repeat the _Credo_,
nor the Ten Commandments. Their ignorance of the former would have been
bliss, if they had been practically instructed in the latter. John
Colmenero was one of these common soldiers who became installed in a
Commandery (_Encomienda_). When the missionaries visited his plantation,
they found that the laborers had not the slightest notions of
Christianity. They examined John upon the subject, and discovered to
their horror that he did not know even how to make the sign of the
cross. "What have you been teaching these poor Indians?" they asked him.
"Why, that they are all going to the Devil! Won't your _signin santin
cruces_ help to teach them that?"[U]

[Footnote U: Llorente, Tom. I. p. 180.]

No doubt it would; for we know how serviceable in that way Ovando found
it, when he plotted to seize the beautiful Anacaona, who governed the
province of Xaragua in Hayti. This he did, and also gave the signal for
a dreadful massacre of her subjects, whom he had beguiled to a military
spectacle, by lifting his hand to the cross of Alcantara that was
embroidered on his dress.

Colmenero had not a head for business like that other Spaniard who
baptized all the inhabitants of a village and took away their idols
of gold, for which he substituted copper ones, and then compelled the
natives to purchase them of him at so many slaves per idol.

"Come, then, caciques and Indians, come!" This was the ordinary style of
proclamation. "Abandon your false gods, adore the God of the Christians,
profess their religion, believe in the gospel, receive the sacrament of
baptism, recognize the King of Castile for your king and master. If you
refuse, we declare war upon you to kill you, to make you slaves, to
spoil you of your goods, and to cause you to suffer as long and as often
as we shall judge convenient,"[V] and for the good of your souls.

[Footnote V: Llorente, Tom. I. p. 28.]

In 1542, Charles V. procured a bull from Pope Paul III. restoring the
Indians to their natural freedom: this he confirmed and despatched to
the island. Las Casas, the Protector of the Indians, had carried his
point at last, but the Indians were beyond protection. The miserable
remnant were no longer of consequence, for the African had begun to till
the soil enriched by so much native blood. Thus ends the first chapter
of the Horrors of San Domingo.

Schoelcher reminds us that the traveller may read upon the tomb of
Columbus at Seville: "Known worlds were not enough for him: he added a
new to the old, _and gave to heaven innumerable souls_."

[To be continued.]


A few miles from the southern extremity of Florida, separated from it by
a channel, narrow at the eastern end, but widening gradually toward the
west, and rendered every year more and more shallow by the accumulation
of materials constantly collecting within it, there lies a line of
islands called the Florida Keys. They are at different distances from
the shore, stretching gradually seaward in the form of an open crescent,
from Virginia Key and Key Biscayne, almost adjoining the main-land, to
Key West, at a distance of twelve miles from the coast, which does not,
however, close the series, for sixty miles farther west stands the
group of the Tortugas, isolated in the Gulf of Mexico. Though they
seem disconnected, these islands are parts of a submerged Coral Reef,
concentric with the shore of the peninsula and continuous underneath the
water, but visible above the surface at such points of the summit as
have fully completed their growth.

This demands some explanation, since I have already said that no Coral
growth can continue after it has reached the line of high-water. But we
have not finished the history of a Coral wall, when we have followed it
to the surface of the ocean. It is true that its normal growth ceases
there, but already a process of partial decay as begun that insures its
further increase. Here, as elsewhere, destruction and construction go
hand in hand, and the materials that are broken or worn away from one
part of the Reef help to build it up elsewhere. The Corals which form
the Reef are not the only beings that find their home there: many other
animals--Shells, Worms, Crabs, Star-Fishes, Sea-Urchins--establish
themselves upon it, work their way into its interstices, and seek a
shelter in every little hole and cranny made by the irregularities of
its surface. In the Zoological Museum at Cambridge there are some large
fragments of Coral Reef which give one a good idea of the populous
aspect that such a Reef would present, could we see it as it actually
exists beneath the water. Some of these fragments consist of a
succession of terraces, as it were, in which are many little miniature
caves, where may still be seen the Shells or Sea-Urchins which made
their snug and sheltered homes in these recesses of the Reef.

We must not consider the Reef as a solid, massive structure throughout.
The compact kinds of Corals, giving strength and solidity to the wall,
may be compared to the larger trees in a forest, which give it shade and
density; but between these grow all kinds of trailing vines, ferns and
mosses, wild flowers and low shrubs, that till the spaces between the
larger trees with a thick underbrush. The Coral Reef also has its
underbrush of the lighter, branching, more brittle kinds, that fill its
interstices and fringe the summit and the sides with their delicate,
graceful forms. Such an intricate underbrush of Coral growth affords an
excellent retreat for many animals that like its protection better than
exposure to the open sea, just as many land-animals prefer the close and
shaded woods to the open plain: a forest is not more thickly peopled
with Birds, Squirrels, Martens, and the like, than is the Coral Reef
with a variety of animals that do not contribute in any way to its
growth, but find shelter in its crevices or in its near neighborhood.

But these larger animals are not the only ones that haunt the forest.
There is a host of parasites besides, principally Insects and their
larvae, which bore their way into the very heart of the tree, making
their home in the bark and pith, and not the less numerous because
hidden from sight. These also have their counterparts in the Reef, where
numbers of boring Shells and marine Worms work their way into the solid
substance of the wall, piercing it, with holes in every direction, till
large portions become insecure, and the next storm suffices to break off
the fragments so loosened. Once detached, they are tossed about in the
water, crumbled into Coral sand, crushed, often ground to powder by the
friction of the rocks and the constant action of the sea.

After a time, an immense quantity of such materials is formed about a
Coral Reef; tides and storms constantly throw them up on its surface,
and at last a soil collects on the top of the Reef, wherever it has
reached the surface of the water, formed chiefly of its own _débris_, of
Coral sand, Coral fragments, even large masses of Coral rock, mingled
with the remains of the animals that have had their home about the
Reef, with sea-weeds, with mud from the neighboring land, and with the
thousand loose substances always floating about in the vicinity of a
coast and thrown upon the rocks or shore with every wave that breaks
against them. Add to this the presence of a lime-cement in the water,
resulting from the decomposition of some of these materials, and we have
all that is needed to make a very compact deposit and fertile soil, on
which a vegetation may spring up, whenever seeds floating from the
shore or dropped by birds in their flight take root on the newly formed

There is one plant belonging to tropical or sub-tropical climates
that is peculiarly adapted by its mode of growth to the soil of these
islands, and contributes greatly to their increase. This is the
Mangrove-tree. Its seeds germinate in the calyx of the flower, and,
before they drop, grow to be little brown stems, some six or seven
inches long and about as thick as a finger, with little rootlets at one
end. Such Mangrove-seedlings, looking more like cigars than anything
else, float in large numbers about the Reef. I have sometimes seen them
in the water about the Florida Reef in such quantities that one would
have said some vessel laden with Havana cigars had been wrecked there,
and its precious cargo scattered in the ocean.

In consequence of their shape and the development of the root, one end
is a little heavier than the other, so that they float unevenly, with
the loaded end a little lower than the lighter one. When they are
brought by the tide against such a cap of soil as I have described,
they become stranded upon it by their heavier end, the rootlets attach
themselves slightly to the soil, the advancing and retreating waves move
the little plant up and down, till it works a hole in the sand, and
having thus established itself more firmly, steadied itself as it were,
it now stands upright, and, as it grows, throws out numerous roots, even
from a height of several feet above the ground, till it has surrounded
the lower part of its stem with a close net-work of roots. Against this
natural trellis or screen all sorts of materials collect; sand, mud,
and shells are caught in it; and as these Mangrove-trees grow in large
numbers and to the height of thirty feet, they contribute greatly to the
solidity and compactness of the shores on which they are stranded.

Such caps of soil on the summit of a Coral Reef are of course very
insecure till they are consolidated by a long period of accumulation,
and they may even be swept completely away by a violent storm. It is
not many years since the light-house built on Sand Key for the greater
security of navigation along the Reef was swept away with the
whole island on which it stood. Thanks to the admirably conducted
Investigations of the Coast-Survey, this part of our seaboard, formerly
so dangerous on account of the Coral Reefs, is now better understood,
and every precaution has been taken to insure the safety of vessels
sailing along the coast of Florida.

I cannot deny myself the pleasure of paying a tribute here to the high
scientific character of the distinguished superintendent of this survey,
who has known so well how to combine the most important scientific aims
with the most valuable practical results in his direction of it. If
some have hitherto doubted the practical value of such researches,--and
unhappily there are always those who estimate intellectual efforts only
by their material results,--one would think that these doubts must be
satisfied now that the Coast-Survey is seen to be the right arm of our
navy. Most of the leaders in our late naval expeditions have been men
trained in its service, and familiar with all the harbors, with every
bay and inlet of our Southern coasts, from having been engaged in the
extensive researches undertaken by Dr. Bache and carried out under his
guidance. Many, even, of the pilots of our Southern fleets are men who
have been employed upon this work, and owe their knowledge of the coast
to their former occupation. It is a singular fact, that at this very
time, when the whole country feels its obligation to the men who
have devoted so many years of their lives to these investigations,
a proposition should have been brought forward in Congress for the
suspension of the Coast-Survey on economical grounds. Happily,
the almost unanimous rejection of this proposition has shown the
appreciation in which the work is held by our national legislature. Even
without reference to their practical usefulness, it is a sad sign, when,
in the hour of her distress, a nation sacrifices first her intellectual
institutions. Then more than ever, when she needs all the culture, all
the wisdom, all the comprehensiveness of her best intellects, should she
foster the institution that have fostered them, in which they have been
trained to do good service to their country in her time of need.

Several of the Florida Keys, such as Key West and Indian Key, are
already large, inhabited islands, several miles in extent. The interval
between them and the main-land is gradually filling up by a process
similar to that by which the islands themselves were formed. The gentle
landward slope of the Reef and the channel between it and the shore are
covered with a growth of the more branching lighter Corals, such as
Sea-Fans, Coral-lines, etc., answering the same purpose as the intricate
roots of the Mangrove-tree. All the _débris_ of the Reef, as well as the
sand and mud washed from the shore, collect in this net-work of Coral
growth within the channel, and soon transform it into a continuous
mass, with a certain degree of consistence and solidity. This forms the
foundation of the mud-flats which are now rapidly filling the channel
and must eventually connect the Keys of Florida with the present shore
of the peninsula.

Outside the Keys, but not separated from them by so great a distance as
that which intervenes between them and the main-land, there stretches
beneath the water another Reef, abrupt, like the first, on its seaward
side, but sloping gently toward the inner Reef, and divided from it by
a channel. This outer Reef and channel are, however, in a much less
advanced state than the preceding ones; only here and there a sand-flat
large enough to afford a foundation for a beacon or a lighthouse shows
that this Reef also is gradually coming to the surface, and that a
series of islands corresponding to the Keys must eventually be formed
upon its summit. Some of my readers may ask why the Reef does not rise
evenly to the level of the sea, and form a continuous line of land,
instead of here and there an island. This is accounted for by the
sensitiveness of the Corals to any unfavorable circumstances impeding
their growth, as well as by the different rates of increase of the
different kinds. Wherever any current from the shore flows over the
Reef, bringing with it impurities from the land, there the growth of the
Corals will be less rapid, and consequently that portion of the Reef
will not reach the surface so soon as other parts, where no such
unfavorable influences have interrupted the growth. But in the course
of time the outer Reef will reach the surface for its whole length and
become united to the inner one by the filling up of the channel between
them, while the inner one will long before that time become solidly
united to the present shore-bluffs of Florida by the consolidation of
the mud-flats, which will one day transform the inner channel into dry

What is now the rate of growth of these Coral Reefs? We cannot, perhaps,
estimate it with absolute accuracy, since they are now so nearly
completed; but Coral growth is constantly springing up wherever it can
find a foothold, and it is not difficult to ascertain approximately the
rate of growth of the different kinds. Even this, however, would give
us far too high a standard; for the rise of the Coral Reef is not in
proportion to the height of the living Corals, but to their solid parts
which never decompose. Add to this that there are many brittle delicate
kinds that have a considerable height when alive, but contribute to the
increase of the Reef only so much additional thickness as they would
have when broken and crushed down upon its surface. A forest in its
decay does not add to the soil of the earth a thickness corresponding to
the height of its trees, but only such a thin layer as would be left by
the decomposition of its whole vegetation. In the Coral Reef, also, we
must allow not only for the deduction of the soft parts, but also for
the comminution of all these brittle branches, which would be broken and
crushed by the action of the storms and tides, and add, therefore, but
little to the Reef in proportion to their size when alive.

The foundations of Fort Jefferson, which is built entirely of Coral
rock, were laid on the Tortugas Islands in the year 1846. A very
intelligent head-work man watched the growth of certain Corals that
established themselves on these foundations, and recorded their rate of
increase. He has shown me the rocks on which Corals had been growing for
some dozen years, during which they had increased at the rate of about
half an inch in ten years. I have collected facts from a variety of
sources and localities that confirm this testimony. A brick placed under
water in the year 1850 by Captain Woodbury of Tortugas, with the view of
determining the rate of growth of Corals, when taken up in 1858 had
a crust of Maeandrina upon it a little more than half an inch in
thickness. Mr. Allen also sent me from Key West a number of fragments
of Maeandrina from the breakwater at Fort Taylor; they had been growing
from twelve to fifteen years, and have an average thickness of about an
inch. The specimens vary in this respect,--some of them being a little
more than an inch in thickness, others not more than half an inch.
Fragments of Oculina gathered at the same place and of the same age are
from one to three inches in length; but these belong to the lighter,
more branching kinds of Corals, which, as we have seen, cannot, from
their brittle character, be supposed to add their whole height to the
solid mass of the Coral wall. Millepore gives a similar result.

Estimating the growth of the Coral Reef according to these and other
data of the same character, it should be about half a foot in a century;
and a careful comparison which I have made of the condition of the Reef
as recorded in an English survey made about a century ago with its
present state would justify this conclusion. But allowing a wide margin
for inaccuracy of observation or for any circumstances that might
accelerate the growth, and leaving out of consideration the decay of the
soft parts and the comminution of the brittle ones, which would subtract
so largely from the actual rate of growth, let us double this estimate
and call the average increase a foot for every century. In so doing, we
are no doubt greatly overrating the rapidity of the progress, and our
calculation of the period that must have elapsed in the formation of the
Reef will be far within the truth.

The outer Reef, still incomplete, as I have stated, and therefore of
course somewhat lower than the inner one, measures about seventy feet in
height. Allowing a foot of growth for every century, not less than seven
thousand years must have elapsed since this Reef began to grow. Some
miles nearer the main-land are the Keys, or the inner Reef; and though
this must have been longer in the process of formation than the outer
one, since its growth is completed, and nearly the whole extent of its
surface is transformed into islands, with here and there a narrow break
separating them, yet, in order to keep fully within the evidence of the
facts, I will allow only seven thousand years for the formation of this
Reef also, making fourteen thousand for the two.

This brings us to the shore-bluffs, consisting simply of another Reef
exactly like those already described, except that the lapse of time has
united it to the main-land by the complete filling up and consolidation
of the channel which once divided it from the extremity of the
peninsula, as a channel now separates the Keys from the shore-bluffs,
and the outer Reef, again, from the Keys. These three concentric Reefs,
then, the outer Reef, the Keys, and the shore-bluffs, if we measure
the growth of the two latter on the same low estimate by which I have
calculated the rate of progress of the former, cannot have reached their
present condition in less than twenty thousand years. Their growth must
have been successive, since, as we have seen, all Corals need the fresh
action of the open sea upon them, and if either of the outer Reefs had
begun to grow before the completion of the inner one, it would have
effectually checked the growth of the latter. The absence of an
incipient Reef outside of the outer Reef shows these conclusions to be
well founded. The islands capping these three do not exceed in height
the level to which the fragments accumulated upon their summits may have
been thrown by the heaviest storms. The highest hills of this part of
Florida are not over ten or twelve feet above the level of the sea, and
yet the luxuriant vegetation with which they are covered gives them an
imposing appearance.

