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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 11, No. 66, April, 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. 66, April, 1863" ***

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VOL. XI.--APRIL, 1863.--NO. LXVI.


    [Joseph Severn, the author of the following paper, scarcely needs
    introduction to the readers of the "Atlantic Monthly"; but no
    one will object to reperusing, in connection with his valuable
    contribution, this extract from the Preface to "Adonais," which
    Shelley wrote in 1821:--

    "He [Keats] was accompanied to Rome and attended in his last illness
    by Mr. Severn, a young artist of the highest promise, who, I have
    been informed, 'almost risked his own life, and sacrificed every
    prospect, to unwearied attendance upon his dying friend.' Had I
    known these circumstances before the completion of my poem, I should
    have been tempted to add my full tribute of applause to the more
    solid recompense which the virtuous man finds in the recollection of
    his own motives. Mr. Severn can dispense with a reward from 'such
    stuff as dreams are made of.' His conduct is a noble augury of the
    success of his future career. May the unextinguished spirit of his
    illustrious friend animate the creations of his pencil, and plead
    against oblivion for his name!"

    Mr. Severn is residing in Rome at the present time, from which city
    he transmits this paper.]

I well remember being struck with the clear and independent manner which
Washington Allston, in the year 1818, expressed his opinion of John
Keats's verse, when the young poet's writings first appeared, amid the
ridicule of most English readers, Mr. Allston was at that time the only
discriminating judge among the strangers to Keats who were residing
abroad, and he took occasion to emphasize in my hearing his opinion of
the early effusions of the young poet in words like these:--"They are
crude materials of real poetry, and Keats is sure to become a great

It is a singular pleasure to the few in personal friends of Keats in
England (who may still have to defend him against the old and worn-out
slanders) that in America he has always had a solid fame, independent of
the old English prejudices.

Here in Rome, as I write, I look back through forty years of worldly
changes to behold Keats's dear image again in memory. It seems as if he
should be living with me now, inasmuch as I never could understand his
strange and contradictory death, his falling away so suddenly from
health and strength. He had that fine compactness of person which we
regard as the promise of longevity, and no mind was ever more exultant
in youthful feeling. I cannot summon a sufficient reason why in one
short year he should have been thus cut off, "with all his imperfections
on his head." Was it that he lived too soon,--that the world he sought
was not ready for him?

For more than the year I am now dwelling on, he had fostered a tender
and enduring love for a young girl nearly of his own age, and this love
was reciprocal, not only in itself, but in all the worldly advantages
arising from it of fortune on her part and fame on his. It was
encouraged by the sole parent of the lady; and the fond mother was happy
in seeing her daughter so betrothed, and pleased that her inheritance
would fall to so worthy an object as Keats. This was all well settled in
the minds and hearts of the mutual friends of both parties, when poor
Keats, soon after the death of his younger brother, unaccountably showed
signs of consumption; at least, he himself thought so, though the
doctors were widely undecided about it. By degrees it began to be deemed
needful that the young poet should go to Italy, even to preserve his
life. This was at last accomplished, but too late; and now that I am
reviewing all the progress of his illness from his first symptoms,
I cannot but think his life might have been preserved by an Italian
sojourn, if it had been adopted in time, and if circumstances had been
improved as they presented themselves. And, further, if he had had the
good fortune to go to America, which he partly contemplated before the
death of his younger brother, not only would his life and health have
been preserved, but his early fame would have been insured. He would
have lived independent of the London world, which was striving to drag
him down in his poetic career, and adding to the sufferings which I
consider the immediate cause of his early death.

In Italy he always shrank from speaking in direct terms of the actual
things which were killing him. Certainly the "Blackwood" attack was one
of the least of his miseries, for he never even mentioned it to me. The
greater trouble which was ingulfing him he signified in a hundred ways.
Was it to be wondered at, that at the time when the happiest life was
presented to his view, when it was arranged that he was to marry a young
person of beauty and fortune, when the little knot of friends who
valued him saw such a future for the beloved poet, and he himself, with
generous, unselfish feelings, looked forward to it more delighted on
their account,--was it to be wondered at, that, on the appearance of
consumption, his ardent mind should have sunk into despair? He seemed
struck down from the highest happiness to the lowest misery. He
felt crushed at the prospect of being cut off at the early age of
twenty-four, when the cup was at his lips, and he was beginning to drink
that draught of delight which was to last his mortal life through, which
would have insured to him the happiness of home, (happiness he had never
felt, for he was an orphan,) and which was to be a barrier for him
against a cold and (to him) a malignant world.

He kept continually in his hand a polished, oval, white carnelian, the
gift of his widowing love, and at times it seemed his only consolation,
the only thing left him in this world clearly tangible. Many letters
which he was unable to read came for him. Some he allowed me to read
to him; others were too worldly,--for, as he said, he had "already
journeyed far beyond them." There were two letters, I remember, for
which he had no words, but he made me understand that I was to place
them on his heart within his winding-sheet.

Those bright falcon eyes, which I had known only in joyous intercourse,
while revelling in books and Nature, or while he was reciting his
own poetry, now beamed an unearthly brightness and a penetrating
steadfastness that could not be looked at. It was not the fear of
death,--on the contrary, he earnestly wished to die,--but it was the
fear of lingering on and on, that now distressed him; and this was
wholly on my account. Amidst the world of emotions that were crowding
and increasing as his end approached, I could always see that his
generous concern for me in my isolated position at Rome was one of
his greatest cares. In a little basket of medicines I had bought at
Gravesend at his request there was a bottle of laudanum, and this I
afterwards found was destined by him "to close his mortal career," when
no hope was left, and to prevent a long, lingering death, for my poor
sake. When the dismal time came, and Sir James Clark was unable to
encounter Keats's penetrating look and eager demand, he insisted on
having the bottle, which I had already put away. Then came the most
touching scenes. He now explained to me the exact procedure of his
gradual dissolution, enumerated my deprivations and toils, and dwelt
upon the danger to my life, and certainly to my fortunes, from my
continued attendance upon him. One whole day was spent in earnest
representations of this sort, to which, at the same time that they
wrung my heart to hear and his to utter, I was obliged to oppose a firm
resistance. On the second day, his tender appeal turned to despair, in
all the power of his ardent imagination and bursting heart.

From day to day, after this time, he would always demand of Sir James
Clark, "How long is this _posthumous_ life of mine to last?" On finding
me inflexible in my purpose of remaining with him, he became calm, and
tranquilly said that he was sure why I held up so patiently was owing
to my Christian faith, and that he was disgusted with himself for ever
appearing before me in such savage guise; that he now felt convinced how
much every human being required the support of religion, that he might
die decently. "Here am I," said he, "with desperation in death that
would disgrace the commonest fellow. Now, my dear Severn, I am sure, if
you could get some of the works of Jeremy Taylor to read to me, I might
become _really_ a Christian, and leave this world in peace." Most
fortunately, I was able to procure the "Holy Living and Dying." I read
some passages to him, and prayed with him, and I could tell by the grasp
of his dear hand that his mind was reviving. He was a great lover of
Jeremy Taylor, and it did not seem to require much effort in him to
embrace the Holy Spirit in these comforting works.

Thus he gained strength of mind from day to day just in proportion as
his poor body grew weaker and weaker. At last I had the consolation of
finding him calm, trusting, and more prepared for his end than I was. He
tranquilly rehearsed to me what would be the process of his dying, what
I was to do, and how I was to _bear it_. He was even minute in his
details, evidently rejoicing that his death was at hand. In all he then
uttered he breathed a simple, Christian spirit; indeed, I always think
that he died a Christian, that "Mercy" was trembling on his dying lips,
and that his tortured soul was received by those Blessed Hands which
could alone welcome it.[A]

[Footnote A: Whilst this was passing at Rome, another scene of the
tragedy was enacting in London. The violence of the Tory party in
attacking Keats had increased after his leaving England, but he had
found able defenders, and amongst them Mr. John Scott, the editor of
the "Champion," who published a powerful vindication of Keats, with a
denunciation of the party-spirit of his critics. This led to a challenge
from Mr. Scott to Mr. Lockhart, who was then one of the editors of
"Blackwood." The challenge was shifted over to a Mr. Christie, and he
and Mr. Scott fought at Chalk Farm, with the tragic result of the death
of Keats's defender,--and this within a few days of the poet's death at
Rome. The deplorable catastrophe was not without its compensations, for
ever after there was a more chastened feeling in both parties.]

After the death of Keats, my countrymen in Rome seemed to vie with one
another in evincing the greatest kindness towards me. I found myself in
the midst of persons who admired and encouraged my beautiful pursuit of
painting, in which I was then indeed but a very poor student, but with
my eyes opening and my soul awakening to a new region of Art, and
beginning to feel the wings growing for artistic flights I had always
been dreaming about.

In all this, however, there was a solitary drawback: there were few
Englishmen at Rome who knew Keats's works, and I could scarcely persuade
any one to make the effort to read them, such was the prejudice against
him as a poet; but when his gravestone was placed, with his own
expressive line, "Here lies one whose name was writ in water," then a
host started up, not of admirers, but of scoffers, and a silly jest was
often repeated in my hearing, "Here lies one whose name was writ in
water, and _his works in milk and water_"; and this I was condemned
to hear for years repeated, as though it had been a pasquinade; but I
should explain that it was from those who were not aware that I was the
friend of Keats.

At the first Easter after his death I had a singular encounter with the
late venerable poet, Samuel Rogers, at the table of Sir George Beaumont,
the distinguished amateur artist. Perhaps in compliment to my friendship
for Keats, the subject of his death was mentioned by Sir George, and
he asked Mr. Rogers if he had been acquainted with the young poet in
England. Mr. Rogers replied, that he had had more acquaintance than he
liked, for the poems were tedious enough, and the author had come upon
him several times for money. This was an intolerable falsehood, and I
could not restrain myself until I had corrected him, which I did with my
utmost forbearance,--explaining that Sir. Rogers must have mistaken some
other person for Keats,--that I was positive my friend had never done
such a thing in any shape, or even had occasion to do it,--that he
possessed a small independence in money, and _a large one in mind_.

The old poet received the correction, with much kindness, and thanked
me for so effectually setting him right. Indeed, this encounter was the
groundwork of a long and to me advantageous friendship between us. I
soon discovered that it was the principle of his sarcastic wit not only
to sacrifice all truth to it, but even all his friends, and that he did
not care to know any who would not allow themselves to be abused for
the purpose of lighting up his breakfast with sparkling wit, though
not quite, indeed, at the expense of the persons then present. I well
remember, on one occasion afterwards, Mr. Rogers was entertaining
us with a volley of sarcasms upon a disagreeable lawyer, who made
pretensions to knowledge and standing not to be borne; on this occasion
the old poet went on, not only to the end of the breakfast, but to the
announcement of the very man himself on an accidental visit, and then,
with a bland smile and a cordial shake of the hand, he said to him,
"My dear fellow, we have all been talking about you up to this very
minute,"--and looking at his company still at table, and with a
significant wink, he, with extraordinary adroitness and experienced
tact, repeated many of the good things, reversing the meaning of them,
and giving us the enjoyment of the _double-entendre._ The visitor was
charmed, nor even dreamed of the ugliness of his position. This incident
gave me a painful and repugnant impression of Mr. Rogers, yet no doubt
it was after the manner of his time, and such as had been the fashion in
Walpole's and Johnson's days.

I should be unjust to the venerable poet not to add, that
notwithstanding what is here related of him, be oftentimes showed
himself the generous and noble-hearted man. I think that in all my long
acquaintance with him he evinced a kind of indirect regret that he had
commenced with me in such an ugly attack on dear Keats, whose fame,
when I went to England in 1838, was not only well established, but was
increasing from day to day, and Mr. Rogers was often at the pains to
tell me so, and to relate the many histories of poets who had been less
fortunate than Keats.

It was in the year of the Reform Bill, 1830, that I first heard of the
Paris edition (Galignani's) of Keats's works, and I confess that I was
quite taken by surprise, nor could I really believe the report until I
saw the book with the engraved portrait from my own drawing; for, after
all the vicissitudes of Keats's fame which I had witnessed, I could not
easily understand his becoming the poet of "the million." I had now the
continued gratification in Rome of receiving frequent visits from the
admirers of Keats and Shelley, who sought every way of showing kindness
to me. One great cause of this change, no doubt, was the rise of all
kinds of mysticism in religious opinions, which often associated
themselves with Shelley's poetry, and I then for the first time heard
him named as the only really religious poet of the age. To the growing
fame of Keats I can attribute some of the pleasantest and most valuable
associations of my after-life, as it included almost the whole society
of gifted young men at that time called "Young England." Here I may
allude to the extraordinary change I now observed in the manners and
morals of Englishmen generally: the foppish love of dress was in a great
measure abandoned, and all intellectual pursuits were caught up with
avidity, and even made fashionable.

The most remarkable example of the strange capriciousness of Keats's
fame which fell under my personal observation occurred in my later Roman
years, during the painful visit of Sir Walter Scott to Rome in the
winding-up days of his eventful life, when he was broken down not only
by incurable illness and premature old age, but also by the accumulated
misfortunes of fatal speculations and the heavy responsibility of making
up all with the pen then trembling in his failing hand.

I had been indirectly made known to him by his favorite ward and
_protégée_, the late Lady Northampton, who, accustomed to write to him
monthly, often made mention of me; for I was on terms of friendship with
all her family, an intimacy which in great part arose from the delight
she always had in Keats's poetry, being herself a poetess, and a most
enlightened and liberal critic.

When Sir Walter arrived, he received me like an old and attached friend;
indeed, he involuntarily tried to make me fill up the terrible void
then recently created by the death of Lady Northampton at the age of
thirty-seven years. I went at his request to breakfast with him every
morning, when he invariably commenced talking of his lost friend, of her
beauty, her singularly varied accomplishments, of his growing delight in
watching her from a child in the Island of Mull, and of his making her
so often the model of his most successful female characters, the Lady
of the Lake and Flora MacIvor particularly. Then he would stop short to
lament her unlooked-for death with tears and groans of bitterness such
as I had never before witnessed in any one,--his head sinking down on
his heaving breast. When he revived, (and this agonizing scene took
place every morning,) he implored me to pity him, and not heed his
weakness,--that in his great misfortunes, in all their complications, he
had looked forward to Rome and his dear Lady Northampton as his last and
certain hope of repose; she was to be his comfort in the winding-up of
life's pilgrimage: now, on his arrival, his life and fortune almost
exhausted, she was gone! _gone!_ After these pathetic outpourings, he
would gradually recover his old cheerfulness, his expressive gray eye
would sparkle even in tears, and soon that wonderful power he had for
description would show itself, when he would often stand up to enact
the incident of which he spoke, so ardent was he, and so earnest in the

Each morning, at his request, I took for his examination some little
picture or sketch that might interest him, and amongst the rest a
picture of Keats, (now in the National Portrait Gallery of London,) but
this I was surprised to find was the only production of mine that seemed
not to interest him; he remained silent about it, but on all the others
he was ready with interesting comments and speculations. Observing this,
and wondering within myself at his apathy with regard to the young lost
poet, as I had reason to be proud of Keats's growing fame, I ventured to
talk about him, and of the extraordinary caprices of that fame, which at
last had found its resting-place in the hearts of _all real lovers of

I soon perceived that I was touching on an embarrassing theme, and I
became quite bewildered on seeing Miss Scott turn away her face, already
crimsoned with emotion. Sir Walter then falteringly remarked, "Yes, yes,
the world finds out these things _for itself at last,_" and taking my
hand, closed the interview,--our last, for the following night he
was taken seriously ill, and I never saw him again, as his physician
immediately hurried him away from Rome.

The incomprehensibleness of this scene induced me to mention it on the
same day to Mr. Woodhouse, the active and discriminating friend of
Keats, who had collected every written record of the poet, and to whom
we owe the preservation of many of the finest of his productions. He was
astonished at my recital, and at my being ignorant of the fact that _Sir
Walter Scott was a prominent contributor to the Review which through its
false and malicious criticisms had always been considered to have caused
the death of Keats_.

My surprise was as great as his at my having lived all those seventeen
years in Rome and been so removed from the great world, that this, a
fact so interesting to me to know, had never reached me. I had been
unconsciously the painful means of disturbing poor old Sir Walter with
a subject so sore and unwelcome that I could only conclude it must have
been the immediate cause of his sudden illness. Nothing could be farther
from my nature than to have been guilty of such seemingly wanton
inhumanity; but I had no opportunity afterwards of explaining the truth,
or of justifying my conduct in any way.

This was the last striking incident connected with Keats's fame which
fell within my own experience, and perhaps may have been the last, or
one of the last, symptoms of that party-spirit which in the artificial
times of George IV. was so common even among poets in their treatment of
one another,--they assuming to be mere politicians, and striving to be
oblivious of their heart-ennobling pursuit.

It only remains for me to speak of my return to Rome in 1861, after an
absence of twenty years, and of the favorable change and the enlargement
during that time of Keats's fame,--not as manifested by new editions of
his works, or by the contests of publishers about him, or by the way in
which most new works are illustrated with quotations from him, or by the
fact that some favorite lines of his have passed into proverbs, but by
the touching evidence of his _silent grave_. That grave, which I can
remember as once the object of ridicule, has now become the poetic
shrine of the world's pilgrims who care and strive to live in the happy
and imaginative region of poetry. The head-stone, having twice sunk,
owing to its faulty foundation, has been twice renewed by loving
strangers, and each time, as I am informed, these strangers were
Americans. Here they do not strew flowers, as was the wont of olden
times, but they pluck everything that is green and living on the grave
of the poet. The _Custode_ tells me, that, notwithstanding all his pains
in sowing and planting, he cannot "meet the great consumption." Latterly
an English lady, alarmed at the rapid disappearance of the verdure on
and around the grave, actually left an annual sum to renew it. When the
_Custode_ complained to me of the continued thefts, and asked what he
was to do, I replied, "Sow and plant twice as much; extend the poet's
domain; for, as it was so scanty during his short life, surely it ought
to be afforded to him twofold in his grave."

Here on my return to Rome, all kinds of happy associations with the poet
surround me, but none so touching as my recent meeting with his sister.
I had known her in her childhood, during my first acquaintance with
Keats, but had never seen her since. I knew of her marriage to a
distinguished Spanish patriot, Señor Llanos, and of her permanent
residence in Spain; but it was reserved for me to have the felicity of
thus accidentally meeting her, like a new-found sister, in Rome. This
city has an additional sacredness for both of us as the closing scene of
her illustrious brother's life, and I am held by her and her charming
family in loving regard as the last faithful friend of the poet. That I
may indulge the pleasures of memory and unite them with the sympathy of
present incidents, I am now engaged on a picture of the poet's grave,
and am treating it with all the picturesque advantages which the antique
locality gives me, as well as the elevated associations which this
poetic shrine inspires. The classic story of Endymion being the subject
of Keats's principal poem, I have introduced a young Roman shepherd
sleeping against the head-stone with his flock about him, whilst the
moon from behind the pyramid illuminates his figure and serves to
realize the poet's favorite theme in the presence of his grave. This
interesting incident is not fanciful, but is what I actually saw on an
autumn evening at Monte Tertanio the year following the poet's death.

       *       *       *       *       *


The conjunction of amiability and sense in the same individual renders
that individual's position in a world like this very disagreeable.
Amiability without sense, or sense without amiability, runs along
smoothly enough. The former takes things as they are. It receives all
glitter as pure gold, and does not see that it is custom alone which
varnishes wrong with a shiny coat of respectability, and glorifies
selfishness with the aureole of sacrifice. It sets down all collisions
as foreordained, and never observes that they occur because people will
not smooth off their angles, but sharpen them, and not only sharpen
them, but run them into you. It forgets that the Lord made man upright,
but he hath sought out many inventions. It attributes all the confusion
and inaptitude which it finds to the nature of things, and never
suspects that the Devil goes around in the night, thrusting the square
men into the round places, and the round men into the square places. It
never notices that the reason why the rope does not unwind easily is
because one strand is a world too large and another a world too small,
and so it sticks where it ought to roll, and rolls where it ought to
stick. It makes sweet, faint efforts with tender fingers and palpitating
heart to oil the wheels and polish up the machine, and does not for a
moment imagine that the hitch is owing to original incompatibility of
parts and purposes, that the whole machine must be pulled to pieces
and made over, and that nothing will be done by standing patiently by,
trying to soothe away the creaking and wheezing and groaning of the
laboring, lumbering thing, by laying on a little drop of sweet-oil with
a pin-feather. As it does not see any of these things that are happening
before its eyes, of course it is shallowly happy. And on the other hand,
he who does see them and is not amiable is grimly and Grendally happy.
He likes to say disagreeable things, and all this dismay and disaster
scatter disagreeable things broadcast along his path, so that all he
has to do is to pick them up and say them. Therefore this world is his
paradise. He would not know what to do with himself in a world where
matters were sorted and folded and laid away ready for you when you
wanted them. He likes to see human affairs mixing themselves up in
irretrievable confusion. If he detects a symptom of straightening, it
shall go hard but he will thrust in his own fingers and snarl a thread
or two. He is delighted to find dogged duty and eager desire butting
each other. All the irresistible forces crashing against all the
immovable bodies give him no shock, only a pleasant titillation. He is
never so happy as when men are taking hold of things by the blade, and
cutting their hands, and losing blood. He tells them of it, but not in
order to relieve so much as to "aggravate" them; and he does aggravate
them, and is satisfied. Oh, but he is an aggravating person!

It is you, you who combine the heart of a seraph with the head of a
cherub, who know what trouble is. You see where the shoe pinches, but
your whole soul relucts from pointing out the tender place. You see why
things go wrong, and how they might be set right; but you have a mortal
dread of being thought meddlesome and impertinent, or cold and cruel,
or restless and arrogant, if you attempt to demolish the wrong or rebel
against the custom. When you draw your bow at an abuse, people think you
are trying to bring down religion and propriety and humanity. But your
conscience will not let you see the abuse raving to and fro over the
earth without taking aim; so, either way, you are cut to the heart.

I love men. I adore women. I value their good opinion. There is much in
them to applaud and imitate. There is much in them to elicit faith and
reverence. If, only, one could see their good qualities alone, or,
seeing their vapid and vicious ones, could contemplate them with no
touch of tenderness for the owner, life might indeed be lovely. As it
is, while I am at one moment rapt in enthusiastic admiration of the
strength and grace, the power and pathos, the hidden resources, the
profound capabilities of my race, at another, I could wish, Nero-like,
that all mankind were concentrated in one person and all womankind
in another, that I might take them, after the fashion of rural
schoolmasters, and shake their heads together. Condemnation and reproach
are not in my line; but there is so much in the world that merits
condemnation and reproach and receives indifference and even reward,
there is so much acquiescence in wrong doing and wrong thinking, so much
letting things jolt along in the same rut wherein we and they were born,
without inquiring whether, lifted into another groove, they might not
run more easily, that, if one who does see the difficulty holds his
peace, the very stones will cry out. However gladly one would lie on
a bed of roses and glide silken-sailed down the stream of life, how
exquisitely painful soever it may be to say what you fear and feel may
give pain, it is only a Sybarite who sets ease above righteousness, only
a coward who misses victory through dread of defeat.

There are many false ideas afloat regarding womanly duties. I do not
design now to open anew any vulgar, worn-out, woman's-rightsy question.
Every remark that could be made on that theme has been made--but one,
and that I will take the liberty to make now in a single sentence and
close the discussion. It is this: the man who gave rubber-boots to women
did more to elevate woman than all the theorizers, male or female, that
ever were born.

But without any suspicious lunges into that dubious region which lies
outside of woman's universally acknowledged "sphere," (a blight rest
upon the word!) there is within the pale, within the boundary-line which
the most conservative never dreamed of questioning, room for a great
divergence of ideas. Now divergence of ideas does not necessarily imply
fighting at short range. People may adopt a course of conduct which
you do not approve; yet you may feel it your duty to make no open
animadversion. Circumstances may have suggested such a course to them,
or forced it upon them; and perhaps, considering all things, it is the
best they can do. But when, encouraged by your silence, they publish it
to the world, not only as relatively, but intrinsically, the best and
most desirable,--when, not content with swallowing it themselves as
medicine, they insist on ramming it down your throat as food,--it is
time to buckle on your armor and have at them.

A little book, published by the Tract Society, called "The Mother and
her Work," has been doing just this thing. It is a modest little book.
It makes no pretensions to literary or other superiority. It has much
excellent counsel, pious reflection, and comfortable suggestion. Being
a little book, it costs but little, and it will console, refresh, and
instruct weary, conscientious mothers, and so have a large circulation,
a wide influence, and do an immense amount of mischief. For the Evil One
in his senses never sends out poison labelled "POISON." He mixes it in
with great quantities of innocent and nutritive flour and sugar. He
shapes it in cunning shapes of pigs and lambs and hearts and birds and
braids. He tints it with gay hues of green and pink and rose, and puts
it in the confectioner's glass windows, where you buy--what? Poison? No,
indeed! Candy, at prices to suit the purchasers. So this good and pious
little book has such a preponderance of goodness and piety that the
poison in it will not be detected, except by chemical analysis. It
will go down sweetly, like grapes of Beulah. Nobody will suspect he
is poisoned; but just so far as it reaches and touches, the social
dyspepsia will be aggravated.

I submit a few atoms of the poison revealed by careful examination.

"The mother's is a _most honorable_ calling. 'What a pity that one so
gifted should be so tied down!' remarks a superficial observer, as she
looks upon the mother of a young and increasing family. The pale, thin
face and feeble step, bespeaking the multiplied and wearying cares of
domestic life, elicit an earnest sympathy from the many, thoughtlessly
flitting across her pathway, and the remark passes from mouth to mouth,
'How I pity her! What a shame it is! She is completely worn down with so
many children.' It may be, however, that this young mother is one who
needs and asks no pity," etc.

"But the _true mother_ yields herself uncomplainingly, yea, cheerfully,
to the wholesome privation, solitude, and self-denial allotted
her.....Was she fond of travelling, of visiting the wonderful in Nature
and in Art, of mingling in new and often-varying scenes? Now she has
found 'an abiding city,' and no allurements are strong enough to tempt
her thence. Had society charms for her, and in the social circle and the
festive throng were her chief delights? Now she stays at home, and the
gorgeous saloon and brilliant assemblage give place to the nursery and
the baby. Was she devoted to literary pursuits? Now the library is
seldom visited, the cherished studies are neglected, the rattle and the
doll are substituted for the pen. Her piano is silent, while she chants
softly and sweetly the soothing lullaby. Her dress can last another
season now, and the hat--oh, she does not care, if it is not in the
latest mode, for she has a baby to look after, and has no time for
herself. Even the ride and the walk are given up, perhaps too often,
with the excuse, 'Baby-tending is exercise enough for me.' Her whole
life is reversed."

The assumption is that all this is just as it should be. The thoughtless
person may fancy that it is a pity; but it is not a pity. This is
a model mother and a model state of things. It is not simply to be
submitted to, not simply to be patiently borne; it is to be aspired to
as the noblest and holiest state.

That is the strychnine. You may counsel people to take joyfully the
spoiling of their goods, and comfort, encourage, and strengthen them by
so doing; but when you tell them that to be robbed and plundered is of
itself a priceless blessing, the highest stage of human development,
you do them harm; because, in general, falsehood is always harmful, and
because, in particular, so far as you influence them at all, you prevent
them from taking measures to stop the wrong-doing. You ought to counsel
them to bear with Christian resignation what they cannot help; but you
ought with equal fervor to counsel them to look around and see if there
are not many things which they can help, and if there are, by all means
to help them. What is inevitable comes to us from God, no matter how
many hands it passes through; but submission to unnecessary evils is
cowardice or laziness; and extolling of the evil as good is sheer
ignorance, or perversity, or servility. Even the ills that must be borne
should be borne under protest, lest patience degenerate into slavery.
Christian character is never formed by acquiescence in or apotheosis of

The principle that underlies these extracts, and makes them ministrative
of evil, is the principle that a woman can benefit her children by
sacrificing herself. It teaches, that pale, thin faces and feeble steps
are excellent things in young mothers,--provided they are gained by
maternal duties. We infer that it is meet, right, and the bounden
duty of such to give up society, reading, riding, music, and become
indifferent to dress, cultivation, recreation, to everything, in short,
except taking care of the children. It is all just as wrong as it can
be. It is wrong morally; it is wrong socially; wrong in principle, wrong
in practice. It is a blunder as well as a crime, for it works woe. It is
a wrong means to accomplish an end; and it does not accomplish the end,
after all, but demolishes it.

On the contrary, the duty and dignity of a mother require that she
should never subordinate herself to her children. When she does so, she
does it to their manifest injury and her own. Of course, if illness or
accident demand unusual care, she does well to grow thin and pale in
bestowing unusual care. But when a mother in the ordinary routine of
life grows thin and pale, gives up riding, reading, and the amusements
and occupations of life, there is a wrong somewhere, and her children
shall reap the fruits of it. The father and mother are the head of the
family, the most comely and the most honorable part. They cannot benefit
their children by descending from their Heaven-appointed places, and
becoming perpetual and exclusive feet and hands. This is the great
fault of American mothers. They swamp themselves in a slough of
self-sacrifice. They are smothered in their own sweetness. They dash
into domesticity with an impetus and abandonment that annihilate
themselves. They sink into their families like a light in a poisonous
well, and are extinguished.

One hears much complaint of the direction and character of female
education. It is dolefully affirmed that young ladies learn how to sing
operas, but not how to keep house,--that they can conjugate Greek verbs,
but cannot make bread,--that they are good for pretty toying, but not
for homely using. Doubtless there is foundation for this remark, or it
would never have been made. But I have been in the East, and the West,
and the North, and the South; I know that I have seen the best society,
and I am sure I have seen very bad, if not the worst; and I never met a
woman whose superior education, whose piano, whose pencil, whose German,
or French, or any school-accomplishments, or even whose novels, clashed
with her domestic duties. I have read of them in books; I did hear of
one once; but I never met one,--not one. I have seen women, through love
of gossip, through indolence, through sheer famine of mental _pabulum_,
leave undone things that ought to be done,--rush to the assembly,
the lecture-room, the sewing-circle, or vegetate in squalid, shabby,
unwholesome homes; but I never saw education run to ruin. So it seems to
me that we are needlessly alarmed in that direction.

But I have seen scores and scores of women leave school, leave their
piano and drawing and fancy-work, and all manner of pretty and pleasant
things, and marry and bury themselves. You hear of them about six times
in ten years, and there is a baby each time. They crawl out of the
farther end of the ten years, sallow and wrinkled and lank,--teeth gone,
hair gone, roses gone, plumpness gone,--freshness, and vivacity, and
sparkle, everything that is dewy, and springing, and spontaneous, gone,
gone, gone forever. This our Tract-Society book puts very prettily. "She
wraps herself in the robes of infantile simplicity, and, burying
her womanly nature in the tomb of childhood, patiently awaits the
sure-coming resurrection in the form of a noble, high-minded,
world-stirring son, or a virtuous, lovely daughter. The nursery is the
mother's chrysalis. Let her abide for a little season, and she shall
emerge triumphantly, with ethereal wings and a happy flight."

But the nursery has no business to be the mother's chrysalis. God never
intended her to wind herself up into a cocoon. If He had, He would have
made her a caterpillar. She has no right to bury her womanly nature in
the tomb of childhood. It will surely be required at her hands. It was
given her to sun itself in the broad, bright day, to root itself fast
and firm in the earth, to spread itself wide to the sky, that her
children in their infancy and youth and maturity, that her husband in
his strength and his weakness, that her kinsfolk and neighbors and the
poor of the land, the halt and the blind and all Christ's little ones,
may sit under its shadow with great delight. No woman has a right to
sacrifice her own soul to problematical, high-minded, world-stirring
sons, and virtuous, lovely daughters. To be the mother of such, one
might perhaps pour out one's life in draughts so copious that the
fountain should run dry; but world-stirring people are extremely rare.
One in a century is a liberal allowance. The overwhelming probabilities
are, that her sons will be lawyers and shoemakers and farmers and
commission-merchants, her daughters nice, "smart," pretty girls,
all good, honest, kind-hearted, commonplace people, not at all
world-stirring, not at all the people one would glory to merge one's
self in. If the mother is not satisfied with this, if she wants them
otherwise, she must be otherwise. The surest way to have high-minded
children is to be high-minded yourself. A man cannot burrow in his
counting-room for ten or twenty of the best years of his life, and come
out as much of a man and as little of a mole as he went in. But the
twenty years should have ministered to his manhood, instead of trampling
on it. Still less can a woman bury herself in her nursery, and come out
without harm. But the years should have done her great good. This world
is not made for a tomb, but a garden. You are to be a seed, not a death.
Plant yourself, and you will sprout. Bury yourself, and you can only
decay. For a dead opportunity there is no resurrection. The only
enjoyment, the only use to be attained in this world, must be attained
on the wing. Each day brings its own happiness, its own benefit; but it
has none to spare. What escapes to-day is escaped forever. To-morrow has
no overflow to atone for the lost yesterdays.

Few things are more painful to look upon than the self-renunciation,
the self-abnegation of mothers,--painful both for its testimony and its
prophecy. Its testimony is of over-care, over-work, over-weariness, the
abuse of capacities that were bestowed for most sacred uses, an utter
waste of most pure and life-giving waters. Its prophecy is of early
decline and decadence, forfeiture of position and power, and worst,
perhaps, of all, irreparable loss and grievous wrong to the children for
whom all is sacrificed.

God gives to the mother supremacy in her family. It belongs to her to
maintain it. This cannot be done without exertion. The temptation to
come down from her throne and become a mere hewer of wood, and drawer of
water is very strong. It is so much easier to work with the hands than
with the head. One can chop sticks all day serenely unperplexed. But to
administer a government demands observation and knowledge and judgment
and resolution and inexhaustible patience. Yet, however uneasy lies the
head that wears the crown of womanhood, that crown cannot be bartered
away for any baser wreath without infinite harm. In both cases there
must be sacrifice; but in the one case it is unto death, in the other
unto life. If the mother stands on high ground, she brings her children
up to her own level; if she sinks, they sink with her.

To maintain her rank, no exertion is too great, no means too small.
Dress is one of the most obvious things to a child. If the mother wears
cheap or shabby or ill-assorted clothes, while the children's are fine
and harmonious, it is impossible that they should not receive the
impression that they are of more consequence than their mother.
Therefore, for her children's sake, if not for her own, the mother
should always be well-dressed. Her baby, so far as it is concerned in
the matter, instead of being an excuse for a faded bonnet, should be an
inducement for a fresh one. It is not a question of riches or poverty;
it is a thing of relations. It is simply that the mother's dress--her
morning and evening and street and church dress--should be quite as good
as, and if there is any difference, better than her child's. It is of no
manner of consequence how a child is clad, provided only its health be
not injured, its taste corrupted, or its self-respect wounded. Children
look prettier in the cheapest and simplest materials than in the richest
and most elaborate. But how common is it to see the children gayly
caparisoned in silk and feathers and flounces, while the mother is
enveloped in an atmosphere of cottony fadiness! One would take the child
to be mistress and the mother a servant. "But," the mother says, "I
do not care for dress, and Caroline does. She, poor child, would be
mortified not to be dressed like the other children." Then do you teach
her better. Plant in her mind a higher standard of self-respect. Don't
tell her you cannot afford to do for her thus and thus; that will
scatter premature thorns along her path; but say that you do not approve
of it; it is proper for her to dress in such and such a way. And be so
nobly and grandly a woman that she shall have faith in you.

It is essential also that the mother have sense, intelligence,

As much as she can add of education and accomplishments will increase
her stock in trade. Her reading and riding and music, instead of being
neglected for her children's sake, should for their sake be scrupulously
cultivated. Of the two things, it is a thousand times better that they
should be attended by a nurserymaid in their infancy than by a feeble,
timid, inefficient matron in their youth. The mother can oversee half
a dozen children with a nurse; but she needs all her strength, all
her mind, her own eyes, and ears, and quick perceptions, and delicate
intuition, and calm self-possession, when her sturdy boys and wild young
girls are leaping and bounding and careering into their lusty life. All
manner of novel temptations beset them,--perils by night and perils by
day,--perils in the house and by the way. Their fierce and hungry young
souls, rioting in awakening consciousness, ravening for pleasure, strong
and tumultuous, snatch eagerly at every bait. They want then a mother
able to curb, and guide, and rule them; and only a mother who commands
their respect can do this. Let them see her sought for her social
worth,--let them see that she is familiar with all the conditions
of their life,--that her vision is at once broader and keener than
theirs,--that her feet have travelled along the paths they are just
beginning to explore,--that she knows all the phases alike of their
strength and their weakness,--and her influence over them is unbounded.
Let them see her uncertain, uncomfortable, hesitating, fearful without
discrimination, leaning where she ought to support, interfering without
power of suggesting, counselling, but not controlling, with no presence,
no bearing, no experience, no prestige, and they will carry matters with
a high hand. They will overrule her decisions, and their love will not
be unmingled with contempt. It will be strong enough to prick them when
they have done wrong, but not strong enough to keep them from doing

Nothing gives a young girl such vantage-ground in society and in life as
a mother,--a sensible, amiable, brilliant, and commanding woman. Under
the shelter of such a mother's wing, the neophyte is safe. This mother
will attract to herself the wittiest and the wisest. The young girl can
see society in its best phases, without being herself drawn out into
its glare. She forms her own style on the purest models. She gains
confidence, without losing modesty. Familiar with wisdom, she will not
be dazed by folly. Having the opportunity to make observations before
she begins to be observed, she does not become the prey of the weak and
the wicked. Her taste is strengthened and refined, her standard elevates
itself, her judgment acquires a firm basis. But cast upon her own
resources, her own blank inexperience, at her first entrance into the
world, with nothing to stand between her and what is openly vapid and
covertly vicious, with no clear eye to detect for her the false and
distinguish the true, no strong, firm, judicious hand to guide tenderly
and undeviatingly, to repress without irritating and encourage without
emboldening, what wonder that the peach-bloom loses its delicacy,
deepening into _rouge_ or hardening into brass, and the happy young life
is stranded on a cruel shore?

Hence it follows that our social gatherings consist, to so lamentable
an extent, of pert youngsters or faded oldsters. Thence come those
abominable "young people's parties," where a score or two or three of
boys and girls meet and manage after their own hearts. Thence it happens
that conversation seems to be taking its place among the Lost Arts, and
the smallest of small talk reigns in its stead. Society, instead of
giving its tone to the children, takes it from them, and since it cannot
be juvenile, becomes insipid, and because it is too old to prattle,
jabbers. Talkers are everywhere, but where are the men that say things?
Where are the people that can be listened to and quoted? Where are the
flinty people whose contact strikes fire? Where are the electric people
who thrill a whole circle with sudden vitality? Where are the strong
people who hedge themselves around with their individuality, and will be
roused by no prince's kiss, but taken only by storm, yet, once captured,
are sweeter than the dews of Hymettus? Where are the seers, the
prophets, the Magi, who shall unfold for us the secrets of the sky and
the seas, and the mystery of human hearts?

Yet fathers and mothers not only acquiesce in this state of things,
they approve of it. They foster it. They are forward to annihilate
themselves. They are careful to let their darlings go out alone, lest
they be a restraint upon them,--as if that were not what parents were
made for. If they were what they ought to be, the restraint would be
not only wholesome, but impalpable. The relation between parents and
children should be such that pleasure shall not be quite perfect, unless
shared by both. Parents ought to take such a tender, proud, intellectual
interest in the pursuits and amusements of their children that the
children shall feel the glory of the victory dimmed, unless their
parents are there to witness it. If the presence of a sensible mother is
felt as a restraint, it shows conclusively that restraint is needed.

A woman also needs self-cultivation, both physical and mental, in order
to self-respect. Undoubtedly Diogenes glorified himself in his tub. But
people in general, and women in universal, except the geniuses,--need
the pomp of circumstance. A slouchy garb is both effect and cause of
a slouchy mind. A woman who lets go her hold upon dress, literature,
music, amusement, will almost inevitably slide down into a bog of muggy
moral indolence. She will lose her spirit; and when the spirit is
gone out of a woman, there is not much left of her. When she cheapens
herself, she diminishes her value. Especially when the evanescent charms
of mere youth are gone, when the responsibilities of life have left
their mark upon her, is it indispensable that she attend to all the
fitnesses of externals, and strengthen and polish all her mental
and social qualities. By this I do not mean that women should allow
themselves to lose their beauty as they increase in years. Men grow
handsomer as they grow older. There is no reason, there ought to be no
reason, why women should not. They will have a different kind of beauty,
but it will be just as truly beauty and more impressive and attractive
than the beauty of sixteen. It is absurd to suppose that God has made
women so that their glory passes away in half a dozen years. It is
absurd to suppose that thought and feeling and passion and purpose,
all holy instincts and impulses, can chisel away on a woman's face for
thirty, forty, fifty years, and leave that face at the end worse than
they found it. They found it a negative,--mere skin and bone, blood and
muscle and fat. They can but leave their mark upon it, and the mark of
good is good. Pity does not have the same finger-touch as revenge. Love
does not hold the same brush as hatred. Sympathy and gratitude and
benevolence have a different sign-manual from cruelty and carelessness
and deceit. All these busy little sprites draw their fine lines, lay
on their fine colors; the face lights up under their tiny hands; the
prisoned soul shines clearer and clearer through, and there is the
consecration and the poet's dream.

But such beauty is made, not born. Care and weariness and despondency
come of themselves, and groove their own furrows. Hope and intelligence
and interest and buoyancy must be wooed for their gentle and genial
touch. A mother must battle against the tendencies that drag her
downward. She must take pains to grow, or she will not grow. She
must sedulously cultivate her mind and heart, or her old age will be
ungraceful; and if she lose freshness without acquiring ripeness, she is
indeed in an evil case. The first, the most important trust which God
has given to any one is himself. To secure this trust, He has made us so
that in no possible way can we benefit the world so much as by making
the most of ourselves. Indulging our whims, or, inordinately, our just
tastes, is not developing ourselves; but neither is leaving our own
fields to grow thorns and thistles, that we may plant somebody else's
garden-plot, keeping our charge. Even were it possible for a mother to
work well to her children in thus working ill to herself, I do not think
she would be justified in doing it. Her account is not complete when she
says, "Here are they whom thou hast given me." She must first say, "Here
am I." But when it is seen that suicide is also child-murder, it must
appear that she is under doubly heavy bonds for herself.

Husbands, moreover, have claims, though wives often ignore them. It
is the commonest thing in the world to see parents tender of their
children's feelings, alive to their wants, indulgent to their tastes,
kind, considerate, and forbearing, but to each other hasty, careless,
and cold. Conjugal love often seems to die out before parental love.
It ought not so to be. Husband and wife should each stand first in the
other's estimation. They have no right to forget each other's comfort,
convenience, sensitiveness, tastes, or happiness in those of their
children. Nothing can discharge them from the obligations which they are
under to each other. But if a woman lets herself become shabby, drudgy,
and commonplace as a wife, in her efforts to be perfect as a mother, can
she expect to retain the consideration that is due to the wife? Not a
man in the world but would rather see his wife tidy, neat, and elegant
in her attire, easy and assured in her bearing, intelligent and
vivacious in her talk, than the contrary; and if she neglect these
things, ought she to be surprised, if he turns to fresh woods and
pastures new for the diversion and entertainment which he seeks in vain
at home? This is quaky ground, but I know where I am, and I am not
afraid. I don't expect men or women to say that they agree with me, but
I am right for all that. Let us bring our common sense to bear on this
point, and not be fooled by reiteration. Cause and effect obtain here as
elsewhere. If you add two and two, the result is four, however much
you may try to blink it. People do not always tell lies, when they are
telling what is not the truth; but falsehood is still disastrous.
Men and women think they believe a thousand things which they do not
believe; but as long as they think so, it is just as bad as if it
were so. Men talk--and women listen and echo--about the overpowering
loveliness and charm of a young mother surrounded by her blooming
family, ministering to their wants and absorbed in their welfare,
self-denying and self-forgetful; and she is lovely and charming; but
if this is all, it is little more than the charm and loveliness of a
picture. It is not magnetic and irresistible. It has the semblance, but
not the smell of life. It is pretty to look at, but it is not vigorous
for command. Her husband will have a certain kind of admiration and
love. Her wish will be law within a certain very limited sphere; but
beyond that he will not take her into his counsels and confidence. A
woman must make herself obvious to her husband, or he will drift out
beyond her horizon. She will be to him very nearly what she wills and
works to be. If she adapts herself to her children and does not adapt
herself to her husband, he will fall into the arrangement, and the two
will fall apart. I do not mean that they will quarrel, but they will
lead separate lives. They will be no longer husband and wife. There will
be a domestic alliance, but no marriage. A predominant interest in
the same objects binds them together after a fashion; but marriage is
something beyond that. If a woman wishes and purposes to be the friend
of her husband,--if she would be valuable to him, not simply as the
nurse of his children and the directress of his household, but as a
woman fresh and fair and fascinating, to him intrinsically lovely and
attractive, she should make an effort for it. It is not by any means
a thing that comes of itself, or that can be left to itself. She must
read, and observe, and think, and rest up to it. Men, as a general
thing, will not tell you so. They talk about having the slippers ready,
and enjoin women to be domestic. But men are blockheads,--dear, and
affectionate, and generous blockheads,--benevolent, large-hearted, and
chivalrous,--kind, and patient, and hard-working,--but stupid where
women are concerned. Indispensable and delightful as they are in real
life, pleasant and comfortable as women actually find them, not one in
ten thousand but makes a dunce of himself the moment he opens his mouth
to theorize about women. Besides, they have an axe to grind. The
pretty things they inculcate--slippers, and coffee, and care, and
courtesy--ought indeed to be done, but the others ought not to be left
undone. And to the former women seldom need to be exhorted. They take to
them naturally. A great many more women bore boorish husbands with
fond little attentions than wound appreciative ones by neglect. Women
domesticate themselves to death already. What they want is cultivation.
They need to be stimulated to develop a large, comprehensive, catholic
life, in which their domestic duties shall have an appropriate niche,
and not dwindle down to a narrow and servile one, over which those
duties shall spread and occupy the whole space.

This mistake is the foundation of a world of wretchedness and ruin. I
can see Satan standing at the mother's elbow. He follows her around into
the nursery and the kitchen. He tosses up the babies and the omelets,
delivers dutiful harangues about the inappropriateness of the piano
and the library, and grins fiendishly in his sleeve at the wreck he is
making,--a wreck not necessarily of character, but of happiness; for I
suppose Satan has so bad a disposition, that, if he cannot do all the
harm he would wish, he will still do all he can. It is true that there
are thousands of noble men married to fond and foolish women, and they
are both happy. Well, the fond and foolish women are very fortunate.
They have fallen into hands that will entreat them tenderly, and they
will not perceive that anything is kept back. Nor are the noble men
wholly unfortunate, in that they have not taken to their hearths shrews.
But this is not marriage.

There are women less foolish. They see their husbands attracted in other
directions more often and more easily than in theirs. They have too much
sterling worth and profound faith to be vulgarly jealous. They fear
nothing like shame or crime; but they feel the fact that their own
preoccupation with homely household duties precludes real companionship;
the interchange of emotions, thoughts, sentiments, a living and palpable
and vivid contact of mind with mind, of heart with heart. They see
others whose leisure ministers to grace, accomplishments, piquancy, and
attractiveness, and the moth flies towards the light by his own nature.
Because he is a wise and virtuous and honorable moth, he does not dart
into the flame. He does not even scorch his wings. He never thinks of
such a thing. He merely circles around the pleasant light, sunning
himself in it without much thought one way or another, only feeling
that it is pleasant; but meanwhile Mrs. Moth sits at home in darkness,
mending the children's clothes, which is not exhilarating. Many a woman
who feels that she possesses her husband's affection misses something.
She does not secure his fervor, his admiration. His love is honest and
solid, but a little dormant, and therefore dull. It does not brace, and
tone, and stimulate. She wants not the love only, but the keenness and
edge and flavor of the love; and she suffers untold pangs. I know it,
for I have seen it. It is not a thing to be uttered. Most women do
not admit it even to themselves; but it is revealed by a lift of the
eyelash, by a quiver of the eye, by a tone of the voice, by a trick of
the finger.

