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Title: Nooks and Corners of the New England Coast
Author: Drake, Samuel Adams, 1833-1905
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Book Cover]

[Illustration: PIGEON COVE, CAPE ANN.]







Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

Inscribed by Permission,

[Illustration: Map]




Norumbega River and City.--Early Discoverers, and Maps of New
England.--Mode of taking Possession of new Countries.--Cruel Usage of
Intruders by the English.--Penobscot Bay.--Character of first Emigrants
to New England.--Is Friday unlucky?                                   17



About Islands.--Champlain's Discovery.--Mount Desert Range.--Somesville,
and the Neighborhood.--Colony of Madame De Guercheville.--Descent of Sir
S. Argall.--Treasure-trove.--Shell-heaps.--South-west Harbor.--The
natural Sea-wall.--Islands off Somes's Sound                          27



Excursion to Bar Harbor.--Green Mountain.--Eagle Lake.--Island
Nomenclature.--Porcupine Islands.--Short Jaunts by the Shore.--Schooner
Head.--Spouting Caves.--Sea Aquaria.--Audubon and Agassiz.--David
Wasgatt Clark.--F. E. Church and the Artists.--Great Head.--Baye
Françoise.--Mount Desert Rock.--Value of natural Sea-marks.--Newport
Mountain, and the Way to Otter Creek.--The Islesmen.--North-east
Harbor.--The Ovens.--The Gregoires.--Henrietta d'Orleans.--Yankee
Curiosity                                                             40



Pentagoët.--A Fog in Penobscot Bay.--Rockland.--The Muscongus
Grant.--Colonial Society.--Generals Knox and Lincoln.--Camden
Hills.--Belfast and the River Penobscot.--Brigadier's
Island.--Disappearance of the Salmon.--Approach to Castine.--Fort
George.--Penobscot Expedition.--Sir John Moore.--Capture of General
Wadsworth.--His remarkable Escape.--Rochambeau's Proposal.--La
Peyrouse                                                              58



Old Fort Pentagoët.--Stephen Grindle's Windfall.--Cob-money.--The
Pilgrims at Penobscot.--Isaac de Razilly.--D'Aulnay Charnisay.--La
Tour.--Descent of Sedgwick and Leverett.--Capture of Pentagoët, and
Imprisonment of Chambly.--Colbert.--Baron Castin.--The younger Castin
kidnaped.--Capuchins and Jesuits.--Intrigues of De Maintenon and Père
Lachaise.--Burial-ground of Castine.--About the Lobster.--Where is Down
East?                                                                 73



New Harbor.--Wayside Manners.--British Repulse at New Harbor.--Porgee
Factory.--Process of converting the Fish into Oil.--Habits of the
Mackerel.--Weymouth's Visit to Pemaquid.--Champlain again.--Popham
Colony.--Cotton Mather on new Settlements.--English _vs._ French
Endurance.--L'Ordre de Bon Temps.--Samoset.--Fort Frederick.--Résumé of
the English Settlement and Forts.--John Nelson.--Capture of Fort William
Henry.--D'Iberville, the knowing One.--Colonel Dunbar at
Pemaquid.--Shell-heaps of Damariscotta.--Disappearance of the native
Oyster in New England                                                 87



Scenes on a Penobscot Steamer.--The Islanders.--Weymouth's
Anchorage.--Monhegan described.--Combat between the _Enterprise_ and
_Boxer_.--Lieutenant Burrows                                         102



Wells.--John Wheelwright.--George Burroughs.--On the Beach.--Shiftings
of the Sands.--What they produce.--Ingenuity of the Crow.--The Beach as
a High-road.--Popular Superstitions.--Ogunquit.--Bald Head Cliff.--Wreck
of the _Isidore_.--Kennebunkport.--Cape Neddock.--The Nubble.--Captains
Gosnold and Pring.--Moon-light on the Beach                          109



Mount Agamenticus.--Basque Fishermen.--Sassafras.--The Long
Sands.--Sea-weed and Shell-fish.--Foot-prints.--Old York Annals.--Sir
Ferdinando Gorges.--York Meeting-house.--Handkerchief Moody.--Parson
Moody.--David Sewall.--Old Jail.--Garrison Houses, Scotland Parish   123



York Bridge.--Poor Sally Cutts.--Fort M'Clary.--Sir William
Pepperell.--Louisburg and Fontenoy.--Gerrish's Island.--Francis
Champernowne.--Islands belonging to Kittery.--John Langdon.--Jacob
Sheaffe.--Washington at Kittery                                      141



De Monts sees them.--Smith's and Levett's Account.--Cod-fishery in the
sixteenth Century.--Sail down the Piscataqua.--The Isles.--Derivation of
the Name.--Jeffrey's Ledge.--Star Island.--Little
Meeting-house.--Character of the Islesmen.--Island Grave-yards.--Betty
Moody's Hole.--Natural Gorges.--Under the Cliffs.--Death of Miss
Underhill.--Story of her Life.--Boon Island.--Wreck of the
_Nottingham_.--Fish and Fishermen                                    153


THE ISLES OF SHOALS--_continued._

Excursion to Smutty Nose.--Piracy in New England
Waters.--Blackbeard.--Thomas Morton's Banishment.--Religious Liberty
_vs._ License.--Custom of the May-pole.--Samuel Haley.--Spanish Wreck on
Smutty Nose.--Graves of the Unknown.--Terrible Tragedy on the
Island.--Appledore.--Its ancient Settlement.--Smith's Cairn.--Duck
Island.--Londoner's.--Thomas B. Laighton.--Mrs. Thaxter.--Light-houses
in 1793.--White Island.--Story of a Wreck.                           175



The Way to the Island.--The Pool.--Ancient Ships.--Old House.--Town
Charter and Records.--Influence of the Navy-yard.--Fort
Constitution.--Little Harbor.--Captain John Mason.--The Wentworth
House.--The Portraits.--The Governors Wentworth and their Wives.--Baron
Steuben                                                              196



The Witch-ground.--Antiquity of Witchcraft.--First Case in New
England.--Curiosities of Witchcraft.--Rebecca Nurse.--Beginning of
Terrorism at Salem Village.--Humors of the Apparitions.--General
Putnam's Birthplace.--What may be seen in Danvers                    208



Salem in 1692.--Birthplace of Hawthorne.--Old Witch House.--William
Stoughton, Governor.--Witch Hill.--A Leaf from History               220



The Rock of Marblehead.--The Harbor and Neck.--Chat with the
Light-keeper.--Decline of the Fisheries.--Fishery in the olden
Time.--Early Annals of Marblehead.--Walks about the Town.--Crooked Lanes
and antique Houses.--The Water-side.--The Fishermen.--How the Town
looked in the Past.--Plain-spoken Clergymen and lawless
Parishioners.--Anecdotes.--Jeremiah Lee and his Mansion.--The
Town-house.--Chief-justice Story.--St. Michael's Church.--Elbridge
Gerry.--The old Ironsides of the Sea.--General John Glover.--Flood
Ireson's, Oakum Bay.--Fort Sewall.--Escape of the _Constitution_
Frigate.--Duel of the _Chesapeake_ and _Shannon_.--Old
Burial-ground.--The Grave-digger.--Perils of the Fishery             228



At the American Mecca.--Court Street.--Pilgrim Hall and Pilgrim
Memorials.--Sargent's Picture of the "Landing."--Relics of the
_Mayflower_.--First Duel in New England.--Old Colony Seal.--The
"Compact."--First Execution in Plymouth.--Old "Body of Laws."--Pilgrim
Chronicles.--View from Burial Hill.--The Harbor.--Names of
Plymouth.--Plymouth, England.--Lord Nelson's Generosity.--Plymouth the
temporary Choice of the Pilgrims.--The Indian Plague.--Indian
Superstition.--Who was first at Plymouth?--De Monts and
Champlain.--Champlain's Voyages in New England.--French Pilgrims make
the first Landing.--Why the Natives were hostile to the Pilgrims of
1620.--Confusion among old Writers about Plymouth.--Among the Tombstones
of Burial Hill.--The Pilgrims' Church-fortress.--What a Dutchman saw
here in 1627.--Military Procession to Meeting.--Ancient Church
Customs.--Puritans, Separatists, and Brownists.--Flight and Political
Ostracism of the Pilgrims.--Their form of Worship.--First Church of
Salem.--Plymouth founded on a Principle                              261



Let us walk in Leyden Street.--The way Plymouth was built.--Governor
Bradford's Corner.--Fragments of Family History.--How Marriage became a
civil Act.--The Common-house.--John Oldham's Punishment.--The Allyne
House.--James Otis and his Sister Mercy.--James Warren.--Cole's Hill,
and its obliterated Graves.--Plymouth Rock.--True Date of the
"Landing."--Christmas in Plymouth, and Bradford's Joke.--Pilgrim
Toleration.--Samoset surprises Plymouth.--The Entry of Massasoit.--First
American Congress.--To Clark's Island.--Watson's House.--Election
Rock.--The Party of Discovery.--Duxbury.--Captains Hill and Miles
Standish.--John Alden.--"Why don't you speak for yourself?"--Historical
Iconoclasts.--Celebrities of Duxbury.--Winslow and Acadia.--Colonel
Church.--The Dartmouth Indians                                       283



Cape Cod a _Terra incognita_.--Appearance of its Surface.--Historical
Fragments.--The Pilgrims' first Landing.--New England Washing-day.--De
Poutrincourt's Fight with Natives.--Provincetown described.--Cape
Names.--Portuguese Colony.--Cod and Mackerel Fishery.--Cod-fish
Aristocracy.--Matt Prior and Lent.--Beginning of Whaling.--Mad
Montague.--The Desert.--Cranberry Culture.--The moving
Sand-hills.--Disappearance of ancient Forests.--The Beach.--Race
Point.--Huts of Refuge.--Ice Blockade of 1874-'75.--Wreck of the
_Giovanni_.--Physical Aspects of the Cape Shores.--Old Wreck at
Orleans                                                              304



The old Voyagers again.--Derivation of the Name of Nantucket.--Sail from
Wood's Hole to the Island.--Vineyard Sound.--Walks in Nantucket
Streets.--Whales, Ships, and Whaling.--Nantucket in the
Revolution.--Cruising for Whales.--The Camels.--Nantucket Sailors.--Loss
of Ship _Essex_.--Town-crier.--Island History.--Quaker Sailors.--Thomas
Mayhew.--Spermaceti.--Macy, Folger, Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin         324



Taking Blackfish.--Blue-fishing at the Opening.--Walk to Coatue.--The
Scallop-shell.--Structure of the Island.--Indian Legends.--Shepherd
Life.--Absolutism of Indian Sagamores.--Wasting of the Shores of the
Island.--Siasconset.--Nantucket Carts.--Fishing-stages.--The Great South
Shoal.--Sankoty Light.--Surfside                                     343



General View of Newport.--Sail up the Harbor.--Commercial
Decadence.--Street Rambles.--William Coddington.--Anne Hutchinson.--The
Wantons.--Newport Artillery.--State-house Notes.--Tristram
Burgess.--Jewish Cemetery and Synagogue.--Judah Touro.--Redwood
Library.--The Old Stone Mill                                         356



The Cliff Walk.--Newport Cottages and Cottage Life.--Charlotte
Cushman.--Fort Day and Fort Adams.--Bernard, the Engineer.--Dumplings
Fort.--Canonicut.--Hessians.--Newport Drives.--The
Beaches.--Purgatory.--Dean Berkeley                                  373



Behavior of the Troops.--Monarchy aiding
Democracy.--D'Estaing.--Jourdan.--French Camps.--Rochambeau, De Ternay,
De Noailles.--Efforts of England to break the Alliance.--Frederick's
Remark.--Malmesbury and Potemkin.--Lord North and Yorktown.--George
III.--Biron, Duc de Lauzun.--Chastellux, De Castries, Vioménil, Lameth,
Dumas, La Peyrouse, Berthier, and Deux-Ponts.--The Regiment
Auvergne.--Latour D'Auvergne.--French Diplomacy                      386



Rhode Island Cemetery.--Curious Inscriptions.--William Ellery.--Oliver
Hazard Perry.--The Quakers.--George Fox.--Quaker Persecution.--Other
Grave-yards.--Lee and the Rhode Island Tories.--Coddington and
Gorton.--John Coggeshall.--Trinity Church-yard.--Dr. Samuel
Hopkins.--Gilbert Stuart                                             398



Walk up the Island.--"Tonomy" Hill.--The Malbones.--Capture of General
Prescott.--Talbot's Exploit.--Ancient Stages.--Windmills.--About
Fish.--Lawton's Valley.--Battle of 1778.--Island History.--Mount
Hope.--Philip's Death.--Dighton Rock.--Indian Antiquities            407



Entrance to the Thames.--Fisher's Island.--Block Island.--New
London.--Light-ships and Light-houses.--Hempstead House.--Bishop
Seabury.--Old Burial-ground.--New London Harbor.--The little
Ship-destroyer.--Groton and Monument.--Arnold.--British Attack on
Groton.--Fort Griswold.--The Pequots.--John Mason.--Silas
Deane.--Beaumarchais.--John Ledyard.--Decatur and Hardy.--Norwich
City.--The Yantic picturesque.--Uncas, the Mohegan Chieftain.--Norwich
Town.--Fine old Trees.--The Huntingtons                              420



Old Saybrook.--Disappearance of the Yankee.--Old Girls.--Isaac
Hull.--The Harts.--Connecticut River.--Old Fortress.--Dutch
Courage.--The Pilgrims' Experiences.--Cromwell, Hampden, and Pym.--Lady
Fenwick.--George Fenwick.--Lion Gardiner.--Old Burial-ground.--Yale
College.--The Shore, and the End                                     441

INDEX                                                                451



    Pigeon Cove, Cape Ann.                                _Fr'tispiece_.
    Map                                                    _In Preface_.
    Head-piece                                                        18
    Jacques Cartier                                                   20
    Captain John Smith                                                21
    Pierre du Guast, Sieur de Monts                                   23
    Sir Humphrey Gilbert                                              24
    Fac-simile of first Map engraved in New England                   25
    Tail-piece                                                        26
    Mount Desert, from Blue Hill Bay                                  27
    Map of Mount Desert Island                                        28
    Samuel Champlain                                                  29
    Head of Somes's Sound                                             32
    Echo Lake                                                         33
    Cliffs, Dog Mountain, Somes's Sound                               37
    The Stone Wall                                                    38
    Entrance to Somes's Sound                                         39
    Professor Agassiz                                                 40
    View of Eagle Lake and the Sea from Green Mountain                43
    Cliffs on Bald Porcupine                                          44
    Southerly End of Newport Mountain, near the Sand Beach            45
    Cave of the Sea, Schooner Head                                    46
    Cliffs at Schooner Head                                           47
    Devil's Den and Schooner Head                                     48
    Great Head                                                        51
    The Ovens, Saulsbury's Cove                                       55
    Tail-piece                                                        57
    Castine, approaching from Islesboro                               58
    General Henry Knox                                                61
    General Benjamin Lincoln                                          62
    Fort Point                                                        63
    View from Fort George                                             66
    Sir John Moore                                                    67
    Fort Griffith                                                     68
    Fort George                                                       69
    Tail-piece                                                        72
    Ruins of Fort Pentagoët                                           73
    Pine-tree Shilling                                                75
    Colbert                                                           79
    Lobster Pot                                                       85
    Tail-piece                                                        86
    Old Fort Frederick, Pemaquid Point                                87
    "The Land-breeze of Evening"                                      88
    Cotton Mather                                                     94
    Ancient Pemaquid                                                  95
    Charlevoix                                                        96
    French Frigate, Seventeenth Century                               98
    Hutchinson                                                        99
    Monhegan Island                                                  102
    Thatcher's Island Light, and Fog-signals, Cape Ann               103
    Graves of Burrows and Blythe, Portland                           107
    Tail-piece (Burrows's Medal)                                     108
    Gorge, Bald Head Cliff                                           109
    Old Wrecks on the Beach                                          112
    The Morning Round                                                119
    What the Sea can do                                              123
    York Meeting-house                                               134
    Jail at Old York                                                 136
    Pillory                                                          137
    Stocks                                                           137
    Old Garrison House                                               139
    Tail-piece                                                       140
    Portsmouth, New Hampshire, from Kittery Bridge                   141
    Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine                                        142
    Block-house and Fort, Kittery Point                              144
    Sir William Pepperell's House, Kittery Point                     145
    Sir William Pepperell                                            146
    Kittery Point, Maine                                             148
    Governor Langdon's Mansion, Portsmouth                           150
    Tail-piece                                                       152
    Whale's-back Light                                               153
    Portsmouth and the Isles of Shoals (Map)                         154
    Shag and Mingo Rocks, Duck Island                                158
    Meeting-house, Star Island                                       163
    The Graves, with Captain John Smith's Monument, Star Island      165
    Gorge, Star Island                                               169
    Tail-piece                                                       174
    Cliffs, White Island                                             175
    Blackbeard, the Pirate                                           178
    Smutty Nose                                                      182
    Haley Dock and Homestead                                         183
    Ledge of Rocks, Smutty Nose                                      186
    South-east End of Appledore, looking South                       187
    Duck Island, from Appledore                                      188
    Laighton's Grave                                                 190
    Londoner's, from Star Island                                     191
    Covered Way and Light-house, White Island                        193
    White Island Light                                               194
    Tail-piece                                                       195
    Wentworth House, Little Harbor                                   196
    Point of Graves                                                  197
    Old House, Great Island                                          198
    Old Tower, Newcastle                                             199
    Gate-way, old Fort Constitution                                  200
    Sir Thomas Wentworth, Wentworth House, Little Harbor             201
    Marquis of Rockingham                                            202
    In the Wentworth House, Little Harbor                            203
    Lady Hancock's Portrait in the Wentworth House                   204
    Governor Benning Wentworth                                       206
    Baron Steuben                                                    207
    Witch Hill, Salem                                                208
    Custom-house, Salem, Massachusetts                               211
    Rebecca Nurse's House                                            213
    Procter House                                                    214
    Birthplace of Putnam                                             217
    Putnam in British Uniform                                        218
    Endicott Pear-tree                                               218
    Tail-piece (Putnam's Tavern Sign)                                219
    Washington Street, Salem                                         220
    Birthplace of Hawthorne                                          221
    Shattuck House                                                   221
    Room in which Hawthorne was born                                 222
    The old Witch House                                              223
    Fragment of Examination of Rebecca Nurse                         224
    Thomas Beadle's Tavern, 1692                                     225
    Interior of First Church, Salem                                  227
    Ireson's House, Oakum Bay, Marblehead                            228
    Great Head                                                       229
    "The Churn"                                                      230
    Drying Fish, Little Harbor                                       232
    Unloading Fish                                                   235
    A Group of Antiques                                              237
    Lee Street                                                       239
    Tucker's Wharf--the Steps                                        241
    Gregory Street                                                   242
    Lee House                                                        245
    Town-house and Square                                            247
    St. Michael's, Marblehead                                        248
    Elbridge Gerry                                                   249
    The Gerrymander                                                  250
    "Old North" Congregational Church                                251
    Samuel Tucker                                                    252
    General Glover                                                   253
    Fort Sewall                                                      255
    Powder-house, 1755                                               256
    James Lawrence                                                   257
    Glimpse of the Seamen's Monument and old Burial-ground           258
    Lone Graves                                                      260
    "Sitting, stitching in a mournful Muse"                          260
    The Hoe, English Plymouth                                        261
    Map of Plymouth                                                  262
    Pilgrim Hall                                                     263
    Brewster's Chest, and Standish's Pot                             263
    Landing of the Pilgrims                                          264
    Carver's and Brewster's Chairs                                   265
    Mincing Knife                                                    265
    Peregrine White's Cabinet                                        265
    Standish's Sword                                                 266
    The Old Colony Seal                                              267
    Map of Plymouth Bay                                              269
    Champlain's Map.--Port Cape St. Louis                            274
    Tail-piece                                                       282
    The Pilgrims' first Encounter                                    283
    Building on the Site of Bradford's Mansion                       284
    Site of the Common House                                         286
    The Allyne House                                                 287
    The Joanna Davis House, Cole's Hill                              288
    Plymouth Rock in 1850                                            289
    The Gurnet                                                       296
    Watson's House, Clark's Island                                   297
    Election Rock, Clark's Island                                    298
    Church's Sword                                                   302
    Tail-piece                                                       303
    Provincetown, from the Hills                                     304
    Cohasset Narrows                                                 305
    Highland Light, Cape Cod                                         306
    Washing Fish                                                     309
    Mackerel.--A Family Group                                        313
    Pond Village, Cape Cod                                           315
    Picking and sorting Cranberries--Cape Cod                        317
    Sand-hills, Provincetown                                         318
    Life-boat Station.--Trial of the Bomb and Line                   321
    Tail-piece (A "Sunfish")                                         323
    Nantucket, from the Sea                                          324
    Map of Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard                325
    Approach to Martha's Vineyard                                    326
    A Bit of Nantucket--the House-tops                               328
    Last of the Whale-ships                                          332
    Whaling in the olden Time                                        333
    Whale of the Ancients                                            334
    E. Johnson's Studio, Nantucket                                   341
    Tail-piece                                                       342
    Nantucket.--Old Windmill, looking oceanward                      343
    Captured Porpoise and Blackfish                                  345
    The Blue-fish                                                    346
    Blue-fishing                                                     347
    Homes of the Fishermen, Siasconset                               352
    The Sea-bluff, Siasconset                                        353
    Hauling a Dory over the Hills, Nantucket                         354
    Light-house, Sankoty Head, Nantucket                             355
    Tail-piece                                                       355
    Newport, from Fort Adams                                         356
    Old Fort, Dumpling Rocks                                         358
    Old-time Houses                                                  360
    Residence of Governor Coddington, Newport, 1641                  361
    Newport State-house                                              363
    Commodore Perry's House                                          364
    Jewish Cemetery                                                  365
    Jews' Synagogue, Newport                                         366
    Judah Touro                                                      367
    The Redwood Library                                              368
    Abraham Redwood                                                  369
    The Old Stone Mill                                               370
    The Perry Monument                                               371
    Tail-piece                                                       372
    Boat Landing                                                     373
    The Beach                                                        374
    Cliff Walk                                                       375
    The Cliffs                                                       376
    A Newport Cottage                                                377
    Charlotte Cushman's Residence                                    377
    Spouting Rock                                                    378
    The Dumplings                                                    380
    Hessian Grenadier                                                381
    Coast Scene, Newport                                             382
    The Drive                                                        383
    Purgatory Bluff                                                  383
    Whitehall                                                        384
    Washington Park, Newport                                         385
    D'Estaing                                                        386
    Earl Howe                                                        388
    Rochambeau                                                       388
    Rochambeau's Head-quarters                                       389
    Louis XVI                                                        389
    Military Map of Rhode Island, 1778                               390
    Lafayette                                                        391
    Baron Vioménil                                                   391
    Trinity Church, Newport                                          392
    Chastellux                                                       392
    Lanzun                                                           393
    Mathieu Dumas                                                    394
    Deux-Ponts                                                       395
    De Barras                                                        395
    Latour D'Auvergne                                                396
    Tail-piece                                                       397
    Graves on the Bluff, Fort Road                                   398
    Tombstones, Newport Cemetery                                     399
    Perry's Monument                                                 401
    Oliver Hazard Perry                                              401
    Friends' Meeting-house                                           402
    George Fox                                                       403
    Charles Lee                                                      404
    Mount Hope                                                       407
    The Glen                                                         408
    A Rhode Island Windmill                                          409
    William Barton                                                   410
    Silas Talbot                                                     410
    Prescott's Head-quarters                                         411
    Agricultural Prosperity                                          412
    From Butts's Hill, looking North                                 413
    Quaker Hill, from Butts's Hill, looking North                    414
    Battle-ground of August 29, 1778                                 414
    King Philip, from an old Print                                   415
    Inscription on Dighton Rock                                      416
    Old Leonard House, Raynham                                       419
    New London in 1813                                               420
    New London Harbor, north View                                    421
    New London Light                                                 421
    New London in 1781 (Map)                                         422
    Old Block-house, Fort Trumbull                                   423
    A Light-ship on her Station                                      424
    Court-house, New London                                          425
    Bishop Seabury's Monument                                        426
    Groton Monument                                                  427
    Benedict Arnold                                                  429
    Storming of the Indian Fortress                                  430
    Silas Deane                                                      431
    Stephen Decatur                                                  433
    Rustic Bridge, Norwich                                           434
    Old Mill, Norwich                                                435
    Signatures of Uncas and his Sons                                 436
    Uncas's Monument                                                 437
    Arnold's Birthplace                                              437
    Elm-trees by the Wayside                                         438
    General Huntington's House                                       438
    Mansion of Governor Huntington                                   439
    Congregational Church                                            440
    Tail-piece                                                       440
    Peter Stuyvesant                                                 441
    Isaac Hull                                                       444
    A Moss-grown Memorial                                            446
    Tail-piece                                                       449




    "This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
    Bearded with moss, and with garments green, indistinct in the
    Stand like Druids of Old, with voices sad and prophetic,
    Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
    Loud from its rocky caverns the deep-voiced neighboring ocean
    Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest."


In many respects the sea-coast of Maine is the most remarkable of New
England. It is serrated with craggy projections, studded with harbors,
seamed with inlets. Broad bays conduct to rivers of great volume that
annually bear her forests down to the sea. Her shores are barricaded
with islands, and her waters teem with the abundance of the seas. Seen
on the map, it is a splintered, jagged, forbidding sea-board; beheld
with the eye in a kindly season, its tawny headlands, green
archipelagos, and inviting harbors, infolding sites recalling the
earlier efforts at European colonization, combine in a wondrous degree
to win the admiration of the man of science, of letters, or of leisure.

Maine embraces within her limits the semi-fabulous Norumbega and
Mavoshen of ancient writers. Some portion of her territory has been
known at various times by the names of Acadia, New France, and New
England. The arms of France and of England have alternately been erected
on her soil, and the flags of at least four powerful states have claimed
her subjection. The most numerous and warlike of the primitive New
England nations were seated here. Traces of French occupation are
remaining in the names of St. Croix, Mount Desert, Isle au Haut, and
Castine, names which neither treaties nor national prejudice have been
quite able to eradicate.

The name of Norumbega, or Norembegue, the earliest applied to New
England, is attributed to the Portuguese and Spaniards. Jean Alfonse,
the pilot of Roberval, the same person who is accredited with having
been first to navigate the waters of Massachusetts Bay, gives them the
credit of its discovery. It is true that Marc Lescarbot, the Parisian
advocate whose relations are the foundations of so many others, was at
the colony of Port Royal in the year 1606, with Pontgravé Champlain, and
De Poutrincourt. This writer discredits all of Alfonse's statement in
relation to the great river and coast of Norumbega, except that part of
it in which he says the river had at its entrance many islands, banks,
and rocks. In this fragment from the "_Voyages Aventureux_" of Alfonse,
the embouchure of the river of Norumbega is placed in thirty degrees
("trente degrez") and the pilot states that from thence the coast turns
to the west and west-north-west for more than two hundred and fifty
leagues.[1] The most casual reader will know how to value such a
relation without reference to the sarcasm of Lescarbot, when he says,
"And well may he call his voyages adventurous, not for himself, who was
never in the hundredth part of the places which he describes (at least
it is easy to conjecture so), but for those who might wish to follow the
routes which he directs the mariner to follow." After this, his claim to
be considered the first European navigator in Massachusetts Bay must be
received with many grains of allowance.

Champlain, who remained in the country through the winter of 1605, on
purpose to complete his map, has this to say of the river and city of
Norumbega; he is writing of the Penobscot:

"I believe this river is that which several historians call Norumbegue,
and which the greater part have written, is large and spacious, with
many islands; and its entrance in forty-three and forty-three and a
half; and others in forty-four, more or less, of latitude. As for the
declination, I have neither read nor heard any one speak of it. They
describe also a great and very populous city of natives, dexterous and
skillful, having cotton cloth. I am satisfied that the major part of
those who make mention of it have never seen it, and speak from the
hearsay evidence of those who know no more than themselves. I can well
believe that there are some who have seen the embouchure, for the reason
that there are, in fact, many islands there, and that it lies in the
latitude of forty-four degrees at its entrance, as they say; but that
any have entered it is not credible; for they must have described it in
quite another manner to have removed this doubt from many people." With
this protest Champlain admits the country of Norumbega to a place on his
map of 1612.

In the "_Histoire Universelle des Indes Occidentales_" printed at Douay
in 1607, the author, after describing Virginia, speaks of Norumbega, its
great river and beautiful city. The mouth of the river is fixed in the
forty-fourth and the pretended city in the forty-fifth degree, which
approximates closely enough to the actual latitude of the Penobscot.
This authority adds, that it is not known whence the name originated,
for the Indians called it Agguncia.[2] It also refers to the island well
situated for fishery at the mouth of the great river. On the map of
Ortelius (1603) the two countries of Norumbega and Nova Francia occupy
what is now Nova Scotia and New England respectively. The only features
laid down in Nova Francia by name are "R. Grande Orsinora," "C. de
Iaguas islas," and "Montagnes St. Jean." These localities answer
reasonably well to as many conjectures as there are mountains, streams,
and capes in New England; there is no projection of the coast
corresponding with Cape Cod. Champlain names the River Penobscot,
Pemetegoit. By this appellation, with some trivial change in
orthography, it continued known to the French until its final
repossession by the English.[3]

Turning to the "painful collections of Master Hakluyt," the old
prebendary of Bristol, we find Mavoshen described as "a country lying to
the north and by east of Virginia, between the degrees of 43 and 45,
fortie leagues broad and fifty in length, lying in breadth east and
west, and in length north and south. It is bordered on the east with a
countrey, the people whereof they call Tarrantines, on the west with
Epistoman, on the north with a very great wood, called Senaglecounc, and
on the south with the mayne ocean sea and many islands." In all these
relations there is something of fact, but much more that is too
unsubstantial for the historian's acceptance. The voyages of the
Norsemen, of De Rut, and Thevet are still a disputed and a barren
field. I do not propose here to indulge in speculations respecting them.

[Illustration: JACQUES CARTIER.]

Francis I. demanded, it is said, to be shown that clause in the will of
Adam which disinherited him in the New World for the benefit of the
Spaniards. Under his favor, the Florentine Verrazani put to sea from
Dieppe, in _Le Dauphine_, in the year 1524.[4] By virtue of his
discoveries the French nation claimed all the territory now included in
New England. The astute Francis followed up the clew by dispatching, in
1534, Jacques Cartier in _La Grande Hermine_. Despite the busy times in
Europe, near the close of his reign, Henry IV. continued to favor
projects confirming the footing obtained by his predecessors. Until
1614, when the name of New England first appeared on Smith's map, the
French had the honor of adding about all that was known to the geography
of its sea-board.

There can now be no harm in saying that Captain John Smith was not the
first to give a Christian name to New England. The Florentine Verrazani
called it, in 1524, New France, when he traversed the coasts from the
thirty-fourth parallel to Newfoundland, or _Prima Vista_. Sebastian
Cabot may have seen it before him; but this is only conjecture, though
our great-grandfathers were willing to spill their blood rather than
have it called New France. According to the "Modern Universal History,"
Cabot confessedly took formal possession of Newfoundland and Norumbega,
whence he carried off three natives. In the "_Theatre Universel
d'Ortelius_" there is a map of America, engraved in 1572, and very
minute, in which all the countries north and south are entitled New
France. "The English," says a French authority, "had as yet nothing in
that country, and there is nothing set down on this map for them."

In Mercator's atlas of 1623 is a general map of America, which calls all
the territory north and south of Canada New France. New England does not
find a place on this map. Canada is down as a particular province.
Virginia is also there.

[Illustration: CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH.]

Captain John Smith's map of New England of 1614 contains many singular
features. In his "Description of New England," printed in 1616, the
Indian names are given of all their coast settlements. Prince Charles,
however, altered these to English names after the book was printed. The
retention of some of them by the actual settlers might be accidental,
but they appear much as if scattered at random over the paper.
"Plimouth" is where it was located six years after the date of the map.
York is called Boston, and Agamenticus "Snadoun Hill." Penobscot is
called "Pembrock's Bay."

The name of Cape Breton is said to occur on very early maps, antecedent
even to Cartier's voyage. A map of Henry II. is the oldest mentioned.
"Nurembega" is on a map in "_Le Receuil de Ramusius_"[5] tome iii.,
where there is an account of a Frenchman of Dieppe, and a map made
before the discovery of "Jean Guartier." It is asserted that the Basque
and Breton fishermen were on the coast of America before the Portuguese
and Spaniards. Baron La Hontan says, "The seamen of French Biscay are
known to be the most able and dexterous mariners that are in the world."
It is pretty certain that Cape Breton had this name before the voyages
of Cartier or Champlain. The Frenchman of Dieppe is supposed to be
Thomas Aubert, whose discovery is assigned to the year 1508.

The atlas of Guillaume and John Blauw has a map of America in tome i.
There is a second, entitled _Nova Belgica_ and _Nova Anglica_. New
England extends no farther than the Kennebec, where begins the territory
of _Nova Franciæ Pars_, in which Norumbega is located. The rivers
Pentagouet and Chouacouet (Saco) appear properly placed. The map bears
certain marks in its nomenclature, and the configuration of the coast,
of being compiled from those of Champlain and Smith.[6]

Researches made in England, France, and Holland, at the instance of
Massachusetts and New York,[7] have resulted in the recovery of many
manuscript fragments more or less interesting, bearing upon the question
of priority of discovery. Of these the following is not the least
curious. If credence may be placed in the author of the "_Memoires pour
servir à l'Histoire de Dieppe_," "_Recherches sur les Voyages et
decouvertes des Navigateurs Normands_," and "_Navigateurs Français_,"
the continent of America was discovered by Captain Cousin in the year
1488. Sailing from Dieppe, he was carried westward by a gale, and drawn
by currents to an unknown coast, where he saw the mouth of a large

Cousin's first officer was "un étranger nommé Pinçon ou Pinzon," who
instigated the men to mutiny, and was so turbulent that, on the return
of the caravel, Cousin charged him before the magistrates of Dieppe with
mutiny, insubordination, and violence. He was banished from the city,
and embarked four years afterward, say the Dieppois, with Christopher
Columbus, to whom he had given information of the New World.[8]

In the "_Bibliothéque Royale_" of Paris there is, or rather was,
existing a manuscript (dated in 1545) entitled "_Cosmographie de Jean
Alfonce le Xaintongeois_." It is undoubtedly from this manuscript that
Jean de Marnef and De St. Gelais compiled the "_Voyages Aventureux
d'Alfonce Xaintongeois_," printed in 1559, which includes an expedition
along the coast from Newfoundland southwardly to "une baye jusques par
les 42 degrés, entre la Norembegue et la Fleuride," in 1543.

Of Jean Alfonse it is known that he was one of Roberval's pilots, in his
voyage of 1542 to Canada, and that he returned home with Cartier.
Roberval expected to find a north-west passage, and Jean Alfonse, who
searched the coast for it, believed the land he saw to the southward to
be part of the continent of Asia. His cruise within the latitude of
Massachusetts Bay is also mentioned by Hakluyt. The claim of Alfonse to
be the discoverer of Massachusetts Bay has been set forth with due
prominence.[9] Alfonse and Champlain were both from the same old
province in the west of France.


It goes without dispute that the older French historians knew little or
nothing of Hakluyt and Purchas. So little did the affairs of the New
World engage their attention, that in the "History of France," by Father
Daniel, printed at Amsterdam in 1720, by the Company of Jesuits, in six
ponderous tomes, the discoveries and settlements in New France (Canada)
occupy no more than a dozen lines. Cartier, Roberval, De Monts, and
Champlain are mentioned, and that is all.

When a vessel of the old navigators was approaching the coast, the
precaution was taken of sending sailors to the mast-head. These lookouts
were relieved every two hours until night-fall, at which time, if the
land was not yet in sight, they furled their sails so as to make little
or no way during the night. It was a matter of emulation among the
ship's company who should first discover the land, as the passengers
usually presented the lucky one with some pistoles. One writer mentions
that on board French vessels, after sighting Cape Race, the ceremony
known among us as "crossing the line" was performed by the old salts on
the green hands, without regard to season.


The method of taking possession of a new country is thus described in
the old chronicles: Jacques Cartier erected a cross thirty feet high, on
which was suspended a shield with the arms of France and the words
"_Vive le Roy_." Sir Humphrey Gilbert, in 1583, raised a pillar at
Newfoundland, with a plate of lead, having the queen's arms "graven
thereon." A turf and a twig were presented to him, which he received
with a hazel wand. The expression "by turf and twig," a symbol of actual
possession of the soil and its products, is still to be met with in
older New England records.

Douglass, the American historian, speaking of Henry IV., says, "He
planted a colony in Canada which subsists to this day. May it not long
subsist; it is a nuisance to our North American settlements: _Delenda
est Carthago_."

The insignificant attempt of Gosnold, in 1603, and the disastrous one of
Popham, in 1607, contributed little to the knowledge of New England. But
the absence of any actual possession of the soil did not prevent the
exercise of unworthy violence toward intruders on the territory claimed
by the English crown. In 1613 Sir Samuel Argall broke up the French
settlement begun at Mount Desert in that year, opening fire on the
unsuspecting colonists before he gave himself the trouble of a formal
summons. Those of other nations fared little better, as the following
recital will show:

Purchas relates that "Sir Bernard Drake, a Devonshire knight, came to
Newfoundland with a commission; and having divers good ships under his
command, he took many Portugal ships, and brought them into England as

"Sir Bernard, as was said, having taken a Portugal ship, and brought her
into one of our western ports, the seamen that were therein were sent to
the prison adjoining the Castle of Exeter. At the next assizes held at
the castle there, about the 27th of Queen Elizabeth, when the prisoners
of the county were brought to be arraigned before Sergeant Flowerby, one
of the judges appointed for this western circuit at that time, suddenly
there arose such a noisome smell from the bar that a great number of
people there present were therewith infected; whereof in a very short
time after died the said judge, Sir John Chichester, Sir Arthur Bassett,
and Sir Bernard Drake, knights, and justices of the peace there sitting
on the bench; and eleven of the jury impaneled, the twelfth only
escaping; with divers other persons."

Captain John Smith says: "The most northern part I was at was the Bay of
Penobscot, which is east and west, north and south, more than ten
leagues; but such were my occasions I was constrained to be satisfied of
them I found in the bay, that the river ran far up into the land, and
was well inhabited with many people; but they were from their
habitations, either fishing among the isles, or hunting the lakes and
woods for deer and beavers.

"The bay is full of great islands of one, two, six, eight, or ten miles
in length, which divide it into many faire and excellent good harbours.
On the east of it are the Tarrantines, their mortal enemies, where
inhabit the French, as they report, that live with these people as one
nation or family."

If the English had no special reason for self-gratulation in the quality
of the emigrants first introduced into New England, the French have as
little ground to value themselves. In order to people Acadia, De Monts
begged permission of Henri Quatre to take the vagabonds that might be
collected in the cities, or wandering at large through the country. The
king acceded to the request.[10]


Again, in a memoir on the state of the French plantations, the following
passage occurs: "The post of Pentagouet, being at the head of all Acadia
on the side of Boston, appears to have been principally strengthened by
the sending over of men and courtesans that his majesty would have
emigrate there for the purpose of marrying, so that this portion of the
colony may receive the accessions necessary to sustain it against its

These statements are supported by the testimony of the Baron La Hontan,
who relates that, after the reorganization of the troops in Canada,
"several ships were sent hither from France with a cargo of women of
ordinary reputation, under the direction of some old stale nuns, who
ranged them in three classes. The vestal virgins were heaped up (if I
may so speak), one above another, in three different apartments, where
the bridegrooms singled out their brides just as a butcher does ewes
from among a flock of sheep. The sparks that wanted to be married made
their addresses to the above-mentioned governesses, to whom they were
obliged to give an account of their goods and estates before they were
allowed to make their choice in the seraglio." After the selection was
made, the marriage was concluded on the spot, in presence of a priest
and a notary, the governor-general usually presenting the happy couple
with some domestic animals with which to begin life anew.

When the number of historical precedents is taken into account, the
superstition long current among mariners with regard to setting sail on
Friday seems unaccountable. Columbus sailed from Spain on Friday,
discovered land on Friday, and returned to Palos on Friday. Cabot
discovered the American continent on Friday. Gosnold sailed from England
on Friday, made land on Friday, and came to anchor on Friday at Exmouth.
These coincidences might, it would seem, dispel, with American mariners
at least, something of the dread with which a voyage begun on that day
has long been regarded.



[1] "Et que passé cette rivière la côte tourne à l'Ouest et
Ouest-Norouest plus de deux cens cinquante lieues," etc.

[2] The monk André Thevet, who professes to have visited Norumbega River
in 1556, says it was called by the natives "Agoncy."

[3] According to the Abbé Maurault, Pentagoët, in the Indian vocabulary,
signifies "a place in a river where there are rapids." On the authority
of the "History of the Abenaquis," Penobscot is, "where the land is
stony, or covered with rocks."

[4] It is curious that three Italians--Columbus, Cabot, and
Verrazani--should lead all others in the discoveries of the American

[5] Giambetta Ramusio, the Venetian.

[6] Champlain's map of 1612 is entitled "CARTE GEOGRAPHIQVE DE LA
the territory from Labrador to Cape Cod is embraced in this very curious
map. Some of its details will be introduced in successive chapters as
occasion may demand. There is another map of Champlain of 1632, _fort
detaillé_, but of less rarity than the first.

[7] By Ben Perley Poore and John Romeyn Brodhead.

[8] "Massachusetts Archives, French Documents," vol. i., p. 269.

[9] Rev. B. F. De Costa's "Northmen in Maine."

[10] "Mass. Archives, French Documents."

[11] Ibid.




    "There, gloomily against the sky,
    The Dark Isles rear their summits high;
    And Desert Rock, abrupt and bare,
    Lifts its gray turrets in the air."


Islands possess, of themselves, a magnetism not vouchsafed to any spot
of the main-land. In cutting loose from the continent a feeling of
freedom is at once experienced that comes spontaneously, and abides no
longer than you remain an islander. You are conscious, in again setting
foot on the main shore, of a change, which no analysis, however subtle,
will settle altogether to your liking. Upon islands the majesty and
power of the ocean come home to you, as in multiplying itself it
pervades every fibre of your consciousness, gaining in vastness as you
grow in knowledge of it. On islands it is always present--always roaring
at your feet, or moaning at your back.

Islands have had no little share in the world's doings. Corsica, Elba,
and St. Helena are linked together by an unbroken historical chain.
Homer and the isles of Greece, Capri and Tiberius loom in the twilight
of antiquity. Thinking on Garibaldi or Victor Hugo, the mind
instinctively lodges on Caprera or Guernsey. An island was the death of
Philip II., and the ruin of Napoleon. In the New World, Santo Domingo,
Cuba, and Newfoundland were first visited by Europeans.


The islands of the New England coast have become beacons of her history.
Mount Desert, Monhegan, and the Isles of Shoals, Clark's Island,
Nantucket, The Vineyard, and Rhode Island have havens where the
historian or antiquary must put in before landing on broader ground. I
might name a score of others of lesser note; these are planets in our
watery system. On this line many peaceful summer campaigns have been
brought to a happy conclusion. Not a few have described the more genial
aspects of Mount Desert. It has in fact given employment to many busy
pens and famous pencils. I am not aware that its wintry guise has been
portrayed on paper or on canvas. The very name is instinctively
associated with an idea of desolateness:

    "The gray and thunder-smitten pile
    Which marks afar the Desert Isle."

[Illustration: SAMUEL CHAMPLAIN.]

Champlain was no doubt impressed by the sight of its craggy summits,
stripped of trees, basking their scarred and splintered steeps in a
September sun. "I have called it," he says, "the Isle of Monts Déserts."

In a little "_pattache_" of only seventeen or eighteen tons burden, he
had set out on the 2d of September, 1604, from St. Croix, to explore the
coast of Norumbega. Two natives accompanied him as guides. The same day,
as they passed close to an island four or five leagues long, their bark
struck a hardly submerged rock, which tore a hole near the keel. They
either sailed around the island, or explored it by land, as the strait
between it and the main-land is described as being not more than a
hundred paces in breadth. "The land," continues the French voyager, "is
very high, intersected by passes, appearing from the sea like seven or
eight mountains ranged near each other. The summits of the greater part
of these are bare of trees, because they are nothing but rocks." It was
during this voyage, and with equal pertinence, Champlain named Isle au
Haut.[12] According to Père Biard, the savages called the island of
Mount Desert "_Pemetiq_" "meaning," says M. l'Abbé Maurault, "that which
is at the head." A crowned head it appears, seen on land or sea.

It is curious to observe how the embouchure of the Penobscot is on
either shore guarded by two such solitary ranges of mountains as the
Camden and Mount Desert groups. They embrace about the same number of
individual peaks, and approximate nearly enough in altitude. From Camden
we may skirt the shores for a hundred and fifty miles to the west and
south before meeting with another eminence; and then it is an isolated
hill standing almost upon the line of division between Maine and New
Hampshire that is encountered. On the shore of the main-land, west of
Mount Desert, is Blue Hill, another lone mountain. Katahdin is still
another astray, of grander proportions, it is true, but belonging to
this family of lost mountains. Although they appear a continuous chain
when massed by distance, the Mount Desert range is, in reality, broken
into little family groups, as exhibited on the map.

Another peculiarity of the Mount Desert chain is that the eastern
summits are the highest, terminating generally in precipitous and
inaccessible cliffs. I asked a village ancient his idea of the origin of
these mountains, and received it in two words, "Hove up." The cluster
numbers thirteen eminences, to which the title "Old Thirteen" may be
more fitly applied than to any political community of modern history.
This assemblage of hills with lakes in their laps at once recalled the
Adirondack region, with some needful deductions for the height and
nakedness of the former when compared with the greater altitudes and
grand old forests of the wilderness of northern New York.

Should any adventurous spirit, after reading these pages, wish to see
the Desert Isle in all its rugged grandeur, he may do so at the cost of
some trifling inconveniences that do not fall to the lot of the summer
tourist. In this case, Bangor or Bucksport will be the point of
departure for a journey of from thirty to forty miles by stage. I came
to the island by steamboat from Boston, which landed me at Bucksport;
whence I made my way _via_ Ellsworth to Somesville.

After glancing at the map of the island, I chose Somesville as a central
point for my excursions, because it lies at the head of the sound, that
divides the island almost in two, is the point toward which all roads
converge, and is about equally distant from the harbors or places of
particular resort. In summer I should have adopted the same plan until I
had fully explored the shores of the Sound, the mountains that are
contiguous, and the western half of the island. In twenty-four hours the
visitor may know by heart the names of the mountains, lakes, coves, and
settlements, with the roads leading to them; he may thereafter establish
himself as convenience or fancy shall dictate. At Somesville there is a
comfortable hostel, but the larger summer hotels are at Bar Harbor and
at South-west Harbor.

The accentuation should not fall on the last, but on the first syllable
of Desert, although the name is almost universally mispronounced in
Maine, and notably so on the island itself. Usually it is Mount
De_sart_, toned into De_sert_ by the casual population, who thus give it
a curious significance.

Mount Desert is one of the wardens of Penobscot Bay, interposing its
bulk between the waters of Frenchman's Bay on the east and Blue Hill Bay
on the west. A bridge unites it with the main-land in the town of
Trenton, where the opposite shores approach within rifle-shot of each
other. This point is locally known as the Narrows. When I crossed, the
tide was pressing against the wooden piers, in a way to quicken the
pace, masses of newly-formed ice that had floated out of Frenchman's Bay
with the morning's ebb.

You get a glimpse of Mount Desert in sailing up Penobscot Bay, where its
mountains appear foreshortened into two cloudy shapes that you would
fail to know again. But the highest hills between Bucksport and
Ellsworth display the whole range; and from the latter place until the
island is reached their snow-laced sides loomed grandly in the gray
mists of a December day. In this condition of the atmosphere their
outlines seemed more sharply cut than when thrown against a background
of clear blue sky. I counted eight peaks, and then, on coming nearer,
others, that at first had blended with those higher and more distant
ones, detached themselves. Green Mountain will be remembered as the
highest of the chain, Beech and Dog mountains from their peculiarity of
outline. A wider break between two hills indicates where the sea has
driven the wedge called Somes's Sound into the side of the isle. Western
Mountain terminates the range on the right; Newport Mountain, with Bar
Harbor at its foot, is at the other extremity of the group. In
approaching from sea this order would appear reversed.

[Illustration: HEAD OF SOMES'S SOUND.]

The Somesville road is a nearly direct line drawn from the head of the
Sound to the Narrows. Soon after passing the bridge, that to Bar Harbor
diverged to the left. Crossing a strip of level land, we began the
ascent of Town Hill through a dark growth of cedar, fir, and other
evergreen trees. A little hamlet, where there is a post-office, crowns
the summit of Town Hill. Not long after, the Sound opened into view one
of those rare vistas that leave a picture for after remembrance. At
first it seemed a lake shut in by the feet of two interlocking
mountains, but the vessels that lay fast-moored in the ice were plainly
sea-going craft. Somesville lay beneath us, its little steeple pricking
the frosty air. Cold, gray, and cheerless as their outward dress
appeared, the mountains had more of impressiveness, now that they were
covered from base to summit with snow. They seemed really mountains and
not hills, receiving an Alpine tone with their wintry vesture.

