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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 11, No. 65, March, 1863
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 11, No. 65, March, 1863" ***

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VOL. XI.--MARCH, 1863.--NO. LXV.


Plutarch, when about to enter upon the crowded lives of Alexander and
Caesar, declares his purpose and sets forth the true nature and province
of biography in these words:--"It must be borne in mind that my design
is not to write histories, but lives. And the most glorious exploits do
not always furnish us with the clearest discoveries of virtue or vice in
men. Sometimes a matter of less moment, an expression or a jest, informs
us better of their characters and inclinations than the most famous
sieges, the greatest armaments, or the bloodiest battles whatsoever.
Therefore, as portrait-painters are more exact in the lines and features
of the face, in which character is seen, than in the other parts of the
body, so I must be allowed to give my more particular attention to the
marks and indications of the souls of men, and while I endeavor by these
to portray their lives, may be free to leave more weighty matters and
great battles to be treated of by others."

That these general principles of biography are correct, and that
Plutarch, by adhering to them, succeeded, beyond all others, in making
his heroes realities, men of flesh and blood, whom we see and know like
those about us, in whom we feel the warmest interest, and from whom we
derive lessons of deep wisdom, as from our own experience,--all this
could best be shown by the enduring popularity of his "Lives," and the
seal of approval set upon them by critics of the most opposite schools.
What a long array of names might be presented of those who have
given their testimony to the wondrous fascination of this undying
Greek!--names of the great and wise through many long centuries, men
differing in age, country, religion, language, and occupation. For ages
he has charmed youth, instructed manhood, and solaced graybeards. His
heroes have become household words throughout the world. He has been
equally familiar with court, with camp, and with cottage. He has been
the companion of the soldier, the text-book of the philosopher, and the
_vade-mecum_ of kings and statesmen. And his name even now, after the
lapse of so many generations, is fresher than ever.

Yet Lord Macaulay could not refrain from a sneer at Plutarch as a pedant
who thought himself a great philosopher and a great politician. Pedant
he may have been; philosopher and politician he may not have been; but
he was, nevertheless, the prince of biographers. Macaulay has praised
Boswell's "Life of Johnson" as the best biography ever written. But was
not Boswell a pedant? Was he a philosopher? Macaulay himself has penned
many biographies. Most of them are quite above the pedantry of
small facts. Instead, they are crammed with deep philosophy, with
abstractions, and with the balancing of antithetical qualities. They
are bloodless frameworks, without life or humanity,--bundles of
peculiarities skilfully grouped, and ticketed with such and such a name.
No one sees a man within. As biographies they will not be remembered,
but as instances of labored learning, of careful special pleading,
and of brilliant rhetoric. Elsewhere, however, he has descended from
philosophy, and not been above the pedantry of detail. And he has given
us, in consequence, charming lives,--successful, in fact, just so far as
he has followed in the footsteps of the old Greek. Yet who would for
a moment compare his Pitt, his Goldsmith, or his William IV., as
biography, with Plutarch's Alcibiades, or Cato the Censor? We remember
the fact that Goldsmith sometimes wore a peach-blossom suit, but we see
Cato in his toga.

Very many works have been written, purporting to be "The Life and Times"
of this or that man. Where a man has occupied a large historic place,
has been moulded by his times, and has moulded in turn the coming years,
such works are well enough as history. As biography they are failures.
The Times get the upper hand, and thrust down the Life. Without the
Life, such works would be better, too, as history; for man and the world
are two different things, and their respective provinces cannot, without
confusion, be thrown into one. Now every leading man bears a twofold
character. He is man, and something more: he is a power in history.
Whatever concerns him as man,--his humanity, his individuality, his
personal qualities, his character and inclinations, "the marks and
indications of the soul," as Plutarch phrases it,--all this, and hardly
more than this, is matter for biography, and for that alone. But so far
as he is a representative man, standing for communities, for nations,
for the world of his time,--so far as he is an historic force, making
and solving, in some degree, large human problems,--so far as he is the
organ chosen by destiny to aid in the development of his race,--just so
far he is a maker of history, and therefore its proper subject, and its
alone. Napoleon was not only a man, but he was Europe for some twenty
years. Louis XIV was the Europe of half a century. There should be lives
of such men, for they were akin to their fellows: histories, too, should
be theirs, for they were allied to Nature, and fate, and law. They
jested; and Biography, smiling, seized her tablets. They embodied a
people; and Clio, pondering, opened the long scrolls of time.

All biography has been said to be eulogistic in its nature. This is well
enough. But it is not well, when the author, high on daring stilts,
overlooks the little matters just about him, and, rapidly running his
eye over the wastes that stretch from Dan to Beersheba, prates of the
fields that lie along the distant horizon. Nor is it well, when he
forgets his hero, and writes himself,--when he constantly thrusts upon
us philosophy, abstractions, and the like,--when he has a pet theory to
sustain through thick and thin,--when narrative becomes disquisition,
memoir is criticism, life is bloodless, and the man is a puppet whose
strings he jerks freakishly. There may be something good in all this;
but it is all quite out of place: it is simply not biography. The
foundation of most biographical sins is, perhaps, ambition,--an ambition
to do something more or something other than the subject demands, and
to pitch the strain in too high a key. Hence we have usually found the
memoirs of comparatively insignificant men to be better reading, and
more fertile in suggestion, than those of what are called great men. Not
that the real life, as he lived it, of a man of mediocrity has in itself
more seeds of thought than that of a hero. Far otherwise. But his
written life has often greater lessons of wisdom for us, precisely
because it is generally found to give us more of the individual, and
more of our common humanity,--which is the very thing we want. There is
less of pretext to pour this one small drop into the broad ocean, and
then treat us to a vague essay on salt-water. What is it, for instance,
that gives to Southey's "Life of Nelson" its great excellence? There
have been many other works on the same subject, larger, fuller, and more
carefully studied. But these will perish, while that will be cherished
by all the generations to come. It is because the author kept throughout
precisely on a level with his subject. He was conscious, on every page,
that he was writing of one man,--that nothing was trivial which could
throw light on this man, and nothing important which did not tend
directly to the same end. Nelson was made to speak, not only in his own
words, but in the many little ways and actions which best show the stuff
one is made of. There is no essay, nothing strictly didactic. Facts are
given: inferences are left entirely with the reader. Few books are more
wearisome than those which are thoroughly exhaustive, which point a
moral and adorn a tale on every page. Imagination and thought must
sit supine, despairing of new conquests. Their work has all been done

Christopher North--Heaven be praised!--was not an "historic force." He
was a good many things, but not that. And so it was always pleasant to
read him and about him. He was so completely vital and individual, that
nothing that concerned him ever lacked in human interest. The world has
known him for a long time, and has lost nothing by the acquaintance.
Latterly it has come to know him better than before in his character
of citizen, son, husband, and father; and it has come to the sage
conclusion that even as a family-man he was not quite so bad, after all.
It is a great relief to know at last that Christopher was throughout
consistent,--that the child was father to the man. One of his first
exploits was fishing with a bent pin. Another was to preach a little
sermon on a naughty fish. The "application," though brief, was earnest.
To the infant expounder, the subject of his discourse doubtless appeared
in the guise of a piscatorial Cockney. After many other the like
foreshadowings, and after draining dry his native village, he went, when
twelve years of age, to Glasgow University. Professor Jardine, who then
held the chair of Logic, was fully alive to the rare promise of his
pupil, and said of him subsequently,--"He lived in my family during the
whole course of his studies at Glasgow, and the general superintendence
of his education was committed to me; and it is but justice to him
to declare, that during my long experience I never had a pupil who
discovered more genius, more ardor, or more active and persevering
diligence." But his ardor was not limited to philosophy and the
humanities; his powers required a larger field than the curriculum. He
walked, ran, wrestled, boxed, boated, fished, wrote poetry, played the
flute, danced, kept a careful diary, and read largely. Even at this
early age, he felt the merit of the then unappreciated Wordsworth, and,
on the appearance of the "Lyrical Ballads," wrote the author a letter
expressive of his admiration.

In 1803, Wilson, now eighteen, was transferred to Oxford as a Gentleman
Commoner of Magdalen. And surely never lighted on the Oxford orb so
glorious a vision, or such a bewildering phenomenon. He was, indeed,

  "Rara avis in terris, nigroque simillima cygno."

There, as elsewhere, his life was an extraordinary one. His immense
vitality forced him to seek expression in every possible direction. The
outlets which sufficed for ordinary souls were insignificant conduits
for the great floods pent up within his breast; and he surged forth
mightily at every point, carrying all before him. His tastes and
sympathies were all-embracing. His creed and his practice were alike
catholic. All was fish that came to his net. He sat at the feet of
muscular Gamaliels, and campaigned with veterans of the classics. He
hobnobbed with prize-fighters, and was the choice spirit in the ethereal
feasts of poets. He was king of the ring, and _facile princeps_ in the
Greek chorus. He could "talk horse" with any jockey in the land; yet who
like him could utter tender poetry and deep philosophy? He had no rival
in following the hounds, or scouring the country in breakneck races; and
none so careered over every field of learning. He angled in brooks and
books, and landed many a stout prize. He would pick up here and there
a "fly in amber," and add it to his stores. He was the easy victor in
every foot-race, and took the Newdigate prize for poetry, in 1806. He
burned the midnight oil, and looked through ruddy wine at the small
hours chasing each other over the dial. For hours, almost whole days,
he would sit silent at the helm of his boat on the Isis, his rapt
eye peopling the vacant air with unutterable visions. He swam like
a dolphin, rode like a Centaur, and De Quincey called him the best
unprofessional male dancer he had ever seen. Three times he was
vanquished by a huge shoemaker,--so the story goes,--champion of the
"Town": at the fourth meeting, the Gentleman Commoner proved himself
the better man, knocked his antagonist out of time, and gave him twenty
pounds. Another professor of the manly art of self-defence, who had
ventured to confront the young Titan, and was unexpectedly laid low,
said in astonishment,--"You can be only one of the two: you are either
Jack Wilson or the Devil." He proved himself to be the former, by not
proclaiming, "_Voe victis_!" and by taking his prize of war to the
nearest alehouse, and then and there filling him with porter. Sotheby
said it was worth a journey from London to hear him translate a Greek
chorus; and, at a later day, the brawny Cumberland men called him "a
varra bad un to lick."

Never were such "constitutionals" known, even at old Oxford. He would
wander away alone, sometimes for many days, tramping over the country
leagues and leagues away, making the earth tremble with his heavy tread,
and distancing everything with his long, untiring stride. Then, on his
return, he would be the prince of good-fellows once more, and fascinate
the merry revellers with the witchery of his tongue. Even when a boy, he
had won a bet by walking six miles in two minutes less than an hour. He
once dined in Grosvenor Square, and made his appearance at Oxford at an
early hour the next morning, having walked the fifty-eight miles at a
tremendous pace. In his vacations, he walked over all the Lake region
of England, the North of Scotland, and the greater part of Wales. On
finishing his course at Oxford, he went on foot to Edinburgh,--more than
three hundred miles. He was equally remarkable as a leaper, surpassing
all competitors. He once jumped across the Cherwell--twenty-three feet
clear--with a run of only a few yards. This is, we believe, the greatest
feat of the kind on record. General Washington, it is known, had great
powers in this way; but the greatest distance ever leaped by him, if we
remember right, was but twenty-one feet.

The many vagaries into which he was led, and the innumerable odd pranks
he played, would be sufficient, in the case of any one else, to prove
that he was not a reading man. But not so with Wilson. One of his
contemporaries at Oxford thus described him:--"Wilson read hard, lived
hard, but never ran into vulgar or vicious dissipation. He talked well,
and loved to talk. Such gushes of poetic eloquence as I have heard from
his lips,--I doubt whether Jeremy Taylor himself, could he speak as
well as he wrote, could have kept up with him. Every one anticipated his
doing well, whatever profession he might adopt, and when he left us, old
Oxford seemed as if a shadow had fallen upon its beauty." Wilson himself
confessed that he yielded, for a short time, to "unbridled dissipation,"
seeking solace for the agony he experienced from the conduct of his
stern mother, who ruthlessly nipped in the bud his affection for a bonny
lass at Dychmont. He might have used the very words of Gibbon, whose
father nipped, in a similar way, his attachment for Mademoiselle Susan
Curchod, afterward Madame Necker:--"After a painful struggle, I yielded
to my fate: I sighed as a lover, I obeyed as a son; my wound was
insensibly healed by time, absence, and the habits of a new life." It
is difficult to conceive of Gibbon's wound as a deep one, or of his
struggle as painful. But Wilson, whose affections were far stronger,
suffered much. He almost made up his mind to run away to Timbuctoo, with
Mungo Park; and his deep gloom showed how the iron had entered his
soul. But time and absence and new habits healed his wound, as well as
Gibbon's, without a journey to Africa.

We mentioned above that Wilson carried off the Newdigate prize for
the best poem, in 1806. His subject was, "Painting, Poetry, and
Architecture." He professed, in general, to put a very low estimate on
college prize-poems, and rated his own so low that he would not allow
it to be published with his subsequent poems. But in the "Noctes
Ambrosianae" for October, 1825, he was not above saying a good word in
favor of these much-berated effusions, as follows:--

"_North._ It is the fashion to undervalue Oxford and Cambridge
prize-poems; but it is a stupid fashion. Many of them are most
beautiful. Heber's 'Palestine!' A flight, as upon angel's wing, over the
Holy Land! How fine the opening!

[We omit the lines quoted,--the well-known beginning of the poem.]

"_Tickler_. More than one of Wrangham's prize-poems are excellent;
Richard's 'Aboriginal Brutus' is a powerful and picturesque performance;
Chinnery's 'Dying Gladiator' magnificent; and Milman's 'Apollo
Belvedere' splendid, beautiful, and majestic.

"_North._ Macaulay and Praed have written very good prize-poems. These
two young gentlemen ought to make a figure in the world."

Heber was a contemporary and friend of Wilson at Oxford; as was also
Lockhart, among others. The distant See of Calcutta interrupted the
intercourse of the former, in after-life, while Maga and party bound
the latter still closer to his old college-friend. One of Wilson's
college-mates has given an odd anecdote descriptive of his appearance at
their social gatherings:--

"I shall never forget his figure, sitting with a long earthen pipe, a
great tie-wig on. Those wigs had descended, I fancy, from the days of
Addison, (who had been a member of our college,) and were worn by
us all, (in order, I presume, to preserve our hair and dress, from
tobacco-smoke,) when smoking commenced after supper; and a strange
appearance we made in them."

Wilson left Oxford in 1807, after passing a highly creditable
examination for his degree. His disappointed affections had so weighed
upon him, that he had a nervous apprehension of being plucked,--which,
however, turned out to be quite unnecessary. He was now twenty-two
years of age, a man singularly favored both by Nature and by
fortune,--possessed of almost everything which might seem to insure the
fullest measure of health, happiness, success, and fame. Rarely, indeed,
do the gods give so freely of their good gifts to a single mortal. His
circumstances were easy: a fortune of some fifty thousand pounds having
come to him from his father, who had died while his son was a mere boy.
After visiting his mother at Edinburgh, and rambling largely here and
there, he purchased the beautiful estate of Elleray on Lake Windermere,
and there fixed his residence. These were the halcyon days of that noted
region: the "Lakers," as they were called, were then in their glory. A
rare coterie, indeed, it was that was gathered together along the banks
of Windermere. Though they are now no more, yet is their memory so
linked to these scenes that thousands of fond pilgrims still visit
these placid waters to throw one glance upon the home of genius, the
birthplace of great thoughts. Here Wilson was in his element. His soul
feasted itself on the wondrous charms of Nature, and held high converse
with the master-minds of literature. There was quite enough to satisfy
the cravings even of his multiform spirit. He soon came to know, and to
be on terms of greater or less intimacy with, Coleridge, Wordsworth, De
Quincey, Southey, the celebrated Bishop Watson, of the See of Llandaff,
Charles Lloyd, and others,--then the _genii loci_. It may be remembered
that his admiration for Wordsworth was already of long standing, his
boyish enthusiasm having led him, when at Glasgow, to send his tribute
of praise to the author of the "Lyrical Ballads." Some fifteen to twenty
years later,--in one of the numbers of the "Noctes,"--his admiration for
the poet had temporarily cooled somewhat. Then was its aphelion, and
soon it began to return once more toward its central sun. It must have
been transient spleen which dictated such sentences as these:--

"_Tickler_. Wordsworth says that a great poet must be great in all

"_North_. Wordsworth often writes like an idiot; and never more so than
when he said of Milton, 'His soul was like a star, and dwelt apart!' For
it dwelt in tumult, and mischief, and rebellion. Wordsworth is, in all
things, the reverse of Milton,--a good man, and a bad poet.

"_Tickler_. What! that Wordsworth whom Maga cries up as the Prince of

"_North_. Be it so: I must humor the fancies of some of my friends.
But had that man been a great poet, he would have produced a deep and
lasting impression on the mind of England; whereas his verses are
becoming less and less known every day, and he is, in good truth,
already one of the illustrious obscure ...

"And yet, with his creed, what might not a great poet have done? That
the language of poetry is but the language of strong human passion! ...
And what, pray, has he made out of this true and philosophical creed?
A few ballads, (pretty, at the best,) two or three moral fables, some
natural description of scenery, and half a dozen narratives of common
distress or happiness. Not one single character has he created, not one
incident, not one tragical catastrophe. He has thrown no light on man's
estate here below; and Crabbe, with all his defects, stands immeasurably
above Wordsworth as the Poet of the Poor ... I confess that the
'Excursion' is the worst poem, of any character, in the English
language. It contains about two hundred sonorous lines, some of which
appear to be fine, even in the sense, as well as the sound. The
remaining seven thousand three hundred are quite ineffectual. Then what
labor the builder of that lofty rhyme must have undergone! It is, in its
own way, a small Tower of Babel, and all built by a single man."

Christopher was surely in the dumps, when he wrote thus: he was soured
by an Edinburgh study. After a run in the crisp air of the moors, he
would never have written such atrabilious criticism of a poet whom he
admired highly, for it was not honestly in the natural man. Neither his
postulates nor his inferences are quite correct. It is incorrect to say
that the poet's creed was a true one; that, with it, he might have been
a great poet; but that, from not making the most of it, he was a bad
one. De Quincey's position, we think, was the only true one: that
Wordsworth's poetic creed was radically false,--a creed more honored in
the breach than the observance,--a creed good on paper only; that its
author, though professing, did in fact never follow it; that, with it,
he could never have been a great poet; and that, without it, he was
really great.

Wilson at Windermere, like Wilson at Oxford, was versatile, active,
Titanic, mysterious, and fascinating. An immense energy and momentum
marked the man; and a strange fitfulness, a lack of concentration, made
the sum total of results far too small. There was power; but much of it
was power wasted. He overflowed everywhere; his magnificent _physique_
often got the better of him; his boundless animal spirits fairly ran
riot with him; his poetic soul made him the fondest and closest of
Nature's wooers; his buoyant health lent an untold luxury to the mere
fact of existence; his huge muscles and tuneful nerves always hungered
for action, and bulged and thrilled joyously when face to face with
danger. He was exuberant, extravagant, enthusiastic, reckless,
stupendous, fantastic. It is only by the cumulation of epithets that one
can characterize a being so colossal in proportion, so many-sided in his
phases, so manifold in operation. He was a brilliant of the first water,
whose endless facets were forever gleaming, now here, now there, with a
gorgeous, but irregular light. No man could tell where to look for the
coming splendor. The glory dazzled all eyes, yet few saw their way the
clearer by such fitful flashes.

Wilson, in some of his phases, reminds us often of a great glorified
child, rejoicing in an eternal boyhood. He had the same impulse,
restlessness, glee, zest, and _abandon_. All sport was serious work with
him, and serious work was sport. No frolic ever came amiss, whatever
its guise. He informed play with the earnestness of childhood and the
spirituality of poesy. He could turn everything into a hook on which to
hang a frolic. No dark care bestrode the horse behind this perennial
youth. No haggard spectre, reflected from a turbid soul, sat moping
in the prow of his boat, or kept step with him in the race. Like
the Sun-god, he was buoyant and beautiful, careless, free, elastic,
unfading. Years never cramped his bounding spirits, or dimmed the lustre
of his soul. He was ever ready for prank and pastime, for freak and
fun. Of all his loves at Elleray, boating was the chief. He was the
Lord-High-Admiral of all the neighboring waters, and had a navy at his
beck. He never wearied of the lake: whether she smiled or frowned on her
devotee, he worshipped all the same. Time and season and weather were
all alike to the sturdy skipper. One howling winter's night he was still
at his post, when Billy Balmer brought tidings that "his master was
wellnigh frozen to death, and had icicles a finger-length hanging from
his hair and beard." Though there was storm without, the great child had
his undying sunshine within.

In 1811, he married Miss Jane Penny, of Ambleside, described as the
belle of that region,--a woman of rare beauty of mind and person,
gentle, true, and loving. She was either a pedestrian by nature, or
converted by the arguments of her husband; for, a few years after
marriage, they took a long, leisurely stroll on foot among the
Highlands, making some three hundred and fifty miles in seven weeks. The
union of these two bright spirits was singularly happy and congenial,--a
pleasing exception to the long list of mismated authors. Nought was
known between them but the tenderest attachment and unwearied devotion
to each other. For nearly forty years they were true lovers; and when
death took her, a void was left which nothing could fill. The bereaved
survivor mourned her sincerely for more than seventeen years,--never,
for an instant, forgetting her, until his own summons came. Some one
has related the following touching incident. "When Wilson first met his
class, in the University, after his wife's death, he had to adjudicate
on the comparative merits of various essays which had been sent in on
competition for a prize. He bowed to his class, and, in as firm voice as
he could command, apologized for not having examined the essays,--'for,'
said he, 'I could not see to read them in the darkness of the shadow of
the Valley of Death.' As he spoke, the tears rolled down his cheeks;
he said no more, but waved his hand to his class, who stood up as he
concluded and hurried out of the lecture-room."

The joys of Elleray were destined to be fleeting. The fortune of its
master was melted away by the mismanagement of others, leaving him but
a slender pittance. He bore his loss like a man, sorrowing, but not
repining. The estate was given up, and a new home found with his mother,
in Edinburgh. This was in 1815. Four years later, fortune had smiled on
his cheerful labors, and given him the wherewithal to provide a home
of his own for his wife and little ones,--the well-known house in Anne
Street, which was for so many years the abode of domestic joys, the
shrine of literature, the centre of friendship and hospitality. On his
arrival at Edinburgh, Wilson, already famous, though young, finding fame
an unsubstantial portion for a man with a family, looked about him for
something more tangible, and determined to get his livelihood by the
law. Kit North a lawyer, eating bread earned by legal sweat! The very
idea seems comical enough. Yet it cannot be doubted, that, with his
intellect, energy, eloquence, and capacity for work, he would, when
driven to concentration and persistence by the spurs of necessity, duty,
and affection, have run his race manfully, and reached the goal with the
very foremost. Happily the question is an open one, for his affairs took
another turn, which may have given Scotland one legal lord the less. For
some time the briefless barrister diligently frequented the Edinburgh
courts, on the lookout for business. If he had few cases, he had
excellent company in another "limb," of his own kidney, John Gibson
Lockhart. These two roystering pundits, having little to do, filled up
their moments mainly with much fun, keeping their faculties on the
alert for whatever might turn up. The thing that soon turned up was

The "Edinburgh Review"--the first in the field of the modern
politico-literary periodicals--commenced its career in 1802, under the
leadership of Brougham, Sydney Smith, Jeffrey, and Horner, all stanch
Whigs. At first, literature had the second place, while politics
occupied the chief seat; though in later years their relative positions
have been reversed. Then, the one great thing in view was to have an
able party-organ, the fearless champion of a certain policy in matters
of State. The Whigs must be glorified, and the Tories put down, at all
events, whatever else might be done. The rejoicings of the former, and
the discomfiture of the latter, soon bore witness to the ability and
success of this new-fledged champion. But this one-sided state of things
could not continue always. The Tories, too, must have a mouth-piece
to testify of their devotion to "the good old cause," and silence
the clamors of their opponents. Accordingly, in 1809, appeared the
"Quarterly Review," with Gifford as editor, and Scott, Southey, Croker,
Canning, and others, as chief contributors. Under the conduct of such
men, it became at once an organ of great power, yet still not quite what
was wanted. It did not seem to meet entirely the demands of the case.
It had not the wit, pungency, and facility of its rival, and failed
of securing so general a popularity. Its learning and gravity made it
better suited to be the oracle of scholars than the organ of a party.
Compared with its adversary across the Tweed, it was like a ponderous
knight, cased in complete steel, attacking an agile, light-armed Moorish
cavalier; or, to use Ben Jonson's illustration, like a Spanish great
galleon opposed to the facile manoeuvres of a British man-of-war. For
such an enemy there were needed other weapons. Well might the Tories

"Non tali auxilio, nee defensoribus istis Tempos eget."

William Blackwood, the Prince-Street publisher, thought, that, to be
successful, the war should be carried into Africa,--that the enemy must
be met on his own ground with his own weapons. Hogg, whose weekly paper,
"The Spy," had recently fallen through, also came to the conclusion that
a sprightly monthly publication, of strong Tory proclivities, could not
fail to do well. So, the times being ripe, Blackwood issued, in March,
1817, the first number of his new monthly, then called "The Edinburgh
Monthly Magazine." Though himself a violent Tory, he, singularly enough,
chose as his editors two Whigs,--Pringle the poet, and Cleghorn. Hogg
lent his aid from the beginning. Scott, too, wrote now and then; and
very soon Wilson made his appearance as "Eremus," contributing prose
and verse. But the new magazine did not prove to be what was hoped,--a
decided success. It was, in fact, quite flat and dull, having nothing
life-like and characteristic. The radical error of attempting to build
on such heterogeneous foundations was soon perceived. Vigor of action
could proceed only from entire unanimity of sentiment. Soon a rupture
arose between editors and publisher, and the former seceded with the
list of subscribers, leaving the latter his own master. He at once
decided to remodel his periodical entirely,--to make it a thorough-going
partisan, and to infuse a new life and vigor by means of personality and
wit. How well he succeeded we all know. Thenceforward, until his death
in 1834, he acted as editor, and a better one it would be difficult to
find. The new management went into effect in October, 1817, with the
famous No. VII. The difference was apparent at once, not only in the
ability and style, but also in the title of the periodical, which was
then changed to the name which it has borne ever since. In this number
appeared the first really distinctive article of the magazine,--the
celebrated "Translation from an Ancient Chaldee Manuscript,"--an
allegorical account, in quaint Scripture phrase, of Blackwood's quarrel
with his editors, and a savage onslaught on the leading Whigs of
Edinburgh. So great a hubbub arose immediately on the appearance of this
diatribe that it was suppressed as soon as possible; and though the
editor offered an earnest apology for its insertion, he was finally
mulcted in costs in a large sum for libel. But the general effect was
highly favorable to the new magazine. It gave it--what had been lacking
before--notoriety and a recognized position, and made its existence no
longer a matter of indifference. It was known that Hogg conceived the
idea, and wrote some portion of the article. But few could believe, as
was claimed by some, that all the sharp touches came from his hand.
Hogg, it appears, wrote the first part; Wilson and Lockhart together
contributed most of the remainder, amidst side-splitting guffaws, in a
session in the house of the Dowager Wilson, in Queen Street; while the
philosophic Sir William Hamilton, in adding his mite, was so moved by
uproarious cachinnation that he fairly tumbled out of his chair.

The power and personality which thus early characterized the magazine
were its leading features in after-years. Wilson and Lockhart became at
once its chief contributors,--Wilson especially writing for its columns,
with the most extraordinary profusion, on all conceivable topics, in
prose and verse, for more than thirty years. By these articles he became
known beyond his own circle, and on these his fame must ultimately rest.
His daughter points to them with pride, and unhesitatingly expresses the
opinion that they in themselves are a sufficient answer to all who doubt
whether the great powers of their author ever found adequate expression.
We are unable to agree with her. Able and brilliant as these
articles unquestionably were, we cannot think that such glimpses and
fragments--or, in fact, all the relics left by their author--furnish
results at all commensurate with the man. Though Maga increased his
immediate reputation, we think it diminished his lasting fame, by
leading him to scatter, instead of concentrating his remarkable powers
on some one great work. Scott and other great authorities saw so much
native genius in Wilson, that they often said that it lay in him
to become the first man of his time, though they feared that his
eccentricities and lack of steadiness might prove fatal to his success.

Though never really the editor of "Blackwood," Wilson was from the first
its guiding spirit,--the leaven that leavened the whole lump. The way in
which he threw himself into his work he described as follows:--"We love
to do our work by fits and starts. We hate to keep fiddling away, an
hour or two at a time, at one article for weeks. So off with our coat,
and at it like a blacksmith. When we once get the way of it, hand over
hip, we laugh at Vulcan and all his Cyclops. From nine of the morning
till nine at night, we keep hammering away at the metal, iron or gold,
till we produce a most beautiful article. A biscuit and a glass of
Madeira, twice or thrice at the most,--and then to a well-won dinner. In
three days, gentle reader, have We, Christopher North, often produced
a whole magazine,--a most splendid number. For the next three weeks we
were as idle as a desert, and as vast as an antre,--and thus on we go,
alternately laboring like an ant, and relaxing in the sunny air like a
dragon-fly, enamored of extremes." Of all his contributions, we think
the "Noctes Ambrosianae" give by far the best idea of their author. They
are perfectly characteristic throughout, though singularly various.
Every mood of the man is apparent; and hardly anything is touched which
is not adorned. Their pages reveal in turn the poet, the philosopher,
the scholar, and the pugilist. Though continued during thirteen years,
their freshness does not wither. To this day we find the series
delightful reading: we can always find something to our taste, whether
we crave fish, flesh, or fowl. Whether we lounge in the sanctum, or roam
over the moors, we feel the spirit of Christopher always with us.

It has been attempted, on Wilson's behalf, to excuse the fierce
criticism and violent personality of Maga in its early days, on the
plea that his influence over that periodical was less then than
afterwards,--and that, as his control increased, the bitterness
decreased. This is a special plea which cannot be allowed. The magazine
was moulded, from the beginning, more by Wilson than by all others.
If personalities had been offensive to him, they would not have been
inserted, except in a limited degree. Lockhart, it is true, was far more
bitter, but his influence was less. He could never have been successful
in running counter to Wilson. Besides, though Wilson's nominal power
might have been greater in the control of the magazine in later years,
it was virtually but little, if at all, increased. The fact is, these
onslaughts were perfectly congenial to his nature at that time.

His young blood made him impetuous, passionate, and fond of
extremes,--perhaps unduly so. He was a warm lover, and a strong, though
not malignant, hater,--and consequently deliberately made himself the
fiercest of partisans. It was all pure fun with him, though it was death
to the victims. He dearly loved to have a cut at the Cockneys, and was
never happier than when running a tilt _à l'outrance_ with what seemed
to be a sham. Still, he felt no ill-will, and could see nothing wrong in
the matter. We are entirely disposed, even in reference to this period
of his life, to accept the honest estimate which he made of himself, as
"free from jealousy, spite, envy, and uncharitableness." When the fever
of his youth had been somewhat cooled by time, his feelings and opinions
naturally became more moderate, and his expression of them less violent.
In his early days, when his mother heard of his having written an
article for the "Edinburgh Review," she said, "John, if you turn Whig,
this house is no longer big enough for us both." But his Toryism
then was quite as good as hers. By-and-by, as party became less, and
friendship more, he entertained at his house the leading Whigs, and
admitted them to terms of intimacy. Even his daughter was allowed to
marry a Whig. And in 1852 the old man hobbled out to give his vote for
Macaulay the Whig, as representative in Parliament of the good town
of Edinburgh. Conceive of such a thing in 1820! All this was but the
gradual toning-down of a strong character by time and experience.
"Blackwood" naturally exhibited some of the results of the change.

Much allowance must be made for the altered spirit of the times. A
generation or two ago, there was everywhere far more of rancor and less
of decorum in the treatment of politics and criticism than would now be
tolerated. All the world permitted and expected strong partisanship,
bitter personality, and downright abuse. They would have called our
more sober reticence by the name of feebleness: their truculence we
stigmatize as slander and Billingsgate. Wilson was an extremist in
everything; yet he strained but a point or two beyond his fellows. When
the tide of party began gradually to subside, he fell with it. Mrs.
Gordon has given a very correct picture of the state of things in those

"It is impossible for us, at this time, to realize fully the state of
feeling that prevailed in the literature and politics of the years
between 1810 and 1830. We can hardly imagine why men who at heart
respected and liked each other should have found it necessary to hold no
communion, but, on the contrary, to wage bitter war, because the one
was an admirer of the Prince Regent and Lord Castlereagh, the other a
supporter of Queen Caroline and Mr. Brougham. We cannot conceive why a
poet should be stigmatized as a base and detestable character, merely
because he was a Cockney and a Radical; nor can we comprehend how
gentlemen, aggrieved by articles in newspapers and magazines, should
have thought it necessary to the vindication of their honor to horsewhip
or shoot the printers or editors of the publications. Yet in 1817 and
the following years such was the state of things in the capital of
Scotland.... You were either a Tory and a good man, or a Whig and a
rascal, and _vice versa_. If you were a Tory and wanted a place, it was
the duty of all good Tories to stand by you; if you were a Whig, your
chance was small; but its feebleness was all the more a reason why
you should be proclaimed a martyr, and all your opponents profligate
mercenaries." But parties changed, and men changed with them. It was
a Whig ministry which gave Wilson, in 1852, a pension of two hundred

Mrs. Gordon has praised her father as "the beau-ideal of what a critic
should be, whose judgments will live as _parts_ of literature, and not
merely _talk_ about it." That these so-called judgments are worthy to
live, and will live, we fully believe; yet we could never think him a
model critic, or even a great one. Though not deficient in analytic
power, he wanted the judicial faculty. He could create, but he could not
weigh coolly and impartially what was created. His whole make forbade
it. He was impatient, passionate, reckless, furious in his likes and
dislikes. His fervid enthusiasm for one author dictated a splendid
tribute to a friend; while an irrational prejudice against another
called out a terrific diatribe against a foe. In either case, there
might be "thoughts that breathe and words that burn"; still, there was
but little of true criticism. The matchless papers on Spenser and Homer
represent one class, and the articles on Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt the
other. While the former exhibit the tender sympathy of a poet and the
enthusiasm of a scholar, the latter reveal the uncompromising partisan,
swinging the hangman's cord, and brandishing the scourge of scorpions.
Of the novelist's three kinds of criticism--"the slash, the tickle, and
the plaster"--he recognized and employed only the two extremes. Neither
in criticism nor in the conduct of life was Ovid's "_Medio tutissimus
ibis_" ever a rule for him. In the "Noctes" for June, 1823, some of his
characteristics are wittily set forth, with some spice of caricature, in
a mock defiance given to Francis Jeffrey, "King of Blue and Yellow,"
by the facetious Maginn, under his pseudonym of Morgan Odoherty:
--"Christopher, by the grace of Brass, Editor of Blackwood's and the
Methodist Magazines; Duke of Humbug, of Quiz, Puffery, Cutup, and
Slashandhackaway; Prince Paramount of the Gentlemen of the Press, Lord
of the Magaziners, and Regent of the Reviewers; Mallet of Whiggery, and
Castigator of Cockaigne; Count Palatine of the Periodicals; Marquis of
the Holy Poker; Baron of Balaam and Blarney; and Knight of the most
stinging Order of the Nettle."

In 1820 Wilson was elected Professor of Moral Philosophy in the
University of Edinburgh,--an office which he held for more than thirty
years. The rival candidate was his friend, Sir William Hamilton, a firm
Whig; and the canvass, which was purely a political one, was more fiery
than philosophic. Wilson's character was the grand object of attack and
defence, and round it all the hard fighting was done. Though it was pure
and blameless, it offered some points which an unscrupulous adversary
might readily misconstrue, with some show of plausibility. His free,
erratic life, his little imprudences, his unguarded expressions, and
the reckless "Chaldee MS.," might, with a little twisting, be turned to
handles of offence, and wrested to his disadvantage. But the fanatic
zeal of his opponents could not rest till their accusations had run
through nearly the whole gamut of immoralities. He was not only a
blasphemer towards God, but corrupt to wife and children. It seems
comical enough at this day that he was obliged to bolster up his cause
by sending round to his respectable acquaintances for certificates
of good moral character. When at last he triumphed by a greater than
two-thirds vote, an attempt was made to reconsider; but the new
Professor held his own, and the factious were drowned in hisses.

His personal relations to his pupils were singularly happy. A strange
charm went out from his presence at all times, which fascinated all, and
drew them to him. Their enthusiasm and love for him have been spoken of
as "something more to be thought of than the proudest literary fame."
"As he spoke, the bright blue eye looked with a strange gaze into
vacancy, sometimes darkening before a rush of indignant eloquence;
the tremulous upper lip curving with every wave of thought or hint of
passion; and the golden gray hair floating on the old man's mighty
shoulders,--if, indeed, that could be called age which seemed but the
immortality of a more majestic youth." In his lecture-room utterances,
there was an undue preponderance of rhetoric, declamation, and sentiment
over logic, analysis, and philosophy. Yet he once said of himself, that
he was "thoroughly logical and argumentative; not a rhetorician, as
fools aver." Whether this estimate was right or wrong in the main may be
a matter of question: we think it wrong. His genius, in our view, lay
rather in pictorial passion than in ratiocination. At all events, as
a teacher of philosophy, it appears to us that his conception of the
duties of his office, and his style of teaching, were far inferior to
those of his competitor and subsequent associate, Sir William Hamilton.
The one taught like a trumpet-tongued poet, and the other like an
encyclopaedic philosopher. The personal magnetism of the former led
captive the feelings, while the sober arguments of the latter laid siege
to the understanding. The great fact which impressed Wilson's students
was his overpowering oratory, and not his particular theory, or his
train of reasoning. One of them compares the nature of his eloquence
with that of the leading orators of his day, and thinks that in absolute
power over the hearers it was greater than that of any other.
The matter, too, as well as the manner of the lectures, receives
commendation at the hands of this enthusiastic disciple. He says,--"It
was something to have seen Professor Wilson,--this all confessed; but
it was something also, and more than is generally understood, to have
studied under him. Nothing now remains of the Professor's long series of
lectures save a brief fragment or two. Here and there some pupil may be
found, who has treasured up these Orphic sayings in his memory or his
note-book; but to the world at large these utterances will be always

We have been considerably disappointed in Wilson's "Letters." We looked
for something racy, having the full flavor of the author's best spirits.
We found them plain matter-of-fact, not what we should term at all
characteristic. Perhaps it was more natural that they should be of
this sort. Letters are generally vent-holes for what does not escape
elsewhere. Literary men, who are at the same time men of action, seldom
write as good letters as do their more quiet brethren. And this is
because they have so many more ways open to them of sending out what
lies within. They are depleted of almost all that is purely distinctive
and personal, long before they sit down to pen an epistle to a friend.
The formula might be laid down,--Given any man, and the quality of his
correspondence will vary inversely as the quantity of his expression in
all other directions. If, Wilson being the same man, fortune had hemmed
him in, and contracted his sphere of action,--or if, as author, he had
devoted himself to works of solid learning, instead of to the airy pages
of "Blackwood,"--the sprightly humor and broad hilarity that were in
him would have bubbled out in these "Letters," and the "Noctes" and the
"Recreations" would have been a song unsung.

An anecdote of De Quincey, given by Wilson's biographer, is worth
repeating. He and Wilson were warm friends during many long years, and
innumerable were the sessions in which they met together to hold high
converse. One stormy night the philosophic dreamer made his appearance
at the residence of his friend the Professor, in Gloucester Place.
The war of the elements increased to such a pitch, that the guest was
induced to pass the night in his new quarters. Though the storm
soon subsided, not so with the "Opium-Eater." The visit, begun from
necessity, was continued from choice, until the revolving days had
nearly made up the full year. He bothered himself but little with the
family-arrangements, but dined in his own room, often turning night into
day. His repast always consisted of coffee, boiled rice and milk, and
mutton from the loin. Every day be sent for the cook, and solemnly gave
her his instructions. The poor creature was utterly overwhelmed by his
grave courtesy and his "awfu' sicht of words." Well she might be, for he
addressed her in such terms as these:--"Owing to dyspepsia affecting
my system, and the possibility of an additional disarrangement of the
stomach taking place, consequences incalculably distressing would arise,
so much so, indeed, as to increase nervous irritation, and prevent me
from attending to matters of overwhelming importance, if you do not
remember to cut the mutton in a diagonal, rather than a longitudinal

The picture of the aged Christopher, sitting by his own fireside, and
surrounded by his grandchildren, is a charming one. He always loved to
be with and to play with children,--a trait which he had in common with
Agesilaus, Nelson, Burke, Napoleon, Wellington, and many others to
whom was given the spirit of authority. As he grew old, he became
passionately fond of the little men and women, and his affection was
reciprocated. It was rare sport, when grandpapa kept open doors, and
summoned the youthful company into his room. There were games, and
stories, and sweetmeats, and presents. Sometimes notable feasts were set
out, to which the little mouths did large justice, while the stalwart
host took the part of waiter, and decorously responded to every wish. Of
course, he played at fishing; for what would Christopher be without
a hook? When an infant, he fished with thread and pin: when age had
crippled him, the ruling passion still led him to limp into deep waters
on a crutch, and cast out as of yore. So he and the youngsters angled
for imaginary trouts, with imaginary rods, lines, and flies, out of
imaginary boats floating in imaginary lochs. And whether there were
silly nibbles or sturdy bites, all agreed that they had glorious sport.

  "With sports like these were all their cares beguiled;
  The sports of children satisfy the child."

And--the poet might have added--they often do much to satisfy the child
of larger growth. It was thus that the old man kept alive the embers of
his youth.

Charles Lamb once, considering whom of the world's vanished worthies he
would rather evoke, singled out Fulke Greville, and also--if our memory
is correct--Sir Thomas Browne. He thought, very sensibly, that any
reasonable human being, if permitted to summon spirits from the vasty
deep, would base his choice upon personal qualities, and not on mere
general reputation. There would be an elective affinity, a principle
of natural selection, (not Darwinian,) by which each would aim to draw
forth a spirit to his liking. One would not summon the author of such
and such a book, but this or that man. Milton wrote an admirable epic,
but he would be awful in society. Shakspeare was a splendid dramatist,
but one would hardly ask him for a boon-companion. Who could feel at
ease under that omniscient eye? But, if the Plutonian shore might, for a
few brief moments, render to our call its waiting shades, there are
not very many for whom our lips would sooner syllable the word of
resurrection than for Christopher North. Only to look upon him in his
prime would be worth much. To have a day with him on the moors, or an
ambrosial night, would be a possession forever.

Even now we can almost see him standing radiant before us, illuminated
and transfigured by the halo streaming round him. A huge man, towering
far above his fellows; with Herculean shoulders, deep chest, broad back,
sturdy neck, brawny arms, and massive fists; a being with vast muscle
and tense nerve; of choicest make, and finest tone and temper,--robust
and fine, bulky and sinewy, ponderous and agile, stalwart and elastic; a
hammer to give, and a rock to receive blows; with the light tread of
the deer, and the fell paw of the lion; crowned with a dome-like head,
firm-set, capacious, distinctive, cleanly cut, and covered with long,
flowing, yellow hair; a forehead broad, high, and rounded, strongly and
equally marked by perception and imagination, wit and fancy; light blue
eyes, capable of every expression, and varying with every mood, but
generally having a far, dim, dreamy look into vacancy,--the gaze of
the poet seeing visions; a firm, high, aquiline nose, indicating both
intellect and spirit; flexile lips, bending to every breath of passion;
a voice of singular compass and pliancy, responding justly to all his
wayward humors and all his noble thoughts, now tremulous with
tender passion, now rough with a partisan's fury; a man of strange
contradictions and inconsistencies every way; a hand of iron with
a glove of silk; a tiger's claw sheathed in velvet; one who fought
lovingly, and loved fiercely; champion of the arena, passionate poet,
chastiser of brutes, caresser of children, friend of brawlers, lover of
beauty; a pugilistic Professor of Moral Philosophy, who, in a thoroughly
professional way, gayly put up his hands and scientifically floored his
man in open day, at a public fair;[A] sometimes of the oak, sometimes of
the willow; now bearing grief without a murmur, now howling in his pain
like the old gods and heroes, making all Nature resonant with his cries;
knowing nothing of envy save from the reports of others, yet never
content to be outdone even in veriest trifles; a tropical heart and a
cool brain; full of strong prejudices and fine charities, generous and
exacting, heedless and sympathetic, quick to forgive, slow to resent,
firm in love, transient in hate; to-day scaling the heavens with
frantic zeal, to-morrow relaxing in long torpor; fond of long, solitary
journeys, and given to conviviality; tender eyes that a word or a
thought would fill, and hard lips that would never say die; a child of
Nature thrilled with ecstasy by storm and by sunshine, and a cultured
scholar hungering for new banquets; dreamer, doer, poet, philosopher,
simple child, wisest patriarch; a true cosmopolitan, having largest
aptitudes,--a tree whose roots sucked up juices from all the land, whose
liberal fruits were showered all around; having a key to unlock all
hearts, and a treasure for each; hospitable friend, husband-lover,
doting father; a boisterous wit, fantastic humorist, master of pathos,
practical joker, sincere mourner; always an extremist, yielding to
various excess; an April day, all smiles and tears; January and May met
together; a many-sided fanatic; a universal enthusiast; a large-hearted
sectarian; a hot-headed judge; a strong sketch full of color, with
neutral tints nowhere, but fall of fiery lights and deep glooms;
buoyant, irrepressible, fuming, rampant, with something of divine
passion and electric fire; gentle, earnest, true; a wayward prodigal,
loosely scattering abroad where he should bring together; great in
things indifferent, and indifferent in many great ones; a man who would
have been far greater, if he had been much less,--if he had been less
catholic and more specific; immeasurably greater in his own personality
than in any or all of his deeds either actual or possible;--such was
the man Christopher North, a Hercules-Apollo, strong and immortally
beautiful,--a man whom, with all his foibles, negligences, and
ignorances, we stop to admire, and stay to love.

[Footnote A: One who met him many years ago in Edinburgh, at the
conclusion of a lecture, tells us, as we write these closing sentences,
of his splendid figure, as he saw him twirl an Irish shillalah and show
off its wonderful properties as an instrument of fun at a fair.]


  Yes, tyrants, you hate us, and fear while you hate
  The self-ruling, chain-breaking, throne-shaking State!
  The night-birds dread morning,--your instinct is true,--
  The day-star of Freedom brings midnight for you!

  Why plead with the deaf for the cause of mankind?
  The owl hoots at noon that the eagle is blind!
  "We ask not your reasons,--'t were wasting our time,--
  Our life is a menace, our welfare a crime!

  "We have battles to fight, we have foes to subdue,--
  Time waits not for us, and we wait not for you!
  The mower mows on, though the adder may writhe
  And the copper-head coil round the blade of his scythe!

  "No sides in this quarrel," your statesmen may urge,
  Of school-house and wages with slave-pen and scourge!--
  No sides in the quarrel! proclaim it as well
  To the angels that fight with the legions of hell!

  They kneel in God's temple, the North and the South,
  With blood on each weapon and prayers in each mouth.
  Whose cry shall be answered? Ye Heavens, attend
  The lords of the lash as their voices ascend!

  "O Lord, we are shaped in the image of Thee,--
  Smite down the base millions that claim to be free,
  And lend Thy strong arm to the soft-handed race
  Who eat _not_ their bread in the sweat of their face!"