But this is not the end of the story. Travelling inland from the
shore-bluffs, we cross a low, flat expanse of land, the Indian
hunting-ground, which brings us to a row of elevations called the
Hummocks. This hunting-ground, or Everglade as it is also called, is an
old channel, changed first to mud-flats and then to dry land by the same
kind of accumulation that is filling up the present channels, and the
row of hummocks is but an old Coral Reef with the Keys or islands of
past days upon its summit. Seven such Reefs and channels of former times
have already been traced between the shore-bluffs and Lake Okee-cho-bee,
adding some fifty thousand years to our previous estimate. Indeed, upon
the lowest calculation, based upon the facts thus far ascertained as to
their growth, we cannot suppose that less than seventy thousand years
have elapsed since the Coral Reefs already known to exist in Florida
began to grow. When we remember that this is but a small portion of the
peninsula, and that, though we have not yet any accurate information as
to the nature of its interior, yet the facts already ascertained in the
northern part of this State, formed like its Southern extremity of Coral
growth, justify the inference that the whole peninsula is formed of
successive concentric Reefs, we must believe that hundreds of thousands
of years have elapsed since its formation began. Leaving aside, however,
all that part of its history which is not susceptible of positive
demonstration in the present state of our knowledge, I will limit my
results to the evidence of facts already within our possession; and
these give us as the lowest possible estimate a period of seventy
thousand years for the formation of that part of the peninsula which
extends south of Lake Okee-cho-bee to the present outer Reef.

So much for the duration of the Reefs themselves. What, now, do they
tell us of the permanence of the Species by which they were formed? In
these seventy thousand years has there been any change in the Corals
living in the Gulf of Mexico? I answer, most emphatically, _No_.
Astraeans, Porites, Maeandrinas, and Madrepores were represented by
exactly the same Species seventy thousand years ago as they are now.
Were we to classify the Florida Corals from the Reefs of the interior,
the result would correspond exactly to a classification founded upon
the living Corals of the outer Reef to-day. There would be among the
Astraeans the different species of Astraea proper, forming the close
round heads,--the Mussa, growing in smaller stocks, where the mouths
coalesce and run into each other as in the Brain-Corals, but in
which the depressions formed by the mouths are deeper,--and the
Caryophyllians, in which the single individuals stand out more
distinctly from the stock; among Porites, the P. Astroïdes, with pits
resembling those of the Astraeans in form, though smaller in size,
and growing also in solid heads, though these masses are covered with
club-shaped protrusions, instead of presenting a smooth, even surface
like the Astraeans,--and the P. Clavaria, in which the stocks are
divided in short, stumpy branches, with club-shaped ends, instead of
growing in close, compact heads; among the Maeandrinas we should have
the round heads we know as Brain-Corals, with their wavy lines over the
surface, and the Manacina, differing again from the preceding by certain
details of structure; among the Madrepores we should have the Madrepora
prolifera, with its small, short branches, broken up by very frequent
ramifications, the M. cervicornis, with longer and stouter branches and
less frequent ramifications, and the cup-like M. palmata, resembling
an open sponge in form. Every Species, in short, that lives upon the
present Reef is found in the more ancient ones. They all belong to our
own geological period, and we cannot, upon the evidence before us,
estimate its duration at less than seventy thousand years, during which
time we have no evidence of any change in Species, but on the contrary
the strongest proof of the absolute permanence of those Species whose
past history we have been able to trace.

Before leaving the subject of the Coral Reefs, I would add a few words
on the succession of the different kinds of Polyp Corals on a Reef as
compared with their structural rank and also with their succession in
time, because we have here another of those correspondences of thought,
those intellectual links in Creation, which give such coherence and
consistency to the whole, and make it intelligible to man.

The lowest in structure among the Polyps are not Corals, but the single,
soft-bodied Actiniae. They have no solid parts, and are independent in
their mode of existence, never forming communities, like the higher
members of the class. It might at first seem strange that independence,
considered a sign of superiority in the higher animals, should here be
looked upon as a mark of inferiority. But independence may mean either
simple isolation, or independence of action; and the life of a single
Polyp is no more independent in the sense of action than that of a
community of Polyps. It is simply not connected with or related to the
life of any others. The mode of development of these animals tells us
something of the relative inferiority and superiority of the single ones
and of those that grow in communities. When the little Polyp Coral, the
Astraean or Madrepore, for instance, is born from the egg, it is as free
as the Actinia, which remains free all its life. It is only at a later
period, as its development goes on, that it becomes solidly attached to
the ground, and begins its compound life by putting forth new beings
like itself as buds from its side. Since we cannot suppose that the
normal development of any being can have a retrograde action, we are
justified in believing that the loss of freedom is in fact a stage of
progress in these lower animals, and their more intimate dependence on
each other a sign of maturity.

There are, however, structural features by which the relative
superiority of these animals may be determined. In proportion as the
number of their parts is limited and permanent, their structure is more
complicated; and the indefinite multiplication of identical parts is
connected with inferiority of structure. Now in these lowest Polyps, the
Actiniae, the tentacles increase with age indefinitely, never ceasing to
grow while life lasts, new chambers being constantly added to correspond
with them, till it becomes impossible to count their numbers. Next to
these come the true Fungidae. They are also single, and though they are
stony Corals, they have no share in the formation of Reefs. In these,
also, the tentacles multiply throughout life, though they are usually
not so numerous as in the Actiniae. But a new feature is added to the
complication of their structure, as compared with Actiniae, in the
transverse beams which connect their vertical partitions, though they do
not stretch across the animal so as to form perfect floors, as in some
of the higher Polyps. These transverse beams or floors must not be
confounded with the horizontal floors alluded to in a former article
as characteristic of the ancient Acalephian Corals, the Rugosa and
Tabulata. For in the latter these floors stretch completely across the
body, uninterrupted by vertical partitions, which, if they exist at all,
pass only from floor to floor, instead of extending unbroken through
the whole height of the body, as in all Polyps. Where, on the contrary,
transverse floors exist in true Polyps, they never cut the vertical
partitions in their length, but simply connect their walls, stretching
wholly or partially from wall to wall.

In the Astraeans, the multiplication of tentacles is more definite and
limited, rising sometimes to ninety and more, though often limited to
forty-eight in number, and the transverse floors between the vertical
partitions are more complete than in the Fungidae. The Porites have
twelve tentacles only, never more and never less; and in them the whole
solid frame presents a complicated system of connected beams. The
Madrepores have also twelve tentacles, but they have a more definite
character than those of the Porites, on account of their regular
alternation in six smaller and six larger ones; in these also the
transverse floors are perfect, but exceedingly delicate. Another
remarkable feature among the Madrepores consists in the prominence of
one of the Polyps on the summit of the branches, showing a kind of
subordination of the whole community to these larger individuals, and
thus sustaining the view expressed above, that the combination of many
individuals into a connected community is among Polyps a character of
superiority when contrasted with the isolation of the Actiniae;. In the
Sea-Fans, the Halcyonoids, as they are called in our classification, the
number of tentacles is always eight, four of which are already present
at the time of their birth, arranged in pairs, while the other four are
added later. Their tentacles are lobed all around the margin, and are
much more complicated in structure than those of the preceding Polyps.

According to the relative complication of their structure, these animals
are classified in the following order:--


Halcyonoids: eight tentacles in pairs, lobed around the margin; always
combined in large communities, some of which are free and movable like
single animals.

Madrepores: twelve tentacles, alternating in six larger and six smaller
ones; frequently a larger top animal standing prominent in the whole
community, or on the summit of its branches.

Porites: twelve tentacles, not alternating in size; system of connected

Astraeans: tentacles not definitely limited in number, though usually
not exceeding one hundred, and generally much below this number;
transverse floors. Maeandrines, generally referred to Astraeans, are
higher than the true Astraeans, on account of their compound Polyps.

Fungidae: indefinite multiplication of tentacles; imperfect transverse

Actiniae: indefinite multiplication of tentacles; soft bodies and no
transverse beams.

If, now, we compare this structural gradation among Polyps with their
geological succession, we shall find that they correspond exactly. The
following table gives the geological order in which they have been
introduced upon the surface of the earth.


  Present,           Halcyonoids.
  Pliocene,       \
  Miocene,        }  Madrepores.
  Eocene,         /
  Cretaceous,     \  Porites
  Jurassic,       }   and
  Triassic,       }  Astraeans.
  Permian,        /
  Carboniferous,  \
  Devonian,       }  Fungidae
  Silurian,       /

With regard to the geological position of the Actiniae we can say
nothing, because, if their soft, gelatinous bodies have left any
impressions in the rocks, none such have ever been found; but their
absence is no proof that they did not exist, since it is exceedingly
improbable that animals destitute of any hard parts could be preserved.

The position of the Corals on a Reef accords with these series of
structural gradation and geological succession. It is true that we do
not find the Actiniae in the Reef any more than in the crust of the
earth, for the absence of hard parts in their bodies makes them quite
unfit to serve as Reef-Builders. Neither do we find the Fungidae, for
they, like all low forms, are single, and not confined to one level,
having a wider range in depth and extent than other stony Polyps. But
the true Reef-Building Polyps follow each other on the Reef in the same
order as prevails in their structural gradation and their geological
succession; and whether we classify them according to their position on
the Reef, or their introduction upon the earth in the course of time, or
their relative rank, the result is the same.


It would require an amount of details that would be tedious to many
of my readers, were I to add here the evidence to prove that the
embryological development of these animals, so far as it is known, and
their geographical distribution over the whole surface of our globe,
show the same correspondence with the other three series. But this
recurrence of the same thought in the history of animals of the same
Type, so that, from whatever side we consider them, their creation and
existence seem to be guided by one Mind, is so important in the study
of Nature, that I shall constantly refer to it in the course of
these papers, even though I may sometimes be accused of unnecessary

What is the significance of these coincidences? They were not sought for
by the different investigators, who have worked quite independently,
while ascertaining all these facts, without even knowing that there was
any relation between the objects of their studies. The succession
of fossil Corals has been found in the rocks by the geologist,--the
embryologist has followed the changes in the growth of the living
Corals,--the zoölogist has traced the geographical distribution and the
structural relations of the full-grown animals; but it is only after the
results of their separate investigations are collected and compared that
the coincidence is perceived, and alt find that they have been working
unconsciously to one end. These thoughts in Nature, which we are
too prone to call simply facts, when in reality they are the ideal
conception antecedent to the very existence of all created beings, are
expressed in the objects of our study. It is not the zoölogist who
invents the structural relations establishing a gradation between all
Polyps,--it is not the geologist who places them in the succession
in which he finds them in the rocks,--it is not the embryologist who
devises the changes through which the living Polyps pass as he watches
their growth; they only read what they see, and when they compare their
results they all tell the same story. He who reads most correctly
from the original is the best naturalist. What unites all their
investigations and makes them perfectly coherent with each other is
the coincidence of thought expressed in the facts themselves. In other
words, it is the working of the same Intellect through all time,

When we observe the practical results of this sequence in the position
of Corals on the Reef, we cannot fail to see that it is not a mere
accidental difference of structure and relation, but that it bears
direct reference to the part these little beings were to play in
Creation. It places the solid part of the structure at the base of the
Reef,--it fills in the interstices with a lighter growth,--it crowns the
summit with the more delicate kinds, that yield to the action of the
tides and are easily crushed into the fine sand that forms the soil,--it
makes a masonry solid, compact, time-defying, such a masonry as was
needed by the great Architect, who meant that these smallest creatures
of His hand should help to build His islands and His continents.


When Mr. Disraeli congratulated himself that in the "Wondrous Tale of
Alroy" he had invented a new style, he scarcely deemed that he had but
spun the thread which was to vibrate with melody under the hand of
another. For in none of his magical sentences is the spell exactly
complete, and nowhere do they drop into the memory with that long slow
rhythm and sweet delay which mark every distinct utterance of Elizabeth
Sheppard. Yet at his torch she lit her fires, over his stories she
dreamed, his "Contarini Fleming" she declared to be the touchstone of
all romantic truth, and with the great freights of thought argosied
along his pages she enriched herself. "Destiny is our will, and our
will is our nature," he says. Behold the key-note of those strangely
beautiful Romances of Temperament of which for ten years we have been
cutting the leaves!

In "Venetia," hint and example were given of working the great ores that
lie in the fields about us; and when Elizabeth Sheppard in turn took up
the divining-rod, it sought no clods of baser metal, but gold-veined
masses of crystal and the clear currents of pure water-streams;--beneath
her compelling power, Mendelssohn--Beethoven--Shelley--lived again and

The musician who perhaps inspired a profounder enthusiasm during his
lifetime than any other ever did had been missed among men but a few
years, when a little book was quietly laid upon his shrine, and he
received, as it were, an apotheosis. Half the world broke into acclaim
over this outpouring of fervid worship. But it was private acclaim, and
not to be found in the newspapers. To those who, like the most of us in
America, vainly hunger and thirst after the sweets of sound, the book
was an initiation into the very _penetralia_ of music, we mounted and
rested in that sphere from the distastes of too practical life, long
afterwards we seemed to hear the immortal Song of which it spoke, and
our souls were refreshed. There followed this in a year--inscribed
to Mrs. Disraeli, as the other had been to that lady's
husband--"Counterparts": a novel which, it is not too much to say, it is
impossible for human hand to excel;--superior to its predecessor, since
that was but a memorial, while this was the elaboration of an Idea. Here
the real author ceased awhile. Three succeeding books were but fancies
wrought out, grafts, happy thoughts, very possibly enforced work; but
there were no more spontaneous affairs of her own individuality, until
the one entitled "Almost a Heroine." In this work, which treated of the
possible perfection of marriage, the whole womanly nature of the writer
asserted itself by virtue of the mere fact of humanity. After this came
a number of juvenile stories, some commonplace, others infiltrated with
that subtile charm which breathes, with a single exception, through all
her larger books like the perfume of an exotic. Thus in the three novels
mentioned we have all that can be had of Elizabeth Sheppard herself:
in the third, her theory of life; in the second, her aspirations and
opinions; in the first, her passion.

The orphaned daughter of an English clergyman, and self-dependent,
in 1853 she translated her name into French and published "Charles
Auchester,"--a book written at the age of sixteen. That name of hers is
not the most attractive in the tongue, but all must love it who love
her; for, if any theory of transmission be true, does she not owe
something of her own oneness with Nature, of her intimacy with its
depths, of her love of fields and flowers and skies, to that ancestry
who won the name as, like the princely Hebrew boy, they tended the
flocks upon the hills, under sunlight and starlight and ill every wind
that blew? Never was there a more characteristic device than this
signature of "E. Berger"; and nobody learned anything by it. At first it
was presumed that some member of the house of Rothschild had experienced
a softening of the brain to the extent implied by such effusion of
genuine emotion, and it was rather gladly hailed as evidence of the
weakness shared in common with ordinary mortals by that more than
imperial family, the uncrowned potentates of the world,--the subject
and method of the book being just sufficiently remote from every-day
to preserve the unities of the supposition. Gradually this theory was
sought to be displaced by one concerning a German baroness acquainted
neither with Jews nor with music, humored as it was by that foreign
trick in the book, the idioms of another tongue; but the latter theory
was too false on its face to be tenable, and then people left off
caring about it. It is perhaps an idle infirmity, this request for the
personality of authors; yet it is indeed a response to the fact that
there never was one who did not prefer to be esteemed for himself rather
than for his writing,--and, ascending, may we love the works of God and
not the Lord himself? However, none were a whit the wiser for knowing
Miss Sheppard's name. It came to be accepted that we were to have
the books,--whence was no matter; they were so new, so strange, so
puzzling,--the beautiful, the quaint, and the faulty were so interwoven,
that nobody cared to separate these elements, to take the trouble to
criticize or to thank; and thus, though we all gladly enough received,
we kept our miserly voices to ourselves, and she never met with any
adequate recognition. After her first book, England quietly ignored
her,--they could not afford to be so startled; as Sir Leicester Dedlock
said, "It was really--really--"; she did very well for the circulating
libraries; and because Mr. Mudie insists on his three volumes or none
at all, she was forced to extend her rich webs to thinness. It is this
alone that injures "Counterparts" for many;--not that they would not
gladly accept the clippings in a little supplementary pamphlet, but
dissertations, they say, delay the action. In this case, though, that
is not true; for, besides the incompleteness of the book without the
objectionable dissertation, (that long conversation between Miss
Dudleigh and Sarona,) it answers the purpose of very necessary by-play
on the stage during preparation for the last and greatest scene. But had
this been a fault, it was not so much hers as the publishers'. Subject
to the whims of those in London, and receiving no reply to the
communication of her wishes from those in Edinburgh, she must have
experienced much injustice at the hands of her booksellers, and her
title-pages show them to have been perpetually changed. She herself
accepts with delight propositions from another quarter of the globe; the
prospect of writing for those across the water was very enticing to her;
and in one of her letters she says,--"It is my greatest ambition to
publish in America,--to have no more to do personally with English
publishers"; and finding it, after serious illness, impossible to
fulfil this engagement in season, the anxiety, regret, and subsequent
gratitude, which she expressed, evinced that she had been unaccustomed
to the courteous consideration then received.