After all, a winter landscape in New England is less gloomy than in the
same zone of the Mississippi Valley, where, in the total absence of
evergreen-trees, nothing but long reaches of naked forest rewards the
eye, which roves in vain for some vantage-ground of relief. Jutting
points, well wooded with dark firs, or clumps of those trees standing by
the roadside, were agreeable features in this connection.

A brisk trot over the frozen road brought us to the end of the
half-dozen miles that stretch between Somesville and the Narrows. The
snow craunched beneath the horses' feet as we glided through the village
street; in a moment more the driver drew up with a flourish beside the
door of an inn which bears for its ensign a name advantageously known in
these latitudes. A rousing fire of birchen logs blazed on the open
hearth. Above the mantel were cheap prints of the presidents, from
Washington to Buchanan. I was made welcome, and thought of Shenstone
when he says,

    "Whoe'er has travel'd life's dull round,
      Whate'er his fortunes may have been,
    Must sigh to think how oft he's found
      Life's warmest welcome at an inn."

An island fourteen miles long and a dozen broad, embracing a hundred
square miles, and traversed from end to end by mountains, is to be
approached with respect. It excludes the idea of superficial
observation. As the mountains bar the way to the southern shores, you
must often make a long _détour_ to reach a given point, or else commit
yourself to the guidance of a deer-path, or the dry bed of some mountain
torrent. In summer or in autumn, with a little knowledge of woodcraft, a
well-adjusted pocket-compass, and a stout staff, it is practicable to
enter the hills, and make your way as the red huntsmen were of old
accustomed to do; but in winter a guide would be indispensable, and you
should have well-trained muscles to undertake it.

The mountains have been traversed again and again by fire, destroying
not the wood alone, but also the thin turf, the accumulations of years.
The woods are full of the evidences of these fires in the charred
remains of large trees that, after the passage of the flames, have been
felled by tempests. At a distance of five miles the present growth
resembles stubble; on a nearer approach it takes the appearance of
underbrush; and upon reaching the hills you find a young forest
repairing the ravages made by fire, wind, and the woodman's axe. "Fifty
years ago," said Mr. Somes, "those mountains were covered with a dark
growth." Cedars, firs, hemlocks, and other evergreens, with a thick
sprinkling of white-birch, and now and then a clump of beeches, make the
principal base for the forest of the future on Mount Desert--provided
always it is permitted to arrive at maturity. Hitherto the poverty or
greed of the inhabitants has sacrificed every tree that was worth the
labor of felling. In the neighborhood of Salisbury's Cove there are
still to be seen in inaccessible places, trees destined never to feel
the axe's keen edge.

Mine host of the village tavern, Daniel Somes, or "Old Uncle Daniel," as
he is known far and near, is the grandson of the first settler of the
name who emigrated from Gloucester, Massachusetts, and "squatted"
here--"a vile phrase"--about 1760. Abraham Somes built on the little
point of land in front of the tavern-door, from which a clump of shrubs
may be seen growing near the spot. Other settlers came from Cape Cod,
and were located at Hull's and other coves about the island. I asked my
landlord if there were any family traditions relative to the short-lived
settlement of the French, or traces of an occupation that might well
have set his ancestors talking. He shook his gray head in emphatic
negative. Had I asked him for "Tam O'Shanter" or the "Brigs of Ayr," he
would have given it to me stanza for stanza.

There are few excursions to be made within a certain radius of
Somesville that offer so much of variety and interest as that on the
western side of the Sound, pursuing, with such wanderings as fancy may
suggest, the well-beaten road to South-west Harbor. It is seven miles of
hill and dale, lake and stream, with a succession of charming views
constantly unfolding themselves before you. And here I may remark that
the roads on the island are generally good, and easily followed.

[Illustration: ECHO LAKE.]

The map may have so far introduced the island to the reader that he
will be able to trace the route along the side of Robinson's Mountain,
which is between the road and the Sound, with two summits of nearly
equal height, rising six hundred and forty and six hundred and eighty
feet above it. At the right, in descending this road, is Echo Lake, a
superb piece of water, having Beech Mountain at its foot. You stumble on
it, as it were, unawares, and enjoy the surprise all the more for it.
Broad-shouldered and deep-chested mountains wall in the reservoirs that
have been filled by the snows melting from their sides. There are
speckled trout to be taken in Echo Lake, as well as in the pond lying in
Somesville. Of course the echo is to be tried, even if the mount gives
back a saucy answer.

Next below us is Dog Mountain. It has been shut out from view until you
have uncovered it in passing by the lake. Dog Mountain's eastern and
highest crest is six hundred and eighty feet in the air. How much of
resemblance it bears to a crouching mastiff depends in a great measure
upon the imagination of the beholder:

     _Ham_. "Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a

     _Pol_. "By the mass, and 'tis like a camel indeed."

     _Ham_. "Methinks it is like a weasel."

     _Pol_. "It is backed like a weasel."

     _Ham_. "Or like a whale?"

     _Pol_. "Very like a whale."

Between Dog and Brown's Mountain on its eastern shore the Sound has
forced its way for six or seven miles up into the centre of the island.
At the southern foot of Dog Mountain is Fernald's Cove and Point, the
supposed scene of the attempted settlement by the colony of Madame the
Marchioness De Guercheville. Mr. De Costa has christened Brown's
Mountain with the name of Mansell, from Sir Robert Mansell, vice-admiral
in the times of James I. and Charles I. The whole island was once called
after the knight, but there is a touch of retributive justice in
recollecting that the English, in expelling the French, have in turn
been expelled from its nomenclature.

Turning now to what Prescott calls "historicals" for enlightenment on
the subject of the colonization of Mount Desert, it appears that upon
the return of De Monts to France he gave his town of Port Royal to Jean
de Poutrincourt, whose voyage in 1606 along the coast of New England
will be noticed in future chapters. The projects of De Monts having been
overthrown by intrigue, and through jealousy of the exclusive rights
conferred by his patent, Madame De Guercheville, a "very, charitable and
pious lady" of the court,[13] entered into negotiation with Poutrincourt
for the founding of Jesuit missions among the savages. Finding that
Poutrincourt claimed more than he could conveniently establish a right
to, Madame treated directly with Du Guast, who ceded to her all the
privileges derived by him from Henry IV. The king, in 1607, confirmed
all except the grant of Port Royal, which was reserved to Poutrincourt.
The memorable year of 1610 ended the career of Henry, in the Rue de la
Ferronerie. In 1611 the fathers, Père Biard and Enemond Masse, of the
College d'Eu, came over to Port Royal with Biencourt, the younger
Poutrincourt. During the next year an expedition under the auspices of
Madame De Guercheville was prepared to follow, and, after taking on
board the two Jesuits already at Port Royal, was to proceed to make a
definitive settlement somewhere in the Penobscot.

The colonists numbered in all about thirty persons, including two other
Jesuit fathers, named Jacques Quentin and Gilbert Du Thet.[14] The
expedition was under the command of La Saussaye. In numbers it was about
equal to the colony of Gosnold.

La Saussaye arrived at Port Royal, and after taking on board the
fathers, Biard and Masse, continued his route. Arriving off Menan, the
vessel was enveloped by an impenetrable fog, which beset them for two
days and nights. Their situation was one of imminent danger, from which,
if the relation of the Père Biard is to be believed, they were delivered
by prayer. On the morning of the third day the fog lifted, disclosing
the island of Mount Desert to their joyful eyes. The pilot landed them
in a harbor on the east side of the island, where they gave thanks to
God and celebrated the mass. They named the place and harbor St.

Singularly enough, it now fell out, as seven years later it happened to
the Leyden Pilgrims, that the pilot refused to carry them to their
actual destination at Kadesquit,[15] in Pentagoët River. He alleged that
the voyage was completed. After much wrangling the affair was adjusted
by the appearance of friendly Indians, who conducted the fathers to
their own place of habitation. Upon viewing the spot, the colonists
determined they could not do better than to settle upon it. They
accordingly set about making a lodgment.[16]

The place where the colony was established is obscured as much by the
relation of Biard as by time itself. The language of the narration is
calculated to mislead, as the place is spoken of as "being shut in by
the large island of Mount Desert." The Jesuit had undoubtedly full
opportunity of becoming familiar with the locality, and his account was
written after the dissolution of the plantation by Argall. There is
little doubt they were inhabiting some part of the isle, as Champlain in
general terms asserts. Meanwhile the grassy slope of Fernald's Point
gains many pilgrims. The brave ecclesiastic, Du Thet, could not have a
nobler monument than the stately cliffs graven by lightning and the
storm with the handwriting of the Omnipotent. The puny reverberations of
Argall's broadsides were as nothing compared with the artillery that has
played upon these heights out of cloud battlements.

During the summer of 1613, Samuel Argall, learning of the presence of
the French, came upon them unawares, and in true buccaneer style. A very
brief and unequal conflict ensued. Du Thet stood manfully by his gun,
and fell, mortally wounded. Captain Flory and three others also received
wounds. Two were drowned. The French then surrendered.

Argall's ship was called the _Treasurer_. Henri de Montmorency, Admiral
of France, demanded justice of King James for the outrage, but I doubt
that he ever received it. He alleged that, besides killing several of
the colonists and transporting others as prisoners to Virginia, Argall
had put the remainder in a little skiff and abandoned them to the mercy
of the waves. Thus ended the fourth attempt to colonize New England.

Argall, it is asserted, had the baseness to purloin the commission of La
Saussaye, as it favored his project of plundering the French more at his
ease, the two crowns of England and France being then at peace. He was
afterward knighted by King James, and became a member of the Council of
Plymouth, and Deputy-governor of Virginia. During a second expedition to
Acadia, he destroyed all traces of the colony of Madame De Guercheville.
It is pretty evident he was a bold, bad man, as the more his character
is scanned the less there appears in it to admire.

Brother Du Thet, standing with smoking match beside his gun, was worthy
the same pencil that has illustrated the defense of Saragossa. I marvel
much the event has not been celebrated in verse.

An enjoyable way of becoming acquainted with Somes's Sound is to take a
wherry at Somesville and drift slowly down with the ebb, returning with
the next flood. In some respects it is better than to be under sail, as
a landing is always easily made, and defiance may be bidden to head


One of the precipices of Dog Mountain, known as Eagle Cliff, has always
attracted the attention of the artists, as well as of all lovers of the
beautiful and sublime. There has been much search for treasure in the
glens hereabouts, directed by spiritualistic conclaves. One too
credulous islander, in his fruitless delving after the pirate Kidd's
buried hoard, has squandered the gold of his own life, and is worn to a

When some one asked Moll Pitcher, the celebrated fortune-teller of Lynn,
to disclose the place where this same Kidd had secreted his wealth,
promising to give her half of what was recovered, the old witch
exclaimed, "Fool! if I knew, could I not have all myself?" Kidd's wealth
must have been beyond computation. There is scarcely a headland or an
island from Montauk to Grand Menan which according to local tradition
does not contain some portion of his spoil.

Much interest is attached to the shell heaps found on Fernald's Point
and at Sand Point opposite. There are also such banks at Hull's Cove
and elsewhere. Indian implements are occasionally met with in these
deposits. It is reasonably certain that some of them are of remote
antiquity. Williamson states that a heavy growth of trees was found by
the first settlers upon some of the shell banks in this vicinity.[17]
Associated with these relics of aboriginal occupation is the print in
the rock near Cromwell's Cove, called the "Indian's Foot." It is in
appearance the impression of a tolerably shaped foot, fourteen inches
long and two deep. The common people are not yet freed from the
superstitions of two centuries ago, which ascribed all such accidental
marks to the Evil One.

In my progress by the road to South-west Harbor, I was intercepted near
Dog Mountain by a sea-turn that soon became a steady drizzle. This
afforded me an opportunity of seeing some fine dissolving views: the
sea-mists advancing, and enveloping the mountain-tops, cheated the
imagination with the idea that the mountains were themselves receding. A
storm-cloud, black and threatening, drifted over Sargent's Mountain,
settling bodily down upon it, deploying and extending itself until the
entire bulk disappeared behind an impenetrable curtain. It was like the
stealthy approach and quick cast of a mantle over the head of an
unsuspecting victim.

Very few were abroad in the storm, but I saw a nut-cracker and chickadee
making the best of it. I remarked that under branching spruces or
fir-trees the grass was still green, and the leaves of the checker-berry
bright and glossy as in September. On this road admirable points of
observation constantly occur from which to view the shifting contours of
Beech and Western mountains, with the broad and level plateau extending
along their northern baseline far to the westward. Retracing with the
eye this line, you see a little hamlet snugly ensconced on the hither
slope of Beech Mountain, while the plateau is rounded off into the
bluffs rising above Echo Lake.

South-west Harbor is usually the stranger's first introduction to Mount
Desert. The approach to it is consequently invested with peculiar
interest to all who know how to value first impressions. Its
neighborhood is less wild and picturesque than the eastern shores of the
island, but Long Lake and the western range of mountains are
conveniently accessible from it; while, by crossing or ascending the
Sound, avenues are opened in every direction to the surpassing charms of
this favored corner of New England.

[Illustration: THE STONE WALL.]

At South-west Harbor the visitor is usually desirous of inspecting the
sea-wall, or _cheval-de-frise_ of shattered rock, that skirts the shore
less than three miles distant from the steamboat landing. And he may
here witness an impressive example of what the ocean can do. An
irregular ridge of a mile in length is piled with shapeless rocks,
against which the sea beats with tireless impetuosity.

Fog is the bane of Mount Desert. Its frequency during the months of July
and August is an important factor in the sum of outdoor enjoyment.
Happily, it is seldom of long continuance, as genial sunshine or light
breezes soon disperse it.

There is, however, a weird sort of fascination in standing on the shore
in a fog. You are completely deceived as to the nearness either of
objects or of sounds, though the roll of the surf is more depended upon
by experienced ears than the fog-bell. In sailing near the land every
one has noticed the recoil of sounds from the shore, as voices, or the
beat of a steamer's paddles. Coming through the Mussel Ridge Channel one
unusually thick morning, the fog suddenly "scaled up," discovering White
Head in uncomfortable proximity. The light-house keeper stood in his
door, tolling the heavy fog-bell that we had believed half a mile away.
Our pilot gave him thanks with three blasts of the steam-whistle.


Off the entrance to the Sound are several islands--Great Cranberry, of
five hundred acres; Little Cranberry, of two hundred acres; and, farther
inshore, Lancaster's Island, of one hundred acres. The eastern channel
into the Sound is between the two last named. Duck Island, of about
fifty acres, is east of Great Cranberry; and Baker's, on which is the
light-house, is the outermost of the cluster.

The cranberry is indigenous to the whole extent of the Maine sea-board.
It grows to perfection on the borders of wet meadows, but I have known
it to thrive on the upland. The culture has been found very remunerative
in localities less favored by nature, as at Cape Cod and on the New
Jersey coast. Some attempts at cranberry culture have recently been made
with good success at Lemoine, on the main-land, opposite Mount Desert.
Blue-berries are abundant on Mount Desert. I saw one young girl who had
picked enough in a week to bring her seven dollars. Formerly they were
sent off the island, but they are now in good demand at the hotels and
boarding-houses. In poorer families the head of it picks up a little
money by shore-fishing. He plants a little patch with potatoes, dressing
the land with sea-weed, which costs him only the labor of gathering it.
His fire-wood is as cheaply procured from the neighboring forest or
shore, and in the autumn his wife and children gather berries, which are
exchanged for necessaries at the stores.

At the extreme southerly end of Mount Desert is Bass Harbor, with three
islands outlying. It is landlocked, and a well-known haven of refuge.


[12] "Champlain's Voyages," edit. 1613. Mount Desert was also made out
by the Boston colonists of 1630. The reader is referred for materials of
Mount Desert's history to Champlain, Charlevoix, Lescarbot, Biard, and
Purchas, vol. iv.

[13] She was one of the queen's ladies of honor, and wife of the Duke of
Rochefoucauld Liancourt.

[14] Champlain: Mr. Shea says he was only a lay brother.

[15] This has a resemblance to Kenduskeag, and was probably the present

[16] Charlevoix says the landing was on the north side of the island.

[17] "History of Maine," vol. i., p. 80.

[Illustration: PROFESSOR AGASSIZ.]



    "You should have seen that long hill-range,
      With gaps of brightness riven--
    How through each pass and hollow streamed
      The purpling light of heaven--"


Having broken the ice a little with the reader, I shall suppose him
present on the most glorious Christmas morning a New England sun ever
shone upon. "A green Christmas makes a fat church-yard," says an
Old-country proverb; this was a white _Noël_, cloudless and bright. I
saw that the peruke of my neighbor across the Sound, Sargent's Mountain,
had been freshly powdered during the night; that the rigging of the
ice-bound craft harbored between us was incased in solid ice,
reflecting the sunbeams like burnished steel. The inscription on mine
host's sign-board was blotted out by the driving sleet; the brown and
leafless trees stood transfigured into objects of wondrous beauty. I
heard the jingle of bells in the stable-yard and the stamping of feet
below stairs, and then

    "I heard nae mair, for Chanticleer
      Shook off the pouthery snaw,
    And hail'd the morning with a cheer,
      A cottage-rousing craw."

The roads from Bar Harbor and from North-east Harbor unite within a
short distance of Somesville, and enter the village together. Within
these highways is embraced a large proportion of those picturesque
features for which the island is famed. In this area are the highest
mountains, the boldest headlands, the deepest indentations of the
shores. It is not for nothing, therefore, that Bar Harbor has become a
favorite rendezvous of the throngs

    "That seek the crowd they seem to fly."

On Christmas-day the road to Bar Harbor was an avenue of a winter palace
more sumptuous than that by the Neva. Every spray of the dark evergreen
trees was heavily laden with a light snow that plentifully besprinkled
us in passing beneath the often overreaching branches. The stillness was
unbroken. Blasted trees--gaunt, withered, and hung with moss like rags
on the shrunken limbs of a mendicant--were now incrusted with
ice-crystals, that glittered like lustres on gigantic candelabra. On the
top of some rounded hill there sometimes was standing the bare stem of a
blasted pine, where it shone like the spike on a grenadier's helmet. It
was a scene of enchantment.

I saw frequent tracks where the deer had come down the mountain and
crossed the road, sometimes singly, sometimes in pairs, and in search,
no doubt, of water. The foot-prints of foxes, rabbits, and grouse were
also common. During the day I met an islander who told me he had shot a
fat buck only a day or two before, and that many deer were still
haunting the mountains. Formerly, but so long ago that only tradition
preserves the fact, there were black bear and moose; and traces of
beaver are yet to be seen in their dams and houses. Red foxes and mink,
and occasionally the black fox, greatly valued for its fur, are taken by
the hunters. In order to make the roads interesting to nocturnal
travelers, rumor was talking of a panther and a wolf that had been seen
within a short time.

In the day when these coasts were stocked with beaver, its skin was the
common currency of the country, as well of the Indians as of the whites.
It was greatly prized in Europe, and constituted the wealth of the
savages of northern New England, who were wholly unacquainted with
wampum until it was introduced among them by the Plymouth trading-posts
on the Penobscot and Kennebec.

The wigwam of a rich chief would be lined with beaver-skins, and, if he
were very rich, his guests were seated on packs of it. Then, as now, a
suitor was not the less acceptable if he came to his mistress with
plenty of beaver. It was the Indians' practice to kill only two-thirds
of the beaver each season, leaving a third for increase. The English
hunters killed all they found, rapidly exterminating an animal which the
Indian believed to be possessed of preternatural sagacity.


Our road, after crossing a northern spur of Sargent's Mountain, which
lifts itself more than a thousand feet above the sea, led on over a
succession of hills. Beyond Sargent's, Green Mountain stood unveiled,
with what seemed the tiniest of cottages perched on its summit. Ere long
Eagle Lake lay outstretched at the right, but it was in the trance of
winter. The painter, Church, whose favorite ground lay about due south,
christened the lake, doubtless with a palmful of water from its own
baptismal font. The roadway is thrown across its outlet where the
timbers of an old mill, that some time ago had gorged itself with the
native forest, lay rotting and overthrown.

Green Mountain overpeers all the others. On its summit you are fifteen
hundred and thirty-five feet higher than the sea. On this account it was
selected as a landmark for the survey of the neighboring coasts. It is
not difficult of ascent, as the mountain road built by the surveyors is
considered practicable for carriages nearly or quite to the top. I had
anticipated ascending it, but the new-fallen snow rendered walking
difficult, and I was forced to content myself with viewing it from all
sides of approach.

An acquaintance with the sierras of either half of the continent
exercises a restraining influence in presence of an upheaval
comparatively slight, yet it is only in a few favored instances that one
may stand on the summits of very high mountains and look down upon the
sea. New England, indeed, boasts greater elevations at some distance
from her sea-coast, among which the Mount Desert peaks would appear
dwarfed into respectable hills. On a clear day, and under conditions
peculiarly favorable, a distant glimpse of Katahdin and of Mount
Washington may be had from the crest of Green Mountain. In summer the
little house is open for the refreshment of weary but adventurous

Here I would observe that the island nomenclature is painfully at
variance with whatever is suggestive of felicitous _rapport_ with its
natural characteristics. The name of Mount Desert, it is true, is
singularly appropriate; but then it was given by a Frenchman with an eye
for truth in picturesqueness. In the year 1796, when the north half of
the island was formed into a township, it was called, with sublimated
irony, Eden. Green Mountain is not more green than its neighbors. At the
Ovens I saw plenty of yeast, but not enough to leaven the name. Schooner
Head is not more apposite.


Just before coming into Bar Harbor there is an excellent opportunity of
observing the cluster of islands to which it owes existence. These are
the Porcupine group, and beyond, across a broad bay, the Gouldsborough
hills appeared in a Christmas garb of silvery whiteness. The Porcupine
Islands, four in number, lie within easy reach of the shore, Bar Island,
the nearest, being connected with the main-land at low ebb. On Bald
Porcupine General Fremont has pitched his head-quarters. It was the sea
that was fretful when I looked at the islands, though they bristled with
erected pines and cedars.

The village at Bar Harbor is the sudden outgrowth of the necessities of
a population that comes with the roses, and vanishes with the first
frosts of autumn. It has neither form nor comeliness, though it is
admirably situated for excursions to points on the eastern and southern
shores of the island as far as Great Head and Otter Creek. A new hotel
was building, notwithstanding the last season had not proved as
remunerative as usual. I saw that pure water was brought to the harbor
by a wooden aqueduct that crossed the valley on trestles, after the
manner practiced in the California mining regions, and there called a
flume. There is a beach, with good bathing on both sides of the landing,
though the low temperature of the water in summer is hardly calculated
for invalids.

From Bar Harbor, a road conducts by the shore, southerly, as far as
Great Head, some five miles distant. After following this route for a
long mile, as it seemed, it divides, the road to the right leading on
five miles to Otter Creek, and thence to North-east Harbor, seven miles
beyond. Excursions to Great Head, and to Newport Mountain and Otter
Creek, should occupy separate days, as the shores are extremely
interesting, and the scenery unsurpassed in the whole range of the

In pursuing his explorations at or near low-water mark, it will be best
for the tourist to begin a ramble an hour before the tide has fully
ebbed. The tides on this coast ordinarily rise and fall about twelve
feet, and in winter, as I saw, frequently eighteen feet. Hence the
advance and retreat of the waves is not only rapid, but leaves a broader
margin uncovered than in Massachusetts Bay, where there is commonly not
more than eight feet of rise and fall. In many places along the arc of
the shore stretching between Bar Harbor and Great Head, the ascent to
higher ground is, to say the least, difficult, and, in some instances,
progress is forbidden by a beetling cliff or impassable chasm. As time
is seldom carefully noted when one is fairly engaged in such
investigations, it is always prudent first to know your ground, and next
to keep a wary eye upon the stealthy approach of the sea.

There is a pleasant ramble by the shore to Cromwell's Cove; but here
onward movement is arrested by a cliff that turns you homeward by a
cross-path through the fields to the road, after having whetted the
appetite for what is yet in reserve.


Schooner Head is reached by this road in about four miles from Bar
Harbor, and three from the junction of the Otter Creek road. I walked it
easily in an hour. The way is walled in on the landward side by the
abrupt precipices of Newport Mountain, in the sheer face of which
stunted firs are niched here and there. Very much they soften the hard,
unyielding lines and cold gray of the crags; the eye lingers kindly on
their green chaplets cast about the frowning brows of wintry mountains.
This morning all were Christmas-trees, and the ancients of the isle hung
out their banners to greet the day.

Emerging from the woods at a farm-house at the head of a cove, a
foot-path leads to the promontory at its hither side. It is thrust a
little out from the land, sheltering the cove while itself receiving the
full onset of the sea. An intrusion of white rock in the seaward face is
supposed by those of an imaginative turn to bear some resemblance to a
schooner; and, in order to complete the similitude, two flag-staffs had
been erected on the top of the cliff. At best, I fancy it will be found
a phantom ship to lure the mariner to destruction.


I did not find Schooner Head so remarkable for its height as in the
evidences everywhere of the crushing blows it has received while
battling with storms. "Hard pounding this, gentlemen; but we shall see
who can pound longest," said the Iron Duke at Waterloo. Here are the
rents and ruins of ceaseless assault and repulse. The ocean is slowly
but steadily advancing on both sides of the continent; perchance it is,
after all, susceptible of calculation how long the land shall endure.


I clambered among the huge blocks of granite that nothing less than
steam could now have stirred, although they had once been displaced by a
few drops of water acting together. A terrible rent in the east side of
the cliff is locally known as the Spouting Horn. Down at its base the
sea has worn through the rock, leaving a low arch. At the flood, with
sufficient sea on, and an off-shore wind, a wave rolls in through the
cavity, mounts the escarpment, and leaps high above the opening with a
roar like the booming of heavy ordnance. These natural curiosities are
not unfrequent along the coast. There is one of considerable power at
Cape Arundel, Maine, that I have heard when two miles from the spot.
Unfortunately for the tourist, these grand displays are usually in
storms, when few care to be abroad; undoubtedly, the outward man may be
protected and the inward exalted at such times. Some of the more
adventurous go through the Horn: I went around it.

I saw here a few ruminant sheep gazing off upon the sea. What should a
sheep see in the ocean?

On the farther side of the cove is a sea-cavern that has the reputation
of being the finest on the island. Within its gloomy recesses are rock
pools of rare interest to the naturalist. In proper season they will be
found inhabited by the sea-anemone and other and more debatable forms of
animal life. Some of these aquaria I have seen are of marvelous beauty,
recalling the lines,

    "Full many a gem of purest ray serene
    The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear."

Lined with mother-of-pearl and scarlet mussels, resting on beds of soft
sponge or purple moss-tufts, these fairy grottoes are the favorite
retreat of King Crab and his myrmidons, of the star-fish and sea-urchin.
Twice in every twenty-four hours the basins are refilled with pure
sea-water, than which nothing can be more transparent. Strange that
these rugged crags, where the grasp of man would be loosened by the
first wave, should be instinct with life! It required some force to
detach a mussel from its bed, and you must have recourse to your knife
to remove the barnacles with which the smoother rocks are incrusted.
John Adams, when he first saw the sea-anemone, compared it, in figure
and feeling, to a young girl's breast.


Mount Desert has been familiar to two of the greatest of American
naturalists. When Audubon was preparing his magnificent "Birds of
America," he visited the island, and I have no doubt the report of his
rifle was often heard echoing among the mountains or along the shores.
Agassiz was also here, interrogating the rocks, rapping their stony
knuckles with his hammer, or pressing their gaunt ribs with playful
familiarity. Audubon died in 1851. Agassiz is more freshly remembered by
the present generation, to whom he made the pathway of Natural Science
bright by his genius, and pleasant, by his genuine, whole-hearted

In 1858 the French Government devoted itself, with extreme solicitude,
to the reorganization of the administration of the Museum of Natural
History of the _Jardin des Plantes_ at Paris. It appears that, in spite
of a first refusal, several times repeated, Agassiz at length consented
to accept the direction of the museum. The Emperor, who had formed a
personal acquaintance with the celebrated naturalist during his sojourn
in Switzerland, pursued with customary pertinacity his favorite idea of
alluring M. Agassiz to Paris. He was offered a salary of twenty-five
thousand francs; and it was understood he was promised, besides,
elevation to the dignity of senator, of which the appointments were
worth twenty-five thousand francs more.

I have thought it fitting to give Agassiz's own report of his first
introduction to an American public:

"When I came to Boston," said he, "the first course which I gave had
five thousand auditors, and I was obliged to divide them into two
sections of twenty-five hundred each, and to repeat each lesson. This
course was given in the large hall of the Tremont Temple."

"Do you think," he was asked, "that in such a crowd it was the fashion
or the desire for instruction which dominated?"

"No doubt," he replied, "it was a serious desire for instruction. I have
plenty of proofs of it coming from persons belonging to the lower
classes. For instance, it is usual here to accord to persons who go out
to service full liberty after a certain hour in the evening, solely to
go to the course of lectures; that is made a part of the agreement. A
lady who had a very strong desire to hear me, told me that it was
impossible for her to do so. Her cook was the first informed of my
announcement, took the initiative, and obtained her promise of liberty
for the hour of the evening when I taught, and left her mistress to take
care of the house alone. On her return she explained very clearly what I
had said."

The slow sale of Agassiz's works in Europe decided him to pass fifteen
months in the United States; and the revolution of 1848 changed this
intention into a purpose of permanent residence. Agassiz was tall,
corpulent, bent, rather by continual study than with age. His forehead
was broad, high, and a little retreating; his countenance conspicuously
Swiss, by the largeness of his features, the gravity and benevolence of
his expression. His hair was gray, and little abundant. He spoke German
and English with facility, but had to some extent unlearned his French.
Although his conversation was without volubility, when he grew animated
in talking upon great questions his expression became noble and
majestic. "There was in him a remarkable force of thought and will. He
appeared like a man who makes haste slowly; but notwithstanding the
adage, no one can withhold an involuntary astonishment at the great
works he has been able to achieve." Agassiz belonged to the _noblesse_
of science and of literature. When such men die they can not be said to
leave legitimate successors.

Mount Desert has itself produced a man of marked usefulness in David
Wasgatt Clark, D.D., a Wesleyan divine, who was elected bishop in 1864.
He accomplished extensive literary labors, was intrusted with high and
responsible positions, and although a puny boy, the jest of his
companions of a more robust mould, completed nearly three-score years of
a laborious and eventful life.

From Schooner Head I pursued my way by the road to Great Head. And while
_en route_ I should not forget the Lynam Homestead, to which Cole,
Church, Gifford, Hart, Parsons, Warren, Bierstadt, and others renowned
in American art have from time to time resorted to enrich their studios
from the abounding wealth of the neighborhood.

One of the first artists to come to the island was Fisher. Church, whose
name is associated with its rediscovery, did not always come for work.
On one occasion, as leader of a merry party, he was lost on Beech
Mountain, and passed the night there. With rare prevision he had
provided an axe, with plenty of robes and wraps. At the foot of the
mountain the carriage was sent back to the village. Church was too good
a woodman not to use his axe to make a shanty of boughs, while the
robes, when spread upon fragrant heaps of spruce, made excellent couches
for the laughing girls that were under his protection. Meanwhile
consternation reigned at Somesville. Messengers were sent hither and
thither in haste; but no tidings arrived of the absent ones until the
next morning, when they entered the village as if nothing unusual had

Great Head is easily found. The road we have been pursuing comes to an
abrupt ending at a house within a short half-mile of it. Follow the
shore backward toward Schooner Head, and you will stand in presence of
the boldest headland in all New England. I saw that no foot-print but my
own had lately passed that way. There was something in thus having it
all to one's self.

To appreciate Great Head one must stand underneath it; but the descent,
always difficult, was rendered perilous by the newly-formed ice. By dint
of perseverance I at last stood upon the ledge beneath, that extends out
like a platform for some distance toward deep water. It was the right
stage of the tide. I looked up at the face of the cliff. It was bearded
with icicles, like the Genius of Winter. Along the upper edge appeared
the interlacing roots of old trees grasping the scanty soil like monster
talons. Stunted birches, bent by storms, skirted its brow, and at sea
add to its height. From top to bottom the face of the cliff is a mass of
hard granite, overhanging its foundations in impending ruin, shivered
and splintered as if torn by some tremendous explosion. I could only
think of the last sketch of Delaroche.

The sea rolls in great waves that overwhelm every thing within their
reach. More than once I started back at the approach of one of them.
Just outside the first line of breakers rode a flock of wild fowl, and
occasionally the mournful cry of a loon, or shriller scream of a
sea-gull, mingled with the roar of the surf. Farther out, at the
distance of a mile, a wicked-looking rock and ledge was flinging off the
seas, flecking its tawny flanks with foam, like a war-horse impatiently
champing at his bit.

[Illustration: GREAT HEAD.]

Looking off from Great Head to the eastward, the main-land is perceived
trending away until it loses itself in the ocean. At the extremity of
this land is Schoodic Point and Mountain, with Mosquito Harbor indenting
it. The water between is not the true "Baye Françoise" of Champlain,
Lescarbot, and others. The appellation belongs of right to the Bay of
Fundy, perpetuating as it does the misadventure of Nicolas Aubri, one of
the company of De Monts, who was lost in the woods there. As this is not
the only historic anachronism by many that may be met with on our
coasts, I do not propose to quarrel with it, the less that a Frenchman
was the first white here. The name has been current for about a century,
though on old French maps it is found to lie farther east.

The north wind was beating down yesterday's sea, sweeping over the
billows, and whirling their crests far away to leeward. Along the rocks
the foam lay like wool-fleeces, or was whisked about, dabbling the grim
face of the cliff with creamy spots. Other headlands were mailed in ice.

Mount Desert Rock is about twenty miles south-south-east of the island
and from fourteen to eighteen from the nearest land. It has a
light-house, built upon naked, shapeless ledges. There is another on
Baker's Island, off the entrance to Somes's Sound.

Natural sea-marks, like Great Head Cliff, are preferred by mariners to
artificial buoys or beacons. No one that has seen them will be likely to
forget the Pan of Matanzas, or the Cabanas of Havana. Before the
excellent system inaugurated by the United States Coast Survey, trees,
standing singly or in groups, often gave direction how to steer on a
dangerous coast. Sometimes they were lopped on one side, or made to take
some peculiarity of shape that would distinguish them from all others.
Thus some solitary old cedar becomes a guide-board known to all who
travel on ocean highways.

The next point of interest will be found at Otter Creek, which may be
reached in good weather by sailing, by the direct road from Bar Harbor,
already mentioned, or by crossing the lower ridge of Newport Mountain
from Great Head.

After a last look at the sea, which was of a dingy green, and broke
angrily as far as the eye could reach in the offing, I entered the trail
that was to bring me to Otter Creek.

Newport's southern peak was just overhead, its sharp protuberances made
smooth by knobs of ice that resembled the bosses of a target. There
reached me occasional rapid glimpses of the sea in ascending, but I
walked chiefly in a dense growth that excluded all light, except when
the glint of the sun through the tree-tops fell in golden bars across my
way. Prostrate and uselessly rotting was wood enough to have kept a
good-sized village through the winter. The air was light and elastic. I
do not think a pleasanter ramble is to be had on the island than this

    "O'er windy hill, through clogged ravine,
    And woodland paths that wound between
    Low drooping pine-boughs winter-weighed."

At Otter Creek is a scattered settlement and an inlet of the sea, into
which the creek empties. The island traditions say the place was once
the favorite retreat of the otter. There are cliffs to admire or study
on the sea-shore, and Thunder Cave is there to explore.

In this pocket-edition of Somes's Sound we find ourselves once more
under the shadow of Green Mountain, and upon looking back up the valley
a pass opens between it and Newport, through which the road finds its
way to Bar Harbor.

The dwellings here, as elsewhere on the island, are humble, and bespeak,
in many instances, a near approach to poverty. In the larger villages
there are comfortable and even substantial residences, but the
impression of unthrift is associated with the proper population. The
reasons are obvious. The first inhabitants got their livelihood by
fishing, and formerly many vessels were fitted out from the Sound.
Perhaps not a few went for the Government bounty. With the failure of
this industry little was left on which to depend. A scanty subsistence
at most could be wrung from the soil, though Williamson, the historian
of Maine, avers this was once strong and fertile in the valleys. The
land, by the removal of crops without restoring the elements essential
to it, has been growing poorer year by year. A little hay is cut on the
uplands, and at Pretty Marsh are some hundreds of acres of salt meadow.
The mountains have been stripped of their wood to the last merchantable
tree. At this unpromising juncture the island became suddenly famous,
and is now among the most frequented of American summer resorts. None
could be more astonished at their own prosperity than these islanders,
who, being, as a whole and in a marked degree, incapable of appreciating
the grandeur of the scenes with which they have from infancy been
familiar, look with scarce concealed disdain upon the admiration they
inspire in others.

Some handsome cottages have already sprung out of the prevailing
ugliness at Bar Harbor. At Great Head a tract of considerable extent has
been inclosed. The star of Mount Desert is clearly in the ascendant, as,
however prudent the city man may be at home, all purse-strings are
loosened at the sea-side. The French proverb, "_Il faut faire ou se
taire_" is usually construed into the modern barbaric "play or pay" at
the shore. Not one of these worthy landlords was ever known to fall,
like Vatel, on his own sword because there was not enough roast meat.
Nevertheless, at the risk of forfeiting the reader's good opinion, I
will say that there are landlords with consciences, and I have both seen
and spoken with such on Mount Desert.

Another of my excursions, which afforded new entertainment with new
scenes, was a pedestrian jaunt from Otter Creek to North-east Harbor.
This route commands fine ocean views in the direction of the entrance to
the Sound and of the outlying islands. You first open Seal Cove, and,
crossing the shingle road at its head, in two miles and a half of
farther progress skirting the eastern shore of the Sound, arrive at the
head of North-east Harbor, an inconsiderable village, in which
Williamson conjectures La Saussaye finally landed.

Seven miles more along the eastern base of Brown's Mountain, in the
sombre shadows of which the road nestles, brings us back to the tavern
door at Somesville. This road crosses a limb of Hadlock's Pond, and is
skirted for some distance by a fine grove of beeches. In summer-time
this part of the route is traversed under a canopy of overarching
branches, whose dense foliage excludes all but a few straggling rays
that let fall a shimmer of delicious sunlight, for the moment glorifying
all that pass beneath.


It may chance that the visitor will first pass over the section already
traversed in these pages; or it may so fall out that he will decide to
undertake a run by the shore north of Bar Harbor in advance of other
excursions. In this case Salisbury's Cove and the "Ovens" become his

I have already fore-warned the reader that it is six or seven miles from
any initial point to any other given point on Mount Desert Island. This
equality of distance sometimes makes a choice embarrassing, since in
selecting from two routes the preference is usually given to the
shorter. But it will sometimes happen that he will find these longer
than statute miles, or that when pursuing his way with all imaginable
confidence, it is suddenly blocked by a mountain or a precipice. These
contingencies make walking preferable. A horse is no doubt a very useful
animal where there are roads.

It is practicable at low tide to reach the Ovens by the beach, but as
this involves many difficulties, it is better to take the road beyond
Hull's Cove, two miles from Bar Harbor. The cove is said to have been
named for a brother of General William Hull. It was resorted to quite
early in the settlement of the island. Here was the dwelling-place of
the Gregoires, to whom Massachusetts ceded the whole island upon proof,
exhibited in 1787, that Madame Gregoire was the lineal descendant of
Cadillac, who claimed under his grant from Louis XIV. in 1688.[18] The
meditative reader may ponder upon this resumption under a French title
as an evidence that time at last makes all things even. It would not
seem inappropriate, inasmuch as two women have had so prominent a share
in the history of Mount Desert, to perpetuate the names of Guercheville
and Gregoire. The graves of the Gregoires may be seen near the
north-east corner of the burial-ground. Monsieur is asserted to have
been a _bon-vivant_.

The Ovens are caverns hollowed out by the waves in the softer masses of
the cliffs. When the tide is completely down a pebbly beach shelves away
to low-water mark. The feldspar and porphyry of which the rocks are
composed impart a cheerfulness to the walls of these grottoes more
pleasing after descending into the gloomy recesses of the south shore.
Near the Ovens is a passage driven through a projecting cliff, known as
_Via Mala_.

In passing, the reader will give me leave to mention another woman whose
influence was felt in the affairs of Acadia. It was Henrietta, Duchesse
d'Orleans, and aunt of Louis XIV., who obtained the relinquishment of
Acadia by her husband, Charles I. of unfortunate memory, under the peace
of 1632. The fate of the widowed queen is involved in one of the most
repulsive chapters of history. According to contemporary accounts, she
fell a victim to the reign of the poisoners in the time of Louis. By the
testimony of the Marquis Dangeau and other annalists of the times, the
poison had been sent by the Chevalier De Lorraine, her lover, then in

The reader may now complete the circuit of the island at leisure. In
taking leave of these hills, I would observe that although not every one
is possessed of a knowledge of woodcraft, or of the muscles of a
mountaineer, it is far better to depart the beaten paths and to seek out
new conquests. For my own part, I may safely guarantee that in finding
himself for the first time on Mount Desert, the visitor will be as
thoroughly surprised as impressed in the presence of natural scenes so
pronounced in character, and so unique in their relation to and
environment by the sea.

In my way to and from this remote corner of New England, it was my
fortune to encounter a single instance of that inquisitorial propensity
known the world over as Yankee curiosity. On arriving at a late hour at
Ellsworth, the landlord, a great burly fellow, drew a chair close to
mine, pushed his hat back from his brows--every body here wears his hat
in the house--spat in the grate, smote his knees with his big palms, and

"Look a here, mister! I know 'tan't none o' my business; but what might
you be agoin' to Mount Desart arter?" And in the same breath, "I'm from
Mount Desart."

"Certes," thought I, "if it's none of your business, why do you ask?"

The same publican afterward let a fellow-wayfarer and myself a sick
horse that proved unfit to travel when we were well upon our journey. I
forgave him all but the making me the unwilling instrument of his
cruelty to a dumb beast.



[18] See Williamson, vol. i., p. 79; "Resolves of Massachusetts," July
and November, 1787; "New York Colonial Documents," vol. ix., p. 594. Mr.
De Costa has given a summary of these in his pleasant little book.




    "A wind came up out of the sea,
    And said, 'O mists, make room for me.'"


Whoever has turned over the pages of early New England history can not
fail to have had his curiosity piqued by the relations of old French
writers respecting this extreme outpost of French empire in America. The
traditions of the existence of an ancient and populous city, going far
beyond any English attempt in this corner of the continent, are of
themselves sufficient to excite the ardent pursuit of an antiquary, and
to set all the busy hives of historical searchers in a buzz of

That scoffer, Lescarbot, would dispose of the ancient city of Norumbega
as Voltaire would have disposed of the Christian religion--with a
sarcasm; but, if there be truth in the apothegm that "seeing is
believing," the forerunners of Champlain came, saw, and made a note of
it. "Now," says the advocate, "if that beautiful city was ever in
nature, I should like to know who demolished it; for there are only a
few cabins here and there, made of poles and covered with the bark of
trees or skins; and both habitation and river are called Pemptegoet, and
not Agguncia."[19]

I approached the famed river in a dense fog, in which the steamer
cautiously threaded her way. Earth, sky, and water were equally
indistinguishable. A volume of pent steam gushing from the pipes
hoarsely trumpeted our approach, and then streamed in a snow-white plume
over the taffrail, and was lost in the surrounding obscurity. The decks
were wet with the damps of the morning; the few passengers stirring
seemed lifeless and unsocial. Here and there, as we floated in the midst
of this cloud, the paddles impatiently beating the water, were visible
the topmasts of vessels at anchor, though in the dimness they seemed
wonderfully like the protruding spars of so many sunken craft. Hails or
voices from them sounded preternaturally loud and distinct, as also did
the noise of oars in fog-bewildered boats. The blast of a fog-horn near
or far occasionally sounded a hoarse refrain to the warning that issued
from the brazen throat of the Titan chained in our galley.

At this instant the sun emerging from his dip into the sea, glowing with
power, put the mists to flight. First they parted on each side of a
broad pathway in which sky and water re-appeared. Then, before brighter
gleams, they overthrew and trampled upon each other in disorderly rout.
A few scattered remnants drifted into upper air and vanished; other
masses clung to the shores as if inclined still to dispute the field.
Owl's Head light-house came out at the call of the enchanter, blinking
its drowsy eyes; then sunlit steeples and lofty spars glanced up and out
of the fog-cloud that enveloped the city of Rockland.

The vicinity of a town had been announced by cock-crowing, the rattling
of wheels, or occasional sound of a bell from some church-tower; but all
these sounds seemed to heighten the illusions produced by the fog, and
to endow its impalpable mass with ghostly life. Vessels under sail
appeared weird and spectral--phantom ships, that came into view for a
moment and dissolved an instant after--masts, shrouds, and canvas
melting away--

    "As clouds with clouds embrace."

Rockland is a busy and enterprising place in the inchoate condition of
comparative newness, and of the hurry that postpones all improvements
not of immediate utility. Until 1848 it had no place on the map. Back of
the settled portion of Rockland is a range of dark green hills, with the
easy slopes and smooth contours of a limestone region. I know not if
Rockland will ever be finished, for it is continually disemboweling
itself, coining its rock foundations, until perchance it may some day be
left without a leg to stand on.

Penobscot Bay is magnificent in a clear day. The fastidious De Monts
surveyed and passed it by. Singularly enough, the French, who searched
the New England coast from time to time in quest of a milder climate and
more fertile soil than that of Canada, were at last compelled to abide
by their first discoveries, and inhabit a region sterile and
inhospitable by comparison. Had it fallen out otherwise, Quebecs and
Louisburgs might have bristled along her sea-coast, if not have changed
her political destiny.

Maine has her forests, her townships of lime, her granite islands, her
seas of ice--all, beyond dispute, raw products. Fleets detach themselves
from the banks of the Penobscot and float every year away.

    "One goes abroad for merchandise and trading,
    Another stays to keep his country from invading,
    A third is coming home with rich and wealthy lading.
      Halloo! my fancie, whither wilt thou go?"

The sumptuous structures we erect of her granite are only so many
monuments to Maine. I have seen, on the other side of the continent, a
town wholly built of Maine lumber. While Boston was yet smoking, her
neighbor was getting ready the lumber and granite to rebuild her better
than ever. So these great rivers become as mere mill-streams in the
broader sense, and, at need, a telegraphic order for a town or a fleet
would be promptly filled.

There is no corner, however remote, into which Maine enterprise does not
penetrate. The spirit of adventure and speculation has pushed its
commerce everywhere. With a deck-load of lumber, some shingles, or
barrels of lime, schooners of a few tons burden, and manned with three
or four hands, may be met with hundreds of miles at sea, steering boldly
on in search of a buyer. An English writer narrates his surprise at
seeing in the latitude of Hatteras, at the very height of a terrific
storm, when the sea, wreathed with foam, was rolling before the gale,
one of these buoyant little vessels scudding like a spirit through the
mingling tempest, with steady sail and dry decks, toward the distant

Rockland was formerly a part of Thomaston,[20] and is upon ground
anciently covered by the Muscongus, or Waldo patent, which passed
through the ownership of some personages celebrated in their day. A very
brief _résumé_ of this truly seignorial possession will assist the
reader in forming some idea of the state of the old colonial magnates.
It will also account to him for the names of the counties of Knox and

Prior to the French Revolution there were distinctions in society
afterward unknown, the vestiges of colonial relations. Men in office,
the wealthy, and above all, those who laid claim to good descent, were
the gentry in the country. Habits of life and personal adornment were
outward indications of superiority. The Revolution drove the larger
number of this class into exile, but there still continued to be, on the
patriots' side, well-defined ranks of society. There was also a class
who held large landed estates, in imitation of the great proprietors of
England. These persons formed a country gentry, and were the great men
of their respective counties. They held civil and military offices, and
were members of the Great and General Court.

The Muscongus patent was granted by the Council of Plymouth, in 1630, to
John Beauchamp of London, and John Leverett of Boston, England. It
embraced a tract thirty miles square, extending between the Muscongus
and Penobscot, being limited on the west and north by the Kennebec
patent, mentioned hereafter as granted to our colony of Plymouth.
Besides Rockland and Thomaston, the towns of Belfast, Camden, Warren,
and Waldoboro are within its former bounds. In 1719 the Muscongus grant
was divided for the purpose of settlement into ten shares, the ten
proprietors assigning two-thirds of it to twenty associates. I have
examined the stiff black-letter parchment of 1719, and glanced at its
pompous formalities. At this time there was not a house between
Georgetown and Annapolis, except on Damariscove Island.[21]

[Illustration: GENERAL HENRY KNOX.]