  So pleads the proud planter. What echoes are these?
  The bay of his bloodhound is borne on the breeze,
  And, lost in the shriek of his victim's despair,
  His voice dies unheard.--Hear the Puritan's prayer!

  "O Lord, that didst smother mankind in Thy flood,
  The sun is as sackcloth, the moon is as blood,
  The stars fall to earth as untimely are cast
  The figs from the fig-tree that shakes in the blast!

  "All nations, all tribes in whose nostrils is breath,
  Stand gazing at Sin as she travails with Death!
  Lord, strangle the monster that struggles to birth,
  Or mock us no more with Thy 'Kingdom on Earth'!

  "If Ammon and Moab must reign in the land
  Thou gavest Thine Israel, fresh from Thy hand,
  Call Baäl and Ashtaroth out of their graves
  To be the new gods for the empire of slaves!"

  Whose God will ye serve, O ye rulers of men?
  Will ye build you new shrines in the slave-breeder's den?
  Or bow with the children of light, as they call
  On the Judge of the Earth and the Father of All?

  Choose wisely, choose quickly, for time moves apace,--
  Each day is an age in the life of our race!
  Lord, lead them in love, ere they hasten in fear
  From the fast-rising flood that shall girdle the sphere!

       *       *       *       *       *


[Footnote A: See Numbers LVI., LVIII., and LIX. of this magazine.]



It will be necessary for the present to omit the story of the settlement
and growth of the French Colony, and of the pernicious commercial
restrictions which swelled the unhappy heritage of the island, in order
that we may reach, in this and a succeeding article, the great points
of interest connected with the Negro, his relation to the Colony and
complicity with its final overthrow.

The next task essential to our plan is to trace the entrance of Negro
Slavery into the French part of the island, to describe the victims, and
the legislation which their case inspired.

The first French Company which undertook a regular trade with the west
coast of Africa was an association of merchants of Dieppe, without
authority or privileges. They settled a little island in the Senegal,
which was called St. Louis. This property soon passed into the hands of
a more formal association of Rouen merchants, who carried on the trade
till 1664, the date of the establishment of the West-India Company, to
which they were obliged to sell their privileges for one hundred and
fifty thousand livres. This great Company managed its African business
so badly, that it was withdrawn from their hands in 1673, and made over
as a special interest to a Senegal Company. The trade, in palm-oil,
ivory, etc., was principally with France, and negro slaves for the
colonies do not yet appear in numbers to attract attention.[B] But in
1679 this Company engaged with the Crown to deliver yearly, for a term
of eight years, two thousand negroes, to be distributed among the French
Antilles. This displaced a previous engagement, made in 1675, for the
delivery of eight hundred negroes. The Company had also to furnish as
many negroes for the galleys at Marseilles as His Majesty should find
convenient. And the Crown offered a bounty of thirteen livres per head
for every negro, to be paid in "pieces of India."

[Footnote B: Du Tertre, the missionary historian of the Antilles,
proudly says, previously to this date, that the opinion of France in
favor of personal liberty still shielded a French deck from the traffic:
"Selon les lois de la France, qui abhorre la servitude sur toutes les
nations du monde, et ou tous les esclaves recouvrent heureusement la
liberté perdue, sitost qu'ils y abordent, et qu'ils en touchent la

This is a famous phrase in the early annals of the slave-trade.
Reckoning by "pieces" was customary in the transaction of business upon
the coast of Africa. Merchandise, provisions, and presents to the native
princes had their value thus expressed, as well as slaves. If the negro
merchant asked ten pieces for a slave, the European trader offered
his wares divided into ten portions, each portion being regarded as a
"piece," without counting the parts which made it up. Thus, ten coarse
blankets made one piece, a musket one piece, a keg of powder weighing
ten pounds was one, a piece of East-India blue calico four pieces, ten
copper kettles one piece, one piece of chintz two pieces, which made
the ten for which the slave was exchangeable: and at length he became
commercially known as a "piece of India." The bounty of thirteen livres
was computed in France upon the wholesale value of the trinkets and
notions which were used in trade with Africa.

The traffic by pieces is as old as the age of Herodotus;[C] it was
originally a dumb show of goods between two trading parties ignorant of
each other's language, but at length it represented a transaction which
the parties should have been ashamed to mention.

[Footnote C: _Melpomene_, § 196.]

Although this second Senegal Company was protected by the rigid
exclusion, under pain of fine and confiscation, of all other Frenchmen
from the trade, it soon fell into debt and parted with its privilege to
a third Company, and this in turn was restricted by the formation of a
Guinea Company, so that it soon sold out to a fourth Senegal Company,
which passed in 1709 into the hands of Rouen merchants who started a
fifth; and this too was merged in the West-India Company which
was formed in 1718. So little did the agriculture of the islands,
overstocked with _engagés_, justify as yet the slave-traders in the
losses and expenses which they incurred.

The Guinea Company was bound to import only one thousand yearly into
all the French Antilles; but it did not flourish until it became an
_Asiento_ Company, when, during the War of Succession, a Bourbon mounted
the throne of Spain. It was called _Asiento_ because the Spanish
Government _let_, or farmed by _treaty_, the privilege of supplying its
colonies with slaves. The two principal articles of this contract, which
was to expire in 1712, related to the number of negroes and the rent of
the privilege. If the war continued, the French Company was bound to
furnish Spain with thirty-eight thousand negroes during the ten years
of the contract, but in case of peace, with forty-eight thousand. Each
negro that the Company could procure was let to it for 33-1/3 piastres,
in pieces of India. In consequence of this treaty, the ports of Chili
and Peru, and those in the South Sea, from which all other nations
were excluded, stood open to the French, who carried into them vast
quantities of merchandise besides the slaves, and brought home great
sums in coin and bars. The raw gold and silver alone which they imported
for the year 1709 was reckoned at thirty millions of livres.

But at the Peace of Utrecht, Louis XIV., exhausted by an unprofitable
war, relinquished his _asiento_ to the English, who were eager enough
to take it. It was for this advantage that Marlborough had been really
fighting; at least, it was the only one of consequence that Blenheim and
Malplaquet secured to his country.

The reign of Louis XV. commenced in 1715. By letters-patent which he
issued on the 16th of January, 1716, he granted permission to all the
merchants in his kingdom to engage in the African trade, provided
their ships were fitted out only in the five ports of Rouen, Rochelle,
Bordeaux, Nantes, and St. Malo; nine articles were specially framed
to encourage the trade in slaves, as by the Peace of Utrecht all the
South-Sea ports were closed to the French, and only their own colonies
remained. France no longer made great sums of money by the trade in
slaves, but her colonies began to thrive and demand a new species of
labor. The poor white emigrants were exhausted and demoralized by an
apprenticeship which had all the features of slavery, and by a climate
which will not readily permit a white man to become naturalized even
when he is free.

It is the opinion of some French anti-slavery writers that the _engagés_
might have tilled the soil of Hayti to this day, if they had labored for
themselves alone. This is doubtful; the white man can work in almost
every region of the Southern States, but he cannot raise cotton and
sugar upon those scorching plains. It is not essential for the support
of an anti-slavery argument to suppose that he can. Nor is it of any
consequence, so far as the question of free-labor is concerned, either
to affirm or to deny that the white man can raise cotton in Georgia or
sugar in Louisiana. The blacks themselves, bred to the soil and wonted
to its products, will organize free-labor there, and not a white man
need stir his pen or his hoe to solve the problem.

At first it seems as if the letters-patent of Louis XV. were inspired by
some new doctrine of free-trade. And he did cherish the conviction that
in the matter of the slave-trade it was preferable to a monopoly; but
his motive sprang from the powerful competition of England and Holland,
which the Guinea Company faced profitably only while the War of
Succession secured to it the _asiento_. The convention of merchants
which Louis XIV. called in Paris, during the year 1701, blamed
monopolies in the address which it drew up, and declared freedom of
trade to be more beneficial to the State; but this was partly because
the Guinea Company arbitrarily fixed the price of slaves too high, and
carried too few to the colonies.

So a free-trade in negroes became at last a national necessity. Various
companies, however, continued to hold or to procure trading privileges,
as the merchants were not restrained from engaging in commerce in such
ways as they preferred. The Cape-Verde, the South-Sea, the Mississippi
or Louisiana, and the San-Domingo Companies tried their fortunes still.
But they were all displaced, and free-trade itself was swallowed up, by
the union of all the French Antilles under the great West-India Company
of 1716. This was hardly done before the Government discovered that the
supply of negroes was again diminishing, partly because so extensive a
company could not undertake the peculiar risks and expenses of a traffic
in slaves. So in the matter of negroes alone trade was once more
declared free in 1741, burdened only with a certain tax upon every slave

At this time the cultivation of sugar alone in the principal French
islands consumed all the slaves who could be procured. The cry for
laborers was loud and exacting, for the French now made as much sugar
as the English, and were naturally desirous that more negroes should
surrender the sweets of liberty to increase its manufacture. In less
than forty years the average annual export of French sugar had reached
80,000 hogsheads. In 1742 it was 122,541 hogsheads, each of 1200 pounds.
The English islands brought into the market for the same year only
65,950 hogsheads, a decrease which the planters attributed to the
freedom enjoyed by the French of carrying their crops directly to
Spanish consumers without taking them first to France. But whatever may
have been the reason, the French were determined to hold and develop
the commercial advantage which this single product gained for them. The
English might import as many slaves and lay fresh acres open to the
culture, but the French sugar was discovered to be of a superior
quality; that of San Domingo, in particular, was the best in the world.

The French planter took his slaves on credit, and sought to discharge
his debt with the crops which they raised. This increased the
consumption of negroes, and he was constantly in debt for fresh ones.
To stimulate the production of sugar, the Government lifted half the
entry-tax from each negro who was destined for that culture.

A table which follows shortly will present the exports for 1775 of the
six chief products of San Domingo, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Cayenne.
But we must say something first about the value of the _livre_.

In the Merovingian times, the right of coining money belonged to many
churches and abbeys,--among others, to St. Martin de Tours. There were
seigniorial and episcopal coins in France till the reign of Philip
Augustus, who endeavored to reduce all the coin in his kingdom to a
uniform type. But he was obliged still to respect the money of Tours,
although he had acquired the old right of coinage that belonged to it.
So that there was a livre of Paris and a livre of Tours, called _livre
tournois_: the latter being worth five deniers less than the livre of
Paris. The tendency of the Crown to absorb all the local moneys of
France was not completely successful till the reign of Louis XIV., who
abolished the Paris livre and made the livre tournois the money of
account. The earliest livre was that of Charlemagne, the silver value of
which is representable by eighty cents. It steadily depreciated, till
it was worth in the reign of Louis XIV-about sixty cents, from which it
fell rapidly to the epoch of the Revolution, when its value was only
nineteen cents, and the franc took its place.

It is plain from this, that, when livres are spoken of during a period
of a hundred years, their precise equivalent in English or American
money cannot be stated,--still less their market-relations to all
the necessaries of life. The reader can therefore procure from the
statistics of these periods only an approximative idea of the values of
crops and the wealth created by their passing into trade.

A great deal of the current specie of the island consisted of Spanish
and Portuguese coin, introduced by illegal trade. A Spanish _piastre
gourde_ in 1776 was rated at 7-1/2 livres, and sometimes was worth 8-1/4
livres. A _piastre gourde_ was a dollar. If we represent this dollar
by one hundred cents, we can approach the value of the French livre,
because the _gourde_ passed in France for only 5-1/4 livres; that is,
a livre had already fallen to the value of the present franc, or about
nineteen cents.

The difference of value between Paris and the colony was the cause of
great embarrassment. Projects for establishing an invariable money were
often discussed, but never attempted. All foreign specie ought to have
become merchandise in the colony, and to have passed according to its
title and weight. Exchange of France with San Domingo was at 66-2/3:
that is, 66 livres, 13 sols, 4 deniers tournois were worth a hundred
livres in the Antilles. Deduct one-third from any sum to find the sum in
livres tournois.

                           Pounds.         Livres.
  Sugar,     {To France, 166,353,834 for 61,849,381
             {Abroad,    104,099,866  "  38,703,720

  Coffee,    {To France,  61,991,699  "  29,421,039
             {Abroad,     50,058,246  "  23,757,464

  Indigo,    {To France,   2,067,498  "  17,573,733
             {Abroad,      1,130,638  "   9,610,423

  Cacao,     {To France,   1,562,027  "   1,093,419
             {Abroad,        794,275  "     555,992

  Roucou,[D] {To France,     352,216  "     220,369
             {Abroad,        153,178  "      95,838

  Cotton,    {To France,   3,407,157  "  11,017,892
             {Abroad,        102,011  "     255,027

[Footnote D: This was the scarlet dye of the Caribs, which they procured
from the red pulpy covering of the seeds of the _Bixa orellana_, by
simply rubbing their bodies with them. The seeds, when macerated and
fermented, yielded a paste, which was imported in rolls under the name
of _Orléan_, and was used in dyeing. It was also put into chocolate
to deepen its color and lend an astringency which was thought to be
wholesome. Tonic pills were made of it. The fibres of the bark are
stronger than those of hemp. The name _Roucou_ is from the Carib
_Urucu_. In commerce the dye is also known as Annotto.]

This table, with its alluring figures, that seem to glean gratefully
after the steps of labor, is the negro's manifesto of the French
slave-trade. The surprising totals betray the sudden development of that
iniquity under the stimulus of national ambition. The slave expresses
his misery in the ciphers of luxury. The single article of sugar, which
lent a new nourishment to the daily food of every country, sweetened
the child's pap, the invalid's posset, and the drinks of rich and poor,
yielded its property to medicine, made the nauseous palatable, grew
white and frosted in curious confections, and by simply coming into
use stimulated the trades and inventions of a world, was the slave's
insinuation of the bitterness of his condition. Out of the eaten came
forth meat, and out of the bitter sweetness.

In 1701, Western San Domingo had 19,000 negroes: in 1777, a moderate
estimate gives 300,000, not including 50,000 children under fourteen
years of age,--and in the other French colonial possessions 500,000. In
the year 1785, sixty-five slavers brought to San Domingo 21,662 negroes,
who were sold for 43,236,216 livres; and 32,990 were landed in the
smaller French islands. In 1786, the value of the negroes imported was
estimated at 65,891,395 livres, and the average price of a negro at that
time was 1997 livres.

But we must recollect that these figures represent only living negroes.
A yearly percentage of dead must be added, to complete the number taken
from the coast of Africa. The estimate was five per cent, to cover the
unavoidable losses incurred in a rapid and healthy passage; but such
passages were a small proportion of the whole number annually made, and
the mortality was irregular. It was sometimes frightful; a long calm
was one long agony: asphyxia, bloody flux, delirium and suicide,
and epidemics swept between the narrow decks, as fatally, but more
mercifully than the kidnappers who tore these people from their native
fields. The shark was their sexton, and the gleam of his white belly
piloted the slaver in his regular track across the Atlantic. What need
to revive the accounts of the horrors of the middle passage? We know
from John Newton and other Englishmen what a current of misery swept
in the Liverpool slavers into the western seas. The story of French
slave-trading is the same. I can find but one difference in favor of the
French slaver, that he took the shackles from his cargo after it had
been a day or two at sea. The lust for procuring the maximum of victims,
who must be delivered in a minimum of time and at the least expense,
could not dally with schemes to temper their suffering, or to make
avarice obedient to common sense. It was a transaction incapable of
being tempered. One might as well expect to ameliorate the act of
murder. Nay, swift murder would have been affectionate, compared with
this robbery of life.

Nor is the consumption of negroes by the sea-voyage the only item
suggested by the annual number actually landed. We should have to
include all the people maimed and killed in the predatory excursions
of native chiefs or Christian kidnappers to procure their cargoes. A
village was not always surprised without resistance. The most barbarous
tribes would defend their liberty. We can never know the numbers slain
in wars which were deliberately undertaken to stock the holds of

Nor shall we ever know how many victims dropped out of the ruthless
caravan, exhausted by thirst and forced marches, on the routes sometimes
of three hundred leagues from the interior to the sea. They were usually
divided into files containing each thirty or forty slaves, who were
fastened together by poles of heavy wood, nine feet long, which
terminated in a padlocked fork around the neck. When the caravan made a
halt, one end of the pole was unfastened and dropped upon the ground.
When it dropped, the slave was anchored; and at night his arm was tied
to the end of the pole which he carried, so that a whole file was
hobbled during sleep. If any one became too enfeebled to preserve his
place, the brutal keepers transferred him to the swifter voracity of the
hyena, who scented the wake of the caravan across the waste to the sea's
margin, where the shark took up the trail.

The census of the slaves in San Domingo was annually taken upon the
capitation-tax which each planter had to pay; thus the children, and
negroes above forty-five years of age, escaped counting. But in 1789,
Schoelcher says that the census declared five hundred thousand slaves;
that is, in twelve years the increase had been two hundred thousand.
How many negroes deported from Africa do these figures represent! what
number who died soon after landing, too feeble and diseased to become

Here is the prospectus of an expedition to the coast of Guinea in 1782
for the purpose of landing seven hundred slaves in the Antilles. They
were shipped in two vessels, one of six hundred tons, the other a small

  Outfit of large vessel,                               150,000 livres
    "    "  corvette,                                    50,000   "
  Purchase of 700 negroes at 300 livres per head,       210,000   "
  Insurance upon the passage at 15 per cent.,            61,500   "
      "       "   "  premiums at 15 per cent.,            9,225   "
  Total cost of the passage,                            480,725   "

  The passage was a very prosperous one: only 35
    negroes spoiled, or 5 per cent, of the whole
    number. The remaining 665 were sold in San
    Domingo at an average price of 2,000 livres,
    making                                            1,330,000   "
  Deduct commissions of ships' officers and
    correspondents in West Indies, at 11-1/2 per cent   152,950   "
                                                      1,177,050   "
  Deduct expenses in West Indies,                        17,050   "
                                                      1,160,000   "
  Deduct exchange, freight, and insurance upon
    return passage of the vessels, 20 per cent.,        232,000   "
                                                        928,000   "
  Deduct crews' wages for 10 months, reckoning the
    length of the voyage at 13 months,                   55,000   "
                                                        873,000   "
  Add value of returned vessels,                         90,000   "
                                                        963,000   "
  Deduct original cost of the whole,                    480,725   "
  The profit remains, 100 per cent.,                    482,275   "

Two hundred and seventy-four slavers entered the ports of San Domingo,
from 1767 to 1774, bringing 79,000 negroes. One-third of these perished
from various causes, including the cold of the mountains and the
unhealthiness of the coffee-plantations, so that only 52,667 remained.
These could not naturally increase, for the mortality was nearly double
the number of births, and the negroes had few children during the first
years after their arrival. Only one birth was reckoned to thirty slaves.
There was always a great preponderance of males, because they could bear
the miseries of the passage better than the women, and were worth more
upon landing. Include also the effects of forced labor, which reduced
the average duration of a slave's life to fifteen years, and carried
off yearly one-fifteenth of the whole number, and the reason for the
slaver's profits and for his unscrupulous activity become clear.

Out of the sugar, thus clarified with blood, the glittering frosted-work
of colonial splendor rose. A few great planters debauched the
housekeeping of the whole island. Beneath were debts, distrust,
shiftlessness, the rapacity of imported officials, the discontent
of resident planters with the customs of the mother-country, the
indifference of absentees, the cruel rage for making the most and the
best sugar in the world, regardless of the costly lives which the mills
caught and crushed out with the canes. Truly, it was sweet as honey in
the mouth, and suddenly became bitter as wormwood in the belly.

Let us glance at the people who were thus violently torn from the
climate, habits, diet, and customs which created their natural and
congenial soil, from their mother-tongues, their native loves and
hatreds, from the insignificant, half-barbarous life, which certainly
poisoned not the life-blood of a single Christian, though it sweetened
not his tea. What bitterness has crept into the great heart of Mr.
Carlyle, which beats to shatter the affectations and hypocrisies of
a generation, and to summon a civilized world to the worship of
righteousness and truth! Is this a Guinea trader or a prophet who is
angry when Quashee prefers his pumpkins and millet, reared without the
hot guano of the lash, and who will not accept the reduction of a bale
of cotton or a tierce of sugar, though Church and State be disinfected
of slavery?[E] It is a drop of planter's gall which the sham-hater
shakes testily from his corroded pen. How far the effluvia of the
slave-ship will be wafted, into what strange latitudes of temperance
and sturdy independence, even to the privacy of solemn and high-minded
thought! A nation can pass through epochs of the black-death, and
recover and improve its average health; but does a people ever
completely rally from this blackest death of all?

[Footnote E: _Latter-Day Pamphlets_, No. I. pp. 32, 34; No. II. pp. 23,
25, 47; No. III. p. 3. "And you, Quashee, my pumpkin, idle Quashee,
I say you must get the Devil sent away from your elbow, my poor dark
friend!" We say amen to that, with the reserved privilege of designating
the Devil. "Ware that Colonial Sand-bank! Starboard now, the Nigger
Question!" Starboard it is!]

The Guinea trader brought to San Domingo in the course of eighty years
representatives of almost every tribe upon the west coast of Africa and
of its interior for hundreds of miles. Many who were thus brought were
known only by the names of their obscure neighborhoods; they mingled
their shade of color and of savage custom with the blood of a new Creole
nation of slaves. With these unwilling emigrants the vast areas of
Africa ran together into the narrow plains at the end of a small island;
affinity and difference were alike obedient to the whip of the overseer,
whose law was profit, and whose method cruelty, in making this strange
people grow.

When a great continent has been thus ransacked to stock a little farm,
the qualities which meet are so various, and present such lively
contrasts, that the term _African_ loses all its application. From the
Mandingo, the Foulah, the Jolof, through the Felatahs, the Eboes, the
Mokos, the Feloups, the Coromantines, the Bissagos, all the sullen and
degraded tribes of the marshy districts and islands of the Slave Coast,
and inland to the Shangallas, who border upon Southwestern Abyssinia,
the characters are as distinct as the profiles or the colors. The
physical qualities of all these people, their capacity for labor, their
religious tendencies and inventive skill, their temperaments and diets,
might be constructed into a sliding scale, starting with a Mandingo,
or a Foulah such as Ira Aldridge, and running to earth at length in a

The Mandingoes of the most cultivated type seldom found their way to the
West Indies. But if ever slave became noticeable for his temperate and
laborious habits, a certain enterprise and self-subsistence, a cleanly,
regular, and polished way, perhaps keeping his master's accounts, or
those of his own private ventures, in Arabic, and mindful of his future,
he was found to be a Mandingo. Their States are on the Senegal; Arabic
is not their language, but they are zealous Mohammedans, and have
schools in which the children learn the Koran. The men are merchants and
agriculturists; they control the trade over a great extent of country,
and the religion also, for the Koran is among the wares they carry, and
they impose at once the whole form of their social condition. These
Northern African nations have been subjected to Arab and Moorish
influence, and they make it plain that great movements have taken place
in regions which are generally supposed to be sunk in savage quiescence.
The Mandingoes, notwithstanding a shade of yellow in the complexion,
are still negroes, that is, they are an aboriginal people, improved by
contact with Islamism, and capable of self-development afterwards; but
the Moors never ruled them, nor mingled with their blood. Their features
are African, in the popular sense of that word, without one Semitic
trace. Awakened intelligence beams through frank and pleasing
countenances, and lifts, without effacing, the primitive type.
Undoubtedly, their ancestors sprang into being on sites where an
improved posterity reside. But what a history lies between the Fetichism
which is the mental form of African religious sentiment, and the worship
of one God without image or symbol!

In the administration of justice, some classes of their criminals are
sold into slavery, and occasionally a Mandingo would be kidnapped. But
there are many Mandingoes who are still pagans, and know nothing of
Arabic or commerce, yet who have the excellences of the dominant tribes:
these were found in the gangs of the slave-merchant.

So were the Jolofs, handsome, black as jet, with features more regular
than the Mandingoes, almost European, excepting the lips: a nonchalant
air, very warlike upon occasion, but not disposed to labor. They have
magistrates, and some forms for the administration of justice, but a
civilization less developed than the Mandingo, in consequence of early
contact with Christians. It is said that the slave-traders taught them
to lie and steal, and to sell each other, whenever they could not
supply a sufficient number of their neighbors, the simple and pastoral

The Foulahs live upon the elevated plateaus of Senegambia and around the
sources of the Rio Grande. The Mandingoes introduced the Koran among
them. French writers represent them as being capable of sustained
labor; they cultivate carefully the millet, wheat, cotton, tobacco, and
lentils, and have numerous herds. Their mutton is famous, and their oxen
are very fat. The Foulahs are mild and affable, full of _esprit_, fond
of hunting and music; they shun brandy, and like sweet drinks. It is not
difficult to govern them, as they unite good sense to quiet manners, and
have an instinct for propriety. Their horror of slavery is so great,
that, if one of them is condemned to be sold, all the neighbors club
together to pay his forfeit or purchase a ransom; so that few of them
were found in the slave-ships, unless seized in the fields, or carried
off from the villages by night.

They have mechanics who work in iron and silver, leather and wood; they
build good houses, and live in them cleanly and respectable. The Foulahs
show, quite as decidedly as the Mandingoes, that great passions and
interests have given to these parts of Africa a history and developed
stocks of men. When the Foulahs are compared with the wandering
Felatahs, from whom they came, who speak the same language and wear the
same external characters, it will be seen how Nature has yearned for her
children in these unknown regions, and set herself, for their sakes,
great stints of work, in that motherly ambition to bring them forward in
the world. Yes,--thought the Guinea trader,--these skilful Foulahs are
Nature's best gifts to man.

Their pure African origin is, however, still a contested point. Many
ethnologists are unwilling to attribute so much capacity to a native
negro tribe. D'Eichthal objects, that "a pretended negro people,
pastoral, nomadic, warlike, propagating a religious faith, to say
nothing of the difference in physical characteristics, offers an anomaly
which nothing can explain. It would force us to attribute to the black
race, whether for good or for evil, acts and traits that are foreign to
its nature. To cite only one striking example, let me recall that Job
Ben Salomon, the African, who in the last century was carried to America
and thence to England, and was admired by all who knew him for the
loftiness of his character, the energy of his religious fanaticism, and
the extent of his intelligence,--this Ben Salomon, who has been cited as
a model of that which the negro race could produce, did not belong to
that race; he was a Foulah."[F]

[Footnote F: _Mémoires de la Société Ethnologique_, Tom. I. Ptie 2, p.

D'Eichthal develops at great length his theory, that the Foulahs are
descended from some Eastern people of strong Malay characters, who found
their way to their present site through Madagascar, along the coast, to
Cordofan, Darfour, and Haoussa. They are bronzed, or copper-colored, or
like polished mahogany,--the red predominating over the black. Their
forms are tall and slim, with small hands and feet, thin curved noses,
long hair braided into several queues, and an erect profile. Certain
negro traits do not exist in them.

Burmeister, who saw Ira Aldridge, the Foulah actor, play in Macbeth,
Othello, and his other famous parts, saw nothing negro about him, except
the length of his arm, the shrillness of his voice in excitement, the
terrible animality of the murder-scenes, and his tendency to exaggerate.
"The bright-colored nails were very evident, and his whole physiognomy,
in spite of his beard, was completely negro-like."[G]

[Footnote G: _The Comparative Anatomy and Physiology of the African
Negro_, by Hermann Burmeister.]

But if Ira Aldridge's exaggerated style of acting points to an African
origin, would it not be better, if some of our distinguished actors, who
are presumptively white before the foot-lights, took out free-papers at
once? We have seen Macbeth and Othello so "created" by the Caucasian
models of the stage, that but one line of Shakspeare remained in our
memory, and narrowly escaped the lips,--"Out, hyperbolical fiend!"

It is not unlikely that the Felatah was mixed with Moorish or Kabylic
blood to make the Foulah. If so, it proves the important fact, that,
when the good qualities of the negro are crossed with a more advanced
race, the product will be marked with intelligence, mobility, spiritual
traits, and an organizing capacity. Felatah blood has mixed with white
blood in the Antilles; the Jolof and the Eboe have yielded primitive
affections and excellences to a new mulatto breed. This great question
of the civilizable qualities of a race cannot be decided by quoting
famous isolated cases belonging to pure breeds, but only by observing
and comparing the average quality of the pure or mixed.

When we approach the Slave Coast itself, strong contrasts in appearance
and culture are observable among the inhabitants; they are all negroes,
but in different social conditions, more or less liable to injury from
the presence of the slaver, and yielding different temperaments and
qualities to colonial life. The beautiful and fertile amphitheatre
called Whidah, in North latitude 6°, with Dahomey just behind it, is
populous with a superior race. Where did it come from? The area which
it occupies has only about fifty miles of coast and less than thirty of
interior; its people are as industrious and thrifty as any on the face
of the earth. They never raised sugar and indigo with enthusiasm, but at
home their activity would have interpreted to Mr. Carlyle a soul
above pumpkins. They cultivated every square foot of ground up to
the threshold of their dwellings; the sides of ditches, hedges, and
inclosures were planted with melons and vegetables, and the roads
between the villages shrank to foot-paths in the effort to save land for
planting. On the day when a crop was harvested, another was sown.

Their little State was divided into twenty-six provinces or counties,
ruled by hereditary lords. The King was simply the most important one
of these. Here were institutions which would have deserved the epithet
_patriarchal_, save for the absence of overseers and the auction-block.
The men worked in the field, the women spun at home. Two markets were
held every four days in two convenient places, which were frequented by
five or six thousand traders. Every article for sale had its appropriate
place, and the traffic was conducted without tumult or fraud. A judge
and four inspectors went up and down to hear and settle grievances.
The women had their stalls, at which they sold articles of their own
manufacture from cotton or wood, plates, wooden cups, red and blue
paper, salt, cardamom-seeds, palm-oil, and calabashes.

How did it happen that such a thrifty little kingdom learned the
shiftlessness of slave-trading? Early navigators discovered that they
had one passion, that of gaming. This was sedulously cultivated by the
French and Portuguese who had colonies at stake. A Whidah man, after
losing all his money and merchandise, would play for his wife and
children, and finally for himself. A slave-trader was always ready to
purchase him and his interesting family from the successful gamester,
who, in turn, often took passage in the same vessel. In this way Whidah
learned to procure slaves for itself, who could be gambled away more
conveniently: the markets exposed for sale monthly one thousand
human beings, taken from the inferior tribes of the coast. The whole
administration of justice of these superior tribes was overthrown by the
advent of the European, who taught them to punish theft, adultery, and
other crimes by putting up the criminal for sale.

The Whidah people were Fetich-worshippers; so were the inhabitants
of Benin. But the latter had the singularity of refusing to sell a
criminal, adjudged to slavery, to the foreign slave-traders, unless
it was a woman. They procured, however, a great many slaves from the
interior for the Portuguese and French. The Benin people dealt in magic
and the ordeal; they believed in apparitions, and filled up their cabins
with idols to such an extent as nearly to eject the family.

The slaves of the river Calabar and the Gaboon were drawn from very
inferior races, who lived in a state of mutual warfare for the purpose
of furnishing each other to the trader. They kidnapped men in the
interior, and their expeditions sometimes went so far that the exhausted
victims occasioned the slaver a loss of sixty per cent, upon his voyage.
The toughest of these people were the Eboes; the most degraded were the
Papels and Bissagos.

The Congo negro was more intelligent than these; he understood something
of agriculture and the keeping of cattle. He made Tombo wine and some
kinds of native cloth. The women worked in the fields with their
children slung to their backs. The Congo temperament near the coast was
mild and even, like the climate; but there dwelt in the mountains the
Auziko and N'teka, who were cannibals. The Congoes in Cuba had the
reputation of being stupid, sensual, and brutal; but these African names
have always been applied without much discrimination.

The slavers collected great varieties of negroes along the coasts of
Loango and Benguela; some of them were tall, well-made, and vigorous,
others were stunted and incapable. They were all pagans, accustomed to
Fetich- and serpent-worship, very superstitious, without manliness and
dignity, stupid and unimpressible.

The Benguela women learned the panel game from the Portuguese. This is
an ugly habit of enticing men to such a point of complicity, that an
indignant husband, and a close calculator, can appear suddenly and
denounce the victim. Many a slave was furnished in this way.--But
we restrain the pen from tracing the villanous and savage methods,
suggested by violence or fraud or lust, to keep those decks well stocked
over which the lilies of France drooped with immunity.

All these negroes differed much in their sensitiveness to the condition
of slavery. Many of them suffered silently, and soon disappeared, killed
by labor and homesickness. Others committed suicide, in the belief that
their spirits would return to the native scenes. It was not uncommon for
a whole family to attempt to reinhabit their old cabin in this way. The
planters attributed these expensive deeds of manumission to a depraved
taste or mania; but we do not know that they laid Greek under
contribution for a term, as Dr. Cartwright did, who applied the word
_drapetomania_ to the malady of the American fugitive. Many negroes
sought relief in a marooning life; but their number was not so great
as we might expect. After two or three days' experience, hunger and
exposure drove them back, if they were not caught before. The number of
permanent maroons did not reach a thousand.

But a few tribes were so turbulent and sullen that the planter avoided
buying them, unless his need of field-hands was very urgent. He was
obliged to be circumspect, however; for the traders knew how to jockey a
man with a sick, disabled, or impracticable negro. The Jews made a good
business of buying refuse negroes and furbishing them up for the market.
The French traders thought it merit to deceive a Jew; but the latter
feigned to be abjectly helpless, in order to enjoy this refitting branch
of the business.

The Coromantine negroes were especial objects of suspicion, on account
of their quarrelsome and incendiary temper. Such powerful and capable
men ought to have valued more highly the privileges of their position;
but they could never quite conquer their prejudices, and were
continually interpreting the excellent constitutional motto, _Vera pro
gratis_, into, _Liberty instead of sugar!_ An English physician of the
last century, James Grainger by name, wrote a poem in four books upon
the "Sugar-Cane," published in 1764. Perhaps it would be more correct to
say that he exhibited a dose; but the production yields the following
lines which show that the Coromantine of Jamaica was no better than his
brother of San Domingo:--

  "Yet, if thine own, thy children's life, be dear,
  Buy not a Cormantee, though healthy, young,
  Of breed too generous for the servile field:
  They, born to freedom in their native land,
  Choose death before dishonorable bonds;
  Or, fired with vengeance, at the midnight hour
  Sudden they seize thine unsuspecting watch,
  And thine own poniard bury in thy breast."

All these kinds of negroes, and many others whom it would be tedious to
mention, differing in intelligence and capability, were alike in the
vividness of their Fetich-worship and the feebleness of their spiritual
sentiments.[H] They brought over the local superstitions, the grotesque
or revolting habits, the twilight exaggerations of their great pagan
fatherland, into a practical paganism, which struck at their rights, and
violated their natural affections, with no more pretence of religious
than of temporal consolation, and only capable of substituting one
Fetich for another. The delighted negroes went to mass as to their
favorite _Calenda_; the tawdry garments and detestable drone of the
priest, whose only Catholicism was his indiscriminate viciousness,
appeared to them a superior sorcery; the Host was a great _Gree-gree;_
the muttered liturgy was a palaver with the spirits; music, incense, and
gilding charmed them for a while away from the barbarous ritual of their
midnight serpent-worship. The priests were white men, for the
negroes thought that black baptism would not stick; but they were
fortune-hunters, like the rest of the colony, mere agents of the
official will, and seekers of their pleasures in the huts of the
negro-quarter.[I] The curates declared that the innate stupidity of the
African baffled all their efforts to instil a truth or rectify an error.
The secret practice of serpent-worship was punishable, as the stolen
gatherings for dancing were, because it unfitted them for the next day's
toil, and excited notions of vengeance in their minds. But the curates
declined the trouble of teaching them the difference in spiritual
association between the wafer in a box and the snake in a hamper. On the
whole, the negro loved to thump his sheepskin drum, and work himself
up to the frantic climax of a barbarous chant, better than to hear the
noises in a church. He admired the pomp, but was continually stealing
away to renew the shadowy recollection of some heathen rite. What
elevating influence could there be in the Colonial Church for these
children of Nature, who were annually reinforcing Church and Colony at a
frightful pace with heathenism? Twenty or thirty tribes of pagans were
imported at the rate of twenty thousand living heads per annum, turned
loose and mixed together, with a sense of original wrong and continual
cruelty rankling amid their crude and wild emotions, and prized
especially for their alleged deficiency of soul, and animal ability to
perform unwholesome labor. Slavery never wore so black a face. The
only refining element was the admixture of superior tribes, a piece of
good-fortune for the colony, which the planter endeavored as far as
possible to miss by distributing the fresh cargoes according to their
native characters. A fresh Eboe was put under the tutelage of a
naturalized Eboe, a Jolof with a Jolof, and so on: their depressed and
unhealthy condition upon landing, and their ignorance of the Creole
dialect, rendered this expedient.[J]

[Footnote H: Sometimes Fetichism furnished a legend which Catholicism,
in its best estate, would not despise. Here is one that belongs to
the Akwapim country, which lies north of Akkra, and is tributary to
Ashantee. "They say that Odomañkama created all things. He created the
earth, the trees, stones, and men. He showed men what they ought to eat,
and also said to them, 'Whenever anybody does anything that is lovely,
think about it, and do it also, only do not let your eye grow red' (that
is, inflamed, lustful). When He had finished the creation. He left men
and went to heaven; and when He went, the Fetiches came hither from the
mountains and the sea. Now, touching these Fetiches, as well as departed
spirits, they are not God, neither created by God, but He has only given
them permission, at their request, to come to men. For which reason no
Fetich ever receives permission to slay a man, except directly from the
Creator."--Petermann's _Mittheiltungen_, 1856, p. 466.]

[Footnote I: _Droit Public des Colonies Françoises, d'après les Lois
faites pour ces Pays_, Tom. I. p. 306.]

[Footnote J: On the other hand, an elaborate _Manuel des Habitans de
St. Domingue_ cautions the planters on this point: "Carefully avoid
abandoning the new negroes to the discretion of the old ones, who are
often very glad to play the part of hosts for the sake of such valets,
to whom they make over the rudest part of their day's work. This
produces disgust and repugnance in the new-comers, who cannot yet bear
to be ordered about, least of all to be maltreated by negroes like
themselves, while, on the contrary, they submit willingly and with
affection to the orders of a white." This Manual, which reads like a
treatise on muck or the breeding of cattle, proceeds to say, that, if
the planter would preserve his negroes' usefulness, he must be careful
to keep off the ticks.]

But these distinctions could not be preserved upon such a limited area
and amid these jostling tribes. People of a dozen latitudes swarmed in
the cabins of a single negro-quarter. Even the small planter could not
stock his habitation with a single kind of negro: the competition at
each trade-sale of slaves prevented it. So did a practice of selling
them by the scramble. This was to shut two or three hundred of them into
a large court-yard, where they were all marked at the same price, and
the gates thrown open to purchasers. A greedy crowd rushed in, with
yells and fighting, each man struggling to procure a quota, by striking
them with his fists, tying handkerchiefs or pieces of string to them,
fastening tags around their necks, regardless of tribe, family, or
condition. The negroes, not yet recovered from their melancholy voyage,
were amazed and panic-stricken at this horrible onslaught of avaricious
men; they frequently scaled the walls, and ran frantically up and down
the town.

As soon as the slaves were procured, by sale on shipboard, by auction,
or by scramble, they received the private marks of their owners. Each
planter had a silver plate, perforated with his letter, figure, or
cipher, which he used to designate his own slaves by branding. If two
planters happened to be using the same mark, the brand was placed upon
different spots of the body. The heated plate, with an interposing piece
of oiled or waxed paper, was touched lightly to the body; the flesh
swelled, and the form of the brand could never be obliterated. Many
slaves passed from one plantation to another, being sold and resold,
till their bodies were as thick with marks as an obelisk. How different
from the symbols of care in the furrowed face and stooping form of a
free laborer, where the history of a humble home, planted in marriage
and nursed by independent sorrow, is printed by the hand of God!

By this fusion of native races a Creole nation of slaves was slowly
formed and maintained. The old qualities were not lost, but new
qualities resulted from the new conditions. The _bozal_ negro was easily
to be distinguished from the Creole. _Bozal_ is from the Spanish,
meaning _muzzled_, that is, ignorant of the Creole language and not able
to talk.[K] Creole French was created by the negroes, who put into it
very few words of their native dialects, but something of the native
construction, and certain euphonic peculiarities. It is interesting to
trace their love of alliteration and a concord of sounds in this mongrel
French, which became a new colonial language. The bright and sparkling
French appears as if submitted to great heat and just on the point of
running together. There is a great family of African dialects in which
a principal sound, or the chief sound of a leading word, appears in
all the words of a sentence, from no grammatical reason at all, but to
satisfy a sweetish ear. It is like the charming gabble of children, who
love to follow the first key that the tongue strikes. Mr. Grout[L] and
other missionaries note examples of this: _Abantu bake bonke abakoluayo
ba hlala ba de ba be ba quedile_, is a sentence to illustrate this
native disposition. The alliteration is sometimes obscured by elisions
and contractions, but never quite disappears. Mr. Grout says: "So
strong is the influence of this inclination to concord produced by the
repetition of initials, that it controls the distinction of number, and
quite subordinates that of gender, and tends to mould the pronoun after
the likeness of the initial element of the noun to which it refers; as,
_Izintombi zake zi ya hamba_, 'The daughters of him they do walk.'"
These characteristics appear in the formation of the Creole French, in
connection with another childlike habit of the negro, who loves to put
himself in the objective case, and to say _me_ instead of _I_, as if he
knew that he had to be a chattel.

[Footnote K: In Cuba, the slave who had lived upon the island long
enough to learn the language was called _Ladino_, "versed in an idiom."]

[Footnote L: _American Oriental Society_, Vol. I. p. 423, _et seq._]

The article _un, une_, could not have been pronounced by a negro. It
became in his mouth _nion_. The personal pronouns _je, tu, il_, were
converted into _mo, to, ly_, and the possessive _mon, ton, son_ into
_à moue, à toue, à ly_, and were placed after the noun, which negro
dialects generally start their sentences with. Possessive pronouns had
the unmeaning syllable _quien_ before them, as, _Nous gagné quien à
nous_, for _Nous avons les nôtres_; and demonstrative pronouns were
changed in this way: _Mo voir z'animaux là yo_, for _J'ai vu ces
animaux_, and _Ci la yo qui té vivre,_ for _Ceux qui ont vécu._ A few
more examples will suffice to make other changes clear. A negro was
asked to lend his horse; he replied, _Mouchée_ (Monsieur), _mo pas gagné
choual, mais mo connais qui gagné ly; si ly pas gagné ly, ly faut mo
gagné ly, pour vous gagné_: "Massa, me no got horse, but me know who got
um; if him no got um, him get me um for you." _Quelquechose_ becomes
_quichou; zozo = oiseau; gourneé = combattre; gueté = voir; zombi =
revenant; bougé = demeurer; helé = appeler,_ etc.[M]

[Footnote M: Harvey's _Sketches of Haiti_, p. 292. See a vocabulary in
_Manuel des Habitans de St. Domingue,_ par L.J. Ducoeurjoly, Tom. II.
Here is a verse of a Creole song, written in imitation of the negro

  Dipi mo perdi Lisette,
  Mo pas souchié Calinda,[A]
  Mo quitté bram-bram sonette,
  Mo pas batte bamboula.[B]
  Quand mo contré l'aut' negresse,
  Mo pas gagné z'yeu pour ly;
  Mo pas souchié travail piece,
  Tou qui chose a moué mouri.

The French of which is as follows:--

  Mes pas, loin de ma Lisette,
  S'éloiguent du Calinda;
  Et ma ceinture à sonnette
  Languit sur mon bamboula.
  Mon oeil de toute autre belle
  N'aperçoit plus le souris;
  Le travail en vain m'appelle,
  Mes sens sont anéantis.

[Footnote A: A favorite dance.]

[Footnote B: A kind of tambourine or drum made of a keg stretched with
skins, and sometimes hung with bells.]]

The dialect thus formed by the aid of traits common to many negro tribes
was a solution into which their differences fell to become modified;
when the barriers of language were broken down, the common African
nature, with all its good and evil, appeared in a Creole form. The
forced labor, the caprice of masters, and the cruel supervision of the
overseers engendered petty vices of theft, concealment, and hypocrisy.
The slave became meaner than the native African in all respects; even
his passions lost their extravagant sincerity, but part of the manliness
went with it. Intelligence, ability, adroitness were exercised in
a languid way; rude and impetuous tribes became more docile and
manageable, but those who were already disposed to obedience did not
find either motive or influence to lift their natures into a higher
life. An average slave-character, not difficult to govern, but without
instinct to improve, filled the colony. A colonist would hardly suspect
the fiery Africa whose sun ripened the ancestors of his slaves, unless
he caught them by accident in the midst of their voluptuous _Calenda_,
or watched behind some tree the midnight orgy of magic and Fetichism. A
slave-climate gnawed at the bold edges of their characters and wore them
down, as the weather rusted out more rapidly than anywhere else all
the iron tools and implements of the colony. The gentler traits of the
African character, mirth and jollity, affectionateness, domestic love,
regard and even reverence for considerate masters, were the least
impaired; for these, with a powerful religiosity, are indigenous, like
the baobab and palm, and give a great accent to the name of Africa. What
other safeguard had a planter with his wife and children, who lived with
thirty slaves or more, up to six hundred, upon solitary plantations that
were seldom visited by the _maréchaussée,_ or rural police? The root of
such a domination was less in the white man's superiority than in the
docile ability of those who ought to have been his natural enemies.
"_Totidem esse hostes quot servos_" said Seneca; but he was thinking of
the Scythian and Germanic tribes. A North-American Indian, or a Carib,
though less pagan than a native African, could never become so subdued.
Marooning occurred every day, and cases of poisoning, perpetrated
generally by Ardra negroes, who were addicted to serpent-worship, were
not infrequent; but they poisoned a rival or an enemy of their own race
as often as a white man. The "Affiches Américaines," which was published
weekly at Port-au-Prince, had always a column or two describing fugitive
negroes; but local disturbances or insurrectionary attempts were very
rare: a half-dozen cannot be counted since the Jolofs of Diego Columbus
frightened Spaniards from the colony. If this be so in an island whose
slaves were continually reinforced by native Africans, bringing Paganism
to be confirmed by a corrupt Catholicism, where every influence was
wanton and debased, and the plantation-cruelties, as we shall shortly
see, outheroded everything that slave-holding annals can reveal, how
much less likely is it that we shall find the slave insurrectionary in
the United States, whence the slave-trade has been excluded for nearly
two generations, and where the African, modified by climate, and by
religious exercises of his own which are in harmony with his native
disposition and enjoin him not to be of a stout mind, waits prayerfully
till liberty shall be proclaimed! If the slaveholder ever lived in
dread, it was not so much from what he expected as from what he knew
that he deserved. But the African is more merciful than the conscience
of a slaveholder. Blessed are these meek ones: they shall yet inherit
earth in America!

France was always more humane than her colonies, for every rising sun
did not rekindle there the dreadful paradox that sugar and sweetness
were incompatible, and she could not taste the stinging lash as the
crystals melted on her tongue.[N] An ocean rolled between. She always
endeavored to protect the slave by legislation; but the Custom of Paris,
when it was gentle, was doubly distasteful to the men who knew how
impracticable it was. Louis XIII. would not admit that a single slave
lived in his dominions, till the priests convinced him that it was
possible through the slave-trade to baptize the Ethiopian again. Louis
XIV. issued the famous _Code Noir_ in 1685, when the colonists had
already begun to shoot a slave for a saucy gesture, and to hire
buccaneers to hunt marooning negroes at ten dollars per head.[O]

[Footnote N: There was a proverb as redoubtably popular as Solomon's
"Spare the rod"; it originated in Brazil, where the natives were easily
humiliated:--"_Regarder un sauvage de travers, c'est le battre; le
battre, c'es le tuer: battre un nègre, c'est le nourrir_": Looking hard
at a savage is beating him: beating is the death of him: but to beat a
negro is bread and meat to him.]

