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Title: My Life in Many States and in Foreign Lands - Dictated in My Seventy-Fourth Year
Author: Train, George Francis
Language: English
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[Illustration: George Francis Train.

From a recent photograph.]


    Dictated in My Seventy-Fourth Year





    New York
    D. Appleton and Company

    Copyright, 1902
    by D. Appleton and Company

    Published November, 1902





I have been silent for thirty years. During that long period I have
taken little part in the public life of the world, have written nothing
beyond occasional letters and newspaper articles, and have conversed
with few persons, except children in parks and streets. I have found
children always sympathetic and appreciative. For this reason I have
readily entered into their play and their more serious moods; and for
this reason, also, have dedicated this book to them and to their

For many years I have been a silent recluse, remote from the world in my
little corner in the Mills Hotel, thinking and waiting patiently. That I
break this silence now, after so many years, is due to the suggestion of
a friend who has told me that the world of to-day, as well as the world
of to-morrow, will be interested in reading my story. I am assured that
many of the things I have accomplished will endure as a memorial of me,
and that I ought to give some account of them and of myself.

And so I have tried to compress a story of my life into this book. With
modesty, I may say that the whole story could not be told in a single
volume. I have tried not to be prolix, keeping in mind while preparing
this record of events, "all of which I saw, and part of which I was,"
that there is a limit to the patience of readers.

I beg my readers to remember that this book was spoken, not written, by
me. It is my own life-story that I have related. It may not, in every
part, agree with the recollections of others; but I am sure that it is
as accurate in statement as it is blameless in purpose. If I should fail
at any point, this will be due to some wavering of memory, and not to
intention. Thanks to my early Methodist training, I have never knowingly
told a lie; and I shall not begin at this time of life.

While I may undertake other volumes that will present another side of
me--my views and opinions of men and things--that which stands here
recorded is the story of my life. It has been dictated in the mornings
of July and August of the past summer, one or two hours being given to
it during two or three days of each week. Altogether, the time consumed
in the dictation makes a total of thirty-five hours. Before I began the
dictation, I wrote out hastily a brief sketch, or mere epitome, of my
history, so that I might have before my mind a guide that would prevent
me from wandering too far afield or that might save me from
tediousness. I give it here, as a foretaste of the book. I have called
it "My Autobiography boiled down--400 Pages in 200 Words."

"Born 3-24-'29. Orphaned New Orleans, '33. (Father, mother, and three
sisters--yellow fever.) Came North alone, four years old, to
grandmother, Waltham, Mass. Supported self since babyhood. Farmer till
14. Grocer-boy, Cambridgeport, two years. Shipping-clerk, 16. Manager,
18. Partner, Train & Co., 20 (income, $10,000). Boston, 22 ($15,000).

"Established G. F. T. & Co., Melbourne, Australia, '53. Agent, Barings,
Duncan & Sherman, White Star Line (income, $95,000). Started 40 clippers
to California, '49. Flying Cloud, Sovereign of the Seas, Staffordshire.
Built A. & G. W. R. R., connecting Erie with Ohio and Mississippi, 400

"Pioneered first street-railway, Europe, America, Australia. (England:
Birkenhead, Darlington, Staffordshire, London, '60.) Built first Pacific
Railway (U. P.), '62-'69, through first Trust, Crédit Mobilier. Owned
five thousand lots, Omaha, worth $30,000,000. (Been in fifteen jails
without a crime.)

"Train Villa, built at Newport, '68. Daughter's house, 156 Madison
Avenue, '60. Organized French Commune, Marseilles, Ligue du Midi,
October, '70, while on return trip around the world in eighty days.
Jules Verne, two years later, wrote fiction of my fact.

"Made independent race for Presidency against Grant and Greeley, '71-72.
Cornered lawyers, doctors, clericals, by quoting three columns of Bible
to release Woodhull-Claflin from jail, '72. Now lunatic by law, through
six courts.

"Now living in Mills Palace, $3 against $2,000 a week, at Train Villa.
(Daughter always has room for me in country.) Played Carnegie forty
years ahead. Three generations living off Crédit Mobilier. Author dozen
books out of print (_vide_ Who's Who, Allibone, Appletons' Cyclopædia).

"Four times around the world. First, two years. Second, eighty days,
'70. Third, sixty-seven and a half days, '90. Fourth, sixty days,
shortest record, '92. Through psychic telepathy, am doubling age.
Seventy-four years young."

It may be a matter of surprise to some readers that I should have
accomplished so much at the early age when so many of my most important
enterprises were accomplished. It should be remembered, however, that I
began young. I was a mature man at an age when most boys are still tied
to their mothers' apron strings. I had to begin to take care of myself
in very tender years. I suppose my experiences in New Orleans, on the
old farm in Massachusetts, in the grocery store in Boston, and in the
shipping house of Enoch Train and Company, matured and hardened me
before my time. I was never much of a boy. I seem to have missed that
portion of my youth. I was obliged to look out for myself very early,
and was soon fighting hard in the fierce battle of competition, where
the weak are so often lost.

It may be worth while to present here some important evidence of the
confidence that was reposed in me by experienced men, when, as a mere
youth, I was undertaking vast enterprises that might have made older men
hesitate. When I was about to leave Boston in '53 for business in
Australia, and organized the house of Caldwell, Train and Company, I was
authorized by the following well-established houses of this and other
countries to use them as references, and did so on our firm circulars:
John M. Forbes, John E. Thayer and Brother, George B. Upton, Enoch Train
and Company, Sampson and Tappan, and Josiah Bradlee and Company, of
Boston; Cary and Company, Goodhue and Company, Josiah Macy and Sons,
Grinnell, Minturn and Company, and Charles H. Marshall and Company, of
New York; H. and A. Cope and Company, of Philadelphia; Birckhead and
Pearce, of Baltimore; J. P. Whitney and Company, of New Orleans; Flint,
Peabody and Company, and Macondray and Company, of San Francisco; George
A. Hopley and Company, of Charleston; Archibald Gracie, of Mobile; and
the following foreign houses: Bowman, Grinnell and Company, and Charles
Humberston, of Liverpool; Russell and Company and Augustine Heard and
Company, of Canton.

These were among the best known commercial houses in the world at that
time. Any business man, familiar with the commercial history of the
modern world, should consider this list fair enough evidence of the
confidence I enjoyed among men of affairs. Let me reproduce here--partly
as evidence along the same line, and partly because of the value I
attach to it on personal and friendly grounds--the following letter from
Mr. D. O. Mills:

                                      "NEW YORK, _September 30, 1901_.
          "_Mills Hotel, Bleecker St., New York_.


    "The many appreciative notices that have come to my attention of
    your distinguished talents of early years lead me also to send you
    a line of appreciation, particularly as touching the part played
    by you in some of the great commercial enterprises that have so
    signally marked the nineteenth century, notably in the Merchant
    Marine, and in the building of the Union Pacific Railroad, in the
    conception and construction of which you bore so distinguished a

    "The present generation, with its conveniences of travel and
    communication, can not realize what were the difficulties and
    experiences of the merchant and traveler of those early days when
    you were engaged in the China trade, and your Clipper Ships were
    often seen in the port of San Francisco.

    "The long voyage around the Horn, the danger experienced from
    sudden attack by Indians while traversing the wild and uninhabited
    country lying between Omaha and the Pacific Coast, are experiences
    which even an old voyager like myself questions as he speeds
    across the continent, privileged to enjoy the comforts of a
    Pullman car, and a railroad service that has shortened the journey
    from New York to San Francisco from months to a few days. In
    recalling the many years of our pleasant acquaintance by sea and
    land, not the least is the remembrance of your kind and genial
    spirit, and I am glad to see that you have lost none of your
    sincere wish to do good.

    "With kind regards.
                  "Very truly yours,
                              "D. O. MILLS."

Mr. Mills has known me in many walks of life. We have at times walked
side by side. At others, oceans have roared between us. He is my friend,
and I was glad to receive this kindly word from him, after many long
years of acquaintance.

Although I am a hermit now, I was not always so. All who read this book
must see that. I spent many happy years in society--and never an unhappy
year anywhere, whether in jail or under social persecution; and I have
lived many years with my family in my own country and in foreign lands.
My wife, of whom I have spoken of in the following pages, passed into
shadow-land in '77. I have children who are scattered widely now. My
first child, Lily, was born in Boston, in '52, and died when five months
old, in Boston. My second daughter, Susan Minerva, was born in '55, and
married Philip Dunbar Guelager, who for thirty-six years was the head of
the gold and silver department of the Subtreasury in this city. She now
lives at "Minerva Lodge," Stamford, Connecticut, with my seven-year-old
grandson. My first son, George Francis Train, Jr., was born in '56, and
is now in business in San Francisco. Elsey McHenry Train, my last child,
now lives in Chicago. He was born in '57. I was able to see these
children well educated, at home and abroad, and to give them some chance
to see the great world I had known.

A last word as to myself. Readers of this book may think I have
sometimes taken myself too seriously. I can scarcely agree with them. I
try not to be too serious about anything--not even about myself. When I
was making a hopeless fight for the Presidency in '72, I made the
following statement in one of my speeches:

"Many persons attribute to me simply an impulsiveness, and an
impressibility, as if I were some erratic comet, rushing madly through
space, emitting coruscations of fancifully colored sparks, without
system, rule, or definite object. This is a popular error. I claim to be
a close analytical observer of passing events, applying the crucible of
Truth to every new matter or subject presented to my mind or my senses."

I think that estimate may be used to-day in this place. It does not so
much matter, however, what I may have thought of myself or what I now
think of myself. What does matter is what I may have done. I stand on my

And with this, I commit my life-story to the kind consideration of


            _September 22, '02_.


    CHAPTER I                                                       PAGE

    WHEN I WAS FOUR YEARS OLD.      1833                               2
    New Orleans then my home--All the family except myself
    perish from yellow fever.


    MY VOYAGE FROM NEW ORLEANS TO BOSTON.      1833                   16
    Four years old and the sole passenger--Sailors teach me to
    swear--My aunt shocked at my depravity.


    MY BOYHOOD ON A FARM.      1833-1843                              21
    My grandfather a noted Methodist preacher--My first
    money earned.


    SCHOOLDAYS AND A START IN LIFE.      1840-1844                    35
    Leader of the school--George Ripley my school-teacher--Emerson
    comes to our village to lecture--Boston visited.


    EARLY NEW ENGLAND METHODISM.                                      45
    How I was reared religiously--Ideas of right and wrong--Things


    IN A SHIPPING HOUSE IN BOSTON.      1844-1850                     52
    A place with my uncle--Progress rapidly made--I sell Emerson
    a ticket for Liverpool--I engage Rufus Choate and
    Daniel Webster as our lawyers--My first speculation--Building
    fast ships.


    A VACATION TOUR.      1850                                        79
    In Washington I meet Webster, Clay, and President Taylor--A
    letter with their autographs that served me well.


    A PARTNER IN THE LIVERPOOL HOUSE.      1850-1852                  90
    In Scotland Lord John Russell receives me, and I meet
    Lady Russell--Reform in the shipping business--Money
    we made--The Duke of Wellington--I visit Chatsworth.


    1850-1852                                                        109
    How I first met my wife--Engaged to marry her within
    forty-eight hours--Governors in my charge--Our wedding
    and the commotion that preceded it--Phrenology.


    BUSINESS SUCCESS IN AUSTRALIA.      1853-1855                    126
    A fine income at twenty-one--Melbourne in those days--American
    ideas introduced--Accused of stealing $2,000,000.


    1853-1855                                                        141
    Lucky and unlucky miners--David D. Porter--Sydney in
    those days--Free immigrants--Sir John Franklin.


    OTHER AUSTRALIAN INCIDENTS--A REVOLUTION                         156
    Proposed as a candidate for President--Riotous times--Curious
    incidents in business.


    A VOYAGE TO CHINA.      1855                                     171
    Failure of ambitious plans--My first love of flowers--A
    remarkable Dutch colony.


    IN CHINESE CITIES.      1855-1856                                182
    Hetty Green's husband in Hongkong with me--Pirates and
    the slave trade--Honesty of the Chinaman--Eating rats--
    Pidgin-English--Li Hung Chang on board.


    TO INDIA AND THE HOLY LAND.      1856                            204
    New ideas in religion--My early Methodism recalled--Where
    Christ was born.


    IN THE CRIMEA.      1856                                         215
    Plans in speculation that came to naught--The war, and
    what I learned of it.


    1856-1857                                                        221
    Boston and New York after a long absence--With my wife
    I go to Paris.


    MEN I MET IN PARIS.      1857                                    226
    A ball at the Tuileries--Eugénie very gracious to me--An
    unexpected woman comes in--William H. Seward.


    1857-1858                                                        237
    Queen Maria Christina's fortune employed--Salamanca, the
    banker--How I secured a great loan.


    A VISIT TO RUSSIA.      1857                                     249
    I carry a message to the Grand Duke Constantine--A dinner
    with Colonel Greig--Moscow and the Nijnii Novgorod


    A line in Liverpool that still exists--Making a start in
    London--Better success in Staffordshire.


    ENGLAND AND OUR CIVIL WAR--BLOCKADE RUNNING.                     271
    Speeches for the Union in London halls--A plan to end the
    war--Lincoln and Seward--Arrested for interrupting Sumner
    in Boston--Dining with Seward when Antietam was


    BUILDING THE UNION PACIFIC RAILWAY.      1862-1870               283
    Early belief in such a project--The Crédit Mobilier and its
    origin--Men with whom I was associated.


    THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE FAR WEST.      1863-1870                  293
    Plan for a chain of great cities across the continent--The
    creation of Omaha--Cozzen's Hotel--Tour of the Pacific


    THE SHARE I HAD IN THE FRENCH COMMUNE.      1870                 301
    In Marseilles I help to organize the "Ligue du Midi" of the
    Commune or "Red Republic"--Attacked by soldiers and
    almost shot--Imprisoned and poisoned--Deported by Gambetta.


    A CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT.      1872                             314
    "Train Villa" at Newport--Independent candidate for the
    presidency against Grant and Greeley--A tour of the country,
    in which I address hundreds of thousands.


    DECLARED A LUNATIC.      1872-1873                               323
    I defend Mrs. Woodhull--Arrested and imprisoned for
    quoting Scripture--Fifteenth imprisonment without a


    SIXTY DAYS.      1870, 1890, 1892                                331
    The tour that Jules Verne used as the basis of his famous
    story--In '90 I circle the globe in 67 days; and in '92 in 60



    Portrait of Citizen Train made recently        _Frontispiece_

    Portrait of Citizen Train's grandfather, the Rev. George
      Pickering                                                        2

    Portrait of Mrs. George Francis Train                            110

    Citizen Train in the Mills Hotel dictating his Reminiscences     200

    Citizen Train's former residence in Madison Avenue,
      New York                                                       286

    Citizen Train's former villa at Newport                          314

    Citizen Train with the children in Madison Square                324

    Citizen Train and his guests at dinner in the Mills Hotel        338





My grandfather was the Reverend George Pickering, of Baltimore--a
slave-owner. Having fallen in with the early Methodists, long before
Garrison, Phillips, and Beecher had taken up the abolition idea, he
liberated his slaves and went to preaching the Gospel. He became an
itinerant Methodist preacher, with the pitiable salary of $300 a year.
The sale of one of his "prime" negro slaves would have brought him in
more money than four years of preaching. He would have been stranded
very soon if he had not had the good sense to marry my beautiful
grandmother, who had a thousand-acre farm at Waltham, ten miles out of
Boston. My grandfather thus could preach around about the neighborhood,
and then come back to the family at home. My father married the eldest
daughter of this Methodist preaching grandfather of mine, Maria

I was born at No. 21 High Street, Boston, during a snow-storm, on the
24th of March, '29. When I was a baby, my father went to New Orleans and
opened a store. Soon after arriving in that city I was old enough to
observe things, and to remember. I can recollect almost everything in my
life from my fourth year. From the time I was three years old up to this
present moment--a long stretch of seventy years, the Prophet's limit of
human life--I can remember almost every event in my life with the
greatest distinctness. This book of mine will be a pretty fair test of
my memory.

I can remember the beautiful flowers of the South. How deeply they
impressed themselves upon my mind! I can recall the garden with its
wonderful floral wealth, the gift of the Southern sun. I can recollect
exactly how the old clothesline used to look, with its load of
linen--the resting-place of the long-bodied insects we called "devil's
darning needles," or mosquito hawks--and how we children used to strike
the line with poles, to frighten the insects and see them fly away on
their filmy wings. And I can remember going down to my father's store,
filling the pockets of my little frock with dried currants, which I
thought were lovely, and watching him there at his work.

[Illustration: Rev. George Pickering, George Francis Train's

Then came the terrible yellow-fever year. It is still known there as the
year of the fever, or of the plague. This fearful epidemic swept over
the city, and left it a city of the dead. It was a catastrophe
recalled to me by that of Martinique. My family suffered with the rest
of the city. I remember well the horror of the time. There were no
hearses to be had. Physicians and undertakers had gone to the grave with
their patients and patrons. The city could not afford to bury decently
so many of its dead inhabitants. And the fear of the plague had so
shaken the human soul that men stood afar off, aghast, and did only what
they had to do in a coarse, brutal, swift burial of the dead.

There were no coffins to be had, and no one could have got them if there
had been enough of them. Corpses were buried, all alike, in coarse pine
boxes, hastily put together in the homes--and often by the very
hands--of the relatives of the dead. One day they brought into our home
a coarse pine box. I did not know what it was or for what it was meant.
Then I saw them take the dead body of my little sister Josephine and put
it hastily into the rough pine box. I was too young to understand it
all, but I can never forget that scene; it starts tears even now. After
nailing up the box and marking it to go "To the Train Vaults," the
family sat and waited for the coming of the "dead wagon." The city sent
round carters to pick up the numerous dead, just as it had formerly sent
out scavenger carts to take away the refuse.

We could hear the "dead wagon" as it approached. We knew it by the
dolorous cry of the driver. It drew nearer and nearer to our home. It
all seemed so terrible, and yet I could not understand it. I heard the
wagon stop under our window. Now the scene all comes back to me, and it
recalls the rumble and rattle of those tumbrels of the French Reign of
Terror: only it was the fever, instead of the guillotine, that demanded
its victims. The driver would not enter the pest-stricken houses. He
remained in his cart, and shouted out, in a heart-tearing cry, to the
inmates to bring their dead to him. As he drove up to our window he
placed his hands around his mouth, as a hunter does in making a halloo,
and cried: "Bring out--bring out your dead!"

The long-wailed dolorous cry filled the streets, empty of their
frequenters: "Bring out--bring out your dead!" Again at our home the cry
was heard; and I saw my father and others lift up the coarse pine box,
with the body of my little sister shut inside, carry it to the window,
and toss it into the "dead wagon." And then the wagon rattled away down
the street, and again, as it stopped under the window of the next house,
over the doomed city rang the weird cry: "Bring out--bring out your

A few days later another rough pine box was brought to our home. Again I
did not understand it; but I knew more of the mystery of death than I
had known before. Into this box they placed the body of my little sister
Louise. Then we waited for the approach of the "dead wagon." I knew that
it would again come to our home, to get its freight of death. I went to
the window, and looked up and down the street, and waited. Far in the
distance, I heard the cry: "Bring out--bring out your dead!"

The wagon finally arrived. The window was thrown open, the rude box was
lifted up, taken to the window, and thrown into the wagon, which was
already loaded with similar boxes. They were in great haste, it seemed
to me, to be rid of the poor little box. And the carter drove on down
the street to other stricken homes, crying: "Bring out--bring out your

I now began to feel the loss of my sisters. Two had gone. Only one was
left with me, my little sister Ellen, as frail and as lovely a flower as
ever bloomed. When the next box came, and she, dead of the plague, was
put into it, I thought it time for me to interfere. I went to the window
and stood guard. Again came the terrible cry: "Bring out--bring out your
dead!" And my last little sister was taken away in the "dead wagon."

I was too young to understand it all, but I remember going with my
father and mother in the carriage every time they carried one of my
sisters to the graveyard.

The next strange thing to happen was the arrival in the house of a box
much larger than the others. I did not know what it could be for. The
box was very rough looking. It was made of unplaned boards. My nurse
told me it was for my mother. Again I took my stand by the window.
"Bring out--bring out your dead!" resounded mournfully in the street
just below the window where I stood. I looked out, and there was the
"dead wagon." It had come for my mother.

I was astonished to find that they did not throw the box containing my
mother into the wagon. It was too large and heavy. Four or five men had
to come into the house and take out the box. It was marked "To the Train
Vaults," and was put into the wagon with the other boxes containing dead
bodies. Only my father and I sat in the carriage that went to the
cemetery and to the vaults that day. There were my mother and my three
little sisters; all had been swept from me in this St. Pierre style--in
this volcano of yellow fever.

Finally there came one day a letter from my grandmother, the wife of the
old Methodist itinerant preacher of Waltham: "Send on some one of the
family, before they are all dead. Send George." And so my father made
preparations to send me back to Massachusetts. I can remember now the
exact wording of the card he wrote and pinned on my coat, just like the
label or tag on a bag of coffee. It read:

     "This is my little son George Francis Train. Four years old.
     Consigned on board the ship Henry to John Clarke, Jr., Dock
     Square, Boston; to be sent to his Grandmother Pickering, at
     Waltham, ten miles from Boston. Take good care of the Little
     Fellow, as he is the only one left of eleven of us in the house,
     including the servants [slaves]. I will come on as soon as I can
     arrange my Business."

I remember how we went down to the ship in the river. She lay out in the
broad, muddy Mississippi, and seven other vessels lay between her and
the shore. Planks were laid on the bank, or "levee," as they called the
shore in New Orleans, and up to the side of the nearest ship. We climbed
over these planks and passed over the seven vessels, and came to the
Henry. My father kissed me good-by, and left me on board the ship.

There I was, aboard this great vessel--for so she seemed to me then--a
little boy, without nurse or guardian to look after me. I was just so
much freight. I was part of the cargo. We floated down the Mississippi
slowly, and floated on and on toward the Gulf. We were floating out into
the great waters, into the great world, floating through the waters of
Gulf and ocean, floating along in the Gulf Stream, and floating on
toward my Northern home.

Thus I was floating, when I began my life anew; and I have been floating
for seventy years!

When my father said good-by to me, kissing me as we passed over the last
of the seven ships between the Henry and the shore, I saw him put a
handkerchief to his face, as if to hide from me the tears that were in
his eyes. He feared that my little heart would break down under the
strain. But I didn't cry. Everything was so new to me. I was too small
to realize all that the parting meant and all that had led up to it. I
could not feel that I was leaving behind me all the members of my
family--in the vaults of the graveyard. The ship seemed a new world to
me. I had no eyes for tears--only for wonderment.

For many years afterward I heard nothing of my father. He had dropped
below the horizon when I floated down the Mississippi, and I saw and
heard nothing more of him. As my mother and three sisters had been
buried together in New Orleans, we had taken it for granted that father
had followed them to the grave, a victim of the same pestilence. But
nothing was known as to this for many years.

We were anxious to have all the bodies brought together in one graveyard
in the North and buried side by side. The family burying-ground was at
Waltham, where eight generations were then sleeping--that is, eight
generations of Pickerings and Bemises. There were the bodies of my
great-grandmother, and of ancestors belonging to the first Colonial
days. My cousin, George Pickering Bemis, Mayor of Omaha, afterward had
a monument erected over the spot where so many Bemises and Pickerings
lay in their long rest, to preserve their memory. But my father's body
was never to rest there; nor was it ever seen by any of his relatives.

My uncle, John Clarke, Jr., who had brought me out of New Orleans and
rescued me from the plague, tried to find some trace of my father; but
no record or vestige of him could be found in that city. Every trace of
him had been swept away. His very existence there had been forgotten,
erased. No one could be found who had ever heard of him, or knew
anything about his store. So completely had the pestilence done its
terrible work of destruction and obliteration. As this period was prior
to the invention of the daguerreotype, we had no photographs of him. The
only likenesses that were made then were expensive miniatures on ivory.
I have no picture of him, except the one I carry forever in my memory.

Sixty years passed away. One day I received a letter from one of my
cousins, Louisa Train, who was living in Michigan. She told me that her
father and mother had died, and that the furniture of the old house, in
which they and her grandparents had lived, had fallen to her. "In moving
an old bureau," she wrote, "it fell to pieces, and, to my surprise, two
documents rolled upon the floor. These papers relate to you. One of
them was a letter from your father to his mother, written from New
Orleans shortly before you left that city. In it he says:

"'You can imagine my loneliness in being in this great house, always so
lively, with eleven persons in it, including my own family--now all
alone. George is with his tutor. He is a very extraordinary boy, though
only four years old. The other day he repeated some verses, of which I
can remember these lines:

    "'I am monarch of all I survey;
      My right there is none to dispute;
    From the center all round to the sea,
      I am lord of the fowl and the brute.'"

I was to receive one other message from my father. Since I began writing
this autobiography, my aged aunt, Abigail Pickering Frost, now in her
ninetieth year, discovered a letter that my father had written to her
and to her sister, my aunt Alice, who afterward married Henry A.
Winslow, upon the day that he placed me on the ship Henry, and sent me
to my grandmother at Waltham, Mass. Aunt Abigail, after the death of
aunt Alice, who was one of the victims in the wreck of the Lexington, in
January, '40, hid the letter in the garret of the old Waltham farmhouse,
where she later discovered it. She now sends it to me from her home in
Omaha, Neb., where it had again been lost, and found after a long
search, as she knew that I would appreciate it as a part of my

The letter came to me as a wail from the dead. I was very young, and
childish, and thoughtless when I parted from him forever; but his letter
brought back to me in a flood the bitterness of our life in New Orleans,
the loneliness of my father in his great grief, and made me suffer,
nearly seventy years afterward, for the pain that I was then too young
to understand or feel. I give this letter, which is inexpressibly dear
to me, just as it was written.

                                      "NEW ORLEANS, _June 10th, 1833_.


     "'Tis just two years since I left this place for New York, and
     arrived in Boston the evening of the 3d of July. I hope MY DEAR
     BOY will arrive safe and pass the 4th of July with you. He is now
     on board the ship (and the steamboat alongside the ship) to the
     Balize. I have written several letters by the ship, and found I
     had a few moments to spare which I will improve by addressing
     you. I refer you to the letters to Mother Pickering for
     _particulars_--as I have not time to say much. I can only say, my
     dear girls, that I am very unhappy here for reasons you well
     know. _I part with George as though I was parting with my right
     eye_--but 'tis for his good and the happiness of all that he
     should go; take him to your own home, care, and protection; _he
     is no ordinary boy, but is destined for a great scholar_.

     "I am left here without a friend except my God! in a city where
     the cholera is raging to a great extent--100 are dying daily! and
     among them some of the most valuable citizens. A sweet little
     girl about the age of Ellen, and an intimate acquaintance of
     George's, who used to walk arm in arm with him, died this morning
     with the cholera, and a great number of others among our most
     intimate acquaintances have passed on. Mrs. Simons died in six
     hours! What is life worth to me? Oh, my dear sisters! could I
     leave this dreadful place I would, and die among my friends! The
     thoughts of my dear Maria and Ellen fill me with sorrow! I have
     mourned over their tombs in silence. I have been with them in my
     dreams, and frequently I meet them in my room and talk with them
     as though alive. All here is melancholy. When shall I see you,
     God only knows! I have relieved my heavy heart of a burden--a
     weight that was almost unsupportable.

     "In parting with my _lovely boy_ I have bequeathed him to Mother
     Pickering as a legacy--it being all that I possess! You will take
     a share of the care, and I know will be all that mothers could be
     for your dear sister Maria's sake!

     "Give my love to Grandpa Bemis, Father Pickering, and all the
     rest of the family. Say to them that _my mind is constantly with
     them_, and will ever be so. I have written in great haste and
     very badly, as I am on board the ship and _all is confusion_,
     with the steamboat alongside. Farewell, my dear sisters! Do write
     me a line. If you knew how much I prize a letter from you, you
     would write often. Adieu, and believe me your affectionate

                                                        "OLIVER TRAIN.

    _Waltham, Mass._"

The other document mentioned by my cousin Louisa, was the deed of a farm
by my paternal grandfather, making a certain physician trustee of the
property. I never came into that property! This was my first bequest. I
had begun, even in my infancy, to give away my property, and I have
thrown it away ever since. This first "bequest," however, was none of my
making, although I accepted it, without trying to question the matter.

Another involuntary "bequest" of my childhood was brought about in this
way. My mother, when a girl, was engaged to marry Stebbins Fiske. It was
by a mere chance that they were not married--and therefore my name is
"Train" by a mere accident which changed the fate of my mother and her
fiancé. My father was a warm friend of Stebbins Fiske, and when Fiske
was called suddenly to New Orleans, just before the day set for the
marriage, he left his betrothed, Maria Pickering, in charge of my
father. The result might have been foreseen. It is the common theme of
romance the world over. My mother and my father fell in love with each
other, and were married. There was no thought of unfaithfulness; it was
merely inevitable. Fiske understood the situation, and forgave both of
them, and continued the stanch friend of both.

In his will Fiske left a small sum--$5,000--to my mother's mother. It
was the most delicate way in which he could leave some of his money so
that his old sweetheart might get it. The terms of the will were that
this money should be divided at my grandmother's death. It was so
divided, and a certain portion of it should have come to me; but I never
received a penny. This was my second bequest, for I allowed others to
take freely what belonged to me.

My third bequest was made with my eyes open. When I was about starting
for Australia in '53, another uncle-in-law, George W. Frost, whom I
afterward appointed purchasing agent of the Union Pacific Railway, a
splendid gentleman and a clergyman, came to me and said: "Your Aunt
Abbie" (his wife) "and myself are going to take care of your old
grandmother on the farm. Have you any objections to signing away your
interest in the old place?"

I said that, of course, I would sign it away. I was all right. I was
going out into the great world to make fortunes. And I signed it away,
as if it were a mere nothing.

These incidents I mention here as illustrations of my whole life. Since
my fourth year I have given away--thrown away--money. I have made others
rich. But I have never yet got what was due me from others.




I found myself a part of the cargo--shipped as freight, 2,000 miles,
from the tropics to the arctic region, without a friend to take care of
me. I was alone. This feeling, however, did not oppress me overmuch.
Every one on board tried to make a pet of me, and, besides, there was so
much to do, so much to see, so much to feel. From cabin to fo'cas'le I
was made welcome.

There was only one cabin passenger besides myself. I sat at table
opposite this passenger, and I remember that at the first meal they
brought on some "flapjacks" (our present-day wheat-cakes). I was very
fond of them, and ate them with sirup or molasses. I noticed that my
companion in the cabin did not use molasses with his. I could not
understand why any one should eat his flapjacks without molasses.

I thought this stranger too ignorant to know that molasses was the
proper thing with flapjacks, and tried to help him to a fuller knowledge
of the resources of the table. I reached over, and tried to pour some
molasses on his plate. Just then a heavy sea struck the ship, and I was
thrown forward with a lurch. The entire contents of the molasses jug
went in a flood over the man's trousers! Of course he was furious, and
did not appreciate my efforts to teach him. I expected him to strike me,
but he did not. It did not occur to me to beg his pardon, as I was doing
what I thought to be a pure act of kindness. We afterward became good

We were twenty-three days on the voyage. Before we had been aboard long
I became friendly with everybody on the ship, and they with me. I was
very active, and had the run of the boat. I was like a parrot, a goat,
or a monkey--or all three. There was no stewardess on the boat, and as I
had no one to look after me, I led a wild sort of life. I lived in the
fo'cas'le, or with the sailors on deck or in the riggings. I liked the
fo'cas'le best. I soon got to feel at home there. Sometimes I was in the
cabin with my molasses-hating friend, but the fo'cas'le was my delight,
and there I was to be found at all hours. During the twenty-three days
of the voyage I was not washed once! I wore the same clothes days and
nights, and became a little dirty savage!

It may be easily imagined that communication with these rough, coarse,
honest, but vulgar sailors had a terrible effect on me. Everything bad
that is known to sailors these sailors knew, and very soon I knew. I
observed everything, learned everything. I soon cursed and swore as
roundly as any of them, using the words as innocently as if they were
quotations from the Bible.

One of the games the sailors used to play with me was to go up into the
rigging and call down to me that there was a great plantation up there
that I could not see. Then they would throw lumps of sugar to me and
tell me they came from the plantation in the rigging, and monkeys were
throwing them to me. Of course I believed it all. How was I to know they
were lying to me? I was only four years old. They stamped upon my mind
the whole fo'cas'le--its rough life, its jollity, its oaths, and its

As soon as our ship came to anchor out came a boat with my uncle. I
remember that there was a little dog in the boat also. My uncle took me
to the wharf, and then to his tobacco store in Dock Square. There I
found awaiting us an old-fashioned chaise, and my uncle said he would
take me right out to my grandmother's, at Waltham. The drive took us
through two or three villages, and through several strips of forest.
Finally we drove up to a little gate that stood about half a mile from
the old farmhouse, and divided the next place from the farm of my
grandmother. There were my aunts, all waiting for me.

Imagine the astonishment of my grandmother and of my aunts on seeing
the dirty little street Arab that came to see them! I was as intolerably
filthy as any brat that ever came out of a sewer. I fairly reeked with
the smells and the dirt of the fo'cas'le! To the dust and grime of New
Orleans I had added the dust and grime of the ship, for I had not been
near soap and water since I left New Orleans. Fancy going to these clean
and prim old ladies in such a plight! But I was at least in good health,
and magnificently alive.

The first thing they did was to summon a sort of town-meeting, to have
me narrate the events of my voyage. But before I was to go before my
audience I must be washed and have a change of clothes. This part of the
program was postponed by an accident. The ladies heard me swear! It
shocked their gentle minds immeasurably. But I didn't know what swearing

What can not a boy learn in three weeks that is bad? I suppose I must
have picked up all the wickedness of the fo'cas'le without knowing what
it was. It seemed all right to me; but not to my good grandmother and to
my aunts.

They wanted to cleanse me outwardly and inwardly, and prepared to start
outwardly. They insisted that I must change my clothes and have a good
scrubbing. But before they began I told them some of my experiences
aboard ship. I told them about the sailors getting sugar from the
plantation up in the riggings and the monkeys throwing it down to me.
They told me there were no fields up there, no monkeys and no sugar,
except what the sailors had carried up with them.

I was indignant. "If you don't believe my story," said I, "about the
plantation in the rigging and about the monkeys and the sugar, you can
not wash me or change my clothes."

The line of battle was now drawn. If they did not want to believe my
story, I was not going to let them do anything for me. That
monkey-and-sugar story was my ultimatum. They refused to accept it. For
three days they laid siege to me, but I refused to be washed or clothed
in a fresh clean suit until they believed my story. I felt I was telling
the truth, and could not bear to have my word doubted. Finally they said
that they believed my story.

There is an old tale of a boy who was told by his parents, who did not
want him to cling any longer to the old myth about Santa Claus, that it
was not Santa Claus that brought him all the good things on Christmas,
but that they, his parents, had been giving him the presents year after
year. The boy turned to his mother and said: "Have you been fooling me
about the God question too?"




The old house where I spent these years of my childhood and boyhood is
now more than two hundred years old. It was the home of the old
Methodists in that section, and had been the headquarters of the sect
for a hundred years before it began to have regular "conferences." Here
lived the slave-owner Pickering, who married my grandmother, the
farmer's daughter. If it had not been for this home, which was a refuge
and asylum for the itinerant preacher, grandfather Pickering would have
starved. The farm was his anchorage. Otherwise he would have gone

A religious atmosphere pervaded the place. It left the deepest impress
upon my mind. The only paper we took was Zion's Herald, a religious
weekly published by Stevens, of Boston. The difference between this
calm, religious life of the Methodists and the turbulent, rough, and
swearing life of the fo'cas'le was very marked. But it took me a long
time to get away from the atmosphere of the fo'cas'le and into that of
the Methodists. Even the bath and the clean clothes did not seem to
change me very much. I discovered that cleanliness is not so very near
to godliness, after all.

Of course the old Methodists had prayers in the morning and at night,
and they had grace at every meal. Every one knelt at prayers. But they
could not make me kneel. I would not bow the knee. I had not got over
the sailors' ways, and the monkeys, and the throwing down sugar from the
plantation in the sails--the Santa Claus part of it. I always remembered

Of course I was taken to the little church, a mile off up in the woods,
where my grandfather preached. It was in his "circuit." As we were
coming home one day, and I was driving, the chaise struck a stone, and
the old gentleman was jostled considerably. He impatiently seized the
reins from me and gave the horse a severe flip with them, and drove the
rest of the way himself. The little incident made a deep impression on
my mind. I said to myself: "If this is the way Christians act, I do not
want to have anything to do with them."

The Pickerings were an ancient Southern--and before that, an
English--family. Some of the members lived in South Carolina, some in
Virginia, others in Maryland. One of them sat in Washington's first
cabinet. Like my grandfather, they were all slave-owners. Judge Gilbert
Pickering was chairman of Cromwell's committee that cut off King
Charles's head. Grandfather Pickering was a liberal man in many ways. I
have spoken already of his freeing his own slaves. He chose the calling
of an itinerant Methodist preacher, when to do so meant tremendous
financial sacrifice and the loss of social rank. He almost starved at
it, but he stuck to it with great nobleness of mind. It gave him a sort
of religious freedom.

Once he could have been a bishop in the New England branch of Methodism;
but he refused the ambitious title. He did not believe in bishops for
their church. And so, setting aside every offer of preferment, every
opportunity of rising or getting on in the world, he chose to labor at
his simple calling, like a martyr. And he would shortly have found
martyrdom in starvation, had it not been for my lovely grandmother, with
her thrift and care.

The branch of Methodists to which my grandfather belonged was very
liberal. It was so liberal, indeed, that my mother and her five sisters
had all been educated at the Ursuline convent at Charlestown, Mass.,
which was destroyed by the mob in '42. I remember that after the mob
burned this convent to the ground the Methodists wanted to buy the site,
and applied to the Roman Catholic archbishop in Boston, who replied: "We
sometimes purchase, but we never sell."

Another incident of my boyhood may be recalled here, as it illustrates
the stubborn pride that had begun to show itself even then. One day an
elegant carriage drove up to the old house, and a young lady,
beautifully dressed, got out and asked to see George Train. I went up to
her, and she told me who she was.

"You must remember, when you grow up," she said, "that I am Miss Sallie
Rhoades. We are one of the few families of Maryland," she added, with a
pride that was evident even to my boyish eyes, "that have been able to
support their carriages for one hundred and fifty years." She spoke with
the air of a _grande dame_, which stung my own pride keenly.

"While I am very glad to meet my Southern relative," I said, with equal
pride, even if I could not equal her manner, "we have kept our ox-cart
on the old farm for two hundred years." I expected the additional half a
century to stagger her. But it did not seem to reach home; and she drove
away. This was the last I ever saw of "Miss Sallie Rhoades, of

In those days in New England we had to depend very much on ourselves on
the farm, and we made as much of supplies as possible. I became an adept
at making currant wine, cider, maple sugar, molasses candy, and
sausages. I used also to make the candles we burned on the place,
molding them half a dozen at a time in the old candle mold, which was
never absent from a country house of that day. So, in my lifetime, I
have passed from the period of the tallow dip to the electric light.

From four to ten years of age I earned my own living on the old farm. I
believe it is the only instance in the world where a child of four
supported himself in this way. What I mean by earning my own living is,
that while the expense of keeping a little youngster like me was very
small, I earned more than enough to pay my way. I dressed myself. No one
took care of me. I was left pretty much alone, except in the way of
receiving religious admonition. I was always running errands for the men
and women of the place. There was constantly something for me to do.

Moreover, I was very ambitious. I wanted to know everything that was
going on about me. This has ever been my characteristic. I was born
inquisitive. I have never been afraid to ask questions. If I ever saw
anything I did not understand, I asked about it; and the information
stuck in my mind, like a burr. I never forgot. I soon learned everything
there was to be learned on the farm.

The room I slept in was a great wide one, and I slept alone. I was not
afraid; but I remember the great size and depth of that cold New England

Life on the farm was busy enough. I often set the table and did other
things that the hired girl did, and could soon do almost everything just
as well as she--from setting the table to preparing a meal. All this I
learned before I was ten years old. I mention these little details
merely to show the difference between the life I had to lead in old New
England and the life my children and grandchildren have since led.

One blessing and glory was that I had the universal atmosphere. The
woods and fields were mine. I could roam in the forest and over the
fields at will. The great farm was a delight to me. I was never afraid
anywhere. In those days there were no "hoboes" or "hoodlums" roaming
over the country. We kept no locks on our doors, or clasps on the
windows. Everything was open.

On the farm, as about the house, I soon learned everything that I could.
I learned to sow and reap, to plant various crops, to plow, hoe, mow,
harvest. And I had a special garden of my own, where I raised a little
of everything--onions, lettuce, cucumbers, parsnips, and other
vegetables. I knew their seasons, the time to plant them, and when to
gather them. I was an observer from the cradle. Little escaped my eyes.
And I have made it a practise all through my life to master everything
as I came to it.

Of books I saw little in those days. The only ones we had on the farm
place, in what was termed by courtesy the "library," were the Waverley
Novels, Jane Porter's Scottish Chiefs, Watts's Hymns, and the Bible.
There was, of course, Zion's Herald, the religious weekly paper from
Boston I have already mentioned. These were our literature. I read
everything I could get hold of, and soon exhausted the small resources
of the farm library.

We were so far from the village and the more frequented roads that the
only persons who came to our house were peddlers, who sold us kitchen
utensils, such as tin pans and buckets, and the lone fisherman, who
would always sound his horn a mile away to warn us of his approach.

The old house had the usual New England parlor or drawing-room, the room
of ceremony, never aired until some guest came to occupy it, or there
was a funeral or baptism in it. I have never found farmers, anywhere in
the world, who had any idea of ventilation. They slept in closed rooms,
without any regard to health or cleanliness--for nothing is so cleansing
as fresh, pure air. There was the old fireplace, with the great andirons
that could sustain the weight of a forest tree, and often did.
Everything was a century old, and just that much behind the day; but
that was then the case everywhere in New England rural sections.

And what fires we used to have in that cavernous chimney! We would place
a tremendous log on the andirons, and build a fire about it. Soon it
would give out a terrific heat, but it was not sufficient to warm up the
great room, into which the cold air swept through a thousand cracks and
chinks. Our faces, bending over the blazing log, would be fairly
blistered, while our backs would be chilled with cold. The farther end
of the room would be icy cold, for drafts had free play. The house was
poorly built, so far as comfort was concerned, although it was stout
enough to last a couple of centuries. Not only the winds but the snow
found easy entrance. If it snowed during the night, I would find a
streak of snow lying athwart the room the next morning, often putting my
bare feet in it as I got up in the darkness.

The ignorance of the Puritan farmers of New England was the densest
ignorance that I have ever seen, even among farmers. They knew nothing,
and seemed to care nothing, about the laws of health or economy. They
were content to live exactly in the way their ancestors had lived for
generations. They learned nothing, and forgot nothing--like the

This suggests to me the fact that the climate of New England has changed
tremendously since I was a boy. Most old people say something like this.
When I was a boy there was snow every winter and all winter. Now there
is comparatively little snow. Then it used to begin in November, and we
were practically shut in on our farms, often even in our houses, for the
winter. For six months the snow covered the earth. When we wanted to
get out, we had to break our way out with an ox-sled. The old climate of
New England has gone.

When I was ten years old I began taking "truck" to the old Quincy market
in Boston. It was ten miles away, but I soon got accustomed to going
there alone and selling out the farm produce and vegetables. I had to
get up at four o'clock in the mornings, in order to look after the horse
and to harness him. He was called "Old Tom," and was a faithful,
trustworthy animal.

I would arrive at the market before dawn, and would back the wagon up
against the market-house and wait for the light. I fed the horse, and
now and then, if the weather was particularly bad, I would put him in a
stable for a few hours, at a cost of fifty cents, and feed him on oats.

After closing out the "truck," I would drive to Cambridgeport, where I
bought the groceries and other supplies for the farm. My grandmother
trusted all this to me. After this I got a luncheon, which cost me a
"shilling cut," as it was called then--twelve and a half cents. Then I
would drive home, and could give to grandmother a full and itemized
account of everything, without having set down a word or a figure on
paper. This went on for two or three years.

For amusement, as I have said, I had the universal atmosphere, and I had
the great old farm, and the forest and the fields. I had them all to
myself. I roamed over them, and through them, at will. I used to set
box-traps for rabbits and snares for partridges. I had a little gun,
also, and a little dog, with which I would hunt rabbits or squirrels.
The dog I have always regarded with wonder. He could see a gray squirrel
at the top of a tree half a mile away. Some persons think he smelled the
squirrel, but I am certain he saw it. And he was only a mongrel, at
that. He would lead me to a tree, and I would shoot the squirrel. The
little dog--a sort of fox terrier--was the only real friend I ever had.
He was my constant companion, whenever I could get to him or he to me.
In the winter I used him as a warming-pan. The old farmhouse was
cold--very cold. We had no means of heating it. At night I would find
the sheets of my bed as cold as an ice-floe. Then I would send my little
dog down under the covering, and he would stay there until he had warmed
up the bed.

Then there was pigeon-netting. This is an old sport that has, I suppose,
died out in New England. In my boyhood, however, great flocks of wild
pigeons used to come to the New England woods and forests. The device
for catching large numbers of them by netting was quite primitive, but

My uncle Francis (for whom I was named), whom I used to help net
pigeons, was quite a sportsman. He was fond of fishing, and he was a
great hand at the nets. We had two places for spreading the nets, one in
the "vineyard" and the other in a "burnt-hill" in the forest. All the
foliage was stripped from several trees that were close together. Then
we would arrange the net so it could be drawn together at the right
time, spread it over the ground, and bait it. Then we would plant our
stool-pigeons. As soon as we saw a flock of pigeons approaching we would
stir the stool-pigeons by pulling on a string to which they were
attached. They would move about, as if they were really alive. The
pigeons would circle about the spot, attracted by the fluttering
stool-pigeons, and then they would catch sight of the grain and come
down. When the net was filled with them, we would draw the strings, and
sometimes we caught as many as a hundred at a time. They were then
killed and sold.

By such work as this I was earning my own support. This is a sample of
my life on the farm from four to ten years. I wore one suit of clothes a
year, and the suit cost originally not more than $10, and was made at
home. I had some little pocket-money occasionally. I was permitted to
sell the rabbits and partridges, the spoil of my traps and gun. These
small resources usually enabled me to keep a few cents--sometimes a few
dollars--in my pockets.

There is nothing more extravagant and truly wasteful than a boy with a
few dollars in his pockets. He can throw away his slender fortune with
magnificent bravado. One summer I had accumulated $17, and, naturally, I
was itching to spend it. The hired man was going up to Concord to help
celebrate "Cornwallis Day" (October 19), and I got consent to accompany
him. There was to be a fair, and I took my money with me--very stupidly.
The memory of it was soon all that remained.

My first step in extravagance was the purchase of a bunch of
firecrackers. It cost me, apparently, ten cents; but actually it was my
financial undoing, and cost me $17. I began to pop the crackers, and
soon had a crowd of boys around me. They were envious of me. They didn't
have money to buy crackers. I popped away with great nonchalance, but
husbanding my ammunition and popping only a single cracker at a time.
This was strategy of a high order; but I could not keep it up. I didn't
know the resourcefulness of boy-nature. Presently, I heard a boy whisper
just behind me, to one of his companions: "Just wait a minute, and you
will see him touch off the whole pack!"

This was irresistible. My blood was fired with ambition. I fired the
whole bunch at once! The hurrahs and yells were tremendous, and set me
wild. I went and bought another bunch, and set it all off at one time,
as if firecrackers were no new thing to me. But my recklessness was not
to stop there. I had been carried off my feet by the hurrah, as many an
older person has been before.

Our hired man came to me and said that a very pretty thing was going on
near by. I went with him, and saw a man playing a game with three
thimbles, a pea, and a green cushion. The game was to guess under which
of the thimbles the pea was concealed. The hired man thought he knew and
insisted that he knew, and the gamester wanted to bet him that he
didn't. After a while another man came up and tried his hand at
guessing. He also missed. The loss of his money made him indignant, and
he took up another of the thimbles. The pea was not there.