But what is the good of saying all this, if a woman cannot help herself?
The children must be seen to, and the work must be done, and after that
she has no time left. The "mother of a young and increasing family,"
with her "pale, thin face and feeble step," and her "multiplied and
wearying cares," is "completely worn down with so many children." She
has neither time nor spirit for self-culture, beyond what she may obtain
in the nursery. What satisfaction is there in proving that she is far
below where she ought to be, if inexorable circumstance prevent her from
climbing higher? What use is there in telling her that she will alienate
her husband and injure her children by her course, when there is no
other course for her to pursue? What can she do about it?

There is one thing that she need not do. She need not sit down and write
a book, affirming that it is the most glorious and desirable condition
imaginable. She need not lift up her voice and declare that "she lives
above the ills and disquietudes of her condition, in an atmosphere of
love and peace and pleasure far beyond the storms and conflicts of this
material life." Who ever heard of the mother of a young and increasing
family living in an atmosphere of peace, not to say pleasure, above
conflicts and storms? Who does not know that the private history of
every family with the ordinary allowance of brains is a record of
incessant internecine warfare? If she said less, we might believe her.
When she says so much, we cannot help suspecting. To make the best of
anything, it is not necessary to declare that it is the best thing.
Children must be taken care of, but it is altogether probable that there
are too many of them. Some people think that opinion several times more
atrocious than murder in the first degree; but I see no atrocity in it,
and there is none. I think there is an immense quantity of nonsense
about, regarding this thing. For my part, I don't credit half of it. I
believe in Malthus,--a great deal more than Malthus did himself. The
prosperity of a country is often measured by its population; but quite
likely it should be taken in inverse ratio. I certainly do not see why
the mere multiplication of the species is so indicative of prosperity.
Mobs are not so altogether lovely that one should desire their
indefinite increase. A village is honorable, not according to the
number, but the character of its residents. The drunkards and the
paupers and the thieves and the idiots rather diminish than increase its
respectability. It seems to me that the world would be greatly benefited
by thinning out. Most of the places that I have seen would be much
improved by being decimated, not to say quinqueted or bisected. If
people are stubborn and rebellious, stiff-necked and uncircumcised,
in heart and ears, the fewer of them the better. A small population,
trained to honor and virtue, to liberality of culture and breadth of
view, to self-reliance and self-respect, is a thousand times better than
an overcrowded one with everything at loose ends. As with the village,
so with the family. There ought to be no more children than can be
healthily and thoroughly reared, as regards the moral, physical, and
intellectual nature both of themselves and their parents. All beyond
this is wrong and disastrous. I know of no greater crime, than to give
life to souls, and then degrade them, or suffer them to be degraded.
Children are the poor man's blessing and Cornelia's jewels, just so long
as Cornelia and the poor man can make adequate provision for them. But
the ragged, filthy, squalid, unearthly little wretches that wallow
before the poor man's shanty-door are the poor man's shame and curse.
The sickly, sallow, sorrowful little ones, shadowed too early by life's
cares, are something other than a blessing. When Cornelia finds her
children too many for her, when her step trembles and her cheek fades,
when the sparkle flats out of her wine of life and her salt has lost its
savor, her jewels are Tarpeian jewels. One child educated by healthy and
happy parents is better than seven dragging their mother into the grave,
notwithstanding the unmeasured reprobation of our little book. Of
course, if they can stand seven, very well. Seven and seventy times
seven, if you like, only let them be buds, not blights. If we obeyed the
laws of God, children would be like spring blossoms. They would impart
as much freshness and strength as they abstract. They are a natural
institution, and Nature is eminently healthy. But when they "come
crowding into the home-nest," as our book daintily says, they are a
nuisance. God never meant the home-nest to be crowded. There is room
enough and elbow-room enough in this world for everything that ought to
be in it. The moment there is crowding, you may be sure something wrong
is going on. Either a bad thing is happening, or too much of a good
thing, which counts up just the same. The parents begin to repair
the evil by a greater one. They attempt to patch their own rents by
dilapidating their children. They recruit their own exhausted energies
by laying hold of the young energies around them, and older children are
bored, and fretted, and deformed in figure and temper by the care
of younger children. This is horrible. Some care and task and
responsibility are good for a child's own development; but every care,
every toil, every atom of labor that is laid upon children beyond
what is solely the best for their own character is intolerable and
inexcusable oppression. Parents have no right to lighten their own
burdens by imposing them upon the children. The poor things had nothing
to do with being born. They came into the world without any volition of
their own. Their existence began only to serve the pleasure or the pride
of others. It was a culpable cruelty, in the first place, to introduce
them into a sphere where no adequate provision could be made for their
comfort and culture; but to shoulder them, after they get here, with
the load which belongs to their parents is outrageous. Earth is not a
paradise at best, and at worst it is very near the other place. The
least we can do is to make the way as smooth as possible for the
new-comers. There is not the least danger that it will be too smooth.
If you stagger under the weight which you have imprudently assumed,
stagger. But don't be such an unutterable coward and brute as to
illumine your own life by darkening the young lives which sprang from
yours. I often wonder that children do not open their mouths and curse
the father that begat and the mother that bore them. I often wonder that
parents do not tremble lest the cry of the children whom they oppress go
up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and bring down wrath upon
their guilty heads. It was well that God planted filial affection and
reverence as an instinct in the human breast. If it depended upon
reason, it would have but a precarious existence.

I wish women would have the sense and courage--I will not say, to
say what they think, for that is not always desirable--but to think
according to the facts. They have a strong desire to please men, which
is quite right and natural; but in their eagerness to do this, they
sometimes forget what is due to themselves. To think namby-pambyism for
the sake of pleasing men is running benevolence into the ground. Not
that women consciously do this, but they do it. They don't mean to
pander to false masculine notions, but they do. They don't know that
they are pandering to them, but they are. Men say silly things, partly
because they don't know any better, and partly because they don't want
any better. They are strong, and can generally make shift to bear their
end of the pole without being crushed. So they are tolerably content.
They are not very much to blame. People cannot be expected to start on
a crusade against ills of which they have but a vague and cloudy
conception. The edge does not cut them, and so they think it is not much
of a sword after all. But women have, or ought to have, a more subtile
and intimate acquaintance with realities. They ought to know what is
fact and what is fol-de-rol. They ought to distinguish between the
really noble and the simply physical, not to say faulty. If men do not,
it is women's duty to help them. I think, if women would only not be
quite so afraid of being thought unwomanly, they would be a great
deal more womanly than they are. To be brave, and single-minded, and
discriminating, and judicious, and clear-sighted, and self-reliant, and
decisive, that is pure womanly. To be womanish is not to be womanly. To
be flabby, and plastic, and weak, and acquiescent, and insipid, is not
womanly. And I could wish sometimes that women would not be quite
so patient. They often exhibit a degree of long-suffering entirely
unwarrantable. There is no use in suffering, unless you cannot help it;
and a good, stout, resolute protest would often be a great deal more
wise, and Christian, and beneficial on all sides, than so much patient
endurance. A little spirit and "spunk" would go a great way towards
setting the world right. It is not necessary to be a termagant. The
firmest will and the stoutest heart may be combined with the gentlest
delicacy. Tameness is not the stuff that the finest women are made of.
Nobody can be more kind, considerate, or sympathizing towards weakness
or weariness than men, if they only know it exists; and it is a wrong to
them to go on bolstering them up in their bungling opinions, when a few
sensible ideas, wisely administered, would do so much to enlighten them,
and reveal the path which needs only to be revealed to secure their
unhesitating entrance upon it. It is absurd to suppose that unvarying
acquiescence is necessary to secure and retain their esteem, and that a
frank avowal of differing opinions, even if they were wrong, would work
its forfeiture. A respect held on so frail a tenure were little worth.
But it is not so. I believe that manhood and womanhood are too truly
harmonious to need iron bands, too truly noble to require the props of
falsehood. Truth, simple and sincere, without partiality and without
hypocrisy, is the best food for both. If any are to be found on either
side too weak to administer or digest it, the remedy is not to mix it
with folly or falsehood, for they are poisons, but to strengthen the
organisms with wholesome tonics,--not undiluted, perhaps, but certainly

O Edmund Sparkler, you builded better than you knew, when you reared
eulogiums upon the woman with no nonsense about her!


  Mist on the shore, and dark on the sand,
    The chilly gulls swept over my head,
  When a stately ship drew near the land,--
    Onward in silent grace she sped.

  Lonely, I threw but a coward's glance
    Upon the brave ship tall and free,
  Joyfully dancing her mystic dance,
    As if skies were blue and smooth the sea.

  I breathed the forgotten odors of Spain,
    Remembered my castles so far removed,
  For they brought the distant faith again
    That one who loves shall be beloved.

  Then the goodly galleon suddenly
    Dropped anchor close to the barren strand,
  And various cargoes, all for me,
    Laid on the bosom of my land.

  O friend! her cargoes were thy love,
    The stately ship thy presence fair;
  Her pointed sails, like wings above,
    Shall fill with praises and with prayer.

       *       *       *       *       *



Ye who listen with impatience to the Reports of Historical Societies and
have hitherto neglected to subscribe to an Antiquarian Journal, ye who
imagine that there can be no intelligent and practical reply to the
_cui bono?_ shake of the head which declines to supply the funds for a
genealogical investigation, attend to the history of my adventure in

There!--I like to begin with the Moral; for no sensible man will leave
the point and purpose of his testimony to the languid curiosity of a
spent reader. Dr. Johnson never did so; and who am I to question his
literary infallibility? So if you do not take kindly to the solemn
rumble of the Johnsonese mail-coach of a sentence in which we set out,
receive the purport of it thus: It is of advantage to be on good terms
with one's ancestors: Also; men absorbed in this practical present may
be all the better for a little counter irritation with the driest twigs
of the family-tree.

And now, _Why did I marry Miss Hurribattle?_ I am sure I had no
intention of doing so. In the first place, when about eighteen years of
age, I had firmly determined never to marry anybody. Then there were so
many nice _tea-ing_ families in the Atlantic city whose principal street
was decorated by my modest counsellor's sign, that I really must excuse
the rather unpleasant wonder of several friends at my out-of-the-way
selection. That a somewhat experienced advocate, who had resisted for
three years the fascinations of city belle-ship, should spend the legal
vacation in a visit to an old gentleman he never saw before, and return
affianced to a lady nobody had ever heard of,--I own there was something
temptingly discussible in the circumstance; and knowing that fine relish
for personal topics which distinguishes the American _conversazione_,
how could I hope to escape? At first, it was a little awkward, when I
went to a party, to see people who were talking together glance at me
and murmur on with increased interest. Sometimes, when the wave of talk
retreated a little, I would catch the prattle of some retiring rill to
this effect: "But who are these Hurribattles? What an odd name! I wonder
if that had anything to do with it."

The querist, whoever he or she might be, had unconsciously struck upon
the explanation of the whole matter. Yes, it was the name: it had a
great deal to do with it. And if you will allow me to step back a little
into the past, and thence begin over again in good storyteller fashion,
I will endeavor to make you understand how it all came about.

If I were obliged to designate in one word the profession and calling
of Colonel Prowley of Foxden, I should say he was a _Correspondent_. Of
course I do not mean a regular newspaper-correspondent, paid to concoct
letters from Paris in the office of the "Foxden Regulator"; nor yet the
amateur ditto, who is never tired of making family-tours to the White
Mountains. But rather was he a gentleman, with an immense epistolary
acquaintance all over the country, whose main business in life consisted
in writing letters to all sorts of persons in a great variety of places.
And this he did as his particular contribution towards the solution
of this question: What in the world--or rather, what in the United
States--is a man to do who accumulates sufficient property to relieve
him from the necessities of active business? The answers offered to this
inquiry of the Democratic Sphinx are, as we all know, various enough.
Some men, of ready assurance and fluent speech, go into politics; some
doze in libraries; some get up trotting-matches and yacht-races; while
others dodge the difficulty altogether by going to disport themselves
among the arts and letters of a foreign land. Colonel Prowley,
with considerable originality, was moved to find employment in
_letter-writing_, pursuing it with the same daily relish which many
people find for gossip or small-talk. And this is the way in which I
came to be favored with the good gentleman's communications. About three
years ago a friend in England procured for me a book that I had long
coveted,--Morton's "New English Canaan," printed at Amsterdam in the
year 1637. This little volume, after the novelty of a fresh perusal was
past, I happened to lend to a young gentleman of our boarding-house, who
prepared short notices of books for one of the evening papers. He, it
would appear, thought that some account of my acquisition might supply
the matter for his diurnal paragraph. At all events, I received, some
days after, a letter dated from Foxden, and bearing the signature of
Elijah Prowley. It was couched in the old-fashioned style of compliment
and excuses for the liberty taken,--which liberty consisted in
requesting to have a fac-simile made of a certain page of a work that he
had traced through a newspaper-article to my possession. The object, he
said, was to supply the deficiency in a copy of the "Canaan" that had a
place in his own library. Of course the request was complied with, and
the correspondence begun.

The Colonel, to do him justice, wrote very entertaining letters, despite
the somewhat antiquated phraseology in which his sentiments were
clothed. Indeed, I soon found in his epistles all the variety of the
_grab-bag_ at a country-fair, in which the purchaser of the right of
_grab_ fumbles with pleasing uncertainty as to whether he is to draw
forth a hymn-book or a shaving-brush, a packet of note-paper or a box
of patent polish for stoves. At one time he would communicate the
particulars of some antiquarian discovery at Foxden; at another he would
copy for me the weekly bill of the town mortality, or journalize the
parish quarrels about the repairs of the stove-funnel in Mr. Clifton's

I was well pleased to find that the little notes of acknowledgment
which I despatched after the receipt of these leviathans seemed to
be considered a sufficient representation of capital to justify the
enormous rate of epistolary interest which the Colonel bestowed. I liked
the style of my correspondent. It did me good to meet with the strong
old expressions of our ancestors that were turning up in unexpected
places. If the dear old phrases were sometimes better or worse than the
fact they expressed, they must have improved what was good, and gibbeted
more effectually what to the times seemed evil. Who would now think of
designating a parcel of serious savages "the praying Indians of Natick"?
And yet there is a sound and a power about the words that would go far
to convert the skeptical aborigines in their own despite. Why, there
was something rich and nervous in the talk of the very lawmakers. "The
accursed sect of the Quakers,"--what a fine spirit such an accusative
case gives to the dry formula of a legal enactment! the beat of the drum
by which the edict was proclaimed in the streets of Boston seems only an
appropriate accompaniment to so stirring a denunciation. Then to invite
a brother to "exercise prophecy,"--as Winthrop used to call the business
of preaching,--there is really something soul-invigorating in the very
sound. No wonder the people could stand a good two-hours' discourse
under so satisfactory a title!

I suppose, then, that much of my original relish for the communications
of my Foxden correspondent came from his mastery over the antique
glossary, and perhaps the rather ancient style of thought that fitted
well the method of conveyance. Indeed, a good course of Bishop
Copleston's "magic-lanthorn school" made me peculiarly susceptible to
the refreshment of changing the gorgeous haze of modern philosophers for
the sharpness and vitality with which old-fashioned people clothe such
ideas as are vouchsafed to them.

I soon found that my friend had that passion for what may be called
petty antiquarian research which is so puzzling to those who escape its
contagion. Also that a pride of family, that lingers persistently in
some parts of New England, seemed to concentrate itself and envelop him
as in a cloud. He had attained the age of sixty a bachelor,--perhaps
from finding no person in Foxden of sufficiently clear lineage to be
united with the Squire's family,--or perhaps because he had a sister,
five years older than himself, who fulfilled the duties of companion and

How strange a sensation it is to feel a real friendship and familiarity
with one we have never seen! Yet if people are drawn together by those
mysterious affinities which, like the daughters of the horse-leech, are
ever crying, "Give, give," a few bits of paper bridge over space well
enough, and enable us to recognize abroad the scattered fragments that
complete ourselves.

The Colonel studied up my ancestors, who, it appears, were once people
of sufficient consideration in the land, and finally transferred the
interest to myself. At one time he took the trouble to go down to
Branton, about forty miles from Foxden, for the purpose of verifying
inquiries about progenitors of mine who had originally settled in that
place. He advised me, as a son, in my reading and business; and although
I often dismissed his suggestions as the whims of an old-fashioned
recluse, I was always touched by the simplicity and sincere interest
that prompted them. He would mysteriously hint that something might one
day occur to give tangible proof of the regard in which he held me; but
as I paid little heed to such warnings, I was totally unprepared for the
plan developed in the letter of which an extract is here presented:--

"Concerning the propriety of your marrying, my dear young friend, my
sister and myself have long known but one opinion; the only difficulty
that has exercised us being, whom, among my divers correspondents, we
could most heartily commend to your selection. Now it is known to you
that I have striven for some time past to trace the descendants of the
old family of Hurribattel, who seem to have disappeared from Branton
about the year ten in the present century. The interest I have taken in
the research comes from the fact that your great-great-uncle appears
at one time to have been affianced to a lady of that family. For what
reason an alliance which had everything to recommend it was broken off
I have sorely puzzled myself to conjecture, but linger always in the
labyrinths of doubt. Some months ago I received a catalogue from the
Soggimarsh College in the Far West, to whose funds I had contributed a
modest subscription. I was thrown into an ecstasy of astonishment, when,
in glancing over the names of the honorable Faculty, my attention was
arrested by words to this effect: _Miss Hurribattle, Professor of
Calisthenics and Female Deportment_. Of course, I wrote to her
immediately, and received right cordial replies to all inquiries. She
seemed much interested in the union of the families that was formerly
contemplated, and much desires to see you as the representative of your
great-great-uncle. I need only add, that, so far as may be judged by the
happy vein of her correspondence, she has at present no ensnarement
of the heart, and has agreed to pay me a visit at Foxden the first of
August next, when, by reason of the vacation, she will be at liberty for
five weeks. Your own visit to me, so often postponed, is, as I believe,
definitively fixed for the same time. So I expect you both, and need not
enlarge on the strange delight it would give me, if a family-engagement
of seventy years' standing should be closed by a marriage beneath my

There was something so preposterous in this desperate match-making
between people whom they had never seen, that Colonel Prowley and
his sister had taken into their hands, that it really made a greater
impression upon me than if the parties had been less unlikely to
come together. A Professor of Calisthenics! Could anything be more
unpromising? Yet, when my friend copied for me some extracts from the
lady's letters that were sensible and feminine, I thought how odd it
would be, if something should come of it, after all. I often found
myself skipping Colonel Prowley's accounts of old Doctor Dastick, Mrs.
Hunesley, and other great people of his town, and pondering upon the
notices of his Western correspondent. I began to have a mysterious
presentiment--which, in view of the calisthenics, I could not
explain--that we might be not unadapted to each other. In any case,
the lady's fine family-name was a recommendation that I knew how to
appreciate. They have very young professors out West, I thought, and
this is merely a temporary position; besides, I had a friend who married
a female physician, and the match has turned out a very happy one. So
I played with the idea, half in jest and half seriously, and looked
forward with much interest to my visit to Foxden.


It was near noon, on an August day, when the train left me at the Foxden
station. Upon casting my eyes about to see what was to be done next,
I observed a very shabby and rickety carryall, with the legend
"Railway-Omnibus" freshly painted upon its side.

"It is better than a mile and a half up to Colonel Prowley's; but I
calculate I can take you there, after I've left this lady," responded
the proprietor of this turnout, in reply to a question of mine.

"But I want to go to Colonel Prowley's, too," said a feminine voice at
my side.

"Well, now that's _com_plete," acquiesced the driver. "I'll just go get
the baggage, and put you both through right away."

Of course I turned to view my companion. She was a middle-aged
lady, something disordered in dress and hair, with a sharply marked
countenance, and that diffusive sort of eye that seems to take one in as
a speck which breaks the view of more interesting objects lying on the
verge of the horizon. Yet her face was dimpled by those indescribable
changing lines which indicate that a cessation of impulse has not marked
the wearer's retreat from youth, and make us feel anew how blessed a
thing it is for the character to keep our impulses strong within us, and
to be strong ourselves in their restraint.

I was doubting whether to begin those little shivers and sidelings with
which people who feel that they ought to be acquainted, but have nobody
to introduce them, endeavor to supply the deficiency, when the lady
abruptly pronounced my name, and inquired if I responded thereto.

"I thought it must be you," she said, on being satisfied regarding my
identity, "for the Colonel wrote me that he expected you about this
time. I feel we shall become friends. I am Miss Hurribattle."

Although I had a strong suspicion who it must be, yet a cold surprise
seemed to run through me, when the dire certainty so suddenly declared
itself. I dropped my carpet-bag, as if all my daintily built castles
were in it, and it was best to crush them to pieces at once and have it
over. I pondered, and helped tie a bandbox on behind the vehicle, and
after some time found myself in the carryall staring at the felt hat
of the driver an inch or two before my nose, and Miss Hurribattle
established by my side. It occurred to me that it was my place to resume
the conversation, and, in a sudden spasm of originality, I changed a
remark respecting the beauty of the day into an observation on the
steepness of the hill we began to ascend.

"It is very steep," assented the lady, "and I have a particular
objection to riding up-hill: it always appears to me I am helping the
horses draw. However, it may sometimes be pleasant; for I remember
paying a visit of a fortnight to Boston, when I was a girl, and there I
really thought that hills could not have been placed more conveniently."

"How so?" inquired I.

"Why, I stayed with some friends who lived in Charles Street, just on
the bay; consequently we always drove up-hill when we went to a party,
and downhill when we came home."

"And you were always so much more content to return than to go, that the
accelerated speed of a down-hill passage was agreeable," suggested I,
after having cast about vaguely for an explanation.

"Oh, dear! no! It was all on account of my back-hair: for in going
up-hill one naturally leans forward,--so, of course, it couldn't get
tumbled; but when we were coming home, it was no matter."

I glanced slightly at Miss Hurribattle, and thought it strange that a
lady of her present disorderly and straggly appearance could have ever
felt so much interest in fashionable proprieties. She seemed to be
conscious of what was passing in my mind, and suddenly said,--

"Did you ever see a lady throw a stone?"

"I probably have," I replied; "though I do not at present recall any
particular instance."

"Very well, then,--you will remember that it always seems as if she was
going to throw herself after it. Now I recognize in this a portion of
the mystic instruction that natural phenomena may give us, if we look at
them earnestly; for is it not intended that woman should pursue with her
whole being whatever she undertakes? The man throws his stone with a
little jerk of the hand: he may be a legislator, a philanthropist, a
father, and a merchant, each with distinct portions of himself, and be
each with all the better effect to the others; but when a woman throws
her stone, it is better for her to project herself along with it."

"But, surely, you cannot believe that she is entitled only to a single
fling at the mark?"

"On the contrary, let her change her mark as often as she finds it too
easy or too hard to hit. All I insist upon is a temporary concentration
upon one pursuit. You wondered just now that I could ever have cared for
display, or have thought much of my appearance; but at that time I knew
no better, and followed the world with a devotion for which I have now,
I trust, a better object."

I began to be quite interested in the sincerity and confidence with
which my companion talked to me, and, after a few remarks expressing
concurrence, I framed a question that would draw out the motives of her
connection with the college, should she care to communicate them.

"It has been fortunate for me," answered Miss Hurribattle, "to have been
born with an activity of temperament that has kept me from that _maladie
des désabusés_ which, when the freshness of youth has passed, frequently
attacks ladies of some intellectual culture who do not marry. A strong
principle of self-assertion, that has long been characteristic of my
family, has left us unbound by that common propriety of sacrificing
our best happiness for the sake of appearing happy to the world. This
induced my father to quit Branton in pretty much the same spirit of
opposition with which Chatterton quitted Bristol. Disgusted with its
local celebrities, and chafing under the petty exactions and petty
gossip to which a sudden loss of fortune had exposed him, he left the
town without communicating to the neighbors his future destination. But
I will not poach upon our friend the Colonel's speciality, and give you
a family-history. It is sufficient to say that a year or two ago I
was led to interest myself in the Soggimarsh College as a ground
unincumbered by the old incredulities of man's best inspirations
which grow so thickly in what are called the highest
civilizations,--incredulities, indeed, which, in the fine figure of
Coleridge, are nothing but credulities after all, only seen from behind,
as they bow and nod assent to the habitual and the fashionable. But I
see you are wondering at the particular position in the Academy which
our catalogue assigns me, and you shall have the explanation. I have for
a long time been painfully impressed with the total neglect of physical
education by the women of America. It seems to me that no very important
moral advance can be achieved while the exquisite organism through which
our impressions come, and through which they should go forth again in
acts, is so perverted. I was very anxious that the Soggimarsh College
should distinctly recognize a correct physical training as being at
least as important as any branch of mental discipline. Accordingly, when
the titles of the professorships were under discussion, it seemed right
not to take my designation from the classes I instruct in history and
philosophy, but from the general gymnastic development of the female
members of the college, which it is likewise my duty to oversee. I know,
of course, that the prejudices of the public would hold me in greater
esteem as a teacher of some ancient lore than in the capacity I assume
before them; but you see I throw my stone in the womanish fashion, and
do not leave enough of myself behind to be troubled about the matter."

I believe I have good Sir Thomas Browne's fancy of rejoicing to find
people individual in something beside their proper names; and by this,
as well as much more conversation not set down, I had the satisfaction
to discover that Miss Hurribattle had something more than her bold
patronymic to distinguish her from the Misses Smith and Robinson of my
city-acquaintance. I could hardly believe that we had advanced so far to
the footing of old friends, before we reached our destination. As
our carryall turned into Colonel Prowley's avenue, however, a sudden
recollection of the little romance the proprietor had arranged for his
arriving guests came over me like a terrible dream. What a pity it is, I
thought, that a friendly intercourse which I should highly prize must be
disturbed by the awkward consciousness that this old letter-writer
and his sister are watching and misinterpreting with all the zeal of
match-makers who have baited their trap, and are ready to mistake
anything for a nibble!

We drew up before a formal-looking, old-fashioned house, with piazzas
to the two stories, each bordered with a good extent of unquestionably
modern gutter. The staple growth of the place, in which the house was
set, like the centre of an antique breastpin, seemed to lie in the shrub
called box. This ornamental vegetable stretched down each side of the
gravel walk, hedged in all sorts of ugly geometrical figures that
contained flower-beds, and stood sentinel to the lower line of the
piazza; farther on, you would see it allowed to grow to the height
of three or four feet, to be curiously cut into cubes, pyramids, and
miniature arches.

Colonel Prowley, who was soon at the door to receive us, was a much less
imposing sort of man than I had imagined him. He appeared short and
modest, and showed a kind face set about half-way up the chin in one of
the old section-of-stove-pipe stocks that buckle up from behind; there
was a little embarrassment in his manner, as if he found it hard to
receive with proper cordiality two dear friends whose faces he had
never before seen. We were taken to the parlor, stiffly neat in all its
appurtenances, introduced to Miss Prowley, and soon after summoned to

There was much satisfaction in sitting down to such a repast as the
Colonel knew how to give, only it made one shudder a little when he told
us the names of great people long passed away who had ranged themselves
about the same piece of mahogany during the days of his father and
grandfather, for fourscore years into the past. However, if such
reminiscences make us reflect upon the mutable character of human
affairs, and send grave speculations of the "fleeting show" and "man's
illusion" concerning which the poet has told us, I find that the best
way is to remember that it is well to make our humble department in the
show as entertaining as we can, and our little fragment of the illusion
as illusive as possible.

At the head of the table sat the sister of our host, arrayed in the lank
bombazine skirt, tight sleeves, and muslin cravat, which constituted the
old-lady uniform of the past generation, and which in rare instances yet
survives in the country. Upon her right hand was placed the clergyman,
Mr. Clifton, who came to dine every Monday,--it being a convenient
arrangement on account of the washing; and on her left was one Deacon
Reyner, who kept the parish records, and was the local antiquary of the

One of the pleasantest diversions with which I am acquainted is a dinner
among elderly people of character and originality, who are content to
toss about the ball of conversation among themselves, and allow me to
watch the game. And in this way was I entertained on my arrival at
Foxden; for Miss Hurribattle was directly at her ease, and had plenty
to say; while the brother and sister were content to offer the best
of everything, and did not attempt to draw me out of my silence. I
perceived they were thinking what a pity it was that Miss Hurribattle
and myself had not the equality of age and temper that they had fancied
for us; for I observed how they would follow the streaks of gray that
straggled through the lady's locks, and then glance at the neatly turned
moustache upon which in those days I prided myself, and realize that
their agreeable plans might be destined to disappointment.

I remember the conversation first fell upon a certain general history
of the Prowley family that its present masculine representative had in

"By the way," said Deacon Reyner, addressing the future historian on
this head, "I have secured a correct copy of poor Prosody's epitaph, as
you asked me the other day."

Miss Hurribattle, who looked as if she had some doubt whether poor
Prosody was a man or an animal, returned a non-committal, "Indeed! I am
very glad of it," but soon after added, "Was he a favorite dog?"

"A dog!" exclaimed the Colonel, whose family-history, dates and all,
seemed to course his veins instead of blood, "he was my many times great
uncle! I have surely told you how Noah Prowllie, who came to New England
in 1642, and is supposed to have settled at Foxden some years later,
married Desire, daughter of the Reverend Jabez Pluck. Being a rigid
grammarian,--a character sufficiently rare at that period,--he named
his three sons Orthography, Syntax, and Prosody,--a proceeding that
is understood to have offended the Reverend Jabez, who was naturally
partial to the Scriptural nomenclature then in vogue. His scruples,
I regret to say, were more than justified in the conduct of his
grandchildren. Poor Orthography Prowllie was an idle fellow, who never
got beyond making his mark upon paper, and consequently made none in the
world; Syntax could never agree with anybody; while as for Prosody, poor

"It is enough to say that neither his verses nor his life would bear
scanning!" said the Deacon, desiring to keep the conversation off
unpleasant topics.

"But you certainly had a poet in your family?" said Miss Hurribattle,
determined to repair her blunder by suggesting a potent cause of

"Indeed we had, Madam!" said the Colonel, with creditable emotion;
"though unfortunately none of his productions have come down to us. But
we have the highest contemporary testimony to his excellence in a copy
of verses prefixed to his posthumous discourse entitled 'The New Snare
of a Maypole, or Satan's own Trap for a Slippery Church.' The lines
were written by his colleague, the Reverend Exaltation Brymm, and are
certainly much to the purpose: I generally keep a copy of them in my

"Oh, do read them, brother!" said Miss Prowley, with strong interest.

Thus adjured, the Colonel produced a piece of paper, put on his
spectacles, and read to this effect:--

  "New Englande! weep: Thy tuncfull Prowllie's gone,
  Who skillfully his Armour buckled on
  Agaynst Phyllystine Scorn and Revelrie:
  His Sword well-furbished was a Sight to see!
  This littel Booke of his shall still be greene
  While Sathan's Fangles lorden stand betweene:
  Now Pet of Sinne boil up thy dolefull Skum!
  Ye juggelling Quakers laugh: his Inkhorn's dumb.
  He put XIII Pslames in verse for our Quire,
  And with XXVII Pastorals witcht Apollo's Lyre."

"Do you recollect John Norton's funeral elegy on Ann Bradstreet, the Eve
of our female minstrelsy?" interrogated Miss Hurribattle; "there are two
lines in it which are still in my memory:--

  'Could Maro's muse but hear her lively strain,
  He would condemn his works to fire again.'

What a launch upon the sea of fame! and how sad it is that an actual
freight of verses should be preserved in the ship's hold!"

"Well, well, my kinsman was perhaps wise in trusting none of his psalms
or pastorals to the press, especially as that greatest of poets,
Pope, has since been in the world. But I truly regret that he left no
portrait, nor even so much as an outline in black from which something
might be made up by an imaginative artist. I have judges, majors, and
attorneys, all properly labelled, in the other room, who would be much
improved by a slight dash of the aesthetic element; however, I suppose
it can't be helped now!"

"Not unless you substitute Saint Josselyn for an ancestor, as Mrs.
Hunesley did the other day," said Miss Prowley.

"Ha, ha! it might not be a bad plan to follow out the lady's suggestion:
but do tell the story of her strange mistake."

"Why, you must know that the other day old Doctor Dastick brought his
New-York niece to call upon us. She began to talk to my brother, and
when at last topics of conversation failed, turned to look at the
picture of Saint Josselyn, which could be seen through the open

"The gentleman whose sole garment consists of some sort of skin thrown
over his shoulders: you must all have observed it as we came in to
dinner," said our host, in parenthesis.

"Well, immediately below the Saint hangs a small painting of Uncle
Joshua, in white stockings, cocked hat, and coat of maroon velvet, the
poor gentleman's favorite dress.

"'Ah!' said Mrs. Hunesley, with her eyes fixed upon the Saint, 'quite a
fine portrait!'

"'Why, yes,' said my brother, naturally supposing she meant the small
picture below, 'a very fine portrait, and a capital likeness of my Uncle

"'Indeed!' said the lady, with a well-bred effort to conceal her
surprise; 'he was taken in a--a--fancy dress, I suppose.'

"'On the contrary, it was his ordinary costume,' insisted the Colonel.
'I can remember him walking up the broad-aisle at church, dressed just
as you see him there.'

"'I should not have thought it would have been allowed! Did not the
deacons turn him out?' exclaimed Mrs. Hunesley, in great astonishment.

"'Turn him out! Why, Madam, he was a deacon himself, and the most
popular man in the parish.'

"'Well, I had no idea that such things had ever been permitted in this
country! I should have supposed that the fear of such an example on the
young would have induced people to keep him in confinement.'

"'Good heavens, Madam!' remonstrated the Colonel, roused to a desperate
vindication of the family-honor, 'let me tell you that his excellent
influence on the young was the crowning virtue of his character. He used
to go about town with his pockets filled with nuts and gingerbread to
reward them when they were good.'

"'It is enough,' replied the lady; 'our views of propriety are so
totally different that we will not pursue the subject. I will only say
that--really--in that dress, _I don't see where he could have had any

Deacon Reyner laughed heartily at these strictures upon the proprieties
of his predecessor, and said,--

"Of course, the last remark must have brought about an explanation."

"Why, yes," said Colonel Prowley; "but when we see how slight an
accident resolved the mystery, we should receive with doubt much of the
personal scandal which is tossing about the world."

The clergyman assented very cordially to this proposition, and added,
that it was a reflection that those of his flock then present would do
well to bear in mind that very evening at Doctor Dastick's bone-party.

I confess to being a little startled at the spectral name of this
entertainment, and began to puzzle myself whether the Doctor gave
a levee to rapping spirits, or moralized over the skulls in his
collection, like Hamlet in the church-yard. Miss Hurribattle seemed
wandering in the mazes of a similar perplexity, and finally said,--

"What is a bone-party? Is it given out of compliment to the dead or the

"Nay," said the Deacon, "I don't see how it could be much of a
compliment to the dead."

"Except upon the principle, _De mortuis nil, nisi bone 'em!_" suggested
Miss Hurribattle, with such perfect gravity that neither Miss Prowley
nor the clergyman suspected the jocular atrocity that was hidden in her

"The bone-parties of old Doctor Dastick," explained the Colonel, "are
entertainments peculiar to Foxden; and as there is to be one this
evening to which we are all invited, any anticipation of the diversion
seems likely to diminish whatever of satisfaction may be in prospect. I
will, however, remark, that some of the Doctor's guests are grievously
oppressed by somnolence during his scholastic expositions; as a
protection against which infirmity of the flesh, I do commend an
after-dinner nap. It has been the fashion of the house since the days
of my grandfather; and as he lived to a ripe old age, I do not think it
could have been deleterious."

Soon after this, Colonel Prowley pushed back his chair from the table
as a signal for the dispersal of the party. And I betook myself to
my chamber, a sober apartment, with very uneven floor and very small
windows, through one of which I peered out upon the box before the
house, and thought over the people whose acquaintance I had just made.
Once only were these musings interrupted by snatches of a conversation
between my host and hostess as they passed across the piazza.

"When this comes about, sister, as I still believe it must, you shall
adorn a page of my diary with one of your illustrative drawings. A pair
of doves would be appropriate, or perhaps a vine clinging round an oak."

"And which of our guests is to be represented by the oak?" asked Miss
Prowley, in a tone which betrayed a woman's perception of matrimonial

"Nay, sister, our young friend has a steadiness of character which would
be ill-mated with some giddy girl from the nursery. So make your vine a
little woody, and the union will be all the firmer."

As there was no chance of taking a nap after this, I presently descended
to walk in the garden. And there I encountered Miss Hurribattle, who did
not seem to be one of the convenient visitors who can be put to sleep
after dinner. The conversation which I had the honor of renewing with
the lady, though it did not at all advance the whimsical project of
Colonel Prowley, increased my respect for the high instincts of Nature
which prompted her concern in the elevation of woman. She showed me how
a reform, presenting on its surface much that was meagre and partial,
was sustained by those accomplished in the study of the question, no
less from the rigorous necessities of logic than from the demonstrations
of history and experiment.

And here, perchance, the reader observes that we make but slight
progress towards a solution of the inquiry proposed some pages back.
Yet let it be remembered that in real experience the novelist's art of
foreshadowing the end from the beginning and aiming every petty incident
at the final result is very seldom perceptible. "_Il ne faut pas voyager
pour voir, mais pour ne pas voir_," says the proverb; and the journey of
life is included in its application. We do our rarest deeds, we take our
most important steps, by what seems accident. Instead of forming plans
with remote designs, we find it our best policy to seize circumstances
as they run past us,--knowing, that, if we have strength and quickness
enough, we may take from them all that is required.


Doctor Dastick's bone-party was certainly an entertainment of unique
description. A kind old gentleman was its originator, who thought to
turn the enthusiasm for lectures, which the Lyceum had developed in
Foxden, into a private and pleasant channel. Possessed with this
praiseworthy design, the Doctor, who had given up practice by reason of
years and competence, remembered a certain cabinet containing fossils,
crystals, fragments of Indian implements, small pieces of the skeletons
of their proprietors, vertebrae of extinct animals, besides a great
amount of miscellaneous rubbish that refused to come to terms and be
classified. Thus it seemed good to the proprietor of this medical
rag-bag to invite the citizens of Foxden to a series of explanatory
lectures upon its varied contents. This would have done well enough,
if the Doctor could only have persuaded himself to select his most
interesting specimens, and read up upon them, so as to retail a little
fluent information after the manner of the lyceum-philosophers. But,
unfortunately, the professional pride of the lecturer induced him to
speak without preparation or discrimination upon any osteological
article which happened to come to hand: which fact, perhaps, accounted
for the prevalent somnolence of the auditory, concerning which I had
been forewarned.

It is barely possible that these midsummer-night diversions of Doctor
Dastick were suggested by the fame of evenings which, during the
previous winter, several city physicians (men of eminent scientific
attainments) had devoted to the instruction of their friends. And rumor
could scarcely have overestimated the privilege of listening to the
discursive fireside talk of such accurate observers. Having vividly
realized all that was to be known of their subjects of special
investigation, these distinguished gentlemen would steam steadily
athwart the light winds of conversation and bring their company to
a pleasant haven. The Foxden ex-practitioner, however, lacking the
metropolitan attrition which keeps the intellectual engine in
effective polish, drifted vaguely in a sea of fragmentary information;
--occasionally, to be sure, bumping against some encyclopedic argosy,
but, for the most part, making very leisurely progress, with much
apparent waste in the machinery. A brief extract from my note-book may
furnish an idea of these scientific discourses.

"Now, my friends," pursues the Doctor, "let us examine another
curiosity,"--here he would take down something that looked like a
mottled paving-stone in a very crumbling condition,--"let us examine it
carefully through the glass,"--here a pause, during which he performed
the operation in question. "What is it? Is it a fossil turtle? No,"
--with great deliberation,--"I should say it was _not_ a fossil turtle.
Is it a mass of twigs taken from the stomach of a mastodon? No, on the
whole, it can't be a mass of twigs taken from the stomach of a mastodon.
Is it a specimen of the top of Mount Sinai? No, it is not a specimen
of the top of Mount Sinai. What is it, then? _I--don't--know--

Having arrived at this satisfactory conclusion, the Doctor would pass
on to the next specimen, which, having provoked a similar series of
interrogations and negations, would be dismissed with no very different

There is sometimes an advantage in not being a notable person; at all
events, I thought so, when I saw the Prowleys and their guests of chief
consideration, to wit, the clergyman, deacon, and Miss Hurribattle,
accommodated on the first row of chairs, with their faces under grand
illumination by two camphene-lamps upon the Doctor's table. There
they sat, together with Mrs. Hunesley from New York, two or three
distinguished visitors from the hotel, and the elders of Foxden, looking
wistfully at the bones, as if in envy of their fleshless condition that
sultry August evening.

It was with real satisfaction that I perceived I was considered worthy
of no more worshipful company than that of the standing stragglers at
the dark end of the parlor. And as the evening breeze came freshly
through the window at the back of the room, I rejoiced heartily in my
lack of title to the consideration of being snugly penned in a more
honorable position. As I found it might be done without attracting
attention, I obeyed a strong impulse that seized me to pass through the
open window to the piazza. Thence I presently descended, and strolled
about the precise gravel-walks, puzzling myself to conjecture how much
of the rich light was owing to the red glow which lingered in the west,
and how much to the full moon just breaking through the trees. My
investigations were suddenly interrupted by the advent of a carryall,
which drove-with great rapidity to the Doctor's gate. It was the very
railway-omnibus that a few hours before had brought Miss Hurribattle and
myself from the station.

"Hello, Cap'n," called out the driver, complimenting me with that
military title, "can you give a hand to this trunk? I've got to go right
slap back after two more fares."

I was near the gate, and of course cheerfully acceded to this request. A
heavy trunk was lifted out, and placed just behind the lilac-bushes at
the edge of the lawn. The driver jumped into his omnibus and hurried
away with all speed, lest his two fares should pay themselves to a rival
conveyance. Behind him, however, he had left the proprietress of the
trunk,--a lady of about five-and-twenty, in whose countenance I detected
that strange sort of familiarity that entire strangers sometimes carry
about them.

"This is Doctor Dastick's, is it not? Do you know whether Mrs. Hunesley
expected me?" she asked, with a grace of manner that was quite

I informed her that I was a stranger in the place, and was only at the
Doctor's for a single evening; but that I could not think that Mrs.
Hunesley expected anybody, as I had just seen that lady firmly fixed in
the front row of chairs before the Doctor's table,--whence, owing to the
crowd of sitters behind, she would have some difficulty in extricating

"Oh, I would not have her called for the world!" gayly exclaimed my
companion. "She has told me all about the dear old Doctor's lectures;
and I would not disturb his learned explanations on any account."

"I do not think that the company in general would regret an interlude of
modern life and interest," said I.

"Perhaps not; but nothing seems to me so rude and disagreeable as to
interrupt people, or disturb their attention, when assembled for a
definite object."

We walked up the gravel-path, and softly entered the hall, where
a shawl and bonnet were deposited. The Doctor's discourse was very
audible, and the unexpected visitor seemed disposed to establish herself
upon one of the hall-chairs, and wait till it was over. There was a
graceful confidence in her movement, which is to me more captivating
than a pretty face; and when I had opportunity to observe more closely,
I was greatly attracted by the sensibility and refinement expressed
through a countenance which otherwise would have been plain. As I seemed
to be whimsically cast in the part of host, and as I perceived the lady
was too well-bred to make my position at all awkward, I proposed the
piazza as a pleasanter place of waiting than that she had chosen.

And here let me make one of those weighty observations, derived from a
profound experience, which I trust will have a redeeming savor to
the judicious, should this tale of mine fail to command that general
popularity to which I have begun to suspect its title. I have found
that all the fine passages that lighten and enlighten this life of ours
seldom run into the traps we set for them, but seem to take a perverse
satisfaction in descending upon us when we are least prepared for
their reception. I have never been asked out to dine with a gentleman,
devoted, we will say, to the same speciality in which I have a humble
interest, without being sadly disappointed in the talk that my host had
kindly promised me. And when I am going to another country, and a dear
friend gives me a letter to some one whom he tells me I shall be glad to
meet, and from whom I shall gain great instruction, I accept the letter,
knowing very well that the man I shall really be glad to meet, and from
whom I shall truly gain instruction, will present himself on the top
of a diligence, or take a seat at my table at some cheap _café_ or
chop-house. Thus it is, that, when there is every reason why people
should break through the commonplace rubbish on the surface, and
disclose a pure vein of thought and feeling, they rarely contrive to do
it, but reserve their best things for the chances that touch them, when
self-consciousness is asleep, and the unconstrained humanity within
expands to absorb its like. Is it not in every one's experience that
there are persons with whom chance has thrown us for a few hours, whom
we know better, and who know us better, than the friends with whom we
have babbled of green fields, thermometers, and dirty pavements for a
score of years? As I confidently expect an affirmative reply to this
question, I fear no censure in saying that the evening passed on
Doctor Dastick's piazza made me feel there was a possibility of social
intercourse resembling the extravagant spirituality of the mystics, when
the soul bounds to the height of joyful knowledge, and without process
or medium knows complete satisfaction.

How we came to talk of many things, I cannot remember; but we somehow
found ourselves speaking of matters of near and deep experience without
consciousness of singularity. We admitted those puzzling life-questions
that present themselves, on a still summer evening, when we long to
escape from the conditions of finite being, and yet contemplate
the necessity of working at our tasks shackled by a thousand iron

"My plan of life, so far as I have any, seems to point to education,"
said my companion. "I am thrown in great measure upon my own activity
for support, and have an aunt who is very zealous in the work, and who
has often asked me to become her fellow-laborer. Until now I could never
well leave home; but she has written to me again since"--she stopped, as
if distressed, and with a woman's tact glanced at her mourning-dress to
tell me the story;--"she has written to me earnestly of late upon the
subject. I feel how noble an object it is to live for, and I want an
object, Heaven knows; but there are reasons--perhaps I should say
feelings, not reasons--why I hesitate. I am asked to bind myself for ten
years to the work in a Western college. There are many advantages in a
permanent position, both for the teacher and the institution, but"--

Her voice faltered; and I felt that Nature had at times made other
suggestions to that fresh young spirit, other possibilities had dawned
through the future; perhaps they were certainties,--and the thought
passed me with a shudder.

"Teaching is a terrible drudgery," I said; "the labor and devotion of
the true teacher are yet unrecognized by the world."

"I am not afraid of the vexations," she replied: "I am very fond of
being with young people; yet I have been taught to think it was happier,
if our affections could be somewhat more concentrated than--In short,
I had better finish an awkward sentence, by saying that I do not feel
quite ready to pledge myself to give up all possibilities connected with
my New-England home."

It was spoken with such sweet ingenuousness that I was only charmed. The
simple sincerity of the confession seemed to me much better than the
flippant jest and pert talk with which I had heard such subjects treated
while making my observations upon what my city-acquaintances had assured
me was good society. Is it not Sterling who exclaims that a luxurious
and polished life without a true sense of the beautiful and the great is
more barren and sad to see than that of the ignorant and the brutalized?
And if this be true, how shall we imagine a greater satisfaction than to
find the fresh truth of Nature set in a polished and graceful form? For
since it is through form that we take cognizance of all we love and all
we believe, it is well that the sign and idea should merge, and come
complete and whole to govern us aright.

I should have no objection to meditating after this manner for a page or
two, as well as further hinting what important nothings sparkled upon
Doctor Dastick's piazza that pleasant summer night. But as I must
curtail this biographical fragment in some part or other, it seems best
to do it about that portion where I may trust that the experience of
every reader will supply the deficiency.

How harshly sounded the creaking of the furniture, and how strangely
commercial and matter-of-fact the voices of the people that announced
the conclusion of the lecture! Mrs. Hunesley managed to get out among
the first, and was heartily glad to see my newly acquired friend,
calling her, "My dear Kate,"--which I thought was a very pretty
name,--and saying that she had not expected her quite so soon.

I looked into the parlor and saw the Prowley party tumbling over chairs,
and scaling settees, in their haste to meet the cooling breezes of the
piazza. But when they finally accomplished their purpose, and I was
advancing with inquiries and congratulations, I started at seeing the
surprise depicted in the countenance of Miss Hurribattle, as she gazed
in the direction where I stood.

"Why, Aunt Patience!" exclaimed a voice at my side.

"Why, Kate Hurribattle!" was the response.

"How in the name of wonder did you get to Foxden?"

"How under the sun did _you_ get to Foxden?"

"Why _I_ am here naturally enough as the guest of my friend Colonel

"And _I_ am here naturally enough as the guest of my friend Mrs.