[Footnote O: A Commissioner's fee under the Fugitive-Slave Bill. History
will repeat herself to emphasize the natural and inalienable rights of
slave-catchers. In 1706 the planters organized a permanent force of
maroon-hunters, twelve men to each quarter of the island, who received
the annual stipend of three hundred livres. In addition to this, the
owners paid thirty livres for each slave caught in the canes or roads,
forty-five for each captured beyond the _mornes_, and sixty for those
who escaped to more distant places. The hunters might fire at the slave,
if he could not be otherwise stopped, and draw the same sums. In 1711
the maroons became so insolent that the planters held four regular
chases or _battues_ per annum.]

The _Code Noir_ was the basis of all the colonial legislation which
affected the condition of the slave, and it is important to notice its
principal articles. We have only room to present them reduced to their
essential substance.

Negroes must be instructed in the Catholic religion, and _bozals_ must
be baptized within eight days after landing. All overseers must be
Catholic. Sundays and _fête_ days are days of rest for the negro; no
sale of negroes or any other commodity can take place on those days.

Free men who have children by slaves, and masters who permit the
connection, are liable to a fine of two thousand pounds of sugar. If the
guilty person be a master, his slave and her children are confiscated
for the benefit of the hospital, and cannot be freed.

If a free man is not married to any white person during concubinage with
his slave, and shall marry said slave, she and her children shall become

No consent of father and mother is essential for marriage between
slaves, but no master can constrain slaves to marry against their will.

If a slave has a free black or colored woman for his wife, the male
and female children shall follow the condition of the mother; and if a
slave-woman has a free husband, the children shall follow his condition.

The weekly ration for a slave of ten years old and upwards consists of
five Paris pints of manioc meal, or three cassava loaves, each weighing
two and a half pounds, with two pounds of salt beef, or three of fish,
or other things in proportion, but never any tafia[P] in the place of a
ration; and no master can avoid giving a slave his ration by offering
him a day for his own labor. Weaned children to the age of ten are
entitled to half the above ration. Each slave must also have two suits
of clothes yearly, or cloth in proportion.

[Footnote P: A coarse rum distilled from the sugar-cane.]

Slaves who are not properly nourished and clothed by their masters can
lodge a complaint against them. If it be well-founded, the masters can
be prosecuted without cost to the slave.

Slaves who are old, infirm, diseased, whether incurable or not, must be
supported. If they are abandoned by masters, they are to be sent to the
hospital, and the masters must pay six sols daily for their support.

A slave's testimony can be received as a statement to serve the courts
in procuring light elsewhere; but no judge can draw presumption,
conjecture, or proof therefrom.

The slave who strikes his master or mistress, or their children, so as
to draw blood, or in the face, may be punished even with death; and all
excesses or offences committed by slaves against free persons shall be
severely punished, even with death, if the case shall warrant.

Any free or enfranchised person who shall shelter a fugitive shall be
fined three hundred pounds of sugar for each day.

A slave who is condemned to death shall be valued before execution, and
the estimated price paid to the master, provided the latter has not made
a pretended complaint.

Masters may chain and whip their slaves, but not mutilate, torture, or
kill them.

If a master or overseer shall kill a slave, he shall be prosecuted; but
if he can convince the court of cause, he may be discharged without
pardon from the King.

Masters who are twenty years old can free their slaves at will or by
testamentary act, without being held to give a reason for it; and if
a slave is named by testament a general legatee, or an executor, or
guardian of children, he shall be considered enfranchised.

An enfranchised slave shall be regarded as free as any person born in
France, without letters of naturalization; he can enjoy the advantages
of natives everywhere, even if he was born in a foreign country.

An enfranchised slave must pay singular respect to his ancient master,
his widow, and children; an injury done to them will be punished more
severely than if done to others. But he is free, and quit of all
service, charge, and tenure that may be pretended by his former master,
either respecting his person or property and succession.

An enfranchised slave shall enjoy the same rights, privileges, and
immunities as if he had been born free. The King desires that he may
merit his acquired liberty, and that it may confer upon him, as well in
his person as estate, the same effects which the blessing of natural
liberty confers upon French subjects.

       *       *       *       *       *

The last article, and all that related to enfranchisement, are notable
for their political effect upon the colony. The free mulattoes
interpreted the liberal clauses of the Code into an extension of the
rights of citizenship to them, as the natural inference from their
freed condition. The lust of masters and the defencelessness of the
slave-woman sowed thickly another retribution in the fated soil.

The custom of enfranchising children of mixed blood, and sometimes their
mothers, commenced in the earliest times of the French colonies, when
the labor of _engagés_ was more valuable than that of slaves, and the
latter were objects of buccaneering license as much as of profit. The
colonist could not bear to see his offspring inventoried as chattels. In
this matter the nations of the South of Europe appear to atone for
acts of passion by after-thoughts of humanity. The free descendants of
mulattoes who were enfranchised by French masters in Louisiana, and
who form a respectable and flourishing class in that State, now stand
beneath the American flag at the call of General Butler. But the
Anglo-American alone seems willing to originate a chattel and to
keep him so. His passion will descend as low for gratification as a
Frenchman's or a Spaniard's, but his heart will not afterwards mount as

Acts of enfranchisement required at first the sanction of the
Government, until in 1682 the three sovereign courts of St. Christophe,
Martinique, and Guadeloupe offered the project of a law which favored
enfranchisements; it led to the articles upon that subject in the Edict
of 1685, quoted above, which sought at once to restrain the license of
masters and to afford them a legal way to be humane and just.[Q]

[Footnote Q: Other motives became influential as soon as the slaves
discovered their advantages. A master in want of money would offer
emancipation for a certain sum; the slave would employ every means, even
the most illicit, to raise the amount upon which his or her freedom
depended. A female slave would demand emancipation for herself or
for some relative as her price for yielding to a master; attractive
negresses wielded a great deal of power in this way. A great evil arose
from testamentary acts of enfranchisement, or equivalent promises; for
the slave in question would sometimes poison his master to hasten the
day of liberty. On the other hand, many masters of the nobler kind
emancipated their slaves as a reward for services: the rearing of
six living children, thirty years of field or domestic labor without
marooning, industry, economy, attachment, the discovery of a poisoning
scheme or of an _émeute_, saving the life of a white person with great
risk,--all these were occasional reasons for enfranchisement.]

In 1703 there were only one hundred and fifty freed persons in San
Domingo. In 1711 a colonial ordinance proscribed every enfranchisement
which did not have the approbation of the colonial government. The King
sanctioned this ordinance in 1713, and declared that all masters who
neglected the formality should lose their slaves by confiscation.

In 1736 the number of freed slaves, black and mulatto, was two thousand.
The Government, alarmed at the increase, imposed a sum upon the master
for each act of enfranchisement, in the hope to check his license. But
the master evaded this and every other salutary provision; the place and
climate, so distant from the Custom of Paris, where men dishonored only
complexions like their own, lent occasion and immunity. Colonial Nature
was more potent than paper restrictions. In 1750 there were four
thousand freed persons.

But the desire of enfranchising children was so great that the colonists
evaded all the regulations, which multiplied yearly, by taking their
slaves to France, where they became free as soon as their feet pressed
the soil. The only measure which the Government could devise to meet
this evasion was to forbid all men of color to contract marriages in

In 1787 the free persons of color in San Domingo numbered 19,632. In
1790 their numbers were 25,000.

In 1681 the white inhabitants of San Domingo numbered four thousand; but
in 1790, notwithstanding a constant tide of emigration from Europe, they
numbered only thirty thousand.

The number of slaves at the same time was about four hundred thousand, a
number which represents the violent removal of several millions of black
men from Africa: some writers not anti-slavery reckon this tremendous
crime of the white man at ten millions!

What a climate, and what a system, in which only the mulatto thrives!

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus far we have traced the causes and elements, of Nature, race, and
policy, the passions and peculiarities of many kinds of men, which
culminated at length, in no fair forms of humanity nor beneficent
institutions, but in the foremost sugar-plantation of the world, whose
cane-rows were planted and nourished by the first of crimes, whose juice
was expressed by over-hasty avarice and petulant ambition that could
not be satisfied unless the crime preserved features as colossal as the
passion of the hour.

We are now in a condition to perceive that the Horrors of San Domingo
were those of suicide. Bloody licentiousness lays violent hands upon
its life. Its weaknesses were full of fatal vigor, lust poisoned the
humanity which it inspired, the soil of the buccaneer could raise
nothing which was not exuberant with vengeance. Slave-Insurrection was a
mere accidental episode in the closing scenes of this bad and blundering

       *       *       *       *       *


One of our English summers looks, in the retrospect, as if it had been
patched with more frequent sunshine than the sky of England ordinarily
affords; but I believe that it may be only a moral effect,--a "light
that never was on sea nor land,"--caused by our having found a
particularly delightful abode in the neighborhood of London. In order to
enjoy it, however, I was compelled to solve the problem of living in
two places at once,--an impossibility which I so far accomplished as to
vanish, at frequent intervals, out of men's sight and knowledge on one
side of England, and take my place in a circle of familiar faces on the
other, so quietly that I seemed to have been there all along. It was the
easier to get accustomed to our new residence, because it was not
only rich in all the material properties of a home, but had also the
home-like atmosphere, the household element, which is of too intangible
a character to be let even with the most thoroughly furnished
lodging-house. A friend had given us his suburban residence, with all
its conveniences, elegancies, and snuggeries,--its drawing-rooms and
library, still warm and bright with the recollection of the genial
presences that we had known there,--its closets, chambers, kitchen, and
even its wine-cellar, if we could have availed ourselves of so dear and
delicate a trust,--its lawn and cozy garden-nooks, and whatever else
makes up the multitudinous idea of an English home,--he had transferred
it all to us, pilgrims and dusty wayfarers, that we might rest and take
our case during his summer's absence on the Continent. We had long been
dwelling in tents, as it were, and morally shivering by hearths which,
heap the bituminous coal upon them as we might, no blaze could render
cheerful. I remember, to this day, the dreary feeling with which I sat
by our first English fireside, and watched the chill and rainy twilight
of an autumn day darkening down upon the garden; while the portrait
of the preceding occupant of the house (evidently a most unamiable
personage in his lifetime) scowled inhospitably from above the
mantel-piece, as if indignant that an American should try to make
himself at home there. Possibly it may appease his sulky shade to know
that I quitted his abode as much a stranger as I entered it. But now, at
last, we were in a genuine British home, where refined and warm-hearted
people had just been living their daily life, and had left us a
summer's inheritance of slowly ripened days, such as a stranger's hasty
opportunities so seldom permit him to enjoy.

Within so trifling a distance of the central spot of all the world,
(which, as Americans have at present no centre of their own, we may
allow to be somewhere in the vicinity, we will say, of St. Paul's
Cathedral,) it might have seemed natural that I should be tossed about
by the turbulence of the vast London-whirlpool. But I had drifted into a
still eddy, where conflicting movements made a repose, and, wearied with
a good deal of uncongenial activity, I found the quiet of my temporary
haven more attractive than anything that the great town could offer. I
already knew London well; that is to say, I had long ago satisfied (so
far as it was capable of satisfaction) that mysterious yearning--the
magnetism of millions of hearts operating upon one--which impels every
man's individuality to mingle itself with the immensest mass of human
life within his scope. Day after day, at an earlier period, I had
trodden the thronged thoroughfares, the broad, lonely squares, the
lanes, alleys, and strange labyrinthine courts, the parks, the gardens
and inclosures of ancient studious societies, so retired and silent amid
the city-uproar, the markets, the foggy streets along the river-side,
the bridges,--I had sought all parts of the metropolis, in short, with
an unweariable and indiscriminating curiosity; until few of the native
inhabitants, I fancy, had turned so many of its corners as myself. These
aimless wanderings (in which my prime purpose and achievement were to
lose my way, and so to find it the more surely) had brought me, at one
time or another, to the sight and actual presence of almost all the
objects and renowned localities that I had read about, and which had
made London the dream-city of my youth. I had found it better than my
dream; for there is nothing else in life comparable (in that species of
enjoyment, I mean) to the thick, heavy, oppressive, sombre delight which
an American is sensible of, hardly knowing whether to call it a pleasure
or a pain, in the atmosphere of London. The result was, that I acquired
a home-feeling there, as nowhere else in the world,--though afterwards I
came to have a somewhat similar sentiment in regard to Rome; and as long
as either of those two great cities shall exist, the cities of the Past
and of the Present, a man's native soil may crumble beneath his feet
without leaving him altogether homeless upon earth.

Thus, having once fully yielded to its influence, I was in a manner free
of the city, and could approach or keep away from it as I pleased. Hence
it happened, that, living within a quarter of an hour's rush of
the London Bridge Terminus, I was oftener tempted to spend a whole
summer-day in our garden than to seek anything new or old, wonderful or
commonplace, beyond its precincts. It was a delightful garden, of no
great extent, but comprising a good many facilities for repose and
enjoyment, such as arbors and garden-seats, shrubbery, flower-beds,
rose-bushes in a profusion of bloom, pinks, poppies, geraniums,
sweet-peas, and a variety of other scarlet, yellow, blue, and purple
blossoms, which I did not trouble myself to recognize individually,
yet had always a vague sense of their beauty about me. The dim sky of
England has a most happy effect on the coloring of flowers, blending
richness with delicacy in the same texture; but in this garden, as
everywhere else, the exuberance of English verdure had a greater charm
than any tropical splendor or diversity of hue. The hunger for natural
beauty might be satisfied with grass and green leaves forever. Conscious
of the triumph of England in this respect; and loyally anxious for the
credit of my own country, it gratified me to observe what trouble and
pains the English gardeners are fain to throw away in producing a few
sour plums and abortive pears and apples,--as, for example, in this very
garden, where a row of unhappy trees were spread out perfectly flat
against a brick wall, looking as if impaled alive, or crucified, with a
cruel and unattainable purpose of compelling them to produce rich fruit
by torture. For my part, I never ate an English fruit, raised in the
open air, that could compare in flavor with a Yankee turnip.

The garden included that prime feature of English domestic scenery,
a lawn. It had been levelled, carefully shorn, and converted into
a bowling-green, on which we sometimes essayed to practise the
time-honored game of bowls, most unskilfully, yet not without a
perception that it involves a very pleasant mixture of exercise and
ease, as is the case with most of the old English pastimes. Our little
domain was shut in by the house on one side, and in other directions by
a hedge-fence and a brick wall, which last was concealed or softened by
shrubbery and the impaled fruit-trees already mentioned. Over all the
outer region, beyond our immediate precincts, there was an abundance of
foliage, tossed aloft from the near or distant trees with which that
agreeable suburb is adorned. The effect was wonderfully sylvan and
rural, insomuch that we might have fancied ourselves in the depths of
a wooded seclusion; only that, at brief intervals, we could hear the
galloping sweep of a railway-train passing within a quarter of a mile,
and its discordant screech, moderated by a little farther distance, as
it reached the Blackheath Station. That harsh, rough sound, seeking me
out so inevitably, was the voice of the great world summoning me
forth. I know not whether I was the more pained or pleased to be thus
constantly put in mind of the neighborhood of London; for, on the one
hand, my conscience stung me a little for reading a book, or playing
with children in the grass, when there were so many better things for an
enlightened traveller to do,--while, at the same time, it gave a deeper
delight to my luxurious idleness, to contrast it with the turmoil which
I escaped. On the whole, however, I do not repent of a single wasted
hour, and only wish that I could have spent twice as many in the same
way; for the impression in my memory is, that I was as happy in that
hospitable garden as the English summer-day was long.

One chief condition of my enjoyment was the weather. Italy has nothing
like it, nor America. There never was such weather except in England,
where, in requital of a vast amount of horrible east-wind between
February and June, and a brown October and black November, and a wet,
chill, sunless winter, there are a few weeks of incomparable summer,
scattered through July and August, and the earlier portion of September,
small in quantity, but exquisite enough to atone for the whole year's
atmospherical delinquencies. After all, the prevalent sombreness may
have brought out those sunny intervals in such high relief, that I see
them, in my recollection, brighter than they really were: a little
light makes a glory for people who live habitually in a gray gloom. The
English, however, do not seem to know how enjoyable the momentary gleams
of their summer are; they call it broiling weather, and hurry to the
sea-side with red, perspiring faces, in a state of combustion and
deliquescence; and I have observed that even their cattle have similar
susceptibilities, seeking the deepest shade, or standing mid-leg deep in
pools and streams to cool themselves, at temperatures which our own cows
would deem little more than barely comfortable. To myself, after the
summer heats of my native land had somewhat effervesced out of my blood
and memory, it was the weather of Paradise itself. It might be a little
too warm; but it was that modest and inestimable superabundance which
constitutes a bounty of Providence, instead of just a niggardly enough.
During my first year in England, residing in perhaps the most ungenial
part of the kingdom, I could never be quite comfortable without a fire
on the hearth; in the second twelvemonth, beginning to get acclimatized,
I became sensible of an austere friendliness, shy, but sometimes almost
tender, in the veiled, shadowy, seldom smiling summer; and in the
succeeding years--whether that I had renewed my fibre with English beef
and replenished my blood with English ale, or whatever were the cause--I
grew content with winter and especially in love with summer, desiring
little more for happiness than merely to breathe and bask. At the
midsummer which we are now speaking of, I must needs confess the
noontide sun came down more fervently than I found altogether tolerable;
so that I was fain to shift my position with the shadow of the
shrubbery, making myself the movable index of a sun-dial that reckoned
up the hours of an almost interminable day.

For each day seemed endless, though never wearisome. As far as your
actual experience is concerned, the English summer-day has positively no
beginning and no end. When you awake, at any reasonable hour, the sun is
already shining through the curtains; you live through unnumbered hours
of Sabbath quietude, with a calm variety of incident softly etched upon
their tranquil lapse; and at length you become conscious that it is
bed-time again, while there is still enough daylight in the sky to make
the pages of your book distinctly legible. Night, if there be any such
season, hangs down a transparent veil through which the by-gone day
beholds its successor; or, if not quite true of the latitude of London,
it may be soberly affirmed of the more northern parts of the island,
that Tomorrow is born before Yesterday is dead. They exist together in
the golden twilight, where the decrepit old day dimly discerns the face
of the ominous infant; and you, though a mere mortal, may simultaneously
touch them both, with one finger of recollection and another of
prophecy. I cared not how long the day might be, nor how many of them.
I had earned this repose by a long course of irksome toil and
perturbation, and could have been content never to stray out of the
limits of that suburban villa and its garden. If I lacked anything
beyond, it would have satisfied me well enough to dream about it,
instead of struggling for its actual possession. At least, this was
the feeling of the moment; although the transitory, flitting, and
irresponsible character of my life there was perhaps the most enjoyable
element of all, as allowing me much of the comfort of house and home
without any sense of their weight upon my back. The nomadic life has
great advantages, if we can find tents ready pitched for us at every

So much for the interior of our abode,--a spot of deepest quiet, within
reach of the intensest activity. But, even when we stepped beyond our
own gate, we were not shocked with any immediate presence of the great
world. We were dwelling in one of those oases that have grown up (in
comparatively recent years, I believe) on the wide waste of Blackheath,
which otherwise offers a vast extent of unoccupied ground in singular
proximity to the metropolis. As a general thing, the proprietorship of
the soil seems to exist in everybody and nobody; but exclusive rights
have been obtained, here and there, chiefly by men whose daily concerns
link them with London, so that you find their villas or boxes standing
along village-streets which have often more of an American aspect than
the elder English settlements. The scene is semi-rural. Ornamental trees
overshadow the sidewalks, and grassy margins border the wheel-tracks.
The houses, to be sure, have certain points of difference from those
of an American village, bearing tokens of architectural design, though
seldom of individual taste; and, as far as possible, they stand aloof
from the street, and separated each from its neighbor by hedge or fence,
in accordance with the careful exclusiveness of the English character,
which impels the occupant, moreover, to cover the front of his dwelling
with as much concealment of shrubbery as his limits will allow. Through
the interstices, you catch glimpses of well-kept lawns, generally
ornamented with flowers, and with what the English call rock-work, being
heaps of ivy-grown stones and fossils, designed for romantic effect in
a small way. Two or three of such village-streets as are here described
take a collective name,--as, for instance, Blackheath Park,--and
constitute a kind of community of residents, with gate-ways, kept by
policemen, and a semi-privacy, stepping beyond which, you find yourself
on the breezy heath.

On this great, bare, dreary common I often went astray, as I afterwards
did on the Campagna of Rome, and drew the air (tainted with London smoke
though it might be) into my lungs by deep inspirations, with a strange
and unexpected sense of desert-freedom. The misty atmosphere helps you
to fancy a remoteness that perhaps does not quite exist. During the
little time that it lasts, the solitude is as impressive as that of a
Western prairie or forest; but soon the railway-shriek, a mile or two
away, insists upon informing you of your whereabout; or you recognize in
the distance some landmark that you may have known,--an insulated villa,
perhaps, with its garden-wall around it, or the rudimental street of a
new settlement which is sprouting on this otherwise barren soil. Half
a century ago, the most frequent token of man's beneficent contiguity
might have been a gibbet, and the creak, like a tavern-sign, of a
murderer swinging to and fro in irons. Blackheath, with its highwaymen
and footpads, was dangerous in those days; and even now, for aught I
know, the Western prairie may still compare favorably with it as a safe
region to go astray in. When I was acquainted with Blackheath, the
ingenious device of garroting had recently come into fashion; and I can
remember, while crossing those waste places at midnight, and hearing
footsteps behind me, to have been sensibly encouraged by also hearing,
not far off, the clinking hoof-tramp of one of the horse-patrols who do
regular duty there. About sunset, or a little later, was the time when
the broad and somewhat desolate peculiarity of the heath seemed to me
to put on its utmost impressiveness. At that hour, finding myself on
elevated ground, I once had a view of immense London, four or five miles
off, with the vast Dome in the midst, and the towers of the two Houses
of Parliament rising up into the smoky canopy, the thinner substance of
which obscured a mass of things, and hovered about the objects that were
most distinctly visible,--a glorious and sombre picture, dusky, awful,
but irresistibly attractive, like a young man's dream of the great
world, foretelling at that distance a grandeur never to be fully

While I lived in that neighborhood, the tents of two or three sets of
cricket-players were constantly pitched on Blackheath, and matches were
going forward that seemed to involve the honor and credit of communities
or counties, exciting an interest in everybody but myself, who cared not
what part of England might glorify itself at the expense of another. It
is necessary to be born an Englishman, I believe, in order to enjoy
this great national game; at any rate, as a spectacle for an outside
observer, I found it lazy, lingering, tedious, and utterly devoid of
pictorial effects. Choice of other amusements was at hand. Butts for
archery were established, and bows and arrows were to be let, at so
many shots for a penny,--there being abundance of space for a farther
flight-shot than any modern archer can lend to his shaft. Then there
was an absurd game of throwing a stick at crockery-ware, which I have
witnessed a hundred times, and personally engaged in once or twice,
without ever having the satisfaction to see a bit of broken crockery.
In other spots, you found donkeys for children to ride, and ponies of a
very meek and patient spirit, on which the Cockney pleasure-seekers of
both sexes rode races and made wonderful displays of horsemanship. By
way of refreshment there was gingerbread, (but, as a true patriot,
I must pronounce it greatly inferior to our native dainty,) and
ginger-beer, and probably stancher liquor among the booth-keeper's
hidden stores. The frequent railway-trains, as well as the numerous
steamers to Greenwich, have made the vacant portions of Blackheath a
play-ground and breathing-place for the Londoners, readily and very
cheaply accessible; so that, in view of this broader use and enjoyment,
I a little grudged the tracts that have been filched away, so to speak,
and individualized by thriving citizens. One sort of visitors especially
interested me: they were schools of little boys or girls, under the
guardianship of their instructors,--charity-schools, as I often surmised
from their aspect, collected among dark alleys and squalid courts; and
hither they were brought to spend a summer afternoon, these pale little
progeny of the sunless nooks of London, who had never known that the sky
was any broader than that narrow and vapory strip above their native
lane. I fancied that they took but a doubtful pleasure, being half
affrighted at the wide, empty space overhead and round about them,
finding the air too little medicated with smoke, soot, and graveyard
exhalations, to be breathed with comfort, and feeling shelterless and
lost because grimy London, their slatternly and disreputable mother, had
suffered them to stray out of her arms.

Passing among these holiday-people, we come to one of the gate-ways of
Greenwich Park, opening through an old brick wall. It admits us from the
bare heath into a scene of antique cultivation and woodland ornament,
traversed in all directions by avenues of trees, many of which bear
tokens of a venerable age. These broad and well-kept pathways rise and
decline over the elevations and along the bases of gentle hills which
diversify the whole surface of the Park. The loftiest and most abrupt of
them (though but of very moderate height) is one of the earth's noted
summits, and may hold up its head with Mont Blanc and Chimborazo, as
being the site of Greenwich Observatory, where, if all nations will
consent to say so, the longitude of our great globe begins. I used to
regulate my watch by the broad dial-plate against the Observatory-wall,
and felt it pleasant to be standing at the very centre of Time and

There are lovelier parks than this in the neighborhood of London, richer
scenes of greensward and cultivated trees; and Kensington, especially,
in a summer afternoon, has seemed to me as delightful as any place can
or ought to be, in a world which, some time or other, we must quit. But
Greenwich, too, is beautiful,--a spot where the art of man has conspired
with Nature, as if he and the great mother had taken counsel together
how to make a pleasant scene, and the longest liver of the two had
faithfully carried out their mutual design. It has, likewise, an
additional charm of its own, because, to all appearance, it is the
people's property and play-ground in a much more genuine way than the
aristocratic resorts in closer vicinity to the metropolis. It affords
one of the instances in which the monarch's property is actually the
people's, and shows how much more natural is their relation to the
sovereign than to the nobility, which pretends to hold the intervening
space between the two: for a nobleman makes a paradise only for himself,
and fills it with his own pomp and pride; whereas the people are sooner
or later the legitimate inheritors of whatever beauty kings and queens
create, as now of Greenwich Park. On Sundays, when the sun shone, and
even on those grim and sombre days when, if it do not actually rain,
the English persist in calling it fine weather, it was good to see how
sturdily the plebeians trod under their own oaks, and what fulness of
simple enjoyment they evidently found there. They were the people,--not
the populace,--specimens of a class whose Sunday clothes are a distinct
kind of garb from their week-day ones; and this, in England, implies
wholesome habits of life, daily thrift, and a rank above the lowest. I
longed to be acquainted with them, in order to investigate what manner
of folks they were, what sort of households they kept, their politics,
their religion, their tastes, and whether they were as narrow-minded as
their betters. There can be very little doubt of it: an Englishman is
English, in whatever rank of life, though no more intensely so, I
should imagine, as an artisan or petty shopkeeper, than as a member of

The English character, as I conceive it, is by no means a very lofty
one; they seem to have a great deal of earth and grimy dust clinging
about them, as was probably the case with the stalwart and quarrelsome
people who sprouted up out of the soil, after Cadmus had sown the
dragon's teeth. And yet, though the individual Englishman is sometimes
preternaturally disagreeable, an observer standing aloof has a sense of
natural kindness towards them in the lump. They adhere closer to the
original simplicity in which mankind was created than we ourselves do;
they love, quarrel, laugh, cry, and turn their actual selves inside
out, with greater freedom than any class of Americans would consider
decorous. It was often so with these holiday-folks in Greenwich Park;
and, ridiculous as it may sound, I fancy myself to have caught very
satisfactory glimpses of Arcadian life among the Cockneys there, hardly
beyond the scope of Bow-Bells, picnicking in the grass, uncouthly
gambolling on the broad slopes, or straying in motley groups or by
single pairs of love-making youths and maidens, along the sun-streaked
avenues. Even the omnipresent policemen or park-keepers could not
disturb the beatific impression on my mind. One feature, at all events,
of the Golden Age was to be seen in the herds of deer that encountered
you in the somewhat remoter recesses of the Park, and were readily
prevailed upon to nibble a bit of bread out of your hand. But, though no
wrong had ever been done them, and no horn had sounded nor hound bayed
at the heels of themselves or their antlered progenitors, for centuries
past, there was still an apprehensiveness lingering in their hearts; so
that a slight movement of the hand or a step too near would send a whole
squadron of them scampering away, just as a breath scatters the winged
seeds of a dandelion.

The aspect of Greenwich Park, with all those festal people wandering
through it, resembled that of the Borghese Gardens under the walls of
Rome, on a Sunday or Saint's day; but, I am not ashamed to say, it a
little disturbed whatever grimly ghost of Puritanic strictness might be
lingering in the sombre depths of a New-England heart, among severe and
sunless remembrances of the Sabbaths of childhood, and pangs of remorse
for ill-gotten lessons in the catechism, and for erratic fantasies or
hardly suppressed laughter in the middle of long sermons. Occasionally,
I tried to take the long-hoarded sting out of these compunctious smarts
by attending divine service the open air. On a cart outside of the
Park-wall, (and, if I mistake not, at two or three corners and secluded
spots within the Park itself,) a Methodist preacher uplifts his voice
and speedily gathers a congregation, his zeal for whose religious
welfare impels the good man to such earnest vociferation and toilsome
gesture that his perspiring face is quickly in a stew. His inward flame
conspires with the too fervid sun and makes a positive martyr of him,
even in the very exercise of his pious labor; insomuch that he purchases
every atom of spiritual increment to his hearers by loss of his own
corporeal solidity, and, should his discourse last long enough, must
finally exhale before their eyes. If I smile at him, be it understood,
it is not in scorn; he performs his sacred office more acceptably than
many a prelate. These way-side services attract numbers who would not
otherwise listen to prayer, sermon, or hymn, from one year's end to
another, and who, for that very reason, are the auditors most likely
to be moved by the preacher's eloquence. Yonder Greenwich pensioner,
too,--in his costume of three-cornered hat, and old-fashioned,
brass-buttoned blue coat with ample skirts, which makes him look like a
contemporary of Admiral Benbow,--that tough old mariner may hear a word
or two which will go nearer his heart than anything that the chaplain
of the Hospital can be expected to deliver. I always noticed, moreover,
that a considerable proportion of the audience were soldiers, who came
hither with a day's leave from Woolwich,--hardy veterans in aspect, some
of whom wore as many as four or five medals, Crimean or East-Indian,
on the breasts of their scarlet coats. The miscellaneous congregation
listen with every appearance of heart-felt interest; and, for my own
part, I must frankly acknowledge that I never found it possible to give
five minutes' attention to any other English preaching: so cold and
commonplace are the homilies that pass for such, under the aged roofs of
churches. And as for cathedrals, the sermon is an exceedingly diminutive
and unimportant part of the religious services,--if, indeed, it be
considered a part,--among the pompous ceremonies, the intonations,
and the resounding and lofty-voiced strains of the choristers. The
magnificence of the setting quite dazzles out what we Puritans look
upon as the jewel of the whole affair; for I presume that it was our
forefathers, the Dissenters in England and America, who gave the sermon
its present prominence in the Sabbath exercises.

The Methodists are probably the first and only Englishmen who have
worshipped in the open air since the ancient Britons listened to the
preaching of the Druids; and it reminded me of that old priesthood, to
see certain memorials of their dusky epoch--not religious, however, but
warlike--in the neighborhood of the spot where the Methodist was holding
forth. These were some ancient burrows, beneath or within which are
supposed to lie buried the slain of a forgotten or doubtfully remembered
battle, fought on the site of Greenwich Park as long ago as two or three
centuries after the birth of Christ. Whatever may once have been their
height and magnitude, they have now scarcely more prominence in the
actual scene than the battle of which they are the sole monuments
retains in history,--being only a few mounds side by side, elevated a
little above the surface of the ground, ten or twelve feet in diameter,
with a shallow depression in their summits. When one of them was opened,
not long since, no bones, nor armor, nor weapons were discovered,
nothing but some small jewels, and a tuft of hair,--perhaps from the
head of a valiant general, who, dying on the field of his victory,
bequeathed this lock, together with his indestructible fame, to
after-ages. The hair and jewels are probably in the British Museum,
where the potsherds and rubbish of innumerable generations make the
visitor wish that each passing century could carry off all its fragments
and relics along with it, instead of adding them to the continually
accumulating burden which human knowledge is compelled to lug upon its
back. As for the fame, I know not what has become of it.

After traversing the Park, we come into the neighborhood of Greenwich
Hospital, and will pass through one of its spacious gate-ways for the
sake of glancing at an establishment which does more honor to the heart
of England than anything else that I am acquainted with, of a public
nature. It is very seldom that we can be sensible of anything like
kindliness in the acts or relations of such an artificial thing as a
National Government. Our own Government, I should conceive, is too much
an abstraction ever to feel any sympathy for its maimed sailors and
soldiers, though it will doubtless do them a severe kind of justice, as
chilling as the touch of steel. But it seemed to me that the Greenwich
pensioners are the petted children of the nation, and that the
Government is their dry-nurse, and that the old men themselves have a
childlike consciousness of their position. Very likely, a better sort of
life might have been arranged, and a wiser care bestowed on them;
but, such as it is, it enables them to spend a sluggish, careless,
comfortable old age, grumbling, growling, gruff, as if all the foul
weather of their past years were pent up within them, yet not much more
discontented than such weather-beaten and battle-battered fragments of
human kind must inevitably be. Their home, in its outward form, is on a
very magnificent plan. Its germ was a royal palace, the full expansion
of which has resulted in a series of edifices externally more beautiful
than any English palace that I have seen, consisting of several
quadrangles of stately architecture, united by colonnades and gravel
walks, and inclosing grassy squares, with statues in the centre, the
whole extending along the Thames. It is built of marble, or very
light-colored stone, in the classic style, with pillars and porticos,
which (to my own taste, and, I fancy, to that of the old sailors)
produce but a cold and shivery-effect in the English climate. Had I
been the architect, I would have studied the characters, habits, and
predilections of nautical people in Wapping, Rotherhithe, and the
neighborhood of the Tower, (places which I visited in affectionate
remembrance of Captain Lemuel Gulliver, and other actual or mythological
navigators,) and would have built the hospital in a kind of ethereal
similitude to the narrow, dark, ugly, and inconvenient, but snug and
cozy homeliness of the sailor boarding-houses there. There can be no
question that all the above attributes, or enough of them to satisfy an
old sailor's heart, might be reconciled with architectural beauty and
the wholesome contrivances of modern dwellings, and thus a novel and
genuine style of building be given to the world.

But their countrymen meant kindly by the old fellows in assigning them
the ancient royal site where Elizabeth held her court and Charles II.
began to build his palace. So far as the locality went, it was treating
them like so many kings; and, with a discreet abundance of grog, beer,
and tobacco, there was perhaps little more to be accomplished in behalf
of men whose whole previous lives have tended to unfit them for old age.
Their chief discomfort is probably for lack of something to do or think
about. But, judging by the few whom I saw, a listless habit seems to
have crept over them, a dim dreaminess of mood, in which they sit
between asleep and awake, and find the long day wearing towards bedtime
without its having made any distinct record of itself upon their
consciousness. Sitting on stone benches in the sunshine, they subside
into slumber, or nearly so, and start at the approach of footsteps
echoing under the colonnades, ashamed to be caught napping, and rousing
themselves in a hurry, as formerly on the midnight watch at sea. In
their brightest moments, they gather in groups and bore one another with
endless sea-yarns about their voyages under famous admirals, and about
gale and calm, battle and chase, and all that class of incident that has
its sphere on the deck and in the hollow interior of a ship, where
their world has exclusively been. For other pastime, they quarrel among
themselves, comrade with comrade, and perhaps shake paralytic fists in
furrowed faces. If inclined for a little exercise, they can bestir
their wooden legs on the long esplanade that borders by the Thames,
criticizing the rig of passing ships, and firing off volleys of
malediction at the steamers, which have made the sea another element
than that they used to be acquainted with. All this is but cold comfort
for the evening of life, yet may compare rather favorably with the
preceding portions of it, comprising little save imprisonment on
shipboard, in the course of which they have been tossed all about the
world and caught hardly a glimpse of it, forgetting what grass and
trees are, and never finding out what woman is, though they may have
encountered a painted spectre which they took for her. A country owes
much to human beings whose bodies she has worn out and whose immortal
parts she has left undeveloped or debased, as we find them here; and
having wasted an idle paragraph upon them, let me now suggest that old
men have a kind of susceptibility to moral impressions, and even (up to
an advanced period) a receptivity of truth, which often appears to come
to them after the active time of life is past. The Greenwich pensioners
might prove better subjects for true education now than in their
school-boy days; but then where is the Normal School that could educate
instructors for such a class?

There is a beautiful chapel for the pensioners, in the classic style,
over the altar of which hangs a picture by West. I never could look at
it long enough to make out its design; for this artist (though it pains
me to say it of so respectable a countryman) had a gift of frigidity,
a knack of grinding ice into his paint, a power of stupefying the
spectator's perceptions and quelling his sympathy, beyond any other
limner that ever handled a brush. In spite of many pangs of conscience,
I seize this opportunity to wreak a life-long abhorrence upon the poor,
blameless man, for the sake of that dreary picture of Lear, an explosion
of frosty fury, that used to be a bugbear to me in the Athenaeum
Exhibition. Would fire burn it, I wonder?

The principal thing that they have to show you, at Greenwich Hospital,
is the Painted Hall. It is a splendid and spacious room, at least a
hundred feet long and half as high, with a ceiling painted in fresco by
Sir James Thornhill. As a work of art, I presume, this frescoed canopy
has little merit, though it produces an exceedingly rich effect by its
brilliant coloring and as a specimen of magnificent upholstery. The
walls of the grand apartment are entirely covered with pictures, many
of them representing battles and other naval incidents that were once
fresher in the world's memory than now, but chiefly portraits of
old admirals, comprising the whole line of heroes who have trod the
quarter-decks of British ships for more than two hundred years back.
Next to a tomb in Westminster Abbey, which was Nelson's most elevated
object of ambition, it would seem to be the highest meed of a naval
warrior to have his portrait hung up in the Painted Hall; but, by dint
of victory upon victory, these illustrious personages have grown to be
a mob, and by no means a very interesting one, so far as regards the
character of the faces here depicted. They are generally commonplace,
and often singularly stolid; and I have observed (both in the Painted
Hall and elsewhere, and not only in portraits, but in the actual
presence of such renowned people as I have caught glimpses of) that
the countenances of heroes are not nearly so impressive as those of
statesmen,--except, of course, in the rare instances where warlike
ability has been but the one-sided manifestation of a profound genius
for managing the world's affairs. Nine-tenths of these distinguished
admirals, for instance, if their faces tell truth, must needs have been
blockheads, and might have served better, one would imagine, as wooden
figureheads for their own ships than to direct any difficult and
intricate scheme of action from the quarter-deck. It is doubtful whether
the same kind of men will hereafter meet with a similar degree of
success; for they were victorious chiefly through the old English
hardihood, exercised in a field of which modern science had not yet got
possession. Rough valor has lost something of its value, since their
days, and must continue to sink lower and lower in the comparative
estimate of warlike qualities. In the next naval war, as between England
and France, I would bet, methinks, upon the Frenchman's head.

It is remarkable, however, that the great naval hero of England--the
greatest, therefore, in the world, and of all time--had none of the
stolid characteristics that belong to his class, and cannot fairly
be accepted as their representative man. Foremost in the roughest of
professions, he was as delicately organized as a woman, and as painfully
sensitive as a poet. More than any other Englishman he won the love
and admiration of his country, but won them through the efficacy of
qualities that are not English, or, at all events, were intensified in
his case and made poignant and powerful by something morbid in the man,
which put him otherwise at cross-purposes with life. He was a man of
genius; and genius in an Englishman (not to cite the good old simile of
a pearl in the oyster) is usually a symptom of a lack of balance in
the general making-up of the character; as we may satisfy ourselves by
running over the list of their poets, for example, and observing how
many of them have been sickly or deformed, and how often their lives
have been darkened by insanity. An ordinary Englishman is the healthiest
and wholesomest of human beings; an extraordinary one is almost always,
in one way or another, a sick man. It was so with Lord Nelson. The
wonderful contrast or relation between his personal qualities, the
position which he held, and the life that he lived, makes him as
interesting a personage as all history has to show; and it is a pity
that Southey's biography--so good in its superficial way, and yet so
inadequate as regards any real delineation of the man--should have taken
the subject out of the hands of some writer endowed with more delicate
appreciation and deeper insight than that genuine Englishman possessed.

But the English capacity for hero-worship is full to the brim with what
they are able to comprehend of Lord Nelson's character. Adjoining the
Painted Hall is a smaller room, the walls of which are completely and
exclusively adorned with pictures of the great Admiral's exploits. We
see the frail, ardent man in all the most noted events of his career,
from his encounter with a Polar bear to his death at Trafalgar,
quivering here and there about the room like a blue, lambent flame. No
Briton ever enters that apartment without feeling the beef and ale of
his composition stirred to its depths, and finding himself changed into
a hero for the nonce, however stolid his brain, however tough his heart,
however unexcitable his ordinary mood. To confess the truth, I myself,
though belonging to another parish, have been deeply sensible to the
sublime recollections there aroused, acknowledging that Nelson expressed
his life in a kind of symbolic poetry which I had as much right to
understand as these burly islanders. Cool and critical observer as I
sought to be, I enjoyed their burst of honest indignation when a visitor
(not an American, I am glad to say) thrust his walking-stick almost into
Nelson's face, in one of the pictures, by way of pointing a remark; and
the by-standers immediately glowed like so many hot coals, and would
probably have consumed the offender in their wrath, had he not effected
his retreat. But the most sacred objects of all are two of Nelson's
coats, under separate glass cases. One is that which he wore at the
Battle of the Nile, and it is now sadly injured by moths, which will
quite destroy it in a few years, unless its guardians preserve it as we
do Washington's military suit, by occasionally baking it in an oven. The
other is the coat in which he received his death-wound at Trafalgar. On
its breast are sewed three or four stars and orders of knighthood, now
much dimmed by time and damp, but which glittered brightly enough on the
battle-day to draw the fatal aim of a French marksman. The bullet-hole
is visible on the shoulder, as well as a part of the golden tassels of
an epaulet, the rest of which was shot away. Over the coat is laid a
white waistcoat with a great blood-stain on it, out of which all the
redness has utterly faded, leaving it of a dingy yellow hue, in the
threescore years since that blood gushed out. Yet it was once the
reddest blood in England,--Nelson's blood!

The hospital stands close adjacent to the town of Greenwich, which will
always retain a kind of festal aspect in my memory, in consequence of
my having first become acquainted with it on Easter Monday. Till a few
years ago, the first three days of Easter were a carnival-season in this
old town, during which the idle and disreputable part of London poured
itself into the streets like an inundation of the Thames,--as unclean
as that turbid mixture of the offscourings of the vast city, and
overflowing with its grimy pollution whatever rural innocence, if any,
might be found in the suburban neighborhood. This festivity was called
Greenwich Fair, the final one of which, in an immemorial succession, it
was my fortune to behold.

If I had bethought myself of going through the fair with a note-book and
pencil, jotting down all the prominent objects, I doubt not that the
result might have been a sketch of English life quite as characteristic
and worthy of historical preservation as an account of the Roman
Carnival. Having neglected to do so, I remember little more than a
confusion of unwashed and shabbily dressed people, intermixed with some
smarter figures, but, on the whole, presenting a mobbish appearance
such as we never see in our own country. It taught me to understand why
Shakspeare, in speaking of a crowd, so often alludes to its attribute
of evil odor. The common people of England, I am afraid, have no daily
familiarity with even so necessary a thing as a washbowl, not to mention
a bathing-tub. And furthermore, it is one mighty difference between
them and us, that every man and woman on our side of the water has a
working-day suit and a holiday suit, and is occasionally as fresh as a
rose, whereas, in the good old country, the griminess of his labor or
squalid habits clings forever to the individual, and gets to be a part
of his personal substance. These are broad facts, involving great
corollaries and dependencies. There are really, if you stop to think
about it, few sadder spectacles in the world than a ragged coat or a
soiled and shabby gown, at a festival.

This unfragrant crowd was exceedingly dense, being welded together,
as it were, in the street through which we strove to make our way. On
either side were oyster-stands, stalls of oranges, (a very prevalent
fruit in England, where they give the withered ones a guise of freshness
by boiling them,) and booths covered with old sail-cloth, in which the
commodity that most attracted the eye was gilt gingerbread. It was so
completely enveloped in Dutch gilding that I did not at first recognize
an old acquaintance, but wondered what those golden crowns and images
could be. There were likewise drums and other toys for small children,
and a variety of showy and worthless articles for children of a larger
growth; though it perplexed me to imagine who, in such a mob, could have
the innocent taste to desire playthings, or the money to pay for them.
Not that I have a right to accuse the mob, on my own knowledge, of being
any less innocent than a set of cleaner and better dressed people might
have been; for, though one of them stole my pocket-handkerchief, I could
not but consider it fair game, under the circumstances, and was grateful
to the thief for sparing me my purse. They were quiet, civil, and
remarkably good-humored, making due allowance for the national
gruffness; there was no riot, no tumultuous swaying to and fro of the
mass, such as I have often noted in an American crowd, no noise of
voices, except frequent bursts of laughter, hoarse or shrill, and a
widely diffused, inarticulate murmur, resembling nothing so much as the
rumbling of the tide among the arches of London Bridge. What immensely
perplexed me was a sharp, angry sort of rattle, in all quarters, far off
and close at hand, and sometimes right at my own back, where it sounded
as if the stout fabric of my English surtout had been ruthlessly rent in
twain; and everybody's clothes, all over the fair, were evidently being
torn asunder in the same way. By-and-by, I discovered that this strange
noise was produced by a little instrument called "The Fun of the
Fair,"--a sort of rattle, consisting of a wooden wheel, the cogs of
which turn against a thin slip of wood, and so produce a rasping sound
when drawn smartly against a person's back. The ladies draw their
rattles against the backs of their male friends, (and everybody passes
for a friend at Greenwich Fair,) and the young men return the compliment
on the broad British backs of the ladies; and all are bound by
immemorial custom to take it in good part and be merry at the joke. As
it was one of my prescribed official duties to give an account of such
mechanical contrivances as might be unknown in my own country, I have
thought it right to be thus particular in describing the Fun of the

But this was far from being the sole amusement. There were theatrical
booths, in front of which were pictorial representations of the scenes
to be enacted within; and anon a drummer emerged from one of them,
thumping on a terribly lax drum, and followed by the entire _dramatis
personae_, who ranged themselves on a wooden platform in front of the
theatre. They were dressed in character, but woefully shabby, with very
dingy and wrinkled white tights, threadbare cotton-velvets, crumpled
silks, and crushed muslin, and all the gloss and glory gone out of their
aspect and attire, seen thus in the broad daylight and after a long
series of performances. They sang a song together, and withdrew into
the theatre, whither the public were invited to follow them at the
inconsiderable cost of a penny a ticket. Before another booth stood a
pair of brawny fighting-men, displaying their muscle, and soliciting
patronage for an exhibition of the noble British art of pugilism.
There were pictures of giants, monsters, and outlandish beasts, most
prodigious, to be sure, and worthy of all admiration, unless the artist
had gone incomparably beyond his subject. Jugglers proclaimed aloud the
miracles which they were prepared to work; and posture-makers dislocated
every joint of their bodies and tied their limbs into inextricable
knots, wherever they could find space to spread a little square of
carpet on the ground. In the midst of the confusion, while everybody was
treading on his neighbor's toes, some little boys were very solicitous
to brush your boots. These lads, I believe, are a product of modern
society,--at least, no older than the time of Gay, who celebrates their
origin in his "Trivia"; but in most other respects the scene reminded
me of Bunyan's description of Vanity Fair,--nor is it at all improbable
that the Pilgrim may have been a merry-maker here, in his wild youth.