The Waldo family became in time the largest owners of the patent. Samuel
Waldo, the brigadier, was the intimate friend of Sir William Pepperell,
with whom he had served at Louisburg. They were born in the same year,
and died at nearly the same time. Their friendship was to have
perpetuated itself by a match between Hannah, the brigadier's daughter,
and Andrew, the son of Sir William. After a deal of courtly
correspondence that plainly enough foreshadows the bitter disappointment
of the old friends, Hannah refused to marry Andrew, the scape-grace. In
six weeks she gave her hand, a pretty one, 'tis said, to Thomas Flucker,
and with it went a nice large slice of the patent. Flucker became the
last secretary, under crown rule, of Massachusetts. He decamped with his
friends the royalists, in 1776, but his daughter, Lucy, remained behind,
for she had given her heart to Henry Knox, the handsome young
book-seller of colonial Boston, the trusted friend whom Washington
caressed with tears when parting from his comrades of the deathless
little army of '76.

The old brigadier fell dead of apoplexy at the feet of Governor Pownall,
while in the act of pointing out to him the boundary of his lands. Mrs.
Knox, the artillerist's wife, inherited a portion of the Waldo patent,
and her husband, after the Revolution, acquired the residue by
purchase. Here his troubles began; but I can not enter upon them. He
built an elegant mansion at Thomaston, which he called Montpelier.[22]
The house has been demolished by the demands of the railway, for which
one of its outbuildings now serves as a station.


General Knox involved in his personal difficulties his old comrade,
General Lincoln, though not quite so badly as Mr. Jefferson would make
it appear in his letter to Mr. Madison, in which he says, "He took in
General Lincoln for one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, which breaks
him." The same writer has also recorded his opinion that Knox was a
fool; but the resentments of Mr. Jefferson are known to have outrun his
understanding. Through the embarrassments incurred by his friendship,
General Lincoln became interested in the Waldo patent.

Lincoln was about five feet nine, so extremely corpulent as to seem much
shorter than he really was. He wore his hair unpowdered, combed back
from his forehead, and gathered in a long cue. He had a full, round
face, light complexion, and blue eyes. His dress was usually a blue
coat, and buff small-clothes. An enormous cocked hat, as indispensable
to an old officer of the Revolution as to the Little Corporal, or as the
capital to the Corinthian column, completed his attire. He had been
wounded in the leg in the battles with Burgoyne, and always wore boots
to conceal the deformity, as Knox concealed his mutilated hand in a

This old soldier, Lincoln, who had passed very creditably through the
Revolution, was, like the fat boy in "Pickwick," afflicted with
somnolency. In the old Hingham church, in conversation at table, and it
is affirmed also while driving himself in a chaise, he would fall sound
asleep. During his campaign against Shays and the Massachusetts
insurgents of 1786, he snored and dictated between sentences. He
considered this an infirmity, and his friends never ventured to speak to
him of it.

Another charming picture is the approach to the Camden Hills. I saw
their summits peering above fog-drifts, flung like scarfs of gossamer
across their breasts. Heavier masses sailed along the valleys,
presenting a series of ever-shifting, ever-dissolving views, dim and
mysterious, with transient glimpses of church-spires and white
cottages, or of the tops of trees curiously skirting a fog-bank.
Sometimes you caught the warm color of the new-mown hill-sides, or the
outlines of nearer and greener swells. These hills are a noted landmark
for seamen, and the last object visible at sea in leaving the Penobscot.
The highest of the Megunticook peaks rises more than fourteen hundred
feet, commanding an unsurpassed view of the bay.

After touching at Camden, the steamer continued her voyage. The menial
warmth of the sun, with the beauty of the panorama unrolled before them,
had brought the passengers to the deck to gaze and admire. I chanced on
one family group making a lunch off a dry-salted fish and crackers, the
females eating with good appetites. Near by was a German, breakfasting
on a hard-boiled egg and a thick slice of black bread. My own
compatriots preferred the most indigestible of pies and tarts, with
pea-nuts _à discretion_. Relics of these repasts were scattered about
the decks. The good-humor and jollity that had returned with a few rays
of sunshine led me to think on the depression caused by the long nights
of an Arctic winter, as related by Franklin, Parry, Kane, and Hayes. A
greeting to the sun! May he never cease to shine where I walk or lie!

Driving her sharp prow onward, the boat soon entered Belfast Bay. Many
vessels, some of them fully rigged for sea, were on the stocks in the
ship-yards of Belfast. The Duke of Rochefoucauld Liancourt, during his
visit in 1797, noticed that some houses were painted. The town then
contained the only church in the Waldo patent. As might be inferred, the
name is from Belfast, Ireland![23]

[Illustration: FORT POINT.]

The bay begins to contract above Camden, bringing its shores within the
meaning of a noble river. Indeed, as far as I ascended it, the Penobscot
will not lose by comparison with the Hudson. The river is considered to
begin at Fort Point, the site of Governor Pownall's fort. Above the flow
of tidewater its volume decreases, for the Penobscot does not drain an
extensive region like the St. Lawrence, nor has it such a reservoir at
its source as the Kennebec. At Orphan Island the river divides into two
channels, making a narrow pass of extreme beauty and picturesqueness
between the island and the western shore. Nowhere else, except in the
Vineyard Sound, have I seen such a movement of shipping as here. A fleet
of coasters were standing wing and wing through the Narrows. Tow-boats,
dragging as many as a dozen heavy-laden lumbermen outward-bound, came
puffing down the stream. As they entered the broad reach near Fort
Point, one vessel after another hoisted sail and dashed down the bay.
The Narrows are commanded by Fort Knox, opposite Bucksport.[24]

In coming out of Belfast we approached Brigadier's Island, from which
the forest had wholly disappeared. General Knox, whose patent covered
all islands within three miles of the shore, offered three thousand
dollars to the seven farmers who then occupied it, in land and ready
money, to relinquish their possession. Vessels were formerly built on
the island, and it was famous for its plentiful supplies of salmon. In
old times a family usually took from ten to sixty barrels in a season,
which brought in market eight dollars the barrel. The fish were speared
or taken in nets. Owners of jutting points made great captures.

The shores of the river are seen fringed with weirs. Salmon, shad,
alewives, and smelts are taken in proper season, the crops of the sea
succeeding each other with the same certainty as those of the land.
Before the beginning of the century salmon had ceased to be numerous.
Their scarcity was imputed to the Penobscot Indians, who destroyed them
by fishing every day in the year, including Sundays. This king among
fishes formerly frequented the Kennebec, the Merrimac, and were even
taken in Ipswich River, and the small streams flowing into Massachusetts

From Belfast I crossed the bay by Islesboro to Castine. I confess I
looked upon this famous peninsula, crowned with a fortress, furrowed
with the intrenchments of forgotten wars, deserted by a commerce once
considerable, little frequented by the present generation, with an
interest hardly inferior to that stimulated by the associations of any
spot of ground in New England.

The peninsula of Castine presents to view two eminences with regular
outlines, of which the westernmost is the most commanding. Both are
smoothly rounded, and have steep though not difficult ascents. The
present town is built along the base and climbs the declivity of the
eastern hill, its principal street conducting from the water straight up
to its crest, surmounted by the still solid ramparts of Fort George. The
long occupation of the peninsula has nearly denuded it of trees. Its
external aspects belong rather to the milder types of inland scenery
than to the rugged grandeur of the near sea-coast.

Passing by a bold promontory, on which the light-tower stands, the tide
carries you swiftly through the Narrows to the anchorage before the
town. Ships of any class may be carried into Castine, while its adjacent
waters would furnish snug harbors for fleets. You have seen, as you
glided by the shores, traces, more or less distinct, of the sovereignty
of Louis XIV., of George III., and of the republic of the United States.
Puritans and Jesuits, Huguenots and Papists, kings and commons, have all
schemed and striven for the possession of this little corner of land.
Richelieu, Mazarin, and Colbert have plotted for it; Thurloe, Clarendon,
and Bolingbroke have counter-plotted. It has been fought over no end of
times, conquered and reconquered, and is now of no more political
consequence than the distant peak of Katahdin.

There is very little appearance of business about Castine. It is
delightfully lethargic. Few old houses of earlier date than the
Revolution remain to give the place a character of antiquity conformable
with its history. Nevertheless, there are pleasant mansions, and cool,
well-shaded by-ways, quiet and still, in which the echo of your own
footfall is the only audible sound. The peninsula, which the inhabitants
call the "Neck," in distinction from the larger fraction of the town, is
of small extent. You may ramble all over it in an afternoon.[25]

If it is a good maxim to sleep on a weighty matter, so it is well to
dine before forming a judgment of a place you are visiting for the first
time. Having broken bread and tasted salt, you believe yourself to have
acquired some of the rights of citizenship; and if you have dined well,
are not indisposed to regard all you may see with a genial and not too
critical an eye. Upon this conviction I acted.

At the tavern, the speech of the girl who waited on the table was
impeded by the gum she was chewing. While she was repeating the _carte_,
the only words I was able to distinguish were, "Raw fish and clams." As
I am not partial to either, I admit I was a little disconcerted, until a
young man at my elbow interpreted, _sotto voce_, the jargon into "Corned
fish and roast lamb." At intervals in the repast, the waiting-girl would
run into the parlor and beat the keys of the piano, until recalled by
energetic pounding upon the table with the haft of a knife. Below stairs
I was present at a friendly altercation between the landlord and maid of
all work, as to whether the towel for common use had been hanging a week
or only six days. But "travelers," says Touchstone, "must be content;"
and he was no fool though he wore motley.

I ascended the hill above the town on which the Normal School is
situated, and in a few moments stood on the parapet of Fort George. And
perhaps in no part of New England can a more beautiful and extensive
view be had with so little trouble. It was simply enchanting. Such a
combination of land and water is seldom embraced within a single _coup
d'oeil_. The vision is bounded by those portals of the bay, the Camden
range on the south-west, and the heights of Mount Desert in the east. A
little north of east is the solitary Blue Hill, with the windings and
broad reaches of water by which Castine proper is nearly isolated from
the main-land. Turning still northward, and now with your back to the
town, you perceive Old Fort Point, where, in 1759 Governor Pownall built
a work to command the entrance to the river. Farther to the westward is
Brigadier's Island, and the bay expanding three leagues over to Belfast.

[Illustration: VIEW FROM FORT GEORGE.]

Fort George, a square, bastioned work, is the best preserved earth-work
of its years in New England. A few hours would put it in a very
tolerable condition of defense. The moat, excavated down to the solid
rock, is intact; the esplanade hardly broken in outline. The position of
the barracks, magazine, and guard-house may be easily traced on the
parade, though no buildings now remain inside the fortress. The approach
on three sides is by a steep ascent; especially is this the case on the
side of the town. Each bastion was pierced with four embrasures. The
position was of great strength, and would have been an ugly place to
carry by escalade. A matter of a few hours once determined the ownership
of Castine for England or the Colonies in arms.

Now let us take a walk over to the more elevated summit west of Fort
George. Here are also evidences of military occupation in fast-perishing
embankments and heaps of beach pebbles. What are left of the lines look
over toward the English fort and the cove between it and the main-land.
A broad, level plateau of greensward extends between the two summits,
over which neither you nor I would have liked to walk in the teeth of
rattling volleys of musketry. Yet such things have been on this very

The story of these fortifications is drawn from one of the most
disgraceful chapters of the Revolutionary war. It is of a well-conceived
enterprise brought to a disastrous issue through incapacity, discord,
and blundering. There are no longer susceptibilities to be wounded by
the relation, though for many years after the event it was seldom spoken
of save with mingled shame and indignation. Little enough is said of it
in the newspapers of the time, for it was a terrible blow to
Massachusetts pride, and struck home.

In June, 1779, Colonel Francis M'Lean was sent from Halifax with nine
hundred men to seize and fortify the peninsula, then generally known as
Penobscot.[26] He landed on the 12th of June, and with the energy and
decision of a good soldier began the work of establishing himself firmly
in his position.

[Illustration: SIR JOHN MOORE.]

In the British ranks was one notable combatant, Captain John Moore, of
the Fifty-first foot, who fell under the walls of Corunna while
commanding the British army in Spain. As his military career began in
America, I may narrate an incident illustrating his remarkable
popularity with his soldiers. In 1799, at Egmont-op-zee, the
Ninety-second fiercely charged a French brigade. A terrific _mélée_
ensued, in which the French were forced to retreat. In the midst of the
combat two soldiers of the Ninety-second discovered General Moore lying
on his face, apparently dead; for he was wounded and unconscious. "Here
is the general; let us take him away," said one of them, and, suiting
the action to the word, they bore him to the rear. The general offered a
reward of twenty pounds; but could never discover either of the soldiers
who had aided him. Moore's death inspired Wolfe's admired lines,
pronounced by Lord Byron "the most perfect ode in the language:"

    "Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
      As his corpse to the rampart we hurried;
    Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
      O'er the grave where our hero we buried."

"Moore," said Napoleon, "was a brave soldier, an excellent officer, and
a man of talent. He made a few mistakes, inseparable, perhaps, from the
difficulties with which he was surrounded." Being reminded that Moore
was always in the front of battle, and generally unfortunate enough to
be wounded, he added, "Ah! it is necessary sometimes. He died
gloriously; he died like a soldier."

[Illustration: FORT GRIFFITH.]

Great alarm was produced by M'Lean's bold dash. Immediate application
was made to Massachusetts, of which Maine still formed a part, for aid
to expel the invader. Hancock was then governor. General Gates commanded
the Eastern Department, with head-quarters at Providence. The
Massachusetts rulers put their heads together, and, thinking on the
brilliant achievement of their fathers at Louisburg in 1745, resolved to
emulate it. They raised a large land and naval force with the utmost
expedition, laying an embargo for forty days in order to man their fleet
with sailors. General Gates was neither consulted nor applied to for the
Continental troops under his orders.[27]

The Massachusetts armament appeared off Penobscot on the 25th of July.
The army was commanded by Solomon Lovell, the fleet by Captain
Saltonstall, of the _Warren_, a fine new Continental frigate of
thirty-two guns. Peleg Wadsworth was second in command to Lovell; Paul
Revere, whom Longfellow has immortalized, had charge of the artillery.
The land forces did not number more than twelve hundred men, but might
be augmented to fifteen hundred or more with marines from the fleet.
These troops were militia, and had only once paraded together under
arms. The flotilla was formidable in appearance and in the number of
guns it carried, but lacked unity and discipline quite as much as the
army. Plenty of courage and plenty of means do not make soldiers or win

M'Lean had received intelligence of the sailing of the Massachusetts
armada. His fort was not yet capable of defense. Two bastions were not
begun; the two remaining, with the curtains, had not been raised more
than four or five feet, and he had not a single gun mounted. Captain
Mowatt of detestable memory,[28] with three British vessels of small
force, was in the harbor. He took a position to prevent a landing on the
south side of the peninsula. A deep trench was cut across the isthmus
connecting with the main-land, securing that passage. No landing could
be effected except beneath the precipice, two hundred feet high, on the
west. M'Lean dispatched a messenger to Halifax, and redoubled his
efforts to strengthen his fort.

On the third day after their arrival the Americans succeeded in landing,
and, after a gallant fight, gained the heights. This action--an augury,
it would seem, of good success to the assailants, for the enemy had
every advantage of position and knowledge of the ground--is the single
crumb of comfort to be drawn from the annals of the expedition. Captain
Moore was in this affair.

[Illustration: FORT GEORGE.]

Instead of pursuing his advantage, General Lovell took a position within
seven hundred and fifty yards of the enemy's works, and began to
intrench. There was fatal disagreement between the general and
Saltonstall. The sum of the matter was that Lovell, fearing to attack
with his present force, sent to Boston for re-enforcements. Then General
Gates was applied to for help. Two weeks passed in regular approaches on
Lovell's part, and in exertions by M'Lean to render his fort
impregnable. At the end of this time, Sir George Collier arrived from
New York with a fleet, and raised the siege. General Lovell says the
army under his orders had very short notice of the arrival of this
force, by reason of a fog that prevented its being seen until its near
approach. The land forces succeeded in gaining the western shore of the
river at various points, but had then to make their way through a
wilderness to the settlements on the Kennebec. The fleet of Saltonstall
was either destroyed or captured.

It was not long after the complete dispersion of the ill-starred
Penobscot expedition that General Peleg Wadsworth succeeded in entering
the British fort on the hill at Bagaduce. He had more difficulty in
leaving it.

After the disbanding of his militia, the general made his quarters at
Thomaston, where he lived with his wife in apparent security. A young
lady named Fenno and a guard of six militia-men completed his garrison.
General Campbell, commanding at Bagaduce, was well informed of
Wadsworth's defenseless condition, and resolved to send him an
invitation to come and reside in the fortress. A lieutenant and
twenty-five men arrived at dead of night with the message at Wadsworth's
house. The sentinel challenged and fled. General Wadsworth defended
himself with Spartan bravery. Armed with a brace of pistols, a fusee,
and a blunderbuss, he fought his assailants away from his windows and
the door, through which they had followed the retreating sentinel. In
his shirt, with his bayonet only, he disdained to yield for some time
longer, until a shot disabled his left arm. Then, with five or six men
lying wounded around him, the windows shattered, and the house on fire,
Peleg Wadsworth was able to say, "I surrender." They took him, exhausted
with his exertions and benumbed with cold, to the fort, where he was
kept close prisoner. Some time after, Major Burton, who had served with
the general, was also made prisoner, and lodged in the same room with
him. Wadsworth applied for a parole. It was refused. Governor Hancock
sent a cartel with an offer of exchange. It was denied. One day he was
visited by Miss Fenno, who in five words gave him to know he was to be
detained till the end of the war. Peleg Wadsworth then resolved to

The prisoners were confined in a room of the officers' quarters, the
window grated, the door provided with a sash, through which the
sentinel, constantly on duty in the passage, could look into the room as
he paced on his round. At either end of this passage was a door, opening
upon the parade of the fort, at which other sentinels were posted. At
sunset the gates were closed, and the number of sentinels on the parapet
increased. A picket was also stationed at the narrow isthmus connecting
with the main-land.

These were not all the difficulties in their way. Supposing them able to
pass the sentinels in the passage and at the outer door of their
quarters, they must then cross the open space and ascend the wall under
the eye of the guards posted on the parapet. Admitting the summit of the
rampart gained, the exterior wall was defended with strong pickets
driven obliquely into the earthen wall of the fort. From this point was
a sheer descent of twenty feet to the bottom of the ditch. Arrived here,
the fugitives must ascend the counterscarp, and cross the
_chevaux-de-frise_ with which it was furnished. They were then without
the fortress, with no possible means of gaining their freedom except by
water. To elude the picket at the Neck was not to be thought of.

The prisoners' room was ceiled with pine boards. Upon some pretext they
procured a gimlet of a servant, with which they perforated a board so as
to make an aperture sufficiently large to admit the body of a man. The
interstices were cut through with a penknife, leaving the corners intact
until the moment for action should arrive. They then filled the holes
with bread, and carefully removed the dust from the floor. This work had
to be executed while the sentinel traversed a distance equal to twice
the depth of their own room. The prisoners paced their floor, keeping
step with the sentry; and as soon as he had passed by, Burton, who was
the taller, and could reach the ceiling, commenced work, while Wadsworth
walked on. On the approach of the soldier Burton quickly rejoined his
companion. Three weeks were required to execute this task. Each was
provided with a blanket and a strong staff, sharpened at the end. For
food they kept their crusts and dried bits of their meat. They waited
until one night when a violent thunder-storm swept over the peninsula.
It became intensely dark. The rain fell in torrents upon the roof of the
barracks. The moment for action had come.

The prisoners undressed themselves as usual, and went to bed, observed
by the sentinel. They then extinguished their candle, and quickly arose.
Their plan was to gain the vacant space above their room, creeping along
the joists until they reached the passage next beyond, which they knew
to be unguarded. Thence they were to make their way to the north
bastion, acting as circumstances might determine.

Burton was the first to pass through the opening. He had advanced but a
little way before he encountered a flock of fowls, whose roost he had
invaded. Wadsworth listened with breathless anxiety to the cackling that
apprised him for the first time of this new danger. At length it ceased
without having attracted the attention of the guards, and the general
with difficulty ascended in his turn. He passed over the distance to the
gallery unnoticed, and gained the outside by the door that Burton had
left open. Feeling his way along the wall of the barracks to the western
side, he made a bold push for the embankment, gaining the rampart by an
oblique path. At this moment the door of the guard-house was flung open,
and a voice exclaimed, "Relief, turn out!" Fortunately the guard passed
without seeing the fugitive. He reached the bastion agreed upon as a
rendezvous, but Burton was not there. No time was to be lost. Securing
his blanket to a picket, he lowered himself as far as it would permit,
and dropped without accident into the ditch. From here he passed softly
out by the water-course, and stood in the open air without the fort. It
being low tide, the general waded the cove to the main-land, and made
the best of his way up the river. In the morning he was rejoined by his
companion, and both, after exertions that exacted all their fortitude,
gained the opposite shore of the Penobscot in safety. Their evasion is
like a romance of the Bastile in the day of Richelieu.

The gallant old general removed to Falmouth, now Portland. One of his
sons, an intrepid spirit, was killed by the explosion of a fire-ship
before Tripoli, in which he was a volunteer. A daughter married Hon.
Stephen Longfellow, of Portland, father of the poet.

When the _corps d'armée_ of Rochambeau was at Newport, the French
general conceived the idea of sending an expedition to recapture
Penobscot, and solicited the consent of Washington to do so. The French
officers much preferred acting on an independent line, but the proposal
was wisely negatived by the commander in chief. The man to whom
Rochambeau expected to intrust the naval operations was La Peyrouse, the
distinguished but ill-fated navigator.

Other earth-works besides those already mentioned may be traced. Two
small batteries that guarded the approaches on the side of the cove are
distinct. Some of these works were renovated during the reoccupation of
Castine by the British in 1812. Others seen on the shores of the harbor
are of more recent date.

A speaking reminder of by-gone strife is an old cannon, lying on the
greensward under the walls of Fort George, of whose grim muzzle
school-girls were wont to make a post-office. There was poetry in the
conceit. Never before had it been so delicately charged, though I have
known a perfumed billet-doux do more damage than this fellow,
double-shotted and at point-blank, might effect.



[19] Lescarbot, vol. ii., p. 471.

[20] Named for General John Thomas, of the Revolution.

[21] Williamson's "History of Maine."

[22] Jefferson had his Monticello, Washington his Mount Vernon.

[23] Its Indian name was Passageewakeag--"the place of sights, or
ghosts." It contained originally one thousand acres, which the settlers
bought of the heirs of Brigadier Waldo at two shillings the acre.
Belfast was the first incorporated town on the Penobscot. It suffered
severely in the Revolution from the British garrison of Castine.

[24] In 1797 there were twenty vessels owned in Penobscot River, two of
which were in European trade.

[25] The upper and larger part is called North Castine.

[26] Castine was not incorporated under its present name until 1796. The
Indian name of the peninsula was Bagaduce, or Biguyduce.

[27] Gordon, vol. iii., p. 304.

[28] The man who destroyed Falmouth, now Portland.




    "Baron Castine of St. Castine
    Has left his château in the Pyrenees,
    And sailed across the western seas."


I confess I would rather stand in presence of the Pyramids, or walk in
the streets of buried Pompeii, than assist at the unwrapping of many
fleshless bodies. No other medium than the material eye can grasp a fact
with the same distinctness. It becomes rooted, and you may hang your
legends or traditions on its branches. It is true there is a class who
journey from Dan to Beersheba, finding all barren; but the average
American, though far from unappreciative, too often makes a business of
his recreation, and devours in an hour what might be viewed with
advantage in a week or a month.

After this frank declaration, the reader will not expect me to hurry him
through a place that contains so much of the crust of antiquity as
Castine, and is linked in with the Old-world chronicles of a period of
surpassing interest, both in history and romance.

Very little of the fort of the Baron Castin and his predecessors, yet
enough to reward the research of the stranger, is to be seen on the
margin of the shore of the harbor, less than half a mile from the
central portion of the town. The grass-grown ramparts have sunk too low
to be distinguished from the water in passing, but are evident to a
person standing on the ground itself. Not many years will elapse before
these indistinct traces are wholly obliterated.[29]

The bank here is not much elevated above high-water mark, while at the
wharves it rises to a higher level, and is ascended by stairs. The old
fort was placed near the narrowest part of the harbor, with a firm
pebbly beach before it. Small boats may land directly under the walls of
the work at high tide, or lie protected by the curvature of the shore
from the heavy seas rolling in from the outer harbor. The high hills
over which we were rambling in the preceding chapter ward off the
northern winds.

A portion of the ground covered by old Fort Pentagoët is now occupied by
buildings, a barn standing within the circumvallation, and the dwelling
of Mr. Webb between the shore and the road. A little stream of sweet
water trickles along the south-west face of the work, and then loses
itself among the pebbles of the beach.

Fort Pentagoët, at its rendition by Sir Thomas Temple, in 1670, after
the treaty of Breda, was a rectangular work with four bastions. The
height of the curtains within was eight feet. On entering the fort a
_corps de garde_, twelve paces long and six broad, stood at the left,
with a _logis_, or quarter, on the opposite side of the entrance. On the
left side were also two store-houses, each thirty-six paces long by
twelve in breadth, covered with shingles. Underneath the store-houses
was a cellar of about half their extent, in which a well had been sunk.
Above the entrance was a turret, built of timber, plastered with clay,
and furnished with a bell. At the right hand was a barrack of the same
length and breadth as the store-houses, and built of stone. Sixty paces
from the fort was a cabin of planks, in which the cattle were housed;
and at some distance farther was a garden in good condition, having
fruit-trees. There were mounted on the ramparts six six-pounder and two
four-pounder iron cannon, with two culverins. Six other pieces were
lying, useless and dismounted, on the parapet. Overlooking the sea and
detached from the fort was a platform, with two iron eight-pounders in

The occupant of the nearest house told me an oven constructed of flat
slate-stones was discovered in an angle of the work; also that shot had
been picked up on the beach, and a tomahawk, and stone pipe taken from
the well. The whole ground has been explored with the divining-rod, as
well within as without the fort, for treasure-trove; though little or
nothing rewarded the search, except the discovery of a subterranean
passage opening at the shore.

These examinations were no doubt whetted by an extraordinary piece of
good luck that befell farmer Stephen Grindle, while hauling wood from a
rocky hill-side on the point at the second narrows of Bagaduce River,
about six miles from Castine peninsula. In 1840 this worthy husbandman
saw a shining object lying in the track of his oxen. He stooped and
picked up a silver coin, as bright as if struck within a twelvemonth. On
looking at the date, he found it to be two hundred years old. Farther
search was rewarded by the discovery of several other pieces. A fall of
snow interrupted the farmer's investigations until the next spring,
when, in or near an old trail leading across the point, frequented by
the Indians from immemorial time, some seven hundred coins of the
nominal value of four hundred dollars were unearthed near the surface.
All the pieces were of silver.

[Illustration: PINE-TREE SHILLING.]

The honest farmer kept his own counsel, using his treasure from time to
time to pay his store bills in the town, dollar for dollar, accounting
one of Master Hull's pine-tree shillings at a shilling. The storekeepers
readily accepted the exchange at the farmer's valuation; but the
possession of such a priceless collection was soon betrayed by its
circulation abroad.

Dr. Joseph L. Stevens, the esteemed antiquary of Castine, of whom I had
these particulars, exhibited to me a number of the coins. They would
have made a numismatist's mouth water. French écus, Portuguese and
Spanish pieces-of-eight, Bremen dollars, piasters, and cob-money,[30]
clipped and battered, with illegible dates, but melodious ring, chinked
in better fellowship than the sovereigns whose effigies they bore had
lived in. A single gold coin, the only one found in the neighborhood of
Castine, was picked up on the beach opposite the fort.[31]

The theory of the presence of so large a sum on the spot where it was
found is that when Castin was driven from the fort by Colonel Church, in
1704, these coins were left by some of his party in their retreat, where
they remained undiscovered for more than a century and a quarter. Or it
may have been the hoard of one of the two countrymen of Castin, who, he
says, were living two miles from him in 1687.

The detail of old Fort Pentagoët just given is believed to describe the
place as it had existed since 1654, when captured by the colony forces
of Massachusetts. General Sedgwick then spoke of it as "a small fort,
yet very strong, and a very well composed peese, with eight peese of
ordnance, one brass, three murtherers, about eighteen barrels of
powder, and eighteen men in garrison."[32]

It would require a volume to set forth _in extenso_ the annals of these
mounds, scarce lifted above the surface of the surrounding plateau. But
to arouse the reader's curiosity without an endeavor to gratify it were
indeed churlish. I submit, therefore, with the brevity, and I hope also
the simplicity, that should characterize the historic style, the essence
of the matter as it has dropped from my alembic.

The reader is referred to what is already narrated of Norumbega for the
earliest knowledge of the Penobscot by white men. The first vessel that
ascended the river was probably the bark of Du Guast, Sieur de Monts, in
the year 1604. De Poutrincourt was there in the year 1606.[33]

No establishment appears to have been begun on the Bagaduce peninsula
until our colonists of New Plymouth fixed upon it for the site of a
trading-post, about 1629.[34] Here they erected a house, defended,
probably, after the fashion of the time, with palisades, loop-holed for
musketry. They were a long way from home, and had need to keep a wary
eye abroad. Governor Bradford mentions that the house was robbed by some
"Isle of Rhé gentlemen" in 1632.

The Plymouth people kept possession until 1635, when they were
dispossessed by an expedition sent from La Have, in Acadia, commanded by
the Chevalier Charles de Menou, or, as he is usually styled, D'Aulnay
Charnisay. The chevalier's orders from Razilly, who had then the general
command in Canada, were to expel all the English as far as Pemaquid.

Plymouth Colony endeavored to retake the place by force. A large ship
for that day, the _Hope_, of Ipswich, England, Girling commander, was
fitted out, and attacked the post in such a disorderly, unskillful
manner that Girling expended his ammunition before having made the least
impression. Standish, the redoubtable, was there in a small bark, fuming
at the incompetency of the commander of the _Hope_, who had been hired
to do the job for so much beaver if he succeeded, nothing if he failed.
Standish, with the beaver, returned to Plymouth, after sending Girling a
new supply of powder from Pemaquid; but no further effort is known to
have been made to reduce the place.

The Pilgrims then turned to their natural allies, the Puritans of the
Bay; but, as Rochefoucauld cunningly says, there is something in the
misfortunes of our friends that does not displease us. They got smooth
speeches in plenty, but no help. It is curious to observe that at this
time the two colonies combined were too weak to raise and equip a
hundred soldiers on a sudden call. So the French remained in possession
until 1654.

An attempt was made by Plymouth Colony to liberate their men captured at
Penobscot. Isaac Allerton was sent to demand them of La Tour who in
haughty terms refused to deliver them up, saying all the country from
Cape Sable to Cape Cod belonged to the king, his master, and if the
English persisted in trading east of Pemaquid he would capture them.

"Will monseigneur deign to show me his commission?"

The chevalier laid his hand significantly on his sword-hilt. "This,"
said he, "is my commission."

I have mentioned three Frenchmen: Sir Isaac de Razilly, a soldier of the
monastic order of Malta; La Tour, a heretic; and D'Aulnay, a zealous

Razilly's commission is dated at St. Germain en Laye, May 10th, 1632. He
was to take possession of Port Royal, so named by De Monts, from its
glorious harbor, and ceded to France under the treaty of 1629. This was
the year after the taking of La Rochelle; so that we are now in the
times of the great cardinal and his puissant adversary, Buckingham. The
knight of Malta was so well pleased with Acadia that he craved
permission of the grand master to remain in the country. He was
recalled, with a reminder of the subjection exacted by that
semi-military, semi-ecclesiastical body of its members. Hutchinson says
he died soon after 1635. There is evidence he was alive in 1636.

In 1638 Louis XIII. addressed the following letter to D'Aulnay: "You are
my lieutenant-general in the country of the Etchemins, from the middle
of the main-land of Frenchman's Bay to the district of Canceaux. Thus
you may not change any regulation in the establishment on the River St.
John made by the said Sieur De la Tour, etc."[35] Three years afterward
the king sent his commands to La Tour to return to France immediately;
if he refused, D'Aulnay was ordered to seize his person.

Whether the death of Louis, and also of his Eminence, at this time
diverted the danger with which La Tour was threatened, is a matter of
conjecture. D'Aulnay, however, had possessed himself, in 1643, of La
Tour's fort, and the latter was a suppliant to the English at Boston for
aid to displace his adversary. He obtained it, and recovered his own
again, but was unable to eject D'Aulnay from Penobscot. A second
attempt, also unsuccessful, was made the following year. The treaty
between Governor Endicott and La Tour in this year was afterward
ratified by the United Colonies.

In 1645 D'Aulnay was in France, receiving the thanks of the king and
queen-mother for his zeal in preserving Acadia from the treasonable
designs of La Tour. The next year a treaty of peace was concluded at
Boston between the English and D'Aulnay; and in 1647, the king granted
him letters patent of lieutenant-general from the St. Lawrence to
Acadia. He died May 24th, 1650, from freezing, while out in the bay with
his valet in a canoe. La Tour finished by marrying the widow of
D'Aulnay, thus composing, and forever, his feud with the husband.[36]

For some years quiet reigned in the peninsula, or until 1654, when an
expedition was fitted out by Massachusetts against Stuyvesant and the
Dutch at Manhattan. Peace having been concluded before it was in
readiness, the Puritans, with true thrift, launched their armament
against the unsuspecting Mounseers of Penobscot. Although peace also
existed between Cromwell and Louis, the expenditure of much money
without some gain was not to be thought of in the Bay. For a pretext,
they had always the old grudge of prior right, going back to Elizabeth's
patent of 1578 to Sir Humphrey Gilbert.

Robert Sedgwick and John Leverett were two as marked men as could be
found in New England. They sailed from Nantasket on the 4th of July,
1654, with three ships, a ketch, and two hundred soldiers of Old and New
England. Port Royal, the fort on St. John's River, and Penobscot, were
all captured. Afterward they served the Protector in England. Sedgwick
was chosen by Cromwell to command his insubordinate and starving army at
Jamaica, and died, it is said, of a broken heart, from the weight of
responsibility imposed on him.

Although the King of France testified great displeasure because the
forts in Acadia were not restored to him, Cromwell continued to hold
them fast, nor were they given up until after the treaty of Breda, when
Pentagoët, in 1669-'70, was delivered by Sir Thomas Temple to M. De
Grand Fontaine, who, in 1673, turned over the command to M. De Chambly.

[Illustration: COLBERT.]

On the 10th of August, 1674, M. De Chambly was assaulted by a buccaneer
that had touched at Boston, where an English pilot, as M. De Frontenac
says, was taken on board. An Englishman, who had been four days in the
place in disguise, gave the pirates every assistance.[37] They landed
one hundred and ten men, and fell with fury on the little garrison of
thirty badly armed and disaffected Frenchmen. After sustaining the onset
for an hour, M. De Chambly fell, shot through the body. His ensign was
also struck down, when the fort surrendered at discretion. The
sea-robbers pillaged the fort, carried off the cannon, and conducted the
Sieur De Chambly to Boston, along with M. De Marson, whom they took in
the River St. John. Chambly was put to ransom of a thousand
beaver-skins. Colbert, then minister, expressed his surprise to
Frontenac that the forts of Pentagoët and Gemisée had been taken and
pillaged by a freebooter. No rupture then existed between the crowns of
England and France.

Another subject of Louis le Grand now raps with his sword-hilt for
admission to our gallant company of noble French gentlemen who have
followed the lead of De Monts into the wilds of Acadia. Baron La Hontan,
writing in 1683, says, "The Baron St. Castin, a gentleman of Oleron, in
Bearne, having lived among the Abenaquis after the savage way for above
twenty years, is so much respected by the savages that they look upon
him as their tutelar god."

Vincent, Baron St. Castin, came to America with his regiment about 1665.
He was ensign in the regiment Carignan, of which Henry de Chapelas was
colonel. Chambly and Sorel, who were his comrades, have also left their
names impressed on the map of New France. The regiment was disbanded,
the governor-general allowing each officer three or four leagues' extent
of good land, with as much depth as they pleased. The officers, in turn,
gave their soldiers as much ground as they wished upon payment of a
crown per _arpent_ by way of fief.[38] Chambly we have seen in command
at Pentagoët in 1673. Castin appears to have plunged into the
wilderness, making his abode with the fierce Abenaquis.

The young Bearnese soon acquired a wonderful ascendency among them. He
mastered their language, and received, after the savage's romantic
fashion, the hand of a princess of the nation, the daughter of
Madocawando, the implacable foe of the English. They made him their
great chief, or leader, and at his summons all the warriors of the
Abenaquis gathered around him. Exercising a regal power in his forest
dominions, he no doubt felt every inch a chieftain. The French governors
courted him; the English feared and hated him. In 1696, with Iberville,
he overran their stronghold at Pemaquid. He fought at Port Royal in
1706, and again in 1707, receiving a wound there. He was, says M.
Denonville, of a daring and enterprising character, thirsting for
distinction. In 1702 he proposed a descent on Boston, to be made in
winter by a competent land and naval force. Magazines were to be formed
at Piscataqua and Marblehead.

It is known that some earlier passages of Castin's life in Acadia were
not free from reproach. Denonville,[39] in recommending him to Louvois
as the proper person to succeed M. Perrot at Port Royal ("si M. Perrot
degoutait de son gouvernment"), admits he had been addicted in the past
to riot and debauchery; "but," continues the viceroy, "I am assured that
he is now quite reformed, and has very proper sentiments on the
subject." Perrot, jealous of Castin, put him in arrest for six weeks for
some foolish affair among the _filles_ of Port Royal.

    "For man is fire and woman is tow,
    And the Somebody comes and begins to blow."

In 1686 Castin was at Pentagoët. The place must have fallen into sad
neglect, for the Governor of Canada made its fortification and
advantages the subject of a memoir to his Government. It became the
rendezvous for projects against New England. Quebec was not difficult of
access by river and land to Castin's fleet Abenaquis. Port Royal was
within supporting distance. The Indians interposed a barrier between
English aggression and the French settlements. They were the weapon
freely used by all the French rulers until, from long service, it became
blunted and unserviceable. They were then left to shift for themselves.

Here Castin continued with his dusky wife and brethren, although he had
inherited an income of five million livres while in Acadia. By degrees
he had likewise amassed a fortune of two or three hundred thousand
crowns "in good dry gold;" but the only use he made of it was to buy
presents for his fellow-savages, who, upon their return from the hunt,
repaid him with usury in beaver-skins and peltries.[40] In 1688 his
trading-house was plundered by the English. It is said he died in
America, but of this I have not the evidence.

Vincent de Castin never changed his wife, as the Indian customs
permitted, wishing, it is supposed, by his example to impress upon them
the sanctity of marriage as a part of the Christian religion. He had
several daughters all of whom were well married to Frenchmen, and had
good dowries; one was captured by Colonel Church in 1704. He had also a

In 1721, during what was known as Lovewell's war, in which Mather
intimates, with many nods and winks set down in print, the English were
the aggressors, Castin the younger was kidnaped, and carried to Boston a
prisoner. His offense was in attending a council of the Abenaquis in his
capacity of chief. He was brought before the council and interrogated.
His mien was frank and fearless. In his uniform of a French officer, he
stood with true Indian _sang froid_ in the presence of men who he knew
were able to deal heavy blows.

"I am," said he, "an Abenaquis by my mother. All my life has been passed
among the nation that has made me chief and commander over it. I could
not be absent from a council where the interests of my brethren were to
be discussed. The Governor of Canada sent me no orders. The dress I now
wear is not a uniform, but one becoming my rank and birth as an officer
in the troops of the most Christian king, my master."

The young baron was placed in the custody of the sheriff of Middlesex.
He was kept seven months a prisoner, and then released before his
friends, the Abenaquis, could strike a blow for his deliverance. This
once formidable tribe was such no longer. In 1689 it scarcely numbered a
hundred warriors. English policy had set a price upon the head of every
hostile Indian. Castin, soon after his release, returned to the old
family château among the Pyrenees.

    "The choir is singing the matin song;
      The doors of the church are opened wide;
    The people crowd, and press, and throng
      To see the bridegroom and the bride.
    They enter and pass along the nave;
    They stand upon the farthest grave;
    The bells are ringing soft and slow;
    The living above and the dead below
    Give their blessing on one and twain;
    The warm wind blows from the hills of Spain,
    The birds are building, the leaves are green,
    The Baron Castine of St. Castine
    Hath come at last to his own again."

According to the French historian, Charlevoix, the Capuchins had a
hospice here in 1646, when visited by Père Dreuillettes. I may not
neglect these worthy fathers, whose disputes about sleeves and cowls,
Voltaire says, were more than any among the philosophers. The shrewdness
of these old monks in the choice of a location has been justified by the
cities and towns sprung from the sites of their primitive missions.
Here, as elsewhere,

                        "--These black crows
    Had pitched by instinct on the fattest fallows."

"I," said Napoleon, at St. Helena, "rendered all the burying-places
independent of the priests. I hated friars" (_frati_), "and was the
annihilator of them and of their receptacles of crime, the monasteries,
where every vice was practiced with impunity. A set of miscreants"
(_scelerati_) "who in general are a dishonor to the human race. Of
priests I would have always allowed a sufficient number, but no
_frati_." A Capuchin, says an old dictionary of 1676, is a friar of St.
Francis's order, wearing a cowl, or capouch, but no shirt nor

Opening our history at the epoch of the settlement of New France, and
turning over page by page the period we have been reviewing, there is no
more hideous chapter than the infernal cruelties of the Society of
Jesus. Their agency in the terrible persecutions of the Huguenots is too
well known to need repetition. St. Bartholomew, the broken pledge of the
Edict of Nantes, the massacres of Vivarais, of Rouergue, and of
Languedoc are among their monuments.

The rigor with which infractions of the discipline of the order were
punished would be difficult to believe, if unsupported by trustworthy
testimony. Francis Seldon, a young pupil of the Jesuit College at Paris,
was imprisoned thirty-one years, seventeen of which were passed at St.
Marguerite, and fourteen in the Bastile. His crime was a lampoon of two
lines affixed to the college door. A _lettre de cachet_ from Louis XIV.
consigned this poor lad of only sixteen to the Bastile in 1674, from
which he only emerged in 1705, by the assignment of a rich inheritance
to the Society, impiously called, of Jesus.

The siege of La Rochelle, and slaughter of the Huguenots, is believed to
have been nothing more than a duel between Richelieu and Buckingham, for
the favor of Anne of Austria. It was, however, in the name of religion
that the population of France was decimated. Colbert, in endeavoring to
stem the tide of persecution, fell in disgrace. Louvois seconded with
devilish zeal the projects of the Jesuits, which had no other end than
the total destruction of the reformed faith. In 1675 Père Lachaise
entered on his functions of father-confessor to the king. He was
powerfully seconded by his society; but they, fearing his Majesty might
regard it as a pendant of St. Bartholomew, hesitated to press a decisive
_coup d'état_ against the Protestants.

There was at the court of Louis the widow Scarron, become De Maintenon,
declared mistress of the king, who modestly aspired to replace Marie
Therese of Austria upon the throne of France. To her the Jesuits
addressed themselves. It is believed the compact between the worthy
contracting parties exacted no less of each than the advancement of
their mutual projects through the seductions of the courtesan, and the
fears for his salvation the Jesuits were to inspire in the mind of the
king. Louis believed in the arguments of Madame De Maintenon, and signed
the Edict of Nantes; he ceded to the threats or counsels of his
confessor, and secretly espoused Madame De Maintenon. The 25th October,
1685, the royal seal was, it is not doubted by her inspiration, appended
to the barbarous edict, drawn up by the Père Le Tellier, under the
auspices of the Society of Jesus.[42]

France had already lost a hundred thousand of her bravest and most
skillful children. She was now to lose many more. Among the fugitives
driven from the fatherland were many who fled, as the Pilgrims had done
into Holland. Some sought the New World, and their descendants were such
men as John Jay, Elias Boudinot, James Bowdoin, and Peter Faneuil.

Before the famous edict of 1685, the Huguenots had been forbidden to
establish themselves either in Canada or Acadia. They were permitted to
visit the ports for trade, but not to exercise their religion. The
Jesuits took care that the edict was enforced in the French possessions.
I have thought the oft-cited intolerance of the Puritans might be
effectively contrasted with the diabolical zeal with which Catholic
Christendom pursued the annihilation of the reformed religion.

The Jesuits obtained at an early day a preponderating influence in
Canada and in Acadia. It is believed the governor-generals had not such
real power as the bishops of Quebec. At a later day, they were able
well-nigh to paralyze Montcalm's defense of Quebec. The fathers of the
order, with the crucifix held aloft, preached crusades against the
English to the savages they were sent to convert. One of the fiercest
Canabas chiefs related to an English divine that the friars told his
people the blessed Virgin was a French lady, and that her son, Jesus
Christ, had been killed by the English.[43] One might say the gray hairs
of old men and the blood-dabbled ringlets of innocent children were laid
on the altars of their chapels.

We can afford to smile at the forecast of Louis, when he says to M. De
la Barre in 1683, "I am persuaded, like you, that the discoveries of
Sieur La Salle are altogether useless, and it is necessary, hereafter,
to put a stop to such enterprises, which can have no other effect than
to scatter the inhabitants by the hope of gain, and to diminish the
supply of beaver." We still preserve in Louisiana the shadow of the
sceptre of this monarch, whose needy successor at Versailles sold us,
for fifteen millions, a territory that could pay the German subsidy with
a year's harvest.

Doubtless the little bell in the hospice turret, tolling for matins or
vespers, was often heard by the fisher in the bay, as he rested on his
oars and repeated an _ave_, or chanted the parting hymn of the

    "O, vierge! O, Marie!
      Pour moi priez Dieu;
    Adieu, adieu, patrie,
      Provençe, adieu."

There is a pleasant ramble over the hill by the cemetery, with the same
accompaniments of green turf, limpid bay, and cool breezes everywhere.
Intermitting puffs, ruffling the water here and there, fill the sails of
coasting craft, while others lie becalmed within a few cable-lengths of
them. Near the north-west corner of the ground I discovered vestiges of
another small battery.

Castine having assumed the functions of a town within a period
comparatively recent, her cemetery shows few interesting stones. The
ancients of the little Acadian hamlet lie in forgotten graves; no
moss-covered tablets for the antiquary to kneel beside, and trace the
time-worn course of the chisel, are there. Numbers of graves are
indicated only by the significant heaving of the turf. In one part of
the field is a large and rudely fashioned slate-stone standing at the
head of a tumulus. A tablet with these lines is affixed:

    The earliest occupant of this Mansion of the Dead,
    A Native of Scotland,
    And 1st Lieut. Comm. of his B. M. 74th Regt. of foot, or Argyle
    Who died in this Town, while it was in possession of the Enemy,
    March, A.D. 1783,
    And was interred beneath this stone,
    Æt. about 40 yrs.

           *       *       *       *       *

    This Tablet was inserted
    A.D. 1849.

The tablet has a tale to tell. It runs that Stewart quarreled with a
brother officer at the mess-table, and challenged him. Hearing of the
intended duel, the commanding officer reprimanded the hot-blooded
Scotsman in such terms that, stung to the quick, he fell, Roman-like, on
his own sword.

Elsewhere I read the name of Captain Isaiah Skinner, who, as master of a
packet plying to the opposite shore, "thirty thousand times braved the
perils of our bay."

While I was in Castine I paid a visit to the factory in which lobsters
are canned for market. A literally "smashing" business was carrying on,
but with an uncleanness that for many months impaired my predilection
for this delicate crustacean. The lobsters are brought in small vessels
from the lower bay. They are then tossed, while living, into vats
containing salt water boiling hot, where they receive a thorough
steaming. They are next transferred to long tables, and, after cooling,
are opened. Only the flesh of the larger claws and tail is used, the
remainder being cast aside. The reserved portions are put into tin cans
that, after being tightly soldered, are subjected to a new steaming of
five and a half hours to keep them fresh.[44]

In order to arrest the wholesale slaughter of the lobster, stringent
laws have been made in Maine and Massachusetts. The fishery is
prohibited during certain months, and a fine is imposed for every fish
exposed for sale of less than a certain growth. Of a heap containing
some eight hundred lobsters brought to the factory, not fifty were of
this size; a large proportion were not eight inches long. Frequent
boiling in the same water, with the slovenly appearance of the
operatives, male and female, would suggest a doubt whether plain
Penobscot lobster is as toothsome as is supposed. The whole process was
in marked contrast with the scrupulous neatness with which similar
operations are elsewhere conducted; nor was there particular scrutiny as
to whether the lobsters were already dead when received from the

[Illustration: LOBSTER POT.]

Wood, in the "New England Prospect," mentions that lobsters were so
plenty and little esteemed they were seldom eaten. They were frequently,
he says, of twenty pounds' weight. The Indians used lobsters to bait
their hooks, and ate them when they could not get bass. I have seen an
account of a lobster that weighed thirty-five pounds. Josselyn mentions
that he saw one weighing twenty pounds, and that the Indians dried them
for food as they did lampreys and oysters.