Now if I had dramatized the little event I have been trying to relate, I
should have reached the precise point where the auditor would button up
his coat, put on his hat, let his patent spring-seat go up with a click,
and begin to leave the theatre with all expedition. What would it matter
to him that I had prepared a circumstantial account of how all petty
objections were got over, or that I had elaborated a peculiarly
felicitous _tag_ which Colonel Prowley would speak at a few backs as
they disappeared into the lobby? The auditor referred to has got an
inkling of how things are to end, and can guess out the particulars as
he hurries off to his business. And here will be observed our decided
advantage in having made sure of the Moral by a vigorous assertion of
the same at the commencement of this narrative; for, thus relieved of
the necessity of a final flutter into the empyrean of ethics, we may
part company in a few easy sentences.

Although the circumstances I have set down, from being awkwardly packed
in a small compass, may not appear to fit into each other with all the
exactness of a dissecting-map, I am sure, that, as they really occurred
spread over a necessary time, they seemed natural and simple enough.
Mrs. Hunesley, Doctor Dastick's favorite niece, was the schoolmate of
Miss Kate Hurribattle, and what more likely than that she should invite
her friend to pass a few weeks with her at her summer-home in the
country? And could there be a greater necessity than that, meeting daily
as we did through those lovely August weeks, she should become--in
short, that I should marry Miss Hurribattle?

And when this foolish little romance, which had taken nebulous outline
in the fancy of Colonel Prowley, suddenly fell at his feet a serious
indubitability, the dear, delighted old gentleman was the first to
declare, that, as our engagement had existed for the last seventy years,
it certainly did not seem worth while to wait much longer. At all
events, we did not wait longer than the following Thanksgiving; since
which period my experience leads me to declare, that, if the Miss
Hurribattle of my great-great-uncle's day was at all comparable to the
member of her family I met at Foxden, my respected relative made a great
mistake in living a bachelor.


You know how a little child of three or four years old kicks and howls,
if it do not get its own way. You know how quietly a grown-up man takes
it, when ordinary things fall out otherwise than he wished. A letter,
a newspaper, a magazine, does not arrive by the post on the morning
on which it had been particularly wished for, and counted on with
certainty. The day proves rainy, when a fine day was specially
desirable. The grown-up man is disappointed; but he soon gets reconciled
to the existing state of facts. He did not much expect that things would
turn out as he wished them. Yes: there is nothing like the habit of
being disappointed, to make a man resigned when disappointment comes,
and to enable him to take it quietly. And a habit of practical
resignation grows upon most men, as they advance through life.

You have often seen a poor beggar, most probably an old man, with some
lingering remains of respectability in his faded appearance, half ask
an alms of a passer-by; and you have seen him, at a word of repulse, or
even on finding no notice taken of his request, meekly turn away: too
beaten and sick at heart for energy; drilled into a dreary resignation
by the long custom of finding everything go against him in this world.
You may have known a poor cripple, who sits all day by the side of the
pavement of a certain street, with a little bundle of tracts in his
hand, watching those who pass by, in the hope that they may give him
something. I wonder, indeed, how the police suffer him to be there: for,
though ostensibly selling the tracts, he is really begging. Hundreds of
times in the long day, he must see people approaching, and hope that
they may spare him a halfpenny, and find ninety-nine out of each hundred
pass without noticing him. It must be a hard school of Resignation.
Disappointments without number have subdued that poor creature into
bearing one disappointment more with scarce an appreciable stir of
heart. But, on the other hand, kings, great nobles, and the like, have
been known, even to the close of life, to violently curse and swear, if
things went against them; going the length of stamping and blaspheming
even at rain and wind, and branches of trees and plashes of mud, which
were of course guiltless of any design of giving offence to these
eminent individuals. There was a great monarch, who, when any little
cross-accident befell him, was wont to fling himself upon the floor, and
there to kick and scream and tear his hair. And around him, meanwhile,
stood his awe-stricken attendants: all doubtless ready to assure
him that there was something noble and graceful in his kicking and
screaming, and that no human being had ever before with such dignity
and magnanimity torn his hair. My friend Mr. Smith tells me that in his
early youth he had a (very slight) acquaintance with a great prince, of
elevated rank and of vast estates. That great prince came very early to
his greatness; and no one had ever ventured, since he could remember,
to tell him he had ever said or done wrong. Accordingly, the prince had
never learned to control himself, nor grown accustomed to bear quietly
what he did not like. And when any one, in conversation, related to him
something which he disapproved, he used to start from his chair, and
rush up and down the apartment, furiously flapping his hands together,
till he had thus blown off the steam produced by the irritation of his
nervous system. That prince was a good man: and so aware was he of
his infirmity, that, when in these fits of passion, he never suffered
himself to say a single word: being aware that he might say what he
would afterwards regret. And though he could not wholly restrain
himself, the entire wrath he felt passed off in flapping. And after
flapping for a few minutes, he sat down again, a reasonable man once
more. All honor to him! For my friend Smith tells me that that prince
was surrounded by toadies, who were ready to praise everything he might
do, even to his flapping. And in particular, there was one humble
retainer, who, whenever his master flapped, was wont to hold up his
hands in an ecstasy of admiration, exclaiming, "It is the flapping of a
god, and not of a man!"

Now all this lack of Resignation on the part of princes and kings comes
of the fact, that they are so far like children that they have not
become accustomed to be resisted, and to be obliged to forego what they
would like. Resignation comes by the habit of being disappointed, and
of finding things go against you. It is, in the case of ordinary human
beings, just what they expect. Of course, you remember the adage,
"Blessed is he who expecteth nothing, for he shall not be disappointed."
I have a good deal to say about that adage. Reasonableness of
expectation is a great and good thing: despondency is a thing to be
discouraged and put down as far as may be. But meanwhile let me say,
that the corollary drawn from that dismal beatitude seems to me
unfounded in fact. I should say just the contrary. I should say,
"Blessed is he who expecteth nothing, for he will very likely be
disappointed." You know, my reader, whether things do not generally
happen the opposite way from that which you expected. Did you ever try
to keep off an evil you dreaded by interposing this buffer? Did you ever
think you might perhaps prevent a trouble from coming by constantly
anticipating it,--keeping, meanwhile, an under-thought that things
rarely happen as you anticipate them, and thus that your anticipation of
the thing might possibly keep it away? Of course you have; for you are
a human being. And in all common cases, a watch might as well think to
keep a skilful watchmaker in ignorance of the way in which its movements
are produced, as a human being think to prevent another human being from
knowing exactly how he will think and feel in given circumstances. We
have watched the working of our own watches far too closely and long,
my friends, to have the least difficulty in understanding the great
principles upon which the watches of other men go. I cannot look inside
your breast, my reader, and see the machinery that is working there: I
mean the machinery of thought and feeling. But I know exactly how it
works, nevertheless; for I have long watched a machinery precisely like

There are a great many people in this world who feel that things are all
wrong, that they have missed stays in life, that they are beaten,--and
yet who don't much mind. They are indurated by long use. They do not try
to disguise from themselves the facts. There are some men who diligently
try to disguise the facts, and who in some measure succeed in doing so.
I have known a self-sufficient and disagreeable clergyman who had a
church in a large city. Five-sixths of the seats in the church were
quite empty; yet the clergyman often talked of what a good congregation
he had, with a confidence which would have deceived any one who had not
seen it. I have known a church where it was agony to any one with an ear
to listen to the noise produced when the people were singing; yet the
clergyman often talked of what splendid music he had. I have known an
entirely briefless barrister, whose friends gave out that the sole
reason why he had no briefs was that he did not want any. I have known
students who did not get the prizes for which they competed, but who
declared that the reason of their failure was, that, though they
competed for the prizes, they did not wish to get them. I have known a
fast young woman, after many engagements made and broken, marry as the
last resort a brainless and penniless blackguard; yet all her family
talk in big terms of what a delightful connection she was making. Now,
where all that self-deception is genuine, let us be glad to see it; and
let us not, like Mr. Snarling, take a spiteful pleasure in undeceiving
those who are so happy to be deceived. In most cases, indeed, such
trickery deceives nobody. But where it truly deceives those who
practise it, even if it deceive nobody else, you see there is no true
Resignation. A man who has made a mess of life has no need to be
resigned, if he fancies he has succeeded splendidly. But I look with
great interest, and often with deep respect, at the man or woman who
feels that life has been a failure,--a failure, that is, as regards
_this_ world,--and yet who is quite resigned. Yes: whether it be the
un-soured old maid, sweet-tempered, sympathetic in others' joys, God's
kind angel in the house of sorrow,--or the unappreciated genius, quiet,
subdued, pleased to meet even one who understands him amid a community
which does not,--or the kind-hearted clever man to whom eminent success
has come too late, when those were gone whom it would have made happy:
I reverence and love, more than I can express, the beautiful natures I
have known thus subdued and resigned.

Yes: human beings get indurated. When you come to know well the history
of a great many people, you will find that it is wonderful what they
have passed through. Most people have suffered a very great deal,
since they came into this world. Yet in their appearance there is no
particular trace of it all. You would not guess, from looking at them,
how hard and how various their lot has been. I once knew a woman, rather
more than middle-aged. I knew her well, and saw her almost every day,
for several years, before I learned that the homely Scotchwoman had seen
distant lands, and had passed through very strange ups and downs, before
she settled into the quiet, orderly life in which I knew her. Yet when
spoken to kindly, by one who expressed surprise that all these trials
had left so little trace, the inward feeling, commonly suppressed, burst
bitterly out, and she exclaimed, "It's a wonder that I'm living at all!"
And it is a wonder that a great many people are living, and looking so
cheerful and so well as they do, when you think what fiery passion, what
crushing sorrow, what terrible losses, what bitter disappointments, what
hard and protracted work they have gone through. Doubtless, great good
comes of it. All wisdom, all experience, comes of suffering. I should
not care much for the counsel of the man whose life had been one long
sunshiny holiday. There is greater depth in the philosophy of Mr.
Dickens than a great portion of his readers discern. You are ready to
smile at the singular way in which Captain Cuttle commended his friend
Jack Bunsby as a man of extraordinary wisdom, whose advice on any point
was of inestimable value. "Here's a man," said Captain Cuttle, "who has
been more beaten about the head than any other living man!" I hail the
words as the recognition of a great principle. To Mr. Bunsby it befell
in a literal sense; but we have all been (in a moral sense) a good deal
beaten about both the head and the heart before we grew good for much.
Out of the travail of his nature, out of the sorrowful history of his
past life, the poet or the moralist draws the deep thought and feeling
which find so straight a way to the hearts of other men. Do you think
Mr. Tennyson would ever have been the great poet he is, if he had not
passed through that season of great grief which has left its noble
record in "In Memoriam"? And a youthful preacher, of vivid imagination
and keen feeling, little fettered by anything in the nature of good
taste, may by strong statements and a fiery manner draw a mob of
unthinking hearers: but thoughtful men and women will not find anything
in all _that_, that awakens the response of their inner nature in its
truest depths; they must have religious instruction into which real
experience has been transfused; and the worth of the instruction will be
in direct proportion to the amount of real experience which is embodied
in it. And after all, it is better to be wise and good than to be gay
and happy, if we must choose between the two things; and it is worth
while to be severely beaten about the head, if _that_ is the condition
on which alone we can gain true wisdom. True wisdom is cheap at almost
any price. But it does not follow at all that you will be happy (in
the vulgar sense) in direct proportion as you are wise. I suppose
most middle-aged people, when they receive the ordinary kind wish at
New-Year's time of a Happy New-Year, feel that _happy_ is not quite the
word; and feel that, too, though well aware that they have abundant
reason for gratitude to a kind Providence. It is not _here_ that we
shall ever be happy,--that is, completely and perfectly happy. Something
will always be coming to worry and distress. And a hundred sad
possibilities hang over us: some of them only too certainly and quickly
drawing near. Yet people are content, in a kind of way. They have learnt
the great lesson of Resignation.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are many worthy people who would be quite fevered and flurried
by good fortune, if it were to come to any very great degree. It would
injure their heart. As for bad fortune, they can stand it nicely, they
have been accustomed to it so long. I have known a very hard-wrought
man, who had passed, rather early in life, through very heavy and
protracted trials. I have heard him say, that, if any malicious enemy
wished to kill him, the course would be to make sure that tidings of
some signal piece of prosperity should arrive by post on each of six or
seven successive days. It would quite unhinge and unsettle him, he said.
His heart would go: his nervous system would break down. People to whom
pieces of good-luck come rare and small have a great curiosity to know
how a man feels when he is suddenly told that he has drawn one of the
greatest prizes in the lottery of life. The kind of feeling, of course,
will depend entirely on the kind of man. Yet very great prizes, in the
way of dignity and duty, do for the most part fall to men who in some
measure deserve them, or who at least are not conspicuously undeserving
of them and unfit for them. So that it is almost impossible that the
great news should elicit merely some unworthy explosion of gratified
self-conceit. The feeling would in almost every case be deeper and
worthier. One would like to be sitting at breakfast with a truly good
man, when the letter from the Prime-Minister comes in, offering him the
Archbishopric of Canterbury. One would like to see how he would take
it. Quietly, I have no doubt. Long preparation has fitted the man
who reaches that position for taking it quietly. A recent Chancellor
publicly stated how _he_ felt, when offered the Great Seal. His first
feeling, that good man said, was of gratification that he had fairly
reached the highest reward of the profession to which he had given
his life; but the feeling which speedily supplanted _that_ was an
overwhelming sense of his responsibility and a grave doubt as to his
qualifications. I have always believed, and sometimes said, that good
fortune--not so great or so sudden as to injure one's nerves or
heart, but kindly and equable--has a most wholesome effect upon human
character. I believe that the happier a man is, the better and kinder
he will be. The greater part of unamiability, ill-temper, impatience,
bitterness, and uncharitableness comes out of unhappiness. It is because
a man is so miserable that he is such a sour, suspicious, fractious,
petted creature. I was amused, this morning, to read in the newspaper an
account of a very small incident which befell the new Primate of England
on his journey back to London, after being enthroned at Canterbury.
The reporter of that small incident takes occasion to record that
the Archbishop had quite charmed his travelling-companions in the
railway-carriage by the geniality and kindliness of his manner. I have
no doubt he did. I am sure he is a truly good Christian man. But think
of what a splendid training for producing geniality and kindliness he
has been going through for a great number of years! Think of the moral
influences which have been bearing on him for the last few weeks! We
should all be kindly and genial, if we had the same chance of being so.
But if Dr. Longley had a living of a hundred pounds a year, a fretful,
ailing wife, a number of half-fed and half-educated little children, a
dirty, miserable house, a bleak country round, and a set of wrong-headed
and insolent parishioners to keep straight, I venture to say he would
have looked, and been, a very different man in that railway-carriage
running up to London. Instead of the genial smiles that delighted his
fellow-travellers, (according to the newspaper-story,) his face would
have been sour, and his speech would have been snappish; he would have
leaned back in the corner of a second-class carriage, sadly calculating
the cost of his journey, and how part of it might be saved by going
without any dinner. Oh, if I found a four-leaved shamrock, I would
undertake to make a mighty deal of certain people I know! I would put an
end to their weary schemings to make the ends meet. I would cut off all
those wretched cares which jar miserably on the shaken nerves. I know
the burst of thankfulness and joy that would come, if some dismal load,
never to be cast off, were taken away. And I would take it off. I would
clear up the horrible muddle. I would make them happy: and in doing
_that_, I know that I should make them good.

       *       *       *       *       *

But I have sought the four-leaved shamrock for a long time, and never
have found it; and so I am growing subdued to the conviction that I
never shall. Let us go back to the matter of Resignation, and think a
little longer about _that_.

Resignation, in any human being, means that things are not as you would
wish, and yet that you are content.

Who has all he wishes? There are many houses in this world in which
Resignation is the best thing that can be felt any more. The bitter blow
has fallen; the break has been made; the empty chair is left (perhaps a
very little chair); and never more, while Time goes on, can things be
as they were fondly wished and hoped. Resignation would need to be
cultivated by human beings; for all round us there is a multitude of
things very different from what we would wish. Not in your house, not
in your family, not in your street, not in your parish, not in your
country, and least of all in yourself, can you have things as you would
wish. And you have your choice of two alternatives. You must either
fret yourself into a nervous fever, or you must cultivate the habit of
Resignation. And very often Resignation does not mean that you are at
all reconciled to a thing, but just that you feel you can do nothing
to mend it. Some friend, to whom you are really attached, and whom
you often see, vexes and worries you by some silly and disagreeable
habit,--some habit which it is impossible you should ever like, or ever
even overlook; yet you try to make up your mind to it, because it cannot
be helped, and you would rather submit to it than lose your friend. You
hate the east-wind: it withers and pinches you, in body and soul:
yet you cannot live in a certain beautiful city without feeling the
east-wind many days in the year. And that city's advantages and
attractions are so many and great that no sane man with sound lungs
would abandon the city merely to escape the east-wind. Yet, though
resigned to the east-wind, you are anything but reconciled to it.

Resignation is not always a good thing. Sometimes it is a very bad
thing. You should never be resigned to things continuing wrong, when you
may rise and set them right. I dare say, in the Romish Church, there
were good men before Luther who were keenly alive to the errors and
evils that had crept into it, but who, in despair of making things
better, tried sadly to fix their thoughts upon other subjects: who
took to illuminating missals, or constructing systems of logic, or
cultivating vegetables in the garden of the monastery, or improving the
music in the chapel: quietly resigned to evils they judged irremediable.
Great reformers have not been resigned men. Luther was not resigned;
Howard was not resigned; Fowell Buxton was not resigned; George
Stephenson was not resigned. And there is hardly a nobler sight than
that of a man who determines that he will NOT make up his mind to the
continuance of some great evil: who determines that he will give his
life to battling with that evil to the last: who determines that either
that evil shall extinguish him, or he shall extinguish it. I reverence
the strong, sanguine mind, that resolves to work a revolution to better
things, and that is not afraid to hope it _can_ work a revolution. And
perhaps, my reader, we should both reverence it all the more that we
find in ourselves very little like it. It is a curious thing, and a sad
thing, to remark in how many people there is too much resignation. It
kills out energy. It is a weak, fretful, unhappy thing. People are
reconciled, in a sad sort of way, to the fashion in which things go on.
You have seen a poor, slatternly mother, in a way-side cottage, who has
observed her little children playing in the road before it, in the way
of passing carriages, angrily ordering the little things to come away
from their dangerous and dirty play; yet, when the children disobey
her, and remain where they were, just saying no more, making no farther
effort. You have known a master tell his man-servant to do something
about stable or garden, yet, when the servant does not do it, taking no
notice: seeing that he has been disobeyed, yet wearily resigned, feeling
that there is no use in always fighting. And I do not speak of the not
unfrequent cases in which the master, after giving his orders, comes to
discover that it is best they should not be carried out, and is very
glad to see them disregarded: I mean when he is dissatisfied that what
he has directed is not done, and wishes that it were done, and feels
worried by the whole affair, yet is so devoid of energy as to rest in a
fretful resignation. Sometimes there is a sort of sense as if one had
discharged his conscience by making a weak effort in the direction of
doing a thing, an effort which had not the slightest chance of being
successful. When I was a little boy, many years since, I used to
think this; and I was led to thinking it by remarking a singular
characteristic in the conduct of a school-companion. In those days, if
you were chasing some other boy who had injured or offended you, with
the design of retaliation, if you found you could not catch him, by
reason of his superior speed, you would have recourse to the following
expedient. If your companion was within a little space of you, though a
space you felt you could not make less, you would suddenly stick out one
of your feet, which would hook round his, and he, stumbling over it,
would fall. I trust I am not suggesting a mischievous and dangerous
trick to any boy of the present generation. Indeed, I have the firmest
belief that existing boys know all we used to know, and possibly more.
All this is by way of rendering intelligible what I have to say of my
old companion. He was not a good runner. And when another boy gave him
a sudden flick with a knotted handkerchief, or the like, he had little
chance of catching that other boy. Yet I have often seen him, when
chasing another, before finally abandoning the pursuit, stick out his
foot in the regular way, though the boy he was chasing was yards beyond
his reach. Often did the present writer meditate on that phenomenon, in
the days of his boyhood. It appeared curious that it should afford
some comfort to the evaded pursuer, to make an offer at upsetting the
escaping youth,--an offer which could not possibly be successful. But
very often, in after-life, have I beheld in the conduct of grown-up men
and women the moral likeness of that futile sticking-out of the foot.
I have beheld human beings who lived in houses always untidy and
disorderly, or whose affairs were in a horrible confusion and
entanglement, who now and then seemed roused to a a feeling that this
would not do, who querulously bemoaned their miserable lot, and made
some faint and futile attempt to set things right, attempts which never
had a chance to succeed, and which ended in nothing. Yet it seemed
somehow to pacify the querulous heart. I have known a clergyman, in a
parish with a bad population, seem suddenly to waken up to a conviction
that he must do something to mend matters, and set agoing some weak
little machinery, which could produce no appreciable result, and
which came to a stop in a few weeks. Yet that faint offer appeared to
discharge the claims of conscience, and after it the clergyman remained
long time in a comatose state of unhealthy Resignation. But it is a
miserable and a wrong kind of Resignation which dwells in that man who
sinks down, beaten and hopeless, in the presence of a recognized evil.
Such a man may be in a sense resigned, but, he cannot possibly be

If you should ever, when you have reached middle age, turn over the
diary or the letters you wrote in the hopeful though foolish days when
you were eighteen or twenty, you will be aware how quietly and gradually
the lesson of Resignation has been taught you. You would have got into
a terrible state of excitement, if any one had told you then that you
would have to forego your most cherished hopes and wishes of that time;
and it would have tried you even more severely to be assured that in
not many years you would not care a single straw for the things and the
persons who were then uppermost in your mind and heart. What an entirely
new set of friends and interests is that which now surrounds you!
and how completely the old ones are gone: gone, like the sunsets you
remember in the summers of your childhood; gone, like the primroses that
grew in the woods where you wandered as a boy! Said my friend Smith to
me, a few days ago: "You remember Miss Jones, and all about that? I
met her yesterday, after ten years. She is a fat, middle-aged,
ordinary-looking woman. What a terrific fool I was!" Smith spoke to me
in the confidence of friendship; yet I think he was a little mortified
at the heartiness with which I agreed with him on the subject of his
former folly. He had got over it completely; and in seeing that he was
(at a certain period) a fool, he had come to discern that of which his
friends had always been aware. Of course, early interests do not always
die out. You remember Dr. Chalmers, and the ridiculous exhibition about
the wretched little likeness of an early sweetheart, not seen for forty
years, and long since in her grave. You remember the singular way in
which he signified his remembrance of her, in his famous and honored
age. I don't mean the crying, nor the walking up and down the
garden-walk calling her by fine names. I mean the taking out his card:
not his _carte_; you could understand _that_: but his visiting-card
bearing his name, and sticking it behind the portrait with two wafers.
Probably it pleased him to do so; and assuredly it did harm to no one
else. And we have all heard of the like things. Early affections are
sometimes, doubtless, cherished in the memory of the old. But still,
more material interests come in, and the old affection is crowded out
of its old place in the heart. And so those comparatively fanciful
disappointments sit lightly. The romance is gone. The mid-day sun
beats down, and _there_ lies the dusty way. When the cantankerous and
unamiable mother of Christopher North stopped his marriage with a person
at least as respectable as herself, on the ground that the person was
not good enough, we are told that the future professor nearly went
mad, and that he never quite got over it. But really, judging from
his writings and his biography, he bore up under it, after a little,
wonderfully well.

But looking back to the days which the old yellow letters bring back,
you will think to yourself, Where are the hopes and anticipations of
that time? You expected to be a great man, no doubt. Well, you know you
are not. You are a small man, and never will be anything else; yet
you are quite resigned. If there be an argument which stirs me to
indignation at its futility, and to wonder that any mortal ever regarded
it as of the slightest force, it is that which is set out in the famous
soliloquy in "Cato," as to the Immortality of the Soul. Will any sane
man say, that, if in this world you wish for a thing very much, and
anticipate it very clearly and confidently, you are therefore sure to
get it? If that were so, many a little schoolboy would end by driving
his carriage and four, who ends by driving no carriage at all. I have
heard of a man whose private papers were found after his death all
written over with his signature as he expected it would be when he
became Lord Chancellor. Let us say his peerage was to be as Lord Smith.
There it was, SMITH, C., SMITH, C., written in every conceivable
fashion, so that the signature, when needed, might be easy and imposing.
That man had very vividly anticipated the woolsack, the gold robe, and
all the rest. It need hardly be said, he attained none of these. The
famous argument, you know of course, is, that man has a great longing to
be immortal, and that therefore he is sure to be immortal. Rubbish! It
is not true that any longing after immortality exists in the heart of
a hundredth portion of the race. And if it were true, it would prove
immortality no more than the manifold signatures of SMITH, C., proved
that Smith was indeed to be Chancellor. No: we cling to the doctrine
of a Future Life; we could not live without it; but we believe it, not
because of undefined longings within ourselves, not because of reviving
plants and flowers, not because of the chrysalis and the butterfly,--but
because "our Saviour, Jesus Christ, hath abolished death, and brought
life and immortality to light through the gospel."

There is something very curious, and very touching, in thinking
how clear and distinct, and how often recurring, were our early
anticipations of things that were never to be. In this world, the fact
is for the most part the opposite of what it should be to give force to
Plato's (or Cato's) argument: the thing you vividly anticipate is the
thing that is least likely to come. The thing you don't much care for,
the thing you don't expect, is the likeliest. And even if the event
prove what you anticipated, the circumstances, and the feeling of it,
will be quite different from what you anticipated. A certain little girl
three years old was told that in a little while she was to go with her
parents to a certain city, a hundred miles off,--a city which may be
called Altenburg as well as anything else. It was a great delight to her
to anticipate that journey, and to anticipate it very circumstantially.
It was a delight to her to sit down at evening on her father's knee,
and to tell him all about how it would be in going to Altenburg. It was
always the same thing. Always, first, how sandwiches would be made,--how
they would all get into the carriage, (which would come round to the
door,) and drive away to a certain railway-station,--how they would get
their tickets, and the train would come up, and they would all get into
a carriage together, and lean back in corners, and eat the sandwiches,
and look out of the windows, and so on. But when the journey was
actually made, every single circumstance in the little girl's
anticipations proved wrong. Of course, they were not intentionally made
wrong. Her parents would have carried out to the letter, if they could,
what the little thing had so clearly pictured and so often repeated. But
it proved to be needful to go by an entirely different way and in an
entirely different fashion. All those little details, dwelt on so much,
and with so much interest, were things never to be. It is even so with
the anticipations of larger and older children. How distinctly, how
fully, my friend, we have pictured out to our minds a mode of life, a
home and the country round it, and the multitude of little things which
make up the habitude of being, which we long since resigned ourselves to
knowing could never prove realities! No doubt, it is all right and well.
Even Saint Paul, with all his gift of prophecy, was not allowed to
foresee what was to happen to himself. You know how he wrote that he
would do a certain thing, "so soon as I shall see how it will go with

But our times are in the Best Hand. And the one thing about our lot, my
reader, that we may think of with perfect contentment, is that they
are so. I know nothing more admirable in spirit, and few things more
charmingly expressed, than that little poem by Mrs. Waring which sets
out that comfortable thought. You know it, of course. You should have
it in your memory; and let it be one of the first things your children
learn by heart. It may well come next after, "O God of Bethel": it
breathes the self-same tone. And let me close these thoughts with one of
its verses:--

  "There are briers besetting every path,
    Which call for patient care:
  There is a cross in every lot,
   And an earnest need for prayer:
  But a lowly heart that leans on Thee
    Is happy anywhere!"


  There's a flag hangs over my threshold, whose folds are more dear to me
  Than the blood that thrills in my bosom its earnest of liberty;
  And dear are the stars it harbors in its sunny field of blue
  As the hope of a further heaven that lights all our dim lives through.

  But now should my guests be merry, the house is in holiday guise,
  Looking out through its burnished windows like a score of welcoming eyes.
  Come hither, my brothers who wander in saintliness and in sin!
  Come hither, ye pilgrims of Nature! my heart doth invite you in.

  My wine is not of the choicest, yet bears it an honest brand;
  And the bread that I bid you lighten I break with no sparing hand;
  But pause, ere you pass to taste it, one act must accomplished be:
  Salute the flag in its virtue, before ye sit down with me.

  The flag of our stately battles, not struggles of wrath and greed:
  Its stripes were a holy lesson, its spangles a deathless creed;
  'T was red with the blood of freemen, and white with the fear of the foe,
  And the stars that fight in their courses 'gainst tyrants its symbols

  Come hither, thou son of my mother! we were reared in the self-same
  Thou hast many a pleasant gesture, thy mind hath its gifts and charms;
  But my heart is as stern to question as mine eyes are of sorrows full:
  Salute the flag in its virtue, or pass on where others rule.

  Thou lord of a thousand acres, with heaps of uncounted gold,
  The steeds of thy stall are haughty, thy lackeys cunning and bold:
  I envy no jot of thy splendor, I rail at thy follies none:
  Salute the flag in its virtue, or leave my poor house alone.

  Fair lady with silken trappings, high waving thy stainless plume,
  We welcome thee to our numbers, a flower of costliest bloom:
  Let a hundred maids live widowed to furnish thy bridal bed;
  But pause where the flag doth question, and bend thy triumphant head.

  Take down now your flaunting banner, for a scout comes breathless and
  With the terror of death upon him; of failure is all his tale:
  "They have fled while the flag waved o'er them! they've turned to the
     foe their back!
  They are scattered, pursued, and slaughtered! the fields are all rout
     and wrack!"

  Pass hence, then, the friends I gathered, a goodly company!
  All ye that have manhood in you, go, perish for Liberty!
  But I and the babes God gave me will wait with uplifted hearts,
  With the firm smile ready to kindle, and the will to perform our parts.

  When the last true heart lies bloodless, when the fierce and the false
     have won,
  I'll press in turn to my bosom each daughter and either son;
  Bid them loose the flag from its bearings, and we'll lay us down to rest
  With the glory of home about us, and its freedom locked in our breast.




It is raining; and being in-doors, I look out from my library-window,
across a quiet country-road, so near that I could toss my pen into the
middle of it.

A thatched stile is opposite, flanked by a straggling hedge of
Osage-orange; and from the stile the ground falls away in green and
gradual slope to a great plateau of measured and fenced fields,
checkered, a month since, with bluish lines of Swedes, with the ragged
purple of mangels, and the feathery emerald-green of carrots. There are
umber-colored patches of fresh-turned furrows; here and there the mossy,
luxurious verdure of new-springing rye; gray stubble; the ragged brown
of discolored, frost-bitten rag-weed; next, a line of tree-tops,
thickening as they drop to the near bed of a river, and beyond the
river-basin showing again, with tufts of hemlock among naked oaks and
maples; then roofs, cupolas; ambitious lookouts of suburban houses,
spires, belfries, turrets: all these commingling in a long line of
white, brown, and gray, which in sunny weather is backed by purple
hills, and flanked one way by a shining streak of water, and the other
by a stretch of low, wooded mountains that turn from purple to blue, and
so blend with the northern sky.

Is the picture clear? A road; a farm-flat of party-colored checkers; a
near wood, that conceals the sunken meadow of a river; a farther wood,
that skirts a town,--that seems to overgrow the town, so that only a
confused line of roofs, belfries, spires, towers, rise above the wood;
and these tallest spires and turrets lying in relief against a purple
hill-side, that is as far beyond the town as the town is beyond my
window; and the purple hill-side trending southward to a lake-like gleam
of water, where a light-house shines upon a point; and northward, as I
said, these same purple hills bearing away to paler purple, and then to
blue, and then to haze.

Thus much is seen, when I look directly eastward; but by an oblique
glance southward (always from my library-window) the checkered farm-land
is repeated in long perspective: here and there is a farm-house with
its clustered out-buildings; here and there a blotch of wood, or of
orcharding; here and there a bright sheen of winter-grain; and the level
ends only where a slight fringe of tree-tops, and the iron cordon of a
railway that leaps over a marshy creek upon trestle-work, separate it
from Long Island Sound.

To the north, under such oblique glance as can be caught, the farm-lands
in smaller inclosures stretch half a mile to the skirts of a quiet
village. A few tall chimneys smoke there lazily, and below them you see
as many quick and repeated puffs of white steam. Two white spires and
a tower are in bold relief against the precipitous basaltic cliff, at
whose foot the village seems to nestle. Yet the mountain is not wholly
precipitous; for the columnar masses been fretted away by a thousand
frosts, making a sloping _débris_ below, and leaving above the
iron-yellow scars of fresh cleavage, the older blotches of gray, and the
still older stain of lichens. Nor is the summit bald, but tufted with
dwarf cedars and oaks, which, as they file away on either flank, mingle
with a heavier growth of hickories and chest-nuts. A few stunted kalmias
and hemlock-spruces have found foothold in the clefts upon the face of
the rock, showing a tawny green, that blends prettily with the scars,
lichens, and weather-stains of the cliff; all which show under a sunset
light richly and changefully as the breast of a dove.

But just now there is no glow of sunset; raining still. Indeed, I do not
know why I should have described at such length a mere landscape, (than
which I know few fairer,) unless because of a rainy day it is always
in my eye, and that now, having invited a few outsiders to such
entertainment as may belong to my wet farm-days, I should present to
them at once my oldest acquaintance,--the view from my library-window.

But as yet it is only coarsely outlined. We may some day return to it
with a fond particularity; for let me warn the reader that I have that
love of such scenes, nay, for the very verdure of the lawn, that I could
put an ink-mark for every blade of the fresh-springing grass, and yet
feel that the tale of its beauty, and of its emerald wealth, were not
half told.

This day we spend in-doors, and busy ourselves with the whims,
doctrines, and economics of a few


The shelves where they rest in vellum and in dust are only an
arm's-length from the window; so that I can relieve the stiff classicism
of Flaxman's rendering of the "Works and Days," or the tedious iteration
of Columella and Crescenzio, by a glance outside into the rain-cloud,
under which lies always the checkered illustration of the farming of
to-day, and beyond which the spires stand in sentinel.

Hesiod is currently reckoned one of the oldest farm-writers; but there
is not enough in his homely poem ("Works and Days") out of which to
conjure a farm-system. He gives good advice, indeed, about the weather,
about ploughing when the ground is not too wet, about the proper timber
to put to a plough-beam, about building a house, and taking a bride.
But, on the other hand, he gives very bad advice, where, as in Book II.,
(line 244,) he recommends to stint the oxen in winter, and (line 285) to
put three parts of water to the Biblian wine.

Mr. Gladstone notes the fact that Homer talks only in a grandiose way of
rural life and employments, as if there were no small landholders in his
day; but Hesiod, who must have lived within a century of Homer, with
his modest homeliness, does not confirm this view. He tells us a farmer
should keep two ploughs, and be cautious how he lends either of them.
His household stipulations, too, are most moderate, whether on the score
of the bride, the maid, or the "forty-year-old" ploughman; and for
guardianship of the premises the proprietor is recommended to keep "a
sharp-toothed cur."

This reminds us how Ulysses, on his return from voyaging, found seated
round his good bailiff Eumaeus four savage watch-dogs, who straightway
(and here Homer must have nodded) attack their old master, and are
driven off only by a good pelting of stones.

This Eumaeus, by the way, may be regarded as the Homeric representative
farmer, as well as bailiff and swineherd,--the great original of Gurth,
who might have prepared a supper for Cedric the Saxon very much as
Eumaeus extemporized one upon his Greek farm for Ulysses. Pope
shall tell of this bit of cookery in rhyme that has a ring of the

  "His vest succinct then girding round his waist,
  Forth rushed the swain with hospitable haste,
  Straight to the lodgements of his herd he run,
  Where the fat porkers slept beneath the sun;
  Of two his cutlass launched the spouting blood;
  These quartered, singed, and fixed on forks of wood,
  All hasty on the hissing coals he threw;
  And, smoking, back the tasteful viands drew,
  Broachers, and all."

This is roast pig: nothing more elegant or digestible. For the credit of
Greek farmers, I am sorry that Eumaeus has nothing better to offer his
landlord,--the most abominable dish, Charles Lamb and his pleasant
fable to the contrary notwithstanding, that was ever set before a

To return to Hesiod, we suspect that he was only a small farmer--if
he had ever farmed at all--in the foggy latitude of Boeotia, and knew
nothing of the sunny wealth in the south of the peninsula, or of such
princely estates as Eumaeus managed in the Ionian seas. Flaxman has
certainly not given him the look of a large proprietor in his outlines:
his toilet is severely scant, and the old gentleman appears to have lost
two of his fingers in a chaff-cutter. As for Perses, who is represented
as listening to the sage,[A] his dress is in the extreme of classic
scantiness,--being, in fact, a mere night-shirt, and a tight fit at

[Footnote A: Flaxman's _Illustrations of "Works and Days,"_ Plate I.]

But we dismiss Hesiod, the first of the heathen farm-writers, with a
loving thought of his pretty Pandora, whom the goddesses so bedecked,
whom Jove looks on (in Flaxman's picture) with such sharp approval, and
whose attributes the poet has compacted into one resonant line, daintily
rendered by Cooke,--

     "Thus the sex began
  A lovely mischief to the soul of man."

I next beg to pull from his place on the shelf, and to present to the
reader, my friend General Xenophon, a most graceful writer, a capital
huntsman, an able strategist, an experienced farmer, and, if we may
believe Laertius, "handsome beyond expression."

It is refreshing to find such qualities united in one man at any time,
and doubly refreshing to find them in a person so far removed from the
charities of today that the malcontents cannot pull his character in
pieces. To be sure, he was guilty of a few acts of pillage in the course
of his Persian campaign; but he tells the story of it in his "Anabasis"
with a brave front: his purse was low, and needed replenishment; there
is no cover put up, of disorderly sutlers or camp-followers.

The farming reputation of the General rests upon his "Economics" and
his horse-treatise ([Greek: Hippikae]).

Economy has come to have a contorted meaning in our day, as if it
were only--saving. Its true gist is better expressed by the word
_management_; and in that old-fashioned sense it forms a significant
title for Xenophon's book: management of the household, management of
flocks, of servants, of land, of property in general.

At the very outset we find this bit of practical wisdom, which is put
into the mouth of Socrates, who is replying to Critobulus:--"Those
things should be called goods that are beneficial to the master. Neither
can those lands be called goods which by a man's unskilful management
put him to more expense than he receives profit by them; nor may those
lands be called goods which do not bring a good farmer such a profit as
may give him a good living."

Thereafter (sec. vii.) he introduces the good Ischomachus, who, it
appears, has a thrifty wife at home, and from that source flow in a
great many capital hints upon domestic management. The apartments, the
exposure, the cleanliness, the order, are all considered in such an
admirably practical, common-sense way as would make the old Greek a good
lecturer to the sewing-circles of our time. And when the wife of
the wise Ischomachus, in an unfortunate moment, puts on _rouge_
and cosmetics, the grave husband meets her with this complimentary
rebuke:--"Can there be anything in Nature more complete than yourself?"

"The science of husbandry," he says, and it might be said of the science
in most times, "is extremely profitable to those who understand it;
but it brings the greatest trouble and misery upon those farmers who
undertake it without knowledge." (sec. xv.)

Where Xenophon comes to speak of the details of farm-labor, of
ploughings and fallowings, there is all that precision and particularity
of mention, added to a shrewd sagacity, which one might look for in the
columns of the "Country Gentleman." He even describes how a field should
be thrown into narrow lands, in order to promote a more effectual
surface-drainage. In the midst of it, however, we come upon a stereorary
maxim, which is, to say the least, of doubtful worth:--"Nor is there any
sort of earth which will not make very rich manure, by being laid a due
time in standing water, till it is fully impregnated with the virtue of
the water." His British translator, Professor Bradley, does, indeed,
give a little note of corroborative testimony. But I would not advise
any active farmer, on the authority either of General Xenophon or of
Professor Bradley, to transport his surface-soil very largely to the
nearest frog-pond, in the hope of finding it transmuted into manure. The
absorptive and retentive capacity of soils is, to be sure, the bone just
now of very particular contention; but whatever that capacity may be,
it certainly needs something more palpable than the virtue of standing
water for its profitable development.

Here, again, is very neat evidence of how much simple good sense has
to do with husbandry: Socrates, who is supposed to have no particular
knowledge of the craft, says to his interlocutor,--"You have satisfied
me that I am not ignorant in husbandry; and yet I never had any master
to instruct me in it."

"It is not," says Xenophon, "difference in knowledge or opportunities of
knowledge that makes some farmers rich and others poor; but that which
makes some poor and some rich is that the former are negligent and lazy,
the latter industrious and thrifty."

Next, we have this masculine _ergo_:--"Therefore we may know that those
who will not learn such sciences as they might get their living by, or
do not fall into husbandry, are either downright fools, or else propose
to get their living by robbery or by begging." (sec. xx.)

This is a good clean cut at politicians, office-holders, and other
such beggar craft, through more than a score of centuries,--clean as
classicism can make it: the Attic euphony in it, and all the aroma of

Once more, and it is the last of the "Oeconomica," we give this charming
bit of New-Englandism:--"I remember my father had an excellent rule,"
(_Ischomachus loquitur_,) "which he advised me to follow: that, if ever
I bought any land, I should by no means purchase that which had been
already well-improved, but should choose such as had never been tilled,
either through neglect of the owner, or for want of capacity to do it;
for he observed, that, if I were to purchase improved grounds, I must
pay a high price for them, and then I could not propose to advance their
value, and must also lose the pleasure of improving them myself, or of
seeing them thrive better by my endeavors."

When Xenophon wrote his rural treatises, (including the [Greek:
Kunaegetikos],) he was living in that delightful region of country which
lies westward of the mountains of Arcadia, looking toward the Ionian
Sea. Here, too, he wrote the story of his retreat, and his wanderings
among the mountains of Armenia; here he talked with his friends, and
made other such _symposia_ as he has given us a taste of at the house of
Callias the Athenian; here he ranged over the whole country-side with
his horses and dogs: a stalwart and lithe old gentleman, without a
doubt; able to mount a horse or to manage one, with the supplest of the
grooms; and with a keen eye, as his book shows, for the good points in
horse-flesh. A man might make a worse mistake than to buy a horse after
Xenophon's instructions, to-day. A spavin or a wind-gall did not escape
the old gentleman's eye, and he never bought a horse without proving his
wind and handling him well about the mouth and ears. His grooms were
taught their duties with nice speciality: the mane and tail to be
thoroughly washed; the food and bed to be properly and regularly
prepared; and treatment to be always gentle and kind.

Exception may perhaps be taken to his doctrine in regard to
stall-floors. Moist ones, he says, injure the hoof: "Better to have
stones inserted in the ground close to one another, equal in size to
their hoofs; for such stalls consolidate the hoofs of those standing on
them, beside strengthening the hollow of the foot."

After certain directions for rough riding and leaping, he advises
hunting through thickets, if wild animals are to be found. Otherwise,
the following pleasant diversion is named, which I beg to suggest to
sub-lieutenants in training for dragoon-service:--"It is a useful
exercise for two horsemen to agree between themselves, that one shall
retire through all sorts of rough places, and as he flees, is to turn
about from time to time and present his spear; and the other shall
pursue, having javelins blunted with balls, and a spear of the same
description, and whenever he comes within javelin-throw, he is to hurl
the blunted weapon at the party retreating, and whenever he comes within
spear-reach, he is to strike him with it."

Putting aside his horsemanship, in which he must have been nearly
perfect, there was very much that was grand about the old Greek,--very
much that makes us strangely love the man, who, when his soldiers lay
benumbed under the snows on the heights of Armenia, threw off his
general's coat, or blanket, or what not, and set himself resolutely to
wood-chopping and to cheering them. The farmer knew how.

Such men win battles. He has his joke, too, with Cheirisophus, the
Lacedaemonian, about the thieving propensity of his townspeople, and
invites him, in virtue of it, to _steal_ a difficult march upon the
enemy. And Cheirisophus grimly retorts upon Xenophon, that Athenians are
said to be great experts in stealing the public money, especially the
high officers. This sounds home-like! When I come upon such things, I
forget the parasangs and the Taochians and the dead Cyrus, and seem to
be reading out of American newspapers.

It is quite out of the question to claim Theocritus as a farm-writer;
and yet in all old literature there is not to be found such a lively
bevy of heifers, and wanton kids, and "butting rams," and stalwart
herdsmen, who milk the cows "upon the sly," as in the "Idyls" of the
musical Sicilian.

There is no doubt but Theocritus knew the country to a charm: he knew
all its roughnesses, and the thorns that scratched the bare legs of the
goatherds; he knew the lank heifers, that fed, "like grasshoppers," only
on dew; he knew what clatter the brooks made, tumbling headlong adown
the rocks,--

  [Greek: apo tus petras kataleibetai ypsothen ydor]

he knew, moreover, all the charms and coyness of the country-nymphs,
giving even a rural twist to his praises of the courtly Helen:--

  "In shape, in height, in stately presence
  Straight as a furrow gliding from the

[Footnote B: Elton's translation, I think. I do not vouch for its

A man must have had an eye for good ploughing and a lithe figure, as
well as a keen scent for the odor of fresh-turned earth, to make such a
comparison as that!

Theocritus was no French sentimentalist; he would have protested against
the tame elegancies of the Roman Bucolics; and the _sospiri ardenti_ and
_miserelli aman_ of Guarini would have driven him mad. He is as brisk as
the wind upon a breezy down. His cow-tenders are swart and bare-legged,
and love with a vengeance. There is no miserable tooting upon flutes,
but an uproarious song that shakes the woods; and if it comes to a
matter of kissing, there are no "reluctant lips," but a smack that makes
the vales resound.

It is no Boucher we have here, nor Watteau: cosmetics and rosettes are
far away; tunics are short, and cheeks are nut-brown. It is Teniers,
rather:--boors, indeed; but they are live boors, and not manikin

I shall call out another Sicilian here, named Moschus, were it only
for his picture of a fine, sturdy bullock: it occurs in his "Rape of

  "With yellow hue his sleekened body beams;
  His forehead with a snowy circle gleams;
  Horns, equal-bending, from his brow emerge,
  And to a moonlight crescent orbing verge."

Nothing can be finer than the way in which this "milky steer," with
Europa on his back, goes sailing over the brine, his "feet all oars."
Meantime, she, the pretty truant,

  "Grasps with one hand his curved projecting horn,
  And with the other closely drawn compressed
  The fluttering foldings of her purple vest,
  Whene'er its fringed hem was dashed with dew
  Of the salt sea-foam that in circles flew:
  Wide o'er Europa's shoulders to the gale
  The ruffled robe heaved swelling, like a sail."

Moschus is as rich as the Veronese at Venice; and his picture is truer
to the premium standard. The painting shows a pampered animal, with
over-red blotches on his white hide, and is by half too fat to breast
such "salt sea-foam" as flashes on the Idyl of Moschus.

Another poet, Aratus of Cilicia, whose very name has a smack of tillage,
has left us a book about the weather [Greek: Dosaemeia] which is
quite as good to mark down a hay-day by as the later meteorologies of
Professor Espy or Judge Butler.

Besides which, our friend Aratus holds the abiding honor of having been
quoted by St. Paul, in his speech to the Athenians on Mars Hill:--

"For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of
your own poets have said: 'For we are also His offspring.'"

And Aratus, (after Elton,)--

  "On thee our being hangs; in thee we move;
  All are thy offspring, and the seed of Jove."

Scattered through the lesser Greek poets, and up and down the Anthology,
are charming bits of rurality, redolent of the fields and of field-life,
with which it would be easy to fill up the measure of this rainy day,
and beat off the Grecian couplets to the tinkle of the eave-drops. Up
and down, the cicada chirps; the locust, "encourager of sleep," sings
his drowsy song; boozy Anacreon flings grapes; the purple violets and
the daffodils crown the perfumed head of Heliodora; and the reverent
Simonides likens our life to the grass.

Nor will I part company with these, or close up the Greek ranks
of farmers, (in which I must not forget the great schoolmaster,
Theophrastus,) until I cull a sample of the Anthology, and plant it
for a guidon at the head of the column,--a little bannerol of music,
touching upon our topic, as daintily as the bees touch the flowering
tips of the wild thyme.