It seemed very singular--though, of course, I immediately classified
it as an English characteristic--to see a great many portable
weighing-machines, the owners of which cried out continually and
amain,--"Come, know your weight! Come, come, know your weight to-day!
Come, know your weight!"--and a multitude of people, mostly large in the
girth, were moved by this vociferation to sit down in the machines. I
know not whether they valued themselves on their beef, and estimated
their standing as members of society at so much a pound; but I shall set
it down as a national peculiarity, and a symbol of the prevalence of the
earthly over the spiritual element, that Englishmen are wonderfully bent
on knowing how solid and physically ponderous they are.

On the whole, having an appetite for the brown bread and the tripe and
sausages of life, as well as for its nicer cates and dainties, I
enjoyed the scene, and was amused at the sight of a gruff old Greenwich
pensioner, who, forgetful of the sailor-frolics of his young days, stood
looking with grim disapproval at all these vanities. Thus we squeezed
our way through the mob-jammed town, and emerged into the Park, where,
likewise, we met a great many merry-makers, but with freer space for
their gambols than in the streets. We soon found ourselves the targets
for a cannonade with oranges, (most of them in a decayed condition,)
which went humming past our ears from the vantage-ground of neighboring
hillocks, sometimes hitting our sacred persons with an inelastic thump.
This was one of the privileged freedoms of the time, and was nowise to
be resented, except by returning the salute. Many persons were running
races, hand in hand, down the declivities, especially that steepest one
on the summit of which stands the world-central Observatory, and (as in
the race of life) the partners were usually male and female, and often
caught a tumble together before reaching the bottom of the hill.
Hereabouts we were pestered and haunted by two young girls, the eldest
not more than thirteen, teasing us to buy matches; and finding no market
for their commodity, the taller one suddenly turned a somerset before
our faces, and rolled heels over head from top to bottom of the hill
on which we stood. Then, scrambling up the acclivity, the topsy-turvy
trollop offered us her matches again, as demurely as if she had never
flung aside her equilibrium; so that, dreading a repetition of the feat,
we gave her sixpence and an admonition, and enjoined her never to do so
any more.

The most curious amusement that we witnessed here--or anywhere else,
indeed--was an ancient and hereditary pastime called "Kissing in the
Ring." It is one of the simplest kinds of games, needing little or no
practice to make the player altogether perfect; and the manner of it
is this. A ring is formed, (in the present case, it was of large
circumference and thickly gemmed around with faces, mostly on the broad
grin,) into the centre of which steps an adventurous youth, and, looking
round the circle, selects whatever maiden may most delight his eye. He
presents his hand, (which she is bound to accept,) leads her into the
centre, salutes her on the lips, and retires, taking his stand in the
expectant circle. The girl, in her turn, throws a favorable regard on
some fortunate young man, offers her hand to lead him forth, makes him
happy with a maidenly kiss, and withdraws to hide her blushes, if any
there be, among the simpering faces in the ring; while the favored swain
loses no time in transferring her salute to the prettiest and plumpest
among the many mouths that are primming themselves in anticipation. And
thus the thing goes on, till all the festive throng are inwreathed and
intertwined into an endless and inextricable chain of kisses; though,
indeed, it smote me with compassion to reflect that some forlorn pair of
lips might be left out, and never know the triumph of a salute, after
throwing aside so many delicate reserves for the sake of winning it. If
the young men had any chivalry, there was a fair chance to display it by
kissing the homeliest damsel in the circle.

To be frank, however, at the first glance, and to my American eye, they
looked all homely alike, and the chivalry that I suggest is more than I
could have been capable of, at any period of my life. They seemed to be
country-lasses, of sturdy and wholesome aspect, with coarse-grained,
cabbage-rosy cheeks, and, I am willing to suppose, a stout texture of
moral principle, such as would bear a good deal of rough usage without
suffering much detriment. But how unlike the trim little damsels of my
native land! I desire above all things to be courteous; but, since
the plain truth must be told, the soil and climate of England produce
feminine beauty as rarely as they do delicate fruit, and though
admirable specimens of both are to be met with, they are the hot-house
ameliorations of refined society, and apt, moreover, to relapse into the
coarseness of the original stock. The men are man-like, but the women
are not beautiful, though the female Bull be well enough adapted to the
male. To return to the lasses of Greenwich Fair, their charms were few,
and their behavior, perhaps, not altogether commendable; and yet it was
impossible not to feel a degree of faith in their innocent intentions,
with such a half-bashful zest and entire simplicity did they keep up
their part of the game. It put the spectator in good-humor to look at
them, because there was still something of the old Arcadian life, the
secure freedom of the antique age, in their way of surrendering their
lips to strangers, as if there were no evil or impurity in the world. As
for the young men, they were chiefly specimens of the vulgar sediment
of London life, often shabbily genteel, rowdyish, pale, wearing the
unbrushed coat, unshifted linen, and unwashed faces of yesterday, as
well as the haggardness of last night's jollity in a gin-shop. Gathering
their character from these tokens, I wondered whether there were any
reasonable prospect of their fair partners returning to their rustic
homes with as much innocence (whatever were its amount or quality) as
they brought to Greenwich Fair, in spite of the perilous familiarity
established by Kissing in the Ring.

The manifold disorders resulting from the fair, at which a vast city was
brought into intimate relations with a comparatively rural district,
have at length led to its suppression; this was the very last
celebration of it, and brought to a close the broad-mouthed merriment of
many hundred years. Thus my poor sketch, faint as its colors are, may
acquire some little value in the reader's eyes from the consideration
that no observer of the coming time will ever have an opportunity to
give a better. I should find it difficult to believe, however, that the
queer pastime just described, or any moral mischief to which that and
other customs might pave the way, can have led to the overthrow of
Greenwich Fair; for it has often seemed to me that Englishmen of station
and respectability, unless of a peculiarly philanthropic turn, have
neither any faith in the feminine purity of the lower orders of their
countrywomen, nor the slightest value for it, allowing its possible
existence. The distinction of ranks is so marked, that the English
cottage-damsel holds a position somewhat analogous to that of the negro
girl in our Southern States. Hence comes inevitable detriment to the
moral condition of those men themselves, who forget that the humblest
woman has a right and a duty to hold herself in the same sanctity as
the highest. The subject cannot well be discussed in these pages; but I
offer it as a serious conviction, from what I have been able to observe,
that the England of to-day is the unscrupulous old England of Tom Jones
and Joseph Andrews, Humphrey Clinker and Roderick Random; and in our
refined era, just the same as at that more free-spoken epoch, this
singular people has a certain contempt for any fine-strained purity, any
special squeamishness, as they consider it, on the part of an ingenuous
youth. They appear to look upon it as a suspicious phenomenon in the
masculine character.

Nevertheless, I by no means take upon me to affirm that English
morality, as regards the phase here alluded to, is really at a lower
point than our own. Assuredly, I hope so, because, making a higher
pretension, or, at all events, more carefully hiding whatever may be
amiss, we are either better than they, or necessarily a great deal
worse. It impressed me that their open avowal and recognition of
immoralities served to throw the disease to the surface, where it might
be more effectually dealt with, and leave a sacred interior not utterly
profaned, instead of turning its poison back among the inner vitalities
of the character, at the imminent risk of corrupting them all. Be that
as it may, these Englishmen are certainly a franker and simpler
people than ourselves, from peer to peasant; but if we can take it as
compensatory on our part, (which I leave to be considered,) that they
owe those noble and manly qualities to a coarser grain in their nature,
and that, with a finer one in ours, we shall ultimately acquire a marble
polish of which they are unsusceptible, I believe that this may be the

       *       *       *       *       *


  We are two travellers, Roger and I.
    Roger's my dog.--Come here, you scamp!
  Jump for the gentlemen,--mind your eye!
    Over the table,--look out for the lamp!--
  The rogue is growing a little old;
    Five years we've tramped through wind and weather,
  And slept out-doors when nights were cold,
    And ate and drank--and starved--together.

  We've learned what comfort is, I tell you!
    A bed on the floor, a bit of rosin,
  A fire to thaw our thumbs, (poor fellow!
    The paw he holds up there's been frozen,)
  Plenty of catgut for my fiddle,
    (This out-door business is bad for strings,)
  Then a few nice buckwheats hot from the griddle,
    And Roger and I set up for kings!

  No, thank ye, Sir,--I never drink;
    Roger and I are exceedingly moral,--
  Aren't we, Roger?--See him wink!--
    Well, something hot, then,--we won't quarrel.
  He's thirsty, too,--see him nod his head?
     What a pity, Sir, that dogs can't talk!
  He understands every word that's said,--
     And he knows good milk from water-and-chalk.

  The truth is, Sir, now I reflect,
     I've been so sadly given to grog,
  I wonder I've not lost the respect
     (Here's to you, Sir!) even of my dog.
  But he sticks by, through thick and thin;
     And this old coat, with its empty pockets,
  And rags that smell of tobacco and gin,
     He'll follow while he has eyes in his sockets.

  There isn't another creature living
     Would do it, and prove, through every disaster,
  So fond, so faithful, and so forgiving,
     To such a miserable thankless master!
  No, Sir!--see him wag his tail and grin I
     By George! it makes my old eyes water!
  That is, there's something in this gin
     That chokes a fellow. But no matter!

  We'll have some music, if you 're willing,
     And Roger (hem! what a plague a cough is, Sir!)
  Shall march a little.--Start, you villain!
     Stand straight! 'Bout face! Salute your officer!
  Put up that paw! Dress! Take your rifle!
     (Some dogs have arms, you see!) Now hold your
  Cap while the gentlemen give a trifle,
     To aid a poor old patriot soldier!

  March! Halt! Now show how the rebel shakes,
     When he stands up to hear his sentence.
  Now tell us how many drams it takes
     To honor a jolly new acquaintance.
  Five yelps,--that's five; he's mighty knowing!
     The night's before us, fill the glasses!--
  Quick, Sir! I'm ill,--my brain is going!--
     Some brandy,--thank you,--there!--it passes!

  Why not reform? That's easily said;
     But I've gone through such wretched treatment,
  Sometimes forgetting the taste of bread,
     And scarce remembering what meat meant,
  That my poor stomach's past reform;
     And there are times when, mad with thinking,
  I'd sell out heaven for something warm
     To prop a horrible inward sinking.

  Is there a way to forget to think?
     At your age, Sir, home, fortune, friends,
  A dear girl's love,--but I took to drink;--
     The same old story; you know how it ends.
  If you could have seen these classic features,----
     You needn't laugh, Sir; they were not then
  Such a burning libel on God's creatures:
     I was one of your handsome men!

  If you had seen HER, so fair and young,
     Whose head was happy on this breast!
  If you could have heard the songs I sung
     When the wine went round, you wouldn't have guessed
  That ever I, Sir, should be straying
     From door to door, with fiddle and dog,
  Ragged and penniless, and playing
     To you to-night for a glass of grog!

  She's married since,--a parson's wife:
     'T was better for her that we should part,--
  Better the soberest, prosiest life
     Than a blasted home and a broken heart.
  I have seen her? Once: I was weak and spent
     On the dusty road: a carriage stopped:
  But little she dreamed, as on she went,
     Who kissed the coin that her fingers dropped!

  You've set me talking, Sir; I'm sorry;
     It makes me wild to think of the change!
  What do you care for a beggar's story?
     Is it amusing? you find it strange?
  I had a mother so proud of me!
     'T was well she died before--Do you know
  If the happy spirits in heaven can see
     The ruin and wretchedness here below?

  Another glass, and strong, to deaden
     This pain; then Roger and I will start.
  I wonder, has he such a lumpish, leaden,
     Aching thing, in place of a heart?
  He is sad sometimes, and would weep, if he could,
     No doubt, remembering things that were,--
  A virtuous kennel, with plenty of food,
     And himself a sober, respectable cur.

  I'm better now; that glass was warming.--
     You rascal! limber your lazy feet I
  We must be fiddling and performing
     For supper and bed, or starve in the street.--
  Not a very gay life to lead, you think?
     But soon we shall go where lodgings are free,
  And the sleepers need neither victuals nor drink;--
     The sooner, the better for Roger and me!


Would you like to read a story which is true, and yet not true? The one
I am going to tell you is a superstructure of imagination on a basis of
facts. I trust you are not curious to ascertain the exact proportion of
each. It is sufficient for any reasonable reader to be assured that many
of the leading incidents interwoven in the following story actually
occurred in one of our Western States, a few years ago.

It was a bright afternoon in the spring-time; the wide, flowery prairie
waved in golden sunlight, and distant tree-groups were illuminated by
the clear, bright atmosphere. Throughout the whole expanse, only two
human dwellings were visible. These were small log-cabins, each with a
clump of trees near it, and the rose of the prairies climbing over the
roof. In the rustic piazza of one of these cabins a woman was sewing
busily, occasionally moving a cradle gently with her foot. On the
steps of the piazza was seated a man, who now and then read aloud some
paragraph from a newspaper. From time to time, the woman raised her eyes
from her work, and, shading them from the sunshine with her hand, looked
out wistfully upon the sea of splendor, everywhere waving in flowery
ripples to the soft breathings of the balmy air. At length she said,--

"Brother George, I begin to feel a little anxious about Willie. He was
told not to go out of sight, and he is generally a good boy to mind; but
I should think it was more than ten minutes since I have seen him. I
wish you would try the spy-glass."

The man arose, and, after looking abroad for a moment, took a small
telescope from the corner of the piazza, and turned it in the direction
the boy had taken.

"Ah, now I see the little rogue!" he exclaimed. "I think it must have
been that island of high grass that hid him from you. He has not gone
very far; and now he is coming this way. But who upon earth is he
leading along? I believe the adventurous little chap has been to the
land of Nod to get him a wife. I know of no little girl, except my
Bessie, for five miles round; and it certainly is not she. The fat
little thing has toppled over in the grass, and Willie is picking her
up. I believe in my soul she's an Indian."

"An Indian!" exclaimed the mother, starting up suddenly. "Have you heard
of any Indians being seen hereabouts? Do blow the horn to hurry him

A tin horn was taken from the nail on which it hung, and a loud blast
stirred the silent air. Moles stopped their digging, squirrels paused in
their gambols, prairie-dogs passed quickly from one to another a signal
of alarm, and all the little beasts wondered what could be the meaning
of these new sounds which had lately invaded the stillness of their

George glanced at the anxious countenance of his sister, and said,--

"Don't be frightened, Jenny, if some Indians do happen to call and see
us. You know you always agreed with me that they would be as good as
Christians, if they were treated justly and kindly. Besides, you see
this one is a very small savage, and we shall soon have help enough to
defend us from her formidable blows. I made a louder noise with the horn
than I need to have done; it has startled your husband, and he is coming
from his plough; and there is my wife and Bessie running to see what is
the matter over here."

By this time the truant boy and his companion approached the house, and
he mounted the steps of the piazza with eager haste, pulling her after
him, immediately upon the arrival of his father, Aunt Mary, and Cousin
Bessie. Brief explanation was made, that the horn was blown to hurry
Willie home; and all exclaimed,--

"Why, Willie! who is this?"

"Found her squatting on the grass, pulling flowers," he replied, almost
out of breath. "Don't know her name. She talks lingo."

The whole company laughed. The new-comer was a roly-poly, round enough
to roll, with reddish-brown face, and a mop of black hair, cut in a
straight line just above the eyes. But _such_ eyes! large and lambent,
with a foreshadowing of sadness in their expression. They shone in her
dark face like moonlit waters in the dusky landscape of evening. Her
only garment was a short kirtle of plaited grass, not long enough to
conceal her chubby knees. She understood no word of English, and, when
spoken to, repeated an Indian phrase, enigmatical to all present. She
clung to Willie, as if he were an old friend; and he, quite proud of
the manliness of being a protector, stood with his arm across her brown
shoulders, half offended at their merriment, saying,--

"She's _my_ little girl. _I_ found her."

"I _thought_ he'd been to the land of Nod to get him a wife," said Uncle
George, smiling.

Little Bessie, with clean apron, and flaxen hair nicely tied up with
ribbons, was rather shy of the stranger.

"She'th dirty," lisped she, pointing to her feet.

"Well, s'pose she is?" retorted William. "I guess _you_'d be dirty, too,
if you'd been running about in the mud, without any shoes. But she's
pretty. She's like my black kitten, only she a'n't got a white nose."

Willie's comparison was received with shouts of laughter; for there
really was some resemblance to the black kitten in that queer little
face. But when the small mouth quivered with a grieved expression, and
she clung closer to Willie, as if afraid, kind Uncle George patted her
head, and tried to part the short, thick, black hair, which would not
stay parted, but insisted upon hanging straight over her eyebrows. Baby
Emma had been wakened in her cradle by the noise, and began to rub her
eyes out with her little fists. Being lifted into her mother's lap, she
hid her face for a while; but finally she peeped forth timidly, and
fixed a wondering gaze on the new-comer. It seemed that she concluded
to like her; for she shook her little dimpled hand to her, and began to
crow. The language of children needs no interpreter. The demure little
Indian understood the baby-salutation, and smiled.

Aunt Mary brought bread and milk, which she devoured like a hungry
animal. While she was eating, the wagon arrived with Willie's older
brother, Charley, who had been to the far-off mill with the hired man.
The sturdy boy came in, all aglow, calling out,--"Oh, mother! the boy at
the mill has caught a prairie-dog. Such a funny-looking thing!"

He halted suddenly before the small stranger, gave a slight whistle, and

"Halloo! here's a funny-looking prairie-puss!"

"She a'n't a prairie-puss," cried Willie, pushing him back with doubled
fists. "She's a little girl; and she's _my_ little girl. I found her."

"She's a great find," retorted the roguish brother, as he went behind
her, and pulled the long black hair that fell over her shoulders.

"Now you let her alone!" shouted Willie; and the next moment the two
boys were rolling over on the piazza, pommelling each other, half in
play, half in earnest. The little savage sat coiled up on the floor,
watching them without apparent emotion; but when a hard knock made
Willie cry out, she sprang forward with the agility of a kitten, and,
repeating some Indian word with strong emphasis, began to beat Charley
with all her might. Instinctively, he was about to give blows in return;
but his father called out,--

"Hold there, my boy! Never strike a girl!"

"And never harm a wanderer that needs protection," said Uncle George.
"It isn't manly, Charley."

Thus rebuked, Charley walked away somewhat crestfallen. But before he
disappeared at the other end of the piazza, he turned back to sing,--

"Willie went a-hunting, and caught a pappoose."

"She a'n't a pappoose, she's a little girl," shouted Willie; "and she's
_my_ little girl. I didn't hunt her; I found her."

Uncle George and his family did not return to their cabin till the warm,
yellow tint of the sky had changed to azure-gray. While consultations
were held concerning how it was best to dispose of the little wanderer
for the night, she nestled into a corner, where, rolled up like a dog,
she fell fast asleep. A small bed was improvised for her in the kitchen.
But when they attempted to raise her up, she was dreaming of her
mother's wigwam, and, waking suddenly to find herself among strangers,
she forgot the events of the preceding hours, and became a pitiful image
of terror. Willie, who was being undressed in another room, was brought
in in his nightgown, and the sight of him reassured her. She clung to
him, and refused to be separated from him; and it was finally concluded
that she should sleep with her little protector in his trundle-bed,
which every night was rolled out from under the bed of his father and
mother. A tub of water was brought, and as Willie jumped into it, and
seemed to like to splash about, she was induced to do the same. The
necessary ablutions having been performed, and the clean nightgowns put
on, the little ones walked to their trundle-bed hand in hand. Charley
pulled the long hair once more, as they passed, and began to sing,
"Willie went a-hunting"; but the young knight-errant was too sleepy and
tired to return to the charge. The older brother soon went to rest also;
and all became as still within-doors as it was on the wide, solitary

The father and mother sat up a little while, one mending a harness, the
other repairing a rip in a garment. They talked together in low tones of
Willie's singular adventure; and Mrs. Wharton asked her husband whether
he supposed this child belonged to the Indians whose tracks their man
had seen on his way to the mill. She shared her brother's kindly feeling
toward the red men, because they were an injured and oppressed race.
But, in her old New-England home, she had heard and read stories that
made a painful impression on the imagination of childhood; and though
she was now a sensible and courageous woman, the idea of Indians in the
vicinity rendered the solitude of the wilderness oppressive. The sudden
cry of a night-bird made her start and turn pale.

"Don't be afraid," said her husband, soothingly, "It is as George says.
Nothing but justice and kindness is needed to render these wild people
firm friends to the whites."

"I believe it," she replied; "but treaties with them have been
so wickedly violated, and they are so shamefully cheated by
Government-agents, that they naturally look upon all white men as their
enemies. How can they know that we are more friendly to them than

"We have been kind to their child," responded Mr. Wharton, "and that
will prevent them from injuring us."

"I would have been just as kind to the little thing, if we had an army
here to protect us," she rejoined.

"They will know that, Jenny," he said. "Indian instincts are keen. Your
gentle eyes and motherly ways are a better defence than armies would
be." The mild blue eyes thanked him with an affectionate glance. His
words somewhat calmed her fears; but before retiring to rest, she looked
out, far and wide, upon the lonely prairie. It was beautiful, but
spectral, in the ghostly veil of moonlight. Every bolt was carefully
examined, and the tin horn hung by the bedside. When all preparations
were completed, she drew aside the window-curtain to look at the
children in their trundle-bed, all bathed with silvery moonshine. They
lay with their arms about each other's necks, the dark brow nestled
close to the rosy cheek, and the mass of black hair mingled with the
light brown locks. The little white boy of six summers and the Indian
maiden of four slept there as cozily as two kittens with different fur.
The mother gazed on them fondly, as she said,--

"It is a pretty sight. I often think what beautiful significance there
is in the Oriental benediction, 'May you sleep tranquilly as a child
when his friends are with him!'"

"It is, indeed, a charming picture," rejoined her husband. "This would
be a text for George to preach from; and his sermon would be, that
confidence is always born of kindness."

The fear of Indians vanished from the happy mother's thoughts, and she
fell asleep with a heart full of love for all human kind.

The children were out of their bed by daylight. The little savage padded
about with naked feet, apparently feeling much at home, but seriously
incommoded by her night-gown, which she pulled at restlessly, from
time to time, saying something in her own dialect, which no one could
interpret. But they understood her gestures, and showed her the kirtle
of plaited grass, still damp with the thorough washing it had had the
night before. At sight of it she became quite voluble; but what she said
no one knew. "What gibberish you talk!" exclaimed Charley. She would not
allow him to come near her. She remembered how he had pulled her hair
and tussled with Willie. But two bright buttons on a string made peace
between them. He put the mop on his head, and shook it at her, saying,
"Moppet, you'd be pretty, if you wore your hair like folks." Willie was
satisfied with this concession; and already the whole family began to
outgrow the feeling that the little wayfarer belonged to a foreign race.

Early in the afternoon two Indians came across the prairie. Moppet saw
them first, and announced the discovery by a shrill shout, which the
Indiana evidently heard; for they halted instantly, and then walked
on faster than before. When the child went to meet them, the woman
quickened her pace a little, and took her hand; but no signs of emotion
were perceptible. As they approached the cabin, Moppet appeared to be
answering their brief questions without any signs of fear. "Poor little
thing!" said Mrs. Wharton. "I am glad they are not angry with her. I was
afraid they might beat her."

The strangers were received with the utmost friendliness, but their
stock of English was so very scanty that little information could be
gained from them. The man pointed to the child, and said, "Wik-a-nee, me
go way she." And the woman said, "Me tank." No further light was ever
thrown upon Willie's adventure in finding a pappoose alone on the
prairie. The woman unstrapped from her shoulder a string of baskets,
which she laid upon the ground. Moppet said something to her mother, and
placed her hand on a small one brightly stained with red and yellow. The
basket was given to her, and she immediately presented it to Willie. At
the same time the Indian woman offered a large basket to Mrs. Wharton,
pointing to the child, and saying, "Wik-a-nee. Me tank." Money was
offered her, but she shook her head, and repeated, "Wik-a-nee. Me tank."
The man also refused the coin, with a slow motion of his head, saying,
"Me tank." They ate of the food that was offered them, and received a
salted fish and bread with "Me tank."

"Mother," exclaimed Willie, "I want to give Moppet something. May I give
her my Guinea-peas?"

"Certainly, my son, if you wish to," she replied.

He ran into the cabin, and came out with a tin box. When he uncovered
it, and showed Moppet the bright scarlet seeds, each with a shining
black spot, her dark eyes glowed, and she uttered a joyous "Eugh!"
The passive, sad expression of the Indian woman's countenance almost
brightened into a smile, as she said, "Wik-a-nee tank."

After resting awhile, she again strapped the baskets on her shoulder,
and taking her little one by the hand, they resumed their tramp across
the prairie,--no one knowing whence they came, or whither they were
going. As far as they could be seen, it was noticed that the child
looked back from time to time. She was saying to her mother she wished
they could take that little pale-faced boy with them.

"So Moppet is gone," said Charley. "I wonder whether we shall ever see
her again." Willie heaved a sigh, and said, "I wish she was my little

Thus met two innocent little beings, unconscious representatives of
races widely separated in moral and intellectual culture, but children
of the same Heavenly Father, and equally subject to the attractions of
great Mother Nature. Blessed childhood, that yields spontaneously to
those attractions, ignoring all distinctions of pride or prejudice!
Verily, we should lose all companionship with angels, were it not for
the ladder of childhood, on which they descend to meet us.

It was a pleasant ripple in the dull stream of their monotonous life,
that little adventure of the stray pappoose. At almost every gathering
of the household, for several days after, something was recalled of
her uncouth, yet interesting looks, and of her wild, yet winning ways.
Charley persisted in his opinion that "Moppet would be pretty, if she
wore her hair like folks."

"Her father and mother called her Wik-a-nee," said Willie; "and I like
that name better than I do Moppet." He took great pains to teach it
to his baby sister; and he succeeded so well, that, whenever the
red-and-yellow basket was shown to her, she said, "Mik-a-nee,"--the W
being beyond her infant capabilities.

Something of tenderness mixed with Mrs. Wharton's recollections of the
grotesque little stranger. "I never saw anything so like the light of an
astral lamp as those beautiful large eyes of hers," said she. "I began
to love the odd little thing; and if she had stayed much longer, I
should have been very loath to part with her."

The remembrance of the incident gradually faded; but whenever a far-off
neighbor or passing emigrant stopped at the cabin, Willie brought
forward his basket, and repeated the story of Wik-a-nee,--seldom
forgetting to imitate her strange cry of joy when she saw the scarlet
peas. His mother was now obliged to be more watchful than ever to
prevent him from wandering out of sight and hearing. He had imbibed an
indefinite idea that there was a great realm of adventure out there
beyond. If he could only get a little nearer to the horizon, he thought
he might perhaps find another pappoose, or catch a prairie-dog and tame
it. He had heard his father say that a great many of those animals lived
together in houses under ground,--that they placed sentinels at their
doors to watch, and held a town-meeting when any danger approached.
When Willie was summoned from his exploring excursions, he often
remonstrated, saying, "Mother, what makes you blow the horn so _soon_?
You never give me time to find a prairie-dog. It would be capital fun
to have a dog that knows enough to go to town-meeting." Charley took
particular pleasure in increasing his excitement on that subject.
He told him he had once seen a prairie-dog standing sentinel at the
entrance-hole of their habitations. He made a picture of the creature
with charcoal on the shed-door, and proposed to prick a copy of it into
Willie's arm with India-ink, which was joyfully agreed to. The likeness,
when completed, was very much like a squash upon two sticks, but it
was eminently satisfactory to the boys. There was no end to Willie's
inquiries. How to find that hole which Charley had seen, to crawl into
it, and attend a dogs' town-meeting, was the ruling idea of his life.
Unsentimental as it was, considering the juvenile gallantry he had
manifested, it was an undeniable fact, that, in the course of a few
months, prairie-dogs had chased Wik-a-nee almost beyond the bounds of
his memory.

Autumn came, and was passing away. The waving sea of verdure had become
brown, and the clumps of trees, dotted about like islands, stood denuded
of their foliage. At this season the cattle were missing one day, and
were not to be found. A party was formed to go in search of them,
consisting of all the men from both homesteads, except Mr. Wharton, who
remained to protect the women and children, in case of any unforeseen
emergency. Charley obtained his father's permission to go with Uncle
George; and Willie began to beg hard to go also. When his mother told
him he was too young to be trusted, he did not cry, because he knew it
was an invariable rule that he was never to have anything he cried
for; but he grasped her gown, and looked beseechingly in her face, and

"Oh, mother, do let me go with Charley, just this once! Maybe we shall
catch a prairie-dog."

"No, darling," she replied. "You are not old enough to go so far. When
you are a bigger boy, you shall go after the cattle, and go a-hunting
with father, too, if you like."

"Oh, dear!" he exclaimed, impatiently, "when _shall_ I be a bigger boy?
You _never_ will let me go far enough to see the prairie-dogs hold a

The large brown eyes looked up very imploringly.

Mr. Wharton smiled and said,--

"Jenny, you do keep the little fellow tied pretty close to your
apron-string. Perhaps you had better let him go this time."

Thus reinforced, the petted boy redoubled his importunities, and finally
received permission to go, on condition that he would be very careful
not to wander away from his brother. Charley promised not to trust him
out of his sight; and the men said, if they were detained till dark,
they would be sure to put the boys in a safe path to return home
before sunset. Willie was equipped for the excursion, full of joyous
anticipations of marvellous adventures and promises to return before
sunset and tell his parents about everything he had seen. His mother
kissed him, as she drew the little cap over his brown locks, and
repeated her injunctions over and over again. He jumped down both steps
of the piazza at once, eager to see whether Uncle George and Charley
were ready. His mother stood watching him, and he looked up to her with
such a joyful smile on his broad, frank face, that she called to him,--

"Come and kiss me again, Willie, before you go; and remember, dear, not
to go out of sight of Uncle George and Charley."

He leaped up the steps, gave her a hearty smack, and bounded away.

When the party started, she stood a little while gazing after them. Her
husband said,--

"What a pet you make of that boy, Jenny. And it must be confessed he is
the brightest one of the lot."

"And a good child, too," she rejoined. "He is so affectionate, and so
willing to mind what is said to him! But he is so active, and eager for
adventures! How the prairie-dogs do occupy his busy little brain!"

"That comes of living out West," replied Mr. Wharton, smiling. "You know
the miller told us, when we first came, that there was nothing like it
for making folks know everything about all _natur_'."

They separated to pursue their different avocations, and, being busy,
were consequently cheerful,--except that the mother had some occasional
misgivings whether she had acted prudently in consenting that her
darling should go beyond sound of the horn. She began to look out for
the boys early in the afternoon; but the hours passed, and still they
came not. The sun had sunk below the horizon, and was sending up regular
streaks of gold, like a great glittering crown, when Charley was seen
coming alone across the prairie. A pang like the point of a dagger went
through the mother's heart. Her first thought was,--

"Oh, my son! my son! some evil beast has devoured him."

Charley walked so slowly and wearily that she could not wait for his
coming, but went forth to meet him. As soon as she came within sound of
his voice, she called out,--

"Oh, Charley, where's Willie?"

The poor boy trembled in every joint, as he threw himself upon her neck
and sobbed out,--

"Oh, mother! mother!"

Her face was very pale, as she asked, in low, hollow tones,--

"Is he dead?"

"No, mother; but we don't know where he is. Oh, mother, do forgive me!"
was the despairing answer.

The story was soon told. The cattle had strayed farther than they
supposed, and Willie was very tired before they came in sight of them.
It was not convenient to spare a man to convey him home, and it was
agreed that Charley should take him a short distance from their route
to a log-cabin, with whose friendly inmates they were well acquainted.
There he was to be left to rest, while his brother returned for a while
to help in bringing the cattle together. The men separated, going in
various circuitous directions, agreeing to meet at a specified point,
and wait for Charley. He had a boy's impatience to be at the place of
rendezvous. When he arrived near the cabin, and had led Willie into the
straight path to it, he charged him to go into the house, and not leave
it till he came for him; and then he ran back with all speed to Uncle
George. The transaction seemed to him so safe that it did not occur to
his honest mind that he had violated the promise given to his mother.
While the sun was yet high in the heavens, his uncle sent him back to
the log-cabin for Willie, and sent a man with him to guide them both
within sight of home. Great was their alarm when the inmates of the
house told them they had not seen the little boy. They searched, in hot
haste, in every direction. Diverging from the road to the cabin was a
path known as the Indian trail, on which hunters, of various tribes,
passed and repassed in their journeys to and from Canada. The prints of
Willie's shoes were traced some distance on this path, but disappeared
at a wooded knoll not far off. The inmates of the cabin said a party of
Indians had passed that way in the forenoon. With great zeal they joined
in the search, taking with them horns and dogs. Charley ran hither and
thither, in an agony of remorse and terror, screaming, "Willie! Willie!"
Horns were blown with all the strength of manly lungs; but there was no
answer,--not even the illusion of an echo. All agreed in thinking that
the lost boy had been on the Indian trail; but whether he had taken it
by mistake, or whether he had been tempted aside from his path by hopes
of finding prairie-dogs, was matter of conjecture. Charley was almost
exhausted by fatigue and anxiety, when his father's man guided him
within sight of home, and told him to go to his mother, while he
returned to give the alarm to Uncle George. This was all the unhappy
brother had to tell; and during the recital his voice was often
interrupted by sobs, and he exclaimed, with passionate vehemence,--

"Oh, father! oh, mother! do forgive me! I didn't think I was doing
wrong,--indeed, I didn't!"

With aching hearts, they tried to soothe him; but he would not be

Mr. Wharton's first impulse was to rush out in search of his lost child.
But the shades of evening were close at hand, and he deemed it unsafe to
leave Jenny and Mary and their little girls with no other protector than
an overtired boy.

"Oh, why did I advise her to let the dear child go?" was the lamenting
cry continually resounding in his heart; and the mother reproached
herself bitterly that she had consented against her better judgment.

Neither of them uttered these thoughts; but remorseful sorrow manifested
itself in increased tenderness toward each other and the children. When
Emma was undressed for the night, the mother's tears fell fast among her
ringlets; and when the father took her in his arms to carry her to the
trundle-bed, he pressed her to his heart more closely than ever before;
while she, all wondering at the strange tearful silence round her, began
to grieve, and say,--

"I want Willie to go to bed with me. Why don't Willie come?"

Putting strong constraint upon the agony her words excited, the unhappy
parents soothed her with promises until she fell into a peaceful
slumber. As they turned to leave the bedroom, both looked at the vacant
pillow where that other young head had reposed for years, and they fell
into each other's arms and wept.

Charley could not be persuaded to go to bed till Uncle George came; and
they forbore to urge it, seeing that he was too nervous and excited to
sleep. Stars were winking at the sleepy flowers on the prairie, when the
party returned with a portion of the cattle, and no tidings of Willie.
Uncle George's mournful face revealed this, before he exclaimed,--

"Oh, my poor sister! I shall never forgive myself for not going with
your boys. But the cabin was in plain sight, and the distance so short I
thought I could trust Charley."

"Oh, don't, uncle! don't!" exclaimed the poor boy. "My heart will

A silent patting on the head was the only answer; and Uncle George never
reproached him afterward.

Neither of the distressed parents could endure the thoughts of
discontinuing the search till morning. A wagon was sent for the miller
and his men, and, accompanied by them, Mr. Wharton started for the
Indian trail. They took with them lanterns, torches, and horns, and a
trumpet, to be sounded as a signal that the lost one was found. The
wretched mother traversed the piazza slowly, gazing after them, as their
torches cast a weird, fantastic light on the leafless trees they passed.
She listened to the horns resounding in the distance, till the _tremolo_
motion they imparted to the air became faint as the buzz of insects. At
last, Charles, who walked silently by her side, was persuaded to go to
bed, where, some time after midnight, he cried himself into uneasy,
dreamful slumber. But no drowsiness came to the mother's eyelids. All
night long she sat watching at the bedroom-window, longing for the gleam
of returning torches, and the joyful _fanfare_ of the trumpet. But all
was dark and still. Only stars, like the eyes of spirits, looked down
from the solemn arch of heaven upon the desolate expanse of prairie.

The sun had risen when the exploring party returned, jaded and
dispirited, from their fruitless search. Uncle George, who went forth to
meet them, dreaded his sister's inquiring look. But her husband laid his
hand tenderly on her shoulder, and said.---

"Don't be discouraged, Jenny. I don't believe any harm has happened to
him. There are no traces of wild beasts."

"But the Indians," she murmured, faintly.

"I am glad to hear you say that," said Uncle George. "My belief is that
he is with the Indians; and for that reason, I think we have great cause
to hope. Very likely he saw the Indians, and thought Wik-a-nee was with
them, and so went in pursuit of her. If she, or any of her relatives,
are with those hunters, they will be sure to bring back our little
Willie; for Indians are never ungrateful."

The mother's fainting heart caught eagerly at this suggestion; and
Charley felt so much relieved by it that he was on the point of saying
he was sure it must have been either Moppet or a dogs' town-meeting that
lured Willie from the path he had pointed out to him. But everybody
looked too serious for jesting; and memory of his own fault quickly
repressed the momentary elasticity.

Countless were the times that the bereaved parents east wistful glances
over the prairie, with a vague hope of descrying Indians returning
with their child. The search was kept up for days and weeks. All the
neighbors, within a circuit of fifteen miles, entered zealously into
the work, and explored prairie and forest far and wide. At last these
efforts were given up as useless. Still Uncle George held out the
cheerful prospect that the Indians would bring him, when they returned
from their long hunting-excursion; and with this the mother tried to
sustain her sinking hopes. But month after month she saw the snowy
expanse of prairie gleaming in the moonlight, and no little footstep
broke its untrodden crust. Spring returned, and the sea of flowers again
rippled in waves, as if Flora and her train had sportively taken lessons
of the water-nymphs; but no little hands came laden with blossoms to
heap in Emma's lap. The birds twittered and warbled, but the responsive
whistle of the merry boy was silent; only its echo was left in the
melancholy halls of memory. His chair and plate were placed as usual,
when the family met at meals. At first this was done with an undefined
hope that he might come before they rose from table, and afterward
they could not bear to discontinue the custom, because it seemed like
acknowledging that he was entirely gone.

Mrs. Wharton changed rapidly. The light of her eyes grew dim, the color
faded from her cheeks, and the tones of her once cheerful voice became
plaintive as the "Light of Other Days." Always, from the depths of her
weary heart, came up the accusing cry, "Oh, why did I let him go?" She
never reproached others; but all the more bitterly did Mr. Wharton,
Uncle George, and above all poor Charley, reproach themselves. The once
peaceful cabins were haunted by a little ghost, and the petted child
became an accusing spirit. Alas! who is there that is not chained to
some rock of the past, with the vulture of memory tearing at his vitals,
screaming forever in the ear of conscience? These unavailing regrets are
inexorable as the whip of the Furies.

Four years had passed away, when some fur-traders passed through that
region, and told of a white boy they had seen among the Pottawatomie
Indians. Everybody had heard the story of Willie's mysterious
disappearance, and the tidings were speedily conveyed to the Wharton
family. They immediately wrote to the United-States Agent among that
tribe. After waiting awhile, they all became restless. One day, Uncle
George said to his sister,--

"Jenny, I have never forgiven myself for leaving your boys to take care
of themselves, that fatal day. I cannot be easy. I must go in search of

"Heaven bless you!" she replied. "My dear James has just been talking of
starting on the same journey. I confess I want some one to go and look
for the poor boy; but it seems to me selfish; for it is a long and
difficult journey, and may bring fresh misfortunes upon us."

After some friendly altercation between Mr. Wharton and the brother, as
to which should go, it was decided that George should have his way; and
brave, unselfish Aunt Mary uttered no word of dissuasion. He started on
his arduous journey, cheered by hope, and strong in a generous purpose.
It seemed long before a letter was received from him, and when it came,
its contents were discouraging. The Indian Agent said he had caused
diligent search to be made, and he was convinced there was no white
child among the tribes in that region. Uncle George persevered in
efforts to obtain some clue to the report which had induced him to
travel so far. But after several weeks, he was obliged to return alone,
and without tidings.

Mrs. Wharton's hopes had been more excited than she was herself aware
of, and she vainly tried to rally from the disappointment. This
never-ending uncertainty, this hope forever deferred, was harder to
endure than would have been the knowledge that her dear son was dead.
She thought it would be a relief, even if fragments of his clothes
should be found, showing that he had been torn to pieces by wild beasts;
for then she would have the consolation of believing that her darling
was with the angels. But when she thought of him hopelessly out of
reach, among the Indians, imagination conjured up all manner of painful
images. Deeper and deeper depression overshadowed her spirits and
seriously impaired her health. She was diligent in her domestic duties,
careful and tender of every member of her household, but everything
wearied her. Languidly she saw the seasons come and go, and took
no pleasure in them. A village was growing up round her; but the
new-comers, in whom she would once have felt a lively interest, now
flitted by her like the shadows in a magic-lantern. "Poor woman!" said
the old settlers to the new ones. "She is not what she was. She is

Eight years more passed away, and Mrs. Wharton, always feeble, but never
complaining, continued to perform a share of household work, with a
pensive resignation which excited tenderness in her family and inspired
even strangers with pitying deference. Her heartstrings had not broken,
but they gradually withered and dried up, under the blighting influence
of this life-long sorrow. It was mild October weather, when she lay down
to rise no more. Emma had outgrown the trundle-bed, and no one occupied
it; but it remained in the old place. When they led her into the bedroom
for the last time, she asked them to draw it out, that she might look
upon Willie's pillow once more. Memories of her fair boy sleeping there
in the moonlight came into her soul with the vividness of reality.
Her eyes filled with tears, and she seemed to be occupied with inward
prayer. At a signal from her, the husband and brother lifted her
tenderly, and placed her in the bed, which Aunt Mary had prepared. The
New Testament was brought, and Mr. Wharton read the fourteenth chapter
of John. As they closed the book, she said faintly, "Sing, 'I'm going
home.'" It was a Methodist hymn, learned in her youth, and had always
been a favorite with her. The two families had often sung it together on
Sabbath days, exciting the wonderment of the birds in the stillness of
the prairie. They now sang it with peculiar depth of feeling; and as
the clear treble of Aunt Mary's voice, and the sweet childlike tones of
Emma, followed and hovered over the clear, strong tenor of Uncle George,
and the deep bass of Mr. Wharton, the invalid smiled serenely, while her
attenuated hand moved to the measure of the music.

She slept much on that and the following day, and seemed unconscious of
all around her. On the third day, her watchful husband noticed that her
countenance lighted up suddenly, like a landscape when clouds pass from
the sun.

This was followed by a smile expressive of deep inward joy. He stooped
down and whispered,--

"What is it, dear?"

She looked up, with eyes full of interior light, and said,--

"Our Willie!"

She spoke in tones stronger than they had heard from her for several
days; and after a slight pause, she added,--

"Don't you see him? Wik-a-nee is with him, and he is weaving a string of
the Guinea-peas in her hair. He wears an Indian blanket; but they look
happy, there where yellow leaves are falling and the bright waters are

"It is a flood of memory," said Mr. Wharton, in a low tone. "She recalls
the time when Wik-a-nee was so pleased with the Guinea-peas that Willie
gave her."

"She has wakened from a pleasant dream," said Uncle George, with the
same subdued voice. "It still remains with her, and the pictures seem

The remarks were not intended for her ear, but she heard them, and

"No,--not a dream. Don't you _see_ them?"

They were the last words she ever uttered. She soon dozed away into
apparent oblivion; but twice afterward, that preternatural smile
illumined her whole countenance.

At that same hour, hundreds of miles away, on the side of a wooded hill,
mirrored in bright waters below, sat a white lad with a brown lassie
beside him, among whose black shining tresses he was weaving strings of
scarlet seeds. He was clothed with an Indian blanket, and she with a
skirt of woven grass. Above them, from a tree glorious with sunshine,
fell a golden shower of autumn leaves. They were talking together in
some Indian dialect.

"A-lee-lah," said he, "your mother always told me that I gave you these
red seeds when I was a little boy. I wonder where I was then. I wish I
knew. I never understood half she told me about the long trail. I don't
believe I could ever find my way."

"Don't go!" said his companion, pleadingly. "The sun will shine no more
on A-lee-lah's path."

He smiled and was silent for a few minutes, while he twined some of the
scarlet seeds on grasses round her wrist. He revealed the tenor of his
musings by saying,--

"A-lee-lah, I wish I could see my mother. Your mother told me she had
blue eyes and pale hair. I don't remember ever seeing a woman with blue
eyes and pale hair."

Suddenly he started.

"What is it?" inquired the young girl, springing to her feet.

"My mother!" he exclaimed. "Don't you see her? She is smiling at me.
How beautiful her blue eyes are! Ah, now she is gone!" His whole frame
quivered with emotion, as he cried out, in an agony of earnestness, "I
want to go to my mother! I _must_ go to my mother! Who can tell me where
to find my mother?"

"You have looked into the Spirit-Land," replied the Indian maiden,

Was the mighty power of love, in that dying mother's heart, a spiritual
force, conveying her image to the mind of her child, as electricity
transmits the telegram? Love photographs very vividly on the memory;
when intensely concentrated, may it not perceive scenes and images
unknown to the bodily eye, and, like the sunshine, under favorable
circumstances, make the pictures visible? Who can answer such questions?
Mysterious beyond comprehension are the laws of our complex being.
The mother saw her distant son, and the son beheld his long-forgotten
mother. How it was, neither of them knew or thought; but on the soul
of each, in their separate spheres of existence, the vision was

In the desolated dwelling on the prairie, they were all unconscious of
this magnetic transmission of intelligence between the dying mother and
her far-off child. As she lay in her coffin, they spoke soothingly
to each other, that she had passed away without suffering, dreaming
pleasantly of Willie and the little Indian girl. Their memories were
excited to fresh activity, and the sayings and doings of Willie and
the pappoose were recounted for the thousandth time. Emma had no
recollection of her lost brother, and the story of his adventure with
Moppet always amused her young imagination. But such reminiscences never
brought a smile to Charley's face. When he heard the clods fall on
his mother's coffin, heavier and more dismally fell on his heart the
remembrance of his broken promise, which had so dried up the fountains
of her life. Four times had the flowers bloomed above that mother's
grave, and still, for her dear sake, all the memorials of her absent
darling remained as she had liked to have them. The trundle-bed was
never removed, the Indian basket remained under the glass in the
bedroom, where his own little hands had put it, and his chair retained
its place at the table. Out of the family he was nearly forgotten; but
parents now and then continued to frighten truant boys by telling them
of Willie Wharton, who was carried off by Indians and never heard of

The landscape had greatly changed since Mr. Wharton and his
brother-in-law built their cabins in the wilderness. Those cabins were
now sheds and kitchens appended to larger and more commodious dwellings.
A village had grown up around them. On the spire of a new meeting-house
a gilded fish sailed round from north to south, to the great admiration
of children in the opposite schoolhouse. The wild-flowers of the prairie
were supplanted by luxuriant fields of wheat and rye, forever undulating
in wave-like motion, as if Nature loved the rhythm of the sea, and
breathed it to the inland grasses. Neat little Bessie was a married
woman now, and presided over the young Squire's establishment, in a
large white house with green blinds. Charley had taken to himself a
wife, and had a little Willie in the cradle, in whose infant features
grandfather fondly traced some likeness to the lost one.