The thing then seemed so easy to our hired man that he asked to try a
dollar on the game. Then the irate man who had lost his money took up
the other thimble and brushed the pea off the cushion. Our hired man,
who let nothing that was going on about the green cushion escape his
sight, saw the pea swept away, and eagerly bet the dealer that there was
no pea there at all. The dealer took him up, and lifted the thimble, and
lo! there was the pea. This did not satisfy the hired man, who kept on
betting, and losing until he had no money left. Thus our savings went up
in powder smoke and in guesses at the whereabouts of a fleeting pea. I
did not gamble then, nor have I gambled since.

But the firecracker day had its lessons for me. It taught me some things
about money and its power, and it got me interested in Cornwallis. I
began to read American history.




I went to school, of course, for this was a part of the serious business
of New England life. Our schoolhouse was two and a half miles distant,
and the path to it lay across half a dozen farms and ran through the
forest for a mile. There I was taught the "three R's," and nothing else.
There was no thought of Latin or Greek, and, except the little
'rithmetic, no mathematics. I learned to cipher, read, and write; but I
learned these rudimentary branches very rapidly. At night, in the old
farmhouse, my aunts would go over the tasks of the day with me.

Our principal diversions were in the winter, when we had delightful
sleighing parties. The school-children always had one great picnic.
There would be a six-horse sleigh, and the teacher would be in charge of
the party. We visited the surrounding towns, and it was a great affair
to us. We looked forward to it from the very commencement of the school
year. On examination day, at the close of the term, we children had to
clean the schoolhouse. There was no janitor, as now. But we enjoyed the
work, and took a certain childish pride in it.

I remember that one of my earliest ambitions was gratified at that
period when I was chosen leader of the school. I stood at the head of
everything. And it was no idle compliment. Boys are not, like their
elders, influenced by envy or jealousy. They invariably try to select
the best "man" among them for their leader. Jealousies, envy, and
heart-burnings come afterward.

Reading the account of the collision between the Priscilla and the
Powhatan in the Sound off Newport, this year, and the peril that
threatened five hundred passengers, there came to my mind the
recollection of a catastrophe that happened sixty-two years ago, and how
the tidings were brought to me. I can live over again the horror of that
day. I recall that it was in January, '40.

It was a stormy, bitter day, and I was in the little schoolhouse at Pond
End, two and a half miles from the farm. The snow had been falling a
long while, and everything was covered with it. As the day advanced, and
the snow piled deeper and ever deeper about the little house, and
covered the forests and fields with a thicker blanket of white, we began
to grow anxious. Now and then a sleigh would drive up through the
drifting, flying snow, and the father and mother of some child in the
school would come in and take away the little boy or girl and disappear
in the storm. I began to think, with dread, of how I, a little fellow,
would be able to find my way home through the blinding snow, when
suddenly there came a tap on the door. The teacher went to the door, and
called to me: "George, your uncle Emery Bemis has just arrived from
Boston in his sleigh, and wants to take you home with him."

When I got into the sleigh he seemed to be very sad. He sat quiet for
some little time, and then turned to me and said: "George, I have some
terrible news for your grandmother. She is at the farmhouse now, waiting
to see her youngest daughter, your aunt Alice. Your grandmother expects
me to bring her. She was coming from New York on the steamer Lexington,
with the dead body of her husband [and his brother and father], which
she wanted to bury in the family graveyard. There were three hundred
passengers on the ship. The Lexington was wrecked and burned in the
Sound, and three hundred persons were lost--burned or drowned. Your aunt
was lost. Only five passengers were saved."

Such were the horrible tidings my uncle was bearing to my grandmother
and my aunts, instead of the living presence they were expecting. This
incident left an ineradicable impression upon my mind. There was one
peculiar thing about the accident of the Lexington that struck me at
the time as being weird and unforgettable. When the ship went to pieces
the pilot-house was shattered, and a portion of it floated away and
lodged against the rocks near the shore. The bell itself was uninjured,
and still swung from its hangings, and there it remained, clanging
dolorously in every wind. It seemed to my boyish fancy to be tolling
perpetually for the dead of the Lexington.

Years afterward, while making a speech in a political campaign, I made
use of this incident. I said the Democratic party of the day was adrift
from its ancient moorings, and was always calling up something of the
remote past. It was like the bell of the Lexington, caught upon the
rocks that had wrecked the ship and tolling forever for the dead.

George Ripley, who was the leader at Brook Farm and, long afterward, was
associated with Charles A. Dana in the preparation of the American
Cyclopedia, was at one time my school-teacher on Waltham Plains. General
Nathaniel P. Banks, who was a few years older than I, was chairman of
our library committee. We used to have lectures in Rumford Hall. (By the
way, this hall was named for Count Rumford, whom most persons take to
have been a German or other foreigner, on account of his foreign title;
but he was an American.) The lecture night was always a great event in
Waltham. One day a man came to me and said, "Here is a remarkable
letter." He read it to me, and it was as follows:

     "_To the Library Committee, Waltham:_

     "I will come to lecture for $5 for myself, but ask you for four
     quarts of oats for my horse.

                                                "RALPH WALDO EMERSON."

The lecture that Mr. Emerson delivered for us boys of the library
committee in Waltham was entitled "Nature." We paid him $5 and four
quarts of oats for it. He delivered it many times afterward, when his
name was on every lip in the civilized world, and he received $150 to
$500 for each delivery. He was just as great then, in that hour in the
little old town of Waltham; it was the same lecture, with the same
exquisite thought and marvelous wisdom; but it took years for the world
to recognize the greatness and the beauty and the wisdom of him, and to
value them at their higher worth. The world paid for the name, not for
the lecture or the truth and beauty.

During this period I attended school for three months every summer. My
grandparents wanted to make a clergyman of me. But that sort of thing
was not in me. I was sent up to Mr. Leonard Frost, at Framingham, ten
miles distant, and lived with him. Certainly my board could not have
been more than $2 a week, and the tuition amounted to scarcely anything.
I was with Mr. Frost just three months, at a total expenditure for
educational purposes of about $25! This constituted my college
education. I was then fourteen years old; and this is all the school
education I have ever had.

The chief game we played when I was a boy was what we called "round
ball," which has now developed into the national game of baseball. I was
quite an adept at the game, as I took great interest always in all
sports and easily excelled in them. I had also a fancy for chemistry,
and my first experiment was the result of sitting down upon a bottle of
chemicals. It cost me certain portions of my clothing, and made a
lasting impression upon me. It effectually put an end to my desire to
study chemistry further.

About this time a sweeping change came in my life. One day I happened to
overhear my aunts talking about my future. The good ladies had come to
the conclusion that a clergyman's life was not the life for me; so they
were debating the question of sending me out to learn a trade. They said
it was evident that I would not be a clergyman, a doctor, or a lawyer;
so I must be a blacksmith, or a carpenter, or a mason. Now I did not
want to be any of these things.

As soon as I got an opportunity I told my aunts that I did not intend to
be a carpenter, or a mason, or a blacksmith. I said I was going down to
Boston--not to the market, but to get a position somewhere. They were
astounded. They could not believe their ears. But I went.

The city seemed bigger than ever, now that I had to face it and conquer
it, or have it conquer me. But I was not beaten before the fight. I
began walking through the streets with as bold a heart as I could
summon, and kept searching the windows and doors for any sign of "Boy
wanted." I had seen such notices pasted up in windows when I came into
the town on marketing trips.

Finally I saw such a sign on a drug-store in Washington Street, and
walked in. I told the druggist I should like to go to work. He offered
me my board and lodging for looking after the place. I asked him what
sort of clothes he wanted me to wear, and he replied that the suit I had
on--my Sunday clothes--would do for every day. I was quite happy and
started to work.

The first night I slept in the same building with the store, but above
it. About one o'clock in the morning the bell rang. Some one wanted the
doctor at once. I said I wasn't a doctor, and that the doctor was not
there. The messenger ran off. This was bad enough, to be routed up in
the middle of the night that way. The next day the druggist went away
from the store on some business. I sampled everything edible in the
place. I tried the different kinds of candy, and sirups, and then went
out and bought some lemonade and a dozen raw oysters. The result may be
imagined. After a few minutes of Mont Pelée, I decided that I had had
enough of the drug business. I told the druggist my decision, shut the
door, and left the store, a disappointed and lonely little fellow.

I hesitated as to my next step. But there was the old farmhouse--and it
invited me very tenderly just then to return. I was not conquered yet,
but would fight on. I turned, as if by instinct, toward Cambridgeport,
the scene of my traffickings with the grocer. My uncle Clarke lived
there, the uncle that had brought me on from New Orleans; but I could
not make up my mind to go to him, either. The family would laugh at me.
No! I would get another place--but it would not be in a drug-store!

Then I had an inspiration. There was the grocer named Holmes! Why not
try him? I would. So I went to the store of Joseph A. Holmes, at the
corner of Main Street and Brighton Road. To my eager inquiry, Mr. Holmes
said: "You have come just in time. We want a boy." Then he asked me what
wages I wanted. "Just enough to live on," I said. "You can live with
us," he said; "and I will give you one dollar a week." That meant $50 a
year. It was a great sum to me. I began to work at once.

This was the winter of '43-'44, and I was fourteen. My work was to drive
the grocery wagon up to Old Cambridgeport, take orders, and fill them. I
had to get up at four o'clock in the morning to look after the horse,
just as I had done on the farm, and to get everything ready for the
trip. I had the orders of the day before to fill and to deliver at the
college. Besides, I had to work in the store after I came back from Old
Cambridgeport. In the evening I had to look after the lamps, sweep out,
put up the shutters, and do numberless other little things about the
store. The store was closed at ten o'clock at night. Then I would put
out the lights, which were old-fashioned oil lamps.

It was a long day for a boy--or for a man. I worked eighteen hours every
day. And the laborers in the Pennsylvania coal-mines are now striking
for an eight-hour day! I had six hours of night in which to go to bed
and to find what sleep I could. This life continued for about two years.
In that time I had learned to do almost everything that was to be done
about a grocery store. I had really learned this in the first six

One of my many little duties was to make paper bags. I had to cut the
paper and paste it together. Another task was to take a hogshead of
hams, put each ham in bagging, and sew it up. Then I had to whitewash
each particular ham. That was a nice business! It went against my nature
more than any other part of my manifold labors in the store.

Mr. Holmes was a Baptist deacon, but the only thing about him to which
my youthful taste objected was that he chewed tobacco all the time.
Yes, there was another objection. He insisted upon my joining the Bible
class in his Sunday-school. This I would not do. I could not explain it
all to him; but the Santa Claus matter had not yet worn out of my mind.

One day at the grocery store, Mr. Holmes brought in an elderly gentleman
and said to me: "George, I want you to take this gentleman" (naming him)
"up to the college, and walk about with him." The gentleman seemed to me
to be about sixty years old. Mr. Holmes cautioned me about keeping him
out of any danger, as he was not very well. "Don't talk to him," he said
to me, "unless he wants to talk to you."

The thing was like a holiday to me. I walked with him up to the college,
and all around, as much as he wanted to; and it never occurred to me, in
all the days I was with him in this way, to find out who he was, or to
think about it at all.

He was John Jacob Astor, Jr., eldest son of the founder of the great
house of the Astors. He was practically an invalid. He was then in
charge of a Mr. Dowse, who generally left him to the care of Mr. Holmes,
and who, in turn, left him to me. After this, he came to New York, where
he was taken in charge by his brother, William B. Astor.



Before I get away from my boyhood days, I want to say something about
the manner of my rearing in the bosom of old New England Methodism. I
was reared in the strictest ways of morality, in accordance with the old
system. Grandmother told me that I must not swear, must not drink
intoxicating liquors, must not lie, must not use tobacco in any form. It
seemed to me she was stretching out the moral law a little, and that
there were fifteen, instead of ten, commandments, in the religious
scheme of Methodism. And each commandment was held up to me as an
unfailing precept that would make a man of me. I used to say to myself
that I would be fifteen times a man, as I intended to keep them all.

But while this training was proceeding, and I was being warned against
drinking and using tobacco, there were some strange inconsistencies
going on side by side with the precepts. My old grandmother smoked what
was known as "nigger-head" tobacco, in a little clay pipe. The pipes
cost about a cent apiece. I used to cut up this tobacco for her. But as
she smoked, she lost no opportunity of impressing upon me the
dreadfulness of the tobacco habit.

I made bold one day to ask her why it was that she smoked, and yet told
me not to smoke. She touched herself in the right side, and said, "The
doctor tells me to smoke for some trouble here." But she was a very
lovely old lady, and I would never write or speak a word that could harm
the dear memory of the mother of my mother.

At this time, also, her father was living. I remember the old gentleman
now, in his red cap, then a wonder to me, but which afterward became
very familiar in Constantinople and the East as the Turkish fez. He was
very aged, being then well along in the eighties. Every night I used to
go up to his room and make him a toddy. He always wanted me to mix this
drink for him, as I had learned to make it exactly to his taste. He had
the rare consistency never to say anything to me about the immorality of
drinking, nor did I ever speak to him about the matter. But one day I
asked my grandmother about this "toddy." She touched her left side, and
said, "It is for something here."

I could not understand it, but here were mysterious "somethings" in my
grandmother's right side, and in her father's left side, that nullified
the Methodist religious system and set at naught the additional
commandments, "Thou shalt not drink," and "Thou shalt not smoke."

But the scheme of morality proved a good thing for me, and served to
guide me aright in all my wanderings about the world and up and down in
it. I think it very good testimony to the soundness and virtue of my
moral training that I have wandered around the world four times, have
lived in every manner known to man, have been thrown with the most
dissolute and the most reckless of mankind, and have passed through
almost every vicissitude of fortune, and have never tasted a drop of
intoxicating liquor, and have never smoked. I have kept all of the
commandments--those of Sinai and those of the Methodists.

In my period of wealth and prosperity, I have entertained thousands of
men, have seen thousands drinking and drunken at my table--and under it;
but I never touched a drop of my own wine or of the wine of others. I
have paid a great deal of money for the purchase of all sorts of
tobacco, and for all sorts of pipes--narghiles, hookas, chibouks--as
presents for others; but never touched tobacco myself in any way. I have
been in every rat-hole of the world--but I never touched the rats. It is
for these reasons that I am seventy-three years young, and am hale and
strong to-day, and living my life over again like a youth once more.

Years afterward, when I was lecturing, my cousin, George Pickering
Bemis, ex-Mayor of Omaha, and my aunt Abbie and my cousin Abbie attended
the one I delivered in Omaha, and all of them felt a little hurt by my
allusions to the old Methodists, and to my grandmother and her father.
Bemis wrote to me that they were horrified. But they forgot that what I
said of the Methodists and of my ancestors was in their praise. I was
not ridiculing them, but extolling them. I told of these incidents of my
childhood, because I was speaking of my childhood, and these were facts.
One of the strictest commandments of old Methodism was to tell the
truth. They were not satisfied with the mild negative of the Sinaitic
commandment, "Thou shalt not lie." They added a positive decree, "Thou
shalt speak the truth." That was all I was doing. I was telling the
truth about my childhood and boyhood. I have never spoken anything but
the truth in all my life. This, too, I owe to the early training in
Methodist virtues and precepts, and to the example and counsel of my
dear old grandmother.

I could not join the Bible class, at the urgent request of the grocer,
Mr. Holmes, because I could not see the necessity of God, and no one
could ever explain to me the reason why there should be, or is, a God. I
could never recognize the necessity. Morality and ethics I could see the
necessity of, and the high and authoritative reason for; but religion
never appealed to my intelligence or to my emotions. The story of the
Prodigal Son only taught me that to be a Christian one must do something
to be forgiven for, to repent of; and I could not see the strength of
such an argument. The plain and sound "ethics" of Methodism, outside of
"faith" and "belief," always seemed to me to be higher and better than

I feel that in an autobiography I should say this much about my moral
creed and principles. Later in life the Bible got me into much trouble,
involved me in persecutions, and finally landed me in jail--all of which
I shall refer to in due season.

Children are born savages and cheats. It is only training that makes
true and honest men and women of them. When a child of five and six, I
slept with my aunt Alice, the one who was afterward lost on the
Lexington. One night I saw a fourpence in her pocket-book. When I saw
that she was asleep, I got up quietly, went to her pocket-book where it
lay on the table and took the fourpence out of it. But I could not
retain it. It seared into my conscience. Before she woke up, I went as
quietly back to the purse and placed the fourpence exactly where I had
found it. My Methodist training saved me.

On another occasion, my grandmother took me to Watertown to buy me a
suit of clothes. In the store I noticed, while my grandmother was
talking with the clerk, a lovely knife in the show-case. I wanted it.
All my boyish instincts went out to that knife. I had never had a
knife, and was hungry for one. I looked around, with all the inherited
cunning of savage and barbarian and predatory ancestors in a thousand
forests and for a hundred centuries. No one was observing me. Quietly,
stealthily, I went to the case. I lifted the top, took the beautiful
knife, and put it in my pocket. It was done. I had the knife, and no one
would ever be any wiser. I was safe with my spoil. But again my
Methodist-drilled conscience awoke. It made me go back to the show-case
and replace the stolen knife. I actually felt better--for a time.

Then the appeal of nature came back stronger than before. I longed for
the knife. There was no resisting the predatory impulse. Again I stole
behind the counter, opened the case, took out the knife, and placed it
securely in my pocket. Again it had been done without chance of
detection. But again my Methodist-made conscience came to the fore.
Again it saved me from being a thief. I went back to the case, and put
the knife in its place, but with great reluctance. Still a third time I
took the knife from the case and secreted it in my pocket, and again the
Methodist conscience proved stronger than human nature, and I restored
the treasure to its proper place. I was finally able to leave the store
without the knife, and with a clean conscience.

These are the only instances when I started to do an evil thing, and in
both of them I did not go the full length, but restored the property I
coveted. Since that time, and with these exceptions, for the entire
period of my life I have never cheated, stolen, or lied. And yet I have
been in fifteen jails. For what?

When I was clerk in Mr. Holmes's grocery store I was in charge of the
money-drawer. I received no salary from Mr. Holmes, but took out the $1
a week that I was allowed, and kept an account of it. I was trusted, and
did not betray in the slightest degree this trust and confidence of my
employer. Every cent that I took out of, or put into the cash-drawer was
entered upon my account-book, and I was ready at any and all times to
show exactly how my account stood with the store.




The next change in my life, and the real beginning of my career as a
business man, was soon to come. I had got as much out of the grocery
store as it could give me, and was yearning for a change and a wider
field of labor.

One day a gentleman drove up to the store in a carriage drawn by an
elegant team of horses, and asked if there was a boy there named Train.
Mr. Holmes thereupon called to me, and said to the strange gentleman,
"This is George Francis Train." He then told me that the stranger was
Colonel Enoch Train, and that he wanted to speak to me.

The first thing Colonel Train said was, "I am surprised to see you,
George. I thought all your family were dead in New Orleans. Your father
was a very dear friend of mine--and your mother, too." He said, as if
repeating it to himself, like a sort of formula, "Oliver Train, merchant
in Merchants' Row." Then he continued: "He was my cousin. But we had
heard that you were all dead. Where have you been?" I told him where I
had been living for the past ten years, with my grandmother at Waltham,
and how my uncle Clarke had brought me back from New Orleans.

After he had made a number of inquiries of me, and I had given him all
the stock of information I had, Colonel Train drove back to Boston. I
watched the retreating carriage, and brave and disturbing thoughts came
to me.

The following day I went to Boston. I had no very definite plan of
action, but I knew that when the time and opportunity came I should find
my way, as usual. And so I went directly to the great shipping house of
Train & Co., at 37 Lewis Wharf. The big granite building seemed titanic
to my eyes then, as if it contained the whole world of business and
enterprise. When I went back to Boston years and years afterward, it
seemed only a plain, ordinary affair. At first sight of it the place was
simply ahead of and greater than anything I had seen. When I had
outgrown it, it seemed small.

When I came up to the building, my purpose was at once clear. I walked
in and asked to see Colonel Train. The colonel shook hands cordially,
and said he was very glad to see me. "Where do I come in?" I asked.

"Come in?" he almost gasped at this effrontery. "Why, people don't come
into a big shipping house like this in that way. You are too young."

"I am growing older every day," I replied. "That is the reason I am
here. I want to make my way in the world." "Well," said the colonel,
smiling at me, "you come in to see me when you are seventeen years old."

"That will be next year," I replied. "I am sixteen now. I might just as
well begin this year--right away." He tried to put me off one way after
another; but I was not to be got rid of. I was there, and I meant to

"I will come in to-morrow," I said. Then I left, quite content with
myself and the turn my venture had taken. Of the issue I had no doubt.

Early on the following day, I went to the shipping office, and took my
seat at one of the desks. I sat there and waited. After a little while,
Colonel Train came in. He was astonished to see me sitting there, ready
for work.

"You here?" he stammered. "Have you left the grocery store?" "Yes, sir,"
I said; "I have learned everything there is to learn there and in fact
had done so before I had been there six months. I want a bigger field to
work in."

"You don't mean to say you have come here without being invited?" "As I
was not invited, that was about the only way for me to come," I said.
"As I am here, I might as well stay." And I settled myself in the seat
at the desk.

Colonel Train looked at the bookkeeper sorely perplexed. But I saw that
he rather admired my persistence and bravado. I had won the first trial
of arms.

"Well," said he, after a while, turning again to the bookkeeper, "we
shall see if we can find something for you to do." "I will find
something to do," I said. He smiled cordially at this, and said: "I will
make a man of you." "I will make a man of myself," I replied.

Then the colonel asked Mr. Nazro, who had been the firm's bookkeeper for
many years, to try to find something for me to do.

It so happened that the ship Anglo-Saxon had just arrived from
Liverpool, Captain Joseph R. Gordon, with goods for 150 consignees. Mr.
Nazro handed me the portage bill showing the amount to be collected from
each of the 150 consignees. The amounts were set down in English money,
and Mr. Nazro asked me to put them into American, or Federal, money. I
fancied he was setting me what would prove to be an impossible task,
just to dispose of me for all time. But he blundered, if this was his
purpose. I had had some experience of English money at the grocery
store, having often to change it into American money.

I coolly asked Mr. Nazro what was the prevailing rate of exchange, and
he replied that it was $4.80 to the pound. "That is just 24 cents to
the shilling, two cents to the penny," I said, and went to work. It was
then noon. It would have taken some clerks a week to do the task; but I
had completed it by six o'clock that afternoon.

When I handed the list back to him, he asked, with an astonished air, if
I had finished it. "You can see for yourself," I replied. "There it is,
all made out properly and correctly." "How do you know it is right?"
said he. "Because I have proved it," I replied.

This little task decided my fate. Mr. Nazro told me the office hours
were from eight until six, with the rest of the time, the evenings, all
my own.

The next morning I arrived at the office promptly, and asked Mr. Nazro
what I was to do. He handed me a package of bills. I saw they were the
bills upon which I had worked the day before, changing English to
American currency. There were 150 of them. Each was to contain the
amount that must be collected from each of the consignees. I at once set
to work on this new task, and completed it in less time than it had
taken me to change the money. I went with the bills to Mr. Nazro, and
asked what I was to do next. He gave me a collector's wallet into which
to put the bills, and told me to go out and collect the amounts due.
This was a staggerer, but I set about the difficult undertaking without
any feeling of discouragement.

At that time Boston was a strange city to me. It is true that I had
lived on the edge of it for years; but my ceaseless work at the grocery
store had kept me from roaming over the town and learning anything about
it. The only section I was at all familiar with was the neighborhood of
the old Quincy Market, to which I had driven so many wagon-loads of
garden and farm "truck" in my boyhood days. I was as green as a genuine
countryman who had come to town for the first time in his life. I knew
not a soul in the city. But off I started, nothing abashed, with the
great wallet of bills under my arm. I intended to succeed at this task.

I soon picked out my course through the city. I worked through street
after street, and collected as I went. I did not stop, but kept steadily
on, and in the afternoon found myself at the end of the list. I had
collected nearly every bill.

I returned to the office and handed the wallet and money to Mr. Nazro.
Again he was astonished. He asked if I had collected all the bills, and
when I told him nearly all, he asked me for the list. I said I had made
out none, as it was not necessary. There was all the money; he could
count it, and compare with the list on his books. He was very much
surprised, but counted the money, and found it correct to a cent. I did
not need a list, I told him, because I could carry the whole thing in my

From that day to this I have done everything I have undertaken in my
own way, and have found that it was the best way--at least, for me.

My next duty was to see that every one of the 150 consignees received
the goods that were billed to him. This gave me opportunity for meeting
a large number of important persons. Among the rest, I met Nathaniel P.
Banks, who was a Custom-House official at the time, and the great
writer, Nathaniel Hawthorne, whom I saw in the Custom-House on a visit
from Salem. He had been appointed by President Polk. Of course I knew
nothing about him at the time, although he was then writing his greatest
work, and perhaps was casting in his mind The Scarlet Letter. He had
only just begun to be famous--an interesting fact enough, but one I did
not learn till long afterward. He seemed very unassuming, and not in
very affluent circumstances. I suppose his salary from the Government at
the time was not more than $1,000 a year.

My life in the old shipping house of Train & Co., in Boston, lasted some
four years. The first vessel that came in, after I began working with
the company, was the Joshua Bates, named after the American partner of
the famous house of the Barings. It was of 400 tons, quite a big ship
for the time. The next was the Washington Irving, 500 tons; and the
third was the Anglo-Saxon, the bills of which, on a previous voyage, I
had made out in my trial under Mr. Nazro. The Anglo-Saxon was lost the
following year--this was in '46--off Cape Sable, with several
passengers, the captain and crew escaping. After this the Anglo-American
came in, then the Parliament, the Ocean Monarch, and the Staffordshire.
All of these were famous ships in their day.

In '48, I was at the pier one day on the lookout for the Ocean Monarch.
Although the telegraph had been established in '44, it had not been
brought from Nova Scotia to Boston, and we had only the semaphore to use
for signaling. When a ship entered the harbor, the captain would take a
speaking-trumpet and, standing on the bridge, shout out the most
interesting or important tidings so that the news would get into the
city before the ship was docked. The Persia was also due, with Captain
Judkins, and it came in ahead of the Ocean Monarch. Some three or four
thousand persons were on the pier waiting eagerly for the captain's
news. I was at the end of the pier, and saw Captain Judkins place the
trumpet to his lips, and heard him shout the tidings. And this is what I

"The Ocean Monarch was burned off Orm's Head. Four hundred passengers
burned or drowned. Captain Murdoch taken off of a spar by Tom
Littledale's yacht. A steamer going to Ireland passed by, and refused to
offer assistance. Complete wreck, and complete loss."

The captain shouted hoarsely, like a sentence of doom from the "last
trump." Every one was stunned. The scene was indescribable, both the
dead silence with which the dreadful tidings were received, and the wild
excitement that soon burst forth.

I took advantage of the awed hush of the people, and rushed toward the
street end of the pier. There I leaped on my horse that was waiting for
me, and galloped off. Crossing the ferry, I went madly through
Commercial Street, up State Street, and to the Merchants' Exchange.
There I mounted a chair, and amid a great hush, shouted out the tidings,
word for word, and in almost the exact intonation the captain had used.

One day a gentleman, looking like a farmer, came into the office and
asked to see Mr. Train. I remember that it was the 5th of October, '47.
I replied to his question that my name was Train. "I mean the old
gentleman," he said.

I told him that Colonel Train was out of the office at the time, but
that as I had charge of the ships, I might be able to attend to his
business. But I added that I was in a hurry, as the Washington Irving
was to sail in an hour. "That is just what I am here for," said he. "I
want to sail on that ship; I want passage for England."

I told him there was one state-room left, and that he could have both
berths for the price of one--$75, but that he must get aboard in great
haste, as everything was ready and the ship waiting for final orders.
He said he was ready, and I started to fill up a passenger slip. "What
is your name?" I asked. "Ralph Waldo Emerson," he replied.

Then he took out of his pocket an old wallet, with twine wrapped around
it four or five times, opened it carefully, and counted out $75. I could
not wait to see whether it was correct, but threw it in the drawer, and
took him on board.

Mr. Emerson was then starting on his famous visit to England, during
which he was to visit Carlyle. He afterward mentioned the occurrence in
his English Traits, where he said: "I took my berth in the packet-ship
Washington Irving." From the moment when I thus met Emerson for the
second time, I began to take great interest in him, read him carefully,
and have continued to read him throughout my life. He has had more
influence upon me than any other man in the world.

We once chartered the ship Franklin to take a cargo of tar, pitch, and
turpentine from Wilmington, N. C., consigned to the Baring Brothers,
London, and return with a cargo of freight. She was about due from
England, thirty-five days having elapsed since she had started to
return. By this time I had been placed in charge of all the shipping,
and I was on the lookout for the Franklin. One day the news came by
semaphore that a large ship had been wrecked just off the lighthouse,
while coming into Boston harbor. It was not known what ship it was. The
sender of the message asked if Train & Co. had a ship due. I thought at
once it might be the Franklin, making a somewhat faster passage than we
had expected.

The next day some of the wreckage came into the harbor, and, strangely
enough, a piece of the floating timbers bore the name Franklin on it. I
was at the pier when this discovery was made, and rushed at once to the
insurance office to see whether the policy covering the freight had been
arranged. It was all right. On the following day, to the astonishment of
all Boston, the valise of one of the officers of the Franklin was washed
ashore at Nantasket. In it were many letters, and among them were
instructions telling how "to sink the vessel off the lighthouse, as she
was fully insured." When the ship went down the captain was drowned with
the rest of the crew and the passengers.

I saw at once that here was a case of barratry of the master, and that
the letter would jeopardize the whole affair of the insurance. It was a
matter that needed prompt and able legal work. I hastened to the office
of Rufus Choate, the most famous lawyer in New England of that time. I
hurriedly explained to Mr. Choate that we had lost a ship, and needed a
lawyer. "Will you accept a retainer of $500?" I added. He accepted it at
once, and turned to his desk to write out a receipt. I said there was
no necessity for a receipt, as the check would be receipt enough, and
hurried away.

I then went directly across the street to the office of Daniel Webster,
who was then practising law in Boston. I was particularly anxious to
have Mr. Webster retained. I remember now the roar of his great, deep
voice as he responded to my knock with a "Come in" that was like a
battle peal. And I recall well the picture of the great man, as I saw
him for the first time. He sat at his flat desk, a magnificent example
of manhood, his massive head set squarely and solidly upon his
shoulders. He did not have very much business in those days, and the
clients that found a way to his office were few.

"Mr. Webster," I said, "we want your services in a very important case.
Will you accept this as a retainer?" I handed him a check for $1,000. He
accepted it very promptly, and it seemed to me at the time that the
check loomed large to him. Such sums came seldom.

One incident in the trial of the case impressed me deeply. It was the
masterly manner in which Mr. Choate examined the witnesses. He had the
reputation of being the most effective cross-examiner in New England.
Before him, in the witness-box, stood one of the owners. Mr. Choate
wanted to confuse him in his testimony as to the way in which he had
done a certain thing. He began by asking the longest and most complex
question that I ever heard. It wound all around the case, and straggled
through every street in Boston. "You say," Mr. Choate began, "you say
that you did so and so, that you went to such and such a place, that
after this you did so and so, and thus and so," and he kept on asking
him if after doing this and that if such and such was not the case,
until there was no answering the question, or understanding it.

But Mr. Choate had tackled the wrong man for once. The man was an
Irishman, and the most nonchalant person I ever saw. Nothing seemed to
confuse him. While Mr. Choate was firing his complicated questions at
him, he sat perfectly unmoved, unshaken. He seemed to be taking it all
in. Then when the astute lawyer had finished, the witness looked at him
quietly, and said: "Mr. Choate, will yez be after rapatin' that again?"

Bar and bench and spectators broke into roars of laughter. For once Mr.
Choate was confused. But we won the case, as was to be expected, thanks
to our matchless array of legal ability.

We had two ships engaged in making what was known as "the triangular
run"--from Boston to New Orleans, New Orleans to Liverpool, and
Liverpool back to Boston. They were the St. Petersburg, built in '40 for
the cotton trade, and having for a figurehead the head and shoulders of
the Emperor Nicholas; and the Governor Davis, named for the governor of
the Bay State, whose son is now living at Newport. Once we were
expecting the Governor Davis to arrive at New Orleans, where the freight
rates were higher than they had been in many years--three farthings the
pound. The vessel was to be loaded with cotton for Liverpool. We were
elated at the prospect of big profits, when a telegram came from our
agent, Levi H. Gale, at New Orleans. It read: "The Governor Davis is
burned up."

Our hearts sank. A fortune had been lost, or at least the opportunity to
make one. I went immediately to the insurance office to see that the
policies were all right, and found them in good shape. Then it occurred
to me that there might be a possibility of error in the message. Eager
with my thought, I rushed to the telegraph office and asked to have the
message repeated carefully, no matter what it might cost. After awhile
there came back what had been a terrifying message in this new form:
"The Governor Davis is bound up." The vessel was safe, and so were our

My connection with the packet lines brought me into contact with many
prominent business men of Boston. Very often I was able to do some
little thing for them, and once a very amusing incident occurred in
connection with the attempt of Mr. Milton, of the firm of Milton,
Cushman & Co., to get some English pigs for breeding purposes. I had
charge of the catering for our vessels, and made the purchases. Mr.
Milton asked me to get him some English pigs, and I promised that we
would bring some over by the very next ship. As the vessels were out for
quite a time, we frequently carried live animals aboard for food, and
usually hogs and pigs. It so happened that on this particular trip, when
going east, one of the sows gave birth to a litter of pigs. They were
taken to Liverpool. By some mistake they were brought back and delivered
to Mr. Milton. He prized them very highly, until later on he discovered
that they were American pigs, born under the American flag on the high
seas. The mistake subjected him to much good-natured chaffing. No one
forgot the incident during the old gentleman's life.

Of course, there was always present the temptation to do a little
business on my own account, during my connection with the Train Packet
Lines. Indeed, the desire to do this, and the experience I got in it,
were the foundations of my subsequent business success. It was
inevitable that I should have undertakings of my own.

My first speculation was the shipment of a cargo of Danvers onions to
Liverpool in consignment of Baring Brothers. I was eager to have my
first venture turn out a success. The onions were packed carefully in
barrels, and I saw myself that they were in the best condition before
they were shipped. I felt as if I had taken every precaution, and that
I was assured of a pretty good thing. Then came the news from England:
"Onions arrived; not in good order. Debit, £3 17s. 6d."

That was the disappointing result of my first venture. I was a loser.
Years afterward, when I was launching shipping lines between Australia
and America, I cited this little experience of mine as an example of
what might be expected by many who sent cargoes to the other end of the

My second venture proved more successful. This was the shipping of fish
on ice to New Orleans. It paid me well. But my real career as a shipper
started in quite another and different way. I am ashamed to confess how
I began this career, which made me a shipper of cargoes to the other end
of the earth. But as I was too ignorant at the time to know much better,
or, indeed, to give any thought at all to the matter, I shall, in the
interest of truth, make a full confession. I became a smuggler of opium
into China!

It happened in this way. One of our captains, who was about to start
with a cargo for the Orient, asked me if I did not want to send over
something for sale, as he thought a good profit might be made on a
shipment of something in demand there. "What would be a good thing to
send?" I asked. "Opium," said he laconically.

Opium meant nothing to me then. I had never thought of it in any way
other than as a marketable product and an object in cargoes. So I went
to Henshaw's, in Boston, and got three tins of opium, the best he had.
This I placed in charge of the captain, and he smuggled it into China,
and got a good price for it, to the profit of himself and me.

But the smuggling did not end there. I had instructed him to lay in a
supply of curios, silks, and other oriental things, and bring them to
Boston. This part of the venture was as successful as the first, and I
made quite a snug little sum. It was my first considerable profit. That
was in '46-'47.

I do not think any one in good standing in business has an idea now of
cheating the Government out of tariff duties. I had not, at that time,
the slightest idea that I was doing wrong. I felt entirely innocent of
defrauding two governments, and did not realize that I was a smuggler.
The wrong of the transaction I fully understood afterward.

But I fear that the moral sense as to smuggling, to use an ugly term,
was not so delicate in those days. Even patriotic and good men thought
that it was not very bad to bring in articles from Europe and the Orient
without stopping to pay the duty levied by the United States. There was
no systematic attempt to defraud the Government. There was just no
thought at all, except to get in a few luxuries upon which it did not
seem worth while to pay the customs dues. I can recall a few examples
of this lax way of treating the tariff regulations. They were the acts
of men of great social and business prominence. If done to-day, they
would shock the whole country--even the Democratic and low tariff, or no
tariff, part of it.

One day a banker, who was a famous figure in Boston, a leader in the
world of business, asked me if I could not bring over for him some
silver he had ordered sent to the Train offices in Liverpool. I
consented. Shortly after this, the steward of the Ocean Monarch told me
he had a very heavy package addressed to "George Francis Train." I
directed him to bring it into the office. Then I saw that the heavy
package was addressed, in the corner, from the shippers to this famous
Boston banker. And so, without any intent to defraud the Government on
my part, and, I suppose, without any intent on the part of the great
banker to do a distinctly wrong act, we had actually conspired to
smuggle in some exquisite silver plate for the richest banker in New
England, to save a few dollars' tariff duty!

Once while I was in Paris, in '50, I wanted to buy some presents for the
young lady to whom I was engaged to be married--Miss Davis--who was then
living in Louisville, Ky. I called at the Paris office of a famous
American firm of jewelers, and the resident agent took me to a
magnificent establishment, where I saw the wealth of a world in gems.

An amusing thing happened, which I shall relate before I complete the
story of this smuggling incident. I asked at once to see the most
beautiful things the shop contained, the latest, and most charming.
Imagine my surprise and horror when the young girl who was showing me
around the shop exhibited to me a package of pictures that would have
subjected me to immediate arrest and incarceration had they been found
on my person in this city. She explained to me that this was the part of
the business in her charge, and that she thought, as I was an American
and new to Paris, I wanted to get hold of some startling pictures to
carry back to the United States.

Passing through this temptation unscathed, I finally got to the jewels
and gems of all sorts, and selected some for my betrothed. I bought
about $1,000 worth. Suddenly the agent of an American house turned on me
and said he was thinking of sending a present to his firm in New York,
and asked if I would not take charge of it and deliver it, or have it
delivered direct. Of course I did not know what this meant--that he
wanted me to get a package of jewels to his firm without paying the
tariff duty. I consented, however, before I went into the ethical
question, and brought over, perhaps, a package of splendid and costly
diamonds for one of the richest houses in the world.

While in charge of the ships of the house in Boston I had a little
yacht, called The Sea Witch, that I used in boarding vessels in the
harbor. One day there arrived a very great man, in my opinion a tower of
strength in finance--Thomas Baring, afterward Lord Revelstoke, who
succeeded Lord Ashburton as the representative of England in this
country. I had prepared to take him on a trip around the harbor, and
everything was ready for the sail the following day, when he was
suddenly called to Washington, and sent me a note which read as follows:


     "As I leave for Washington in the morning, I regret that it will
     not be possible for me to go with you on The Sea Witch to see
     Boston harbor. I remember with pleasure the canvasback ducks that
     you sent to me at London, and which gave me and my friends so
     much pleasure. I hope to see you on my return.

                                                      "THOMAS BARING."

The great development of the clippers, the boats that soon made the
reputation of the United States on the seas, was due chiefly to the
discovery of gold in California. This made it necessary to send a great
number of ships to the Pacific coast, and I saw that it was essential to
the success of the trade to send large boats that could make profits on
this long voyage.

Gold was discovered in '48. At that time our packets had attained to
the size of only 800 tons. They were considered large boats at the time,
but now would be called mere tubs. I saw that if we wanted to enter the
trade with the Pacific we should have to get larger ships. Our first
packets had been built at East Boston by Donald Mackay: the Joshua
Bates, 400 tons; the Washington Irving, 500 tons; the Anglo-Saxon, 600
tons; the Anglo-American, 700 tons; the Ocean Monarch, 800 tons. In a
few years we had enlarged the packet clipper from a vessel of 400 tons
to one of 800 tons, or twice the size. The Ocean Monarch was regarded as
a veritable monster of the seas.

When the gold-fever was setting the country frantic, and every one,
apparently, wanted to go to California, I said to Mackay: "I want a big
ship, one that will be larger than the Ocean Monarch." Mackay replied,
"Two hundred tons bigger?" "No," said I, "I want a ship of 2,000 tons."
Mackay was one of those men who merely ask what is needed. He said he
would build the sort of ship I wanted. "I shall call her the Flying
Cloud," I said. This is the history of that famous ship, destined to
make a new era in ship-building all over the world.

Longfellow sent me a copy of his poem, The Building of the Ship, which
he had written to commemorate the construction of a much smaller vessel.
Not only ship-builders, but the whole world, was talking of the Flying
Cloud. Her appearance in the world of commerce was a great historic

No sooner was the Flying Cloud built than many ship-owners wanted to buy
her. Among others, the house of Grinnell, Minturn & Co., of the
Swallow-Tail Line, of Liverpool, asked what we would take for her. I
replied that I wanted $90,000, which meant a handsome profit. The answer
came back immediately, "We will take her." We sent the vessel to New
York under Captain Cressey, while I went on by railway. There I closed
the sale, and the proudest moment of my life, up to that time, was when
I received a check from Moses H. Grinnell, the New York head of the
house, for $90,000.

The Flying Cloud was sent from New York to San Francisco, and made the
passage in eighty-six days, with a full cargo of freight and passengers,
paying for herself in that single voyage out and back. Her record has
not been beaten by any sailing ship in the fifty-three years that have
since elapsed.

The building of this vessel was a tremendous leap forward in
ship-building; but I was not satisfied. I told Mackay that I wanted a
still larger ship. He said he could build it. And so we began another
vessel that was to outstrip in size and capacity the great Flying Cloud.

I was desirous to name this ship the Enoch Train, in honor of the head
of the Boston house, and had said as much to Duncan MacLane, who was
the marine reporter for the Boston Post. MacLane had usually written a
column for his paper on the launching of our ships. He wanted to have
something to write about the new vessel. I told him the story of Colonel
Train's life, and that we were going to christen the new vessel with his
name. I did not consult Colonel Train, thinking that, of course, it was
all right.

The Post published a long account of the ship, and gave the name as the
Enoch Train. When I went down to the office that morning Colonel Train
had not yet arrived, but he soon came in, walking straight as a
gun-barrel, and seeming to be a little stiff. "Did you see the Post this
morning?" I asked. "Premature," he replied. That was all he said. He
would not discuss the matter. I was nettled that he did not appreciate
the honor I thought I was conferring on him. It was not for nothing that
a man's name should be borne by the greatest vessel on the seas. I said
to myself that the name should be changed at once. The ship was to be of
2,200 tons burden, larger than the Flying Cloud and the Staffordshire,
both of 2,000 tons, and I decided to call her the Sovereign of the Seas.

The news that we were building a still bigger ship was rapidly
circulated throughout the world. Many shipping lines wanted to buy her
before she was off the ways. Despatches from New York shipping lines
making inquiry as to price came almost daily. I invariably replied that
we would take $130,000. But this was a little too stiff a price at that
time, although the Flying Cloud had paid for herself in a single trip. I
finally sold her to Berren Roosen, Jr., of Hamburg, Germany, through the
brokers Funch & Menkier, of New York, for $110,000. She was entered in
my name, although I was at the time only nineteen years of age. I was
quite proud to have the greatest vessel then afloat on any water
associated with my name. She was sent to Liverpool.

The California business had grown steadily, and the house of Train had
taken a leading part in it. One of the biggest of our ships was built
expressly for it, and employed on the long run from Boston to San
Francisco. This was the Staffordshire, which we had named for the great
potteries in England from which we got so much of our import freight.
She was of the same size and tonnage as the Flying Cloud--2,000 tons. We
sent her to California on her first trip under Captain Richardson, full
of freight and passengers. There were three hundred passengers, each
paying $300 for the trip around the Horn. This brought us in $90,000,
completely paying for the cost of building and equipping, with cash in
hand, before she sailed.

The Flying Cloud and the Staffordshire were followed by about forty fast
clippers during the great gold-fever of '49. I was still in my teens,
and consider it not an insignificant thing to have accomplished the
initiation of this magnificent clipper service which revolutionized
sailing vessels all over the world, and gave to America the reputation
for building the fastest ships on the seas.

When the California business first opened up, I was bent upon going to
the Golden Horn myself. I felt that there was to be a great development
in trade and permanent business there, and wanted to "get in on the
ground floor." But this was not to be, and my destiny detained me at
Boston to take my share in the building of fast clippers and in
developing the trade from the Atlantic side of the continent. I saw that
MacKondray & Co., and Flint, Peabody & Co., who went to California about
this time, were making fortunes out of commissions. I also saw men go
there later to become millionaires in a few years--men like John W.
Mackay, the pioneer, who died recently in London, worth somewhere
approximating $100,000,000, most of it taken out of the Comstock Lode,
the last of the "Big Four"--Mackay, Flood, Fair, and O'Brien--all of
whom are dead. But my fortunes led in another direction. I was to go
East, and not West.

In connection with the clipper service to California, I should mention
here the beginning of the Irish immigration to this country, which
started at the time of the gold-fever. I saw that this country was very
sparsely populated, that there were vast areas entirely unoccupied, and
that there was not only room, but need, for more people. I also had an
eye to increasing our own business, as our ships were returning from
Liverpool with very few passengers. In casting about in my mind to
create business, it occurred to me that the Irish, who were particularly
restive and desirous of coming to America, might be turned into
passengers for our boats and into settlers of our waste places.

My first step was to engage the services of as many Irish 'longshoremen
and stevedores as possible. These were always talking of their friends
in Ireland, and their friends in the old country were asking them for
information about the United States. I got the 'longshoremen and
stevedores to scatter throughout Ireland information about this country
and about the way to get here. I then set to work to arrange for giving
to the poor Irish immigrants a cheap and convenient means of passage.

I invented the prepaid passenger certificate, and also the small
one-pound (English money) bill of exchange. To disseminate information
about the plan, I had inserted in the Boston Pilot, the Catholic organ
of the day, the following advertisement, it being a letter from the
Catholic archbishop:

    "The Boston and Liverpool Packet Line of Enoch Train & Co. have
    arranged to issue prepaid passenger certificates and small bills
    of exchange for one pound and upward. This firm is highly
    respectable, and has established agencies throughout Ireland for
    the benefit of Irish immigrants.--[Symbol: Cross]FITZPATRICK,
    Archbishop of Boston."

This advertisement, and this indorsement from a high Catholic authority,
gave a marked impetus to the flow of Irish immigrants into America.




In '50 it was decided that I should go to Liverpool to take charge of
the house there. I asked Colonel Train if I could not first have a
holiday, so that I might see a little of my own country. He told me to
take two months, and to see as much as I could in that time. My ship was
scheduled to sail July 25, '50. This was the only holiday I had had in
four years.

I started for New York. After a brief stay there, I went to Cape May. My
recollections of that place, which was then the great resort of the
Atlantic coast, include a famous score I made in rolling ten-pins. This
game was my forte, and I remember that I defeated a party of
Philadelphians, scoring strike after strike, and left my score, 290,
marked up on the wall. It stood unrivaled for years.

I hurried on to Washington from Cape May. The trip was then made by
boat, rail, and stage. As soon as I reached Washington, I called on
Daniel Webster, then Secretary of State. I was shown into his office,
gave him news of New England, and said that every one was discussing his
great speech of the 7th of March of that year. He looked at me
inquiringly. "Some are hostile toward your sentiments," I said; "but
most of the people are with you." "They are talking about it, are they?"
This was the only comment he made.