The first-comers into New England waters were not more puzzled to find
the ancient city of Norumbega than I to reach the fabulous Down East of
the moderns. In San Francisco the name is vaguely applied to the
territory east of the Mississippi, though more frequently the rest of
the republic is alluded to as "The States." South of the obliterated
Mason and Dixon's line, the region east of the Alleghanies and north of
the Potomac is Down East, and no mistake about it. In New York you are
as far as ever from this _terra incognita_. In Connecticut they shrug
their shoulders and point you about north-north-east. Down East, say
Massachusetts people, is just across our eastern border. Arrived on the
Penobscot, I fancied myself there at last.

"Whither bound?" I asked of a fisherman, getting up his foresail before
loosing from the wharf.

"Sir, to you. Down East."

The evident determination to shift the responsibility forbade further
pursuit of this fictitious land. Besides, Maine people are indisposed to
accept without challenge the name so universally applied to them of Down
Easters. We do not say down to the North Pole, and we do say down South.
The higher latitude we make northwardly the farther down we get.
Nevertheless, disposed as I avow myself to present the case fairly, the
people of Maine uniformly say "up to the westward," when speaking of
Massachusetts. Of one thing I am persuaded--Down East is nowhere in New



[29] In 1759 Governor Pownall took possession of the peninsula of
Castine, and hoisted the English flag on the fort. He found the
settlement deserted and in ruins.--_Gov._ POWNALL'S _Journal._

[30] "The clumsy, shapeless coinage, both of gold and silver, called in
Mexico _máquina de papa_, _lote y cruz_ ("windmill and cross-money"),
and in this country by the briefer appellation of "cobs." These were of
the lawful standards, or nearly so, but scarcely deserved the name of
coin, being rather lumps of bullion flattened and impressed by a hammer,
the edge presenting every variety of form except that of a circle, and
affording ample scope for the practice of clipping: notwithstanding they
are generally found, even to this day, within a few grains of lawful
weight. They are generally about a century old, but some are dated as
late as 1770. They are distinguished by a large cross, of which the four
arms are equal in length, and loaded at the ends. The date generally
omits the _thousandth_ place; so that 736, for example, is to be read
1736. The letters PLVS VLTRA (_plus ultra_) are crowded in without
attention to order. These coins were formerly brought here in large
quantities for recoinage, but have now become scarce."--WILLIAM E.
DUBOIS, _United States Mint_.

I think the name of "cob" was applied to money earlier than the date
given by Mr. Dubois. Its derivation is uncertain, but was probably
either "lump," or from the Welsh, for "thump," _i. e._, struck money.

[31] On an old map of unknown date Castin's houses are located here.

[32] Sedgwick's Letter, _Historical Magazine_, July, 1873, p. 38.

[33] Williamson thinks the name of Cape Rosier a distinct reminder of
Weymouth's voyage.

[34] Though Hutchinson says "about 1627," I think it an error, as
Allerton, the promoter of the project, was in England in that year, as
well as in 1626 and 1628, as agent of the colony. Nor was the proposal
brought forward until Sherley and Hatherly, two of the adventurers,
wrote to Governor Bradford, in 1629, that they had determined upon it in
connection with Allerton, and invited Plymouth to join with them.

[35] "Archives of Massachusetts."

[36] Aglate la Tour, granddaughter of the chevalier, sold the seigniory
of Acadia to the crown for two thousand guineas.--DOUGLASS.

[37] Mr. Shea (Charlevoix) says this was John Rhoade, and the vessel the
_Flying Horse_, Captain Jurriaen Aernouts, with a commission from the
Prince of Orange.

[38] Estates are still conveyed in St. Louis by the _arpent_.

[39] Denonville, who succeeded M. De la Barre as governor-general, was
_maitre de camp_ to the queen's dragoons. He was succeeded by Frontenac.

[40] Denonville's and La Hontan's letters.

[41] Capuchin, a cowl or hood.

[42] Count Frontenac was a relative of De Maintenon.

[43] Cotton Mather.

[44] Isle au Haut is particularly renowned for the size and quality of
these fish.




    "Love thou thy land, with love far-brought
      From out the storied Past, and used
      Within the Present, but transfused
    Thro' future time by power of thought."


A very small fraction of the people of New England, I venture to say,
know more of Pemaquid than that such a place once existed somewhere
within her limits; yet it is scarcely possible to take up a book on New
England in which the name does not occur with a frequency that is of
itself a spur to inquiry. If a few volumes be consulted, the materials
for history become abundant. After accumulating for two hundred years,
or more, what belongs to the imperishable things of earth, this old
outpost of English power has returned into second childhood, and become
what it originally was, namely, a fishing-village.

But those who delight in ferreting through the chinks and crannies of an
out-of-the-way locality, will be repaid by starting from Damariscotta on
a coastwise voyage of discovery. In traveling by railway from Portland,
with your face to the rising sun, you catch occasional glimpses of the
ocean, and you receive imperfect impressions of the estuaries that
indent her "hundred-harbored" shores; but from the window of a
stage-coach journeying at six miles an hour the material and mental eye
may receive and fix ideas more distinct and enduring.


I reached the little village of New Harbor, at Pemaquid Point, in time
to see the sun crimson in setting, a cloudless sky, and an unruffled
sea. Monhegan Island grew of a deep purple in the twilight shadows. The
tower lamps were alight, and from neighboring islands other beacons
twinkled pleasantly on the waters. Coasting vessels trimmed their sails
to catch the land-breeze of evening. Then the moon arose.

The little harbor beneath me contained a few small fishing-vessels at
anchor. One or two others were slowly working their way in. The cottages
straggling by the shore were not numerous or noticeable. It was still
some three miles to the light-house at the extremity of the point.

At Bristol Mills I had exchanged the stage for a beach-wagon. The driver
was evidently a person of consequence here, as he usually becomes in
such isolated neighborhoods out of the beaten paths of travel. His
loquacity was marvelous. He had either a message or a missive for every
one he met; and at the noise of our wheels house doors opened, and the
noses and lips of youngsters were flattened in a whimsical manner
against the window-panes. I observed that he invariably saluted the
girls by their Christian names as they stood shyly peeping through
half-opened doors; adding the middle name to the baptismal whenever one
might be claimed, as Olive Ann, Matilda Jane, or Hannah Ann. I should
have called some of them plain Olive, or Matilda, or Hannah. The men
answered to such names as Dominicus, Jott, and 'Life (Eliphalet). Thus
this brisk little fellow's passing was the great event over four miles
of road.

I should have gone directly to the old settlement on the other side of
the Neck, now known as "The Factory;" but here, for a wonder, were no
hotels, and travelers are dependent upon private hospitality. "Do you
think they will take me in over there?" I queried, pointing to the old
mansion on the site of Fort Frederick. The driver shook his head.

"Are they quite full?"

"Solid," was his reply, given with an emphasis that conveyed the
impression of sardines in a box. So I was fain to rest with a fisherman
turned store-keeper.

The little rock-environed harbor on the side of Muscongus Bay is a mere
roadstead, unfit for shipping in heavy easterly weather. This place,
like many neighboring sea-coast hamlets, was busily engaged in the
mackerel and menhaden fishery. The latter fish, usually called "porgee,"
is in demand at the factories along shore for its oil, and among Bank
fishermen as bait. Some old cellars on the north side of New Harbor
indicated the _locale_ of a former generation of fishermen. On this
side, too, there existed, not many years ago, remains of a fortification
of ancient date.[45] Shot, household utensils, etc., have been excavated
there. There is also by the shore what was either the lair of wild
beasts, or a place of concealment frequented by savages. Mr. M'Farland,
one of the oldest residents, mentioned that he had found an arrow-head
in the den. Various coins and Indian implements, some of which I saw,
have been turned up with the soil on this neck of land.

The visitor will not leave New Harbor without hearing of sharp work done
there in the war of 1812. The enemy's cruisers kept the coast in
perpetual alarm by their marauding excursions in defenseless harbors.
One day a British frigate hove to in the Bay, and in a short time a
number of barges were seen to push off, fully manned, for the shore. The
small militia guard then stationed in Old Fort Frederick was notified,
and the residents of New Harbor prepared for action. As the leading
British barge entered the harbor, it was hailed by an aged fisherman,
who warned the officer in charge not to attempt to land. "If a single
gun is fired," replied the Briton, "the town shall be destroyed."

Not a single gun, but a deadly volley, answered the threat. The rocks
were bristling with old queen's arms and ducking-guns, in the grasp of a
score of resolute fellows. Every shot was well aimed. The barge drifted
helplessly out with the tide, and the captain of the frigate had a sorry
dispatch for the admiral at Halifax.

Leaving New Harbor, I crossed a by-path that conducted to the factory
road. Here and elsewhere I had listened to the story of the destruction
of the menhaden, from the fishermen's point of view. They apprehend
nothing less than the total disappearance of this fish at no distant
day. "What are we poor fellows going to do when they catch up all the
porgees?" asked one. The fishery, as conducted by the factories, is
regarded by the fishermen proper as the introduction of improved
machinery that dispenses with labor is looked upon by the operative.
Although the oil factories purchase the catch that is brought in, the
owners are considered intruders, and experience many petty vexations. As
men of capital, possessed of all needful appliances for their business,
they are really independent of the resident population, to whom, on the
other hand, they disburse money and give employment. The question with
which the political economist will have to deal is the expected
extinction of the menhaden.

I went through the factory at Pemaquid Point, and was persuaded the fish
could not long support the drain upon them. The porgee begins to
frequent these waters in June. The first-comers are lean, and will make
only a gallon of oil to the barrel; those of September yield four
gallons. A fleet of propellers, as well as sailing-craft of forty to
fifty tons burden, are kept constantly employed.

At Pemaquid harbor, the fish cargoes are transferred from the steamer to
an elevated tank of the capacity of four thousand barrels. Underneath
the tank a tram-way, conducting by an inclined plane to the second story
of the factory, is laid upon the wharf. In the bottom of the tank is a
trap-door that, upon being opened, quickly fills a car placed below. The
fish are then taken into the factory and dumped into other tanks,
containing each three car-loads, or about sixty barrels. Here steam is
introduced, rapidly converting the fish into unsavory chowder, or
"mash." As many as a dozen of these vats were in constant use. The oil
and water being drawn off into other vats, the product is obtained
through the simplest of machinery, and the well-known principle that in
an admixture with water oil will rise to the surface. The residuum from
the first process is shoveled into perforated iron cylinders, by men
standing up to their knees in the steaming mass. It is then subjected to
hydraulic pressure, and, after the extraction of every drop of oil, is
carefully housed, to be converted into phosphates. The water is passed
from tank to tank until completely free of oil. Nothing is lost.

This factory had a capacity of three thousand barrels per day, though
not of the largest class. Others were working day and night through the
season, which continues for about three months.

I walked afterward by the side of a seine two hundred fathoms in length,
spread upon the grass in order to contract the meshes. One of them
frequently costs above a thousand dollars, and is sometimes destroyed at
the first casting by being caught on the ledges in shallow water.

An old hand can easily tell the difference between a school of mackerel
and one of menhaden. The former rush in a body on the top of the water,
while the shoal of porgees merely ripples the surface, as is sometimes
seen when a moving body of water impinges against a counter-current. The
mackerel takes the hook, while the porgee and herring never do.

The talk was more fishy here than in any place I have visited. Here they
call a school, or shoal, "a pod of fish;" "we sot round a pod" being a
common expression. The small vessels are called seiners. When they
approach a school, the seine is carried out in boats, one end being
attached to the vessel, except when a bad sea is running. I have seen
the men standing up to the middle among the fish they were hauling in;
and they are sometimes obliged to abandon half their draught.

The whole process of rendering menhaden into oil is less offensive to
the olfactories than might be supposed. The works at Pemaquid Point are
owned by Judson, Tarr, and Co., of Rockport, Massachusetts. As against
the generally received opinion that they were destroying fish faster
than the losses could be repaired, the unusual abundance of mackerel
the last year was cited. Mackerel, however, are not ground up at the
rate of many thousand barrels per day. It is easy to conjecture that
present profit is more looked to than future scarcity. The product of
menhaden is chiefly used in the adulteration of linseed-oil. This fish
is probably the same called by the French "_gasparot_," and found by
them in great abundance on the coasts of Acadia.

Some account of the habits of the mackerel, as given by veteran
fishermen, is of interest to such as esteem this valuable fish--and the
number is legion--if not in explanation of the seemingly purposeless
drifting of the mackerel fleet along shore, which is, nevertheless,
guided by calculation.

In early spring the old breeding fish come into the bays and rivers to
spawn. They then return northward. These mackerel are not apt to take
the hook, but are caught in weirs and seines, a practice tending to
inevitable scarcity in the future. The parent fish come back, in
September, to the localities where they have spawned, and, taking their
young in charge, proceed to the warmer waters west and south. Few if any
mackerel spawn south of Cape Cod.

By the time this migration occurs, the young fish have grown to six or
seven inches in length, and are called "tinkers." They frequently take
the bait with avidity, but are too small for market. When this school
comes along, the fishermen prepare to follow, saying, "The mackerel are
bound west, and we must work west with them." These first-comers are
usually followed by a second school of better size and quality. I have
often seen numbers of young mackerel, of three to four inches in length,
left in shallow pools upon the flats by the tide in midsummer.

In the midst of a "biting school" no sport could be more exciting or
satisfying. At such times the mackerel resemble famished wolves,
snapping and crowding for the bait, rather than harmless fishes. This
unexampled voracity makes them an easy prey, and they are taken as fast
as the line can be thrown over. It not unfrequently happens that the
school will either sink or suddenly refuse the bait, even while swarming
about the sides of the vessels. This is vexatious, but there is no help
for it. The fleet must lie idle until the capricious or overfed fish is

Mackerel swim in deep water, and are brought to the surface by casting
over quantities of ground bait. If they happen to be on the surface in a
storm, at the first peal of thunder they will sink to the bottom. The
movements of the fish in the water are like a gleam of light, and it
dies hard when out of it. The mackerel was in great abundance when New
England was first visited.

In the confusion naturally incident to accounts of early discoveries on
our coast of New England, it is pleasant to find one vantage-ground from
which you can not be dislodged. In this respect Pemaquid stands almost
alone. It has never been called by any other name. Possibly it may have
embraced either more or less of the surrounding territory or adjacent
waters than at present; still there is eminent satisfaction in standing
at Pemaquid on impregnable ground.

In the minds of some old writers Pemaquid was unquestionably confounded
with the Penobscot. There is a description of Pemaquid River from the
Hakluyt papers,[46] which makes it the easternmost river, one excepted,
of Mavoshen, manifestly a name erroneously applied, as the description
is as far from coinciding with the true Pemaquid as is its location by
Hakluyt. In this account the Sagadahoc and town of Kennebec are also
mentioned. Like many others, it is more curious than instructive.

It also appears, to the student's dismay, that in some instances the
discoverers were apprehensive of drawing attention to any new-found port
or harbor, as it would render their monopoly of less value. The account
of Weymouth's voyage by James Rosier omitted the latitude, doubtless
with this object. His narrative, if not written to mislead, was
confessedly not intended to instruct. How is the historian to follow
such a clue? Fortunately, after many puzzling and unsatisfactory
conjectures, the account of William Strachey makes all clear, so far as
Pemaquid is in question. Weymouth's first landfall was in 42°, and he
coasted northward to 44°. Strachey speaks of "the isles and rivers,
together with that little one of Pemaquid."

Sir F. Gorges, in his "Brief Narration," mentions that "it pleased God"
to bring Captain Weymouth, on his return in 1605, into the harbor of
Plymouth, where he, Sir Ferdinando, then commanded.[47] Captain
Weymouth, he continues, had been dispatched by the Lord Arundel of
Wardour in search of the North-west Passage, but falling short of his
course, had happened into a river on the coast of America called
Pemaquid. In the reprint of Sir F. Gorges's invaluable narrative[48] the
word Penobscot is placed after Pemaquid in brackets. It does not appear
in the original.

Pemaquid, then, becomes one of the pivotal points of New England
discovery, as it subsequently was of her history. As the French had
directed their early efforts toward the Penobscot, so the English had
imbibed strong predilections for the Sagadahoc, or Kennebec. Weymouth
and Pring had paved the way; the Indians transported to England had been
able to give an intelligible account of the country, the configuration
of the coasts, the magnitude of the rivers, and power of the nations
peopling the banks.

The Kennebec was known to the French earlier than to the English, and by
its proper name. Champlain's voyage in the autumn of 1604 extended, it
is believed, as far as Monhegan, as he names an isle ten leagues from
"_Quinebequi_" and says he went three or four leagues beyond it.
Moreover, he had coasted both shores of the Penobscot bay, penetrating
at least as far as the Narrows, below Bucksport. He calls the Camden
hills Bedabedec, and says the Kennebec and Penobscot Indians were at
enmity. De Monts followed Champlain in June, 1605, having sailed from
St. Croix two days after Weymouth's departure from the coast for
England. He was more than two months in exploring a hundred and twenty
leagues of sea-coast, visiting and observing the Kennebec, of which a
straightforward story is told. Even then the river was known as a
thoroughfare to Canada.[49]

The mouth of the Kennebec is interesting as the scene of the third
attempt to obtain a foothold on New England's soil. This was the colony
of Chief-justice Popham, which arrived off Monhegan in August, 1607.[50]
This undertaking was intended to be permanent. There were two
well-provided ships, and a hundred and twenty colonists.[51] The leader
of the enterprise, George Popham, was accompanied by Captain Raleigh
Gilbert, nephew and namesake of Sir Walter Raleigh.

A settlement was effected on Hunnewell's Point, at the mouth of the
Kennebec. The winter was one of unexampled severity, and the new-comers
had been late in preparing for it. Encountering privations similar to
those afterward endured by the Plymouth settlers, they lost courage, and
when news of the death of their patron, the chief-justice, reached them,
were ready to abandon the project. Popham, having died in February, was
succeeded by Gilbert, whose affairs recalling him to England, the whole
colony deserted their settlement at Fort St. George in the spring of
1608. Popham was the first English magistrate in New England.

Mather attributes the failure of attempts to colonize the parts of New
England north of Plymouth to their being founded upon the advancement of
worldly interests. "A constant series of disasters has confounded them,"
avers the witch-hating old divine. One minister, he says, was exhorting
the eastern settlers to be more religious, putting the case to them much
in this way, when a voice from the congregation cried out, "Sir, you are
mistaken; you think you are preaching to the people of the Bay. Our main
end was to catch fish."

[Illustration: COTTON MATHER.]

"Did you ever see Cotton Mather's 'History of New England?'--one of the
oddest books I ever perused, but deeply interesting." The question is
put by Southey, and I repeat it, as, if you have not read Mather's
"Magnalia Christi Americana," you have not seen the corner-stone of New
England historical and ecclesiastical literature.

Apropos of the immigration into New England, it was openly bruited in
England that King Charles I. would have been glad if the thousands who
went over were drowned in the sea. Between the years 1628 and 1635 the
exodus was very great, and gave the king much displeasure. No one was
permitted to remove without the royal permission. Even young Harry Vane
had to solicit the good offices of his father, Sir Harry, to obtain a
pass. He was then out of favor at court and at home, through his Geneva
notions about kneeling to receive the Sacrament, and other Puritan
ideas. "Let him go," growls an old writer; "has not Sir Harry other sons
but him?"

The colony of Popham began better than it ended. A fort, doubtless no
more than a palisade with platforms for guns, was marked out. A trench
was dug about it, and twelve pieces of ordnance were mounted. Within its
protection fifty houses, besides a church and store-house, were built.
The carpenters framed a "prytty pynnace" of thirty tons, which they
christened the _Virginia_. There is no earlier record of ship-building
in Maine.

The tenacity of the English character has become proverbial.
Nevertheless, the opinion is hazarded that no nation so ill accommodates
itself to a new country. The English colonies of Virginia, New England,
and Jamaica are striking examples of barrenness of resource when
confronted with unforeseen privations. The Frenchman, on the contrary,
possesses in an eminent degree the capacity to adapt himself to strange
scenes and unaccustomed modes of life. Every thing is made to contribute
to his wants. Let the reader consult, if he will, the campaign of the
Crimea, where thousands of English soldiers gave way to hardships
unknown in the French camps. The elastic gayety of the one is in
contrast with the gloomy despondency of the other. The Popham colony
abandoned a well-matured, ably-seconded design through dread of a New
England winter and through homesickness. Clearly it was not of the stuff
to found a State.

The previous winter was passed by the French at their new settlement of
Port Royal, commenced within two years. The seasons of 1605 and of 1606
were extremely rigorous. The colony of De Monts went through the first
in rude cabins, hastily constructed, on the island of St. Croix. The
next autumn the settlement was transferred to Port Royal. Winter found
them domiciled in their new quarters under no better roofs than they had
quitted. Though their leader, Du Guast, had left them, they were
animated by an irrepressible spirit of fun, altogether French. They made
roads through the forest, or joined with the Indians in hunting-parties,
managing these native Americans with an address that won their
confidence and good help.

[Illustration: ANCIENT PEMAQUID.]

Finally, at the suggestion of Champlain, in order to keep up an
unflagging good-fellowship, and to render themselves free of all anxiety
on the subject of provisions, the ever-famous "L'Ordre de Bon Temps" was
inaugurated. It is deserving of remembrance along with the coterie of
the Knights of the Round Table.

Once in fifteen days each member of the order officiated as _maitre
d'hotel_ of De Poutrincourt's table. It was his care on that day that
his comrades should be well and honorably entertained; and although, as
the old chronicler quaintly says, "our gourmands often reminded us that
we were not in the _Rue aux Ours_ at Paris, yet so well was the rule
observed that we ordinarily made as good cheer as we should have known
how to do in the _Rue aux Ours_, and at less cost."

There was not a fellow of the order who, two days before his turn came,
did not absent himself until he could return with some delicacy to add
to their ordinary fare. They had always fish or flesh at breakfast, and
were never without one or both at the repasts of noon and evening. It
became their great festival.

The steward, or _maitre d'hotel_, having caused all things to be made
ready, marched with his napkin on his shoulder, his staff of office in
his hand, and the collar of the order, that we are told was worth more
than four French crowns, about his neck. Behind him walked the brothers
of the order, each one bearing his plate. In the evening, after giving
thanks to God, the host of the day resigned the collar to his
successor, each pledging the other in a glass of wine.

On such occasions they had always twenty or thirty savages--men, women,
and children--looking on. To these they gave bread from the table; but
when, as was often the case, the sagamores--those fierce, intractable
barbarians--presented themselves, they were, says Lescarbot, "at table
eating and drinking like us, and we right glad to see them, as, on the
contrary, their absence would have made us sorry."

At Pemaquid we enter the domain of Samoset, that chivalric New Englander
whom historians delight to honor. He was a sagamore without guile.
Chronologically speaking, he should first appear at Plymouth, in the act
of offering to those doubting Pilgrims the right hand of fellowship. He
told them he was sagamore of Morattigon, distant from Plymouth "a daye's
sayle with a great wind, and five dayes by land." In 1623 he extended a
kindly reception to Christopher Levett, to whom he proffered a
friendship, to continue until the Great Spirit carried them to his
wigwam. All the old writers speak well of Samoset, whom we call a

[Illustration: CHARLEVOIX.]

I next visited the little point of land on which are the ruins of old
Fort Frederick. Little difficulty is experienced in retracing the
exterior and interior lines of a fortress designed as the strongest
bulwark of English power in New England. It was built upon a green
slope, above a rocky shore, commanding the approach from the sea; but
was itself dominated by the heights of the western shore of John's
River, a circumstance that did not escape the notice of D'Iberville in
1696. At the south-east angle of the work is a high rock, overgrown
with a tangle of climbing vines and shrubs. This rock formed a part of
the old magazine, and is now the conspicuous feature of the ruined
fortress. A projecting spur of the opposite shore was called "the

The importance of Pemaquid as a check to French aggression was very
great. It covered the approaches to the Kennebec, the Sheepscot,
Damariscotta, and Pemaquid rivers. It was also, being at their doors, a
standing menace against the Indian allies of the French, with a garrison
ready to launch upon their villages, or intercept the advance of
war-parties toward the New England settlements. Its presence exasperated
the Abenaquis, on whose territory it was, beyond measure: the French
found them ever ready to second projects for its destruction.

On the other hand, the remoteness of Pemaquid rendered it impracticable
to relieve it when once invested by an enemy. Only a few feeble
settlements skirted the sea-coast between it and Casco Bay, so the same
causes combined to render it both weak and formidable. Old Pentagoët,
which the reader knows for Castine, and Pemaquid, were the mailed hands
of each nationality, always clenched ready to strike.

The fort erected at Pemaquid in 1677, by Governor Andros, was a wooden
redoubt mounting two guns, with an outwork having two bastions, in each
of which were two great guns, and another at the gate.[53] This work was
named Fort Charles. It was captured and destroyed by the Indians in

Sir William Phips, under instructions from Whitehall, built a new fort
at Pemaquid in 1692, which he called William Henry. Captains Wing and
Bancroft were the engineers, the work being completed by Captain
March.[54] The English believed it impregnable. Mather, who says it was
the finest that had been seen in those parts of America, has a
significant allusion to the architect of a fortress in Poland whose eyes
were put out lest he should build another such. From this vantage-ground
the English, for the fifth time, obtained possession of Acadia.

In the same year D'Iberville made a demonstration against it with two
French frigates, but finding an English vessel anchored under the walls,
abandoned his design, to the chagrin of a large band of auxiliary
warriors who had assembled under Villebon, and who now vented their
displeasure by stamping upon the ground.

The reduction of Fort William Henry was part of a general scheme to
overrun and destroy the English settlements as far as the Piscataqua.
The English were fore-warned. John Nelson, of Boston, whose biography is
worth the writing, was then a prisoner at Quebec. Madocawando was also
there, in consultation with Count Frontenac. The Abenaqui chief,
dissatisfied with his presents, gave open expression of his disgust at
the niggardliness of his white ally. Nelson was well acquainted with the
Indian tongue. He cajoled the chief into talking of his projects, and as
soon as they were in his possession acted like a man of decision. He
bribed two Frenchmen--Arnaud du Vignon and Francis Albert--to carry the
intelligence to Boston. On their return to Canada both were shot, and
Nelson was sent to France, where he became for five years an inmate of
the Bastile.


The life of John Nelson contains all the requisites of romance. Although
an Episcopalian, he put himself at the head of the revolution against
the tyranny of Andros. As a prisoner, he risked his own life to acquaint
his countrymen with the dangers that menaced them; and it is said he was
even carried to the place of execution along with his detected
messengers. The French called him "le plus audacieux et le plus
acharné," in the design of conquering Canada. Released from the Bastile
on his parole, after visiting England he returned to France to fulfill
its conditions, although forbidden to do so by King William. A man of
address, courage, and high sense of honor was this John Nelson.

In 1696, a second and more successful expedition was conducted against
Pemaquid. In August, D'Iberville[55] and Bonaventure sailed with the
royal order to attack and reduce it. They called at Pentagoët, receiving
there a re-enforcement of two hundred Indians, who embarked in their
canoes, led by St. Castin. On the 13th the expedition appeared before
the place, and the next day it was invested.

Fort William Henry was then commanded by Captain Pascho Chubb, with a
garrison of about a hundred men. Fifteen pieces of artillery were in
position. The French expected an obstinate resistance, as the place was
well able to withstand a siege.

Chubb, on being summoned, returned a defiant answer. D'Iberville then
began to erect his batteries. The account of Charlevoix states that the
French got possession of ten or twelve stone houses, forming a street
leading from the village square to the fort. They then intrenched
themselves, partly at the cellar-door of the house next the fort, and
partly behind a rock on the sea-shore. A second demand made by St.
Castin, accompanied by the threat that if the place were assaulted the
garrison might expect no quarter, decided the valiant Chubb, after a
feeble and inglorious defense, to surrender. The gates were opened to
the besiegers.

[Illustration: HUTCHINSON.]

On finding an Indian in irons in the fortress, Castin's warriors began a
massacre of the prisoners, which was arrested by their removal, at
command of D'Iberville, to an island, where they were protected by a
strong guard from further violence. The name of William Henry has been
synonymous with disaster to colonial strongholds. The massacre of 1757
at Lake George, forever infamous, obscures with blood the fair fame of
Montcalm. The novelist Cooper, in making it the groundwork of his
"Mohicans," has not overstated the horrors of the tragedy enacted by the
placid St. Sacrament.

Two days were occupied by the French in the destruction of Pemaquid
fort. They then set sail for St. John's River, narrowly escaping capture
by a fleet sent from Boston in pursuit. The French, who had before
claimed to the Kennebec, subsequently established their boundary of
Acadia at St. George's River.

On the beach, below where the martello tower had stood, I discovered
many fragments of bricks among the rock débris. Some of these were as
large as were commonly used in the hearths of our most ancient houses.
The arch by which the tower was perhaps supported remained nearly
intact, though completely concealed by a thicket formed of interweaving
shrubs. Some have conjectured it to have been a hiding-place of
smugglers. Fragments of shot and shell have likewise been picked up
among the rubbish of the old fortress. Not far from the spot is a
grave-yard, in which time and neglect have done their work.

It has been attempted to show that a large and populous settlement
existed from a very early time at Pemaquid, with paved streets and some
of the belongings of a permanent population. Within a few years
excavations have been made, exhibiting the remains of pavement of
beach-pebble at some distance below the surface of the ground.

It is not doubted that a small plantation was maintained here antecedent
to the settlement in Massachusetts Bay, but it as certainly lacks
confirmation that it had assumed either the proportions or outward
appearance of a well and regularly built town at any time during the
seventeenth century. If it were true, as Sullivan states, that in 1630
there were, exclusive of fishermen, eighty-four families about
Sheepscot, Pemaquid, and St. George's, it also becomes important to know
by what means these settlements were depopulated previous to the Indian

The commissioners of Charles II., sent over in 1665, reported that upon
the rivers Kennebec, Sheepscot, and Pemaquid were three plantations, the
largest containing not more than thirty houses, inhabited, say they, "by
the worst of men." The commissioners gave impartial testimony here, for
they were trying to dispossess Massachusetts of the government she had
assumed over Maine since 1652. They wrote further, that neither Kittery,
York, Wells, Scarborough, nor Falmouth had more than thirty houses, and
those mean ones. This was the entirety of the grand old Pine-tree State
two centuries ago.

Colonel Romer had recommended, about 1699, the fortifying anew of
Pemaquid, and the building of supporting works at the next point of
land, and on John's Island. Nothing, however, appears to have been done
until the arrival of Colonel David Dunbar, in 1730, to resume possession
of the Sagadahoc territory in the name of the crown.

Dunbar repaired the old works, giving them the name of Fort Frederick.
At Pemaquid Point he laid out the plan of a city which he divided into
lots, inviting settlers to repopulate the country. Old grants and titles
were considered extinct. His possession at Pemaquid conflicting with the
Muscongus patent was revoked through the efforts of Samuel Waldo. The
garrison was replaced by Massachusetts troops, and the so-called
Sagadahoc territory annexed to the County of York.[56]

When in the neighborhood, the visitor will feel a desire to inspect the
extensive shell heaps of the Damariscotta, about a mile above the town
of Newcastle. They occur on a jutting point of land, in such masses as
to resemble low chalk cliffs of guano deposits. The shells are of the
oyster, now no longer native in New England waters, but once abundant,
as these and other remains testify. The highest point of the bank is
twenty-five feet above the river. The deposits are rather more than a
hundred rods in length, with a variable width of from eighty to a
hundred rods. The shells lie in regular layers, bleached by sun and
weather. Among the many naturalists who have visited them may be named
Dr. Charles T. Jackson,[57] and Professor Chadbourne, of Bowdoin
College. Some animal remains found among the shells were submitted to
Agassiz, who concurred in the received opinion that the shells were
heaped up by men.

From point to point excavations have been made with the expectation of
finding the Indian implements which have occasionally rewarded such
investigations. Williamson mentions a tradition that human skeletons had
been discovered in these beds. The bones of animals and of birds have
been found in them. Situated in the immediate vicinity of the shell
deposits is a kiln for converting the shells into lime, which is
produced of as good quality as that obtained from limestone rock.

In walking along the beach at low tide, I had an excellent opportunity
of surveying these remains. A considerable growth of trees had sprung
from the soil collected above them, the roots of some having penetrated
completely through the superincumbent shells to the earth beneath. From
an observation of several cavities near the surface and in the sides of
the oyster banks, the shells, in some instances, appear to have been
subjected to fire. The entire stratum was in a state of decomposition
that sufficiently attests the work of years. Even those shells lying
nearest the surface in most cases crumbled in the hands, while at a
greater depth the closely-packed valves were little else than a heap of

The shell heaps are of common occurrence all along the coast. The reader
knows them for the feeding-places of the hordes preceding European
civilization. Here they regaled themselves on a delicacy that
disappeared when they vanished from the land. The Indians not only
satisfied present hunger, but dried the oyster for winter consumption.
Their summer camps were pitched in the neighborhood of well-known oyster
deposits, the squaws being occupied in gathering shell-fish, while the
men were engaged in fishing or in hunting.

Josselyn mentions the long-shelled oysters peculiar to these deposits.
He notes them of nine inches in length from the "joint to the toe, that
were to be cut in three pieces before they could be eaten." Wood
professes to have seen them of a foot in length. I found many of the
shells here of six inches in length. Winthrop alludes to the oyster
banks of Mystic River, Massachusetts, that impeded its navigation.
During recent dredgings here oyster-shells of six to eight inches in
length were frequently brought to the surface. The problem of the
oyster's disappearance is yet to be solved.[58]


[45] This work is on an old map of the Kennebec patent. It was about
twenty rods square, a bastion. A house now stands in the space it
formerly occupied.

[46] "Purchas," vol. iv., 1874.

[47] In 1603 Gorges was deprived of the command, but had it restored to
him the same year.

[48] "Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society," vol. vi., 3d

[49] See Lescarbot, p. 497.

[50] Strachey. Gorges says August 8th; Smith, August 11th.

[51] A fly-boat, the _Gift of God_, George Popham; _Mary and John_, of
London, Raleigh Gilbert.

[52] Samoset, in 1625, sold Pemaquid to John Brown. His sign-manual was
a bended bow, with an arrow fitted to the string. The deed to Brown also
fixes the residence, at Pemaquid, of Abraham Shurt, agent of Elbridge
and Aldworth, in the year 1626.

[53] "New York Colonial Documents," vol. iii., p. 256. Some primitive
defensive works had existed as early as 1630, rifled in 1632 by the
freebooter, Dixy Bull.

[54] It was of stone; a quadrangle seven hundred and thirty-seven feet
in compass without the outer walls, one hundred and eight feet square
within the inner ones: pierced with embrasures for twenty-eight cannons,
and mounting fourteen, six being eighteen-pounders. The south wall
fronting the sea was twenty-two feet high, and six feet thick at the
ports. The great flanker, or round tower, at the west end of the line
was twenty-nine feet high. It stood about a score of rods from
high-water mark.--MATHER, vol. ii., p. 537.

[55] "D'Iberville, monseigneur, est un tres sage garçon, entreprenant et
qui scait ce qu'il fait."--M. DENONVILLE.

[56] As it is inconsistent with the purpose and limits of these chapters
to give the detail of charters, patents, and titles by which Pemaquid
has acquired much historical prominence, the reader may, in addition to
authorities named in the text, consult Thornton's "Ancient Pemaquid,"
vol. v. "Maine Historical Collections;" Johnston's "Bristol, Bremen, and
Pemaquid;" Hough's "Pemaquid Papers," etc.

[57] While making his geological survey of Maine.

[58] Williamson mentions the heaps on the eastern bank, not so high as
on the western, extending back twenty rods from the river, and rendering
the land useless. The shell heaps of Georgia and Florida are more
extensive than any in New England.

[Illustration: MONHEGAN ISLAND.]



    "From gray sea-fog, from icy drift,
      From peril and from pain,
    The home-bound fisher greets thy lights,
      Oh hundred-harbored Maine!"


The most famous island you can find on the New England map is Monhegan
Island. To it the voyages of Weymouth, of Popham, and of Smith converge.
The latter has put it down as one of the landmarks of our coast. Rosier
calls it an excellent landfall. It is undoubtedly Monhegan that is seen
on the oldest charts of New England. Champlain, with the same aptness
and originality recognized in Mount Desert and Isle au Haut, names it La
Tortue. Take from the shelf Bradford, Winthrop, Prince, or Hubbard, and
you will find this island to figure conspicuously in their pages.
Bradford says starving Plymouth was succored from Monhegan as early as
1622. The Boston colonists of 1630 were boarded when entering Salem by a
Plymouth man, going about his business at Pemaquid. English fishing
ships hovered about the island for a dozen years before the _Mayflower_
swung to her anchorage in the "ice-rimmed" bay. The embers of some
camp-fire were always smouldering there.

Sailing once from Boston on a Penobscot steamboat, a few hours brought
us up with Cape Ann. I asked the pilot for what land he now steered.


In returning, the boat came down through the Mussel Ridge Channel like a
race-horse over a well-beaten course. We rounded Monhegan again, and
then steered by the compass. Monhegan is still a landmark.

A wintry passage is not always to be commended, especially when the
Atlantic gets unruly. Leaving the wharf on one well-remembered occasion,
we steamed down the bay in smooth water at fourteen miles an hour. All
on board were in possession of their customary equipoise. Soon the gong
sounded a noisy summons to supper. We descended. The cabin tables were
quickly occupied by a merry company of both sexes. There was a clatter
of plates and sharp clicking of knives and forks; waiters ran hither and
thither; the buzz of conversation and ripple of suppressed laughter
began to diffuse themselves with the good cheer, when, suddenly, the
boat, mounting a sea, fell off into the trough with a measured movement
that thrilled every victim of old Neptune to the marrow.


It would be difficult to conceive a more instantaneous metamorphosis
than that which now took place. Maidens who had been chatting or
wickedly flirting, laid down their knives and forks and turned pale as
their napkins. Youths that were all smiles and attention to some
adorable companion suddenly behaved as if oblivious of her presence.
Another plunge of the boat! My _vis-à-vis_, an old gourmand, had
intrenched himself behind a rampart of delicacies. He stops short in the
act of carving a fowl, and reels to the cabin stairs. Soon he has many
followers. Wives are separated from husbands, the lover deserts his
mistress. A heavier sea lifts the bow, and goes rolling with gathered
volume astern, accompanied by the crash of crockery and trembling of the
chandeliers. That did the business. The commercial traveler who told me
he was never sea-sick laid down the morsel he was in the act of
conveying to his mouth. He tried to look unconcerned as he staggered
from the table, but it was a wretched failure. Two waiters, each bearing
a well-laden tray, were sent sliding down the incline to the leeward
side of the cabin, where, coming in crashing collision, they finally
deposited their burdens in a berth in which some unfortunate was already
reposing. All except a handful of well-seasoned voyagers sought the
upper cabins, where they remained pale as statues, and as silent. The
rows of deserted seats, unused plates, the joints sent away untouched,
presented a melancholy evidence of the triumph of matter over mind.

Early in the morning we made out Monhegan, as I have no doubt it was
descried from the mast-head of the _Archangel_, Weymouth's ship, two
hundred and seventy years ago. The sea was shrouded in vapor, so that we
saw the island long before the main-land was visible. Sea-faring people
call it high land for this part of the world.

Near the westward shore of the southern half of this remarkable island
is a little islet, called Mananas, which forms the only harbor it can
boast. Captain Smith says, "Between Monahiggon and Monanis is a small
harbour, where we rid." The entrance is considered practicable only from
the south, though the captain of a coasting vessel pointed out where he
had run his vessel through the ragged reefs that shelter the northern
end, and saved it. It was a desperate strait, he said, and the
by-standers shook their heads, in thinking on the peril of the

The inhabitants are hospitable, and many even well to do. Their harbor
is providentially situated for vessels that are forced on the coast in
heavy gales, and are able to reach its shelter. At such times exhausted
mariners are sure of a kind reception, every house opening its doors to
relieve their distresses. Having all the requirements of snug harboring,
excellent rock fishing, with room enough for extended rambling up and
down, the island must one day become a resort as famous as the Isles of
Shoals. At present there is a peculiar flavor of originality and
freshness about the people, who are as yet free from the money-getting
aptitudes of the recognized watering-place.

George Weymouth made his anchorage under Monhegan on the 18th of May,
1605. "It appeared," says Rosier, "a mean high land, as we afterward
found it, being an island of some six miles in compass, but, I hope, the
most fortunate ever yet discovered. About twelve o'clock that day, we
came to an anchor on the north side of this island, about a league from
the shore. About two o'clock our captain with twelve men rowed in his
ship-boat to the shore, where we made no long stay, but laded our boat
with dry wood of old trees upon the shore side, and returned to our
ship, where we rode that night." * * *

"This island is woody, grown with fir, birch, oak, and beech, as far as
we saw along the shore; and so likely to be within. On the verge grow
gooseberries, strawberries, wild pease, and wild rose-bushes. The water
issued forth down the cliffs in many places; and much fowl of divers
kinds breeds upon the shore and rocks."

The main-land possessed greater attraction for Weymouth. Thinking his
anchorage insecure, he brought his vessel the next day to the islands
"more adjoining to the main, and in the road directly with the
mountains, about three leagues from the island where he had first

I read this description while standing on the deck of the _Katahdin_,
and found it to answer admirably the conditions under which I then
surveyed the land. We were near enough to make out the varied features
of a long line of sea-coast stretching northward for many a mile. There
were St. George's Islands, three leagues distant, and more adjoining to
the main. And there were the Camden Mountains in the distance.[60]

Weymouth landed at Pemaquid, and traded with the Indians there. In order
to impress them with the belief that he and his comrades were
supernatural beings, he caused his own and Hosier's swords to be touched
with the loadstone, and then with the blades took up knives and needles,
much mystifying the simple savages with his jugglery. It took, however,
six whites to capture two of the natives, unarmed and thrown off their
guard by feigned friendship.

But one compensation can be found for Weymouth's treachery in kidnaping
five Indians here, and that is in the assertion of Sir F. Gorges that
this circumstance first directed his attention to New England
colonization. At least two of the captive Indians found their way back
again. One returned the next year; another--Skitwarres--came over with
Popham. A strange tale these savages must have told of their adventures
beyond seas.[61]

Some credence has been given to the report of the existence of a rock
inscription on Monhegan Island, supposed by some to be a reminiscence
of the Northmen. The Society of Northern Antiquaries of Copenhagen has
reproduced it in their printed proceedings. The best informed American
antiquaries do not believe it to possess any archæological significance.
I also heard of another of the "devil's foot-prints" on Mananas, but did
not see it.

Between Monhegan and Pemaquid Point was the scene of the sea-fight
between the _Enterprise_ and _Boxer_. Some of the particulars I shall
relate I had of eye-witnesses of the battle.

In September, 1814, the American brig _Enterprise_ quitted Portsmouth
roads. She had seen service in the wars with the French Directory and
with Algiers. She had been rebuilt in 1811, and had already gained the
name of a lucky vessel. Her cruising-ground was along the Maine coast,
where a sharp lookout was to be kept for privateers coming out of the
enemy's ports. In times past her commanders were such men as Sterrett,
Hull, Decatur, and Blakely, in whom was no more flinching than in the

Lieutenant Burrows, who now took her to sea, had been first officer of a
merchant ship and a prisoner to the enemy. As soon as exchanged he was
given the command of the _Enterprise_. He was a good seaman, bound up in
his profession, and the darling of the common sailors. Taciturn and
misanthropic among equals, he liked to disguise himself in a pea-jacket
and visit the low haunts of his shipmates. It was believed he would be
killed sooner than surrender.

The _Boxer_ had been fitted out at St. Johns with a view of meeting and
fighting the _Enterprise_. Every care that experience and seamanship
could suggest had been bestowed upon her equipment. She was, moreover, a
new and strong vessel. In armament and crews the two vessels were about
equal, the inferiority, if any, being on the side of the American. The
two brigs were, in fact, as equally matched as could well be. They were
prepared, rubbed down, and polished off, like pugilists by their
respective trainers. They were in quest of each other. The conquered,
however, attributed their defeat to every cause but the true one,
namely, that of being beaten in a fair fight on their favorite element.

The _Boxer_, after worrying the fishermen, and keeping the sea-coast
villages in continual alarm, dropped anchor in Pemaquid Bay on Saturday,
September 4th, 1814. There was then a small militia guard in old Fort
Frederick. The inhabitants of Pemaquid Point, fearing an attack,
withdrew into the woods, where they heard at evening the music played on
board the enemy's cruiser.

The next morning, a peaceful Sabbath, the lookout of the _Boxer_ made
out the _Enterprise_ coming down from the westward with a fair wind. In
an instant the Briton's decks were alive with men. Sails were let fall
and sheeted home with marvelous quickness, and the _Boxer_, with every
rag of canvas spread, stood out of the bay. From her anchorage to the
westward of John's Island, the _Boxer_, as she got under way, threw
several shot over the island into the fort by way of farewell. Both
vessels bore off the land about three miles, when they stripped to
fighting canvas. The American, being to windward, had the weather-gage,
and, after taking a good look at her antagonist, brought her to action
at twenty minutes past three o'clock in the afternoon. Anxious
spectators crowded the shores; but after the first broadsides, for the
forty minutes the action continued, nothing could be seen except the
flashes of the guns; both vessels were enveloped in a cloud. At length
the firing slackened, and it was seen the _Boxer's_ maintop-mast had
been shot away. The battle was decided.

This combat, which proved fatal to both commanders, was, for the time it
lasted, desperately contested. The _Enterprise_ returned to Portland,
with the _Boxer_ in company, on the 7th. The bodies of Captain Samuel
Blythe, late commander of the English brig, and of Lieutenant William
Burrows, of the _Enterprise_, were brought on shore draped with the
flags each had so bravely defended. The same honors were paid the
remains of each, and they were interred side by side in the cemetery at
Portland. Blythe had been one of poor Lawrence's pall-bearers.


This was the first success that had befallen the American navy since the
loss of the _Chesapeake_. It revived, in a measure, the confidence that
disaster had shaken. The _Boxer_ went into action with her colors nailed
to the mast--a useless bravado that no doubt cost many lives. Her ensign
is now among the trophies of the Naval Academy at Annapolis, while that
of the _Enterprise_ has but lately been reclaimed from among the
forgotten things of the past, to array its tattered folds beside the
flags of the _Bonhomme Richard_ and of Fort M'Henry.[62]

Among the recollections of his "Lost Youth," the author of "Evangeline,"
a native of Portland, tells us:

    "I remember the sea-fight far away,
      How it thundered o'er the tide!
    And the dead captains, as they lay
    In their graves o'erlooking the tranquil bay,
      Where they in battle died."

[Illustration: BURROWS'S MEDAL.]


[59] Monhegan lies nine miles south of the George's group, twelve
south-east from Pemaquid, and nine west of Metinic. It contains upward
of one thousand acres of land. According to Williamson, it had, in 1832,
about one hundred inhabitants, twelve or fourteen dwellings, and a
school-house. The able-bodied men were engaged in the Bank fishery; the
elders and boys in tending the flocks and tilling the soil. At that time
there was not an officer of any kind upon the island; not even a justice
of the peace. The people governed themselves according to local usage,
and were strangers to taxation. A light-house was built on the island in

[60] A good many arguments may be found in the "Collections of the Maine
Historical Society" as to whether Weymouth ascended the Penobscot or the
Kennebec. All assume Monhegan to have been the first island seen. This
being conceded, the landmarks given in the text follow, without
reasonable ground for controversy.

[61] In 1607 Weymouth was granted a pension of three shillings and
fourpence per diem. Smith was at Monhegan in 1614, Captain Dermer in
1619, and some mutineers from Rocroft's ship had passed the winter of
1618-'19 there. The existence of a small plantation is ascertained in
1622. In 1626 the island was sold to Giles Elbridge and Robert Aldworth
for fifty pounds.

[62] This flag inspired the national lyric, "The Star-spangled Banner."

[Illustration: GORGE, BALD HEAD CLIFF.]



    "A shipman was there, wonned far by west;
    For aught I wot, he was of Dartëmouth."


One hot, slumberous morning in August I found myself in the town of
Wells. I was traveling, as New England ought to be traversed by every
young man of average health and active habits, on foot, and at leisure,
along the beautiful road to Old York. Now Wells, as Victor Hugo says of
a village in Brittany, is not a town, but a street, stretching for five
or six miles along the shore, and everywhere commanding an extensive and
unbroken ocean view.

The place itself, though bristling with history, has been stripped of
its antiques, and is in appearance the counterpart of a score of neat,
thrifty villages of my acquaintance. I paused for a moment at the site
of the Storer garrison, in which Captain Converse made so manful a
defense when Frontenac, in 1692, let slip his French and Indians on our
border settlements.[63] Some fragments of the timbers of the garrison
are preserved in the vicinity, one of which I saw among the collections
of a village antiquary. In the annals of Wells the names of John
Wheelwright and of George Burroughs occur, the former celebrated as the
founder of Exeter, the latter a victim of the witchcraft horror of '92.