Such was the state of things, when Charles Wharton returned from the
village-store, one day, with some articles wrapped in a newspaper from
Indiana. A vague feeling of curiosity led him to glance over it, and his
attention was at once arrested by the following paragraph:--

"A good deal of interest has been excited here by the appearance of a
young man, who supposes himself to be twenty-three years old, evidently
white, but with the manners and dress of an Indian. He says he was
carried away from his home by Indians, and they have always told him he
was then six years old. He speaks no English, and an Indian interpreter
who is with him is so scantily supplied with words that the information
we have obtained is very unsatisfactory. But we have learned that the
young man is trying to find his mother. Some of our neighbors regard him
as an impostor. But he does not ask for money, and there is something
in his frank physiognomy calculated to inspire confidence. We therefore
believe his statement, and publish it, hoping it may be seen by some
bereaved family."

Charles rushed into the field, and exclaimed,--

"Father, I do believe we have at last got some tidings of Willie!"

"Where? What is it?" was the quick response.

The offered newspaper was eagerly seized, and the father's hand trembled
visibly while he read the paragraph.

"We must start for Indiana directly," he said; and he walked rapidly
toward the house, followed by his son.

Arriving at the gate, he paused and said,--

"But, Charles, he will have altered so much that perhaps we shouldn't
know him; and it may be, as the people say, that this youth is an

The young man replied, unhesitatingly,--

"I can tell whether he is an impostor. I shall know my brother."

His voice quivered a little, as he spoke the last word.

Mr. Wharton, without appearing to notice it, said,--

"You have a great deal of work on hand at this season. Wouldn't it be
better for Uncle George and me to go?"

He answered impetuously,--

"If all my property goes to ruin, I will hunt for Willie all over the
earth, so long as there is any hope of finding him, I always felt as if
mother couldn't forgive me for leaving him that day, though she always
tried to make me think she did. And now, if we find him at last, she is
not here to"----

His voice became choked.

Mr. Wharton replied, impressively,--

"She will come with him, my son. Wherever he may be, they are not
divided now."

The next morning Charles started on his expedition, having made
preparations for an absence of some months, if so long a time should
prove necessary. The first letters received from him were tantalizing.
The young man and his interpreter had gone to Michigan, in consequence
of hearing of a family there who had lost a little son many years ago.
But those who had seen him in Indiana described him as having brown eyes
and hair, and as saying that his mother's eyes were the color of the
sky, Charles hastened to Michigan. The wanderer had been there, but had
left, because the family he sought were convinced he was not their son.
They said he had gone to Canada, with the intention of rejoining the
tribe of Indians he had left.

We will not follow the persevering brother through all his travels.
Again and again he came close upon the track, and had the disappointment
of arriving a little too late. On a chilly day of advanced autumn, he
mounted a pony and rode toward a Canadian forest, where he was told some
Indians had encamped. He tied his pony at the entrance of the wood, and
followed a path through the underbrush. He had walked about a quarter of
a mile, when his ears were pierced by a shrill, discordant yell, which
sounded neither animal nor human. He stopped abruptly, and listened.
All was still, save a slight creaking of boughs in the wind. He pressed
forward in the direction whence the sound had come, not altogether free
from anxiety, though habitually courageous. He soon came in sight of a
cluster of wigwams, outside of which, leaning against trees, or seated
on the fallen leaves, were a number of men, women, and children, dressed
in all sorts of mats and blankets, some with tufts of feathers in their
hair, others with bands and tassels of gaudy-colored wampum. One or two
had a regal air, and might have stood for pictures of Arab chiefs or
Carthaginian generals; but most of them looked squalid and dejected.
None of them manifested any surprise at the entrance of the stranger.
All were as grave as owls. They had, in fact, seen him coming through
the woods, and had raised their ugly war-whoop, in sport, to see whether
it would frighten him. It was their solemn way of enjoying fun. Among
them was a youth, tanned by exposure to wind and sun, but obviously
of white complexion. His hair was shaggy, and cut straight across his
forehead, as Moppet's had been. Charles fixed upon him a gaze so intense
that he involuntarily took up a hatchet that lay beside him, as if he
thought it might be necessary to defend himself from the intruder.

"Can any of you speak English?" inquired Charles.

"Me speak," replied an elderly man.

Charles explained that he wanted to find a white young man who had been
in Indiana and Michigan searching for his mother.

"_Him_ pale-face," rejoined the interpreter, pointing to the youth,
whose brown eyes glanced from one to the other with a perplexed

Charles made a strong effort to restrain his impatience, while the
interpreter slowly explained his errand. The pale-faced youth came
toward him.

"Let me examine your right arm," said Charles.

The beaver-skin mantle was raised; and there, in a dotted outline of
blue spots, was the likeness of the prairie-dog which in boyish play he
had pricked into Willie's arm. With a joyful cry he fell upon his neck,
exclaiming, "My brother!" The interpreter repeated the word in the
Indian tongue. The youthful stranger uttered no sound; but Charles felt
his heart throb, as they stood locked in a close embrace. When their
arms unclasped, they looked earnestly into each other's faces. That sad
memory of the promise made to their gentle mother, and so thoughtlessly
broken, brought tears to the eyes of the elder brother; but the younger
stood apparently unmoved. The interpreter, observing this, said,--

"Him sorry-glad; but red man he no cry."

There was much to damp the pleasure of this strange interview. The
uncouth costume, and the shaggy hair falling over the forehead, gave
Willie such a wild appearance, it was hard for Charles to realize that
they were brothers. Inability to understand each other's language
created a chilling barrier between them. Charles was in haste to
change his brother's dress, and acquire a stock of Indian words. The
interpreter was bound farther north; but he agreed to go with them three
days' journey, and teach them on the way. They were merely guests at the
encampment, and no one claimed a right to control their motions. Charles
distributed beads among the women and pipes among the men; and two hours
after he had entered the wood, he was again mounted on his pony, with
William and the interpreter walking beside him. As he watched his
brother's erect figure striding along, with such a bold, free step, he
admitted to himself that there were some important compensations for the
deficiencies of Indian education.

Languages are learned rapidly, when the heart is a pupil. Before they
parted from the interpreter, the brothers were able, by the aid of
pantomime, to interchange various skeletons of ideas, which imagination
helped to clothe with bodies. At the first post-town, a letter was
despatched to their father, containing these words: "I have found him.
He is well, and we are coming home. Dear Lucy must teach baby Willie to
crow and clap his hands. God bless you all! Charley."

They pressed forward as fast as possible, and at the last stage of
their journey travelled all night; for Charles had a special reason for
wishing to arrive at the homestead on the following day. The brothers
were now dressed alike, and a family-likeness between them was obvious.
Willie's shaggy hair had been cut, and the curtain of dark brown locks
being turned aside revealed a well-shaped forehead whiter than his
cheeks. He had lost something of the freedom of his motions; for the
new garments sat uneasily upon him, and he wore them with an air of

The warm golden light of the sun had changed to silvery brightness,
and the air was cool and bracing, when they rode over the prairie so
familiar to the eye of Charles, but which had lost nearly all the
features that had been impressed on the boyish mind of William. At a
little distance from the village they left their horses and walked
across the fields to the back-door of their father's house; for they
were not expected so soon, and Charles wished to take the family by
surprise. It was Thanksgiving day. Wild turkeys were prepared for
roasting, and the kitchen was redolent of pies and plum-pudding. When
they entered, no one was there but an old woman hired to help on festive
occasions. She uttered a little cry when she saw them; but Charles put
his finger to his lip, and hurried on to the family sitting-room. All
were there,--Father, Emma, Uncle George, Aunt Mary, Bessie and her young
Squire, Charles's wife, baby, and all. There was a universal rush, and
one simultaneous shout of, "Willie! Willie!" Charles's young wife threw
herself into his arms; but all the rest clustered round the young
stranger, as the happy father clasped him to his bosom. When the tumult
of emotion had subsided a little, Charles introduced each one separately
to his brother, explaining their relationship as well as he could in the
Indian dialect. Their words were unintelligible to the wanderer, but he
understood their warmth of welcome, and said,--

"Me tank. Me no much speak."

Mr. Wharton went into the bedroom and returned with a morocco case,
which he opened and placed in the stranger's hand, saying, in a solemn

"Your mother."

Charles, with a tremor in his voice, repeated the word in the Indian
tongue. Willie gazed at the blue eyes of the miniature, touched them,
pointed to the sky, and said,--

"Me see she, time ago."

All supposed that he meant the memories of his childhood. But he in fact
referred to the vision he had seen four years before, as he explained to
them afterward, when he had better command of their language.

The whole family wept as the miniature passed from hand to hand, and,
with a sudden outburst of grief, Charles exclaimed,--

"Oh, if _she_ were only here with us this happy day!"

"My son, she is with us," said his father, impressively.

William was the only one who seemed unmoved. He did not remember his
mother, except as he had seen her in that moment of clairvoyance; and it
had been part of his Indian training to suppress emotion. But he put his
hand on his heart, and said,--

"Me no much speak."

When the little red-and-yellow basket was brought forward, it awakened
no recollections in his mind. They pointed to it, and said, "Wik-a-nee,
Moppet"; but he made no response.

His father eyed him attentively, and said,--

"It surely _must_ be our Willie. I see the resemblance to myself. We
cannot be mistaken."

"I _know_ he is our Willie," said Charles; and removing his brother's
coat, he showed what was intended to be the likeness of a prairie-dog.
His father and Uncle George remembered it well; and it was a subject of
regret that William could not be made to understand any jokes about his
boyish state of mind on that subject. Mr. Wharton pointed to the chair
he used to occupy, and said,--

"It seems hardly possible that this tall stranger can be the little
Willie who used to sit there. But it is our Willie. God be praised!"
He paused a moment, and added, "Before we partake of our Thanksgiving
dinner, let us all unite in thanks to our Heavenly Father; 'for this my
son was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.'"

They all rose, and he offered a prayer, to which heart-felt emotion
imparted eloquence.

Charles had taken every precaution to have his brother appear as little
as possible like a savage, when he restored him to his family; and now,
without mentioning that he would like raw meat better than all their
dainties, he went to the kitchen to superintend the cooking of some
Indian succotash, and buffalo-steak _very_ slightly broiled.

For some time, the imperfect means of communicating by speech was a
great impediment to confidential intercourse, and a drawback upon their
happiness. Emma, whose imagination had been a good deal excited by the
prospect of a new brother, was a little disappointed. In her own private
mind, she thought she should prefer for a brother a certain Oberlin
student, with whom she had danced the last Thanksgiving evening. Bessie,
always a stickler for propriety, ventured to say to her mother that she
hoped he would learn to use his knife and fork, like other people. But
to older members of the family, who distinctly remembered Willie in his
boyhood, these things seemed unimportant. It was enough for them that
the lost treasure was found.

The obstacle created by difference of language disappeared with a
rapidity that might have seemed miraculous, were it not a well-known
fact that one's native tongue forgotten is always easily restored.
It seems to remain latent in the memory, and can be brought out by
favorable circumstances, as writing with invisible ink reappears under
the influence of warmth. Tidings of the young man's restoration to his
family spread like fire on the prairie. People for twenty miles round
came to see the Willie Wharton of whose story they had heard so much.
Children were disappointed to find that he was not a little rosy-cheeked
boy, such as had been described to them. Some elderly people, who prided
themselves on their sagacity, shook their heads when they observed his
rapid improvement in English, and said to each other,--

"It a'n't worth while to disturb neighbor Wharton's confidence; but
depend upon it, that fellow's an impostor. As for the mark on his arm
that they call a prairie-dog, it looks as much like anything else that
has legs."

To the family, however, every week brought some additional confirmation
that the stranger was their own Willie. By degrees, he was able to make
them understand the outlines of his story. He did not remember anything
about parting from his brother on that disastrous day, and of course
could not explain what had induced him to turn aside to the Indian
trail. He said the Indians had always told him that a squaw, whose
pappoose had died, took a fancy to him, and decoyed him away; and that
afterward, when he cried to go back, they would not let him go. From
them he also learned that he called himself six years old, at the time
of his capture; but his name had been gradually forgotten, both by
himself and them. He wandered about with that tribe eight summers and
winters. Sometimes, when they had but little food, he suffered with
hunger; and once he was wounded by a tomahawk, when they had a fight
with some hostile tribe; but they treated him as well as they did their
own children. He became an expert hunter, thought it excellent sport,
and forgot that he was not an Indian. His squaw-mother died, and, not
long after, the tribe went a great many miles to collect furs. In the
course of this journey they encountered various tribes of Indians. One
night they encamped near some hunters who spoke another dialect, which
they could partly understand. Among them was a woman, who said she knew
him. She told him his mother was a white woman, with eyes blue as the
sky, and that she was very good to her little pappoose, when she lost
her way on the prairie. She wanted her husband to buy him, that they
might carry him back to his mother. He bought him for ten gallons of
whiskey, and promised to take him to his parents the next time the tribe
travelled in that direction,--because, he said, their little pappoose
had liked them very much.

"We remember her very well," said Mr. Wharton. "Her name was Wik-a-nee."

"That not _name_" replied William. "Wik-a-nee mean little small thing."

"You were a small boy when you found the pappoose on the prairie,"
rejoined his father. "You took a great liking to her, and said she
was _your_ little girl. When she went away, you gave her your box of

"Guinea-peas? What that?" inquired the young man.

"They are red seeds with black spots on them," replied his father.
"Emma, I believe you have some. Show him one."

The moment he saw it, he exclaimed,--

"Haha! A-lee-lah show me Guinea-peas. Her say me give she."

"Then you know Wik-a-nee?" said his father, in an inquiring tone.

The wanderer had acquired the gravity of the Indians. He never laughed,
and rarely smiled. But a broad smile lighted up his frank countenance,
as he answered,--

"Me know A-lee-lah very well. She not Wik-a-nee now."

Then he became grave again, and told how he was twining the red seeds in
A-lee-lah's hair, when his mother came and looked at him with great blue
eyes and smiled. Most of his auditors thought he was telling a dream.
But Mr. Wharton said to his oldest son,--

"I told you, Charles, that mother and son were not separated now."

William seemed perplexed by this remark; but he comprehended in part,
and said,--

"Me see into Spirit-Land."

When asked why he had not started in search of his mother then, he

"A-lee-lah's father, mother die. A-lee-lah say not go. Miles big many.
Me not know the trail. But Indians go hunt fur. Me go. Me sleep. Me
dream mother come, say go home. Me ask where mother? Charles come. Him
say brother."

The little basket was again brought forth, and Mr. Wharton said,--

"Wik-a-nee gave you this, when she went away; but when we showed it to
you, you did not remember it."

He took it and looked at it, and said,--

"Me not remember"; but when Emma would have put it away, he held it
fast; and that night he carried it with him to his chamber.

Some degree of restlessness had been observed in him previously to this
conversation. It increased as the weeks passed on. He became moody, and
liked to wander off alone, far from the settlement. The neighbors said
to each other,--"He will never be contented. He will go back to the
Indians." The family feared it also. But Uncle George, who was always
prone to look on the bright side of things, said,--

"We shall win him, if we manage right. We mustn't try to constrain him.
The greatest mistake we make in our human relations is interfering too
much with each other's freedom. We are too apt to think _our_ way is
the _only_ way. It's no such very great matter, after all, that William
sometimes uses his fingers instead of a knife and fork, and likes to
squat on the floor better than to sit in a chair. We mustn't drive him
away by taking too much notice of such things. Let him do just as he
likes. We are all creatures of circumstances. If you and I were obliged
to dance in tight boots, and make calls in white kid gloves, we should
feel like fettered fools."

"And _be_ what we felt like," replied Mr. Wharton; "and the worst part
of it would be, we shouldn't long have sense enough to _feel_ like
fools, but should fall to pitying and despising people who were of any
use in the world. But really, brother George, to have a son educated by
Indians is not exactly what one could wish."

"Undoubtedly not, in many respects; but it has its advantages. William
has already taught me much about the habits of animals and the qualities
of plants. Did you ever see an eye so sure as his to measure distances,
or to send an arrow to the mark? He never studied astronomy, but he
knows how to make use of the stars better than we do. Last week, when
we got benighted in the woods, he at once took his natural place as our
leader; and how quickly his sagacity brought us out of our trouble! He
will learn enough of our ways, by degrees. But I declare I would rather
have him always remain as he is than to make a city-fop of him. I once
saw an old beau at Saratoga, a forlorn-looking mortal, creeping about
in stays and tight boots; and I thought I should rather be the wildest
Ojibbeway that ever hunted buffaloes in a ragged blanket."

The rational policy recommended by Uncle George was carefully pursued.
Everything was done to attract William to their mode of life, but no
remark was made when he gave a preference to Indian customs. Still, he
seemed moody, and at times sad. He carried within him a divided heart.
One day, when he was sitting on a log, looking absent and dejected, his
father put his hand gently upon his shoulder, and said,--

"Are you not happy among us, my son? Don't you like us?"

"Me like very much," was the reply. "Me glad find father, brother. All

He paused a moment, and then added,--

"A-lee-lah's father, mother be dead. A-lee-lah alone. A-lee-lah did say
not go. Me promise come back soon."

Mr. Wharton was silent. He was thinking what it was best to say. After
waiting a little, William said,--

"Father, me not remember what is English for squaw."

"Woman," replied Mr. Wharton.

"Not that," rejoined the young man. "What call Charles's squaw?"

"His wife," was the reply.

"Father, A-lee-lah be my wife. Me like bring A-lee-lah. Me fraid father
not like Indian."

Mr. Wharton placed his hand affectionately on his child's head, and

"Bring A-lee-lah, in welcome, my son. Your mother loved her, when she
was Wik-a-nee; and we will all love her now. Only be sure and come back
to us."

The brown eyes looked up and thanked him, with a glance that well repaid
the struggle those words had cost the wise father.

So the uncivilized youth again went forth into the wilderness, saying,
as he parted from them, "Me bring A-lee-lah." They sent her a necklace
and bracelets of many-colored beads, and bade him tell her that they
remembered Wik-a-nee, and had always kept her little basket, and that
they would love her when she came among them. Charles travelled some
distance with his brother, bought a new Indian blanket for him, and
returned with the garments he had worn during his sojourn at home. They
felt that they had acted wisely and kindly, but it was like losing
Willie again; for they all had great doubts whether he would ever

He was incapable of writing a letter, and months passed without any
tidings of him. They all began to think that the attractions of a wild
life had been strong enough to conquer his newly awakened natural
affections. Uncle George said,--

"If it prove so, we shall have the consciousness of having done right.
We could not have kept him against his will, even if we had wished to do
it. If anything will win him to our side, it will be the influence of
love and freedom."

"They are strong agencies, and I have great faith in them," replied Mr.

Summer was far advanced, when a young man and woman in Indian costume
were seen passing through the village, and people said, "There is
William Wharton come back again!" They entered the father's house like
strange apparitions. Baby Willie was afraid of them, and toddled behind
his mother, to hide his face in the folds of her gown. All the other
members of the family had talked over the subject frequently, and had
agreed how they would treat Wik-a-nee, if she came among them again. So
they kissed them both, as they stood there in their Indian blankets, and
said, "Welcome home, brother! Welcome, sister!" A-lee-lah looked at them
timidly, with her large moonlight eyes, and said, "Me no speak." Mr.
Wharton put his hand gently on her head, and said, "We will love you, my
daughter." William translated the phrase to her, heaved a sigh, which
seemed a safety-valve for too much happiness, and replied, "Me thank
father, brother, sister, all." And A-lee-lah said, "Me tank," as her
mother had said, in years long gone by.

All felt desirous to remove from her eyebrows the mass of straight black
hair, which she considered extremely becoming, but which they regarded
as a great disfigurement to her really handsome face. However, no one
expressed such an opinion, by word or look. They had previously agreed
not to manifest any distaste for Indian fashions.

Mr. Wharton, apart, remarked to Charles,--

"When you were a boy, you said Moppet would be pretty, if she wore her
hair like folks. It was true then, and is still more true now."

"Let us have patience, and we shall see her handsome face come out of
that cloud by-and-by," rejoined Uncle George. "If we prove that we
love her, we shall gain influence over her. Wild-flowers, as well as
garden-flowers, grow best in the sunshine."

Emma tried to conform to the wishes of the family in her behavior; but
she did not feel quite sure that she should ever be able to love the
young Indian. It was not agreeable to have a sister who was clothed in
a blanket and wore her hair like a Shetland pony. Cousin Bessie thought
stockings, long skirts, and a gown ought to be procured for her
immediately. Her father said,--

"Let me tell you, Bessie, it would be far more rational for you to
follow _her_ fashion about short skirts. I should like to see _you_ step
off as she does. She couldn't move so like a young deer, if she had long
petticoats to trammel her limbs."

But Bessie confidentially remarked to Cousin Emma that she thought her
father had some queer notions; to which Emma replied, that, for her
part, she thought A-lee-lah ought to dress "like folks," as Charley used
to say, when he was a boy. They could not rest till they had made a
dress like their own, and had coaxed William to persuade her to wear it.
In a tone of patient resignation, she at last said, "Me try." But she
was evidently very uncomfortable in her new habiliments. She often
wriggled her shoulders, and her limbs were always getting entangled in
the folds of her long, full skirts. She finally rebelled openly, and,
with an emphatic "Me no like," cast aside the troublesome garments and
resumed her blanket.

"I suppose she felt very much as I should feel in tight boots and white
kid gloves," said Uncle George. "You will drive them away from us, if
you interfere with them so much."

It was agreed that Aunt Mary would understand how to manage them better
than the young folks did; and the uncivilized couple were accordingly
invited to stay at their uncle's house. Emma cordially approved of this
arrangement. She told Bessie that she did hope Aunt Mary would make them
more "like folks," before the Oberlin student visited the neighborhood
again; for she didn't know what he _would_ think of some of their ways.
Bessie said,--

"I feel as if I ought to invite William and his wife to dine with us;
but if any of my husband's family should come in, I should feel _so_
mortified to have them see a woman with a blanket over her shoulders
sitting at my table! Besides, they like raw meat, and that is dreadful."

"Certainly it is not pleasant," replied her father; "but I once dined in
Boston, at a house of high civilization, where the odor of venison and
of Stilton cheese produced much more internal disturbance than I have
ever experienced from any of their Indian messes."

This philosophical way of viewing the subject was thought by some of the
neighbors to be assumed, as the best mode of concealing wounded pride.
They said, in compassionate tones, that they really did pity the
Whartons; for, let them say what they would, it must be dreadfully
mortifying to have that squaw about. But if such a feeling was ever
remotely hinted to Uncle George, he quietly replied,--

"So far from feeling ashamed of A-lee-lah, we are truly grateful to her;
and we are deeply thankful that William married her. His love for her
safely bridges over the wide chasm between his savage and his civilized
life. Without her, he could not feel at home among us; and the
probability is that we should not be able to keep him. By help of his
Indian wife, I think we shall make him contented, and finally succeed
in winning them over to our mode of life. Meanwhile, they are happy in
their own way, and we are thankful for it."

The more enlightened portion of the community commended these sentiments
as liberal and wise; but some, who were not distinguished either for
moral or intellectual culture, said, sneeringly,--

"They talk about his Indian wife! I suppose they jumped over a stick
together in some dirty wigwam, and that they call being married!"

Uncle George and Aunt Mary had been so long in the habit of regulating
their actions by their own principles, that they scarcely had a passing
curiosity to know what such neighbors thought of their proceedings. They
never wavered in their faith that persevering kindness and judicious
non-interference would gradually produce such transformations as they
desired. No changes were proposed, till they and their untutored guests
had become familiarly acquainted and mutually attached. At first, the
wild young couple were indisposed to stay much in the house. They
wandered far off into the woods, and spent most of their time in making
mats and baskets. As these were always admired by their civilized
relatives, and gratefully accepted, they were happier than
millionnaires. They talked to each other altogether in the Indian
dialect, which greatly retarded their improvement in English. But it was
thus they had talked when they first made love, and it was, moreover,
the only way in which their tongues could move unfettered. Her language
no longer sounded to William like "lingo," as he had styled it in
the boyish days when he found her wandering alone on the prairie. No
utterance of the human soul, whether in the form of language or belief,
is "lingo," when we stand on the same spiritual plane with the speaker,
and thus can rightly understand it.

The first innovation in the habits of the young Indian was brought about
by the magical power of two side-combs ornamented with colored glass. At
the first sight of them, A-lee-lah manifested admiration almost equal to
that which the scarlet peas had excited in her childish mind. Aunt Mary,
perceiving this, parted the curtain of raven hair, and fastened it on
each side with the gaudy combs. Then she led her to the glass, put her
finger on the uncovered brow, and said,--

"A-lee-lah has a pretty forehead. Aunt Mary likes to see it so."

William translated this to his simple wife, who said,--

"Aunt Mary good. Me tank."

Mr. Wharton happened to come in, and he kissed the brown forehead,

"Father likes to have A-lee-lah wear her hair so."

The conquest was complete. Henceforth, the large, lambent eyes shone in
their moonlight beauty without any overhanging cloud.

Thus adroitly, day by day, they were guided into increasing conformity
with civilized habits. After a while, it was proposed that they should
be married according to the Christian form, as they had previously been
by Indian ceremonies. No attempt was made to offer higher inducements
than the exhibition of wedding-finery, and the assurance that all
William's relatives would be made very happy, if they would conform
to the custom of his people. The bride's dress was a becoming hybrid
between English and Indian costumes. Loose trousers of emerald-green
merino were fastened with scarlet cord and tassels above gaiters of
yellow beaver-skin thickly embroidered with beads of many colors. An
upper garment of scarlet merino was ornamented with gilded buttons, on
each of which was a shining star. The short, full skirt of this garment
fell a little below the knee, and the border was embroidered with
gold-colored braid. At the waist, it was fastened with a green morocco
belt and gilded buckle. The front-hair, now accustomed to be parted,
had grown long enough to be becomingly arranged with the jewelled
side-combs, which she prized so highly. The long, glossy, black tresses
behind were gathered into massive braids, intertwined on one side with
narrow scarlet ribbon, and on the other with festoons of the identical
Guinea-peas which had so delighted her when she was Wik-a-nee. The
braids were fastened by a comb with gilded points, which made her
look like a crowned Indian queen. Emma was decidedly struck by her
picturesque appearance. She said privately to Cousin Bessie,--

"I should like such a dress myself, if other folks wore it; but don't
you tell that I said so."

Charles smiled, as he remarked to his wife,--

"The grub has come out of her blanket a brilliant butterfly. Uncle
George and Aunt Mary are working miracles."

After the wedding-ceremony had been performed, Mr. Wharton kissed the
bride, and said to the bridegroom,--

"She is handsome as a wild tulip."

"Bright as the torch-flower of the prairies," added Uncle George.

When William made these compliments intelligible to A-lee-lah, she
maintained her customary Indian composure of manner, but her brown
cheeks glowed like an amber-colored bottle of claret in the sunshine.
William, though he deemed it unmanly to give any outward signs of
satisfaction, was inwardly proud of his bride's finery, and scarcely
less pleased with his own yellow vest, blue coat, and brass buttons;
though he preferred above them all the yellow gaiters, which A-lee-lah
had skilfully decorated with tassels and bright-colored wampum.

The next politic movement was to build for them a cabin of their own,
taking care to preserve an influence over them by frequent visits and
kind attentions. They would have been very happy in the freedom of their
new home, had it not been for the intrusion of many strangers, who came
to look upon them from motives of curiosity. The universal Yankee nation
is a self-elected Investigating Committee, which never adjourns its
sessions. This is amusing, and perhaps edifying, to their own inquiring
minds; but William and A-lee-lah had Indian ideas of natural politeness,
which made them regard such invasions as a breach of good manners.

By degrees, however, the young couple became an old story, and were left
in comparative peace. The system of attraction continued to work like a
charm. As A-lee-lah was never annoyed by any assumption of superiority
on the part of her white relatives, she took more and more pains to
please them. This was manifested in many childlike ways, which were
extremely winning, though they were sometimes well calculated to excite
a smile. As years passed on, they both learned to read and write English
very well. William worked industriously on his farm, though he never
lost his predilection for hunting. A-lee-lah became almost as skilful at
her needle as she was at weaving baskets and wampum. Her talk, with its
slightly foreign arrangement, was as pretty as the unformed utterance
of a little child. Her taste for music improved. She never attained
to Italian embroidery of sound, still less to German intonations of
intellect; but the rude, monotonous Indian chants gave place to the
melodies of Scotland, Ireland, and Ethiopia. Her taste in dress changed
also. She ceased to delight in garments of scarlet and yellow, though
she retained a liking for bits of bright, warm color. Nature guided her
taste correctly in this, for they harmonized admirably with her brown
complexion and lustrous black hair. She always wore skirts shorter than
others, and garments too loose to impede freedom of motion. Bonnets were
her utter aversion, but she consented to wear a woman's riding-hat with
a drooping feather. Those outside the family learned to call her Mrs.
William Wharton; and strangers who visited the village were generally
attracted by her handsome person and the simple dignity of her manners.
Her father-in-law regarded her with paternal affection, not unmixed with

"Who, that didn't know it," said he, "could be made to believe this
fine-looking woman was once little Moppet, who coiled herself up to
sleep on the floor of our log-cabin?"

Uncle George replied,--

"You know I always told you it was the nature of all sorts of flowers to
grow, if they had plenty of genial air and sunshine."

As for A-lee-lah's little daughter, Jenny, she is universally admitted
to be the prettiest and brightest child in the village. Mr. Wharton says
her busy little mind makes him think of his Willie, at her age; and
Uncle Charles says he has no fault to find with her, for she has her
mother's beautiful eyes, and wears her hair "like folks."

       *       *       *       *       *


In the newspapers and magazines you shall see many poems--written by
women who meekly term themselves weak, and modestly profess to represent
only the weak among their sex--tunefully discussing the duties which the
weak owe to their country in days like these. The invariable conclusion
is, that, though they cannot fight, because they are not men,--or go
down to nurse the sick and wounded, because they have children to take
care of,--or write effectively, because they do not know how,--or do any
great and heroic thing, because they have not the ability,--they can
pray; and they generally do close with a melodious and beautiful prayer.
Now praying is a good thing. It is, in fact, the very best thing in the
world to do, and there is no danger of our having too much of it; but if
women, weak or strong, consider that praying is all they can or ought to
do for their country, and so settle down contented with that, they make
as great a mistake as if they did not pray at all. True, women cannot
fight, and there is no call for any great number of female nurses;
notwithstanding this, I believe, that, to-day, the issue of this war
depends quite as much upon American women as upon American men,--and
depends, too, not upon the few who write, but upon the many who do not.
The women of the Revolution were not only Mrs. Adams, Mrs. Reed,
and Mrs. Schuyler, but the wives of the farmers and shoemakers and
blacksmiths everywhere. It is not Mrs. Stowe, or Mrs. Howe, or Miss
Stevenson, or Miss Dix, alone, who is to save the country, but the
thousands upon thousands who are at this moment darning stockings,
tending babies, sweeping floors. It is to them I speak. It is they whom
I wish to get hold of; for in their hands lies slumbering the future of
this nation.

The women of to-day have not come up to the level of to-day. They do not
stand abreast with its issues. They do not rise to the height of its
great argument. I do not forget what you have done. I have beheld, O
Dorcases, with admiration and gratitude, the coats and garments, the
lint and bandages, which you have made. Tender hearts, if you could have
finished the war with your needles, it would have been finished long
ago; but stitching does not crush rebellion, does not annihilate
treason, or hew traitors in pieces before the Lord. Excellent as far as
it goes, it stops fearfully short of the goal. This ought ye to do, but
there are other things which you ought not to leave undone. The war
cannot be finished by sheets and pillow-cases. Sometimes I am tempted
to believe that it cannot be finished till we have flung them all away.
When I read of the Rebels fighting bare-headed, bare-footed, haggard,
and unshorn, in rags and filth,--fighting bravely, heroically,
successfully,--I am ready to make a burnt-offering of our stacks of
clothing. I feel and fear that we must come down, as they have done,
to a recklessness of all incidentals, down to the rough and rugged
fastnesses of life, down to the very gates of death itself, before we
shall be ready and worthy to win victories. Yet it is not so, for
the hardest fights the earth has ever known have been made by the
delicate-handed and purple-robed. So, in the ultimate analysis, it is
neither gold-lace nor rags that overpower obstacles, but the fiery
soul that consumes both in the intensity of its furnace-heat, bending
impossibilities to the ends of its passionate purpose.

This soul of fire is what I wish to see kindled in our women,--burning
white and strong and steady, through all weakness, timidity,
vacillation, treachery in Church or State or press or parlor, scorching,
blasting, annihilating whatsoever loveth and maketh a lie,--extinguished
by no tempest of defeat, no drizzle of delay, but glowing on its
steadfast path till it shall have cleared through the abomination of our
desolation a highway for the Prince of Peace.

O my country-women, I long to see you stand under the time and bear it
up in your strong hearts, and not need to be borne up through it. I wish
you to stimulate, and not crave stimulants from others. I wish you to
be the consolers, the encouragers, the sustainers, and not tremble in
perpetual need of consolation and encouragement. When men's brains are
knotted and their brows corrugated with fearful looking for and hearing
of financial crises, military disasters, and any and every form of
national calamity consequent upon the war, come you out to meet them,
serene and smiling and unafraid. And let your smile be no formal
distortion of your lips, but a bright ray from the sunshine in your
heart. Take not acquiescently, but joyfully, the spoiling of your goods.
Not only look poverty in the face with high disdain, but embrace it with
gladness and welcome. The loss is but for a moment; the gain is for all
time. Go farther than this. Consecrate to a holy cause not only the
incidentals of life, but life itself. Father, husband, child,---I do
not say, Give them up to toil, exposure, suffering, death, without
a murmur;--that implies reluctance. I rather say, Urge them to the
offering; fill them with sacred fury; fire them with irresistible
desire; strengthen them to heroic will. Look not on details, the
present, the trivial, the fleeting aspects of our conflict, but fix your
ardent gaze on its eternal side. Be not resigned, but rejoicing. Be
spontaneous and exultant. Be large and lofty. Count it all joy that
you are reckoned worthy to suffer in a grand and righteous cause. Give
thanks evermore that you were born in this time; and _because_ it is
dark, be you the light of the world.

And follow the soldier to the battlefield with your spirit. The great
army of letters that marches Southward with every morning sun is
a powerful engine of war. Fill them with tears and sighs, lament
separation and suffering, dwell on your loneliness and fears, mourn over
the dishonesty of contractors and the incompetency of leaders, doubt if
the South will ever be conquered, and foresee financial ruin, and you
will damp the powder and dull the swords that ought to deal death upon
the foe. Write as tenderly as you will. In camp, the roughest man
idealizes his far-off home, and every word of love uplifts him to a
lover. But let your tenderness unfold its sunny side, and keep the
shadows for His pity who knows the end from the beginning, and whom no
foreboding can dishearten. Glory in your tribulation. Show your soldier
that his unflinching courage, his undying fortitude, are your crown of
rejoicing. Incite him to enthusiasm by your inspiration. Make a mock of
your discomforts. Be unwearying in details of the little interests of
home. Fill your letters with kittens and Canaries, with baby's shoes,
and Johnny's sled, and the old cloak which you have turned into a
handsome gown. Keep him posted in all the village-gossip, the lectures,
the courtings, the sleigh-rides, and the singing-schools. Bring out the
good points of the world in strong relief. Tell every sweet and brave
and pleasant and funny story you can think of. Show him that you clearly
apprehend that all this warfare means peace, and that a dastardly peace
would pave the way for speedy, incessant, and more appalling warfare.
Help him to bear his burdens by showing him how elastic you are under
yours. Hearten him, enliven him, tone him up to the true hero-pitch.
Hush your plaintive _Miserere_, accept the nation's pain for penance,
and commission every Northern breeze to bear a _Te Deum laudamus_.

Under God, the only question, as to whether this war shall be conducted
to a shameful or an honorable close, is not of men or money or material
resource. In these our superiority is unquestioned. As Wellington
phrased it, there is hard pounding; but we shall pound the longest, if
only our hearts do not fail us. Women need not beat their pewter spoons
into bullets, for there are plenty of bullets without them. It is not
whether our soldiers shall fight a good fight; they have played the man
on a hundred battle-fields. It is not whether officers are or are not
competent; generals have blundered nations into victory since the world
began. It is whether this people shall have virtue to endure to the
end,--to endure, not starving, not cold, but the pangs of hope deferred,
of disappointment and uncertainty, of commerce deranged and outward
prosperity cheeked. Will our vigilance to detect treachery and our
perseverance to punish it hold out? If we stand firm, we shall be saved,
though so as by fire. If we do not, we shall fall, and shall richly
deserve to fall; and may God sweep us off from the face of the earth,
and plant in our stead a nation with the hearts of men, and not of

O women, stand here in the breach,--for here you may stand powerful,
invincible, I had almost said omnipotent. Rise now to the heights of
a sublime courage,--for the hour has need of you. When the first ball
smote the rocky sides of Sumter, the rebound thrilled from shore to
shore, and waked the slumbering hero in every human soul. Then every eye
flamed, every lip was touched with a live coal from the sacred altar,
every form dilated to the stature of the Golden Age. Then we felt in our
veins the pulse of immortal youth. Then all the chivalry of the ancient
days, all the heroism, all the self-sacrifice that shaped itself into
noble living, came back to us, poured over us, swept away the dross of
selfishness and deception and petty scheming, and Patriotism rose from
the swelling wave stately as a goddess. Patriotism, that had been to us
but a dingy and meaningless antiquity, took on a new form, a new mien, a
countenance divinely fair and forever young, and received once more the
homage of our hearts. Was that a childish outburst of excitement, or
the glow of an aroused principle? Was it a puerile anger, or a manly
indignation? Did we spring up startled pigmies, or girded giants? If
the former, let us veil our faces, and march swiftly (and silently) to
merciful forgetfulness. If the latter, shall we not lay aside every
weight, and this besetting sin of despondency, and run with patience the
race set before us?

A true philosophy and a true religion make the way possible to us. The
Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He
will; and He never yet willed that a nation strong in means and battling
for the right should be given over to a nation weak and battling for the
wrong. Nations have their future--reward and penalty--in this world;
and it is as certain as God lives that Providence _and_ the heaviest
battalions will prevail. We have had reverses, but no misfortune hath
happened unto us but such as is common unto nations. Country has been
sacrificed to partisanship. Early love has fallen away, and lukewarmness
has taken its place. Unlimited enthusiasm has given place to limited
stolidity. Disloyalty, overawed at first into quietude, has lifted its
head among us, and waxes wroth and ravening. There are dissensions
at home worse than the guns of our foes. Some that did run well have
faltered; some signal-lights have gone shamefully out, and some are
lurid with a baleful glare. But unto this end were we born, and for this
cause came we into the world. When shall greatness of soul stand forth,
if not in evil times? When the skies are fair and the seas smooth, all
ships sail festively. But the clouds lower, the winds shriek, the waves
boil, and immediately each craft shows its quality. The deep is strown
with broken masts, parted keels, floating wrecks; but here and there
a ship rides the raging sea, and flings defiance to the wind. She
overlives the sea because she is sea-worthy. Not our eighty years
of peace alone, but our two years of war are the touchstone of our
character. We have rolled our Democracy as a sweet morsel under our
tongue; we have gloried in the prosperity which it brought to the
individual; but if the comforts of men minister to the degradation of
man, if Democracy levels down and does not level up, if our era of peace
and plenty leaves us so feeble and frivolous, so childish, so impatient,
so deaf to all that calls to us from the past and entreats us in the
future, that we faint and fail under the stress of our one short effort,
then indeed is our Democracy our shame and curse. Let us show now what
manner of people we are. Let us be clear-sighted and far-sighted to see
how great is the issue that hangs upon the occasion. It is not a mere
military reputation that is at stake, not the decay of a generation's
commerce, not the determination of this or that party to power. It is
the question of the world that we have been set to answer. In the great
conflict of ages, the long strife between right and wrong, between
progress and sluggardy, through the Providence of God we are placed in
the van-guard. Three hundred years ago a world was unfolded for the
battle-ground. Choice spirits came hither to level and intrench. Swords
clashed and blood flowed, and the great reconnoissance was successfully
made. Since then both sides have been gathering strength, marshalling
forces, planting batteries, and to-day we stand in the thick of the
fray. Shall we fail? Men and women of America, will you fail? Shall the
cause go by default? When a great Idea, that has been uplifted on the
shoulders of generations, comes now to its Thermopylae, its glory-gate,
and needs only stout hearts for its strong hands,--when the eyes of a
great multitude are turned upon you, and the fates of dumb millions in
the silent future rest with you,--when the suffering and sorrowful, the
lowly, whose immortal hunger for justice gnaws at their hearts, who
blindly see, but keenly feel, by their God-given instincts, that somehow
you are working out their salvation, and the high-born, monarchs in the
domain of mind, who, standing far off, see with prophetic eye the two
courses that lie before you, one to the Uplands of vindicated Right, one
to the Valley of the Shadow of Death, alike fasten upon you their hopes,
their prayers, their tears,--will you, for a moment's bodily comfort
and rest and repose, grind all these expectations and hopes between the
upper and nether millstone? Will you fail the world in this fateful hour
by your faint-heartedness? Will you fail yourself, and put the knife to
your own throat? For the peace which you so dearly buy shall bring to
you neither ease nor rest. You will but have spread a bed of thorns.
Failure will write disgrace upon the brow of this generation, and shame
will outlast the age. It is not with us as with the South. She can
surrender without dishonor. She is the weaker power, and her success
will be against the nature of things. Her dishonor lay in her attempt,
not in its relinquishment. But we shall fail, not because of mechanics
and mathematics, but because our manhood and womanhood weighed in the
balance are found wanting. There are few who will not share in the sin.
There are none who will not share in the shame. Wives, would you hold
back your husbands? Mothers, would you keep your sons? From what? for
what? From the doing of the grandest duty that ever ennobled man, to the
grief of the greatest infamy that ever crushed him down. You would hold
him back from prizes before which Olympian laurels fade, for a fate
before which a Helot slave might cower. His country in the agony of her
death-struggle calls to him for succor. All the blood in all the ages,
poured out for liberty, poured out for him, cries unto him from the
ground. All that life has of noble, of heroic, beckons him forward.
Death itself wears for him a golden crown. Ever since the world swung
free from God's hand, men have died,--obeying the blind fiat of Nature;
but only once in a generation comes the sacrificial year, the year
of jubilee, when men march lovingly to meet their fate and die for a
nation's life. Holding back, we transmit to those that shall come after
us a blackened waste. The little one that lies in his cradle will be
accursed for our sakes. Every child will be base-born, springing from
ignoble blood. We inherited a fair fame, and bays from a glorious
battle; but for him is no background, no stand-point. His country will
be a burden on his shoulders, a blush upon his cheek, a chain about his
feet. There is no career for the future, but a weary effort, a long, a
painful, a heavy-hearted struggle to lift the land out of its slough of
degradation and set it once more upon a dry place.

Therefore let us have done at once and forever with paltry
considerations, with talk of despondency and darkness. Let compromise,
submission, and every form of dishonorable peace be not so much as
named among us. Tolerate no coward's voice or pen or eye. Wherever the
serpent's head is raised, strike it down. Measure every man by the
standard of manhood. Measure country's price by country's worth, and
country's worth by country's integrity. Let a cold, clear breeze sweep
down from the mountains of life, and drive out these miasmas that befog
and beguile the unwary. Around every hearthstone let sunshine gleam. In
every home let fatherland have its altar and its fortress. From every
household let words of cheer and resolve and high-heartiness ring
out, till the whole land is shining and resonant in the bloom of its
awakening spring.


  I asked a holy man one day,
  "Where is the one true church, I pray?"

  "Go round the world," said he, "and search:
  No man hath found the one true church."

  I pointed to a spire, cross-crowned.
  "The church is false!" he cried, and frowned.

  But, murmuring he had told me wrong,
  I pointed to the entering throng.

  He answered, "If a church be true,
  It hath not many, but a few."

  Around the font the people pressed,
  And crossed themselves from brow to breast.

  "A cross!" he cried, "writ on the brow
  In water!--is it Christ's?--look thou!

  "Each forehead, frowning, sheds it off:
  Christ's cross abides through scowl and scoff."

  Then, looking through the open door,
  We saw men kneeling on the floor;

  Faint candles, by the daylight dimmed,--
  Like wicks the foolish virgins trimmed;

  Fair statues of the saints, as white
  As now their robes are, in God's light;

  Sun-ladders, dropped aslant, all gold,--
  Like stairs the angels trod of old.

  Around, above, from nave to roof,
  He gazed, and said, in sad reproof,--

  "Alas! who is it understands
  God's temple is not made with hands?"

  --We walked along a shaded way,
  Beneath the apple-blooms of May,

  And came upon a church whose dome
  Bore still the cross, but not for Rome.

  We brushed a cobweb from a pane,
  And gazed within the sacred fane

  "Do prayers," he asked, "the more avail,
  If murmured nigh an altar-rail?

  "Does water sprinkled from a bowl
  Wash any sin from any soul?

  "Do tongues that taste the bread and wine
  Speak truer after, by that sign?

  "The very priest, in gown and bands,
  Hath lying lips and guilty hands!"

  "He speaks no error," answered I;
  "He says the living all shall die,

  "The dead all rise; and both are true;
  Both wholesome doctrines,--old, not new."

  My friend returned, "He aims a blow
  To strike the sins of long ago,--

  "Yet shields, the while, with studied phrase,
  The evil present in these days.

  "Doth God in heaven impute no crime
  To prophets who belie their time?"

  --We turned away among the tombs:
  The bees were in the clover-blooms;

  The crickets leaped to let us pass;
  And God's sweet breath was on the grass.

  We spelled the legends on the stones:
  The graves were full of martyrs' bones,--

  Of bodies which the rack once brake
  In witness for the dear Lord's sake,--

  Of ashes gathered from the pyres
  Of saints whose souls fled up through fires.

  I heard him murmur, as we passed,
  "Thus won they all the crown at last;

  "Which now men lose, through looking back
  To find it at the stake and rack:

  "The rack and stake have gathered grime:
  God's touchstone is the passing time."

  --Just then, amid some olive-sprays,
  Two orioles perched, and piped their lays,

  Until the gold beneath their throats
  Shook molten in their mellow notes.

  Then, pealing from the church, a psalm
  Rolled forth upon the outer calm.

  "Both choirs," said I, "are in accord;
  For both give worship to the Lord."

  Said he, "The tree-top song, I fear,
  Fled first and straightest to God's ear.

  "If men bind other men in chains,
  Then chant, doth God accept the strains?

  "Do loud-lipped hymns His ear allure?--
  God hates the church that harms the poor!"

  --Then rose a meeting-house in view,
  Of bleached and weather-beaten hue,

  Where, plain of garb and pure of heart,
  Men kept the church and world apart,

  And sat in waiting for the light
  That dawns upon the inner sight;

  Nor did they vex the silent air
  With any sound of hymn or prayer;

  But on their lips God's hand was pressed,
  And each man kissed it and was blessed.

  I asked, "Is this the true church, then?"
  "Nay," answered he, "a sect of men:

  "And sects that lock their doors in pride
  Shut God and half His saints outside.

  "The gates of heaven, the Scriptures say,
  Stand open wide by night and day:

  "Whoso shall enter hath no need
  To walk by either church or creed:

  "The false church leadeth men astray;
  The true church showeth men the way."