It is by Zonas the Sardian:--

  [Greek: Ai o agete nxouthai oimblaeides akra melissai,

and the rendering by Mr. Hay:--

  "Ye nimble honey-making bees, the flowers are in their prime;
  Come now and taste the little buds of sweetly breathing thyme,
  Of tender poppies all so fair, or bits of raisin sweet,
  Or down that decks the apple tribe, or fragrant violet;
  Come, nibble on,--your vessels store with honey while you can,
  In order that the hive-protecting, bee-preserving Pan
  May have a tasting for himself, and that the hand so rude,
  That cuts away the comb, may leave yourselves some little food."

Leaving now this murmur of the bees upon the banks of the Pactolus,
will slip over-seas to Tusculum, where Cato was born, who was the oldest
of the Roman writers upon agriculture; and thence into the Sabine
territory, where, upon an estate of his father's, in the midst of the
beautiful country lying northward of the Monte Gennaro, (the Lucretilis
of Horace,) he learned the art of good farming.

In what this art consisted in his day, he tells us in short, crackling
speech;--"_Primum_, bene arare; _secundum_, arare; _tertium_,
stercorare." For the rest, he says, choose good seed, sow thickly, and
pull all the weeds. Nothing more would be needed to grow as good a crop
upon the checkered plateau under my window as ever fattened among the
Sabine Hills.

Has the art come to a stand-still, then; and shall we take to reading
Cato on fair days, as well as rainy?

There has been advance, without doubt; but all the advance in the world
would not take away the edge from truths, stated as Cato knew how to
state them. There is very much of what is called Agricultural Science,
nowadays, which is--rubbish. Science is sound, and agriculture always an
honest art; but the mixture, not uncommonly, is bad,--no fair marriage,
but a monstrous concubinage, with a monstrous progeny of muddy treatises
and disquisitions which confuse more than they instruct. In contrast
with such, it is no wonder that the observations of such a man as Cato,
whose energies had been kept alive by service in the field, and whose
tongue had been educated in the Roman Senate, should carry weight with
them. The grand truths on which successful agriculture rests, and which
simple experience long ago demonstrated, cannot be kept out of view, nor
can they be dwarfed by any imposition of learning. Science may explain
them, or illustrate or extend; but it cannot shake their preponderating
influence upon the crop of the year. As respects many other arts,
the initial truths may be lost sight of, and overlaid by the mass
of succeeding developments,--not falsified, but so belittled as
practically to be counted for nothing. In this respect, agriculture is
exceptional. The old story is always the safe story: you must plough and
plough again; and manure; and sow good seed, and enough; and pull the
weeds; and as sure as the rain falls, the crop will come.

Many nice additions to this method of treatment, which my fine-farming
friends will suggest, are anticipated by the old Roman, if we look far
enough into his book. Thus, he knew the uses of a harrow; he knew the
wisdom of ploughing in a green crop; he had steeps for his seed; he knew
how to drain off the surface-water,--nay, there is very much in his
account of the proper preparation of ground for olive-trees, or
vine-setting, which looks like a mastery of the principles that govern
the modern system of drainage.[C]

[Footnote C: XLIII. "Sulcos, si locus aquosus erit, alveatos esse
oportet," etc.]

Of what particular service recent investigations in science have been to
the practical farmer, and what positive and available aid, beyond what
could be derived from a careful study of the Roman masters, they put
into the hands of an intelligent worker, who is tilling ground simply
for pecuniary advantage, I shall hope to inquire and discourse upon,
some other day: when that day comes, we will fling out the banner of the
nineteenth century, and give a gun to Liebig, and Johnson, and the rest.

Meantime, as a farmer who endeavors to keep posted in all the devices
for pushing lands which have an awkward habit of yielding poor crops
into the better habit of yielding large ones, I will not attempt to
conceal the chagrin with which I find this curmudgeon of a Roman
Senator, living two centuries before Christ, and northward of Monte
Gennaro, who never heard of "Hovey's Root-Cutter," or of the law of
primaries, laying down rules[D] of culture so clear, so apt, so full,
that I, who have the advantages of two thousand years, find nothing in
them to laugh at, unless it be a few oblations to the gods;[E] and this,
considering that I am just now burning a little incense (Havana) to the
nymph Volutia, is uncalled for.

[Footnote D: This mention, of course, excludes the Senator's _formulae_
for unguents, aperients, cattle-nostrums, and pickled pork.]

[Footnote E: CXXXIV. Cato, _De Re Rusticâ_.]

And if Senator Cato were to wake up to-morrow, in the white house that
stares through the rain yonder, and were to open his little musty vellum
of slipshod maxims, and, in faith of it, start a rival farm in the bean
line, or in vine-growing,--keeping clear of the newspapers,--I make no
doubt but he would prove as thrifty a neighbor as my good friend the

We nineteenth-century men, at work among our cabbages, clipping off the
purslane and the twitch-grass, are disposed to assume a very complacent
attitude, as we lean upon our hoe-handles,--as if we were doing tall
things in the way of illustrating physiology and the cognate sciences.
But the truth is, old Laertes, near three thousand years ago, in his
slouch cap and greasy beard, was hoeing up in the same way his purslane
and twitch-grass, in his bean-patch on the hills of Ithaca. The
difference between us, so far as the crop and the tools go, is, after
all, ignominiously small. _He_ dreaded the weevil in his beans, and _we_
the club-foot in our cabbages; _we_ have the "Herald," and _he_ had
none; _we_ have "Plantation-Bitters," and _he_ had his jug of the
Biblian wine.

M. Varro, another Roman farmer, lies between the same covers "De Re
Rusticâ" with Cato, and seems to have had more literary tact, though
less of blunt sagacity. Yet he challenges at once our confidence by
telling us so frankly the occasion of his writing upon such a subject.
Life, he says, is a bubble,--and the life of an old man a bubble about
to break. He is eighty, and must pack his luggage to go out of this
world. ("_Annus octogesimus admonet me, ut sarcinas colligam antequam
proficiscar e vitâ_.") Therefore he, writes down for his wife, Fundania,
the rules by which she may manage the farm.

And a very respectably old lady she must have been, to deal with the
_villici_ and the _coloni_, if her age bore suitable relation to that
of her husband. The ripe maturity of many of the rural writers I have
introduced cannot fail to strike one. Thus, Xenophon gained a strength
in his Elian fields that carried him into the nineties; Cato lived to be
over eighty; and now we have Varro, writing his book out by Tusculum at
eighty, and surviving to counsel with Fundania ten years more. Pliny,
too, (the elder,) who, if not a farmer, had his country-seats, and left
very much to establish our acquaintance with the Roman rural life, was
a hale, much-enduring man, of such soldierly habits and large
abstemiousness as to warrant a good fourscore,--if he had not fallen
under that murderous cloud of ashes from Mount Vesuvius, in the year 79.

The poets, doubtless, burnt out earlier, as they usually do. Virgil,
whom I shall come to speak of presently, certainly did: he died at
fifty-one. Tibullus, whose opening Idyl is as pretty a bit of gasconade
about living in a cottage in the country, upon love and a few
vegetables, as a maiden could wish for, did not reach the fifties; and
Martial, whose "Faustine Villa," if nothing else, entitles him to rural
oblation, fell short of the sixties.

Varro indulges in some sharp sneers at those who had written on the same
subject before him. This was natural enough in a man of his pursuits: he
had written four hundred books!

Of Columella we know scarcely more than that he lived somewhere about
the time of Tiberius, that he was a man of wealth, that he travelled
extensively through Gaul, Italy, and Greece, observing intelligently
different methods of culture, and that he has given the fullest existing
compend of ancient agriculture. In his chapter upon Gardening he warms
into hexameters; but the rest is stately and euphonious prose. In his
opening chapter, he does not forego such praises of the farmer's life
as sound like a lawyer's address before a county-society on a fair-day.
Cincinnatus and his plough come in for it; and Fabricius and Curius
Dentatus; with which names, luckily, our orators cannot whet their
periods, since Columella's mention of them is about all we know of their

He falls into the way, moreover, of lamenting, as people obstinately
continue to do, the "good old times," when men were better than "now,"
and when the reasonable delights of the garden and the fields engrossed
them to the neglect of the circus and the theatres. But when he opens
upon his subject proper, it is in grandiose, Spanish style, (he was
a native of Cadiz,) with a maxim broad enough to cover all possible
conditions:--"_Qui studium agricolationi dederit, sciat haec sibi
advocanda: prudentiam rei, facultatem impendendi voluntatem agendi_."
Or, as Tremellius says,--"That man will master the business, _qui et
colere sciet, et poterit, et volet_."

This is comprehensive, if not encouraging. That "_facultatem
impendendi_" is a tremendous bolster to farming as to anything else; it
is only another shape of the "_poterit_," and the "_poterit"_ only
a scholarly rendering of pounds and pence. As if Tremellius had
said,--That man will make his way at farming who understands the
business, who has the money to apply to it, and who is willing to bleed

With a kindred sagacity this shrewd Roman advises a man to slip upon his
farm often, in order that his steward may keep sharply at his work; he
even suggests that the landlord make a feint of coming, when he has no
intention thereto, that he may gain a day's alertness from the bailiff.
The book is of course a measure of the advances made in farming during
the two hundred years elapsed since Cato's time; but those advances were
not great. There was advance in power to systematize facts, advance in
literary aptitude, but no very noticeable gain in methods of culture.
Columella gives the results of wider observation, and of more persistent
study; but, for aught I can see, a man could get a crop of lentils
as well with Cato as with Columbia; a man would house his flocks and
servants as well out of the one as the other; in short, a man would grow
into the "_facultatem impendendi_" as swiftly under the teachings of the
Senator as of the later writer of the reign of Tiberius.

It is but dull work to follow those teachings; here and there I warm
into a little sympathy, as I catch sight, in his Latin dress, of our
old friend _Curculio;_ here and there I sniff a fruit that seems
familiar,--as the _fraga_, or a _morum;_ and here and there comes
blushing into the crabbed text the sweet name of some home-flower,--a
lily, a narcissus, or a rose. The chief value of the work of Columella,
however, lies in its clear showing-forth of the relative importance
given to different crops, under Roman culture, and to the raising of
cattle, poultry, fish, etc.; as compared with crops. Knowing this, we
know very much that will help us toward an estimate of the domestic life
of the Romans. We learn, with surprise, how little they regarded their
oxen, save as working-animals,--whether the milk-white steers of
Clitumnus, or the dun Campanian cattle, whose descendants show their
long-horned stateliness to this day in the Roman forum. The sheep, too,
whether of Tarentum or of Canusium, were regarded as of value chiefly
for their wool and milk; and it is surely amazing, that men who could
appreciate the iambics of Horace and the eloquence of Cicero should
have shown so little fancy for a fat saddle of mutton or for a mottled
sirloin of beef.

I change from Columella to Virgil, and from Virgil back to some pleasant
Idyl of Tibullus, and from Tibullus to the pretty prate of Horace about
the Sabine Hills; I stroll through Pliny's villa, eying the clipped
box-trees; I hear the rattle in the tennis-court; I watch the tall Roman

  "Grandes virgines proborum colonorum"--

marching along with their wicker-baskets filled with curds and
fresh-plucked thrushes, until there comes over me a confusion of times
and places.

--The sound of the battle of to-day dies; the fresh blood-stains
fade; and I seem to wake upon the heights of Tusculum, in the days of
Tiberius. The farm-flat below is a miniature Campagna, along which I
see stretching straight to the city the shining pavement of the Via
Tusculana. The spires yonder melt into mist, and in place of them I see
the marble house-walls of which Augustus boasted. As yet the grander
monuments of the Empire are not built; but there is a blotch of cliff
which may be the Tarpeian Rock, and beside it a huge hulk of building on
the Capitoline Hill, where sat the Roman Senate. A little hitherward are
the gay turrets of the villa of Maecenas, and of the princely houses on
the Palatine Hill, and in the foreground the stately tomb of Cecilia
Metella. I see the barriers of a hippodrome, (where now howling
jockeys make the twilight hideous); a _gestatio_, with its lines
of cherry-trees, is before me, and the velvety lavender-green of
olive-orchards covers the hills behind. Vines grow upon the slope

  "Neve tibi ad solem vergant vineta cadentem,"--

twining around, and flinging off a great wealth of tendrils from their
supporting-poles (_pedamenta_). The figs begin to show the purple bloom
of fruitage, and the _villicus_, who has just now come in from the
_atriolum_, reports a good crop, and asks if it would not be well to
apply a few loads of marl (_tofacea_) to the summer fallow, which Cato
is just now breaking up with the Campanian steers, for barley.

Scipio, a stanch Numidian, has gone to market with three asses loaded
with cabbages and asparagus. Villicus tells me that the poultry in the
fattening-coops (as close-shut as the Strasburg geese)[F] are doing
well, and he has added a _soupçon_ of sweetening to their barley-gruel.
The young doves have their legs faithfully broken, ("_obteras crura_")
and are placidly fattening on their stumps. The thrush-house is properly
darkened, only enough light entering to show the food to some three or
four thousand birds, which are in course of cramming for the market. The
_cochlearium_ has a good stock of snails and mussels; and the little
dormice are growing into fine condition for an approaching Imperial

[Footnote F: "Locus ad hanc rem desideratur maxime calidus, et minimi
luminis, in quo singulae caveis angustioribus vel sportis inclusae
pendeant aves, sed ita coarctatae, _ne versari posslnt_."--Columella,
Lib. VIII. cap. vii.]

Villicus reports the clip of the Tarentine sheep unusually fine, and
free from burrs. The new must is all a-foam in the _vinaria;_ and around
the inner cellar (_gaudendem est!_) there is a tier of urns, as large as
school-boys, brimming with ripe Falernian.

If it were not stormy, I might order out the farm-chariot, or
_curriculum_, which is, after all, but a low, dumpy kind of horse-cart,
and take a drive over the lava pavement of the Via Tusculana, to learn
what news is astir, and what the citizens talk of in the forum. Is all
quiet upon the Rhine? How is it possibly with Germanicus? And what of
that story of the arrest of Seneca? It could hardly have happened, they
say, in the good old days of the Republic.

And with this mention, as with the sound of a gun, the Roman pastoral
dream is broken. The Campagna, the olive-orchards, the _columbarium_,
fall back to their old places in the blurred type of Columella. The
Campanian steers are unyoked, and stabled in the text of Varro. The
turrets of the villa of Maecenas, and of the palaces of Sylla and the
Caesars, give place to the spires of a New-England town,--southward of
which I see through the mist a solitary flag flying over a soldiers'
hospital. It reminds of nearer and deadlier perils than ever environed
the Roman Republic,--perils out of which if the wisdom and courage of
the people do not find a way, some new Caesar will point it with the

Looking northward, I see there is a bight of blue in the sky; and a lee
set of dark-gray and purple clouds is folding down over the eastern
horizon,--against which the spires and the flag show clearer than ever.
It means that the rain has stopped; and the rain having stopped, my
in-door work is done.

       *       *       *       *       *


The reader whose eye is arrested by my title will doubtless anticipate a
romance on that ever-old, ever-new theme of a certain god with a torch
leading two souls bound together by iron concealed in flower-wreaths,
until, alas! life seems ordinary enough to be symbolized by _tin_,--of
the tin-wedding entering into the refiner's fire, and, by sure
transmutation, rising from the baser metal to the paler, but purer
silver,--of the subtile alchemy of years, which, in human life's great

  "Transmute, so potent are the spells they know
  Into pure gold the silver of to-day."

Perhaps, reader, you are not altogether to be disappointed; and yet, for
the present, it is only a glass of sparkling wine I wish you to take
with me. You will please read on that delicate strip of paper around the
bottle's neck the name in gilt,--"Golden Wedding." At once you
grow transcendental, and suppose that some German vine-dresser in
Catawba-land--by the way, Gerritt Smith's gardener is a nephew of
Schiller!--was dreaming of the marriage of the Sun with the Vine, his
darling plant, in whose juice linger and sparkle the light and joy of
many faded days. But no, it was named from a real Golden Wedding.

Let me take you--as the clairvoyants say--to a large, sooty, toiling
city in the West. From street to street you shall go, and see but little
to excite your admiration, unless you are a constant believer that _work
is worship_. But here, in the centre of the city, is a noble old mansion
with its beautiful park around it, which a traveller who saw it once
compared to a pearl on the breast of a blacksmith. Here it was that the
Golden Wedding took place.

Who that was there can ever forget it? In my own memory that throng of
the worthy, the beautiful, the gay of a great city will stand as the one
fulfilment which Fate has given me of many Oriental promissory dreams,
most of which she has failed to honor. In that great company you might
have traced all the circles of that city's growth, as you may trace a
tree's history in its rings. That lady there was the first white baby
born here, where now over two hundred thousand human beings reside. Here
are the pioneers who filled the first log-huts on the city's site,
until they overflowed through the roofs. And here is an inner circle of
children, and an outer one of grandchildren, about the two who are the
heart of this beautiful celebration. Can that lovely, erect, blooming
lady be a bride of fifty years? Looking at her, one would say it is a
great and unnecessary mistake of ours to grow old. But more closely must
we look at that quaint old man by her side. Lately he has passed away;
but every day of his long life left a trace worthy to be noted well. His
eighty years and twenty-five days of life comprise an epitome of the
history and growth of a great community. Not so would you at first
interpret that plain old man; though, to a knowing eye, that eye, clear
with looking at the duty that lies nearest, that mouth, telling of
patient, unimpulsive energy, that broadness about the brow, would be
guaranties of a marked life.

And now for my story, which you must let me tell in a rambling way; for
any systematic biography of that man would be like putting one of his
own Catawba-vines into your herbarium.

I introduce you to a fair-haired, handsome youth, on the deck of a small
steamboat, which is bearing him to his fortune in the great West. He is
penniless. His father was wealthy; but in the war he was a Tory, and, in
the confiscation of his property, his sin was visited upon his son. But
he was not the boy to repine, with youth and the great West before him.
And now as from the steamer's deck he sees a fine landscape with a few
log-houses on it, he believes that it is one day to be a great city, and
concludes to stop there. So he is put ashore with his trunk.

He has already determined to study law. He goes to the one judge
who resides there, and is taken as a student into his office. More
log-houses are built; a court-house is erected; and presently that
institution at sight of which the shipwrecked Englishman fell on his
knees and thanked God he was in a Christian land--the gallows--made its
appearance. So the young man had a fair practice.

The records of the West, if they are ever written, will testify how
often whimsical Fortune thrusts her favors on men against their will.
This very judge with whom our youth studied law became environed with
pecuniary difficulties, and wished once to satisfy a claim of a few
hundred dollars by deeding away a sheep-pasture of a few acres, which
was of no sort of use to him. But when he went to get his wife's
signature to the conveyance, she burst into tears; she knew, she said,
that the pasture was worthless; but she had in her childhood heard there
the tinkling of the bells of her father's sheep; it was very foolish,
she knew, but now that they had all passed away, the bells over in the
pasture tinkled on in her memory, and she hated to give it up. The kind
husband would not insist, but went sadly to his work. It was not long
before the sheep-pasture was worth a million dollars! Sentiment, you
see, is not always an unproductive article.

But this case was scarcely so curious as that which presently thrust a
goodly capital on the hands of our young law-student. His first case in
the court was that of a horse-thief, whom he induced a jury to acquit.
When he came to his client for a fee, the scapegrace whispered that
he had nothing on earth wherewith to pay the fee except two old
whiskey-stills and--_a horse_. When he heard this last word, the
lawyer's conscience gave him a twinge. After a moment's reflection, he
said,--"You will need the horse; and you had best make him take you as
far as possible from this region of country. I must be satisfied with
the whiskey-stills." It was not for a long time that he thought even to
inquire about the stills. When he did so, he found them in possession
of a man who implored him not to take them away, and promised to pay
something for them. Finding that he could not do this, he begged our
hero to accept as payment for them a few acres of barren land, which,
with great reluctance, he agreed to do. Erelong the tide of emigration
set westward, and this land is to-day worth two million dollars!

But his subsequent life showed that the man's fortune was not luck; for
by economy, not by hoarding,--by foresight, and a generous trust to all
laborers who wished to lease lands, his wealth grew to nearly fifteen
million dollars.

When he found that he had enough to live comfortably upon, he retired
from the bar, and devoted himself to horticulture. He found that the
region in which he lived was adapted to the growth of the vine, and
began his experiments, which, during his life, extended to the culture
of more than forty varieties. He laid before the community, from time to
time, a report of his successes, he called on all to come and taste the
wines he made, until the tidings went over the earth, and from Germany,
France, Italy, came vine-dressers and wine-makers, who covered every
hill-side for miles around him with vintages.

Those who came from afar to inquire into this new branch of industry,
for which he had opened the way, were surprised to meet the
millionnaire, the Catawba-Prince, in his plain garb and with his humble

How many stories I could tell you of this unintentional, odd homeliness
of manner and life, from which he never departed, and which those around
him found it impossible to depart from, even in respect to the style of
the coffin in which he was laid, and the procession which followed him
to the beautiful cemetery! His dress was always that of a man of the
humblest fortunes; and Dame Gossip says that he was so fond of his old
coat, that, when a change became absolutely necessary, his daughters
were obliged to prepare the new one, and substitute it for the old
whilst he was asleep, so that in the morning he should put it on
unconsciously, or, if he discovered the change; must wear the new or
none. The same dame has it that a youth, who afterward became his
son-in-law, having caught sight somewhere of one of the old man's
daughters, desired to know her, and that, in the park, which was open to
all, he met the old gentleman, whom he supposed to be the gardener, and
offered him a bribe, if he would bring the lady out among the roses. The
old man accepted the bribe, and returned with the lady, whom, with a
sly twinkle of the eye, he introduced as "my daughter" to the blushing
youth. And again it is told, that once, on a very warm day, the old man,
having to wait for a friend, sat down on a stone just outside of his own
gate, took off his hat, and, closing his eyes, dozed a little. When he
got up, he found a silver quarter in his hat. Whether it was put there
by some one who really thought he was an object of charity, or by a wag,
the old man appreciated the joke, and, with a smile, put it into the
pocket out of which had to come forty thousand dollars for annual taxes.
These stories may or may not be true; but in some sense such stories
have a certain truth, whether invented or not. They can live and
circulate only in a community where they are characteristic of the
person of whom they are told. Generous men are not pursued by stories of
parsimony; mean men never hear even untrue stories of their generosity.

And this last remark leads me to speak of the relation in which the
wealthiest man of the West stood to the throngs of the poor and the
suffering who surrounded him.

If, in the city, you had gone to the President of the Boorioboola-Gha
Sewing-Circle, or to the Tract-Society Rooms, or to the clergy, and
inquired whether the city's richest man was charitable, you would have
received an ominous shrug in reply. Vainly have they gone to him for any
such charities. Vainly did they go to him for some "poor, but worthy and
Christian woman."

"I will give nothing," he replied; "there are enough who will give to
her; what I have to give shall go to the _unworthy_ poor, whom none
will help,--the Devil's poor, Sir,--those whom Christians leave to the

Many a minister has been sorely puzzled by the receipt of a fifty-dollar
bill "for the relief of the depraved." His office was constantly
thronged with outcasts, who were generally relieved by small sums. In
his relations with these people, his simplicity and eccentricity were
noted by all who knew him. Among many stories which I know to be true, I
select the following.

Some six or eight years ago the winter was very cold; the river was
frozen, and all the "wharf-rats" were thrown out of work. A near
relative of the old gentleman came to the city, and passed the night at
his house. After tea he sauntered to the office to take a quiet cigar.
To his surprise, he found it filled with a crowd--more than fifty--of
brawny, beastly-looking men. The presence of the childlike old man, his
face beaming with shrewdness and kindly humor, seemed alone to keep them
from being a mob. His manner to them said,--"You poor wretches, I know
how reckless you are; yet I am not sure but I should be as bad, had I
been exposed to the same bad influences." These houseless vagrants had
been coming every night, while the river was frozen, to get a dime for a
night's lodging.

The young man had been forced by the unpleasantness of the crowd to go
and enjoy his cigar outside. As he sat there, the ugly crowd filed out
quietly, each with his dime, (the clerk distributing,) till the last
man. He seemed to feel very ill-used, and was scarcely clear of the
door-way before he gave vent to his indignation:--"I'll be d----d, if I
don't let Old ---- know that I won't be put off with a five-cent piece
and a three-cent piece! Let me ketch him out, and I'll mash his," etc.,

Glowing with righteous indignation, and glad of the opportunity, the
young relative rushed in and exclaimed,--

"Mr. ----! I have had many occasions to remonstrate with you on your
indiscriminate charities, your encouragement of beggary and vice. The
wretch who went out last is breathing threats of personal violence
against you, because he has been put off with a five-cent piece and a
three-cent piece!"

How was the indignant remonstrant mortified, when the old man simply
turned his head to the clerk and said,--

"Mark, why did you not give that man his dime?"

"I had given out all the dimes, Sir, and I gave him all I had left."

"See that he gets his extra two cents the next time he comes. I have no
doubt I should have been mad, if I had been in his place."

A forlorn-looking man once came and asked for help.

"I am afraid to give you money. I think I know how you will spend it."

Of course the man protested that strong drink was an abomination unto
him,--that what his nature most craved was "pure, fresh milk."

The old man, with a look in which it would be hard to say whether
shrewdness or credulity predominated, at once hastened to the
milk-cellar and returned with a glass of milk; the fellow swallowed the
dose with an eager reluctance quite comical to behold, but which excited
no movement in the muscles of the old gentleman's face.

On a raw, wet winter's day, a loafer applied for a pair of shoes. He had
on an old, shambling pair, out at both toes. The old Wine-Prince was
sitting with a pair of slippers on, and had his own shoes warming at the

"Well," said he to the applicant, "you do look rather badly off, for
such a cold, wet day; here, see if these shoes will fit you," handing
his own.

The fellow tried them on and pronounced them a complete fit, and went on
his way rejoicing. The clerk was amused, half an hour after, to see the
old gentleman searching for his shoes and wondering what had become of
them. He was reminded that he had given them to the beggar. On further
inquiry, he found that he had no other pair in the house.

The following significant story was told me by the son of the old man. I
present it in nearly his own words.

"Adjoining me in the country lives an old German who nearly seventy
years ago was _sold_ in New York for his passage. A confectioner of
Baltimore bought him for seven years' service, and he went with his
master to fulfil his obligation. When his time was out, he turned his
face towards the setting sun, and started to seek his fortune. On
arriving in Pittsburg, having no money, he engaged to 'work his way'
down the river on a flat-boat. He stopped at the little village, as our
city then was, and opened a shop. He was skilful, and succeeded. He came
to my father, and bought, on ten years' credit, a place in the country,
where, in course of time, he built a house, and, with my father's
assistance, planted a vineyard. He then gave up all other business but
that of the vine-dresser.

"One day, in the autumn, a few years ago, I overtook the old man on
horseback, on his way to town. After wishing me a cheery good-morning,
he said,--

"'I am on my way to town, to sell your father my wine.'

"'He will be glad to get it; he is buying wine, and yours is made so
carefully that he will be glad to have it.'

"'I mean to sell it to him for fifty cents a gallon.'

"'Oh,' said I, 'don't offer it at that. I know he is paying double that

"'Nevertheless, I mean to sell it to him for half a dollar.'

"I looked inquiringly.

"'Well, Sir, I was but a boy when I left Germany; but I was old
enough to remember that a man, after a hard day's work, could go to a
wine-house, and for two cents could get a tumblerful. It did him good,
and he went home to his family fresher and brighter for his wine. He
was never drunk, and never wasted his earnings to appease a diseased
appetite. I want to see that state of things brought about here. Our
poor people drink whiskey. I want them to have cheap wine in its place.
Fifty cents a gallon will pay me well this year for my capital and
labor, and next year I think I can sell it for forty cents.'

"'But, my friend, see how this will work. You will sell your wine to Mr.
---- for fifty cents; and he will send it to his wine-cellar, and they
will bottle it and sell it for all they can get.'

"'That's _their_ lookout,' said the Teuton; 'I shall have done my duty.'

"It was rather hard to get an advantage of my father, but I thought now
I had him. On reaching the city, I sought him out, and told the story
with all its circumstances.

"'Now, Sir, in presence of the example of this old German,--sold in New
York for his passage, faithfully fulfilling the years of his servitude,
working his way to a small competency by savings and industry,--will you
dare to let the world hear of you, a rich man, making a profit on wine?'

"The old man's eye dropped an instant, then he said,--

"'My son, Heaven knows I do not wish to make money out of wine. I have
given much time and much money for the last fifty years to make this
doubtful experiment successful. I have paid high prices for wine, and
used all other means in my power to make it remunerative,--to induce
others to plant vineyards. If I should now take your suggestion and
bring wine down to a low price, I should ruin the enterprise. But let
the extended cultivation of the grape be once firmly established, and
then competition will bring it low enough.'

"'Well,' said I, 'that may be good worldly wisdom; but I like the spirit
of the old Dutchman better, after all.'

"'There I agree with you; for once, you are right.'"

A most careful accountant has shown that his contributions to
grape-culture amounted to one-fourth of his whole fortune: a clear loss
to him, but not to the public.

Though the lips of Christendom repeat, Sunday after Sunday, the warning
that the left hand should not know what the right hand doeth, yet it is
very apt to judge of a man's liberality by the paragraphs concerning him
in the newspapers. The old gentleman once gave his city several acres of
land for an observatory which was to be erected; and there is no doubt
that he had reason to conclude, as have others, that it was the worst,
as it was the most public, charity of his life. That his private
charities were numerous and without self-crediting, the present writer
_happens_ to know. Once, after going through the great wine-cellar where
millions were coined, I went through the barracks in the upper portion
of the same building, where a wretched tenantry of the Devil's poor
lived in squalor. Each of these families was required to pay room-rent
to the millionnaire. As I passed along, I found one man and woman in
wrathful distress. They must pay their rent, or be turned out of their
rooms. The rent was two or three dollars. I said,--

"The old gentleman will not turn you out."

"You do not know him; he will be sure to, if we do not pay him every

I determined to search him out and represent the case. I could not find
him; but before I concluded my search, I found that the poor people had
been compelled to sell a table and some chairs to pay the rent. The next
day I saw them again, and found them heartily abusing the old man as
"a stingy brute," who would "sell the chairs from under them." Yet I
observed that they had _a new table and three new chairs_. When I asked
them how they came by them, they said they had been sent by an unknown
hand, which they supposed to be mine. A thought struck me, and after
some trouble I ferreted out the fact, that, although the rich old man
had, for reasons connected with the good order of the barracks,
always exacted every cent of the rent from each tenant, whatever the
consequences, he had many times, as in this case, secretly returned more
than it had cost them to pay it. They were left to believe him a hard
man, and often attributed his benefits to societies and persons whose
charity would have been stifled by the whiskey-stench of their rooms.

Thus, then, went on his life, until the day when the Golden Wedding
was to be celebrated. That year, the sons, with the vine-dressers, the
bottlers, corkers, and all, gathered together and said,--

"Come, now! let us this year make a wine that shall be like the nectar
for a true man's soul!"

So, with one accord, they gathered the richest grapes, and selected from
them; then they made the wine-press clean and sweet, and cast the grapes
therein. One great hiss,--a spurt of gold flushed with rubies,--and all
that is acrid is left, all that is rich and sweet is borne away, to be
labelled "GOLDEN WEDDING."

And now, as I taste it, it seems to me flavored beyond all earthly wine,
as if it were the expression of an humble and faithful man, who had a
legitimate object, which he obtained by steadfastness. The wine-makers
maintain, that wine, though long confined in bottles, sympathizes still
with the vines from which it was pressed; and when the season of the
flowering of vines comes, it is always agitated anew. Surely the Catawba
must ever sparkle afresh, when in it, as now, we pledge the memory of
the brave and wise pioneer whose life climbed to its maturity along with
the purple clusters which so had garnered the frost and sunshine of a
life as well as of the seasons.


With what interest do we look upon any relic of early human history!
The monument that tells of a civilization whose hieroglyphic records we
cannot even decipher, the slightest trace of a nation that vanished and
left no sign of its life except the rough tools and utensils buried
in the old site of its towns or villages, arouses our imagination and
excites our curiosity. Men gaze with awe at the inscription on an
ancient Egyptian or Assyrian stone; they hold with reverential touch the
yellow parchment-roll whose dim, defaced characters record the meagre
learning of a buried nationality; and the announcement, that for
centuries the tropical forests of Central America have hidden within
their tangled growth the ruined homes and temples of a past race, stirs
the civilized world with a strange, deep wonder.

To me it seems that to look on the first land that was ever lifted above
the waste of waters, to follow the shore where the earliest animals and
plants were created when the thought of God first expressed itself
in organic forms, to hold in one's hand a bit of stone from an old
sea-beach, hardened into rock thousands of centuries ago, and studded
with the beings that once crept upon its surface or were stranded there
by some retreating wave, is even of deeper interest to men than the
relics of their own race, for these things tell more directly of the
thoughts and creative acts of God.

Standing in the neighborhood of Whitehall, near Lake George, one may
look along such a sea-shore, and see it stretching westward and sloping
gently southward as far as the eye can reach. It must have had a very
gradual slope, and the waters must have been very shallow; for at that
time no great mountains had been uplifted, and deep oceans are always
the concomitants of lofty heights. We do not, however, judge of this by
inference merely; we have an evidence of the shallowness of the sea
in those days in the character of the shells found in the Silurian
deposits, which shows that they belonged in shoal waters.

Indeed, the fossil remains of all times tell us almost as much of the
physical condition of the world at different epochs as they do of its
animal and vegetable population. When Robinson Crusoe first caught sight
of the footprint on the sand, he saw in it more than the mere footprint,
for it spoke to him of the presence of men on his desert island. We
walk on the old geological shores, like Crusoe along his beach, and the
footprints we find there tell us, too, more than we actually see in
them. The crust of our earth is a great cemetery where the rocks are
tombstones on which the buried dead have written their own epitaphs.
They tell us not only who they were and when and where they lived, but
much also of the circumstances under which they lived. We ascertain
the prevalence of certain physical conditions at special epochs by the
presence of animals and plants whose existence and maintenance required
such a state of things, more than by any positive knowledge respecting
it. Where we find the remains of quadrupeds corresponding to our
ruminating animals, we infer not only land, but grassy meadows also, and
an extensive vegetation; where we find none but marine animals, we know
the ocean must have covered the earth; the remains of large reptiles,
representing, though in gigantic size, the half aquatic, half
terrestrial reptiles of our own period, indicate to us the existence
of spreading marshes still soaked by the retreating waters; while the
traces of such animals as live now in sand and shoal waters, or in mud,
speak to us of shelving sandy beaches and of mud-flats. The eye of the
Trilobite tells us that the sun shone on the old beach where he
lived; for there is nothing in Nature without a purpose, and when so
complicated an organ was made to receive the light, there must have been
light to enter it. The immense vegetable deposits in the Carboniferous
period announce the introduction of an extensive terrestrial vegetation;
and the impressions left by the wood and leaves of the trees show
that these first forests must have grown in a damp soil and a moist
atmosphere. In short, all the remains of animals and plants hidden in
the rocks have something to tell of the climatic conditions and the
general circumstances under which they lived, and the study of fossils
is to the naturalist a thermometer by which he reads the variations of
temperature in past times, a plummet by which he sounds the depths of
the ancient oceans,--a register, in fact, of all the important physical
changes the earth has undergone.

But although the animals of the early geological deposits indicate
shallow seas by their similarity to our shoal-water animals, it must not
be supposed that they are by any means the same. On the contrary, the
old shells, crustacea, corals, etc., represent types which have existed
in all times with the same essential structural elements, but under
different specific forms in the several geological periods. And here
it may not be amiss to say something of what are called by naturalists
_representative types_.

The statement that different sets of animals and plants have
characterized the successive epochs is often understood as indicating
a difference of another kind than that which distinguishes animals now
living in different parts of the world. This is a mistake. There are
so-called representative types all over the globe, united to each other
by structural relations and separated by specific differences of
the same kind as those that unite and separate animals of different
geological periods. Take, for instance, mud-flats or sandy shores in the
same latitudes of Europe and America; we find living on each animals of
the same structural character and of the same general appearance,
but with certain specific differences, as of color, size, external
appendages, etc. They represent each other on the two continents.
The American wolves, foxes, bears, rabbits, are not the same as the
European, but those of one continent are as true to their respective
types as those of the other; under a somewhat different aspect they
represent the same groups of animals. In certain latitudes, or under
conditions of nearer proximity, these differences may be less marked.
It is well known that there is a great monotony of type, not only among
animals and plants, but in the human races also, throughout the Arctic
regions; and the animals characteristic of the high North reappear under
such identical forms in the neighborhood of the snow-fields in lofty
mountains, that to trace the difference between the ptarmigans, rabbits,
and other gnawing animals of the Alps, for instance, and those of the
Arctics, is among the most difficult problems of modern science.

And so is it also with the animated world of past ages; in similar
deposits of sand, mud, or lime, in adjoining regions of the same
geological age, identical remains of animals and plants may be
found, while at greater distances, but under similar circumstances,
representative species may occur. In very remote regions, however,
whether the circumstances be similar or dissimilar, the general aspect
of the organic world differs greatly, remoteness in space being thus in
some measure an indication of the degree of affinity between different
faunae. In deposits of different geological periods immediately
following each other we sometimes find remains of animals and plants so
closely allied to those of earlier or later periods that at first sight
the specific differences are hardly discernible. The difficulty of
solving these questions, and of appreciating correctly the differences
and similarities between such closely allied organisms, explains the
antagonistic views of many naturalists respecting the range of existence
of animals, during longer or shorter geological periods; and the
superficial way in which discussions concerning the transition of
species are carried on is mainly owing to an ignorance of the conditions
above alluded to. My own personal observation and experience in these
matters have led me to the conviction that every geological period
has had its own representatives, and that no single species has been
repeated in successive ages.

The laws regulating the geographical distribution of animals and their
combination into distinct or zoological provinces called faunae with
definite limits are very imperfectly understood as yet; but so closely
are all things linked together from the beginning till to-day that I am
convinced we shall never find the clue to their meaning till we carry on
our investigations in the past and the present simultaneously. The same
principle according to which animal and vegetable life is distributed
over the surface of the earth now prevailed in the earliest geological
periods. The geological deposits of all times have had their
characteristic faunae under various zones, their zoological provinces
presenting special combinations of animal and vegetable life over
certain regions, and their representative types reproducing in different
countries, but under similar latitudes, the same groups with specific

Of course, the nearer we approach the beginning of organic life, the
less marked do we find the differences to be, and for a very obvious
reason. The inequalities of the earth's surface, her mountain-barriers
protecting whole continents from the Arctic winds, her open plains
exposing others to the full force of the polar blasts, her snug valleys
and her lofty heights, her table-lands and rolling prairies, her
river-systems and her dry deserts, her cold ocean-currents pouring down
from the high North on some of her shores, while warm ones from tropical
seas carry their softer influence to others,--in short, all the
contrasts in the external configuration of the globe, with the physical
conditions attendant upon them, are naturally accompanied by a
corresponding variety in animal and vegetable life.

But in the Silurian age, when there were no elevations higher than
the Canadian hills, when water covered the face of the earth with the
exception of a few isolated portions lifted above the almost universal
ocean, how monotonous must have been the conditions of life! And what
should we expect to find on those first shores? If we are walking on a
sea-beach to-day, we do not look for animals that haunt the forests or
roam over the open plains, or for those that live in sheltered valleys
or in inland regions or on mountain-heights. We look for Shells, for
Mussels and Barnacles, for Crabs, for Shrimps, for Marine Worms, for
Star-Fishes and Sea-Urchins, and we may find here and there a fish
stranded on the sand or tangled in the sea-weed. Let us remember, then,
that, in the Silurian period, the world, so far as it was raised above
the ocean, was a beach, and let us seek there for such creatures as God
has made to live on sea-shores, and not belittle the Creative work,
or say that He first scattered the seeds of life in meagre or stinted
measure, because we do not find air-breathing animals when there was
no fitting atmosphere to feed their lungs, insects with no terrestrial
plants to live upon, reptiles without marshes, birds without trees,
cattle without grass, all things, in short, without the essential
conditions for their existence.

What we do find--and these, as I shall endeavor to show my readers, in
such profusion that it would seem as if God, in the joy of creation, had
compensated Himself for a less variety of forms in the greater richness
of the early types--is an immense number of beings belonging to the four
primary divisions of the Animal Kingdom, but only to those classes whose
representatives are marine, whose home then, as now, was either in the
sea or along its shores. In other words, the first organic creation
expressed in its totality the structural conception since carried out in
such wonderful variety of details, and purposely limited then, because
the world, which was to be the home of the higher animals, was not yet
made ready to receive them.

I am fully aware that the intimate relations between the organic and
physical world are interpreted by many as indicating the absence, rather
than the presence, of an intelligent Creator. They argue, that the
dependence of animals on material laws gives us the clue to their origin
as well as to their maintenance. Were this influence as absolute and
unvarying as the purely mechanical action of physical circumstances
must necessarily be, this inference might have some pretence to
logical probability,--though it seems to me unnecessary, under any
circumstances, to resort to climatic influences or the action of any
physical laws to explain the thoughtful distribution of the organic and
inorganic world, so evidently intended to secure for all beings what
best suits their nature and their needs. But the truth is, that, while
these harmonious relations underlie the whole creation in such a manner
as to indicate a great central plan, of which all things are a part,
there is at the same time a freedom, an arbitrary element in the mode of
carrying it out, which seems to point to the exercise of an individual
will; for, side by side with facts, apparently the direct result of
physical laws, are other facts, the nature of which shows a complete
independence of external influences.

Take, for instance, the similarity above alluded to between the fauna of
the Arctics and that of the Alps, certainly showing a direct relation
between climatic conditions and animal and vegetable life. Yet even
there, where the shades of specific difference between many animals
and plants of the same class are so slight as to battle the keenest
investigators, we have representative types both in the Animal and
Vegetable Kingdoms as distinct and peculiar as those of widely removed
and strongly contrasted climatic conditions. Shall we attribute the
similarities and the differences alike to physical causes? Compare, for
example, the Reindeer of the Arctics with the Ibex and the Chamois,
representing the same group in the Alps. Even on mountain-heights of
similar altitudes, where not only climate, but other physical conditions
would suggest a recurrence of identical animals, we do not find the
same, but representative types. The Ibex of the Alps differs, for
instance, from that of the Pyrenees, that of the Pyrenees from those of
the Caucasus and Himalayas, these again from each other and from that of
the Altai.

But perhaps the most conclusive proof that we must seek for the origin
of organic life outside of physical causes consists in the permanence of
the fundamental types, while the species representing these types have
differed in every geological period. Now what we call typical features
of structure are in themselves no more stable or permanent than specific
features. If physical causes, such as light, heat, moisture, food,
habits of life, etc., acting upon individuals, have gradually in
successive generations changed the character of the species to which
they belong, why not that of the class and the branch also? If we judge
this question from the material side at all, we must, in order to judge
it fairly, look at it wholly from that point of view. If these specific
changes are brought about in this way, it is because external causes
have positive permanent effects upon the substances of which animals are
built: they have power to change their hair, to change their skin, to
change certain external appendages or ornamentations, and any other of
those ultimate features which naturalists call specific characters.
Now I would ask what there is in the substances out of which class
characters are built that would make them less susceptible to such
external influences than these specific characters. In many instances
the former are more delicate, more sensitive, far more fragile and
transient in their material nature than the latter. And yet never, in
all the chances and changes of time, have we seen any alteration in the
mode of respiration, of reproduction, of circulation, or in any of the
systems of organs which characterize the more comprehensive groups of
the Animal Kingdom, although they are quite as much under the immediate
influence of physical causes as those structural features which have
been constantly changing.

The woody fibre of the Pine-trees has had the same structure from the
Carboniferous age to this day, while their mode of branching and the
forms of their cones and leaves have been different in each period
according to their respective species. The combination of rings, the
structure of the wings, and the articulations of the legs are the same
in the Cockroaches of the Carboniferous age as in those which infest our
ships and our dwellings to-day, while the proportion of their parts is
on quite another scale. The tissue of the Corals in the Silurian age is
identical in chemical combination and organic structure with that of the
Corals of our modern reefs, and yet the extensive researches upon this
class for which we are indebted to Milne Edwards and Haime have not
revealed a single species extending through successive geological ages,
but show us, on the contrary, that every age has had its own kinds,
differing among themselves in the same way as those of the Gulf of
Mexico differ now from those of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. The
scales of the oldest known fishes in the Silurian beds have the same
microscopic structure as those of their representative types today, and
yet I have never seen a single fossil fish presenting the same specific
characters in the successive geological epochs. The teeth of the oldest
Sharks show the same microscopic structure as those of the present time,
and we do not lack opportunities for comparison, since the former are as
common in the mountain-limestone of Ireland as are those of the living
Sharks on any beach where our fishermen boil them for the sake of their
oil, and yet the Sharks appear under different generic and specific
forms in each geological age.

But without multiplying examples, which might be adduced _ad infinitum_,
to show permanence of type combined with repeated changes of species,
suffice it to say, that, while the general features in the framework of
the organic world and the materials of which that framework is
built, though quite as subject to the influence of physical external
circumstances as any so-called specific-features, have remained
perfectly intact from the beginning of Creation till now, so that not
the smallest difference is to be discerned in these respects between the
oldest representatives of the oldest types in the oldest Silurian rocks
and their successors through all the geological ages up to the present
day, the species have been different in each epoch. It is surely a fair
question to ask the advocates of the transmutation theory, whether they
attribute to physical laws the discernment that would lead them to
change the specific features, but to respect all those characters by
which the higher structural combinations of the Animal Kingdom are
preserved without alteration,--in other words, to maintain the organic
plan, while constantly diversifying the mode of expressing it. If so, it
would perhaps be as well to call them by another name, since they show
all the comprehensive wisdom of an intelligent Creator. Until they can
tell us why certain features of animals and plants are permanent under
conditions which, according to their view, have power to change certain
other features no more perishable or transient in themselves, the
supporters of the development theory will have failed to substantiate
their peculiar scientific doctrine.

But this discussion has led us far away from our starting point, and
interrupted our walk along the Silurian beach; let us return to gather a
few specimens there, and compare them with the more familiar ones of our
own shores. I have said that the beach was a shelving one, and covered
of course with shoal waters; but as I have no desire to mislead my
readers, or to present truths as generally accepted which are still
subject to dispute, I would state here that the parallel ridges across
the State of New York, considered by some geologists as the successive
shores of a receding ocean, are believed by others to be the
inequalities on the bottom of a shallow sea. Not only, however, does the
general character of these successive terraces suggest the idea that
they must have been shores, but the ripple-marks upon them are as
distinct as upon any modern beach. The regular rise and fall of the
water is registered there in waving, undulating lines as clearly as on
the sand-beaches of Newport or Nahant; and we can see on any one of
those ancient shores the track left by the waves as they rippled back at
ebb of the tide thousands of centuries ago. One can often see where some
obstacle interrupted the course of the water, causing it to break around
it; and such an indentation even retains the soft, muddy, plastic look
that we observe on the present beaches, where the resistance made by any
pebble or shell to the retreating wave has given it greater force at
that point, so that the sand around the spot is soaked and loosened.
There is still another sign, equally familiar to those who have watched
the action of water on a beach. Where a shore is very shelving and flat,
so that the waves do not recede in ripples from it, but in one unbroken
sheet, the sand and small pebbles are dragged and form lines which
diverge whenever the water meets an obstacle, thus forming sharp angles
on the sand. Such marks are as distinct on the oldest Silurian rocks as
if they had been made yesterday. Nor are these the only indications of
the same fact. There are certain animals living always upon sandy or
muddy shores, which require for their well-being that the beach should
be left dry a part of the day. These animals, moving about in the sand
or mud from which the water has retreated, leave their tracks there; and
if, at such a time, the wind is blowing dust over the beach, and the sun
is hot enough to bake it upon the impressions so formed, they are left
in a kind of mould. Such trails and furrows, made by small Shells or
Crustacea, are also found in plenty on the oldest deposits.