Afterward he introduced me to his wife, Mrs. Leroy Webster, and asked if
I would like to meet the President. I was delighted, and said so. "Just
wait a moment," he said, and sat down at his desk, took a quill pen and
wrote on a sheet of blue paper, nearly a foot square, "To the President
of the United States, introducing a young friend of mine from Boston,
George Francis Train, shipping merchant, who merely wishes to pay his
respects to the president.--DANIEL WEBSTER." The large writing covered
almost the whole page. I thanked him, and started at once for the White

On arriving there, I was at once ushered into the presence of General
Taylor, who sat at his desk. The presidential feet rested on another
chair. I begged him not to rise, but to let me feel at home, and handed
him the letter from Mr. Webster.

At his request, I seated myself opposite him, and from this point of
vantage made a hurried study of his appearance. He wore a shirt that
was formerly white, but which then looked like the map of Mexico after
the battle of Buena Vista. It was spotted and spattered with tobacco

Directly behind me, as I was soon made aware, was a cuspidor, toward
which the President turned the flow of tobacco juice. I was in mortal
terror, but I soon saw there was no danger. With as unerring an aim as
the famous spitter on the boat in Dickens's American Notes, he never
missed the cuspidor once, or put my person in jeopardy.

My conversation--because, I suppose, it was new to him--interested him,
and he would not let me go for half an hour. I told him the news of New
England, and about my journey to Liverpool and its object. This
particularly interested him, and he asked me a hundred questions about
the shipping business and the prospects of developing trade with

As I was about to leave, I said to him that I prized very highly the
letter from Mr. Webster, and should be very glad to be able to keep it;
"and I should prize it still more highly, Mr. President, if you would
add your autograph to it." "Certainly," he replied, and then took up a
quill pen, and wrote "Z. Taylor." He courteously asked me to call to see
him again before I left for England.

From the White House, I went direct to the National Hotel, where I asked
to see Mr. Clay. I was shown up to his room, and soon stood in the
presence of the great Southern orator. I observed that his shirt also
bore the same marks as that of the President--stained and smeared with
tobacco juice.

I told him that I was about to start for England, and that, as I had a
letter signed by Mr. Webster and the President, I should like to add his
signature also. "I believe that two signatures are usually necessary on
Mr. Webster's paper," said Mr. Clay with a smile. He then added his
autograph to the paper.

Before leaving for Liverpool, I visited Mount Vernon, of course, while
in Washington, saw the Georgetown Convent, and, indeed, everything of
interest in the capital at that time. Then I went back to New York and
up the Hudson to West Point.

My visit to West Point was especially pleasant. I comraded with the
cadets, who invited me to sleep in their tent on the campus. Among the
young fellows there at the time, who was very pleasant and friendly, was
Alfred H. Terry, afterward one of the most distinguished of our
officers. I attended the cadets' ball at Cozzens's Hotel, messed with
them, and entered into all of their sports and daily routine. I was
astonished to notice that in the morning the roar of the gun did not
disturb their slumbers, although it shook me from sleep. But the
lightest tap of the drum aroused them instantly. It was force of habit,
which, I was to learn later, enables men to sleep amid the roar of
artillery on the battlefield, or amid the howling of storms on the
ocean. In sleep, as in our waking hours, the trained and disciplined
mind hears what it wants to hear.

From West Point I went on to Saratoga Springs. It was my first visit to
these famous springs, and I enjoyed it immensely. On the boat up the
Hudson I met a beautiful lady, Mrs. Carleton, who was with her sister.
Mrs. Carleton was the wife of a wealthy New York merchant, who had a
villa on Staten Island. I stopped at Marvin's United States Hotel. This
was fifty-two years ago, and the hotel is still there, while Marvin, who
entertained me more than half a century ago, died last year, his age
somewhere in the nineties. I enjoyed every moment of my stay at
Saratoga, for I had never seen anything of social life, and it was all
new and delightful. The enormous caravansary, with its throngs of
guests, its never-ceasing round of gaiety, and its own liberal life,
entranced me. Manners seemed less formal then at the famous spa, and the
ladies were pleased to meet any one in the most unconventional and
charming way.

As I say, I was very unsophisticated. I knew little or nothing of the
"great world," and I was completely horrified one evening when one of
the ladies said to me in a whisper: "Can you not get me a glass of
brandy?" I had never touched a drop of brandy, whisky, or even wine, and
to have this beautifully dressed and refined lady ask me for a glass of
brandy was a decided shock to me. I understand that now, however, it is
not very uncommon for ladies to drink wine, whisky, and brandy.

I have seen it stated in the papers recently that the waters at Saratoga
have the effect of lessening thirst for more ardent waters of a
spirituous nature. I did not happen to observe any such effect of the
waters when I was there a half century ago. Drinking was quite general,
and certainly little restraint seemed to be practised.

I found in society, as elsewhere in the greater affairs of life, that
leadership was wanting. People stood by and waited for some one to take
the initiative. One evening one of the ladies said to me that the ball
had not been arranged for. I asked what ball, and she said the regular
season ball. For some reason, it had not been arranged by the hotel
people, and no one seemed disposed to take hold of it. I said, "It
should be arranged immediately." I saw a few of the leaders, talked it
over with them, and got them together. We brought off the ball--my first
experience in these deep waters of social life--with great success. I
had then been in Saratoga just two days. While I was there I had the
honor of meeting the social leader of Boston, Mrs. Harrison Grey Otis,
and the social leader of Philadelphia, Mrs. Rush. There were also
present at the Springs many representatives of the most prominent
families in the social life of New York.

I saw in Saratoga the first "gambling hell" that I had ever seen, and I
was so green about such things--another tribute to my dear old Pickering
grandmother and New England Methodism--that I did not know what a
"gambling hell" was when asked if I should like to see one. While I
possess an inquisitive nature, I have found it a good rule not to ask
too many questions, until you have tried to find out things without
betraying your ignorance. I went to the "hell," and was properly
shocked. The scene suggested to me the gaming at Monte Carlo. I saw a
number of men sitting around a table playing as intently as if their
lives depended upon the fall of a card.

My attention was attracted toward a young man, apparently of about
twenty-five, who was in a desperate plight. Agony was visibly graved in
every feature and in every line of his face. I asked who he was, and
heard the name of a distinguished family of northern New York. "What is
the matter with him!" I asked. My cicerone seemed astonished at my
stupendous ignorance. "Why, can you not see they are 'going through'
him?" he said in turn. The expressive term was sufficient even for my
unsophisticated mind. It told the whole story, like a "scare-head" in a
"yellow" newspaper.

Then I turned from the victim to the predatory players about him. Who
were they? To my surprise, the names were those of men famous the world
over as bankers, merchants, and financiers. There was one man that
especially interested me. It was the American representative of an
English house whose commercial paper our house frequently used. I said
to myself, "I will cut his name from our list," and I did--for a time. I
learned afterward that banking was only one form of gambling. Great
financiers are often clever gamesters--players for desperate stakes, but
infinitely better players than their victims. This world of finance is a
great Monte Carlo. It was vain to entertain a prejudice against only one
of the players.

It was now necessary for me to hurry back to Boston in order to catch
the Parliament, on which I had already engaged passage. But before
leaving America, I wanted to see something of Canada, and resolved upon
a rapid trip to Montreal, especially as I found that I could return to
New York that way almost as quickly as to go across the State. I went on
to Niagara, and then sailed for Montreal, and had the novel experience
of shooting La Chine Rapids, an Indian piloting the boat. This was a
great thing in those days, and I was amazed to see how skilfully the
Indian guided the boat in and out among the rocks, never doubtful of his
course, never touching the edges of the reefs and boulders, never
imperiling human life. I understood that for years these pilots had
guided the boats down the rapids without a single accident.

On the boat on which I went down the St. Lawrence I met Captain
Stoddard, of the Crescent City Steam Packet, New York and Havana, and
Mr. Dinsmore, of the Adams Express Company, with the ladies of their
families. We all saw Montreal together, and some members of the party
made excursions to places elsewhere. One of these was to the famous Grey
Nunnery, the doors of which were closed to the outside world. But these
Americans, with true American spirit, expected all doors to open to
them, and would not accept the situation.

When they told me of their failure to get into the nunnery, I said I was
astonished that the representative of a big steamboat company and of a
big express company could not get into any building they wished to
enter. "I will show you what I can do," I said. I had already taken
thought of the talismanic letter from Daniel Webster, countersigned by
the President and Mr. Clay, the three biggest men, in popular
estimation, in the United States at that time. As I shall afterward
relate, this letter did me a good turn later in Scotland, opening doors
to me that were closed to nearly all the world. It was now to serve me
well; but this was the first time I had found occasion for its service
since leaving Washington.

I went immediately to the nunnery, where I asked to see the Lady
Superior. I told her I had visited the Convent of the Sacred Heart at
New York and Georgetown, and that I wanted to see how they compared with
this most famous convent in Canada. This did not impress her very much,
it seemed to me, and I instantly had recourse to my letter. "As you do
not know me," I said, "this letter may serve as a sort of introduction."
Then I brought out with a flourish my Webster-Taylor-Clay letter. The
doors at once flew open before me! After viewing the interior of the
nunnery, I told the Lady Superior that I had a party of friends at the
hotel who would like very much to see the building, and that if she
would permit me, I should like to bring them around in the morning. She
consented, and the next day I took the entire party to the nunnery and
we were shown through by the Lady Superior.

My time was now running short, and I had to hasten back to New York, if
I wanted to catch the Parliament. I went by way of Lake Champlain,
Ticonderoga, and Lake George, and again saw something of Saratoga and
the Hudson. At Ticonderoga I had the good fortune to meet Bishop Spencer
of Jamaica, and his son-in-law Archdeacon Smith, and we traveled
together to Saratoga. Here we met Commodore Trescot, of the Bermuda
Yacht Club. I invited them all to dine with me at the George Hotel, at
Lake Saratoga. I was struck by the bishop's dress, for it was the first
time I had seen the black knickerbockers and the three-cornered chapeau.
I do not mention the dinner--which was not a great affair--merely for
the sake of referring to the knickerbockers or the chapeau, but because
the bishop pressed upon me a special invitation to call upon him when I
came to London.




From Saratoga, I went down the Hudson to New York, and thence to Boston,
where I arrived in time to take the Parliament, Captain Brown, on the
25th of July. I had lived fast in the eight weeks of my holiday. It was
the only vacation I had had since I had begun my business life as a
grocer boy in Holmes's store, and I had worked hard during that long
period. The result was that I sprang back too far, like the released
bow, and was soon to see the effects. As my time was so limited, I had
tried to make the most of it, and had rushed from place to place, had
lived in all sorts of hotels and eaten all sorts of food. Besides, the
travel, all of which had been in a whirl of excitement, aided in
upsetting my physical system.

A few days on the boat were enough to complete the wreck. I was as badly
shaken up as Mont Pelée, and was ill for most of the voyage. When I
reached Liverpool, I had lost thirty pounds, and had to be taken off
the steamer, and was carried to the house of Mr. Thayer, the Liverpool
partner of Colonel Train. It was two or three months before I completely

I had hardly reached England before I began to realize that the people
there use a somewhat different version of the English language than we
are accustomed to in America. My physician was Dr. Archer. He came to
see me one morning just after I had had my breakfast, and took his stand
immediately before the fire, with his back to it. "I am half starved,"
he said. I immediately rang the bell, and when the servant came turned
to the physician and asked what he would have for breakfast. He said he
had eaten breakfast and did not want anything more. "But," said I, "you
said you were half starved; surely you must be hungry." He burst into a
roar of laughter. "I meant that I was half starved with cold."

With this as a beginning, I began to pick up the vocabulary peculiar to
the modern English. My next acquisition was "nasty." I was informed that
a rather disagreeable day was a very "nasty" day, and that the weather
was simply "beastly." After mastering these three words, which were
entirely new to me, and adding such words as I could pick up from the
daily speech of the men I met, I was soon able to get along in some
fashion with the English of England.

My first British holiday was spent in Scotland, where I stayed for a
week. When I was at Balmoral the Queen happened to be there. Leaving
Balmoral, I went to Braemar, on the way to Aberdeen. A number of young
students were there at the time, and I spent some moments talking with
them. Suddenly, there was a tremendous uproar and excitement, and I saw
a four-in-hand drive up. The students informed me that it was the
Premier, Lord John Russell, who had just returned from an audience with
the Queen at Balmoral. I saw there was a chance for some sport. Turning
to the students, with a smile, I said: "I wonder how his lordship knew I
had come to Braemar! I hope to have the pleasure of speaking with him."

The students laughed satirically. One of them said: "Look heah, Mr.
Train, that sort of thing won't do heah, you know. We don't do things as
you do in America." Another suggested that I should not be treated very
civilly if I attempted to approach Lord John Russell.

For reply, I took out a card and wrote on it: "An American, in the
Highlands of Scotland, is delighted to know that he is under the same
roof with England's Premier, Lord John Russell, and, before he goes,
would ask the pleasure of speaking with his lordship for a moment." I
carefully folded the card in the letter that had been given to me by Mr.
Webster, and afterward signed by the President of the United States and
Henry Clay. I sent the two in to his lordship.

In a few minutes the door opened, and the secretary of Lord John Russell
came in and asked for "Mr. Train." I said I was Mr. Train. "Lord John
Russell," replied the secretary, "waits the pleasure of speaking with
Mr. Train of Boston." I followed him out of the room, to the amazement
of the young students, who didn't do things that way in England.

His lordship received me with that easy grace and courtesy which I have
always observed in Englishmen of high rank. I told him I would not take
up any of his time, and that I merely wanted to meet him. He made me
talk about the United States, and insisted upon introducing me to his
wife. She, also, received me graciously, saying she was "always glad to
see Americans." She asked me many questions about this country and
especially about Niagara Falls. A half hour passed by before I was aware
of the time. I begged pardon for staying so long, and left.

In my book, Young America Abroad, I have referred to this incident and
to the courteous reception I met at Braemar. When I had gone around the
world, and returned to America, and was at Newport with Colonel Hiram
Fuller, in '56, there came to me in the mail one morning a coroneted
note. It was from London, and written by Lady Russell.

"It was so kind of you," it said, "to remember us at Braemar, and to
send us your Young America Abroad, which his lordship and I have read
with a great deal of pleasure. When you come to London, come to see

Our Liverpool office was at No. 5 Water Street, George Holt's building.
As soon as I was able to look after the company's interests, I went down
to the office and took charge. Mr. Thayer returned to Boston, and later
to New York. This left me in complete control. At twenty years of age, I
was the manager of the great house of Train & Co., in Liverpool.

I at once began to reorganize things in Liverpool, and to develop our
business. I put on two ships a month between Liverpool and Boston, and
arranged the James McHenry line to Philadelphia, and sent transient
ships to New York. We also had what was known as the "triangular line,"
handling cotton and naval stores.

Liverpool I found to be a great port, but very much belated. It was too
conservative, and the old fogies there were quite content to keep up
customs that their ancestors had followed without trying to improve upon
them, or to introduce new and better ones. I set to work to improve
everything in our business that was susceptible of improvement.

I was astonished, the very first day after I reached the office, to
learn that nothing was done at night. The entire twelve hours from six
in the afternoon to six the following morning were absolutely lost, and
this in a business that requires every minute of time in the twenty-four
hours. Ships can not be delayed, held at ports for day-light, or laid up
while men sleep. The work of loading and unloading must proceed with all
despatch, if there is to be any profit in handling the business, and
ships must be sent on their voyages without loss of valuable time. I had
supposed that the English shippers thoroughly understood these simple
principles of the business in which they have led the world.

Our vessels were very expensive, and we could not afford to lose the
twelve hours of the night. That much time meant a profit to us, and I
determined to utilize it. What was my surprise, when I went to the
proper authorities, to find that we should not be allowed to light up
the Liverpool docks at night, or to have fires on them. It was feared
that we should burn the structures and destroy the shipping and docks.
These dignified gentlemen even laughed at me for suggesting such a
foolhardy undertaking.

I said to myself, there is always one way to reach men, and I will find
the way to reach these dignitaries. It occurred to me that I could reach
them most surely through a plea for the prosperity of the port. I went
at once to the representatives of all the American lines having offices
in Liverpool, to organize them into a combined attack on the Liverpool
port authorities. I saw Captain Delano of the Albert Gallatin, Captain
French of the Henry Clay, Captain West of the Cope Philadelphia line,
Captain Cropper of Charles H. Marshall's Black Ball line, Zerega of the
Blue Packet line, and others, and we decided upon asking the dock board
to give us a hearing. This the board very readily consented to do.

Prior to this meeting, I went to all the American representatives and
outlined my plan of campaign. This was to say very plainly to the dock
board that unless we could have fires and lights on the docks we would
take the shipping to other ports. The captains and others were
astonished, but they agreed to let me approach the board with this plain

I then went to the board, with all the representatives of the American
lines, and quietly told the members that we wanted fires and lights on
the docks at night, that we needed this in order to carry on our
business in our way, and that unless we could have them, we should at
once go to other ports. Abandoning a mood of amused laughter, these
gentlemen suddenly became very serious. Their hoary customs did not seem
so sacred then, and they ended by throwing a complete somersault, and
granting us full permission to light up the Liverpool docks at night.

Of course this made a tremendous difference to all of us. We could now
load our ships at night, thus saving one half of the twenty-four hours,
which we had been losing. I understand that the Morgan combination,
fifty-two years after this, has again forced concessions from the
Liverpool dock board by threatening to take the ships to Southampton.

Our principal freight from Liverpool at that time consisted of crockery
from the Staffordshire potteries, Manchester dry-goods, and iron and
steel, and what were known as "chow-chow," or miscellaneous articles. We
often had as many as 150 consignees in a single cargo. Our principal
business connections were the firms of John H. Green & Co. and Forward &
Co., who shipped pottery; Bailey Brothers & Co., Jevons & Co., A. & S.
Henry & Co., Crafts & Stell, Charles Humberston, and John Ireland. Our
passenger agent was Daniel P. Mitchell, 18 Waterloo Road.

The first blunder that I made in Liverpool--and the only serious one, I
believe--was in connection with shipping emigrants to the United States.
One day a man came into the office and said he was from the estate of
the Marquis of Lansdowne, and wanted to contract for the shipment of 300
passengers for New York. We soon came to terms, and I chartered the ship
President. We charged the Marquis from £3 15s. to £4 a head. I learned
afterward that these passengers were poor tenants of his estates. The
Marquis of that time was the grandfather of the present Marquis of
Lansdowne, Minister of War in the Salisbury cabinet.

At that time we had to pay $2 a head for all immigrants entering the
country. I had tried to get this changed, through Mr. Webster, but had
failed. We had also to give bond that the immigrants would not become a
public charge. It proved a very expensive contract for us, as we had to
bring back many of these paupers for the old Marquis to take care of.

When I left Boston, I had taken a partnership, one sixth interest, in
the house of Train & Co. In Liverpool I had twenty-five clerks under me,
and at one time had four ships in Victoria Docks. It may be inferred
that I conducted the business with some degree of success, as my
interest--one sixth--for the first year was $10,000. Next year, when in
London, I was invited to a grand reception given by Abbott Lawrence, 138
Piccadilly, who was then United States minister at the court of St.
James's. That day I dined with Lord Bishop Spencer of Jamaica, whom I
had met in Saratoga, and took Lady Harvey in. This was my acceptance of
the invitation he had extended to me in Saratoga. The bishop asked if I
was going to the reception of the American minister that night, and, on
my saying that I was, asked me to accept a place in his carriage. This I
very gladly did, as I had, by this time learned a great deal about the
value of state and ceremony in English life. The sequence will show how
this worldly wisdom served me.

At the dinner, however, I had had a very narrow escape. It was the
"closest call," as we say in the West, that my temperance Methodist
principles ever had. I was asked, as a great mark of distinction, to
taste the pet wine of the bishop. The bishop himself acted as chief
tempter of my old New England principles. He handed me a glass, saying:
"Mr. Train, this is the wine we call the 'cockroach flavor.' I want you
to drink some of it with us," and he glanced around his table, at which
were seated many titled Englishmen and women.

What was I to do? Should I, caught in so dire an emergency, drown my
principles in the cup that cheers and inebriates? Was all my Methodism
and New England temperance to go down in shipwreck? The exigency nerved
me for the task, and I found a courage sufficient to carry me through. I
had never tasted a drop of wine, and I was not going to begin now. I
glanced about the room, and slowly raised the glass to my lips. I did
not taste the wine, but the other guests thought that I did. "We all
know," I said, "that the wine at your lordship's table is the best."
This passed without challenge, and, in the ripple of applause, my
omission to drink the wine was not observed.

Later in the evening I went with the bishop to the American minister's
reception, and soon saw how well it was that I was in his lordship's
carriage. Had I been in a hired cab, I should have fared badly. I should
have had to wait in the long line of these vehicles, while flunkeys
called out, in stentorian tones as if to advertise all London of the
fact that you were in a hired concern, "Mr. Train's cab!" and other
flunkeys, down the line, would take up the cry, "Mr. Train's cab!" until
one would sink in a fever of chagrin. But as I came in the bishop's
carriage, I heard respectful voices announce, "Lord Spencer and Mr.

I observed several ladies bending over an elderly gentleman, and soon
another lady asked me if I had seen the duke. As there were two or three
dukes present, I asked which one. She looked very much surprised, as if
there could be more than one duke in the world. "Why, the Duke of
Wellington!" she exclaimed.

I now took occasion to get a good look at the venerable old man. It was
the first time, and proved to be the only time, I ever saw him. He would
not have impressed me, I think, had it not been for the light of history
which seemed, after I once knew it was he, to illuminate his face and
frame. It was the last year of his enjoyment of great renown. He died
shortly afterward.

While in England, I availed myself of every opportunity to see the
country, and study it from every possible point of view. I may add that
this has been my invariable custom in all countries. I have gone
through the world as an inquirer and an observer of men and things. As I
had visited Scotland, I was desirous of seeing another of the islands,
Wales, so I ran down into that curious country on a vacation, in 1850. I
went to Bangor, on the Menai Straits, and hardly had got into the hotel
when a tremendous commotion in the corridors told me that some guest of
unusual importance had arrived. I asked who it was, and was informed
that it was the Duke of Devonshire.

"That is exceedingly fortunate for me," I said. "There is no man that I
would rather see at this moment than the Duke of Devonshire." At this,
my companions--among whom were young Grinnell, of Grinnell, Bowman &
Co., whose father sent the Resolute to find Sir John Franklin, young
Russell, and young Jevons, an iron merchant--began laughing
immoderately. I wrote on a card that an American, who happened to be at
the George Hotel when he arrived, would like to see him, if it would not
be too great an intrusion upon his time. I added that it had been one of
the desires of my life to visit his famous estate at Chatsworth.

This note I sent to the duke by a messenger. Immediately came back a
reply that the duke would be very glad to see me, and I was ushered into
his presence. He was then an elderly man, his voice tremulous and
uncertain. To make it still more difficult to converse with him, he was
deaf, but used an ear-trumpet. I succeeded in telling him that his
palace at Chatsworth was well known throughout America by reputation,
and that I should like very much to see it, while I was in that part of
Great Britain. He replied that I must certainly see it before leaving.
He then called to his secretary to bring him a blue card, and wrote upon
it a pass to enter the grounds and buildings. This was all very kind,
and I thanked him for the courtesy.

He then completely stunned me by saying: "You must see the emperor!" I
knew that the Czar of Russia had been his guest, but it was not likely
that he was at Chatsworth at that time; so I endeavored to divine what
the duke meant. My mind ran over horses, conservatories, and dogs.

I could not, for a moment or two, imagine what "the emperor" could be,
and was about to commit myself irrevocably to a conservatory, a favorite
horse, or hound; but before making any remark gave him an appreciative
smile which seemed to please his grace. He called for the blue card
again, and wrote on it: "Let the emperor play for Mr. Train." I learned
afterward that it cost the duke $500 to have "the emperor" play, and so
much the more appreciated his courtesy. I remarked that I had heard "the
emperor" referred to as the highest fountain in all Europe.

As soon as I got back to Liverpool, I made up a little party to visit
Chatsworth. When we reached the station I was astonished to see almost a
regiment of uniformed servants waiting to meet us. I was even more
astounded when the head of this body-guard of retainers approached and
asked, in the most deferential manner: "When will your royal highness
have luncheon?" I saw, of course, that they were taking me for some one
else, and remarked that they were perhaps waiting for the arrival of the
Prince of Hesse-Cassel, whom I had just seen at the hotel. The prince
came up almost immediately afterward, and had the pleasure of seeing
"the emperor" play, by special authority, on my card from the duke.

The palace is a magnificent residence, so far exceeding anything of the
kind in England at that time, that George IV. is said to have felt
offended when invited there, because his own residence was shabby in
comparison. I made the acquaintance at Chatsworth of Sir Joseph Paxton,
who the following year modeled the entire glass system of the first
Crystal Palace at London. I was to see something of the Crystal Palace
the next year.

Six years after this, when I published my book, Young America Abroad, I
sent a marked copy to the Duke of Devonshire, and he wrote me a letter
in which he said: "I am an old man now, sixty-two, but I have not
forgotten the delightful day when I met you on the Menai Straits."

One day, in my office in Liverpool, I received a card from the
Secretary, inviting me to the exhibition in London, and Mr. Riddle of
Boston, who was then on his way to London, asked me to be present on the
day when the Queen was to come, which was the day before the opening. I
went to London, and that was the first and the only time I ever saw
Queen Victoria. She was with Prince Albert, and they were accompanied, I
remember, by a brilliant staff.

I recall an incident during my visit to London on this occasion which
aptly illustrates the want of suggestiveness on the part of Englishmen.
They are content to go along in old ruts, provided only they be old
enough. Frank Fuller was the contractor for the Crystal Palace, and a
problem arose, in the construction, as to what to do with a certain
beautiful and aged elm that had been an object of reverence and stood in
the way of the proposed building. It had finally been decided to cut it
down, in order to get it out of the way.

"What!" said I, "cut it down--this exquisite tree?" Some one remarked
that the authorities did not wish to cut it down, but it stood directly
in the way of the great palace, and would have to be sacrificed. "The
palace is here for time," I said, "and this tree may be here for
eternity. Spare the tree." "But how?" they asked. They were
bewildered--did not have a thought of what to do, except to hew down the
venerable tree. "Build your palace around it," I said. This simple
device had not occurred to them, but it saved the elm.

Mr. Fuller was so pleased by the suggestion, that he began asking me
about hotels in America, and proposed that I undertake the building of
an American hotel in London. I said that some time I should, perhaps,
try the experiment, but that for the present my shipping business would
keep me fully occupied.

I might as well mention here, although it is not in its chronological
order, my later experience in trying to establish an American hotel in
London. It was seven years after the exhibition when the question of an
American hotel came up again. I had worked up the plan very thoroughly,
and had some of the most prominent and influential men in England as
directors of the proposed company. We had, also, obtained options on
several acres of desirable land in the Strand as a site. In the board of
directors was Lord Bury, private secretary of the Queen, son of the Earl
of Albemarle; Mark Lemon, of Punch; and others. The only obstacle to our
success was the passage of a bill through Parliament authorizing us to
occupy the land. The hotel caused a great sensation in London, and there
was much talk of it as a daring and not altogether agreeable invasion of
England by Americans. On the other hand, there was much commendation,
and George Augustus Sala, the leading editorial writer of the Telegraph,
wrote a letter in which he mentioned my name as a guaranty that the
hotel would be built and would succeed, as, he said, I had succeeded in

Matters were well advanced, and it looked as if we should have the
hotel. I wanted it constructed along distinctly American lines, and sent
to Paran Stevens to get from him the plans of his three hotels, the
Revere House in Boston, the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York, and the
Continental in Philadelphia. We had everything in readiness, when the
news came that the bill had failed in the House of Lords by sixteen
votes, although the House of Commons had passed it. I came as near as
that to building the first American hotel in London. Fifty years later,
the Hotel Cecil was built, a half century after I had suggested the idea
and perfected the plan.

My experience in Saratoga had revealed to me the want of suggestiveness
and resource in men in general. They will continue doing the same thing
in the same old way generation after generation, without taking thought
for improving methods in the interest of economy, of time, and of money.
I have, from time to time, suggested a large number of little
improvements, mechanical or other devices, for which I have never taken
out patents or received a cent of profit in any way. I shall bring
together here a few of these suggestions, made at different times and in
different countries.

I used to go to the old cider-mill at Piper's, about a half mile from
our farm. We went in an ox-cart, filled with apples. When we got to the
cider-mill, all we had to do was to pull out a peg, and the apples would
roll out into the hopper of the mill.

When I came to New York years afterward I was astonished to notice that
there were a half-dozen men around every coal-cart, unloading the coal.
I thought of the ox-cart, the peg, and the hopper, which I had used
thirty years before. I suggested the use of a device for letting the
coal run from the cart into the cellar, but could not get any one to
listen to the proposition. Now, years after my suggestion, all of these
carts in New York and other large cities of America have small scoops
running from the cart to the coal-hole, and a single man unloads the
cart by winding a windlass and lifting the front end of the wagon. In
London they still keep up the old, clumsy, and expensive method of
unloading with sacks. The English are in some things where we were a
century ago.

Once in London I was astonished to see a man, after writing something
with a lead-pencil, search through his pockets for a piece of
india-rubber with which to erase an error. He had lost it, and could
only smudge the paper by marking out what he had written. I said to him:
"Why don't you attach the rubber to the pencil? Then you couldn't lose
it." He jumped at my suggestion, took out a patent for the rubber
attachment to pencils, and made money.

When Rowland Hill, the great English postal reformer, introduced
penny-postage into England, he found it necessary to employ many girls
to clip off the stamps from great sheets. I took a sheet of paper to
him, and showed him how easy it would be by perforation to tear off the
stamps as needed. He adopted my idea; and now a single machine does the
whole work.

I noticed one day in England a lot of "flunkeys" rushing up to the
carriages of titled ladies and busying themselves adjusting steps, which
were separate from the carriage, and had been taken along with great
inconvenience. I said to myself, why not have the steps attached? and I
spoke about the idea to others. It was taken up, and carried out. Now
every carriage has steps attached as a part of the structure.

In '50, I was with James McHenry in Liverpool, and in trying to pour
some ink from a bottle into the ink-well, the bottle was upset, and the
ink spilled all over the desk. This was because too much ink came from
the mouth. "Give the bottle a nose, like a milk pitcher," I said; "then
you can pour the ink into the well easily." Holden, of Liverpool, took
up the idea, and patented it, and made a fortune out of it.




After the first short stay in Saratoga during my vacation trip in
America, I had started for a journey West; and was soon to meet with an
experience that turned the current of my life. At Syracuse I saw a half
dozen students talking to a lovely girl, bidding her good-by. Her
appearance struck me in a peculiar way. I turned to Alfredo Ward, who,
with his wife, was traveling with me, they having just come from
Valparaiso, Chili. "Look at that girl with the curls," said I. "Do you
know her?" he asked. "I never saw her before," I answered, "but she
shall be my wife."

I was quite ready to abandon the remainder of my Western trip, to get an
opportunity to meet this girl. Taking my grip up hurriedly, I rushed
over to the train she was on, supposing she was going to New York. I
soon discovered that she was going the other way, and ran through in my
mind the chances I could take, the risks I could run, and so took an
opportunity by the throat. I knew that I was not compelled to leave
Boston until July 25, and so I had ample time to get to my ship.

I entered the car where the girl was, and found a vacant seat opposite
her. An elderly gentleman was with her, whom I took to be her father. I
selected the seat opposite with the deliberate purpose of making the
acquaintance of the pair at the first opportunity that occurred or that
I could create.

My chance came sooner than I expected. The elderly gentleman tried to
raise the sash of the window, and could not move it; it had, as usual,
stuck fast. I sprang lightly and very quickly across the aisle and said,
"Permit me to assist you," and adding my youthful strength to his,
raised the window. Both he and the young lady thanked me. The old
gentleman went further and asked me to take the seat directly opposite
him and the young lady, on the same side of the car. I did so, and we
entered into conversation immediately. I continued my speculations as to
the relationship that existed between them. The gentleman seemed rather
elderly for her husband, and she too young to be married at all. He did
not look exactly as if he were her father.

[Illustration: Mrs. George Francis Train.
From a photograph.]

Before I could determine this question for myself, he came to my
assistance, and told me the young lady was the daughter of Colonel
George T. M. Davis, who was captain and aide-de-camp, under General
Scott, in the Mexican War, and afterward chief clerk in the War
Department at Washington. He introduced himself as Dr. Wallace, and said
that he was taking Miss Davis to her home in the West. I also learned
that they were going to Oswego, where they would take a boat. I
immediately exclaimed that I, also, was going in that direction, and was
delighted to know we should be fellow passengers. In such matters--for
love is like war--quickness of decision is everything. I would have gone
in any direction, if only I could remain her fellow passenger.

And so we arrived at Niagara Falls together. Dr. Wallace was kind enough
to permit me to escort his charge about the Falls, and I was foolish
enough to do several risky things, in a sort of half-conscious desire to
appear brave--the last infirmity of the mind of a lover. I went under
the Falls and clambered about in all sorts of dangerous places, in an
intoxication of love. It was the same old story, only with the
difference that our love was mutually discovered and confessed amid the
roaring accompaniment of the great cataract. We were at the Falls
forty-eight hours, and before we left we were betrothed.

Soon afterward I sailed for London, as already set forth. It was not
till '51 that I came back to America, principally for the purpose of
marrying Miss Davis and taking her back to England with me.

I arrived in Boston shortly before the celebration of Bunker Hill Day,
which was always a great occasion in that city. General John S. Tyler
was grand-marshal of the day, and he appointed me one of his aides. It
was a time when young people were usually left out of all public
business arrangements. Only the middle-aged or old took part in anything
of the spectacular nature in this great parade. Probably I attracted a
great deal of attention, therefore, because of my youth, being then only

In truth, I felt a little flattered by the appointment, and determined
to make as good a show as possible. Having been born and reared on a
farm, I knew how to ride, so I got the stableman to give me the finest
stepper he could furnish. He found a beautiful animal, with a frolicsome
spirit, and I felt that I should prove at least a good part of the
exhibition. I was decked in a flowing red, white, and blue sash that
swept below the saddle-girths, and my horse was a proud-looking and
dainty-paced beast. With a little rehearsing of my part, I was fully

On the occasion of the parade, I am quite sure, I was the observed of
many observers. The spectators were let into the mystery of the
beautiful caracoling and dancing of my horse, whom I touched
occasionally with the spur in a particular way, and who acquitted
himself with great credit. The populace thought he was trying to unseat
me, or to run away, and that it was only by excellent horsemanship that
I was able to hold my seat and look like a centaur. I am ashamed to say,
at this far distance in retrospect, that it was a proud moment for me,
and that I took so much pleasure in so idle and empty a show. But youth
must be served.

I had charge of the Colonial Governors, who were the guests of the city,
and of the President, and I escorted them from Boston to Charlestown.
There were Sir John A. MacDonald, of Canada; Governor Tilly, of New
Brunswick; the Honorable Joseph Howe, ex-Governor of Nova Scotia; and
Millard Fillmore, President of the United States. President Fillmore and
Sir John MacDonald rode on the back seat of the first carriage, and Howe
and Tilly on the front seat. Somehow, Boston seemed to regard the
colonial officials as equal to, if not a little better than the
President. I suppose this was because of the sentiment of Bunker Hill,
and because the presence of British representatives was a matter of
pride and gratification.

But the day was to end in gloom. As I was in the midst of the gaiety and
at the height of my exultation, a messenger handed me a despatch. I tore
it open, and found that it was from a friend in Louisville, Ky., and
contained a warning. Miss Davis, to whom I was betrothed, lived in
Louisville, and I was soon to marry her there. The telegram urged me to
hasten my journey, as the report of the coming marriage had created a
great deal of bad feeling. My friend advised me to lay aside everything
and go to Louisville with all possible despatch.

I could not imagine, at first, what this meant. It seemed to convey only
some presage of disaster. I left the gay scenes of the parade and
hurried to my room at the hotel. There I made instant preparation for a
trip to Louisville.

Before leaving Boston, however, I learned what it was that had caused my
friend in Louisville so much concern. Some time before, there had been a
marriage of a Kentucky girl with a Northerner--the much-talked of
wedding of Bigelow Lawrence and Miss Sallie Ward. It had aroused a great
deal of bitter feeling, because of the increasing tension and friction
between the North and the South. This was none of my affair; nor did I
share the feeling on either side. Indeed, at that time, I knew little
and cared less about the sectional differences between the North and
South. The only interest I had in the South at that time was a
commercial one in our shipping business, and the more personal interest
attaching to that portion of the South that held my future wife.

My own approaching marriage to Miss Davis had, it seems, been regarded
as of sufficient importance to arouse the same feeling that had been
created by the Lawrence-Ward marriage. My friends were manifesting much
solicitude. What most alarmed them was the fact that a number of gallant
Kentuckians were trying to marry Miss Davis themselves, and thus
patriotically save her for the South. Among these patriots were Senator
James Shields, Mexican hero of Belleville, Ill., Lieutenant Merriman of
the navy, and an officer of the army. There was, also, a suitor from my
side of the line--"Ned" Baker, of Springfield, Ill., who was afterward
United States consul-general at Montevideo. In her letters to me she had
mentioned all of these gentlemen, but I was not particularly anxious
about the matter, feeling that there was safety in numbers. But now that
my friends were interesting themselves, I thought it full time that I
should be looking after affairs myself.

I was doomed to suffer from the inconsistency of woman. When I reached
Louisville I wrote to her, mentioning the reports sent me by friends.
This angered her. She became indignant because I had taken any notice of
these rumors, and refused to see me on that day. But on the following
day she was in a milder mood, ready to see me. This meeting put to rest
forever all doubts, suspicions, and jealousies, and my fears melted into
thin air.

But for all this, I was determined to take no further chances with three
or four rivals, and decided that I should not again leave my affianced
bride behind me. I insisted upon an immediate ceremony, and we were
married by the rector of the Episcopal church in Louisville, October 5,
'51. Her father, Colonel George T. M. Davis, was then editor of
Haldeman's Louisville Courier. Belle Key, the famous Kentucky beauty,
whose sister, Annie Key, married Matthew Ward, who killed a Kentuckian
in a duel, was my wife's bridesmaid, and Sylvanus J. Macey, son of
William H. Macey, was groomsman. My wife was only seventeen years old.
She was very beautiful. Her picture appeared in the Book of Beauty the
following year.

We came east from Louisville on our wedding journey, stopping at
Cincinnati, where I had a curious experience. The Burnett House was the
most popular hotel in the city at that time, and we stayed there. It had
just fitted up the first "bridal chamber" in this country, if not in the
world. Every little hotel has one now; but then such a thing was unheard
of, so far as I have been able to ascertain. At any rate, Mr. Drake, the
clerk, asked me if I did not wish to take the "bridal chamber." He told
me it was the only one in the world. As I was ever keen and ready for a
novelty, I replied that of course I would.

I had already been in a great many hotels in this country. The
prevailing rate of charge was about $2 a day, at that time. I supposed
that this splendid room would cost a little more, being a special
apartment--perhaps about $5 a day. It cost $15! But I was willing to pay
for the honor of occupying the first "bridal chamber" in the world.

From Cincinnati, we came directly on to Boston, and stayed at the
Winthrop House, where I had been before. I soon had a conference with
the Boston house which I represented, and it was determined that I
should return to Liverpool and resume charge of the branch there, but in
somewhat different and better circumstances. I returned in '52. The ship
we sailed on was the Daniel Webster, built by Donald Mackay in East
Boston, and which I had named in special honor of my friend, the great
Daniel. Captain Howard was in command.

The trip was destined to be eventful. Five days after leaving Boston we
ran into a heavy gale from the west. Our boat was very sturdy, and we
had no fears, but I knew that many smaller and less seaworthy ships
would suffer in such a driving storm. We were, therefore, on the lookout
for vessels in distress.

For the greater part of the time, during the height of the gale, I stood
on the bridge closely scanning the horizon line in front. Suddenly
something seemed to rise and assume form out of the storm-wrack, and
this gradually grew into the shape of a vessel. I saw that it was a
wreck, shouted to the captain, but he, looking in the direction, could
make out nothing. My eyes seemed to be better than his, although his had
been trained by long practise at sea. He could not see much better when
he got his glasses turned in the direction I indicated, but finally he
discovered the vessel, though he did not seem desirous of leaving his
present course to offer assistance.

I insisted that we should go to the rescue of the ship and her crew, and
he turned and said: "Mr. Train, we sea captains are prevented from going
to the rescue of vessels, or from leaving our course, by the insurance
companies. We should forfeit our policy in the event of being lost or

"Let me decide that," said I. "We can not do otherwise than go to the
assistance of these persons." And we went. The Webster bore swiftly down
upon the wreck, which proved to be in worse plight than I had imagined.
She was buffeted about by the waves, and seemed in peril of going down
at any moment. Men and women were clinging to her rigging, hanging over
her sides, and trying to get spars and timbers on which to entrust
themselves to the sea. The doomed vessel was the Unicorn, from an Irish
port, bound for St. John's, N. B., with passengers and railway iron.
This iron had been the cause of the wreck, for in the rough weather it
had broken away from its fastenings, or "shipped," as the sailors
express it, and had broken holes in the sides of the boat and
overweighted it on one side.

A brig that had sighted the Unicorn before we came up had taken off a
few of the passengers--as many as it could accommodate. The Unicorn was
a small vessel, and there seemed little chance for the rest of the
passengers unless we could reach them. The sea was running very swift
and high, and it was not possible to bring the Webster close to the side
of the Unicorn. To make matters worse, the sailors had found that there
was whisky in the cargo, and in their desperation, drank it without
restraint. They were, consequently, unmanageable. They could not help us
to assist the miserable passengers on their own boat.

There was nothing else to be done except to get into our small boats and
try to save as many passengers as possible. The captain got into one
boat and I into another, and we were rowed to the side of the Unicorn.
There we discovered that many had already perished. Dead bodies were
floating in the sea about the ship. We tried to get up close enough to
reach the passengers, but found it impossible.

"Throw the passengers into the sea," I shouted to the captain of the
Unicorn, "and we will pick them up. We can't get up to you." In this
way, the crew of the Unicorn throwing men and women into the sea, and
our boats picking them up, we succeeded in saving two hundred. All the
rest--I do not know how many--were drowned. We finally got these two
hundred persons safely on board the Daniel Webster.

Here we discovered other difficulties, and it seemed, for a time, as if
starvation might do the work that had been denied to the waves. There
was, also, the question of accommodations; but we solved this problem by
taking some of our extra sails and tarpaulin and rigging up a protection
for them on the deck and in the hold, so that we made them all fairly
comfortable. The problem of food was far more difficult. We simply had
no food, the captain said. There was hardly more than enough for the
crew and passengers of our own vessel, as the delay caused by the rescue
and the departure from our course had made an extra demand upon

Here a happy thought occurred to me. We happened to be carrying a cargo
of corn-meal. I had heard that the Irish, in one of their famines, had
been fed with corn-meal, learning to eat and even to like it.

"Open the hatches!" I cried, with the enthusiasm of the philosopher who
cried "Eureka." The problem of food was soon solved. Two of the barrels
were cut in half, making four tubs. From the staves of other barrels we
made spoons, and from the meal we made mush which the half-starved men,
women, and children ate with great relish. They lived on it until we got
them safely landed on English soil, the entire two hundred persons
reaching port without the loss of a single soul.

This was my first service at a rescue, and, of course, I was proud of
it. Captain Howard received a handsome medal from the Life Saving
Society of England, and the incident greatly increased the reputation of
our packets.

On arriving at Liverpool, we went to No. 153 Duke Street, a house then
kept by Mrs. Blodgett, whose husband saw service as consul in Spain.
This house was at that time the favorite resort of American sea captains
and shipping men, and was a sort of central point for all Americans in
Liverpool. John Alfred Marsh, who had been with us in Boston, was with
me in Liverpool at this time, in the branch of our house there; and I
think he is the only man living among all of my friends of that year. He
is now connected with the Guion Line steamships.

During the first year in Liverpool after my marriage, I had a peculiar
and interesting experience with the science of phrenology. At that time
every one was talking about its "revelations," and I became somewhat
interested in it. My interest came chiefly, however, through James
McHenry, whose line of ships to Philadelphia I had charge of. He
suggested one day that I go to a phrenologist, saying that I had a most
curious head. Up to this time, I had not taken any stock in the science,
which I set down as charlatanry and mountebankism. But he insisted, and
finally I consented to go with him to Bridges, then the most famous
phrenologist in Liverpool or in the west of England.

Bridges astonished me so greatly by telling me things about myself that
I had supposed no one knew but I, that my interest was awakened. Still I
thought there must be something queer about the thing, and I accused
McHenry of having told Bridges something about me beforehand so that I
might be taken by surprise. McHenry so vehemently denied this that I
knew he was telling me the truth. There was nothing to do but to accept
the "chart" of Bridges as being at least sincere.

As I like to investigate everything for myself, I determined to see what
there was in phrenology, and to have my head examined in circumstances
where there could be no question that the phrenologist had had any
information about me. So I went to London, and there consulted a still
more famous phrenologist, the octogenarian Donovan. I said to him: "Mr.
Donovan, I want you to tell me the plain truth about my head."
"Phrenology does not lie," he said. "Put down your guinea."

I put down the guinea, and submitted to an examination. He told me
almost the same things that Bridges had said, and thus confirmed the
first chart of my head. After finishing his examination, Donovan looked
at me and said: "You will be either a great reformer, or a great pirate.
It merely depends upon the direction you take in Ethics!"

Even this examination did not entirely satisfy me. There were still
higher authorities in phrenology, and I felt that I should not be
satisfied until I had the verdict of the highest court of appeals. I
consulted every phrenologist I could reach--a great professor in Paris,
another from Germany, and finally, I reached the highest authority then
living, the highest that has ever lived, possibly, the great Dr. Fowler,
who was then lecturing in England.

He came to Liverpool to lecture, and I went to hear him. Fowler asked
for some one from the audience to allow him to examine his head. As he
had never seen me, I felt that I could in this way get an absolutely
impartial and unprejudiced reading. I went on the stage, and my
appearance caused a ripple of surprise, for I was known in Liverpool.
The phrenologist placed his hands on my head and exclaimed: "Jehu, what
a head!" The audience applauded, as if they thought I had a head, and
had used it to good purpose in their city.

Beverley Tucker was American consul in Liverpool at that time, having
been appointed by President Pierce. When the famous actor and dramatist,
John Brougham, visited Liverpool, I suggested that we Americans, in
whose country Brougham had lived and done his best work, should
entertain him at a dinner at the Waterloo House. We had a large and
lively company present, and Brougham was in his best vein. I asked
Brougham for his autograph, and, at the same time, something about the
poet Willis, who was then our favorite American poet. He gave me
instantly, without apparent thought, the following verse:

    "Hyperion curls his forehead on,
      Behold the poet Willis!
    For love of such a Corydon,
      Who would not be a Phyllis?"

Thus have I narrated, in this and the previous chapters, the most
interesting events and experiences of my life in Liverpool. The life
there was particularly varied and altogether delightful. It was, of
course, a very busy time, but I managed to get a great deal of pleasure
out of it. There was a constant round of entertainments, and the social
life of the city was generally gay and interesting. At this period I had
two portraits of my wife and myself made. They are now in the possession
of my daughter, who keeps them in the room which she always has ready
for me in the country.

As for my standing in the city, I may give here the opinion of Charles
Mackay, the poet, author of Cheer, Boys, Cheer, and other well-known
poems, who wrote, in reviewing my book, Young America in Wall Street,
that I "walked up the Liverpool Exchange like a Baring or a Rothschild."
I remained in Liverpool one year with my wife, and then returned to the
United States. This was in '52. The best men of Liverpool had made me
welcome everywhere, in all circles of business or of society.




My wife and I in returning to Boston came on a visit that we expected to
be brief. I confidently supposed I should go back to Liverpool and
continue the business of the branch house. But this was not to be.
Instead, I was soon to make a far wider departure in business fields and
methods, and to try my fortune at another end of the earth.

When I arrived in Boston, I had a conference with Colonel Train about
conditions in England, and suggested to him that I should have a
partnership interest in the Boston house, as well as in the house in
Liverpool. To my surprise, Colonel Train was not only astonished, but
indignant. He could not understand how I had pushed ahead so rapidly,
and this swift advance was by no means pleasant to him. He felt that, in
some way, I was pushing him out of his place.