  --Whereat I still more eager grew
  To shun the false and find the true;

  And, naming all the creeds, I sought
  What truth, or lie, or both, they taught:

  Thus,--"Augustine--had _he_ a fault?"
  My friend looked up to yon blue vault,

  And cried, "Behold! can one man's eyes
  Bound all the vision of the skies?"

  I said, "The circle is too wide."
  "God's truth is wider," he replied;

  "And Augustine, on bended knee,
  Saw just the little he could see;

  "So Luther sought with eyes and heart,
  Yet caught the glory but in part;

  "So Calvin opened wide his soul,
  Yet could not comprehend the whole:

  "Not Luther, Calvin, Augustine,
  Saw half the vision I have seen!"

  --Then grew within me a desire
  That kindled like a flame of fire.

  I looked upon his reverent brow,
  Entreating, "Tell me, who art thou?"

  When, by the light that filled the place,
  I knew it was the Lord's own face!

  Through all my blood a rapture stole
  That filled my body and my soul.

  I was a sinner and afraid:
  I bowed me in the dust and prayed:--

  "O Christ the Lord I end Thou my search,
  And lead me to the one true church!"

  Then spake He, not as man may speak:
  "The one true church thou shalt not seek;

  "Behold, it is enough," He said,
  "To find the one true Christ, its Head!"

  Then straight He vanished from my sight,
  And left me standing in the light.




Two years passed; and Swan Day was to all appearance no nearer his
return to the land of his birth than when he first trod the deck that
bore him away from it. He was still on the first round of the high
ladder to fortune. Thus far he had wrought diligently and successfully.
He had been sent hither and thither: from Canton to Hong-Kong; from
Macao to Ningpo and Shanghai. He was clerk, supercargo, anything that
the interest of the Company demanded. He worked with a will. His
thoughts were full of tea, silks, and lacquered ware,--of exquisite
carved ivory and wonderful porcelains,--of bamboos, umbrellas, and
garden-chairs,--of Hong-Hi, Ching-Ho, and Fi-Fo-Fum.

There were moments, between the despatch of one vessel and the lading of
another, when his mind would follow the sun, as it blazed along down out
of sight of China, and fast on its way towards the Fox farm,--when an
intense longing seized him to look once again on the shady nest of all
his hopes and labors. He hated the life he led. He hated the noisy
Tartar women that surrounded him,--aquatic and disgusting as
crawfish,--brown, stupid, and leering. He hated the feline yawling of
their music. He hated the yellow water, swarming with boats, and settled
with junks. He hated their pagodas, and their hideous effigies of their
ancestors, looking like dumb idols. Their bejewelled Buddhas, their
incense-lamps, their night and day, were alike odious to him.

Stretched on a bamboo chair, in an interval of labor, and when the
intense heat brought comparative stillness, before his closed eyes came
often up his home among the New-Hampshire hills. He thought of his dead
mother in the burying-ground, and the slate stones standing in the
desolate grass. Then his thoughts ran eagerly back to the Fox farm,
and the sweet, lonely figure that stood watching his return under the
pear-tree,--the warm kiss of happy meeting, life opening fair, and a
long vista through which the sunlight peeped all the more brightly for
the shadowing trees.

Then over the farm, broad and bountiful, scanning every detail of the
large red house, the great barns and sheds, the flocks of turkeys,
and the geese, kept for feathers, and not dreamed of for eating. (Our
Puritan fathers held neither to Christmas nor Christmas goose.) Through
the path up by the well-sweep, where the moss-covered bucket hangs
dripping with the purest of water. Beyond the corn-barn to the
butternut-trees,--by this time, they have dropped their rich, oily
fruit; and the chestnut-burrs, split open, and lying on the sunny
ground. Then round to the house again, where the slant October sun
shines in at the hospitable open door, where the little wheel burrs
contentedly, and the loom goes _flap-flap_, as the strong arm of Cely
Temple presses the cloth together, and throws the shuttle past, like
lightning: stout cloth for choppers and ploughmen comes out of that

In all his peepings at the interior of the house, one figure has
accompanied him, beautified and glorified the place; so that, whether he
looks into the buttery, where fair, round cheeses fill the shelves, or
wanders up the broad stairs with wide landings to the "peacock chamber,"
he seems to himself always to be going over a temple of sweet and sacred
recollections. Into the peacock chamber, therefore, his soul may wander,
where the walls are sparsely decked with black-and-white sketches, ill
displaying the glorious plumage of the bird, and, like all old pictures,
very brown,--even to the four-posted bed, whitely dressed, and heaped to
a height that would defy "the true princess" to feel a pea through it,
and the white toilet-table, neatly ornamented with a holder and a pair
of scissors, both sacred from common usage. Asparagus in the chimney,
with scarlet berries. General Washington, very dingy and respectable,
over the fireplace; and two small circular frames, inclosing the Colonel
and his wife in profile. The likenesses are nearly exact, and the two
noses face each other as if in an argument. Dutch tiles are set round
the fireplace, of odd Scripture scenes, common in design and coarse in
execution. Into the "square room" below, where the originals of the
black profiles sit and smoke their pipes, Swan does not care to venture.
But some day, he will show the Colonel!

Many days, these thoughts came to Swan. Months, alas, years, they
came,--but few and far between. The five thousand dollars that was to
have been the summit was soon only the footstool of his ambition. He
became partner, and then head of a house having commercial relations
with half the world. His habits assimilated themselves to the country
about him, and the cool, green pictures of his mountain-home ceased to
float before his sleeping eyes or soothe his waking fancies.

His busy life left him little opportunity for reading. But he took in
much knowledge at first-hand by observation, which was perhaps better;
and as he hit against all sorts of minds, he became in time somewhat
reflective and philosophical. Through daily view of the yellow water,
and perhaps the glare of the bright sun on it, or the sight of so much
nankeen cloth, or the yellow faces about him, perhaps,--or whatever the
cause or causes,--Swan certainly altered in his personal appearance, as
the years went by. The handsome, erect youth, lithe and active, with
keen features and brilliant eyes, ruddy lips and clear oval face, was
gradually fading and transforming into something quite different. The
brilliant eyes became sleepy, and, from a habit of narrowing the lids
over them, possibly to shut out the bright sun, receded more and more
beyond the full and flaccid cheeks, and even contracted a Mongolian
curve at the outer corners.

One May morning Swan sat alone in his Chinese-furnished room,
luxuriously appointed, as became him, on his silk, shaded ottoman, and
dreamily fanned himself. His dreams were of nothing more than what
occupied him waking. If he glanced upward, he would see the delicate
silk curtains at the windows, and the mirrors of polished steel between
the carved ivory lattices. Great porcelain vases, such as are never seen
here, were disposed about the room, and jars of flowers of strange
hues stood on mats of yellow wool. Furniture inlaid with ivory,
mother-of-pearl, and coral, decked the apartment, and a small, rich
table held an exquisite tea-set. Swan had just been drinking from it,
and the room was full of the fragrance. He toyed with the tea-cup, and
half dozed. Then, rousing himself, he put fresh tea from the canister
into the cup, and poured boiling water over it from the mouth of the
fantastic dragon. Covering the cup, he dallied languidly with the
delicious beverage, and with the half-thoughts, half-musings, that
came with the dreamy indolence of the weather. Was it, indeed, ten
years,--ten,--nay, fifteen years, that he had lived this China-life?

The door swung softly open, and a servant brought a note, and stood
waiting for him to read it.

Swan glanced disdainfully at the object, which he could never quite
consider human,--at his white and blue petticoats, and his effeminate
face, so sleepy and so mindless, as if he expected him to turn into a
plate or sugar-bowl, or begin flying in the air across some porcelain
river, and alighting on the pinnacle of a pagoda.

"Hong man, he outside," said the servant.

"Show him in, you stupid fool!" said the master, "and get out of the
room with yourself!"


The Hong merchant's intelligence proved at once to Swan Day the absolute
necessity of his return to America to protect the interests of the
Company in Boston. With the promptitude which had thus far been one of
the chief elements of his success, he lost not a moment in (so to speak)
changing his skin, for the new purpose of his existence.

It seemed as if with the resumption of the dress of his native
country, (albeit of torrid texture still, since a chocolate silk coat,
embroidered waistcoat, and trousers of dark satin speak to a modern ear
of fashions as remote as China,) Swan resumed many of the habits and
feelings therewith connected. With the flowing flowered robe he cast off
forever the world to which it belonged, and his pulse beat rapidly and
joyfully as the sails filled with the breeze that bore him away. He
gazed with a disdainful pleasure at the receding shore, and closed his
eyes,--to turn his back fairly and forever on the Chew-Sins and the
Wu-Wangs,--to let the Hang dynasty go hang,--to shut out from all
but future fireside-tales the thought of varnish-trees, soap-trees,
tallow-trees, wax-trees, and litchi,--never more to look on the land of
the rhinoceros, the camel, the elephant, and the ape,--on the girls with
thick, protuberant lips, copper skins, and lanky, black hair,--on the
corpulent gentry with their long talons, and madams tottering on their
hoofs, reminding him constantly of the animal kingdom, as figured to
imagination in childhood, of the rat that wanted his long tail again, or
of the horse that will never win a race,--on the land of lanterns and
lying, of silver pheasants and--of scamps.

The faster the good ship sailed, the stronger the east-wind blew,
the swifter ran the life-current in the veins of the returning
exile,--friend, countryman, lover.

As the vessel neared the coast of Massachusetts, and the land-breeze
brought to his eager nostrils the odors of his native orchards, or the
aromatic fragrance of the pine, and the indescribable impression, on all
his senses, of home, the fresh love of country rushed purely through his
veins, bubbled warmly about the place where his heart used to beat, and
rose to his brain in soft, sweet imaginations. Vivid pictures of past
and future; identical in all their essential features, swam before his
closed eyes, languid now from excess of pleasure. Again and again he
drew in the breath of home, and felt it sweeter than the gales from the
Spice Islands or odors from Araby the Blest. Hovering before his fancy,
came sweet eyes, full of bewildering light, half-reproachful, half-sad,
and all-bewitching; a form of such exquisite grace that he wondered not
it swam and undulated before him; over all, the rose-hue of youth, and
the smooth, sweet charm of lip and hand that memory brought him, in that
last timid caress under the pear-tree after sunset.

As soon as he could possibly so arrange his affairs in Boston as to
admit of his taking a journey to Walton, Swan determined to do so. But
affairs will not always consent to an arrangement; and although he
exerted himself to gain a week's leisure, it was not till the Indian
summer was past that he took his place in the stage-coach which plied
between Boston and Walton.

How very short seemed the time since he was last on this road! Yet how
much had things changed! Fifteen years! Was it possible he had been gone
so long? How rapidly they had gone over himself! He felt scarcely a day
older. The stage-coach was aptly termed "Accommodation," and Swan had
great amusement, as he sat with the driver on the box, in noting the
differences in the aspect of houses and people, since his own last ride
over the same road. New villages had sprung up here and there, while
already more than one manufacturing establishment showed the Northern
tendencies; and the elements of progress peeped from every settlement,
in the shape of meeting- and school-houses.

When the driver whipped up his modest team to an animated trot before
the Eagle Hotel in Walton, Swan felt as if he must have been in a dream
only, and had just now awakened. Walton was one of those New-Hampshire
towns, of which there came afterwards to be many, which were said "to be
good to go _from_"; accordingly, everybody had gone everywhere, except
the old inhabitants and the children. All the youths had gone towards
"the pleasant Ohio, to settle on its banks"; and such maidens as had
courage to face a pioneer settlement followed their chosen lords,
while the less enterprising were fain to stay at home and bewail
their singlehood. All business was necessarily stagnant, and all the
improvements, architectural or otherwise, which had marked the route on
which Swan had come, now seemed suddenly to have ceased. He might have
thought Walton the Enchanted Palace, and himself the Fairy-Prince that
was to waken to life and love the Sleeping Beauty.

How unchanged was everything! The store where he used to sell crockery
and pins,--the great elm-tree in front of it,--the old red tavern on the
hill, where they had the Thanksgiving ball,--the houses, from one end of
the street to the other, all just as when he left: he might have found
his way in the dark to every one of them.

At the Eagle Tavern, the same men sat on the stoop, with chairs tilted
back, smoking. A man in the bar-room was mixing flip or gin-sling for
two others, who were playing checkers. Taft himself stood at the door,
somewhat changed indeed, though he was always fat, but with the same
ready smile as ever; and Swan could see through the windows, by
the bright candle-light, the women flitting to and fro, in brisk
preparations for supper.

Swan's first touch of surprise was that Taft did not recognize him,--him
whom he used to see every day of his life! That was strange. It looked
as if time told on Taft's faculties a little. He had himself recognized
Taft in a moment. So he had recognized everything, as they drove along,
and now how familiar everything looked in the evening light!

Wrapping his travelling-cloak about him, Swan asked to be shown directly
to his room, and, in his anxiety to avoid being recognized, ordered
a light supper to be sent up to him. First of all, he wanted to see
Dorcas, to settle affairs with Colonel Fox, and to feel established.
Until then, he cared not to see or talk with his old acquaintances. It
would be time enough afterwards to take them by the hand,--to employ
them, perhaps. And as it takes almost no time to think, before he was
half-way up the stairs, Swan Day had got as far as the erection of a
superb country-seat on the hill where the old Cobb house stood, and of
employing a dozen smart young carpenters and masons of his acquaintance
in the village. The garden should have a pagoda in it; and one room in
the house should be called the "China room," and should be furnished
exclusively with Chinese tables and chairs; and he would have a
brilliant lantern-_fête_, and----Here he reached the top-stair, and the
little maid pointed to his room, curtsied, and ran away.

Swan dropped his cloak, snuffed the candle, and, sitting down before the
pleasant wood-fire that had been hastily lighted, proceeded to make his
own tea, by a new Invention for Travellers.

As people are not changed so quickly as they expect and intend to be
by circumstances, it came to pass that Swan Day's plans for elegant
expenditure in his native town soon relapsed, perhaps under the
influence of the Chinese herb, into old channels and plans for
acquisition. The habit of years was a little too strong for him to turn
short round and pour out what he had been for so many years garnering
in. Rather, perhaps, keep in the tread-mill of business awhile longer,
and then be the nabob in earnest. At present, who knew what these
mutterings in the political atmosphere portended? A war with England
seemed inevitable, and that at no distant period. It might be better
to retire on a limited certainty; but then there was also the manful
struggle for a splendid possibility.

A neat-handed maid brought in a tray, with the light Supper he had

The sight of four kinds of pies, with cold turkey and apple-sauce,
brought the Fox farm and its inhabitants more vividly to his mind than
anything else he had seen. Pumpkin of the yellowest, custard of
the richest, apple of the spiciest, and mince that was one mass of
appetizing dainty, filled the room with the flavor of by-gone memories.
Every sense responded to them. The fifteen years that had hung like a
curtain of mist before him suddenly lifted, and he saw the view beyond,
broad, bountiful, and cheery, under the sunshine of love, hope, and
plenty. He closed his eyes, and the flavor filled his soul, as sweet
music makes the lover faint with happiness.

He took out his writing-materials, and wrote,--

"My DEAREST, SWEETEST DORCAS,--Never for one instant has the thought of
you left my heart, since"----

"That's a lie, to begin with!" said he, coolly, and throwing the paper
into the fire,--"try again!"

"DEAREST DORCAS,--I feel and I know what you may possibly think of me
by this time,--that you may possibly imagine me false to the vows which

It will be perceived that Swan had improved in rhetoric, since the day
he parted from his lady-love. Still he could not satisfy himself in a
letter. In short, he felt that expression outran the reality, however
modestly and moderately chosen. Some vividness, some fervency, he must
have, of course. But how in the world to get up the requisite definition
even to the words he could conscientiously use? The second attempt
followed the first.

Swan Day is not the first man who has found himself mistaken in matters
of importance. In his return to his native country, and the scenes of
his early life, he had taken for granted the evergreen condition of his
sentiments. Like the reviving patient in epilepsy, who declares he has
never for an instant lost his consciousness, while the bystanders have
witnessed the dead fall, and taken note of the long interval,--so this
sojourner of fifteen years in strange lands felt the returning pulse of
youth, without thought of the lapsing time that bridges over all gulfs
of emotion, however deep.

In fact, that part of his nature which had been in most violent action
fifteen years before had been lying as torpid under Indian suns as if it
had been dead indeed; and his sense of returning vitality was mixed with
curious speculations about his own sensations.

He dropped the pen, and placed his feet on the top of the high stuffed
easy-chair which adorned the room. This inverted personal condition
relieved his mystification somewhat, or perhaps brought his whole nature
more into harmony.

"Dorcas!--hm! hm!--fifteen years! so it is!--ah! she must be sadly
changed indeed! At thirty, a woman is no longer a wood-nymph. Even more
than thirty she must be."

He removed his feet from their elevation, and carefully arranged a
different scaffolding out of the materials before him, by placing
a cricket on the table, and his feet on the cricket. To do this
effectually and properly required the removal of the four pies, and the
displacement of the cold turkey.

But Swan was mentally removing far greater and more serious
difficulties. By the time he had asked himself one or two questions, and
had answered them, such as, "Whether, all the conditions being changed,
I am to be held to my promise?" and the like, he had placed one foot
carefully up. Then, before conscience had time to trip him up, the other
foot followed, and he found himself firmly posted.

"I will write a note to-morrow,--put it into the post-office----No,
that won't do; in these places, nobody goes to the post-office once a
week;--I'll send a note to the house."

Here he warmed up.

"A note, asking her to meet me under the great pear-tree, as we
met----It is, by Jove! just fifteen years to-morrow night since I left
Walton! That's good! it will help on some"----

The little maid here interrupted his meditations by coming for the
relics of the supper; and Swan, weary with unwonted thought, dropped
the paper curtains, and plunged, body and soul, into fifty pounds of
live-geese feathers.


The great clock in the dining-room whirred out twelve strokes before
Swan opened his eyes. As soon as the eyes took in the principal features
of the apartment, which process his mental preoccupation had hindered
the night before, he was as much at home as if he had never left Walton.

The great beam across the low room,--the little window-panes,--the
rag-carpet, made of odds and ends patriotically arranged to represent
the American eagle holding stars and stripes in his firm and bounteous
claws, with an open beak that seemed saying,--"Here they be!--'cordin'
as you behave yourselves!--stars _or_ stripes!"--all within was more
familiar to his eye than household words, for it was the old room he had
occupied the year before he left America. He stepped quickly across the
chamber to a certain beam, where he had, fifteen years before, written
four initial letters, and intertwined them so curiously that the Gordian
knot was easy weaving in comparison. The Gordian one was cut;--and this
had been painted and effaced forever.

Swan returned to his trunk with a half-sigh. He selected a suit
of clothes which he had purchased in Boston, put aside his
travelling-dress, and looked out of the window occasionally as he
dressed. It was a warm, sunny day. The Indian summer had relented and
come back to take one more peep, before winter should shut the door on
all the glowing beauty of the year. A dozen persons were crossing the
street. He knew every one of them at sight. Of course there was no
forgetting old Dan Sears, with whom he had forty times gone a-fishing;
nor Phil Sanborn, who had stood behind the counter with him two years
at the old store. Though Phil had grown stout, there was the same look.
There was the old store, too, looking exactly as it did when he went
away, the sign a little more worn in the gilding. He seemed to smell the
mingled odors of rum, salt-fish, and liquorice, with which every beam
and rafter was permeated. And there was old Walsh going home drunk this
minute! with a salt mackerel, as usual, for his family-dinner.

He wrote a short note as he dressed and shaved leisurely. The note was
to Dorcas, and only said,--"Meet me under the old pear-tree before
sunset tonight,"--and was signed with his initials. This note he at
first placed on the little mantel-shelf in plain sight, so that he
should not forget to take it down-stairs when he went to breakfast.
Afterwards he put it into his pocket-book.

His dress----But the dress of 1811 has not arrived at the picturesque,
and could never be classical under any circumstances. He finished his
toilet, and went into the dining-room just as everybody else had dined,
and asked the landlord what he could have for breakfast. Even then, the
landlord hardly looked curious. Taft was certainly failing. In five
minutes he found himself at a well-known little table, with the
tavern-staple for odd meals, ham and eggs, flanked with sweetmeats and
cake, just as he remembered of old. He nibbled at the sharp barberries
lying black in the boiled molasses, and listened eagerly to the talk
about British aggressions which was going on in the bar-room. Suddenly a
face looked in at the low window.

Swan sprang forward, kicked over his chair, and knocked the earthen
pepper-box off the table. Before he reached the window, however, the
shadow had passed round the corner of the house, out of sight.

It was only a youthful figure, surmounted by a broad-brimmed straw hat,
that half hid two sweet, sparkling eyes. Ah! but they were Dorcas's

He picked up the pepper-box, and mechanically sifted its contents into
the barberry-dish.

Dorcas's eyes,--lips,--cheeks,--and waving grace! A rocking movement, a
sort of beating, bounding, choking emotion, made the room suddenly dark,
and he fell heavily into a chair.

The landlord opened the door, and said,--

"The hoss and shay ready, any time."

Swan roused himself, and drove away, without speaking to any of the
smoking loungers on the stoop, to whom he was as if he had never been
born. But this, from his preoccupied state, did not strike him as
singular. One little voice, a bird's voice, as he drove along through
the pine woods, sang over and over the same tune,--"Dorcas! Dorcas!"

The silence of the road, when all animated Nature slept in the warm noon
of the late autumn day, when even the wheels scarcely sounded on the
dead pine-spears, made this solitary voice, like Swan's newly awakened
memory, all but angelic.

The sadness, which, through all the beauty of a New-England November,
whispers in the fallen leaves, and through the rustle of the firs,
overspread Swan's soul, not yet strengthened as well as freshened by his
native air. He was melancholy and half stunned. He had been frightened,
as he sat in the chair, by the capacity for enjoyment and suffering that
was left in him. And he peered curiously into his own soul, as if the
sensibilities locked up there belonged to somebody else. Impulsively
he turned his horse towards the graveyard,--forgetting that he had all
along intended to go there,--and fastening him at the broken gate, went
on till he reached his mother's grave. Before his departure he had set
up a slate stone to her memory and that of Robert Day, a soldier in the
English army.

"She shall have a marble monument now, poor mother!" thought the son,
picking his way through the long, tangled grass of the dreary place. Not
a tree, not a shrub in sight. Not even the sward kept carefully. The
slate had fallen flat, or, more likely, had been thrown down, and no
hand had cared to raise again a stone to the memory of a despised enemy,
who had never been even seen in Walton.

When Swan tried to move the stone, a thousand ugly things swarmed from
beneath it. He dropped it, shuddering, and passed on. A white marble
tablet of some pretension stood near, and recorded the names of




  _They died the, same day and their bones rest
  here, till the final resurrection_.

He glanced at the date,--

  JUNE 14th, 1805.

And he had never heard of it!--never guessed it! But then, he had not
heard at all from Dorcas. Poor Dorcas! how had she borne this sudden and
terrible bereavement? All that he might have been to her in her sorrow,
for one moment all that he had _not_ been, floated by him. The yellow
melted away that had so long incrusted his soul, and he felt on his
bared breast, as it were, the fresh air of truth and constancy,--of all
that makes life worth the having.

He drove away,--away over the broad fields and the well-remembered
meadows, out upon the Dummerston road, and over the Ridge Hill. Well,
life was not all behind him!

He took out his watch. It was time to keep his appointment. He left
the horse at the tavern-door, and walked up the road towards the
trysting-place, the old pear-tree. He looked wistfully at it, and sprang
over the wall, with considerable effort, as he could not but admit
to himself. That old pear-tree! They had called it old fifteen years
ago,--and here it stood, as proud and strong as then! The two great
branches that stretched towards the south, and which he had often
thought had something benignant in their aspect, as if they would bless
the wayfarer or the sojourner under their shade, still reached forth
and spread abroad their strong arms. But to-night, whether from his own
excited imagination, or because the early frosts had stripped it of
its leaves and so bereaved it of all that gave grace to its aspect, or
perhaps from the deepening twilight,--however it was, the old tree had a
different expression, and stretched forth two skeleton arms with a sort
of half-warning, half-mocking gesture, that sent a shudder over his
frame, already disturbed by the successive presence, in the last two or
three hours, of more emotions than he could comfortably sustain.

Swan was not an imaginative person. Yet the tree looked to him like
a living, sentient thing, dooming him and warning him. As in the
compression of the brain in drowning, it is said forgotten memories are
hustled uppermost, and the events of early life vividly written on
the consciousness,--so in this unwonted stir of past and present
associations, Swan found himself remembering, with a thrill of pleasure
that was chased by a spasm of pain, the last evening on which he had
parted from Dorcas. He remembered, as if it were but now, how he had
turned towards the pear-tree, when Dorcas had gone out of sight and he
dared not follow her, and that the pear-tree had seemed to hear, to see,
to sympathize with him,--that it had spread out great blessing arms on
the southern air, and had seemed to encourage and strengthen his hopes
of a happy return.

Was the fearful expression it now wore a shadow, a forerunner of what he
might expect? He shook off, with an effort that was less painful than
the sufferance of the thought, both fears and prognostics. He turned his
back and walked rapidly and uneasily up and down the path between the
tree and the old well.

He had left Dorcas blooming, lovely, and twenty-two. As blooming, as
lovely, as lithe, and as sparkling, she was now. His own eyes had seen
the vision.

But would she remember and love him still? For the first time it
occurred to him that he must himself be somewhat changed,--changed
certainly, since old Taft did not recognize him, after all the hogsheads
of rum he had sold him! For the first time he felt a little thrill of
fear, lest Dorcas should have been inconstant,--or lest, seeing him now,
she might not love him as she once did. A faint blush passed over his

He raised his eyes, and Dorcas stood before him at the distance of a few
feet: the bloom on her delicate cheek the same,--the dimpled chin, the
serene forehead, the arch and laughing eyes!

Somehow, she seemed like a ghost, too; for, when he stepped towards her,
she retreated, keeping the same distance between them.

"Dorcas!" said Swan, imploringly.

"What do you want of me?" answered a sweet voice, trembling and low.

"Are you really Dorcas? really, really _my_ Dorcas?" said Swan, in an
agony of uncertain emotion.

"To be sure I am Dorcas!" answered the girl, in a half-terrified,
half-petulant tone.

In a moment she darted up the path out of sight, just as Dorcas had done
on the last night he had seen her!

Had he kept the kiss on his lips with which he had parted from
her,--that kiss which, to him at least, had been one of betrothal?

The short day was nearly dead. In the gloom of the darkening twilight,
Swan stood leaning against the old tree and looking up the path where
the figure had disappeared, doubting whether a vision had deluded his
senses or not.

Was Dorcas indeed separated from him? Was there no bringing back the
sweet, olden time of love to her? She had seemed to shrink from him and
fade out of sight. Could she never indeed love him again?

It was getting dark. But for the great, broad moon, that just then shone
out from behind the Ridge Hill, he would not have seen another figure
coming down the path from the house. Swan felt as if he had lived a long
time in the last half-hour.

A woman walked cautiously towards him, apparently proceeding to the
well. She stooped a little, and a wooden hoop round her person supported
a pail on each side, which she had evidently come to fill. It was no
angel that came to trouble the fountain to-night. She pulled down the
chained bucket with a strong, heavy sweep, and the beam rose high in the
air, with the stone securely fastened to the end. While she drew up and
poured the water into the pails, she looked several times covertly at
the stranger. The stranger, on his part, scanned her as closely. She
belonged to the house, he thought. Probably she had come to live on
the Fox farm at the death of the old people,--to take care of Dorcas,
possibly. Again he scanned her curiously.

The face was an ordinary one. A farmer's wife, even of the well-to-do,
fore-handed sort, had many cares, and often heavy labors. Fifty years
ago, inventive science had given no assistance to domestic labor, and
all household work was done in the hardest manner. This woman might
have had her day of being good-looking, possibly. But the face, even by
moonlight, was now swarthy with exposure; the once round arm was dark
and sinewy; and the plainly parted hair was confined and concealed by
a blue-and-white handkerchief knotted under her chin. The forehead
was freely lined; and the lips opened, when they did open, on dark,
unfrequent teeth. These observations Swan made as he moved forward to
speak to her; for there was no special expressiveness or animation to
relieve the literal stamp of her features.

"Can you tell me, Madam,--hem!--who lives now on this place? It used to
belong to Colonel Fox, I think."

He called her "Madam" at a venture, though she might, for all he could
see, be a "help" on the farm. But it wasn't Cely, nor yet Dinah.

At the sound of his voice the woman's whole expression changed. Her
quick eyes fell back into a look of dreamy inquiry and softness. She
dropped her pails to the ground, and stood, fenced in by the hoop, like
a statue of bewilderment,--if such a statue could be carved.

Was his face transfigured in the moonlight, as she slowly gathered up
old memories, and compared the form before her with the painted shadows
of the past? She answered not a word, but clasped her hands tightly
together, and bent her head to listen again to the voice.

"I say! good _woman_!"--this time with a raised tone, for he thought she
might be deaf,--"is not this the old Fox farm? Please tell me who lives
here now. The family are dead, I think."

The woman opened her clenched hands and spread the palms outward and
upward. Then, in a low tone of astonishment, she said,--

"Good Lord o' mercy! if it a'n't him!"

He moved nearer, and put his hand on her shoulder to reassure her.

"To be sure it is, my good soul. Don't be frightened. I give you my
word, I am myself, and nobody else. And pray, now, who may you be? Do
you live here?" he added, with a short laugh.

He addressed her jocosely; for he saw the poor frightened thing would
never give him the information he wanted, unless he could contrive to
compose her. It was odd, too, that he should frighten everybody so.
Dorcas had hurried off like a lapwing.

"Swan Day!" said the woman, softly.

"That is my name, Goody! But I am ashamed to say, I don't remember you.
Pray, did you live here when I went away?"

"Yes," said she, softly again, and this time looking into his eyes.

"Tell me, then, if you can tell me, whose hands this farm fell into? Who
owns the place? Has it gone out of the family? Where is Dorcas Fox?"

He spoke hastily, and held her by the arm, as if he feared she would
slide away in the moonlight.

"Dorcas Fox is here, Swan. I am Dorcas."

"You? you Dorcas Fox?" said he, roughly. "Was it a ghost I saw?" he
murmured,--"or is this a ghost?"

He had seen a bud, fresh, dewy, and blooming; and now he brushed away
from his thought the wilted and brown substitute. Not a line of the
face, not a tone of the voice, did he remember.

"Don't you see anything about me, Swan,--anything that reminds you of
Dorcas Fox?" said the woman, eagerly, and clasping her hands again.

His eyes glared at her in the moonlight, as he exclaimed,--

"No, my God! not a feature!"


"Well, I expect I be changed, Swan," said Dorcas, sadly.

She said nothing about his change; and, besides, she had recognized him.

"They say my Dorcas favors me, and looks as I used to. Come, come up to
the house; Mr. Mowers'll be glad to see you. You don't know how many
times we've talked you over, and wondered if ever you'd come back! But,
dear sakes! you can't think what a kind of a shock you give me, Swan!
Why, I expected nothin' but what you was dead, years ago!"

Here was a pretty expression of sentiment! Swan only answered,

"Did you?" and rubbed his eyes to wake himself up.

They walked slowly towards the house. The great red walls stood staring
and peaceful, as of old, and the milkers were coming in from the
farmyard with their pails foaming and smoking, as they used to do
fifteen years before. In the door-way, with his pipe in his mouth, stood
Henry Mowers, the monarch of all he surveyed. He had come, by marriage,
to own the Fox farm of twelve hundred acres. He had woodland and
pasture-land, cattle and horses, like Job,--and in his house, health,
peace, and children: dark-eyed Dorcas and Jemima, white-headed Obed and
Zephaniah, and the twins that now clambered over his shoulder and stood
on his broad, strong palms,--two others, Philip and Henry, had died in
the cradle.

Dorcas the younger stood in the doorway, and leaned gracefully towards
her father. She whispered to him, as the stranger approached,--

"There's the man coming now with mother! I thought't was a crazy man!"

The mother came eagerly forward, anxious to prevent the unrecognizing
glance, which she knew must be painful.

"What do you think, Henry? Swan Day has come back, just in time to spend
Thanksgiving with us!"

"Swan Day? I want to know!" answered Henry, mechanically holding out
his hand, and then shaking it longer and longer in the vain attempt to
recall the youthful features.

"Well! if ever!" he continued, turning to his wife, with increased
astonishment at the perspicacity she had shown, while Swan's eyes were
fixed on the slender figure of the young Dorcas, seeming to see the
river of life flowing by and far beyond him.

Keeping up a despairing shaking, Henry walked the stranger into the old
square room, where the once sanded floor was now covered with a carpet,
and a piano strutted in the corner where the bed used to stand. But
still in the other corner stood the old "buffet," and the desk where
Colonel Fox kept his yellow papers. How stern, strong, and mighty Henry
looked, with his six feet height, his sinewy limbs and broad chest, and
his clear, steady eyes, full of manliness! How cheery the old parlor
looked, too, as the evening advanced, and Dorcas lighted the pine-knots
that sparkled up the chimney and set all the eyes and cheeks in the
room ablaze! That was a pleasant evening, when the three elders chatted
freely of all that had come and gone in Swan's absence,--of those who
had died, and those who were living, and of settlers even far beyond
Western New York!

"It will be like old times to have you here to-morrow at Thanksgiving,
won't it?" said Henry.

"Won't it?" echoed Dorcas.

Swan said it would, and good-night.

When he was gone, little Dorcas exclaimed,--

"What a queer little old man, mother! isn't he?"

"How, queer, Dorcas?" said her mother, curious to compare the effects
on the minds of the different members of the family of their visitor's

"Oh, so odd-looking! such queer little eyes! and no hair on the top
of his head! and such funny whiskers!" said Dorcas, smoothing her own
abundant locks, and looking at her father and brothers, whose curls were
brushed back and straight up into the air, a distance of three inches,
after the fashion then called "Boston." The smallest child gave an
instinctive push over his forehead at the remark, and Zephaniah added,--

"He's as round and yellow as a punkin!"

"He looked stiddy to Dorcas all the time," said 'Mima, roguishly.

"Now you shet up, you silly child!" said Dorcas, with the dignity of a
twelve-month's seniority.

"Wal, he dropped this 'ere in my hand, anyhow, as he went out," said
Obed, opening his hand cautiously, and showing a Spanish doubloon.

"Oh! then you must give it right back to him to-morrow, Obe!" said the
honest sisters; "it's gold! and he couldn't 'a' meant you should hev

"I do' know 'bout that! I'll keep it t'll he asks me for 't, I guess!"
said Obed, sturdily.

"What did you think about him, Henry?" said the wife; "you wouldn't 'a'
known him?"

"Never! there a'n't an inch o' Swan Day in him! They say people change
once in seven years. I should be loath to feel I'd lost all my looks as
he has!"

"We grow old, though," answered she, with a touch of pathos in her
voice, as she remembered the words of Swan.

"Old? of course, wife!" was the hearty answer; "but then we've got
somethin' to show for 't!"

He glanced at her and the children proudly, and then bidding the young
ones, "Scatter, quick time!" he stretched his comfortable six-feet-two
before the fire, and smiled out of an easy, happy heart.

"What's looks?" said he, philosophically. "You look jest the same to me,
wife, as ever you did!"

"Do I?" said the pleased wife. "Well, I'm glad I do. I couldn't bear to
seem different to you, Henry!"

Henry took his pipe from his mouth, and then looked at his wife with a
steady and somewhat critical gaze.

"I don't think anything about it, wife; but if I want to think on
't,--why, I can, by jes' shettin' my eyes,--and there you are! as
handsome as a picter! Little Dorcas is the very image of you, at her
age; and you look exactly like her,--only older, of course.--Everything
ready for Thanksgiving? We'll give Day a good dinner, anyhow!"

"Yes, all's ready," answered Dorcas, with her eyes fixed on the fire.

"I knew it! There's no fail to you, wife!--never has been!--never will

Dorcas rose and went behind her husband, took his head in her two
faithful hands, kissed his forehead, and went upstairs.

"Little Dorcas" was fastening her hair in countless _papillotes_. She
smiled bashfully, as her mother entered the room, and showed her white,
even teeth, between her rosy lips.

"I wonder if I ever did look so pretty as that child does!" said the
mother to herself.

But she said to Dorcas only this:--

"Here's your great-aunt's pin and ring. They used to be mine, when I was
young and foolish. Take care of 'em, and don't you be foolish, child!"

"I wonder what mother meant!" soliloquized the daughter, when her mother
had kissed her and said good-night; "she certainly had tears in her

In the gray dawn of the next morning, Swan Day rode out of Walton in the
same stage-coach and with the same "spike-team" of gray horses which
had brought him thither thirty-six hours before. When the coach reached
Troy, and the bright sun broke over the picturesque scenery of the
erratic Ashuelot, he drew his breath deeply, as if relieved of a burden.
Presently the coach stopped, the door opened, and the coachman held out
his hand in silence.

"Fare, is it?"


Opening his pocket-book, he saw the note which he had written to Dorcas,
appointing an interview, and which he had forgotten to send to her.

As he rode on, he tore the letter into a thousand minute fragments,
scattering them for a mile in the coach's path, and watching the wheels
grind them down in the dust.

"'T isn't the only thing I haven't done that I meant to!" said he, with
a sad smile over his sallow face.

He buttoned his coat closely to his chin, raised the collar to his ears,
and shut his eyes.

The coachman peeped back at his only passenger, touched the nigh leader
with the most delicate hint of a whipcord, and said confidentially to
the off wheel,--

"What a sleepy old porpus that is in there!"

       *       *       *       *       *


An actor in the scenes of that wild night when the Monitor went down
craves permission to relate the story of her last cruise.

Her work is now over. She lies a hundred fathoms deep under the stormy
waters off Cape Hatteras. But "the little cheese-box on a raft" has made
herself a name which will not soon be forgotten by the American people.

Every child knows her early story,--it is one of the thousand romances
of the war,--how, as our ships lay at anchor in Hampton Roads, and the
army of the Potomac covered the Peninsula, one shining March day,--

  "Far away to the South uprose
    A little feather of snow-white smoke;
  And we knew that the iron ship of our foes
      Was steadily steering its course
      To try the force
    Of our ribs of oak."

Iron conquered oak; the balls from the Congress and Cumberland rattled
from the sides of the Rebel ship like hail; she passed on resistless,

  "Down went the Cumberland, all a wrack."

The Congress struck her flag, and the band of men on the Peninsula
waited their turn,--for the iron monster belched out fire and shell
to both sea and land. Evening cut short her work, and she returned to
Norfolk, leaving terror and confusion behind her.

The morning saw her return; but now between her expected prey, the
Minnesota, and herself, lay a low, black raft, to the lookers-on
from the Merrimack no more formidable than the masts of the sunken
Cumberland, or the useless guns of the Congress, near whose shattered
hulks the Monitor kept guard, the avenger of their loss.

As the haughty monster approached the scene of her triumph, the shock
of an unexampled cannonade checked her career. That little black turret
poured out a fire so tremendous, so continuous, that the jubilant crew
of the Merrimack faltered, surprised, terrified. The revolving tower was
a marvel to them. One on board of her at the time has since told me,
that, though at first entirely confident of victory, consternation
finally took hold of all.

"D--n it!" said one, "the thing is full of guns."

An hour the contest raged, and then the iron scales of the invincible
began to crumble under repeated blows thundered from that strange
revolving terror. A slaughtering, destroying shot smashing through the
port, a great seam battered in the side, crippled and defeated, the
Merrimack turned prow and steamed away.

This was the end of her career, as really as when, a few weeks later,
early morning saw her wrapped in sudden flame and smoke, and the people
of Norfolk heard in their beds the report which was her death-knell.

So fear ended for a time, and the Monitor saw little service, until at
Fort Darling she dismounted every gun, save one, when all her comrades
failed to reach the mark. Then, a little worn by hard fighting, she went
to Washington for some slight repairs, but specially to have better
arrangements made for ventilation, as those on board suffered from the
confined air during action.

The first of September a fresh alarm came, when she went down to Hampton
Roads to meet the new Merrimack, said to be coming out, and stationed
herself at the mouth of the James River, between the buried Congress
and Cumberland, whose masts still rose above water, a monument of Rebel
outrage and Union heroism. Here she remained expectant for more than two
months, all on board desiring action, but thinking the new year must
come in before anything could be done.

The last week in December found her lying under the guns of Fortress
Monroe, and busily fitting for sea. Her own guns had been put in perfect
working order, and shone like silver, one bearing the name of Worden,
the other that of Ericsson. Her engineer, Mr. Campbell, was in the act
of giving some final touches to the machinery, when his leg was caught
between the piston-rod and frame of one of the oscillating engines,
with such force as to bend the rod, which was an inch and a quarter in
diameter and about eight inches long, and break its cast-iron frame,
five-eighths of an inch in thickness. The most remarkable fact in
this case is, that the limb, though jammed and bruised, remained
unbroken,--our men in this iron craft seeming themselves to be iron.

The surgeon who examined the limb, astonished at the narrow escape,
thought at first that it might, by energetic treatment, be cured in a
few days; and as the engineer, who had been with the vessel from her
launching, was extremely anxious to remain on board, he was disposed at
first to yield to his wishes, but afterwards, reflecting that confined
air and sea-sickness would have a bad effect, concluded to transfer him
to the hospital, the engineer remarking, as he was carried off,--"Well,
this may be Providential."

It was Providential indeed!

His place was filled, and the preparations went on briskly. The turret
and sight-holes were calked, and every possible, entrance for water made
secure, only the smallest openings being left in the turret-top, and the
blower-stacks, through which the ship was ventilated. On the afternoon
of December 29, 1862, she put on steam, and, in tow of the Rhode Island,
passed the fort, and out to sea under sealed orders.

General joy was expressed at this relief from long inaction. The sick
came upon deck, and in the clear sky, fresh air, and sense of motion,
seemed to gain new life.

The Rhode Island, like all side-wheel steamers, left in her wake a
rolling, foaming track of waves, which the Monitor, as she passed over
it, seemed to smooth out like an immense flat-iron. In the course of the
afternoon, we saw the Passaic in tow of the State of Georgia, like a
white speck, far in advance of us.

As we gradually passed out to sea, the wind freshened somewhat; but the
sun went down in glorious clouds of purple and crimson, and the night
was fair and calm above us, though in the interior of our little vessel
the air had already begun to lose its freshness. We suffered more or
less from its closeness through the night, and woke in the morning to
find it heavy with impurity from the breaths of some sixty persons,
composing the officers and crew. Sunrise found us on deck, enjoying pure
air, and watching the East.

  "Where yonder dancing billows dip,
    Far off to Ocean's misty verge,
  Ploughs Morning, like a full-sailed ship,
    The Orient's cloudy surge.
  With spray of scarlet fire, before
    The ruffled gold that round her dies,
  She sails above the sleeping shore,
    Across the waking skies."

During the night we had passed Cape Henry, and now, at dawn, found
ourselves on the ocean,--the land only a blue line in the distance. A
few more hours, and that had vanished. No sails were visible, and the
Passaic, which we had noticed the evening before, was now out of sight.
The morning and afternoon passed quietly; we spent most of our time on
deck, on account of the confined air below, and, being on a level with
the sea, with the spray dashing over us occasionally, amused ourselves
with noting its shifting hues and forms, from the deep green of the
first long roll to the foam-crest and prismatic tints of the falling

As the afternoon advanced, the freshening wind, the thickening clouds,
and the increasing roll of the sea gave those most accustomed to
ordinary ship-life some new experiences. The little vessel plunged
through the rising waves, instead of riding them, and, as they increased
in violence, lay, as it were, under their crests, which washed over
her continually, so that, even when we considered ourselves safe, the
appearance was that of a vessel sinking.

"I'd rather go to sea in a diving-bell!" said one, as the waves dashed
over the pilot-house, and the little craft seemed buried in water.

"Give me an oyster-scow!" cried another,--"anything!--only let it be
wood, and something that will float over, instead of under the water!"

Still she plunged on, and about six thirty P.M. we made Cape Hatteras;
in half an hour we had rounded the point, and many on board expressed
regret that the Monitor should not have been before the Passaic in doing
so. Our spy-glasses were in constant use; we saw several vessels in the
distance, and about seven P.M. discovered the Passaic four or five miles
_astern_ to the north of us, in tow of the steamer State of Georgia.

A general hurrah went up,--"Hurrah for the first iron-clad that ever
rounded Cape Hatteras! Hurrah for the little boat that is first in
everything!" The distance between ourselves and the Passaic widened, and
we gradually lost sight of her.

At half-past seven a heavy shower fell, lasting about twenty minutes.
At this time the gale increased; black, heavy clouds covered the sky,
through which the moon glimmered fitfully, allowing us to see in the
distance a long line of white, plunging foam, rushing towards us,--sure
indication, to a sailor's eye, of a stormy time.

A gloom overhung everything; the banks of cloud seemed to settle around
us; the moan of the ocean grew louder and more fearful. Still our little
boat pushed doggedly on: victorious through all, we thought that here,
too, she would conquer, though the beating waves sent shudders through
her whole frame. Bearing still the marks of one of the fiercest battles
of the war, we had grown to think her invulnerable to any assault of man
or element, and as she breasted these huge waves, plunging through one
only to meet another more mighty, we thought,--"She is stanch! she will
weather it!"

An hour passed; the air below, which had all day been increasing in
closeness, was now almost stifling, but our men lost no courage. Some
sang as they worked, and the cadence of the voices, mingling with the
roar of waters, sounded like a defiance to Ocean.

Some stationed themselves on top of the turret, and a general enthusiasm
filled all breasts, as huge waves, twenty feet high, rose up on all
sides, hung suspended for a moment like jaws open to devour, and then,
breaking, gnashed over in foam from side to side. Those of us new to the
sea, and not appreciating our peril, hurrahed for the largest wave; but
the captain and one or two others, old sailors, knowing its power, grew
momentarily more and more anxious, feeling, with a dread instinctive
to the sailor, that, in case of extremity, no wreck yet known to ocean
could be so hopeless as this. Solid iron from keelson to turret-top,
clinging to anything for safety, if the Monitor should go down, would
only insure a share in her fate. No mast, no spar, no floating thing, to
meet the outstretched hand in the last moment.

The sea, like the old-world giant, gathered force from each attack.
Thick and fast came the blows on the iron mail of the Monitor, and still
the brave little vessel held her own, until, at half-past eight, the
engineer, Waters, faithful to the end, reported a leak. The pumps were
instantly set in motion, and we watched their progress with an intense
interest. She had seemed to us like an old-time knight in armor,
battling against fearful odds, but still holding his ground. We who
watched, when the blow came which made the strong man reel and the
life-blood spout, felt our hearts faint within us; then again ground was
gained, and the fight went on, the water lowering somewhat under the
laboring pumps.

From nine to ten it kept pace with them. From ten to eleven the sea
increased in violence, the waves now dashing entirely over the turret,
blinding the eyes and causing quick catchings of the breath, as they
swept against us. At ten the engineer had reported the leak as gaining
on us; at half-past ten, with several pumps in constant motion, one of
which threw out three thousand gallons a minute, the water was rising
rapidly, and nearing the fires. When these were reached, the vessel's
doom was sealed; for with their extinction the pumps must cease, and all
hope of keeping the Monitor above water more than an hour or two expire.
Our knight had received his death-blow, and lay struggling and helpless
under the power of a stronger than he.