Working constantly for so many years, she had yet known nothing of her
readers, had felt her literary life to be an utter failure, had thrown a
voice into the world and heard no echo; and when for the first time told
of the admiration she elicited in this country and of one who rejoiced
in her, her face kindled and she desired to come and be among her own
people. Those who have failed to appreciate her can hardly be blamed, as
it is owing entirely to their deficiency; but the cavillers--those who
have ears and hear not--are less excusable. Almost a recluse,--declining
even an interview with her publishers,--in ill-health, in poverty, and
with waning youth, she poured out her precious ointment from alabaster
boxes, and there were not wanting Pharisees. But hampered by precedent
and somewhat barren of enthusiasms as are almost all productions now,
how could we do aught but welcome this spontaneous and ever-fresh
fountain bubbling into the sunlight, albeit without geometrical
restrictions, and bringing as it did such treasures from its secret
sources? Yet, welcomed or not, there is no record of any female
prose-writer's ever having lived who possessed more than a portion
of that genius which permeated Elizabeth Sheppard's whole being.
Genius,--the very word expresses her: in harmony with the great
undertone of the universe, the soul suffused with light. Flower-warmth
and fragrance are on her page, the soft low summer wind seems to be
speaking with you as you read, her characters are like the stars
impersonated, and still, however lofty her nature, always and forever
genial. You catch her own idiosyncrasy throughout, and believe, that,
like Evelyn Hope, she was made of spirit, fire, and dew. When we
remember the very slight effect ever visible to her of all her labor,
there is something sad in the thought of this young soul, thrilled with
its own fervors and buoyant in anticipation, sending forth the first
venture. But then we recognize as well, that she was one of those few to
whom creation is a necessity, that in truth she scarcely needed human
response, and that when men were silent God replied.

Miss Sheppard's style was something very novel. Based, perhaps, on an
admiration of one whose later exploits have dwarfed his earlier in the
general estimation, there was yet no more resemblance than between the
string-courses of a building and its sculptured friezes. Indeed, writing
was not her virtual expression: this may be learned even in her peculiar
way of loving Nature, for it was not so much Nature itself as Nature's
effects that she prized; and between the work now performed and that
awaiting her in some further life one feels the difference that exists
between the soft clay model with its mild majesty, its power clogged and
covered, and the same when it issues in the white radiance of marble.
She does not seem to have been an extensive reader, and certainly no
student, while she totally disregarded all rules and revision. Her
sentences were so long that one got lost in them, and had finally to go
back and clutch a nominative case and drag it down the page with him;
there were ambiguities and obscurities in plenty: her thoughts were so
bright that they darkened her words; one must go through a process of
initiation,--but having mastered the style, one knew the writer. It
was well worth while, this shrouding rhetoric, for beneath it were no
reserves; superficially no one ever kept more out of sight, but the
real reader could not fail to know that here he had the freedom of the
author's nature: and although she somewhere said that a woman "thus
intensely feminine, thus proud and modest, betraying herself to the
world in her writings, is an exception, and one in the whole world the
most rare," she knew not that she sketched herself in that exception.
But there are not elsewhere to be found pages so drenched with beauty as
hers; and for all her vague abstractions of language, and wide, suffused
effects, she possessed yet the skill to present a picture, keenly etched
and vividly colored, in the fewest words, when she chose. Not to mention
Rose and Bernard, who, oddly enough, are a series of the most exquisite
pictures in themselves, bathed in changing and ever-living light, let
us take, for instance, Maria Cerinthia walking in the streets of Paris,
having worn out her mantilla, and with only a wreath of ivy on her
head,--or Clotilda at her books, "looking very much like an old picture
of a young person sitting there,"--or the charming one of Laura's _pas_,
which the little boy afterwards describes in saying, "She quite swam,
and turned her eyes upward,"--or, better, yet, that portrait of a
Romagnese woman: "of the ancient Roman beauty, rare now, if still
remembered, with hair to her knees, wrapping her form in a veil vivid as
woven gold, with the emerald eyes of Dante's Beatrice, a skin of yellow
whiteness, and that mould of figure in which undulating softness
quenches majesty,--the mould of the mystical Lucretia." There are
sea-sketches scattered among these leaves which no painter's brush will
ever equal, and morning and twilight gain new splendor and tenderness
beneath her touch.

But, after all, this was not her style's chief excellence; she cared
little for such pictorial achievements, and in presenting her fancies
she often sacrificed outline to melody; it is necessary for you to feel
rather than to see her meaning. What distinguished her yet more was the
ability by means of this style to interpret music into words. Although
this may not be correct practice, there was never a musical critic who
did not now and then attempt it: musicians themselves never do, because
music is to them nothing to see or to describe, but the air they
breathe, and in fact a state of being. Do you remember that tone-wreath
of heather and honeysuckle? "It was a movement of such intense meaning
that it was but one sigh of unblended and unfaltering melody isolated as
the fragrance of a single flower, and only the perfumes of Nature exhale
a bliss as sweet, how far more unexpressed! This short movement, that in
its oneness was complete, grew, as it were, by fragmentary harmonies,
intricate, but most gradual, into another,--a prestissimo so delicately
fitful that it was like moonlight dancing upon crested ripples; or, for
a better similitude, like quivering sprays in a summer wind. And in less
than fifty bars of regularly broken time--how ravishingly sweet I say
not--the first subject in refrain flowed through the second, and they,
interwoven even as creepers and flowers densely tangled, closed together
simultaneously." And if you have not the book by you, will you pardon
another,--the awful and eternal flow of the Mer de Glace?

"At first awoke the strange, smooth wind-notes of the opening adagio;
the fetterless chains of ice seemed to close around my heart. The
movement had no blandness in its solemnity; and so still and shiftless
was the grouping of the harmonies, that a frigidity, actual as well as
ideal, passed over my pores and hushed my pulses. After a hundred such
tense yet clinging chords, the sustaining calm was illustrated, not
broken, by a serpentine phrase of one lone oboë, pianissimo over the
piano-surface, which it crisped not, but on and above which it breathed
like the track of a sunbeam aslant from a parted cloud. The slightest
possible retardation at its close brought us to the refrain of the
simple adagio, interrupted again by a rush of violoncello-notes, rapid
and low, like some sudden under-current striving to burst through the
frozen sweetness. Then spread wide the subject, as plains upon plains of
_water-land_; though the time was gradually increased. Amplifications of
the same harmonies introduced a fresh accession of violoncelli and oboi
contrasted artfully in syncopation, till at length the strides of the
accelerando gave a glittering precipitation to the entrance of the
second and longest movement.

"Then Anastase turned upon me, and with the first bar we fell into a
tumultuous presto. Far beyond all power to analyze as it was just then,
the complete idea embraced me as instantaneously as had the picturesque
chillness of the first. I have called it tumultuous,--but merely in
respect of rhythm:--the harmonies were as clear and evolved as the
modulation itself was sharp, keen, and unapproachable. Through every bar
reigned that vividly enunciated ideal, whose expression pertains to
the one will alone in any age,--the ideal, that, binding together in
suggestive imagery every form of beauty, symbolizes and represents
something beyond them all.

"Here over the surge-like, but fast-bound motivo--only like those tost
ice-waves, dead still in their heaped-up crests--were certain swelling
crescendos of a second subject, so unutterably if vaguely sweet, that
the souls of all deep blue Alp-flowers, the clarity of all high blue
skies, had surely passed into them, and was passing from them again....

"It was not until the very submerging climax that the playing of
Anastase was recalled to me. Then, amidst long ringing notes of the wild
horns, and intermittent sighs of the milder wood, swept from the violins
a torrent of coruscant arpeggi, and above them all I heard his tone,
keen but solvent, as his bow seemed to divide the very strings with
fire, and I felt as if some spark had fallen upon my fingers to kindle
mine. As soon as it was over, I looked up and laughed in his face with
sheer pleasure."

Nothing of the kind was ever half so delightful, if one excepts Mr.
Dwight's translation of a _Gondel-lied_. As literal description it is
wondrous, but as imagination it equals the music itself. Let us pause
for an instant here and recall the singular inventive and combining
grace with which a Spectacle is always given in these stories. It is
well known that Mendelssohn contemplated an opera upon the "Tempest,"
although he did not live to execute the idea; but how charmingly is
that taken and mingled with what he had already done in the
"Midsummer-Night's Dream," at the festival of the Silver Wedding, when
the lonely tones from age to age frozen on the cups of lilies, the orbed
harmonies bound burning within the roses, the dreaming song thrilled
along the veins of violets, intricate sounds hushed under green gloom
of myrtle-leaves, mourning chords with which the cedars stood
charged,--were all disenchanted and stole forth on longing
wind-instruments and on the splendor of violins, "accumulating in
orchestral richness, as if flower after flower of music were unsheathing
to the sun"!

Yet the unlovely is not to be found within these covers: there was a
quality in the writer's mind like that fervid, all-vivifying sunshine
which so illumines the cities of the desert, so steeps the pavements,
so soaks through the pores of solids, so sharpens angles and softens
curves, as Fromentin tells us, that even squalor borrows brilliant dyes,
and rags and filth lighten into picturesque and burnished glory. And
this is well for the reader, as all have not time for philosophy, nor
can all transmute pain into treasure. But for her, sweet sounds and
sights abound in everything; bird and breeze and bee alike are winged
with melody; the music of the sea satisfies her heart, and there
"the artist-ear,--which makes a spectrum for all sounds that are
not separate, distinguishes the self-same harmonies that govern the
gradations of the orchestra, from deep to deep descending, until sounds
are lost in sound as lights in light";--the trains have their thunderous
music in her hearing; and the bells to which Cecilia listens seem to be
ringing in the last day:--"The ravishing and awful sound of them, which
is only heard by the few,--the passion in their rise and fall,--their
wavering,--their rushing fulness,--drew off all consciousness: most like
the latest and last passion,--the passion of death."

There seems to be no subject which this woman has not pondered deeply.
Her theory of Temperament is an attendant fairy that does marvellous
things for her, and not only apportions natures, but corresponding
bodies, so that we can easily see how the golden age is to return again,
when peradventure deceits shall be impossible, and all the virtues
thrive by mere necessity under the reign of this perfected Science of
the Soul. Yet, roam where she would, there were always two mysteries
that allured her back again, as Thoné's curt sentence told,--"_Tonkunst
und Arzenei_"; and to these might be added Race, in defiance of Mr.
Buckle. Assuredly the Hebrew owes acknowledgment to her, and not George
Borrow, with all his weird learning, enters more deeply into the Burden
of Egypt; Browning's appreciation of the gypsy standing alone beside
hers,--Browning, between whose writings and her own a rich sympathy
exists, both being so possessed of fulness. Yet verse could not chain
her wide eloquence in its fetters; and whenever she attempted it, its
music made her thought shapeless. There is one exception to this,
however, and we give it below,--for, inartistic as this mould may seem,
and amorphous as its ideas may be, it is the only instance of any rhymes
fully translating the meaning of music, and it is as full of clinging
pathos and melody as the great creation it paraphrases, and to which no
words will quite respond.

  "In gardens where the languid roses keep
  Perpetual sweetness for the hearts that smile,
  Perpetual sadness for the hearts that weep,
  Lonely, unseen, I wander, to beguile
  The day that only shines to show thee bright,
  The night whose stars burn wan beside thy light,

  "Adelaïda! all the birds are singing
  Low, as thou passest, where in leaves they lie;
  With timid chirp unto their soft mates clinging,
  They greet that presence without which they die,--
  Die, even with Nature's universal heart,
  When thou, her queen, dost in thy pride depart,

  "Depart! and dim her beauty evermore;
  Go, from the shivering leaves and lily-flowers,
  That, white as saints on the eternal shore,
  Stand wavering, beckoning, in the moony bowers,--
  Beckon me on where their moist feet are laid
  In the dark mould, fast by the alder-shade,

  "Adelaïda! 'tis the Grave or Love
  Must fight for this great first, last mastery.
  I feed in faith on spicy gales above,
  Where all along that blue unchanging sky
  Thy name is traced;--its sweetness never fails
  To sound in streams of peace in spicy gales,

  "Adelaïda! woe is me, woe, woe!
  Not only in the sky, in starry gold,
  I see thy name,--where peaceful rivers flow,
  Not only hear its sweetness manifold;
  On every white and purple flower 'tis written,
  Its echo every aspen-quake hath smitten,

  "Go farther! let me leave thee! I depart!--
  Who whispered I would linger by thy side?
  Who said it beat so warm, my feeble heart?
  Who told, I dared to claim thee as my bride?
  Who cried, I roamed without thee all the day
  And clasped thee in my dreams? Away, away,

  "I die, but thou shall live; in the loud noon
  Thy feet shall crush the long grass o'er my head,
  Not rudely, rudely,--gently, gently, soon
  Shall tread me heavier down in that dark bed;
  And thou shalt know not on whose head they pass,
  Whose silent hands, whose frozen heart!--Alas,

There are those who in "Charles Auchester," charmed by the simplicity
and truth of that first part called "Choral Life," objected to the rest
on the score of extravagance. But this book records the adoration of
music, and in an age replete with the _dilettanti_ of indifference may
we not thank God for one enthusiast? Yet, indeed, everything about
Mendelssohn was itself extravagant,--his childhood, his youth, his life,
his beauty, his power: should the instrument, then, be tuned lower than
such key-note? And again, to us who live a somewhat commonplace routine,
the life of musical artists, especially abroad, must necessarily seem
redundant; yet it is only that life, natural and actual, into which we
are here inducted. The same is possible to no other class of artists:
even the scholar, buried in his profound studies, must descend from his
abstraction; the poet, the painter, cannot share it: for the latter,
however much he clubs and cliques, is seldom sufficiently dispossessed
of himself; and the other, though he strike out of his heat poems as
immortal as stars, may yet live among clods and feel no thrill returning
on himself. But the musician cannot dwell alone: his art requires that
he should cluster, and the orchestra enforces it; therefore he acts and
reacts like the vibrations ridged within a Stradivarius, he is kept in
his art's atmosphere till it becomes his life, its aura bathes every
trivial thing, and existence which might otherwise be meagre is raised
and glorified. Thus yet more, when we recall that even were the
musician's life not so, still it ought to be, and it is the right of
the author to idealize, one can believe "Charles Auchester" to be but a
faithful transcript. "In proportion to our appreciation of music is also
our appreciation of what is not music," Sarona says; and so faithfully
does this writer prove it, by her attention to minute and usual
circumstances, that one might certainly allow her some exaltation
when touching on one theme,--yet how this exaltation can be called in
question by any who espouse Bettine von Arnim's sublime ravings the
morning after entering Vienna is mysterious. Were the real condition
of these natures--which certainly exist--bared to view, many from their
phlegmatic experience might deem all the nerves to be in a state of
excitation, when in fact they saw only normal and healthy play. It is
true that the power of modulated tones arouses everything most ethereal
and lofty in our composition, and it must therefore be wrong to charge
with extravagance any description of a life in music, which is a life in
the highest, because truly it cannot be extravagant enough, since all
words fail before that of which it discourses,--while it gives you the
sense of the universe and of the eternities, and is to the other arts
what the soul is to the body. And is it not, moreover, the voice of
Nature, the murmur of wind and tree, the thrill of all the dropping
influences of the heavens, the medium of spiritual communication, the
universal language in which all can exchange thought and feeling, and
through which the whole world becomes one nation? Out of the spirit
blossom spirits, Bettine tells us, and we subject ourselves to their
power: "Ah, wonderful mediation of the ineffable, which oppresses the
bosom! Ah, music!" To go further, there is certainly no exaggeration
in Charles Auchester's treatment of his hero; for, reading the
contemporaneous articles of musical journals, you will find them one and
all speaking in even more unrestrained profligacy of praise, recognizing
in the cloud of composers but nine worthy the name of Master, of whom
Mendelssohn was one, and declaring that under his baton the orchestra
was electrified. We all remember the solemnly pathetic and passionate
beauty of Seraphael's burial by night, with the music winding up among
the stars; but did it in reality exceed the actual progress of the dead
Master's ashes from city to city, met in the twilight and the evening by
music, gray-headed Capellmeisters receiving him with singing in the open
midnight, and fresh songs being flung upon his coffin like wreaths with
the sunrise?