"Would you ride over me roughshod?" he asked, almost fiercely, when I
ventured to suggest a larger partnership interest. I replied that I
thought I had given full value for everything that the house had done
for me, and that I should be able to do so in the future. After some
further discussion, in which the old gentleman was mollified, the matter
was arranged. I received a partnership interest that was equal to
$15,000 a year--and I was only twenty-two years old at the time.

As soon as the contract was signed, and it was in my hand, I
said--because I was still nettled by the manner in which he had received
my suggestion of a partnership--"Colonel, as you do not seem to care to
take me into the firm, here is your contract"; and I tore it in two and
handed him the pieces. "I am going to Australia."

This cool announcement astonished him. He did not know what to do.
Finally, we came to terms. It was decided that I should go to Melbourne
to start my own house with Captain Caldwell, one of our oldest
ship-captains, the house to be known as "Caldwell, Train & Co." It was
Colonel Train's view that this elderly man would act as a check upon my
youthful rashness, he having no interest in the firm but good-will
toward me and one of his captains.

The arrangements once completed, I was eager to be about my work in the
antipodes, and prepared to sail at the first opportunity. Everything was
taken from Boston--clerks, sets of books, business forms, etc. Nothing
was left to the chance of finding or getting in Australia the material
that we might need. And so the new house of "Caldwell, Train & Co."
sailed away from Boston on the Plymouth Rock for Melbourne, Australia,
on a singularly audacious venture.

Captain Caldwell went out in charge of the clerks, while I was to go by
a different route a little later. I went to New York and took passage
from there in the old Whitlock Havre packet, Bavaria, Captain Bailey. I
had two clerks with me, and carried, also, a large amount of office
supplies in duplicate. Duncan, Sherman & Co. had appointed me their
agent for the purchase of gold in Melbourne, which was to be shipped to
London or New York as circumstances permitted, and I had also been
appointed by the Boston underwriters their agent to represent them in
the South Seas. The outlook for business seemed especially bright.

I have traveled a great deal since that time, but this was the longest
period I have ever been on a ship in a single voyage. We were ninety-two
days from New York to Melbourne. I have twice since gone entirely around
the world in less time. It was very dreary at times, and I had to resort
to all manner of things in order to pass the hours. These attempted
diversions were often very amusing.

I have always wanted to do things a little differently from others,
partly because it has been more interesting to do them in a novel
manner, but chiefly because I have found that a better way than the
accepted one could be found. My desire for novelty led me to do some
curious things during this long and tedious voyage to Melbourne. One day
I was looking at the porpoises playing about the ship's bows, and it
occurred to me that I could harpoon one of them. I asked the captain if
he had a harpoon, and he brought me one. I then had a rope tied fast
about me, so that I could be lowered over the bow. I had a good chance
and let fly the harpoon, and, as luck would have it, succeeded in
getting a fine porpoise. My successful throw astonished every
one--myself more than any. The porpoise was brought aboard, and we found
portions of it very good eating.

On another day I hooked a shark, a "man-eater," ten feet long, and this,
also, was brought aboard, but no one proposed to eat it. A little later
we passed into the zone of the albatrosses, and myriads of these
exquisite birds flew over or hovered above the ship. I was desirous to
have one of them, and resorted to stratagems learned years ago in the
days when I used to snare rabbits and net pigeons on the old farm in New
England. I baited a hook with pork, and threw it out upon the water.
Instantly a great albatross swooped down upon it and swallowed the bait.
I drew the bird on board, and found it a magnificent specimen, measuring
twelve feet from tip to tip of its wings. Of course, I released the bird
very soon. In such pastimes, we beguiled the time, until we finally
swept through the great South Seas and into Hobson's Bay, passed Point
Nepean, and anchored off Sandridge.

I had fancied that Melbourne was not a frequented port, off the tracks
of commerce, although springing into life and prominence. Imagine my
surprise when, on rounding the point where one could sweep the expanse
of the bay, I saw before me some six hundred vessels that had reached
the port before we arrived, and all, like ourselves, attracted there by
the rumors of gold, gold, gold! For a second time within a few years,
the whole world had gone wild over a gold discovery, and was now sending
thousands of persons to Australia. Thousands more were deterred from
going only by the fear of starvation, for very few believed at that time
that Australia could feed the hungry searchers after gold, much less
give them a fortune in gold nuggets.

Before I left Boston I had heard much about the perils of starvation in
Australia. I was told that the country produced little, and that its
scant resources would soon be overtaxed by the horde of gold-seekers.
"Starve!" I said; "why there are twenty million sheep in the island." I
was then told that man could not live by mutton alone. But I knew that,
with these millions of sheep, there was little danger of famine.

From the anchorage at Sandridge to Melbourne the distance is about ten
miles, the Yarra-Yarra winding and twisting through the tortuous
channel. As this river is too shallow to admit ships of a greater burden
than sixty tons, all large vessels anchor at Sandridge, or Williamstown.
While the distance up the Yarra-Yarra is ten miles, across the spit of
sand it is only two. I went into Melbourne at once, secured buildings
for our cargo, and arranged for lighters to take it up the Yarra-Yarra.

The very first thing that impressed me in Australia was the miserable
and unnecessary inconvenience of having to send everything up the
twisted channel of the Yarra-Yarra by lighters. I determined to look
into this and see what could be done. The method was too expensive and
too slow to suit me. I immediately called on the most influential men of
the city, like De Graves, Octavius Brown, Dalgetty, Cruikshank & Co.,
and James Henty, and said to them: "This thing of coming by way of the
Yarra-Yarra, ten miles, when it is only two miles by land, is out of the
question. Let us build a railway to Sandridge."

Apparently, this had not occurred to them. They had brought from England
their habits of thought, and accepted things as they found them. But I
kept at the railway suggestion, until the line was built. This was my
first experience in organizing railways. It was not my last.

I also found that it was not possible to get suitable accommodations in
Melbourne for business. There was no building there that was large
enough. In order to get one sufficiently commodious, I had to build it.
Accordingly, we put up at the corner of Flinders and Elizabeth Streets,
opposite the railway station, the biggest structure in the city. It cost
a pretty penny. The building was 140 feet deep, 40 feet wide and three
stories high. The date, "1854," was cut in stone at the top. The edifice
cost $60,000. I imported iron shutters from England to make it

It was also necessary to have a building at Sandridge, a warehouse in
which to store our goods until they were needed in Melbourne, or until
they were shipped for America or Europe. In putting up this building, I
resolved to make an experiment. This was to have the building made in
Boston, and shipped out to me to be erected at Sandridge, thousands of
miles away. If successful, the warehouse would cost much less and would
be of better material and in better style than anything I could get in
Australia. It reached Sandridge all right and was put up at the end of
the little line of railway, at a cost of $25,000. It was 60 feet deep by
40 feet wide, and six stories high.

With a warehouse at each end of the line, with all the business credit
that I could wish, and with the best connections in the world, we were
prepared to do a big business in Melbourne. How far we succeeded may be
inferred from the fact that my commissions the first year amounted to

Melbourne was a small but promising city. It had some 20,000 population
at the time of the gold-fever, and had grown tremendously in the last
two or three years, so that, in '54, it must have had something like
30,000 or 40,000 inhabitants. It was, of course, a frontier town, crude
and raw, with few of the advantages of civilization. The people were too
busy with their search for gold and profits to think much of the
conveniences or luxuries of life. The only good hotel, for instance, was
the Squatters' Hotel, at Port Philip. There was not even a merchants'
exchange, although one was greatly needed. The merchants had simply
never heard of such a thing. I arranged with Salmi Morse, who afterward
tried to introduce the Passion Play in this country, to assist him in
putting up a building that could be used for a hotel, theater, and
mercantile exchange. The hotel was the Criterion, and we had a hall in
the building for the exchange. The latter was the means of bringing
together ship captains, merchants, agents, and business men generally,
and a great stimulus was given to business.

I was able to introduce into Australia a great many articles and ideas
from America. I brought over from Boston a lot of "Concord" wagons, of
the same type as the one that "Ben" Holliday drove across the continent,
and I told Freeman Cobb, who was then with Adams & Co., that I wanted
him to start a line of coaches between Melbourne and the gold-mines, a
distance of about sixty miles. I advanced the money for the enterprise,
and a line was established, the first in Australia, to Geelong,
Ballarat, Bendigo, and Castle Maine. These were the first coaches seen
in that continent. The coaches cost in Australia $3,000 apiece.

I had a chaise brought from Boston for my own use. It was so light in
comparison with the great, heavy, lumbering vehicles that were in use in
all English countries, that the people there said it would break down
immediately. They had not heard of Holmes's "Wonderful One-horse Shay
that ran a hundred years to a day," and did not, of course, know the
toughness of all "Yankee" things. It didn't break down, and its
lightness and general serviceableness made it a big advertisement of
American goods. People urged me to import a great many vehicles from
America. Every ship brought out wagons of the Concord make, chaises, and
vehicles of all sorts. Our carriages and buggies attracted much
attention. They were the first vehicles of the sort that had ever been
seen in the country. I sold these at a great profit.

A great disappointment and loss occurred, however, through the
carelessness of the American shippers, on one occasion. They had sent a
cargo of carriages, and I was certain of a large profit on the shipment.
What was my surprise and horror, on the arrival of the cargo, to
discover that the stupid shippers had sent only the tops of the
carriages! The bodies of the vehicles had actually been shipped to San

A thing that greatly surprised me, in a land of Englishmen, Scotchmen,
and Irishmen, was that there were no sports in Australia. It seems more
strange now, after Kipling's fierce denunciation of the "padded fools at
the wickets and the muddied oafs at the goal." As I had always been fond
of outdoor sport, I at once introduced bowling and ten-pins, opened an
alley and organized a club which was composed of Australian
bankers--Manager Blackwood of the Union Bank, MacArthur of the Bank of
Australia, Badcock of the Bank of New South Wales, Bramhall of the
London Chartered Bank, O'Shaughnessy of the Bank of Australasia, and
Mathieson of the Bank of Victoria. I mention these names here merely for
convenience, and to bring together some of the men with whom I was
associated in social and in business life in Melbourne. They represented
some $200,000,000 of capital. MacArthur had a beautiful bungalow four
miles out of Melbourne, where he invited me to shoot.

I found living at a hotel very dreary and very inconvenient, and decided
to have a home of my own. So I got a two-story house at Collingwood,
near the residence of Governor Latrobe, just out of the city. Here I
accommodated my clerks, also. I took the stewardess, Undine, and the
steward from one of our ships, and was able to set up quite an
establishment. The United States consul, J. M. Tarleton, and his wife,
lived with us for a time.

After I had been in Melbourne nearly a year I was guilty of a small
piece of patriotism that has ever since seemed very amusing to me. I had
been reared in the belief that every American-born boy has a chance to
become President of the United States. I had also the idea that a child
born out of the United States was not, in this sense, American-born. My
wife expected to give birth to a child in a few months, and, like most
parents, we fully expected it would be a son. So what should I do, in
order not to rob my son of the chance of becoming President of his
country, but send the mother across the seas to Boston, that he might be
born on the soil of the United States! It was not until some little time
after this that I learned that nationality follows the parents, and that
Presidents may be born anywhere, if they are careful in the matter of
their parents. The expected boy was a girl--if I may be pardoned an
Irish bull. This was my daughter Sue, who could never be President,
unless the Woman's Suffrage movement moves along very much faster than
it has up to this time.

I have not mentioned my partner in the Australian venture, since I said
that he and our clerks sailed away from Boston for Melbourne on the
Plymouth Rock--a curious reversal of history, for the West was going to
exploit the East, and it was singular that a vessel with the historic
name of Plymouth Rock should have been chosen to bear this new
Argonautic expedition into the South Seas. Captain Caldwell, as I have
said, was an elderly man, sober and conservative. He had been a
sea-captain for many years, and was a man of considerable experience. It
was the expectation of the Boston shippers that his conservatism would
serve as a check upon my rashness and venturesomeness.

Captain Caldwell, however, did not like Australia, but his presence did
not prevent my plunging into whatever speculation or enterprise seemed
inviting. The country was full of chances, and I should have been
stupid, indeed, not to have availed myself of them as far as possible.
But the rough life did not suit Captain Caldwell, although he was
accustomed to roughing it at sea; and he wanted to return to America. So
I consented to his return. He went in the same ship with my wife, the
Red Jacket, which, by the way, was then to make one of the
record-breaking voyages of the world. Although he had been in Melbourne
only a few months, I gave him $7,500, which was the share belonging to
him of the estimated profit in our business.

There was still another incident connected with this voyage of the Red
Jacket which made it memorable in my experiences. I have mentioned that
the phrenologist Bridges said, in England, some years before this, that
I should become either a great reformer or a great pirate. In Melbourne,
one day, I found myself face to face with a charge of piracy! I was
accused of trying to make away with some $2,000,000 of gold, which I had
put on the Red Jacket for shipment to London.

It happened in this way. It was of course customary to have all bills of
lading signed by the ship's captain. But Captain Reid, of the Red
Jacket, had been arrested, at the instance of one of the passengers, and
the ship was libeled on account of a claim. For this reason, Captain
Reid had not been present to sign the bills of lading. In Boston, I had
often signed bills of lading in the absence of the captain, so I had had
no hesitancy as to my course in this emergency. I considered that I had
a perfect right to sign the bills, and so I did sign them for the
$2,000,000 in gold, putting it "George Francis Train, for the captain."

Now, the English are a conservative people. When they see anything new
it "frights" them. They can not understand why there should ever be
occasion for any new thing under the sun. When the Melbourne banks saw
that I had signed the papers, they were scared nearly out of their
boots. They had never heard of such a procedure, and thought their
insurance was gone.

But this was not all. The Red Jacket was the fastest clipper that had
then visited Melbourne, and it occurred to these bankers that I was
going to run off with this gold, and become a Captain Kidd or a
buccaneering Morgan. They grounded their fears upon the facts that my
wife was aboard, that Captain Caldwell, my partner and friend, was also
a passenger, and they believed that Captain Reid was on board, although
under arrest. To suspicious bankers, here was a really strong case
against me.

In the meanwhile, the Red Jacket, with her trim sails bellied with the
wind, and sweeping along in a way of her own that nothing in the South
Seas could imitate or approach, was passing down Hobson's Bay. The
Government and the Melbourne authorities despatched two men-of-war after
her. There was no possibility of her being overhauled by these craft,
and I gave orders to make for Point Nepean. The sheriffs from Melbourne,
who thought Captain Reid was aboard, stayed on the ship, but I ordered
them put off at the Point. They were furious, but could do nothing,
since they could not act for Melbourne at sea under the Stars and
Stripes. Accordingly, they were put on a tug and taken back to
Melbourne. Immediately after the sheriffs left the boat, a little yacht,
the Flying Eagle, with Captain Reid aboard, came alongside, and the
captain was put on the Red Jacket, just outside the jurisdiction of

The Red Jacket caught the wind again, and showed her clean heels to the
slow-sailing men-of-war giving chase. She made the run to Liverpool in
sixty-four days.

The authorities and the bankers of Melbourne did not like the
proceedings at all, but saw that they could do nothing. There was great
anxiety in Australia for two months and more. When it was learned that
the $2,000,000 of gold had been landed in Liverpool without the loss of
a farthing, I was heartily congratulated, although the British spirit
never forgave the taking of matters into my own hands and making the
best of a bad situation. Their conservatism had received a shock.




During my stay in Melbourne the gold-fever was at its height. I was
particularly interested in the mines, and went to Ballarat to see how
the British managed these things. It was while I was there, as it
happened, that the great "bonanza nugget" was discovered. I shall never
forget the impression that this discovery and its tragic ending made
upon my mind. It is a story that the world has heard many times,
perhaps, and as many times forgotten; but for one who felt its terrible
lesson stamped hot upon his heart, it is unforgettable.

There were lucky and unlucky miners in Australia, as there have been
everywhere else in the world's gold-fields. Many found great nuggets
that contained fortunes--"infinite riches in a little room"--while many
more found nothing but infinite hardship and heart-breaking misery.
Among the army of broken men, there was a "hobo" named Hooligan who had
not found any gold, could no longer find even work, and was starving.
One day he went to the owners of a mine or shaft that had been worked
out, and asked permission to go down to try his luck. They consented.
The desperate fellow took his pick and descended to the bottom of the
shaft. In a few minutes he was worth a fortune. He had found the biggest
nugget ever taken out of the earth's treasure-house. Two hundred feet
below the surface of the ground, he had driven his pick, by merest
chance, against a lump of gold that would have transmuted Midas's wand
into better metal.

He came up out of the shaft, knowing that he had found a pretty big sum,
but did not realize how much it was. The nugget was brought up and
weighed. It had exactly the weight of a barrel of flour, 196 pounds. He
was rich. That morning he had been a beggar, and now he was the richest
miner in the fields. They weighed the gold carefully, and told him that
he was a rich man.

"Is--all--that--mine?" he asked, as if the words were as heavy as the
big nugget and as valuable. They told him it was. "It doesn't belong to
the Government?" "No." "All mine," he said in a whisper, and dropped to
the floor, dead.

No one knew him. His name even was not known. He was a mere restless
wanderer upon the face of the earth, and had broken his heart over the
biggest nugget, the richest piece of gold, on the globe. And so the
nugget became the property of the Government, after all.

Capt. David D. Porter, who was afterward admiral of the United States
navy, visited Melbourne while I was there, and I gave him a reception,
at which he met the prominent people of the colony. He was a relative of
mine. I was very proud of him then, though more so later. He was in
command of the Golden Age, which was afterward famous for the Black
Warrior incident. He invited my wife and myself to go with him in his
ship to Sydney, New South Wales. We had a delightful trip around the
island. The ship made as great a sensation in Sydney as it had made in
Melbourne. The American flag had rarely been seen above a man-of-war in
those waters. At Sydney we met Sir Charles Fitzroy, Governor of New
South Wales, as well as prominent people in civil and official life. Sir
Charles Fitzroy was a survival of the old "beau" days of the court of
the last of the Georges, and had the heavy courtesy of that time, when
everything said or done was accompanied by a low bow and a gracious
smile. He entertained us handsomely at Government House. We were also
entertained by Sir Charles Nicholson, at his beautiful country seat. I
had the peculiar pleasure, while in Australia, of fulfilling one of the
prophecies of Sidney Smith, made when he had been editor of the
Quarterly Review some forty years before. He said, I remembered, that in
half a century cargoes of tea--the luxury that England of his day and
ours regards as an infallible evidence of civilization--would be landed
at the docks of Sydney. He referred to Port Jackson, which is now
dominated by the thriving city of Sydney, and was then one of the most
promising ports of the South Seas. I was, at that time, receiving tea on
consignment from Nye, of Canton, China, called the "Napoleon of tea
trade," and it occurred to me that Australia should be a good market for
it. Three cargoes came from Canton, with instructions that if the market
at Melbourne proved unfavorable, one of the cargoes should be shipped to
Sydney. It was accordingly sent there, fulfilling the prophecy of Sydney
Smith, and opening the tea trade of that portion of Australia.

Sir Charles Nicholson, before we were there, entertained Commodore
Wilkes, who was visiting Australia, and who afterward stirred up Great
Britain by removing forcibly from the British mail-steamer Trent the
Confederate States' agents, Mason and Slidell. I was surprised to find
in the harbor two of our old packets, the Anglo-American and the
Washington Irving, Captain Caldwell's packet, under changed names. They
had been sold to English ship-owners.

Sydney was not a large place at this time, although it was growing fast.
It may be well to recall here that it had been founded as a penal
colony, the effects of which had not entirely passed away at the time of
my visit, although no convicts had arrived since '41, I believe. The
influence of Botany Bay had also been felt by Sydney. I was struck by
the beautiful, narrow, rock-bound entrance to the harbor. It gives to
the port many miles of seashore, and is so winding that when Captain
Cook, who discovered it, sailed in and anchored in Botany Bay, some of
his sailors reported that they saw from the masthead a large inland lake
in the interior. The "lake" proved to be only an apparent one, produced
by one of the many windings of the beautiful, sinuous arm of the sea,
eventually to hold in its embrace the fine city of Sydney.

We returned from Sydney to Melbourne after a short but delightful visit.
Shortly after leaving port we ran into one of the most terrific storms I
have ever experienced. It was the right time of the year for gales to
appear, and this one, as is characteristic of the wild nature of the
South Seas, seemed to spring from a clear sky and unruffled waters. If
our boat had been one of the usual type of merchantmen, it must
certainly have gone down. But the Golden Age was stanch and strong. She
battled with the seas as with a human foe. In spite of her
seaworthiness, however, almost every one aboard thought she could not
withstand the repeated shock of waves that tumbled in mountains against
her bows.

In the midst of the storm, I saw one of the most prominent and richest
merchants of Sydney coming across the deck, thrown hither and thither by
the tossings of the ship, and carrying in his hands a very heavy
package. "For the love of goodness, what have you there?" I asked in
amazement. He made no direct reply, and I thought him too much terrified
to speak, but he finally came close up to me and said: "Mr. Train, I
know you have some influence here on the ship. I have brought with me
one thousand sovereigns. They are here"--and he tapped the bag he
carried in his hands. "I want you to go with me to the captain and give
him this amount for putting me off in a small boat." "A small boat would
not live a minute in this sea," I said. "I am prepared," he replied, "to
take my chances, as it would be better there than here, for the ship may
go down any moment." I refused to go to the captain with so foolish a
request, and urged him to be calm, as the ship was stout and would
weather the storm. He could not calm himself, but fretted and fumed in
terror. As fortune favored us, the gale suddenly stopped, sweeping on
away from us as swiftly as it had come. The rich merchant soon took his
thousand sovereigns back to his room.

I have stated already that I was the agent for Boston insurance people.
This, of course, made me somewhat solicitous about the safety of all
vessels in those waters. One morning the entire city of Melbourne was
startled by the news that a great clipper had gone down or ashore on
Flinder's Island, off Point Nepean. Later we learned that she was
ashore, and that signals of distress were flying from her masthead and
rigging. Of course, I was much alarmed, and began at once to see what
could be done to save the ship and crew. I got a tug, and was soon
taking a rescue party down Hobson's Bay. We steamed as fast as the tug's
engines would carry her through the driving seas. As we neared the
wreck, we saw that the ship was the Whistler from Boston. She seemed to
be a complete wreck, and with our glasses we could not discover any sign
of life aboard her.

I did not give up the venture there, however, but directed the captain
of the tugboat to make directly for the island. I had a vague hope that
the crew had somehow managed to get ashore in the boats or on floating
timbers. The captain did not relish this part of his work, and his fears
were soon justified, for we very narrowly escaped shipwreck ourselves in
the wild seas. We had, finally, to wait until the waves went down a
little, before attempting to land on Flinder's Island. We got up as near
as we could, however, and then we saw signals flying from shore. We
signaled in reply, and the wrecked crew understood that we were waiting
for the sea to run less wildly before attempting to reach land.

The wind died down slowly, and it was hours before we could approach
the coast. As soon as possible, I got out with a crew in a small boat
and went to the island. We had a most difficult time in getting through
the surf and avoiding the breakers, but we finally reached shore. There
we found Captain Brown with his wife, the ship's officers and the crew,
all alive and well. They had managed to live on shell-fish and
wallaby--the small bush kangaroos. They had not been able to take
anything from the ship, and could not, of course, reach her after she
had been abandoned. We got them all aboard the tug, and carried them
safely to Melbourne. The American consul afterward sent them all home by
way of Liverpool. This was the second rescue of shipwrecked crew and
passengers that I had made, and I felt a little too proud of it, I

About this time the British and Colonial Governments decided to settle
Tasmania with free emigrants. The idea was to pay the expenses of all
who wanted to go to that island, and the Governments made a contract
with the White Star Line to transport the settlers. The British
Government was to pay one half the expense, and the Colonial Government
the remainder. The contract was signed by Henry T. Wilson, manager of
the White Star Line, the sailing-ship pioneers of Morgan's mammoth
steamship combination, who sent all the papers to me at Melbourne, as
representing the company, to see that the terms of the agreement were
carried out. He also requested me to go to Hobart Town (now called
Hobart) to be there when the first ship-load of emigrants arrived to
collect the money for the passage. I immediately took steamer for Hobart
Town, and I shall never forget the pleasure of that voyage. It was a
revelation. The trip up the estuary to Hobart Town was delightful, and
the scenery, I think, was altogether the most charming I had seen in the
Southern world. At Hobart Town I was received by Mr. Chapman, a shipping
merchant, to whom I had written in advance, and he made me stay with him
at his beautiful bungalow, on the crest of a high hill, commanding a
fine view of the city.

The emigrants arrived in excellent condition. They were the first free
settlers of Tasmania. There had not been a death aboard ship, and the
moment the newcomers arrived they were employed, for the city of Hobart
Town was very thriving, and there was an abundance of work to be done. I
again had the pleasure of feeling that in this, as in other enterprises,
I was an argonaut and a pioneer.

I was astonished to find so many persons of prominence, especially in
the world of letters, settled in this far-away colony of England. At
Hobart Town I found the Powers, the Howitts (whose books were then
tremendously popular), and Thorne, the author of Orion. Then, as now,
this colony was regarded as the most pleasant portion of the vast
possessions of Great Britain in the South Seas. The climate and the
aspects of the country were far more pleasant than those of Australia,
some fifty miles distant across Bass Straits.

At the time of my visit the whole world was talking about the various
efforts being made to discover the remains of the ill-fated expedition
to the North Pole that had been led by the former governor of Tasmania,
the much-beloved Sir John Franklin. He had gone to the north in 1845,
and nothing had been heard of him since. His wife was supposed to be
mourning for him in solitude.

Curiosity led me to the house where this famous governor and adventurous
explorer had lived, and the janitor, a trusted old servant, showed me
over the building. It was one of those enormous structures which the
English build for the edification and amazement of the natives in their
colonies. I had heard and read a great deal about Sir John and the
lovely woman that was mourning his long absence, and I entered the
silent house with a feeling that I was trespassing upon a great and
unutterable grief. Imagine my astonishment--I may say, horror--to learn
that Lady Franklin, or Lady Jane, as she was generally called, had for
years lived at one end of the long house, while Sir John had lived at
the other, and that, as the story went, they had not spoken to each
other for years. She seemed certainly to have had the grace to assume a
virtue she did not possess, and apparently mourned her lost lord for
years, and spent much of her time in liberal charities. This is the
first time I have referred in any way to this unknown unhappiness of Sir
John Franklin. It was not known to many people in Tasmania at the time,
and I suppose that it is known now only to members of the two families,
the Franklins and the Griffins.

As I had come half around the island of Tasmania, approaching Hobart
Town from the sea, I had seen nothing of the interior of the country, so
I determined--after finishing my business in Hobart Town--to cross the
island to Launceston. There is now a railway running directly across,
but at that time there was only a stage route. Stages ran every other
day. I engaged passage in the mail-coach, the same style of coach that
had been used for hundreds of years in England and Scotland, still as
rough and cumbersome as when first devised. There, too, was the old
Tudor driver and the Restoration guard. Nothing was wanting. The coach
looked to me as if it had been taken from behind the scenes of some old
comedy--a piece of stage property.

But if the stage was antiquated and out of touch with the modern stir of
the world, the driver was not. I asked him what he thought would be the
proper thing in the way of a "tip," as I did not know the ways of
Tasmania. "That depends, sir," he said, "upon whom we are riding with."
That settled the business for me, for my tip then had to be a sort of
measure of my self-esteem. I was literally cornered, and had to give him
a big tip, in sheer self-defense.

The road to Launceston was an excellent one, a macadam built by
convicts, and the scenery was the most beautiful I had seen in
Australasia. When I arrived at Launceston I had to get a pass to leave
the country, as it had been necessary to have a passport to enter it.
The British were very particular whom they permitted to leave Tasmania,
and whom they allowed to go there.

Near Launceston I saw the room in which Francis, who was afterward a
member of the cabinet of the colony of Victoria and one of the ablest
and most energetic men of Australasia, had his famous and terrible fight
with a burglar. This fight has become a tradition all over the colonies
and is still recalled as one of the thrilling experiences of early days.
One night Francis heard a noise in his dining-room. He was up late,
studying in his library, and as the country was infested by desperate
convicts who had escaped from the camps, he at once went to the room to
see whether a burglar had broken in.

Peering through the keyhole, he saw a man with a dark lantern putting
the family plate into a bag. Francis came to a decision at once as to
what to do. He would enter the room, and fight it out with the robber.
Silently opening the door, he entered, and then quickly locked the door
and threw away the key. Immediately there was a desperate fight. The
burglar finding himself entrapped, turned upon Francis and tried to kill
him with a huge knife. Francis caught his arm, and a struggle to the
death began. Several times the burglar wrenched his hand free and
slashed at Francis, but the plucky fellow did not flinch. He fought
until he had conquered the robber, threw him to the floor, and bound his
hands behind him. Francis was himself so badly cut that he was in sight
of death for weeks.

The exploits of the convict Tracy out in Oregon remind me of a far more
terrible case in Australia that occurred while I was there. The country
was a sort of frontier, in the Western sense, from one end to the other.
It was quite possible that a desperate convict lurked in every patch of
bush, who would as soon kill you as ask for bread. But news came to
Melbourne one day that a convict had escaped in a peculiarly terrifying
manner. He was no ordinary man. He had coolly killed two jailers, or
guards, having taken from them their own weapons. Then, going to the
water, he ordered a boatman to row him out to a vessel so that he might
escape from the country. The boatman, not knowing the character of the
man he was dealing with, refused, and was shot dead instantly. The
fugitive then rowed out to the vessel in the dead man's boat, and
demanded of the captain that he take him aboard and carry him to
Melbourne. The captain refused, and he also was shot dead, and with
loaded pistol the convict then compelled the mate to take him to
Melbourne. After he landed he began a forlorn attempt to save himself
from his pursuers.

This beginning in his career of murder was sufficiently terrible to give
the entire region a shock, when it became known that he was at large and
headed for Melbourne. He was next heard of when he reached Hobson's Bay
at Sandridge. Here he found a farmer plowing in the field. The convict
needed his horse, and shooting the farmer, rode away. Another farmer
followed him, and in turn was killed.

By this time, of course, the whole country was aroused--even the
police--and parties were hurriedly formed to capture the murderers, for
no one at the time could believe that it was only one man who was
committing all these crimes. When he was last seen, he was heading,
apparently, for Ballarat, where, perhaps, he hoped to be joined by other
men as desperate as himself. Ballarat was about one hundred miles
distant, and a posse started in pursuit. Nothing was heard or seen of
the convict for fifty miles, when one of the party saw a man near a
squatter's hut carrying another man in his arms. This seemed to be a
somewhat curious proceeding, and the posse immediately closed in about
the man. Just as did Tracy, this man shot the leader of the party. The
others then pushed ahead and captured him before he could kill any one
else. In the hut they found nine men, tied with ropes. It was not
understood what use the convict expected to make of them. All were
uninjured. At the time of his capture, the convict had killed fourteen



Once I tried to be President of the United States. Before that I had
been offered the presidency of the Australian Republic. It is true that
there was no Australian Republic at that exact moment, but it looked to
thousands that there might be one very soon. There was a revolution, or,
as it should be called, a rebellion, for it was unsuccessful, in which I
had taken no part or shown any sympathy, but the revolutionists, or
rebels, offered me the chieftaincy of their government, as soon as they
could establish it.

It came about in this way. In '54 the miners in the fields of Ballarat
and Bendigo were in a state of intense ferment. They were discontented
with existing conditions--their luck in the mines, the way they were
treated by the Government and the mine proprietors, and especially by
the utter failure of the Government to protect them in their rights
against the capitalists. The particular cause of quarrel, however, was
the licenses.

When I went to Australia, the reader may easily believe, there was very
little feeling for, or knowledge of, the United States. I at once
undertook to spread the gospel of Americanism, and introduced the
celebration of the Fourth of July. The colonists of England have always
been quite friendly to the people of the United States, having a kindred
feeling, and all of them have been looking forward to a day when they,
too, might have a free country to claim for their own, and not merely a
red spot on the map of Great Britain. For this reason, the Australians
took kindly to the idea of celebrating the independence of the United
States, as formerly a colony of Great Britain.

When the miners, who had heard of my "spread-eagleism," as it has since
been called, started their little revolt against the government of the
British, they thought of me and offered me the presidency of the
republic they wanted to create. In the meantime, they elected me their
representative in the colonial legislature of the miners about
Maryborough, where they held a great meeting. I could not have taken my
seat if I had desired it, and as I did not desire it, of course I
declined. The imaginary presidency I declined, also, as I neither wanted
it, nor could I have obtained it. The "Five-Star Republic," as it was
called, was not to be anything but a dream, and the "revolution" of
Ballarat was only a nightmare.

Soon after I declined these honors, there was a terrible riot at
Ballarat. The whole mining district had risen against the Government, as
Latrobe, the governor, had made himself most unpopular by his policy of
procrastination. Everything connected with the mining fields, he seemed
to think, could as well be looked after next year as this. The
resentment of the miners had at last become uncontrollable. But, slow as
they were about redressing the grievances of the miners, the British
were fast enough in the business of protecting themselves and in putting
down disturbances with a firm and heavy hand. Latrobe waited until the
thing had almost got beyond him. He felt that he was all right with the
old "squatters," whom he understood and who understood him; but he did
not realize that the new element, the thousands of miners that had
floated in from every nation of the globe, did not understand him or his
ways. They were accustomed to having matters attended to with despatch,
and could not tolerate the slow conservatism and unchangeableness of the
English civil office. Personally he was a good man; but otherwise, he
was as I have described.

The first fruits of the dilatory policy was the sacrifice of forty men.
Captain Wise and forty of his troops were cut to pieces by the enraged
miners, who had suddenly risen to fight for their rights. Governor
Latrobe immediately called for troops from New Zealand, Tasmania, and
New South Wales, to quell the rioters. The want of preparation of the
revolters at once became apparent, and it was known that they had sent
emissaries into Melbourne itself to buy arms and ammunition. The head of
the insurrection was James McGill, who was an American citizen. He had
disappeared from the neighborhood of Ballarat, and a reward of one
thousand pounds sterling had been offered for his capture, dead or
alive. In Melbourne there was almost a panic. Rumors were that the
forests were filled with armed men marching to the destruction of the
place. There were, it was authentically reported, 800 armed men at
Warren Heap, about eighty miles distant, who were supposed to be
meditating a raid. People hastened to secrete their jewelry, gold was
placed in vaults, the banks were guarded, and a special police force was
sworn in.

Just as the excitement was at its height, it was reported that James
McGill was in the neighborhood of the city. I was sitting in my office
one morning, during these days of fear, when a man walked in, as cool as
if he were merely going to discuss the weather or some trifle of
business. "I hear," he said, "that you have some $80,000 worth of Colt's
revolvers in stock, and I have been sent down here to get them." I
glanced up at the man, and took him in a little more closely. It came to
me in a flash who he was. "Do you know," said I, "that there is a
reward offered for your head of one thousand pounds?" "That does not
mean anything," he said, and smiled as if it were a joke. "They can not
do anything," he added, as if to allay any fears that I might have.

I again took him in, and thought of my $60,000 warehouse that we were
then standing in, of the $25,000 warehouse at the other end of the
railway, and of all my interests in Melbourne, under which we were
placing a powder mine, and playing over it with lighted torches. "This
will not do," I said. "You have no right to compromise me in this way."
"We have elected you president of our republic," he added. "Damn the
republic!" said I. "Do you mean to tell me that you refuse to be our
chief?" said he. "I do," I said. "I am not here to lead or encourage
revolutions, but to carry on my business. I have nothing whatever to do
with governments or politics; and you must get out of here, if you do
not want to be hanged yourself, and ruin me." I told him there was not
the slightest possibility of success, as Great Britain would crush the
revolt by sheer weight of men, if she could not beat its leaders in any
other way.

Just then there came a rap at the door, which I had taken the precaution
to close and lock. I hurried to the door and asked who was there, and
the reply was that it was Captain McMahon, chief of police. He said to
me: "Do you know that rascal McGill is in the city? His men are at
Warren Heap, but he himself has actually come into Melbourne! I want a
dozen of those Concord wagons of yours immediately." I made a motion of
my hand to make McGill understand that he must keep quiet. Then I began
to talk rapidly with the chief of police, and took him to the farther
end of the warehouse, shutting the door of my office behind us. No more
wagons were there, for the Government had already got all I had, but I
wanted time to think. When we had looked around, and had seen that there
were no wagons, Captain McMahon left, and I hurried back to McGill.

"Now, McGill," I said, "I am not going to betray you, but am going to
save your life. You must do as I tell you." He looked at me for a
moment, and said, "But I am not going back on my comrades." "You will
have no comrades soon, but will be in the hands of the officers
yourself, if you do not do exactly as I tell you." He finally consented
to do as I advised.

As soon as I saw that the way was clear, I took him out into the street
to the nearest barber, where I had his hair cut and his mustache shaved
off, and then made him put on a workman's suit of clothes. We then got
into my chaise, and I drove him down to the bay and took him aboard one
of our ships that was about to sail, and told the men that I had brought
a new stevedore. McGill pitched in and worked along with the men, and
there was nothing to show that he was in any way connected with the
revolution of Ballarat, much less its leader.

Three days later the ship sailed, and McGill went on through England to
America. This ended the whole affair of the revolution, the chase of the
leader, and my chance of being President of the Five-Star Republic!

One day a man, wearing a jaunty silk hat, came into my office. "I see
you bring in rum from New England," said he. "How much have you on
hand?" I went over the invoices, and told him. He then asked if I gave
the same terms as other dealers in Melbourne. "Yes," said I; "cash."
"Oh, no," said he. "I get three months' time." He showed me a contract
he had just signed with Denniston Brothers & Co., of New York,
represented in Melbourne by McCullagh & Sellars, for £3,000 payable in
three months. I was astonished. The house had branches in all of the
great cities of the world. I told the gentlemanly-looking fellow who
wanted the rum that if Denniston could afford to trust him for $15,000,
I thought we could trust him for $3,000. I took pains to see, however,
that our paper bore an earlier date than that of Denniston. But this
precaution amounted to nothing against this shrewd manipulator. He gave
his name as John Boyd.

By the end of the week, I began to grow a little suspicious, and sent my
clerk to the office of Mr. Boyd early on Monday morning. The office was
closed, and there was no Mr. Boyd there. He had gone to Sydney, and that
was the last seen of Boyd in Australia. He had "buncoed" us and
Denniston & Co. in the easiest sort of way. I really felt cheated, it
was done so smoothly. I had not got the worth of my money, as I should
have done had I been harder to deceive. There had been no sport in that.

I next heard of Boyd at Singapore; but I was to run up against him
later. In '61, when I was giving a junketing trip to some people on the
Union Pacific road, and a party of us were on the steamboat St. Joseph
going to Omaha, a man came up to me and claimed an acquaintance.
Although more than twelve years had passed, I recognized him at once as
the John Boyd who had got the better of me in that little trade in
Melbourne. I pretended not to know him. I suppose he assumed that the
matter had passed out of my mind and that his face was no longer
familiar to me. He coolly gave me his address on a card, and when I
looked at it I saw "Noble & Co., Bankers, Des Moines, Iowa." I knew him
by his broken nose, that would have betrayed him at the ends of the

Perhaps the thing I enjoyed most in Australia was the introduction of
American articles--"Yankee notions," the people there called them--into
Australia, even against the prejudice of the colonists. They would fight
hard against everything that was new or American, but I took a delight
in overcoming their bias, and forcing them to accept our ideas. I made a
calculation once of the things that I had introduced into Australia, and
they amounted to something like fifty. Among these were such common
things as the light wagon, the buggy, shovels, and hoes, and--wonderful
to think of when one hears and reads so much in these days of the "tins"
that the British army consumes--tinned, or canned, goods. These had not
been heard of, and I saw at once that there was a fine chance for some
profitable business. English packers could not begin to compete with us.
On one cargo that I brought in from New London, Conn., we made a profit
of 200 per cent. And now "Tommy Atkins" lives on the "tins" that we
introduced as a method of carrying provisions from one end of the world
to the other.

I suppose that it was from a part of the returns from this profitable
shipment that the owners of the goods founded the Soldiers' Home at
Noroton, Conn., during the civil war. I must record here a curious
incident. It was in this home that a soldier carved a most elaborate
design upon a cane which he gave to me, showing in brief outline the
whole of my history. It was a wonderful piece of work, and I have kept
it as a souvenir of the regard of this soldier in the home that was
probably founded in part with the proceeds of the first great shipment
of canned goods into Australia, and of my part in introducing this new
trade into the South Seas.

I had the opportunity of meeting some famous and curious people in
Australia. On one of the celebrations of the 17th of March, I met a
great many Irish patriots, among them Smith O'Brien, John Martin, and
Donohue. I was an invited guest, and sat down with more than two hundred
of the most prominent Irishmen of the Australasian colonies. When Smith
O'Brien was in an Irish jail in '48, I asked him for his autograph. I
have made it a point to collect the autographs of all the famous men and
women I have met, and now have, perhaps, the finest collection of
autographs to be seen in this country. O'Brien immediately wrote on a
card the following verse:

    "Whether on a gallows high,
      Or in the battle's van,
    The fittest place for man to die,
      Is where he dies for man."

This sentiment of the Irish poet was peculiarly appropriate for men,
who, like the patriots and "rebels" about me, were facing prison or
death at every hour.

I shall bring together here some incidents of my life in Australia that
are not closely connected with other events there. We made some
tremendous profits in Melbourne, the sort that makes one's blood tingle,
and transforms cool men into wild speculators. I have already mentioned
the profit of 200 per cent on the cargo of canned goods. On a cargo of
flour from Boston, 7,000 barrels, we made a profit of 200 per cent, the
flour selling for £4 sterling the barrel. This flour had been shipped to
us through John M. Forbes, of Boston, for Philo Shelton and Moses
Taylor, the millionaire of New York.

When I returned to New York in '57, during the panic, I met Taylor in
Wall Street. He must have been in terrible need of money to keep his
head above water, and he at once said to me: "Why did you charge me
7-1/2 per cent commission for handling that cargo of flour in
Melbourne?" I looked at him in astonishment. He had forgotten the
enormous profit he had made on the shipment, and remembered now only the
small matter of the commission he had been compelled to pay.

I replied that the commission was our usual charge. He told me he was
buying up his own paper in the street, and was not in temporary
distress. "I do not think you should have charged me more than 5 per
cent commission," he said. I was disgusted at this view of a transaction
that had brought him in a profit that would have been considered
marvelous even by a usurer. "All right," I said, "I will give you the
difference now." And I gave him a check for $2,500.

I met a large number of actors and actresses in Melbourne, for it was
quite the custom as early as that for stars of the stage, whether
tragedians like Edwin Booth, or dancers like Lola Montez, to make a
tour of the world and take in Australia on the circuit. I was astonished
to meet Booth and Laura Keene, "stranded," one day, although they had
made a successful tour in England. They did not appeal to the rough
audiences of Australia, and so did not have enough money to take them
back to the States. It so happened that I had just bought the City of
Norfolk to send to San Francisco as the pioneer of a new line, which is
now thoroughly established, and making rapid passages between the two
ports. I gave them free passage to San Francisco. Laura Keene frequently
mentioned the fact in "asides" on the stage, but I never received a word
of thanks or appreciation from Booth. Kate Hayes and Bushnell also
visited Australia while I was there, and I gave them a concert and
started them off on their tour.

But the greatest sensation that was created in the theatrical world of
Australia during my stay was made by Lola Montez, the dancer from
Madrid. She danced and pirouetted on the necks and hearts of men. The
rough mining element went wild over her, and she had the wealth and rank
of Melbourne at her feet. One morning she burst into my office, and
called out in her quaint accent, "Is Mr. George Francis Train here? Tell
him that I am his old friend from Boston, and that I have just arrived
from San Francisco." She had called to make a complaint against the
captain of our ship, whom she wanted us to discharge for some supposed
discourtesy to her. We patched up this quarrel, and I did everything I
could to insure her a successful season in Melbourne. She had a
tremendous vogue, and danced before crowded houses.

One night I called at the green-room of the theater to see her, sending
in my card. I had seated myself on the sofa to wait until she finished
her dancing. Suddenly the door flew open, and in rushed something that
looked like a great ball of feathers. This ball flew toward me and I was
enveloped in a cloud of lace! The bold little dancer had thrown her foot
over my head!

My life in Australia, now drawing to a close, as I had made arrangements
for leaving there to continue my business operations in Japan, had been
very charming and profitable. Everything was novel and strange to me,
and it all made a deep and lasting impression upon my mind, which was
then eagerly receptive.

I find, in recalling these impressions, that my first idea of Australia
still remains the most prominent one left in my memory. Australia was
truly the antipodes. Everything seemed to be reversed, a topsy-turvy
land. At Botany Bay I was astonished to find the swans were black,
thereby demolishing our beautiful ideas about "milk-white" swans. The
birds talked, screamed, or brayed, instead of singing, and the trees
shed their bark instead of their leaves. The big end of the pears was
at the stem, and cherry-stones grew on the outside of the fruit. I was
sitting one day in the garden of the governor-general when I thought I
felt some one tap me on the shoulder. Then my coat was wrenched off my
back, and I turned just in time to see it disappear down the throat of a
tame Australian ostrich, called an emu. The bird had taken me for a

Sidney Smith describes the kangaroo as an animal with the head of a
rabbit, the body of a deer, a tail like a bed-post, and which, when in
danger, puts its young into a pocket in its stomach. But the most
marvelous of all the queer things of Australia, to my mind, was the
animal that laid eggs like a hen, suckled its young like a goat, and was
web-footed, like a duck. This was the duckbill, or water-mole, which the
Australians called the Patybus.

I also saw in Tasmania, and on Flinder's Island, the race of men that
was then considered the most remarkable on the globe, the original
Tasmanian savages; and I saw, also, the most curious weapon that man has
ever invented, the boomerang. Holmes has described this weapon in one of
his humorous verses:

    "The boomerang, which the Australian throws,
    Cuts its own circle, and hits you on the nose."

I got one of the Bushmen to throw his boomerang for me. He threw it
around a tree and the missile came back toward us. I fully expected to
be sent sprawling. It dropped almost at the feet of the savage that
threw it. Even gold in that land is found where it all ends in our
country--in pockets!

Before closing the account of my Australian experiences, I want to
record that when I arrived in Melbourne that flourishing port was in a
horrible condition for a city of its size and importance. Its streets
were such as would not have been tolerated in an American city of half
its size or one tenth its wealth. There were practically no public
works. After I had been there for some little time, a plan was put on
foot to improve the city. It moved along very slowly, as no one seemed
to know exactly what to do, or how to do it. Finally, an elaborate
program was drawn up, and all that was needed to carry it out was the
money, which would have to be borrowed.

The chairman of the improvement committee, or whatever it was called,
came to see me to get me to undertake the floating of the necessary
loan. I suggested a number of improvements, such as fire-engines, better
office buildings, better paved streets, and new gas-works. All of these
suggestions were accepted, and I forecast the floating of the loan. They
got the money in London, and Melbourne was remodeled, so far as its
appearance was concerned, and was finally made one of the most
attractive cities in the British colonies. It now has a population of
half a million.




I have already referred to my purpose of going to Japan to establish a
branch business there. This idea came to me in Australia, after
Commodore Perry had opened the country to foreigners. It has always been
my desire to be first on the ground, and I saw that Japan offered the
greatest possible opportunities for trade of all sorts. I had fixed upon
Yokohama as the place in which to open our branch house. The rapid
development of that city since then, under new conditions, and the
tremendous increase of its trade with Europe and America, as well as
with India, China, and Australasia, have well justified my early
judgment. I knew we could acquire great influence in the world of
commerce, and become, perhaps, the greatest shipping house of the globe,
with branch houses at Boston, Liverpool, Melbourne, and Yokohama.

This is as good a place as any to give the reasons for the failure of
these ambitious plans. I had gradually worked out the whole program,
giving to it hours and days of careful and painstaking examination. I
felt that the scheme was absolutely safe from every point of view. It
was big and almost grandiose; but I felt it was sure to result in vast
fortunes, in the building up of a trade that the world had never before
conceived or dreamed of, and in the development of American commerce.