A consultation was held, and, not without a conflict of feeling, it
was decided that signals of distress should be made. Ocean claimed our
little vessel, and her trembling frame and failing fire proved she would
soon answer his call; yet a pang went through us, as we thought of the
first iron-clad lying alone at the bottom of this stormy sea, her guns
silenced, herself a useless mass of metal. Each quiver of her strong
frame seemed to plead with us not to abandon her. The work she had done,
the work she was to do, rose before us; might there not be a possibility
of saving her yet?--her time could not have come so soon. We seemed to
hear a voice from her saying,--"Save me, for once I have saved you!
My frame is stanch still; my guns may again silence the roar of Rebel
batteries. The night will pass, and calm come to us once more. Save me!"
The roar of Ocean drowned her voice, and we who descended for a moment
to the cabin knew, by the rising water through which we waded, that the
end was near.

Small time was there for regrets. Rockets were thrown up, and answered
by the Rhode Island, whose brave men prepared at once to lower boats,
though, in that wild sea, it was almost madness.

The Monitor had been attached to the Rhode Island by two hawsers, one of
which had parted at about seven P.M. The other remained firm, but now it
was necessary it should be cut. How was that possible, when every wave
washed clean over her deck? what man could reach it alive? "Who'll
cut the hawser?" shouted Captain Bankhead. Acting-Master Stodder
volunteered, and was followed by another. Holding by one hand to the
ropes at her side, they cut through, by many blows of the hatchet, the
immense rope which united the vessels. Stodder returned in safety, but
his brave companion was washed over and went down.

The men were quiet and controlled, but all felt anxiety. Master's-Mate
Peter Williams suggested bailing, in the faint hope that in this way the
vessel might be kept longer above water. A bailing party was organized
by John Stocking, boatswain, who, brave man, at last went down.
Paymaster Keeler led the way, in company with Stocking, Williams, and
one or two others; and though the water was now waist-deep, and they
knew the vessel was liable to go down at almost any moment, they worked
on nobly, throwing out a constant stream of water from the turret.

Meanwhile the boat launched from the Rhode Island had started, manned by
a crew of picked men.

A mere heroic impulse could not have accomplished this most noble deed.
For hours they had watched the raging sea. Their captain and they knew
the danger; every man who entered that boat did it at peril of his life;
and yet all were ready. Are not such acts as these convincing proof of
the divinity in human nature?

We watched her with straining eyes, for few thought she could live to
reach us. She neared; we were sure of her, thank God!

In this interval the cut hawser had become entangled in the paddle-wheel
of the Rhode Island, and she drifted down upon us: we, not knowing this
fact, supposed her coming to our assistance; but a moment undeceived us.
The launch sent for our relief was now between us and her,--too near for
safety. The steamer bore swiftly down, stern first, upon our starboard
quarter. "Keep off! keep off!" we cried, and then first saw she was
helpless. Even as we looked, the devoted boat was caught between
the steamer and the iron-clad,--a sharp sound of crushing wood was
heard,--thwarts, oars, and splinters flew in air,--the boat's crew
leaped to the Monitor's deck. Death stared us in the face; our iron prow
must go through the Rhode Island's side, and then an end to all. One
awful moment we held our breath,--then the hawser was cleared,--the
steamer moved off, as it were, step by step, first one, then another,
till a ship's-length lay between us, and then we breathed freely. But
the boat!--had she gone to the bottom, carrying brave souls with her?
No, there she lay, beating against our iron sides, but still, though
bruised and broken, a life-boat to us.

There was no hasty scramble for life when it was found she floated; all
held back. The men kept steadily on at their work of bailing,--only
those leaving, and in the order named, whom the captain bade save
themselves. They descended from the turret to the deck with mingled fear
and hope, for the waves tore from side to side, and the coolest head and
bravest heart could not guaranty safety. Some were washed over as they
left the turret, and, with a vain clutch at the iron deck, a wild
throwing-up of the arms, went down, their death-cry ringing in the ears
of their companions.

The boat sometimes held her place by the Monitor's side, then was dashed
hopelessly out of reach, rising and falling on the waves. A sailor would
spring from the deck to reach her, be seen for a moment in mid-air, and
then, as she rose, fall into her. So she gradually filled up; but some
poor souls who sought to reach her failed even as they touched her
receding sides, and went down.

We had on board a little messenger-boy, the special charge of one of the
sailors, and the pet of all; he must inevitably have been lost, but for
the care of his adopted father, who, holding him firmly in his arms,
escaped as by miracle, being washed overboard, and succeeded in placing
him safely in the boat.

The last but one to make the desperate venture was the surgeon; he
leaped from the deck, and at the very instant saw the boat being swept
away by the merciless sea. Making one final effort, he threw his body
forward as he fell, striking across the boat's side so violently, it was
thought some of his ribs must be broken. "Haul the Doctor in!" shouted
Lieutenant Greene, perhaps remembering how, a little time back, he
himself, almost gone down in the unknown sea, had been "hauled in" by a
quinine rope flung him by the Doctor. Stout sailor-arms pulled him
in, one more sprang to a place in her, and the boat, now full, pushed
off,--in a sinking condition, it is true, but still bearing hope with
her, for _she_ was _wood_.

Over the waves we toiled slowly, pulling for life. The men stuffed their
pea-jackets into the holes in her side, and bailed incessantly. We
neared the Rhode Island; but now a new peril appeared. Right down upon
our centre, borne by the might of rushing water, came the whale-boat
sent to rescue others from the iron-clad. We barely floated; if she
struck us with her bows full on us, we must go to the bottom. One
sprang, and, as she neared, with outstretched arms, met and turned her
course. She passed against us, and his hand, caught between the two, was
crushed, and the arm, wrenched from its socket, fell a helpless weight
at his side; but life remained. We were saved, and an arm was a small
price to pay for life.

We reached the Rhode Island; ropes were flung over her side, and caught
with a death-grip. Some lost their hold, were washed away, and again
dragged in by the boat's crew. What chance had one whose right arm hung
a dead weight, when strong men with their two hands went down before
him? He caught at a rope, found it impossible to save himself alone,
and then for the first time said,--"I am injured; can any one aid me?"
Ensign Taylor, at the risk of his own life, brought the rope around his
shoulder in such a way it could not slip, and he was drawn up in safety.

In the mean time the whale-boat, nearly our destruction, had reached the
side of the Monitor, and now the captain said,--"It is madness to remain
here longer; let each man save himself." For a moment he descended to
the cabin for a coat, and his faithful servant followed to secure a
jewel-box, containing the accumulated treasure of years. A sad, sorry
sight it was. In the heavy air the lamps burned dimly, and the water,
waist-deep, splashed sullenly against the wardroom's sides. One
lingering look, and he left the Monitor's cabin forever.

Time was precious; he hastened to the deck, where, in the midst of a
terrible sea, Lieutenant Greene nobly held his post. He seized the rope
from the whale-boat, wound it about an iron stanchion, and then around
his wrists, for days afterward swollen and useless from the strain. His
black body-servant stood near him.

"Can you swim, William?" he asked.

"No," replied the man.

"Then keep by me, and I'll save you."

One by one, watching their time between the waves, the men filled in,
the captain helping the poor black to a place, and at last, after
all effort for others and none for themselves, Captain Bankhead and
Lieutenant Greene took their places in the boat. Two or three still
remained, clinging to the turret; the captain had begged them to come
down, but, paralyzed with fear, they sat immovable, and the gallant
Brown, promising to return for them, pushed off, and soon had his
boat-load safe upon the Rhode Island's deck.

Here the heartiest and most tender reception met us. Our drenched
clothing was replaced by warm and dry garments, and all on board vied
with each other in acts of kindness. The only one who had received any
injury, Surgeon Weeks, was carefully attended to, the dislocated
arm set, and the crushed fingers amputated by the gentlest and most
considerate of surgeons, Dr. Webber of the Rhode Island.

For an hour or more we watched from the deck of the Rhode Island the
lonely light upon the Monitor's turret; a hundred times we thought it
gone forever,--a hundred times it reappeared, till at last, about two
o'clock, Wednesday morning, it sank, and we saw it no more.

We had looked, too, most anxiously, for the whale-boat which had last
gone out, under the command of Master's-Mate Brown, but saw no signs
of it. We knew it had reached the Monitor, but whether swamped by the
waved, or drawn in as the Monitor went down, we could not tell. Captain
Trenchard would not leave the spot, but sailed about, looking in vain
for the missing boat, till late Wednesday afternoon, when it would have
been given up as hopelessly lost, except for the captain's dependence on
the coolness and skill of its tried officer. He thought it useless to
search longer, but, hoping it might have been picked up by some coasting
vessel, turned towards Fortress Monroe.

Two days' sail brought us to the fort, whence we had started on Monday
with so many glowing hopes, and, alas! with some who were never to
return. The same kindness met us here as on the Rhode Island; loans of
money, clothing, and other necessaries, were offered us. It was almost
well to have suffered, so much beautiful feeling did it bring out.

A day or two at the fort, waiting for official permission to return to
our homes, and we were on our way,--the week seeming, as we looked back
upon it, like some wild dream. One thing only appeared real: our little
vessel was lost, and we, who, in months gone by, had learned to love
her, felt a strange pang go through us as we remembered that never more
might we tread her deck, or gather in her little cabin at evening.

We had left her behind us, one more treasure added to the priceless
store which Ocean so jealously hides. The Cumberland and Congress went
first; the little boat that avenged their loss has followed; in both
noble souls have gone down. Their names are for history; and so long as
we remain a people, so long will the work of the Monitor be remembered,
and her story told to our children's children.

       *       *       *       *       *




  One year ago, this dreary night,
    This house, that, in my way,
  Checks the swift pulses of delight,
    Was cordial glad, and gay.

  The household angels tended there
    Their ivy-cinctured bower,
  And by the hardier plant grew fair
    A lovely lily-flower.

  The skies rained sunshine on its head,
    It throve in summer air:
  "How straight and sound!" the father said;
    The mother said, "How fair!"

  One little year is gathering up
    Its glories to depart;
  The skies have left one marble drop
    Within the lily's heart.

  For growth and bloom no more avails
    The Seasons' changing breath;
  With sudden constancy it feels
    The sculpture-touch of Death

  But from its breast let golden rays,
    Immortal, break and rise,
  Linking the sorrow-clouded days
    With dawning Paradise.

       *       *       *       *       *


First-born among the Continents, though so much later in culture and
civilization than some of more recent birth, America, so far as her
physical history is concerned, has been falsely denominated the _New
World_. Hers was the first dry land lifted out of the waters, hers the
first shore washed by the ocean that enveloped all the earth beside; and
while Europe was represented only by islands rising here and there above
the sea, America already stretched an unbroken line of land from Nova
Scotia to the far West.

In the present state of our knowledge, our conclusions respecting the
beginning of the earth's history, the way in which it took form and
shape as a distinct, separate planet, must, of course, be very vague and
hypothetical. Yet the progress of science is so rapidly reconstructing
the past that we may hope to solve even this problem; and to one who
looks upon man's appearance upon the earth as the crowning work in a
succession of creative acts, all of which have had relation to his
coming in the end, it will not seem strange that he should at last be
allowed to understand a history which was but the introduction to his
own existence. It is my belief that not only the future, but the past
also, is the inheritance of man, and that we shall yet conquer our lost

Even now our knowledge carries us far enough to warrant the assertion
that there was a time when our earth was in a state of igneous fusion,
when no ocean bathed it and no atmosphere surrounded it, when no wind
blew over it and no rain fell upon it, but an intense heat held all its
materials in solution. In those days the rocks which are now the very
bones and sinews of our mother earth--her granites, her porphyries, her
basalts, her syenites--were melted into a liquid mass. As I am writing
for the unscientific reader, who may not be familiar with the facts
through which these inferences have been reached, I will answer here a
question which, were we talking together, he might naturally ask in a
somewhat skeptical tone. How do you know that this state of things ever
existed, and, supposing that the solid materials of which our earth
consists were ever in a liquid condition, what right have you to infer
that this condition was caused by the action of heat upon them? I
answer, Because it is acting upon them still; because the earth we
tread is but a thin crust floating on a liquid sea of fire; because the
agencies that were at work then are at work now, and the present is the
logical sequence of the past. From artesian wells, from mines, from
geysers, from hot springs, a mass of facts has been collected proving
incontestably the heated condition of all materials at a certain depth
below the earth's surface; and if we need more positive evidence, we
have it in the fiery eruptions that even now bear fearful testimony to
the molten ocean seething within the globe and forcing its way out from
time to time. The modern progress of Geology has led us by successive
and perfectly connected steps back to a time when what is now only an
occasional and rare phenomenon was the normal condition of our earth;
when those internal fires were inclosed in an envelope so thin that
it opposed but little resistance to their frequent outbreak, and they
constantly forced themselves through this crust, pouring out melted
materials that subsequently cooled and consolidated on its surface. So
constant were these eruptions, and so slight was the resistance they
encountered, that some portions of the earlier rock-deposits are
perforated with numerous chimneys, narrow tunnels as it were, bored by
the liquid masses that poured out through them and greatly modified
their first condition.

The question at once suggests itself, How was even this thin crust
formed? what should cause any solid envelope, however slight and filmy
when compared to the whole bulk of the globe, to form upon the surface
of such a molten mass? At this point of the investigation the geologist
must appeal to the astronomer; for in this vague and nebulous
border-land, where the very rocks lose their outlines and flow into
each other, where matter exists only in its essential elements, not yet
specialized into definite forms and substances,--there the two sciences
meet. Astronomy shows us our planet thrown off from the central mass of
which it once formed a part, to move henceforth in an independent orbit
of its own. That orbit, it tells us, passed through celestial spaces
cold enough to chill this heated globe, and of course to consolidate
it externally. We know, from the action of similar causes on a smaller
scale and on comparatively insignificant objects immediately about us,
what must have been the effect of this cooling process upon the heated
mass of the globe. All substances when heated occupy more space than
they do when cold. Water, which expands when freezing, is the only
exception to this rule. The first effect of cooling the surface of our
planet must have been to solidify it, and thus to form a film or crust
over it. That crust would shrink as the cooling process went on; in
consequence of the shrinking, wrinkles and folds would arise upon it,
and here and there, where the tension was too great, cracks and fissures
would be produced. In proportion as the surface cooled, the masses
within would be affected by the change of temperature outside of them,
and would consolidate internally also, the crust gradually thickening by
this process.

But there was another element without the globe, equally powerful in
building it up. Fire and water wrought together in this work, if not
always harmoniously, at least with equal force and persistency. I have
said that there was a time when no atmosphere surrounded the earth; but
one of the first results of the cooling of its crust must have been
the formation of an atmosphere, with all the phenomena connected with
it,--the rising of vapors, their condensation into clouds, the falling
of rains, the gathering of waters upon its surface. Water is a very
active agent of destruction, but it works over again the materials it
pulls down or wears away, and builds them up anew in other forms. As
soon as an ocean washed over the consolidated crust of the globe, it
would begin to abrade the surfaces upon which it moved, gradually
loosening and detaching materials, to deposit them again as sand or mud
or pebbles at its bottom in successive layers, one above another. Thus,
in analyzing the crust of the globe, we find at once two kinds of rocks,
the respective work of fire and water: the first poured out from the
furnaces within, and cooling, as one may see any mass of metal cool
that is poured out from a smelting-furnace today, in solid crystalline
masses, without any division into separate layers or leaves; and the
latter in successive beds, one over another, the heavier materials
below, the lighter above, or sometimes in alternate layers, as special
causes may have determined successive deposits of lighter or heavier
materials at some given spot.

There were many well-fought battles between geologists before it was
understood that these two elements had been equally active in building
up the crust of the earth. The ground was hotly contested by the
disciples of the two geological schools, one of which held that the
solid envelope of the earth was exclusively due to the influence of
fire, while the other insisted that it had been accumulated wholly under
the agency of water. This difference of opinion grew up very naturally;
for the great leaders of the two schools lived in different localities,
and pursued their investigations over regions where the geological
phenomena were of an entirely opposite character,--the one exhibiting
the effect of volcanic eruptions, the other that of stratified deposits.
It was the old story of the two knights on opposite sides of the shield,
one swearing that it was made of gold, the other that it was made of
silver, and almost killing each other before they discovered that it was
made of both. So prone are men to hug their theories and shut their
eyes to any antagonistic facts, that it is related of Werner, the great
leader of the Aqueons school, that he was actually on his way to see
a geological locality of especial interest, but, being told that it
confirmed the views of his opponents, he turned round and went home
again, refusing to see what might force him to change his opinions.
If the rocks did not confirm his theory, so much the worse for the
rocks,--he would none of them. At last it was found that the two great
chemists, fire and water, had worked together in the vast laboratory of
the globe, and since then scientific men have decided to work together
also; and if they still have a passage at arms occasionally over some
doubtful point, yet the results of their investigations are ever drawing
them nearer to each other,--since men who study truth, when they reach
their goal, must always meet at last on common ground.

The rocks formed under the influence of heat are called, in geological
language, the Igneous, or, as some naturalists have named them, the
Plutonic rocks, alluding to their fiery origin, while the others have
been called Aqueous or Neptunic rocks, in reference to their origin
under the agency of water. A simpler term, however, quite as
distinctive, and more descriptive of their structure, is that of the
stratified and unstratified or massive rocks. We shall see hereafter how
the relative position of these two kinds of rocks and their action upon
each other enables us to determine the chronology of the earth, to
compare the age of her mountains, and if we have no standard by which to
estimate the positive duration of her continents, to say at least which
was the first-born among them, and how their characteristic features
have been successively worked out. I am aware that many of these
inferences, drawn from what is called "the geological record," must seem
to be the work of the imagination. In a certain sense this is true,--for
imagination, chastened by correct observation, is our best guide in
the study of Nature. We are too apt to associate the exercise of this
faculty with works of fiction, while it is in fact the keenest detective
of truth.

Beside the stratified and unstratified rocks, there is still a third
set, produced by the contact of these two, and called, in consequence
of the changes thus brought about, the Metamorphic rocks. The effect of
heat upon clay is to bake it into slate; limestone under the influence
of heat becomes quick-lime, or if subjected afterwards to the action of
water, it is changed to mortar; sand under the same agency is changed to
a coarse kind of glass. Suppose, then, that a volcanic eruption takes
place in a region of the earth's surface where successive layers of
limestone, of clay, and of sandstone have been previously deposited
by the action of water. If such an eruption has force enough to break
through these beds, the hot, melted masses will pour out through the
rent, flow over its edges, and fill all the lesser cracks and fissures
produced by such a disturbance. What will be the effect upon the
stratified rocks? Wherever these liquid masses, melted by a heat more
intense than can be produced by any artificial means, have flowed over
them or cooled in immediate contact with them, the clays will be changed
to slate, the limestone will have assumed a character more like marble,
while the sandstones will be vitrified. This is exactly what has been
found to be the case, wherever the stratified rocks have been penetrated
by the melted masses from beneath. They have been themselves partially
melted by the contact, and when they have cooled again, their
stratification, though still perceptible, has been partly obliterated,
and their substance changed. Such effects may often be traced in dikes,
which are only the cracks in rocks filled by materials poured into them
at some period of eruption when the melted masses within the earth were
thrown out and flowed like water into any inequality or depression of
the surface around. The walls that inclose such a dike are often found
to be completely altered by contact with its burning contents, and to
have assumed a character quite different from the rocks of which they
make a part; while the mass itself which fills the fissure shows by the
character of its crystallization that it has cooled more quickly on the
outside, where it meets the walls, than at the centre.

The first two great classes of rocks, the unstratified and stratified
rocks, represent different epochs in the world's physical history: the
former mark its revolutions, while the latter chronicle its periods of
rest. All mountains and mountain-chains have been upheaved by great
convulsions of the globe, which rent asunder the surface of the earth,
destroyed the animals and plants living upon it at the time, and were
then succeeded by long intervals of repose, when all things returned
to their accustomed order, ocean and river deposited fresh beds in
uninterrupted succession, the accumulation of materials went on as
before, a new set of animals and plants were introduced, and a time of
building up and renewing followed the time of destruction. These periods
of revolution are naturally more difficult to decipher than the periods
of rest; for they have so torn and shattered the beds they uplifted,
disturbing them from their natural relations to each other, that it
is not easy to reconstruct the parts and give them coherence and
completeness again. But within the last half-century this work has
been accomplished in many parts of the world with an amazing degree of
accuracy, considering the disconnected character of the phenomena to be
studied; and I think I shall be able to convince my readers that the
modern results of geological investigation are perfectly sound logical
inferences from well-established facts. In this, as in so many other
things, we are but "children of a larger growth." The world is the
geologist's great puzzle-box; he stands before it like the child to whom
the separate pieces of his puzzle remain a mystery till he detects their
relation and sees where they fit, and then his fragments grow at once
into a connected picture beneath his hand.

It is a curious fact in the history of progress, that, by a kind of
intuitive insight, the earlier observers seem to have had a wider, more
comprehensive recognition of natural phenomena as a whole than their
successors, who far excel them in their knowledge of special points,
but often lose their grasp of broader relations in the more minute
investigation of details. When geologists first turned their attention
to the physical history of the earth, they saw at once certain great
features which they took to be the skeleton and basis of the whole
structure. They saw the great masses of granite forming the mountains
and mountain-chains, with the stratified rocks resting against their
slopes; and they assumed that granite was the first primary agent, and
that all stratified rocks must be of a later formation. Although this
involved a partial error, as we shall see hereafter, when we trace the
upheavals of granite even into comparatively modern periods, yet it held
a great geological truth also; for, though granite formations are by
no means limited to those early periods, they are nevertheless very
characteristic of them, and are indeed the great foundation-stones on
which the physical history of the globe is built.

Starting from this landmark, the earlier geologists divided the world's
history into three periods. As the historian recognizes as distinct
phases in the growth of the human race Ancient History, the Middle Ages,
and Modern History, so they distinguished between what they called the
Primary period, when, as they believed, no life stirred on the surface
of the earth, the Secondary or middle period, when animals and plants
were introduced and the land began to assume continental proportions,
and the Tertiary period, or comparatively modern geological times, when
the aspect of the earth as well as its inhabitants was approaching more
nearly to the present condition of things. But as their investigations
proceeded, they found that every one of these great ages of the world's
history was divided into numerous lesser epochs, each of which had been
characterized by a peculiar set of animals and plants, and had been
closed by some great physical convulsion, that disturbed and displaced
the materials accumulated during such a period of rest. The further
study of these subordinate periods showed that what had been called
Primary formations, the volcanic or Plutonic rocks, formerly believed to
be confined to the first geological ages, belonged to all the periods,
successive eruptions having taken place at all times, pouring up through
the accumulated deposits, penetrating and injecting their cracks,
fissures, and inequalities, as well as throwing out large masses on
the surface. Up to our own day there has never been a period when
such eruptions have not taken place, though they have been constantly
diminishing in frequency and extent. In consequence of this discovery,
that rocks of igneous character were by no means exclusively
characteristic of the earliest times, they are now classified together
upon very different grounds from those on which geologists first united
them; though, as the name _Primary_ was long retained, we still find it
applied to them, even in geological works of quite recent date. This
defect of nomenclature is to be regretted as likely to mislead the
student, because it seems to refer to time; whereas it no longer
signifies the age of the rocks, but simply their character. The
name Plutonic or Massive rocks is, however, now almost universally
substituted for that of Primary.

There is still a wide field of investigation to be explored by the
chemist and the geologist together, in the mineralogical character of
the Plutonic rocks, which differs greatly in the different periods. The
earlier eruptions seem to have been chiefly granitic, though this
must not be understood in too wide a sense, since there are granite
formations even as late as the Tertiary period; those of the middle
periods were mostly porphyries and basalts; while in the more recent
ones, lavas predominate. We have as yet no clue to the laws by which
this distribution of volcanic elements in the formation of the earth is
regulated; but there is found to be a difference in the crystals of
the Plutonic rocks belonging to different ages, which, when fully
understood, enables us to determine the age of any Plutonic rock by its
mode of crystallization; so that the mineralogist will as readily tell
you by its crystals whether a bit of stone of igneous origin belongs to
this or that period of the world's history, as the palaeontologist
will tell you by its fossils whether a piece of rock of aqueous origin
belongs to the Silurian or Devonian or Carboniferous deposits. Although
subsequent investigations have multiplied so extensively not only the
number of geological periods, but also the successive creations that
have characterized them, yet the first general division into three great
eras was nevertheless founded upon a broad and true generalization. In
the first stratified rocks in which any organic remains are found, the
highest animals are fishes, and the highest plants are cryptogams;
in the middle periods reptiles come in, accompanied by fern and moss
forests; in later times quadrupeds are introduced, with a dicotyledonous
vegetation. So closely does the march of animal and vegetable life keep
pace with the material progress of the world, that we may well consider
these three divisions, included under the first general classification
of its physical history, as the three Ages of Nature; the more important
epochs which subdivide them may be compared to so many great dynasties,
while the lesser periods are the separate reigns contained therein.
Of such epochs there are ten, well known to geologists; of the lesser
periods about sixty are already distinguished, while many more loom up
from the dim regions of the past, just discerned by the eye of science,
though their history is not yet unravelled.

Before proceeding farther, I will enumerate the geological epochs in
their succession, confining myself, however, to such as are perfectly
well established, without alluding to those of which the limits are
less definitely determined, and which are still subject to doubts and
discussions among geologists. As I do not propose to make here any
treatise of Geology, but simply to place before my readers some pictures
of the old world, with the animals and plants that inhabited it at
various times, I shall avoid, as far as possible, all debatable ground,
and confine myself to those parts of my subject which are best known,
and can therefore be more clearly presented.

First, we have the Azoic period, _devoid of life_, as its name
signifies,--namely, the earliest stratified deposits upon the heated
film forming the first solid surface of the earth, in which no trace of
living thing has ever been found. Next comes the Silurian period, when
the crust of the earth had thickened and cooled sufficiently to render
the existence of animals and plants upon it possible, and when the
atmospheric conditions necessary to their maintenance were already
established. Many of the names given to these periods are by no means
significant of their character, but are merely the result of accident:
as, for instance, that of Silurian, given by Sir Roderick Murchison to
this set of beds, because he first studied them in that part of Wales
occupied by the ancient tribe of the Silures. The next period, the
Devonian, was for a similar reason named after the county of Devonshire,
in England, where it was first investigated. Upon this follows the
Carboniferous period, with the immense deposits of coal from which it
derives its name. Then comes the Permian period, named, again, from
local circumstances, the first investigation of its deposits having
taken place in the province of Permia, in Russia. Next in succession
we have the Triassic period, so called from the trio of rocks, the red
sandstone, Muschel Kalk, (shell-limestone.) and Keuper, (clay,)
most frequently combined in its formations; the Jurassic, so amply
illustrated in the chain of the Jura, where geologists first found the
clue to its history; and the Cretaceous period, to which the chalk
cliffs of England and all the extensive chalk deposits belong. Upon
these follow the so-called Tertiary formations, divided into three
periods, all of which have received most characteristic names. In this
epoch of the world's history we see the first approach to a condition of
things resembling that now prevailing, and Sir Charles Lyell has
most fitly named its three divisions, the "Eocene," or the dawn, the
"Miocene," meaning the continuance and increase of that light, and
lastly, the "Pliocene," signifying its fulness and completion. Above
these deposits comes what has been called in science the present
period,--_the modern times_ of the geologist,--that period to which man
himself belongs, and since the beginning of which, though its duration
be counted by hundreds of thousands of years, there has been no
alteration in the general configuration of the earth, consequently no
important modification of its climatic conditions, and no change in the
animals and plants inhabiting it.

I have spoken of the first of these periods, the Azoic, as having been
absolutely devoid of life, and I believe this statement to be strictly
true; but I ought to add that there is a difference of opinion among
geologists upon this point, many believing that the first surface of our
globe may have been inhabited by living beings, but that all traces
of their existence have been obliterated by the eruptions of melted
materials, which not only altered the character of those earliest
stratified rocks, but destroyed all the organic remains contained in
them. It will be my object to show in this series of papers, not only
that the absence of the climatic and atmospheric conditions essential
to organic life as we understand it, must have rendered the previous
existence of any living beings impossible, but also that the
completeness of the Animal Kingdom in those deposits where we first
find organic remains, its intelligible and coherent connection with the
successive creations of all geological times and with the animals now
living, affords the strongest internal evidence that we have indeed
found in the lower Silurian formations, immediately following the Azoic,
the beginning of life upon earth. When a story seems to us complete and
consistent from the beginning to the end, we shall not seek for a first
chapter, even though the copy in which we have read it be so torn and
defaced as to suggest the idea that some portion of it may have been
lost. The unity of the work, as a whole, is an incontestable proof that
we possess it in its original integrity. The validity of this argument
will be recognized, perhaps, only by those naturalists to whom the
Animal Kingdom has begun to appear as a connected whole. For those who
do not see order in Nature it can have no value.

For a table containing the geological periods in their succession, I
would refer to any modern text-book of Geology; or to an article in the
"Atlantic Monthly" for March, 1862, upon "Methods of Study in Natural
History," where they are given in connection with the order of
introduction of animals upon earth.

Were these sets of rocks found always in the regular sequence in which I
have enumerated them, their relative ago would be easily determined, for
their superposition would tell the whole story: the lowest would, of
course, be the oldest, and we might follow without difficulty the
ascending series, till we reached the youngest and uppermost deposits.
But their succession has been broken up by frequent and violent
alterations in the configuration of the globe. Land and water
have changed their level,--islands have been transformed to
continents,--sea-bottoms have become dry land, and dry land has sunk
to form sea-bottom,--Alps and Himalayas, Pyrenees and Apennines,
Alleghanies and Rocky Mountains, have had their stormy birthdays since
many of these beds have been piled one above another, and there are but
few spots on the earth's surface where any number of them may be found
in their original order and natural position. When we remember that
Europe, which lies before us on the map as a continent, was once an
archipelago of islands,--that, where the Pyrenees raise their rocky
barrier between France and Spain, the waters of the Mediterranean and
Atlantic met,--that, where the British Channel flows, dry land united
England and France, and Nature in those days made one country of
the lands parted since by enmities deeper than the waters that run
between,--when we remember, in short, all the fearful convulsions that
have torn asunder the surface of the earth, as if her rocky record
had indeed been written on paper, we shall find a new evidence of the
intellectual unity which holds together the whole physical history
of the globe in the fact that through all the storms of time the
investigator is able to trace one unbroken thread of thought from the
beginning to the present hour.

The tree is known by its fruits,--and the fruits of chance are
incoherence, incompleteness, unsteadiness, the stammering utterance of
blind, unreasoning force. A coherence that binds all the geological ages
in one chain, a stability of purpose that completes in the beings born
to-day an intention expressed in the first creatures that swam in the
Silurian ocean or crept upon its shores, a steadfastness of thought,
practically recognized by man, if not acknowledged by him, whenever
he traces the intelligent connection between the facts of Nature and
combines them into what he is pleased to call his system of Geology, or
Zoology, or Botany,--these things are not the fruits of chance or of an
unreasoning force, but the legitimate results of intellectual power.
There is a singular lack of logic, as it seems to me, in the views of
the materialistic naturalists. While they consider classification, or,
in other words, their expression of the relations between animals or
between physical facts of any kind, as the work of their intelligence,
they believe the relations themselves to be the work of physical causes.
The more direct inference surely is, that, if it requires an intelligent
mind to recognize them, it must have required an intelligent mind to
establish them. These relations existed before man was created; they
have existed ever since the beginning of time; hence, what we call
the classification of facts is not the work of his mind in any direct
original sense, but the recognition of an intelligent action prior to
his own existence.

There is, perhaps, no part of the world, certainly none familiar to
science, where the early geological periods can be studied with so
much ease and precision as in the United States. Along their northern
borders, between Canada and the United States, there runs the low line
of hills known as the Laurentian Hills. Insignificant in height, nowhere
rising more than fifteen hundred or two thousand feet above the level
of the sea, these are nevertheless the first mountains that broke the
uniform level of the earth's surface and lifted themselves above the
waters. Their low stature, as compared with that of other more lofty
mountain-ranges, is in accordance with an invariable rule, by which the
relative age of mountains may be estimated. The oldest mountains are the
lowest, while the younger and more recent ones tower above their
elders, and are usually more torn and dislocated also. This is easily
understood, when we remember that all mountains and mountain-chains are
the result of upheavals, and that the violence of the outbreak must have
been in proportion to the strength of the resistance. When the crust of
the earth was so thin that the heated masses within easily broke through
it, they were not thrown to so great a height, and formed comparatively
low elevations, such as the Canadian hills or the mountains of Bretagne
and Wales. But in later times, when young, vigorous giants, such as the
Alps, the Himalayas, or, later still, the Rocky Mountains, forced their
way out from their fiery prison-house, the crust of the earth was
much thicker, and fearful indeed must have been the convulsions which
attended their exit.

The Laurentian Hills form, then, a granite range, stretching from
Eastern Canada to the Upper Mississippi, and immediately along its base
are gathered the Azoic deposits, the first stratified beds, in which the
absence of life need not surprise us, since they were formed beneath a
heated ocean. As well might we expect to find the remains of fish or
shells or crabs at the bottom of geysers or of boiling springs, as on
those early shores bathed by an ocean of which the heat must have been
so intense. Although, from the condition in which we find it, this
first granite range has evidently never been disturbed by any violent
convulsion since its first upheaval, yet there has been a gradual
rising of that part of the continent, for the Azoic beds do not lie
horizontally along the base of the Laurentian Hills in the position in
which they must originally have been deposited, but are lifted and rest
against their slopes. They have been more or less dislocated in this
process, and are greatly metamorphized by the intense heat to which they
must have been exposed. Indeed, all the oldest stratified rocks have
been baked by the prolonged action of heat.

It may be asked how the materials for those first stratified deposits
were provided. In later times, when an abundant and various soil covered
the earth, when every river brought down to the ocean, not only its
yearly tribute of mud or clay or lime, but the _débris_ of animals and
plants that lived and died in its waters or along its banks, when every
lake and pond deposited at its bottom in successive layers the lighter
or heavier materials floating in its waters and settling gradually
beneath them, the process by which stratified materials are collected
and gradually harden into rock is more easily understood. But when the
solid surface of the earth was only just beginning to form, it would
seem that the floating matter in the sea can hardly have been in
sufficient quantity to form any extensive deposits. No doubt there was
some abrasion even of that first crust; but the more abundant source of
the earliest stratification is to be found in the submarine volcanoes
that poured their liquid streams into the first ocean. At what rate
these materials would be distributed and precipitated in regular strata
it is impossible to determine; but that volcanic materials were so
deposited in layers is evident from the relative position of the
earliest rocks. I have already spoken of the innumerable chimneys
perforating the Azoic beds, narrow outlets of Plutonic rock, protruding
through the earliest strata. Not only are such funnels filled with the
crystalline mass of granite that flowed through them in a liquid state,
but it has often poured over their sides, mingling with the stratified
beds around. In the present state of our knowledge, we can explain such
appearances only by supposing that the heated materials within the
earth's crust poured out frequently, meeting little resistance,--that
they then scattered and were precipitated in the ocean around, settling
in successive strata at its bottom,--that through such strata the heated
masses within continued to pour again and again, forming for themselves
the chimney-like outlets above mentioned.

Such, then, was the earliest American land,--a long, narrow island,
almost continental in its proportions, since it stretches from the
eastern borders of Canada nearly to the point where now the base of the
Rocky Mountains meets the plain of the Mississippi Valley. We may still
walk along its ridge and know that we tread upon the ancient granite
that first divided the waters into a northern and southern ocean; and if
our imaginations will carry us so far, we may look down toward its base
and fancy how the sea washed against this earliest shore of a lifeless
world. This is no romance, but the bald, simple truth; for the fact that
this granite band was lifted out of the waters so early in the history
of the world, and has not since been submerged, has, of course,
prevented any subsequent deposits from forming above it. And this is
true of all the northern part of the United States. It has been lifted
gradually, the beds deposited in one period being subsequently raised,
and forming a shore along which those of the succeeding one collected,
so that we have their whole sequence before us. In regions where all
the geological deposits, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian,
Triassic, etc., are piled one upon another, and we can get a glimpse of
their internal relations only where some rent has laid them open, or
where their ragged edges, worn away by the abrading action of external
influences, expose to view their successive layers, it must, of course,
be more difficult to follow their connection. For this reason the
American continent offers facilities to the geologist denied to him in
the so-called Old World, where the earlier deposits are comparatively
hidden, and the broken character of the land, intersected by mountains
in every direction, renders his investigation still more difficult.
Of course, when I speak of the geological deposits as so completely
unveiled to us here, I do not forget the sheet of drift which covers the
continent from North to South, and which we shall discuss hereafter,
when I reach that part of my subject. But the drift is only a
superficial and recent addition to the soil, resting loosely above the
other geological deposits, and arising, as we shall see, from very
different causes.

In this article I have intended to limit myself to a general sketch of
the formation of the Laurentian Hills with the Azoic stratified beds
resting against them. In the Silurian epoch following the Azoic we have
the first beach on which any life stirred; it extended along the base of
the Azoic beds, widening by its extensive deposits the narrow strip of
land already upheaved. I propose in my next article to invite my readers
to a stroll with me along that beach.

       *       *       *       *       *


Ancient history is forever indispensable to the speculative historian.
The ground of its value is the very fact of its antiquity; by which
we mean, not simply distance in time, but distance as the result of
separate construction,--distance as between two systems of reality, each
orbicularly distinct from the other. One system--that with which our
destiny is concurrent--is still flying its rounds in space; the other
has whirled itself out of space, and through a maze of scattered myths
and records, into human remembrances. This latter system, though
hermetically sealed to the realities of outward existence, still, and
by this very exclusion from all practical uses, becomes of paramount
interest to the philosophic historian; indeed, it is only because the
shadowy planets of the ancient cycle still repeat their revolutions
in human thought, that the philosophy of history is at all possible.
Philosophy, in its ideal pretensions, frequently forgets its material
conditions: it claims for itself the power of constructing wholes in
thought where only parts have been given in reality, as if, dispensing
with material supports, it could bridge over a chasm in Nature. And so
it seems to do, but so in fact it never does; it never builds but on
models; it never in any system gives ideal completeness, until a real
completeness is furnished, either through this system or some other that
is analogous. There can, therefore, be no speculative anticipation in
history, save as it makes its way into the blank future along the line
of diagrams furnished by the past; the splendid composition, in our
thoughts, of realities as yet undeveloped, is set up in the skeleton
types left us of realities that not only have themselves been
accomplished, but which belong to a system that is concluded.

Else,--if the philosophy of history does not thus depend upon some sort
of _real_ conclusions for its _notional_ ones,--why is it that no such
philosophy existed, even in name, among the ancients? It may be said
that some prevailing practical motive is necessary to the existence of
philosophy in any field, and that no such motive was present to the
ancient mind in this particular field of history. Admitted; yet this
does not at all disturb our position. No motive would have sufficed for
so grand an aim, short of a sublime consciousness regarding the destiny
of the human race. But whence was this consciousness to be derived?
To the ancient mind, the development of the human drama, considered
strictly as human, moved within narrow boundaries; traced backward
through a number of generations so limited that they might be counted on
one's fingers, the human _personae_, did not absolutely disappear, but
they emerged again, and in a precedent cycle, only as divinities. The
consciousness of human destiny was thus elevated by infinite grades, but
not of this destiny _as_ human, as depending for its splendors upon the
human will. It was an exaltation that consisted in the sacrifice of
humanity. No definite records existed through which any previous cycle
of human events could be translated into thought; and in default of a
human, there was substituted a divine cycle. From this mythologic past
of the ancients was reflected upon their present every-day existence a
peculiar glory; but it was not the glory of humanity. To celestial or
infernal powers were attributed the motives and impulses out of which
their life was developed, not to the human will. The future, as a matter
of course, partook of this divine investment; so that history to the
ancients was something which in either direction was lost in mystery,
not a system to be philosophically analyzed, or to be based on
principles of any sort. It is true that in the time of Herodotus, when
nations, hitherto insulated, came to know each other better, an interest
began to be awakened in history as resting upon a human basis; but this
is to be accounted for only by the fact, that each nation coming in
contact with another received from it the record of a development
differing from its own in the details of outward circumstances, yet
similar in certain general features; and in some cases, as in that of
Egypt, there was presented an historic _epos_ anterior in time. But
in no case were furnished hints so suggestive as those which ancient
history furnishes to us, nor any which would answer the purposes of
philosophy; in no case was there presented a completed arch, but only
antecedent parts of a structure yet in suspense respecting its own
conclusion. Fate uncourteously insisted upon making her disclosures by
separate instalments; she would advance nothing at any rate of discount.
What, therefore, was the ancient philosopher to do? His reflections
concerning the past must of necessity be partial; how much more would
his anticipations of the future fail of anything like demonstrative

We moderns, on the other hand, are eminently fortunate, because within
the cycle of our thoughts revolves the entire _epos_ of the ancient
world. Here there is the element of _completeness_: it is our privilege
to look upon the final _tableau_ before the curtain falls, to have
gathered in the concluding no less than the prelusive signals, to have
seen where the last stone in the arch bottoms upon a real basis. Let it
be that to us it is a drama of shadows; yet are none of the prominent
features lost; indeed, they are rather magnified by the distance; our
actors upon the ancient _proscenium_ walk in buskins and look upon us
out of masks whose significance has been intensified by remoteness
in time. This view of the case yields an ample refutation of those
arguments frequently adduced of late, in certain quarters, to prove
the inutility of classical studies. Thus, it is urged, that, in
every department of human knowledge, we transcend the most splendid
acquirements of the ancients, and therefore that it is so much time
wasted which we devote towards keeping up an acquaintance with
antiquity. But how is it that we so far overtop the ancients? Simply by
preserving our conscious connection with them, just as manhood towers
above childhood through the remembered experiences of childhood. As an
evidence of this, we need only note the sudden impulse which modern
civilization received through the revival of ancient literature. As it
is by resolving into constellations the _nebulae_, disconnected from the
earth by vast intervals of space, that we conjecture the awful magnitude
of the universe, so do we conjecture the magnitude of human life by
resolving into distinct shapes the nebulous mist of antiquity separated
from us by vast intervals in time. The profoundest lessons, such as are
heeded by the race, such as are universally intelligible, have this
obliquity of origin. Thus, in the distractions of the present, no relief
is found through compensatory consolations from the present; but we turn
to the figures of the past,--figures caught in the mind, and held fixed,
as in bas-relief,--figures in the attitude of antagonistic strife or of
sublime rest,--figures that master our intellects as can none from the
tumultuous present, (excepting the present of dreams,) and that out of
their eternal repose anticipate for us contingencies that do not yet
exist, but are representatively typified through such as have existed
and passed away.

It is a fact well ascertained in physical geography, that the New World
and the Old stand over against each other, not merely as antipodal
opposites, but so corresponding in outline that a promontory in one is
met by a gulf in the other, and sinuous seas by outstanding continents,
(so that over against the Gulf of Mexico, for instance, is opposed the
projection of Western Africa,) as if the gods had, in the registry of
some important covenant, rent the earth in twain for indentures. In this
way, also, do the two great hemispheres of Time stand opposed; so that,
from the shaping of the ancient, we may anticipate even the undeveloped
conformation of the modern: in place of the direct reality, which is of
necessity wanting, we have the next best thing to guide us even in our
most perilous coastings, namely, its well-defined _analogue_ in the
remote past.

Thus, considering merely this _analogism_, might one have prophetically
announced, even in the generations immediately succeeding to Christ,
when Christianity bade fair to become a world-power in a new
civilization, that here, indeed, was a new planting of Mysteries, which,
although infinitely transcending them in fulness and meaning, were
yet the counterparts of mysteries which had hitherto swayed the human
heart,--but that, pure and holy as were these mysteries, they should
yet, in their human connections, share the vicissitudes of the
old,--that, like them, they should march through tribulations on to
triumph,--that, like them, once having triumphed and become a recognized
source of power, they should be linked with hierarchical delusions and
the degradations of despotism,--that, like them, too, in some future
generation, they should, through the protesting intellect, be uplifted
from these delusions and degradations. Thus, also, and following the
same guidance, might our prophet have foretold the _political_ shapings
of the newly emerging hemisphere of Christendom. He would thus, through
a precise analogy in ancient history, have anticipated the conjunction
of principles so novel in their operation as were those of Christianity
with the new races, then lying in wait along the skirts of the Roman
Empire, and biding their time. From a necessity already demonstrated in
the ancient world, he would have foreseen the necessity of Feudalism for
the modern, as following inevitably in the train of barbarian conquest,
the recurrence of which had been distinctly foreshadowed. In connection
with the Protestantism of intellect in religious matters, he would have
anticipated a similar movement in politics; he would have prefigured the
conflict that was to be renewed between the many and the few for
power; and if by some miracle his material vision could have been made
coextensive in space with the scope which was possible for him in
thought, if he could have followed the sails of Columbus across the
Atlantic, then, in connection with the transference of European
civilization to the New World, and foreseeing the revulsion in habits
and institutions that must follow such local separation, he might
have indicated the arena which _representatively_ was to stand for
Christendom, and in which, if anywhere, the great problem of human
freedom should be solved, either by a success so grand that the very
reflex of its splendor should illumine the universal heart of man, or by
a failure so overwhelming and disastrous that the ruinous impulse should
be communicated with the crushing effect of a thunderbolt through the
whole structure of Christian civilization.

Standing, as we do, face to face with the crisis in which this problem
is to be solved, and through one part or the other of the alternative
just stated, it is evident, from what has already been said, that no
light can so fully illustrate the position and its contingencies as that
which reaches us from antiquity, and through analogies such as we have
hinted at in the preceding paragraphs.

In the first place, in order properly to understand the specific analogy
which we now proceed to develop and apply to the case in hand, it is
absolutely necessary that the reader should fix Hellas in his mind's eye
as the counterpart of Christendom. Let it be understood, then, that all
that preceded Hellenism in the ancient world was but the vestibule of
its magnificent temple, and that the sole function of the Roman Empire,
which came afterwards, was to tide the world over from Hellenic
realities to the more sublime realities of Christianity. The mighty
deeds of Egyptian conquerors, the imperial splendors of Persian
dynasties,--these were but miniature gems that gilded the corridors and
archways in the _propylaea_ of ancient civilization; and on the other
side, the brilliancy of the Caesars was not that of an original sun in
the heavens, since, in one half of their course, they did but reflect
the sunset glories of Greece, and, in the other, the rising glories of
Christianity. From Macedonia, then, in the North, southward to the sea,
and from the heroic age to the Battle of Pydna, (168 B.C.,) extended, in
space and time, the original and peculiar splendors of antiquity.

But two of the Hellenic States were consecrated to a _special_ office of
glory. These two were Athens and Sparta; and the sublime mission which
it was allotted them to fulfil in history was this, that they,
within limited boundaries, should concentrate all ante-Christian
excellence,--that these two States, opposite in their whole character,
should, through the conflict between their antagonistic elements, test
the strength and worthiness of ante-Christian principles. Precisely in
the same relation to Christendom stands America, with her two opposite
types of civilization arrayed against each other in mortal conflict.
Here must be tested the merits of modern civilization, just as in
Peloponnesus and Attica were tested those of the old; here, too, must
be tested the strength even of Christianity as a practical power in
the political world. Where Ionic and Doric Greece stood twenty-three
centuries ago, stand today the Northern and Southern sections of this
country; they hold between them, as did their Hellenic prototypes, the
heritage of laborious ages, and to their eyes alone have the slowly
growing fruits of time seemed ready, from very ripeness, to fall into
the lap of man. In either case, Hellenic or American, we look upon
generations totally different in circumstance from those which came
before them,--generations, freed not only from the despotic tutelage of
Nature, (from whom they exact tribute, instead of, as formerly, paying
it to her,) but also from the still more galling tutelage of ignorance
and of the social necessities imposed by ignorance,--generations which,
in either the ancient or modern instance, stand representatively for
the whole race, and by necessity, since they only could fairly be said,
unimpeded by external conditions, perfectly to represent themselves. It
matters not whether we take the particular generation contemporary with
Pericles or with President Lincoln (his modern _redivivus_); each stands
illustrious as the last reach upward of the towering civilizations that
respectively pushed them to this eminence; the highest point is in each
case reached, and all that remains is to make this sublime elevation
tenable for the race universally, so that, instead of the pyramidal
mountain, we shall have the widely extended _plateau_.