There is a wonderful strength exhibited in the sketch of Seraphael from
first to last: not to mention the happiness of the name, of which
this is by no means a single instance, and the fact of his having no
_pramomen_, both of which so insignificant atoms in themselves lift him
at once a line above the level in the reader's sympathy,--it was a most
difficult thing to present such delicacy and lightness, and yet to
preserve "the awful greatness of his lonely genius," as somewhere else
she calls it; but all must confess that it is done, and perfectly. It
is not alone in Seraphael that this strength is shown; a new mould of
character in fiction is given us,--masculine characters which, though
light and airy, are yet brilliant and strong, most sweet, and surcharged
with loveliness. It is this perfect sweetness that constitutes half
the charm of her books,--for in the only one where it is deficient,
"Beatrice Reynolds," the whole fails. One feels sure that it was never
deficient in herself, that her own heart must have been overflowing with
warm and cordial tenderness,--and if any testimony were wanting, we
should have it in her evident love of children. It is only by love that
understanding comes, and no one ever understood children better or
painted them half so well: they are no mites of puny perfection, no
angels astray, no Psyches in all the agonies of the bursting chrysalis,
but real little flesh-and-blood people in pinafores, approached by
nobody's hand so nearly as George Eliot's. They are flawless: the boy
who, having swung himself giddy, felt "the world turning round, as
papa says it does, nurse,"--the other boy, who, immured in studies and
dreams, found all life to be "a fairy-tale book with half the leaves
uncut,"--the charming little snow-drop of a Carlotta, "who would sit
next him, would stick her tiny fork into his face, with a morsel of
turkey at the end of it, would poke crumbs into his mouth with her
finger, would put up her lips to kiss him, would say, every moment, 'I
like you much,--much!' with all Davy's earnestness, though with just
so much of her mother's modesty as made her turn pink and shy, and put
herself completely over the chair into Seraphael's lap when we laughed
at her." And Philippa, and Philippa's conversation, capers, and cat!
an impossibility to those who have never experienced her whirlwinds of
exuberance,--and to those who have, a reproduction of the drollest days
of their existence. Never was there a personage so perfectly drawn,
never such a grotesque storm of noisy health,--the matchless Philippa!
After reading Miss Sheppard's juveniles, you feel that you have been in
most good and innocent company all day; and since it is necessary for
an author to become for the moment that nature of which he writes, this
author must have been something very good and innocent in herself in
order to uphold this strain so long. Of those accessible, the best is
that entitled, "Round the Fire,"--a series of tales purporting to be
told by little girls, and each of extraordinary interest; but the
one she herself preferred is yet with four others in the hands of an
Edinburgh publisher, and perhaps yet in manuscript,--the name of
this being "Prince Gentil, Prince Joujou, and Prince Bonbon, or the
Children's Cities." This reminds one that cities, in the abstract, seem
to have been with her a subject of unceasing wonder and pleasure,--from
Venice, with its shadowy, slippery, silent water-ways to X, that ideal
city of the North; and where is there anything to excel the Picture of
Paris, drawn minutely and colored, his prison-prophecy, Paris as it was
to be created, rather than restored, by Louis Napoleon? "Then he took
from his pocket a strong magnifying-glass, and put it gently into
Rodomant's hand. Rodomant grasped it, and through it gazed long and
eagerly. And from that hieroglyphic mist there started, sudden and
distinct as morn without a cloud, a brilliant bird's-eye view of a
superb and stupendous city, a dream of imaginative architecture, almost
in itself a poem. Each house of each street, each lamp and fountain,
each line of road and pavement, marked as vividly as the glorious
domes, the pointing pillars, grand gates and arches, proud palaces in
inclosures of solemn leafage, the bridges traced like webs of shadow,
the stately terraces and dim cathedrals. Green groves and avenues and
vivid gardens interlaced and divided the city within the walls; and
without, masses of delicate shrubbery, as perfectly defined, were
studded with fair villas of every varied form, melting gradually and
peacefully, as it seemed, to a bright champaign embroidered with fence
and hedge-row.... A sort of visionary pageant unrolled to him, partly
memorial, in part prophetic. He knew he had seen something like it,--but
when and where? What planet boasted that star of cities for strength
and lustre that must surpass new London and old Thebes? For Rodomant had
the mathematical gift of all the highest harmonists, and his brain could
magnify and actualize the elfin-sized images under his eye to their just
and proper proportion in the real." It must have been like heaven, this
city so stilly and so fair,--for, you see, there were no people there.

Miss Sheppard's plots are not conspicuous, for her characters make
circumstance and are their own fate; still her capacity in that line is
finely exhibited by the plot of the opera of "Alarcos." In mere filling
up, having excepted the incident,--always original and delightful,--the
lofty imagination, and the descriptions of wind and weather,--one of her
best points will be found to be costume, a minor thing, but then there
are few who excel in modern millinery. "Salome was beautiful. Her
splendid delicate dress, all rosy folds, skirt over skirt of drapery
falling softly into each other, made her clear skin dazzle in the midst
of them; and the masses of vivid geraniums here and there without their
leaves were not too gorgeous for her bearing,--nor for her hair, in
whose rich darkness geraniums also glowed, long wreaths curling down
into her neck." Rose in white, with wreaths of rubies weighing down her
slender arms;--Adelaïda, with her lace robe like woven light on satin
like woven moon-beams, and large water-lilies in her golden hair;--my
Lady Barres, whose dress "consisted almost always of levantine, with
demi-train and under-petticoat of white brocaded silk peeping through
its open front; the hair showing the shape of the head, and confined by
a narrow band of black velvet across the brow, fastened in the morning
with onyx or agate, in the evening with a brilliant only; she always
wore upon her wrists delicate bands of cambric embroidered with
seed-pearl so minutely that it seemed a pattern wrought out of the
threads of the stuff, and little pearl tassels drooped there scarcely
eclipsing her hands in fairness."

But a far stronger point is the power of portraiture. Seraphael having
been identified, people turned their attention to the other cipher.
Disregarding the orchestral similitude of sound in his name, which, by
the way, nobody pronounces as Aronach instructed, they chose to infer
that Charles Auchester himself was the Herr Joachim, that Starwood
Burney stood for Sterndale Bennett, that Diamid Albany meant Disraeli,
that Zelter figured as Aronach, and that Jenny Lind, of whom Mendelssohn
himself said there would not in a whole century be born another being so
gifted, and whom the Italians, those lovers of fair pseudonymes, called
"La Benedetta," is no other than Clara Benette. But these are trivial,
compared with Rodomant and Porphyro. It was daring enough, when
Beckendorf mimicked Prince Metternich; but to undertake and to contrast
Louis Napoleon and Beethoven, without belittling either, pales every
other performance. They tower before us grand and immutable as if cast
in bronze, and so veritable that they throw shadows; the prison-gloom is
sealed on Porphyro's face,--power and purpose indomitable; just as the
"gruesome Emperor" is to-day, we find him in that book,--dark in the
midst of his glory, as enduring as a Ninevite sculpture, strong and
inscrutable as the Sphinx. But his heights topple over with this world's
decline, while the other builds for the eternal aeons. Rodomant,--did
one fail to find his identity, they would yet recognize him in those old
prints, the listening head bent forwards, the features like discords
melting info chords; it is hard to tell how such strength was given in
such slight sentences,--but from the time when he contemptuously tossed
out his tune-fooleries, through the hour when with moonlight fancies "a
serene ecstatic serenade was rippling silently beneath his pen," to that
when the organ burst upon his ear in thunders quenchless and everlasting
as the sea's, he is still Beethoven, gigantic in pride, purity, and
passion. "I dream now," said Rodomant; "like the Spirit of God moving
upon the face of the waters, so stir my shadows, dim shapes of sound,
across the chaos of my fathomless intention." This "Rumour" has never
been reprinted in America; it will, then, be excusable to give here a
scene which Is indeed its climax.

"A spiritual nature has for its highest and hardest temptation a
disposition to outrage, precedent,--sometimes propriety. It is sure
of itself--very likely--but it may endanger the machinery, moral or
tangible, which it employs for agent. Again, who has not dreamed of a
dream? who has not remembered dimly what yet experience contradicts? who
does not confound fact and imagination, to the damage of his reputation
for truth?

"Rodomant was in a lawless frame, a frame he had fixed on himself by his
outrage on precedent; his subsequent excitement had enchanted him more
wildly, and any number of imps and elves were ready to rush at his
silent word from the caverns of his haunted brain. Again, he felt
he must spend his energy, his long idleness reacted on a sudden in
prodigious strength of intellect, it stirred like a giant refreshed.
Long time ago he had dreamed--he had entirely forgotten it was a fact
that he had been told--that, if the whole force of that organ were put
out, the result would be tremendous. He had also _dreamed_--that is,
been assured--that there was a law made to the purpose that the whole
force of the organ was never to be employed. The law had never been
broken, except once;--but there his memories waxed dim and indistinct;
he was at the mercy of his own volition, which resolved on recalling
nothing that could dissuade him from his rash and forbidden longing.
Unknown to himself, perhaps the failure of his design to escape, of
which the princess had assured him, drove him to the crisis of a more
desperate endeavor. But, whether it was so or not, he was unconscious of
it,--so far innocent. He sat down, believing himself alone.... 'Softly,
softly,' mocked his whisper--to himself,--and he touched alone the
whispering reeds, Adelaïda held her breath, and chid the beating of her
heart, which seemed louder than the mellow pulse that throbbed in tune
above. The symphony that followed fell like a mighty universal
hush, through which the clarionet-stop chanted, unuttered but
articulate,--'Give to us peace.' Then the hush dissolved into a sea
of sighs: 'Peace, peace!' they yearned, and the mild deep diapason
muttered, 'Peace.' She, the one listener, felt, as it were, her brain
fill soft with tears, her eyes rained them, and her heart, whose pulses
had dropped as calm as dew, echoed the peaceful longing of the whole
heart of humanity. A longing as peaceful in its expression as the peace
it longed for; the creation's travail seemed spent to the edge of joy.

"Suddenly, as light swept chaos, this peaceful fancy was disrupted,--her
heart ravished from its rest, its calm torn from it. Down went the pedal
which forced the whole first organ out at once, and as if shouted by
hosts of men and by myriad angels echoed, pealed the great Hosanna. The
mighty rapture of the princess won her instantly from regret; no peace
could be so glorious as that praise; and vast as was the volume
of sound, the hands that invoked it had it so completely under
control--voluntary control as yet--that it did not swamp her sense; her
spirit floated on the wide stream with harmonious waves towards the
measureless immensity of music at its source. To reach that centre
without a circle,--that perfection which imperfection shadows not,--that
unborn, undying principle, which art tries humbly, falteringly, to
illustrate,--was never given to man on earth; and tries he to attain it,
some fate, of which the chained Prometheus is at once the symbol and the
warning, fastens to his soul for life.

"The princess had bowed her head, and the soft and plenteous waters
of her eyes had dried like dew under the midsummer sun; yet still she
closed her eyes, for her brain felt fixed and alight with a nameless
awe, such as passion lends presentiment.

"Suddenly, in the words of Albericus, there burst overhead a noise like
the roaring of 'enormous artificial golden lions,'--that was the drum:
less, in this instance, like smitten parchment than the crackling roll
of clouds that embrace in thunder. The noise amazed himself,--yet
Rodomant exulted in it, his audacity expanded with it, broke down the
last barrier of reason. He added stop after stop,--at the last and
sixtieth stop, he unfettered the whole volume of the wind. That instant
was a blast, not to speak irreverently, which sounded like the crack
of doom. To her standing stricken underneath, it seemed to explode
somewhere in the roof with a shock beyond all artillery,--to tear up the
ground under her feet, like the spasm of an earthquake,--to rend the
walls, like lightning's electric finger; and to shriek in her ringing
brain the advent of some implacable and dreadful judgment, but not the
doom of all men,--only one, which doom, alas! she felt might be also
hers _in_ his.

"All men and women within a mile had heard the shock, or rather felt it,
and interpreted it in various ways. Only the prince himself--who was
standing on the terrace, and had distinctly perceived the rich vibration
of the strong, but calm, _Hosanna_--interpreted it rightly and directly;
more than that, his animal sagacity told him it was Rodomant, who,
having amused himself, was now _indulging_ the same individual....

"To Adelaïda there was something more terrible in the succeeding silence
than in the shock of sound; it had ceased directly, died first into a
discordant groan, which, rising to a scream, was still. She listened
intensely: there was no fall of rattling fragments, the vibration had
been insufficient, or not prolonged enough, to injure the window,--that
had been her first, chief fear. This removed, however, she felt doubly,
desperately anxious. Why did he not come down, or speak, or stir? The
men employed to feed the monstrous machine with wind had all rushed away
together by the back-ladder through which they entered: hence the cause
of the shrieking groan and silence. He was there alone,--for he knew not
that she was there. Oh that he would give some sign!

"In a few minutes a sign was given, but not from him. The princess heard
the grinding of the immense door near the altar; it was opened;
steps entered hurriedly. She heard, next instant, her father's
voice,--impregnated with icy ire, low with smothered hatred, distinct
with the only purpose he ever entertained,--punishment. She flew, with
feet that gave no echo, up the stair on her side of the lobby. Rodomant
was sitting dead-still, with his face in his hands; they looked rigid;
the veins in his forehead, as it showed above his hands, were swollen
and stood out, but colorless as the keys that stretched beneath. His
calmness chilled her blood. She thought him dead, and all within her
that lived seemed to pass out of her in the will, nay, the power also,
to restore him. She grasped his arm. He was not dead, then, for he
sighed,--an awful sigh; it shook him like a light reed in the tempest,
he shuddered from head to foot; he leaned towards her, as if about to
faint, but never removed his close-locked hands from his eyes.... She
had only clasped his arm before; as hand met hand, or touch thrilled
touch, he shivered, his grasping fingers relaxed in their hold on each
other, but closed on hers.... She waited long,--she listened to his
breathing, intermittent with tearless sobs. At last he gasped violently,
a cold tear dropped on her hand, and he thrust it rudely from him.