Admitting it, then, to be a beach, let us begin with the lowest type of
the Animal Kingdom, and see what Radiates are to be found there. There
are plenty of Corals, but they are not the same kinds of Corals as those
that build up our reefs and islands now. The modern Coral animals are
chiefly Polyps, but the prevailing Corals of the Silurian age were
Acalephian Hydroids, animals which indeed resemble Polyps in certain
external features, and have been mistaken for them, but which are
nevertheless Acalephs by their internal structure; for, instead of
having the vertical partitions dividing the body into chambers, so
characteristic of the Polyps, they are divided by tubes corresponding to
the radiating tubes of the Acalephs proper, these tubes being themselves
divided at regular distances by horizontal floors, so that they never
run uninterruptedly from top to bottom of the body. I subjoin a woodcut
of a Silurian Coral, which does not, however, show the peculiar internal
structure, but gives some idea of the general appearance of the old
Hydroid Corals. We have but one Acalephian Coral now living, the
Millepore; and it was by comparing that with these ancient ones that I
first detected their relation to the Acalephs. For the true Acalephs or
Jelly-Fishes we shall look in vain; but the presence of the Acalephian
Corals establishes the existence of the type, and we cannot expect to
find those kinds preserved which are wholly destitute of hard parts. I
do not attempt any description of the Polyps proper, because the early
Corals of that class are comparatively few, and do not present features
sufficiently characteristic to attract the notice of the casual



Of the Echinoderms, the class of Radiates represented now by our
Star-Fishes and Sea-Urchins, we may gather any quantity, though the old
fashioned forms are very different from the living ones. I have dwelt at
such length in a former article[A] on the wonderful beauty and variety
of the Crinoids, or "Stone Lilies," as they have been called, from their
resemblance to flowers, that I will only briefly allude to them here.
The subjoined wood-cut represents one with a closed cup; but the number
of their different patterns is hardly to be counted, and I would invite
any one who questions the abundant expression of life in those days to
look at some slabs of ancient limestone in the Zoölogical Museum at
Cambridge, where the stems of the Crinoids are tangled together as
thickly as sea-weed on the shore. Indeed, some of our rock-deposits
consist chiefly of the fragments of their remains.

[Footnote A: See _Methods of Study in Natural History, Atlantic
Monthly_, No. LVII., July, 1862.]


The Mollusks were also represented then, as now, by their three
classes,--Acephala, Gasteropoda, and Cephalopoda. The Acephala or
Bivalves we shall find in great numbers, but of a very different pattern
from the Oysters, Clams, and Mussels of recent times. The annexed
wood-cut represents one of these Brachiopods, which form a very
characteristic type of the Silurian deposits. The square cut of the
upper edge, where the two valves meet along the back and are united by
a hinge, is altogether old-fashioned, and unknown among our modern
Bivalves. The wood-cut does not show the inequality of the two valves,
also a very characteristic feature of this group,--one valve being flat
and fitting closely into the other, which is more spreading and much
fuller. These, also, were represented by a great variety of species, and
we find them crowded together as closely in the ancient rocks as Oysters
or Clams or Mussels on any of our modern shores. Besides these, there
were the Bryozoa, a small kind of Mollusk allied to the Clams, and very
busy then in the ancient Coral work. They grew in communities, and the
separate individuals are so minute that a Bryozoan stock looks like
some delicate moss. They still have their place among the Reef-Building
Corals, but play an insignificant part in comparison with that of their

Of the Silurian Univalves or Gasteropods there is not much to tell, for
their spiral shells were so brittle that scarcely any perfect specimens
are known, though their broken remains are found in such quantities as
to show that this class also was very fully represented in the earliest
creation. But the highest class of Mollusks, the Cephalopods or
Chambered Shells, or Cuttle-Fishes, as they are called when the animal
is unprotected by a shell, are, on the contrary, very well preserved,
and they are very numerous. Of these I will speak somewhat more in
detail, because their geological history is a very curious one.


The Chambered Nautilus is familiar to all, since, from the exquisite
beauty of its shell, it is especially sought for by conchologists;
but it is nevertheless not so common in our days as the Squids and
Cuttle-Fishes, which are the most numerous modern representatives of the
class. In the earliest geological days, on the contrary, those with a
shell predominated, differing from the later ones, however, in having
the shell perfectly straight instead of curved, though its internal
structure was the same as it is now and has ever been. Then, as now, the
animal shut himself out from his last year's home, building his annual
wall behind him, till his whole shell was divided into successive
chambers, all of which were connected by a siphon. Some of the shells of
this kind belonging to the Silurian deposits are enormous: giants of the
sea they must have been in those days. They have been found fifteen
feet long, and as large round as a man's body. One can imagine that the
Cuttle-Fish inhabiting such a shell must have been a formidable animal.
These straight-chambered shells of the Silurian and Devonian seas are
called Orthoceratites (see wood-cut below). We shall meet them again
hereafter, under another name and with a different form; for, as they
advance in the geological ages, they not only assume the curved outline
with ever closer whorls till it culminates in the compact coil of the
Ammonites of the middle periods, but the partitions, which are perfectly
plain walls in these earlier forms, become scalloped and involuted along
the edges in the later ones, making the most delicate and exquisite
tracery on the surface of the shell.

Of Articulates we find only two classes, Worms and Crustacea. Insects
there were none,--for, as we have seen, this early world was wholly
marine. There is little to be said of the Worms, for their soft bodies,
unprotected by any hard covering, could hardly be preserved; but,
like the marine Worms of our own times, they were in the habit of
constructing envelopes for themselves, built of sand, or sometimes from
a secretion of their own bodies, and these cases we find in the earliest
deposits, giving us assurance that the Worms were represented there.
I should add, however, that many impressions described as produced by
Worms are more likely to have been the tracks of Crustacea.

But by far the most characteristic class of Articulates in ancient times
were the Crustaceans. The Trilobites stand in the same relation to the
modern Crustacea as the Crinoids do to the modern Echinoderms. They were
then the sole representatives of the class, and the variety and richness
of the type are most extraordinary. They were of nearly equal breadth
for the whole length of the body, and rounded at the two ends, so as
to form an oval outline. To give any adequate idea of the number and
variety of species would fill a volume, but I may enumerate some of
the more striking differences: as, for instance, the greater or less
prominence of the anterior shield,--the preponderance of the posterior
end in some, while in others the two ends are nearly equal,--the
presence or absence of prongs on the shield and of spines along the
sides of the body,--appendages on the head in some species, of which
others are entirely destitute,--and the smooth outline of some, while
in others the surface is broken by a variety of external ornamentation.
Such are a few of the more prominent differences among them. But the
general structural features are the same in all. The middle region of
the body is always divided in uniform rings, lobed in the middle so as
to make a ridge along the back with a slight depression on either side
of it. It is from this three-lobed division that they receive their
name. The subjoined wood-cut represents a characteristic Silurian


There is no group more prominent in the earliest creations than this one
of the Trilobites, and so exclusively do they belong to them, that, as
we shall see, in proportion as the later representatives of the class
come in, these old-world Crustaceans drop out of the ranks, fall behind,
as it were, in the long procession of animals, and are left in the
ancient deposits. Even in the Carboniferous period but few are to
be found: they had their day in the Silurian and Devonian ages. In
consequence of their solid exterior, the preservation of these animals
is very complete; and their attitudes are often so natural, and the
condition of all their parts so perfect, that one would say they had
died yesterday rather than countless centuries ago.

Their geological history has been very thoroughly studied; not only are
we familiar with all their adult characters, but even their embryology
is well known to naturalists. It is, indeed, wonderful that the mode of
growth of animals which died out in the Carboniferous period should
be better known to us than that of many living types. But it is
nevertheless true that their embryonic forms have been found perfectly
preserved in the rocks, and Barrande, in his "Système Silurien de la
Bohème," gives us all the stages of their development, from the time
when the animal is merely sketched out as a simple furrow in the embryo
to its mature condition. So complete is the sequence, that the plate on
which their embryonic changes are illustrated contains more than thirty
figures, all representing different phases of their growth. There is not
a living Crab represented so fully in any of our scientific works as is
that one species of Trilobite whose whole story Barrande has traced from
the egg to its adult size. Such facts should make those who rest
their fanciful theories of the origin and development of life on the
imperfection of the geological record, filling up the supposed lapses to
suit themselves, more cautious as to their results.

We have found, then, Radiates, Mollusks, and Articulates in plenty;
and now what is to be said of Vertebrates in these old times,--of the
highest and most important division of the Animal Kingdom, that to which
we ourselves belong? They were represented by Fishes alone; and the Fish
chapter in the history of the early organic world is a curious, and,
as it seems to me, a very significant one. We shall find no perfect
specimens; and he would be a daring, not to say a presumptuous thinker,
who would venture to reconstruct a fish of the Silurian age from any
remains that are left to us. But still we find enough to indicate
clearly the style of those old fishes, and to show, by comparison with
the living types, to what group of modern times they belong. We should
naturally expect to find the Vertebrates introduced in their simplest
form; but this is by no means the case: the common fishes, as Cod,
Herring, Mackerel, and the like, were unknown in those days.

But there are two groups of so-called fishes, differing from these by
some marked features, among which we may find the modern representatives
of these earliest Vertebrates. Of these two groups one consists chiefly
now of the Gar-Pikes of our Western waters, though the Sturgeons share
also in some of their features. In these fishes there is a singular
union of reptilian with fish-like characters. The systems of circulation
and of respiration in them are more complicated than in the common
fishes; the structure of the skull resembles that of the skull in
reptiles, and they have other reptilian characters, such as their
ability to move the head upon the neck independently of the body, and
the connection of the vertebrae by ball-and-socket joint, instead of
by inverted cones, as in the ordinary fishes. Their scales are also
peculiar, being covered by enamel so hard, that, if struck with steel,
they will emit sparks like flint. It is on account of this peculiarity
that the whole group has been called Ganoid. Now, though we have
not found as yet any complete specimens of Silurian fishes, their
disconnected remains are scattered profusely in the early deposits. The
scales, parts of the backbone, parts of the skull, the teeth, are found
in a tolerable state of preservation; and these indications, fragmentary
as they are, give us the clue to the character of the most ancient
fishes. A large proportion of them were no doubt Ganoids; for they had
the same peculiar articulation of the vertebrae, the flexibility of the
neck, and the hard scales so characteristic of our Gar-Pikes.

There is another type of these ancient Vertebrates, which has also
its representatives among our modern fishes. These are the Sharks and
Skates, or, as the Greeks used to call them, the Selachians,--making a
very appropriate distinction between them and common fishes, on account
of the difference in the structure of the skeleton. In Selachians the
quality of the bones is granular, instead of fibrous, as in fishes; the
arches above and below the backbone are formed by flat plates, instead
of the spines so characteristic of all the fish proper; and the skull
consists of a solid box, instead of being built of overlapping pieces
like the true fish-skull. They differ also in their teeth, which,
instead of being implanted in the bone by a root, as in fishes, are
loosely set in the gum without any connection with the bone, and are
movable, being arranged in several rows one behind another, the back
rows moving forward to take the place of the front ones when the latter
are worn off. They are unlike the common fishes also in having the
backbone continued to the very end of the tail, which is cut in uneven
lobes, the upper lobe being the longer of the two, while the terminal
fin, so constant a feature in fishes, is wanting. The Selachians
resemble higher Vertebrate types not only in the small number of their
eggs, and in the closer connection of the young with the mother, but
also in their embryological development, which has many features in
common with that of birds and turtles. Of this group, also, we find
numerous remains in the ancient geological deposits; and though we have
not the means of distinguishing the species, we have ample evidence for
determining the type.

This combination of higher with lower features in the earlier organic
forms is very striking, and becomes still more significant when we find
that many of the later types recall the more ancient ones. I have called
these more comprehensive groups of former times, combining characters of
different classes, synthetic or prophetic types; and we might as fitly
give the name of retrospective types to many of the later groups, for
they recall the past, as the former anticipate the future. And it is not
only among the Fishes and the Reptiles that we find these combinations.
The most numerous of the ancient Radiates are the Acalephlan Corals,
combining, in the Hydroid form, the Polyp-like mode of life, habits, and
general appearance with the structure of Acalephs. The Crinoids, with
the closed cups in some, and the open, star-like crowns in others, unite
features of the present Star-Fishes and Sea-Urchins, and, by their stem
attaching them to the ground, include also a Polyp-like character; while
the Trilobites, with their uniform rings and their prominent anterior
shield, unite characters of Worms and Crustacea.

These early types seem to sketch in broad, general characters the
Creative purpose, and to include in the first average expression of the
plan all its structural possibilities. The Crinoid forms include the
thought of the modern Star-Fishes and Sea-Urchins; the simple chambered
shells of the Silurian anticipate the more complicated structure of the
later ones; the Trilobites give the most comprehensive expression of the
Articulate type; while the early Fishes not only prophesy the Reptiles
which are to come, but also hint at Birds and even at Mammalia by their
embryonic development and their mode of reproduction.

Looked at from this point of view, the animal world is an intellectual
Creation, complete in all its parts, and coherent throughout; and when
we find, that, although these ancient types have become obsolete and
been replaced by modern ones, yet there are always a few old-fashioned
individuals, left behind, as it were, to give the key to the history
of their race, as the Gar-Pike, for instance, to explain the ancient
Fishes, the Millepore to explain the old Acalephian Corals, the Nautilus
to be the modern exponent of the Ammonites and Orthoceratites of past
times, we cannot avoid the impression that this Creative work has been
intended also to be educational for Man, and to teach him his own
relation to the organic world. The embryology of the modern types
confirms this idea, for here we find an epitome of their geological
history. The embryo of the present Star-Fishes recalls the Crinoids;
the embryo of the Crab recalls the Trilobites; the embryo of the
Vertebrates, including even that of the higher Mammalia, recalls the
ancient Fishes. Does not this fact, that the individual animal in its
growth recalls the history of its type, prove that the Creative Thought
in its immediate present action embraces all that has gone before, as
its first organic expression included all that was to come? The study of
Nature in its highest meaning shows us the present doubly rich with all
the past, and the past linked and interwoven with the present, not lying
divorced and dead behind it.

I have spoken of the Silurian beach as if there were but one, not only
because I wished to limit my sketch, and to attempt at least to give
it the vividness of a special locality, but also because a single such
shore will give us as good an idea of the characteristic fauna of the
time as if we drew our material from a wider range. There are, however,
a great number of parallel ridges belonging to the Silurian and Devonian
periods, running from east to west, not only through the State of New
York, but far beyond, through the States of Michigan and Wisconsin into
Minnesota; one may follow nine or ten such successive shores in unbroken
lines, from the neighborhood of Lake Champlain to the Far West. They
have all the irregularities of modern sea-shores, running up to form
little bays here, and jutting out in promontories there; and upon each
one are found animals of the same kind, but differing in species from
those of the preceding.

Although the early geological periods are more legible in North America,
because they are exposed over such extensive tracts of land, yet they
have been studied in many other parts of the globe. In Norway, in
Germany, in France, in Russia, in Siberia, in Kamtchatka, in parts of
South America, in short, wherever the civilization of the white race has
extended, Silurian deposits have been observed, and everywhere they
bear the same testimony to a profuse and varied creation. The earth was
teeming then with life as now, and in whatever corner of its surface the
geologist finds the old strata, they hold a dead fauna as numerous as
that which lives and moves above it. Nor do we find that there was any
gradual increase or decrease of any organic forms at the beginning and
close of the successive periods. On the contrary, the opening scenes of
every chapter in the world's history have been crowded with life, and
its last leaves as full and varied as its first.

I think the impression that the faunae of the early geological periods
were more scanty than those of later times arises partly from the fact
that the present creation is made a standard of comparison for all
preceding creations. Of course, the collections of living types in any
museum must be more numerous than those of fossil forms, for the simple
reason that almost the whole of the present surface of the earth, with
the animals and plants inhabiting it, is known to us, whereas the
deposits of the Silurian and Devonian periods are exposed to view only
over comparatively limited tracts and in disconnected regions. But let
us compare a given extent of Silurian or Devonian sea-shore with an
equal extent of sea-shore belonging to our own time, and we shall
soon be convinced that the one is as populous as the other. On the
New-England coast there are about one hundred and fifty different kinds
of fishes, in the Gulf of Mexico two hundred and fifty, in the Red Sea
about the same. We may allow in present times an average of two hundred
or two hundred and fifty different kinds of fishes to an extent of ocean
covering about four hundred miles. Now I have made a special study of
the Devonian rocks of Northern Europe, in the Baltic and along the shore
of the German Ocean. I have found in those deposits alone one hundred
and ten kinds of fossil fishes. To judge of the total number of species
belonging to those early ages by the number known to exist now is about
as reasonable as to infer that because Aristotle, familiar only with the
waters of Greece, recorded less than three hundred kinds of fishes in
his limited fishing-ground, therefore these were all the fishes then
living. The fishing-ground of the geologist in the Silurian and Devonian
periods is even more circumscribed than his, and belongs, besides, not
to a living, but to a dead world, far more difficult to decipher.

But the sciences of Geology and Palaeontology are making such rapid
progress, now that they go hand in hand, that our familiarity with past
creations is daily increasing. We know already that extinct animals
exist all over the world: heaped together under the snows of
Siberia,--lying thick beneath the Indian soil,--found wherever English
settlers till the ground or work the mines of Australia,--figured in the
old Encyclopaedias of China, where the Chinese philosophers have drawn
them with the accuracy of their nation,--built into the most beautiful
temples of classic lands, for even the stones of the Parthenon are full
of the fragments of these old fossils, and if any chance had directed
the attention of Aristotle towards them, the science of Palaeontology
would not have waited for its founder till Cuvier was born,--in short,
in every corner of the earth where the investigations of civilized men
have penetrated, from the Arctic to Patagonia and the Cape of Good Hope,
these relics tell us of successive populations lying far behind our own,
and belonging to distinct periods of the world's history.

       *       *       *       *       *

In my next article I shall give some account of the marshes and forests
of the Carboniferous age, with their characteristic vegetation and


    Pale water-flowers,
  That quiver in the quick turn of the brook,
    And thou, dim nook,--
  Dimmer in twilight,--call again to me
  Visions of life and glory that were ours,
  When first she led me here, young Coralie!

    No longer blest,
  Yet standing here in silence, may not we
    Fancy or feign
  That little flowers do fall about thy rest
  In silver mist and tender-dropping rain,
  And that thy world is peace, loved Coralie?

    Our friendships flee,
  And, darkening all things with her mighty shade,
    Comes Misery.
  No longer look the faces that we see,
  With the old eyes; and Woe itself shall fade,
  Nor even this be left us, Coralie!

    Feelings and fears
  That once were ours have perished in the mould,
    And grief is cold:
  Hearts may be dead to grief; and if our tears
  Are failing or forgetful, there will be
  Mourners about thy bed, lost Coralie!

    The brook-flowers shine,
  And a faint song the falling water has,--
    But not for thee!
  The dull night weepeth, and the sorrowing pine
  Drops his dead hair upon thy young grave-grass,
    My Coralie! my Coralie!

       *       *       *       *       *

    I took from its glass a flower,
  To lay on her grave with dull accusing tears;
  But the heart of the flower fell out as I handled the rose,
  And my heart is shattered, and soon will wither away.

    I watch the changing shadows,
  And the patch of windy sunshine upon the hill,
  And the long blue woods; and a grief no tongue can tell
  Breaks at my eyes in drops of bitter rain.

    I hear her baby-wagon,
  And the little wheels go over my heart;
  Oh, when will the light of the darkened house return?
  Oh, when will she come who made the hills so fair?

    I sit by the parlor-window,
  When twilight deepens, and winds get cold without;
  But the blessed feet no more come up the walk,
  And my little girl and I cry softly together.

       *       *       *       *       *


Many years ago, the few readers of radical Abolitionist papers must
often have seen the singular name of Sojourner Truth, announced as a
frequent speaker at Anti-Slavery meetings, and as travelling on a
sort of self-appointed agency through the country. I had myself often
remarked the name, but never met the individual. On one occasion, when
our house was filled with company, several eminent clergymen being our
guests, notice was brought up to me that Sojourner Truth was below, and
requested an interview. Knowing nothing of her but her singular name, I
went down, prepared to make the interview short, as the pressure of many
other engagements demanded.

When I went into the room, a tall, spare form arose to meet me. She was
evidently a full-blooded African, and though now aged and worn with many
hardships, still gave the impression of a physical development which
in early youth must have been as fine a specimen of the torrid zone as
Cumberworth's celebrated statuette of the Negro Woman at the Fountain.
Indeed, she so strongly reminded me of that figure, that, when I recall
the events of her life, as she narrated them to me, I imagine her as a
living, breathing impersonation of that work of art.

I do not recollect ever to have been conversant with any one who had
more of that silent and subtle power which we call personal presence
than this woman. In the modern Spiritualistic phraseology, she would
be described as having a strong sphere. Her tall form, as she rose up
before me, is still vivid to my mind. She was dressed in some stout,
grayish stuff, neat and clean, though dusty from travel. On her head
she wore a bright Madras handkerchief, arranged as a turban, after the
manner of her race. She seemed perfectly self-possessed and at her
ease,--in fact, there was almost an unconscious superiority, not unmixed
with a solemn twinkle of humor, in the odd, composed manner in which she
looked down on me. Her whole air had at times a gloomy sort of drollery
which impressed one strangely.

"So, this is _you_," she said.

"Yes," I answered.

"Well, honey, de Lord bless ye! I jes' thought I'd like to come an' have
a look at ye. You's heerd o' me, I reckon?" she added.

"Yes, I think I have. You go about lecturing, do you not?"

"Yes, honey, that's what I do. The Lord has made me a sign unto this
nation, an' I go round a-testifyin', an' showin' on 'em their sins agin
my people."

So saying, she took a seat, and, stooping over and crossing her arms on
her knees, she looked down on the floor, and appeared to fall into a
sort of reverie.

Her great gloomy eyes and her dark face seemed to work with some
undercurrent of feeling; she sighed deeply, and occasionally broke

"O Lord! O Lord! Oh, the tears, an' the groans, an' the moans! O Lord!"

I should have said that she was accompanied by a little grandson of ten
years,--the fattest, jolliest woolly-headed little specimen of Africa
that one can imagine. He was grinning and showing his glistening white
teeth in a state of perpetual merriment, and at this moment broke out
into an audible giggle, which disturbed the reverie into which his
relative was falling.

She looked at him with an indulgent sadness, and then at me.

"Laws, Ma'am, _he_ don't know nothin' about it,--_he_ don't. Why, I've
seen them poor critters, beat an' 'bused an' hunted, brought in all
torn,--ears hangin' all in rags, where the dogs been a-bitin' of 'em!"

This set off our little African Puck into another giggle, in which he
seemed perfectly convulsed.

She surveyed him soberly, without the slightest irritation.

"Well, you may bless the Lord you _can_ laugh; but I tell you, 't wa'n't
no laughin' matter."

By this time I thought her manner so original that it might be worth
while to call down my friends; and she seemed perfectly well pleased
with the idea. An audience was what she wanted,--it mattered not whether
high or low, learned or ignorant. She had things to say, and was ready
to say them at all times, and to any one.

I called down Dr. Beecher, Professor Allen, and two or three other
clergymen, who, together with my husband and family, made a roomful. No
princess could have received a drawing-room with more composed dignity
than Sojourner her audience. She stood among them, calm and erect, as
one of her own native palm-trees waving alone in the desert. I presented
one after another to her, and at last said,--

"Sojourner, this is Dr. Beecher. He is a very celebrated preacher."

"_Is_ he?" she said, offering her hand in a condescending manner, and
looking down on his white head. "Ye dear lamb, I'm glad to see ye! De
Lord bless ye! I loves preachers. I'm a kind o' preacher myself."

"You are?" said Dr. Beecher. "Do you preach from the Bible?"

"No, honey, can't preach from de Bible,--can't read a letter."

"Why, Sojourner, what do you preach from, then?"

Her answer was given with a solemn power of voice, peculiar to herself,
that hushed every one in the room.

"When I preaches, I has jest one text to preach from, an' I always
preaches from this one. _My_ text is, 'WHEN I FOUND JESUS.'"

"Well, you couldn't have a better one," said one of the ministers.

She paid no attention to him, but stood and seemed swelling with her own
thoughts, and then began this narration:--

"Well, now, I'll jest have to go back, an' tell ye all about it. Ye see,
we was all brought over from Africa, father an' mother an' I, an' a lot
more of us; an' we was sold up an' down, an' hither an' yon; an' I can
'member, when I was a little thing, not bigger than this 'ere," pointing
to her grandson, "how my ole mammy would sit out o' doors in the
evenin', an' look up at the stars an' groan. She'd groan an' groan, an'
says I to her,--

"'Mammy, what makes you groan so?'

"An' she'd say,--

"'Matter enough, chile! I'm groanin' to think o' my poor children: they
don't know where I be, an' I don't know where they be; they looks up at
the stars, an' I looks up at the stars, but I can't tell where they be.

"'Now,' she said, 'chile, when you're grown up, you may be sold away
from your mother an' all your ole friends, an' have great troubles come
on ye; an' when you has these troubles come on ye, ye jes' go to God,
an' He'll help ye.'

"An' says I to her,--

"'Who is God, anyhow, mammy?'

"An' says she,--

"'Why, chile, you jes' look up _dar_! It's Him that made all _dem_!'

"Well, I didn't mind much 'bout God in them days. I grew up pretty
lively an' strong, an' could row a boat, or ride a horse, or work round,
an' do 'most anything.

"At last I got sold away to a real hard massa an' missis. Oh, I tell
you, they _was_ hard! 'Peared like I couldn't please 'em, nohow. An'
then I thought o' what my old mammy told me about God; an' I thought I'd
got into trouble, sure enough, an' I wanted to find God, an' I heerd
some one tell a story about a man that met God on a threshin'-floor, an'
I thought, 'Well an' good, I'll have a threshin'-floor, too.' So I went
down in the lot, an' I threshed down a place real hard, an' I used to go
down there every day, an' pray an' cry with all my might, a-prayin' to
the Lord to make my massa an' missis better, but it didn't seem to do no
good; an' so says I, one day,--

"'O God, I been a-askin' ye, an' askin' ye, an' askin' ye, for all this
long time, to make my massa an' missis better, an' you don't do it, an'
what _can_ be the reason? Why, maybe you _can't._ Well, I shouldn't
wonder ef you couldn't. Well, now, I tell you, I'll make a bargain with
you. Ef you'll help me to git away from my massa an' missis, I'll agree
to be good; but ef you don't help me, I really don't think I can be.
Now,' says I, 'I want to git away; but the trouble's jest here: ef I try
to git away in the night, I can't see; an' ef I try to git away in the
daytime, they'll see me, an' be after me.'

"Then the Lord said to me, 'Git up two or three hours afore daylight,
an' start off.'

"An' says I, 'Thank 'ee, Lord! that's a good thought.'

"So up I got, about three o'clock in the mornin', an' I started an'
travelled pretty fast, till, when the sun rose, I was clear away from
our place an' our folks, an' out o' sight. An' then I begun to think I
didn't know nothin' where to go. So I kneeled down, and says I,--

"'Well, Lord, you've started me out, an' now please to show me where to

"Then the Lord made a house appear to me, an' He said to me that I was
to walk on till I saw that house, an' then go in an' ask the people to
take me. An' I travelled all day, an' didn't come to the house till late
at night; but when I saw it, sure enough, I went in, an' I told the
folks that the Lord sent me; an' they was Quakers, an' real kind they
was to me. They jes' took me in, an' did for me as kind as ef I'd been
one of 'em; an' after they'd giv me supper, they took me into a room
where there was a great, tall, white bed; an' they told me to sleep
there. Well, honey, I was kind o' skeered when they left me alone with
that great white bed; 'cause I never had been in a bed in my life. It
never came into my mind they could mean me to sleep in it. An' so I jes'
camped down under it, on the floor, an' then I slep' pretty well. In the
mornin', when they came in, they asked me of I hadn't been asleep; an' I
said, 'Yes, I never slep' better.' An' they said, 'Why, you haven't been
in the bed!' An' says I, 'Laws, you didn't think o' sech a thing as my
sleepin' in dat 'ar' _bed_, did you? I never heerd o' sech a thing in my

"Well, ye see, honey, I stayed an' lived with 'em. An' now jes' look
here: instead o' keepin' my promise an' bein' good, as I told the Lord I
would, jest as soon as everything got a-goin' easy, _I forgot all about

"Pretty well don't need no help; an' I gin up prayin.' I lived there two
or three years, an' then the slaves in New York were all set free, an'
ole massa came to our house to make a visit, an' he asked me ef I didn't
want to go back an' see the folks on the ole place. An' I told him I
did. So he said, ef I'd jes' git into the wagon with him, he'd carry me
over. Well, jest as I was goin' out to git into the wagon, _I met God_!
an' says I, 'O God, I didn't know as you was so great!' An' I turned
right round an' come into the house, an' set down in my room; for 't was
God all around me. I could feel it burnin', burnin', burnin' all around
me, an' goin' through me; an' I saw I was so wicked, it seemed as ef it
would burn me up. An' I said, 'O somebody, somebody, stand between God
an' me! for it burns me!' Then, honey, when I said so, I felt as it were
somethin' like an _amberill_ [umbrella] that came between me an' the
light, an' I felt it was _somebody_,--somebody that stood between me an'
God; an' it felt cool, like a shade; an' says I, 'Who's this that stands
between me an' God? Is it old Cato?' He was a pious old preacher; but
then I seemed to see Cato in the light, an' he was all polluted an'
vile, like me; an' I said, 'Is it old Sally?' an' then I saw her, an'
she seemed jes' so. An' then says I, '_Who_ is this?' An' then, honey,
for a while it was like the sun shinin' in a pail o' water, when it
moves up an' down; for I begun to feel 't was somebody that loved me;
an' I tried to know him. An' I said, 'I know you! I know you! I know
you!'--an' then I said, 'I don't know you! I don't know you! I don't
know you!' An' when I said, 'I know you, I know you,' the light came;
an' when I said, 'I don't know you, I don't know you,' it went, jes'
like the sun in a pail o' water. An' finally somethin' spoke out in me
an' said, '_This is Jesus _!' An' I spoke out with all my might, an'
says I, '_This is Jesus_! Glory be to God!' An' then the whole world
grew bright, an' the trees they waved an' waved in glory, an' every
little bit o' stone on the ground shone like glass; an' I shouted an'
said, 'Praise, praise, praise to the Lord!' An' I begun to feel sech
a love in my soul as I never felt before,--love to all creatures. An'
then, all of a sudden, it stopped, an' I said, 'Dar's de white folks,
that have abused you an' beat you an' abused your people,--think o'
them!' But then there came another rush of love through my soul, an' I
cried out loud,--'Lord, Lord, I can love _even de white folks_!'

"Honey, I jes' walked round an' round in a dream. Jesus loved me! I
knowed it,--I felt it. Jesus was my Jesus. Jesus would love me always. I
didn't dare tell nobody; 't was a great secret. Everything had been got
away from me that I ever had; an' I thought that ef I let white folks
know about this, maybe they'd get _Him_ away,--so I said, 'I'll keep
this close. I won't let any one know.'"

"But, Sojourner, had you never been told about Jesus Christ?"

"No, honey. I hadn't heerd no preachin',--been to no meetin'. Nobody
hadn't told me. I'd kind o' heerd of Jesus, but thought he was like
Gineral Lafayette, or some o' them. But one night there was a Methodist
meetin' somewhere in our parts, an' I went; an' they got up an' begun
for to tell der 'speriences; an' de fust one begun to speak. I started,
'cause he told about Jesus. 'Why,' says I to myself, 'dat man's found
him, too!' An' another got up an' spoke, an' I said, 'He's found him,
too!' An' finally I said, 'Why, they all know him!' I was so happy! An'
then they sung this hymn": (Here Sojourner sang, in a strange, cracked
voice, but evidently with all her soul and might, mispronouncing the
English, but seeming to derive as much elevation and comfort from bad
English as from good):--

  "There is a holy city,
     A world of light above.
  Above the stairs and regions,[A]
     Built by the God of love.

  "An everlasting temple,
     And saints arrayed in white
  There serve their great Redeemer
     And dwell with him in light.

  "The meanest child of glory
     Outshines the radiant sun;
  But who can speak the splendor
     Of Jesus on his throne?

  "Is this the man of sorrows
    Who stood at Pilate's bar,
  Condemned by haughty Herod
    And by his men of war?

  "He seems a mighty conqueror,
    Who spoiled the powers below,
  And ransomed many captives
    From everlasting woe.

  "The hosts of saints around him
    Proclaim his work of grace,
  The patriarchs and prophets,
    And all the godly race,

  "Who speak of fiery trials
    And tortures on their way;
  They came from tribulation
    To everlasting day.

  "And what shall be my journey,
    How long I'll stay below,
  Or what shall be my trials,
    Are not for me to know.

  "In every day of trouble
    I'll raise my thoughts on high,
  I'll think of that bright temple
    And crowns above the sky."

[Footnote A: Starry regions.]

I put in this whole hymn, because Sojourner, carried away with her own
feeling, sang it from beginning to end with a triumphant energy that
held the whole circle around her intently listening. She sang with
the strong barbaric accent of the native African, and with those
indescribable upward turns and those deep gutturals which give such a
wild, peculiar power to the negro singing,--but above all, with such an
overwhelming energy of personal appropriation that the hymn seemed to be
fused in the furnace of her feelings and come out recrystallized as a
production of her own.

It is said that Rachel was wont to chant the "Marseillaise" in a manner
that made her seem, for the time, the very spirit and impersonation of
the gaunt, wild, hungry, avenging mob which rose against aristocratic
oppression; and in like manner, Sojourner, singing this hymn, seemed to
impersonate the fervor of Ethiopia, wild, savage, hunted of all nations,
but burning after God in her tropic heart, and stretching her scarred
hands towards the glory to be revealed.

"Well, den ye see, after a while I thought I'd go back an' see de folks
on de ole place. Well, you know, de law had passed dat de culled folks
was all free; an' my old missis, she had a daughter married about dis
time who went to live in Alabama,--an' what did she do but give her my
son, a boy about de age of dis yer, for her to take down to Alabama?
When I got back to de ole place, they told me about it, an' I went right
up to see ole missis, an' says I,--

"'Missis, have you been an' sent my son away down to Alabama?'

"'Yes, I have,' says she; 'he's gone to live with your young missis.'

"'Oh, Missis,' says I, 'how could you do it?'

"'Poh!' says she, 'what a fuss you make about a little nigger! Got more
of 'em now than you know what to do with.'

"I tell you, I stretched up. I felt as tall as the world!

"'Missis,' says I, '_I'll have my son back agin!_'

"She laughed.

"'_You_ will, you nigger? How you goin' to do it? You ha'n't got no

"'No, Missis,--but _God_ has,--an' you'll see He'll help me!'--an' I
turned round an' went out.

"Oh, but I _was_ angry to have her speak to me so haughty an' so
scornful, as ef my chile wasn't worth anything. I said to God, 'O Lord,
render unto her double!' It was a dreadful prayer, an' I didn't know how
true it would come.

"Well, I didn't rightly know which way to turn; but I went to the Lord,
an' I said to Him, 'O Lord, ef I was as rich as you be, an' you was as
poor as I be, I'd help you,--you _know_ I would; and, oh, do help me!'
An' I felt sure then that He would.

"Well, I talked with people, an' they said I must git the case before a
grand jury. So I went into the town when they was holdin' a court, to
see ef I could find any grand jury. An' I stood round the
court-house, an' when they was a-comin' out, I walked right up to the
grandest-lookin' one I could see, an' says I to him,--

"'Sir, be you a grand jury?'

"An' then he wanted to know why I asked, an' I told him all about it;
an' he asked me all sorts of questions, an' finally he says to me,--

"'I think, ef you pay me ten dollars, that I'd agree to git your son for
you.' An' says he, pointin' to a house over the way, 'You go 'long an'
tell your story to the folks in that house, an' I guess they'll give you
the money.'

"Well, I went, an' I told them, an' they gave me twenty dollars; an'
then I thought to myself, 'Ef ten dollars will git him, twenty dollars
will git him _sartin_.' So I carried it to the man all out, an' said,--

"'Take it all,--only be sure an' git him'

"Well, finally they got the boy brought back; an' then they tried to
frighten him, an' to make him say that I wasn't his mammy, an' that he
didn't know me; but they couldn't make it out. They gave him to me,
an' I took him an' carried him home; an' when I came to take off his
clothes, there was his poor little back all covered with scars an' hard
lumps, where they'd flogged him.

"Well, you see, honey, I told you how I prayed the Lord to render unto
her double. Well, it came true; for I was up at ole missis' house not
long after, an' I heerd 'em readin' a letter to her how her daughter's
husband had murdered her,--how he'd thrown her down an' stamped the life
out of her, when he was in liquor; an' my ole missis, she giv a screech,
an' fell flat on the floor. Then says I, 'O Lord, I didn't mean all
that! You took me up too quick.'

"Well, I went in an' tended that poor critter all night. She was out of
her mind,--a-cryin', an' callin' for her daughter; an' I held her poor
ole head on my arm, an' watched for her as ef she 'd been my babby. An'
I watched by her, an' took care on her all through her sickness after
that, an' she died in my arms, poor thing!"

"Well, Sojourner, did you always go by this name?"

"No, 'deed! My name was Isabella; but when I left the house of bondage,
I left everything behind. I wa'n't goin' to keep nothin' of Egypt on me,
an' so I went to the Lord an' asked Him to give me a new name. And the
Lord gave me Sojourner, because I was to travel up an' down the land,
showin' the people their sins, an' bein' a sign unto them. Afterwards
I told the Lord I wanted another name, 'cause everybody else had two
names; and the Lord gave me Truth, because I was to declare the truth to
the people.

"Ye see some ladies have given me a white satin banner," she said,
pulling out of her pocket and unfolding a white banner, printed with
many texts, such as, "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all
the inhabitants thereof," and others of like nature. "Well," she said,
"I journeys round to camp-meetins, an' wherever folks is, an' I sets up
my banner, an' then I sings, an' then folks always comes up round me,
an' then I preaches to 'em. I tells 'em about Jesus, an' I tells 'em
about the sins of this people. A great many always comes to hear me; an'
they 're right good to me, too, an' say they want to hear me agin."

We all thought it likely; and as the company left her, they shook hands
with her, and thanked her for her very original sermon; and one of the
ministers was overheard to say to another, "There's more of the gospel
in that story than in most sermons."

Sojourner stayed several days with us, a welcome guest. Her conversation
was so strong, simple, shrewd, and with such a droll flavoring of humor,
that the Professor was wont to say of an evening, "Come, I am dull,
can't you get Sojourner up here to talk a little?" She would come up
into the parlor, and sit among pictures and ornaments, in her simple
stuff gown, with her heavy travelling-shoes, the central object of
attention both to parents and children, always ready to talk or to sing,
and putting into the common flow of conversation the keen edge of some
shrewd remark.

"Sojourner, what do you think of Women's Rights?"

"Well, honey, I 's ben to der meetins, an' harked a good deal. Dey
wanted me fur to speak. So I got up. Says I,--'Sisters, I a'n't clear
what you'd be after. Ef women want any rights more 'n dey 's got, why
don't dey jes' _take 'em_, an' not be talkin' about it?' Some on 'em
came round me, an' asked why I didn't wear Bloomers. An' I told 'em I
had Bloomers enough when I was in bondage. You see," she said, "dey used
to weave what dey called nigger-cloth, an' each one of us got jes' sech
a strip, an' had to wear it width-wise. Them that was short got along
pretty well, but as for me"--She gave an indescribably droll glance at
her long limbs and then at us, and added,--"Tell _you_, I had enough of
Bloomers in them days."

Sojourner then proceeded to give her views of the relative capacity of
the sexes, in her own way.

"S'pose a man's mind holds a quart, an' a-woman's don't hold but a pint;
ef her pint is _full_, it's as good as his quart."

Sojourner was fond of singing an extraordinary lyric, commencing,--

  "I'm on my way to Canada,
    That cold, but happy land;
  The dire effects of Slavery
    I can no longer stand.
      O righteous Father,
        Do look down on me
      And help me on to Canada,
        Where colored folks are free!"

The lyric ran on to state, that, when the fugitive crosses the Canada

  "The Queen comes down unto the shore,
    With arms extended wide,
  To welcome the poor fugitive
    Safe onto Freedom's side."

In the truth thus set forth she seemed to have the most simple faith.

But her chief delight was to talk of "glory," and to sing hymns whose
burden was,--

  "O glory, glory, glory,
  Won't you come along with me?"

and when left to herself, she would often hum these with great delight,
nodding her head.

On one occasion, I remember her sitting at a window singing and
fervently keeping time with her bead, the little black Puck of a
grandson meanwhile, amusing himself with ornamenting her red-and-yellow
turban with green dandelion-curls, which shook and trembled with her
emotions, causing him perfect convulsions of delight.

"Sojourner," said the Professor to her, one day, when he heard her
singing, "you seem to be very sure about heaven."

"Well, I be," she answered, triumphantly.

"What makes you so sure there is any heaven?"

"Well, 'cause I got such a hankerin' arter it in here," she
said,--giving a thump on her breast with her usual energy.

There was at the time an invalid in the house, and Sojourner, on
learning it, felt a mission to go and comfort her. It was curious to see
the tall, gaunt, dusky figure stalk up to the bed with such an air of
conscious authority, and take on herself the office of consoler
with such a mixture of authority and tenderness. She talked as from
above,--and at the same time, if a pillow needed changing or any office
to be rendered, she did it with a strength and handiness that inspired
trust. One felt as if the dark, strange woman were quite able to take up
the invalid in her bosom, and bear her as a lamb, both physically and
spiritually. There was both power and sweetness in that great warm soul
and that vigorous frame.

At length, Sojourner, true to her name, departed. She had her mission
elsewhere. Where now she is I know not; but she left deep memories
behind her.

To these recollections of my own I will add one more anecdote, related
by Wendell Phillips.

Speaking of the power of Rachel to move and bear down a whole audience
by a few simple words, he said he never knew but one other human being
that had that power, and that other was Sojourner Truth. He related a
scene of which he was witness. It was at a crowded public meeting in
Faneuil Hall, where Frederick Douglas was one of the chief speakers.
Douglas had been describing the wrongs of the black race, and as he
proceeded, he grew more and more excited, and finally ended by saying
that they had no hope of justice from the whites, no possible hope
except in their own right arms. It must come to blood; they must fight
for themselves, and redeem themselves, or it would never be done.

Sojourner was sitting, tall and dark, on the very front seat, facing the
platform; and in the hush of deep feeling, after Douglas sat down, she
spoke out in her deep, peculiar voice, heard all over the house,--

"Frederick, is _God dead_?"

The effect was perfectly electrical, and thrilled through the whole
house, changing as by a flash the whole feeling of the audience. Not
another word she said or needed to say; it was enough.

It is with a sad feeling that one contemplates noble minds and bodies,
nobly and grandly formed human beings, that have come to us cramped,
scarred, maimed, out of the prison-house of bondage. One longs to know
what such beings might have become, if suffered to unfold and expand
under the kindly developing influences of education.

It is the theory of some writers, that to the African is reserved,
in the later and palmier days of the earth, the full and harmonious
development of the religious element in man. The African seems to seize
on the tropical fervor and luxuriance of Scripture imagery as something
native; he appears to feel himself to be of the same blood with those
old burning, simple souls, the patriarchs, prophets, and seers, whose
impassioned words seem only grafted as foreign plants on the cooler
stock of the Occidental mind.

I cannot but think that Sojourner with the same culture might have
spoken words as eloquent and undying as those of the African Saint
Augustine or Tertullian. How grand and queenly a woman she might have
been, with her wonderful physical vigor, her great heaving sea of
emotion, her power of spiritual conception, her quick penetration, and
her boundless energy! We might conceive an African type of woman so
largely made and moulded, so much fuller in all the elements of life,
physical and spiritual, that the dark hue of the skin should seem only
to add an appropriate charm,--as Milton says of his Penseroso, whom he

      "Black, but such as in esteem
  Prince Memnon's sister might beseem,
  Or that starred Ethiop queen that strove
  To set her beauty's praise above
  The sea-nymph's."

But though Sojourner Truth has passed away from among us as a wave of
the sea, her memory still lives in one of the loftiest and most original
works of modern art, the Libyan Sibyl, by Mr. Story, which attracted
so much attention in the late World's Exhibition. Some years ago, when
visiting Rome, I related Sojourner's history to Mr. Story at a breakfast
at his house. Already had his mind begun to turn to Egypt in search of
a type of art which should represent a larger and more vigorous
development of nature than the cold elegance of Greek lines. His
glorious Cleopatra was then in process of evolution, and his mind was
working out the problem of her broadly developed nature, of all that
slumbering weight and fulness of passion with which this statue seems
charged, as a heavy thunder-cloud is charged with electricity.

The history of Sojourner Truth worked in his mind and led him into the
deeper recesses of the African nature,--those unexplored depths of being
and feeling, mighty and dark as the gigantic depths of tropical forests,
mysterious as the hidden rivers and mines of that burning continent
whose life-history is yet to be. A few days after, he told me that he
had conceived the idea of a statue which he should call the Libyan
Sibyl. Two years subsequently, I revisited Rome, and found the gorgeous
Cleopatra finished, a thing to marvel at, as the creation of a new style
of beauty, a new manner of art. Mr. Story requested me to come and
repeat to him the history of Sojourner Truth, saying that the conception
had never left him. I did so; and a day or two after, he showed me the
clay model of the Libyan Sibyl. I have never seen the marble statue; but
am told by those who have, that it was by far the most impressive work
of art at the Exhibition.

A notice of the two statues from the London "Athenaeum" must supply a
description which I cannot give.

"The Cleopatra and the Sibyl are seated, partly draped, with the
characteristic Egyptian gown, that gathers about the _torso_ and falls
freely around the limbs; the first is covered to the bosom, the second
bare to the hips. Queenly Cleopatra rests back against her chair in
meditative ease, leaning her cheek against one hand, whose elbow the
rail of the seat sustains; the other is outstretched upon her knee,
nipping its forefinger upon the thumb thoughtfully, as though some firm,
wilful purpose filled her brain, as it seems to set those luxurious
features to a smile as if the whole woman 'would.' Upon her head is
the coif, bearing in front the mystic _uraeus_, or twining basilisk of
sovereignty, while from its sides depend the wide Egyptian lappels, or
wings, that fall upon her shoulders. The _Sibilla Libica_ has crossed
her knees,--an action universally held amongst the ancients as
indicative of reticence or secrecy, and of power to bind. A
secret-keeping looking dame she is, in the full-bloom proportions of
ripe womanhood, wherein choosing to place his figure the sculptor has
deftly gone between the disputed point whether these women were blooming
and wise in youth, or deeply furrowed with age and burdened with the
knowledge of centuries, as Virgil, Livy, and Gellius say. Good artistic
example might be quoted on both sides. Her forward elbow is propped upon
one knee; and to keep her secrets closer, for this Libyan woman is the
closest of all the Sibyls, she rests her shut mouth upon one closed
palm, as if holding the African mystery deep in the brooding brain that
looks out through mournful, warning eyes, seen under the wide shade
of the strange horned (ammonite) crest, that bears the mystery of the
Tetragrammaton upon its upturned front. Over her full bosom, mother of
myriads as she was, hangs the same symbol. Her face has a Nubian cast,
her hair wavy and plaited, as is meet."

We hope to see the day when copies both of the Cleopatra and the Libyan
Sibyl shall adorn the Capitol at Washington.


Horticulture in the United States has, except in a commercial sense,
been subordinate to the pursuit of wealth. Before man can indulge in
objects of elegance and refinement, he must have secured the comforts of
life: the _utile_ must lead the _dulce_, a well-stocked kitchen-garden
precede the parterre. We have now, however, in the older sections of the
Union, at least, passed through the ordeal of a young nation: elegance
is following the plain and practical; the spacious mansion, with its
luxurious appurtenances, is succeeding the cottage, as this in turn
was the successor of the cabin. The perception of the picturesque is a
natural result of earlier steps in the path of refinement: man may build
from a vulgar ambition for distinction, but he seldom plants unless
prompted by love of Nature and elevated impulses. Lord Bacon, in his
essay "Of Gardens," says, "When ages grow to civility and elegancy, men
come to build stately sooner than to garden finely; as if gardening were
the greater perfection." A case which seems to confirm this position
occurs to us. The site of a noble building, erected for our Government,
was adorned by wide-spreading trees, the growth of generations, which,
after the building was completed, the architect cut down before his axe
could be arrested. On being reproached for his Vandalism, he retorted,--
"Trees may be seen everywhere, but such a Grecian portico as

Among a young people like ourselves, the nursery and the market-garden
hold prominent places in horticultural pursuits; the latter yields a
prompt return for the investment of capital and labor, and just in
proportion as demand increases, so will be the exertion to meet it. Thus
we find the markets of the cities amply supplied with every luxury of
fruit and vegetable: the seasons are anticipated by artificial means,
glass is brought into requisition, and the tables of the wealthy are
furnished with a profusion unknown to royalty in an earlier age.