John Wheelwright, the classmate and friend of Cromwell, fills a large
space in the early history of the Bay Colony. A fugitive, like John
Cotton, from the persecutions of Laud, he came to Boston in 1636, and
became the pastor of a church at Braintree, then forming part of Boston.
He was the brother-in-law of the famous Ann Hutchinson, who was near
creating a revolution in Winthrop's government,[64] and shared her
Antinomian opinions. For this he was banished, and became the founder of
Exeter in 1638. In 1643, Massachusetts having claimed jurisdiction over
that town, Wheelwright removed to Wells, where he remained two years.
Becoming reconciled to the Massachusetts government, he removed to
Hampton, was in England in 1657, returning to New England in 1660. He
became pastor of the church in Salisbury, and died there in 1679; but
the place of his burial, Allen says, is not known. He was the oldest
minister in the colony at the time of his death, and a man of pronounced
character. The settlement of the island of Rhode Island occurred through
the removal of William Coddington and others at the same time, and for
the same reasons that caused the expulsion of Wheelwright from Boston,
as Roger Williams had been expelled from Salem seven years before.

"Wheelwright's Deed" has been the subject of a long and animated
controversy among antiquaries; some, like Mr. Savage, pronouncing it a
forgery because it is dated in 1629, the year before the settlement of
Boston. This deed was a conveyance from the Indian sagamores to
Wheelwright of the land on which stands the flourishing town of Exeter;
and although copies of it have been recorded in several places, the
original long ago disappeared. Cotton Mather, who saw it, testifies to
its appearance of antiquity, and the advocates of its validity do not
appear as yet to have the worst of the argument.[65]

George Burroughs, who fell fighting against terrorism on Gallows Hill--a
single spot may claim in New England the terrible distinction of this
name--was, if tradition says truly, apprehended by officers of the
Bloody Council at the church door, as he was leaving it after divine
service. A little dark man, and an athlete, whose muscular strength was
turned against him to fatal account. An Indian, at Falmouth, had held
out a heavy fowling-piece at arms-length by simply thrusting his finger
in at the muzzle. Poor Burroughs, who would not stand by and see an
Englishman outdone by a redskin, repeated the feat on the spot, and this
was the most ruinous piece of evidence brought forth at his trial. A man
could not be strong then, or the devil was in it.

The road was good, and the way plain. As the shores are for some miles
intersected by creeks intrenched behind sandy downs, the route follows a
level shelf along the high land. There are pleasant strips of beach,
where the sea breaks noiselessly when the wind is off shore, but where
it comes thundering in when driven before a north-east gale. Now and
then a vessel is embayed here in thick weather, or, failing to make due
allowance for the strong drift to the westward, is set bodily on these
sands, as the fishermen say, "all standing." While I was in the
neighborhood no less than three came ashore within a few hours of each
other. The first, a timber vessel, missing her course a little, went on
the beach; but at the next tide, by carrying an anchor into deep water
and kedging, she was floated again. Another luckless craft struck on the
rocks within half a mile of the first, and became a wreck, the crew
owing their lives to a smooth sea. The third, a Bank fisherman, was left
by the ebb high up on a dangerous reef, with a hole in her bottom. She
was abandoned to the underwriters, and sold for a few dollars. To the
surprise even of the knowing ones, the shrewd Yankee who bought her
succeeded at low tide in getting some empty casks into her hold, and
brought her into port.

Notwithstanding these sands are hard and firm as a granite floor, they
are subject to shiftings which at first appear almost unaccountable.
Many years ago, while sauntering along the beach, I came across the
timbers of a stranded vessel. So deeply were they imbedded in the sand,
that they had the appearance rather of formidable rows of teeth
belonging to some antique sea-monster than of the work of human hands.
How long the wreck had lain there no one could say; but at intervals it
disappeared beneath the sands, to come to the surface again. I have
often walked over the spot where it lay buried out of sight; and yet,
after the lapse of years, there it was again, like a grave that would
not remain closed.

A few years ago, an English vessel, the _Clotilde_, went ashore on Wells
Beach, and remained there high and dry for nearly a year. She was deeply
laden with railway iron, and, after being relieved of her cargo, was
successfully launched. During the time the ship lay on the beach, she
became so deeply buried in the sand that a person might walk on board
without difficulty. Ways were built underneath her, and, after a
terrible wrenching, she was got afloat. Heavy objects, such as kegs of
lead paint, and even pigs of iron, have been exposed by the action of
the waves, after having, in some instances, been twenty years under the
surface. I have picked up whole bricks, lost overboard from some
coaster, that have come ashore with their edges smoothly rounded by the
abrasion of the sand and sea. There is an authentic account of the
re-appearance of a wrecked ship's caboose more than a hundred and
seventy years after her loss on Cape Cod. After a heavy easterly gale,
the beach is always sprinkled with a fine, dark gravel, which disappears
again with a few days of ordinary weather.

[Illustration: OLD WRECKS ON THE BEACH.]

Besides being the inexhaustible resource of summer idlers, the beach has
its practical aspects. The sand, fine, white, and "sharp," is not only
used by builders--and there is no fear of exhausting the supply--but is
hauled away by farmers along shore, and housed in their barns as bedding
for cattle, or to mix with heavy soils. The sea-weed and kelp that comes
ashore in such vast quantities after a heavy blow is carefully
harvested, and goes to enrich the lands with its lime and salt. It
formerly supplied the commercial demand for soda, and was gathered on
the coasts of Ireland, Scotland, France, and Spain for the purpose. It
is the _varec_ of Brittany and Normandy, the _blanquette_ of Frontignan
and Aigues-mortes, and the _salicor_ of Narbonne. After being dried, it
was reduced to ashes in rude furnaces. Iodine is also the product of
sea-weed. You may sometimes see at high-water mark winrows of Irish moss
(_carrageen_) bleaching in the sun, though for my blanc-mange I give the
preference to that cast up on the shingle, as more free from sand. This
plant grows only on the farthest ledges. The pebble usually heaped above
the line of sand, or in little coves among the ledges, is used for
ballast, and for mending roads and garden-walks. Turning to the sandy
waste that skirts the beach, I seldom fail of finding the beach-pea,
with its beautiful blossoms of blue and purple. In spring the vine is
edible, and has been long used for food by the poorer people.

The beach is much frequented after a storm by crows in quest of a dinner
_al fresco_. They haunt it as persistently as do the wreckers, and
seldom fail of finding a stranded fish, a crab, or a mussel. They are
the self-appointed scavengers of the strand, removing much of the offal
cast up by the sea. The crow is a crafty fellow, and knows a thing or
two, as I have had reason to observe. The large sea-mussel is much
affected by him, and when found is at once pounced upon. Taking it in
his talons, the crow flies to the nearest ledge of rocks, and,
calculating his distance with mathematical eye, lets his prize fall. Of
course the mussel is dashed in pieces, and the crow proceeds to make a
frugal meal. I have seen this operation frequently repeated, and have as
often scared the bird from his repast to convince myself of his success.

His method of taking the clam is equally ingenious. He walks upon the
clam-bank at low tide, and seizes upon the first unlucky head he finds
protruding from the shell. Then ensues a series of laughable efforts on
the crow's part to rise with his prey, while the clam tries in vain to
draw in its head. The crow, after many sharp tugs and much flapping of
his wings, finally secures the clam, and disposes of him as he would of
a mussel. The Indians, whose chief dependence in summer was upon
shell-fish, complained that the English swine watched the receding tide
as their women were accustomed to do, feeding on the clams they turned
up with their snouts.

In the olden time the beach was the high-road over which the settlers
traveled when, as was long the case, it was their only way of safety. It
was often beset with danger; so much so that tradition says the mail
from Portsmouth to Wells was for seven years brought by a dog, the pouch
being attached to his collar. This faithful messenger was at last killed
by the savages. For miles around this bay the long-abandoned King's
Highway may be traced where it hugged the verge of the shore, climbing
the roughest ledges, or crossing from one beach to another by a strip of
shingle. Here and there an old cellar remains to identify its course and
tell of the stern lives those pioneers led.

When the tide is out, I also keep at low-water mark, scrambling over
ledges, or delving among the crannies for specimens. It does not take
long to fill your pockets with many-hued pebbles of quartz, jasper, or
porphyry that, in going a few rods farther, you are sure to reject for
others more brilliant. At full sea I walk along the shore, where, from
between those envious little stone walls, I can still survey the

After all that has been printed since the "Tractatus Petri Hispani," it
is a question whether there are not as many popular superstitions to-day
among plain New England country-folk as at any time since the settlement
of the country. The belief in the virtue of a horseshoe is unabated. At
York I saw one nailed to the end of a coaster's bowsprit. To spill salt,
break a looking-glass, or dream of a white horse, are still regarded as
of sinister augury. A tooth-pick made from a splinter of a tree that has
been struck by lightning is a sure preventive of the toothache.
Exceeding all these, however, is the generally accepted superstition
that has led to the practice of bathing on Saco Beach on the 26th of
June in each year. On this day, it is religiously believed that the
waters, like Siloam of old, have miraculous power of healing all
diseases with which humanity is afflicted. The people flock to the beach
from all the country round, in every description of vehicle, to dip in
the enchanted tide. A similar belief existed with regard to a medicinal
spring on the River Dee, in Scotland, called Januarich Wells, one author
gravely asserting that so great was the faith in its efficacy that those
afflicted with broken legs have gone there for restoration of the limb.

I have found it always impracticable to argue with the pilgrims as to
the grounds of their belief. They are ready to recount any number of
wonderful cures at too great a distance for my investigation to reach,
and may not, therefore, be gainsaid. It is a custom.

All this time I was nearing Ogunquit, a little fishing village spliced
to the outskirts of Wells, being itself within the limits of York. At my
right I caught a glimpse of the green bulk of Mount Agamenticus, and on
the other hand, almost at my elbow, was the sea. So we marched on, as it
were, arm in arm; for I was beginning to feel pretty well acquainted
with a companion that kept thus constantly at my side. This morning it
was Prussian blue, which it presently put off for a warmer hue. There it
lay, sunning itself, cool, silent, impenetrable, like a great blue
turquoise on the bare bosom of Mother Earth, nor looking as if a little
ruffling of its surface could put it in such a towering passion.

My sachel always contains a luncheon, a book, and a telescopic
drinking-cup. At noon, having left eight miles of road behind me, I
sought the shelter of a tree by the roadside, and found my appetite by
no means impaired by the jaunt. At such a time I read, like Rousseau,
while eating, in default of a tête-à-tête. I alternately devour a page
and a piece. While under my tree, a cow came to partake of the shade, of
which there was enough for both of us. She gazed at me with a calm, but,
as I conceived also, a puzzled look, ruminating meanwhile, or stretching
out her head and snuffing the air within a foot of my hand. Perhaps she
was wondering whether I had two stomachs, and a tail to brush off the

From the village of Ogunquit there are two roads. I chose the one which
kept the shore, in order to take in my way Bald Head Cliff, a natural
curiosity well worth going some distance to see. The road so winds
across the rocky waste on which the village is in part built that in
some places you almost double on your own footsteps. Occasionally a
narrow lane issues from among the ledges, tumbling rather than
descending to some little cove, where you catch a glimpse of
brown-roofed cottages and a fishing-boat or two, snugly moored. The
inhabitants say there is not enough soil in Ogunquit with which to
repair the roads, a statement no one who tries it with a vehicle will be
inclined to dispute. Literally the houses are built upon rocks,
incrusted with yellow lichens in room of grass. Wherever a dip occurs
through which a little patch of blue sea peeps out, a house is posted,
and I saw a few carefully-tended garden spots among hollows of the rock
in which a handful of mould had accumulated. The wintry aspect is little
short of desolation: in storms, from its elevation and exposure, the
place receives the full shock of the tempest, as you may see by the
weather-stained appearance of the houses.

A native directed me by a short cut "how to take another ox-bow out of
the road," and in a few minutes I stood on the brow of the cliff. What a
sight! The eye spans twenty miles of sea horizon. Wells, with its white
meeting-houses and shore hotels, was behind me. Far up in the bight of
the bay Great Hill headland, Hart's and Gooch's beaches--the latter mere
ribbons of white sand--gleamed in the sunlight. Kennebunkport and its
ship-yards lay beneath yonder smoky cloud, with Cape Porpoise Light
beyond. There, below me, looking as if it had floated off from the main,
was the barren rock called the Nubble, the farthest land in this
direction, with Cape Neddoek harbor in full view. All the rest was
ocean. The mackerel fleet that I had seen all day--fifty sail, sixty,
yes, and more--was off Boon Island, with their jibs down, the solitary
gray shaft of the light-house standing grimly up among the white sails,
a mile-stone of the sea.

There are very few who would be able to approach the farthest edge of
the precipice called the Pulpit, and bend over its sheer face without a
quickening of the pulse. As in all these grand displays in which Nature
puts forth her powers, you shrink in proportion as she exalts herself.
For the time being, at least, the conceit is taken out of you, and you
are thoroughly put down. Here is a perpendicular wall of rock ninety
feet in height (as well as I could estimate it), and about a hundred and
fifty in length, with a greater than Niagara raging at its foot--a rock
buttress, with its foundations deeply rooted in the earth, breasting off
the Atlantic; and the massy fragments lying splintered at its base, or
heaved loosely about the summit, told of many a desperate
wrestling-match, with a constant gain for the old athlete. The sea is
gnawing its way into the coast slowly, but as surely as the cataract is
approaching the lake; and the cliff, though it may for a thousand years
oppose this terrible battering, will at last, like some sea fortress,
crumble before it.

Underneath the cliff is one of those curious basins hollowed out almost
with the regularity of art, in which a vessel of large tonnage might be
floated. On the farther side of this basin, the ledges, though jagged
and wave-worn, descend with regular incline, making a sort of platform.
On the top of the cliff the rock débris and line of soil show
unmistakably that in severe gales the sea leaps to this great height,
drenching the summit with salt spray. At such a time the sea must be
superb, though awful; for I doubt if a human being could stand erect
before such a storm.

The exposed side of Bald Head Cliff faces south of east, and is the
result of ages of wear and tear. The sea undermines it, assails it in
front and from all sides. Here are dikes, as at Star Island, in which
the trap-rock has given way to the continual pounding, thus affording a
vantage-ground for the great lifting power of the waves. The strata of
rock lie in perpendicular masses, welded together as if by fire, and
injected with crystal quartz seams, knotted like veins in a Titan's
forehead. Blocks of granite weighing many tons, honey-combed by the
action of the water, are loosely piled where the cliff overhangs the
waves; and you may descend by regular steps to the verge of the abyss.
The time to inspect this curiosity is at low tide, when, if there be sea
enough, the waves come grandly in, whelming the shaggy rocks, down whose
sides a hundred miniature cascades pour as the waters recede.

Beneath the cliff the incoming tides have worn the trap-rock to glassy
smoothness, rendering it difficult to walk about when they are wetted by
the spray. From this stand-point it is apparent the wall that rises
before you is the remaining side of one of those chasms which the sea
has driven right into the heart of the crag. The other face is what lies
scattered about on all sides in picturesque ruin. If the view from the
summit was invigorating, the situation below was far from inspiring. It
needed all the cheerful light and warmth the afternoon sun could give to
brighten up that bleak and rugged shore. The spot had for me a certain
sombre fascination; for it was here, more than thirty years ago, the
_Isidore_, a brand-new vessel, and only a few hours from port, was lost
with every soul on board. Often have I heard the tale of that winter's
night from relatives of the ill-fated ship's crew; and as I stood here
within their tomb, realizing the hopelessness of human effort when
opposed to those merciless crags, I thought of Schiller's lines:

    "Oh many a bark to that breast grappled fast
      Has gone down to the fearful and fathomless grave;
    Again, crashed together the keel and the mast,
      To be seen tossed aloft in the glee of the wave!
    Like the growth of a storm, ever louder and clearer,
      Grows the roar of the gulf rising nearer and nearer."

Over there, where the smoke lies above the tree-tops, is
Kennebunkport,[66] where they build as staunch vessels as float on any
sea. The village and its ship-yards lie along the banks of a little
river, or, more properly speaking, an arm of the sea. It is a queer old
place, or rather was, before it became translated into a summer resort;
but now silk jostles homespun, and for three months in the year it is
invaded by an army of pleasure-seekers, who ransack its secret places,
and after taking their fill of sea and shore, flee before the first
frosts of autumn. The town then hibernates.

The _Isidore_ was built a few miles up river, where the stream is so
narrow and crooked that you can scarce conceive how ships of any size
could be successfully launched. At a point below the "Landing" the banks
are so near together as to admit of a lock to retain the full tide when
a launch took place. A big ship usually brings up in the soft ooze of
the opposite bank, but is got off at the next flood by the help of a few
yoke of oxen and a strong hawser. Besides its ship-building,
Kennebunkport once boasted a considerable commerce with the West Indies,
and the foundations of many snug fortunes have been laid in rum and
sugar. The decaying wharves and empty warehouses now tell their own

I was one afternoon at the humble cottage of a less ancient, though more
coherent, mariner than Coleridge's, who, after forty years battling with
storms, was now laid up like an old hulk that will never more be fit for
sea. Together we rehearsed the first and last voyage of the _Isidore_.

"Thirty years ago come Thanksgiving," said Ben, in a voice pitched below
his usual key, "the _Isidore_ lay at the wharf with her topsails loose,
waiting for a slant of wind to put to sea. She was named for the
builder's daughter, a mighty pretty gal, sir; but the boys didn't like
the name because it sounded outlandish-like, and would have rather had
an out-an'-out Yankee one any day of the week."

"There is, then," I suggested, "something in a name at sea as well as

"Lor' bless your dear soul, I've seen them barkeys as could almost ship
a crew for nothing, they had such spanking, saucy names. Captain R----
was as good a sailor as ever stepped, but dretful profane. He was as
brave as a lion, and had rescued the crew of an Englishman from certain
death while drifting a helpless wreck before a gale. No boat could live
in the sea that was running; but Captain R---- bore down for the sinking
ship, and passed it so close that the crew saved themselves by jumping
aboard of him. Seven or eight times he stood for that wreck, until all
but one man were saved. He had the ill-luck afterward to get a cotton
ship ashore at Three Acres, near where the _Isidore_ was lost, and said,
as I've heard, 'he hoped the next vessel that went ashore he should be
under her keel.' He had his wish, most likely.

"The _Isidore_ was light, just on top of water, and never ought to have
gone to sea in that plight; but she had been a good while wind-bound,
and all hands began to be impatient to be off. Her crew, fifteen as
likely lads as ever reefed a topsail, all belonged in the neighborhood.
One of 'em didn't feel noways right about the v'y'ge, and couldn't make
up his mind to go until the ship was over the bar, when he had to be
set aboard in a wherry. Another dreamed three nights running the same
dream, and every blessed time he saw the _Isidore_ strike on a lee shore
with the sea a-flying as high as the maintop. Every time he woke up in a
cold sweat, with the cries of his shipmates ringing in his ears as plain
as we hear the rote on Gooch's Beach this minute. So, when the _Isidore_
set her colors and dropped down the river, Joe, though he had signed the
articles and got the advance, took to the woods. Most every body thought
it scandalous for the ship to unmoor, but Captain R---- said he would go
to sea if he went to h--l the next minute. Dretful profane man,

"The weather warn't exactly foul weather, and the sea was smooth enough,
but all the air there was was dead ahead, and it looked dirty to
wind'ard. The ship slipped out through the piers, and stood off to the
east'ard on the port tack. I recollect she was so nigh the shore that I
could see who was at the wheel. She didn't work handy, for all the ropes
were new and full of turns, and I knew they were having it lively aboard
of her. Early in the afternoon it began to snow, first lightly, then
thick and fast, and the wind began to freshen up considerable. The ship
made one or two tacks to work out of the bay, but about four o'clock it
closed in thick, and we lost her.

"I saw the Nubble all night long, for the snow come in gusts; but it
blowed fresh from the no'th-east; _fresh_," he repeated, raising his
eyes to mine and shaking his gray head by way of emphasis. "I was afeard
the ship was in the bay, and couldn't sleep, but went to the door and
looked out between whiles."

It was, indeed, as I have heard, a dreadful night, and many a vigil was
kept by wife, mother, and sweetheart. At day-break the snow lay heaped
in drifts in the village streets and garden areas. It was not long
before a messenger came riding in at full speed with the news that the
shores of Ogunquit were fringed with the wreck of a large vessel, and
that not one of her crew was left to tell the tale. The word passed from
house to house. Silence and gloom reigned within the snow-beleaguered

It was supposed the ship struck about midnight, as the Ogunquit
fishermen heard in their cabins cries and groans at this hour above the
noise of the tempest. They were powerless to aid; no boat could have
been launched in that sea. If any lights were shown on board the ship,
they were not seen; neither were any guns heard. The ropes, stiffened
with ice, would not run through the sheaves, which rendered the working
of the ship difficult, if not impossible. No doubt the doomed vessel
drove helplessly to her destruction, the frozen sails hanging idly to
the yards, while her exhausted crew miserably perished with the lights
of their homes before their eyes.

All the morning after the wreck the people along shore were searching
amidst the tangled masses of drift and sea-wrack the storm had cast up
for the remains of the crew. They were too much mangled for
recognition, except in a single instance. Captain G----, a passenger,
had by accident put on his red-flannel drawers the wrong side out the
morning the _Isidore_ sailed, observing to his wife that, as it was good
luck, he would not change them. One leg was found encased in the
drawers. The mutilated fragments were brought to the village, and buried
in a common grave.

[Illustration: THE MORNING ROUND]

Some of the old people at the Port declare to this day that on the night
of the wreck they heard shrieks as plainly as ever issued from human
throats; and you could not argue it out of them, though the spot where
the _Isidore's_ anchors were found is ten miles away. As for Joe B----,
the runaway, he can not refrain from shedding tears when the _Isidore_
is mentioned.

"But, Ben, do you believe in dreams?" I asked, with my hand on the

"B'leeve in dreams!" he repeated; "why, Joe's a living man; but where's
his mates?"

Perhaps they

    "Died as men should die, clinging round their lonely wreck,
    Their winding-sheet the sky, and their sepulchre the deck;
      And the steersman held the helm till his breath
    Grew faint and fainter still;
    There was one short fatal thrill,
    Then he sank into the chill
      Arms of Death."

I turned away from the spot with the old sailor's words in mind: "A
wicked place where she struck; and the sea drove right on. A ragged
place, sir--ragged."

Leaving the cliff, I struck across the pastures to the road, making no
farther halt except to gather a few huckleberries that grew on high
bushes by the roadside. The fruit is large, either black or blue, with
an agreeable though different flavor from any of the low-bushed
varieties. The local name for the shrub is "bilberry." It frequently
grows higher than a man's head, and a single one will often yield nearly
a quart.

It was a year of plenty, and I had seen the pickers busy in the berry
pastures as I passed by. The fruit, being for the time a sort of
currency--not quite so hard, by-the-bye, as the musket-bullets of the
colonists--is received in barter at the stores. Whole families engage in
the harvest, making fair wages, the annual yield exceeding in value that
of the corn crop of the State. Maine grows her corn on the Western
prairies, and pays for it with canned fish and berries.

At the village store I saw a woman drive up with a bushel of
huckleberries, with which she bought enough calico for a gown, half a
pound of tobacco, and some knickknacks for the children at home. Affixed
in a conspicuous place to the wall was the motto, "Quick sales and small
profits." Half an hour was spent in beating the shop-keeper down a cent
in the yard, and another quarter of an hour to induce him to "heave in,"
as she said, a spool of cotton. The man, after stoutly contesting the
claim, finally yielded both points. "The woman," thought I, "evidently
only half believes in your seductive motto."

All along the road I had met women and children, going or returning,
with pails or baskets. One man, evidently a fast picker, had filled the
sleeves of his jacket with berries, after having first tied them at the
wrists. Another, who vaulted over the stone wall at my side, when asked
if he was going to try the huckleberries, replied,

"Wa'al, yes; think I'll try and _accumulate_ a few."

Descending the last hill before reaching Cape Neddock Harbor, I had a
good view of the Nubble, which several writers have believed was the
Savage Rock of Gosnold, and the first land in New England to receive an
English name. The reliable accounts of the early voyagers to our coasts
are much too vague to enable later historians to fix the points where
they made the land with the confidence with which many undertake to fix
them. A careful examination of these accounts justifies the opinion that
Gosnold made his landfall off Agamenticus, and first dropped anchor,
since leaving Falmouth, at Cape Ann. The latitude, if accurately taken,
would of itself put the question beyond controversy; but as the methods
of observing the exact position of a ship were greatly inferior to what
they became later in the seventeenth century, I at first doubted, and
was then constrained to admit, that the reckoning of Gosnold, Pring, and
Champlain ought to be accepted as trustworthy. Gabriel Archer, who was
with Gosnold, says, "They held themselves by computation well neere the
latitude of 43 degrees," or a little northward of the Isles of Shoals.
John Brereton, also of Gosnold's company, says they fell in with the
coast in thick weather, and first made land with the lead. By all
accounts the _Concord_, Gosnold's ship, was to the northward of Cape
Ann. Land was sighted at six in the morning of the 14th of May, 1602,
and Gosnold stood "fair along by the shore" until noon, which would have
carried him across Ipswich Bay, even if the _Concord_ were a dull
sailer. In 1603 Martin Pring sailed over nearly the same track as
Gosnold. It is by comparing these two voyages that Savage Rock appears
to be located at Cape Ann.

Pring, says Gorges, observing his instructions (to keep to the northward
as high as Cape Breton), arrived safely out and back, bringing with him
"the most exact discovery of that coast that ever came to my hands
since; and indeed he was the best able to perform it of any I met withal
to this present." Pring's relation wrought such an impression on Sir F.
Gorges and Lord Chief-justice Popham that, notwithstanding their first
disasters, they resolved on another effort. He had no doubt seen and
talked with Gosnold after his return; perhaps had obtained from him his
courses after he fell in with the coast.

The _Speedwell_, Pring's vessel, also made land in forty-three degrees.
It proved to be a multitude of small islands. Pring, after anchoring
under the lee of the largest, coasted the main-land with his boats. The
narrative continues to relate that they "came to the mayne in 43-1/2,
and ranged to south-west, in which course we found several inlets, the
more easterly of which was barred at the mouth. Having passed over the
bar, we ran up into it five miles. Coming out and sailing south-west, we
lighted upon two other inlets; the fourth and most westerly was best,
which we rowed up ten or twelve miles." Between forty-three and
forty-three and a half degrees are the Saco, then barred at the
mouth,[67] the Mousam, York, and the Piscataqua, the "most westerly and

"We (meeting with no sassafras)"--to follow the narrative--"left these
places and _shaped our course for Savage's Rocks_, discovered the year
before by Captain Gosnold." Savage Rock, then, was by both these
accounts (Archer and Pring) to the southward of forty-three degrees,
while the Nubble, or rather Agamenticus, is in forty-three degrees
sixteen minutes.

"Departing hence, we bare into that great gulf which Captain Gosnold
overshot the year before." This could be no other than Massachusetts
Bay, for Gosnold, according to Brereton, after leaving Savage Rock,
shaped his course southward ("standing off southerly into the sea") the
rest of that day and night (May 15th), and on the following morning
found himself "embayed with a mighty headland," which was Cape Cod.
Pring, on the contrary, steered into the bay, "coasting, and finding
people on the north side thereof." If my conjecture be correct, he was
the first English mariner in Boston Bay.

It is hardly possible that a navigator falling in with the New England
coast in forty-three or forty-three and a half degrees, and steering
south-west, should not recognize in Cape Ann one of its remarkable
features, or pass it by unperceived in the night. He would have been
likely to find Savage Rock and end his voyage at the same moment.
Champlain and Smith are both in evidence. The former, who examined the
coast minutely two years after Pring (June, 1605), has delineated "Cap
des Isles" on his map of 1612, which accompanied the first edition of
his voyages. The account he gives of its position is as clear as that of
Archer is obscure. Says the Frenchman, in his own way:

"Mettant le cap au su pour nous esloigner afin de mouiller l'ancre,
ayant fait environ deux lieux nous apperçumes un cap a la grande terre
au su quart de suest de nous ou il pouvoit avoit six lieues; a l'est
deux lieues apperçumes trois ou quatre isles assez hautes et a l'ouest
un grand cu de sac."

Here are the bearings of Cape Ann, the Isles of Shoals, and of Ipswich
Bay defined with precision. Champlain also puts the latitude of
Kennebunk River at forty-three degrees twenty-five minutes, which shows
Pring could hardly have explored to the eastward of Cape Elizabeth.
Smith, in 1614, described Cape Ann and Cape Cod as the two great
headlands of New England, giving to the former the name of
Tragabigzanda; but Champlain had preceded him, as Gosnold had preceded
Champlain. On the whole, Gosnold, Pring, and Champlain agree remarkably
in their latitude and in their itinerary.

At Cape Neddoek I "put up," or rather was put up--an expression applied
alike to man and beast in every public-house in New England--at the old
Freeman Tavern, a famous stopping-place in by-gone years, when the
mail-coach between Boston and Portland passed this way. Since I knew it
the house had been brushed up with a coat of paint on the outside, the
tall sign-post was gone, and nothing looked quite natural except the
capacious red barn belonging to the hostel. The bar-room, however, was
unchanged, and the aroma of old Santa Cruz still lingered there, though
the pretty hostess assured me, on the word of a landlady, there was
nothing in the house stronger than small beer. It was not so of yore,
when all comers appeared to have taken the famous Highgate oath: "Never
to drink small beer when you could get ale, unless you liked small beer

The evening tempted me to a stroll down to the harbor, to see the
wood-coasters go out with the flood. Afterward I walked on the beach.
The full moon shone out clear in the heavens, lighting up a radiant
aisle incrusted with silver pavement on the still waters, broad at the
shore, receding until lost in the deepening mystery of the farther sea.
The ground-swell rose and fell with regular heaving, as of Old Ocean
asleep. As a breaker wavered and toppled over, a bright gleam ran along
its broken arch like the swift flashing of a train. Occasionally some
craft crossed the moon's track, where it stood out for a moment with
surprising distinctness, to be swallowed up an instant later in the
surrounding blackness. Boon Island had unclosed its brilliant eye--its
light in the window for the mariner. It had been a perfect day, but the
night was enchanting.


[63] Colonel Storer kept up the stockades and one or more of the
flankarts until after the year 1760, as a memorial rather than a

[64] This relationship is disputed by Mr. Joseph L. Chester, the eminent
antiquary. Winthrop, it would seem, ought to have known; Eliot and Allen
repeat the authority, the latter giving the full name of Mary

[65] Both sides have been ably presented by Dr. N. Bouton and Hon.
Charles H. Bell.

[66] Once, and much better, Arundel, from the Earl of Arundel.

[67] An old sea-chart says, "Saco River bear place at low water."

[Illustration: WHAT THE SEA CAN DO.]



    "Land of the forest and the rock,
      Of dark-blue lake and mighty river,
    Of mountains reared aloft to mock
    The storm's career, the lightning's shock--
      My own green land forever."


Ho for Agamenticus! It is an old saying, attributed to the Iron Duke,
that when a man wants to turn over it is time for him to turn out. As
there are six good miles to get over to the mountain, and as many to
return, I was early astir. The road is chiefly used by wood teams, and
was well beaten to within half a mile of the hills. From thence it
dwindled into a green lane, which in turn becomes a foot-path bordered
by dense undergrowth. Agamenticus is not a high mountain, although so
noted a landmark. There are in reality three summits of nearly equal
altitude, ranging north-east and south-west, the westernmost being the
highest. At the mountain's foot is a scattered hamlet of a few
unthrifty-looking cabins, tenanted by wood-cutters, for, notwithstanding
the axe has played sad havoc in the neighboring forests, there are still
some clumps of tall pines there fit for the king's ships. You obtain
your first glimpse of the hills when still two miles distant, the road
then crossing the country for the rest of the way, with the mountain
looming up before you.

Along shore, and in the country-side, the people call the mount
indifferently "Eddymenticus" and "Head o' Menticus." Some, who had lived
within a few miles of it since childhood, told me they had never had the
curiosity to try the ascent. One man, who lived within half a mile of
the base of the western hill, had never been on any of the others. The
name is unmistakably of Indian origin. General Gookin, in his
"Historical Collections of the Indians in New England," written in 1674,
has the following in relation to the tribes inhabiting this region: "The
Pawtuckett is the fifth and last great sachemship of Indians. Their
country lieth north and north-east from the Massachusetts, whose
dominion reacheth so far as the English jurisdiction, or colony of the
Massachusetts, now doth extend, and had under them several other small
sagamores, as the Pennacooks, Agawomes, Naamkeeks, Pascatawayes,
Accomintas, and others."[68]

The climb is only fatiguing; it is not at all difficult. The native
forest has disappeared, but a new growth of deciduous trees, with a fair
sprinkling of evergreens, is fast replacing it. In some places the
slender stems of the birch or pine shoot up, as it were, out of the
solid rock. Following the dry bed of a mountain torrent, and turning at
every step to wonder and admire, in half an hour I stood on the top. The
summit contains an acre or more of bare granite ledge, with tufts of
wiry grass and clumps of tangled vines growing among the crevices. Some
scattered blocks had been collected at the highest point, and a cairn
built. I seated myself on the topmost stone of the monument.

A solitary mountain lifting itself above the surrounding country is
always impressive. Agamenticus seems an outpost of the White Hills, left
stranded here by the glacier, or upheaved by some tremendous throe. The
day was not of the clearest, or, rather, the morning mists still hung in
heavy folds about the ocean, making it look from my airy perch as if sky
and sea had changed places. Capes and headlands were revealed in a
striking and mystical way, as objects dimly seen through a veil. Large
ships resembled toys, except that the blue space grasped by the eye was
too vast for playthings. Cape Elizabeth northward and Cape Ann in the
southern board stretched far out into the sea, as if seeking to draw
tribute of all passing ships into the ports between. Here were the Isles
of Shoals, lying in a heap together. That luminous, misty belt was Rye
Beach. And here was the Piscataqua, and here Portsmouth, Kittery, and
Old York, with all the sea-shore villages I had so lately traversed. As
the sun rose higher, the murky curtain was rolled away, and the ocean
appeared in its brightest azure.

The sea is what you seldom tire of, especially where its nearness to the
chief New England marts shows it crowded with sails bearing up for port.
Craft of every build, flags of every nation, pass Agamenticus and its
three peaks in endless procession--stately ships

    "That court'sy to them, do them reverence
    As they fly by on their woven wings."

Old Ocean parts before the eager prow. You fancy you see the foam roll
away and go glancing astern. Here is a bark with the bottom of the
Tagus, and another with the sands of the Golden Horn, sticking to the
anchor-fluke; and here a smoke on the horizon's rim heralds a swifter
messenger from the Old World--some steamship climbing the earth's
rotundity; and yet water, they say, will not run up hill! When I looked
forth upon this moving scene my lungs began to "crow like chanticleer."
I waved my hat, and shouted "a good voyage" to sailors that could not
hear me. I had no fear of listeners, for the Old Man of the Mountain
tells no tales. To stand on a mountain-top is better, to my mind, than
to be up any distance in a balloon. You have, at least, something under
you, and can come down when you like. What a fulcrum Agamenticus would
have made for the lever of Archimedes!

Landward, the horizon is bounded by the White Hills--the "Crystal
Mountains, daunting terrible," of the first explorer.[69] They look
shadowy enough at this distance--seventy miles as the crow flies--Mount
Washington, grand and grim, its head muffled in a mantle of clouds,
overtopping all. The lofty ranges issuing from these resemble a broken
wall as they stretch away to the Connecticut, with Moosehillock towering

    "To me they seemed the barriers of a world,
    Saying, 'Thus far, no farther!'"

The busy towns of Dover and Great Falls, with the nearer villages of
Eliot and Berwick, are grouped about in picturesque confusion, a spire
peeping out of a seeming forest, a broad river dwindling to a rivulet.

After feasting for an hour upon this sight, I became more than ever
persuaded that, except in that rare condition of the atmosphere when the
White Hills are visible far out to sea, Agamenticus must be the first
land made out in approaching the coast anywhere within half a degree of
the forty-third parallel. Juan Verazzani, perchance, certainly Masters
Gosnold and Pring, saw it as plainly as I now saw the ships below me,
where they had sailed.

I thought it fitting here, on the top of Agamenticus, with as good a map
of the coast spread before me as I ever expect to see, to hold a little
chat with the discoverers. If Hendrik Hudson haunts the fastnesses of
the Catskills--and a veracious historian asserts that he has been both
seen and spoken with--why may not the shade of Captain John Smith be
lurking about this headland, where of yore he trafficked, and, for aught
I know, clambered as I have done?

Right over against me, though I could not see them, were the Basque
provinces, whose people the Romans could not subdue, and whose language,
says the old French proverb, the devil himself could not learn. Cape
Finisterre was there, with its shoals of sardines and its impotent
conclusion of a name, as if it had been the end of the world indeed!
Archer says, in his relation of Gosnold's voyage,[70] that the day
before they made the land they had sweet smelling of the shore as from
the southern cape and Andalusia, in Spain. It was, says Brereton, "a
Basque shallop, with mast and sail, an iron grapple and a kettle of
copper, came boldly aboard of us." In 1578 there were a hundred sail of
Spanish fishermen on the Banks of Newfoundland to fifty English. Spanish
Biscay sent twenty or thirty vessels there to kill whales; France sent a
hundred and fifty; and Portugal fifty craft of small tonnage to fish for
cod. The Indians who boarded Gosnold could name Placentia and
Newfoundland, and might have come from thence in their shallop, since
they so well knew how to use it. But if Brereton's surmise was right,
then some of those daring fellows from the Basse Pyrenees were first at
Savage Rock. He says, "It seemed, by some words and signs they made,
that some Basques, or of St. John de Luz, have fished or traded in this
place, being in the latitude of 43 degrees."

Because there was no sassafras, it is not much we know about Savage
Rock. The root of this aromatic tree was worth in England three
shillings the pound, or three hundred and thirty-six pounds the ton,
when Gosnold found store of it on the Elizabeth Islands; but as he was
informed, "before his going forth that a ton of it would cloy England,"
few of his crew, "and those but easy laborers," were employed in
gathering it. "The powder of sassafras," says Archer, "in twelve hours
cured one of our company that had taken a great surfeit by eating the
bellies of dog-fish, a very delicious meat."

That the medicinal qualities of sassafras were highly esteemed may be
inferred from what is said of it in "An English Exposition," printed at
Cambridge (England), in 1676, by John Hayes, printer to the University.

"_Sassafras_.--A tree of great vertue, which groweth in Florida, in the
West Indies; the rinde herof hath a sweete smell like cinnamon. It
comforteth the liver and stomach, and openeth obstructions of the inward
parts, being hot and dry in the second degree. The best of the tree is
the root, next the boughs, then the body, but the principal goodnesse of
all resteth in the rinde."

One Master Robert Meriton, of Gosnold's company, was "the finder of the
sassafras in these parts," from which it would appear that the shrub in
its wild state was little known to these voyagers.

Coming down from my high antiquarian steed, and from Agamenticus at the
same time, I walked back to the tavern by dinner-time, having fully
settled in my own mind the oft-repeated question, the touch-stone by
which even one's pleasures must be regulated, "Will it pay?" And I say
it will pay in solid nuggets of healthful enjoyment, even if no higher
aspirations are developed, in standing where at every instant man and
his works diminish, while those of the Creator expand before you.

Douglass remarks that "Aquamenticus Hills were known among our sailors
as a noted and useful land-making for vessels that fall in northward of
Boston or Massachusetts Bay."

Leaving my comfortable quarters at Cape Neddock, I pursued my walk to
Old York the same afternoon, taking the Long Sands in my way. It was
farther by the beach than by the road, but as I was in no haste I chose
the shore. I noticed that the little harbor I had quitted was so shallow
as to be left almost dry by the receding tide, the channel being no more
than a rivulet, easily forded within a few rods of the sea. Between this
harbor and Wells Bay I had passed several coves where, in a smooth sea
and during a westerly wind, small vessels were formerly hauled ashore,
and loaded with wood at one tide with ease and safety. York Beach is
about a mile across. I did not find it a long one.

It being low tide and a fine afternoon, the beach was for the time being
turned into a highway, broader and smoother than any race-course could
be, over which all manner of vehicles were being driven, from the
old-fashioned gig of the village doctor to the aristocratic landau,
fresh from town. The sands are hard and gently shelving, with here and
there a fresh-water brooklet trickling through the bulk-head of ballast
heaped up at the top by the sea. These little streams, after channeling
the beach a certain distance, disappeared in the sand, just as the
Platte and Arkansas sink out of sight into the plain.

There was a fresh breeze outside, so that the coasters bowled merrily
along with bellying sails before it, or else bent until gunwale under as
they hugged it close. The color of the sea had deepened to a steely
blue. White caps were flying, and the clouds betokened more wind as they
rose and unrolled like cannon-smoke above the horizon, producing effects
such as Stanfield liked to transfer to his canvas. Mackerel gulls were
wheeling and circling above the breakers with shrill screams. Down at
low-water mark the seas came bounding in, driven by the gale, leaping
over each other, and beating upon the strand with ceaseless roar.

The beach, I saw, had been badly gullied by the late storm, but the sea,
like some shrewish housewife, after exhausting its rage, had set about
putting things to rights again. I found shells of the deep-sea mussel,
of quahaug and giant sea clam, bleaching there, but did not see the
small razor-clam I have picked up on Nahant and other more southerly

The sea-mussel, as I have read, was in the olden time considered a cure
for piles and hemorrhoids, being dried and pulverized for the purpose.
William Wood speaks of a scarlet mussel found at Piscataqua, that, on
being pricked with a pin, gave out a purple juice, dying linen so that
no washing would wear it out. "We mark our handkerchiefs and shirts with
it," says this writer.[71] The large mussel is very toothsome. Like the
oyster and clam, it was dried for winter use by the Indians.

The giant or hen clam-shell, found in every buttery within fifty miles
of the coast, was the Indian's garden hoe. After a storm many clams
would be cast up on the beaches, which the natives, taking out of the
shells, carried home in baskets. A large shell will hold a plentiful
draught of water, and is unequaled for a milk-skimmer. Only a part of
the fish is used for food, as there is a general belief that a portion
is poisonous, like the head of a lobster. Mourt's relation of the
landing of the pilgrims at Cape Cod says they found "great mussels, and
very fat and full of sea-pearle, but we could not eat them, for they
made us all sicke that did eat, as well saylers as passengers." As they
are only found on the beach after an easterly storm, they become well
filled with sand, and require thorough cleansing before cooking, while
those taken from the water near the shore are better, because free from
sand. The common clam is not eaten along shore during the summer, except
at the hotels and boarding-houses, not being considered wholesome by the
resident population in any month that has not the letter R. The same
idea is current with respect to the oyster. In either case the summer is
inferior to the winter fish, and as Charles XII. once said of the army
bread, "It is not good, but may be eaten."

There was but little sea-weed or kelp thrown up, though above high-water
mark I noticed large stacks of it ready to be hauled away, containing as
many varieties as commonly grow among the rocks hereaway. But there were
innumerable cockles and periwinkles lately come ashore, and emitting no
pleasant odor. The natives used both these shells to manufacture their
wampum, or wampumpeag, the delicate inner wreath of the periwinkle being
preferred. Now and then I picked up a sea-chestnut, or "whore's egg," as
they are called by the fishermen. But the sand roller, or circle, is the
curiosity of the beach as a specimen of ocean handicraft. I passed many
of them scattered about, though a perfect one is rarely found, except on
shallow bars beyond low-water mark. Looking down over the side of a
boat, I have seen more than I was able to count readily, but they are
too fragile to bear the buffeting of the surf. In appearance they are
like a section taken off the top of a jug where the cork is put in, and
as neatly rounded as if turned off a potter's lathe. Naturalists call
them the nest of the cockle.

Going down the sands as far as the sea would allow, I remarked that the
nearest breakers were discolored with the rubbish of shredded sea-weed,
and by the particles of sand they held in solution. As I walked on,
countless sand-fleas skipped out of my path, as I have seen grasshoppers
in a stubble-field out West. The sandpipers ran eagerly about in
pursuit, giving little plaintive squeaks, and leaving their tiny tracks
impressed upon the wet sand. Little sprites they seemed as they chased
the refluent wave for their food, sometimes overtaken and borne off
their feet by the glancing surf. I remember having seen a flock of hens
scratching among the sea-moss for these very beach-fleas in one of the
coves I passed.

Old Neptune's garden contains as wonderful plants as any above
high-water mark, though the latter do well with less watering. I have
thought the botany of the sea worth studying, and, as it is sometimes
inconvenient to pluck a plant or a flower when you want it, the beach is
the place for specimens. Some years ago delicate sea-mosses were in
request. They were kept in albums, pressed like autumn leaves, or
displayed in frames on the walls at home. It was a pretty conceit, and
employed many leisure fingers at the sea-side, but appears to have been
discarded of late.

One day, during a storm, I went down to the beach, to find it encumbered
with "devils' apron" and kelp, whitening where it lay. I picked up a
plant having a long stalk, slender and hollow, of more than ten feet in
length, resembling a gutta-percha tube. The root was firmly clasped
around five deep-sea mussels, while the other end terminated in broad,
plaited leaves. It had been torn from its bed in some sea-cranny, to be
combined with terrestrial vegetation; but to the mussels it was equal
whether they died of thirst or of the grip of the talon-like root of the
kelp. There were tons upon tons of weed and moss, which the farmers were
pitching with forks higher up the beach, out of reach of the sea, the
kelp, as it was being tossed about, quivering as if there were life in
it. I found the largest mass of sponge I have ever seen on shore--as big
as a man's head--and was at a loss how to describe it, until I thought
of the mops used on shipboard, and made of rope-yarns; for this body of
sponge was composed of slender branches of six to twelve inches in
length, each branching again, coral-like, into three or four offshoots.
The pores were alive with sand-fleas, who showed great partiality for

What at first seems paradoxical is, that with the wind blowing directly
on shore, the kelp will not land, but is kept just beyond the surf by
the under-tow; it requires an inshore wind to bring it in. One who has
walked on the beach weaves of its sea-weed a garland:

    "From Bermuda's reefs, from edges
      Of sunken ledges,
    On some far-off, bright Azore;
    From Bahama and the dashing,
    Surges of San Salvador:"

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Ever drifting, drifting, drifting
      On the shifting
    Currents of the restless main."

I had before walked round the cape one way, and now, passing it from a
contrary direction, had fairly doubled it. After leaving York Beach I
pushed on for Old York, finding little to arrest my steps, until at
night-fall I arrived at the harbor, after a twenty-mile tramp, with an
appetite that augured ill for mine host.

It was not my first visit to Old York, but I found the place strangely
altered from its usual quiet and dullness. The summer, as Charles Lamb
says, had set in with its usual severity, and I saw fishers in varnished
boots, boatmen in tight-fitting trowsers, and enough young Americans in
navy blue to man a fleet by-and-by. Parasols fluttered about the fields,
and silks swept the wet floor of the beach. I had examined with a
critical eye as I walked the impressions of dainty boots in the sand,
keeping step with others of more masculine shape, and marked where the
pace had slackened or quickened, and where the larger pair had diverged
for a moment to pick up a stone or a pebble, or perchance in hurried
self-communing for a question of mighty import. Sometimes the
foot-prints diverged not to meet again, and I saw the gentleman had
walked off with rapid strides in the opposite direction. For hours on
the beach I had watched these human tracks, almost as devious as the
bird's, until I fancied I should know their makers. Not unfrequently I
espied a monogram, traced with a stick or the point of a parasol, the
lesser initials lovingly twined about the greater. Faith! I came to
regard the beach itself as a larger sort of tablet graven with
hieroglyphics, easy to decipher if you have the key.

The hotel[72] appeared deserted, but it was only a seclusion of
calculation. After supper the guests set about what I may call their
usual avocations. Not a few "paired off," as they say at Washington, for
a walk on the beach, springing down the path with elastic step and
voices full of joyous mirth. One or two maidens I had seen rowing on the
river showed blistered hands to condoling cavaliers. Young matrons,
carefully shawled by their husbands, sauntered off for a quiet evening
ramble, or mingled in the frolic of the juveniles going on in the
parlor. The dowagers all sought a particular side of the house, where,
out of ear-shot of the piano, they solaced themselves with the evening
newspapers, damp from presses sixty miles away. A few choice spirits
gathered in the smoking-room, where they maintained a frigid reserve
toward all new-comers, their conversation coming out between puffs, as
void of warmth as the vapor that rises from ice. On the beach, and alone
with inanimate objects, I had company enough and to spare; here, with a
hundred of my own species, it was positively dreary. I took a turn on
the piazza, and soon retired to my cell; for in these large
caravansaries man loses his individuality and becomes a number.

Old York, be it remembered, is one of those places toward which the
history of a country or a section converges. Thus, when you are in Maine
all roads, historically speaking, lead to York. Long before there was
any settlement it had become well known from its mountain and its
position near the mouth of the Piscataqua. Its first name was
Agamenticus. Says Smith, "Accominticus and Pascataquack are two
convenient harbors for small barks, and a good country within their
craggy cliffs:" this in 1614. He could not have sounded, perhaps not
even ascended, the Piscataqua.