"'God has taken my punishment into Hiss own hands: yet I defied not Him,
only something made by man, and man himself.' He spoke loudly, yet in
halting words, with gaps of silence between each phrase; then stared
wildly round him, and clapped both his hands upon his ears,--withdrew
them,--closed his ears with his fingers, then dropped his hands, and
cast on her a glance that implored--that demanded--the whole pity of her
heart. 'Have mercy!' were his words; 'I have lost my hearing, and it is

The discrimination of character exercised by Miss Sheppard is very
wonderful. Many as are the figures on her stage, they are never
repeated, and they are all as separate, as finely edged and bevelled,
as gems. The people grow under her pen,--whether you take Auchester,
developing so when first thrown on himself in Germany, and becoming at
length the rare type of manhood which he presents,--or the one change
wrought by years in Miss Benette, just the addition of something that
would have been impossible in any child, a deepened sweetness, that
completest touch of the perfect woman, "like perfume from unseen
flowers, diffusing itself when the wind awakens, while we know neither
whence the windy fragrance comes nor whither it flows." Perhaps this
characterization is most noticeable in "Counterparts," which she called
her small party of opposing temperaments: Salome, so gracious; Rose,
like the spirit of a sunbeam; Sarona, so keen and incisive, his passion
confronting Bernard's sweetness; and Cecilia, who, it is easy to
conjecture, wrote the book. I have always fancied that some mystic
trine was chorded by three beings who, with all their separate gifts,
possessed an equal power and sweetness,--Raphael, Shelley, and
Mendelssohn. And perhaps the same occurred more emphatically to Miss
Sheppard, for after Seraphael she drew Bernard,--Bernard, who is
exceeded by none in the whole range of romance. "Counterparts" is a
novel of ideal life; it is the land of one's dreams and one's delights;
its dwellers are more real to us than the men and women into whose eyes
we look upon the street, they haunt us and enrapture us, they breathe
about us an atmosphere of gentle and delicious melancholy like the soft
azure haze spread over meadow and hills by the faint south-wind. With
fresh incident on every leaf, with a charm in every scene, its spell is
enthralling, and its chapters are enchanted. There is no fault in
it; nothing can be more perfect, nothing more beautiful. One may put
"Consuelo" side by side with "Charles Auchester," but what novel in
the wide world deserves a place by "Counterparts"? It was worth having
lived, to have once thrown broadcast such handfuls of beauty.

Between the publication of Miss Sheppard's second book and "Rumour" two
others were issued,--"Beatrice Reynolds" and "The Double Coronet,"--for
which one wishes there were some younger sister, some Acton or Ellis, to
whom to impute them,--evidently the result of illness, weariness, and
physical weakness, perhaps wrung from her by inexorable necessity, but
which should never have been written. In the last, in spite of its very
Radcliffean air, there are truly terrible things, as Gutilyn and his
green-eyed child bear witness; but the other reminds one, as nearly as a
modern book may do so, of no less a model than the redoubtable "Thaddeus
of Warsaw!" But Miss Sheppard had already written all that at present
there was to say; rest was imperative till the intermittent springs
again overflowed. "Rumour," which approached the old excellence, was no
result of a soul's ardor,--merely very choice work. Notwithstanding,
everything is precious that filters through such a medium, and in
these three publications she found opportunity for expressing many a
conviction and for weaving many a fancy; moreover, she was afraid of
no one, and never minced matters, therefore they are interspersed
with criticisms: she praised Charlotte Bronté, condemned George Sand,
ridiculed Chopin, reproved Elizabeth Browning, and satirized "Punch." In
her last book there was a great, but scarcely a good change of style,
she having been obliged by its thinness to pepper the page with Italics;
still these are only marks of a period of transition, and in spite of
them the book is priceless. Judging from internal evidence, she here
appears to have frequented more society, and the contact of this
carelessly marrying world with her own pure perception of right struck
the spark which kindled into "Almost a Heroine." Here awakens again that
graceful humor which is the infallible sign of health, and which was so
lightly inwrought through the earlier volumes. Reading it over, one is
struck with its earnestness, its truth and noble courage,--one feels
that lofty social novels, which might have infused life and principle
and beauty into the mass of custom, were promised in this, and are now
no longer a possibility. And herein are the readers of this magazine
especially affected; since there is no reason to suppose that the work
promised and begun by her for these pages would not have been the peer
of her best production, some bold and beautiful elucidation of one of
the many mysteries in life; for the lack of appreciation in England was
no longer to concern her, and, unshackled and unrestrained, she could
feel herself surrounded by the genial atmosphere of loving listeners.
But perhaps it was not lawful that she should further impart these great
secrets which she had learned. "I sometimes think," she murmurs, "when
women try to rise too high either in their deeds or their desires, that
the spirit which bade them so rise sinks back beneath the weakness of
their earthly constitution, and never appeals again,--or else that the
spirit, being too strong, does away with the mortal altogether,--they
die, or rather they live again." It was like forecasting her own
horoscope. All suffering seems to have descended upon her,--and there
are some natures whose power of enjoyment, so infinite, yet so deep as
to be hidden, is balanced only by as infinite a power to endure; she
learned anew, as she says, and intensely, "what a long dream of misery
is life from which health's bloom has been brushed,--that irreparable
bloom,--and how far more terrible is the doom of those in whom the
nerve-life has been untoned." Sun-stroke and fever, vibration between
opiates at night and tonics at noon,--but the flame was too strong
to fan away lightly, it must burn itself out, the spirit was too
quenchless,--pain, wretchedness, exhaustion. On one of those delicious
days that came in the middle of this year's April,--warmth and fresh
earth-smells breathing all about,--the wide sprays of the lofty boughs
lying tinged in rosy purple, a web-like tracery upon the sky whose azure
was divine,--the air itself lucid and mellow, as if some star had been
dissolved within it,--on such a day the little foreign letter
came, telling that at length balm had dropped upon the weary
eyelids,--Elizabeth Sheppard was dead.

But in the midst of regret,--since all lovely examples lend their
strength, since they give such grace even to the stern facts of
suffering and death, and since there are too few such records on
Heaven's scroll,--be glad to know that for every throb of anguish, for
every swooning lapse of pain, there was one beside her with tenderest
hands, most careful eyes, most yearning and revering heart,--one into
whose sacred grief our intrusion is denied, but the remembrance of whose
long and deep devotion shall endure while there are any to tell how
Severn watched the Roman death-bed of Keats!

It is impossible to estimate our loss, because it draws upon infinitude;
there was so much growth yet possible to this soul; to all that she was
not she might yet have enlarged; and while at first her audience had
limits, she would in a calm and prosperous future have become that which
she herself described in saying that a really vast genius who is as vast
an artist will affect all classes, "touch even the uninitiated with
trembling and delight, and penetrate even the ignorant with strong, if
transient spell, as the galvanic energy binds each and all who embrace
in the chain-circle of grasping hands, in the shock of perfect
sympathy." Nevertheless, she has served Art incalculably,--Art, which
is the interpretation of God in Nature. And if, as she believed, in
spiritual things Beauty is the gage of immortality, the pledge may yet
be redeemed on earth, ever forbidding her memory to die.



  When first I saw our banner wave
    Above the nation's council-hall,
    I heard beneath its marble wall
  The clanking fetters of the slave!

  In the foul market-place I stood,
    And saw the Christian mother sold,
    And childhood with its locks of gold,
  Blue-eyed and fair with Saxon blood.

  I shut my eyes, I held my breath,
    And, smothering down the wrath and shame
    That set my Northern blood aflame,
  Stood silent--where to speak was death.

  Beside me gloomed the prison-cell
    Where wasted one in slow decline
    For uttering simple words of mine,
  And loving freedom all too well.

  The flag that floated from the dome
    Flapped menace in the morning air;
    I stood, a perilled stranger, where
  The human broker made his home.

  For crime was virtue: Gown and Sword
    And Law their threefold sanction gave,
    And to the quarry of the slave
  Went hawking with our symbol-bird.

  On the oppressor's side was power;
    And yet I knew that every wrong,
    However old, however strong,
  But waited God's avenging hour.

  I knew that truth would crush the lie,--
    Somehow, sometime, the end would be;
    Yet scarcely dared I hope to see
  The triumph with my mortal eye.

  But now I see it! In the sun
    A free flag floats from yonder dome,
    And at the nation's hearth and home
  The justice long delayed is done.

  Not as we hoped, in calm of prayer,
    The message of deliverance comes,
    But heralded by roll of drums
  On waves of battle-troubled air!--

  'Midst sounds that madden and appall,
    The song that Bethlehem's shepherds knew!--
    The harp of David melting through
  The demon-agonies of Saul!

  Not as we hoped;--but what are we?
    Above our broken dreams and plans
    God lays, with wiser hand than man's,
  The corner-stones of liberty.

  I cavil not with Him: the voice
    That freedom's blessed gospel tells
    Is sweet to me as silver bells,
  Rejoicing!--yea, I will rejoice!

  Dear friends still toiling in the sun,--
    Ye dearer ones who, gone before,
    Are watching from the eternal shore
  The slow work by your hands begun,--

  Rejoice with me! The chastening rod
    Blossoms with love; the furnace heat
    Grows cool beneath His blessed feet
  Whose form is as the Son of God!

  Rejoice! Our Marah's bitter springs
    Are sweetened; on our ground of grief
    Rise day by day in strong relief
  The prophecies of better things.

  Rejoice in hope! The day and night
    Are one with God, and one with them
    Who see by faith the cloudy hem
  Of Judgment fringed with Mercy's light!





It is useless to disguise the fact: Miss Badeau is a Rebel.

Mr. Beauregard's cannon had not done battering the walls of Sumter,
when Miss Badeau was packed up, labelled, and sent North, where she
has remained ever since in a sort of aromatic, rose-colored state of

She is not one of your blood-thirsty Rebels, you know; she has the good
sense to shrink with horror from the bare mention of those heathen who,
at Manassas and elsewhere, wreaked their unmanly spite on the bodies
of dead heroes: still she is a bitter little Rebel, with blonde hair,
superb eyelashes, and two brothers in the Confederate service,--if I may
be allowed to club the statements. When I look across the narrow strait
of our boarding-house table, and observe what a handsome wretch she
is, I begin to think that if Mr. Seward doesn't presently take her in
charge, _I_ shall.

The preceding paragraphs have little or nothing to do with what I am
going to relate: they merely illustrate how wildly a fellow will write,
when the eyelashes of a pretty woman get tangled with his pen. So I let
them stand,--as a warning.

My exordium should have taken this shape:--

"I hope and trust," remarked Miss Badeau, in that remarkably scathing
tone which she assumes in alluding to the U.S.V., "I hope and trust,
that, when your five hundred thousand, more or less, men capture my New
Orleans, they will have the good taste not to injure Père Antoine's

"Not a hair of its head shall be touched," I replied, without having the
faintest idea of what I was talking about.

"Ah! I hope not," she said.

There was a certain tenderness in her voice which struck me.

"Who is Père Antoine?" I ventured to ask. "And what is this tree that
seems to interest you so?"

"I will tell you."

Then Miss Badeau told me the following legend, which I think worth
writing down. If it should appear tame to the reader, it will be because
I haven't a black ribbed-silk dress, and a strip of point-lace around my
throat, like Miss Badeau; it will be because I haven't her eyes and lips
and music to tell it with, confound me!



Near the _levée_ (quay) and not far from the old French Cathedral, in
New Orleans, stands a fine date-palm, some thirty feet high, growing out
in the open air as sturdily as if its roots were sucking sap from their
native earth. Sir Charles Lyell, in his "Second Visit to the United
States," mentions this exotic:--"The tree is seventy or eighty years
old; for Père Antoine, a Roman Catholic priest, who died about twenty
years ago, told Mr. Bringier that he planted it himself, when he was
young. In his will he provided that they who succeeded to this lot of
ground should forfeit it, if they cut down the palm."

Wishing to learn something of Père Antoine's history, Sir Charles Lyell
made inquiries among the ancient Creole inhabitants of the _faubourg_.
That the old priest, in his last days, became very much emaciated, that
he walked about the streets like a mummy, that he gradually dried
up, and finally blew away, was the meagre result of the tourist's

This is all that is generally known of Père Antoine. Miss Badeau's story
clothes these bare facts.

When Père Antoine was a very young man, he had a friend whom he loved as
he loved his eyes. Émile Jardin returned his passion, and the two, on
account of their friendship, became the marvel of the city where they
dwelt. One was never seen without the other; for they studied, walked,
ate, and slept together.

Antoine and Émile were preparing to enter the Church; indeed, they had
taken the preliminary steps, when a circumstance occurred which changed
the color of their lives.

A foreign lady, from some far-off island in the Pacific, had a few
months before moved into their neighborhood. The lady died suddenly,
leaving a girl of sixteen or seventeen entirely friendless and
unprovided for. The young men had been kind to the woman during her
illness, and at her death, melting with pity at the forlorn situation of
Anglice, the daughter, swore between themselves to love and watch over
her as if she were their sister.

Now Anglice had a wild, strange beauty, that made other women seem tame
beside her; and in the course of time the young men found themselves
regarding their ward not so much like brothers as at first. They
struggled with their destiny manfully, for the holy orders which they
were about to assume precluded the idea of love.

But every day taught them to be more fond of her. So they drifted on.
The weak like to temporize.

One night Émile Jardin and Anglice were not to be found. They had
flown,--but whither nobody knew, and nobody, save Antoine, cared.

It was a heavy blow to Antoine,--for he had half made up his mind to run
away with her himself.

A strip of paper slipped from a volume on Antoine's desk, and fluttered
to his feet.

"_Do not be angry_" said the bit of paper, piteously; "_forgive us, for
we love_."

Three years went by. Antoine had entered the Church, and was already
looked upon as a rising man; but his face was pale and his heart leaden,
for there was no sweetness in life for him.

Four years had elapsed, when a letter, covered with outlandish stamps,
was brought to the young priest,--a letter from Anglice. She was dying;
would he forgive her? Émile, the year previous, had fallen a victim to
the fever that raged on the island; and their child, little Anglice, was
likely to follow him. In pitiful terms she begged Antoine to take charge
of the child until she was old enough to enter a convent. The epistle
was finished by another hand, informing Antoine of Madame Jardin's
death; it also told him that Anglice had been placed on a vessel shortly
to leave the island for some Western port.

The letter was hardly read and wept over, when little Anglice arrived.
On beholding her, Antoine uttered a cry of joy and surprise,--she was so
like the woman he had worshipped.

As a man's tears are more pathetic than a woman's, so is his love more
intense,--not more enduring, or half so subtile, but intenser.

The passion that had been crowded down in his heart broke out and
lavished its richness on this child, who was to him, not only the
Anglice of years ago, but his friend Émile Jardin also.

Anglice possessed the wild, strange beauty of her mother,--the bending,
willowy form, the rich tint of skin, the large tropical eyes, that had
almost made Antoine's sacred robes a mockery to him.

For a month or two Anglice was wildly unhappy in her new home. She
talked continually of the bright country where she was born, the fruits
and flowers and blue skies. Antoine could not pacify her. By-and-by she
ceased to weep, and went about the cottage with a dreary, disconsolate
air that cut Antoine to the heart. Before the year ended, he noticed
that the ruddy tinge had fled from her cheek, that her eyes had grown
languid, and her slight figure more willowy than ever.

A physician was called. He could discover nothing wrong with the child,
except this fading and drooping. He failed to account for that. It was
some vague disease of the mind, he said, beyond his skill.

So Anglice faded day after day. She seldom left the room now. Antoine
could not shut out the fact that the child was passing away. He had
learned to love her so!

"Dear heart," he said once, "what is't ails thee?"

"Nothing, _mon père_"--for so she called him.

The winter passed, the balmy spring air had come, and Anglice seemed to
revive. In her little bamboo chair, on the porch, she swayed to and
fro in the fragrant breeze, with a peculiar undulating motion, like a
graceful tree.

At times something seemed to weigh upon her mind. Antoine noticed it,
and waited. At length she spoke.

"Near our house," said little Anglice, "near our house, on the island,
the palm-trees are waving under the blue sky. Oh, how beautiful! I seem
to lie beneath them all day long. I am very, very happy. I yearned for
them until I grew sick,--don't you think so, _mon père_?"

"_Mon Dieu_, yes!" exclaimed Antoine, suddenly. "Let us hasten to those
pleasant islands where the palms are waving."

Anglice smiled.

"I am going there, _mon père!_"

Ay, indeed. A week from that evening the wax candles burned at her feet
and forehead, lighting her on the journey.

All was over. Now was Antoine's heart empty. He had nothing to do but to
lay the blighted flower away.

Père Antoine made a shallow grave in his garden, and heaped the fresh
brown mould over his idol.