The capacity of Americans to mould circumstances to themselves rather
than adapt themselves to circumstances, to remove obstacles, to
accomplish by the aid of machinery much that other peoples reach through
toil alone, has passed into a proverb: hence it need hardly cause
surprise, if unexampled success attend efforts at market-gardening,
bringing to the very doors of the comparatively poor vegetables and
fruits which in Europe are enjoyed only by the higher classes. As an
illustration,--where but in America are peaches planted by a single
individual by tens of thousands, and carried to market on steamboats
chartered for the special purpose, in quantities of one or two thousand
bushels at a trip?

The earlier American nurseries were few in number, and, compared with
some now existing, of quite limited extent,--though equal, perhaps, in
proportion to population. The first of which there is any record, and
probably the earliest established, was that of John Bartram, near
Philadelphia, about the year 1730. Here were congregated many of the
prominent native plants and trees, preparatory to exportation to
Europe,--also the fruits and plants of the other hemisphere, obtained
in exchange for American productions. The specimen trees planted by the
elder Bartram and his descendants still adorn the grounds, classic
to the botanist and the lover of Nature: long may they stand, living
memorials of generations passed away, our earliest evidence of a taste
for horticulture!

The next nursery in the order of date is that of Prince, in Flushing,
New York, established, we believe, prior to the Revolution, and
continued by the family to the present day. Flushing has become a centre
in the nursery-trade, and many acres thereabout are covered with young
trees intended for transplantation. A stroll round the village would
lead one to suppose the chief interest of the inhabitants was bound up
in the nursery-business, as is that of Lynn in shoes, and of Lowell
in cotton goods. Prominent among the Flushing nurseries are those of
Parsons, which, though of comparatively recent origin, abound in rich

The nurseries of the brothers David and Cuthbert Landreth appear to have
been the third in the order of succession. They were established at
Philadelphia shortly after the Revolution, and within the limits of the
city. The increase of population and their expanding trade caused a
removal to another and more ample field of culture, which, for nearly
half a century, was the resort of most people of taste who visited

Nurseries are now found everywhere. The Far West has some which count
the young trees by millions, and fruit-trees of single kinds by the
hundred thousand. The Hoveys, of Boston, have long been prominent, not
only as nurserymen, but as writers on horticulture. Elwanger and Barry,
of Rochester, New York, have a large breadth of land, we forbear to
state our impression of the number of acres, covered by nursery-stock.
Professional florists also have multiplied to an unlimited
extent, exhibiting the growth of refining taste. Plants suited
to window-culture, and bouquets of choice flowers, are sold on
street-corners, and carried from door to door. Cameilias, of which
we recollect single flowers having been sold at a dollar, can now be
purchased at fifty cents the plant.

It might be curious, in reference to this subject of horticulture, to
institute an inquiry as to cause and effect. Have the increased means of
gratifying taste expanded it, or has taste rapidly developed created the
means of supply? Doubtless there has been reaction from both directions,
each operating on the other. One striking exhibition of pure taste
among us is the formation of picturesque arboretums, especially of
terebinthinate trees, and others allied to the Coniferae. This taste, so
diligently cultivated in England, has found zealous worshippers among
us, and some admirable collections have been formed. The cemetery of
Laurel Hill, at Philadelphia, under the critical eye and taste of the
proprietor, Mr. John Jay Smith, that of Mount Auburn, in Cambridge, of
Greenwood, New York, and the cemetery in Cincinnati, have afforded fine
specimens of rare trees, though, from the nature of their purposes,
picturesque effect could not be reached, except so far as aided by
irregularity of surface. And here we would remark, in connection with
this subject, that one regulation of the Cincinnati cemetery is worthy
of imitation. No arbitrary railings or ill-kept hedges bound the
individual lots; all is open, and the visitor, as he drives through the
grounds, is charmed by the effect,--a park studded with monuments: the
social distinctions, which, perhaps, necessarily separated in life, have
disappeared in death.

In connection with landscape-gardening, one American name stands
conspicuous,--the name of one who, if not, in point of time, the first
teacher of the art in this country, has at least done more than
any other to direct attention to it,--to exhibit defects, suggest
improvements, create beauties, and invest his subject with such a charm
and interest as to captivate many minds which might otherwise have been
long insensible to the dormant beauty within their reach, or that which
they themselves had the power to produce: we refer, of course, to the
late Andrew J. Downing. With naturally fine artistic perceptions, his
original occupation of a nurseryman gave direction to his subsequent
pursuits. Under different circumstances, his taste might, perhaps, have
been turned to painting, sculpture, or architecture: indeed, to the last
he paid no inconsiderable attention; and as the result, many a rural
homestead, which might otherwise have been a bleak house, is conspicuous
as the abode of taste and elegance.

Among the prominent private arboretums in our country may be mentioned
that of Mr. Sargent at Wodeneshe. Mr. Sargent, as may be seen by his
supplement to Downing's "Landscape-Gardening," is an enthusiast in the
culture of conifers; he is reputed to have made liberal importations,
and the results of his attempts at acclimation, given to the public,
have aided others in like endeavors. Judge Field, of Princeton, New
Jersey, has a pinetum of much value; some of his specimens are of rare
excellence. He, also, has been a diligent importer.

       *       *       *       *       *

Though our sketch of the present state of horticulture among us is quite
imperfect, affording but an indistinct glimpse of the ample field which
invites our view, it would scarcely be pardonable, were we to overlook a
branch of rural industry in which horticultural success is interested,
and without which the practical pleasures and family-comfort of rural
homes would be greatly abridged. We refer to garden-seed culture. It may
be that the purchaser of a paper of seed for the kitchen-garden seldom
stops to consider the minute care which has been required to secure its
purity; most probably, in many cases, he makes the purchase as though it
were the mere product of mechanical skill, which, after the machinery is
perfected, and the steam-engine has been set in motion, turns out the
finished article, of use or ornament, with scarcely an effort of mind to
direct its movements. Not so in the production of seeds: many are the
hours of watchful care to be bestowed upon it, and stern and unyielding
are its demands on the skilled eye and the untiring hand. It is because
in some cases the eye is not skilled, and the hand often tires, that
so many seeds of more than doubtful worth are imposed upon the
market, filling the village and cross-road shops with the germs of
disappointment. The history of the seed-culture in the United States is
not without interest to those who, like many readers of the "Atlantic,"
reside in the quiet country; to every family thus situated the certainty
of obtaining seeds of trustworthy quality--certain to vegetate, and sure
to prove true to name--is of more importance than can be appreciated by
those who rely upon the city-market, and have at all times and seasons
ample supplies of vegetables within easy reach. On looking round for
some individual establishment which we may use as the representative of
this branch of industry, we naturally turn to Bloomsdale, as the most
prominent and widest-known of seed-farms; and if the reader will join us
in a trip thither, we shall be pleased with his company, and perchance
he may not wholly regret the time occupied in the excursion. The period
we shall choose for the visit is the close of the month of June.

On a bright day we take our seats in the cars at Jersey City, provided
with the talisman to insure an attentive reception. Onward we whirl
through fertile fields and smiling villages; Newark, Brunswick,
Princeton, are successively passed; shortly we reach the Delaware at
Trenton; a run of a few miles through Penn's Manor, the garden-spot of
the Proprietary Governor, brings us to Bristol, the station from which
we most readily reach our destination. As we approach the grounds from
the front, a prominent object meets the eye, a noble white pine of
gigantic proportions, somewhat the worse for many a winter's storm, but
which still stands in all its majestic grandeur, as it has stood whilst
generations have come and passed away. On entering the premises, we find
ourselves in the midst of a lawn of ten acres in the English style. To
enumerate the various trees, in groups or single specimens, which most
invite our notice, would interfere with the main object of our visit. We
have come for a special purpose, and we can only allude to a very few
of the species to which our attention may be supposed to be directed. A
white spruce, in rich luxuriance, measuring, as the branches trail upon
the sward, upwards of sixty feet in circumference; the Himalayan white
pine, with its deep fringe-like foliage, twenty-five feet in height; the
Cephalonian fir, with leaves as pungent as an Auricaria, twenty feet
high, and many specimens of the same kind of nearly equal magnitude;
yews, of more than half a century's growth; a purple beech, of thirty
feet in height, its branches as many in circumference, contrasting with
the green around; numerous specimens of balm of Gilead, silver firs, and
Norway spruces, unsurpassed in beauty of form, the last presenting every
variety of habit in which it delights to sport: these are some of the
gems of the lawn. But we must hurry onward to the practical business in

The harvest, which, in seed-culture, lasts for many consecutive weeks,
has just commenced. The first important crop that ripens is the
turnip,--which is now being cut. The work is performed by the use of
grass-hooks or toothless sickles; stem after stem is cut, until the hand
is full, when they are deposited in canvas sheets; as these are filled,
boys stand ready to spread others; men follow to tie up those which have
been filled; others succeed, driving teams, and loading wagons, with
ample shelvings, with sheet-full piled on sheet-full, until the sturdy
oxen are required to test their strength in drawing them to the
drying-houses; arrived there, each sheet-full is separately removed by
rope and tackle, and the contents deposited on the skeleton scaffolding
within the building, there to remain until the seed is sufficiently
cured and dry enough to thresh. These drying-houses are buildings
of uniform character, two stories in height and fifty feet square,
constructed so as to expose their contents to sun and air, and each
provided with a carefully laid threshing-floor, extending through the
building, with pent-house for movable engine. When the houses are full
and the hulm in a fit state for threshing, the engine is started and
the work begun. One man, relieved by others from time to time, (for the
labor requires activity, and consequently is exhausting,) feeds the
thresher, which, with its armed teeth, moves with such velocity as to
appear like a solid cylinder. Here there is no stopping for horses
to take breath and rest their weary limbs,--puff, puff, onward the
work,--steam as great a triumph in threshing as in printing or spinning.
Men and boys are stationed at the rear of the thresher to remove the
straw, and roughly separate the seed from the shattered hulm,--others
again being engaged in thrusting the dried crop from the scaffolds, and
placing it in suitable position for the feeders. When one drying-house
has thus been emptied, the engine is removed to another; the same
process is pursued until the circuit of the buildings has been made, and
thus the ceaseless round (ceaseless at least for a season) is continued.
As soon as the crop in the first house has been threshed, the work of
winnowing is commenced, and skilled hands thus engaged follow on in the
track of the engine. As each crop is cleaned and put in merchantable
order, it is placed in bags of two bushels each and carried to the
storehouses and granaries, there to await a requisition from the

We have just witnessed the process of saving the crop of turnip-seed.
And how much may that reach? is a natural inquiry. Of all the varieties,
including the ruta-baga, about one thousand bushels, is the response. We
should have thought a thousand pounds would supply the entire Union; but
we are reminded it is in part exported to far distant lands. And what is
the crop so much like turnip, but still green, and apparently of more
vigorous growth? That is one of the varieties of cabbage, of which
several standard kinds are under cultivation. Another adjoining is
radish; still another, beet; and thus we pass from kind to kind, until
we have exhausted a long catalogue of sorts.

Let us stop our walk over the grounds for a few moments, taking seats
under the shadow of a tree, and make some inquiries as to the place
itself, its extent, the course of culture, the description of manures
used, etc. Our cicerone assents to the proposal, and proceeds to answer
our general inquiries. Bloomsdale contains in round numbers four hundred
acres; it has a frontage on the Delaware of upwards of a mile, is
bounded on the west by the Delaware Canal, and is divided into two
nearly equal parts by the Philadelphia and Trenton Railroad. The soil is
a light loam, easily worked, suited to rapid percolation, admitting of
labor immediately after heavy rain, and not liable to suffer by drought.
The manures used are principally crude, obtained from the city, and
landed on the premises from shallops continually plying, laden with the
"sinews of farming." Street-scrapings are more used than stable-manure;
bone-dust and guano enter largely into the account; and the aggregate
annual expenditure foots up a sum almost equivalent to the fee-simple of
an ordinary farm. The culture is that denominated drill; but of course
much of it is simply straight lines drawn by the plough, in which the
roots for seeding are planted by hand. The ground, with the exception of
the lawn and a portion occupied from time to time by grass for home use,
is divided by wagon-roads into squares and parallelograms; cross fences
are not used; and each crop forms a distinct feature, accessible at any
stage of growth. The several varieties of each kind, as, for instance,
those of turnip, cabbage, beet, lettuce, are planted widely apart, to
guard against possible admixture; but the chances of that result must
be much less than is popularly supposed, efforts having been used
experimentally to test its practicability, and that between kindred
closely allied, without success. Although the extent of the grounds
would appear to be formidable, even for a farm conducted in the usual
mode, it is insufficient for the demands on the proprietors, without
diligent exertion and prompt recropping,--two crops in each year being
exacted, only a small part of the land escaping double duty, the extent
annually ploughed thus amounting to nearly twice the area of the farm.
The heavy hauling is performed by oxen, the culture principally by
mules, which are preferred to horses, as being less liable to injury,
and better adapted to the narrow drill culture practised.

The seeds of Bloomsdale have attained a world-wide reputation, and, to
quote an expression used in reference to them, "are almost as well
known on the Ganges as on the Mississippi or Ohio." They are regularly
exported to the British possessions in India, to the shores of the
Pacific, throughout the West Indies, and occasionally to Australia.
The drier atmosphere of this country ripens them better than the humid
climate of England, adapting them to exportation; and it is no slight
triumph to see them preferred by Englishmen on English soil. At home,
thousands of hamlets, south and west of Philadelphia, until interrupted
by the war, were supplied with Landreth's seeds. The business, founded
nearly three-quarters of a century ago, is now conducted by the second
and third generations of the family with which it originated. Thus
has success been achieved through long and patient industry steadily
directed to the same pursuit, and a reputation built up for American
seeds, despite the want of national protection.


[This poem was written by THEODORE WINTHROP seven years ago, and after
his death was found among his unpublished papers.]

  We of the East spread our sails to the sea,
    You of the West stride over the land;
  Both are to scatter the hopes of the Free,
    As the sower sheds golden grain from his hand.

  'Tis ours to circle the stormy bends
    Of a continent, yours its ridge to cross;
  We must double the capes where a long world ends,
    Lone cliffs where two limitless oceans toss.

  They meet and are baffled 'mid tempest and wrath,
    Breezes are skirmishing, angry winds roar,
  While poised on some desperate plunge of our path
    We count up the blackening wrecks on the shore.

  And you through dreary and thirsty ways,
    Where rivers are sand and winds are dust,
  Through sultry nights and feverish days,
    Move westward still as the sunsets must:

  Where the scorched air quivers along the slopes,
    Where the slow-footed cattle lie down and die,
  Where horizons draw backward till baffled hopes
    Are weary of measureless waste and sky.

  Yes, ours to battle relentless gales,
    And yours the brave and the patient way;
  But we hold the storms in our trusty sails,
    And for you the life-giving fountains play.

  There are stars above us, and stars for you,--
    Rest on the path, and calm on the main:
  Storms are but zephyrs, when hearts are true;
    We are no weaklings, quick to complain,

  When lightnings flash bivouac-fires into gloom,
    And with crashing of forests the rains sheet down,--
  Or when ships plunge onward where night-clouds loom,
    Defiant of darkness and meeting its frown.

  These are the days of motion and march;
    Now we are ardent, and young, and brave:
  Let them that come after us build the arch
    Of our triumph, and plant with the laurel our grave.

  Time enough to rear temples when heroes are dead,
    Time enough to sing paeans after the fight:
  Prophets urge onward the future's tread;
    We,--_we_ are to kindle its beacon-light.

  Our sires lit torches of quenchless flame
    To illumine our darkness, if night should be;
  But day is a friend to our standards, and shame
    Be ours, if we win not a victory!

  Man is nobler than men have been,
    Souls are vaster than souls have dreamed;
  There are broader oceans than eyes have seen,
    Noons more glowing than yet have beamed.

  Creeping shadows cower low on our land;
    These shall not dim our grander day:
  Stainless knights must be those who stand
    Full in the van of a world's array!

  When shall we cease our meagre distrust?
    When to each other our true hearts yield?
  To make this world an Eden, we must
    Fling away each weapon and shield,

  And meet each man as a friend and mate,
    Trample and spurn and forget our pride,
  Glad to accept an equal fate,
    Laboring, conquering side by side.


_Cairo, Egypt, February 6th, 1862._ I am afraid I repeat myself in
talking about the beauty of the climate here, but to-day is so lovely
that I cannot refrain from recurring to the subject. While you are
shivering under the blasts of winter, we have a genuine June morning:
the air soft and pure, the atmosphere clear, innumerable birds chirping
in the trees opposite the windows, (for the Arabs never interfere with
birds,) and the aspect of things from our balcony overlooking the
Esbekieh, or public square, as pleasant as one could wish. The beautiful
weather, too, is constant.

But I must tell you of my dining yesterday with Mrs. R., to meet Mr.
Buckle, the author of the History of Civilization, who has just returned
from his two or three months' voyage upon the Nile, in which he pushed
as far as Nubia. He is now staying for a little while in Cairo, or
rather in his _dahabieh_, or boat, (which he says is more comfortable
than any hotel,) moored in the river at Boolak, the port of the town.
Mrs. R., the daughter of Lady Duff Gordon, and granddaughter of Mrs.
Austin, is a most attractive and accomplished young lady; her husband is
the manager in Egypt of the great banking-house of Briggs and Company,
in which he is a partner. Their usual residence is at Alexandria; but
at this season "all the world" of Egypt comes to Cairo, to enjoy the
beautiful weather here, while it is raining incessantly in Alexandria,
only a hundred and thirty miles distant. Mrs. R. in asking Mr. Thayer,
our Consul-General, to meet Mr. Buckle, with very great kindness
included me in the invitation. The only other lady present was Miss
P., a niece of the late Countess of Blessington, herself the author
of several pleasant stories, and of a poem which gained a prize in
competition with one by Mrs. Browning and another by Owen Meredith: she
is spending the winter with Mrs. R. There were also present C., who
conducts the house of Briggs and Company in Cairo; O., another banker;
and Hekekyan Bey, an Armenian, a well-read and intelligent man, formerly
Minister of Public Instruction under Mehemet Ali, and still, I believe,
in receipt of a pension from the Viceroy's government, in consideration
of his public services, which have been valuable.

The dinner was at an hotel called the Restaurant d'Auric. We assembled
in Mrs. R.'s drawing-room, an apartment in the banking-house at a little
distance, and walked to the hotel. The company fell into two groups,
each lighted by a swarthy _boab_ or lackey carrying a _mushal_ or
lantern; and I happened to walk with Mr. Buckle, so that I had a brief
talk with him in the street, before the general conversation began at
the table. He remarked upon the extraordinary devotion exhibited by
Delane of the London Times to the interests and politics of Lord
Palmerston. Becoming interested in our conversation, we strayed away
from the rest, and were walking about a quarter of a mile down the
_bazaar_, when (are you surprised to hear?) Mr. Buckle was missed,
the two _boabs_ came running after us, and we were cited to the

Buckle, of course, was the card. He talked with a velocity and fulness
of facts that was wonderful. The rest of us could do little but listen
and ask questions. And yet he did not seem to be lecturing us; the
stream of his conversation flowed along easily and naturally. Nor was it
didactic; Buckle's range of reading has covered everything in elegant
literature, as well as the ponderous works whose titles make so
formidable a list at the beginning of his History, and, as he remembers
everything he has read, he can produce his stores upon the moment for
the illustration of whatever subject happens to come up.

In the first place, let me say how delightful it was to discover his
cordial interest in our own country. He expresses a strong hope that
England will take no part against us, and do nothing to break the
blockade. He is going to write about America; indeed, his next volume,
besides containing a complete view of the German philosophy, will treat
of the United States. But he will visit us before he writes. Although
appreciating the great work of De Tocqueville, he complains of the
general inadequacy of European criticism upon America. Gasparin's books,
by the way, he has not seen. For his own part, he considers the subject
too vast, he says, and the testimony too conflicting, to permit him
to write upon it before he has seen the country; and meanwhile he
scrupulously refrains from forming any conclusive opinions.

Subject to this reservation of judgment, however, he remarked that
he was inclined to think that George III forced us prematurely into
democracy, although the natural tendency of things both in America and
England was towards it; and he thought that perhaps we had established
a political democracy without having yet achieved an intellectual
democracy: the two ought to go hand in hand together. The common people
in England, he said, are by far the most useful class of society. He had
been especially pleased by the numerous letters he had received from
working-men who had read his book. These letters often surprised him
by the acuteness and capacity displayed by their writers. The nobility
would perish utterly, if it were not constantly recruited from
commoners. Lord Brougham was the first member of the secular peerage who
continued after his elevation to sign his name in full, "H. Brougham,"
which he did to show his continued sympathy with the class from which he
sprang. Buckle remarked that the history of the peasantry of no European
country has ever been written, or ever can be written, and without it
the record of the doings of kings and nobles is mere chaff. Surnames
were not introduced until the eleventh century, and it is only since
that period that genealogy has become possible.

Another very pleasant thing is Mr. Buckle's cordial appreciation of
young men. He repeated the story, which I believe is in his book,
that, when Harvey announced to the world his great discovery of the
circulation of the blood, among the physicians who received it was none
above the age of forty. Mr. Thayer described to Buckle some of our
friends who have read his book with especial satisfaction. He evidently
took pleasure in this proof of appreciation, and said that this was the
class of readers he sought. "In fact, the young men," he said, "are the
only readers of much value; it is they who shape the future." He said
that Thackeray and Delane had told him he would find Boston very like
England. He knows but few Bostonians. He had corresponded with Theodore
Parker, whom he considered a remarkable man; he had preserved but one of
his letters, which he returned to Mrs. Parker, in answer to her request
for materials to aid her in preparing the memoir of her late
husband. Buckle says that he does not generally preserve other than

Mr. Buckle gave an amusing account of the origin of the wigs which the
lawyers wear in England, and which, by the way, struck me as infinitely
ludicrous when I saw them on the heads of the judges and counsel in
Westminster Hall. Originally the clergy were forbidden to practise law,
and, as they were the best lawyers, the wig was worn to conceal the
tonsure. He had anecdotes to tell of Johnson, Lamb, Macaulay, Voltaire,
Talleyrand, etc., and quoted passages from Burke and from Junius at
length in the exact words. Junius he considers proved to be Sir Philip
Francis. He told a good story against Wordsworth, contained in a letter
from Lamb to Talfourd, which the latter showed to Buckle, but had
considered among the things too personal to be published. Wordsworth
was decrying Shakspeare. "Pooh!" he said, "it is all very easy: I could
write like Shakspeare myself, if I had a mind to!" "Precisely so,"
rejoined Lamb,--"_if you had a mind to_."

Mr. Buckle does not think much of the ancient Egyptian civilization,
differing in this respect _toto caelo_ from Hekekyan Bey, who finds
in the monuments proofs of the existence of an expansive popular
government. Buckle declares that the machines, as figured in the
hieroglyphics, are of the most primitive kind,--and that the learning,
by all accounts, was confined to the priests, and covered a very narrow
range, exhibiting no traces of acquaintance with the higher useful arts.
He says it is a fallacy to suppose that savages are bodily superior to
civilized men. Captain Cook found that his sailors could outwork the
islanders. I remarked, in confirmation, that our Harvard boat-clubs
won the prizes in rowing-matches against all comers. Buckle seemed
interested, and asked for a more particular account, which, of course, I
took great pleasure in giving. C., like a true Englishman, doubted
the general fact, and said the Thames watermen out-rowed their

For Turkish civilization Mr. Buckle has not the slightest respect,--said
he could write the whole of it on the back of his hand; and here
Hekekyan Bey cordially agreed with him. Buckle is very fond of chess,
and can play two games at once blindfold. He inquired very particularly
about a native here who it is said can play four or six in this manner,
and said he should like to try a game with him. He had seen Paulsen, but
not Morphy.

Mr. Thayer asked him if in England he had been subjected to personal
hostility for his opinions, or to anything like social ostracism. He
said, generally not. A letter from a clergyman to an acquaintance in
England, expressing intense antipathy to him, although he had never seen
the writer, was the only evidence of this kind of opposition. "In fact,"
said he, naively, "the people of England have such an admiration of any
kind of _intellectual splendor_ that they will forgive for its sake the
most objectionable doctrines." He told us that the portion of his book
which relates to Spain, although by no means complimentary to that
country, has been translated and published separately there. T. remarked
that to this circumstance, no doubt, we may ascribe some part of the
modern regeneration of Spain, the leading statesmen being persuaded to a
more liberal policy; but this view Buckle disclaimed with an eagerness
seeming to be something more than the offspring of modesty.

After dinner we returned to Mrs. R.'s apartments, where we had tea.
Buckle and Hekekyan now got into an animated discussion upon the ancient
Egyptian civilization, which scarcely gave the rest of us a chance to
put in a single word. It was, however, exceedingly interesting to sit
and listen. Indeed, although there was nothing awful about Buckle, one
felt a little abashed to intrude his own remarks in such a presence. You
will be amused to hear that Mrs. R., who had seen me but once before,
told T. that she did not think I seemed to have much to say for myself.
Pray tell this in circles where they accuse me of monopolizing the
conversation. We stayed until nearly midnight, and then, taking our
leave, Buckle accompanied T. and myself as far as the door of our hotel.
Buckle received most kindly all suggestions made to him of books to be
read upon American affairs, and people to be seen in the United States.

_February 7th_. To-day we made a party to drive to see the Howling
Dervishes, who howl on Fridays. Friday is sometimes called "the
Mahometan Sunday," which is a correct phrase, if the especial
celebration of religious services is meant; but it is not at all a day
of rest: we found the people continuing their various avocations as
usual. At the mosque we met Mr. Buckle, a little careless in his
dress,--in this respect affording a not disagreeable contrast to
the studied jauntiness which Englishmen are apt to affect in their
travelling-gear. Nobody is allowed to press the floor of the mosque with
shoes upon the feet. T. and I, warned by our former experience, had
brought pieces of cotton cloth to tie over our shoes; and some cloth
slippers of a bright orange color, such as the Arabs are fond of
using, had been provided, which Miss P. slipped directly over her
walking-boots. Buckle, with careless indifference, pulled off his shoes
and walked in in his stockinged feet. His figure is tall and slender,
although he is a large man; he stoops a little in standing; his head,
well-shaped, is partly bald; and although his features are not striking
in themselves, they are rendered so by his animated expression. The
photograph which I have seen is a wretched caricature.

The performances of the Dervishes were precisely the same as those which
I witnessed in the same place a fortnight ago, and may be found most
exactly described by Mr. Trollope (who saw them two or three years
since) in his admirable novel of "The Bertrams," Chapter 38. If I
desired to tell you what we saw, I could not do better than to adopt
Mr. Trollope's language without alteration. This will prove to you the
sameness of this singular religious rite. Driving back, Miss P. helped
us to recall some of the incidents of the dinner of the preceding day.
She used to see almost all the distinguished literary characters at the
house of her aunt; but she told us that she never met anybody whose
conversation could bear comparison with that of Buckle, excepting Lord
Brougham and Alexander Dumas. The latter disgusts by his insufferable
egotism. Miss P. also gave us a very entertaining account of an Arab
wedding which she attended a day or two ago in company with Mrs. R.
As soon as they were inside the house they were separated from their
escort, and were admitted to the apartment where the bride was obliged
to sit in state for three days, covered with jewelry, clusters of
diamonds literally plastered upon her cheeks and forehead.

_February 10th_. Yesterday Mr. Thayer entertained Mr. Buckle at dinner.
The party included Mrs. R. and some of the guests whom we had met at her
table. We had hoped also for the presence of Mr. R., who was expected to
come up from Alexandria; but the train failed to bring him. Mr. Thayer
also invited Sir James Outram, but he is too unwell to come, although
expressing himself pleased with the invitation. The landlord of the
hotel where the consul-general is staying (Hotel des Ambassadeurs) was
very proud of the occasion, and the entertainment, although simple,
was elegant. An oval table was found of exactly the right size to seat
eight. Buckle was in excellent spirits, and, as before, was the life of
the party. We had been terribly afraid lest he and Hekekyan should get
into another long disputation, for the excellent Bey has fortified
himself with new materials; but the ladies were taken into our
confidence to aid in turning the conversation, if it should be
necessary, all of which made a great deal of entertainment; but there
proved to be no occasion for anything of the sort.

Buckle told some capital stories: among them, one against Alison, almost
too good to be true, namely, that in the first edition of his History he
mentioned among the causes of the French Devolution "the timber-duty,"
because he had read in a French pamphlet that there were popular
discontents about the _droits de timbre_.[A] Alison's History, he said,
is the very worst that ever was written. He cited a good definition,
(Addison's, I believe,) that "fine writing is that which is true without
being obvious." In the course of the conversation, in which, as before,
Buckle touched points in the whole circle of literature and science,
giving us quotations even in Hebrew from the Talmud and the Bible, he
made a very pretty compliment to our host, introduced as adroitly as
from the lips of a professed courtier, but evidently spoken on the
moment. It was something in this way. Hekekyan and Buckle were in an
argument, and Buckle said, "Ah, you mistake a necessary condition for
the cause." "What is cause but necessary condition?" asked Hekekyan.
"Very different: two men can't fight a duel without meeting, but every
two men who meet don't fight a duel." "But they couldn't fight a duel
without meeting," persisted Hekekyan. "Yes," rejoined Buckle; "but
the meeting isn't the cause of the duel. Why, there could not be a
dinner-party, unless the company met; but our meeting here to-day isn't
the cause of the dinner: the cause of the dinner is the kindness of our
host." "Or rather, of the landlord," said N. "Oh, no! of the American
government," said C. "Ah," said Buckle, "those things are not the
cause: the cause of our good dinner, I maintain, is only the charming
hospitality of the consul-general." Is not this metaphysics made easy,
and prettily employed?

[Footnote A: It is fair to say that an examination of the chapter on
the causes of the French Revolution, in several editions of Alison's
History, including the first, gives this story no support.]

After dinner we had tea and coffee; the ladies, in Egypt, could scarcely
do less than allow tobacco, and Mr. Buckle particularly enjoyed some
choice cigars which T. was able to offer him. The party did not break up
until nearly midnight, when all the guests retired together.

_February 11th_. To my pleasure, the train from Alexandria yesterday
afternoon brought Mr. B., of New York, and his very agreeable family,
with whom I crossed the Atlantic in the Persia last October. They went
at first to another hotel, but to-day they have determined to come to
that at which we are staying. I called upon them on their arrival, and
asked the gentlemen to join us at dinner, and afterwards in going, in
company with Mr. Buckle, whom Mr. Thayer had previously invited, to
attend a _fantasia_, or exhibition of singing and dancing, by Arab
professionals, at the house of Mr. Savallan, a wealthy French banker,
who has lived a long time in the Levant and has in some degree adopted
Oriental customs. He has lately sold to the Viceroy a tooth-brush, comb,
and hair-brush, for the handsome price of fourteen thousand dollars.
They were doubtless richly set with jewels; but the profit on these
transactions is immense. Mr. B. accepted the invitation for dinner, and
Mr. W. joined us afterwards.

At dinner I was seated next to Mr. Buckle, and thus had an opportunity
for private conversation. He asked about American books, and told me his
opinion of those he had read. He said that Quincy's History of Harvard
University was the latest book on America he received before leaving
England. He preferred Kent's exposition of the United States
Constitution to Story's, although this also he had consulted and used.
He had not seen Mr. Charles Francis Adams's complete edition of the
works of his grandfather, nor Parton's Life of Jackson, both of which I
begged him to read, particularly the chapters in the former in which are
traced the steps in the progress of making the American Constitutions.
He told me about his library in London, which is surpassed (among
private libraries) only by that belonging to Mr. Van de Weyer, the
Belgian Minister, whose wife is the daughter of our Bostonian Mr. Bates,
of Barings. Buckle has twenty-two thousand volumes, all selected by
himself; and he takes great pleasure in them. He spends eight or nine
hundred pounds a year upon his library. He owns copies of all the books
referred to in his History; some of them are very old and rare. He
also possesses a considerable collection, made likewise by himself, of
curiosities in natural history; he has added largely to it in Egypt,
where, in fact, he has been buying with open hands. He said he could not
be perfectly happy in leaving the country, if obliged to go away without
a crocodile's egg, a trophy which as yet he has been unable to obtain.

He told me his plan of travel in America. He will not set out until our
domestic troubles are composed, for he desires to see the practical
working of our institutions in their normal state, not confused and
disturbed by the excitements of war. He would go first to Boston and
New York, the intellectual and commercial heads (as he said) of the
republic,--and to Washington, the political capital. He would then like
to pass from the Northern into the Southern States, but asked if he
could travel safely in the latter, in view of his extreme opinions in
detestation of slavery. I assured him that nobody would dare to molest
one so well known, even if our war did not abate forever the nuisance
of lynching, to say nothing of its probable effect in promoting the
extinction of slavery. From the Southern States he said he would wish to
pass into Mexico, thence to Peru and to Chili; then to cross the Pacific
Ocean to Japan, to China, to India, and so back by the overland route
to England. This magnificent scheme he has seriously resolved upon, and
proposes to devote to it two or three years. He undertakes it partly for
information and partly for relaxation of his mental faculties, which he
has injured by overwork, and which imperatively demand repose. He asked
many questions with regard to matters of detail,--whether he would find
conveyance by steamers in the Pacific, and of what sort would be the
accommodations in them and in sailing-vessels. He asked at what season
he had best arrive in the United States, and whether he had better
land at New York or at Boston. Boston he said he regarded as "the
intellectual head of the country, and New York, you know, for trade." I
answered his questions as well as I could, and told him he must not omit
seeing our Western country, and some of the new cities, like Chicago. He
asked me if I knew "a Mrs. Child," who had written him a letter and sent
him her book about the history of religion. I knew of course that he
meant "The Progress of Religious Ideas," by Mrs. L. Maria Child. He had
been pleased with the letter, and with the book.

The conversation becoming general, Mr. B., of New York, told a story of
an old Congressional debate in which John Randolph derisively compared
Edward Everett to Richelieu: Buckle at once said he should regard it as
a compliment of the very highest kind to be compared to Richelieu. You
will smile, perhaps, if I tell you that I could not resist asking Buckle
if he had read Dumas's historical novels, and he said he had not,
although he had felt an inclination to do so. He asked one or two
questions about them, and gave a rapid generalization of the history of
France at that time.

This conversation at the dinner-table of course was by far the
pleasantest part of the evening, for the _fantasia_ did not amount to
much, although the house was a fine one, the host most cordial, and the
novelty of the entertainment was enjoyable.

_February 12th_. Mr. Buckle called upon T. and myself in the
afternoon, and sat talking between two and three hours. I wish I could
give you a full report of all that he said. He told us of the only
lecture he ever delivered; it was before the Royal Institution, March
19, 1858, and was printed in "Fraser's Magazine" for April, just
afterwards. It may be found reprinted in America in "Littell's Living
Age," No. 734. The subject was "The Influence of Women on the Progress
of Knowledge." Murchison, Owen, and Faraday told him afterwards,
separately, that they were perfectly satisfied with it, which is
certainly a strong combination of authority. He told us all about his
education, which is interesting, for he has been most truly self-taught.
When he was a boy, he was so delicate that it was thought he could not
live; the celebrated Dr. Abernethy, who was a particular friend of his
father, saw how important it was to keep him from mental excitement, and
begged that he might not be troubled by lessons. Accordingly, he was
never sent to school at any time, except for a brief period to a
clergyman who had directions not to make him study; and he was never
regularly taught anything. Until eight years of age he hardly knew his
letters. At the age of fifteen he found out Shakespeare and read it with
great zest. At seventeen he conceived the plan of his book, and resolved
to do two things to make himself fit to write it: first, he resolved to
devote four hours a day to the study of physical science, in order that
he might be able fully to understand and to unfold its relations with
history; secondly, he resolved to devote an equal portion of each day to
the study of English composition and practice in writing, in order that
he might be able to set forth his opinions with force and perspicuity.
To these resolutions he adhered for twelve years. Every day, after
breakfast, he shut himself up for four hours with his experiments and
his investigations; and afterwards devoted four hours to analyzing the
style of the best English authors, inquiring (as he said) "where it was
that I wrote worse than they." He studied not only in England, but in
Germany and other European countries. He learned all the languages which
he knows (and he knows nearly all I ever heard of) without the aid of a
master in any, excepting German, in which he began with a master, but
soon dismissed him, because he hindered more than he helped. He read
Hebrew with a Jewish rabbi, but that was after he had learned the
language. He considers the knowledge of languages valuable only as the
stepping-stone to other learning, and spoke with contempt of a person in
Egypt who was mentioned to him as speaking eight languages familiarly.

"Has he done anything?"


"Then he is only fit to be a courier."

Buckle is not a university-man, although both his father and grandfather
were educated at Cambridge.

He has long since abandoned the practice of writing at night, and now
does not put pen to paper after three o'clock in the afternoon. When at
home, in London, he walks every day, for about an hour and a half, at
noon; frequently dines out and reads perhaps an hour after coming home.
He goes exclusively to dinner-parties, because they take less time than
others. When he is engaged in composition, he walks about the room,
sometimes excitedly, his mind engrossed with his subject, until he has
composed an entire paragraph, when he sits down and writes it, never
retouching, nor composing sentence by sentence, which he thinks has a
tendency to give an abrupt and jerky effect to what is written. Traces
of this, he thinks, may be found in Macaulay's style.

Mr. Thayer showed him the little stock of books he happened to have with
him at Cairo. Mr. Buckle looked them over with interest, expressing his
opinions upon them. One of them, Mr. Bayle St. John's little book on the
Turkish question, he borrowed, although he said that he denied himself
all reading on this journey, undertaken for mental rest, and had brought
no books with him. We got upon the inevitable subject of international
copyright, which he discussed in a spirit of remarkable candor. His
own experience was this: that the Messrs. Appleton reprinted his first
volume without compensation, asking him to furnish materials for a
prefatory memoir, of which request he took no notice; afterwards, when
the second volume was published, they sent him something, I believe
fifty pounds. In due course of time, receiving a request from Theodore
Parker to that effect, he wrote a letter to aid him in the preparation
of a memoir for the Messrs. Appleton's Cyclopaedia.[B]

[Footnote B: In this memoir it is stated that Mr. Buckle was born at
Lee, November 24,1822. If this date be correct, his age, at the time of
his death at Damascus, May 29, 1862, fell short of forty years by five
days less than six months. In conversation, however, at this time,
February, 1862, he spoke of his age as thirty-eight, notwithstanding the
surprise that was expressed, for he appeared several years older. Mr.
Glennie, in his letter describing the circumstances of Mr. Buckle's
death, mentions his age as thirty-nine.]

I pointed out to Mr. Buckle the very important distinction between
_copyright for the British author_ and _monopoly for the British
publisher_. I told him that the American people and their
representatives in Congress would not have the least objection to paying
a trifling addition to the cost of books, which would make, upon the
immense editions sold of the popular books, a handsome compensation to
the foreign authors,--but that they have very decided objections to the
English system of enormously high prices for books. I instanced to him
several books which can be bought in the United States for a quarter or
half a dollar, while in England they cannot be purchased for less than
a guinea and a half, that is, for seven or eight dollars,--although the
author gains very little by these high prices, which, indeed, would be
absolutely prohibitory of the circulation of the books in the United
States. And since the great literary market of the United States has
been created at the public expense, by the maintenance of the system of
universal education, it is perhaps not unreasonable that our legislators
should insist upon preserving, by the competition among publishers, the
advantages of low prices of books, in pursuance of a policy which
looks to a wide circulation. In Great Britain the publishers follow
a different policy and insist on selling books at high prices to a
comparatively small circle of readers.

Mr. Buckle was kind enough to listen attentively to this sort of
reasoning and had the candor to admit that it is entitled to some degree
of weight. Indeed, he said at once that he had earnestly wished to bring
out a cheap edition of his own book in England, omitting the notes and
references, for the use of the working-classes, of whose appreciation,
as I have previously mentioned, he had received many gratifying proofs;
he had made his arrangements for this purpose, but was prevented from
carrying them out by the opposition of his publishers, who objected
that such an edition would injure _their_ interest in the more
costly edition. But Mr. Buckle freely declared that he would, in his
circumstances, rather forego the profit on the sale of his book than
restrict its circulation.

I may, perhaps, be permitted to mention that another English author
related to me his home experience, precisely to the same effect, in
which the vested interests of his publishers thwarted him in his wish
to publish an edition of his writings at a low price for general
circulation. It is quite certain that the British public must themselves
be disenthralled from the tyranny of high prices with which they are now
burdened, before they can ask to bring another land under the dominion
of their exclusive system in literature.

This conversation led to a description of the reading public
in America,--of the intelligence and independence of our
working-people,--of their habits of life and of thought,--about which
Buckle manifested great interest, asking many intelligent questions.

Mr. Buckle is in easy circumstances, and attends personally to the
management of his money. He finds no difficulty in letting it upon
first-class mortgages, at five per cent., and does not expect a higher
rate of interest.

_February 13th._ To-night there was a religious celebration, including
an illumination, in the mosque at the Citadel. We had expected to go
and see it; and Mr. T. had invited Mr. B. and his party, as well as Mr.
Buckle, and the two lads by whom he is accompanied in his journeyings,
to go with us. These young gentlemen are sons of a dear friend of Mr.
Buckle's, no longer living.

But at the last moment before dinner the advice was strongly given on
all sides that we should not go, lest some bigoted Mussulmans should
take offence, and there might be a disturbance. Not long ago, a party of
Englishmen behaved very badly in the mosque on a similar occasion, from
which has resulted a disturbed state of feeling. It of course cannot be
pleasant to people of any religious belief to have their ceremonies made
a spectacle for curiosity; and although the _moudier_ (mayor of the
city) promised ample protection, the plan was given up, and the company
being gathered, we had a pleasant evening together. The presence of the
ladies of Mr. B.'s party gave the opportunity to see Mr. Buckle again
under the inspiration of ladies' society, which he especially enjoys,
and in the lighter conversation suited to which he shines with not less
distinction than when conversing upon abstruse topics.

In the course of the evening, in the midst of conversation in which he
was taking an animated part, Mr. Buckle exhibited symptoms of faintness.
Fresh air was at once admitted to the room, which was full of
cigar-smoke; water and more powerful restoratives were brought, but
these he declined. After a few minutes' repose upon the divan, he
declared that he was perfectly recovered, and half an hour afterwards
took his leave with the boys. We were quite anxious until we heard that
he had safely reached his boat, in which he is still living.

_February 14th._ Returning from the Turkish bath, I found a valentine
in the shape of a telegraphic despatch only thirteen days from
Boston,--thirty-six hours from Liverpool. It was dated at Boston the
1st, forwarded from Liverpool at 10 A.M. of the 13th, and reached
Alexandria at 11.55 A.M. of the 14th, whence it was transmitted to Cairo
without delay. This is almost equal to the Arabian Nights. The distance
travelled by the despatch is about six thousand miles.

_February 15th_. This day we had an excursion to the Petrified Forest.
It was got up partly to give us all a taste of camel-riding, and it
was originally expected that everybody would go on camels; then it was
agreed that half should go on camels, and "ride-and-tie." In this view,
one camel and one donkey were ordered for T. and myself. But Mr. B. was
subsequently persuaded that with four horses he could have a carriage
dragged through the desert to the forest, which would be more
comfortable for the ladies; and he made that arrangement in his own and
their behalf. Freddy B. is a first-rate horseman, and an Arab steed was
ordered for him. Mr. Buckle was determined to go in a thing called a
_mazetta_, a sort of huge bedstead with curtains, borne on the back of a
camel, big enough to carry a small family, in which he expected to find
room for himself and the two boys travelling with him. Besides these,
the party included the Reverend Mr. Lansing, the excellent head of the
American mission here, the Honorable W.S., a young Englishman, and his
tutor, the Reverend Mr. S., whose agreeable company had been bespoken
when the camel-project was in full strength.

On looking down from the balcony at the transportation-train marshalled
for the occasion, amid the admiring gaze of all the idlers of Cairo,
I was at first a little chagrined to find, as the final result of the
various arrangements, that, besides the camels, the _mazetta_, the
carriage-and-four, and the proud-stepping horse, there appeared but one
donkey, that selected for me. But I was, in truth, very well off. To
begin with, it was not thought prudent that Mr. Buckle should use the
_mazetta_ until the procession had got beyond the narrow streets of
Cairo, lest the camel bearing it should take fright and knock the whole
thing to pieces against the wall of a house. Accordingly, he and his
charges took donkeys, and I rode off with them, at the head of the
column. By-and-by Mr. Buckle changed to the conveyance originally
proposed, but a very short experiment (literally, I suspect) sickened
him of the _mazetta_, whose motion is precisely that of a ship in a
storm, and he sent back to the town for donkeys. At the next halt the
ladies took him into the carriage, where he found himself, as he said,
"in clover," and that was the end of his greatness in camel-riding. This
remark, by the way, suggested a name ("Clover") for our boat in our
voyage up the Nile just afterwards; but patriotism prevailed, and we
named her "Union." It pretty soon appeared that the camel which T. was
riding was young and frisky; the animal was accordingly pronounced
unsafe, and T. changed to a donkey which had fortunately been brought
along for a reserve. The Honorable W.S.'s camel, from the saddle
becoming unfastened, pitched rider and saddle to the ground, a fall of
five or six feet: fortunately no harm was done, and he bravely mounted
again. The saddle upon the camel which the Reverend Mr. S. rode split
in two, and the seat must have been a torture; but he bore it like a
martyr, never flinching. But camel-stock had so far depreciated,
and donkeys gone up, that I was able to try as much as I liked of
camel-riding now and then, at the same time obliging a friend by the use
of my donkey meanwhile. Riding a camel at a walk is the same sort of
thing as riding a very hard-trotting horse without stirrups, and with
no chance to grasp the animal fairly to hold your seat. When the camel
trots, you may imagine yourself on a treadmill.

The journey to the forest, about ten miles, was safely accomplished. We
found the petrifactions duly wonderful. An excellent luncheon was
laid out, after which we had an hour and a half of very entertaining
conversation, in which Mr. Buckle and Rev. Mr. S. held the leading
parts,--all around us as desolate and silent as one could imagine. It
was interesting to observe the manner in which Buckle estimated eminent
names, grouping them in some instances by threes, a favorite conceit
with him. John Stuart Mill, of all living men, he considers as
possessing the greatest mind in the world. Aristotle, Newton, and
Shakspeare are the greatest the world has produced in past times. Homer,
Dante, and Shakspeare are the only three great poets. Johnson, Gibbon,
and Parr are the three writers who have done the greatest harm to the
English language. Of Hallam he has a strong admiration. He spoke of
Sydney Smith as the greatest English wit, and of Selwyn as next to him,
and described Macaulay's memory as unequalled in conversation.

For the return-trip, the donkeys generally were preferred. Miss B., with
spirit, tried camel-riding for a while, and so did Master F. We stopped
to look at the tombs of the Caliphs, and reached the hotel at nightfall,
somewhat fatigued, but satisfied with the day's expedition.

_February 16th._ The morning was gratefully devoted to rest. In the
afternoon, attended service at the Mission, where Rev. Mr. S. preached
an interesting discourse from John xv. 1-4. On the way home met Mr.
Buckle, who came in, and was persuaded to stay to dinner. In speaking
of religion, he said that there is no doctrine or truth in Christianity
that had not been announced before, but that Christianity is by far the
noblest religion in existence. The chief point of its superiority is
the prominence it gives to the humane and philanthropic element; and
in giving this prominence lies its originality. He believes in a Great
First Cause, but does not arrive at his belief by any process of
reasoning satisfactory to himself. Paley's argument, from the evidence
of design, he regards as futile: if the beauty of this world indicates
a creating cause, the beauty of that great cause would suggest another,
and so on. He believes in a future state, and declared most impressively
that life would be insupportable to him, if he thought he were forever
to be separated from one person,--alluding, it is probable, to his
mother, to whose memory he dedicates the second volume of his book.[C]
He has no doubt that in the future state we shall recognize one another;
whether we shall have the same bodies he has no opinion, although he
regards matter as indestructible. He declares himself unable to form any
judgment as to the mode of future existence. Religion, he says, is on
the increase in the world, but theology is declining.