Christopher Levett, in his voyage, begun in 1623 and ended in 1624, says
of this situation: "About two leagues farther to the east (of
Piscataqua) is another great river, called Aquamenticus. There, I think,
a good plantation may be settled; for there is a good harbor for ships,
good ground, and much already cleared, fit for planting of corn and
other fruits, having heretofore been planted by the savages, who are all
dead. There is good timber, and likely to be good fishing; but as yet
there hath been no trial made that I can hear of." Levett was one of the
Council of New England, joined with Robert Gorges, Francis West, and
Governor Bradford. From his account, Agamenticus appears to have been a
permanent habitation of the Indians, who had been stricken by the same
plague that desolated what was afterward New Plymouth.

The first English settlement was begun probably in 1624, but not earlier
than 1623, on both sides of York River, by Francis Norton, who had
raised himself at home from the rank of a common soldier to be a
lieutenant-colonel in the army. This was Norton's project, and he had
the address to persuade Sir Ferdinando Gorges to unite in the
undertaking. Artificers to build mills, cattle, and other necessaries
for establishing the plantation, were sent over. A patent passed to
Ferdinando Gorges, Norton, and others, of twelve thousand acres on the
east to Norton, and twelve thousand on the west of Agamenticus River to
Gorges. Captain William Gorges was sent out by his uncle to represent
that interest.[73]

The plantation at Agamenticus was incorporated into a borough in 1641,
and subsequently, in 1642, into a city, under the name of Gorgeana.
Thomas Gorges, cousin of Sir F. Gorges, and father of Ferdinando, was
the first mayor. It was also made a free port. Though Gorgeana was
probably the first incorporated city in America, it was in reality no
more than an inconsiderable sea-coast village, with a few houses in some
of the best places for fishing and navigation. Its territory was,
however, ample, embracing twenty-one square miles. There was little
order or morality among the people, and in one account it is said "they
had as many shares in a woman as a fishing boat."[74] All the earlier
authorities I have seen agree in giving Gorgeana an indifferent
character, and I was not surprised to find a couplet still extant,
expressive of the local estimate in which its villages were once held.

    "Cape Neddock and the Nubble,
    Old York and the d--l."

Governor Winthrop, of Massachusetts, made, in 1643, the following entry
in his "Journal:" "Those of Sir Ferdinando Gorge his province beyond
Piscat were not admitted to the confederation,[75] because they ran a
different course from us, both in their ministry and civil
administration; for they had lately made Accomenticus (a poor village) a
corporation, and had made a taylor their mayor, and had entertained one
Mr. Hull, an excommunicated person, and very contentious, for their
minister." A Boston man, and a magistrate, stood thus early on his

Sir F. Gorges makes his appearance in that brilliant and eventful period
when Elizabeth ruled in England, Henry IV. in France, and Philip II. in
Spain. He is said to have revealed the conspiracy of Devereux, earl of
Essex, to Sir Walter Raleigh, after having himself been privy to it.[76]
This act, a bar-sinister in the biography of Gorges, sullies his
escutcheon at the outset. History must nevertheless award that he was
the most zealous, the most indefatigable, and the most influential of
those who freely gave their talents and their wealth to the cause of
American colonization. Gorges deserves to be called the father of New
England. For more than forty years--extending through the reigns of
James I. and of Charles I., the Commonwealth, and the Restoration--he
pursued his favorite idea with a constancy that seems almost marvelous
when the troublous times in which he lived are passed in review. In a
letter to Buckingham on the affairs of Spain, Gorges says he was
sometimes thought worthy to be consulted by Elizabeth.

Sir Ferdinando commanded at Plymouth, England, with his nephew William
for his lieutenant, when Captain Weymouth returned to that port from New
England. On board Weymouth's ship were five natives, of whom three were
seized by Gorges. They were detained by him until they were able to give
an account of the topography, resources, and peoples of their far-off
country. From this circumstance dates Gorges's active participation in
New England affairs.

He was interested in Lord John Popham's ineffectual attempt. Finding
the disasters of that expedition, at home and abroad, had so
disheartened his associates that he could no longer reckon on their
assistance, he dispatched Richard Vines and others at his own charge,
about 1617, to the same coast the Popham colonists had branded, on their
return, as too cold to be inhabited by Englishmen. Vines established
himself at or near the mouth of the Saco. Between the years 1617 and
1620, Gorges sent Captains Hobson, Rocroft, and Dermer to New England,
but their voyages were barren of results. In 1620 Gorges and others
obtained from the king a separate patent, with similar privileges,
exemption from custom, subsidies, etc., such as had formerly been
granted the Virginia Company.

By this patent the adventurers to what had heretofore been known as the
"Northern Colony in Virginia," and "The Second Colony in Virginia,"
obtained an enlargement of territory, so as to include all between the
fortieth and forty-eighth parallels, and extending westward to the South
Sea or Pacific Ocean. This was the Great Charter of New England, out of
which were made the subsequent grants within its territory. The
incorporators were styled "The Council of Plymouth."[77]

The Virginia Company, whose rights were invaded, attempted to annul the
Plymouth Company's patent. Defeated before the Lords, they brought the
subject the next year, 1621, before Parliament, as a monopoly and a
grievance of the Commonwealth. Gorges was cited to appear at the bar of
the House, and made his defense, Sir Edward Coke[78] being then Speaker.
After hearing the arguments of Gorges and his lawyers on three several
occasions, the House, in presenting the grievances of the kingdom to the
throne, placed "Sir Ferd. Gorges's patent for sole fishing in New
England" at the head of the catalogue; but Parliament, having made
itself obnoxious to James, was dissolved, and some of its members
committed to the Tower. The patent was saved for a time.

Before this affair of the Parliament the Pilgrims had made their
ever-famous landing in New England. Finding themselves, contrary to
their first intention, located within the New England patent, they
applied through their solicitor in England to Gorges for a grant, and in
1623 they obtained it. This was the first patent of Plymouth Colony; in
1629 they had another, made to William Bradford and his associates.

In 1623 the frequent complaints to the Council of Plymouth of the abuses
and disorders committed by fishermen and other intruders within their
patent, determined them to send out an officer to represent their
authority on the spot. Robert Gorges, son of Sir Ferdinando, was fixed
upon, and became for a short time invested with the powers of a civil
magistrate. According to Belknap, he was styled "Lieutenant-general of
New England." George Popham was the first to exercise a local authority
within her limits.

The Great Charter of New England was surrendered to the crown in April,
1635, and the territory embraced within it was parceled out among the
patentees, Gorges receiving for his share a tract of sixty miles in
extent, from the Merrimac to the Kennebec, reaching into the country one
hundred and twenty miles. This tract was called the province of Maine.
It was divided by Gorges into eight bailiwicks or counties, and these
again into sixteen hundreds, after the manner of the Chiltern Hundreds,
a fief of the English crown. The Hundreds were subdivided into parishes
and tithings.

It would fatigue the reader to enter into the details of the government
established by Gorges within what he calls "my province of Maine." It
was exceedingly cumbrous, and the few inhabitants were in as great
danger of being governed too much as later communities have often been.
An annual rental was laid on the lands, and no sale or transfer could be
made without consent of the Council. This distinction, as against the
neighboring colony of Massachusetts, where all were freeholders, was
fatal. The crown, in confirming the grant to Gorges, vested him with
privileges and powers similar to those of the lords palatine of the
ancient city of Durham. Under this authority the plantation at
Agamenticus was raised to the dignity of a city, and a _quasi_
ecclesiastical government founded in New England.

Belknap says further that there was no provision for public
institutions. Schools were unknown, and they had no minister till, in
pity of their deplorable state, two went thither from Boston on a
voluntary mission.

[Illustration: YORK MEETING-HOUSE.]

There are yet some interesting objects to be seen in York, though few of
the old houses are remaining at the harbor. These few will, however,
repay a visit. Prominent among her antiquities is the meeting-house of
the first parish. An inscription in the foundation records as follows:

    "Founded A.D. 1747.
    The Revd. Mr. Moody, Pas."

The church is placed on a grassy knoll, with the parsonage behind it.
Its exterior is plain. If such a distinction may be made, it belongs to
the third order of New England churches, succeeding to the square
tunnel-roofed edifice, as that had succeeded the original barn-like
house of worship. Entering the porch, I saw two biers leaning against
the staircase of the bell-tower, and noticed that the bell-ringer or his
assistants had indulged a passion for scribbling on the walls, though
not, as might be inferred, from Scripture texts. The interior is as
severe as the exterior. Besides its rows of straight-backed pews, it was
furnished at one end with a mahogany pulpit, communion-table, and sofa
covered with black hair-cloth. Hanging in a frame against the pulpit are
fac-similes of letters from the church at York to that of Rowley,
bearing the date of 1673. The tower is an ingenious piece of joinery
that reminded me of Hingham church.

Shubael Dummer, the first minister of this parish, was killed in 1692,
at the sacking of the place by the Indians. He was shot down in the act
of mounting his horse at his own door, a short distance toward the
harbor. Mather, in his "Magnalia," indulges in a strain of eulogy toward
this gentleman that we should now call _hifalutin_. Dummer's successor
was Samuel Moody, an eccentric but useful minister, still spoken of as
"Parson Moody." He was Sir William Pepperell's chaplain in the Louisburg
expedition, and noted for the length and fervor of his prayers.

After the capitulation Sir William gave a dinner to the superior
officers of the army and fleet. Knowing the prolixity of his chaplain,
he was embarrassed by the thought that the parson's long-winded grace
might weary the admiral and others of his guests. In this dilemma, he
was astonished to see the parson advance and address the throne of grace
in these words: "O Lord, we have so many things to thank thee for, that
time will be infinitely too short for it; we must therefore leave it for
the work of eternity."

A second parish was formed in York about 1730. Rev. Joseph Moody, the
son of Samuel, was ordained its first pastor, in 1732. At the death of
his wife he fell into a settled melancholy, and constantly appeared with
his face covered with a handkerchief. From this circumstance he was
called "Handkerchief Moody." He was possessed of wit, and some dreary
anecdotes are related of him. Mr. Hawthorne has made the incident of the
handkerchief the frame-work of one of his gloomiest tales. I know of no
authority other than tradition to support the statement made in a note
accompanying the tale, that "in early life he (Moody) had accidentally
killed a beloved friend."[79]

It is only a short distance from the church to the old burying-ground,
and I was soon busy among the inscriptions, though I did not find them
as interesting as I had anticipated. The place seemed wholly uncared
for. The grass grew rank and tangled, making the examination difficult,
and at every step I sank to the knee in some hollow. The yard is ridged
with graves, and must have received the dust of many generations, "going
back even to those who acknowledged the first James for their dread lord
and sovereign." As usual, the older stones, when I had found them, were
too much defaced to be deciphered, and I remarked that the slate
grave-stone of Parson Moody preserved but few of its original lines.
Beside him lay the remains of his wife. The following is his own

    "Here lies the body of the
    The zealous, faithful, and successful pastor of the
    First Church of Christ in York.
    Was born in Newbury, January 4th, 1675.
    Graduated 1697. Came hither May 16th,
    Died here November 13th, 1747.
    For his farther character read the 2d Corinthians,
    3d chapter and first six verses."

In the corner of the ground next the main street is the monumental
tablet of Hon. David Sewall. A plain slab of slate at his side marks the
resting-place of his wife. On this are enumerated some of the public
offices held by her husband, and the two monuments might furnish the
reader with materials for a biography.

Mr. Adams, in his "Diary," notes meeting his "old friend and classmate"
at York, when he was going the circuit in 1770. Sewall had just returned
from a party of pleasure at Agamenticus, and the talk was of erecting a
beacon upon it. At this time he was looked upon as a Tory, but became a
zealous Whig before hostilities with the mother country began.

In 1640, says Lechford, nothing was read nor any funeral sermon made at
a burial, but at the tolling of the bell all the neighborhood came
together, and after bearing the dead solemnly to the grave, stood by
until it was closed. The ministers were commonly, but not always,
present. In these few and simple rites our fathers testified

    "The emptiness of human pride,
    The nothingness of man."

[Illustration: JAIL AT OLD YORK.]

On a rising ground opposite the town-house is the old jail of York. I
have deemed it worthy a passing notice. It is a quaint old structure,
and has held many culprits in former times, when York was the seat of
justice for the county, though it would not keep your modern burglar an
hour. It is perched, like a bird of ill omen, on a rocky ledge, where
all might see it in passing over the high-road. Thus, in the early day,
the traveler on entering the county town encountered, first, the stocks
and whipping-post; continuing his route, he in due time came to the
gallows, at the town's end. The exterior of the jail is not especially
repulsive, now that it is no longer a prison; but the inside is a relic
of barbarism--just such a place as I have often imagined the miserable
witchcraft prisoners might have been confined in. The back wall is of
stone. The doors are six inches of solid oak, studded with heavy nails;
the gratings secured with the blades of mill saws, having the jagged
teeth upward; the sills, locks, and bolts are ponderous, and unlike any
thing the present century has produced.

[Illustration: PILLORY.]

The dungeons, of which there are two, admitted no ray of light except
when the doors were opened; and these doors were of two thicknesses of
oaken planks banded between with plates of iron, and on the outside with
rusty blades of mill saws, as were also the crevices through which the
jailer passed bread and water to the wretched criminals. The gloom and
squalor of these _cachots_ oppressed the spirits of even the casual
visitor, free to come and go at pleasure; what must it, then, have been
to the wretches condemned to inhabit them? Above these dungeons were two
or three cells, secured by precautions similar to those below; while
other apartments were reserved for the jailer's use. The house was
inhabited, and children were playing about the floor. I fancied their
merry laughter issuing from solitary dungeons where nothing but groans
and imprecations had once been heard. Perchance there have been Hester
Prynnes and Cassandra Southwicks immured within these walls.

[Illustration: STOCKS.]

As I never feel quite at home within a prison, I made haste to get into
the open air again. I noticed, what is common in the country, that an
underpinning of boards had been placed around the foundation at the
distance of a foot, the space within being filled with earth. "That,"
said a whimsical fellow, "is to keep the coarsest of the cold out."

They have a jail at Alfred hardly more secure than the old. I was told
of a prisoner who coolly informed the jailer one morning that if he did
not supply him with better victuals he would not stay another day. He
was as good as his word, making his escape soon after. Wagner, the Isles
of Shoals murderer, also broke jail at Alfred, but was recaptured.

I should have liked to devote a few moments to the old court-house, its
eminent and distinguished judges and barristers of the provincial
courts, not forgetting its crier and constables. I should, I repeat,
like to open the court, and marshal the jurors, witnesses, and even the
idlers to their places in the king's name. I should like to hear some of
those now antiquated, but then oft-quoted, scraps of law from the
statutes of Richard II. or Sixth Edward. But it is all past. Bag-wigs,
black gowns, and silver buckles are no more seen, except in family
portraits of the time, and the learned counsel of to-day no more address
each other as "Brother A----" or "B----." There do remain, however, in
front of the old court-house four beautifully spreading elms, planted by
David Sewall in 1773. To look at them now, it is not easy to fancy they
could be grasped with the hand when the battle of Lexington was fought.

I passed on by the old tavern-stand where Woodbridge, in 1770, swung his
sign of "Billy Pitt," and underneath, the words "Entertainment for the
Sons of Liberty"--a hint to Tories to take their custom elsewhere. I
should have enjoyed a pipe with that landlord, as John Adams says he

In Old York they have a precinct known as Scotland, said to have been
first settled by some of the prisoners of Cromwell's victory at Dunbar,
and shipped over seas to be sold as apprentices for a term of years. I
was bound thither to see the garrison houses that had withstood the
onset of the Indians in King William's war.

It is four miles from the village to Scotland parish, the road passing
through broad acres of cleared land or ancient orchards, with now and
then a by-way of green turf leading to a farm-house on the river, or a
gleam of the stream itself winding through the meadows as you mount the
rocky hills in your route.

Cider Hill is a classic locality, which the traveler must pass through.
It is well named, I should say, the trees, though old, being laden with
apples, fit only for the cider-press. I was struck with the age of the
orchards, and indeed with the evidences on all sides of the long
occupancy of the land. In going up and down the traveled roads of York
the impression is everywhere gained of an old settled country.

By the side of the road is the withered trunk of an ancient tree, said
to have been brought from England in a tub more than two hundred years
ago. Nothing remains but the hollow shell, which still puts forth a few
green shoots. Next to the rocks, it is the oldest object on the road. At
a little distance it has sent up an offshoot, now a tree bearing fruit,
and has thus risen again, as it were, from its own ashes. This tree
deserves to be remembered along with the Stuyvesant and Endicott
pear-trees. There is, or was another apple-tree of equal age with this
in Bristol.

"You have a good many apples this year," I said to a farmer.

"Oh, a marster sight on 'em, sir, marster sight; but they don't fetch

"Is the cool summer injuring your corn?" I pursued.

"Snouted it, sir; snouted it."

[Illustration: OLD GARRISON-HOUSE.]

The Junkins's garrison is the first reached. It is on the brow of a high
hill overlooking the river meadows, where, if good watch were kept, a
foe could hardly have approached unseen. It can not survive much longer.
It is dilapidated inside and out to a degree that every blast searches
it through and through. The doors stood ajar; the floors were littered
with corn-fodder, and a hen was brooding in a corner of the best room.
Having served as dwelling and castle, it embodies the economy of the one
with the security of the other. The chimney is of itself a tower; the
floor timbers of the upper story project on all sides, so as to allow it
to overhang the lower. This was a type of building imported from England
by the early settlers, common enough in their day, and of which
specimens are still extant in such of our older towns as Boston, Salem,
and Marblehead. Its form admitted, however, of a good defense. The walls
are of hewn timber about six inches thick, and bullet-proof. On the
north-east, and where the timbers were ten inches thick, they have
rotted away under their long exposure to the weather. I observed a
loop-hole or two that had not been closed up, and that the roof frame
was of oak, with the bark adhering to it.[80]

In one room was an old hand-loom; in another a spinning-wheel lay
overturned; and in the fire-place the iron crane, blackened with soot,
was still fixed as it might have been when the garrison was beset in
'92. Between the house and the road is the Junkins's family
burying-ground. The house attracts many curious visitors, though it
lacks its ancient warlike accessories, its lookouts, palisades, and

A few rods farther on, in descending the hill, is the M'Intire garrison.
It is on the opposite side of the Berwick road from the house through
which I have just hurried the reader; and, except that a newer addition
has been joined to the garrison part, does not materially differ from
it. Mr. M'Intire, now the owner of both houses, showed me an opening in
the floor of the projection through which, according to the family
tradition, boiling water was poured upon the heads of any who might try
to force an entrance.

It has been supposed that these two garrisons were erected as early as
1640 or 1650. As no motive existed for building such houses at that
time, the tradition is not entitled to credit. Few of the Indians were
possessed of fire-arms, as the sale to them was strictly prohibited in
the English colonies. The digging up of the hatchet by the eastern
Indians, in 1676, during Philip's war, probably first led to the
building of fortified houses in all the sea-coast towns. During the
attack of 1692, the four garrisons in York saved the lives of those they
sheltered, while fifty of the defenseless inhabitants were killed
outright, and one hundred and fifty were led prisoners to Canada.

It is not my purpose to pursue farther the history of ancient
Agamenticus. The state of the settlement five years after its
destruction by the Indians appears in a memorial to the French minister,
prepared in order to show the feasibility of a thorough wiping out of
the English settlements from Boston to Pemaquid:

"From Wells Bay to York is a distance of five leagues. There is a fort
within a river. All the houses having been destroyed five years ago by
the Indians, the English have re-assembled at this place, in order to
cultivate their lands. The fort is worthless, and may have a garrison of
forty men."

As a memorial of the dark days when settler fought with savage, the
Junkins's garrison-house appeals for protection in its decrepit old age.
Its frame is still strong. A few boards and a kindly hand should not be
wanting to stay its ruin. I left it as for nearly two hundred years it
has stood,

    "On its windy site uplifting gabled roof and palisade,
    And rough walls of unhewn timber with the moonlight overlaid."



[68] "Massachusetts Historical Collections," 1792, vol. i.

[69] An Irishman, Darby Field by name.

[70] Purchas, vol. iv., 1647.

[71] In England there is a cockle called the purple, from the coloring
matter it contains, believed to be one of the sources from which the
celebrated Tyrian dye was obtained. The discovery is attributed in
mythical story to a dog. The Tyrian Hercules was one day walking with
his sweetheart by the shore, followed by her lap-dog, when the animal
seized a shell just cast upon the beach. Its lips were stained with the
beautiful purple flowing from the shell, and its mistress, charmed with
the color, demanded a dress dyed with it of her lover.

[72] Situated on Stage Neck, a rocky peninsula connected with the main
shore by a narrow isthmus, on which is a beach. There was formerly a
fort on the north-east point of the Neck.

[73] Sir F. Gorges's own relation.

[74] About 1647 the settlements at Agamenticus were made a town by the
name of York, probably from English York.

[75] Confederation of the colonies for mutual protection.

[76] Elizabeth died while Martin Pring was preparing to sail for
America; and Essex and Raleigh both went to the block.

[77] The insertion of the lengthy title in full appears unnecessary.

[78] The celebrated commentator.

[79] We are warranted in the belief that the first services held in this
plantation were those of the Church of England. The first, or borough,
charter mentions the church chapel. Robert Gorges, in 1623, brought over
an Episcopal chaplain, William Morrell, and with him also came, as is
supposed, Rev. William Blackstone, the first inhabitant of Boston.

[80] Hutchinson says: "In every frontier settlement there were more or
less garrison houses, some with a flankart at two opposite angles,
others at each corner of the house; some houses surrounded with
palisadoes; others, which were smaller, built with square timber, one
piece laid horizontally upon another, and loop-holes at every side of
the house; and besides these, generally in any more considerable
plantation there was one garrison house capable of containing soldiers
sent for the defense of the plantation, and the families near, whose
houses were not so fortified. It was thought justifiable and necessary,
whatever the general rule of law might be, to erect such forts, castles,
or bulwarks as these upon a man's own ground, without commission or
special license therefor."--"History of Massachusetts," vol. ii., p. 67.




    "We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
      Owners and occupants of earlier dates
    From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
      And hold in mortmain still their old estates."


Louis XV. said to Bouret, the financier, "You are indeed a singular
person not to have seen Marly! Call upon me there, and I will show it to

Our way lies from Old York to Kittery Point.[81] To get from the one to
the other you must pass the bridge over York River, built in 1761. It
inaugurated in New England the then novel method of laying the bridge
super-structure on a frame-work formed of wooden piles driven into the
bed of the river. The inventor was Major Samuel Sewall, of York, whose
bridge was the model of those subsequently built over the Charles,
Mystic, and Merrimac.

Kittery Point is separated from Kittery Foreside by Spruce Creek. It is
also divided from Gerrish's Island, the outermost land of the eastern
shore of the Piscataqua, by Chauncy's Creek. It is important at Kittery
Point to get used to the names of Cutts, Gerrish, Sparhawk, Pepperell,
Waldron, Chauncy, and Champernowne. They recur with remarkable

If coming from Portsmouth, the visitor will first traverse the village,
with its quaint little church, built in 1714, its secluded cemetery, and
fine old elms. They say the frame of the meeting-house was hewn
somewhere about Dover, and floated down the stream. There are few older
churches in New England, or that embody more of its ancient homeliness,
material and spiritual. Since I was there it has been removed about
sixty feet northward, and now fronts the south, entirely changing the
appearance of that locality.

[Illustration: NAVY-YARD, KITTERY, MAINE.]

Formerly, in leaving the church door, you were confronted by a sombre
old mansion, having, in despite of some relics of a former splendor, an
unmistakable air of neglect and decay. The massive entrance door hung by
a single fastening, the fluted pilasters on either side were rotting
away, window panes were shattered, chimney tops in ruins, the fences
prostrate. It was nothing but a wreck ashore. This was the house built
by Lady Pepperell, after the death of Sir William. Report said it was
haunted; indeed I found it so, and by a living phantom.

Repeated and long-continued knocking was at length answered by a
tremulous effort from within to open the door, which required the help
of my companion and myself to effect. I shall never forget the figure
that appeared to us:

                    "We stood and gazed;
    Gazed on her sunburned face with silent awe,
    Her tattered mantle and her hood of straw."

Poor Sally Cutts, a harmless maniac, was the sole inhabitant of the old
house; she and it were fallen into hopeless ruin together. Her
appearance was weird and witch-like, and betokened squalid poverty. An
old calash almost concealed her features from observation, except when
she raised her head and glanced at us in a scared, furtive sort of way.
Yet beneath this wreck, and what touched us keenly to see, was the
instinct of a lady of gentle breeding that seemed the last and only link
between her and the world. With the air and manner of the drawing-room
of fifty years ago she led the way from room to room.

We tracked with our feet the snow that had drifted in underneath the
hall door. The floors were bare, and echoed to our tread. Fragments of
the original paper, representing ancient ruins, had peeled off the
walls, and vandal hands had wrenched away the pictured tiles from the
fire-places. The upper rooms were but a repetition of the disorder and
misery below stairs.

Our hostess, after conducting us to her own apartment, relapsed into
imbecility, and seemed little conscious of our presence. Some antiquated
furniture, doubtless family heir-looms, a small stove, and a bed,
constituted all her worldly goods. As she crooned over a scanty fire of
two or three wet sticks, muttering to herself, and striving to warm her
withered hands, I thought I beheld in her the impersonation of Want and

Her family was one of the most distinguished of New England, but a
strain of insanity developed itself in her branch of the genealogical
tree. Of three brothers--John, Richard, and Robert Cutt--who, in 1641,
emigrated from Wales, the first became president of the Province of New
Hampshire, the second settled on the Isles of Shoals, and the third at
Kittery, where he became noted as a builder of ships.

This house had come into the possession of Captain Joseph Cutts[82]
about the beginning of the century. He was a large ship-owner, and a
successful and wealthy merchant. Ruined by Mr. Jefferson's embargo and
by the war of 1812, he lost his reason, and now lies in the village
church-yard. Two of his sons inherited their father's blighting
misfortune: one fell by his own hand in Lady Pepperell's bed-chamber.
Sally, the last survivor, has joined them within a twelvemonth.

Poor Sally Cutts! She rose to take leave of us with the same ceremonious
politeness which had marked her reception. Her slight and shrunken
figure was long in my memory, her crazy buffet, and broken, antiquated
chairs, to which she clung as the most precious of earthly possessions.
It was one of her hallucinations to be always expecting the arrival of a
messenger from Washington with full reparation of the broken fortunes of
her family. Some charitable souls cared for her necessities, but such
was the poor creature's pride that artifice was necessary to effect
their purpose. Flitting through the deserted halls of the gloomy old
mansion--dreading the stranger's approach, the gossip of the
neighborhood, the jibes of village urchins--Sally remained its mistress
until summoned to a better and kindlier mansion. I said the house was
haunted, and I believe it.


A short walk beyond the cemetery brings you up with Fort M'Clary,[83]
its block-house, loop-holed for musketry, its derricks, and general
disarray. Not many would have remembered the gallantry of Major Andrew
M'Clary at Bunker Hill, but for this monument to his memory. The site
has been fortified from an early day by garrison-house, stockade, or
earth-work. It should have retained its earliest name of Fort Pepperell.
John Stark's giant comrade might have been elsewhere commemorated.

It is said no village is so humble but that a great man may be born in
it. Sir William Pepperell was the great man of Kittery Point. He was
what is now called a self-made man, raising himself from the ranks
through native genius backed by strength of will. Smollett calls him a
Piscataquay trader, with little or no education, and utterly
unacquainted with military operations. Though contemptuous, the
description is literally true.

Sir William's father is first noticed in the annals of the Isles of
Shoals. The mansion now seen near the Pepperell Hotel was built partly
by him and in part by his more eminent son. The building was once much
more extensive than it now appears, having been, about twenty years ago,
shortened ten feet at either end. Until the death of the elder
Pepperell, in 1734, the house was occupied by his own and his son's
families. The lawn in front reached to the sea, and an avenue, a quarter
of a mile in length, bordered by fine old trees, led to the house of
Colonel Sparhawk, east of the village church. With its homely exterior
the mansion of the Pepperells represents one of the greatest fortunes of
colonial New England. It used to be said Sir William might ride to the
Saco without going off his own possessions.[84]


There is hanging in the large hall of the Essex Institute, at Salem, a
two-thirds length of Sir William Pepperell, painted in 1751 by Smibert,
when the baronet was in London. It represents him in scarlet coat,
waistcoat, and breeches, a smooth-shaven face and powdered periwig: the
waistcoat, richly gold-embroidered, as was then the fashion, was worn
long, descending almost to the knee, and formed the most conspicuous
article of dress. In one hand Sir William grasps a truncheon, and in the
background the painter has depicted the siege of Louisburg.[85]


Smollett accredits Auchmuty, judge-advocate of the Court of Admiralty of
New England, with the plan of the conquest of Louisburg, which he
pronounces the most important achievement of the war. Mr. Hartwell said
in the House of Commons that the colonists took Louisburg from the
French single-handed, without any European assistance--"as mettled an
enterprise as any in our history," he calls it. The honor of the
Louisburg expedition has also been claimed for James Gibson, of Boston,
and Colonel William Vaughan, of Damariscotta. But the central figures
appear to have been Governor William Shirley and Sir William

The year of Louisburg was an eventful one, for all Europe was in arms.
The petty German princes were striving for the imperial crown vacant by
the death of the emperor, Charles VII. France supports the pretensions
of the Grand Duke of Tuscany with a powerful army under her illustrious
profligate, Maurice de Saxe; Austria invades Bohemia; the old Brummbär
swoops down upon Saxony, and his cannon growl under the walls of
Dresden; the Rhenish frontiers, Silesia, Hungary, and Italy, are all

England must have a hand in the fighting. Lord Chesterfield's mission to
the Hague, the Quadruple Alliance at Warsaw, are succeeded by the
stunning blow of Fontenoy. The allied army recoiled, and drew itself
together under the walls of Brussels. The Duke of Cumberland was
defeated by a sick man.[87]

It was at this moment of defeat that the news of the fall of Louisburg
reached the allies. The Dunkirk of America had capitulated to a "trader
of Piscataquay." It put new life into the beaten army, and was
celebrated with great rejoicings in its camps.[88]

Among those who served with distinction under Pepperell were Richard
Gridley, who afterward placed the redoubt on Bunker Hill; Wooster, who
fell at Ridgefield; Thornton, a signer of our Magna Charta; and Nixon
and Whiting, of the Continental army. It was sought to give the
expedition something of the character of a crusade. George Whitefield
furnished for its banner the motto,

    "_Nil Desperandum, Christo Duce._"

A little more family history is necessary to give the reader the
_entrée_ of the four old houses at Kittery Point.

The elder Sir William, by his will, made the son of his daughter
Elizabeth and Colonel Sparhawk his residuary legatee, requiring him, at
the same time, to relinquish the name of Sparhawk for that of Pepperell.
The baronetcy, extinct with the death of Sir William, was revived by the
king for the benefit of his grandson, a royalist of 1775, who went to
England at the outbreak of hostilities. The large family estates were
confiscated by the patriots.

The tomb of the Pepperells, built in 1734, is seen between the road and
the Pepperell Hotel.[89] When it was repaired some years ago, at the
instance of Harriet Hirst Sparhawk, the remains were found lying in a
promiscuous heap at the bottom, the wooden shelves at the sides having
given way, precipitating the coffins upon the floor of the vault. The
planks first used to close the entrance had yielded to the pressure of
the feet of cattle grazing in the common field, filling the tomb with
rubbish. About thirty skulls were found in various stages of
decomposition. A crypt was built in a corner, and the scattered relics
carefully placed within.[90]

Dr. Eliot, the pioneer among American biographers, says Dr. Belknap
often mentioned to him that his desire to preserve the letters of Sir
William Pepperell led to the founding of the Massachusetts Historical
Society. This object does not seem to have been wholly accomplished, as
it is well known the baronet's papers have become widely scattered.[91]

Not far from the mansion of the Pepperells is the very ancient dwelling
of Bray, whose daughter, Margery, became Lady Pepperell. It was long
before the old shipwright made up his mind to consent to match his
daughter so unequally. This house is considered to be two hundred and
twenty-five years old, and is still habitable. Down at the water-side
are seen the rotting timbers of the wharf where the Pepperells, father
and son, conducted an extensive trade.

[Illustration: KITTERY POINT, MAINE.]

A little east of the hotel and the pleasant manse below the river makes
a noble sweep, inclosing a favorite anchorage for storm or wind bound
craft. Not unfrequently a hundred may be seen quietly riding out a
north-easter at snug moorings. At such times this harbor and Gloucester
are havens of refuge for all coasters caught along shore. The sight of
the fleet getting under way with the return of fine weather is worth
going to see.

When at Kittery Point the visitor may indulge in a variety of agreeable
excursions by land or water; the means are always at hand for boating
and driving, and there is no lack of pleasant rambles. I first went to
Gerrish's Island on a wild November day, and in a north-east
snow-storm. I never enjoyed myself better.

In the first place, this island is one of the headlands of history as
well as of the Piscataqua. It was conveyed as early as 1636, by Sir F.
Gorges, to Arthur Champernowne, a gentleman of Devon.[92] The island was
to take the name of Dartington, from the manor of the Champernownes.[93]
In this indenture Brave Boat Harbor is mentioned. The Province of Maine
was then sometimes called New Somersetshire.

There is something in this endeavor of all the promoters of New England
to graft upon her soil the time-honored names of the Old, to plant with
her civilization something to keep her in loving remembrance, that
appeals to our protection. These names are historical and significant.
They link us to the high renown of our mother isle. No political
separation can disinherit us. I think the tie is like the mystery of the
electric wave that passes under the sea, unseen yet acknowledged of all,
active though invisible.

The island, with many contiguous acres, became the property of Francis,
son of Arthur Champernowne, and nephew of Sir F. Gorges, who is buried
there, his grave distinguished by a heap of stones. Tradition said he
forbade in his last testament any stone to be raised to his memory.[94]
In the hands of subsequent proprietors the island was called Cutts's,
Fryer's, and Gerrish's Island. It is usually spoken of as two islands,
being nearly though not quite subdivided by Chauncy's Creek. The
venerable Cutts's farm-house on the shore of the island is two hundred
and thirty years old by family account.

All the islands lying northward of the ship channel belong to
Kittery.[95] Many of them have interesting associations. Trefethren's,
the largest, projects far out into the river, and is garnished with the
earth-works of old Fort Sullivan, from which shot might be pitched with
ease on the decks of invading ships. Fernald's, now Navy Yard Island,
became in 1806 the property of the United States, by purchase of Captain
William Dennett, for the sum of five thousand five hundred dollars.

Badger's, anciently Langdon's Island, is a reminiscence of one of the
noblest of the old Romans of the revolutionary time. His still elegant
mansion adorns one of the handsomest streets in Portsmouth.[96]
Washington, when there, considered it the finest private house in the


Langdon was six feet tall, with a very noble presence. Duke
Rochefoucauld Liancourt mentions that he had followed the sea first as
mate, then as master of a ship. He ultimately became an eminent merchant
and ship-builder. A devoted patriot, he was one of the leaders in the
first act of aggression committed by the Portsmouth Whigs against the
crown. As the words of a man of action and a model legislator in time of
invasion by a foreign enemy, his well-known speech to the New Hampshire
Assembly is worth the quoting. This is his manner of cutting short
useless debate: "Gentlemen, you may talk as much as you please; but I
know the enemy is upon our frontiers, and I am going to take my pistols
and mount my horse, and go and fight in the ranks of my
fellow-citizens." And he did it.

Yet a little more about Langdon. Chastellux relates that when on his way
to Gates's camp he was followed by a favorite slave. The negro, who
beheld the energy with which his master pressed on, without other repose
than could be snatched in the woods, said to him, at last, "Master, you
undergo great hardships, but you go to fight for liberty. I also should
suffer patiently if I had the same liberty to defend." "Then you shall
have it," said John Langdon; "from this moment I give you your freedom."

Continental Agent Langdon became the superintendent of war ships ordered
here by Congress. He presided at the building of the _Ranger_, the
_Alliance_, and the _America_, the last a seventy-four gun ship,
generously given to Louis XVI. for one of his lost on our coast. Paul
Jones was much here; a brave braggart, quarreling with Langdon and
Congress, writing quires of memorials, little esteemed among his peers,
though a lion on his own quarter-deck.

Though Langdon was a member elect of the Old Congress, as his State
stipulated that only two of the delegates were to go to Philadelphia,
his does not appear among the names signed to the Declaration. Matthew
Thornton, elected after Langdon, was allowed to sign when he took his
seat in November. Langdon became an opponent of the measures and
administration of Washington, joining with Jefferson, Pierce Butler, and
a few others in organizing the Republican party of that day. They had
five votes in the Senate. In the House was Andrew Jackson, a member from
Tennessee, who attracted little attention, though he voted with the
small coterie of the Upper House, including Langdon, Butler, and Colonel

Jacob Sheaffe, who in his day carried on a more extensive business than
any other merchant in Portsmouth, became the successor of Langdon as
Government agent. It is said he purchased the island where the Navy Yard
now is. One of the six frigates ordered under Washington's
administration was begun here. We had voted to build these vessels to
punish the Algerine corsairs; we then countermanded them; afterward a
treaty was made with these pirates by which they were to have a new
frigate of thirty-two guns, which was laid down at Portsmouth.

The family name of Sheaffe was once much more familiar in New England
than now. It was of Peggy Sheaffe, a celebrated Boston beauty, that
Baron Steuben perpetrated the following _mot_: When introduced to her at
the house of Mrs. Livingstone, mother of the chancellor, the baron
exclaimed, in his broken English, "I have been cautioned from my youth
against _Mischief_, but had no idea her charms were so irresistible."

Kittery is mentioned by Josselyn as the most populous of all the
plantations in the Province of Maine. It engrosses the left bank of the
Piscataqua from the great bridge at Portsmouth to the sea. The booming
of guns at the Navy Yard often announces the presence of some dignitary,
yet none, I fancy, more distinguished than Washington have set foot in
Kittery. I regret he has not much to say of it, but more of the
fishing-party of which he was, at the moment, a member.

"Having lines," he says, "we proceeded to the fishing banks without the
harbor, and fished for cod, but it not being a proper time of tide, we
caught but two." The impregnable character of the President for
truthfulness forbids the presumption that want of skill had aught to do
with his ill-luck.

It would be matter for general regret if the selectmen of Kittery should
again, as long ago happened, be presented by a grand jury for not taking
care that their children were taught their catechism, and educated
according to law. The number of steeples and school-houses seen by the
way indicates, in this respect, a healthy public opinion. Kittery
church-yard contains many mute appeals to linger and glean its dead
secrets. Mrs. Thaxter sweetly sings as she felt the story of one of
these mildewed stones:

    "Crushing the scarlet strawberries in the grass,
    I kneel to read the slanting stone. Alas!
    How sharp a sorrow speaks! A hundred years
    And more have vanished, with their smiles and tears,
    Since here was laid, upon an April day,
    Sweet Mary Chauncey in the grave away,
    A hundred years since here her lover stood
    Beside her grave." * * *

I found both banks of the Piscataqua charming. The hotels at Newcastle,
Kittery, Old York, etc., are of the smaller class, adapted to the
comfortable entertainment of families; and as they are removed from the
intrusion of that disagreeable constituent of city life known over-seas
as the "swell mob," real comfort is attainable. They are not faultless,
but one may always confidently reckon on a good bed, a polite,
accommodating host, and well-provided table.



[81] The name of Kittery Point is from a little hamlet in England. It is
the first and oldest town in the State, having been settled in 1623.
Gorgeana, settled 1324, was a city corporate, and not a town. Kittery
first included North and South Berwick and Eliot.

[82] Captain Joseph Cutts was born in 1764, and died on his birthday
anniversary, aged ninety-seven. He married a granddaughter of President
Chauncy, of Harvard College. Sarah Chauncy, known to us as "Sally
Cutts," was removed during her last illness to the house of her cousin,
where she was kindly cared for. When near her end she became more
rational, and was sensible of the attentions of her friends. She died
June 30th, 1874. Her brother Charles was hopelessly insane forty-four
years, and often so violent as to make it necessary to chain him.
Joseph, the other brother, entered the navy: overtaken by his malady, he
was sent home. Under these repeated misfortunes, added to the care of
her father and brothers, Sally's reason also gave way. The town allowed
a small sum for the board of her father and brothers, and her friends
provided wood and clothing. Her house even was sold to satisfy a
Government claim for duties, owed by her father. It has now been
renovated, and is occupied by Oliver Cutts, Esquire.

[83] My appearance within Fort M'Clary caused a panic in the garrison. A
few unimportant questions concerning the old works were answered only
after a hurried consultation between the sergeant in charge and the head
workman. The Government was then meditating war with Spain, and I had
reason to believe I was looked upon as a Spanish emissary.

[84] The house was also occupied at one time as a tenement by fishermen.
It exhibits no marks, either inside or out, of the wealth and social
consequence of its old proprietor.

[85] Mr. Longfellow has, at Cambridge, a painting by Copley,
representing two children in a park. These children are William
Pepperell and his sister, Elizabeth Royall Pepperell, children of the
last baronet.

[86] Both were made colonels in the regular British establishment; their
regiments, numbered the Fiftieth and Fifty-first respectively, were
afterward disbanded.

[87] Marshal Saxe, unable to mount his horse, was carried along his
lines in a litter.

[88] The year 1745 was also signalized by the death of Pope in June, and
of the old Duchess of Marlborough in October, who died at eighty-five,
immensely rich, and "very little regretted either by her own family or
the world in general."--SMOLLETT.

[89] Mr. E. F. Safford, the proprietor, exercises watch and ward over
this and other relics of the Pepperells with a care worthy of imitation
all along the coast.

[90] Mr. Sabine notes in his "Loyalists" that the tomb, when entered
some years ago, contained little else than bones strewed in confusion
about its muddy bottom; among them, of course, the remains of the victor
of Louisburg, deposited in it at his decease in 1759.

[91] The best biography of Sir William Pepperell is that by Dr. Usher

[92] The relation in Purchas, vol. iv., p. 1935, of the voyage of
Robert, earl of Essex, to the Azores in 1597, has a supplementary or
larger relation, written by Sir Arthur Gorges, knight, a captain in the
earl's fleet of the ship _Wast-Spite_. There is mention of a Captain
Arthur Champernowne, who appears to have sailed with the admiral in this

[93] The father of James Anthony Froude, the historian, was rector of
Dartington; the historian was born there.

[94] He is fully recognized as a personage of distinction in the
beginnings of Kittery. Charles W. Tuttle gives him a touch of royal
blood. I failed to find such a provision in his own draft of his will.

[95] They are, in descending the river, Badger's, Navy Yard,
Trefethren's, or Seavey's, Clark's, and Gerrish's Island.

[96] In Pleasant, near Court Street.

[Illustration: WHALE'S-BACK LIGHT.]



    "O warning lights, burn bright and clear,
      Hither the storm comes! Leagues away
    It moans and thunders low and drear--
      Burn 'til the break of day!"



On the 15th of July, 1605, as the sun was declining in the west, a
little bark of fifteen tons, manned by Frenchmen, was standing along the
coast of New England, in quest of a situation to begin a settlement. The
principal personage on board was Pierre du Guast, Sieur de Monts, a
noble gentleman, and an officer of the household of Henry IV. His
commission of lieutenant-general bore date at Fontainebleau in the year
1603. He was empowered by it to colonize Acadia from the fortieth to
the forty-sixth parallel, in virtue of the discoveries of the Tuscan,
Verazzani. It recited, in quaint old French, that Du Guast had already
made several voyages to these and other neighboring countries, of which
he had knowledge and experience.[97] The commission likewise conferred
authority to make war or peace with the peoples inhabiting the country
of Acadia, with sole power to traffic in skins and furs for ten years in
the Bay of St. Clair and the river of Canada. The broad autograph of
Henry and the great seal of yellow wax are appended to the parchment.

On board the bark, besides the leader of the expedition, were a few
gentlemen adventurers and twenty sailors. The name of De Monts's pilot
was Champdoré.[98] The geographer of the expedition was Samuel
Champlain. Accompanying De Monts, as guides and interpreters, were two
natives, Panounias and his wife.

Since the 15th of June De Monts had been minutely examining the New
England coast from St. Croix, where he had wintered, to near the
forty-third parallel, in the hope of finding "a place more suitable for
habitation and of a milder temperature" than the inhospitable region he
had first pitched upon. The greater part of De Monts's colony remained
at the Isle of St. Croix.

After leaving the mouth of the Saco, and looking in at the entrance of
Kennebunk River, De Monts, still keeping as close in as was prudent
with the land, which Champlain describes as flat and sandy (_platte et
sabloneuse_), found himself on that July afternoon in presence of three
striking landmarks.[99] Cape Ann bore south, a quarter east, six leagues
distant. To the west was a deep bay into which, the savages afterward
told him, a river emptied; and in the offing they perceived three or
four islands of fair elevation. These last, historians agree, were the
Isles of Shoals.

Notwithstanding the isles are not identified on either of Champlain's
maps (1612 and 1632), it is no longer doubtful that De Monts made them
out nine years before Smith saw them, though the latter has first given
them on a map a locality and a name. But I take Pring to have been the
first to mention them, when, two years before De Monts, he sighted a
multitude of small islands in about forty-three degrees, and anchored
under the shelter of the greatest.[100] Gosnold must have seen the
isles, but thought them hardly worth entering in his log. Prince
Charles, afterward Charles I., graciously confirmed the name Smith had,
in 1614, given the isles. Yet he has little or no title to be considered
their discoverer, and has left no evidence that he ever landed upon
them. The French, Smith relates, had two ships forty leagues to the
westward (of Monhegan) that had made great trade while he was on the
coast. Beyond all these, the Basque shallop seen in these waters by
Gosnold remains a nut for historians to crack.

De Poutrincourt's expedition of 1606 into Massachusetts Bay was the
sequel to that of 1605. De Monts, a heretic, through the jealousy of
rivals and Jesuit intrigue, was soon deprived of the privileges with
which he had been endowed by his fickle monarch. In this his experience
was not unlike that of Gorges and the Council of Plymouth. De Monts was
really the head of a commercial company, organized by Chauvin, governor
of Dieppe.[101] The detail of his voyage along the New England coast in
1605 is the first intelligible record to be found. Shall we not, at
last, have to do the tardy justice of acknowledging him the chief and
guiding spirit of the expedition, now universally referred to as
Champlain's? The latter has become the prominent figure, while Du Guast
is not even mentioned in some of our so-called school histories.

Christopher Levett is the first Englishman to give an account of the
isles worthy of the name. Its brevity may be advantageously contrasted
with later descriptions, though the natural features remain, in many
respects, the same. He says, writing seven years after Captain Smith:

"The first place I set my foot upon in New England was the Isle of
Shoals, being islands in the sea about two leagues from the main.

"Upon these islands I neither could see one good timber-tree nor so much
good ground as to make a garden.

"The place is found to be a good fishing-place for six ships, but more
can not well be there, for want of convenient stage room, as this year's
experience hath proved."

The year 1623 is the earliest date I have seen of the islands being
occupied as a fishing station. Monhegan was earlier known, and more
frequented by English vessels for this purpose. A word or two about the
fishery of those days.

Cabot notices the cod under the name of "bacalo;" Jean Alfonse speaks of
the "bacaillos;" Captain Uring calls it "baccalew;" the Indian name was
"tamwock." Smith says the fish on our coast were much better than those
taken at Newfoundland, which he styles "poor John," a nickname ever
since current up the Mediterranean. One of his ships, in 1614, loaded
with dry fish for Spain, where the cargo brought "forty ryalls," or five
dollars, the quintal. Fifteen or eighteen men, by his relation, took
with the hook alone sixty thousand fish in a month.

Charlevoix believed this fish could turn itself inside out, like a
pocket. He says they found bits of iron and glass, and even pieces of
broken pots, in the stomachs of fish caught on the Banks of
Newfoundland; and adds that some people believed they could digest them.
Josselyn says the fishermen used to tan their sails and nets with
hemlock-bark to preserve them.

Allusion has been made to the number of fishermen frequenting the Grand
Banks in 1578. Without the evidence few would be willing to believe the
fishery had attained such proportions at that early day, on a coast we
have been accustomed to regard as almost unknown. It certainly goes very
far toward dispelling illusions respecting the knowledge that was had of
our own shores by those adventurous "toilers of the sea."

In Captain Richard Whitbourne's relation of his voyages and observations
in Newfoundland (Purchas, vol. iv., p. 1882), he says:

"More than four hundred sail of fishing ships were annually sent to the
Grand Banks by the French and Portuguese, making two voyages a year,
fishing winter and summer.