In the genial spring evenings the priest was seen sitting by the mound,
his finger closed in the unread prayer-book.

The summer broke on that sunny land; and in the cool morning twilight,
and after nightfall, Antoine lingered by the grave. He could never be
with it enough.

One morning he observed a delicate stem, with two curiously shaped
emerald leaves, springing up from the centre of the mound. At first he
merely noticed it casually; but at length the plant grew so tall, and
was so strangely unlike anything he had ever seen before, that he
examined it with care.

How straight and graceful and exquisite it was! When it swung to and fro
with the summer wind, in the twilight, it seemed to Antoine as if little
Anglice were standing there in the garden!

The days stole by, and Antoine tended the fragile shoot, wondering what
sort of blossom it would unfold, white, or scarlet, or golden. One
Sunday, a stranger, with a bronzed, weather-beaten face like a sailor's,
leaned over the garden-rail, and said to him,--

"What a fine young date-palm you have there, Sir!"

"_Mon Dieu!_" cried Père Antoine, "and is it a palm?"

"Yes, indeed," returned the man. "I had no idea the tree would flourish
in this climate."

"_Mon Dieu!_" was all the priest could say.

If Père Antoine loved the tree before, he worshipped it now. He watered
it, and nurtured it, and could have clasped it in his arms. Here were
Émile and Anglice and the child, all in one!

The years flew by, and the date-palm and the priest grew together,--only
one became vigorous and the other feeble. Père Antoine had long passed
the meridian of life. The tree was in its youth. It no longer stood in
an isolated garden; for homely brick and wooden houses had clustered
about Antoine's cottage. They looked down scowling on the humble
thatched roof. The city was edging up, trying to crowd him off his land.
But he clung to it, and wouldn't sell. Speculators piled gold on his
door-step, and he laughed at them. Sometimes he was hungry, but he
laughed none the less.

"Get thee behind me, Satan!" said the old priest's smile.

Père Antoine was very old now, scarcely able to walk; but he could sit
under the pliant, caressing leaves of his tree, and there he sat until
the grimmest of speculators came to him. But even in death Père Antoine
was faithful to his trust. The owner of that land loses it, if he harms
the date-tree.

And there it stands in the narrow, dingy street, a beautiful, dreamy
stranger, an exquisite foreign lady whose grace is a joy to the eye, the
incense of whose breath makes the air enamored. A precious boon is she
to the wretched city; and when loyal men again walk those streets, may
the hand wither that touches her ungently!

"Because it grew from the heart of little Anglice," said Miss Badeau,

       *       *       *       *       *



I have never had many personal interviews with Princes. Setting aside a
few with different Excellencies of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I
never had but one such interview, which prolonged itself far enough to
deserve a place in these memoirs of our time. This was with a President
of the then United States,--with him who was, I fear, the Last of the
Virginians. At least, I know no one on the line of promotion just now
who seems to me likely to succeed him.

"Have ye travelled in Virginia, Mr. Larkin?" said the President to me.

I said I had not, but that I hoped to see the Valley of Virginia before
I went home. That is the name given, in those regions, to the district
west of the Blue Ridge. The President listened, but expressed himself
dissatisfied with my plan.

"Ah, Sah!" he said, "ye sh'd see Jeems River. Every American sh'd see
Jeems River. Ye'll not see the appearance of a large population,
to which ye're used in Massachusetts,--the--customs,--the
--arrangements,--the habits--of--our--laboring people--are
such--that--that--their residences--are--are--more distant--from the
highway than with you;--but--but--ye'll be greatly interested in
seeing Jeems River. We've not the cities to show that ye have in
Massachusetts,--but--there are great historical associations with Jeems

I bowed assent,--and when the President spoke again with some
depreciation of their productions, I made up my mouth to say, in courtly

  "Man is the nobler growth your realms supply,"

when I recollected that that remark was too literally true to be
complimentary to a State which made its chief business the growing of
men and women for a distant market. So I did what it is always wise to
do,--I said nothing. And the President, warming with his theme, said,--

"Yes, Sah, ye sh'd see Jeems River. There, at Jeemst'n, America first
gave a home to the European,--and hard by, at Yorkt'n, the tie with
Europe was sundered. There ye may see Williamsburg,--and our oldest
college. There ye may see the birthplaces of four Presidents,--and there
the capital of Virginia!"

With such, and other temptations, did he direct me on my journey.

I have been thinking how little the poor man foresaw that the time would
come when in the valley of "Jeems River" the traveller would see the
grave of the only President of the United States who ever in his old age
turned rebel to the country which had honored him. How little he foresaw
that other campaigns were impending, which would give more historical
interest to the valley than even Cornwallis's marchings and
countermarchings! how little he dreamed of Monitors and Merrimacks in
fierce _méleé_ before his own little Hampton! how little, while he sowed
the wind that winter, he looked forward to the whirlwind-reaping,--of
which, indeed, he lived to hear only the first fierce sigh!

This valley of "Jeems River," and the three other valleys which radiate
like the four fingers of an open hand, and send their waters down into
the great conduit of Chesapeake Bay, which is the palm to these four
fingers, are in this very month of April, when I write, to become the
great battle-field of the continent. How strangely history repeats
itself, that, after eighty-one years, we should be looking out on
the map the Rapid Ann and the Chickahominy, and Williamsburg
and Fredericksburg, just as our fathers did in 1781,--that the
grandchildren of the men who marched under Lafayette from Baltimore to
Richmond, by the forced march which saved that infant capital from the
enemy, should be marching now, with a more Fabian tread, to save the
same Richmond from worse enemies! Does the Comte de Paris trace the
footprints of the young Marquis-General, who afterwards, among other
things, made his grandfather King? How strange it all is! While I wait
to know where Fabius is hidden, and where those army-corps of hundreds
of thousands are, which seem to have sunk into the ground at Warrenton
the other day, you and I, Reader, will familiarize ourselves with the
geography a little, by brushing the dust off those old campaigns.

They began by mere predatory excursions, which occupied, for a few weeks
at a time, the English forces which could be detached from New York. "We
march up and down the country," said Cornwallis, not overmuch
pleased, "stealing tobacco." As early as 1779, on the 8th of May, the
Raisonnable, sixty-four, five smaller ships of the English navy, and a
number of privateers acting as convoy to a cloud of transports, entered
the Capes of the Chesapeake. The Raisonnable drew too much water to go
farther than Hampton Roads: they probably did not know the channel
as well as the Merrimack's pilots do. But the rest of them went up
Elizabeth River, as one Pawnee did afterwards,--and there, at Gosport,
found the State's navy-yard, as the Pawnee found a nation's. There was
a vessel of war, unfinished, of twenty-eight guns, and many smaller
vessels,--and they burned them all. How exactly it begins as the history
of another war begins! Different branches of this expedition destroyed
one hundred and thirty-seven vessels, and tobacco beyond account,--and
they were all snugly back in New York in twenty-four days after they

It is the second campaign which is the most picturesque, varied, and
exciting of the campaigns of the American Revolution,--and which was
fought on ground which will have been made sacred by another campaign,
perhaps even before these words meet the reader's eye. The men engaged
in it were men who have left their mark. Cornwallis and Baron Steuben
share with each other the honor of inventing the present light-infantry
tactics of the world. Cornwallis. in Carolina, had seen the necessity of
divesting his troops of their impediments. Steuben had been doing the
same with the American line, ever since he began his instructions on the
29th of March, 1778. The discipline thus invented was carried back to
Europe by English and by French officers; and when the wars of the
French Revolution began, the rapid movement of the new light infantry
approved itself to military men of all the great warring nations, and
the old tactics of the heavy infantry of the last century died away in
face of the American improvement. Besides Cornwallis, and for a time
under him, here figured the traitor Arnold. Against them, besides
Steuben, were Wayne and Lafayette,--the last in his maiden campaign, in
which, indeed, he earned his military reputation, "never but once,"
says Tarleton, his enemy "committing himself during a very difficult
campaign." In the beginning, General Phillips, the same who had been
captured at Saratoga, had the chief command of the English army.
Lafayette notes grimly that General Phillips had commanded at Minden the
battery by which the Marquis de Lafayette, his father, was killed. He
makes this memorandum in mentioning the fact that one of his cannon-shot
passed through the room in which Phillips was dying in Petersburg. Such
were the prominent actors in the campaign. It is not till within a few
years that the full key to it has been given in the publication of some
additional letters of Lord Cornwall. Until that time, a part of his
movements were always shrouded in mystery.

In October, 1780, the English General Leslie entered Chesapeake Bay
again, and established himself for a while at Portsmouth, opposite
Norfolk. But Colonel Ferguson, with whom Leslie was to cooperate,
had been defeated at King's Mountain, and when Leslie learned of the
consequent change in Cornwallis's plans, he returned to New York on the
24th of November. His departure was regarded as a victory by General
Muhlenberg, and the Virginia militia, who were called out to meet him.

They had scarcely been disbanded, however, when a second expedition,
which had been intrusted to the traitor Arnold, arrived from New York in
James River. Baron Steuben, the Prussian officer, who had "brought the
foreign arts from far," was at this time in command, but with really
little or no army. Steuben was, at the best, an irritable person, and
his descriptions of the Virginia militia are probably tinged by his
indignation at constant failure. General Nelson, who was the Governor of
the State, behaved with spirit, but neither he nor Steuben could make
the militia stand against Arnold. They could not create a corps
of cavalry among the Virginia Cavaliers, and Arnold's expedition,
therefore, marched twenty-five miles and back without so much as a
shot being fired at them. He established himself at Portsmouth, where
Muhlenberg watched him, and he there waited a reinforcement.

Just at this juncture a little gleam of hope shot across the darkened
landscape, in the arrival of three French vessel's of war at the mouth
of James River. The American officers all hated Arnold with such
thorough hatred that they tried to persuade the French officers to shut
up Elizabeth River by sea, while they attacked him at Portsmouth from
the land; but the Frenchmen declined cooperation, and Steuben was always
left to boast of what he might have done. As he had but eight rounds
of ammunition a man for troops who had but just now failed him so
lamentably, we can scarcely suppose that Arnold was in much danger.

Washington, meanwhile, had persuaded the French Admiral, at Newport,
to send his whole fleet to act against Portsmouth; and by land he sent
Lafayette, with twelve hundred light infantry, to take command in
Virginia. Lafayette left Peekskill, feigned an attack upon Staten
Island in passing, marched rapidly by Philadelphia to the head of the
Chesapeake,--they all call it the "head of Elk,"--crowded his men on
such boats as he found there, and, like General Butler after him, went
down to Annapolis. At Annapolis, with some of his officers, he took
a little vessel, in which he ran down to Williamsburg to confer with
Steuben. He then crossed the James River, and reached the camp of
Muhlenberg near Suffolk on the 19th of March. The reader has only to
imagine General Burnside shutting up Norfolk on the south and west just
now, to conceive of Lafayette's position, as he supposed it to be, when,
on the 20th, he was told that the French fleet had arrived within the
Capes. But, alas! on the 23d, it proved that this was not the French
fleet, but the English, which had so far injured the French fleet in an
action that they had returned to Newport; so that it was Arbuthnot, and
not Destouches, whose fleet had arrived at Hampton Roads. Under their
protection the English General Phillips relieved Arnold with two
thousand more men; and it is at this moment that the active campaign of
1781 may be said to begin.

General Phillips immediately took command of the English army, for which
he had sufficient force of light transports, and proceeded up James
River. He landed first at Burrel's Ferry, opposite Williamsburg, into
which city, till lately the capital of the State, he marched unmolested.
His different marauding parties had entire success in their operations;
and it is to be observed that his command of the navigation was an
essential element of that success. "There is no fighting here," wrote
Lafayette, "unless you have a naval superiority, or an army mounted on
race-horses." Under almost all circumstances a corps embarked on boats
could be pushed along these rivers faster than an enemy marching on the
land. This remark, constantly verified then, will be much more important
in the campaign now pending, in which these streams will, of course,
be navigated by steam. It must be remembered, also, that the State of
Virginia was at this time the storehouse from which General Greene's
army in Carolina was supplied. To destroy the stores collected here,
and thus directly to break down the American army in the South, was Sir
Henry Clinton's object in sending out General Phillips. To protect these
stores and the lines of communication with the Southern army was the
object of the American generals. Had these designs been left unchanged,
however, I should not now be writing this history. Indeed, the whole
history of the United States would have had another beginning, and the
valley of the James River would have had as little critical interest,
in the close of the American Revolution, as have the valleys of the
Connecticut and the Penobscot. The important change came, when Lord
Cornwallis, at Wilmington, North Carolina, took the responsibility of
the dashing, but fatal plan by which he crossed North Carolina with his
own army, joined Phillips's army in Virginia, and with this large force,
with no considerable enemy opposed, was in a position to go anywhere or
to do anything unmolested. Cornwallis was an admirable officer, quite
the ablest the English employed in America. He was young, spirited, and
successful,--and, which was of much more importance in England, he had
plenty of friends at Court. He conceived the great insubordination,
therefore, of this great movement, which must compromise Sir Henry
Clinton's plans, although Sir Henry was his commander. He wrote to
the Secretary for the Colonies in London, and to General Phillips in
Virginia, that he was satisfied that a "serious attempt" on that State,
or "solid operations in Virginia," made the proper plan. So he abandoned
Carolina, to which he had been sent, to General Greene; and with the
idea that Sir Henry Clinton, his superior in command, ought to quit New
York and establish himself in Virginia, without waiting that officer's
views, he marched thither himself in such wise as to compel him to come.
In that movement the great game was really lost. And it is to that act
of insubordination, that, until this eventful April, 1862, the valley of
James River has owed its historical interest.

He wrote from North Carolina, directing General Phillips to join him in
Petersburg, Virginia; and thither Phillips called in his different corps
who were "stealing tobacco," and there he himself arrived, in a dying
condition, on the 9th of May. "I procured a post-chaise to convey him,"
says Arnold, his second in command. The town is familiar to travellers,
as being the end of the first railroad-link south of Richmond. They
still show the old house in which poor Phillips lay sick, while
Lafayette, from the other side of the river, cannonaded the town with
his light field-pieces. One of his balls entered the house, killed an
old negro-woman who was reviling the American troops, and passed through
the room where Phillips lay. "Will they not let me die in peace?" he
asked. Arnold was also in danger, one of the balls passing near him;
and, by his orders, Phillips and all the household were removed into the
cellar. General Phillips was afterwards taken to another house, where he
died on the 13th. It is in his memoranda of this affair at Petersburg
that Lafayette records the fact that his father died at Minden from one
of the shots of Phillips's batteries.

We left Lafayette at Williamsburg, which, my readers will remember, is
on the neck of land of which Fort Monroe forms the southeast corner: it
is about twenty-six miles northwest of that post, and ten miles west
of Yorktown. If they do not remember this, they had better learn it
now,--for, on this second of April, the appearances are that they will
need to know it before long. If any one of them does not care to look at
a map, he may take my figure which called Chesapeake Bay the palm of the
hand,--to which the James, York, Rappahannock, and Potomac Rivers are
the four fingers. Lay down on the page your right hand, upon its back,
with the fingers slightly apart. The thumb is a meridian which points
north. The forefinger is the Potomac as far as Washington. The middle
finger is the Rappahannock,--with Fredericksburg about the first joint.
The ring-finger is York River, with Williamsburg and Yorktown just above
and below the knuckle line. The little finger is the James River, as far
as Richmond. Fort Monroe is at the parting of the last two fingers. We
left Lafayette at Williamsburg, disappointed at the failure to entrap
Arnold. He returned at once to Annapolis by water, and transported his
troops back to the head of Chesapeake Bay,--expecting to return to New
York, now that his mission had failed. But Washington had learned,
meanwhile, that General Phillips had been sent from New York to
reinforce Arnold,--and so Lafayette met orders at the head of the
Chesapeake to return, take command in Virginia, and foil the English as
he might. Wayne, in Pennsylvania, was to join him with eight hundred of
the mutinous Pennsylvania line. Were they the grandfathers of the men
who deserted before Bull's Run? They retrieved themselves at James
Island afterwards,--as the Bull's Run Pennsylvanians did at Newbern the
other day. "How Lafayette or Wayne can march without money or credit,"
wrote Washington to Laurens, "is more than I can tell," But he did his
part, which was to command,--and they did theirs, which was to obey.