[Footnote C: The words he uses are,--"To the memory of my mother I
_consecrate_ this volume."]

Mr. Buckle characterized as the sublimest passage in Shakspeare the
lines in the "Merchant of Venice,"--

      "Look how the floor of heaven
  Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold!
  There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st
  But in his motion like an angel sings,
  Still quiring to the young-eyed cherabims:
  Such harmony is in immortal souls!
  But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
  Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it."

Mr. Thayer suggested the similarity between the closing part of this
passage, about our deafness to the music of the stars, owing to the
"muddy vesture," and the sonnet of Blanco White which speaks of the
starry splendors to which our eyes are blinded by the light of day:--

  "Mysterious Night! when our first parent knew
  Thee, from report divine, and heard thy name,
  Did he not tremble for this lovely frame,
  This glorious canopy of light and blue?
  Yet 'neath the curtain of translucent dew,
  Bathed in the rays of the great setting flame,
  Hesperus with the host of heaven came,
  And lo! creation widened in man's view.
  Who could have thought such darkness lay concealed
  Within thy beams, O Sun? or who could find,
  Whilst fly and leaf and insect stood revealed,
  That to such countless orbs thou mad'st us blind?
  Why do we, then, shun Death with anxious strife?
  If Light can thus deceive, wherefore not Life?"

Mr. Buckle seemed to be struck by the comparison. He proceeded to speak
of Blanco White's memoirs as painfully interesting, and said that he
had always liked Archbishop Whately for adhering to White after the
desertion of the latter by old friends on account of his change of

       *       *       *       *       *

The next few days were occupied in preparations for the voyage up the
Nile in company with my New York friends. Mr. Buckle had very kindly
taken great interest in our plans, and had earnestly advised me to go.
"You will do very wrong indeed," he said, "if you do not go." On the
19th of February we embarked; and as we saluted his boat, lying just
below us in the Nile, while our own shoved off, I little thought that I
should never see him again,--that his brilliant career was so shortly to
come to an untimely end. The serious conversation just recorded was the
last in which I took part with him.

Mr. Buckle remained in Cairo until the beginning of March, when he set
out with the two boys, and Mr. J.S. Stuart Glennie, across the Desert,
for Sinai and Petra. Greatly improved in health by the six weeks in
the Desert, (according to Mr. Glennie's letter,) he undertook the more
fatiguing travelling on horseback through Palestine. He fell ill on the
27th of April, but recovered his health, as it seemed, to such an extent
that Mr. Glennie parted from him on the 21st of May. On the 29th of May,
at Damascus, Mr. Buckle died. Among the incoherent utterances of his
illness, it was possible to distinguish the exclamation, "Oh, my book,
my book, I shall never finish my book!"

And beyond the grief felt in the loss of the kind friend and agreeable
companion, our plaint, in common with the whole world, ever must be,
that he did not live to finish his book.


  The squadron is forming, the war-bugles play.
  To saddle, brave comrades, stout hearts for a fray!
  Our captain is mounted,--strike spurs, and away!

  No breeze shakes the blossoms or tosses the grain;
  But the wind of our speed floats the galloper's mane,
  As he feels the bold rider's firm hand on the rein.

  Lo, dim in the starlight their white tents appear!
  Ride softly! ride slowly! the onset is near!
  More slowly! more softly! the sentry may hear!

  Now fall on the Rebel--a tempest of flame!
  Strike down the false banner whose triumph were shame!
  Strike, strike for the true flag, for freedom and fame!

  Hurrah! sheathe your swords! the carnage is done.
  All red with our valor, we welcome the sun.
  Up, up with the stars! we have won! we have won!


We have reached a point in the history of our national troubles where it
seems desirable to examine our present position, and to consider whether
we ought to surrender ourselves to despair, or congratulate ourselves on
decided success,--whether we should abandon all attempts to restore the
Union, assert the dignity of the Constitution, and punish treason, or
nerve ourselves to new effort, and determine to persevere in a righteous
cause so long as a single able-bodied man remains or a dollar of
available property is unexpended.

It may be, it must be, conceded that we commenced the contest with very
crude and inadequate notions of what war really is. We proposed to
decide the issue by appealing to the census and the tax-list,--tribunals
naturally enough occurring to a mercantile and manufacturing
community,--but how if the enemy prefer cannon and cold steel? Our first
campaign was in the field of statistics, and we found the results highly
satisfactory. Our great numerical superiority, aided by our immense
material resources, gave us an early and an easy victory. We outnumbered
the enemy everywhere, defeated them in every pitched battle, starved
them by a vigilant blockade, secured meanwhile the sympathy and support
of the whole civilized world by the holiness of our cause, and commanded
its respect by the display of our material power and our military
capacity,--and in a few short months crushed the Rebellion, restored
the Union, vindicated the Constitution, hung the arch-traitors, and saw
peace in all our borders. This was our campaign--on paper. But war is
something more than a sum in arithmetic. A campaign cannot be decided by
the rule of three. No finite power can control every contingency, and
have all the chances in its favor.

A Moorish legend, given to us in the graceful narrative of Washington
Irving, relates, that an Arabian astrologer constructed for the pacific
Aben Hafuz, King of Granada, a magical mode of repulsing all invaders
without risking the lives of his subjects or diminishing the contents of
the royal treasury. He caused a tower to be built, in the upper part of
which was a circular hall with windows looking towards every point of
the compass, and before each window a table supporting a mimic army of
horse and foot. On the top of the tower was a bronze figure of a Moorish
horseman, fixed on a pivot, with elevated lance. Whenever a foe was at
hand, the figure would turn in that direction, and level his lance as if
for action. No sooner was it reported to the vigilant monarch that the
magic horseman indicated the approach of an enemy, than His Majesty
hastened to the circular hall, selected the table at the point of the
compass indicated by the horseman's spear, touched with the point of a
magic lance some of the pigmy effigies before him, and belabored others
with the butt-end. A scene of confusion at once ensued in the mimic
army. Part fell dead, and the rest, turning their weapons upon each
other, fought with the utmost fury. The same scene was repeated in the
ranks of the advancing enemy. Each renewed attempt at invasion was
foiled by this easy and economical expedient, until the King enjoyed
rest even from rumors of wars.

Now this is a pleasing fiction, and highly creditable to the light and
airy fancy of the Moors. It almost makes one sigh that an astrologer so
fertile in resources is not still extant. It is difficult to conceive,
indeed, of a more felicitous arrangement for a monarch devoted to his
ease, and proof against all temptations to military glory, or for a
people wedded to peaceful pursuits, and ambitious only of material
prosperity. But no such fascinating substitute for fields of carnage is
available in our degenerate days,--"_C'est charmant, mais ce n'est pas
la guerre_."

Nor yet is any useful example furnished by the warlike qualities of the
army raised by Peter Stuyvesant for the reduction of Fort Casimir: not
even when we remember that it included "the Van Higginbottoms, a race of
schoolmasters, armed with ferules and birchen rods,--the Van Bummels,
renowned for feats of the trenches,--the Van Bunschotens, who were the
first that did kick with the left foot,"--with many other warriors
equally fierce and formidable. We must, however reluctantly, leave such
romantic legends and facetious chronicles, and learn more practical
lessons from the sober and instructive page of history. We shall there
find that war means alternate success and defeat, alternate hope and
disappointment, great suffering in the field, many vacant chairs at
many firesides, immense expenditures with little apparent result, "the
best-laid schemes" foiled by a thousand unexpected contingencies,
lamentable indecision in the cabinet, glaring blunders in the field,
stagnation of industry, and heavy taxation.

  "War is a game, which, were the nations wise,
  Kings would not play at."

But nations are not always wise, and war often becomes a necessity.
When, then, the necessity arises, it should be met manfully. The
question once deliberately decided that peace is no longer consistent
with national honor or national safety, the dread alternative must be
accepted with all its hazards and all its horrors. To organize only in
anticipation of certain and speedy success, to despise and underrate the
enemy, to inquire with how small an army and how limited an expenditure
the war can be carried on, is as unstatesmanlike as it is in flat
defiance of all historical teaching. But if we carry our folly still
farther in the same direction,--if we fail to take into grave account
the most obvious and inevitable incidents of actual warfare,--if in
our overweening confidence we neglect discipline, underrate the prime
importance of promptness and decision in action, certainty and celerity
in movement, and energy and activity in pursuit,--if, in a word, we
expect that the defences of the enemy are to fall into our hands by
means as unwarlike as those that decided the fate of Jericho, or dream
that because our cause is just every precedent in history and every
principle in human nature will be overruled in our favor,--then we
deserve to be outgeneralled, and are fortunate, if we escape final and
disastrous defeat.

Now has not this been precisely our cardinal and capital error, and
are we not to-day suffering its natural consequences? To the blind and
unreasoning confidence with which we began this war has succeeded a
reaction running into the very opposite extreme. We are given over to
a despondency quite as unwarrantable as the extravagance of our early
hopes. We demanded and expected impossibilities. Forgetting that the age
of miracles has passed, many are now bitterly complaining that nothing
has been accomplished, and predicting that all future efforts will
terminate in similar failure. Two years have not elapsed since the first
gun was fired at Fort Sumter; and yet we are amazed and mortified that
our forces have not overrun the whole South, that victory has not
crowned our arms in every battle, and that our flag does not float
triumphant over every acre of every State once called Confederate.
Whether this most desirable result could have been accomplished, if this
or that policy had been adopted at the outset, is one of those problems
that will never be solved; nor is the inquiry at present pertinent or
profitable. Let us rather ask whether, in view of the means actually
employed, our discontent with the existing condition of affairs is not
unmanly and unreasonable. We are to measure results, not by the efforts
that we ought to have put forth, nor by those which we should put forth,
if, with our dear-bought experience, we were called upon once more to
undertake such a gigantic enterprise. We must recall the aspect of
affairs when we first embarked on this perilous sea. We must remember
how ignorant we were of all the danger before us, how imperfect was the
chart by which our course was to be determined, how many shoals and
sunken rocks and crosscurrents we were to encounter, as yet unknown
to any pilot on board our noble ship of state, how little we knew of
navigation in such angry waters, under so stormy a sky.

Turn back the pages of history for two short years, and dwell a moment
on the picture presented to our eyes. A nation, enjoying to the utmost
the substantial benefits belonging to fifty years of profound peace and
unexampled prosperity, enervated by those habits of luxury which wealth
easily accumulated always fosters, with a standing army hardly large
enough to protect our Western frontier from the incursions of hostile
Indians, and a navy ludicrously small in proportion to the extent of our
sea-coast and the value of our commerce, is suddenly plunged into a war
covering such an extent of territory and calling for such an array of
power by sea and land as to dwarf into insignificance all modern wars,
hardly excepting the military operations of Napoleon I.

And it must be remembered that education and habit had trained us to an
implicit reliance on the sufficiency of our laws and the competency of
our Constitution to meet and decide every issue that could possibly be
presented. We could conceive of no public wrongs which could not be
redressed by an appeal to the ballot-box, and of no private injuries for
which our statutes did not provide a suitable remedy.

We were not only a law-abiding, but a peace-loving people. The report of
the revolver was not heard in our streets, nor was the glitter of the
bowie-knife seen in our bar-rooms. We deprecated mob-violence, and
disliked the summary proceedings of Judge Lynch. We took no pains to
conceal our horror of unnecessary bloodshed, and shared the views of
civilized Christendom about duelling. Now and then, to be sure, a
Southerner in one of his sportive moods would stab an inattentive waiter
in some Northern hotel, or a chivalrous son of South Carolina, elegantly
idling away a few years in a New-England university, would shoot some
base-born tutor, or, as an episode in Congressional proceedings, the
member from Arkansas would threaten to pull the nose, spit in the
face, and gouge out the eyes of the (profane participled) sneaking
Yankee,--meaning thereby a quiet, inoffensive member from Massachusetts.
But these incidents of Southern civilization were not frequent enough to
become fashionable. We still clung to our plebeian prejudices against
lawless violence, and persisted in believing that a swaggering bully
could not be an ornament to cultivated and refined society. In fact,
some excellent individuals at the North went so far as to seek to
disseminate these old-fashioned notions among their Southern brethren,
and made annual subscriptions to what was known (alas, that we must
use the historic tense!) as the "Southern Aid Society," having for its
praiseworthy object the support of ministers who should preach the
gospel to our ardent and impulsive neighbors. What a sad and significant
commentary is it upon the ingratitude of depraved human nature, that the
condescending clergyman who whilom consented to collect the offerings
of these discriminating philanthropists is now a chaplain in the
Confederate army, and is invoking the most signal judgments of Heaven
upon his former friends and fellow-laborers!

This, then, was our condition, and these were our habits, when we were
rudely awakened from our dreams of peace by the roar of cannon and the
clash of arms. What wonder that the startling summons found us all
unready for such a crisis? What wonder that our early preparations to
confront the issue thus forced upon us without note of warning were
hasty, incomplete, and quite inadequate to the emergency? Is it
discreditable to us that we were slow to appreciate the bitterness and
intensity of that hatred, which, long smouldering under the surface of
Southern society, burst forth at once into a wide-spread conflagration,
severing like flax all the ties of kindred, and all the bonds of
individual friendship and national intercourse which had united us for
half a century? Here was a section of our Union which had always
enjoyed equal rights with us under the Constitution, and had known the
Government only by its blessings,--nay, more, had actually, by the
confession of its own statesmen, controlled the internal administration
and dictated the foreign policy of the country since the adoption of the
Constitution; which had no substantial grievance to complain of, and
no fanciful injury which could not be readily redressed by legal and
constitutional methods. Are we to be blamed because we could not easily
bring ourselves to believe that an integral part of our nation, with
such a history, could, under a pretence so bald as to insult the common
sense of Christendom, rush headlong into a war which must close all its
avenues of commerce, paralyze all its industry, threaten the existence
of its cherished and peculiar institution,--in a word, whether
successful or unsuccessful, inevitably result in its political suicide?
At this very moment, accustomed as we have been for many sad and weary
months to the daily development of Southern folly and madness, it is
difficult, when we withdraw our minds from the present, to realize that
the whole war is not a hideous nightmare.

In view of all this, I ask, is it strange that we did not at once
comprehend all our danger, and did not enter the field with all our
forces,--determined to fight with desperate energy until every trace of
rebellion was crushed out? If, disturbed at midnight by footsteps in
your chamber, you start up from sound slumber to see a truculent-looking
vagabond prowling about your room with a lighted candle, do you not at
once spring to your feet, collar the intruder, and shout lustily for
help, if he prove too strong for you? Prompt and vigorous action in such
a case is simply the impulse of instinct. But how if you recognize in
the untimely visitor a member of your own household? Will you seize and
overpower him without asking a single question, or waiting for a word of
explanation? Will you not pause for some overt act of hostility, some
convincing proof of a fell purpose? Suppose it transpire that he really
means mischief, and you lose an important advantage by your delay to
strike. You may regret the result; but does it in the least tend to show
that you were cowardly or careless? Now was not this our exact dilemma?
Although the origin of the war and the circumstances attendant upon its
commencement are a thrice-told tale, are we not in danger of overlooking
their bearing upon all our subsequent action? And shall we not act
wisely, if we recur to them again and again, during this momentous

But, asks a timid Conservative,--from whose patient button the fingers
of an ardent apostle of peace have recently and most reluctantly
parted,--has not this war been shamefully mismanaged by the
Administration? have not contractors grown rich while soldiers have
suffered? have not incompetent generals been unjustly advanced, and
skilful commanders been summarily shelved? have we gained any advantages
at all commensurate with our loss of blood and our expenditure of money?
would not a cessation of hostilities on any terms be better than such
a war as we are now waging? If we might venture to suggest a word of
caution to our desponding friend, before attempting a reply to his
broadside of questions, we would say: Beware how you indulge in too much
conversation with a certain class of our citizens, whose hearty loyalty
has been more than doubted, and whose conversion to the beauties of
peace and the horrors of war is so sudden as to be very suspicious.
Examine their antecedents, and you will find, that, when "border
ruffians" in Kansas threatened with fire and sword the inoffensive
emigrants from New England, these gentlemen saw nothing unusual in such
proceedings, and answered all remonstrances with ridicule. Put them to
the question to-day, and it will appear, that, from the very beginning
of the struggle, all their sympathies have been with the South. They
will tell you that Northern Abolitionists are alone responsible for the
war; that the secession of the Southern States may have been unwise,
but was not unreasonable; that they have always condemned coercion and
advocated compromise; and that there is no safe and satisfactory way out
of our existing difficulties but--_peace_. What do they mean by peace?
Such peace as the highwayman, armed to the teeth, offers to the belated
traveller! Such peace as Benedict Arnold sought to negotiate with the
English general! They know that the South will accept no terms but the
acknowledgment of her independence, or the abject and unconditional
submission of the Free States. They reject the first alternative,
because they dare not go before the North on such an issue. Disguise it
as they may, they are willing to adopt the second. The party to which,
without an exception, these men belong, is powerless without the
cooperation of the South, and would consider no sacrifice of principle
too great, and no humiliation of the North too degrading, if it promised
the restoration of their political supremacy. Avoid all such men.
Distrust their advice. That way dishonor lies, and national disgrace.
If you are not "armed so strong in honesty" as to be proof against
such treasonable talk, you will soon be aware of a softening of your
backbone, and a lamentable loss of earnest, active patriotism. Take
counsel rather of your own common sense. Looking at the question in its
narrowest and most selfish bearings, you _know_ that we can neither
recede nor stand still. Submission Is slavery. Disunion paves the way
for endless secession, and eternal warfare between rising and rival

But there are other symptoms of disloyalty besides this persistent
demand for peace. There are indications of a desire to array sections of
the North against each other, and--Heaven save the mark!--by the
very politicians who have been most bitter in their denunciation of
"geographical parties." Here comes a little Western lawyer, with
unlimited resources of slang and slender capital of ideas, barely
redeemed from being an absolute blackguard by the humanizing influences
of a New England college, but showing fewer and fewer symptoms of
civilization as he forgets the lessons of his collegiate life; and _he_
delights an audience of New York "roughs," adopted citizens of Celtic
extraction, and lager-loving Germans, (do not cocks always crow longest
and loudest on a dung-hill?) by the novel information, that "Puritanism
is a reptile" and the cause of all our troubles, and that we shall never
fulfil our national destiny until Puritanism has been crushed. Let us
not elevate this nauseating nonsense into importance by attempting a
reply. Such men must be left to follow out their inevitable instincts.
They are not worth the trouble necessary to civilize them. Mr. Rarey
succeeded in taming a zebra from the London Zoölogical Gardens; but
a single lesson could not permanently reclaim the beast, and it soon
relapsed into its native and normal ferocity. One experiment sufficed
to show the power of the artist; no possible increase of value in the
educated animal would have justified a prolonged and perfect training.

You ask if we have gained any advantages commensurate with our efforts,
or with the high-sounding phrase of our declared purpose. Let us look at
this a moment. Suppose we begin with a glance at the other side of
the picture. Has all the boasting, have all the promises, been on the
Federal side? Did we hear nothing of the Confederate flag floating over
Faneuil Hall?--nothing of Washington falling into the hands of the
enemy?--nothing of a festive winter in Philadelphia and a
general distribution of spoils in New York?--nothing of foreign
intervention?--nothing of the cowardice of Northern Mudsills and
the omnipotence of King Cotton? Decidedly, the Rebels began with a
sufficiently startling programme. Let us see how far they have carried
it out. As they were clearly the assailants, we have an undoubted right
to ask what they have accomplished _aggressively_. We say, then, that,
excepting in the case of one brief raid, the soil of a single Free State
has never been polluted by the hostile tread of an invading force; that
every battle-field has been within the limits of States claimed as
Confederate; that, while the war has desolated whole States represented
in the Confederate Congress, not an acre north of Mason and Dixon's line
has suffered from the ravages of the Rebel armies. Was ever another
scorpion more completely surrounded and shut in by a cordon of fire?

This is surely something, but it is by no means all. Have _we_
accomplished nothing aggressively? We will call into court a witness
from the enemy's camp. Hear the recent testimony of a leading journal,
published in the Confederate capital:[A]--

[Footnote A: _Richmond Examiner_, January 20th, 1863.]

"It is not altogether an empty boast on the part of the Yankees, that
they hold all that they have ever held, and that another year or two of
such progress as they have already made will find them masters of the
Southern Confederacy. They who think independence is to be achieved by
brilliant but inconsequential victories would do well to look at the
magnitude of Yankee possessions in our country. Maryland, Kentucky, and
Missouri are claimed as constituent parts of the Confederation: they are
as much in the power of Lincoln as Maine and Minnesota. The pledge once
deemed foolish by the South, that he would 'hold, occupy, and possess'
all the forts belonging to the United States Government, has been
redeemed almost to the letter by Lincoln. Forts Pickens, [Sumter?] and
Morgan we still retain; but, with these exceptions, all the strongholds
on the seaboard, from Fortress Monroe to the Rio Grande, are in the
hands of the enemy. Very consoling and very easy to say that it was
impossible to prevent all this, and that the occupation of the outer
edge of the Republic amounts to nothing. Drowry's Bluff and Vicksburg
give the lie to the first assertion; and the onward movement of
Rosecrans towards Alabama, the presence of Grant in North Mississippi
and of Curtis in Middle Arkansas, to say nothing of Banks at New Orleans
and Baton Rouge, set at rest the silly dream that a thin strip of
sea-coast only is in possession of our foes. The truth is, the Yankees
are in great force in the very heart of the Confederacy; they swarm on
all our borders; they threaten every important city yet belonging to us;
and nearly two hundred thousand of them are within two days' march of
the Confederate capital. This is no fiction. It is a fact so positive
that no one can deny it."

But this reluctant recital by no means exhausts the record of our
successes. We have put into the field a volunteer force, fully armed and
equipped, which, whether we consider its magnitude, the rapidity with
which it has been raised, its fighting qualities, its patient endurance
of unaccustomed hardships, or its intelligent appreciation of the
principles involved in the contest, is without a counterpart in history.
And yet more, from the invention and achievements of our iron-clads
dates a new era in naval warfare, while in the value and variety of our
ordnance we have taken the lead of all civilized nations. Can you find
in all this nothing to quicken the pulse of your patriotism? Is here no
ground for encouragement, no incitement to renewed effort?

But you complain of corruption among contractors, and of knavery among
politicians. Will you point me to a single war, ever waged on the face
of the earth, where all the rulers were above reproach and all their
subordinates unselfish? But what will you do about it? Grant that many
contractors have made dishonest fortunes out of the calamities of their
country, and that there are officeholders with whom "Stand by the
Constitution!" means, Stand by the public crib from which we are
richly and regularly fed, and "Uphold the Administration!" should be
translated, Give us our full four years' enjoyment of the loaves and
fishes. What then? Shall a few worthless straws here, and a few heaps
of offal there, arrest or check the onward march of a mighty army,
the steady progression of a great principle? Away with such trumpery
considerations! Punish with the utmost severity of the law every public
plunderer whose crimes can be dragged into the light of day; send to the
Coventry of universal contempt every lagging and lukewarm official; but,
in the name of all that is holy in purpose and noble in action, _move
on!_ To hesitate is worse than folly; to delay is more than madness.
The salvation of our country trembles in the balance. The fate of free
institutions for--who shall say how long?--may hang upon the issue of
the struggle.

Your catalogue of grievances, however, is still incomplete. You are
dissatisfied with our generalship as displayed in the field, and with
the wisdom of our policy as developed by the cabinet. Unquestionably you
have a constitutional right to grumble to your heart's content; but are
you not aware that such complaints are as old as the history of the
human race? Do you believe this to be the first war that was ever
mismanaged, and that our undoubted blunders are either novel or peculiar
to Republics? There never was a greater mistake. If there were brave men
before Agamemnon, and wise counsellors before Ulysses, there certainly
have been incompetent commanders before Major-General A., and shallow
statesmen before Secretary B. We do not monopolize executive imbecility,
nor are our military blunders without parallel or precedent. To
attribute our occasional reverses and our indecisive victories, our
inaction in the field and our confusion in the cabinet, to our peculiar
form of government, is as inconsequential as it would be to trace all
our disasters to the color of President Lincoln's hair or the number of
General Halleck's children.

The enemies of free institutions, hardly yet recovered from their
astonishment at beholding an army of volunteers, superior in number
and quality to any the world ever saw, spring into existence with such
marvellous rapidity as to eclipse, in sober fact, the fabulous birth
of Minerva full-armed from the head of Jove, or their still greater
surprise at seeing the immense expenses of so gigantic a war readily met
without assistance from abroad, by large loans cheerfully made and heavy
taxation patiently borne, are reduced to the necessity of exulting over
what they term our "total want of military genius," and our "incapacity
to conduct a campaign successfully."

It is useless to deny that we may have challenged criticism and provoked
a smile by our large promise and our smaller performance. But are we the
sole and exclusive proprietors of this experience? Where in the past or
the present shall we find a great and powerful nation much addicted to
modesty or self-depreciation? Least of all, should we have expected such
venomous criticism and such unsparing ridicule from England. To be sure,
we have long since ceased to look for sympathy or even justice at her
hands. We have come to understand and appreciate the tone and temper of
her ruling classes towards this country. In addition to their inherited
antipathy to Republics, they believe in sober earnest what one of their
greatest wits said jocosely, that "the great object for which the
Anglo-Saxon race appears to have been created is the making of calico."
And whatever interferes, or threatens to interfere, with this ennobling
occupation is sure to incur their passive displeasure, if not their
active hostility. We expect nothing, therefore, from their good-will;
but we have a right to demand, as a matter of good taste, that, in
criticizing our campaigns, they shall not wholly ignore their own
military blunders, especially those so recent as to be fresh in the
recollection of every third-form school-boy in the kingdom. For, if
campaigns carried on with the smallest possible result in proportion to
the magnitude of the sacrifice of money and life,--if a succession of
incompetent generals in command,--if critical military opportunities
neglected and enormous strategic blunders committed,--if indecision,
nepotism, and red tape at home, envy, want of unity, and incapacity
among officers, and unnecessary and inexcusable hardship among the
privates,--if all this declares the decadence of a Government, then was
the sun of England hastening to its setting during the Crimean War.

We hear much said abroad about our indecisive battles, our barren
victories, our failure to take advantage of the crippled condition of
a defeated enemy, and our unaccountable disinclination to follow up a
successful attack by a prompt pursuit. Now, not for the sake of excusing
or palliating the numerous and grave errors into which we have fallen
during our own unhappy struggle, nor yet to exonerate from censure
any civil officers or military leaders who may be wholly or in part
responsible for these errors, but simply to demonstrate that they are
liable to occur under any form of government, and, indeed, have recently
befallen the very Government whose rulers now hold us to the strictest
account, and are most eager to convict us of extraordinary misconduct
and incapacity, we propose, very briefly, and without further
introduction, to examine the record of the English army during the
Crimean War.

The first important battle fought on the Peninsula was that of the Alma.
We will give, as concisely as possible, so much of the history of this
engagement, compiled from authentic English sources, as will present a
correct picture of the plans formed and the results accomplished.

"The 15th of August, 1854, was the date first fixed for the sailing of
the allied forces from Varna to the Crimea. It was postponed until the
20th, then till the 22d, then the 26th,--then successively to the 1st,
2d, and 7th of September; that is, the French fleet left Varna on the
5th, and the English sailed from the neighboring port of Baltschik
on the 7th." It is admitted that "these delays hazarded not only the
success, but even the practicability of the whole design, as between the
15th and 25th of September the great equinoctial gales sweep over the
Black Sea, and lash it into tempests of the most destructive nature."

The voyage, however, was accomplished in safety, and on the 14th of
September the Allies arrived at the Crimea, off a place called the "Old
Fort," only about thirty miles north of Sebastopol. The whole army was
composed of 27,000 English, 24,000 French, and 8,000 Turks. The landing
occupied the 14th, 15th, and 16th of September. At nine o'clock, A.M.,
of September 19th, the army began the advance, and on the evening of
the same day rested for the night within sight of the Russian forces,
strongly intrenched on the banks of the Alma, about twelve miles distant
from the "Old Fort." Early in the afternoon of the following day the
Allies attacked the stronghold of the enemy, and in less than three
hours the Russian intrenchments were successfully stormed, and the
Russian army was in full retreat. The English and French troops fought
with determined and distinguished bravery, and their victory was
complete. But what was decided by this bloody struggle? Bad generalship
on the part of the Russians, certainly; but what else? Mr. Russell
says,--"This great battle was not decisive, so far as the fate of
Sebastopol was concerned, merely because we lacked either the means or
the military genius to make it so." The victory was not followed up, the
retreating foe were not pursued, ample time was given to the enemy to
reorganize and retrieve their losses, and the evening of the eventful
20th of September found the allied forces no nearer the capture of
Sebastopol than they were before the battle.

Did "the Alma" crown the allied generals with fresh and well-earned
laurels? We appeal once more to Mr. Russell:--"I may inquire, Was there
any generalship shown by any of the allied generals at the Alma? We have
Lord Raglan painted by one of his staff, trotting in front of his army,
amid a shower of balls, 'just as if he were riding down Rotten Row,'
with a kind nod for every one, and leaving his generals to fight it
out as best they could; riding across the stream through the French
Riflemen, not knowing where he was going to, or where the enemy were,
till fate led him to a little knoll, from which he saw some of the
Russian guns on his flank; whereupon he sent an order to Turner's
battery for guns, and seemed surprised that they could not be dragged
across a stream and up a hill which presented some difficulties to an
unencumbered horseman; then cantering off to join the Guards just ere
they made their charge, and finding it all over while he was in a
hollow of the ground." Lord Raglan, let it be remembered, was the
Commander-in-Chief of the English forces. And again:--"The Light
Division was strangely handled. Sir George Brown, whose sight was so
indifferent that he had to get one of his officers to lead his horse
across the river, seemed not to know where his division was.... If the
conduct of a campaign be a succession of errors, the Crimean expedition
was certainly carried on _secundum artem_." Once more, on the same
point, and quoting from the same authority:--"All the Russian officers
with whom I have conversed, all the testimony I have heard or read,
coincide on these two points: first, that, if, on the 25th, we had moved
to Bakschiserai in pursuit of the Russians, we should have found their
army in a state of the most complete demoralization, and might have
forced the great majority of them to surrender as prisoners of war, in a
sort of _cul-de-sac,_ from which but few could have escaped; secondly,
that, had we advanced directly against Sebastopol, the town would have
surrendered, after some slight show of resistance to save the honor of
the officers." Certainly, such generalship as this did not promise very
well for the results of the campaign.

Let us follow the movements of the Allies a little farther. On the
morning of September 25th, the combined forces took up their line of
march southward. On the 26th, they reached and occupied the town of
Balaklava, about six miles distant from Sebastopol. On the 28th of the
same month, Lord Raglan wrote to the Duke of Newcastle, then Secretary
of War, "We are busily engaged in disembarking our siege-train and
provisions, and we are most desirous of undertaking the attack of
Sebastopol _without the loss of a day_." And yet it is not until October
10th that the Allies commence digging their trenches before the town.
Meanwhile the allied army was anxious and impatient. "'When will the
siege commence?' was the constant inquiry of the wearied and expectant
troops. 'To-morrow,' was the usual response, 'most probably to-morrow.'
But day after day came and went, and the Allies still rusted in
inaction, while the Russians worked day and night at strengthening their
defences." "The time dragged heavily on; still the Russians worked with
incredible industry, and still the cannon of the Allies had not yet
opened their thunders upon Sebastopol." On the 17th of October,
twenty-one days after the occupation of Balaklava, the allied forces
commenced fire by land and sea on the stronghold of the enemy. The
bombardment continued from half-past six, A.M., until nightfall, but is
conceded to have been a complete and mortifying failure. From this time
until the 5th of November, it will not be contended that any substantial
advantage was gained by the invading forces, or that material progress
was made towards the reduction of the Russian Gibraltar.

Then came the Battle of Inkerman, a gallant and desperate sortie of the
Russians, bravely and successfully resisted by the besiegers. The loss
of life on both sides was terrible. To what extent was _this_ battle
decisive? Mr. Russell shall give his own testimony on this point:--"We
had nothing to rejoice over, and almost everything to deplore, in the
Battle of Inkerman. We defeated the enemy, indeed, but had not advanced
one step nearer the citadel of Sebastopol." In other words, the Allies
had repulsed the Russians, but had barely escaped annihilation, while,
from having been the besiegers, they became the besieged, and remained
so until largely reinforced from home. "A heavy responsibility," says
Mr. Russell, "rests on those whose neglect enabled the enemy to attack
us where we were least prepared for it, and whose indifference led them
to despise precautions which, taken in time, might have saved us many
valuable lives, and have trebled the loss of the enemy." The English
not only committed the serious error of underrating the enemy, and
neglecting the most ordinary precautions against surprise, but, during
the whole of the desperate and bloody fight, they gave no proof whatever
of generalship. The stubborn, unyielding bravery of the troops was
the salvation of the army. "We owed the victory, such as it was, to
strength, not to superior intelligence and foresight. It was a soldiers'
battle, in which we were saved by the muscle, nerve, and courage of our
men." Humanity shudders and the heart sickens over the sufferings
of that gallant army of martyrs to cabinet incapacity and military
imbecility during the long and dreary winter of 1854-55.

On the 9th of April, 1855, commenced the second grand bombardment of
Sebastopol, which, though continuing for twelve days, resulted, like the
first, in mortifying failure, no serious or irreparable injuries being
caused to the main defences of the enemy. "The real strength of the
place remained unimpaired. That which was injured during the day the
Russians repaired as if by magic during the night. The particulars of
this twelve days' bombardment are wearisome. The same wasted energy, the
same night-skirmishes without effect, the same battering and repairing,
the same unwearied exertions On the part of the Allies and wonderful
endurance and resistance on the part of the Russians, together with, on
each side, the same loss of life and frightful mutilations."

Two months were passed in comparative inaction, the sad monotony being
varied only by ineffective sorties and indecisive skirmishes. On the
18th of June, the first grand assault of the Malakhoff and Redan was
attempted. The allied troops displayed the utmost gallantry, and did all
that brave men could do under disgracefully incompetent commanders, but
were repulsed with horrible slaughter. No one can read the details of
the fruitless massacre, without fully confirming the indignant testimony
of an intelligent eye-witness, writing from the camp:--

"I know not what may have been the feelings of your home public, on
reading the telegraphic news of our defeat, (for I presume the scribes
at head-quarters made no attempt to conceal the naked truth, that our
repulse was neither more nor less than a defeat,) but here mingled shame
and indignation were general throughout the camp. Officers and men alike
felt that disgrace had been incurred, and that solely in consequence
of the unredeemed mismanagement of their generals. Remembering the
confusion which characterized the commencement of our movement, and
coupling this with the murderous preparations made by the enemy, you
will be at no loss to understand that success was most improbable.
During the whole affair, Lord Raglan and Sir George Brown were ensconced
within our eight-gun battery; but, though this afforded a good view of
the scene of the struggle, and of the disorders which marked it,
they appeared to be unable to give any efficient directions for the
correction of our multiplied blunders. When the whole sad scene was
ended, our men straggled back to the camp in a state of dispirited
confusion, well in keeping with the mob-like disorder in which they had
been throughout the assault."

The final bombardment of Sebastopol took place on the 5th of September,
followed on the 8th by the renewed assault of the French on the
Malakhoff and of the English on the Redan. Skilful generalship, adequate
forces, and desperate bravery gave victory to the French, and "the key
to Sebastopol" remained in their hands. Meanwhile the English assault
upon the Redan was repulsed with frightful sacrifice of life. It will
not be contended that the French owed any part of their success to
superior good-fortune. Indeed, all the extrinsic advantages were on the
side of the English. The French were to lead off in the assault, and the
tricolor waving over the captured fortification was to be the signal for
the advance of the English. If the French succeeded, every sentiment of
personal ambition and national pride would stimulate their allies to
achieve an equal victory. If the French failed, the English had only to
remain in their trenches.

Now let us examine the comparative generalship displayed in the two
assaults. We are quite willing that English authority should draw the
contrast. "The preparations of the French were actually scientific in
their vigorous attention to every matter calculated to lead to victory:
nothing appeared to have been forgotten, nothing neglected. Even the
watches of the leading officers had been regulated, that there might not
be the smallest error with regard to time. It is a painful reflection
that this carefulness of preparation, and prescience with respect to
probabilities, was not shown by the English general and his associates
in arranging the mode of attack. When the orders were promulgated, on
the 7th, many officers shook their heads doubtingly, and observed,
in deprecating tones, 'This looks like another 18th of June.' It was
generally observed that the attacking columns were not strong enough,
that they were too far behind, and that the trenches did not afford room
for a sufficient number of men."

The signal for the French assault was given: thirty thousand men, weary
of long inactivity, and burning to add new lustre to the bright record
of their country's military glory,--drums and trumpets meanwhile
sounding the charge, and the air resounding with shouts of _"Vive
l'Empereur,"_--darted from their trenches, swarmed up the embankments,
dashed over the parapet, swept the enemy like chaff before them; and the
Malakhoff was won. Hours of the fiercest fighting found the French still
masters of the situation; at nightfall the Russian general sullenly drew
off his defeated forces, and the victory was complete.

It is painful to turn from this brilliant picture to the sombre coloring
and the dreary details of the attack on the Redan. To three thousand
doomed men was assigned the perilous undertaking. Incredible as it
may appear, in view of previous failure, there seems to have been no
adequate preparation, no intelligible plan, no competent leader. It
was simply brute force assailing brute force. The few men who actually
entered the Redan neglected to spike the guns; no reinforcements came to
their aid; everything was blind excitement, and headlong, undisciplined
haste. "The men of the different regiments became mingled together in
inextricable confusion. The Nineteenth men did not care for the officers
of the Eighty-Eighth, nor did the soldiers of the Twenty-Third heed the
command of an officer who did not belong to their regiment. The officers
could not find their men,--the men lost sight of their officers." But
why dwell on what soon became mere butchery? The loss of the storming
party, in killed, wounded, and missing, was 2447.

Considered as a military movement, it would seem to be conceded that no
grosser blunder could have been made than the selection of so small a
force for so desperate an undertaking. There was no chance of success
but by attacking simultaneously both flanks and the salient of the
Redan. The storming party was barely large enough for the assault of the
salient, thus exposing the handful of men to a murderous and fatally
destructive fire from the flanks. This was bad enough, certainly, but
worse remains behind. English critics have most severely censured
our generals for sometimes placing new recruits in posts of danger,
requiring cool heads, steady nerves, and the habit of discipline.
Perhaps they have forgotten the following incident. Among the picked men
selected out of the entire British forces as this very storming party
were raw recruits from the Ninety-Seventh Regiment, who were designated
for this perilous service as a punishment for their cowardice in a
recent skirmish!--and to make this punishment still more severe, they
were ordered to _lead off_ in the assault! An historian of the war
says,--"The inexperience of some of these recruits seems almost
incredible. One young fellow, who came to the field-hospital with a
broken arm and a bullet in his shoulder, carried his firelock with him,
but confessed that he had never fired it off, _as he was unable to do
so_. The piece, upon being examined, was found to be in perfect order.
Such poor undisciplined lads, fresh from the plough, ought never on
any occasion to have been pitted against the well-drilled soldiers of
Russia; but it was something worse than blundering to lead them on
to the assault of a formidable work like the Redan. Such generalship
recalls to our mind the remark of the Russian officer with regard to
the military force of England, that 'it was an army of lions led by
donkeys.'" Mr. Russell states that many of these recruits "had only been
enlisted a few days, and had never fired a rifle in their lives."

Now will it be believed that General Codrington, to whom was committed
the planning and directing of this ill-starred and disastrous
enterprise, succeeded Sir James Simpson as Commander-in-Chief of Her
Majesty's forces in the Crimea? How must the shade of Admiral Byng have
haunted Her Majesty's Government, unless it was a most forgiving ghost!
If General Codrington's promotion could have been delayed a little
more than eighteen months, it might have occurred appropriately on the
centennial anniversary of the death of that ill-fated naval commander,
convicted by court-martial and shot for "not doing his utmost"!

On the evening of the 8th of September, the Russians blew up their
magazines, fired the buildings, and evacuated the town. So fell
Sebastopol, after a siege of three hundred and forty-five days. It has
been considered by the English a bit of very choice pleasantry to
allude to our oft-recurring statement, that "the decisive blow had been
struck," and that "the backbone of the Rebellion was broken." It may
not be impertinent to remind them, that the report, first circulated in
France and England in the latter part of September, 1854, and fortified
by minute details, that Sebastopol--the backbone of Russian resistance
to the allied arms--had fallen, was repeated and reiterated from time to
time during the war, until the phrase, "_Sebastopol est pris_," passed
into a by-word, and did good service in relieving the cruelly overworked
Greek Kalends.

And now we come naturally to the consideration of another and an
important inquiry. Did the beginning of the war find, or did its
progress develop or create, a single English general of commanding
military capacity, competent to handle in the field even so small an
army as the British contingent in the Crimea? Of Lord Raglan Mr. Russell
says, and without doubt says truly,--"That he was a great chief, or even
a moderately able general, I have every reason to doubt, and I look in
vain for any proof of it, whilst he commanded the English army in the
Crimea." Another authority says,--"The conviction that he was not a
great general is universal and uncontradicted. He could perform the
ordinary duties of a general satisfactorily, but he was lamentably
deficient in those qualities which constitute military genius. He
possessed considerable professional experience, great application, and
remarkable powers of endurance; but he lacked the energy, vehemence,
and decision of character which are essential to the constitution of a
successful military chieftain." To his hesitation in council, and his
want of energy and promptness in action, have always been attributed, in
large measure, the ruinous delays and the fearful suffering in the army
which he commanded. Lord Raglan died in June, 1855, in his sixty-seventh
year. General Simpson succeeded him. "It was believed at the time,"
writes Mr. Russell, "and now is almost notorious, that he opposed his
own appointment, and bore testimony to his own incapacity." "He was slow
and cautious in council, and it is no wonder that where Lord Raglan
failed, General Simpson did not meet with success." The English press
and people demanded his recall. His incompetency was everywhere
acknowledged, and indeed he himself would have been the last man to
deny it. In about three months from the date of General Simpson's
appointment, "the Queen was graciously pleased to permit him to resign
the command of the army." As we have already seen, his place was filled
by General Codrington. This officer was as signally rewarded, because
he had failed, as he could have been, if he had succeeded. Mr.
Russell quotes approvingly the comment of a French officer upon this
appointment:--"If General Codrington had taken the Redan, what more
could you have done for him than to make him General, and to give him
command of the army? But he did not take it, and he is made General and
Commander-in-Chief." With equal discrimination, Sir James Simpson was
created Field-Marshal! The remainder of the campaign gave General
Codrington no further opportunity of displaying his qualities for
command. No other important action occurred before the termination of

Great credit is certainly due to Mr. Russell for fearlessly exposing the
errors and incompetency of the three officers successively at the head
of the English army, in spite of "much obloquy, vituperation, and
injustice," and for bearing his invariable and eloquent testimony to the
bravery, endurance, and patience of the British private soldier.

In this brief recital of English blunders during the Crimean War, we
have made no mention of the desperate and disastrous "charge of the
Light Brigade," the gross and culpable inefficiency of the Baltic fleet
under Admiral Sir Charles Napier, and other instances of military
incapacity no less monstrous. Enough, however, has been told to more
than justify the very mild summing-up of Mr. Russell, that the "war
had exposed the weakness of our military organization in the grave
emergencies of a winter campaign, and the canker of a long peace
was unmistakably manifested in our desolated camps and decimated

Why should we add to this dismal recital the appalling sufferings of
the soldiers,--helpless victims to bad management at home and shameful
neglect in the field,--the long, freezing nights of trench-work under a
driving rain, "without warm or water-proof clothing,--the trenches two
and three feet deep with mud, snow, and half-frozen slush, so that many,
when they took off their shoes, were unable to get their swollen feet
into them again, and might be seen barefooted about the camp, the snow
half a foot deep on the ground,"--creeping for shelter into "miserable
tents pitched as it were at the bottom of a marsh, where twelve or
fourteen unhappy creatures lay soaking without change of clothing" until
they were called out again to their worse than slave-labor,--disease,
brought on by exhaustion, exposure, overwork, and deficient food,
sweeping the men off by thousands, and yet no sufficient supply of
medical stores and no adequate number of medical attendants, not a soul
seeming to care for their comfort or even for their lives,--so neglected
and ill-treated that "the wretched beggar who wandered about the streets
of London led the life of a prince compared with the British soldiers
who were fighting for their country, and who were complacently assured
by the home authorities that they were the best-appointed army in
Europe." The world knows the whole sad story by heart. And is it not
written in the volumes of evidence sworn to before the Commission
appointed by Parliament to inquire into the condition of the army?

Nor is it necessary to dwell upon the extent to which the home
administration was responsible for the general mismanagement of the war,
in its main features and its minute details,--nor the thoroughly English
stolidity with which all complaints were received by every member of the
Government, from the cabinet minister who dictated pompous and unmeaning
despatches, down to the meanest official who measured red tape,--nor the
intense and universal popular indignation which, after a year "full of
horrors," compelled the resignation of the Aberdeen Ministry. Lord Derby
did not, perhaps, overstate the verdict of the nation, when he said in
the House of Lords,--"From the very first to the very last, there has
been apparent in the course pursued by Her Majesty's Government a want
of previous preparation,--a total want of prescience; and they have
appeared to live from day to day providing for each successive exigency
_after it arose, and not before it arose_. TOO LATE have been the fatal
words applicable to the whole conduct of Her Majesty's Government in the
course of the war." The change in the Ministry, however, by no means
cured all the evils which had existed; for, although the sufferings of
the soldiers--thanks in large part to the providential appearance and
heroic conduct of Florence Nightingale--were greatly diminished, still,
as we have seen, the military blunders continued to the close of the

Now, if we do not greatly mistake, the lesson which this country should
learn from the mortifying experience of the English army in the Crimea
is not one of exultation over its lamentable and unnecessary errors, but
rather of indifference to the insulting criticism of a nation which can
so ill afford to be critical, and of determination to profit in every
possible way by those blunders which might have been avoided. The
history of all wars, moreover, should teach us that now and then there
comes a time when to hold the olive-branch in one hand and the sword in
the other, especially if the olive-branch is kept in the foreground and
the sword in the background, involves not only a sad waste of energy,
but is mistaken kindness to our enemies.

Those who have read--and who has not?--the charming story of "Rab and
his Friends" will remember the incident which, for the sake of brevity,
we reluctantly condense. A small, thorough-bred terrier, after being
rudely interrupted in his encounter with a large shepherd's-dog, darts
off, fatally bent on mischief, to seek a new canine antagonist. He
discovers him in the person of a huge mastiff, quietly sauntering along
in a peaceful frame of mind, all unsuspicious of danger. The angry
terrier makes straight at him, and fastens on his throat. The rest of
the story shall be told in the graphic language of the author. "To our
astonishment, the great creature does nothing but stand still, hold
himself up, and roar,--yes, roar: a long, serious, remonstrative roar.
How is this? _He is muzzled_! The bailies had proclaimed a general
muzzling, and his master, studying strength and economy mainly, had
encompassed his huge jaws in a home-made apparatus, constructed out of
the leather of some ancient _breeching_. His mouth was open as far as it
could; his lips curled up in rage,--a sort of terrible grin; his teeth
gleaming, ready, from out the darkness; the strap across his mouth tense
as a bowstring; his whole frame stiff with indignation and surprise; his
roar asking us all round, 'Did you ever see the like of this?' He looked
a statue of anger and astonishment, done in Aberdeen granite. We soon
had a crowd; the chicken held on. 'A knife!' cried Bob; and a cobbler
gave him his knife: you know the kind of knife, worn away obliquely to
a point, and always keen. I put its edge to the tense leather; it ran
before it; and then!--one sudden jerk of that enormous head, a sort of
dirty mist about his mouth, no noise,--and the bright and fierce little
fellow is dropped, limp and dead."