"In the year 1615, when I was at Newfoundland," he adds, "there were
then on that coast of your Majestie's subjects two hundred and fiftie
saile of ships, great and small. The burthens and tonnage of them all,
one with another, so neere as I could take notice, allowing every ship
to be at least three-score tun (for as some of them contained lesse, so
many of them held more), amounting to more than 15,000 tunnes. Now, for
every three-score tun burthen, according to the usual manning of ships
in those voyages, agreeing with the note I then tooke, there are to be
set doune twentie men and boyes; by which computation in these two
hundred and fiftie saile there were no lesse than five thousand

De Poutrincourt, writing to Paris in 1618 from Port Royal, estimates the
fishery to be then worth a "_million d'or_" annually to France. He
declares he would not exchange Canada for Peru if it were once seriously
settled; and foreshadows the designs of the English on New France as
soon as they should have made themselves strong in Virginia. By a royal
edict of 1669 the French fishermen of New France were allowed to land
their fish in all the ports of the mother country, except Havre, free of

The advantages possessed by the Isles of Shoals were deep water, with a
reasonably secure haven for ships, free from molestation by the savages,
while the crews were engaged in taking and curing their fish. To this
ought to be added their nearness to the best fishing grounds. All along
shore the islands were, as a rule, earlier frequented than the
main-land. Levett says (and he thought it a fatal objection) the ships
that fished at Cape Ann in 1623 had to send their boats _twenty miles_
to take their fish, and the masters were in great fear of not making
their voyages. "I fear there hath been too fair a gloss set upon Cape
Ann," writes Levett.

La Hontan, writing from Quebec in 1683, says of the cod-fishery on the
Banks of Newfoundland: "You can scarce imagine what quantities of
cod-fish were catch'd there by our seamen in the space of a quarter of
an hour; for though we had thirty-two fathom water, yet the hook was no
sooner at the bottom than the fish was catch'd; so that they had nothing
to do but to throw in and take up without interruption. But, after all,
such is the misfortune of this fishery that it does not succeed but upon
certain banks, which are commonly past over without stopping. However,
as we were plentifully entertain'd at the cost of these fishes, so such
of 'em as continued in the sea made sufficient reprisals on the corpse
of a captain and of several soldiers who died of the scurvy, and were
thrown overboard three or four days after."

It is worthy of note that the _Trial_, the first vessel built in Boston,
took a lading of fish to Bilboa, in 1643, that were sold to good profit.
From thence she took freight for Malaga, and brought home wine, oil,
fruit, iron, etc. She was then sent to trade with La Tour and Acadia.
The _Trial_ was of about a hundred and sixty tons burden.[102] In the
year 1700 there were two hundred New England vessels loaded in Acadia
with fish. The cargoes were taken to Boston, and there distributed to
different parts of the world.

After the isles became permanently inhabited the fishery continued
prosperous, and by 1730 three or four vessels were annually loaded for
Bilboa. Before the Revolution seven or eight schooners hailed from the
islands, but from this period the fishery dates its decay. In 1800 only
shore-fishing was pursued, which employed thirteen whale-boats similar
to those now in use, and the best of all boats in a sea.

Besides the fish itself, the liver of the cod, as is well known, is
saved for the oil it contains. Hake sounds are of greater value than the
fish, being extensively used in the manufacture of isinglass. The
efficacy of the cod's liver was early known. "Their livers and sounds
eaten," says an old writer, "is a good medicine for to restore them that
have melted their grease."

The interest with which the obscure lives of these islanders and the
cluster of inhospitable rocks on which they dwell are invested is
remarkable enough. It may be in a measure owing to the irregular
intercourse formerly held with the main-land, and to the consequently
limited knowledge of them. And it is heightened in no small degree by
the mystery of a residence in the midst of the sea, where all ties with
the adjacent continent would seem to be dissevered. But if the open
Polar Sea be a fact and not a myth, the continents are themselves but
larger islands with more expanded horizons.

I happened one day to be in Portsmouth. _Entre nous_, if you want to be
esteemed there you must say "Porchmouth," as even the lettered of that
ilk do. The morning air had been freshened and sweetened by copious
showers; little pools stood in the streets, and every blade of grass was
tipped with a crystal rain-drop. Old Probabilities had foretold clearing
weather. Every thing seemed propitious, except that it continued to rain
"pitchforks," with the tines downward, and that the wind was steadily
working round to the eastward. As the struggle between foul and fair
seemed at length to incline to the latter, I went down to the wharf to
find the packet for the Shoals had already unmoored, and was standing
across the river. Unloosing a dory that was lying conveniently near, I
boarded the _Marie_ as she came about, thus putting myself _en rapport_
with the Shoals by means of this little floating bridge, or island, as
you may please to have it.


It being the first day of summer, the passengers were so few as to be
easily taken in at a glance. They were chiefly workmen employed on the
great hotel at Star Island, or, as they chose to style themselves,
convicts going into servitude on a desert rock: so cheaply did they hold
the attractions of the isles. Perhaps one or two of the passengers had
no more business at the islands than myself.

It is not easy to have a more delightful sail than down the Piscataqua,
or to find a more beautiful stream when its banks are clothed in green.
It has often been described, and may again be, without fear of
exhausting its capabilities. The movement of shipping to and fro; the
shifting of objects as you glide by them, together with the historic
renown with which its shores are incrusted, fill the eye while exciting
the imagination. A few miles above Portsmouth the river expands into a
broad basin, which receives the volume of tide, and then pours it into
the sea between narrow banks.

We gained the narrows of the river with Peirce's Island on the right and
Seavey's on the left, each crowned with grass-grown batteries thrown up
in the Revolution to defend the pass. Here the stream is not a good
rifle-shot in breadth, and moves with increased velocity within the
contracted space, the swirl and eddying of the current resembling the
boiling of a huge caldron. Its surface is ringed with miniature
whirlpools, and at flood-tide the mid-channel seems lifted above the
level of the river, as I have seen the mighty volume of the Missouri
during its annual rise. It is not strange the place should have received
the anathemas of mariners from immemorial time, or boast a name so
unconventional withal as Pull-and-be-d--d Point.

Clearing the narrows, we left behind us the city steeples, the big
ship-houses, lazy war ships, and tall chimneys on Kittery side. The wind
being light, the skipper got up a stay-sail from the fore-hatch. As it
was bent to the halyards, a bottle labeled "ginger ale," but smelling
uncommonly like schnapps, rolled out of its folds. We were now slowly
forging past Newcastle, or Great Island. The sun came out gloriously,
lighting up the spire of the little church at Kittery Point and the
masts of vessels lying at anchor in the roads.

Glancing astern, I remarked four wherries coming down at a great pace
with the ebb. They kept directly abreast of each other, as if moved by a
single oarsman, while the rowers talked and laughed as they might have
done on the pavement ashore. I could see by the crates piled in the
stern of each boat that they were lobstermen, going outside to look
after their traps. As they went by they seemed so many huge
water-spiders skimming the surface of the river.

Fort Constitution, with its dismantled walls and frowning port-holes, is
now passed, and Whale's Back, with twin light-houses, shows its ledges
above water. We open the mouth of the river with Odiorne's Point on the
starboard and Gerrish's Island on the port bow, the swell of ocean
lifting our little bark, and making her courtesy to the great deep.

The islands had appeared in view when we were off Newcastle, the hotel
on Star Island, where it loomed like some gray sea-fortress, being the
most conspicuous object. As we ran off the shore, the "cape of the
main-land" and the "_cul-de-sac_" of Champlain came out, and fixed
themselves where he had seen them. One by one the islands emerged from
the dark mass that involved the whole, and became individuals. The wind
dying away off Duck Island, I was fain to take an oar in the whale-boat
towing astern. We rowed along under Appledore into the little haven
between that island and Star, with no sound but the dip of our oars to
break the stillness, and beached our boat as the evening shadows were
deepening over a stormy sea.

There had been a striking sunset. Great banks of clouds were massed
above the western horizon, showing rifts of molten gold where the sun
burst through, which the sea, in its turn, reflected. As I looked over
toward White Island, the lamps were lighted in the tower, turning their
rays hither and thither over a blackness that recalled Poe's sensuous
imagery of lamp-light gloating over purple velvet. The weather-wise
predicted a north-easter, and I went to bed with the old sea "moaning
all round about the island."

I passed my first night, and a rude one it was, on Star Island. When I
arose in the morning and looked out I fancied myself at sea, as indeed I
was. The ocean was on every side, the plash of the waters being the last
sound heard at night and the first on waking. I saw the sun rise over
Smutty Nose through the same storm-clouds in which it had set at
evening. I am an early riser, but even before I was astir a wherry
crossed the little harbor my window overlooked.

The islands lie in two States, and are seven in number. Duck Island, the
most dangerous of the group; Appledore, sometimes called Hog Island;
Smutty Nose, or Haley's, and Cedar, belong to Maine; Star, White, and
Londoner's, or Lounging Island, are in New Hampshire. Appledore is the
largest, and Cedar the smallest. In one instance I have known Star
called Staten Island, though it was formerly better known as Gosport,
the name of its fishing village, whose records go back to 1731. Counting
Malaga, a little islet attached to Smutty Nose by a breakwater, and
there are eight islands in the cluster. They are nine miles south-east
of the entrance of the Piscataqua and twenty-one north-east from
Newburyport Light. The harbor, originally formed by Appledore, Star, and
Haley's Islands, was made more secure by a sea-wall, now much out of
repair, from Smutty Nose to Cedar Island. The roadstead is open to the
south-west, and is indifferently sheltered at best. Between Cedar and
Star is a narrow passage used by small craft, through which the tide
runs as in a sluice-way. The group is environed with several dangerous
sunken rocks. Square Rock is to the westward of Londoner's; White Island
Ledge south-west of that isle; Anderson's Ledge is south-east of Star
Island; and Cedar Island Ledge south of Smutty Nose.[103]

The name of the Isles of Shoals is first mentioned by Christopher Levett
in his narrative of 1623. The mariners of his day must have known of the
description and the map of Smith, but they seem to have little affected
the name he gave the islands. It would not be unreasonable to infer that
the group was known by its present name even before it was seen by
Smith, and that his claims were of little weight with those
matter-of-fact fishermen. Some writers have made a difficulty of the
meaning of the name, attributing it to the shoals, or schools, of fish
seen there as everywhere along the coast at certain seasons of the year.
East of the islands, toward the open sea, there is laid down on old
charts of the Province an extensive shoal called Jeffrey's Ledge, named
perhaps for one of the first inhabitants of the isles, and extending in
the direction of the coast from the latitude of Cape Porpoise to the
southward of the Shoals. On either side of this shallow, which is not of
great breadth, are soundings in seventy fathoms, while on the ledge the
lead brings up coarse sand in thirty, thirty-five, and forty-five
fathoms. The presence of this reef tends to strengthen the theory that
these islands, as well as the remarkable system of Casco Bay, once
formed part of the main-land. The earlier navigators who approached the
coast, cautiously feeling their way with the lead, soon after passing
over this shoal came in sight of the islands, which, it is believed,
served to mark its presence. Jeffrey's Ledge has been a fishing-ground
of much resort for the islanders since its first discovery.[104]

To whatever cause science may attribute the origin of the isles, I was
struck, at first sight, with their resemblance to the bald peaks of a
submerged volcano thrust upward out of the waters, the little harbor
being its crater. The remarkable fissures traversing the crust of the
several members of the group, in some cases nearly parallel with the
shores, strengthens the impression. In winter, or during violent storms,
the savagery of these rocks, exposed to the full fury of the Atlantic,
and surrounded by an almost perpetual surf, is overwhelming. You can
with difficulty believe the island on which you stand is not reeling
beneath your feet.

After exploring the shore and seeing with his own eyes the deep gashes
in its mailed garment, the basins hollowed out of granite and flint, and
the utter wantonness in which the sea has pitched about the fragments it
has wrested from the solid rock, the futility of words in which to
express this confusion comes home to the spectator. Mr. Hawthorne's idea
greatly resembles the Indian legend of the origin of Nantucket. "As
much as any thing else," he says, "it seems as if some of the massive
materials of the world remained superfluous after the Creator had
finished, and were carelessly thrown down here, where the millionth part
of them emerge from the sea, and in the course of thousands of years
have become partially bestrewn with a little soil."

The old navigators stigmatized Labrador as the place to which Cain was
banished, no vegetation being produced among the rocks but thorns and
moss. What a subject White Island would make for a painting of the

A Finlander with whom I parleyed told me his country could show ruder
places than these isles, and that the winters there were longer and
colder. Parson Tucke used to say the winters at the Shoals were "a thin
under-waistcoat, warmer" than on the opposite main-land. Doubtless the
Orkneys or Hebrides equal these islands in desolateness and wildness of
aspect, but they could scarce surpass them.

The islands are so alike in their natural features that a general
description of one will apply to the rest of the cluster; and hence the
first explored, so far as its crags, sea-caverns, and galleries are in
question, is apt to make the strongest impression. But after closer
acquaintance each of the seven is found to possess attractions,
peculiarities even, of its own. They grow upon you and charm away your
better judgment, until you find sermons, or what is better, in stones,
and good health everywhere. The change comes over you imperceptibly, and
you are metamorphosed for the time into a full-fledged "Shoaler," ready
to climb a precipice or handle an oar with any native--I was about to
say of the soil--but that would be quite too strong a figure for the

The little church on Star Island is usually first visited. When I was
before here, it was a strikingly picturesque object, surmounting the
islands, and visible in clear weather twenty miles at sea. It is now
dwarfed by the hotel, and is perhaps even no longer a sea-mark for the
fishermen. Such quaint little turrets have I seen in old Dutch prints.
The massive walls are of rough granite from the abundance of the isle.
Its roof and tower are of wood, and, being here, what else could it have
but a fish for its weather-vane? The bell was used, while I was there,
to call the workmen to their daily labor; but its tones were always
mournful, and vibrated with strange dissonance across the sea.

The whitewash the interior walls had received was plentifully
bespattered upon the wooden benches. In a deeply recessed window one of
the tiny sea-birds that frequent the islands was beating the panes with
its wings. I gave the little fellow his liberty, but he did not stay for
thanks. The church is not more than ten paces in length by six in
breadth, yet was sufficient, no doubt, for all the church-goers of the
seven islands. Its foundations are upon a rock, and it is altogether a
queer thing in an odd place.

After the desertion of Appledore, a meeting-house was erected on Star
Island, twenty-eight by forty-eight feet, with a bell. Mr. Moody, of
Salisbury, Massachusetts, was, in 1706, called to be the first minister
there. In 1730 he was succeeded by Rev. John Tucke.

Mather relates many anecdotes of Rev. John Brock, one of the early
ministers at the islands, in illustration of the efficacy of prayer. The
child of one Arnold, he says, lay sick, so nearly dead that those
present believed it had really expired; "but Mr. Brock, perceiving some
life in it, goes to prayer, and in his prayer uses this expression,
'Lord, wilt thou not grant some sign before we leave prayer that thou
wilt spare and heal this child? We can not leave thee 'til we have it.'
The child sneez'd immediately."

[Illustration: MEETING-HOUSE, STAR ISLAND.[105]]

Going round the corner of the church, I came upon a coast pilot, peering
through his glass for the smoke of a steamer, cable-freighted, that had
been momentarily expected from Halifax for a week. His trim little boat
lay in the harbor below us at her moorings. It was, he said, a favorite
station from which to intercept inward-bound vessels. The pilot told me,
with a quiet chuckle, of a coaster, manned by raw Irish hands, that had
attempted in broad day to run into the harbor over the breakwater from
Haley's to Cedar island. They did not get in, he said; but it being a
full tide and smooth sea, the mole only knocked off the cut-water of
their craft.

Behind the meeting-house is the little school-house, in as dire
confusion when I saw it as any bad boy could have wished. The windows
were shattered, chairs and benches overturned, and a section of rusty
stove-pipe hung from the ceiling, while the fragment of a wall map,
pressed into service as a window-curtain, was being scanned through the
dingy glass by an urchin with a turn for geography.

East of the church is a row of cottages, the remnant of the fishing
village, serving to show what it was like before modern innovations had
swept the moiety of ancient Gosport from the face of the island. Each
had a bird-house on the peak of its gable. There was the semblance of
regularity in the arrangement of these cottages, the school-house
leading the van; but they were nearly or quite all unpainted, these
homely abodes of a rude people.

On looking around, you perceived walled inclosures, some of them
containing a little earth patched with green grass, but all thickly
studded with boulders. Is it possible, you ask, that such a waste should
ever be the cause of heart-burnings, or know the name of bond, mortgage,
or warranty? Little did these impoverished islanders dream the day would
come when their sterile rocks would be eagerly sought after by the
fortunate possessors of abundance.

Star Island formerly afforded pasturage for a few sheep and cows. There
is a record of a woman who died at Gosport in 1795, aged ninety. She
kept two cows, fed in winter on hay cut by her in summer with a knife
among the rocks. The cows were taken from her by the British in 1775,
and killed, to the great grief of old Mrs. Pusley. Formerly there was
more vegetation here, but at odd times the poor people have gathered and
burned for fuel fully half the turf on the island. It is written in the
book of records that the soil of the islands is gradually decreasing,
and that a time would come when the dead must be buried in the sea or on
the main-land.

From the year 1775 until 1820, the few inhabitants who remained on the
islands lived in a deplorable condition of ignorance and vice. Some of
them had lost their ages for want of a record. Each family was a law to
itself. The town organization was abandoned. Even the marriage relation
was forgotten, and the restraints and usages of civilized life set at
naught. Some of the more debased, about 1790, pulled down and burned the
old meeting-house, which had been a prominent landmark for seamen; but,
says the record, "the special judgments of Heaven seem to have followed
this piece of wickedness to those immediately concerned in it." The
parsonage-house might have fared as ill, had it not been floated away to
Old York by Mr. Tucke's son-in-law.

Rev. Jedediah Morse has entered in the record two marriages solemnized
by him during the time he was on the islands, with the following
remarks: "The two couples above mentioned had been published eight or
ten years ago (but not married), and cohabited together since, and had
each a number of children. ---- had been formerly married to another
woman; she had left him, and cohabited with her uncle, by whom she has
a number of children. No regular divorce had been obtained. Considering
the peculiar deranged state of the people on these islands, and the
ignorance of the parties, it was thought expedient, in order as far as
possible to prevent future sin, to marry them."[106]


It is perhaps as well the visitor should be his own guide about the
islands, leaving it to chance to direct his footsteps. After an
inspection of the more prominent objects, such as may be taken in at a
glance from the little church, I wandered at will, encountering at every
few steps some new surprise. Some one says, if we seek for pleasure it
is pretty sure to elude our pursuit, coming, oftener to us unawares, and
the more unexpected the higher the gratification. It was in some such
mood I stumbled, to speak literally, on the old burial-place of the
islands. I am aware that one does not, as a rule, seek enjoyment in a
grave-yard; but I have ever found an unflagging interest in deciphering
the tablets of a buried city or hamlet. These stones may be sententious
or loquacious, pompous or humble, and sometimes grimly merry.

Our German friends call the church-yard "God's Field." Here are no
inscriptions, except on the horizontal slabs of Tucke and Stephens.
There is no difference between the rough stones protruding from the
ground and the fragments strewn broadcast about the little house-lots.
So far as this inclosure is concerned, the annals of the hamlet are as a
closed book. The instinct which bids you forbear treading on a grave is
at fault here. It requires sharp eyes and a close scrutiny to discover
that some effort has been made to distinguish this handful of graves by
head and foot stones; that some are of greater and some of lesser
length; or that the little hollows and hillocks have their secret

The two shepherds lie at the head of their little fold, in vaults
composed of the rude masses found ready at hand. For fear their
inscriptions might one day be effaced, I transcribed them:

    In Memory of
    A faithful Instructor of Youth, and pious
    Minister of Jesus Christ.
    Supported on this Island by the
    Society for Propagating the Gospel,
    who died July 2, 1804.
    Aged 64 years.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Likewise of
    his beloved Wife,
    who died Dec. 7, 1810.
    Aged 54 years.

       *       *       *       *       *

    are the Remains of
    He graduated at Harvard College, A.D. 1723,
    Was ordained here July 26, 1732,
    And died Aug. 12, 1773.
    Æt. 72.

    He was affable and polite in his manner,
    Amiable in his disposition,
    Of great piety and integrity, given to hospitality,
    Diligent and faithful in his pastoral office.
    Well learned in History and Geography, as well as
    General Science,
    And a careful Physician both to the bodies
    and the souls of his People.
    Erected 1800.
    In Memory of the Just.

For two-score years this pious man labored in his stony vineyard. His
parishioners agreed to give him a quintal per man of winter fish--their
best. They covenanted to carry his wood from the landing home for him.
With this he was content. He was their minister, teacher, physician, and
even kept the accounts of a little store in a scrupulously exact way. I
have been poring over his old-time chirography, clear-cut and beautiful
as copper-plate. There are the good old English names of Ruth, Nabby,
and Judy, of Betty, Patsey, and Love. We get a glimpse of their
household economy in the porringers, pewter lamps, and pint-pots; the
horn combs, thread, tape, and endless rows of pins for women-folk; the
knitting-needles that clicked by the fireside in long winter nights,
while the lads were away on Jeffrey's Ledge.

From here I wended my way to Smith's monument, erected in 1864, a
triangular shaft of marble, rising eight or ten feet above a craggy
rock. It is placed on a pedestal of rough stone, and protected by a
railing from vandal hands. Its situation on one of the highest eminences
of Star Island has exposed the inscription to the weather, until it is
become difficult to decipher. The three sides of the pillar are occupied
by a lengthy eulogium on this hero of many adventures,

    "Of moving accidents by flood and field;
    Of hair-breadth scapes i' the imminent deadly breach."

Like Temple Bar of old, the monument is crowned with heads--those of the
three Moslems slain by Smith, and seen on his scutcheon, as given by
Stow, where they are also quartered. I know of no other instance of
decapitated heads being set up in New England since King Philip's was
struck off and stuck on a pike at Plymouth, in 1676. Two of the heads
had fallen down, and the third seemed inclined to follow. Then the
monument will be as headless as the doughty captain's tombstone in the
pavement of St. Sepulchre's, worn smooth by many feet. In brief, the
three Turks' heads stick no better than the name given by Smith to the
islands off Cape Ann--after they had been named by De Monts.

Smith says he had six or seven charts or maps of the coast so unlike
each other as to do him no more good than waste paper. He gives credit
to Gosnold and Weymouth for their relations.

A few rods south-east of the old burying-ground is a sheltered nook, in
which are three little graves, wholly concealed by dwarf willows and
wild rose-bushes. They are tenanted by three children--"Jessie," two
years; "Millie," four years; and "Mittie," seven years old--the
daughters of Rev. George Beebe, some time missionary to these isles.
Under the name of the little one last named are these touching, tearful
words: "I don't want to die, but I'll do just as Jesus wants me to." A
gentle hand has formed this retreat, and protected it with a wooden
fence. While I stood there a song-bird perched above the entrance and
poured forth his matin lay. There is a third burial-place on the harbor
side, but it lacks interest.

Another historic spot is the ruined fort, on the west point of the
island, overlooking the entrance to the roadstead. Its contour may be
traced, and a little of the embankment of one face remains. The well was
filled to the curb with water. It once mounted nine four-pounder cannon,
but at the beginning of the Revolution was dismantled, and the guns
taken to Newburyport. I suppose the inhabitants for a long time to have
neglected precautions for defense, as Colonel Romer, in his report to
the Lords of Trade, about 1699, makes no mention of any fortification
here. One of its terrible four-pounders would not now make a mouthful
for our sea-coast ordnance.

Continuing my walk by the shore, I came to the cavern popularly known as
Betty Moody's Hole. It is formed by the lodgment of masses of rock, so
as to cover one of the gulches common to the isle. Here, says tradition,
Betty concealed herself, with her two children, while the Indians were
ravaging the isles and carrying many females into captivity. The story
goes that the children, becoming frightened in the cavern, began to cry,
whereat their inhuman mother, in an excess of fear, strangled them both;
others say she was drowned here. The affair is said to have happened
during Philip's War. I do not find it mentioned by either Mather or
Hubbard.[107] At times during the fishing season there was hardly a man
left upon the islands, a circumstance well known to the Indians.

A memoir extracted from the French archives gives a picture of the Isles
in 1702, when an attack appears to have been meditated. "The Isles de
Chooles are about three leagues from Peskatoué to the south-south-east
from the embouchure of the river, where a great quantity of fish are
taken. These are three isles in the form of a tripod, and at about a
musket-shot one from the other." * * * "There are at these three islands
about sixty fishing shallops, manned each by four men. Besides these are
the masters of the fishing stages, and, as they are assisted by the
women in taking care of the fish, there may be in all about two hundred
and eighty men; but it is necessary to observe that from Monday to
Saturday there are hardly any left on shore, all being at sea on the

[Illustration: GORGE, STAR ISLAND.]

Taking note of the ragged fissures, which tradition ascribes to the day
of the Crucifixion, I clambered down one of the rocky gorges from which
the softer formation has been eaten out by the consuming appetite of the
waves. Sometimes the descent was made easy by irregular steps of
trap-rock, and again a flying leap was necessary from stone to stone.
The perpendicular walls of the gorge rose near fifty feet at its outlet,
at the shore. It was a relief to emerge from the dripping sides and
pent-up space into the open air. The Flume, on Star Island, is a fine
specimen of the intrusion of igneous rock among the harder formation.

If you would know what the sea can do, go down one of these gulches to
the water's edge and be satisfied. I could not find a round pebble among
the débris of shattered rock that lay tumbled about; only fractured
pieces of irregular shapes. Those rocks submerged by the tide were
blackened as if by fire, and shagged with weed. Overhead the precipitous
cliffs caught the sun's rays on countless glittering points, the mica
with which they are so plentifully bespangled dazzling the eye with its
brilliancy. Elsewhere they were flint, of which there was more than
enough to have furnished all Europe in the Thirty Years' War, or else
granite. Looking up from among the _abattis_ which girds the isle about,
you are confronted by masses of overhanging rocks that threaten to
detach themselves from the cliff and bury you in their ruins.

It is not for the timid to attempt a ramble among the rocks on the
Atlantic side at low tide. He should be sure-footed and supple-jointed
who undertakes it, with an eye to estimate the exact distance where the
incoming surf-wave is to break. The illusions produced in the mind by
the great waves that roll past are not the least striking sensations
experienced. The speed with which they press in, and the noise
accompanying their passage through the gullies and rents of the shore,
contribute to make them seem much larger than they really are. It was
only by continually watching the waves and measuring their farthest
reach that I was able to await one of these curling monsters with
composure; and even then I could not avoid looking suddenly round on
hearing the rush of a breaker behind me; and ever and anon one of
greater volume destroyed all confidence by bursting far above the
boundaries the mind had assigned for its utmost limits.

Nothing struck me more than the idea of such mighty forces going to pure
waste. A lifting power the Syracusan never dreamed of literally throwing
itself away! An engine sufficient to turn all the machinery in
Christendom lying idle at our very doors. What might not be accomplished
if Old Neptune would put his shoulder to the wheel, instead of making
all this magnificent but useless pother!

I noticed that the waves, after churning themselves into foam, assumed
emerald tints, and caught a momentary gleam of sapphire, melting into
amethyst, during the rapid changes from the bluish-green of solid water
to its greatest state of disintegration. The same change of color has
been observed in the Hebrides, and elsewhere.

The place that held for me more of fascination and sublimity than others
was the bluff that looks out upon the vast ocean. I was often there. The
swell of the Atlantic is not like the long regular roll of the Pacific,
but it beats with steady rhythm. The grandest effects are produced after
a heavy north-east blow, when the waves assume the larger and more
flattened form known as the ground-swell. I was fortunate enough to
stand on the cliff after three or four days of "easterly weather" had
produced this effect. Such billows as poured with solid impact on the
rocks, leaping twenty feet in the air, or heaped themselves in fountains
of boiling foam around its base, give a competent idea of resistless
power! The shock and recoil seemed to shake the foundations of the

Upon a shelf or platform of this cliff a young lady-teacher lost her
life in September, 1848. Since then the rock on which she was seated has
been called "Miss Underhill's Chair." Other accidents have occurred on
the same spot, insufficient, it would seem, to prevent the foolhardy
from risking their lives for a seat in this fatal chair.

There are circumstances that cast a melancholy interest around the fate
of Miss Underhill. In early life she had been betrothed, and the banns,
as was then the custom, had been published in the village church. Her
father, a stern old Quaker, opposed the match, threatening to tear down
the marriage intention rather than see his daughter wed with one of
another sect. Whether from this or other cause, the suitor ceased his
attentions, and not long after took another wife in the same village.

The disappointment was believed to have made a deep impression on a girl
of Miss Underhill's strength of character. She was a Methodist, deeply
imbued with the religious zeal of that denomination. Hearing from one
who had been at the Isles of Shoals that the people were in as great
need of a missionary as those of Burmah or of the Gold Coast, it became
an affair of conscience with her to go there and teach.

She came to the islands, and applied herself with ardor to the work
before her, a labor from which any but an enthusiast would have
recoiled. It is asserted that no spot of American soil contained so
debased a community as this.

It was her habit every pleasant day, at the close of school, to repair
to the high cliff on the eastern shore of Star Island, where a rock
conveniently placed by nature became her favorite seat. Here, with her
Bible or other book, she was accustomed to pass the time in reading and
contemplation. She was accompanied on her last visit by a gentleman,
erroneously thought to have been her lover, who ventured on the rock
with her. A tidal wave of unusual magnitude swept them from their feet.
The gentleman succeeded in regaining his foothold, but the lady was no
more seen.

Search was made for the body without success. A week after the
occurrence it was found on York Beach, where the tide had left it. There
was not the least disorder in the ill-fated lady's dress; the bonnet
still covered her head, the ear-rings were in her ears, and her shawl
was pinned across her breast. In a word, all was just as when she had
set out for her walk. The kind-hearted man who found the poor waif took
it home, and cared for it as if it had been his own dead. An
advertisement caught the eye of Miss Underhill's brother. She was
carried to Chester, New Hampshire, her native place, and there buried.

Notwithstanding the humble surroundings of her home, Miss Underhill was
a person of superior and striking appearance. Her face was winning and
her self-possessed manner is still the talk of her old-time associates.
I have heard, as a sequel to the school-teacher's story, that some years
after the fatal accident her old suitor came to the Isles, and, while
bathing there, was drowned. The recovery of the body of the lady
uninjured seems little short of miraculous, and confirms the presence of
a strong under-tow, as I had suspected on seeing the floats of the
lobstermen moored within a few feet of the rocks.

Schiller may have stood, in imagination, on some such crag as this when
his wicked king flung his golden goblet into the mad sea, and with it
the life of the hapless stripling who plunged, at his challenge, down

    "The endless and measureless world of the deep."

In a neighboring ravine I found a spring of fresh water, though rather
brackish to the taste; and in the more sheltered places were heaps of
mussel-shells, the outer surface of a beautiful purple. They look better
where they are than in my cabinet, though the lining of those I secured
have an enamel of mother-of-pearl. Another remarkable feature I
observed were the deposits of gravel among the crevices; but I saw no
flint among the water-worn boulders wedged, as if by a heavy pressure,
in fissures of the rocks. I remarked also the presence of a poor
schistus intersecting the strata here and there. Some of it I could
break off with my hands.

Another delightful ramble is on the harbor side, from the old fort round
to Caswell's Peak or beyond. Passing by the little hand-breadth of sandy
beach where the dories may land, once paved, the chronicles tell us,
many feet deep with fish-bones, I observed with pleasure the green oasis
spread out between the hotel and the shore. The proprietor seemed
resolved that the very rocks should blossom, and already "a garden
smiled" above the flint.

There is a sight worth seeing from the cupola of the hotel; of the White
Hills, and Agamenticus, with the sands of Rye, Hampton, and Squam
stretching along shore. I could see the steeples of Portsmouth and of
Newburyport, the bluff at Boar's Head, and the smoke of a score of
inland villages. Following with the eye the south coast where it sweeps
round Ipswich Bay one sees Cape Ann and Thatcher's Island outlying; the
gate-way of the busy bay beyond, into which all manner of craft were
pressing sail. Northward were Newcastle, Kittery, and York, and farther
eastward the lonely rock of Boon Island. Shoreward is Appledore, with
the turret of its hotel visible above; and right below us the little
harbor so often a welcome haven to the storm-tossed mariner.[108]

Most visitors to the islands are familiar with the terrible story of the
wreck of the _Nottingham_ galley, of London, in the year 1710. She was
bound into Boston, and having made the land to the eastward of the
Piscataqua, shaped her course southward, driven before a north-east
gale, accompanied with rain, hail, and snow. For ten or twelve days
succeeding they had no observation. On the night of the 11th of
December, while under easy sail, the vessel struck on Boon Island.

With great difficulty the crew gained the rocks. The ship having
immediately broken up, they were able to recover nothing eatable, except
three small cheeses found entangled among the rock-weed. Some pieces of
the spars and sails that came ashore gave them a temporary shelter, but
every thing else had been carried away from the island by the strong
drift. In a day or two the cook died. Day by day their sufferings from
cold and hunger increased. The main-land being in full view before them,
they built a boat and got it into the water. It was overset, and dashed
in pieces against the rocks. One day they descried three boats in the
offing, but no signals they were able to make could attract notice.
Then, when reduced to a miserable band of emaciated, hopeless wretches,
they undertook and with great labor constructed a raft, upon which two
men ventured to attempt to reach the shore. Two days afterward it was
found on the beach, with one of its crew lying dead at some distance.
After this they were obliged to resort to cannibalism in order to
sustain life, subsisting on the body of the carpenter, sparingly doled
out to them by the captain's hand. To make an end of this chapter of
horrors, the survivors were rescued after having been twenty-four days
on the island. The raft was, after all, for them a messenger of
preservation, for it induced a search for the builders.

No one can read this narrative without feeling his sympathy strongly
excited for the brave John Deane, master of the wrecked vessel. He
seemed possessed of more than human fortitude, and has told with a
sailor's simple directness of his heroic struggle for life. His account
was first published in 1711, appended to a sermon by Cotton Mather.
Deane afterward commanded a ship of war in the service of the Czar,
Peter the Great.[109]

Few who have seen the light-house tower on this lonely rock, distant not
more than a dozen miles from the coast, receiving daily and nightly
obeisance of hundreds of passing sails, can realize that the story of
the _Nottingham_ could be true. It is a terrible injunction to keep the
lamps trimmed and brightly burning.[110]

Proceeding onward in this direction, I came to the fish-houses that
remain on the isle. Tubs of trawls, a barrel or two of fish-oil, a pile
of split fish, and the half of a hogshead, in which a "kentle" or so of
"merchantable fish" had just been salted down, were here and there; a
hand-barrow on which to carry the fish from the boat, a lobster-pot, and
a pair of rusty scales, ought to be added to the inventory. Sou'-westers
and suits of oil-skin clothing hung against the walls; and in the loft
overhead were a spare block or two and a parcel of oars, evidently
picked up adrift, there being no two of the same length. In some of the
houses were whale-boats, that had been hauled up to be calked and
painted, that the men were preparing to launch. They were all
schooner-rigged, and some were decked over so as to furnish a little
cuddy for bad weather. No more sea-worthy craft can be found, and under
guidance of a practiced hand one will sail, as sea-folk say, "like a
witch." They usually contained a coil of half-inch line for the road, a
"killick," and a brace of powder-kegs for the trawls.

The process of curing, or, as it is called by the islanders, "saving,"
fish is familiar to all who live near the sea-shore, and has not changed
in two hundred years. It is described as practiced here in 1800, by Dr.

"The fish, in the first place, are thrown from the boat in piles on the
shore. The cutter then takes them and cuts their throat, and rips open
their bellies. In this state he hands them to the header, who takes out
the entrails (detaching the livers, which are preserved for the sake of
the oil they contain), and breaks off their heads. The splitter then
takes out the backbone, and splits them completely open, and hands them
to the salter, who salts and piles them in bulk, where they lie from ten
to twenty hours, as is most convenient. The shoremen and the women then
wash and spread them on the flakes. Here they remain three or four
weeks, according to the weather, during which time they are often
turned, piled in fagots, and then spread again, until they are
completely cured for market."

The "dun," or winter fish, formerly cured here, were larger and thicker
than the summer fish. Great pains were taken in drying them, the
fish-women often covering the "fagots" with bed-quilts to keep them
clean. Being cured in cold weather, they required but little salt, and
were almost transparent when held up to the light. These fish sometimes
weighed a hundred pounds or more. The dun fish were of great esteem in
Spain and in the Mediterranean ports, bringing the highest price during
Lent. They found their way to Madrid, where many a platter, smoking hot,
has doubtless graced the table of the Escurial. In 1745 a quintal would
sell for a guinea.

In 1775 the revolting colonies, unable to protect the islands, ordered
their abandonment. A few of the inhabitants remained, but the larger
number removed to the near main-land, and were scattered among the
neighboring towns. The Shoals became through the war a rendezvous for
British ships. The last official act of the last royal governor of New
Hampshire was performed here in 1775, when Sir John Wentworth prorogued
the Assembly of his majesty's lost province.



[97] "Et en la connoissance et experience que vous avez de la qualité,
condition et situation dudit païs de la Cadie, pour les diverses
navigations, voyages, et frequentations que vous avez faits en ces
terres et autres proches et circonvoisines."

[98] Williamson erroneously calls Champlain the pilot.

[99] A little book I have seen translates rather freely in making
Champlain say "and on the west Ipswitch Bay." See p. 122 for Champlain's
exact language.

[100] Pring came to the main-land in forty-three and a half degrees--his
farthest point westward on this voyage--and worked along the coast to
the south-west. I know of no other islands between Cape Ann and his
landfall answering his description.

[101] De Monts sailed from Havre de Grace March 7th, 1604.

[102] Winthrop's "Journal."

[103] Star Island is three-fourths of a mile long and half a mile wide;
White Island is also three-fourths of a mile in length. It is a mile and
three quarters from Star Island. Londoner's is five-eighths of a mile in
length, and one-eighth of a mile from Star Island. Duck Island is
seven-eighths of a mile in length, and three miles from Star Island
meeting-house. Appledore is seven-eighths of a mile from Star, and a
mile in length. Haley's, or Smutty Nose, is a mile in length, and
five-eighths of a mile from Star Island meeting-house. Cedar Island is
one-third of a mile long, and three-eighths of a mile distant from the
meeting-house. The whole group contains something in excess of six
hundred acres.

[104] The term "Shoals of Isles" seems rather far-fetched, and scarcely
significant to English sailors familiar with the hundred and sixty
islands of the Hebrides. I can find no instance of these isles having
been so called.

[105] Built in 1800, through the efforts of Dudley A. Tyng, of
Newburyport, Massachusetts. Dedicated in November by Rev. Jedediah
Morse, father of S. F. B. Morse. A school was for a time kept in it.

[106] For more than a century previous to the Revolution the islands
were prosperous, containing from three to six hundred souls. In 1800
there were three families and twenty persons on Smutty Nose; fifteen
families and ninety-two persons on Star Island, alias Gosport; eleven
dwellings and ten fish-houses on the latter, and three decent dwellings
on the former. At this time there was not an inhabitant on Appledore,
alias Hog Island.

[107] 1691. A considerable body of Eastern Indians came down from the
interior, with the intention of sacking the Isles of Shoals, but on
August 4th came upon some English forces at Maquoit, under Captain
March, and had a fight with them. This prevented their proceeding, and
saved the Shoals.--"Magnalia," vol. xi., p. 611.

1692. Governor Fletcher examined three deserters, or renegadoes, as he
calls them, from Quebec, who came before him September 23d. They said
two men-of-war had arrived at Quebec, and were fitting out for an
expedition along the coast, "with a design to fall on Wells, Isle of
Shoals, Piscataqua, etc."--"New York Colonial Documents," vol. iii., p.

1724. After the Indians had cut off Captain Winslow and thirteen of his
men in the River St. George, encouraged by this success, the enemy made
a still greater attempt by water, and seized two shallops at the Isles
of Shoals.--HUTCHINSON's "Massachusetts," vol. ii., p. 307.

[108] _Mountains seen off the coast_: Agamenticus, twelve miles north of
the entrance of the Piscataqua; three inferior summits, known as Frost's
Hills, at a less distance on the north-west. In New Hampshire the first
ridge is twenty or thirty miles from sea, in the towns of Barrington,
Nottingham, and Rochester--the summits known as Teneriffe, Saddleback,
Tuckaway, etc. Their general name is the Blue Hills. Beyond these are
several detached summits--Mount Major, Moose Mountain, etc.; also a
third range farther inland, with Chocorua, Ossipee, and Kearsarge. In
the lofty ridge, separating the waters of the Merrimac and the
Connecticut is Grand Monadnock, twenty-two miles east of the Connecticut
River; thirty miles north of this is Sunapee, and forty-eight farther,
Moosehillock. The ranges then trend away north-east, and are massed in
the White Hills.

[109] John Ward Dean, of Boston, the accomplished antiquary, has
elicited this and other facts relative to his namesake.

[110] On Boone Island it is said there is no soil except what has been
carried there.

[Illustration: CLIFFS, WHITE ISLAND.]


THE ISLES OF SHOALS--_continued._

     "--There be land-rats and water-rats, water thieves and land
     thieves; I mean pirates."--_Merchant of Venice._

My next excursion was to Smutty Nose, or Haley's. Seen from Star Island
it shows two eminences, with a little hamlet of four houses, all having
their gable-ends toward the harbor, on the nearest rising ground. Round
the south-west point of Smutty Nose is the little haven already alluded
to in the previous chapter, made by building a causeway of stone over to
Malaga, where formerly the sea ran through. This Mr. Samuel Haley did at
his own cost, expending part of a handsome fortune on the work. Into
this little haven, we are told, many distressed vessels have put in and
found safe anchorage. The chronicles, speaking by the pen of a fair
islander, say old Mr. Haley, in building a wall, turned over a large
flat stone, beneath which lay four bars of solid silver; with which,
adds tradition, he began his sea mole. I should have thought, had this
precious discovery gained currency, no stone would have been left
unturned by the islanders, and that Haley's wall might have risen with
magical celerity.

It is certain these islands were in former times the resort of
freebooters, with such names as Dixy Bull, Low, and Argall (a licensed
and titled buccaneer), who left the traces of their own lawlessness in
the manner of life of the islanders. It was a convenient place in which
to refit or obtain fresh provisions without the asking of troublesome
questions.[111] The pirates could expect little booty from the
fishermen, but they often picked them up at sea to replenish their

In the year 1689 two noted buccaneers, Thomas Hawkins and Thomas Pound,
cruised on the coast of New England, committing many depredations. The
Bay colony determined on their capture, and dispatched an armed sloop
called the _Mary_, Samuel Pease commander, which put to sea in October
of that year. Hearing the pirates had been cruising at the mouth of
Buzzard's Bay, Captain Pease made all sail in that direction. The _Mary_
overhauled the outlaw off Wood's Hole. Pease ran down to her, hailed,
and ordered her to heave to. The freebooter ran up a blood-red flag in
defiance, when the _Mary_ fired a shot athwart her forefoot, and again
hailed, with a demand to strike her colors. Pound, who stood upon his
quarter-deck, answered the hail with, "Come on, you dogs, and I will
strike you." Waving his sword, his men poured a volley into the _Mary_,
and the action for some time raged fiercely, no quarter being expected.
Captain Pease at length carried his adversary by boarding, receiving
wounds in the hand-to-hand conflict of which he died.

In 1723 the sloop _Dolphin_, of Cape Ann, was taken on the Banks by
Phillips, a noted pirate. The able-bodied of the _Dolphin_ were forced
to join the pirate crew. Among the luckless fishermen was John Fillmore,
of Ipswich. Phillips, to quiet their scruples, promised _on his honor_
to set them at liberty at the end of three months. Finding no other hope
of escape, for of course the liar and pirate never meant to keep his
word, Fillmore, with the help of Edward Cheesman and an Indian, seizing
his opportunity, killed three of the chief pirates, including Phillips,
on the spot. The rest of the crew, made up in part of pressed men,
submitted, and the captured vessel was brought into Boston by the
conquerors on the 3d of May, 1724. John Fillmore, the quasi pirate, was
the great-grandfather of Millard Fillmore, thirteenth President of the
United States.

It is affirmed on the authority of Charles Chauncy that Low once
captured some fishermen from the "Shoals." Disappointed, perhaps, in his
expectation of booty, he first caused the captives to be barbarously
flogged, and afterward required each of them three times to curse Parson
Mather or be hanged. The prisoners did not reject the alternative.

No doubt these pirates had heard of the sermons Cotton Mather was in the
habit of preaching before the execution of many of their confederates.
In his time it was the custom to march condemned prisoners under a
strong guard to some church on the Sabbath preceding the day on which
they were to suffer. There, marshaled in the broad aisle, they listened
to a discourse on the enormity of their crimes and the torments that
awaited them in the other world, this being the manner in which the old
divines administered the consolations of religion to such desperate

New England could contribute a thick volume to the annals of piracy in
the New World from the records of a hundred years subsequent to her
settlement. The name of Kidd was long a bugbear with which to terrify
wayward children into obedience, and the search for his treasure
continues, as we have seen, to this day. Bradish, Bellamy, and Quelch
sailed these seas like true followers of those dreaded rovers who swept
the English coasts, and sent their defiance to the king himself:

    "Go tell the King of England, go tell him thus from me,
    Though he reigns king o'er all the land, I will reign king at sea."

They have still the ghost of a pirate on Appledore, one of Kidd's men.
There has consequently been much seeking after treasure. The face of the
spectre is "pale, and very dreadful" to behold; and its neck, it is
averred, shows the livid mark of the hangman's noose. It answers to the
name of "Old Bab." Once no islander could be found hardy enough to
venture on Appledore after night-fall. I shrewdly suspect "Old Bab" to
be in the pay of the Laightons.

In 1700, Rear-admiral Benbow was lying at Piscataqua, with nine of
Kidd's pirates on board for transportation to England. Robert Bradenham,
Kidd's surgeon, says the Earl of Bellomont, was the "obstinatest and
most hardened of 'em all." In the year 1726 the pirates William Fly,
Samuel Cole, and Henry Greenville were taken and put to death at Boston,
after having been well preached to in Old Brattle Street by Dr. Colman.
Fly, the captain, like a truculent knave, refused to come into church,
and on the way to execution bore himself with great bravado. He jumped
briskly into the cart with a nosegay in his hand, smiling and bowing to
the spectators, as he passed along, with real or affected unconcern. At
the gallows he showed the same obstinacy until his face was

The various legends relative to the corsairs, and the secreting of their
ill-gotten gains among these rocks, would of themselves occupy a lengthy
chapter; and the recital of the fearful sights and sounds which have
confronted such as were hardy enough to seek for treasure would satisfy
the most inveterate marvel-monger in the land.


Among others to whom it is said these islands were known was the
celebrated Captain Teach, or Blackbeard, as he was often called. He is
supposed to have buried immense treasure here, some of which, like
Haley's ingots, has been dug up and appropriated by the islanders. On
one of his cruises, while lying off the Scottish coast waiting for a
rich trader, he was boarded by a stranger, who came off in a small boat
from the shore. The new-comer demanded to be led before the pirate
chief, in whose cabin he remained some time shut up. At length Teach
appeared on deck with the stranger, whom he introduced to the crew as a
comrade. The vessel they were expecting soon came in sight, and after a
bloody conflict became the prize of Blackbeard. It was determined by the
corsair to man and arm the captured vessel. The unknown had fought with
undaunted bravery and address during the battle. He was given the
command of the prize.

The stranger Scot was not long in gaining the bad eminence of being as
good a pirate as his renowned commander. His crew thought him
invincible, and followed where he led. At last, after his appetite for
wealth had been satisfied by the rich booty of the Southern seas, he
arrived on the coast of his native land. His boat was manned, and landed
him on the beach near an humble dwelling, whence he soon returned,
bearing in his arms the lifeless form of a woman.

The pirate ship immediately set sail for America, and in due time
dropped her anchor in the road of the Isles of Shoals. Here the crew
passed their time in secreting their riches and in carousal. The
commander's portion was buried on an island apart from the rest. He
roamed over the isles with his beautiful companion, forgetful, it would
seem, of his fearful trade, until one morning a sail was seen standing
in for the islands. All was now activity on board the pirate; but before
getting under way the outlaw carried the maiden to the island where he
had buried his treasure, and made her take a fearful oath to guard the
spot from mortals until his return, were it not 'til doomsday. He then
put to sea.

The strange sail proved to be a warlike vessel in search of the
freebooter. A long and desperate battle ensued, in which the cruiser at
last silenced her adversary's guns. The vessels were grappled for a last
struggle, when a terrific explosion strewed the sea with the fragments
of both. Stung to madness by defeat, knowing that if taken alive the
gibbet awaited him, the rover had fired the magazine, involving friend
and foe in a common fate.