Lafayette did his part thus. His troops, twelve hundred light infantry,
the best soldiers in the world, he said at the end of the summer, had
left Peekskill for a short expedition only. They had no supplies for a
summer campaign, and seemed likely to desert him. Lafayette issued a
spirited order of the day, in which he took the tone of Henry V. before
the Battle of Agincourt, and offered a pass back to the North River to
any man who did not dare share with him the perils of the summer against
a superior force. He also hanged one deserter whom he caught after this
order, and pardoned another who was less to blame. By such varied means
he so far "encouraged the rest" that he wholly stopped desertion. He
crossed the Susquehanna on the 13th of April, was in Baltimore on the
18th, and it was here that the ladies gave him the ball where he said,
"My soldiers have no shirts." He borrowed two thousand guineas on his
own personal security, promising to pay at the end of two years, when
the French law would make him master of his estates. He bought
material with the money, made the Baltimore belles, who were not then
Secessionists, make the shirts, and started on his forced march again,
with his troops clothed and partly shod, on the 20th. He passed the
hills where Washington stands, unconscious of the city that was to be
there, and of the Long Bridge which shakes under McClellan's columns.
He halted to buy shoes in Alexandria, which he reached in two days. He
pressed on to Fredericksburg, and was at Richmond on the 29th. So that a
light column can march in nine days from Baltimore to Richmond, though
there be no railroad in working order.

This was the first march "Forward to Richmond" in history. For the
moment, it saved the city and its magazines from General Phillips, who
had reached Manchester, on the opposite side of James River. Phillips
retired down the river, hoping to decoy Lafayette after him, on that
neck of land, now, as then, a point so critical, between the James and
York Rivers,--and then to return by his vessels on the first change of
wind, get in Lafayette's rear, and shut him up there. But it was another
general who was to be shut up on that neck. Phillips was called south to
Petersburg, where, as we have seen, he died. "Will they not let me die
in peace?"

Cornwallis arrived at Petersburg with his Southern troops, including
Tarleton's horse, on the 20th of May. He then had nearly six thousand
men under his orders. Lafayette had about thirty-two hundred, of whom
only a few were cavalry, a volunteer body of Baltimore young gentlemen
being the most of them. The Virginia gentry had hesitated about giving
up their fine blood-horses to mount cavalry on. But Tarleton had
no hesitation in stealing them for his troopers, nor Simcoe, his
fellow-partisan, for his,--so that Cornwallis had the invaluable aid of
two bodies of cavalry thus admirably mounted, against an enemy almost
destitute. Both armies marched without tents, with the very lightest
baggage. It purely a light-infantry campaign, excepting the dashing
raids of Tarleton and Simcoe.

Lafayette felt his inferiority of force,--and as soon as Cornwallis
joined, crossed back over James River at Osborn's (say the bottom of
the little-finger nail on our extempore map). Cornwallis crossed at
Westover, also marked now on the maps as Ruffin's, some twenty miles
lower down the river. Lafayette felt the necessity of meeting Wayne, who
was supposed to be coming from Pennsylvania; he therefore retraced
his march of a few weeks before, followed by Cornwallis with his
infantry;--the cavalry had been on more distant service. Cornwallis
would have crushed Lafayette, if he had overtaken him; but Lafayette
knew this as well as we do,--marched nearly up to Fredericksburg
again,--protected it till its stores were removed,--and then, after
five days' march more, westward, met Wayne with his eight hundred
Pennsylvanians at Raccoon Ford (head of the middle finger on the
hand-map). The reader has, in just such way, marched a knight across the
chess-board to escort back a necessary pawn, to make desperate fight
against some Cornwallis of a castle. Cornwallis passed through Hanover
Court-House to Chesterfield Court-House, "stealing tobacco," in the
whole to the amount of two thousand hogsheads,--then, satisfying himself
that he could not prevent the junction of the knight and pawn, and that
Hunter's iron-works, at Fredericksburg, which he had threatened, were
not of so much import as the stores in the western part of the country,
he turned south and west again, and awaited Lafayette's movements,
threatening Albemarle County, just west of where we are beginning to get
acquainted with Gordonsville,--a place then uncreated. Cornwallis was
all along unwilling to engage in extensive operations till he should
hear from Sir Henry Clinton, whom he knew he had insulted and offended.
His detachments of horse had been sent, meanwhile, up the line of James
River above Richmond. Tarleton penetrated as far as Charlottesville,
marching seventy miles in twenty-four hours, hoping to take the
Legislature by surprise. The story is, that he would have succeeded, but
for his eagerness to get his breakfast on the last day. He had waited
long for it,--and finally asked, in some heat, where it was. Dr. Walker,
whose guest he had made himself, replied, that Tarleton's soldiers had
already taken two of the breakfasts which had been prepared for him that
morning, and suggested a guard for the security of the third.

While the third breakfast was being cooked, the legislators escaped.
Jefferson was among them. Tarleton took seven, however, who told him
that the country was tired of the war,--and that, if no treaty for a
loan were made with France that summer, Congress would negotiate with
England before winter. They were eighty-one years in advance of their
time! Tarleton returned down the Rivanna River to its junction with the
James, where he assisted Simcoe in driving out Baron Steuben, who with a
few militia was trying to protect some arms there. Poor Steuben had but
few to protect, nothing to protect them with, and lost them all. At this
point the cavalry rejoined the main army under Cornwallis.

In all these movements of both parties, the character of the "laboring
people," of which, as I have said, President Tyler spoke to me, was
illustrated. These people swarmed to Cornwallis with information, with
horses and supplies. They did not swell the ranks of the Virginia
militia. "He took away thirty thousand of our slaves," says Mr.
Jefferson. "Many of your negroes joined the enemy," says Lafayette
to Washington; "the news did not trouble me much, for that sort of
interests touch me very little." This is in the letter where he tells
the General how his agent, Lund Washington, had been disgracefully
treating with the invaders. This disposition of the "laboring people,"
away from the high-roads, indeed, as Mr. Tyler said, explains the
difference between Southern and Northern Revolutionary campaigns. The
English forces never marched a day's march inland in the Northern
States, excepting the three marches of two days or three, when they
came to Bennington, to Saratoga, and to Trenton,--three memorable
stopping-places. But in a country where the "laboring people" did not
bear arms, they went to and fro, for months, as they chose. The Southern
militia was small in numbers, and not trustworthy. The troops whom
Lafayette relied upon, "the best troops in the world, far superior, in
equal numbers, to the English," were his two thousand Northern men of
the Continental line. Lord Cornwallis reunited all his forces at Elk
Island, about forty miles above Richmond on James River. His own
head-quarters were at "Jefferson's Plantation." He proposed another
blow, on the stores collected in Old Albemarle Court-House, behind the
mountains; and on the 9th of June he ordered Tarleton to march thither
at daybreak, but recalled the order. He seems to have preferred waiting
till he could attack "the Marquis," as they all called Lafayette, to
advantage, to risking any considerable division in the mountains. And
as he lay, the road by which he supposed Lafayette must come down from
Raccoon Ford to protect Albemarle would expose him to a flank attack
as he passed the head of Byrd's River. It was at this time, that, in a
despatch which was intercepted, he wrote, "The boy cannot escape
me." Lafayette tells the story with great gusto. "The boy" found a
mountain-road which crossed farther west than that which he was expected
to march upon. It had been long disused, but he pressed through it,--and
at Burwell's Ordinary, in a neighborhood where our troops will find
villages with the promising names of Union Town and Everettsville, he
formed, on the 12th and 13th, in a strong position between Cornwallis
and the coveted magazines. Cornwallis affected to suppose that the
stores had been withdrawn; but, as he had given up Fredericksburg
that he might destroy these very stores, Lafayette had good reason to
congratulate himself that he had foiled him in the two special objects
of the campaign, and had reduced him to the business which he did not
like, of "stealing tobacco." For whatever reason, Cornwallis did not
press his enterprise. With a force so formidable and a leader so
enterprising before him, he did not care to entangle himself in the
passes of the Blue Ridge. We shall know from General Banks's column, by
the time this paper is printed, what are the facilities they afford for
cover to an enemy. Leaving the Albemarle stores, therefore, and the road
to Greene behind the mountains, he retraced his steps down the valley
of the James River, and, passing Richmond, descended as low as
Williamsburg, the point from which we have been tracing Lafayette's

Lafayette followed him with delight, not to say amazement. "The enemy is
so obliging as to withdraw before us," he writes,--and probably, to the
end of his life, he did not fully understand why Lord Cornwallis did so.
Their forces were numerically about equal, each commanding now rather
more than five thousand men. But of Lafayette's only fifty were cavalry,
a very important arm in that campaign, while Cornwallis had now eight
hundred men mounted on the blood horses of Virginia. It was not true, as
Lafayette thought possible, that the English exaggerated his force. It
appears from Tarleton's memoirs that they estimated it very precisely.
But we now know from Cornwallis's letters, that he had promised Clinton
to be at Williamsburg on the 26th of June, ready for any operations
he might then and there propose. He hoped that Clinton would largely
reinforce him, so that his favorite scheme of "solid operations in
Virginia" might be carried on. At all events, he had promised to have
his army at Williamsburg to join any force which Clinton might send to
him. To make this imagined junction, which never took place, he began
his retreat. Lafayette again offered him battle; but Cornwallis did
not accept the opportunity, and on the 25th of June he arrived at
Williamsburg. Lafayette was always one day's march behind him, and
encamped at last at Tyre's Plantation, one day beyond Williamsburg,
which may become famous again in a few days. Colonel Butler, of
Pennsylvania, with his riflemen, attacked Colonel Simcoe, of the English
corps of refugees, at the Fords of the Chickahominy, about six miles
west of Williamsburg. We shall be hearing of these fords again.

At Williamsburg poor Cornwallis met his fate. He had, perhaps, been
dreading the arrival of his despatches from Clinton, through all the
month he had been in Virginia. At last they came. Clinton was sorry he
was there, expressed his regret that Cornwallis did not favor his plan
for marching on Philadelphia, gave him _carte blanche_ for Baltimore or
Delaware,--but, instead of reinforcing him, asked for two thousand men,
if he could spare them. The letter is, on the whole, a manly letter,
from a superior to an inferior, who had social rank higher than himself,
and more of the confidence of their Government. It gives Cornwallis
great latitude; but it does not "abandon New York and bring our whole
force into Virginia," which was Cornwallis's pet plan.

His Lordship behaved ill,--and, in a pet, threw away the British empire
in America. He sulked, to speak simply. He took the sullen policy
of literal obedience to orders, though he knew he should "break his
owners." He marched at once, crossed James River at Jamestown, where
Lafayette attacked his rear,--and, if his Lordship had been in
fighting humor, would have got well beaten for his pains,--withdrew to
Portsmouth, and put on vessels the two thousand men asked for by Sir
Henry. Just then new despatches came from Clinton, who had received
later news, and who was always trying to humor this spoiled child. He
told him to keep all his men in Virginia, where he would take command
himself as soon as the hot season was over. The "solid operations" were
to begin. Very unstable they proved, even in the beginning!

Clinton ordered him to take post at Old Point Comfort,--where Fort
Monroe is. But the engineer officers reported that they could not
protect the fleet there against the French; and, to the delight of
Lafayette and of all good angels, Cornwallis selected Yorktown for his
summer position. Our neighborhood to it at Fort Monroe has made the
position again familiar.

When Lafayette heard that the troops had sailed up the
Chesapeake,--instead of to New York, which he had very correctly
supposed to be their destination,--he thought Cornwallis was going to
strike at Baltimore, and that he must "cut across" to Fredericksburg.
That way he marched with his light infantry. His amazement hardly
concealed itself when he found the enemy stopped at Yorktown. Back he
came to Williamsburg, and wrote to Washington,--"If a fleet should
arrive at this moment, our affairs will take a very fortunate turn."
This was on the 6th of August. On the 1st of September he could
write,--"From the bottom of my heart, my dear General, I felicitate you
on the arrival of the French fleet.... Thanks to you, my dear General,
I am in a charming situation, and I find myself at the head of a superb
corps." The Marquis of St. Simon joined him with three thousand French
infantry from the fleet,--and at Williamsburg they effectually kept
Cornwallis from escape by land, as the French fleet did by sea.

The only proposal which Cornwallis made to save his corps after this was
carefully considered, and, it is said, at one time determined on; but it
was finally rejected, in expectation of relief from Clinton. Just now
that we are beginning "solid operations in Virginia," and may have
occasion to move a hundred thousand men, more or less, up the long neck
of land between York and James Rivers, the passage is an interesting
one. Washington had not yet arrived. The English plan was to attack and
beat Lafayette and St. Simon before Washington joined them. The English
columns were to move from Yorktown so as to attack Williamsburg before
daybreak. "That time was deemed eligible," says Tarleton, "because the
ground near and in Williamsburg is cut by several ravines, and because
the British column, in advancing in the long and straight road through
the town, would not be so much exposed to the enemy's cannon under cover
of the night as during the day." Let the reader remember these defiles,
as he traces the march of another column from Fort Monroe through
Yorktown to Williamsburg, with some General Magruder falling back
before it, watching his chances to strike. Cornwallis gave up the plan,
however, and waited for the help from Clinton, which never came. On the
15th of September Washington and Rochambeau joined Lafayette; on the
18th of October Cornwallis capitulated, and for eighty years the
Virginian campaigns were over.

There is not one subdivision of them but is touched by the movements of
to-day. Everything is changed, indeed, except Virginia. But Raccoon Ford
and Bottom's Bridge are where they were then. The division which marches
on Gordonsville may send a party down the "Marquis's Road," as the
people still call the wood-road which Lafayette opened; and all the
battles of the next month,[A] in short, will be fought on the ground
familiar to the soldiers of eighty years ago.

[Footnote A: By "the next month" the writer meant May. It will be
observed that his article was finally prepared for the press on the
second of April. It has not since been changed. The references to
Williamsburg, the Chickahominy, and the "neck between the rivers" are
not "prophecies after the fact."]


_To the Editors of the_ ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

Jaalam, 17th May, 1862.

Gentlemen,--At the special request of Mr. Biglow, I intended to inclose,
together with his own contribution, (into which, at my suggestion,
he has thrown a little more of pastoral sentiment than usual,) some
passages from my sermon on the day of the National Fast, from the text,
"Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them," _Heb_. xiii. 3.
But I have not leisure sufficient at present for the copying of them,
even were I altogether satisfied with the production as it stands. I
should prefer, I confess, to contribute the entire discourse to the
pages of your respectable miscellany, if it should be found acceptable
upon perusal, especially as I find the difficulty of selection of
greater magnitude than I had anticipated. What passes without challenge
in the fervour of oral delivery cannot always stand the colder criticism
of the closet. I am not so great an enemy of Eloquence as my friend Mr.
Biglow would appear to be from some passages in his contribution for
the current month. I would not, indeed, hastily suspect him of covertly
glancing at myself in his somewhat caustick animadversions, albeit some
of the phrases he girds at are not entire strangers to my lips. I am a
more hearty admirer of the Puritans than seems now to be the fashion,
and believe, that, if they Hebraized a little too much in their speech,
they showed remarkable practical sagacity as statesmen and founders. But
such phenomena as Puritanism are the results rather of great religious
than merely social convulsions, and do not long survive them. So soon as
an earnest conviction has cooled into a phrase, its work is over, and
the best that can be done with it is to bury it. _Ite, missa est_. I
am inclined to agree with Mr. Biglow that we cannot settle the great
political questions which are now presenting themselves to the nation by
the opinions of Jeremiah or Ezekiel as to the wants and duties of the
Jews in their time, nor do I believe that an entire community with their
feelings and views would be practicable or even agreeable at the present
day. At the same time I could wish that their habit of subordinating
the actual to the moral, the flesh to the spirit, and this world to the
other were more common. They had found out, at least, the great military
secret that soul weighs more than body.--But I am suddenly called to a
sick-bed in the household of a valued parishioner.