Here we will anticipate a question which the reader, we imagine, is
already about to put. He will readily admit that Greece, in her palmiest
era, politically, grasped, in form and conception at least, the highest
ideal of rational liberty; but why, he will ask, was not this divine
boon made universally available? Why was it not extended to Persia, and
to the Asiatic hosts that for security hid themselves in the folds of
her garments? why not to the dwellers on the Nile? Why was it that it
was not even retained by Greece herself? The truth is, that no sooner
was the golden fleece in the hands of the adventurers that had sought it
so zealously than it was rent by their discords. Elements of barbarism
had run uncurbed alongside of intellectual and artistic refinements.
Mingled with high-minded heroes were a set of treacherous Iscariots.
But why, it will naturally be asked, had there not been _hitherto_ some
outbreak of these discordant elements? That question is easily answered,
if we consider that up to this time there had existed certain external
elements, which, by arousing incessantly the patriotic feelings of all
Greece against hostilities from without, had administered an opiate to
the Cerberus of domestic strife. The terrible storm was maturing its
thunderbolts treacherously and in subterranean chambers; but its
mutterings were effectually silenced by the more audible thunderings
that burst across the Aegean from the Persian throne. Treachery was
lulled to sleep, while the nobler sentiment which united Greece against
Asiatic despotism was perpetually stung into activity in the popular
heart, and inspired the utterances of eloquence. Thus it might not
have been, if Greece had first come within hail of Persia through the
ordinary commerce of peace; since, in that case, after receiving from
the latter her treacherous gifts, her voluptuous effeminacies, she would
easily have fallen into the vast net-work that already trammelled all
Asia, and would then, through her own entanglement, include the whole
world. But it was not in peace that they met. The first question put to
Hellas by her Oriental neighbor was in effect this:--Are you willing,
without going to the trouble of subjecting the matter to the test of
actual conflict, to consider yourself as having been whipped? This,
it must be confessed, was a shivering introduction to the world for
Greece,--something like a Lacedaemonian baptism,--but it stood her
in good stead. Like the dip in the Styx, it insured immortality. The
menaces of despotism, coming from the East, gave birth to the impulses
of freedom in the West; and the latter sustained themselves at a more
exalted height, in proportion as the former were backed by substantial
support. Subtract anything from that deafening chorus of slaves which
follows in the train of Xerxes, and we must by the same amount take
from the paeans of aspiring Greece. Abolish the outlying provinces that
acknowledge a forced allegiance to the Persian monarch, or turn out of
their course the tributary streams that from every part of Asia swell
the current of Eastern barbarism, and there arises the necessity, also,
of circumscribing within narrower limits the glories of the Western
civilization. Against the dangers of external invasion, against all the
menaces of barbarians, Greece was secure through the forces which by
opposition were developed in herself,--and for so long a period was she
secure against herself. But the very rapidity and decisiveness of her
triumphs over the barbarian cut this period short, and cut short also
the rising column of Hellenic power. At the same time that Cimon
is finishing up the fleet of Persia, Pericles is preparing for the
culmination of Greece. In all this there seemed nothing final; from the
serenity of the Grecian sky, and from the summer silence which inwrapt
her statues and Pentelic colonnades, there was heralded the promise of a
ceaseless aeon of splendor. Resting from one mighty effort, and, in the
moment of rest, clothing herself in the majesty of beauty, Hellas
yet seemed ready to burst forth out of this rest into an effort more
gigantic, to be followed by a more memorable rest as the reflex of a
destiny more nearly consummated. But in this promise there was the
very hollowness of deception. Just because the intense strain against
external barbarism had relaxed, those elements which common necessity
had made tributary to success and triumph began to suffer dissolution;
each separate interest became a prominent centre of a distinct political
crystallization; and it was in this way that certain elements of
barbarism, inherent in Spartan civilization, now for the first time
arrayed it in direct opposition to the Athenian. It was this defection,
on the part of Sparta, from the cause of freedom, which cut the world
off from those benefits that it was in the power of Greece to confer.
Athens, whatever other faults she may have had, stood ready to extend
these benefits. As she alone had awakened for herself an echo of
Hellenic victory in her world of Art, so was she alone prepared, through
a world-wide extension of this victory over slavery, to multiply
the intellectual reflexes of so splendid a triumph; hers it was to
disenthrall and illuminate the world. And here, where she had a right to
look for the coöperation of all Greece, as hitherto, was she thwarted;
here, holding the van in a procession of triumph, which, as carrying
forward a glorious disinthralment into Asia and into Egypt, and as
outfacing the most inveterate of all despotisms, should far out-rival
the fabled procession of Dionysus,--here was she not merely hindered by
the _vis inertias_ of her southern neighbor, but was actually stopped in
her movement by a newly revealed force of opposition, was flanked by an
ancient ally, now turned traitor, in the summertime of a most auspicious
peace; and in her efforts to disembarrass herself of this enemy in the
rear, were her energies totally exhausted.

A position precisely similar, in its main features, does Republican
America hold to-day. She has established her own freedom against all
European intrusion; and in her efforts to do this she arrived at
political union as an indispensable necessity, and merged all separate
interests in a common one. That interest, already vindicated for
herself, has become world-wide in its meaning; so that, in virtue
of what she has accomplished in the cause of freedom, she takes an
authoritative position of leadership in modern civilization. And what
is it that hinders the fulfilment of her exalted mission? She, too, has
been flanked in her march by a traitor within her own borders;
against her, and doing violence to her high office, are opposed the
backward-tending elements of barbarism, which, if not immediately
neutralized, if not summarily crushed, will drag her to the lowest
stages of weakness and exhaustion.

A very minute parallel might be, drawn between the opposing
civilizations that are to-day in this country contending for the mastery
and those which were engaged in a similar conflict in the days of
Pericles. New England would be found to be the Attica of America; while,
on the other hand, the Southrons would most exactly correspond to the
ancient Lacedaemonians. As the Cavaliers who first settled Virginia
helped on the Puritan exodus, so did the Dorians that settled Sparta,
through the tumult of their overwhelming invasion, drive the Ionians
from their old homes to the barren wastes of Attica,--barren as compared
with the fertile valleys of the Eurotas, just as New England would be
considered sterile when contrasted with Virginia or the Valley of the
Mississippi. Like the Ionian Greeks, the "Yankees" stand before the
world as the recognized advocates and supporters of a pure democracy.
The descendants of the Cavaliers, on the contrary, join hands, as did
the ancient Dorians, in favor of an oligarchy, and of an oligarchy, too,
based on the institution of slavery. Upon this difference rested the
political dissensions of Greece, as do now those of our own country. The
negro plays no more important part in the difference between the North
and South than did the Helot in the contests between the Spartans and
the Athenians. It is not in either case the simple fact of human slavery
which necessitates the civil strife, but it is the radical opposition
between _a government that is founded upon slavery_ and one which is
not. The Athenians had slaves; and so, for that matter, might New
England have to-day: yet, for all that, the civil strife would have been
inevitable, because both in Greece and America this strife evidently
arises out of the conflict between the interests of an oligarchy based
upon slavery and a democracy in which slavery, if it exists at all,
exists as a mere accident that may be dispensed with without any radical
social revolution. Slavery, as opposed to divine law or to abstract
justice, never has brought, nor ever will bring, two countries into
conflict with each other; but slavery made indispensable as _a peculiar
institution_, as an organized fact, as a fundamental social necessity,
_must_ come into conflict with the totally opposite institutions of
democracy, and that not because it is merely or nominally slavery,
but because it is a political organ modifying the entire structure of
government. Slavery, as it existed in Athens, slavery, as it existed
formerly in the Northern States, was in everything, except its name and
accidents, consistent with democracy; and, in either case, to dispense
with the institution was to introduce no radical change, but only to do
away with the name and accidents.[A]

[Footnote A: Here, however, the reader must understand that the infernal
system of slave-stealing is left entirely out of the account.]

In Sparta, or in the South, the case was far otherwise. Here, slavery
existed in its strict severity; it came into being in connection with
material conditions,--that is, in connection with a soil especially
favorable to agriculture,--and it maintained its existence by reason of
its fitness, its indispensableness, to certain social conditions; it
could not, therefore, be changed or annulled without running counter
both to the inveterate tendencies of Nature and the still more
inveterate tendencies of habit. This difference between the two estates
of slavery is evident also from the fact, that, while, in the one case,
the law would admit of no emancipation, in the other, the emancipation
was effected legally, either in the lump, as in New England, or by
instalments, as in Athens; and in the latter State we must remember that
the process was rendered the more easy and natural by the fact that the
slaves were, in the first instance, generally prisoners taken in war,
and not unfrequently stood upon the same social level, before their
capture, with their captors, while in Sparta the slaves were taken as a
subject race, and held as inferiors.

Much glory has been given to Lacedaemon on the score of her martial
merits. To ourselves this glory seems rather her shame, since these
merits are inseparable from her grand political mistake. We might as
justly exalt Feudalism on the ground of its military establishment,
which, after all, we must admit to be an absolute necessity in the
system. To the Spartan oligarchy it was equally necessary that the whole
State should exist perpetually under martial law. In the first place, it
was necessary, if for nothing else, for the intimidation of the Helots,
who were continually watching their opportunity for insurrection, as is
shown in that memorable attempt made in connection with the Messenian
War. It was, moreover, necessary for a government not strong by sea
to extend its boundaries by military conquest; for by each successive
conquest a possible enemy is actually forced into subjection, and made
to contribute to the central power which subdues it.

Indeed, it is true that every feature of the State polity which that
old rascal Lycurgus gave to Sparta must be considered and judged in
connection with this grand martial establishment, upon which the
Lacedaemonian oligarchy was based, and through which the nefarious
attempt to establish oligarchies in all the rest of the world was
supported. The establishment itself was barbarous, and could not
possibly have thrived under the art-loving, home-protecting eye of the
Athenian Pallas. All domestic sanctities were rudely invaded, and even
the infant's privilege to live depended upon its martial promise; the
aspirations of religion were levelled down into sympathy with the most
brutal enthusiasm, as afterwards happened in the case of Rome; the very
idea of Beauty was demolished, and with it all that was sacred in human
nature, and all hope of progress. The whole State was sacred to the idea
of Military Despotism.

Thus it happened that Sparta, from her first introduction in history to
her exit, was at a stand-still in whatever involved anything higher than
brute force. In this respect she differed from Athens as much as the
South at this day differs from the North, and from precisely the same
causes, the principal of which, in each case, was barbarism,--barbarism
deliberately organized, and maintained in conscious preference to
intellectual refinement.

And yet it is remarkable that both Lacedaemon and the South, as compared
with their respective rivals, started in life at an immense advantage,
and seemingly with a far more auspicious prospect before them. The early
Virginian turned up his nose at Plymouth as a very despicable affair,
and wondered that the Puritans did not set sail _en masse_ for the
Bahamas. Gorgeous were the descriptions of Virginia sent home by some of
the first settlers, in which lions and tigers, and a whole menagerie
of tropical animals, came in for no small share of wonder; and, as an
offset to this summer luxuriance of life, most disparaging pictures were
drawn of the bleak sterility of New England,--and even that which was
the only compensation for this barrenness of the earth, namely, the
abundance of fish in the sea, was, as respects the revenue derived from
it, made an especial subject of derision. Thus, doubtless, did the
ancient Peloponnesian look upon Attica in the small beginnings of
her infinite growth; he had exactly the same topics for his
ridicule,--sterility, fishery, and all; and just as in the case of the
South, was the laugh in the end turned against himself. But to the very
last there was one stinging jest on the lips of the Spartan,--the very
same which the modern slaveholder flings with so great gusto against the
unfortunate Yankee,--and that was Athenian cupidity. The ancient and the
modern jester are alike condemned on their own indictment, since upon
cupidity the most petulant, upon cupidity the most voracious in its
greedy demands, rested the whole Spartan polity, as does the system of
slaveholding in the South. The Spartan, like the Southern planter, might
protest that money was of no consequence whatever, that to him it was
only so much iron,--but why? Only because that, by the satisfaction of
a cupidity more profound, he was able to dispense with the ordinary
necessities of an honest democrat.

In peace, Sparta was a nonentity; in the resources which enrich and
glorify the time of peace she was a bankrupt. Fine arts or education she
had none: these centred in Athens. These were elements of progress, and
could no more be tolerated in Peloponnesus than in our Gulf States.
Taking our Southern civilization or that of Lacedaemon, we must say of
each that it is thoroughly brutalized; we may challenge either to show
us a single master-piece of intellect, whether in the way of analysis or
of construction,--but none can they show.

Even in a military sense, the forces which Democracy could marshal,
either in ancient Greece or in modern America, were more than a match
for the corresponding oligarchical factions. Athens, like New England,
was a commercial centre, and therefore a prominent naval power; and this
naval prominence, in each instance, was so great as to give a decisive
superiority over a non-commercial rival. Sparta used her influence and
power to establish oligarchic institutions in the various provinces
of Greece, which generally corresponded to our Territories,--in which
latter the South has, with an equally unworthy zeal, been for several
years seeking to establish her peculiar institutions. Epidamnus proved
a Grecian Kansas. As in our own country, the hostile factions refrained
from war as long as human nature would allow; but, once engaged in
it, it became a vital struggle, that could be terminated only by the
exhaustion of one of the parties.

Athens was the stronger: why, then, did she not conquer her rival? With
equal pertinence we might ask, Why have not we, who are the stronger,
subjugated the South? The answer to both questions is the same.
Political prejudice overmasters patriotism. Neither ourselves nor the
ancient Athenians appear to have the remotest idea of the importance of
the cause for which we are contending. To us, as to them, the avenue
to future glory lies through the blood-red path of war, of desperate,
unrelenting war. Nothing else, no compromise, no negotiations of any
sort, would suffice. This the Athenians never realized; this _we_ do not
seem to understand. Among ourselves, as among them, the peace-party--a
party in direct sympathy with the aims and purposes of the
enemy--blusters and intrigues. President Lincoln meets with the same
embarrassments in connection with this party that Pericles met in his
campaigns against Sparta: it was his coming into power that precipitated
the violence of war; his determined action against all sympathizers
with the enemy draws down upon him the intensified wrath of these
sympathizers; the generals whom he sends into the field, if, like
Alcibiades, they are characterized by any spirit in their undertakings,
are trammelled with political entanglements and rendered useless, while
some slow, half-brained Nicias, with no heart in the cause, is placed at
the head of expeditions that result only in defeat.

There is the same diffusiveness connected with our military plans which
characterized the operations of the Athenians against Sparta. We do not
make the special advantage which we have over the South through our
naval superiority available against her special vulnerability. We
intimidate her, as Pericles did the Peloponnesians, by circumnavigating
her territories with a great display of our naval power; we effect a
few landings upon her coasts; but all these invasions lead to no grand
results, they do not subdue our armed enemy. What with these errors
in the general conduct of the war, and the lack of energy which
characterizes every part, our prospects of ultimate success are fast
being ruined. Unless some change be quickly effected, unless political
sentiment can be made to give place to the original enthusiasm with
which we commenced the war, and this enthusiasm be embodied in military
enterprise, our case is a hopeless one. One the other hand, if things go
on as they have been going on, the political opposition to the war will
rise to such a height as to overturn the Administration, and in its
place install those who are desirous of a reconstruction of the Union on
a Southern basis. The same errors on the part of Athens led to just
this result in Greece; an oligarchy came at last to rule even over the
democratic city itself. The consequence was the downfall of Greece, and
in her ruin was demonstrated the failure of ancient civilization. In
a like event, nothing could save us, nothing could save modern
civilization, from the same disastrous ruin.

The barbarism which at successive intervals in history has swept
southward over Asia was, at the least, something fresher and better than
that which it displaced. The Gothic barbarians were, in very truth,
the scourges of God to the inferior and more despicable barbarians of
Southern Europe. The former exemplified a barbarism unconscious of
itself, and carrying in its very rudeness the hope of the world; and the
more complete and overwhelming its revolutions, the more glorious the
promise involved in them. But, from the establishment over a continent
of a system so deliberately barbarous that it dares to array its brutal
features against the sunlight of this nineteenth century, that it dares
even to oppose itself, with a distinct confession of its base purposes,
against the only free, beneficent, and hope-giving government in the
world,--from the triumph of such a system and over such a government
there is not the shadow of a hope, but rather the widest possible field
for dismal apprehension. From this barbarism we have everything to fear;
and the only way to successfully oppose it is through the movements
of war. Only through a triumph gained in the battle-field, and held
decisive for all future time, can we, as a nation, make our way out
of the fatal entanglements of this present time into the bright and
glorious heritage of the future.

       *       *       *       *       *


_My Diary, North and South_. By W.H. RUSSELL. Boston: T.O.H.P. Burnham,
pp. xxii., 602.

Plutarch, as a patriotic Boeotian, felt called on to write a tract
concerning the malice of Herodotus in having told some unpleasant truths
about the Thebans; and many of our countrymen have shown themselves as
Boeotian, at least, if not as patriotic, in their diatribes against Mr.
Russell, who is certainly very far from being an Herodotus, least of all
in that winning simplicity of style which made him so dangerous in
the eyes of Plutarch. It was foolish to take Mr. Russell at his own
valuation, to elevate a clever Irish reporter of the London "Times" into
a representative of England; but it was still more foolish, in attacking
him, to mistake violence for force, and sensible people will be apt to
think that there must have been some truth in criticisms which were
resented with such unreasoning clamor. It is only too easy to force the
growth of those national antipathies which ripen the seeds of danger
and calamity to mankind; for there are few minds that are not capacious
enough for a prejudice, and it has sometimes seemed as if, in our hasty
resentment of the littlenesses of Englishmen, we were in danger of
forgetting the greatness of England. A nation risks nothing in being
underrated; the real peril is in underrating and misunderstanding a
rival who may at any moment become an antagonist,--who will almost
certainly become such, if we do our best to help him in it. Especially
in judging the qualities of a people, we should be careful to take our
measure by the highest, and not the lowest, types it has shown itself
capable of producing. In moments of alarm, danger, or suffering, a
nation is apt to relapse into that intellectual and moral condition of
Mob from which it has slowly struggled upward; and this is especially
true in an age of newspapers, where Cleon finds his way to every
breakfast-table. It is her mob side that England has been showing us
lately; but this should not blind us to the fact that in the long run
the character of a nation tends more and more to assimilate itself to
that ideal typified in its wisest thinkers and best citizens. In the
qualities which historians and poets love to attribute to their country,
national tendencies and aspirations are more or loss consciously
represented; these qualities the nation will by-and-by learn to
attribute to itself, until, becoming gradually traditional, they will at
length realize themselves as active principles. The selfish clamor of
Liverpool merchants, who see a rival in New York, and of London bankers
who have dipped into Confederate stock, should not lead us to conclude,
with M. Albert Blanc, that the foreign policy of England is nothing
more or less than _une haine de commerçants et d'industriels, haine
implacable et inflexible comme les chiffres_.[A]

[Footnote A: _Mémoires et Correspondence de_ J. DE MAISTRE, p. 92.]

Mr. Russell's book purports to be, and probably is in substance, the
diary from which he made up his letters to the London "Times"; and it
is rather amusing, as well as instructive, to see the somewhat muddy
sources which, swelled by affluents of verbiage and invention, gather
head enough to contribute their share to the sonorous shallowness of
"the leading journal of Europe." When we learn, as we do from this
"Diary," what a contributor to that eminent journal is, when left to his
own devices,--that he does not know the difference between _would_ and
_should_, (which, to be sure, is excusable in an Irishman,) that he
believes _in petto_ to mean _in miniature_, uses _protagonist_ with as
vague a notion of its sense as Mrs. Malaprop had of her derangement of
epitaphs, and then recall to mind the comparative correctness of Mr.
Russell's correspondence in point of style, we conceive a hearty respect
for the proof-reader in Printing-House Square. We should hardly have
noticed these trifles, except that Mr. Russell has a weakness for
displaying the cheap jewelry of what we may call _lingo_, and that he is
rather fond of criticizing the dialect and accent of persons who were
indiscreet enough to trust him with their confidences. There is one
respect, however, in which the matter has more importance,--in its
bearing on our estimate of Mr. Russell as a trustworthy reporter of what
he saw and heard. Conscientious exactness is something predicable of the
whole moral and intellectual nature, and not of any special faculty; so
that, when we find a man using words without any sense of their meaning,
and assuming to be familiar with things of which he is wholly ignorant,
we are justified in suspecting him of an habitual inaccuracy of mind,
which to a greater or less degree disqualifies him both as observer
and reporter. We say this with no intention of imputing any wilful
misstatements to Mr. Russell, but as something to be borne in mind while
reading his record of private conversations. A scrupulous fidelity is
absolutely essential, where the whole meaning may depend on a tone of
voice or the use of one word instead of another. Any one accustomed to
the study of dialects will understand what we mean, if he compare
Mr. Olmsted's extracts from his diary with Mr. Russell's. The latter
represents himself as constantly hearing the word _Britisher_
used seriously and in good faith, and remarks expressly on an odd
pronunciation of _Europe_ with the accent on the last syllable, which be
noticed in Mr. Seward among others. Mr. Russell's memory is at fault.
What he heard was _Európean_; and _Britisher_ is not, and never was, an

We do not, however, mean to doubt the general truthfulness of Mr.
Russell's reports. We find nothing in his book which leads us to modify
the opinion we expressed of him more than a year ago.[B] We still think
him "a shrewd, practised, and, for a foreigner, singularly accurate
observer." We still believe that his "strictures, if rightly taken, may
do us infinite service." But we must enter our earnest protest against
a violation of hospitality and confidence, which, if it became common,
would render all society impossible. Any lively man might write a
readable and salable book by _exploiting_ his acquaintances; but such a
proceeding would be looked upon by all right-minded people as an offence
similar in kind, if not in degree, to the publication of private
letters. A shrewd French writer has remarked, that a clever man in
a foreign country should always know two things,--_what_ he is, and
_where_ he is. Mr. Russell seems habitually to have forgotten both. Even
Montaigne, the most garrulous of writers, becomes discreet in speaking
of other people. If we learn from him that the Duke of Florence mixed a
great deal of water with his wine and the Duchess hardly any at all.
we learn it, without any connivance of his, from his diary, and that a
hundred and fifty years after his death.

[Footnote B: _Atlantic Monthly_, Vol. VIII., p. 765.]

One of the first reflections which occur to the reader, as he closes Mr.
Russell's book, with a half-guilty feeling of being an accomplice after
the fact in his indiscretions, to use the mildest term, is a general one
on the characteristic difference between the traveller as he is and as
he was hardly a century ago. A man goes abroad now not so much to see
countries and learn something from them, as to write a book that shall
pay his travelling-charges. The object which men formerly proposed to
themselves, in visiting foreign lands, seems to have been to find out
something which might be of advantage to their own country, in the way
either of trade, agriculture, or manufactures,--and they treated of
manners, when they touched upon them at all, with the coolness and
impartiality of naturalists: They did not conclude things to be
necessarily worse because they were different. A modern Tom Coryat,
instead of introducing the use of the fork among his countrymen, would
find some excuse for thinking the Italians a _nasty_ people because they
used it. In our day it would appear that the chief aim of a traveller
was to discover (or where that failed, to invent) all that he possibly
can to the disadvantage of the country he visits; and he is so
scrupulous a censor of individual manners that he has no eyes left for
national characteristics. Another striking difference between the older
traveller and his modern successor is that the observer and the object
to be observed seem to have reversed their relations to each other, so
that the man, with his sensations, prejudices, and annoyances, fills up
the greater part of the book, while the foreign country becomes merely
incidental, a sort of canvas, on which his own portrait is to be painted
for the instruction of his readers. Pliny used to say that something was
to be learned from the worst book; and accordingly let us be thankful to
the voyagers of the last thirty years that they have taught us where
we can get the toughest steak and the coldest coffee which this world
offers to the diligent seeker after wisdom, and have made us intimately
acquainted with the peculiarities of the fleas, if with those of none
of the other dwellers in every corner of the globe. Such interesting
particulars, to be sure, may claim a kind of classic authority in
Horace's journey to Brundusium; but perhaps a gnat or a frog that kept
Horace awake may fairly assume a greater historical importance than
would be granted to similar tormentors of Brown, Jones, and Robinson.
Were it not for Mr. Olmsted, we should conclude the Arthur-Young type of
traveller to be extinct, and that people go abroad merely for an excuse
to write about themselves,--it is so much easier to write a clever book
than a solid one. The plan of Montaigne, who wrote his travels round
himself without stirring beyond his library, was as much wiser and
cheaper as the result was more entertaining.

But, apart from the self-consciousness and impertinence which detract so
much from the value of most recent books of travel, it may be doubted
whether, since the French Revolution gave birth to the Caliban of
Democracy, there has been a tourist without political bias toward one
side or the other; and now that the "Special Correspondent" has been
invented, whose business it is to be one-sided, if possible, and at all
events entertaining, the last hope of rational information from anywhere
would seem to be cut off. And of all travellers, the Englishman is apt
to be the worst. What Fuller said of him two centuries ago is still in
the main true,--that, "though some years abroad, he is never out of
England." He carries with him an ideal England, made up of all that is
good, great, refined, and, above all, "in easy circumstances," by which
to measure the short-comings of other less-favored nations. He may have
dined contentedly for years at the "Cock" or the "Mitre," but he must go
first to Paris or New York to be astonished at dirt or to miss napkins.
He may have been the life-long victim of the London _cabby_, but he
first becomes aware of extortion as he struggles with the porters of
Avignon or the hackmen of Jersey City. We are not finding fault with
this insularity as a feature of national character,--on the contrary,
we rather like it, for the first business of an Englishman is to be
an Englishman, and we wish that Americanism were as common among
Americans,--but, since no man can see more than is in his own mind, it
is a somewhat dangerous quality in a traveller. Moreover, the Englishman
in America is at a double disadvantage; for his understanding the
language leads him to think that everything is easy to understand, while
at the same time he cannot help looking on every divergence of manners
or ideas from the present British standard in a nation speaking the same
tongue, as a barbarism, if not as a personal insult to himself. Worse
then all, he has perhaps less than anybody of that quality, we might
almost say faculty, which Mirabeau called "political sociability,"
and accordingly can form no conception of a democracy which levels
upward,--of any democracy, indeed, except one expressly invented to
endanger the stability of English institutions, certainly the most
comfortable in the world for any one who belongs to the class which
has only to enjoy and not to endure them. The travels of an average
Englishman are generally little more than a "Why, bless me, you don't
say so! how very extraordinary!" in two volumes octavo.

Mr. Russell is only an Irishman with an English veneer, and, to borrow
the Kalewala formula, is neither the best nor the worst of tourists. In
range of mind and breadth of culture he is not to be compared with Mr.
Dicey, who was in America at the same time, and whose letters we hope
soon to see published in a collected form; but he had opportunities,
especially in the Seceding States, such as did not fall, and
indeed could not have fallen, to the lot of any other man. As the
representative of an English journal, he was welcomed by the South,
eager to show him its best side; as a foreigner, his impressions were
fresh and vivid; and his report of the condition of things there is the
only even presumably trustworthy one we have had since the beginning of
the Rebellion. The New England States, he tells us, he did not visit;
but that does not prevent his speaking glibly of their "bloody-minded
and serious people," and of the "frigid intellectuality" of Boston,
about both of which he knows as little as of Juvenal. This should serve
to put us on our guard against some of his other generalizations,
which may be based on premises as purely theoretic. But it is not in
generalizations that Mr. Russell is strong, nor, to do him justice, does
he often indulge in them,--always excepting, of course, the _ex officio_
one which he owes his employers, and which he was sent out to find
arguments for, that the Union is irrevocably split asunder. It is as a
reporter that he has had his training, and it is as a reporter that he
is valuable. Quick to catch impressions, and from among them to single
out the _taking_ parts, his sketches of what he saw and heard, if
without any high artistic merit, have a coarse truth that will make them
of worth to the future student of these times. They are all the better
that Mr. Russell was unable, from the nature of the case, to elaborate
and _Timesify_ them.

The first half of the book is both the most interesting and the most
valuable,--the second half being so largely made up of personal
grievances (which, if Mr. Russell had not the dignity to despise them,
he might at least have been wise enough to be silent about) as to be
tedious in comparison. We regret that Mr. Russell should have been
subjected to so many personal indignities for having written what we
believe to have been as impartial an account of what he saw of the
panic-rout which followed the Battle of Manassas as any one could have
written under the same conditions,--though we doubt if the correspondent
of a French newspaper would come off much better, under like
circumstances, in England. It is not beyond the memory of man that the
Duke of Wellington himself was pelted in London. But we are surprised
that Mr. Russell should have so far misapprehended his position, should
have so readily learned to look upon himself as an ambassador, (we
believe the "Times" is not yet recognized by our Government as anything
more than a belligerent power,) as to consider it a hardship that he was
not allowed to accompany General McClellan's army to the Peninsula.
He seems to have thought that every thing happens in America, as La
Rochefoucauld said of France. We are sorry that he was not permitted
to go, for he would have helped us to some clearer understanding of a
campaign about whose conduct and results there seems to be plenty of
passionate misjudgment and very little real knowledge. But when should
we hear the last of the vulgar presumption of an American reporter who
should try to hitch himself in the same way to the staff of a British

Mr. Russell's testimony to the ill effects of slavery is as emphatic, if
not so circumstantial, as that of Mr. Olmsted. It is of the more weight
as coming from a man who saw the system under its least repulsive
aspect. His report also of what he heard from some of the chief plotters
in the Secession conspiracy as to their plans and theories is very
instructive, and deserves special attention now that their allies in the
Free States are beginning to raise their heads again. We have always
believed, and our impression is strengthened by Mr. Russell's testimony,
that the Southern leaders originally intended nothing more than a _coup
d'état_, which, by the help of their fellow-conspirators at the North,
was to put them in possession of the Government. It is plain, also, from
what Mr. Russell tells us, that the movers of the slaveholding treason
reckoned confidently on aid from abroad, especially from England;
and this may help Englishmen to understand that the sensitiveness of
Northern people and statesmen to the open sympathy which the Rebellion
received from the leading journals and public men of Great Britain was
not so unreasonable as they have been taught to regard it. Cousins of
England, we feel inclined to say, remember that there is nothing so hard
to bear as contempt; that there may be patriotism where there are no
pedigrees; that family-trees are not the best timber for a frame of
government; that truth is no less true because it is spoken through the
nose; and that there may be devotion to great principles and national
duties among men who have not the air of good society,--nay, that, in
the long run, good society itself is found to consist, not of Grammonts
and Chesterfields, but of the men who have been loyal to conviction and
duty, and who have had more faith in ideas than in Vanity Fair. People
on both sides of the water may learn something from Mr. Russell's book,
if they read it with open minds, especially the lesson above all others
important to the statesman, that even being right is dangerous, if one
be not right at the right time and in the right way.

_The Results of Emancipation_. By Augustin Cochin, Ex-Maire and
Municipal Councillor of Paris. Translated by Mary L. Booth, Translator
of Count De Gasparin's Works on America, etc. Boston: Walker, Wise, &

It is doubtless a little unfashionable to question the all-sufficiency
of statistics to the salvation of men or nations. Nevertheless we
believe that their power is of a secondary and derivative character. The
confidence which first leads brave souls to put forth their energies
against a giant evil comes through deductive, not inductive, inquiry.
The men and women who have efficiently devoted themselves to awaken the
American people to the element of guilt and peril in their national life
have seldom been exhaustively acquainted with the facts of slavery or
those of emancipation. Few of them were political economists, or had
much concern with scientific relations. They were persons of emotional
organization, and of a delicate moral susceptibility. It was sufficient
for them to know that one God reigned, and that whatever He had caused
to be a true political economy must accord with those Christian ethics
which command acknowledgment from the human soul. They wanted no
catalogue of abuses to convince them that an institution which began by
denying a man all right in his own person was not and could not come to
good. And this fine impressibility of nature, which needs no statistics,
when it is combined with genius,--if we may be pardoned an Hibernicism
which almost writes itself,--may be said to create its own statistics.
Shakspeare needed not to dog murderers, note-book in hand, in order to
give in Macbeth a comprehensive summary of their pitiable estate. It
may, indeed, be necessary for physicians to study minutely many
special cases of insanity in order to build up by induction the grand
generalization of Lear; but he who gave it grasped it entire in an ideal
world, and left to less happy natures the task of imitating its august
proportions by patiently piling together a thousand facts. The abolition
of slavery must be demanded by the moral instinct of a people before
their understanding may be satisfied of its practical fitness and
material success. The evidences in favor of emancipation are useful
after the same manner as the evidences of Christianity: the man whose
heart cannot he stirred by the tender appeal of the Gospel shall not be
persuaded by the exegetical charming of the most orthodox expositor.

But now that circumstances have caused loyal American citizens to think
upon slavery, and to mark with a quickened moral perception its enormous
usurpations, there could be no publication more timely than this volume
by M. Cochin. To be sure, all illustration of the results of this
legalized injustice, derived from a past experience, must be tame to
those who stand face to face with the gigantic conspiracy in which it
has concentrated its venom, and from which it must stagger to its doom.
The familiar proverb which declares that the gods make mad those whom
they would destroy has a significance not always considered. For when a
man loses his intellectual equilibrium, a baseness of character which
never broke through the crust of conventionality may be suddenly
revealed; and when a wicked system goes mad, such depths of perfidy are
disclosed as few imagined to exist. During the last two years, while our
Southern sky has been aglow with the red light of the slave-masters'
insurrection, few of us could probe and pry about among details of
lesser villanies than those pertinent to the day. And so it is fortunate
that M. Cochin now comes to address a people instinctively grasping at
the principle which may give them peace, and to offer them his calm and
thorough investigation of the material basis whereon that principle may
surely rest.

"L'Abolition de l'Esclavage," of which the first volume is translated
under the title at the head of this notice, was published in 1861. It is
a diligent study of official and other testimony bearing upon slavery
and emancipation. M. Cochin had access to the unpublished records
of every ministry in Europe, and gives his evidence with scientific
precision. He has faithfully detailed the effects of liberating the
slaves in the colonies of France and England, as well as in those of
Denmark, Sweden, and Holland. By an admirable clearness of arrangement,
and a certain _netieté_ of statement, the reader retains an impression
of the experience in slavery and its abolition which each colony
represents. That no disturbance should follow emancipation, we apprehend
that no one, who believes in the moral government of the world, can
seriously expect. Ceasing to persist in sin frees neither man nor nation
from the penalty it entails. But the distressing consequences of any
social upheaval make a far greater impression upon the common mind than
the familiar evils of the condition from which the community emerges.
The amount of suffering which must temporarily follow an act of justice
long delayed is always over-estimated. Many half-measures for the public
safety, many blunders easy to be avoided, produce the derangement
of affairs which the enemies of human freedom are never tired of
proclaiming. It is the merit of M. Cochin to separate that penalty of
wrong which it is impossible to extinguish from the disastrous results
of causes peculiar to the politics of a given nation, or to the private
character of its officers. He certainly shows that production and
commerce have not been annihilated by the abolition of slavery, while
the moral condition of both races has been manifestly improved.
Recognizing the immutable laws which are potent in the life of nations,
M. Cochin touches upon the remote antecedents of slavery as well as the
immediate antecedents of emancipation. His results are divided into
groups, material, economical, and moral; thus the reader may easily
systematize the information of the book. There are practical lessons in
relation to the great deed to which our nation has been called that
may well be laid to heart. The insurrection of San Domingo preceded
emancipation, and was due to the absurd law of the Constituent Assembly
which gave the same privileges to freemen of every color and every
degree of education and capacity. While we recognize the negro as a man,
let us remember that the time for recognizing him as a citizen is not
yet. We must also mark the importance of paying with promptness the
indemnity to the master, in order that the greater part of it may pass
in the form of wages into the hands of the servant. Forewarned of
mistakes in the methods of emancipation, which other nations deplore, we
encounter the question with many important aids to its solution.

M. Cochin, though not a Protestant like Count de Gasparin, writes in a
similar spirit of fervent Christian belief. In the second volume of
his work, which we trust will soon appear in America, the relation of
Christianity to slavery is powerfully discussed. The Catholic Church
is shown to oppose this crime against humanity, and the Pope, as if to
indorse the conclusion, has conferred an order of knighthood upon the
author since the publication of his book. It is worth while to note that
the most logical and effective assailants of slavery that these last
years have produced have been devout Catholics,--Augustin Cochin in
France, and Orestes A. Brownson in America. And while we think that it
will require a goodly amount of special pleading to clear either the
Catholic Church or most Protestant sects from former complicity
with this iniquity, we heartily rejoice that those liberal men who
intelligently encourage and direct the noblest instinct of the time are
the exclusive possession of no form of religious belief. From every
ritual of worship, from every variety of speculative creed, earnest
minds have reached the same practical ground of labor for the freedom
of man. Such minds realize that Christianity can approximate its
exact application only as the machinery of human society is rightly
comprehended. The Gospel, acting through the church, the meeting-house,
the lecture-room, and the press, is demanding the redemption of master
and slave from the mutual curse of their relation. Every affliction and
struggle of this civil war may be sanctified, not only to the moral
improvement, but also to the material prosperity of our land.

Great events are required to inspire a people with great ideas. _Sicut
patribus sit Deus nobis_ is the motto of the city whence the "Atlantic"
goes forth to its readers. Let all who adopt this aspiration remember
for what they ask. God was with our fathers, and sent them hardship,
peril, defeat, that, battling painfully therewith, they might become
great and fruitful men. Not otherwise can He be with us. From the misery
of our civil strife we may educe a future happiness, as well as a
present blessedness. The fierce excitement of physical action has been
contagious to the heart and intellect of the time. Realities have
presented themselves which can be met only by ideas. In the seeming
distant years of our old prosperity, a few men and women sought to
abolish slavery because it oppressed the inferior race; today, the
nation deals with it because it has rendered the superior race
hopelessly violent and corrupt. Of course, there will always be a class
of doubting Thomases ready to deny the presence of any divine leadership
that may not at once be touched and weighed and measured. To the
prototype of these men such tangible evidence as his feeble faith could
accept was not withheld. And those among us who are in like condition
may read M. Cochin's book, and be convinced that a system which to the
common sense of the Christian world seems morally wrong is neither
politically expedient nor materially necessary.

_A Treatise on the Law of Promissory Notes and Bills of Exchange_. By
THEOPHILUS PARSONS, LL.D., Dane Professor of Law in Harvard University,
and Author of Treatises on the Law of Contracts, on the Elements
of Mercantile Law, on Maritime Law, and the Laws of Business for
Business-Men. In Two Volumes. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co.

We eat and drink paper and live upon paper, is a metaphor which has been
true enough these many years, but we probably appreciate the liveliness
of it just at the present time more thoroughly than ever before.
But even now we realize very imperfectly what a power in the world
paper-money is; for we are apt to think of it only as a circulating
medium in the form of bank-notes, or treasury-notes, or of somebody's
currency which has the merit of making no pretensions to the theoretical
idea of a currency which represents gold, the representative of
everything else. Bills of exchange and promissory notes are instruments
quite as indispensable to modern commerce and civilization; and when
the necessities of an enlarged commercial intercourse, some five or six
hundred years ago, first led to the use of paper as a representative
of money, it was in the form of bills of exchange. All the absolute
requirements of social life and of commerce among the ancient Greeks and
Romans were satisfied by the use of the precious metals as money, though
the want of new facilities and new instruments of commercial exchange
must have been constantly experienced. Cicero, writing to his friend
Atticus, when he was about to send his son to Athens, inquires whether
he can have credit upon Athens for what money his son may have occasion
for, or whether the young man must carry it with him in specie. Cicero
desired to accomplish what is now effected by a negotiable bill of
exchange; and if such instruments had been in use, he would have gone to
the forum and purchased a bill on Athens for the requisite amount. But
as it was, though he may possibly have found some one at Rome who had
money owing to him by some one at Athens, and may have arranged with
this Roman creditor that this debt should be paid to his son at Athens
by the debtor there, it is quite certain that no instrument answering to
our negotiable bill of exchange was used in the transaction.

Though the discovery or invention of bills of exchange cannot be
ascribed with certainty to any precise period, they are for the first
time unmistakably referred to in laws of the commercial nations of
Southern Europe in the latter part of the thirteenth century, and they
probably came into frequent use soon after that time. Perhaps the
earliest bill of exchange of which we have an authentic copy is one made
at the beginning of the fifteenth century, and which approaches pretty
nearly to the form now in use. A translation of the instrument from the
Italian. in which it was written, is as follows:--

"Francisco de Prato and Company at Barcelona. In the name of God, Amen.
The 28th day of April, 1404. Pay by this first of exchange at usance to
Pietro Gilberto and Pietro Olivo one thousand scuti at ten shillings
Barcelona money per scuto, which thousand scuti are in exchange with
Giovanni Colombo at twenty-two grosses per scuto, and place to our
account; and Christ keep you." "ANTONIO QUARTI SAB. DI BRUGIS."

For this curious relic of commercial history we are indebted to the fact
that the mercantile company upon which the bill was drawn failed to
pay it, whereupon the parties fell into a dispute about the matter of
damages, and the magistrates of Bruges wrote to those of Barcelona,
setting forth this bill with the facts of the case, and requesting
information upon the usage respecting bills of exchange in their city.

A bill drawn in England about the year 1500 bears less resemblance to
the form now used, and instead of commencing and ending with the devout
expressions of the Italian bill, it has the formal words, "Be it known
to all M'e y't I," etc., and "hereto I bynde me myn executours and all
my Goodis, wheresoever they may be founde, in Wytnesse whereof I have
written and sealyed this Byll, the X Day of," etc. It was made payable
to a person named, "or to the Bringer of this Byll."

Bills of exchange were first used only for the benefit of a specified
payee, but it was not long before the element of negotiability was
added to foreign bills, which, thus perfected, became at once the
indispensable instruments of commerce which they now are. The
negotiability of inland bills and of promissory notes was not recognized
till long afterwards. In England, inland bills were not used in any form
till about the middle of the seventeenth century; and Lord Holt, in a
case reported half a century later, said he remembered the time when
actions upon inland bills first began. Indeed, the earliest case in
which foreign bills of exchange are mentioned in the English Reports is
as late as the first year of the reign of James I., though they appear
to have been known to the courts in the preceding reign of Elizabeth,
for there are extant precedents of declarations upon them of that
period. The earliest reported case of an inland bill occurs in 1663. It
appears that the negotiability of promissory notes was a matter of doubt
with the Court of Queen's Bench as late as 1702. The court seem to have
felt very little confidence in their own opinion upon the question; for
Chief Justice Holt, after urging his opinion against the negotiability
of such instruments, took occasion to speak with two or three of the
most famous merchants in London, as to the consequences it was alleged
would follow from obstructing their negotiability; and on another day he
says that they had told him it was very frequent with them to make such
notes, and that they looked upon them as bills of exchange, and that
they had been used a matter of thirty years, and were frequently
transferred and indorsed as bills of exchange. In 1704 Parliament put an
end to the dispute between Lord Holt and the merchants by recognizing
the negotiable qualities of promissory notes which now belong to them.

The law of promissory notes and bills of exchange is thus seen to be of
very recent origin. In the early part of the seventeenth century there
was a single reported case in the English language in this department
of legal learning; now these volumes of Professor Parsons present us an
array of more than ten thousand oases decided in the highest courts of
England and America, and a great majority of these are cases that have
occurred within the present century, if not within the last quarter of a
century. Though the subject is apparently a simple one, it has presented
a multitude of questions for the consideration of the courts, many of
which it has taxed their highest wisdom to rightly solve.

A new book in any department of the law has one merit, if it is worth
anything at all,--and that is, the merit of presenting the latest
conclusions of the courts upon the topics treated of. In the department
of the law treated of by the work now under notice, this merit is one of
special consideration, for it has hardly reached its full development,
and some of its important rules are hardly settled. In this treatise
Professor Parsons has taken much pains to present the law just as
judicial determinations and legislative enactments have left it up to
the period of publication. But this work has merits which will last
after its newness is gone. It is comprehensive in its plan, embracing
the discussion of many points in the law of negotiable paper which are
not referred to in other treatises upon the subject. In style, the text
of the work is written with a clearness and grace which often give it
all the pleasantness of a finished essay, if one chooses to read
on without allowing his attention to be called off by the frequent
references to the notes. The notes occupy much space, and give very full
discussions of the more important points, with quotations from the most
important decisions. They are printed in a smaller type, and the
author is thereby enabled to give much more matter in his work than he
otherwise could. A logical arrangement of the subject-matter in chapters
which are subdivided into numerous sections, each treating of a separate
topic, which is tersely expressed in a heading to it, makes it very
easy for one to find the statement or discussion of any point which he
desires to investigate. This admirable mode of arrangement and division
of the subject is a characteristic of all the legal treatises of
Professor Parsons, and our own experience is that it is much easier
to find what we want in his works than in any others that we have had
occasion to use or refer to. The usefulness of a law-book depends also
very much upon its index; and the completeness and accuracy of this part
of the work are noticeable in this as well as in the other treatises of
the author.

In our examination of the work we had marked several chapters, with the
intention of making special reference to them: the first chapters of the
work, for the precision and clearness with which the essential elements
of bills and notes are defined and explained; the chapter on Checks, for
presenting the most complete statement which we have of the law upon
that important topic; the chapters upon Action and Evidence, for giving
in a systematic form much matter which is of the greatest use to the
practitioner, but which the textbooks have generally left him to pick up
as best he may, or have presented in a brief and unsatisfactory manner;
and other chapters for still other features of excellence. But we have
not space for further comment. These volumes are the result of a truly
vast amount of labor, and we are confident that they will be received by
the profession, by students, and by business-men with a hearty gratitude
to the author for the service he has done them in writing this new work.

There is a short Appendix, containing a reprint of the provisions of the
Stamp Act of the United States in relation to bills, notes, letters of
credit, drafts, orders, and checks; together with an examination of some
of the questions which the statute suggests.

The mechanical execution of these volumes is very superior.

       *       *       *       *       *



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Papers on Practical Engineering. No. 8. Official Report to the United
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Georgia, February, March, and April, 1862. By Brigadier-General Q.A.
Gillmore, U.S. Volunteers, Captain of Engineers, U.S.A. Illustrated by
Maps and Engraved Views. New York. D. Van Nostrand. 8vo. pp. 96. $2.50.

St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans: newly translated, and explained from a
Missionary Point of View. By the Right Rev. J.W. Colenso, D.D., Bishop
of Natal. New York. D. Appleton & Co. 12mo. pp. 261. $1.25.

The Soldier's Book: A Pocket-Diary for Accounts and Memoranda, for
Non-Commissioned Officers and Privates of the U.S. Volunteer and Regular
Army. By Captain Robert N. Scott, Fourth U.S. Infantry. New York. D.
Appleton & Co. 18mo. pp. 8. 25 cts.

The Trial of the Constitution. By Sidney George Fisher, Author of "The
Law of the Territories," "The Laws of Race as connected with Slavery,"
etc., etc. Philadelphia. J.B. Lippincott & Co. 8vo. pp. 391. $2.00.

Meditations and Hymns. By "X." Philadelphia Protestant Book Society.
18mo. pp. 184. 60 cts.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 11, No. 65, March, 1863" ***

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