If we draw a useful moral from this homely incident, it will not be the
first time that the unerring sagacity of animals has been serviceable
to man. A stealthy, cunning, unscrupulous, desperate, devilish foe has
seized the nation by the throat and threatens its life. The Government
is strong, courageous, determined, abundantly able to make a successful
resistance, and even to kill the insolent enemy; but--_it is
muzzled_: muzzled here by conservative counsels, and there by radical
complaints,--by the over-cautious policy of one general, and the
headlong haste of another,--by a too tender regard for slavery in
some States, and by a too zealous anxiety for instant emancipation in
others,--by fear of provoking opposition in one quarter, and by a blind
defiance of all obstacles in another. Now what shall be done? Shall we
hesitate, despond, despair? Never! _For Heaven's sake, take off the
muzzle._ Use every weapon which the God of Battles has placed in our
hands. Put forth all the power of the nation. Encourage and promote all
fighting generals; cashier all officers who are determined to make war
on peace principles; arm, equip, and discipline negroes, not to burn,
plunder, and massacre, but to meet their and our enemies in fair and
open fight.[B] Demonstrate to the world that we are terribly in earnest.
Waste no time in discussing the chance of foreign intervention. Postpone
Pacific railroads, international telegraphs, polygamy in Utah, African
colonization, everything, to the engrossing and emergent crisis which
now confronts the Government. Make the contest sharp, short, and
decisive. Put down the Rebellion, vindicate the majesty of the Law, the
sacredness of the Union, and the integrity of the Constitution. There
will be time enough, after this is done, to discuss all minor questions
and all collateral issues. One paramount duty lies directly before us.
Let us perform this duty fearlessly, and leave the future with God.

[Footnote B: The opposition to the employment of negro regiments, if
made by traitors North or South, can be easily comprehended,--if made by
loyal men, is wholly inexplicable. Your neighbor's house takes fire at
night. The flames, long smouldering, make rapid progress, and threaten
the comfort, certainly, if not the lives of his household, and the
total destruction of his property. The alarm is given. An engine comes
promptly to the rescue. It is just in season to save his dwelling.
The firemen spring with ready alacrity to their places. But stop! He
suddenly discovers the appalling fact that they are negroes! True,
there is not a moment to be lost. No other engine is, or can be, within
helping distance. The least delay means poverty and a houseless family.
And yet he rudely dismisses the dusky firemen, folds his arms with
Spartan stoicism, and, looking complacently on the burning building,
says, _"Better this than to rely on the assistance of niggers!"_ _Is it_
Spartan stoicism? Is it not rather stark lunacy? And would you not take
immediate measures to provide such a man with permanent quarters in a


_Roba di Roma_. By WILLIAM W. STORY. 2 vols. 8vo. pp. 355, 369. London:
Chapman & Hall. 1863.

The father of the celebrated Mr. Jonathan Wild was in the habit of
saying, that "travelling was travelling in one part of the world as
well as another; it consisted in being such a time from home, and in
traversing so many leagues; and he appealed to experience whether most
of our travellers in France and Italy did not prove at their return
that they might have been sent as profitably to Norway and Greenland."
Fielding himself, the author of this sarcasm, was a very different kind
of traveller, as his Lisbon journal shows; but we think he told no more
than the truth in regard to the far greater part of those idle people
who powder themselves with dust from the highways and blur their
memories with a whirl through the galleries of Europe. They go out
empty, to come home unprofitably full. They go abroad to escape
themselves, and fail, as Goethe says they always must, in the attempt to
jump away from their own shadows. And yet even the dullest man, if he
went honestly about it, might bring home something worth having from the
dullest place. If Ovid, instead of sentimentalizing in the "Tristia,"
had left behind him a treatise on the language of the Getae which he
learned, we should have thanked him for something more truly valuable
than all his poems. Could men only learn how comfortably the world can
get along without the various information which they bring home about
themselves! Honest observation and report will long continue, we fear,
to be one of the rarest of human things, so much more easily are
spectacles to be had than eyes, so much cheaper is fine writing than
exactness. Let any one who has sincerely endeavored to get anything like
facts with regard to the battles of our civil war only consider how much
more he has learned concerning the splendid emotions of the reporter
than the events of the fight, (unless he has had the good luck of a peep
into the correspondence of some pricelessly uncultivated private,) and
he will feel that narrative, simple as it seems, can be well done by two
kinds of men only,--those of the highest genius and culture, and those
wholly without either.

It gradually becomes clear to us that the easiest things can be done
with ease only by the very fewest people, and those specially endowed to
that end. The English language, for instance, can show but one sincere
diarist, Pepys; and yet it would seem a simple matter enough to jot
down the events of every day for one's self without thinking of Mrs.
Posterity Grundy, who has a perverse way, as if she were a testatrix and
not an heir, of forgetting precisely those who pay most assiduous court
to her. One would think, too, that to travel and tell what you have seen
should be tolerably easy; but in ninety-nine books out of a hundred does
not the tourist bore us with the sensations he thinks he ought to have
experienced, instead of letting us know what he saw and felt? If authors
would only consider that the way to write an enlivening book is not by
seeing and saying just what would be expected of them, but precisely the
reverse, the public would be gainers. What tortures have we not seen the
worthiest people go through in endeavoring to get up the appropriate
emotion before some famous work in a foreign gallery, when the only
sincere feeling they had was a praiseworthy desire to escape! If one
does not like the Venus of Milo, let him not fret about it, for he may
be sure she never will.

Montaigne felt obliged to separate himself from travelling-companions
whose only notion of their function was that of putting so many leagues
a day behind them. His theory was that of Ulysses, who was not content
with seeing the cities of many men, but would learn their minds
also. And this way of taking time enough, while we think it the best
everywhere, is especially excellent in a country so much the reverse of
_ fast_ as Italy, where impressions need to steep themselves in the sun
and ripen slowly as peaches, and where _carpe diem_ should be translated
_take your own time_. But is there any particular reason why everybody
should go to Italy, or, having done so, should tell everybody else what
he supposes he ought to have seen there? Surely, there must be some
adequate cause for so constant an effect.

Boswell, in a letter to Sir Andrew Mitchell, says, that, if he could
only _see Rome_, "it would give him talk for a lifetime." The utmost
stretch of his longing is to pass "four months on classic ground," after
which he will come back to Auchinleck _uti conciva satur_,--a condition
in which we fear the poor fellow returned thither only too often, though
unhappily in no metaphorical sense. We rather think, that, apart from
the pleasure of saying he had been there, Boswell was really drawn to
Italy by the fact that it was classic ground, and this not so much by
its association with great events as with great men, for whom, with
all his weaknesses, he had an invincible predilection. But Italy has a
magnetic virtue quite peculiar to her, which compels alike steel and
straw, finding something in men of the most diverse temperaments by
which to draw them to herself. Like the Siren, she sings to every
voyager a different song, that lays hold on the special weakness of his
nature. The German goes thither because Winckelmann and Goethe went,
and because he can find there a sausage stronger than his own; the
Frenchman, that he may flavor his infidelity with a bitter dash of
Ultramontanism, or find fresher zest in his chattering boulevard
after the sombre loneliness of Rome; the Englishman, because the same
Providence that hears the young ravens when they cry is careful to
furnish prey to the courier also, and because his money will make him
a _Milor in partibus_. But to the American, especially if he be of an
imaginative temper, Italy has a deeper charm. She gives him cheaply what
gold cannot buy for him at home, a Past at once legendary and authentic,
and in which he has an equal claim with every other foreigner. In
England he is a poor relation whose right in the entail of home
traditions has been docked by revolution; of France his notions are
purely English, and he can scarce help feeling something like contempt
for a people who habitually conceal their meaning in French; but Rome is
the mother-country of every boy who has devoured Plutarch or taken his
daily doses of Florus. Italy gives us antiquity with good roads, cheap
living, and, above all, a sense of freedom from responsibility. For
him who has escaped thither there is no longer any tyranny of public
opinion; its fetters drop from his limbs when he touches that
consecrated shore, and he rejoices in the recovery of his own
individuality. He is no longer met at every turn with "Under which king,
bezonian? Speak, or die!" He is not forced to take one side or the
other about table-tipping, or the merits of General Blank, or the
constitutionality of anarchy. He has found an Eden where he need not
hide his natural self in the livery of any opinion, and may be as happy
as Adam, if he be wise enough to keep clear of the apple of High
Art. This may be very weak, but it is also very agreeable to certain
temperaments; and to be weak is to be miserable only where it is a duty
to be strong.

Coming from a country where everything seems shifting like a quicksand,
where men shed their homes as snakes their skins, where you may meet
a three-story house, or even a church, on the highway, bitten by the
universal gad-fly of bettering its position, where we have known a tree
to be cut down merely because "it had got to be so old," the sense
of permanence, unchangeableness, and repose which Italy gives us is
delightful. The oft-repeated _non è più come era prima_ may be true
enough of Rome politically, but it is not true of it in most other
respects. To be sure, gas and railroads have got in at last; but one may
still read by a _lucerna_ and travel by _vettura_, if he like, using
Alberti as a guide-book, and putting up at the Bearas a certain
keen-eyed Gascon did three centuries ago.

Mr. Story has taken Italy with due deliberation, having lived there now
some fifteen years. He has thus been enabled to let things come to him,
instead of running after them; and his sensations have had time to ripen
slowly toward the true moment of projection, without being shaken and
hurried, or huddled one atop of the other. We doubt if the picturesque
can be profitably done by the job, for in aesthetics the proverb that
half a loaf is better than no bread does not hold. An Italian _festa_,
we suspect, if you make it a matter of business, will turn its
business-side to you, and you will go away without having been admitted
to the delightful confidence of its innocent gayety and unpremeditated
charm. Tourists must often have remarked, in making an excursion to a
ruin or bit of picturesque scenery, that what chance threw in to boot
was by far the best part of their bargain, for the most beautiful
experiences come not by observation. The crumbling temple lured them
forth, but it was only to see a sunset or to hear a nightingale.

What between winters in Rome and summers in one or the other
mountain-town, with intervals of absence now at Florence and now at
Siena, Mr. Story has had such opportunities as fall to the lot of very
few foreigners. For, in studying the ways of a people, it is as with
wild animals,--you must be long enough among them to get them _wonted_,
so that you may catch them at unawares. His book is on the whole a
delightful one, and would have been so without qualification, had he
confined it to a relation of his own experiences. Where he narrates or
describes, he is always lively and interesting; where he disserts or
grows learned, he gives up his vantage-ground, and must consent to be
dull like everybody else. Anybody can be learned, anybody except Dr.
Holmes dull; but not everybody can be a poet and artist. The chapter on
the Evil Eye is a marvel of misplaced erudition. The author has hunted
all antiquity like a policeman, and arrested high and low on the least
suspicion of a squint. Horace and Jodocus Damhouder, (to whose harmless
Dam our impatience tempts us to add an _n_,) Tibullus and Johannes
Wouwerus, St. Augustine and Turnebus, with a motley mob of Jews,
Christians, Greeks, Romans, Arabians, and Lord-knows-whats, are all
thrust into the dock cheek by jowl. For ourselves, we would have taken
Mr. Story's word for it, without the attestation of these long-winded
old monsters, who wrote about charms and enchantments in a style
as potent in disenchantment as holy-water, and who bored their own
generation too thoroughly to have any claim upon the button of ours.
Every age is sure of its own fleas without poking over the rag-bag
of the past; and of all things, a superstition has the least need of
proving the antiquity of its pedigree, since its very etymology is
better than the certificate of all the Heralds' Colleges put together.
We are surprised that so clever and lively a man as Mr. Story, should
not have seen that in such matters one live fact is better than fifty
dead ones, and that even in history it is not so much the facts as what
the historian has contrived to see in them that gives life to his work.

But learning makes a small part of Mr. Story's book; only, as the
concluding chapter happens to bristle with quotations and references,
thickly as the nave of St. Peter's on a festival with bayonets, this is
the last taste left in the mouth. The really valuable parts of the book
(and they make much the larger part of it) are those in which the author
relates his own experiences. After so many volumes stuffed like a
_chiffonnier's_ basket with the shreds of ancient Rome, it is really
refreshing to come upon a book which makes us feel that Italy is still
inhabited by very human beings, and contains something more than the
tombs of the Scipios, and inscriptions interesting only to people
who think a dead Roman donkey better than a living Italian lion. The
chapters on Street-Music in Rome, on Games, on Gaffes and Theatres, on
Villeggiatura and the Vintage, on the Ghetto, the Markets, and Summer
in the City, are all of them delightful and new. They really teach us
something, while the learning, we are sorry to say, does nothing of the
kind. Several of these chapters our readers will remember enjoying in
the "Atlantic." They are good for those who have been in Italy, for
those who are going thither, and, above all, for those who must stay at
home. They contain the most cheerful and picturesque descriptions of
Italian life and scenery we have ever met with. And we cannot be too
thankful to Mr. Story that he leaves a theme so poetical in itself to
_be_ poetical, without any officious help from himself, and that, though
an artist, he does not enter on any of those disquisitions which would
have made Sir Joshua shift his trumpet. On the whole, we are inclined
to forgive him the polyglot lumber of his chapter on the Evil Eye in
consideration of the scenery and galleries which he has spared us. We
think we see symptoms that the Nature-mania which began with Rousseau
is on the decline, and that men and their ways are getting into fashion
again as worth study. The good time is perhaps coming when some gallant
fellow will out with it that he hates mountains, and will be greeted
with a shout of delight from his emancipated brethren.

Mr. Story is a person of very remarkable endowments. An accomplished
musician and poet, (we ought to have said before how remarkably good the
translations in these volumes are,) a skilful draughtsman, the author of
reputable law-books, he would seem to have been in danger of verifying
the old saw, had he not proved himself so eminently a master in
sculpture. We think the country is deeply indebted to Mr. Story for
having won so complete a triumph at the London World's Fair with his
Cleopatra and Libyan Sibyl, at a time when English statesmen and
newspapers were assuring the world that America was relapsing into
barbarism. Those statues, if we may trust the unvarying witness of
judicious persons, are conceived and executed in a style altogether
above the stone-cutting level of the day, and give proof of real
imaginative power. Mr. Story's genius and culture, with the fresh spur
of so marked a success, will, we are sure, produce other works to his
own honor and that of his country. For we feel that we have a country
still,--feel it the more deeply for our suffering, and our hope
deferred,--and out of the darkness of to-day we have still faith to see
a fairer America rising, a higher ideal of freedom, to warm the soul of
the artist and nerve the arm of the soldier.

_Hand-Book of Universal Literature._ From the Latest and Best
Authorities. By MRS. ANNE C.L. BOTTA. A New Edition. 12mo. Boston:
Ticknor and Fields. 1862.

A thing once done assumes a magical simplicity. No matter what may have
been the previous difficulty, or how much work may be involved in
the result, yet, when the work is done, the problem solved, all the
difficulty and labor promptly disappear from view, as if in dread of
being led captive in triumphal procession after the Caesar who has
mastered them. Thus, it does not seem at all strange that we should have
a book professing to guide us through all the intricacies of general
literature; indeed, now that the work is put into our hands, it seems so
easy of accomplishment that the only marvel would appear to be that we
have had none hitherto. Yet the conditions necessary to such a work are
of the rarest to be found; not so rare, indeed, when each is considered
separately, but rarely to be met with in combination.

In order even to attempt a work of this nature, its utility must first
be fully appreciated; but, unfortunately, those whose need is the
greatest, as being immediately present, would on that very account be
incompetent to supply the need, while those who by dint of patient study
have brought themselves up to the point of competency for the task no
longer realize the want,--just as men who have become rich by industry
forget the necessities of poverty, which were the earliest spurs upon
their energy.

The great majority of readers, therefore, have good reason to thank
Mrs. Botta, that, after having met a great educational need in her own
experience, she has benevolently set about supplying the same need in
the experience of others. The same motive which has led her to do
this has also made her work, from the peculiar manner in which it is
conducted, an important contribution toward a more perfect educational
system than generally prevails; though we would not do her the injustice
to imply that what she has done claims merit on this account alone or
chiefly. It _does_ claim merit in this way, and of a very high order,
because it avoids a prominent fault that vitiates most works intended to
promote the general diffusion of knowledge. The fault referred to is the
same which De Quincey, in a note to his "Political Economy," has called
the greatest vice of teaching,--namely, that the teacher does not
readily enter into, as an inheritance, the difficulties of the pupil.
Merely to have corrected this fault, to have met the popular mind
half-way and upon its own ground, was to furnish an important condition
hitherto lacking in the field chosen.

The extent of the work--embracing, as it does, the whole field of
literature--imposes other and more difficult conditions. Originality,
in any primary sense, was of course an impossibility; a single lifetime
would not suffice even for the most cursory examination of original
materials on so grand a scale. It was necessary, therefore, to select
and make use of the best authorities, critical and historical, those
whose researches have been most valuable and comprehensive, in each
particular department of the field. These authorities were to be found,
not in a single language, but in several; and even after they were
found, and the various results of their investigations put at their just
estimate, the important work of selection had then only just
commenced. Here were the master-critics and antiquaries,--the Müllers,
Champollions, and all. Some use must be made of each; but the compass,
no less than the design, of the work demanded the exclusion of all
secondary and unimportant matter, yet in such a manner that the ideal
unity should not be at all disturbed. Here was required, not merely tact
and discrimination, but a high degree of philosophical analysis; and
since this was valueless except as it was followed by comprehensive
synthesis, the power of artistic combination was no less requisite to
the complete result.

From the foregoing remarks it must not be supposed that there has been
throughout a remodelling of all the material used. On the contrary,
it is one of the most important of the features which give value and
interest to the work, that in frequent instances the material has been
presented precisely as it came to hand; a felicitous or humorous turn
of a sentence, a pointed antithesis, a happy grouping of historic
incidents, or a vigorous clinching of manifold thoughts in a single
expression, has been happily preserved where by others it might have
been ejected, or marred in the changing, for the sake of giving to the
work a factitious claim to an originality which, in such a field, is
plainly the least desirable characteristic. Our most hearty thanks are
due to Mrs. Botta that she has been willing to sacrifice what at the
best would have been a spurious claim to the purely legitimate one,
of having conquered almost insuperable difficulties, and, by the most
conscientious fidelity, elaborated a really valuable treatise, where
before there existed none at all.

So great as has been the need of this work, so great will be the
appreciation of it at the hands of the reading public. A whole has been
given where hitherto only parts had existed, and those for the most part
inaccessible to the general reader.

We have no space to enlarge upon the many particular excellences of the
book. It is vivacious in style, having none of the tedium belonging to
most works of this description. There is very much concerning ancient
religion, and concerning the classification of languages, as well
as respecting the peculiarities of each, that has never before been
presented in a popular form. We have rarely, indeed, seen so much that
was valuable, and so well digested, compressed within such limited

_The New American Cyclopaedia_; a Popular Dictionary of General
Knowledge. Edited by GEORGE RIPLEY and CHARLES A. DANA. 16 vols. royal
8vo. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

The sixteenth and concluding volume of the "New American Cyclopaedia"
brings Messrs. Ripley and Dana to the end of one of the most laborious
and important literary works ever undertaken in this country; and
the voice of the public, we are sure, will be all but unanimous in
congratulating them upon the generally satisfactory manner in which they
have performed their task. The cost of the work, according to a New-York
journal, has been over four hundred thousand dollars. Six years have
been spent in its execution, and nearly five hundred writers have been
employed to contribute to it. Naturally, the articles are of very
unequal merit; but it is fair to remark that a high standard of
scholarship and literary polish has evidently been aimed at, from the
first volume to the last, and there is scarcely any point upon which the
"New American Cyclopaedia" may not safely challenge comparison with any
work of similar pretensions in the English language.

Practically, none of the cyclopaedia previously accessible in our
language has now much value. Such works as "Rees's," the "Edinburgh,"
the "London," and the "Penny" Cyclopaedias, the "Encyclopaedia
Metropolitana," and the excellent, though rather brief, "Encyclopedia
Americana" of Dr. Francis Lieber, the only one, except the "New
American," ever written in this country, however good in their day, have
long been entirely out of date. The "English Cyclopaedia" of Charles
Knight, and the eighth edition of the famous "Encyclopaedia Britannica,"
were completed while the work of Messrs. Ripley and Dana was yet in
progress; but they are so different from the latter in their scope and
execution, and so much more costly, that they can hardly be said
to rival it. The first-named is a revised issue of the old "Penny
Cyclopaedia" of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge,
and retains some of the best features of that excellent work. Its
arrangement seems to us peculiarly inconvenient; but its most
glaring defect is the lack of American subjects, and the slipshod,
unsatisfactory, and inaccurate manner in which the few that are found in
it have been treated. The "Encyclopaedia Britannica" is open to the same
objection. The first edition of this great work appeared over ninety
years ago. It contained neither historical, biographical, nor
geographical articles, and was rather a collection of treatises on the
principal arts and sciences than a cyclopaedia in the common acceptation
of the term. It has since been five times almost remodelled, arranged
alphabetically, and greatly enlarged; but it still preserves its old
distinguishing feature of treating great scientific and historical
subjects exhaustively under a single head: for instance, there are two
elaborate historical articles on "Britain" and "England," but none
on Charles I. or Charles II.; long articles on "Animal Kingdom" and
"Mammalia,"--so long, in fact, that it is almost impossible to find
anything in them without an index,--but none on the separate animals.
For the scholar, this plan, perhaps, has its advantages; but, for the
unlearned reader, who turns to his cyclopaedia to find an intelligible
account of the habits of some particular creature, without caring
greatly what its precise place may be in the zoölogical kingdom, or
looks for a name without knowing whether it belongs to a fish or a
river, no book that professes to be a manual of reference could well be
arranged on a more inconvenient principle. One of the chief duties of
a cyclopaedia is to save trouble,--to put one on the high-road to
knowledge, without unnecessary delay in finding the guide-boards. But
send a half-educated man to look for a scrap of learning in an article
of a hundred pages, and one might as well at once turn him loose into
a library. And what is worse, the unwieldy dimensions of these great
articles are out of all proportion to the information they contain. We
venture to assert that the ponderous "Encyclopaedia Britannica," with
its twenty-two quarto volumes, will tell less, for instance, about the
Horse, or about Louis XIV., than the much smaller work of Messrs. Ripley
and Dana. In the "New American Cyclopaedia" there are few articles
over twenty pages long. The leading subjects in the sciences, such as
"Anatomy," "Botany," "Physiology," etc., have from three to ten pages
each,--enough to give an outline of the principles and history of the
science. The great geographical and political divisions of the globe are
treated at somewhat greater length. Every important plant, beast, bird,
and fish, every large town, river, lake, province, and mountain, every
notable monarch, and every great battle, (not forgetting "Bull Run" and
the "Chickahominy Campaign,") is the subject of a separate article.

Next to this very convenient subdivision of topics, the most striking
merit of the new cyclopaedia is, perhaps, comprehensiveness. Among its
faults, very few faults of omission can fairly be charged; and, indeed,
it seems to us rather to err in giving too many articles, especially on
American second-rate preachers, politicians, and literary men, all of
whom are no doubt ticketed for immortality by a select circle of friends
and admirers, but in whom the public at large take the faintest possible
interest. On the other hand, the space given to such heroes is small;
and so long as they do not exclude more valuable matter, but only add a
little to the bulk of the volumes, they do no great harm, and may chance
to be useful. In the department of natural history this work is much
fuller than any other general dictionary. It is also especially complete
in technology and law, (the latter department having been under the
care of Professor Theophilus Parsons,) and sufficiently so in medicine,
theology, and other branches of science.

Among the articles upon which its success and reputation will chiefly
rest are those relating to technology. With scarcely an exception, they
are plain, practical, and full of common sense. Those on "Cotton" and
"Wool" and their manufactures, the various metals and the ways of
working them, (the article on "Zinc" is the best we have ever seen on
that subject,) "Gas," "Ship," "Railroad," "Telegraph," "Sewing-Machine,"
"Steam," and "Sugar," are compact summaries of valuable knowledge, and
will go far to commend the work to a class of persons who, except in
our own country, are not much given to reading or book-buying. They
vindicate the claims of the Cyclopaedia to be a popular dictionary, not
intended solely for the scholar's library, but directed to the wants of
the artisan and man of business. It is not too much to say of many of
them,--of "Ship," for instance, and "Telegraph,"--that, apart from
their value as records of industrial progress and invention, they are
interesting enough to furnish a very pleasant hour's occupation to the
desultory reader.

The other scientific articles are mostly written in a clear,
unpretending style, with a sparing use of technical expressions; and
so far as we have discovered, they do ample justice to all recent
discoveries. The articles by Professor Bache on the "Tides," Professor
Dalton on "Embryology," Professor J.D. Dana on "Crystallography,"
Dr. W.H. Draper on the "Nervous System," Professor James Hall on
"Palaeontology," Professor Henry, of the Smithsonian Institution,
on "Magnetism" and "Meteorology," James T. Hodge on "Earth" and
"Electricity," Frank H. Storer on "Chemistry" and kindred subjects, Dr.
Reuben on "Heat," "Light," "Vision," "Winds," etc., and the philological
contributions of Dr. Kraitsir and Professor Whitney, do the highest
credit to the work in which they appear. The forbidding appearance of
Dr. Kraitsir's articles will get more notice than their deep
learning. We cannot but regret that such valuable papers as those on
"Hieroglyphics," "Cuneiform Inscriptions," "Indian Languages," and we
may add, though belonging to another class of subjects, "Brahma" and
"Buddha," by the same author, should not have been dressed with a little
more taste, and the naked deformity of barbarous paradigms covered
with some of the ornaments of a readable style. It is the more a pity,
because the articles are well worth any care that could be spent upon

The biographical articles are sufficiently numerous, and, though rigidly
condensed, are full enough for all ordinary purposes. There are few such
elaborate biographies as those contributed by Macaulay, De Quincey, and
others, to the "Encyclopaedia Britannica"; but Mr. Bancroft's "Jonathan
Edwards," Mr. Everett's "Hallam," "Washington," and "Daniel Webster,"
President Felton's "Agassiz," Professor Lowell's "Dante," Professor
Schaff's "Luther" and "Melancthon," Mr. Seward's "DeWitt Clinton," A.
W. Thayer's "Beethoven," "Handel," "Haydn," and "Mozart," Richard Grant
White's "Shakespeare," and the articles on "Patrick Henry," "Washington
Irving," "Milton," "Southey," "Schiller," "Swift," and many others we
might name, are admirable specimens of literary composition. Among
miscellaneous articles that deserve particular praise are a well-written
and elaborate history of the Jewish people and literature under the
title "Hebrews"; a picturesque account of "London"; a summary of all
that is known about "Japan"; excellent histories of "Newspapers" and
"Periodical Literature"; a brilliant article on "Athens" by the
late President Felton; a review of "Arctic Discovery"; valuable and
exceedingly interesting papers on "Army," "Artillery," "Infantry," and
"Cavalry," with one on "Gunnery" by Commodore Charles Henry Davis;
"Painting"; "Sculpture"; "Serfs"; "Slavery"; "Hungary"; and the best
published account of the "Mormons." The article on the "United States"
fills one hundred and twenty pages, including thirty-three pages of
fresh statistical tables, and gives an admirable summary of our history
down to last September; it closes with a comprehensive survey of
American literature. The supplement gives a biography of nearly every
general in the Union and Rebel armies.

The promises of the editors on the score of impartiality have been well
kept. It would be too much to expect them to satisfy everybody, or
never to be caught tripping; but in the great questions of religion and
politics, they seem to have preserved a happy mean between the outspoken
freedom of the partisan and the halting timidity of the man who never
commits himself because he never has an opinion. Their contributors
represent nearly every Christian creed, every shade of politics, and
every part of the English-speaking world, from Salt Lake City to London,
and from Mobile to Montreal.

We have only to add that the Cyclopaedia does fuller justice to our own
country than she has ever received from such a book before; that the
historical and statistical articles present the latest accessible
information; and that, so far as our opportunities of examination
permit us to judge, the book, though of course not free from errors, is
accurate to a more than ordinary degree. The labor of the editors has
been careful and conscientious; and they have produced a work which must
long endure as a valuable contribution to American literature and a
credit to American scholarship.

_Manual of Geology:_ treating of the Principles of the Science with
Special Reference to American Geological History, etc. By JAMES D. DANA.
8vo. Philadelphia: Theodore Bliss & Co. London: Trabner & Co.

No work on any science has yet been published in our language more
exhaustive of facts, more clear in statement, or more philosophical
in general character and arrangement, than Dana's "Mineralogy," as
presented in its last and revised edition.

Of course, the announcement of a "Manual of Geology" by the same author
could not fail to excite hopes that a long-felt want on the part of the
American public was to be met, a void in our scientific literature to be
filled. Nor are we disappointed in our expectations, now that the work
has appeared and time has been given for its careful perusal. On the
contrary, we feel a degree of satisfaction that might perhaps express
itself too strongly in praise, if we were not withheld by the
supposition that a proper notice of the contents of the volume would do
more for its appreciation by the reader than any language of eulogy.

What, then, is the distinctive character of the work, and wherein do the
contents so differ from previous publications as to claim our especial

In the first place, we would state, that, while it is a manual of
general geological knowledge concerning the history of the earth and of
life on its surface, and full of information concerning the strata and
geological phenomena of all parts of our globe, it is yet peculiar,
inasmuch as it treats of the principles of the science with special
reference to American Geological History. In this will be found its
great value to American students; for who of them has not had his
patience tried, and his enthusiasm often chilled, in vain attempts to
solve the questions which have sometimes arisen in his mind concerning
American geology, and has not sought their solution in the only way
open to him,--a consultation of innumerable State Reports, and other
publications, not half of which were accessible when required?

Another distinctive feature of the work is the prominence given to
Historical Geology, or that portion which treats of the successive
formation of the strata of the different periods, and of the development
and characteristics of the life upon the surface. The whole treatment of
this exhibits in a marked degree the extended research and philosophical
ability of the author.


_Physiographic Geology_.--This embraces a general survey of the earth's
features: its continents, oceans, lakes, river-systems, oceanic and
atmospheric currents, climates, distribution of forest-regions, deserts,

_Lithological Geology_.--This treats of the rocks, and of their
arrangement: the first embracing an account of all the important
chemical elements that enter into their constitution, the minerals and
organic materials that occur in their composition, and the kinds and
distinguishing characteristics of those that make up the earth's
surface; the second presenting the arrangement of rocks, stratified and
unstratified,--the structure due to deposition and other agencies,--the
dislocations of strata, and the consequent faults and distortions of
fossils contained in them,--together with considerations upon the age
and chronological division of all the strata of the earth's surface.

_Historical Geology_.--This third part of the volume, and that which
peculiarly characterizes the work, opens with some general remarks upon
the divisions in Geological History, and the announcement of certain
important principles to be kept in view while considering the subject.
The progress of life is then described as the basis of subdivision into
Geological Ages; and the subdivisions of geological time are presented
as follows:--

  I. Azoic Time or Age.

  II. Palaeozoic Time.
    1. The Age of Mollusks, or Silurian.
    2. The Age of Fishes, or Devonian.
    3. The Age of Coal Plants, or Carboniferous.

  III. Mesozoic Time.
    4. The Age of Reptiles.

  IV. Cenozoic Time.
    5. The Age of Mammals.

  V. Era of Mind.
    6. The Age of Man.

And in connection with this is given a table of the further subdivision
of this history into Geological Periods, and a map showing the
distribution of the rocks of each of these periods over the surface of
the United States.

The great divisions above given are, as stated, essentially the same as
proposed by Professor Agassiz, who, however, made the era of Fishes to
embrace the first and second ages of Palaeozoic Time, the Silurian and
the Devonian, instead of restricting it, as now done, to the latter, and
calling the former the Age of Mollusks.

Following these general considerations, each great division of geologic
time is successively taken up, commencing with the Azoic. Each period
of the several divisions is treated of in order; and the rocks of
each epoch and their distribution described, first, as they exhibit
themselves in America,--then, more briefly, as they appear in Europe.
A full account of the life that manifested itself in each epoch, both
vegetable and animal, is likewise given in the same order. The igneous
and other disturbing agencies are then considered, and general remarks
added upon the geography, the character of the surface, and various
phenomena of the period.

The whole of this portion of the work is abundantly illustrated with
well-executed figures of all the characteristic species that distinguish
the several periods, mostly drawn from American examples.

_Dynamical Geology_.--This particular branch of the subject is made
less prominent than usual in geological works, but it will not be found
lacking in any point.

The subject is presented in the following order:--

1. Life as an agent in protecting, destroying, and making rocks.

2. Cohesive Attraction.

3. The Atmosphere as a mechanical agent.

4. Water as a mechanical agent.

5. Heat as an agent in volcanic phenomena, igneous eruptions,
metamorphism, veins, etc.

6. Movements of the earth's crust, plication of strata, origin of
mountains, earthquakes, etc.

7. Chemistry of Rocks.

Under the first head, we have much interesting matter concerning peat
and coral formations, coral reefs and their origin, illustrated with

Under the head of Water as an Agent, some plates are given, new to the
general reader, of the remarkable _cañons_ of the Colorado, which so
well illustrate the powerful agency of this element in wearing away
for itself deep channels in the strata. Under the same head is an
interesting essay upon Glaciers, with figures, one of which is a reduced
copy of a sketch in Agassiz's great work, representing the Glacier of
Zermatt, in the Monte-Rosa region.

Under the head of Heat as an Agent, we have, as might be expected,
interesting and valuable matter upon volcanic phenomena, and those of

We have thus briefly passed in review the contents of the work, and
without criticism, too, for we would scarcely have a sentence in the
book altered or omitted. Yet we do not always concur in all the views
expressed or implied by the author. For instance, we consider the
evidence of the Jurassic age of the Ichnolitic strata of the sandstone
of the Connecticut River too strong to allow of their being any longer
classed among the Triassic. We certainly differ from him in much that is
said upon the subject of Man, as of one species. Yet we do not care to
dwell upon these points, especially the latter. Our author will not
expect to find all readers agreeing with him upon such mooted questions.

We do not think that we overestimate the value of this work, when
we express our belief that its publication will mark an era in our
geological progress. By this we do not mean to imply that its character
is such as to be of great service to those among us who are already
learned in the geology and palaeontology of our continent; but we do
mean to affirm, that, by the efficient aid which this work will be to
them, thousands and tens of thousands who have sought hitherto for
information on its great subjects, when seeking was literally "groping
in darkness," will be helped forward to a degree of knowledge respecting
the history and life of our globe which they could not otherwise have

_Elements of Military Art and History_: comprising the History and
Tactics of the Separate Arms, the Combination of the Arms, and the Minor
Operations of War. By EDWARD DE LA BARRE DUPARCQ, Captain of Engineers
in the Army of France, and Professor of the Military Art in the School
of Saint-Cyr. Translated and edited by BRIGADIER-GENERAL GEORGE W.
CULLUM, Chief of Staff of the General-in-Chief of the Armies of the
United States. 8vo. New York: D. Van Nostrand.

War has its science and its art. There is a domain of general
_principles_, which have their application in all the active operations
of war; and military _science_ is but the sum of these principles in
their theory and practice. The _art_ of war deals more directly with
the details and practical direction of military affairs, and abounds in
_rules_ of action, organization, and administration. Military science
and art are equally the results of experience in war. Principles of
strategy have grown out of the exercise of the highest military mind in
weighing the general features of campaigns, and from the perceptive and
logical recognition of those elements essential to success. The art
of war has grown up as a body of practices, traditions, and rules,
naturally resulting from the immense sum of experience in military life
and action among all nations. It is, indeed, so inwoven with military
history that the two should be studied in connection. Military art is
more mature than military science; and in war, as in the practice of
other professions and trades, definite and empirical rules for daily
guidance, based mainly on practice, serve almost to exclude science and
to keep it unprogressive. When, however, a Napoleonic mind becomes truly
imbued with vital military principles, its most successful strokes
may result from a bold disregard of rules under the lead of higher
intelligence. But as military science is very imperfect, and as
Hannibals, Fredericks, and Napoleons are not every-day products, it
behooves lesser lights to study the art of war most conscientiously, in
the hope of at least escaping the fatal category of blunders which crude
officers are forever repeating.

The publication of a really good book on Military Art and History is,
just now, a fortunate event, and its appearance two years since might
have saved us much costly and mortifying experience. Enlightened men
of all nations concede to the French school of soldiers and military
authors a certain preeminence, due partly to the genius of the people
and partly to the immense vital growth of war-craft under Napoleon.
Barre Duparcq is one of the most favorably known among recent military
writers in France. As an engineer officer and Professor of Military
Art in the famous school of Saint-Cyr, he has been led to study
fortification, military history, army-organization, and the art of war
with a methodical thoroughness, which, besides other highly valued
works, has given us its ripe fruit in the volume before us. If not the
very best, this is certainly among the best of the numerous volumes
devoted to this topic; and General Cullum's judgment in selecting this
work for translation is fully justified by the admirable system, clear
and learned, but brief exposition, and entirely trustworthy quality,
which even hasty readers must recognize. Could this book be put into the
hands and heads of our numerous intelligent, but untrained officers, it
would work a transformation supremely needed. It is lamentable to think
how many precious lives and how much national honor have been thrown
away from the lack of just that portion of military instruction which
is here offered in a single volume. Though no one book can make an
accomplished officer, we may say that no officer can read Duparcq's
Elements without positive advantage and real progress as a soldier.
The topics treated, with constant illustration from history, are,
the organization and functions of the four arms, infantry, cavalry,
artillery, and engineers; organization of active armies; marches and
battles; outposts; detachments; armed reconnoissances; passage of
rivers; convoys; partisans; redoubts; barricades; heights; roads; farms
or houses; forages; defiles; villages; and field hygiene.

General Cullum is well known as one of the most proficient students
of military science and art in our service, and is amply qualified to
prepare an original textbook on this subject. That he should have
found time to translate Duparcq's work, amid his arduous and important
services as General Halleck's chief of staff and chief engineer during
the remarkable Western campaign, shows an industry only to be explained
by his intense realization of the need of a book like this, as an
antidote to that deficient military instruction which has been so
replete with bad results. The translation is a faithful and lucid
rendering of the original, and the technical words and expressions are
generally satisfactory equivalents of the French terms.

We venture to express the hope that this painful war will lead to a
fresh and successful study of military science and art in relation to
American campaign-elements, so that future contingencies can be more
creditably met than was that which Secession suddenly precipitated on

_Rejoinder to Mrs. Stowe's Reply to the Address of the Women of

Emily Faithfull, "printer and publisher in ordinary to Her Majesty," has
issued from the "Victoria Press," in London, a small pamphlet with the
above title, written at the request of a committee of British women by
Miss Frances Power Cobbe, author of "Intuitive Morals." As Mrs. Stowe's
"Reply" was first printed in this magazine, we here give the whole

"The following Address has been written with the belief that it embodies
the general sentiments of English women on the subject of Slavery. It
has been decided to seek no signatures on the present occasion, rather
than repeat the vast undertaking of obtaining any number which should
adequately correspond with the half-million names appended to the former

"MADAM,--You have asked of the women of England a solemn question. You
have recalled the Address which half a million of us once sent you,
appealing to our sisters in America to raise their voices against
Slavery; and you demand, Where is now the spirit which dictated that
appeal? You quote the evidence of our press and our public speakers,
that the righteous indignation against Slavery which once kindled in all
English hearts has waned, if it have not died out; and you allege that
we have been wanting in generous faith and sympathy for the North in her
great struggle, and have even descended to afford countenance, if
not assistance, to the South. You challenge us to account for this
dereliction from our former ardent sentiments, and you ask wherefore it
is that _now_, when the conflict has assumed its most terrible form, and
the peaceful persuasions of philanthropists have been superseded by
the shock of contending armies spreading desolation through your
land,--_now_ we stand afar off, viewing coldly that awful contest, and
sending, instead of cheering words of sympathy and faith, only doubts
and lamentations over a 'fratricidal war,' and regrets partitioned with
strange impartiality between the sufferers in the cause of free America,
and those who have, in their own audacious words,' founded their
commonwealth on the institution of Slavery.' You retort our old appeal
in the face of these things, and you say to us, 'Sisters, you have
spoken well; we have heard you; we have heeded; we have striven in the
cause, even unto death; we have sealed our devotion by desolate hearth
and darkened homestead,--by the blood of sons, husbands, and brothers.
In many of our dwellings the very light of our lives has gone out, and
yet we accept the lifelong darkness as our own part in this great and
awful expiation, by which the bonds of wickedness shall be loosed, and
abiding peace established on the foundation of righteousness. Sisters,
what have _you_ done, and what do you mean to do? In view of the decline
of the noble anti-slavery fire in England, in view of all the facts
and admissions recited from your own papers, we beg leave, in solemn
sadness, to return to you your own words:--

"'A common origin, a common faith, and, we sincerely believe, a common
cause, urge us at the present moment to address you on the subject of
the fearful encouragement and support which is being afforded by England
to a slave-holding Confederacy. We appeal to you as sisters, as wives,
as mothers, to raise your voices to your fellow-citizens, and your
prayers to God, for the removal of this affliction and disgrace from the
Christian world.'

"Madam, in answering this solemn appeal, we do not desire to detail the
causes which may, in a measure, explain or palliate this failure in
our national sympathy, whose existence (in so far as it is true) we
profoundly deplore. Enough, and more than enough, debate has been
already held on the complicated motives which have blended in your
war, as in all other human concerns, and on the occasional acts of
questionable spirit which must inevitably attend the public policy and
sentiments of a nation engaged in deadliest conflict and bleeding at
every pore. Somewhat you may perhaps forgive to those who have withheld
their full sympathies, jealous that a most righteous cause should
be maintained with any save the most untainted motives and the most
unbending rectitude, and who have failed even yet to read in your policy
the full _desire_ to accomplish that end of universal emancipation
whereto Providence is visibly directing the course of events.
Somewhat, also, may be forgiven to those who have been misled by the
misrepresentations of a portion of our press, and offended by the
inimical spirit of your own. But, Madam, although many lips have been
closed which ought to have spoken to you words of blessing, though the
voice of England which has reached you has lacked that full tone of
heartfelt sympathy you had justly anticipated, yet believe not that
our nation is truly alienated from yours, or apostate to the great
principles of freedom which were once our glory. The heart of England is
sound at the core: Slavery is now and ever an abomination in our eyes;
nor has the dastard proposition to recognize the Confederate States
failed to call forth indignant rejection, and that even with peculiar
earnestness from those suffering operatives whose relief such a measure
might have secured. It is to assure you of this, to vindicate ourselves
from the shame of turning back in the hour of trial,--most foreign to
our common Saxon race,--that we, the Women of England, offer you this

"We do not less abhor Slavery now than when your eloquent words called
out an echo of feeling throughout Europe, such as no other appeal for
the wronged or the miserable ever produced. We abhor Slavery, judging it
simply as _human beings_, and because of all the agonies and tortures it
has occasioned. We abhor it, judging it especially as _women_, because
of all the unspeakable wrongs, the hideous degradation, it has inflicted
on our sex. But we abhor it not only because of these its results, nor
with a hatred which would be withdrawn, were they disputable now or
remediable hereafter. We abhor Slavery for itself, and for its own
enormous iniquity,--even the robbing from a human being of that freedom
which it was the supreme gift of Omnipotence to bestow. We hold, that,
were it in the power of the slaveholder to make his slaves absolutely
happy, Slavery would not less be an injustice and a crime. Happiness is
not to be measured against freedom, else would God have left us brutes,
not men, and spared us all the sorrows of struggling humanity. And
whereas it has been argued that the negro is of a race inferior to his
master, and that therefore it is justifiable to enslave him, we reply,
that the right to freedom is not founded on the equality of the holder
to any other human being, else were every white man also lawfully to be
enslaved by every other stronger or wiser than himself. But the right to
freedom is founded simply and solely on the moral nature wherewith God
has endowed every man and woman of the human race, enabling them, by its
use, to attain to that virtue which is the end of their creation. And
whereas others, again, have defended Slavery on the grounds of the
supposed Divine sanction to be found for it in the Scriptures, we reply,
that we deplore the condition of those whose religion can lend itself
to the task of seeking to appeal to God for the permission of an
institution which the consciences He has made unequivocally loathe
and condemn. Nor shall we hesitate to stigmatize such an appeal as
hypocrisy, until the theologians who make it advance a step farther, and
tell us that they are prepared to represent Jesus of Nazareth as one
who, in fitting time and place, might have been a purchaser and a master
of slaves. Thus, Madam, do we still condemn and abhor Slavery, as we
have ever done, as in itself, and in its own nature, utterly evil and
utterly indefensible; and we consider its vast and terrible results of
cruelty and immorality to be only the natural fruit of so stupendous a

"We have not withheld from your nation either the tribute of admiration
for the vast sacrifices you have made, or of sympathy for the
bereavements and sufferings you have endured. But the expression of such
admiration and sympathy from the truest hearts among us has been almost
silenced by the solemn joy wherewith we have beheld your country purging
herself, even through seas of blood, for her guilty participation in the
crimes of the past, and preparing for herself the stainless future of 'a
land wherein dwelleth righteousness.' We have rejoiced in the midst of
sorrow to know that the doom of Slavery was written by a Divine Hand,
even from the hour when its upholders dared to believe it possible in
the face of Heaven to build up a State upon an injustice. We have looked
with awe-struck consciences to this great revelation of the moral laws
which govern the nations of the earth, and show to men who sought for
God in the records of distant ages that the Living Lord still rules
on high, and is working out even before our eyes the delivery of the
captive and the punishment of the oppressor. The greatest national sin
of Christian times has wrought the greatest national overthrow. The
hidden evil of the land, which long smouldered underground, has blazed
forth at last like a volcano, bursting in sunder the most solid of human
institutions, and pouring the lava-streams of ruin and desolation even
to the remotest shores where the spoil of guilt had been partaken. But
while we behold with awe, in the present calamity, the manifestation of
Supreme Justice, we look with confident hope to the final issue to which
it must lead. In whatever mode that end may be brought out, and through
whatever struggles America may yet be doomed to pass, we are assured
that only one termination can await a conflict between a nation which
has abjured its complicity with crime and a confederation which exists
but to perpetuate that crime forever. It is not now, in the presence of
the events of the last three years, that we shall be tempted to fear
that Wrong and Robbery, and the systematic degradation of woman, may
possibly prove to be principles of stability, capable of producing the
security and consolidation of a commonwealth! Your courage in this
Titanic strife,--the lavish devotion with which the best blood of your
land has been poured out on the field, and the tears of childless
mothers shed in homes never before visited by the sorrows of war,--the
patriotic generosity with which your treasures have been cast into the
gulf opened suddenly in your busy and prosperous land, even as of old
in the forum of ancient Rome,--these noble acts of yours inspire with
confidence in you, no less than pride in the indomitable energies of
our common race. But above your valor and your patriotism, we look with
still higher hope to those moral laws whose vindication is involved in
the issue of the conflict; and we feel assured, that, while for the
Slave-Power the future can hold no possibility of enduring prosperity,
for Free America it promises the regeneration of a higher and holier
national existence, when the one great blot which marred the glory of
the past shall have been expiated and effaced forever.

"This, Madam, is the belief and these are the hopes of thousands of
Englishmen. They are, we are persuaded, even more universally the
belief and hopes of the Women of England, whose hearts the complicated
difficulties of politics and the miserable jealousies of national
rivalry do not distract from the great principles underlying the
contest. The failure of English sympathy whereof you complain is
but partial at the most, and for that partial failure we deeply and
sorrowfully grieve. But the nation at large is still true; and wherever
it has been possible to learn the feelings of the great masses, no lack
of ardent feeling has ever been found in England for the Northern cause.
Though senseless words and inhuman jests have been bandied across the
Atlantic, yet we are assured that in the heart of both our nations
survives unchanged that _kindred_ regard and respect whose property it
is, above other human feelings, to be indestructible. At this hour of
your own greatest need and direful struggle,--at this hour, when a
pirate from our ports is ravaging your shores, as you believe (albeit
erroneously) with our guilty connivance--at this very hour you have come
forward with noblest generosity, and sent us the rich vessel which has
brought food to our starving people. The _Griswold_ has been your answer
to the _Alabama_. It is a magnanimous, a sublime one; and English hearts
are not too cold to read it aright, or to cherish through all future
time the memory thereof. Scorn and hate are transient and evanescent
things; charity and love have in them the elements of immortality.

"Madam, we answer your Appeal by this rejoinder, and send this message
through your honored hands to our sisters in America: Our hearts
are with you in unchanged sympathy for your holy cause, in undying
abhorrence of Slavery, in profound sorrow for your present afflictions,
and in firmest faith in the final overthrow of that unrighteous Power
whose corner-stone is an injustice and a crime.



       *       *       *       *       *



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*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 11, No. 66, April, 1863" ***

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