With esteem and respect. Your ob't serv't HOMER WILBUR.

  Once git a smell o' musk into a draw
  An' it clings hold like precerdents in law:
  Your gran'ma'am put it there,--when, goodness knows,--
  To jes' this-worldify her Sunday-clo'es;
  But the old chist wun't sarve her gran'son's wife,
  (For, 'thout new funnitoor, wut good in life?)
  An' so ole clawfoot, from the precinks dread
  O' the spare-chamber, slinks into the shed,
  Where, dim with dust, it fust or last subsides
  To holdin' seeds an' fifty things besides;
  But better days stick fast in heart an' husk,
  An' all you keep in't gits a scent o' musk.

  Jes' so with poets: wut they've airly read
  Gits kind o' worked into their heart an' head,
  So's 't they can't seem to write but jest on sheers
  With furrin countries or played-out ideers,
  Nor hev a feelin', ef it doosn't smack
  O' wut some critter chose to feel 'way back:
  This makes 'em talk o' daisies, larks, an' things,
  Ez though we 'd nothin' here that blows an' sings,--

  (Why, I'd give more for one live bobolink
  Than a square mile o' larks in printer's ink,)--
  This makes 'em think our fust o' May is May,
  Which 't ain't, for all the almanicks can say.

  O little city-gals, don't never go it
  Blind on the word o' noospaper or poet!
  They 're apt to puff, an' May-day seldom looks
  Up in the country ez it doos in books;
  They 're no more like than hornets'-nests an' hives,
  Or printed sarmons be to holy lives.
  I, with my trouses perched on cow-hide boots,
  Tuggin' my foundered feet out by the roots,
  Hev seen ye come to fling on April's hearse
  Your muslin nosegays from the milliner's,
  Puzzlin' to find dry ground your queen to choose,
  An' dance your throats sore in morocker shoes:
  I've seen ye an' felt proud, thet, come wut would,
  Our Pilgrim stock wuz pithed with hardihood.
  Pleasure doos make us Yankees kind o' winch,
  Ez though 't wuz sunthin' paid for by the inch;
  But yit we du contrive to worry thru,
  Ef Dooty tells us thet the thing's to du,
  An' kerry a hollerday, ef we set out,
  Ez stiddily ez though 't wuz a redoubt.

  I, country-born an' bred, know where to find
  Some blooms thet make the season suit the mind,
  An' seem to metch the doubtin' bluebird's notes,--
  Half-vent'rin' liverworts in furry coats,
  Bloodroots, whose rolled-up leaves ef you oncurl,
  Each on 'em's cradle to a baby-pearl,--
  But these are jes' Spring's pickets; sure ez sin,
  The rebble frosts 'll try to drive 'em in;
  For half our May's so awfully like Mayn't,
  'T would rile a Shaker or an evrige saint;
  Though I own up I like our back'ard springs
  Thet kind o' haggle with their greens an' things,
  An' when you 'most give up, without more words
  Toss the fields full o' blossoms, leaves, an' birds:
  Thet's Northun natur', slow an' apt to doubt,
  But when it _doos_ git stirred, ther's no gin-out!

  Fust come the blackbirds clatt'rin' in tall trees,
  An' settlin' things in windy Congresses,--
  Queer politicians, though, for I'll be skinned,
  Ef all on 'em don't head aginst the wind.
  'Fore long the trees begin to show belief,--
  The maple crimsons to a coral-reef,
  Then saffern swarms swing off from all the willers
  So plump they look like yaller caterpillars,
  Then gray hossches'nuts leetle hands unfold

  Softer 'n a baby's be at three days old:
  This is the robin's almanick; he knows
  Thet arter this ther' 's only blossom-snows;
  So, choosin' out a handy crotch an' spouse,
  He goes to plast'rin' his adobe house.

  Then seems to come a hitch,--things lag behind,
  Till some fine mornin' Spring makes up her mind,
  An' ez, when snow-swelled rivers cresh their dams
  Heaped-up with ice thet dovetails in an' jams,
  A leak comes spirtin' thru some pin-hole cleft,
  Grows stronger, fercer, tears out right an' left,
  Then all the waters bow themselves an' come,
  Suddin, in one gret slope o' shedderin' foam,
  Jes' so our Spring gits everythin' in tune
  An' gives one leap from April into June:
  Then all comes crowdin' in; afore you think,
  The oak-buds mist the side-hill woods with pink,
  The catbird in the laylock-bush is loud,
  The orchards turn to heaps o' rosy cloud,
  In ellum-shrouds the flashin' hangbird clings
  An' for the summer vy'ge his hammock slings,
  All down the loose-walled lanes in archin' bowers
  The barb'ry droops its strings o' golden flowers,
  Whose shrinkin' hearts the school-gals love to try
  With pins,--they 'll worry yourn so, boys, bimeby!
  But I don't love your cat'logue style,--do you?--
  Ez ef to sell all Natur' by vendoo;
  One word with blood in 't's twice ez good ez two:
  'Nuff sed, June's bridesman, poet o' the year,
  Gladness on wings, the bobolink, is here;
  Half-hid in tip-top apple-blooms he swings,
  Or climbs aginst the breeze with quiverin' wings,
  Or, givin' way to 't in a mock despair,
  Runs down, a brook o' laughter, thru the air.

  I ollus feel the sap start in my veins
  In spring, with curus heats an' prickly pains,
  Thet drive me, when I git a chance, to walk
  Off by myself to hev a privit talk
  With a queer critter thet can't seem to 'gree
  Along o' me like most folks,--Mister Me.
  Ther' 's times when I'm unsoshle ez a stone,
  An' sort o' suffocate to be alone,--
  I'm crowded jes' to think thet folks are nigh,
  An' can't bear nothin' closer than the sky;
  Now the wind's full ez shifty in the mind
  Ez wut it is ou'-doors, ef I ain't blind,
  An' sometimes, in the fairest sou'west weather,
  My innard vane pints east for weeks together,
  My natur' gits all goose-flesh, an' my sins
  Come drizzlin' on my conscience sharp ez pins:

  Wal, et sech times I jes' slip out o' sight
  An' take it out in a fair stan'-up fight
  With the one cuss I can't lay on the shelf,
  The crook'dest stick in all the heap,--Myself.

  'T wuz so las' Sabbath arter meetin'-time:
  Findin' my feelins wouldn't noways rhyme
  With nobody's, but off the hendle flew
  An' took things from an east-wind pint o' view,
  I started off to lose me in the hills
  Where the pines be, up back o' 'Siah's Mills:
  Pines, ef you're blue, are the best friends I know,
  They mope an' sigh an' sheer your feelins so,--
  They hesh the ground beneath so, tu, I swan,
  You half-forgit you 'we gut a body on.

  Ther's a small school'us' there where four roads meet,
  The door-steps hollered out by little feet,
  An' side-posts carved with names whose owners grew
  To gret men, some on 'em, an' deacons, tu;
  'T ain't used no longer, coz the town hez gut
  A high-school, where they teach the Lord knows wut:
  Three-story larnin' 's pop'lar now; I guess
  We thriv' ez wal on jes' two stories less,
  For it strikes me ther' 's sech a thing ez sinnin'
  By overloadin' children's underpitmin':
  Wal, here it wuz I larned my A B C,
  An' it's a kind o' favorite spot with me.

  We 're curus critters: Now ain't jes' the minute
  Thet ever fits us easy while we 're in it;
  Long ez 't wuz futur', 't would be perfect bliss,--
  Soon ez it's past, _thet_ time's wuth ten o' this;
  An' yit there ain't a man thet need be told
  Thet Now's the only bird lays eggs o' gold.
  A knee-high lad, I used to plot an' plan
  An' think 't wuz life's cap-sheaf to be a man;
  Now, gittin' gray, there's nothin' I enjoy
  Like dreamin' back along into a boy:
  So the ole school'us' is a place I choose
  Afore all others, ef I want to muse;
  I set down where I used to set, an' git
  My boyhood back, an' better things with it,--
  Faith, Hope, an' sunthin', ef it isn't Cherrity,
  It's want o' guile, an' thet's ez gret a rerrity.

  Now, 'fore I knowed, thet Sabbath arternoon
  Thet I sot out to tramp myself in tune,
  I found me in the school'us' on my seat,
  Drummin' the march to No-wheres with my feet.
  Thinkin' o' nothin', I've heerd ole folks say,
  Is a hard kind o' dooty in its way:
  It's thinkin' everythin' you ever knew,
  Or ever hearn, to make your feelins blue.
  I sot there tryin' thet on for a spell:
  I thought o' the Rebellion, then o' Hell,
  Which some folks tell ye now is jest a metterfor
  (A the'ry, p'raps, it wun't _feel_ none the better for);
  I thought o' Reconstruction, wut we 'd win
  Patchin' our patent self-blow-up agin;
  I thought ef tins 'ere milkin' o' the wits,
  So much, a month, warn't givin' Natur' fits,--
  Ef folks warn't druv, findin' their own milk fail,
  To work the cow thet hez an iron tail,
  An' ef idees 'thout ripenin' in the pan
  Would send up cream to humor ary man:
  From this to thet I let my worryin' creep,
  Till finally I must ha' fell asleep.

  Our lives in sleep are some like streams thet glide
  'Twixt flesh an' sperrit boundin' on each side,
  Where both shores' shadders kind o' mix an' mingle
  In sunthin' thet ain't jes' like either single;
  An' when you cast off' moorins from To-day,
  An' down towards To-morrer drift away,
  The imiges thet tengle on the stream
  Make a new upside-down'ard world o' dream:
  Sometimes they seem like sunrise-streaks an' warnins
  O' wut 'll be in Heaven on Sabbath-mornins,
  An', mixed right in ez ef jest out o' spite,
  Sunthin' thet says your supper ain't gone right.
  I'm gret on dreams, an' often, when I wake,
  I've lived so much it makes my mem'ry ache,
  An' can't skurce take a cat-nap in my cheer
  'Thout hevin' 'em, some good, some bad, all queer.

  Now I wuz settin' where I 'd ben, it seemed,
  An' ain't sure yit whether I r'ally dreamed,
  Nor, ef I did, how long I might ha' slep',
  When I hearn some un stompin' up the step,
  An' lookin' round, ef two an' two make four,
  I see a Pilgrim Father in the door.
  He wore a steeple-hat, tall boots, an' spurs
  With rowels to 'em big ez ches'nut-burrs,
  An' his gret sword behind him sloped away
  Long 'z a man's speech thet dunno wut to say.--
  "Ef your name's Biglow, an' your given-name
  Hosee," sez he, "it's arter you I came;
  I'm your gret-gran'ther multiplied by three."--
  "My _wut_?" sez I.--"Your gret-gret-gret," sez he:
  "You wouldn't ha' never ben here but for me.
  Two hunderd an' three year ago this May
  The ship I come in sailed up Boston Bay;
  I 'd ben a cunnle in our Civil War,--
  But wut on airth hev _you_ gut up one for?
  I'm told you write in public prints: ef true,
  It's nateral you should know a thing or two."--
  "Thet air's an argymunt I can't endorse,--
  'T would prove, coz you wear spurs, you kep' a horse:
  For brains," sez I, "wutever you may think,
  Ain't boun' to cash the draft o' pen-an'-ink,--
  Though mos' folks write ez ef they hoped jes' quickenin'
  The churn would argoo skim-milk into thickenin';
  But skim-milk ain't a thing to change its view
  O' usefleness, no more 'n a smoky flue.
  But du pray tell me, 'fore we furder go,
  How in all Natur' did you come to know
  'Bout our affairs," sez I, "in Kingdom-Come?"--
  "Wal, I worked round at sperrit-rappin' some,
  In hopes o' larnin' wut wuz goin' on,"
  Sez he, "but mejums lie so like all-split
  Thet I concluded it wuz best to quit.
  But, come now, ef you wun't confess to knowin',
  You 've some conjecturs how the thing's a-goin'."--
  "Gran'ther," sez I, "a vane warn't never known
  Nor asked to hev a jedgment of its own;
  An' yit, ef 't ain't gut rusty in the jints,
  It 'a safe to trust its say on certin pints:
  It knows the wind's opinions to a T,
  An' the wind settles wut the weather 'll be-"--
  "I never thought a scion of our stock
  Could grow the wood to make a weathercock;
  When I wuz younger 'n you, skurce more 'n a shaver,
  No airthly wind," sez he, "could make me waver!"
  (Ez he said this, he clinched his jaw an' forehead,
  Hitchin' his belt to bring his sword-hilt forrard.)--
  "Jes' so it wuz with me," sez I, "I swow,
  When _I_ wuz younger 'n wut you see me now,--
  Nothin', from Adam's fall to Huldy's bonnet,
  Thet I warn't full-cocked with my jedgement on it;
  But now I'm gittin' on in life, I find
  It's a sight harder to make up my mind,--
  Nor I don't often try tu, when events
  Will du it for me free of all expense.
  The moral question's ollus plain enough,--
  It's jes' the human-natur' side thet's tough;
  Wut's best to think mayn't puzzle me nor you,--.
  The pinch comes in decidin' wut to _du_;
  Ef you _read_ History, all runs smooth ez grease,
  Coz there the men ain't nothin more 'n idees,--
  But come to _make_ it, ez we must to-day,
  Th' idees hev arms an' legs an' stop the way:
  It's easy fixin' things in facts an' figgers,--
  They can't resist, nor warn't brought up with niggers;
  But come to try your the'ry on,--why, then
  Your facts an' figgers change to ign'ant men
  Actin' ez ugly"----"Smite 'em hip an' thigh!"
  Sez gran'ther, "an' let every man-child die!
  Oh for three weeks o' Crommle an' the Lord!
  O Israel, to your tents an' grind the sword!"--
  "Thet kind o' thing worked wal in ole Judee,
  But yon forgit how long It's ben A.D.;
  You think thet's ellerkence,--I call it shoddy,
  A thing," sez I, "wun't cover sonl nor body;
  I like the plain all-wool o' common-sense,
  Thet warms ye now, an' will a twelvemonth hence.
  _You_ took to follerin' where the Prophets beckoned,
  An', fust you knowed on, back come Charles the Second;
  Now wut I want's to hev all _we_ gain stick,
  An' not to start Millennium too quick;
  We hain't to punish only, but to keep,
  An' the cure's gut to go a cent'ry deep."--
  "Wal, milk-an'-water ain't a good cement,"
  Sez he, "an' so you 'll find it in th' event;
  Ef reshness venters sunthin', shilly-shally
  Loses ez often wut's ten times the vally.
  Thet exe of ourn, when Charles's neck gut split,
  Opened a gap thet ain't bridged over yit:
  Slav'ry's your Charles, the Lord hez gin the exe,"--
  "Our Charles," sez I, "hez gut eight million necks.
  The hardest question ain't the black man's right,--
  The trouble is to'mancipate the white;
  One's chained in body an' can be sot free,--
  The other's chained in soul to an idee:
  It's a long job, but we shall worry thru it;
  Ef bag'nets fail, the spellin'-book must do it."--
  "Hosee," sez he, "I think you 're goin' to fail:
  The rettlesnake ain't dangerous in the tail;
  This 'ere rebellion's nothin' but the rettle,--
  You 'll stomp on thet an' think you 've won the bettle;
  It's Slavery thet's the fangs an' thinkin' head,
  An' ef you want selvation, cresh it dead,--
  An' crash it suddin, or you 'll larn by waitin'
  Thet Chance wun't stop to listen to debatin'!"--
  "God's truth!" sez I,--"an' ef _I_ held the club,
  An' knowed jes' where to strike,--but there's the rub!"--
  "Strike soon," sez he, "or you 'll be deadly ailin',--
  Folks thet's afeared to fail are sure o' failin';
  God hates your sneakin' creturs thet believe
  He 'II settle things they run away an' leave!"
  He brought his foot down fercely, ez he spoke,
  An' give me sech a startle thet I woke.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 09, No. 56, June, 1862" ***

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