In fact, I see now that I was more than half a century ahead of J.
Pierpont Morgan. I should have formed a great shipping and navigation
business that would have dwarfed anything else of the kind in the world.
My plan was not limited to a few lines of ships between Europe and New
York. It was not confined to an Atlantic ferry. I foresaw, as I fancied,
American ships dominating the trade of all oceans. I saw the American
merchant flag in every port of the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans,
and doing the carrying trade of the world. I had some such vague idea
when I introduced the fast clipper service between Boston, New York, and
San Francisco, and, again, when I organized the fast sailing-ship
service between Boston and Australia. But I did not see it all clear
before me, as I saw it in Australia. The Orient had cleared my eyes.

Of course, my first thought was for the up-building of our house. I
wanted it to take the leading part in the stupendous task, and to
become the first house of the world. All this could have been
accomplished, except that I had to contend against the conservatism of
New England, and the very easily understood desire of Colonel Train that
his house should directly own all its ships. This was, of course,
impossible. He could not own them, but he might control them. I urged
upon him the policy of retaining a controlling interest only, and
letting others come in, bringing the capital we should need for the
greater enterprise. This was my idea of "combination," of a great
"shipping combine," more than half a century before it was undertaken,
in another way, by Mr. Morgan and his associates.

Colonel Train's persistent demand that he should own all the ships, put
an end to the plan. It not only put an end to a grand project, but put
an end to his business. He was soon confronted with difficulties. The
business had outgrown him and his limited means, had become unwieldy and
unmanageable. As I had foreseen, it needed more men, more minds, more
money; and these were not forthcoming. And so, in '57, Colonel Train was
forced down, literally crushed beneath the weight of his own
undertakings, as Tarpeia was crushed beneath the Sabine shields. He was
the victim of his desire to own and dominate everything.

Two years before this collapse of a great idea, I left Australia for
Japan, by way of Java, Singapore, and China, with high hopes. I had
visions, which were to accompany me for a year or two more, and then I
had to abandon them and turn my attention to other fields. From
Melbourne, I sailed on the Dashing Wave. Has it ever occurred to any one
who writes or thinks of the old days of sailing vessels, those winged
ships, that the very names of boats have changed, indicating the
transformation from romance to reality, from poetry to mere prose and
work-a-day business? In those days we had beautiful and suggestive names
for ships, just as we ought to try to find beautiful and suggestive
names for all truly beautiful and lovable things. Now we send out our
City of Paris, or St. Louis, or St. Paul, or the Minneapolis, or the
Astoria, or Kentucky, or Blaamanden, or Rotterdam, or Ryndam, or
Noordam. Then we had such names as Flying Cloud, the clipper that
shortened the distance between the ends of the world; the Sovereign of
the Seas, the Monarch of the Ocean, the Flying Arrow, the Sea Eagle. The
Dashing Wave, Captain Fiske, carried me to Batavia in twenty-six days.
We were accompanied, for a portion of the trip, by the Flying Arrow.

At Anjer, in the Straits of Sunda, the Malays came off to the ship in
their little boats with provisions of all sorts to sell. Every one of
them had letters of recommendation, as they thought, from the English
captains and officers who had previously traded with them; but these
letters, if they could have been translated for their possessors, would
have been instantly cast into the sea and a general riot perhaps would
have followed. One of the letters read something like this: "If this
black thief brings any eggs to sell to you, don't buy them, as they are
always rotten. He may also try to sell you a rooster, but don't buy it,
as it is the same cock that crew when Peter denied Jesus." Of course
everybody on the ship roared with laughter as each letter was handed up
to us and read aloud for the edification of all. The simple Malays
guffawed loudly in their boats, thinking that we were heartily pleased
with them and their wares. When next I passed through the Sunda Straits,
Krakatoa had been at work in eruption and had completely changed the
face of the coast, and Anjer itself and the little island it stood on
were gone.

This Dutch colony was a revelation to me in every way. I had never seen
anything at all like it in any other part of the world, and was never
again to see anything quite so quaint or so delightful. The ride from
Batavia to the hotel was full of surprises. I was accompanied by a troop
of little children, all of them pressing close up to us and crying for
"doits"--small copper coins. I scattered these little coins among them
again and again, but they could never get enough, but kept on crying,
"doit, doit!" Then the color of the trees, the rich shades of the
flowers that flourished everywhere, the beauty of the scenery--all was
a delightful surprise. I have never seen elsewhere so many or such rare
flowers. The whole island of Java, as I was soon to learn, is a vast
botanical garden, far more beautiful and rare than any that science can
create. Nature, the great horticulturist, has here done her best and
final work. The air, too, was delicious. It was perfumed by flowers,
aromatic herbs, and spices. I had never realized before what was meant
by the legends of the "Spice Islands," and I fancied that here was the
place for man to live and die.

I drove to the residence of the governor-general at Buitenzorg,
thirty-five miles south of Batavia, which was situated in a tremendous
garden of flowers and trees. It was the most beautiful place I had ever
seen, and I am quite sure that I have never seen anything more beautiful
since. I was so delighted with Java, indeed, that I had a model of a
Javanese village made for me, and shipped it home to my wife with the
greatest care. What was my surprise, when I finally reached home, and
asked eagerly if the model had been received, to be told that nothing
had been seen of it. "Didn't something come from me from Java?" Oh, yes,
something had come, but it looked so big and uninteresting that it had
been put down in the cellar. And there my beautiful model of the
Javanese village had lain, in ignominy, for years! I restored it to its
proper position in the world, by sending it to the Boston Museum. It
was lost in the fire that soon afterward destroyed that building.

It was in Java that I first learned to love flowers, and I have loved
them more and more every year of my life since. The natives of that
wonderful island love to strew flowers over everything, and to garland
everything with beautiful blossoms. I soon became infatuated with the
custom of carrying flowers, and adopted the boutonnière, which I
afterward introduced in Paris in '56, in London in '57, and in New York
in '58. I have endeavored to wear a spray of flowers in the lapel of my
coat every day since my visit to Java.

There was one particularly pleasing custom, which I think should have
been long ago introduced in this country. This was the fashion of
bringing in fruit to the table covered with flowers. It is a custom that
delights three senses at once--the smell, the sight, the taste. The
first time I saw it was at the table of Mr. Whitelaw Reid, when he gave
a dinner to me and my friends. After we had finished eating, I was asked
if I did not wish for some of the fruit. I looked around and could not
see fruit anywhere. In front of me were great masses of flowers in
baskets, and I could readily detect the odor of fruits of various kinds,
but they were invisible. I had almost decided that they were outside in
the garden, and that possibly we were expected to pluck them from the
trees, which, heavily laden with their burdens, hung temptingly against
the windows. But no, the fruit was immediately before me, hidden beneath
masses of cut flowers, in trays and baskets. I thought it a beautiful
custom, and one that distinctly appeals to esthetic taste. It could well
be introduced at Newport or Saratoga, or in Fifth Avenue mansions.

I regretted that Great Britain had lost, through a piece of
carelessness, these magnificent islands now controlled by Holland;
although the Dutch have done about as well as any other people could
have done, I suppose. I believe it was because Lord Canning did not open
his eastern mail one morning, that these islands became a possession of
Holland instead of Great Britain.

I did not, on the occasion of my first visit, see anything of the
Achinese. But I passed, in '92, on my last trip around the world, the
northwestern end of Sumatra, and Captain Hogg, of the Moyune, pointed to
the little town of Achin, built on piles. He said that in the interior
the Dutch were still fighting the Achinese. They had then been fighting
these desperate Mohammedans--converted Malays--for thirty years. I have
since thought, having in view this prolonged struggle for freedom of the
Mohammedan Malays of Sumatra, how desperate is our undertaking in the
Philippines, where we are trying to subjugate a far larger population
of Mohammedans, the Moros of the southern islands of the archipelago.
Holland, I believe, has spent already something like 500,000,000 florins
to exterminate the Achinese. It may cost us far more to exterminate the

I left Batavia for Singapore on a Dutch man-of-war, Captain Fabius. We
stopped first at the island of Banka, belonging to Holland, and I saw
there the famous tin-mines, which are greater than those of Cornwall,
England. They were the property of the brother of the King of Holland.
We did not stop at Sarawak, because of the little war that "Rajah"
Brooke, afterward known as Sarawak Brooke, was carrying on there. We
arrived at Singapore just too late to meet Townsend Harris, the first
American diplomatic representative to Japan, as he had gone up to Siam.
Harris's visit to Japan was the real beginning of a new era in the trade
of the far East, and no other diplomatic mission in the history of this
country has been fraught with greater results.

Singapore was then a port of much dirtiness and much business. All the
vessels of the world came there, and the greatest variety of cargoes
that I have ever seen. The most interesting thing I saw there was the
magnificent home of a great Chinese millionaire, who managed the largest
business in Singapore, or, indeed, in that part of the world. He had a
splendid palace, surrounded by beautiful and extensive gardens, the
whole being worthy of a king or emperor. Here he lived in the style of
some barbaric prince. This Chinaman had established in Singapore the
kind of store which we in America think we invented--the department
store. But I learned afterward when I went to China, that the department
store is common there, and had been known for hundreds, perhaps
thousands, of years. This development of the store is as old as the
civilization of the Caucasian race, and, perhaps, was known to China
ages before America was discovered. I had the pleasure of receiving an
invitation to visit the Chinaman in his palace, and was astounded by the
extensive grandeur of everything. He had a passion for animals, and
owned two tigers in cages that were the largest animals of their kind I
have ever seen.

From Singapore, I sailed for China on a P. & O. steamer. On board I met
Dr. Parker, the new American minister to China, and my roommate was
Alexander Collie, of Manchester, England, who, during our civil war,
became the chief English blockade runner. I may as well dispose of my
experiences with Collie while I have him before me. Collie operated his
blockade-running business through the London and Westminster (Limited)
Bank. When I was in England I discovered the nature of his work, and
exposed him through correspondence in the New York Herald. This led to
the breaking down of his enterprise, and to the bank's loss of £500,000
sterling. Collie escaped arrest by fleeing to Spain. I have never heard
of him since.




At Hongkong I went to our correspondents, Williams, Anthon & Co., and
took passage in Endicott's little steamer, the Spark, for Macao, the
Portuguese port of China. Before leaving Hongkong, however, as I had
some little time on my hands, I determined to see everything that was to
be seen there. I had the remarkable experience of meeting the man who
was afterward the husband of Hetty Green. This was E. H. Green, who was
married twelve years later. He was then connected with the house of
Russell & Sturgis, our correspondents in Manila, and he joined me for
the trip to Macao and Canton. After a short stay in Hongkong, we went on
to Macao and Canton.

We had, on this voyage, the common experiences of Chinese
waters--pirates and typhoons. At the Boca Tigris, the mouth of the
Canton, or Pearl, river, we were overtaken by the typhoon, and we had to
anchor near an island in the midst of a number of junks. These soon
proved to be pirate ships, and we were, apparently, in great danger. The
pirates immediately began to draw up about us, as if meditating an
attack. The little Spark would, of course, stand no chance in such a
contest. I did not think she could last ten minutes in a fight with
those ugly junks.

The Chinese anchored their boats up close to the Spark, and I noticed
that a dozen of the ugliest ruffians our own sailors had ever
encountered were staring in through the cabin windows. I could not
imagine what they were looking at, and went forward to see what was
wrong. There was Mr. Green, sitting facing the window, his feet on the
table, and making faces at the crew. He was the coolest man, I think,
that I ever saw. Nothing moved him out of his imperturbable calm. The
Chinamen were scowling at him, but this did not at all disconcert him.
If he was going to be killed by these devils, he seemed to be thinking,
he might as well die in a cheerful humor. How could he know they were
not pirates in disguise?

The pirates expected that we should fall an easy prey into their hands,
as our coal had given out, and there was no assistance within reach. We
were in a dilemma, but we attacked the woodwork of the deck, and got
enough to fire up the engines and get a head of steam, when suddenly, to
the amazement of the pirates, we steamed out and away. The storm having
subsided, the junks were soon left far behind and we reached Macao

Macao was at that time the headquarters of the new slave trade. I went
to the top of a high hill for the purpose of looking at the barracoons,
where slaves were kept. The barracoon is, in meaning, a little barrack,
but it is, in reality, a pest-hole. Here were gathered the Chinese who
were to be sent as victims and slaves to the Peruvian islands. The
practise was to bring Chinamen from the interior by telling them of the
great riches their countrymen had found in America, which was then a
name that tempted all Chinamen of the coast regions. Many Chinamen, it
was known, had gone to America and done well, and the wretches that the
slave-dealers wanted to ship to Peru were told that they would be sent
to America. They thought they were going to California; but they were
shipped to the Chincha islands, near Callao, the port of Lima, Peru.

As Boston was then deeply interested in the subject of slavery in the
Southern States, I wrote a description of this new slavery in the
Chincha islands, giving the names of the boats that had recently sailed
from Macao with full cargoes of slaves. I had heard of this horrible
traffic in human flesh at Singapore, but could not believe it, until I
actually saw it at Macao. Whenever the wretches mutinied, or grew
restive, they were put down in the hold and the hatches closed. The
horrors of such a position were as great as those of the infamous
"Middle Passage," made so conspicuous by the abolitionists in the
campaign against African slavery. Chinamen perished by hundreds, and
many of the survivors were maimed or invalided for life. In a single
case, some two hundred victims were smothered and died in the hold of
one of these slavers. My letters to the New York Herald were copied far
and near. It was discovered that some of the Boston people themselves
were interested in enslaving the Chinese. But the practise could not
stand the light of exposure, and so was broken up.

We hurried on from Macao to Canton, arriving there during the Chinese
New Year. This city astonished me in a number of ways. It was dirty and
miserable beyond imagination, with narrow streets and indescribable
filth. But that it carried on a tremendous volume of trade was apparent
from a glance. The river was covered with junks and larger vessels at
Whampoa, the lower port, floating the flags of every nation. Warehouses,
the "godowns" of the foreign traders, revealed the existence of an
enormous, and profitable commerce. The word "godown," which many take to
be a "pidgin-English" word composed of "go" and "down," and signifying
putting things down in a warehouse, is a Malay word, and comes from
"gadang," meaning a place for storing articles away. The warehouses were
surrounded by high walls, in the manner of private villas and town
residences of the Chinese, and were adorned by beautiful gardens.

There was a pretty custom, among foreign residents, to invite all
visitors to dine with them. These invitations were sent informally upon
little cards called "chits." As I was already known in the business
world there, I received a great many of these invitations. I was walking
with Mr. Green one day, when he said it was getting time to think about
dinner. "Where will you dine?" he asked. I replied that I did not know
which invitation to accept. I thought that I would take some of his
conceit out of him, by showing him that I had received a great number of
"chits," and I drew a package of them from my pocket. I remarked coolly
that I could not make up my mind what to do, as I had an _embarras de
richesses_. I counted the "chits," and there were eleven. Green, with
great nonchalance, drew out his package of "chits"; he had thirteen!

He had a great way of taking care of himself in such circumstances. He
suggested that there was only one thing to do--to find out who, among
our intending hosts, would have the best dinner. He then took me around
to the rear of the residences, where a high wall separated the gardens
from the native city, and where I discovered that the Chinese cooks
always hung up the game, poultry, and other things they were preparing
for meals. From this array we could tell what everybody was going to
have for dinner. After a stroll through the alley, we selected the house
that had displayed behind it some lovely pheasants and salmon. "The
owner of that house shall have the honor of being our host," said Green.
I approved his choice both then and after the dinner, which was an
excellent one, at which the golden pheasants were the _pièce de
résistance_. I soon discovered for myself, what I had long heard, that
the Chinese are the best cooks in the world.

Another thing I learned about the Chinaman was that he is the most
honest tradesman in the world, and the most careful about debts. The
Chinese New Year is the season when the Chinaman wipes off the slate and
begins life over again, with a clean record. He pays up all debts, and
starts even with the world. I learned that on this anniversary the
Chinaman will sell everything he possesses, even his liberty, his
person, his life itself, to settle his debts, so that he may face the
new year with a clean conscience and a pure heart, as well as with no
bills hanging over him.

As this was practically the first Chinese city I had seen, I was very
curious about it. It was all new ground to me, and I was eager to
explore it. I knew that this was not permitted, for six Englishmen had
been killed shortly before my arrival, for daring to venture inside the
walls of the Chinese city, which was then as much forbidden ground as
the "Pink City" of Pekin. The fate of the Englishmen only made me more
keen to get inside the walls. I thought I could take care of myself
sufficiently well. I was warned by friends not to risk the thing, but I
took all the responsibility, and went inside, while the gates were open.
I had not gone more than a few rods when I heard behind me and all
around me the wildest cries. Men ran toward me with shouts of
"Fankwai"--foreign devil; and I saw at once that I had stirred up a
hornet's nest. I looked about me, and discovered that the gate I had
come through was still open. There was a pretty fair chance, by running
fast, for getting through it before the Chinamen could head me off. This
calculation took about one-millionth of a second, and I plunged for the
gate, "like a pawing horse let go." If the stop-watch could have been
held on me, I am sure I should have established a record for a
short-distance sprint.

The next time I visited Canton was in '70. The gates were open, and the
walls were of no avail to keep the foreign devils out. The American
merchant Nye, who was familiarly known as the Napoleon of China, because
of his gigantic enterprises, took me over the city. I had read and heard
about Chinamen eating rats, but this was the only time I ever saw the
thing done, and I could hardly believe my eyes. A Chinaman came up to
Mr. Nye and me in the street, and offered to sell us a rat, a big
fellow still alive. I asked if it was to be eaten, and the Chinaman said
it was. "But it is not cooked," I objected. "I am not going to begin on
live rats." The Chinaman said he would prepare it--the rat cooked and
served to cost me two cents. I told him to go ahead. To my surprise he
took a little stove from under his arm, lighted a fire, and in a few
minutes had the rodent roasted to a crisp. I was astonished--and
ashamed--to see how nice it looked. It did appear toothsome. I said to
the Chinaman, "Now, you can eat it." He did, and with great gusto and
smacking of the lips. So he got his rat and my two cents, also.

But I ascertained that there is about as much truth in the common
stories in our silly juvenile literature about Chinamen generally eating
rats as there is in stories of other marvelous things in far-off lands.
I also found that there is no deadly upas-tree in Java, which was a
distinct shock to me. I had been reared, so to speak, in the fatal shade
of that upas. I had watched birds drop dead as they tried to fly across
its swath of malignant shadow; I had seen animals stricken by its fatal
exudations and writhing in agony. I saw all these things in the old New
England farmhouse, which was the headquarters of the Methodists; but in
Java, they had all disappeared. There was no upas-tree, and the
mortality among birds and animals was no greater than necessary to
satisfy the predatory natures of other animals, birds, and men. And now
to find in China that the New England stories about general rat-eating
were false, was another shock.

But the Chinese are not as cleanly as they might be. I learned this
interesting fact in connection with my taste for Canton ginger. I had
always, from earliest childhood, been outrageously fond of this delicate
comfit. I had eaten it in great quantities whenever I got the chance;
and when I arrived in Canton, the home of this conserve, I at once
thought of it, and wanted to know more about its manufacture. I learned,
after some inquiry, that it was put up at a factory on the island of
Ho-nan, near Canton. Ho-nan is also the name of a famous Buddhist temple
on the same island. The factory, as well as most of the so-called
island, is built on piles. I had not altogether overlooked this fact
when I asked the factory people where they got the water for the sirup
of the preserves. They looked at me as if I were demented. "Water! why
we are right over the river!" Yes, they were right over the river, the
dirtiest and most villainous river in the world. The sewage of the
dirtiest city in China--which is saying about all that can be said on
the subject--is emptied into this river. I need not say that I did not
eat any of the Canton ginger then, and I have not eaten any of it since.

I have set down my views as to the topsy-turviness of things in
Australia. I found China topsy-turvy in a different way. The Chinese
begin their books and letters where we end ours, at what we should call
the back. They read from right to left, instead of from left to right,
and, strangest of all, the men wear gowns, and the women--don't! When I
was introduced to How-kwa, a warm friend of the Russells, I advanced to
shake hands with him, but he stepped back and solemnly shook hands with
himself for me. Then he waved his hands toward the door, as if to say,
so it seemed to me, "get out of here," and I was amazed, but Sturgis
informed me that the great Chinaman was merely beckoning to me to come
nearer to him. I went up to him, by that time so impressed with the
Chinese way of doing things backward that if he had kicked at me, I
should have thought he was asking me to embrace him. We were in
How-kwa's residence, which was surrounded by the most exquisite gardens,
and were invited to partake of a cup of tea. For the first time in my
life I drank tea that cost $30 a pound. We used no sugar nor milk, of
course, as these things are considered in China to spoil good tea. The
next best tea I have drunk, I think, was the tea I got at the fair of
Nijnii Novgorod, Russia, in '57, which had been brought overland
thousands of miles across mountains and deserts, packed in little

Again, I found that the Chinese look backward, and not forward, and
ennoble their ancestors, instead of their offspring, and pay little
attention to the coming generation. They say that they know what their
ancestors--the dead--were, but can not foretell what the living may
become. They scull their boats in the rivers from the bow, instead of
from the stern. Their boatmen are usually women. While we fear the
water, and seek to make our dwelling places upon the rock or upon very
dry land, the Chinaman will get as near as possible to the water. In the
Canton, or Pearl, river there were, when I was there, some 100,000
persons living on the river, in boats, or on floats, or rafts. A
Westerner would suppose children were in danger of falling into the
water. They do fall in, but their mothers have devised a method of
rescuing them without mischance. Cords are fastened to their bodies, and
when a child falls overboard, the cord, which is made fast to the boat,
prevents it from sinking too far before the mother or father catches
hold and pulls it back into the boat.

They call all servants, male and female, "boy," which reminds me that in
the Europeanized parts of some of the Japanese cities they do the same,
and when they want to specify definitely that the "boy" is a girl, they
say "onna no boy," which means "girl-boy," or girl servant. This is, of
course, pidgin-English, the business English of the Chinese littoral. I
had an amusing experience with this pidgin-English. I had invited some
friends to dine with me, a merchant and his two sons and three
daughters, and when I asked the servant who had come, he said that the
merchant had arrived and "two bull chilo, and three cow chilo."

Pidgin-English amused me very much, as it amuses every one who visits
China. Augustine Heard, the merchant, who was a master of this lingo,
used to interest me by reciting phrases from it, and once gave me the
following poem, which is a translation of Longfellow's Excelsior. The
translation was made by Mr. Heard. It has been published throughout the
world as an "anonymous" production:


    That nightee teem he come chop-chop
    One young man walkee, no can stop;
    Maskee snow, maskee ice;
    He cally flag with chop so nice--
                  Top-side Galah!

    He muchee solly; one piecee eye
    Lookee sharp--so fashion--my;
    He talkee large, he talkee stlong,
    Too muchee cullo; alle same gong.
                  Top-side Galah!

    Insidee house he can see light,
    And evly loom got fire all light,
    He lookee plenty ice more high,
    Insidee mout'h he plenty cly--
                  Top-side Galah!

    Ole man talkee, "No can walk,
    "Bimeby lain come, velly dark;
    "Have got water, velly wide!"
    Maskee, my must go top-side--
                  Top-side Galah!

    "Man-man," one girlee talkee he,
    "What for you go top-side look--see?"
    And one teem more he plenty cly,
    But alle teem walk plenty high--
                  Top-side Galah!

    "Take care t'hat spilum tlee, young man,
    "Take care t'hat ice, must go man-man."
    One coolie chin-chin he good night,
    He talkee, "My can go all light"--
                  Top-side Galah!

    T'hat young man die; one large dog, see,
    Too muchee bobbly findee he.
    He hand b'long coldee, all same like ice,
    He holdee flag wit'h chop so nice--
                  Top-side Galah!

When I was ready to start for Japan, I had made up my mind to visit
Shanghai on the way, and was about to start, when Canton merchants,
native and foreign, tried to dissuade me. They told me it would be
terribly disappointing, and that I would regret wasting any time there.
They did not know my nature, and that this sort of thing merely
stimulated my curiosity and hardened my determination.

I took passage in the P. & O. boat, the Erin, Captain Jameson, and
supposed, of course, that I should have a state-room. But I was to meet
with another Chinese surprise. A great Chinese mandarin, going from
Hongkong to Shanghai, had engaged the whole cabin. I was very desirous
to see this great personage, and soon had the opportunity. It is my
practise, when at sea, to take exercise by walking rapidly up and down
the deck, thus covering many miles a day. I was taking my daily exercise
the day when the mandarin came on board ship, and every time I passed
the cabin I noticed that he followed me with his eyes. And so we kept it
up for some time, I walking as unconcernedly as I could, and the great
mandarin watching my movements as curiously as if I were some strange

After a while he called the first officer, and asked what I was doing.
"Walking up and down the deck," he was told. "But why does he do it? Is
he paid for it?" The officer told him it was for exercise. "What is
that?" asked the Chinese great man. This was explained to him, but he
could not understand why any one wanted to walk up and down, and do so
much unnecessary work. The Chinese are not averse to work; indeed, they
are one of the most industrious people on the face of the earth, but
they do not do unnecessary work, having, I infer, to do as much
necessary work as is good for them. And this great dignitary pointed to
me with scorn and said: "Number one foolo." I hardly need explain that
"number one," throughout the far East, means the superlative degree.

This mandarin was the great Li Hung Chang, who had been summoned by his
emperor to save the country from the terrible Tai-ping rebellion. He
was on his way from Canton to Shanghai. He there called in the splendid
services of three great foreigners--the Frenchman, Bougevine, the
American, Ward, and the Englishman, "Chinese" Gordon; but it was largely
and chiefly due to the stubbornness and genius of Li that the empire was
saved to the Manchus, at a cost, it is estimated, of twenty millions of

When we reached Woosung there were six armed opium ships for cargoes of
opium from Calcutta and Bombay, which the English were forcing upon the
Chinese, much as we should force rum on the Mexicans, and make them pay
for it. The English and Americans were reaping fortunes in the most
unholy traffic the world has seen--and it will never be forgotten in
China, or anywhere else, that England went to war with China to force
China to permit the shipment of opium into that country to ruin millions
of lives and impoverish millions of families. I feel heartily ashamed of
myself for having once smuggled a little of this horrible drug into
China. But I found that many Americans and Englishmen were devoting
themselves to the trade as a regular business.

In Shanghai I was the guest of Russell & Co., who were then represented
by Cunningham and G. Griswold Gray. The fighting in the great rebellion
was still raging--it was not put down until after Gordon recaptured
Nanking--and when I was in Shanghai the Chinese authorities kept the
gory heads of rebels hanging from the walls as an example to all who
contemplated opposing the Manchu rule. These hideous trophies of the war
were the most impressive things that I saw in Shanghai.

Dr. Lockhart, the missionary, acted voluntarily as my dragoman and guide
in Shanghai, and showed me things in the city that I could never have
discovered for myself. In one of the squares I noticed a monument 150
feet high, which, I was told by Lockhart, had been built by the poor
people of China in commemoration of an old lady, who had been the Helen
Gould of her day. Each of the subscribers had contributed cash equal to
one tenth of a cent.

Some really splendid virtues of the Chinese impressed me deeply. I liked
and admired them the more I saw them. I have already said that they are
the most honest people on the globe. It seems to me an extraordinary
thing that this race, the world's highest type of honesty, should be the
only race to which we are inhospitable. The Chinese were far ahead of
Europeans in many ways for centuries. If they have fallen behind now, it
may be only because Europeans are rushing hastily through their brief
civilizations, while China, having enjoyed hers for ages, is content to
watch us rise, flourish, and decay, as we watch the passing generations
of the forest and the field.

They invented and used the things that we regard as almost the highest
products of our civilization. They had used the mariner's compass for
centuries before we had it; they invented printing perhaps a thousand
years before Gutenberg; they invented gunpowder, which they had used in
war and every-day life; they had the best paper ever seen long before
the rest of the world had any, and the outside nations have not yet been
able to duplicate theirs; they invented the newspaper, and have the
oldest journal in the world, the Pekin Gazette; they discovered the
Golden Rule, unless that honor belongs to the Greek, Thales; they
developed philosophy--the highest system of the world, in
Confucianism--before the Greeks, and, of course, long before the
Germans; and they were the first people of the world to appreciate

Moreover, as Mr. Wu, the great Chinese minister at Washington, has so
often pointed out, they were democratic long before Thomas Jefferson,
and long before the Greeks had invented the word "democracy," or had
discovered the idea of a democratic state or city. I had been taught
that the hard-headed and practical Scotch had invented the macadam road,
naming it from a canny Scot of that name; but I found a macadamized road
in China three or four thousand years old, and long enough to wrap
around the British Isles. The Chinese have long preceded us, and they
may long survive us, nullifying all the "imperialism" and
"expansionism" of Europe and America, which would cut her into fragments
as the spoil of the world.

While I was in China, on this first visit, and on the several occasions
of my later visits, I gave much thought to the vast population of that
country. I have come to the conclusion that the population is less than
half, probably less than one-third, of what it is generally estimated to
be. I notice that the Chinese viceroys have recently made an estimate of
their respective provinces, at the command of the emperor, and that the
total reaches the enormous figure of 425,000,000. I do not believe that
there are 200,000,000 people in the entire empire, and I should prefer
estimating the population at something between 150,000,000 and

I found that China is not a densely populated country, as is generally
supposed. The seashore is fairly crowded, and the impression one gets
from seeing the surface of the water covered at Canton with rafts and
floats on which more than 100,000 persons live, is that the inhabitants
must swarm in the same degree over the face of the land. This is not the
case. Even the coast is merely fringed with people. Back in the interior
there are no such dense masses of population. All accounts that I can
read of the interior, from Father Huc down to Mr. Parsons of New York,
bear me out in this. I can not see where there are more than
175,000,000, or 150,000,000, people in that empire. The reports of the
slaughter in the Tai-ping rebellion, of some 20,000,000 people, would
seem to indicate a population of at least 200,000,000 or 250,000,000;
but these figures were greatly exaggerated, as all such things are in
China. All statistics are nothing but guesswork, and the bigger they are
the better people like them.

I engaged passage in the Greta, which was to go to Shimoda and Hakodate,
Japan. My objective point was Yokohama, where it was my purpose to
establish a branch of the house of Train & Co., Melbourne. My Australian
house was not connected with Colonel Train's Boston and Liverpool packet
firm. At this time, however, the English and Russians, who were not as
good friends then as they are now, were fighting, and the little war
completely upset all of my plans. I could not get to Yokohama at all,
and did not visit Japan until several years later. I had, therefore, to
give up my passage in the Greta, and turn my face from Japan. Just at
this point, Augustine Heard invited G. Griswold Gray, of Russell & Co.,
and me to go to Fu-chow, on one of his sailing ships, the John Wade.

[Illustration: George Francis Train dictating his autobiography in his
room in the Mills Hotel.]

This trip I very willingly made, as I wanted to see everything of China
that was possible; but it was more adventurous than I had expected. As
we were sailing down the China coast, a typhoon struck us, and over
went sails and masts. Our pilot from Shanghai was immediately in
difficulties, as the pilot from Fu-chow, whom we had just picked up, did
not understand the pilot we had brought from Shanghai. I had the utmost
difficulty, owing to my inadequate mastery of pidgin-English, in
establishing communication between these essential elements of our
little crew. We had, finally, to get into a boat and make our way up the
River Min for forty miles in the dark. It was a very trying experience,
as the river was absolutely unknown to me; the darkness was
"unpierceable by power of any star," and the river was treacherous in
itself for small boats. To make matters worse, it was infested by junk
pirates. This latter danger I had got somewhat accustomed to, as almost
every inch of Chinese water was, in those days, the field of operations
for these pirates. The other nations of the world had not yet adopted
effective means for getting rid of them as the United States got rid of
the Algerian and Tripolitan plunderers.

We arrived at Fu-chow, after a harassing night on the river. Almost the
first thing to greet my curious eyes, as they were sweeping the horizon
for wonders in that land of wonders, was the old suspension bridge,
which the Chinese assert was built in the fourteenth century. It proved
to be as much of a curiosity as the Chinese wall in the north. At
Fu-chow I was a guest in the house of the Russells. Immediately upon
landing, Gray, Heard, and myself took sedan chairs for a tour through
the city.

On this occasion I had my first opportunity to appeal to the American
flag for protection. As we were passing through a very narrow, but
important street, our coolies were suddenly set upon and overturned. We
scrambled out of the chairs, and asked what was the matter. We learned
that the viceroy was also passing through the thoroughfare, and that
everything and everybody had to give way for his retinue. My companions
at once stepped out of the way, but my blood was up. I resented being
upset in the street, like so much refuse, in order to have the filthy
thoroughfare cleared for the passage of a mere Chinese viceroy.

I had a small American flag in my pocket, carefully wrapped about its
little staff, and I took it out with a great deal of display and waved
the tiny emblem around my head. I dared the Chinese servants of the
viceroy to touch me or to interfere with my right to pass through the
streets of Fu-chow. This had its effect. I noticed at once that the
Chinese in the street, who recognized the colors of the United States,
fell back from me, our coolies got up out of the dirt, and once more
took hold of the poles of the chairs. The viceroy passed on, pretending
not to have noticed the incident, and in a few minutes the way was clear

Fu-chow was the black-tea port of China at that time, and it had been
opened just two years before. It was astonishing at what a rapid pace
business of a certain kind swung along in the coast cities of the Far
East. In two years several of the Canton houses, representatives of the
great shipping and other business concerns of the world, had opened
branch offices in Fu-chow. Commercial life there was intensely active
and very prosperous.

From Fu-chow I went on down the coast to Hongkong, this being my second
visit there. I noticed at Swatow several ships loaded with Chinese
slaves destined for the Chincha guano islands of Peru. My destination
was Calcutta, so we did not have much time to explore the Chinese coast,
much as I should have liked to do so.




I sailed from Hongkong on Jardine's opium steamer, Fiery Cross. As the
course we took had been gone over by me in the voyage to Hongkong from
Singapore, I was not especially interested in it until we had passed the
Straits and got into Indian waters. The Andaman Islands, where dwells
one of the lowest races of mankind, interested me greatly. We saw only a
little of these curious people, the Veddahs, but I learned of a very
interesting custom followed by the widows of the islands to commemorate
their deceased husbands. This consists in wearing the skull of the dead
man on the shoulder as a sort of ornament and memento. It is considered
a delicate way of perpetuating the memory of the husband.

I had a letter of introduction from Robert Sturgis to George Ashburner,
at Calcutta, and the moment I arrived Mr. Ashburner insisted upon my
becoming his guest. I spent three days with him, and have never partaken
of such luxurious hospitality elsewhere. It is only man in the Orient
who knows how to live fast and furious and get every enjoyment out of
his little span of life. I was surrounded by a retinue of servants, who
stood ready to answer every beck and call. Service in India being highly
specialized, there was a servant for everything. I had a little army of
fourteen serving men, four of whom carried my chair, or palanquin, with
a relay, a man to serve me specially at table, a punka man, and a man
for every other detail of living.

There was something to do and to see every moment of the time. I was
taken to all the show-places of the city. The first sight shown to me
was the famous Black Hole, where John Z. Holwell and one hundred and
forty-six men were incarcerated in a dungeon twelve feet square. One can
not escape being told the horrible story, if he visits Calcutta, and I
suppose that every one hears the narrative with added adornment, after
the true Hindu style. The special point of the story that was thrust at
me was the orgy and heavy sleep of the rajah, while his servitors were
trying to arouse him to answer the screams of the dying men in the Hole.
In the morning, after the rajah had had his beauty sleep, he was told of
the little difficulty the English had in breathing in the foul and heavy
air of the dungeon, and he ordered them released; but death, lingering,
and as heavy-handed and heavy-hearted as the brutal prince, had already
released most of them.

One is glad to be told for the ten thousandth time, after hearing this
ghastly tale, of the clerk Clive leaving his ledgers and pens and
leading an army to crush the wretches at Plassy. But, like most things
of the kind, the horrors of the Black Hole have been exaggerated, until
sympathy, palled, refuses longer to be torn and bled over imaginary as
well as real terrors. There have been many worse catastrophes, and of a
nature that should appeal more strongly to the heart. Men, women, and
children have gone down in flood and pestilence, free from any stain of
wrong, which can not be said of the victims of the Black Hole. We can
not forget altogether that they were in India not of right, but as
conquerors, and that they were originally, at least, in the wrong. But
the sufferers in the Johnstown flood, the thousands who died in the
Lisbon, Krakatoa, and Martinique disasters, and other thousands that go
down in ships at sea--these innocent victims demand sympathy much more.

It seemed that most of my sight-seeing in Calcutta was to be limited to
horrible things. Indeed, the visitor is often hurried from horror to
horror, as if he were in some "chamber of horrors" in a museum. I was
taken to the burning ghaut, where dead bodies are cremated. I saw some
five hundred little fires, which were so many pyres for the dead. I had
heard much of the burning of live women in order that they should
accompany their dead masters, and out of sheer curiosity asked the guard
if there were men only in the fires. For answer, he took a long hook,
thrust it into one of the fires, pulled it back and on its prongs
brought the charred leg of a man. Immediately birds of prey (adjutants)
pounced down upon the smoking flesh and bore it away. These birds are
the scavengers of Calcutta, and the special guardians of the ghaut.
Cremation is a great economy in India. It costs only half a cent to burn
a body.

Another horror shall complete this gruesome part of my story. Being very
fond of shrimps, one day I inquired, in a moment of forgetfulness--for
it is a safe rule not to ask the source of anything in the East--where
and how they got these shrimps. I was taken to the fishing grounds in
the mouth of the river, and there saw millions of these prawns flocking,
like petty scavengers, about the dead bodies that continually float down
the Ganges. Human flesh was their favorite food. This was enough for me.
I stopped eating shrimps in India, as I had stopped eating Canton ginger
preserves in China.

On the second day of my stay in Calcutta I received cards to the
reception given by Lord Dalhousie to Lord Canning, the new
Governor-General. Lord Dalhousie, the retiring Governor-General, was
dying. In fact he had been dying for months. I shall not go into any
description of the exceedingly brilliant reception. It made an
ineffaceable impression upon me because of the grouping on that occasion
of some of the most splendid of the British administrators and of some
of the most daring of their enemies, who were even then plotting
revolution and bloodshed. I was introduced to both the passing and the
coming Governor-General and to General Havelock, afterwards the gallant
fighter at Lucknow. I had the rare privilege of seeing these three men
talking amicably with the great Nana Sahib, the leader of the Hindus at

The voyage from Calcutta to Suez was almost devoid of incident. We put
into Madras, a barren, flat, and dismal place, to take on passengers,
and then sailed for Point de Galle, Ceylon. At this place I saw, for the
first time, elephants employed in carrying and piling heavy timbers.
They go about their task with an intelligence that is nearly human,
lifting heavy teak timbers and placing them in regular order in great
piles. I had not before supposed that any animals possessed so much

Coming down to Aden, two thousand miles from Galle, sleeping with the
bulkhead open opposite my berth, one night I felt something slap me in
the face. As I was all alone, I did not know what to make of it. There
was no light, and I could not see. As soon as I fell asleep another
slap came. I had heard about the insects of the tropics, but had no idea
they were of such size as to cause these slaps. In the morning, I found
out what had been the matter. Nine flying-fish lay dead in my berth.

At Aden, the most barren and gloomy place I have ever seen, we went out
to the cantonments, which must have been built thousands of years ago.
We hurried up the Red Sea to Suez, and then crossed over by land from
Suez, eighty-four miles, to Cairo, with six hundred camels in the
caravan. We had coaches carrying six passengers. I have a good idea of
what the Sahara Desert is from having seen this desert between Suez and
Cairo. Just before we reached Cairo, there was a cry from one of the
coaches for us to look up at the sky. There were masts, minarets, and
the whole city, in fact, painted on the sky. It was my first sight of
the mirage I had heard so much about. We were then half-way from Suez to

I put up at Shepheard's Hotel, and immediately arranged to go out to the
pyramids, ten miles from Cairo. Fifty donkey boys rivaled one another to
get my custom. My donkey started off, and the first thing I knew he was
rolling over me in the sand. He had stepped in a gopher-hole, and down
he went. Travelers now go out in trolley-cars, eat ice-cream and drink
champagne under the shade of the pyramids, and a splendid hotel stands
alongside the Sphinx.

In going up the pyramids it took three Arabs, two to push and one to
pull, to get me to the top. When we got half-way up, an Arab wanted more
bakshish. I talked to him pretty loud in something he didn't understand,
and he consented to take me farther. The top of the pyramid of Ghizeh
has been taken away, and the pyramid is now about fifteen feet square at
the summit. I made up my mind, the moment I saw the pyramids, that these
gigantic blocks were not stone, but had been produced by one of the lost
arts in preparing concrete. It occurred to me, as the pyramids were
hollow to the base, that they had been storehouses for grain, and were
not built as tombs for the Rameses and Ptolemies. Humane kings had built
them, I thought, in order to employ labor in time of dearth.

As all travelers are told, it was said that a man would go down one
pyramid and come up on another in so many minutes. I had seen such a
number of "fakes" in my travels that, as I could not tell one Chinaman
from another, how should I be able to tell one Arab from another? When
this trick was done for me I thought it did not follow that the man on
the other pyramid was the man who had been with me.

I was surprised when I left Cairo to find a modern railway, that had
been built by Said Pasha. We took the train for Alexandria. At
Alexandria we took passage for the Holy Land. The Rev. J. R. MacFarlane,
chaplain of Madras, wanted to see Jerusalem and landed at Joppa, or
Jaffa, which has become famous for Napoleon's massacre.

In going through the Valley of Sharon, we saw orange and lemon groves,
and fruits of all kinds. It was a lovely valley, but all of a sudden we
struck into the most desolate country I had ever seen--a mountain, a
desert, a wilderness of rocks, ravines and cañons. There were rocks to
the right, rocks to the left, and rocks everywhere. My dragoman had
a mule and I a donkey. One of these mules had irreverently been
named Christ and the other Jesus. To the perfect horror of the
clergyman--until he understood that the men could say nothing else in
English--the names of the donkeys were spoken with every crack of the
whip all the way to Jerusalem. The lashing of those donkeys became a
medley of seeming profanity.

A few weeks before, several people had been killed by the Bedouins on
the desert. Every one was talking about the dangers of the journey.
After we got over this wild district, through the Valley of Jehoshaphat,
we came upon a plateau and saw Jerusalem in the distance. Beautiful is
that city for situation. Said my companions, at the same instant, "There
are the Bedouins!" A half dozen horsemen were coming from the direction
of Jerusalem. We feared danger, but Abram the dragoman showed no fear.
These men were really not dangerous, being only "barkers" for the hotels
of Jerusalem. Neither my companion nor myself had any idea that they
were employes of that kind.

One asked if we would go to "Smith's" near Mount Calvary, to "Jones's"
near the Via della Rosa, or to another house on the site of Solomon's
Temple. MacFarlane said, "Don't notice these people. Leave it to the
dragoman." He decided that we should go to Smith's. From that time,
until we left, for three days, I saw nothing but humbug and tinsel,
lying and cheating, ugly women, sand-fleas and dogs, from Joppa through
Ramlah. The one lovely place was an oasis where we stopped for luncheon.
Of course this was a long time before Mark Twain went there and wept
over the tomb of Adam.

In going through the Valley of Jehoshaphat, up the Mount of Olives, of
course I was impressed with what survived of my Biblical education. New
England training was still strong in me. The women of Bethlehem,
carrying baskets on their heads, with flowing robes of calico, were very
beautiful and healthy-looking; but when I got to Bethlehem, and with my
farm and cattle experience looked for stalls and mangers, I was, of
course, disgusted at being taken down two flights and shown an old wet
cave as the place where the Saviour was said to have been born. I have
kept the morals of the old Methodists, I hope, but my superstitious
notions were disappearing every minute I spent in Jerusalem.

Being in the Holy Land, all the stories I had heard in boyhood came back
to me. I thought of Moses's life. I had been taught to obey his
commandments, but as a child I saw that he had broken in his own life
those which say, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not commit
adultery--had told Aaron, his brother-in-law, to make a golden image,
and had got up a trust by means of which he might get all the gold.
"Thou shalt do no murder," says the law--but he killed an Egyptian and
hid him in the sand. "Thou shalt not commit adultery "--but he committed
that sin.

And so on to the end. These commandments were taught by the man who had
broken every one of them himself. Aaron, who wished to be included in
the gold-corner into which Moses had refused him admittance, sought to
make money in some other way, and said, "If we are going for forty years
into the wilderness, we shall want salt provisions," and so bought up
all the hogs he could find, without letting Moses into the corner. Then
Moses spoiled the whole game by the law that no Jews should eat pork! In
the Holy Land these things all came into my mind. You can imagine how I
felt sixteen years after, when arrested and detained for six months in
the Tombs for quoting three columns of the Bible (about which I shall
speak later).

At night I wanted my clergyman companion to gain an idea of night scenes
in the East. To make sure that we should not be disturbed, I went to the
chief of police for a guide to show us Jerusalem by candle-light. We
went into a dark alley, back of Mount Calvary and the Via della Rosa,
when the man's movements became suspicious. I could not see why a
policeman should be so careful where he went. My object had been to see
the demi-monde of Syria.

When we got to the door, the policeman tried to shut the door, but I put
my foot in the way. I asked MacFarlane if he was armed. He said he had a
Madras dagger. MacFarlane was already in the room and I drew him out.
"Those are Bedouins," said I; "I could see their pistols and swords."
Intuition told me they were murderers. Sixteen persons had been killed
in Nablus in '55-'56. The chief of police was the head of the gang. I
immediately saw our consul, and there was a meeting of representatives
of the foreign powers, and the whole traffic was exposed. In our case
they found the men, and after we left they were executed.




The voyage from Joppa to Constantinople was a succession of surprises,
from Latokea to Lanarca, Cyprus, Rhodes, and Smyrna. At Beyrout we were
the guests of a pasha, the leading man of the place. Henry Kennard,
banker, of Heywood, Kennard & Co., of London, who had joined us in
Jerusalem, went with us through Syria and was going as far as the
Crimea. MacFarlane was still with our party. We had a day off in
Beyrout, and went up to Lebanon, inland, where the cedars seem to
antedate the olive-trees in the Garden of Gethsemane.

When we got to Smyrna we entered a beautiful bay, somewhat like that of
Rio Janeiro, and I went out on the fortified hill that overlooks the
city. I saw from the hill that troops were marching on parade, and went
off alone to see them. I was told to let my donkey go his own way. He
brought me to a place where were about one hundred stone steps, almost
perpendicular. I had a little hesitation about going down these steps,
but he seemed to know what he was about, and I could do nothing with him
but hang on his back. I expected him to tumble, and that would have been
the last of me. He didn't miss a step, however, but took me safely to
the bottom. I thought of General Putnam's stone-step ride. If he had
only had a Turkish donkey he would have missed being a hero.

My donkey seemed to know more than I about the streets of Smyrna, and I
gave him the rein. He took me past the sentinels to the parade ground,
as he appeared to know the password, and across the parade, which was
against regulations. When we arrived at the center of the ground, he
began very peculiar operations, as if he had been with Barnum. Here was
a donkey that would have made a fortune for a circus. The soldiers were
coming up in platoons, when the donkey began to stand on his hind feet,
and then on his fore feet. The roar of the advancing regiment convinced
me that I was in a tight place. I got off his back and walked alone on
the opposite side, and then escaped through a gate. I have never heard
of the obstinate animal since.

From Smyrna to Constantinople we passed among famous Greek
islands--Rhodes, and Chios, where twenty-two thousand Greeks were killed
by the Turks--but we had not time to stop at any of them. At
Constantinople I preferred to take passage in a transient steamer,
instead of waiting for the Government boat. I stopped here only to see
our minister, Carroll Spence, of Baltimore, and then hurried on through
the Marmoro Strait and the Bosporus, and into the Black Sea, and there
found an immense fleet of transports, from the port of Sebastopol. I was
delighted to see alongside of one another three of our Boston clippers,
built by Donald Mackay in East Boston, that had brought French troops
from France: the Great Republic, Captain Limeburner, the Monarch of the
Seas, Captain Gardner, and the Ocean Queen of clippers, Captain Zerega.
Ships filled the little bay, bows and sterns touching the shore on one
side and the other. Not one could have got out in case of fire.

We immediately got horses to go out to Balaklava, and there I was glad
to meet my old friend, Captain Furber, of the Black Ball Line and the
Ocean Clipper, who gave me a state-room and all the courtesies of his
ship. He had come for the French. Kennard went with the British. Horses
and attendants were furnished me by the French generals free of cost.

My object in going to the Crimea was to speculate in munitions of war,
which I supposed would be sold for a mere bagatelle. But the armies took
their material away with them--English, Russian, Turkish, French,
Sardinian--so there was no chance for business there. The British
troops were in rags and tatters. Their new uniforms had not arrived,
and their shoes were worn out. I went on board one of the clippers and
spoke about the shoes not having arrived. "What!" exclaimed the captain;
"I am loaded with shoes! I have been here six months." "Have you
notified the commissary?" "Yes." What could I do? All this was afterward
described by "Bull Run" Russell. He was then the correspondent of the
London Times, and so exposed the mismanagement of the war that ships
were sent with provisions, uniforms, and everything, after the war was

Through the courtesy of French officers, I visited the city of
Sebastopol, a ten-mile journey from Balaklava, and saw the
twenty-one-gun battery, the Redan, and the Malakoff, and, of course, the
ruin of the famous city. I could see the masts of the ships at the
entrance of the bay, the fleet that had been sunk by the Russians to
block the channel. Here they had crossed in the night to the Star Fort
on the opposite side, which was strongly fortified. It would have been
almost impossible for the allied armies to interfere with the Russians.
They had made up their minds to fight it out to the end.

The French zouave commander got up a banquet for me with twenty of the
officers of all the armies--Turkish, French, English, Sardinian, and
Russian. I did something to stir up the battle spirit again, and
several times almost got them fighting over the table, especially when I
asked some question that brought a reply from the zouave general of the
Ninety-sixth regiment of Algiers. He rose and said to the Englishmen who
had disputed his word: "You were asleep at the Alma, you were late at
Inkerman, late at Balaklava, ran from the Redan and at Chernaya." This
of course roused the English officers, and we had to pour oil on
troubled waters.

There were two princes among the Russians, and of course they were
delighted to see the allies fighting among themselves. They helped me in
stirring up the quarrel. I made them admit that Todleben's earthworks
were a new feature in war--baskets of earth used for forts on the inside
of Sebastopol, put up impromptu, and holding these armies so long at
bay. In the Redan it was complete slaughter, two thousand persons being
killed. MacMahon in the Malakoff saw at once that it was not a close
fort, and said, "J'y suis, j'y reste." Speaking of MacMahon, a very
singular thing has been suggested. Put together a half dozen faces of
French notables--MacMahon, de Lesseps, Alexandre Dumas (_père et fils_),
Victor Hugo, President Faure, and add my portrait, and you could hardly
tell which was which.

Tennyson has given to the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava the
power of his name and genius, but that fight has been a terribly
exaggerated affair, so far as massacre was concerned. Only one third was
killed, with nearly one half the horses. In our civil war, where a
million men were killed, at the cost of a billion dollars, from the
firing into Sumter to Appomattox, on both sides, there were many charges
where the slaughter was proportionately greater than that. Take
Pickett's charge at Gettysburg, where a whole division was mowed
down--or Custer's command (with Sitting Bull, in the Black Hills), all
massacred, with the exception of one man.




From the Crimea I returned to England and thence to America. Wilson, of
the White Star Line, wished to construct the largest clipper ever built
in England. It was to be called the George Francis Train, as I had had
in my consignment or in my charge the fastest four clippers in the
world--Flying Cloud, eighty-six days from New York to San Francisco;
Sovereign of the Seas, which stood in my name at the custom-house (2,200
tons), which made three hundred and seventy-four miles under sail in one
day, a thing never known before by a sailing ship; the Red Jacket, built
at Rockland, Maine; and the Lightning, built by Donald Mackay at East
Boston, which sailed from Liverpool to Melbourne in sixty-three days;
but I declined the White Star honors.

The day after my arrival in New York, in July, '56--I had been away
since February, '53--the Herald had sixteen columns, about three pages,
from me in one issue, an amount of space I think that no correspondent
before or since has had--either from India, China, or Japan. I had
arrived ahead of my own mail. The members of the present staff of the
Herald have no idea that the man whom they have looked upon as a lunatic
was sufficiently sane to make a big sensation in their paper in July,
'56. The present James Gordon Bennett was then only fifteen years old.
Frederick Hudson had entire charge of the paper under the elder Bennett.
Mr. Bennett, wishing to put his son ahead, pensioned Mr. Hudson, who
went into the country to live, and, in crossing a railway track, was
killed. Mr. Bennett gave me a very kind reception. He asked if I desired
to go to Congress. "No," I said. "Don't you want to publish books?"
"Yes, but I am going abroad now, as I am not through with my business in

Here, at twenty-seven years of age, I had traveled over the world, and
had had these great business experiences. I had been called, as a
sneering term, "Young America." I kept the name, and used it afterward
in all my newspaper work. But Freeman Hunt, of the Merchants' Magazine,
who edited my books, changed it to An American Merchant in Europe, Asia,
and Australia, thinking the title Young America not dignified enough.
This book was a series of letters from Java, Singapore, China, Bengal,
Egypt, the Holy Land, the Crimea, England, Melbourne, Sydney, etc. It
was published in '57 in New York and London.

From New York I went to Boston, and escaped my first opportunity of
going to jail by giving bail bond for $80,000. George B. Upton
represented my house in Boston and was in Europe. He was traveling at
the time, and his people instructed him to have me arrested for any
interest the Barings might have, through open credits, in our firm.
Colonel Enoch Train and Donald Mackay signed the bond. The claim was
that I had made a lot of money, and had not given to others what was
their due. I had never used the Barings' credit out in Australia, and
returned to them $50,000. So far as Upton was concerned, I had paid my
partner, Captain Caldwell, $8,000 in cash, when he went home in the Red
Jacket only a few months after his arrival in Melbourne. This was my
first false arrest and legal prosecution. From this time for many years
I kept getting into jail, for no crime whatever.

After looking over the accounts in the books for '57, Upton came the
next year to me in New York, just as I was going abroad, and said, "We
are in a tight place in Boston." Imagine my astonishment when he asked
if I was willing that any little account coming to me should be placed
to my credit, and used to help him out. Considering that I had been
arrested for $80,000, I thought this peculiar. He gave me a credit for
£500 on the Barings, however; it seems that $6,000 had been sent to me
by the house in Melbourne while I was away. Inasmuch as I have never
since inquired how my account stood with Upton, I should like to have
his son look at the books, and see what may be due me.

In '56 I took my wife and baby Sue to Paris. I had observed in Europe
that the Germans were more far-sighted than we in learning many
languages. The bright German boy in a country town is taught French and
English, and then sent to Bremen or Hamburg to get the practical
education of merchants in great shipping houses. Afterward, he is sent
to England to find out other modes of doing business. Then perhaps he
establishes a house in New York. I found that German merchants, all over
the world, were far ahead of ours, because of their practical training
and mastery of languages. Seeing, in my travels around the world, that
the German was everywhere, I determined to learn languages, and went to
Paris for that purpose.

We took rooms at the Grand Hôtel de Louvre, in the Rue de Rivoli, and I
at once went to Galignani, of "The Messenger," to find teachers. Under a
Catholic priest, I studied Italian and French at the same time, which
may account for my having a little of the Italian accent in my French. I
have never known an Italian who was able to master the French accent. I
also learned Portuguese and Spanish. This gave me the four Latin
languages. I had, in '48, studied German under Gasper Bütts, who came to
America during the Revolution of '48 with Carl Schurz. German texts and
pronunciation I had to practise every day, but as I have never had a
fancy for that language, I have not kept it up. I sent my sons to
Frankfort-on-the-Main to learn German, and afterward to Seelig's College
in Vevey, Switzerland, in '71, to learn Italian and French. My daughter
Sue was sent to Stuttgart, and she is thoroughly acquainted with both
German and French.




My life in Paris seems now like a romance to my memory. I was
twenty-seven, and thought I had seen all the world, but discovered how
little I knew, compared with others whom I met. I found, as in all these
foreign cities, that notables in society and in public life often did
not know one another. At Count Arthur De La More's, of the Orleanist
staff, I found the greatest hostility toward the Emperor. One day we
were sitting in the entresol, at his rooms on the Rue de Rivoli,
opposite the Tuileries, and he asked me whether I could see that man
walking on the veranda of the Tuileries. I said I could, to which he
replied: "Could one of your sharpshooters pick him off from here?" I
looked up with surprise, and thought I saw the future assassin of the
Emperor, but said nothing. I told him some of our men like Daniel Boone
and David Crockett could have picked off a squirrel as far as they could
see it. It was a little while after this that the Orsini bomb was fired
at the Emperor. This was because Napoleon, though a member of the
Carbonari, had "gone back on" the order; but his life was spared.

Prince Galitzen of Russia gave me a dinner at the Café Philippe, where I
met some of the Russian nobility. These men were the cleverest I have
ever seen. All were good linguists, artists, statesmen, soldiers, men of
the world. At Prince Czartoryski's I met leading Poles, who were still
revolutionists, plotting against Russia. One of these, a man of about
eighty, said to me: "In my teens I went to St. Petersburg, saw Alexander
and told him the condition of Poland. I asked him what he was going to
do. He asked me what I should recommend. 'There are two ways of
governing Poland,' I said; 'through interest or through fear.' Fear was
the policy adopted. When I was forty, I again went to St. Petersburg.
Nicholas was Czar, and he repeated the same question. I again answered,
'through interest or through fear.' When I was sixty I met another
Emperor, and the same question was put to me, and I made the same reply.
Poland is partitioned," he added; "and we are now only a memory."

At Leon Lillo's I met many Spaniards of the nobility and the ruling
family. I still think that Lillo was the son of Queen Cristina, by her
husband the Duke of Rianzares, a common soldier, of physical beauty,
whom she had taken from the ranks and made a Duke. I used to meet him at
Lillo's. Cristina, who was then probably the richest woman in the world,
had bought Malmaison, the palace of Josephine. It was through this
connection that I met Salamanca, the Spanish Rothschild, her banker. I
shall speak later of how I got the funds to build the Atlantic and Great
Western Railway, connecting the Erie Railway with the Ohio and
Mississippi Railway.

At the Marquis del Grillo's I met his wife, the great Italian
tragedienne, Ristori, whom I had seen on the stage in "Elizabeth." I met
leading men of the Second Empire at the house of the Count de Rouville,
including Persigny, the Foreign Minister, Count de Morny, the Minister
of War, Walewski, Prince "Plon-Plon," and Mocquard, private secretary to
the Emperor. At Triat's Gymnase I met the men who afterward organized
the Commune. At the house of Mrs. Winfield Scott, who was then living
in Paris, I met many Americans, and at Castle's I saw "Bohemia."

Meeting all these different persons, distinguished in the great world of
Paris, I was gaining the knowledge that would make me a walking library
of political affairs in Europe. This made up for the loss of a college
career. Practical experience and observation were my university.

That year, '56-'57, was a very important time in my life in many ways. I
received an invitation to a ball at the Tuileries, engraved in the
usual style, on a card a foot square, and bearing the enormous seal of
the Second Empire. For the first time in my life I appeared in borrowed
plumes. I hired what I call a "flunkey" suit, and paid forty-five francs
for it. In this I was presented. It was not a civil nor a military suit,
but a sort of mongrel affair, that served me as a court costume. Of
course, my wife appeared in proper evening dress. There were four
thousand persons present, the highest in the society of Paris, military
and civil--ambassadors in their regalia, regimental officers in their
different uniforms, and the aristocracy in their robes. There were also
Algerian officers. Although the Tuileries was very large, the four
thousand guests found themselves in much crowded rooms.

During this reception and ball I suddenly felt some cold substance going
down my back. Putting my hand to my neck, I found there a cupful of
ice-cream that an Algerian officer had dropped, with the usual "Pardon,
monsieur." I assured him it was all right, but the ice-cream gave me a
decidedly boreal feeling.

The ball was in the usual court style, and I shall not undertake to
describe it. After some time had passed, all at once there was silence,
instead of the terrible hum. It was the presage of something important,
I felt sure. The wax candles in the chandeliers burned brilliantly, and
we were all on the _qui vive_ to know what was coming. Looking toward
the great folding doors at the end of the hall, a lady appeared. It was
the age of crinoline, and she must have had a circumference of eight
feet. She was the Emperor's favorite, the Countess Castiglione. The
sensation she made was tremendous.

I should mention that before this happened I had been presented to the
Empress. We were all ranged in diplomatic order for presentation, and
when it came my turn she seemed particularly courteous, saying in
English to me: "You speak French very fluently." To this I replied:
"When I am able to speak French, your Majesty, as well as you speak
English, I shall be willing to trust myself in that language. In the
meanwhile let me ask you to talk as you prefer." All those presented
seemed surprised to see me talking with the Empress, as it was, I
believe, unusual for a foreigner and a newcomer to be thus honored. She
was very gracious, and made me feel as much at home as if I had been in
my own family. The introduction of the crinoline had been made by the
Empress before the birth of the Prince Imperial. Anti-Imperialists had
been busy gossiping about the coming event, and intimated that it was
impossible the Emperor could become the father of a child.

After the Countess Castiglione appeared in such dare-devil fashion, in
the presence of the whole court, the Empress appeared in much different
mood. The next day she went to England, and became the guest of the
Queen for three weeks.

The Italian war was then going on, and I was desirous of mastering the
Italian language, in order to carry out certain contracts I had made
with the Emperor. McHenry was my partner, and I had written to him that
the Emperor wanted a half dozen steamers immediately. The French needed
the boats for the transport of provisions. McHenry was in London, and in
my letter I told him there was no doubt that the war would eventually be
won by France and Italy. This was just after the great battles of
Magenta and Solferino. He sent me back this despatch: "La paix est
signé." You can imagine my surprise. It shows that the most careful of
men sometimes make mistakes.

Mr. Seward, afterward Secretary of State, was in Paris in '56-'57, and I
showed him as much of Paris as I dared. There were certain places to
which I did not feel authorized to take him, but I managed to make him
see a great deal of Paris that would have been sealed to him had he
undertaken to go about this microcosmic city without a guide.

Mr. Seward astonished me very much one day by a remark showing his
detachment from the great world of European thought and power. I said
to him: "Mr. Seward, how would you like to see M. Lamartine?" "Which
Lamartine?" he coolly asked, as if there could be more than one. "Why,
Alphonse de Lamartine," said I. "There is only one Lamartine in France
or in the world." He asked if I knew him. I replied that Lamartine gave
receptions twice a week, and that I had attended them during the winter.
As there was a reception that day, I asked Mr. Seward if he cared to go.
He very gladly accepted the invitation, and we went together.

Lamartine, it will be remembered, married an English lady, a most
charming, lovely woman; but he had never learned to speak English. He
was like Hugo in this respect, and thought it was not worth while to
struggle through the intricacies and difficulties of the spelling and
pronunciation. But Madame Lamartine spoke French very fluently and

I have observed as an invariable rule, from one end of the world to the
other, that if one person addresses another in a language the second
person does not understand, the talker thinks he can make himself
understood by simply bawling out his sentences like a town-crier. Mr.
Seward was no exception to this common frailty among mankind. When he
saw that Lamartine did not understand his English, he placed his hand
over his mouth, and shouted into M. Lamartine's ear. The great Frenchman
smiled at each discharge, but could not reply. At last I said, "Mr.
Seward, M. Lamartine is not deaf, but he does not understand English. If
you will permit either Madame Lamartine or myself to interpret for you,
there will be no difficulty." Mr. Seward continued to shout for some
time, but finally broke down. Madame Lamartine and I then translated his
remarks to Lamartine. After this we got along finely, and a most
delightful conversation followed between the two men.

It had been my intention, when I came to Paris, to go on to Australia;
but as I passed through the various countries of Europe I saw that the
shadow of panic and failure rested upon all. I had, indeed, completed
many arrangements for going back to Melbourne, and I had got a letter of
credit from the representative in London of the Bank of New South Wales
for £20,000; but the project fell through, because of the panics and
disasters of the year '57.

In '58--I may mention at this place--I had a few months' leisure on my
hands, and decided to give my wife and her stepmother, Mrs. George T. M.
Davis, a trip about Europe. We traveled through France, Italy, Austria,
and Germany. At Leghorn we went to witness a spectacular exhibition of
the storming of Sebastopol. It was a magnificent spectacle, realistic in
the extreme. No one was astonished, when, at the very point where the
city was taken and the fort blown up, a terrific burst of light
appeared. Instantly thereafter we discovered that the explosion had been
too real. The theater was ablaze. Of course there was a wild rush for
the doors. Panic followed, and while we were crushed and trampled in the
press, we got off finally with only severe bruises. The official report
next morning gave the casualties as forty killed and one hundred
injured; but the Government suppressed the facts. The dead and injured
far outnumbered these figures.

We had an experience in Naples which illustrated the every-day use of
words by the English that to us are offensive. We were aboard one of the
dirty little steamboats that were found in that part of the
Mediterranean, and, as the weather was somewhat rough, the bilge water
had been shaken about in the night, and a terrible odor pervaded every
nook of the vessel. An English nobleman was aboard, and in the morning,
wishing to say something agreeable to my wife's stepmother, he said:
"Madam, didn't you observe a dreadful stink in your state-room last
night?" The blood of all the Pomeroys was fired by this supposed
indelicacy. "Sir!" Mrs. Davis retorted, stepping back with great
hauteur. I immediately advanced and said, "My dear madam, the gentleman
meant no harm. The English prefer that 'nasty' word to something more
refined and less shocking. He meant no insult." The Englishman
explained; but the lady was not appeased.

At Rome I was astonished to find a delegation awaiting me. I could not
make out what it meant, when I was hailed as a "liberator." There were
many "liberators" in the Italy of those days; and I supposed they
mistook me for Mazzini, or Garibaldi, or Orsini, or some other leader of
the people. "Whom do you think I am?" I asked. "Citizen George Francis
Train," they said. This was too much for my credulity. What was worse
still, they asked me to go with them. I did not know just where they
expected me to go, or what they would expect me to do when I got there.
Things were pretty black in Italy just then, and I did not desire to be
mixed up in "revolutions," or liberty movements, or conspiracies.
However, they assured me that it would be all right, and I consented to
go. I went through a dark alley, to their meeting place, and was told
more things about the revolution than I cared to know or to remember. It
was not a healthful kind of knowledge to carry about Italy with one.

But the curious thing about the affair was that here, as everywhere,
these people regarded me as a leader of revolts--Carbonari, La Commune,
Chartists, Fenians, Internationals--as if I were ready for every species
of deviltry. For fifteen years five or six governments kept their spies
shadowing me in Europe and America.

From Italy we passed into Austria. At Vienna we had the opportunity,
through the courtesy of some friends near the court, of witnessing a
splendid celebration by the Order of Maria Teresa, which was the most
gorgeous and most beautiful spectacle I think I have ever seen. We soon
returned to London, and then came to America, where I was to resume work
on projects and enterprises here.




The great project of a connecting railway between the Eastern and the
Middle Western States had been in my mind for some years. Queen Maria
Cristina's fortune, which was then the greatest possessed by any woman
in the world, seemed to me to offer a solution of the problem. I had no
idea, of course, of attempting to use her fortune in any schemes of my
own and for my own interest, but I saw at once that I could utilize her
idle wealth to the tremendous advantage of the United States and, at the
same time, render a service to her.

The Queen had had a large quantity of funds in the old United States
Bank that President Jackson smashed, and James McHenry, who was
connected with me in many enterprises, learned that she had taken as
securities some coal lands in Pennsylvania. I saw the Duke of Rianzares,
the guardsman Fernando Muñoz, whom Maria Cristina had fallen in love
with and made a grandee of her kingdom, and finally married in '44. He
had his headquarters at Lillo's in the Square Clary, and he introduced
me to the Queen's secretary, Salerno. I suggested to the Spaniards the
advisability of hunting up these coal lands of the Queen. McHenry had
already made arrangements for me to go to America with her assistant
secretary, Don Rodrigo de Questa, who did not know a word of English.
The preliminaries were arranged, and we set out for Liverpool and

One of the first of many difficulties into which poor de Questa fell
because of his ignorance of English occurred the first day out from
Liverpool. The Spaniard, with a fatuous assumption common to Europeans,
thought that whenever he failed to find the exact word he wanted in
another tongue than his own, all that was necessary was to use French.
The Spaniard asked the steward to get him some fish for breakfast. He
knew the Spanish word would not answer, and could not think of the
English word, though he had tried to master it for some time. He then
fell back upon the French, and asked for "poisson." Of course, the
steward thought he wanted poison, and reported the matter to
headquarters, thinking suicide was contemplated.

De Questa would have had serious trouble but for the thoughtfulness of
the steward, who remembered that I was traveling with him and came to
me for advice. "When did he ask for poison?" I inquired. "At
breakfast-time," said the steward. "Oh, then, he merely wants fish," and
I explained as well as I could to an English steward the meaning of the
French word.

The English of the ignorant classes look upon French very much as a
clergyman does upon profanity, or as a missionary regards the muttered
charms and incantations of a "voodoo" priestess. De Questa finally got
his fish, but he had long before lost his appetite. This adventure
discouraged him so much that he refused thenceforth to try to convey in
English, Castilian, or French, any of his desires concerning food, but
resorted to the primitive sign language. When he wanted eggs, he would
flap his arms together and cackle like a hen that has just laid an egg.
The steward who, perhaps, had never seen two square inches of
countryside in his life, thought he was imitating a rooster and laughed
until he almost had a fit. De Questa nearly starved. He had, at last, to
eat whatever he could find, without trying to seek what he wanted. I
explained to him that roosters did not lay eggs!

Our destination was Philadelphia. It was there that the Spaniards who
were living upon Queen Maria Cristina's property had their headquarters.
I found two of them, Christopher and John Fallon, living in fine houses,
with something of a court about them. They had control of about forty
thousand acres of coal lands belonging to the Queen. This large tract
was situated at a place to which the Fallons had given their name,
Fallonville. I at once consulted several of the best lawyers of
Philadelphia, among them William B. Reed, later Minister to China, and
was advised to go immediately to the lands and see what had been done
with them. I made an appointment with John Fallon, and we went out to
the mines. I can not now recall exactly where they were, but I remember
that we passed through a wilderness, after leaving the train that took
us from Philadelphia, and that we had a very long drive in carriages. A
railway track had been built through the forest to the mines, and it
seemed to me about fifteen miles long. I appeared to John Fallon as a
foreigner who was interested in mines and in coal lands in particular,
but not, of course, as representing the Queen.

As soon as I returned to Philadelphia and reported what I had learned,
my lawyers advised me to go back to Paris and report to the Queen. De
Questa and I, therefore, returned as soon as possible. McHenry met me in
London, and we went on to Paris together. We had a conference with Lillo
and with Don José de Salamanca, the Queen's banker, and it was decided
that the Queen should take active possession of her immense property at
once. I saw that there was a great deal of money in the land, and that
there was a fine opportunity for the Atlantic and Great Western Railway,
if I could in some way get the use of a portion of this vast coal

I saw also that my connection with the affair had already given me a
lever with which I could work to some purpose upon Don José de
Salamanca, and that this was the best card to play.

As soon as possible I went to his banking office and asked for a
conference. I had learned enough, in my dealings with bankers and
financiers, to know that you must approach them on the right side, from
the side of money, and not from that of a mere wish. Accordingly I wrote
on my card that I wished to propose a loan of $1,000,000. I really came
as a borrower, but circumstances permitted me to play the rôle of the
lender. I was admitted at once, but if I had asked outright for a loan I
should have been shown the door. As soon as I was in his presence I
said, without preface: "I have no cash in my pockets, nor would you wish
it if I had; but I want to show you something."

"I understood that you wanted to lend me a million," said the Spaniard.
"I do not see the million."

"You will, when I explain," I said. "I want to use your credit." (I knew
that he had none in London and that he could do nothing there.) "I
propose to deposit with you $2,000,000 of the bonds of the Atlantic and
Great Western Railway for $1,000,000 of your notes."

I knew that the bait of a credit in London would affect him, as the
Spanish bankers had long tried in vain to establish their credit in the
financial metropolis of the world.

"Where is this property?" he asked.

I drew a diagram of the property for him, explaining its location and
its relation to other properties and enterprises. I told him of the Erie
Railway, ending at Olean, and the Ohio and Mississippi Railway from
Cincinnati to St. Louis. "There is no connection between these two great
highways," I said, "and a highway that will connect them will prove a
fortune-maker to every one associated with the project." I explained
that there were only four hundred miles between the two, and how I
purposed filling in this gap. Between the two ends of the completed
railways lay three wealthy States. This road has since been reorganized
under the name of the New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, or as it is
colloquially called, the "Nyp. and O." Near Olean now exists a town that
has the name of my Spanish friend, Salamanca.

My arguments touched Salamanca, but did not capture him. They paved the
way, however, for his complete capitulation a little later. My next step
was to go to London and confer with the Kennards, famous bankers of
that city. We arranged that a nephew of the Kennards, a son of Robert
William Kennard, then a member of Parliament, and an engineer of note,
should accompany me to America and go over the entire ground of the
proposed route.

We came to New York in October, '57, and shortly after we arrived had a
conference at the St. Nicholas Hotel, in Broadway, with the men who were
most interested in the proposed road. Maps were exhibited, and the plans
fully explained. We then left for Olean, where we were met by the
contractor in charge of the road, whose name was Doolittle, by Morton
the local engineer, and by General C. L. Ward, the president of the
road. The whole party took wagons for Jamestown, forty miles away. At
this point we were met by a committee appointed to take care of us and
to show us what had been done, and what could be done. This was the
program throughout, as we passed on from point to point. Among the men
who met us at Jamestown was Reuben E. Fenton, who had just been elected
Representative in Congress from that district, and was afterward
Governor and United States Senator. The line of the road was followed as
far as Dayton, Ohio, where it was proposed to connect with the Cleveland
and Cincinnati Railway.

At Mansfield there was a great gathering in honor of the occasion. The
committees of the three States--New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, were
present, and there was speech-making. I made a speech, which is printed
in full in "Spread-Eagleism," published in '58. Judge Bartley, afterward
famous on the Federal bench, was chairman of the meeting. I asked if
there were not some one present from Ohio who could give us a clear
statement as to what we could expect. Judge Bartley called on "Mr.
Sherman." A tall, spare man arose. It was John Sherman. He made a speech
that was clear, direct, and forcible. Among the other speakers were
Robert E. Schenck, of "Emma Mine" fame, who had been elected to Congress
recently, and Senator Benjamin F. Wade.

Just before the close of the meeting I introduced Thomas Kennard, the
civil engineer, and told the crowd that the road was to be built, and
that it would be aided by the money of Queen Maria Cristina of Spain and
the great Spanish banker, Salamanca.

I made a report in London of the work accomplished in America, and at
once began to purchase material for the road. I sought out Mr. Crawshay
Bailey, then a member of Parliament, and a great Welsh iron-master, and
he invited me to dine with him and his wife. He had just married a
charming young lady. At dinner, I found that Mrs. Bailey spoke French
very fluently and that Mr. Bailey did not understand a word of it. So I
asked permission of the iron-worker to carry on a conversation in French
with Mrs. Bailey. This delighted him very much, for he liked to see that
his wife was mistress of a language of which he did not know a single
word. This subtle flattery of his judgment and taste so pleased him that
I was able to close a bargain with him for 25,000 tons of iron at $40
the ton--$1,000,000--pledging for the debt bonds of the Atlantic and
Great Western Railway, at two to one. This was the first great purchase
made after the panic of '57.

My second purchase was made from the Ebwvale Company, of Wales. Through
Manager Robinson I negotiated for 30,000 tons of iron at $40 the
ton--$1,200,000--pledging bonds of the road at two to one, as with

I have already spoken of Salamanca, the Spanish Rothschild, and how I
had tried to obtain his notes for $1,000,000. I finally succeeded in
getting this loan, pledging $2,000,000 bonds of the road as security. At
this time, no Spanish securities had been negotiated in Lombard Street
for years. It was highly necessary for me that these notes of Salamanca
should be negotiated. I went to Mathew Marshall, Jr., of the Bank of
London. He was the son of the old Mathew Marshall who had signed the
notes of the Bank of England for fifty years. I asked him what $50,000
of the notes of Salamanca would be accepted at by the bank. He replied
that they would not be accepted at all. "No Spanish paper can be used in
London," he said.

I then had recourse to a scheme that I had previously worked out with
some degree of elaboration. I asked Marshall if he would not oblige me
by telling me, as a friend, what sixty-day bills of the kind I held
would be worth if they could be used. He said they should be handled at
six per centum. I telegraphed immediately to McHenry, in Liverpool, as
follows: "Marshall will not touch this paper under six per cent. Will
Moseley" (the big financier there) "do it for five?" McHenry answered
that Moseley would not handle it for less than Marshall's rate, but
would take $50,000 at six per centum.

Upon the strength of this, four hundred miles of railway were built,
through three great States, opening up a vast territory, and bringing in
fortunes to a large number of men. My arrangement with McHenry was that
I was to receive £100,000 as commission. No papers were signed, but I
asked McHenry to give me a paper settling $100,000 on my wife, Willie
Davis Train, which was done. After the road was built, Sir Morton Peto
came over from England with some London bankers, on McHenry's
invitation. McHenry believed in playing the part of a prince when it
came to giving an entertainment, and he invited the visitors to a
banquet at Delmonico's, then at Fourteenth Street and Fifth Avenue. It
cost him $15,000.

As I had not yet secured my commission, I thought this was a good time
to collect it, and instructed my lawyer, Clark Bell, now of No. 39
Broadway, to present and press my claim. McHenry was so afraid he would
be arrested while these moneyed men were with him that he settled at
once, giving me his notes at four months for the balance due. Gold was
very high at this time, being $1.90, and as the notes were on London, I
found they could be negotiated through McHenry's agents, McAudrey &
Wann. It happened that these agents had lost some $7,000 on information
that I had given to them about the result of the battle of Gettysburg;
so I agreed to reimburse them for the loss, if they would cash the notes
at once, which they did.

This was in '66, and a singular thing happened. When the notes fell due
in London on the 6th May, that comparatively small amount of gold
precipitated something of a panic in the unsteady market of the day.
Everything went with a crash. Moseley, the banker of Liverpool, failed
for a large sum; Lemuel Goddard, of London, followed with a loss of as
much more; Lunnon & Company failed for a greater amount; McHenry for
some millions; Sir Morton Peto for other millions; and Overend, Gurney &
Company for another large amount. This showed to me the real
shallowness and insubstantiality of the great world of finance. It is
built upon straw and paper. The secret of its great masters and
"Napoleons" is nothing but what is known among other gamblers as




The year '57 was a memorable period in my life in many ways. The great
panic of the time swept away my ambitious projects as if they had been
so many dreams and visions. My contracts in Italy were destroyed by the
peace of Villa Franca, and my Australian plans were defeated by the
panic. I was therefore ready to take up anything that looked promising;
but, as I had nothing immediately on hand, I took advantage of the
enforced leisure to see more of England and the continent of Europe.

I was in Liverpool at the time the Niagara arrived there for the purpose
of laying the Atlantic cable, and suggested giving a banquet to Captain
Hudson and Commander Pennock, who was my cousin, and to the other
officers, at Lynn's Waterloo Hotel. This old landmark, the resort of
American ship-captains for many years, was torn down long ago. At this
time a letter came to Captain Hudson from the Grand Duke Constantine,
of Russia, who had arrived at Dover in his yacht, the Livadia, thanking
him for granting permission for three Russian officers to witness the
laying of the cable.

In this little incident I saw an opportunity for visiting Russia in a
semi-official capacity, enabling me to see that country to much better
advantage. I said to Captain Hudson that I should like to carry his
answer to the Grand Duke. He replied that no answer was required, and
that, besides, the Grand Duke had returned to St. Petersburg. I assured
him that strict courtesy demanded an acknowledgment of the letter, and
that it would make no difference to me about the Grand Duke being in St.
Petersburg, as I expected to visit that city. So I persuaded him to let
me take an answer to the Russian Prince. I suggested the phrasing of the
letter. The Grand Duke was informed that I was visiting Russia for the
purpose of seeing the Nijnii Novgorod fair, and that the United States
was always glad to do anything that helped to repay Russia for her long

I immediately started for London, where I called on the American
Minister, George M. Dallas. Mr. Dallas was very courteous, but he
evidently wanted to have the opportunity of handing the letter to the
Grand Duke himself. He offered to see that the communication was
expeditiously and properly transmitted. "But," I said, "I desire to take
it in person." I next called on John Delane, who was long the editor of
the London Times, and he asked me to write him some letters from Russia.
Then I left London for The Hague.

I met at The Hague Admiral Ariens, to whom I had been introduced by
Captain Fabius of the Dutch man-of-war, some years before, at Singapore.
From Holland I went through Germany, visiting Stettin, where I saw the
beginnings of those great ship-yards that are now sending out the
greatest and fastest vessels on the seas. I took a steamer from Stettin
for St. Petersburg.

At the Russian capital I called at once on our minister, Governor
Seymour, of Connecticut. Mr. Seymour made the same suggestion that Mr.
Dallas had made. He wished to transmit the letter to the Grand Duke. But
I was not to be deprived of the final triumph of my schemes. I told the
Minister that I had come all the way from Liverpool, and that it was my
purpose to hand the letter to the Grand Duke, if I had to travel all
over the Russian empire to do it. I was informed that it was not the
season for seeing this high official, as he had left the city and was at
his country residence, at Strelna.

My answer to this was, in true Yankee fashion, "Where is Strelna?" I was
told that it was just below Peterhof. Then I was advised not to try to
see the Grand Duke on that day, as it was Saturday. I resolved to go at
once to Strelna, without regard to official days, as I had long since
discovered that the only way to do a thing of this sort was to do it
straightway. I got a fast team, and was taken out to the Grand Duke's

I found the residence situated in the midst of an immense forest park,
and sentinels guarded every avenue of approach. These stopped me at
every turn, but at every challenge I showed the letter to the Grand Duke
and told my errand. I was passed on and on, until I was inside the
palace itself. Here I was met by a gentleman in the long frock coat the
Russians affect, with his breast covered with military orders. He
offered, as soon as I told him my errand, to take the letter to the
Grand Duke; but I merely said that it was my purpose to hand it to him
in person. I now began to fear that it would require some little time to
get into the presence of this high dignitary. I expected to be put off
for several days, and then to end up against a secretary or an
aide-de-camp, who would finally have me meet some one very near the
Grand Duke, but not the Grand Duke himself.

I was at last shown by this military-looking gentleman into a reception
room of the most spacious proportions. I sat down and prepared to wait
for a secretary or aide-de-camp, when, suddenly, the door flew open,
and, with a rapid step, a handsome, delicate-looking gentleman advanced
toward me. I rose, and again went through the tiresome explanation that
I had a letter for the Grand Duke, which I should like to hand to him
in person, and so on, and so on. I expected to receive the reply that
this gentleman would be greatly pleased to relieve me of the trouble,
and was prepared to answer rather severely that I wished to hand the
letter to his Grace myself. He said, with a gracious smile, which played
like a dim light over his pale features, that he would see that the
Grand Duke received the letter. "But," I said, "I must hand it to him
myself." "Is it necessary?" he asked, with his faint smile. "It is," I
replied as firmly as I could.

He stepped back a little, and said, with a bow, "I am the Grand Duke." I
almost sank into the chair with surprise. As soon as I recovered my
composure, I handed him the letter, which I now felt to be a very small
affair for so much ceremony and trouble.

While I was waiting for the Grand Duke to read the letter, two great
dogs came into the room, from different directions, and immediately
began fighting. The Grand Duke said something in Russian, which showed
that he at least knew how to speak commandingly. The great beasts, with
drooping tails, slunk from his presence like whipped children.

The Grand Duke Constantine was a younger brother of the Czar, and was a
man of many accomplishments. He spoke with ease and grace seven
languages, and his English was quite as grammatical and exact as my
own. The Grand Duke, as soon as he had read the letter, called in his
aide-de-camp, Colonel Greig, and said that the colonel would see to it
that all my needs were attended to immediately, and expressed the wish
that he might see me on my return from Nijnii. "I should like to know
what you, as an American, think of Russia."

Colonel Greig took me to the residence of his mother, the widow of
Admiral Greig of the Russian navy, who lived just opposite Kronstadt. We
were driven over in a troika, or droshky, with one horse trotting in the
middle and one on each side, in full gallop. It was the most
delightfully exhilarating drive I had ever taken, and I still think that
the troika is the most attractive of all vehicles. At the Greigs' I was
treated with the utmost consideration, and was a guest at a banquet the
first night I was there. When I came to prepare for this function, I
remembered that I had no change of clothes with me, as I had come out
from St. Petersburg in a great hurry.

In this dilemma, I turned to Colonel Greig and explained that it was not
possible for me to attend the banquet as I had no dress clothes with me.
He looked me over, and replied: "I think we are about the same size.
Suppose you try one of my suits?" I accepted the offer at once, and
found that his suit fitted me as well as my own. The banquet was a great
affair, with a vast concourse of "skis," "offs," "neffs," and so
on--little tag-ends of words by which one may tell a Russian name, even
if it were possible not to tell it from its general appearance and sound
without them.

After a few days at the Greigs', I left for Moscow, where I was received
by Prince Dombriski, brother-in-law of the Emperor. The old city of
Moscow impressed me more than any other city of Europe. It seemed to
belong to quite another world and to a different civilization. There is
something primitive and prehistoric about it--elemental in its
somberness and in its grandeur. I was astonished to find in the Kremlin
a portrait of Napoleon at the battle of Borodino.

In going from the capital to Moscow over the straight line of railway, I
heard much of the way that the Czar Nicholas had built the road. It is
said that he summoned to him his chief contractor and engineer,
Carmichael, and asked him to make specifications for the line as
arranged for between the two cities. The Czar confidently expected that
he was being deceived about all matters of this kind, and was prepared
for fraud in this enterprise. Carmichael drew up elaborate
specifications, which Nicholas saw at once were entirely too elaborate,
and gave abundant room for "pickings." He turned to Carmichael and asked
if the specifications were all right. Carmichael assured him they were.
"All right, then," said Nicholas, "I shall turn them over, just as they
are, to Major Whistler." The Major was the uncle of the famous artist
of to-day. Whistler built the road on Carmichael's specifications, and
made a fortune, which has been the foundation of a half dozen family
estates--the Winans, Harrison, Whistler estates, et al.

I observed a peculiar effect of the direct method of the Czar in
building a straight road to Moscow. All the big cities and even the
prosperous and important towns had, without exception, been left at
varying distances from the line of railway. At the little stations on
the route the Russians would get off and get hot water in samovars and
make tea, each of them carrying a supply of tea in bricks, with square
loaf sugar in their pockets.

Nijnii Novgorod I found a wonderful city. There, on the "Mother" Volga,
as the Russians call it, I saw the origin of all the world's fairs and
expositions, in this great fair, at which the nations of a world unknown
to Europe and America assemble for traffic and barter. More than
100,000,000 rubles, or, roughly, $50,000,000, change hands in six weeks.
There the traveler, who is too indolent or too poor to see the remote
tribes of the earth, may have all these strange and outlandish races
come to him, on the banks of the Volga. It was a marvelous experience to
me, and I considered it as well worth a trip around the world to see
Nijnii Novgorod alone.

Some time afterward, when I was in England, I received a letter from
Baron Bruno, the Russian Ambassador, enclosing a letter from Colonel
Greig, the aide-de-camp of the Grand Duke Constantine. He said that the
Grand Duke had read my book, Young America Abroad, with interest. The
Grand Duke, he said, was greatly pleased with my descriptions of Russia,
with my exposure of the Crimean fiasco, and with my predictions as to
the future development and greatness of the country. He added that the
Russian Government would like to have me visit the region of the Amur,
Petropauloffski and Vladivostok, and to make a report of the prospects
of far-eastern Siberia.

The Government proposed to make all the arrangements for me, so that I
could travel in luxury and leisure; but I could not then undertake so
extended an enterprise, besides I have ever preferred to follow my own
ideas rather than those of others. I desired to pursue original lines of
investigation, to go over new routes of travel and of trade, to explore
corners of the world that had not been worn into paths by the myriad
feet of travelers. I have always felt hampered in trying to carry out
the suggestions of others. I have found that there is but one course for
me, if I am to succeed, and that is to follow my own counsel. I must be
myself, untrammeled, unfettered, or I fail. If I had gone to Eastern
Siberia for the Russian Government, I might have succeeded in the way
the Government expected; but the chances, I consider, would have been
against me. If I had gone there at my own motion, I might have created a
sensation by exploiting that vast and magnificent region, which must
soon play a tremendously important part in the history of the world.




In '58, when I visited Philadelphia on business of Queen Maria Cristina,
of Spain, I observed the network of street-railways in that city, which
then, perhaps, had the most perfect system of surface transportation in
the world. I was struck with the idea of the great convenience these
railways must be to business men and to all workers, and wondered why
London, with so many more persons, had never had recourse to the
street-railway. At that time there was not an inch of "tramway," or
street-railway, in Great Britain, or anywhere outside of New York and
Philadelphia. I stored the idea up in my mind, intending to utilize it
some day, when I returned to England.

Before undertaking the work of constructing street-railways in England,
I was called upon to do a little financiering for my father-in-law,
Colonel George T. M. Davis. Colonel Davis came to me in London and
wished me to assist in organizing the Adirondack Railway in upper New
York. He had been introduced to Hamilton and Waddell, who had a grant
from the New York legislature of 600,000 acres in the Adirondacks; but
nothing could be done at that time. Later, in '64, I organized the
Adirondack road, and met General Rosecrans and Cheney, of Little Falls,
at the Astor House, for the purpose of building the railway. I
subscribed $20,000 for myself and $20,000 for my wife, and got a large
sum from my friends. A large party of us went in carriages from the
United States Hotel, Saratoga, through the country along the proposed
route to Lucerne. George Augustus Sala, who was visiting this country at
the time, was with us, also Dr. T. C. Durant, president of the Crédit
Mobilier, and J. S. T. Stranahan, of Brooklyn. This was the beginning of
the Adirondack road, of which Colonel Davis was the president when he
died in '88. My plan was to build the road through the entire forest to
Ogdensburg, but it was never carried out. This was four decades before
the millionaire colonists began flocking in there, the Huntingtons,
Astors, Webbs, Rockefellers, Woodruffs, Durants, et al.

My first efforts in introducing street-railways in England were made in
Liverpool. I chose this city because I had been long associated with it
and because, as it was the leading seaport of the world, I had a false
idea that it was progressive. But I was soon set right as to this
estimate of Liverpool. I recalled, in the hour of discouragement, the
great difficulty I had had years before, in '50, in getting the
municipal government to permit us to have lights and fire on the docks
at night, in order to facilitate the handling of the very traffic that
was the basis of the city's prosperity. Now, when I proposed the laying
of a street-railway, I found the leading men of the city just as narrow
and just as hopelessly behind the times as they had been in the matter
of improving shipping facilities. They would not consider the
proposition at all.

But this did not stop my efforts nor dampen my ardor. I felt that the
plan would succeed somewhere in England, and I began to look about to
see where the best chances of success might be found. All through the
year '58 and into '59 I was at work upon my original plan. I had made
every possible arrangement for the immediate construction of a railway,
if I could only get some municipality to grant the necessary permission.

Finally, it occurred to me that the man I wanted was John Laird, the
progressive and energetic ship-builder, the man who afterward built the
Alabama and other Confederate craft, and who was at the time chairman of
the Commissioners of Birkenhead, just across the Mersey opposite
Liverpool. Surely, thought I, here is a man with enterprise enough to
appreciate this thing, which means so much for the working people and
all business men. So I went to Mr. Laird, and after a long conference
with him, I made a formal request to the Commissioners for permission to
construct a surface railway, or "tramway," as it is called in England.
My proposition was to lay a track four miles long, running out to the
Birkenhead Park. I offered to lay the road at my own expense, to pave a
certain proportion of the streets through which the line passed, and to
charge fares lower than those then charged by the omnibuses. If the line
did not then satisfy the city authorities, I was to remove it at my own
expense and to place all the streets affected in as good order as when
the road was begun.

I found Mr. Laird as liberal-minded as I had expected, and with his
influence, the Board of Commissioners consented to let me make the
experiment. I went to work at once, and the road was pushed through with
great despatch. I felt that it ought to get into operation before the
'buses and other transportation companies stirred up too much
opposition. As soon as the working people found how comfortable and
cheap the new mode of conveyance was, I felt sure they would stand up
for it so strongly as to defeat the efforts of the omnibus men to tear
up the line.

The "tramway" proved a success from the start, and became as popular as
I had expected. It was crowded with passengers at all hours of the day.
The road is there to-day; and I learned a curious thing in connection
with the line only recently. Twelve years ago the cashier of the
restaurant in the Mills Hotel No. 1, Mr. Bryan, was the manager of the
street-railway I had built in Birkenhead forty-two years ago.

Another incident of this period I should record here. I invited to
Birkenhead most of the leading journalists and writers of London, having
in view, of course, an intended invasion of the great metropolis. While
these men were together I suggested the organization of a literary club,
and this suggestion was the germ from which grew the Savage Club of
London. My speech at the opening of the first street-railway in the Old
World will appear in my forthcoming book of speeches.

As soon as I had completed my work in Birkenhead, I went to London, and
opened a campaign for "tramways" in that metropolis of 4,000,000 people.
It was a complex business from the first, and I had to make a study of
the government and the conditions, and, above all, of the prejudices of
citizens. The first step was to apply to every parish, for the parish
there is our ward, and something more, for it has a far greater measure
of home rule. Each parish had to grant permission for any tramway that
was to invade its ancient and sacred precincts.

The greatest difficulty was the one I had most dreaded from the
start--the opposition of the 'bus men. There are, or were at that time,
6,000 omnibuses in the streets of London, and in every one of the
drivers, and in every one who was interested in the profits of the
business, my tramway project had an unrelenting foe. I found that the
influence of these men was tremendous, because they reached the masses
of the people in a way that I could never hope to do. Their efforts were
unremitting. They worked upon the different parish governments, upon the
people at large, upon the municipal government, and upon Parliament
itself. I believe they had sufficient influence to have carried the war
even into the cabinet and to the throne.

However, as I shall soon relate, the opposition of the 'buses did not
prove to be as terrible in the end as I had feared. The heaviest blows
came from a higher source. The "people," in England, as elsewhere, seem
very powerful at first, in the beginnings of all enterprises. To oppose
them would seem to be inviting destruction. But in the end it is found
that the real power is lodged elsewhere, and whenever this real power
wants a thing done, the "people" do not exist. The fiction that they do
exist disappears at once in the clear atmosphere of "exigency."

The first of these real powers that I had to attack was the Metropolitan
Board of Aldermen. I appeared before the board with a carefully prepared
model of the tramways I proposed. It was a sort of public hearing, and
I was very closely questioned about the plans of operating the road, the
effect its presence in the narrow streets would have in interfering with
traffic, the danger of accidents, and so on. There was present a noble
lord who, I saw, was fighting desperately against the project. He eyed
me closely and made sharp interrogations. When he wished to be
particularly effective, as is the manner of Englishmen of his class, he
would drop his monocle, then readjust it carefully, with many writhings
and twistings of his eyebrows, and, when the single glass was properly
adjusted, half close the other eye and concentrate the full blaze of the
monocle upon his victim. If the victim survives this, so much the worse
for him, for he will then be subjected to a long drawl and to "hems" and
"haws" that would shatter the composure of a Philadelphia lawyer.

We soon took up the problem of laying the tramway up Ludgate Hill, where
the street is exceedingly narrow. His lordship fixed me with his
glittering monocle. I saw from which direction the firing would come.
After readjusting his monocle, so as to get the range better, he said:

"May I--ah--ask a question, Mr.--ah--Train?" When an Englishman wants to
be sarcastic, and ironical, and cutting, he finds the means readiest to
his mind in a pretended forgetting of your name.

"That is what I am here for, my lord," I replied, as graciously as

"You know, of course, how very narrow is Ludgate Hill. Suppose that when
I go down to the Mansion House in my carriage, one of my horses should
slip on your d--d rail, and break his leg--would you pay for the horse?"

This produced a sensation, for the English love a lord even more than we
plain Americans do. As soon as the stir had ceased, I replied, in a
voice that carried to the ends of the hall:

"My lord, if you could convince me that your d--d old horse would not
have fallen if the rail had not been there, I certainly should pay for
it." This retort caught the audience so happily that the tide swept
around my way, to the discomfiture of the noble lord. The hearing
resulted in my obtaining permission to lay a tramway from the Marble
Arch at Oxford Street and from Hyde Park to Bayswater, a distance of one
or two miles.

I soon built other lines, also: one from Victoria Station to Westminster
Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, and another from Westminster Bridge
to Kennington Gate on the way to Clapham. These were constructed on my
patent of a half-inch flange.

The omnibuses, defeated in this part of the fighting, resorted to
peculiar but effective tactics. As soon as I laid a portion of my
tracks--which was done upon the same terms under which I had put down
the line in Birkenhead--the 'bus drivers tried in every possible way to
wreck their vehicles on the rails. They would drive across again and
again and take the rails in the most reckless way, in order to catch and
twist their wheels. They were very often successful, and there were many
accidents of this sort. The excitement increased greatly with every foot
of track laid down. But the people, as in Birkenhead, were tremendously
in favor of the tramway. It was such a convenience to them that they
sided with me in the fight. The 'bus drivers and companies and the
aristocracy were against me--the one because my trams interfered with
their business, the other because they owned their private conveyances,
and did not like to drive across the rails. I dressed conductors and
drivers in the uniform of volunteers, to which many soldiers objected.
In the meanwhile the cars were crowded with passengers at all hours,
there being throughout the day a rush such as is seen in New York only
in what we call the "rush hours."

In all this excitement and press of travel, accidents were, of course,
unavoidable. I dreaded one, as I felt it would be the crucial point. It
might turn against me the popular feeling, now so strongly setting in my
direction, for the "mob" (so called) of London is fully as excitable and
as ungovernable as the "mob" of Paris, and its prejudices are more
deeply intrenched. Finally, the dreaded accident came. A boy was
killed, and I was arrested for manslaughter.

In order to appease public feeling, I paid the expenses of the boy's
funeral, and did everything that could possibly be done to pay, in a
material way, for his death. The accident was entirely unavoidable, and
the tramway was not responsible for it, but there was a great deal of
feeling, chiefly due to the agitation of the 'bus drivers. Sir John
Villiers Shelley, member of Parliament, a relative of the poet, who was
chairman of the Metropolitan Board of Works and the representative of
the omnibus people, led the fight against me. We had a terrific
struggle. The bill to authorize the tramways had gone to Parliament, and
this was now defeated by a few votes. I had six of the ablest lawyers of
England to represent me (through Baxter, Rose & Norton, solicitors), but
the influence of the 'bus men, aided by the sentiment in certain
quarters against me on account of my speeches in favor of the American
Union, was too strong for me, and I had to abandon the fight in London.

I then went to the Potteries in Staffordshire, and there, after renewing
the same kind of fighting that I had had in London, in every new town I
undertook to lay railways in, I succeeded in building seven miles of
track through the crockery-making country. Those tracks are there

My failure in London, which was to have been expected, must be set off
by these successes in Birkenhead and in Staffordshire. I am entitled to
the credit of laying the first street-railways in England, having to
overcome the most formidable of all the enemies of progress--British
prejudice. I afterward went to Darlington, where Stephenson had built
his first railway, from Stockton to Darlington, in '29, the year of my
birth, and I constructed a tramway there to connect the two steam
railways through that town.

My life, therefore, spans the entire railway building of the world. The
first railway was built the year I was born, and since that time, in a
space of seventy-three years, more than 200,000 miles of railway have
been constructed in the United States alone. In much of this great work
I have had some share. I suggested the railway that connects Melbourne
with its port, and mapped out the present railway system in Australia
thirty-nine years ago; I organized the line that connects the Eastern
States with the great Middle West--the Atlantic and Great Western
Railway; and I organized and built the first railway that pierced the
great American desert, and brought the Atlantic and Pacific coasts into
close touch and led to the development of the far West.

I may mention here, also, that I built a street-railway in Geneva,
Switzerland, which is still in use; and one in Copenhagen, which proved
that there was at least something sound in "the state of Denmark."
Other railways, as in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, suggested by me,
have been changed from horse to trolley lines. I also suggested the road
in Bombay, India, which was the first railway in all Asia, now extended.

It may be of interest to record that when I began building
street-railways, I sent to the United States and got the plans of the
Philadelphia roads and of the New York Third Avenue line. It was
therefore upon the models of American roads that these foreign railways
were constructed.

It is sometimes said that it is remarkable that little is known of my
connection with these great enterprises--for they were great, and
epoch-making. But my achievements in England, in the pioneer work of
building street-railways, is a matter of recorded history. An account of
my work there will be found in a book by Dr. Albert Shaw, editor of the
Review of Reviews, Municipal Government in Great Britain, as well as in
other books that deal with the industrial life of the period.



I have referred already to the antagonism felt toward me in certain
English quarters because of my speeches in favor of the Federal American
Union in the hour of its danger. Love of country was always stronger in
me than love of money, and I let slip no opportunity to defend the cause
of the Union and to prove to the English of the upper classes that they
were mistaken in supposing that the Confederacy could succeed. Those who
were not in England at this period, when the South was in the first
flush of its success, and when it seemed likely that England and France
would go to the assistance of the South, merely to strengthen themselves
by weakening the power of the United States, can not appreciate the
extent or the power of British sympathy for the Confederacy. The element
in England that took sides with the South was tremendously influential.
I had already felt its power in a personal way through the defeat of my
street-railway projects.

As soon as I observed the trend of British opinion, I went into public
halls and spoke in favor of the Union, and tried to show that right and
might were both on the side of the North, and that, no matter how many
successes the South might win in the beginning of the war, it would
inevitably be crushed beneath the weight of the rest of the country. I
did not confine myself to speeches of this sort. I attacked the men who
were trading on the war by sending blockade runners into Southern ports
in violation of the rules of war. And so I was in some relation with
Lord John Russell on the one hand and Emperor Louis Napoleon on the
other, in the critical days of the Mason-Slidell affair and the
discussion of "belligerent rights" of the South.

Before taking part in this desperate effort to stem the tide of British
opinion, and to defeat the efforts of British traders to make money by
selling merchandise to the South contraband of war, I placed my wife and
children on board a steamer for New York, in order to remove them from
troubled scenes. This fight was to cost me the opportunity of making a
fortune of perhaps $5,000,000, by upsetting my street-railway projects.

I may mention here that in '58, during the Italian war, I bought the
London Morning Chronicle for the French Emperor, paying $10,000 for it,
and putting Thornton Hunt, son of Leigh Hunt, in editorial charge, at a
salary of $2,000 a year. It was a daily paper; and as the Emperor
wanted a weekly also, I arranged for him the purchase of the London
Spectator at the same price, and put in Townsend (I think that was the
name) as editor, at a salary of $2,000 a year. When the war was over,
these papers of course passed out of our hands, and the Chronicle made a
most savage attack on me in the tramway discussion, taking the part of
the omnibus drivers. It again attacked me for my exposure of blockade
running from British ports. I had given the names of the men interested,
the marks of the cargoes, and the destination of the shipments, in a
letter that I wrote to the New York Herald. These men thought they had
assassinated the United States Republic.

The feeling against me was so intense at one time that I anticipated an
attempt to kill me. Strong influences were brought to bear upon me to
stop a paper that I had established in London, with my private
secretary, George Pickering Bemis, as manager, for the purpose of
disseminating correct news and views about the civil war. Secretary
Seward, by the way, sent $100, through his private secretary, Mr. J. C.
Derby (who was afterward connected with the house of D. Appleton and
Company, and wrote his recollections under the title, Fifty Years Among
Authors, Books, and Publishers), to assist in keeping up this journal.
The intense strain wore upon me to such an extent that I had an attack
of insomnia, and almost lost my senses at times. I would not go armed,
but relied for defense upon a small cane that I carried under my arm, so
grasped by the end in front as to enable me to whirl it about instantly
in case I should be attacked from the rear.

In August, '62, I observed that a vessel called the Mavrockadatis was
acting suspiciously, and came to the conclusion that she was a blockade
runner. I believed that she was loaded with supplies for the
Confederates, and that as soon as she was clear at sea she would make
for a Southern port or for some rendezvous with a Confederate ship. I
determined to frustrate this design, and took passage on her for St.
John's, Newfoundland, which I supposed was only her ostensible
destination. Of course, I registered under an assumed name, taking the
name "Oliver" for the occasion.

As it turned out, I was wrong. The vessel kept on her course as
represented, and we arrived at St. John's, Newfoundland, instead of at a
Southern port. This broke up my program, as I had intended, immediately
upon reaching a Southern port, to go direct to Richmond and see if
anything could be done to end the war. As I may not have occasion again
to refer to this plan, which I had had in mind for some time, I shall
speak of it here. I had arranged with the President and with Mr. Seward
to go to Richmond to see what could be done.

My idea was that the Southern leaders were in complete ignorance of the
power and resources of the North; they had fancied, because of the great
military reputation of Southern soldiers, that it would be comparatively
easy to beat Northern troops in the field; and that, in the last event,
England and France would come to their assistance. I felt confident of
convincing Jefferson Davis and other Southern leaders that all these
views were erroneous. I thought it would be a simple thing to prove that
they could not count on the assistance of either England or France, as
these two nations would not unite, and neither would undertake the task
alone. I also thought I could give them such evidence of the great
resources of the North, both in men and means, that they would recognize
the uselessness of the struggle. Another view I had in mind was that I
could impress the Southerners with the suggestion that, in the event of
their abandoning the contest at that stage, they could obtain far better
terms than the victorious North would be content to offer after a long
and harrowing war. But this was not to be. Stanton heard of our plans,
and sent Montgomery Blair to negotiate with the Southern leaders, with
what result is too well known.

I landed in Newfoundland, instead of in the South, as I have said, with
all my immediate plans thwarted. But I took up the course of my life
exactly at the point where I stood. I was in Newfoundland just one day,
and I wrote a history of that Crown Colony from the information I
gleaned in this brief visit. I shall republish it some day. I observed
in St. John's, as I have observed elsewhere, that people are fashioned
by their occupations. These people were physically the creation of
fisheries. I noted the tomcod married to the hake, and the shark wedded
to the swordfish. The fish of the sea, which they ate and upon which
they lived and had their being, were all represented in their features,
from the sardine to the sperm whale.

From St. John's, Newfoundland, I went to Boston, by way of St. Johns,
New Brunswick, stopping at Portland, Maine, for a brief visit. At
Portland I was met by B. F. Guild on behalf of Curtis Guild, owner of
the Boston Commercial Bulletin, which had just been established. Guild
published my Union speeches, and must have spent $1,000 a week--the
Bulletin was a weekly paper--in advertising them and my other writings.
I published my History of Newfoundland in his paper, receiving for it
$10 a column, the only pay I have ever received from a newspaper or
other periodical for my work. I saw recently a notice of the death of B.
F. Guild, at the age of eighty-nine. I had no idea he was so old.

I found that I had returned to my country the most popular American in
public life. I was greeted everywhere by vast concourses of people, who
cheered me and demanded speeches about the situation in England and my
experiences there. At Boston I was met by a tremendous gathering, and it
looked like a procession as we went up State Street to the Revere House.
I was placed in the rooms that had been occupied by the Prince of Wales,
now King Edward, on his visit to Boston two years before.

I was not long in Boston before I got into trouble by trying to
enlighten the people with regard to the war. There was a great
assemblage in Faneuil Hall, where Sumner was to speak, and I went there
to see what was going on. Sumner was not a very effective speaker before
mixed audiences, and could not have stood up for twenty minutes in the
halls of London, where the greatest freedom of debate is indulged in,
and where every speaker must be prepared to answer quickly and to the
point any question that may be hurled at him, or to reply with sharpness
and point to any retort that may come from the crowd that faces him.

I was very much astonished, therefore, to hear Sumner challenge any one
in the audience to confute his arguments. I knew, of course, that the
gantlet thus lightly thrown down was a mere oratorical figure, but in
England it would have been taken up at once, and Sumner would have been
routed. The temptation was too much for me. I rose, to the apparent
astonishment and embarrassment of the orator and of the committee on the
platform, and said: "Mr. Sumner, when you have finished, I should like
to speak a word." The cheering that greeted my acceptance of the
gaily-flung challenge was cordial.

As soon as Sumner had finished I climbed to the platform. There I had
the greatest difficulty with the committee, which seemed determined to
suppress any attempt to reply to the hero and god of the upper classes
in Boston. The moment I began to talk the committee signaled to the
band, and the music drowned my voice. When the band stopped I started
again, but the committee endeavored to stop me. I acted as my own
policeman and cleared the platform, when another rush was made upon me,
and all went tumbling from the stage. I was then arrested and taken to
the City Hall. The crowd seemed decidedly with me, although the utmost
it knew as to my sentiments was that I was opposed to making instant
abolition of slavery a condition precedent to putting an end to the war
(that is, on Lincoln's platform, Union, with or without slavery).

In a few minutes there was a crowd of some thousands of people about the
City Hall demanding loudly that I be set at liberty. I quieted the
people by sending word to them that I was preparing a proclamation to
the American people. This proclamation, entitled "God Save the People,"
was published by Guild in the Bulletin--and I should like to get a copy
of it, as I have lost my own. This arrest did not interfere with me very

I made a contract with Guild to lecture in the North and West, and my
first lecture was given in the Academy of Music, New York. The general
subject was the abolition question, as it related to the war between the
States. At this meeting Cassius M. Clay, of Kentucky, was made chairman,
but the audience did not like that, and a big cabbage was thrown to the
stage from the gallery. I then took charge of the meeting myself, and
walking to the edge of the stage, said: "I see that you do not like Mr.
Clay; but he should have a fair chance. If Mr. Guild will arrange for a
meeting at Cooper Institute to-morrow night, I will debate with Mr.
Clay, and you can then fire at me cabbages or gold dollars, as you like.
I propose the following subject for the discussion: American Slavery as
a Stepping-stone from African Barbarism to Christian Civilization;
hence, it is a Divine Institution." Mr. Clay accepted.

The next evening, at Cooper Institute, there was a large audience that
packed the hall from door to stage; $1,300 were taken at the box-office.
The papers on the following morning gave from two to four columns of the
discussion, and the London Times considered it sufficiently important,
even to Englishmen, to give a long account and editorial comments. It
said that the honors of the debate had been with me, and gave a specimen
of my repartee, which, it said, had swept Mr. Clay off his feet.

Mr. Clay had referred in his speech to an interview he had had with
President Lincoln, who was then hesitating as to issuing the
Proclamation of Emancipation. Mr. Clay said, "I told the President that
I would not flesh my sword in the defense of Washington unless he issued
a proclamation freeing the slaves." My reply was: "It is fair to assume
that, in order to make Major-General Cassius M. Clay flesh his sword,
the President will issue the proclamation." There was loud laughter at
this. The President did issue his proclamation three months after this.

I received a postal card the other day from Clay, who is now a
nonagenarian, in his armed castle in Kentucky.

I was in Washington after this debate, which occurred in September, '62,
and was warmly received by the President and members of his cabinet. I
had heard very much, of course, about the freedom of speech of Mr.
Lincoln, and was not, therefore, astonished to hear him relate several
characteristic anecdotes. In fact, three of the most prominent men in
the United States at that time were striving to outdo one another in
jests--the President, Senator Nesmyth of Oregon, and Senator Nye.

Mr. Seward invited me to a dinner at his residence, the historic house
where later the assassin tried to kill him, where General Sickles killed
Philip Barton Key, and which in more recent years was occupied by James
G. Blaine. Most of the members of the cabinet were present. I was asked
to describe some of the scenes of my recent travels, and told about
Chinese dinners, to their great amusement. Afterward I told them a story
then current about Wendell Phillips, the abolitionist. Phillips was once
in Charleston, South Carolina, and returned late to dinner at his hotel.
As he approached the door, it was held open by a negro slave. Phillips
said haughtily that he had never permitted a slave to wait on him, and
that he would not do so now. "How long have you been a slave?" asked Mr.
Phillips. The negro replied: "I ain't got no time to talk erbout dat
now, wid only five minits fur dinner." Mr. Phillips told the slave to
leave the room, that he would not let him serve him at the table; he
would wait on himself. "I cain't do dat, suh; I is 'sponsible for de
silber on de table, suh!"

Loud laughter greeted this story. In the very midst of the uproar the
door was burst open, and Secretary Stanton appeared, his face white with
emotion. In a choking voice, that was scarcely audible and would not
have been heard had not every nerve in our bodies been strained to catch
the momentous words we expected, he said: "A battle is raging at
Antietam! Ten thousand men have been killed, and the rebels are now
probably marching on Washington!"

There was a hush, and we told no more stories that night. It is
remarkable that almost all the great battles hung long in the scales of
victory. Neither side knew whether it had won until some time after the
fighting had ceased. It was so at Antietam, and had been so in the case
of Bull Run or Manassas. The true tidings came in slowly.

I took no part in the war on the battlefield, because as soon as I
looked into the causes of the war and its continuance, I saw that it was
a contract war. I came back to this country fully expecting to serve. I
had been assured of a high commission; but could not conscientiously
take part in a struggle in which thousands of lives were being
sacrificed to greed. Such was my honest belief, and such was my course.




When the Englishmen tore up my street-railways in England, I made a
speech in which I told them I would build a railway across the Rocky
Mountains and the Great American Desert which would ruin the old trade
routes across Egypt to China and Japan. I pointed out then that this
route would be far shorter in time than the old route, and that Europe
would soon be traversing America to reach the Orient. This was no new
idea, sprung at the moment in a feeling of resentment. I had suggested
this route across America ten years earlier, at Melbourne, Australia.

New York, then as now, we Americans regarded as the starting point of
all great enterprises, and to New York I came. I called at once upon
leaders in the world of finance--Commodore Vanderbilt, Commodore
Garrison, William B. Astor, Moses H. Grinnell, Marshall O. Roberts, and
others, and frankly told them of my plans. One of them said to me:

"Train, you have reputation enough now. Why do something that will mar
it? You are known all over the world as the Clipper-Ship King. This is
enough glory for one man. If you attempt to build a railway across the
desert and over the Rocky Mountains, the world will call you a lunatic."

And this was all that I received from these gentlemen! Not a word of
encouragement, not a cent of contributed funds--only the warning that
the world, like themselves, would call me a madman.

Unaffected by this cold reception, I kept steadily on with my task, and
proceeded to organize the great railway. Congress granted the necessary
charter in '62. It authorized the building of a road from the Missouri
River to California, with an issue of $100,000,000 of stock and
$50,000,000 of bonds--to be issued in sections, the first section to be
at the rate of $16,000 a mile; and the last at $48,000 a mile, with
20,000,000 acres of land in alternate sections; and $2,000,000 to be
subscribed, ten per centum to be paid into the State treasury at Albany.

My friends in Boston took the stock, but I failed to get the cash to go
ahead with the road in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York. At this
point, when matters looked a little dark, an idea occurred to me that
cleared the sky. It made the construction of the great line a certainty.
In Paris, a few years before, I had been much interested in new methods
of finance as devised by the brothers Émile and Isaac Perrère. These
shrewd and ingenious men, finding that old methods could not be used to
meet many demands of modern times, invented entirely new ones which they
organized into two systems known as the Crédit Mobilier and the Crédit
Foncier--or systems of credit based on personal property and land. The
French Government had supported these systems of the Perrères, and Baron
Haussmann had resorted to them in his great undertaking in rebuilding
and remodeling the French capital, making it the most beautiful city of
the world. I determined upon introducing this new style of finance into
this country.

I found that a bill had been passed in Pennsylvania in '59, for Duff
Green, granting authority for the organization of the "Pennsylvania
Fiscal Agency," which, on examination, I saw could be used for my
purpose. I bought this charter for $25,000. The bill had been
"engineered" through the Pennsylvania legislature by a man named Hall,
and others of the Philadelphia Custom-House. In order to make it
suitable for our uses, I wanted its title changed, and asked to have the
legislature change the title to "Crédit Mobilier of America." The matter
went through without trouble, and I paid $500 for having this done. When
I happened to mention to William H. Harding, of the Philadelphia
Inquirer, that it had cost me $500 to have the title of the charter
altered, he told me he could have had it done for $50. I did not know
as much of the ways of legislation in Pennsylvania then as I did later.
The sum I paid for the charter was made up from $5,000 cash and $20,000
of the bonds of the Crédit Mobilier. I was to have $50,000 for
organizing the company. I think it worth while to call attention here to
the fact that this was the first so-called "Trust" organized in this

Having failed to raise the money elsewhere, I went to Boston, and there
succeeded in launching the enterprise. My own subscription of $150,000
was the pint of water that started the great wheel of the machinery. I
give here--for it is a matter of historic interest, since the building
of this road marked the opening of a new era in the United States--the
list of the subscribers who were my copartners in the undertaking:

    Lombard and friends                                      $100,000
    Oakes and Oliver Ames                                     200,000
    Sidney Dillon                                $100,000
    Cyrus H. McCormick                            100,000
    Ben Holliday                                  100,000
    John Duff                                     100,000     400,000
    Glidden & Williams                             50,000
    Joseph Nickerson                              100,000
    Fred Nickerson                                 50,000
    Baker & Morrill                                50,000
    Samuel Hooper and Dexter                       50,000
    Price Crowell                                  25,000
    Bardwell and Otis Norcross                     75,000     400,000
    Williams & Guion                               50,000
    William H. Macy                                25,000
    H. S. McComb, Wilmington, Del.                 75,000
    George Francis Train, through Colonel George
    T. M. Davis, trustee for my wife and children 150,000     300,000
                                                  -------  ----------

[Illustration: Home of George Francis Train from 1863 to 1869,
No. 156 Madison Avenue, New York.]

I had offered an interest in the road to old and well-established
merchants of New York and other cities--the Grays, the Goodhues, the
Aspinwalls, the Howlands, the Grinnells, the Marshalls, and Davis,
Brooks & Company; and even to some of the new men, like Henry
Clews--agreeing to put them in "on the ground floor," if I may use an
expression from the lesser world of finance. But they were afraid. It
was too big. Only two of them, William H. Macy and William H. Guion,
would take any stock.

There was a meeting of the stockholders in Gibson's office in Wall
Street, for the purpose of electing a board of directors. By this time
the importance of the road had become recognized, and there was an
active desire on the part of the chiefs of the trunk lines leading to
the West to obtain control of the charter. They had their
representatives there, and I saw from the first that an attempt would be
made to capture the Union Pacific Railway as a trophy of one of these
powerful Eastern lines. Fortunately, as I perfectly well knew, they were
not quite powerful enough, in the circumstance, even with a united
front, to accomplish their purposes.

William B. Ogden was in the chair, and a hasty calculation convinced me
that probably $200,000,000 were represented by the men gathered in the
little office. Of the great trunk lines represented I can recall now the
Baltimore and Ohio, the Pennsylvania, and the New York Central. It was
from the forces of the last that the lightning came.

As soon as the meeting had been called to order, and the purpose of it
stated by the chair, a gentleman arose and began speaking in a wheezy,
squeaky voice. But he had a way of saying what he wanted, and of saying
it shrewdly, adroitly, and very effectively. I could see that he was
accustomed to win in the Shakespearian way--"by indirections find
directions out." He said that as everything was ready for the election
of a board, he would suggest that the chair should appoint a committee
of five which should then name a board of thirty members. I saw that
this was an adroit move to put one of these big roads in control of the
committee and, of course, in control of the Union Pacific. The chair
immediately named five men, three of whom were representatives of the
New York Central.

I turned to a gentleman sitting next me and asked who was the
wheezy-voiced man who had just taken his seat. "That is Samuel J.
Tilden," said he.

Matters now went as I had foreseen. Of course, the three New York
Central men on the committee named a New York Central board of
directors. They thought they had quietly and effectively bagged the
game. But I held in my pocket the power that could overturn all their
schemes. In fact I had offered the presidency of the road to Moses
Taylor, founder of the City National Bank, now controlled by Mr.
Stillman, and to A. A. Low, father of the present Mayor of New York. But
both had laughed at me, thinking it absurd that I should presume to have
so much power. I then made up my own list of officers, and named John A.
Dix as president, and John J. Cisco as treasurer. Afterward I made a
short speech, in which I said that I held the control of the road in my

The vote was called for by the chair, and out of the $2,000,000 of stock
represented, the New York Central influence cast $300,000 and I the vote
of $1,700,000. This completely surprised those present, and they left
the office as rats fly from a sinking ship. I was indignant, and
shouted: "You stand on the corners of Wall Street again and call me a
'damned Copperhead'; but don't forget that I kicked $200,000,000 worth
of you into the street!" And that is the reason why they called me

I went out West in the autumn of '63 to break ground for the first mile
of railway track west of the Missouri river. None of the directors was
with me; I was entirely alone. I made a speech at Omaha in which I
predicted that the road would be completed by '70, and in which I
forecast the great development of Omaha and the Northwest. This speech
was printed all over the world, and I was denounced as a madman and a
visionary. I had, every one said, prophesied the impossible. And yet
every word of that speech was true, both as to its facts and as to its
prophecies. I give here a few extracts from it, as it was published in
the Omaha Republican, December 3, '63, and as it has been republished in
that paper and others many times since:

     America is the stage, the world is the audience of to-day. While
     one act of the drama represents the booming of the cannon on the
     Rapidan, the Cumberland, and the Rio Grande, sounding the
     death-knell of rebellious war, the next scene records the booming
     of cannon on both sides of the Missouri to celebrate the grandest
     work of peace that ever attracted the energies of man. The great
     Pacific Railway is commenced, and if you knew the man who has
     hold of the affair as well as I do, no doubt would ever arise as
     to its speedy completion. The President shows his good judgment
     in locating the road where the Almighty placed the signal
     station, at the entrance of a garden seven hundred miles in
     length and twenty broad.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Before the first century of the nation's birth, we may see in the
     New York depot some strange Pacific railway notice.

     "_European passengers for Japan will please take the night

     "_Passengers for China this way._

     "_African and Asiatic freight must be distinctly marked: For
     Peking via San Francisco._"

       *       *       *       *       *

     Immigration will soon pour into these valleys. Ten millions of
     emigrants will settle in this golden land in twenty years.

I had predicted that the railway would be completed in '70. On May 10,
'69, the "golden spike" was driven at Ogden, Utah. Among the papers
throughout the world that had ridiculed me as being mad or visionary
because of my speech at Omaha in '63, was the Hongkong Press, which
said that it was generally thought in China during my visit there in
'55-'56 that I was a little "off," and that this speech, which predicted
a railway across the Rocky Mountains, clearly proved that I was both
visionary and mad. On my journey around the world in '70, after the
completion of the Union Pacific Railway, I stepped into the office of
the Hongkong paper and asked for the editor. When he came out, I asked
him to show me the file of his paper containing my Omaha speech. He
brought it out, and we turned to the column. "Do you know Train?" he
asked me. "Why, I am Train," I said, "and it seems that you did not know
me in Hongkong in '55-'56. I have just come through the Rocky Mountains
over that road."

The tremendous importance of the Union Pacific Railway is now too well
known to need any further comment here from me. It is enough to say that
it was through my suggestion and through my plans and energy that this
mighty highway across the continent, breaking up the old trade routes of
the world, and turning the tide of commerce from its ancient eastern
tracks across the wide expanse of the American continent, was created.

     NOTE.--Albert D. Richardson in his once famous book Beyond the
     Mississippi, writing of the development of Omaha and the
     Northwest, due to the building of the Union Pacific Railway,
     says: "Here was George Francis Train, at the head of a great
     company called the Crédit Foncier, organized for dealing in lands
     and stocks for building cities along the railway from the
     Missouri to Salt Lake. This corporation had been clothed by the
     Nebraska legislature with nearly every power imaginable, save
     that of reconstructing the late rebel States. It was erecting
     neat cottages in Omaha and at other points west.

     "Mr. Train owned personally about five hundred acres in Omaha,
     which cost him only one hundred and seventy-five dollars per
     acre--a most promising investment. He is a noticeable, original
     American, who has crowded wonderful and varied experiences into
     his short life. An orphan boy, employed to sweep the
     counting-room, he rose to the head of a great Boston shipping
     house; then established a branch in Liverpool; next organized and
     conducted a heavy commission business in Australia, and
     astonished his neighbors in that era of fabulous prices, with
     Brussels carpets, and marble counters, and a free champagne
     luncheon daily in his business office. Afterward he made the
     circuit of the world, wrote books of travel, fought British
     prejudices against street-railways, occupying his leisure time by
     fiery and audacious American war speeches to our island cousins,
     until he spent a fortune, and enjoyed the delights of a month in
     a British prison.

     "Thence he returned to America; lectured everywhere; and now he
     is trying to build a belt of cities across the continent. At
     least a magnificent project. Curiously combining keen sagacity
     with wild enthusiasm, a man who might have built the pyramids, or
     been confined in a strait-jacket for eccentricities, according to
     the age he lived in, he observes dryly that since he began to
     make money, people no longer pronounce him crazy! He drinks no
     spirits, uses no tobacco, talks on the stump like an embodied
     Niagara, composes songs to order by the hour as fast as he can
     sing them, like an Italian improvisatore, remembers every droll
     story from Joe Miller to Artemus Ward, is a born actor, is
     intensely in earnest, and has the most absolute and outspoken
     faith in himself and his future."

     [At the time Richardson saw me at Omaha, in '64, another noted
     journalist, William Hepworth Dixon, editor of the London
     Athenæum, called on me, traveling with Sir Charles Dilke, who was
     writing Greater Britain. I introduced him to Richardson.--G. F.




Very much of my work that has aided most in the development of this
country was done in the great region of the Northwest, then a wild
country, trackless and uninhabited except by savages. Of course, the
chief achievement in the West was the building of the Union Pacific
Railway, which led up to the inception and construction of other
railways and to the present prosperity of the entire section.

But this enterprise was merely a beginning. I looked upon it only as the
launching of a hundred other projects, which, if I had been able to
carry them to completion, would have transformed the West in a few
years, and anticipated its present state of wealth and power by more
than a full generation. One of my plans was the creation of a chain of
great towns across the continent, connecting Boston with San Francisco
by a magnificent highway of cities. That this was not an idle dream is
shown by the rapid growth of Chicago, which owes its greatness to its
situation upon this natural highway of trade; and to the development of
Omaha, which owes its prosperity directly to the Union Pacific Railway
and to the other enterprises that I organized in the West. Most of these
plans were defeated by a financial panic, by the lack of cooperation on
the part of the very people who were most interested in their success,
and by events which I shall describe in the following chapters of this
book. Some of them succeeded, however, and I was able to accomplish a
great deal of work that has gone into the winning and making of the

When I went out to Omaha to break ground for the Union Pacific Railway,
on December 3, '63, there was only one hotel in that town. This was the
Herndon House, a respectable affair, now U. P. headquarters. I was
astonished that men of energy, enterprise, and means had not seized the
opportunity to erect a large hotel at this point, which had already
given every promise of rapid and immediate growth. But what directly
suggested to me the building of such a hotel on my own account was a
little incident that occurred at a breakfast that I happened to be
giving in the Herndon House.

I had invited a number of prominent men--Representatives in Congress,
and others--to take breakfast with me in this house, as I desired to
present to them some of my plans. The breakfast was a characteristic
Western meal, with prairie chickens and Nebraska trout. While we were
seated, one of those sudden and always unexpected cyclones on the plains
came up, and the hotel shook like a leaf in the terrible storm. Our
table was very near a window in which were large panes of glass, which I
feared could not withstand the tremendous force of the wind. They were
quivering under the stress of weather, and I called to a strapping negro
waiter at our table to stand with his broad back against the window.
This proved a security against the storm without; but it precipitated a
storm within.

Allen, the manager of the Herndon, and a man with a political turn of
mind, saw in the incident an assault on the rights of the negroes. He
hurried over to the table and protested against this act as an outrage.
I could not afford to enter into a quarrel with him at the time, so I
merely said: "I am about the size of the negro; I will take his place."
I then ordered the fellow away from the window, took his post, and
stayed there until the fury of the storm abated. Then I was ready for

I walked out in front of the house and, pointing to a large vacant
square facing it, asked who owned it. I was told the owner's name and
immediately sent a messenger for him post-haste. He arrived in a short
time, and I asked his price. It was $5,000. I wrote out and handed him a
check for the amount, and took from him, on the spot, a deed for the

Then I asked for a contractor who could build a hotel. A man named
Richmond was brought to me. "Can you build a three-story hotel in sixty
days on this plot?" asked I. After some hesitation he said it would be
merely a question of money. "How much?" I asked. "One thousand dollars a
day." "Show me that you are responsible for $60,000." He did so, and I
took out an envelope and sketched on the back of it a rough plan of the
hotel. "I am going to the mountains," I said, "and I shall want this
hotel, with 120 rooms, complete, when I return in sixty days."

When I got back, the hotel was finished. I immediately rented it to
Cozzens, of West Point, New York, for $10,000 a year. This is the famous
Cozzens's Hotel of Omaha, which has been more written about, I suppose,
than almost any other hostelry ever built in the United States. It is
the show-place of Omaha to this day.

The completion of the Union Pacific Railway in '69 was the occasion of
my visit to California and Oregon. In San Francisco I gave a banquet to
men prominent in finance and politics, and took occasion to refer to the
efforts that had been made there, as it seemed to me, to aid the
seceding States. I was making a response to the toast of "The Union,"
and had said that if I had been the Federal general in command in
California at the time, I should have hanged certain men, some of whom
were present. This was pretty hot shot, and I did not wonder at the
resentment of the men to whom I referred. I was astonished, however, by
the terrific scoring I received from the city press the following
morning. I read the reports of, and the comments on, my speech as I was
making preparations to have my special car taken back East that
afternoon. I was very indignant, but did not know exactly what to do.

Just at this moment a man approached me and said that he would like to
have me deliver a lecture that evening in the theater. He was the
manager, Mr. Poole. I saw my opportunity, and accepted, refusing,
however, his proffer of $500 in gold, and agreeing to take one-half the
gross receipts for a series of lectures. I delivered twenty-eight
lectures to crowded houses, and took in, for my share, $10,000 in gold.
I did not spare my critics, but flayed them alive.

My lectures made me the most conspicuous man on the Pacific coast, and I
received despatches of congratulations, or invitations to deliver
lectures and speeches, almost every hour of the day. I accepted a
five-hundred-dollar check to go to Portland, Oregon, to make the
Fourth-of-July oration, and the Gussie Tellefair was sent to meet me and
take me up the Columbia in state. The oration was delivered to a big
audience of Oregonians, trappers and mountaineers, some of them wearing
the quaintest garb I had ever seen.

I mention this visit to Portland because it afforded me opportunity for
doing several things of importance. I visited the famous Dalles of the
Columbia river, and while there saw the Indians spearing salmon. I asked
what they were doing, and was told that they were laying in their supply
for the winter. I went to the place where the braves were spearing the
fish and asked one of them to let me try my hand at the fish-spear.
Having accustomed myself a little to throwing the harpoon, I found that
I could manage the Indian's weapon quite skilfully, and succeeded in
landing 200 salmon in two hours. Of course the fish were running in
swarms, but this two hours' work would have brought me $1,000 if I could
have taken the catch to New York.

I was the first white man, I believe, that had taken salmon out of the
Columbia, and it then occurred to me, if the Indians could lay up a
supply of fish for the winter, why could not white men do the same
thing? I thereupon suggested the canning of salmon, which has since been
developed into so large an industry and has made the Quinnat salmon the
king-fish of the world, putting Columbia salmon into almost every
household of civilization.

Another fact may be recorded here. My Fourth-of-July oration had been
such a success that I was asked to make another speech at Seattle, on
Puget Sound, which was then a struggling village. I was accompanying a
delegation or committee from the East that was looking for a good place
for the terminus of the Northern Pacific Railway, which had been
projected after the great success of the Union Pacific. When we passed
the point where Tacoma now stands, I was attracted by its appearance and
said: "There is your terminus." The committee selected the spot, and
Tacoma was founded there.

An amusing incident closed this part of my journey. I went from Seattle
to Victoria, British Columbia, and was astonished to find the town in
the wildest commotion. Troops were at the docks, and the moment I landed
I observed that the greatest interest was taken in me. At last, as they
saw me walking about alone, one of the officials came up and said: "Why,
are you alone?" "Of course," I replied. "Did you expect me to bring an
army with me?" I said this in jest, not knowing how closely it touched
his question. He then took me aside and said, "Read this despatch." I
opened the despatch and read: "Train is on the Hunt."

I saw what it meant, and how the good people had been deceived. The Hunt
was the vessel I came on, and the telegraph operator at Seattle, knowing
that I had been with the Fenians and had been stirring up a good deal of
trouble in California, thought he would have some fun with the
Canadians. The people of Victoria were on the lookout for me to arrive
with a gang of Fenians!

I did not smile, but determined to carry the joke a little further.
Walking into the telegraph office, I filed the following cablegram for
Dublin, Ireland. "Down England, up Ireland." The jest cost me $40 in
tolls, but I enjoyed it that much.




My participation in the Commune in France, in the year '70, was the
result of chance. I arrived at Marseilles at a very critical time in the
history of that city. It was the hour when the Commune, or, as it was
styled there by many, the "Red Republic," was born. I was on a tour of
the world, the voyage in which I eclipsed all former feats of travel,
and circled the globe in eighty days. This served Jules Verne, two years
later, as the groundwork for his famous romance Around the World in
Eighty Days. The whole journey had been eventful, but I shall write of
that in a later chapter.

The French Empire had fallen and the Republic had risen within the
period of my swift flight; and now one of the darkest and most desperate
enterprises known in history was afoot--the attempt to transform France
and the world into a system of "communes," erected upon the ruins of all
national governments.

I arrived at Marseilles on the Donai, of the Imperial Messagerie line,
October 20, '70, and went at once to the Grand Hotel de Louvre. Imagine
my astonishment when I was received there by a delegation, and, for the
third time, hailed as "liberator." The empty title of liberator--so
easily conferred by the excitable Latin races--had become rather a joke
with me. The Australian revolutionists who wanted to make me President
of their paper republic, were in earnest, and would have done something
notable, had they ever got the opportunity, with sufficient men behind
them; but the Italians I had not felt much confidence in, nor had I any
desire to work for their cause.

The acclaim with which the people in the streets of Marseilles received
me, at first jarred upon my sensibilities and seemed an echo merely of
the little affair in Rome. However, I was soon to be convinced of the
deep sincerity of these revolutionists, and was destined to take an
active and honest part in their cause. It is remarkable how a slight
incident may turn the whole current of one's life. It had been my
intention to proceed as rapidly as possible to Berlin, and take a look
at the victorious Prussian army; but here I was at the very moment of my
arrival on French soil, involved in the problems and struggles of the
French people, as precipitated by the Prussian army, having for their
object the undoing of much of the work of the German conquest.

When the revolutionary committee hailed me as "liberator," I thought
they had mistaken me for some one else, and asked the leaders if they
had not done so. "No," they said; "we have heard of you and want you to
join the revolution." It seemed that they had kept track of my rapid
progress around the world, and told me they knew when I was at Port
Said, and had prepared to receive me as soon as I landed in Marseilles.

"Six thousand people are waiting for you now in the opera-house," they

"Waiting for me?" I asked, incredulous. "How long have they been
waiting, and what are they waiting for?"

"They have been assembled for an hour; and they want you to address them
in behalf of the revolution."

"Well," said I, making a decision immediately, "I can not keep these
good people waiting. I will go with you." I had decided to trust to the
inspiration of the moment, when I should stand face to face with that
volatile French audience.

From the moment I entered the opera-house, packed with excited people
from the stage to the topmost boxes, I was possessed by the French
revolutionary spirit. The fire and enthusiasm of the people swept me
from my feet. I was thenceforth a "Communist," a member of their "Red
Republic." I felt this, as soon as I joined that cheering and ecstatic
mob--for it really was a mob then, and mobs have been the germs of all
great national movements in France.

A committee of some sort, prepared for the occasion, immediately seized
hold of me, and we marched, or rushed, through the crowd, down the
aisle, and up on the stage. About 250 persons, the more important movers
in the agitation, I suppose, were standing, all cheering at the top of
their voices. As I was placed upon the stage, in front of the audience,
there came a burst of cheers of "Vive la République!" "Vive la Commune!"
and many were shouting out my name with a French accent and a nasal "n."
It was irresistible. I stepped to the front of the stage and tried to
speak, but for several minutes could not utter a word that could be
heard a foot away, the din of the shouting and cheering was so

When the shouting ceased, I told the people that I was in Marseilles on
a trip around the world, but as they had called upon me to take part in
their movement, I should be glad to repay, in my own behalf, a small
portion of the enormous debt of gratitude that my country owed to France
for Lafayette, Rochambeau, and de Grasse. I repeated a part of the
"Marseillaise," which always stirs Frenchmen to the depths, and a few
verses from Holmes's poem on France--

    "Pluck Condé's baton from the trench,
      Wake up stout Charles Martel;
    Or give some woman's hand to clench
      The sword of La Pucelle!"

I also urged that France should not yield an inch of her territory to
the rapacious Prussians.

The excitement of the hour carried everything before it, and the crowd
outside, numbering at least 20,000, finally was joined by the 6,000
inside, and the whole mass, making a grand and noisy procession,
escorted me to my hotel where I had taken the entire front suite of
apartments. The next morning I was waited upon by a committee of the
revolutionists. They said they wanted a military leader, and that
Cluseret was the man for the place. He would be able to lead the forces
of the Ligue du Midi.

Cluseret was then in Switzerland, where he had taken refuge after the
troops drove him out of Lyons at the orders of Gambetta. He was the
Gustave Paul Cluseret who had taken part in our Civil War, serving on
the staffs of McClellan and Frémont, and who later was Military Chief of
the Paris Commune. We sent to Switzerland and invited General Cluseret
to join us in Marseilles. To our surprise he sent word that he would
need a force of 2,000 armed men! This settled Cluseret, as far as I was

A few days later a card was brought to me in the hotel bearing the name
"Tirez," and the statement that M. Tirez occupied room 113 in the same
hotel. I went up to this room, and there found a splendid-looking fellow
with a great military mustache. "Are you M. Tirez?" I asked. "I am
General Cluseret," he said. "I thought you wanted 2,000 armed men?" I
said. "You can probably give me more than that number," he said, with a
smile. "You seem to be in command of everything and everybody here." "We
shall see," I said. I asked him to go to the Cirque with me that

There were at least 10,000 men in this gigantic amphitheater. I made a
short speech and said I wanted to give them a surprise. "You want a
military leader. I have brought you one. Here is your leader--General
Gustave Paul Cluseret." He was greeted with tremendous cheers.

We at once organized military headquarters and prepared to take
possession of the city. In this effort we were aided by the liberal
views of the préfet, M. Esquiros, a republican, and later by the
incapacity of the new préfet appointed by Gambetta, M. Gent. The next
day we marched to the military fortifications with a great mass of men.
General Cluseret and I were arm in arm as we entered the gates. I
observed the officer in charge of the guns at the entrance about to give
an order, which I knew meant a volley that would sweep us into the next
world. I sprang forward and seized the officer by the arm. "Come to see
me at the hotel," I whispered in his ear. The order to fire was not
given, and we filed into the fortifications and took possession in the
name of the Commune--the "Red Republic."

The following day 150 of the Guarde Mobile came to the hotel and
demanded General Cluseret. I told the officers he was not present, but
they insisted upon invading my rooms. I then told them that they would
not be permitted to cross the threshold alive. I was armed with a
revolver, and three of my own secretaries were armed in the same way. I
said to the chief officer at the door that there were four men inside
and we would shoot any one who tried to enter; we thought we could kill
at least two dozen of them. The Guarde held a short council outside, and
I soon heard their military step resounding down the hall. They had
given up the search for Cluseret.

The next morning I saw from my window an army marching down the street.
I thought it was our army, and went out on the balcony and began
shouting "Vive la République!" and "Vive la Commune!" with the people in
the street; but there was an ominous silence in the ranks of the troops.
They did not respond to these revolutionary sentiments. Then I saw the
new préfet, M. Gent, Gambetta's man, in a carriage, with the army.
Suddenly I heard a shot, and Gent dropped to the bottom of the vehicle.
Some one had tried to kill him, but missed, and the préfet did not care
to be conspicuous again.

The troops came to a halt directly in front of the hotel, and I saw that
the officers were regarding with anger the flag of the Commune that
floated from the balcony. Orders were given, and five men, a firing
squad, stepped from the ranks and knelt, with their rifles in hand,
ready to fire. I knew that it was their purpose to shoot me. I do not
know why, but I felt that if the thing had to be, I should die in the
most dramatic manner possible. There were two other flags on the
balcony, the colors of France and America. I seized both of these, and
wrapped them quickly about my body. Then I stepped forward, and knelt at
the front of the balcony, in the same military posture as the soldiers
below me. I then shouted to the officers in French:

"Fire, fire, you miserable cowards! Fire upon the flags of France and
America wrapped around the body of an American citizen--if you have the

An order was spoken, too low for me to catch, but the kneeling soldiers
dropped their rifles, and then rose, and rejoined the ranks. Another
order was shouted along the line, and the troops marched on down the
street and out of sight.

The attempted assassination of the préfet had an unexpected effect upon
public opinion in Marseilles. It turned the mercurial Frenchman against
the Commune. I advised General Cluseret to go at once to Paris. I even
purchased a gold-laced uniform for him. His subsequent history, as
military leader of the Commune in Paris, his capture, trial, release,
and retirement to Switzerland, are well known.

At this time I believe the tide of war might have been turned in favor
of France by some swift movement like those of which the mobile Boers
made good use in South Africa, perhaps by an attack on the rear of the
German armies. France was filled with German soldiers, but Germany was
unguarded; and I believed then that a body of light horsemen, say, like
the Algerians, might have created such a diversion by a rapid raid to
the rear that it would have forced the Germans back to the Rhine, or
even to Berlin. I was astonished by the tremendous amount of munitions
of war, and by the masses of troops that were still available in the
south of France. Leadership, and not troops, was what France lacked.

I left Marseilles for Lyons, after the troops tried to shoot me in the
balcony of the hotel, and was accompanied by Cremieux, one of the
leaders of the Ligue du Midi. As we left Marseilles, a man, wearing
conspicuously the ribbon of the Legion of Honor, entered our
compartment. I at once set him down as a spy, and began talking with
Cremieux in a loud voice. My estimate of his character was justified in
an unpleasant way at Lyons. No sooner had we entered the suburbs of that
city than our friend left the compartment and got off the train.

When the train came to a stop in the station, I sprang out of the
compartment with Cremieux, and was confronted by six bayonets. Both of
us were placed under arrest. Immediately I remembered the little slip of
paper in my pocket which might betray Cluseret, if found, and I seized
it hastily and put it into my mouth. The officer of the squad of
soldiers rushed forward to stop me, but it was too late. The slip had
gone. I had swallowed it.

"That was the address of General Cluseret!" shouted the officer.

"Of course," said I. "And it has gone to a rendezvous with my

The soldiers took Cremieux and myself to the Bastile, in Lyons, and I
was detained there for thirteen days. When I went into the cell I was
very tired and sat up against the wall and leaned my head against it. In
a moment I detected the breathing of a man very near me, and perceived a
crack in the wall, against which a spy in the adjacent cell was
inclining his ear to catch any incriminating words that might pass
between Cremieux and myself. It was the old trick of the Inquisition;
but it did not serve the purposes of these late players of it.

My secretary, Mr. Bemis, who came on from Marseilles by a later train,
could not find me in Lyons. He spent a week in looking for me. At the
end of that time my wife, who was in New York, telegraphed to the
American legation at Paris asking if the report were true that I had
been killed. It had been currently reported in America that the soldiers
had shot me in Marseilles. Mr. Bemis went immediately to the Guarde
Mobile, which was in sympathy with the Commune, the organization from
which General Cluseret had been driven by Gambetta. The Guarde sent a
deputation of 150 officers to the préfet of the city, who ordered my
immediate release. Gambetta was appealed to, and he directed that I be
sent to him at Tours by special train.

To Tours I went in style. I had been poisoned in the Lyons Bastile, and
was ill, in consequence, having lost thirty pounds of flesh in thirteen
days. I was met at Tours by Gambetta's secretary, M. Ranc, afterward a
deputy, who told me I could see the Dictator at four o'clock. "Why not
now?" I asked. "Because it is not possible for M. Gambetta to work until
he has had his dinner." I found that these French officials were as fond
of their dinner as English officials. At the appointed hour M. Ranc took
me to the palace of the prefecture, and I was admitted at once to
Gambetta's presence.

I found everything in confusion. The prefecture was filled with men who
had been waiting for the Dictator's pleasure. In the first ante-rooms I
saw men who had been waiting for three weeks; in the next rooms were
those who had waited for two weeks; and in the third rooms I found
officers of the army and navy, who had waited one week. As I passed in
among these throngs with an air of self-possession, they took me for
some grand personage, and I heard whispers that I must be the ambassador
from Spain or the Papal Nuncio.

Gambetta was seated at his desk in a large and handsomely furnished
room. He made not the slightest sign of being aware that I was present.
He did not even turn his face toward me. I did not learn until afterward
that the distinguished Italian-Frenchman had one glass eye, and could
see me just as well at an angle as he could full-face. But I grew tired
of standing there silent, and was already weary from my long
incarceration. I decided, after taking in this strange character, then
at the top of the seething pot of French politics, that the best course
for me was to put on a bold front.

"When a distinguished stranger calls to see you, M. Gambetta, I think
you might offer him a chair."

The great man smiled, and motioned me to a seat with considerable
graciousness. I took a chair, and said:

"M. Gambetta, you are the head of France, and I intend to be President
of the United States. You can assist me, and I can assist you."

He looked at me with a curious regard, but did not smile.

"Send me to America, and I can help you get munitions of war, and win
over the sympathy and assistance of the Americans."

I knew, of course, that he was going to send me out of France in any
event, and I wanted to discount his plan.

The Dictator smiled again, and said: "You sent Cluseret to Paris, and
bought him a uniform for 300 francs."

"You are only fairly well informed, M. Gambetta. I paid 350 francs for
the uniform."

"Cluseret is a scoundrel," he said.

"The Communards call you that," I replied.

He ended our interview by saying a few pleasant words, bowing me out of
the room, and sending me out of France forthwith.

I went straight to London, then to Liverpool, and sailed for New York in
the Abyssinia, which, curiously enough, was afterward the pioneer ship
on the line of boats between Vancouver and Yokohama, it having been
bought by the Canadian Pacific.




I have passed a great many days in jail. A jail is a good place to
meditate and to plan in, if only one can be patient in such a place.
Much of my work was thought out and wrought out while living in the
fifteen jails of which I have been a tenant. It was in a jail in Dublin,
called the Four Courts' Marshalsea, that a feeling of confidence that I
might one day be President of the United States first came into definite
form. It was in this prison, also, that I planned Train Villa, which was
to be built in Newport. As my life in that Villa, which in its day was
one of the most famous and luxurious in America, was a sort of prelude
to my campaign for the Presidency, I may fitly say here what I have to
say about it in this book.

[Illustration: Train Villa, George Francis Train's summer home in
Newport from 1868 to 1872.]

I had long wanted a handsome residence by the sea, and so, when I had
nearly completed the work done in connection with the Union Pacific
Railway, and there seemed to be ahead of me a period of comparative
leisure, I projected this house. My plans were made before I was in
the Dublin jail. My wife built the Villa, or began work on it, while I
was still in the Marshalsea. The lot on which it stands embraced some
two and a half acres in the most delightful region of Newport. In order
that my boys might have an opportunity for sport at home, I had a
building put up for billiards and bowling. This was, I believe, the
first residence in Newport that had a special place of this kind,
although of course, many had billiard tables. A fine cottage was also
built for my father-in-law, Colonel George T. M. Davis. This cottage was
sold recently for $50,000, to the Dolans of Philadelphia.

The Villa itself must have cost $100,000, but the truth is, I have never
known how much money was lavished upon its building and adornment. I was
called rich and had never, at any time, given a thought to the mere
details of money. What I wanted I got. In those days that was the
substance of my economic system in personal matters. We lived there in
manorial style, entertaining so lavishly and freely that the Villa
became a free guest-house for all Newport. I also recollect that my
living cost me more than $2,000 a week. Now I manage to live on $3 a
week in the Mills Hotel, or Palace, as I call it. Here I am more
contented than I was at Newport. I seem to be saving $1,997 a week. We
turned out, in Newport, six carriages when we went driving; but this was
a display that I always set my heart against. It seemed to be mere

Since my occupancy, Train Villa, as it is called to this day, has been
rented by some of the most prominent persons in the fashionable world.
Among those who have lived in it are the Kernochans, the Kips, Governor
Lippitt of Rhode Island, some of the Vanderbilts and the Mortimers. At
the present time, it is occupied by George B. de Forest. It was formerly
rented for $5,000 for three months or the season. It never paid us two
per centum on its cost, and finally was sold by the trustee, Colonel

The Villa was once turned into a jail, although I was not the captive in
that instance. In the famous Crédit Mobilier case, in '72-'73, a man,
who was my guest at the time, was arrested, and, as the Crédit Mobilier
men then in Newport could not give bail in the sum of $1,000,000, as
demanded, an arrangement was made with the sheriff by which the Villa
temporarily became a jail, where my guest was confined.

So full of confidence was I that I could be elected President in '72,
that I telegraphed from San Francisco that I would reach Newport on a
certain day, and wished arrangements made for a "Presidential" banquet.
Although this banquet was not the end of the campaign, it was the last
flourish of trumpets in my Presidential aspirations.

My political career in fact was brief. My intention was to have it
extend through at least a Presidential term; but the people would not
have it so. Prior to '69, '70, '71, and '72, I had taken no active part
in politics, although I had been interested in various campaigns and in
many great public questions of the day. I have already referred to the
offer made to me by the revolutionists in Australia to make me their
President. That was, perhaps, the first time that anything political
ever entered my life. The offer was by no means a temptation to me and I
refused to consider it, without a single poignant regret.

In '65, the Fenians, after I had espoused the general cause of the
Irish, as of the oppressed of every country, asked me to attend their
first convention, which was to be held in Philadelphia. They wished me
to address them. This I did, but I took no active part in the work of
the convention or of the faction. I had already attended the Democratic
Convention in Louisville in '64, when I held a proxy from Nebraska, and
had hoped to have General Dix nominated for President and Admiral
Farragut for Vice-President, but I was not permitted to take my seat.

While I was in the Four Courts' Marshalsea, in Dublin, in '68, James
Brooks, of the New York Express, sent word to me that the Democrats in
convention were willing to nominate Salmon P. Chase if I would consent
to take the second place on the ticket. This did not suit me at all, and
I sent a despatch to Brooks that I would take the first place only, and
that as Chase was my friend, he could take the second place. This put an
end to the negotiations.

But the seed of ambition had been sown, even before this, and it
germinated in the old Irish prison. As soon as I got out of that jail, I
began my campaign for President of the United States, and in '69 started
on a program that involved 1,000 addresses to 1,000 conventions. It
seemed to me that, with the effect I had always had upon people in my
speeches and in personal contact, and with the record of great
achievements in behalf of the progress of the world, especially with
regard to the development of this country, I should succeed. I supposed
that a man with my record, and without a stain on my reputation or
blemish in my character, would be received as a popular candidate.

I had not the slightest doubt that I should be elected; and, with this
sublime self-confidence, threw myself into the campaign with an energy
and fire that never before, perhaps, characterized a Presidential
candidate. I went into the campaign as into a battle. I forced fighting
at every point along the line, fiercely assailing Grant and his
"nepotism," on the one hand, and Greeley, and the spirit of compromise
and barter that I felt his nomination represented, on the other.

In the year '69 I had made twenty-eight speeches in California, and
eighty on the Pacific coast. I also made a trip over the Union Pacific
Railway, on the first train over that line, and made addresses at many
places throughout the country. The following year, '70, I seriously set
myself to the task of appealing to the people directly for support, and
began a series of public addresses on the issues of the day. But this
year's work was interrupted by my trip around the world in eighty days,
which consumed the end of the year, from the 1st of August to Christmas.

In '71 I fought hard from January to December, making the total of my
speeches to the people 800, and having spoken directly, up to that time,
to something like 2,000,000 persons. Of course, my campaign was made on
independent lines entirely. I was not the nominee nor the complaisant
tool of any party or faction. I made my race as one who came from the
bosom of the people, and who represented the highest interests of the
people. It was just here that failure came. I thought I knew something
of the people, and felt confident that they would prefer a man of
independence, who had accomplished something for them, to a man who was
a mere tool of his party, a distributor of patronage to his friends and
relatives, or to one who was a mere stalking-horse. But I was mistaken.
The people, as Barnum has said, love to be humbugged, and are quite
ready to pay tribute to the political boss and spoilsman.

A remarkable feature of my campaign was that, instead of scattering
money broadcast, to draw crowds or to win votes, I made a charge for
admission to hear my addresses. I spoke to audiences that paid to hear
me talk to them in my own behalf and in theirs. In three years of active
work--with the interruption of my trip around the world in '70--I took
in $90,000 in admission charges. In spite of these charges, I spoke to
more people and had greater audiences to listen to me than any other
speaker during that heated campaign.

There was another remarkable thing about my campaign. I possessed
tremendous power over audiences. So long as I could reach them with my
voice, or talk with them or shake hands with them, I could hold them;
but the moment they got out of my reach they got away from me, and
slipped back again to the sway of the political bosses.

I saw that my chance of getting the nomination was lost long before the
assembling of the Liberal Republican Convention of '72 in Cincinnati. I
was not astonished by the result of that convention, except that I did
not expect the nomination of Greeley, which I considered as a piece of
political treachery, a deliberately calculated movement in the interest
of Grant. But I still felt, vainly, indeed, some hope that the people
would see the futility of supporting Greeley, and of placing me at the
head of the ticket.

I can recall now the scenes in the Convention Hall when Carl Schurz
nominated Horace Greeley. Outside of some cheering on the part of those
who were party to the trickery, the nomination was received with ominous
stillness. Suddenly, from out of the gallery, near where I was seated,
there came a thin, quavering, piercing voice, like the cry of a seer of
the wilderness or a wandering Jeremiah: "Sold, by God, but the goods not

The words sounded then like a pronouncement of doom; but it proved not
to be so. The "deal" was carried out, and the "goods" were delivered.
Grant was elected, and Greeley, betrayed, retired, a heart-broken man.

Before I close this chapter on the Presidency, I wish to record here one
distinct service which I believe I rendered this city and the country
during my campaign. It was I, and not the New York newspapers, that
first exposed the so-called "Tweed Ring." I began the fight against this
ring of corrupt politicians, single-handed, and kept it up for more than
a year before any New York paper or any other journal took up the issue.
The New York papers, in fact, refused to publish my speech exposing this
gang of public plunderers, and it was published in the Lyons, N. Y.,
Republican on April 22, '71. The speech itself was made long before
Tweed had been accused of misuse of public funds.

While I was on the platform, a voice asked me "Who is the ring?" I had
been attacking the "ring" in every public utterance in New York. I
replied: "Hoffman, Tweed, Sweeney, Fisk, and Gould." Later, in the same
speech, I said: "Tweed and Sweeney are taxing you from head to foot,
while their horses are living in palaces," and then, using, for effect,
some of the methods of the French Commune, I cried: "To the lamp-post!
All those in favor of hanging Tweed to a lamp-post, say aye!" There was
a tremendous outburst of "ayes."

In other speeches I went into details and gave the sums of which the
people of New York had been plundered, and the amounts that had been
paid in bribes to obtain influence in stilling public suspicion, and to
buy immunity from exposure and opportunity for further theft.

So my campaign for the Presidency was not entirely in vain. It was
something that seemed unavoidable, toward which I seemed pressed by
circumstance and fate; and I can rest in the consciousness that it
accomplished some permanent good.




I had hardly got out of the Presidential race before I got into jail
again. I passed easily from one kind of life to the other. In fact, the
last thing I did in connection with my political campaign had been the
indirect cause of getting me into the Tombs. The Tombs has the honor of
being the fourteenth jail that has given me shelter for purposes of

In November, '72, I was making a speech from Henry Clews's steps in Wall
Street, partly to quiet a mob, when a paper was thrust into my hand. I
glanced at it, thinking it had to do with myself, and saw that Victoria
C. Woodhull and Tennie C. Claflin had been arrested for publishing in
their paper in Brooklyn an account of a scandal about a famous clergyman
in that city. The charge was "obscenity," and they had been arrested at
the instance of Anthony Comstock. I immediately said: "This may be
libel, but it is not obscenity."

That assertion, with what I soon did to establish its truth, got me
into jail, with the result that six courts in succession--afraid to
bring me to trial for "obscenity"--declared me a "lunatic," and
prevented my enjoyment of property in Omaha, Nebraska, which is now
worth millions of dollars.

From Wall Street I hurried to Ludlow Street Jail, where I found Victoria
C. Woodhull and Tennie C. Claflin in a cell about eight by four feet. I
was indignant that two women, who had merely published a current rumor,
should be treated in this way, and took a piece of charcoal and wrote,
on the newly whitewashed walls of the cell a couplet suggesting the
baseness of this attack upon their reputations. It is sufficient to say
here that public feeling was so aroused that these women were soon set
free; but I got myself deeper and deeper into the toils of the courts.

[Illustration: George Francis Train with the children in Madison

In order to prove that the publication was not obscene, if judged by
Christian standards of purity, I published in my paper, called The Train
Ligue, three columns of quotations from the Bible. Every verse I used
was worse than anything published by these women. I was immediately
arrested on a charge of "obscenity," and taken to the Tombs. I was never
tried on this charge, but was kept in jail as a lunatic, and then
dismissed, under the ban of declared lunacy, and have so remained for
thirty years. Although the public pretended to be against me, it was
very eager to buy the edition of my paper that gave these extracts
from the Bible. The price of the paper rose from five cents a copy to
twenty, forty, sixty cents, and even to one dollar. In a few days it was
selling surreptitiously for two dollars a copy.

I was put in Tweed's cell, number 56, in "Murderers' Row," in the Tombs,
where at that time were twenty-two men imprisoned under the charge of
murder. I made the twenty-third inhabitant of that ghastly "Row." It is
remarkable that not one of these men was hanged. All were either
acquitted, or tried and sentenced and got off with varying terms of

It was not a select, but it was at least a famous, group of men in
"Murderers' Row." Across the narrow hallway, just opposite my cell, was
Edward S. Stokes, who had killed James Fisk, Jr. Next to me were John J.
Scannell and Richard Croker, both of whom have been prominent in the
city administration in later years. There was, also, the famous Sharkey,
who might have got into worse trouble than any of us, but who escaped
through the pluck and ingenuity of Maggie Jordan. Maggie happened to be
about the same size as her lover, and changed clothes with him in the
cell. The warden, one morning, found he had a woman in his cage instead
of Sharkey. This was the last ever heard of Sharkey, so far as I know.

My chief purpose in jail was not to get out, but to be tried on the
charge of obscenity. I had been arrested for that offense, and
determined that I would be either acquitted or convicted. But I have
never had a trial to this day. I do not believe that any court in the
land would face the danger of trying to convict a man of publishing
obscenity for quoting from the standard book on morality read throughout

However this may be, I was offered a hundred avenues of escape from
jail, every conceivable one, except the honest and straightforward one
of a fair trial by jury. Men offered to bail me out; twice I was taken
out on proceedings instituted by women; but I would not avail myself of
this way to freedom. Several times I was left alone in the court-house
or in hallways, or other places, where access to the street was easy,
entirely without guards, in the vain hope that I would walk off with my
liberty. I was discharged by the courts; and I was offered freedom if I
would sign certain papers that were brought to me, but I invariably
refused to look at them. In all cases I merely turned back and took my
place in the cell, and waited for justice.

In '73 I was finally taken before Judge Davis in the Court of Oyer and
Terminer. William F. Howe, who died this year, was one of my counsel,
and Clark Bell was another. Howe took the ground, first, that obviously
there could be nothing obscene in the publication of extracts from the
Bible, and, second, if there were, that I was insane at the time of the
publication. The judge hastily said that he would instruct the jury to
acquit me if the defense took this position. Mr. Bell then asked that a
simple verdict of "not guilty" be rendered; but the judge insisted upon
its form being "Not guilty, on the ground of insanity." This verdict was

I rose immediately, and said: "I protest against this whole proceeding.
I have been four months in jail; and I have had no trial for the offense
with which I am charged." I felt that I was in the same plight as Paul.
The Bible and the Church, surely, could not condemn me for quoting
Scripture; and I had appealed unto Cæsar; but Cæsar refused, out of
sheer cowardice, to hear me and try me. I was not even listened to when
I made this protest, and I shouted, so that all must hear me: "Your
honor, I move your impeachment in the name of the people!"

The sensation was tremendous. "Sit down!" roared the judge. He evidently
thought that I would attack him. An order committing me to the State
Lunatic Asylum was issued, and I was taken back to the Tombs. But I did
not go to the asylum. Another writ of habeas corpus took me out of jail,
and I at last turned my back on the Tombs--a lunatic by judicial decree.
I hope that the courts, inasmuch as I am their ward, and have been for
thirty years, have protected me in my rights, and have safeguarded those
interests in Omaha where some millions of dollars depend upon the
question of my sanity.

The moment I was taken out of the Tombs, I went down town, had a bath,
got a good meal, put on better clothes, and bought passage for England.
I went to join my family at Homburg, as my sons were then in Germany,
studying at Frankfort.

This Woodhull-Claflin affair had far-reaching effects. Besides leaving
me for thirty years in the grip of the court, it affected many other
persons. I shall refer here only to one of these, the publisher of a
newspaper in Toledo, who printed some of the matter that I had printed
in New York. He was prosecuted, and his paper and press were seized. The
poor fellow asked me to lecture in his interest. I could not do this,
but helped him to raise some money to buy a new printing-press. This was
in August, '83, when I was at Vevay, Switzerland.

A worthless piece of paper eventually fell into the hands of another
man, who proceeded to prosecute me, and, with the assistance of the
courts, kept me in the Charles Street Jail, Boston, for some time. I was
arrested for this old debt of another man, and was refused the
constitutional relief of habeas corpus by Judge Devins and five other
judges of Massachusetts. The amount of the debt had steadily increased,
and was $800 in '89. Finally, I went before Judge McKim, and he at once
dismissed the case as groundless.

This brought my jail experiences to a close. Was it fitting that Boston,
where I had lived and worked; where I had devised the building of the
greatest ships the world had known up to that time; where I had
projected and organized the clipper-ship service to California, and
opened a new era in the carrying trade of the world, and where I had
organized the Union Pacific Railway to develop the entire West and draw
continents nearer together, should put me in jail for a petty debt that
I did not owe, as in some sort an evidence of its gratitude?

My prison experience has been more varied than that of the most
confirmed and hardened criminal; and yet I have never committed a crime,
cheated a human being, or told a lie. I have been imprisoned in almost
every sort of jail that man has devised. I have been in police stations,
in Marshalseas in England and in Ireland, in common jails in Boston, in
the Bastile of Lyons, in the Prefecture at Tours as the prisoner of
Gambetta, Dictator of France, and in the famous old Tombs of New York. I
have used prisons well. They have been as schools to me, where I have
reflected, and learned more about myself--and a man's own self is the
best object of any one's study. I have, also, made jails the source of
fruitful ideas, and from them have launched many of my most startling
and useful projects and innovations. And so they have not been jails to
me, any more than they were to Lovelace:

    "Stone walls do not a prison make,
      Nor iron bars a cage;
    Minds innocent and quiet take
      That for an hermitage."



1870, 1890, 1892

I went around the world in eighty days in the year '70, two years before
Jules Verne wrote his famous romance, Le Tour du Monde en Quatre-vingts
Jours, which was founded upon my voyage. Since then I have made two
tours of the world, one in sixty-seven and a half days, and the other in
sixty. The last voyage still stands as the record trip in circling the

I have always been something of a traveler, restless in my earlier
years, and never averse to visiting new scenes and experiencing new
sensations. In Australasia I had improved every opportunity to see the
new world of the South Seas, and later had visited every part of the
Orient that I could by any possibility reach during my various journeys
in that portion of the globe. Europe I had traversed quite thoroughly,
from the Crimea to Nijnii Novgorod, from the Volga to the Thames, from
Spain to Finland. When I left Australia it was my intention to
establish a great business in Yokohama, and, when that had been done, I
intended to pass on across the Pacific, thus girdling the globe; but my
first effort to go around the world was prevented by the war in the
Crimea, and so I turned back and came home, as already described, by way
of China, India, Egypt, and Europe.

The desire for travel possessed me mightily in '69, just after the
golden spike was driven at the completion of the Union Pacific Railway,
by which California and New York were made nearer one another by many
days of travel. The circumference of the globe had been shrunken. I
wanted, naturally, to be the first man to utilize the great advantage
thus given to travel by making the quickest trip around the world.

After closing my lecture tour on the Pacific coast in the spring and
summer of '70, I prepared for such a trip, carefully calculating that it
could be made within eighty days, even with the inevitable losses due to
bad connections at different ports. I wanted to take my sons, George and
Elsey, with me, but, at the last moment, they were prevented from going.
I found out only a few days ago, when accusing my daughter Sue of
keeping them in Newport, that their mother had given them ten golden
eagles each not to go. I sailed from San Francisco August 1, '70. On the
same ship was Susan B. King, whom I found in San Francisco waiting to
sail, as she was tired of the way her affairs were going in New York and
wanted a long trip for rest and recreation. She had $30,000 with her,
which she said she would try to invest profitably on the voyage. She was
then quite an old woman, as the world generally estimates age.

I made Yokohama in very good time, and went immediately to the Japanese
capital, the new seat of the Emperor, Tokyo. I may record here a very
curious thing. I believe I was the last man--the last foreigner, at
least--who had taken part in an old national custom of Japan, by which
persons of opposite sex bathe together, without bathing suits. It was
then considered, in that land of good morals and fine esthetic sense,
that no impropriety was involved in this custom. Manners and customs
there were open and free as in Greece, when Athens was "the eye of
Greece" and the center of the world's civilization. I went to one of the
public baths to experience a decidedly new sensation. I was allowed to
bathe with old men and women, young men and maidens--and no one, except,
perhaps, myself, felt any degree of embarrassment or false modesty.

But the fact that a foreigner was bathing in this way with Japanese
women and girls made something of a stir in Tokyo that had been
unexpected by me. It seems that, a short time before, some Englishmen
had gone into one of the public baths and made themselves very
offensive. This had taught the Japanese that they could not trust the
foreigner, and they had already nearly decided to exclude foreigners
from their baths, or to separate the sexes. My experience was,
therefore, the last, as I believe. After this the sexes were not
permitted to bathe together.

I observed that the Japanese used small paper packages for tea, thus
making it convenient to handle tea. I then recalled the custom of the
Chinese in compressing tea for transportation by caravan to the great
Fair of Nijnii Novgorod. Here was an opportunity, I thought, and I
suggested to Susan B. King that she might invest her $30,000 to good
purpose in sending to New York a cargo of tea put up in little paper
packages, and that, if she wanted to try it, I would give her letters to
men in Canton who could arrange the matter for her. She undertook the
scheme, and I wrote a description of it for Anglin's Gazette, in
Yokohama. The tea was shipped to New York, and was handled at the
Demorest headquarters. The tea was in half-pound and pound packages.
This was long before Sir Thomas Lipton employed this method of putting
up teas.

At Saigon, in French Cochin-China, I met the United States ship Alaska;
and from that port sailed on a ship of the Messagerie Imperiale line for
Marseilles. The remainder of the voyage was uneventful, except for the
diversion just before we left Singapore of hearing the news of the fall
of the Second Empire, the defeat of Louis Napoleon at Sedan, and the
establishment of the republic.

I have already recorded, in the chapter on the Commune in France, my
arrival at Marseilles and my experiences in the brief period of my
visit. After I had been arrested and liberated, and had had my interview
with Gambetta at Tours, I passed on rapidly to New York, and finished my
tour of the world inside of eighty days.

My second trip was made in the year '90. I planned it while I was in
jail in Boston for a debt that I did not contract. There had been some
note-worthy efforts on the part of newspaper writers to make a
record-breaking trip, and Miss Bisland had gone around in seventy-eight
days, while Nellie Bly had succeeded in making the voyage in
seventy-three days. I proposed to Col. John A. Cockerill, of the New
York World, who had sent Nellie Bly on her trip, to make the circuit in
less time; but he did not care to upset the World's own record. I then
telegraphed to Radebaugh, proprietor of the Tacoma Ledger, that if he
would raise $1,000 for a lecture in Tacoma, I would make a trip around
the world in less than seventy days. He told me to come on.

As I started West, to sail on the Abyssinia, I received message after
message from Radebaugh. Instead of the $1,000 I had asked for, $1,500
had been subscribed by the time I reached Chicago, and at St. Paul it
had gone up to $3,500. I soon reached Tacoma, and lectured there to an
immense audience, taking in $4,200, the largest amount ever paid for a
single lecture--and sailed out into the Pacific March 18th. I was
accompanied by S. W. Wall, editor of the Ledger. Lafcadio Hearn, the
distinguished writer, was on the same ship, on his way to Japan. He was
so ill that he did not leave his state-room during the voyage.

We made Yokohama in sixteen days, and the moment I landed I telegraphed
to the American legation at Tokyo to get me a passport. It had always
taken three days to get a passport, but I said that I must have this at
once, and I got it. In seven hours I was on the way to Kobe, overland,
three hundred miles across Japan. I caught the German ship for Nagasaki,
from which point, after a short delay, I sailed for Hongkong. In a trip
of this kind, of course, one sees little of interest. It is a mere
question of rushing from vessel to vessel the moment you get into port,
or of catching trains, or of chartering boats to bridge gaps, or of
haggling with ship-captains or railway managers about getting extra
accommodations at very extra prices.

My longest delay was at Singapore, where I lost forty hours. The next
longest loss of time was in New York--wonderful to relate--where I was
delayed thirty-six hours, although four railways were competing for the
honor of taking me across the continent on a record-breaking journey. I
arrived on Saturday, and had to charter a special car--which cost
$1,500--and could not get away until Monday morning. I was near being
delayed a day at Calais, France, but succeeded in chartering a boat to
take me over the Channel. As this boat carried the British mails, I was
relieved of the expense by the British Government.

At Portland I met with a most annoying delay of five hours, due entirely
to mismanagement. This most unexpectedly lengthened out my tour at the
very end, and so angered me that I refused to attend a banquet the
people had prepared for me. I pushed on to Tacoma as soon as I could get
anything to carry me, and arrived there exactly sixty-seven days,
thirteen hours, two minutes, and fifty-five seconds from the time I had
started. The actual time of traveling was fifty-nine days and seven
hours. Seven days and five hours had been lost. This was then the
fastest trip around the world. It has been beaten since by myself.

As I had started on my second trip from a Pacific coast point, there was
a good deal of rivalry among the growing towns in that section with
regard to the honor of being the starting-point of my third trip in '92,
in which I eclipsed all previous records. I had already announced that
this could readily be done, as the Pacific steamships were very much
faster than they had been at the time of my former voyage, and as the
connections at various ports were much better. Sir William Van Horne
had also written that he wanted me to make another tour of the world,
using one of the fast ships of the Canadian Pacific road, the famous
Empresses, that soon would be put on the line to Yokohama. The new town
of Whatcom, on Puget Sound, in the extreme northwest of Washington,
raised the amount necessary for the trip, and I made my start from that
point, catching the Empress of India from Vancouver.

An account of this voyage would necessarily be only a panoramic glance
at a narrow line around the world. I made Yokohama in eleven days, was
at Kobe, Japan, in thirteen, and at Shanghai in fifteen. Here I had some
difficulty in finding a fast steamer for Singapore, but succeeded in
getting aboard a swift German boat, the Friga, which put me in Singapore
in time to catch the Moyune, the last of the fast tea ships, and on her
I sailed as far as Port Said, through the Suez Canal. At Port Said I
boarded the Ismaila for Brindisi, Italy. Then I again rushed across
Europe, and caught the Majestic at Liverpool for New York. I found a
distinguished company on board, including Ambassador John Hay, D. O.
Mills, Lady Stewart, Mrs. Paran Stevens, and Senator Spooner.

[Illustration: Dinner in the Mills Hotel given by George Francis Train.]

I arrived in New York in good time, had a very slight delay in
comparison with that of my second voyage, and went flying across the
continent to Whatcom. The entire trip, giving a complete circuit of
the globe, was made in sixty days.

To these three trips I attach no more importance, I hope, than is fairly
their due. In each of them, in succession, I had beaten all previous
records of travel; and this was something in the interests of all
persons who travel, as showing what could be done under stress, and as a
stimulus to greater efforts to reduce the long months and days consumed
on voyages from country to country. But they were, as I consider them,
merely incidents in a life that has better things to show. One of these
voyages, the one in which I "put a girdle round the earth" in eighty
days, has the honor of having given the suggestion for one of the most
interesting romances in literature. This, at least, is something.

But I give this brief account of my voyages, at the end of my
autobiography, chiefly because I regard them as somewhat typical of my
life. I have lived fast. I have ever been an advocate of speed. I was
born into a slow world, and I wished to oil the wheels and gear, so that
the machine would spin faster and, withal, to better purposes. I
suggested larger and fleeter ships, to shorten travel on the ocean. I
built street-railways, so that the workers of the world might save a few
minutes from their days of pitiless toil, and so might have a little
leisure for enjoyment and self-improvement. I built great railway
lines--the Atlantic and Great Western, and the Union Pacific--that the
continent might be traversed by men and commerce more rapidly, and its
waste places made to blossom like the rose. I wished to add a stimulus,
a spur, a goad--if necessary--that the slow, old world might go on more
swiftly, "and fetch the age of gold," with more leisure, more culture,
more happiness. And so I put faster ships on the oceans, and faster
means of travel on land.

My own rapid tours of the world are, therefore, typical of my life. Thus
an account of them seems to round it off fitly with a "Bon voyage" to
every one.


    Achinese, subjugation of the, 178.
    Aden, visit to, 208.
    Adirondack Railway, 260.
    American Merchant in Europe, Asia, and Australia, an, 222.
    Andaman Islands, 204.
    Anglo-American, the, 72, 144.
    Anglo-Saxon, the, 55, 58, 72.
    Anjer, visit of the natives at, 174.
    Antietam, Battle of, 282.
    Ariens, Admiral, 251.
    Around the world tours, 331.
    Around the World in Eighty Days, 301, 331.
    Ashburner, George, 204.
    Astor, John Jacob, Jr., 44.
    Atlantic and Great Western Railway, 237, 269.
    Australia, begin business in, 127;
      gold-fever in, 130, 141;
      outlaws of, 152, 156;
      railway system of, 269;
      rebellion in, 156.
    Austria, travels in, 233.

    Bailey, Crawshay, and Atlantic and Great Western Railway, 244.
    Balaklava, visit to, 217.
    Balmoral, visit to, 92.
    Banka, tin mines of, 179.
    Banking and gambling compared, 86.
    Banks, Gen. Nathaniel P., 38, 58.
    Baring, Thomas, visit to America, 71.
    Bartley, Judge, 244.
    Bastile at Lyons, a prisoner in the, 310.
    Batavia, Java, beauty of, 175.
    Bemis, Emery, 37.
    Bemis, George Pickering, 8, 48, 273, 311.
    Bennett, James Gordon, 222.
    Beyrout, visit to, 215.
    Birkenhead, tramways in, 261.
    Black Hole of Calcutta, 205.
    Blockade running, 272.
    Bly, Nellie, trip round the world, 335.
    Bombay, India, railroad in, 270.
    "Bonanza nugget," the, story of, 141.
    Boomerang, the, 169.
    Booth, Edwin, in Melbourne, 166.
    Botany Bay, 144.
    Bougevine, Gen., in China, 196.
    Bowling, skill in, 79;
      in Australia, 135.
    Braemar, meeting with Lord John Russell at, 92.
    Bridges, the phrenologist, 122.
    Briticisms, 91.
    Brooke, "Sarawak," 179.
    Brougham, John, visit to Liverpool, 124.
    Bunker Hill Day, 112.
    Bury, Lord, 105.
    Bushnell, the actor, in Melbourne, 167.

    Cairo, land trip from Suez to, 209.
    Calcutta, visit to, 204.
    Caldwell, Captain, partner in the Australian house, 127, 136, 223.
    California, discovery of gold in, 71.
    Canada, visit to, 86.
    Canning, Lord, Governor-General of India, 207.
    Canton, visit to, 182, 185.
    Cape May, in 1850, 79.
    Carleton, Mrs., meeting with, 83.
    Castiglione, Countess, 230.
    Ceylon, visit to, 208.
    Chatsworth, visit to, 102.
    China, visit to, 180;
      population of, 190.
    Chinese, civilization of the, 197;
      customs of the, 190;
      honesty of the, 187.
    Choate, Rufus, retained in the Franklin case, 62.
    Chronicle, London, purchase of the, 272.
    Cincinnati, honeymoon trip to, 116.
    Civil War in the United States, England and the, 271.
    Claflin, Tennie C., arrest of, 323.
    Clarke, John, Jr., 7, 9.
    Clay, Cassius M., debate with, 279.
    Clay, Henry, calls on, 81.
    Cluseret, Gen. Gustave Paul, summoned from Switzerland, 305.
    Collie, Alexander, 180.
    Collingwood, home at, 135.
    Commune, the, 301.
    Constantine, Grand Duke, meeting with, at Strelna, 251.
    Constantinople, visit to, 216.
    Cook, Captain, in Botany Bay, 145.
    Copenhagen, tramway in, 269.
    Cozzens's Hotel, Omaha, 296.
    Crédit Foncier, 285.
    Crédit Mobilier of America, 260, 285, 316.
    Crimea, in the, 217.
    Cristina, Queen Maria, and Atlantic and Great Western Railway, 227,
    Crystal Palace, 103, 104.

    Dalhousie, Lord, Governor-General of India, 207.
    Dallas, George M., 250.
    Daniel Webster, the, 117.
    Darlington, England, tramways in, 269.
    Davis, Col. George T. M., 110, 116, 259.
    Delane, John, editor London Times, 251.
    Delmonico's, McHenry's $15,000 dinner at, 246.
    De Morny, Count, 228.
    De Questa, Rodrigo, and Atlantic and Great Western Railway, 238.
    Derby, J. C., 273.
    Devonshire, Duke of, meeting with the, 101.
    Dinsmore, Mr., meeting with, 87.
    Dombriski, Prince, received by, 255.
    Donohue, Irish patriot, 165.
    Donovan, the phrenologist, 122.
    Drinking by women in 1850, 83.
    Dublin, imprisonment in, 314.
    Duckbill, the Australian, 169.
    Durant, Dr. T. C., president of Crédit Mobilier, 260.

    Elephants as carriers, 208.
    Emerson, Ralph W., lecture at Waltham, 39;
      engages passage for Europe, 60.
    Emigration, Irish, to America, 76;
      of the Landsdowne tenants, 97;
      to Tasmania, 148.
    "Emperor, the," fountain at Chatsworth, 102.
    England, first impressions of, 90;
      introduction of tramways in, 259;
      and the Civil War in the United States, 271.
    Excelsior, the Chinese, 193.

    Fallow, Christopher and John, 239.
    Fenton, Reuben E., 243.
    Fillmore, Millard, President, 113.
    Fiske, Stebbins, 13.
    Fitzroy, Sir Charles, Governor of New South Wales, 143.
    "Five-Star Republic," the, of Australia, 157.
    Flowers, love of, 177.
    Flying Cloud, the, 72, 221.
    Flying-fish, experience with, 208.
    Fowler, the phrenologist, 123.
    France, travels in, 233.
    Franklin, wreck of the, 61.
    Franklin, Sir John, house in Tasmania, 150.
    Frost, Abigail Pickering, 10.
    Frost, George W., 14.
    Frost, Leonard, 39.
    Fu-chow, visit to, 200.
    Fuller, Frank, builder of Crystal Palace, 104.
    Fuller, Col. Hiram, 93.

    Gambetta, interview with, 311.
    Gambling at Saratoga in 1850, 85.
    Geneva, Switzerland, tramway in, 269.
    Georgetown Convent, visit to, 82.
    Germany, travels in, 233.
    Ginger, preparation of Canton, 190.
    "Godowns," 185.
    Golden Age, the, and Black Warrior incident, 143.
    Gold-fever, in California, 71;
      in Australia, 130, 141.
    Gordon, "Chinese," 196.
    Governor Davis, the, 64.
    Grant, U. S., election to the presidency, 321.
    Gray Nunnery, Montreal, visit to the, 87.
    Greeley, Horace, nomination of, 320.
    Green, E. H., in Hongkong, 182.
    Greig, Colonel, entertained by, 254.
    Guild, B. F., editor of Boston Commercial Bulletin, 276.

    Harris, Townsend, 179.
    Havelock, General, 208.
    Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 58.
    Hayes, Kate, in Melbourne, 167.
    Heard, Augustine, author of The Chinese Excelsior, 193, 200.
    Henry, voyage to Boston on the, 7, 16.
    Herald, New York, in 1856, 221.
    Hill, Rowland, English postal reformer, 108.
    Hobart Town, Tasmania, visit to, 149.
    Holmes, Joseph A., secure employment with, 42.
    Hongkong, visits to, 182, 203.
    Hooligan, finder of the "bonanza nugget," 141.
    Horsemanship, 112.
    Hotel scheme for London, 105.
    Howe, Joseph, ex-Governor of Nova Scotia, 113.
    Howitt, William and Mary, 149.
    Hudson, Captain, 249.
    Hudson, Frederick, 222.
    Hunt, Thornton, made editor of London Morning Chronicle, 272.

    Imprisonment, 314, 334.
    India, visit to, 204.
    Inventions, 106.
    Irish immigration to America, 76.
    Italy, travels in, 233.

    Japan, leaves Australia for, 168, 171;
      trip abandoned, 200.
    Java, visit to, 174.
    Jerusalem, visit to, 211.
    Joppa, visit to, 211.
    Joshua Bates, the, 58, 72.

    Kangaroos, Sidney Smith on, 169.
    Keene, Laura, in Melbourne, 166.
    Kennard, Thomas, and Atlantic and Great Western Railway, 243.
    King, Susan B., 332.
    Krakatoa, volcano of, 175.
    Kremlin, at the, 255.

    Lachine Rapids, shooting the, 86.
    Laird, John, and the Birkenhead tramways, 261.
    Lake Champlain, visit to, 88.
    Lake George, visit to, 88.
    Lamartine, Alphonse de, meeting with Seward, 232.
    Lansdowne, Marquis of, 97.
    Latrobe, Governor, 158.
    Launceston, Tasmania, visit to, 151.
    Lawrence, Abbott, United States Minister, 98.
    Lawrence, Bigelow, marriage to Sallie Ward, 114.
    Leghorn, explosion at, 233.
    Lemon, Mark, 105.
    Lexington, burning of the, 10, 36.
    Lightning, the, 221.
    Ligue du Midi, the, 305.
    Li Hung Chang, meeting with, 195.
    Lillo, Leon, 227;
      and Atlantic and Great Western Railway, 238.
    Lincoln, President, and emancipation, 280.
    Liverpool, take charge of business in, 79, 90;
      business facilities of, 94;
      return to, after marriage, 117;
      introduction of street-railways, 260.
    London, visits to, 98, 104;
      introduction of tramways, 263.
    Lyons, imprisonment at, 310.

    Macao, visit to, 182.
    MacDonald, Sir John A., 113.
    MacFarlane, Rev. J. R., companion in the Holy Land, 211.
    McGill, James, Australian outlaw, 159.
    McHenry, James, 94, 108, 121, 231;
      and Atlantic and Great Western Railway, 237.
    Mackay, Charles, author, 125.
    Mackay, Donald, 72, 223.
    Mackay, John W., 76.
    MacMahon, Marshal, in the Crimea, 219.
    Madras, visit to, 208.
    Marriage, 109.
    Marseilles, in the Commune, 301.
    Marsh, John Alfred, 121.
    Marshall, Matthew, Jr., and Atlantic and Great Western Railway, 245.
    Martin, John, Irish patriot, 165.
    Marvin, the hotel-keeper, 83.
    Mavrockadatis, the, trip to Newfoundland on, 274.
    Melbourne, Australia, begin business in, 127;
      in 1854, 133;
      public improvement in, 170.
    Methodism, New England, 21, 45.
    Mirage, a, 209.
    Montez, Lola, in Melbourne, 167.
    Montreal, visit to, 86.
    Morse, Salmi, 133.
    Moscow, visit to, 255.
    Mount Vernon, visit to, 82.
    Muñoz, Fernando, 237.

    Nana Sahib, 208.
    Naples, visit to, 234.
    Napoleon, Emperor Louis, 272;
      hatred of, 226.
    New Orleans, yellow fever at, 2.
    New South Wales, gold-fever in, 130, 141.
    New York, to sell Flying Cloud, 73;
      vacation in, 79.
    Niagara Falls, visit to, 86, 111.
    Nicholson, Sir Charles, 143.
    Nijnii Novgorod, visit to, 256.
    Noroton, Conn., Soldiers' Home in, 164.

    O'Brien, Smith, Irish patriot, 165.
    Ocean Monarch, the, 72;
      burning of, 59.
    Omaha, development of, 294.
    Opium trade, 67;
      English, in China, 196.
    Otis, Mrs. Harrison Grey, meeting with, 84.
    Outlaws, Australian, 152.

    Palestine, visit to, 211.
    Paris, first visit to, 224, 226.
    Parker, Dr., United States Minister to China, 180.
    Parliament, the, trip to Liverpool on, 90.
    Paxton, Sir Joseph, meeting with, 103.
    Pennock, Commander, 249.
    Peto, Sir Morton, 246.
    Philippines, war in the, 178.
    Phillips, Wendell, and the negro, 281.
    Phrenology, experiences with, 121.
    Pickering, Rev. George, 1, 21.
    Pickering, Judge Gilbert, 23.
    Pickering, Maria, 1.
    Pidgin-English, 185, 192.
    Pigeon-netting, 30.
    Pirates, Chinese, 182, 201.
    Plymouth Rock, the, trip to Melbourne on, 127.
    Point de Galle, Ceylon, visit to, 208.
    Porter, Capt. David D., visits Melbourne, 143.
    Portland, Ore., speech at, 297.
    Presidential aspirations, 314.
    Pyramids, trip to the, 209.

    Railway building, in Australia, 131, 269;
      Atlantic and Great Western Railway, 237, 269;
      English street-railways, 259;
      Union Pacific Railway, 269, 283.
    Red Jacket, the, 221;
      the incident at Melbourne, 138.
    Rhoades, Sallie, 24.
    Rianzares, Duke of, 227, 237.
    Richardson, Albert D., Beyond the Mississippi, 291.
    Ripley, George, 38.
    Ristori, meeting with, 228.
    Rome, hailed as "liberator" in uprising my 235.
    Rumford, Count, 38.
    Rush, Mrs., meeting with, 84.
    Russell, Lord John, meeting with, at Braemar, 92;
      and the Civil War, 272.
    Russia, visit to, 249.

    St. Petersburg, visit to, 251.
    St. Petersburg, the, 64.
    Sala, George Augustus, 105;
      in America, 260.
    Salamanca, José de, Spanish banker, 228;
      and Atlantic and Great Western Railway, 240.
    San Francisco, lectures in, 296.
    Saratoga, visit to, 83.
    Savage Club of London, organization of the, 263.
    Schenck, Robert E., 244.
    Scotland, visit to, 92.
    Seattle, speech in, 299.
    Sebastopol, visit to, 217.
    Seward, William H., in Paris, 231;
      and the Mavrockadatis incident, 274;
      in Washington, 281.
    Seymour, Thomas H., Minister to Russia, 251.
    Shanghai, visit to, 194.
    Shelley, Sir John Villiers, 268.
    Sherman, John, 244.
    Ships, naming of, 174.
    Singapore, visit to, 179.
    Slave trade, Chinese, 184, 203.
    Smith, Archdeacon, meeting with, 88.
    Smith, Sidney, on kangaroos, 169;
      prophecy in regard to Sydney, Australia, 143.
    Smuggling, 67.
    Smyrna, visit to, 215.
    Sovereign of the Seas, the, 74, 221.
    Spectator, the London, purchase of, 273.
    Spence, Carroll, 217.
    Spencer, Bishop of Jamaica, meeting with, 88;
      dinner with, in London, 98.
    "Spread-Eagleism," 244.
    Staffordshire, introduction of tramways in, 268.
    Staffordshire, the, 74.
    Stettin, visit to, 251.
    Stevens, Paran, 106.
    Stoddard, Captain, meeting with, 87.
    Street-railways, first English, 259.
    Strelna, meeting with Grand Duke Constantine at, 251.
    Suez, visit to, and land trip to Cairo, 209.
    Sumner, Charles, speaks in Boston on the war, 277.
    Swans, black, 168.
    Sydney, visit to, 143.

    Tai-ping rebellion, 196.
    Tasmania, visit to, 148;
      gold-fever in, 130, 141.
    Taylor, Moses, 166.
    Taylor, President, introduced to, 80.
    Tea, Chinese and Russian, 191, 334.
    Temperance, 47, 99.
    Ten-pins, skill in, 79;
      in Australia, 135.
    The Hague, visit to, 251.
    Ticonderoga, visit to, 88.
    Tilden, Samuel J., and Union Pacific Railway, 288.
    Tilly, Governor, of New Brunswick, 113.
    Tombs, imprisonment in the, 324.
    Train, Ellen, 5.
    Train, Col. Enoch, 52, 126, 223;
      failure of, 173.
    Train, Josephine, 3.
    Train, Louisa, 9.
    Train, Louise, 5.
    Train, Oliver, 1, 7.
    Train Villa, Newport, 314.
    Tramways. See Street-railways.
    Trescot, Commodore, meeting with, 88.
    Tucker, Beverley, consul in Liverpool, 123.
    Tweed Ring, exposure of the, 32.

    Unicorn, the wreck of, 118.
    Union Pacific Railway, 269, 283.
    Upas-tree, fable of the, 189.
    Upton, George B., 223.

    Verne, Jules, Le Tour du Monde en Quatre-vingts Jours, 301, 331.
    Victoria, Queen, 92, 104.
    Vienna, visit to, 235.

    Wade, Benjamin, 244.
    Wales, visit to, 101.
    Waltham, Mass., homestead at, 1, 19, 21.
    Ward, Frederick Townsend, in China, 196.
    Ward, Alfredo, 109.
    Ward, Gen. C. L., 243.
    Ward, Sallie, marriage to Bigelow Lawrence, 114.
    Washington, vacation trip to, 79.
    Washington Irving, the, 58, 72, 144.
    Webster, Daniel, letter from, 80, 87, 92;
      retained in the Franklin case, 63;
      Secretary of State, 80.
    Wellington, Duke of, 100.
    West Point, visit to, 82.
    Whistler, Major, 255.
    Willis, N. P., John Brougham on, 124.
    Wilson, Henry T., 148.
    Winslow, Henry A., 10.
    Woodhull, Victoria C., arrest of, 323.
    World tours, 331.

    Young America Abroad, 93, 103, 257.
    Young America in Wall Street, 125.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

Punctuation has been corrected without note.

page 280: "nonogenarian" changed to "nonagenarian" (who is now a
nonagenarian, in his armed castle in Kentucky).

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