A few mangled wretches succeeded in reaching the islands, only to perish
miserably, one by one, from cold and hunger. The pirate's mistress
remained true to her oath to the last, or until she also succumbed to
want and exposure. By report, she has been seen more than once on White
Island--a tall, shapely figure, wrapped in a long sea-cloak, her head
and neck uncovered, except by a profusion of golden hair. Her face is
described as exquisitely rounded, but pale and still as marble. She
takes her stand on the verge of a low, projecting point, gazing fixedly
out upon the ocean in an attitude of intense expectation. A former race
of fishermen avouched that her ghost was doomed to haunt those rocks
until the last trump shall sound, and that the ancient graves to be
found on the islands were tenanted by Blackbeard's men.[113]

These islands were also the favorite haunt of smugglers.[114] Many a
runlet of Canary has been "passed" here that never paid duty to king or
Congress. It must have been a very paradise of free-traders, who,
doubtless, had the sympathies of the inhabitants in their illicit
traffic. "What a smuggler's isle!" was my mental ejaculation when I
first set foot on Star Island; what a retreat for some Dirck Hatteraick
or outlawed Jean Lafitte!

I rowed over to Smutty Nose in a wherry. The name has a rough
significance. Looking at the islands at low tide, they present
well-defined belts of color. First is the dark line of submerged
rock-weed, which led some acute fisherman to hit off with effect the
more popular name of Haley's Island; next comes a strip almost as green
as the grass in the rocky pastures; above these again, shaded into
browns or dingy yellows, the rocks appear of a tawny hue, and then
blanched to a ghastly whiteness, a little relieved by dusky patches of

I remarked that the schooners of twenty or thirty tons' burden lying in
the harbor were all at moorings, ready to run after a school of fish or
away from a storm. It is only a few years since three of these vessels
were blown from their moorings and stranded on the rocks of Smutty Nose
and Appledore.

In 1635 the ship _James_, Captain Taylor, of Bristol, England, had a
narrow escape from being wrecked here. After losing three anchors, she
was with difficulty guided past the great rocks into the open sea. The
curious reader will find the details quaintly set forth in the journal
of Rev. Richard Mather, the ancestor of a celebrated family of New
England divines.[115] She had on board a hundred passengers for the
Massachusetts Colony.

While lying on our oars in this basin, where so many antique craft have
been berthed, it is perhaps not amiss to allude to Thomas Morton, of
Mount Wollaston,[116] alias Merry Mount. To do so it will not only be
necessary to clamber up the crumbling side of the ship in which he was
being sent a prisoner to England, but to surmount prejudices equally
decrepit, that, like the spectre of "Old Bab," continue to appear long
after they have been decently gibbeted. The incident derives a certain
interest from the fact that Morton's was the first instance of
banishment in the New England colonies. The only consequence of Thomas
Morton, of Clifford's Inn, gent., is due to the effort to cast obloquy
upon the Pilgrims.

In the year 1628 the ship _Whale_ was riding at the Isles of Shoals,
Morton having been seized by order of Plymouth Colony, and put on board
for transportation to England. What manner of ship the _Whale_ was may
be gathered from Morton's own account of her. The master he calls "Mr.
Weathercock," and the ship "a pitiful, weather-beaten craft," in which
he was "in more danger than Jonah in the whale's belly."

The cause of Morton's banishment is often asserted to have been simply
his licentious conduct, and what some have been pleased to call
indulgence in such "hearty old English pastimes" as dancing about a
May-pole, singing songs of no doubtful import, holding high wassail the
while, like the mad, roystering rogues his followers were. The Pilgrim
Fathers are indicted by a class of historians desirous of displaying to
the world the intolerance of the "Plymouth Separatists," as
distinguished from the liberality which marked the religious views of
the settlers east of the Merrimac. Our forefathers, say they, did not
come to the New World for religious liberty, but to fish and trade.

Morton's offense is stated by Governor Bradford, in his letters to the
Council for New England and to Sir F. Gorges, to have been the selling
of arms and ammunition to the Indians in such quantities as to endanger
the safety of the infant plantations. He was arrested, and his
association of Merry Mount broken up, after repeated and friendly
efforts to dissuade him from this course had been met with insolence and
bravado. It stands thus in Governor Bradford's letter-book:

"_To the Honourable his Majesty's Council for New England, these, Right
Honourable and our very good Lords:_

     "Necessity hath forced us, his Majesty's subjects of New
     England in general (after long patience), to take this course
     with this troublesome planter, Mr. Thomas Morton, whom we have
     sent unto your honours that you may be pleased to take that
     course with him which to your honourable wisdom shall seem fit;
     who hath been often admonished not to trade or truck with the
     Indians either pieces, powder, or shot, which yet he hath done,
     and duly makes provision to do, and could not be restrained,
     taking it in high scorn (as he speaks) that any here should
     controul therein. Now the general weakness of us his Majesty's
     subjects, the strength of the Indians, and at this time their
     great preparations to do some affront upon us, and the evil
     example which it gives unto others, and having no subordinate
     general government under your honours in this land to restrain
     such misdemeanours, causeth us to be troublesome to your
     Lordships to send this party unto you for remedy and redress

The letter to Sir F. Gorges[117] is in greater detail, but its length
prevents its insertion with the foregoing extract. The Governor of New
Plymouth makes a similar allegation with regard to the fishing ships. It
is noticeable that all the plantations took part in this affair,
Piscataqua, the Isles of Shoals, Edward Hilton, and others paying their
proportion of the expense of sending Morton out of the country.

Morton's offense, therefore, was political and not religious, and his
extradition a measure of self-preservation, an inexorable law in 1628 to
that handful of settlers. If, at the end of nearly two centuries and a
half, the Government those Pilgrims contributed to found deemed it
necessary to the public safety to banish individuals from its borders,
how, then, may we challenge this act of a few men who dwelt in a
wilderness, and worshiped their God with the Bible in one hand and a
musket in the other?

Morton defied the proclamation of the king promulgated in 1622, saying
there was no penalty attached to it. Its terms forbade "any to trade to
the portion of America called New England, being the whole breadth of
the land between forty and forty-eight degrees of north latitude,
excepting those of the Virginia Company, the plantation having been much
injured by interlopers, who have injured the woods, damaged the harbors,
trafficked with the savages, and even sold them weapons, and taught them
the use thereof."[118]

Of the May-pole, which the Pilgrims regarded with grim discontent,
Stubbes gives the manner in England of bringing it home from the woods.

"But," he says, "their cheefest jewell they bring home with greate
veneration, as thus: they have twentie or fourtie yoke of oxen, every
oxe havyng a sweete nosegaie of flowers tyed on the tippe of his hornes,
and these oxen drawe home this Maie-poole, which is covered all over
with flowers and hearbes, bounde rounde aboute with stringes from the
top to the bottome, and sometyme painted with variable colours, with two
or three hundred men, women, and children followyng it with great
devotion. And thus beying reared up with handkercheifes and flagges
streamyng on the toppe, they strawe the grounde aboute, binde green
boughes about it, sett up Sommer haules, Bowers, and Arbours hard by.
And then fall they to banquet and feast, to leape and dance aboute it,
as the Heathen people did at the dedication of their idolles, whereof
this is a perfect patterne, or rather the thynge itself."

[Illustration: SMUTTY NOSE.]

Smutty Nose, the most verdant of the islands, was one of the earliest
settled. The stranger for the first time feels something like soil
beneath his feet. There is a wharf and a little landing-place, where a
boat may be beached. When within Haley's little cove, I looked down
into the water, and saw the perch (cunners) swimming lazily about. This
was the only place where the old-time industry of the isles showed even
a flake, so to speak, of its former greatness. There were a few men
engaged in drying their fish near the landing. Clear weather with
westerly winds is best for this purpose; dull or foggy weather spoils
the fish.


(In the third House from the left the Wagner Murder was committed.)]

At a little distance, shorn of some of its former adornments, is the
homestead of Samuel Haley, who with his two sons and their families
occupied the island many years ago. Not far off is the little family
grave-yard of the Haleys, with the palings falling in decay, and the
mounds overgrown with a tangle of rank grass. At one time, by his
energy, Mr. Haley had made of his island a self-sustaining possession.
Before the Revolution he had built a windmill, salt-works, and
rope-walk; a bakehouse, brewery, distillery, blacksmith's and cooper's
shops succeeded in the first year of peace--all going to decay within
his lifetime. By all report of him, he was a good and humane man, and I
hereby set up his prostrate grave-stone on my page:

    Who died in the year 1811
    Aged 84
    He was a man of great Ingenuity
    Industry Honor and Honesty, true to his
    Country & A man who did A great
    Public good in Building A
    Dock & Receiving into his
    Enclosure many a poor
    Distressed Seaman & Fisherman
    In distress of Weather."

A few steps farther on are the graves of fourteen shipwrecked mariners,
marked by rude boulders. It is entered in the Gosport records: "1813,
_Jan._ 14_th_, ship _Sagunto_ stranded on Smutty Nose Isle; _Jan._
15_th_, one man found; 16_th_, six men found; 21_st_, seven men found."
The record sums up the number as twelve bodies found, whereas the total
appears to be fourteen.

Although the ship _Sagunto_ was not stranded on Smutty Nose Isle, the
wreck of a ship, either Spanish or Portuguese, with all on board,
remains a terrible fact but too well attested by these graves.[119] The
horror of the event is deepened and strengthened by the simple word
"Unknown." When this ship crashed and filled and went down, the
_Sagunto_ was lying, after a terrible buffeting, within a safe harbor.

It was in a blinding snow-storm, and a gale that strewed the shore from
the Penobscot to Hatteras with wrecks, that a ship built of cedar and
mahogany was thrown on these rocks. Not a living soul was left to tell
the tale of that bitter January night. The ill-fated vessel was richly
laden, no doubt, for boxes of raisins and almonds from Malaga drifted on
shore the next morning. On a piece of the wreck that came in a silver
watch of English make was found, with the letters "P. S." graven on the
seals; and among the débris was a Spanish and part of an American
ensign, for it was war-time then between England and the American
States. The watch had stopped at exactly four o'clock, or when time
ceased for those hapless Spaniards. There were also found some twenty
letters, addressed south of New York. Conjecture said it was a Spanish
ship from Cadiz, bound for Philadelphia.

This is the story of this little clump of graves, and of the wreck, to
this day unknown. It has been told many times in prose and poetry, but
not often truly. Samuel Haley had been quietly lying in his grave two
years. The reader may or may not believe he found the frozen bodies of
some of the crew next morning reclining on his wall. Here is a wild
flower of island growth, of a handful cast upon these fading mounds:

    "O sailors, did sweet eyes look after you
      The day you sailed away from sunny Spain?
    Bright eyes that followed fading ship and crew,
      Melting in tender rain?"

I wondered that these fourteen the old sea had strangled and flung up
here could rest so peacefully in ground unblessed by Holy Church.
Perchance the spot has witnessed midnight mass, with incense and with
missal: no doubt beads have been told, and a _pater_ and _ave_ said by
pious pilgrims.

It is not pleasant to think that the island has become more widely known
through the medium of an atrocious murder committed here in March, 1873.
Formerly the islanders dated from some well-remembered wreck; now it is
before or since the murder on Smutty Nose they reckon.

On the morning of March 6th the Norwegian who lives opposite Star
Island, on Appledore, heard a cry for help. Going to the shore, he saw a
woman standing on the rocks of Malaga in her night-dress. He crossed
over and brought the poor creature to his cottage, when it appeared that
her feet were frozen. She was half dead with fright and exposure, but
told her tale as soon as she was able.

John Hontvet, a fisherman, occupied one of the three houses on Smutty
Nose; the third counting from the little cove, as you look at it from
Star Island. On the night of the 5th of March he was at Portsmouth,
leaving three women--Mary, his wife; Annethe and Karen Christensen--at
home. They went to bed as usual, Annethe with Mrs. Hontvet in the
bedroom; Karen on a couch in the kitchen. It was a fine moonlight night,
though cold, and there was snow on the ground.

Some time during the night a man entered the house, it is supposed for
the purpose of robbery. He fastened the door between the kitchen, which
he first entered, and the bedroom, thus isolating the sleeping women.
Karen, having awoke, cried out, when she was attacked by the intruder
with a chair. The noise having aroused the two women in the bedroom,
Mary Hontvet jumped out of bed, forced open the door leading into the
kitchen, and succeeded in getting hold of the wounded girl, Karen, whom
she drew within her own chamber. All this took place in the dark. Mary
then bade Annethe, her brother's wife, to jump out of the window, and
she did so, but was too much terrified to go beyond the corner of the
house. Mary, meanwhile, was holding the door of the kitchen against the
attempts of their assailant to force it open. Foiled here, the villain
left the house, and meeting the young wife, Annethe, was seen by Mary,
in the clear moonlight, to deal her three terrible blows with an axe.
But before she was struck down the girl had recognized her murderer, and
shrieked out, "Louis, Louis!"

After this accursed deed the man went back to the house, and Mary also
made her escape by the window. Karen was too badly hurt to follow. The
clear-grit Norwegian woman ran first to the dock, but finding no boat
there, hid herself among the rocks. She durst not shout, for fear the
sound of her voice would bring the murderer to the spot. There she
remained, like another Betty Moody, until sunrise, when she took courage
and went across the sea-wall to Malaga and was rescued. I was told that
when she fled, with rare presence of mind, she took her little dog under
her arm, for fear it might prove her destruction.

It resulted that Louis Wagner, a Prussian, was arrested, tried for the
murder, and condemned as guilty. The fatal recognition by Annethe, the
figure seen with uplifted axe through the window by Mary, and the
prisoner's absence from his lodgings on the night of the murder, pointed
infallibly to him as the chief actor in this night of horrors. To have
committed this crime he must have rowed from Portsmouth to the Islands
and back again, on the night in question; no great feat for one of those
hardy islanders, and Wagner was noted for muscular strength. It is said
he was of a churlish disposition, and would seldom speak unless
addressed, when he would answer shortly. He was not considered a bad
fellow, but a poor companion.

I went to the house. Relic-hunters had left it in a sorry plight; taking
away even the sashes of the windows, shelves, and every thing movable.
Even the paper had been torn from the walls, and carried off for its
blood-stains. Hontvet described, with the phlegm of his race, the
appearance of the house on the morning of the tragedy: "Karen lay dere;
Annethe lay here," he said. I saw they were preparing to make it
habitable again: better burn it, say I.

We had a sun-dog at evening and a rainbow in the morning, full-arched,
and rising out of the sea, a sure forerunner, say veteran observers, of
foul weather. Says the quatrain of the forecastle:

    "Rainbow in the morning,
    Sailors take warning;
    Rainbow at night,
    Is the sailor's delight."


I spent a quiet, breezy afternoon in exploring Appledore. The landing
from the harbor side has to be made in some cleft of the rock, and is
not practicable when there is a sea running. Passing by the cottage at
the shore, I first went up the rocky declivity to the site of the
abandoned settlement of so long ago. It may still be recognized by the
cellars, rough stone walls, and fragments of bricks lying scattered
about. Thistles, raspberry-bushes, and dwarf cherry-trees in fragrant
bloom, were growing in the depressions which marked these broken
hearth-stones of a forgotten people. The poisonous ivy, sometimes called
mercury, so often found clinging to old walls, was here. Some
country-folk pretend its potency is such that they who look on it are
inoculated with the poison; a scratch, as I know to my cost, will

Here was a strip of green grass running along the harbor side, and, for
the first time, the semblance of a road; I followed it until it lost
itself among the rocks. A horse and a yoke of oxen were browsing by the
way, and on a distant shelf of rock I saw a cow, much exaggerated in
size, contentedly ruminative. Clumps of huckleberry and fragrant
bayberry were frequent, with blackberry and other vines clustering above
the surface rocks.


I am inclined to doubt whether, after all, the habitation of
Appledore[120] was abandoned on account of the Indians, for Star Island,
as has been remarked, could give no better security. Probably the
landing had much to do with it. Without some moving cause the
inhabitants would hardly have left Appledore and its verdure for the
bald crags of Star Island. The choice of Appledore by the first
settlers was probably due to its spring of pure water, the only one on
the islands.

The year 1628 is the first in which we can locate actual settlers at
the Shoals. Mr. Jeffrey and Mr. Burslem, then assessed two pounds for
the expenses of Morton's affair, are supposed to have been living there.
By 1640 the Rev. Mr. Hull, of Agamenticus, paid parochial visits to the
Isles, and some time before 1661, says Dr. Morse, they had a
meeting-house on Hog Island, though the service of the Church of England
was the first performed there. The three brothers Cutt, of Wales,
settled there about 1645, removing soon to the main-land, where they
became distinguished. Antipas Maverick is mentioned as resident in 1647.
Another settler whom the chronicles do not omit was William Pepperell,
of Cornwall, England, father of the man of Louisburg, who was here about
1676. The removal of the brothers Cutt within two years, and of
Pepperell and Gibbons after a brief residence, does not confirm the view
that the islands at that early day possessed attractions to men of the
better class sometimes claimed for them. Pepperell and Gibbons left the
choice of a future residence to chance, with an indifference worthy a
Bedouin of the Great Desert. Holding their staves between thumb and
finger until perpendicularly poised, they let them fall, departing, the
tradition avers, in the direction in which each pointed--Pepperell to
Kittery, Gibbons to Muscongus.

The first woman mentioned who came to reside at Hog Island was Mrs. John
Reynolds, and she came in defiance of an act of court prohibiting women
from living on the islands. One of the Cutts, Richard by name,
petitioned for her removal, together with the hogs and swine running at
large on the island belonging to John Reynolds. The court, however,
permitted her to remain during good behavior. This occurred in 1647. It
gives a glimpse of what society must hitherto have been on the islands
to call for such enactments. No wonder men of substance left the worse
than barren rocks, and that right speedily.


I walked around the shores of Appledore, stopping to explore the chasms
in my way. One of them I could liken to nothing but a coffin, it seemed
so exactly fashioned to receive the hull of some unlucky ship. On some
of the rocks I remarked impressions, as if made with the heel of a human
foot. In the offing Duck Island showed its jagged teeth, around which
the tide swelled and broke until it seemed frothing at the mouth.

Another Smith's monument is on the highest part of the island, all the
others being within view from it. It is a rude cairn of rough stone,
thrown together with little effort at regularity. The surface stones are
overgrown with lichens, which add to its appearance of antiquity. It is
known to have stood here rather more than a century, and is said to have
been built by Captain John Smith himself. Howsoever the tradition may
have originated, it is all we have, and are so fain to be content; but I
marvel that so modest a man as Captain John should have said nothing
about it in the book writ with his own hand. By some the monument has
been believed to be a beacon built to mark the fishing-grounds.

Smith arrived at Monhegan in April, 1614, and was back again at
Plymouth, England, on the 5th of August. He was one of those who came to
"fish and trade," seeking out the habitations of the Indians for his
purpose. There were no savages at the Isles.[121] Of his map Smith
writes: "Although there be many things to be observed which the haste of
other affairs did cause me to omit, for being sent more to get present
commodities than knowledge by discoveries for any future good, I had not
power to search as I would," etc. I should add, in passing, that Smith,
who admits having seen the relation of Gosnold, does not allow him the
credit of the name he gave to Martha's Vineyard, but speaks of it as

One of the remarkable features of Appledore is the valley issuing from
the cove, dividing the island in two. This ravine is a real curiosity,
the great depression occurring where the hotel buildings are situated
affording a snug cove on the west of the island. Just behind the house
enough soil had accumulated to furnish a thriving and well-kept
vegetable garden, evidently an object of solicitude to the proprietors.
From the veranda of the hotel you may see the ocean on the east and the
bay on the west. In Mr. Hawthorne's account of his visit here in 1852,
he relates that in the same storm that overthrew Minot's Light, a great
wave passed entirely through this valley; "and," he continues, "Laighton
describes it when it came in from the sea as toppling over to the height
of the cupola of his hotel. It roared and whitened through, from sea to
sea, twenty feet abreast, rolling along huge rocks in its passage. It
passed beneath his veranda, which stands on posts, and probably filled
the valley completely. Would I had been here to see!"

When I came back to the harbor side, both wind and tide had risen. I was
ferried across by a lad of not more than ten years. At times the swift
current got the better and swept the boat to leeward, but he stoutly
refused to give me the oars, the pride of an islander being involved in
the matter. The little fellow flung his woolen cap to the bottom of the
dory, his hair flying loosely in the wind as he bent to his task. After
taking in more water than was for our comfort, he was at last obliged to
accept my aid. These islanders are amphibious, brought up with "one foot
on sea, one foot on shore." I doubt if half their lives are passed on
_terra firma_.

Duck Island is for the sportsman. He will find there in proper season
the canvas-back, mallard, teal, white-winged coot, sheldrake, etc. Few
land, except gunners in pursuit of sea-fowl. I contented myself with
sailing along its shores, watching the play of the surf and the gambols
of a colony of small sea-gulls that seemed in peaceable possession. Duck
Island proper has a cluster of wicked-looking ledges encircling it from
south-west to south-east. The mariner should give it a wide berth. Its
ill-shapen rocks project on all sides, and a reef makes out half a mile
into the sea from the north-west. Shag and Mingo are two of its
satellites. This island was resorted to by the Indians for the seals
frequenting it.

[Illustration: LAIGHTON'S GRAVE.]

I had observed lying above the landing on Star Island a queer-looking
craft, which might with great propriety be called a shell. It consisted
of a frame of slats neatly fitted together, over which a covering of
tarred canvas had been stretched. I at first thought some Kanaka's canoe
had found its way through the North-west Passage, and drifted in here;
but Mr. Poor assured me it belonged on the islands, and was owned and
sailed by Tom Leha, whose dwelling on Londoner's he pointed out. As Tom
Leha was the Celtic skipper of the _Creed_, I had some speech of him.
His boat, he said, was such as is used in the Shannon, where it is
called the "saint's canoe," because first used by one of the Irish
saints. It was a good surf-boat, light as a cork, and as buoyant.

One night Leha, with his wife and three children, arrived at the Shoals
in his canoe, which a strong man might easily carry. No one knew whence
they came. Their speech was unintelligible. There they were, and there
they seemed inclined to remain. Your _bona fide_ Shoaler likes not
intruders. The islanders gave Leha and his a cold welcome, but this did
not discompose him. He was faithful and industrious, and in time saved
money enough to buy Londoner's. He waved his hand toward his island
home, as if to say,

    "An ill-favored thing, sir, but mine own."


As seen from Star Island, Londoner's shows two rugged knobs connected by
a narrower strip of shingle. It has its cove, and a reasonably good
landing. Half-way between it and Star are hidden rocks over which the
sea breaks. It was not occupied by its owner when I was there.

It was a lovely morning when I rowed over to White Island. Once clear of
the harbor, I found outside what sailors call "an old sea," the relics
of the late north-easter. But these wherries will live in any sea that
runs on the New England coast. I have heard of the Bank fishermen being
out in them for days together when their vessel could not lie at anchor
in the tremendous swell.

White Island is now the most picturesque of the group, a distinction
once conceded to Star. It owes this preference to its light-house,
standing on a cliff at the east head of the isle, that rises full fifty
feet out of water; at least it seemed so high to me as I lay underneath
it in my little boat at low tide. Against this cliff the waves
continually swelled, rushing into crannies, where I could hear them
gurgling and soughing as if some monster were choking to death in their

This is not so forbidding as Boon Island, but it is enough. The
light-house was of brick, as I could see where the weather had worn off
last year's coat of whitewash. It was not yet time for the tender to
come and brighten it up again. The long gallery conducting from the
keeper's cottage up to the tower was once torn away from its fastenings,
and hurled into the deep gorge of the rocks which it spans. I saw
nothing to hinder if the Atlantic had a mind again to play at bowls with

The island owes its name to the blanched appearance of its crags, little
different in this respect from its fellows. At high tides the westward
end is isolated from the rest, making two islands of it in appearance,
but inseparable as the Siamese twins. The light-house is much visited in
summer, especially by those of a romantic turn, and by those to whom its
winding stairs, huge tanks of oil, and powerful Fresnel, possess the
charm of novelty. By its side is the section of an earlier building, a
reminiscence of the former state of the Isles. For many years the keeper
of the light was Thomas B. Laighton, afterward proprietor of Appledore.
On account of some political disappointment, he removed from Portsmouth
to the Isles, making, it is said, a vow never again to set foot on the
main-land. Fortune followed the would-be recluse against his will. As
keeper of a boarding-house on Appledore, he is reported to have
expressed little pleasure at the coming of visitors, even while
receiving them with due hospitality. He was glad of congenial spirits,
but loved not overmuch the stranger within his gates. His sons succeeded
to their father at the Appledore. His daughter[122] has told with
charming _naiveté_ the story of the light-house, whose lamps she often
trimmed and lighted with her own hands.

    "I lit the lamps in the light-house tower,
      For the sun dropped down and the day was dead;
    They shone like a glorious clustered flower,
      Two golden and five red."

In 1793 there were only eight light-houses within the jurisdiction of
Massachusetts. Of these one was at the entrance of Nantucket, and
another of Boston harbor. There were twin lights on the north point of
Plymouth harbor, on Thatcher's Island, off Cape Ann, and at the
northerly end of Plum Island, at the mouth of the Merrimac. The latter
were not erected until 1787. They were of wood, so contrived as to be
removed at pleasure, in order to conform to the shifting of the sand-bar
on which they stood. The lights on Baker's Island, at the entrance of
the port of Salem, were not built until 1798.

But neither compass, sextant, fixed and revolving lights, storm signals,
careful soundings, buoys, nor beacons, with all the improvements in
modern ship-building, have yet reduced traveling over the sea to the
same certainty as traveling over the land. We commit ourselves to the
mercy of Father Neptune just as fearfully as ever, and annually pay a
costly tribute of lives for the privilege of traversing his dominions.


During the winter of 18--, so runs the story, the keeper of this light
was a young islander, with a single assistant. For nearly a week
north-easterly winds had prevailed, bringing in from the sea a cold,
impenetrable haze, that enveloped the islands, and rendered it
impossible to discern objects within a cable's length of the
light-house. At the turn of the tide on the sixth day, the expected
storm burst upon them with inconceivable fury. The sea grew blacker
beneath the dead white of the falling snow. The waves, urged on by the
gale, made a fair breach over the light-house rock, driving the keeper
from his little dwelling to the tower for shelter.

The violence of the gale increased until midnight, when it began to
lull. The spirits of the oppressed watchers rose as the storm abated.
One made ready a smoking platter of fish and potatoes, while the other
prepared to snatch a few moments' sleep. While thus occupied, a loud
knock was heard at the door. It was repeated. The two men stood rooted
to the spot. They knew no living thing except themselves was on the
island; they knew nothing of mortal shape might approach it in such a
fearful tempest. At a third knock the assistant, who was preparing their
frugal meal, fell upon his knees, making the sign of the cross, and
calling upon all the saints in the calendar for protection, like the
good Catholic he was.

The keeper, who had time to recollect himself, advanced to the door and
threw it open. On the outside stood a gigantic negro, of muscular frame,
clothed in a few rags, the blood streaming from twenty gashes in his
body and limbs. A brig had been cast away on the rocks a few rods
distant from the light, and the intrepid black had ventured to attempt
to gain the light-house.

[Illustration: WHITE ISLAND LIGHT.]

The keeper ran to the spot. Peering into the darkness, he could discover
the position of the vessel only by the flapping of her torn sails in the
wind. The roar of the sea drowned every other sound. If the shipwrecked
crew had cried for help, they could not have been heard. Availing
himself of his knowledge of every inch of the shore, the keeper
succeeded in gaining a projecting ledge, from which he attracted the
attention of those on board the brig, and after many fruitless efforts a
line was got to land. The wreck, as the keeper could now see, was driven
in a little under the shelter of a projecting point. Moments were
precious. He sought in vain for some projection on which he might fasten
his rope. He did not hesitate, but wound it about his body, and fixed
himself as firmly as he could in a crevice of the rock. Here, with his
feet planted on the slippery ledge, where every sea that came in
drenched him to the skin, the brave fellow stood fast until every man of
the crew had been saved.

There is nothing that moves the imagination like a light-house. John
Quincy Adams said when he saw one in the evening he was reminded of the
light Columbus saw the night he discovered the New World. I have been
moved to call them telegraph posts, standing along the coast, each
flashing its spark from cape to headland, the almost commingling rays
being golden threads of happy intelligence to all mariners. What a
glorious vision it would be to see the kindling of each tower from
Florida to Prima Vista, as the broad streets of the city are lighted,
lamp by lamp!

Here ended my wanderings among these islands, seated like immortals in
the midst of eternity. The strong south-westerly current bore me swiftly
from the light-house rock. We hoisted sail, and laid the prow of our
little bark for the river's mouth; but I leaned over the taffrail and
looked back at the beacon-tower 'til it faded and was lost.

    "Even at this distance I can see the tides,
      Upheaving, break unheard along its base;
    A speechless wrath that rises and subsides
      In the white lip and tremor of the face.

    "Sail on!" it says, "Sail on, ye stately ships!
      And with your floating bridge the ocean span;
    Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse,
      Be yours to bring man nearer unto man.'"



[111] 1670. The General Court being informed that there is a ship riding
in the road at the Isle of Shoales suspected to be a pirat, and hath
pirattically seized the sayd ship and goods from some of the French
nation in amity with the English, and doeth not come under comand, this
Court doeth declare and order that neither the sayd ship or goods or any
of the company shall come into our jurisdiction, or be brought into any
of our ports, upon penalty of being seized upon and secured to answer
what shall be objected against them.--"Massachusetts Colonial Records,"
vol. iv., part ii., p. 449.

[112] After execution the bodies of the pirates were taken to the little
island in Boston harbor known as Nix's Mate, on which there is a
monument. Fly was hung in chains, and the other two buried on the beach.
The total disappearance of this island before the encroachments of the
sea is the foundation of a legend. Bird Island, in the same harbor, on
which pirates have been executed, has also disappeared. It formerly
contained a considerable area.

[113] A somewhat more authentic naval conflict occurred during the war
of 1812 with Great Britain, when the American privateer, _Governor
Plummer_, was captured on Jeffrey's Ledge by a British cruiser, the _Sir
John Sherbroke_. The American had previously made many captures. Off
Newfoundland she sustained a hard fight with a vessel of twelve guns,
sent out to take her. She also beat off six barges sent on the same

[114] 1686. Ordered that no shipps do unliver any part of their lading
at the Isles of Shoals before they have first entered with the Collector
of H. M. Customs, and also with the officer receiving his majs imposts
and revenues arising upon wine, sperm, &c., imported either in Boston,
Salem, or Piscataqua; and that all shipps and vessells trading to the
eastward of Cape Porpus shall enter at some of the aforesaid Ports, or
at the town of Falmouth in the Prov. of Maine.--"Massachusetts Council
Records," vol. i., p. 43.

[115] Boston, 1850: original in possession of Dorchester Antiquarian

[116] Mount Wollaston, Quincy, Massachusetts; present residence of John
Quincy Adams, Esq.

[117] See "Massachusetts Historical Collections," vol. iii., p. 63.

[118] British State Papers, Calendars.

[119] Spanish ship _Sagunto_, Carrera, seventy-three days from Cadiz for
New York, arrived at Newport on Monday, January 11th, out of provisions
and water, and the crew frost-bitten. Cargo, wine, raisins, and salt.
Saw no English cruisers, and spoke only one vessel, a Baltimore
privateer.--_Columbian Centinel_, January 16th, 1813.

[120] Appledore, a small sea-port of England, County of Devon, parish of
Northampton, on the Torridge, at its mouth in Barnstable Bay, two and a
quarter miles north of Bideford. It is resorted to in summer as a
bathing-place, and has a harbor subordinate to the port of

[121] Levett says, "Upon these islands are no salvages at all."

[122] Mrs. Celia Laighton Thaxter.




    "Yes--from the sepulchre we'll gather flowers,
    Then feast like spirits in their promised bowers,
    Then plunge and revel in the rolling surf,
    Then lay our limbs along the tender turf."--BYRON.

Another delightfully ruinous old corner is Newcastle, which occupies the
island opposite Kittery Point, usually called Great Island. Between
Newcastle and Kittery is the main ship-channel, with deep water and
plenty of sea-room. On the south of Great Island is another entrance
called Little Harbor, with shallow water and sandy bottom; its
communication with the main river is now valueless, and little used
except by fishing-craft of small tonnage.

[Illustration: POINT OF GRAVES.]

In going from Portsmouth there are three bridges to be crossed to reach
the town of Newcastle, situated on the northern shore of the island; or,
if your aim be the southern shore, it is equally a pleasant drive or
walk to the ancient seat of the Wentworths, at Little Harbor, from which
you may, if a ferry-man be not at hand, hail the first passing boat to
take you to the island. I went there by the former route, so as to pass
an hour among the tombstones in the old Point of Graves burial-ground,
and returned by the latter in order to visit the Wentworth mansion.

The three bridges before mentioned connect as many islands with
Portsmouth. They were built, it is said, at the suggestion of President
Monroe, when he found Great Island somewhat difficult of access.

There appeared some symptoms of activity in the island fishery. As I
passed down, I noticed two Bankers lying in the diminutive harbor, and
an acre or so of ground spread with flakes, on which cod-fish were being

The little cove which makes the harbor of Newcastle has several wharves,
some of them in ruins, and all left "high and dry" at low tide. The
rotting timbers, sticking in crevices of the rocks, hung with sea-weed
and studded with barnacles, told very plainly that the trade of the
island was numbered among the things of the past.

Between the upper end of Great Island and the town of Portsmouth is a
broad, deep, still basin, called in former times, and yet, as I suspect,
by some of the oldsters, the Pool. This was the anchorage of the mast
ships, which made annual voyages between England and the Piscataqua,
convoyed in war-time by a vessel of force. The arrival, lading, and
departure of the mast ships were the three events of the year in this
old sea-place. Sometimes as many as seven were loading here at once,
even as early as 1665. In the Pool, the _Astrea_, a twenty-gun ship, was
destroyed by fire one cold morning in January, 1744.

The Earl of Bellomont, an Irish peer, writes to the Lords of Trade, in
1699, of the Piscataqua: "It is a most noble harbour," says his
lordship; "the biggest ships the king hath can lie against the bank at
Portsmouth." He then advises the building of war vessels there for the
king's service; and mentions that Charles II. had complimented the
French king with the draughts of the best ships in the British navy, and
had thereby "given vent to that precious secret."

In the day when all of old Portsmouth was crowded between what is now
Pleasant Street and the river, it is easy to imagine the water-side
streets and alleys frequented by sailors in pigtails and petticoats; the
mighty carousals and roaring choruses; the dingy, well-smoked
dram-shops; the stews and slums of back streets, and the jolly larks and
affrays with the night-watch. Rear-admiral "the brave Benbow, sirs," has
landed at these old quays from his barge, followed as closely as a
rolling gait would permit by some old sea-dog of a valet, with cutlass
stuck in a broad, leathern belt, exactly at the middle of his back. The
admiral was doubtless on his way to some convivial rencounter, where the
punch was strong, and where the night not infrequently terminated little
to the advantage of the quarter-deck over the forecastle.

The ships of that day were wonderfully made. Their bows crouched low in
the water, their curiously carved and ornamented sterns rose high above
it. The bowsprit was crossed by a heavy spar, on which a square-sail was
hoisted. Chain cables had not been invented, and hempen ones, as thick
as the mainmast, held the ship at her anchors. Colored battle lanterns
were fixed above the taffrail; watches and broadsides were regulated by
the hour-glass. The sterns and bulging quarter-galleries of Spanish,
French, and Portuguese war ships were so incrusted with gilding it
seemed a pity to batter them with shot. Think of Nelson knocking the
_Holy Trinity_ into a cocked hat, or the _Twelve Apostles_ into the
middle of next week!

[Illustration: OLD HOUSE, GREAT ISLAND.]

There are many old houses on Great Island. The quaintness of one that
stands within twenty yards of the river is always remarked in sailing
by. I could not learn its age, but hazard the conjecture it was there
before James II. abdicated.

The visitor, as in duty bound, should go to the chamber of the
selectmen, where the town charter given by William and Mary, in 1693, is
displayed on the wall, engrossed in almost unintelligible
black-letter.[123] The records of Newcastle have had a curious history.
After a disappearance of nearly fifty years, they were recovered within
a year or two in England. The first volume is bound in vellum, and,
though somewhat dog-eared, is perfect. The entries are in a fair
round-hand, beginning in 1693, when Lieutenant-governor Usher signed the
grant for the township of Newcastle.

Among the earliest records, I noticed one of five shillings paid for a
pair of stocks; and of a gallery put up, in 1694, in the meeting-house,
for the women to sit in. Any townsman entertaining a stranger above
fourteen days, without acquainting the selectmen, was to be fined. What
would now be thought of domiciliary visits like the following? "One
householder or more to walk every day in sermon-time with the constable
to every publick-house in ye town, to suppress ill orders, and, if they
think convenient, to private houses also."

[Illustration: OLD TOWER, NEWCASTLE.]

I found the town quiet enough, but the youngsters noisy and ill-bred.
There seemed also to be an unusual number of loiterers about the village
stores; I sometimes passed a row of them, squatted, like greyhounds, on
their heels, in the sun. Those I noticed whittled, tossed coppers, or
laughed and talked loudly. Many of the men were employed at Kittery Navy

From observation and inquiry I am well assured our Government dock-yards
are, as a rule, of little benefit to the neighboring population. The
Government pays a higher price for less labor than private persons find
it for their interest to do. The work is intermittent; and it happens
quite too frequently that the dock-yard employé is always expecting to
be taken on, and will not go to work outside of the yard; he is
especially unwilling at wages less than the Government ordinarily pays,
upon which labor in the vicinity of the yard is usually gauged.

A charming ramble of an afternoon is to Fort Constitution, built on a
protruding point of rocks washed by the tide. When I saw it the old
fortress was casting its shell, lobster-like, for a stronger. The odd
old foot-paths among the ledges zigzag now to the right or left, as they
are thrust aside by intruding ledges. Much history is contained within
the four walls of the work.[124] Adjoining is a light-house, originally
erected in 1771.


While engaged in sketching the gate-way and portcullis of old Fort
Constitution, I was accosted by a person, with a strong German accent,
who repeated, word for word, as I should judge, a mandate of the War
Office against the taking of any of its old ruins by wandering
_artists_. He then walked away, leaving me to finish my sketch without
further interruption.

On a rocky eminence overlooking the fortress is a martello tower, built
during the war of 1812, to guarantee the main work against a landing on
the beach at the south side. It has three embrasures, and was begun on a
Sunday, while two English frigates were lying off the Isles of Shoals.
Sally-port and casemates are choked with débris, the parapet
grass-grown, and the whole in picturesque ruin. Many of these towers
were erected on the south coast of England during the Napoleonic wars to
repel the expected invasion.

Another pleasant walk is to Little Harbor, taking by the way a look at
the old house near Jaffrey's Point, that is verging on two hundred
years, yet seems staunch and strong. The owner believes it to be the
same in which Governor Cranfield[125] held colonial courts. This was one
of the attractive sites of the island, until Government began the
construction of formidable earth-works at a short distance from the
farmstead. The Isles of Shoals are plainly distinguished, and with a
field-glass the little church on Star Island may be made out in clear
weather. I enjoyed a walk on the rampart at evening, when the lights on
Whale's Back, Boon Island, White Island, and Squam were seen flashing
their take-heed through the darkness.

Little Harbor, where there is a summer hotel, was the site of the first
settlement on the island. At Odiorne's Point, on the opposite shore, was
commenced, in 1623, the settlement of New Hampshire. It is now proposed
to commemorate the event itself, and the spot on which the first house
was built, by a monument.[126]

Captain John Mason is known as the founder of New Hampshire. His
biography is interwoven with the times of the giant Richelieu and the
pigmy Buckingham. He was treasurer and pay-master of the king's armies
during the war with Spain. He was governor of Portsmouth Castle when
Felton struck his knife into the duke's left side; it is said, in
Mason's own house. The name of Portsmouth in New Hampshire was given by
him to this outgrowth of Portsmouth in old Hampshire. At a time when all
England was fermenting, it seems passing strange Gorges and Mason should
have persisted in their scheme to gain a lodgment in New England.

In Sir Walter Scott's "Ivanhoe" the following passage occurs: "The
ancient forest of Sherwood lay between Sheffield and Doncaster. The
remains of this extensive wood are still to be seen at the noble seat of
Wentworth. * * * Here hunted of yore the fabulous Dragon of Wantley, and
here were fought many of the most desperate battles during the Civil
Wars of the Roses; and here also flourished in ancient times those bands
of gallant outlaws whose deeds have been rendered so popular in English


Reginald Wentworth, lord of the manor of Wentworth, in Berks, A.D. 1066,
is considered the common ancestor of the Wentworths of England and
America. The unfortunate Earl of Strafford was a Wentworth. On the
dissolution of the monasteries, Newstead Abbey was conferred on Sir
John Byron by Henry VIII. Its site was in the midst of the fertile and
interesting region once known as Sherwood Forest. Here was passed the
early youth of the brilliant and gifted George, Lord Byron, and in the
little church of Newstead his remains were laid. The name and title of
Baroness Wentworth were in 1856 assumed by Lady Byron, whose grandfather
was Sir Edward Noel, Lord Wentworth.


Another of the distinguished of this illustrious family was the Marquis
of Rockingham, who voted for the repeal of the Stamp Act, and acted with
Chatham against Lord North.[127] It was at him, while minister, the
pasquinade was leveled,

    "You had better declare, which you may without shocking 'em,
    The nation's asleep and the minister Rocking'em."

The seat of the Wentworths at Little Harbor is at the mouth of Sagamore
Creek, not more than two miles from town. Among a group of aged houses
in the older quarter of Portsmouth, that of Samuel Wentworth is still
pointed out.[128] His monument may also be seen in the ancient
burial-place of Point of Graves. The family seem to have been statesmen
by inheritance. There were three chief-magistrates of New Hampshire of
the name, viz.: John, the son of Samuel; Benning, the son of John; and
John, the nephew of Benning.

The exterior of the mansion does not of itself keep touch and time with
the preconceived idea of colonial magnificence. Its architectural
deformity would have put Ruskin beside himself. A rambling collection of
buildings, seemingly the outgrowth of different periods and conditions,
are incorporated into an inharmonious whole. The result is an oddity in
wood. Doubtless the builder was content with it. If so, I have little
disposition to be critical.

Beyond this, the visitor may not refuse his unqualified approval of the
site, which is charming, of the surroundings--the mansion was embowered
in blooming lilacs when I saw it--and of the general air of snugness and
of comfort, rather than elegance, which seems the proper atmosphere of
the Wentworth House.

Built in 1750, it commands a view up and down Little Harbor, though
concealed by an eminence from the road. I had a brief glimpse of it
while going on Great Island _via_ the bridges. It is said it originally
contained as many as fifty-two rooms, though by the removal of a
good-sized tenement to the opposite island the number has been
diminished to forty-five. There is, therefore, plenty of elbow-room. The
cellar was sometimes used as a stable: it was large enough to have
accommodated a troop, or, at a pinch, a squadron.


Prepared for an interior as little attractive as the outside, the
conjecture of the visitor is again at fault, for this queer old bundle
of joiners' patchwork contains apartments which indicate that the old
beau, Benning Wentworth, cared less for the rind than the fruit.

    "Within unwonted splendors met the eye,
    Panels and floors of oak and tapestry;
    Carved chimney-pieces where on brazen dogs
    Reveled and roared the Christmas fires of logs;
    Doors opening into darkness unawares,
    Mysterious passages and flights of stairs;
    And on the walls in heavy gilded frames,
    The ancestral Wentworths with old Scripture names."

The council chamber contains a gem of a mantel, enriched with elaborate
carving of busts of Indian princesses, chaplets, and garlands--a year's
labor, it is said, of the workman. The wainscot is waist-high, and heavy
beams divide the ceiling. As we entered we noticed the rack in which the
muskets of the Governor's guard were deposited.

But what catches the eye of the visitor soonest and retains it longest,
is the portraits on the walls. First is a canvas representing the Earl
of Strafford[129] dictating to his secretary, in the Tower, on the day
before his execution. At his trial, says an eye-witness, "he was always
in the same suit of black, as in doole" (mourning). When the lieutenant
of the Tower offered him a coach, lest he should be torn in pieces by
the mob in going to execution, he replied, "I die to please the people,
and I will die in their own way."


Here is a portrait from the brush of Copley, who reveled in rich
draperies and in the accessories of his portraits quite as much as in
painting rounded arms, beautiful hands, and shapely figures. This one in
pink satin, with over-dress of white lace, short sleeves with deep
ruffles, and coquettish lace cap, is Dorothy Quincy, the greatest belle
and breaker of hearts of her day. It was not, it is said, her fault that
she became Mrs. Governor Hancock, instead of Mrs. Aaron Burr. When in
later years, as Madam Scott, she retained all the vivacity of eighteen,
she was fond of relating how the hand now seen touching rather than
supporting her cheek, had been kissed by marquises, dukes, and counts,
who had experienced the hospitality of the Hancock mansion; and how
D'Estaing, put to bed after too much wine, had torn her best damask
coverlet with the spurs he had forgotten to remove.

Other portraits are--Of Queen Christina of Sweden, who looks down with
the same pitiless eyes that exulted in the murder of her equerry,
Monaldeschi; one said to be Secretary Waldron, a right noble countenance
and martial figure; and of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Sheaffe.

I could be loquacious on the subject of these portraits, the fading
impressions of histories varied or startling, of experiences more
curious than profitable to narrate. In their presence we take a step
backward into the past, that past whose lessons we will not heed.
Hawthorne, standing before a wall covered with such old counterfeits,
was moved to say: "Nothing gives a stronger idea of old worm-eaten
aristocracy, of a family being crazy with age, and of its being time
that it was extinct, than these black, dusty, faded, antique-dressed

The old furniture standing about was richly carved, and covered with
faded green damask. In the billiard-room was an ancient spinet, quite as
much out of tune as out of date. Doubtless, the flashing of white hands
across those same yellow keys has often struck an answering chord in the
breasts of colonial youth. Here are more portraits; and a buffet, a
sideboard, and a sedan-chair. Punch has flowed, and laughter echoed

The reader knows the pretty story, so gracefully told by Mr. Longfellow,
of Martha Hilton, who became the second wife of Governor Benning,[130]
and thus Lady Wentworth of the Hall.

We can see her as she goes along the street, swinging the pail, a trifle
heavy for her, and splashing with the water her naked feet. We hear her
ringing laughter, and the saucy answer to Mistress Stavers in her
furbelows, as that buxom landlady flings at her, in passing, the sharp

    "O Martha Hilton! Fie! how dare you go
    About the town half-dressed and looking so?"

The poet's tale is at once a history and a picture, full of pretty
conceits and picturesque situations. Fancy the battered effigy of the
Earl of Halifax on the innkeeper's sign falling at the feet of Mrs.
Stavers to declare his passion.


But Benning Wentworth, governor though he was, was none too good for
Martha Hilton.[131] It was the pride of the Hiltons made her say, "I yet
shall ride in my own chariot." The widowed governor was gouty,
passionate, and had imbibed with his long residence in Spain the hauteur
of the Spaniard. He left office in 1766 in disgrace.

The last of the colonial Wentworths was Sir John, in whose favor his
uncle had been allowed to screen himself by a resignation. There are
some odd coincidences in the family records of both uncle and nephew.
The former's widow made a second marriage to a Wentworth; the latter
married his widowed cousin, Frances Wentworth.[132]

The mansion of Sir John may be seen in Pleasant Street, Portsmouth. He
was the last royal governor of New Hampshire. John Adams mentions that
as he was leaving his box at the theatre one night in Paris, a gentleman
seized him by the hand: "'Governor Wentworth, sir,' said the gentleman.
At first I was embarrassed, and knew not how to behave toward him. As my
classmate and friend at college, and ever since, I could have pressed
him to my bosom with most cordial affection. But we now belonged to two
different nations, at war with each other, and consequently were

The king afterward gave Sir John the government of Nova Scotia. The poet
Moore mentions the baronet's kind treatment of him in 1805, during his
American tour. He is said to have kept sixteen horses in his stable at
Portsmouth, and to have been a free-liver. A man of unquestioned ability
to govern, who went down under the great revolutionary wave of 1775, but
rose again to the surface and struck boldly out.

There is now in the possession of James Lenox, of New York, a portrait
of the baronet's wife, by Copley, painted in his best manner. The lady
was a celebrated beauty. The face has caught an expression,
indescribably arch, as if its owner repressed an invincible desire to
torment the artist. In it are set a pair of eyes, black and dangerous,
with high-arched brows, a tempting yet mocking mouth, and nose a little
_retroussé_. Her natural hair is decorated with pearls; a string of them
encircles her throat. The corsage is very low, displaying a pair of
white shoulders such as the poet imagined:

    "She has a bosom as white as snow,
            Take care!
    She knows how much it is best to show,
            Beware! beware!"

[Illustration: BARON STEUBEN.]

In 1777 Baron Steuben arrived in Portsmouth, in the _Flamand_. Franklin
had snubbed him, St. Germain urged him, but Beaumarchais offered him a
thousand louis-d'or.[133] On the day the baron joined the army at Valley
Forge his name was the watchword in all the camps.


[123] The Act of Corporation, though well preserved, appeared little
valued; it hung by a corner and in a light that was every day dimming
the ink with which it had been engrossed.

[124] The reader will do well to consult Belknap's admirable "History of
New Hampshire," vol. ii.; Adams's "Annals," or Brewster's "Rambles about
Portsmouth." Some sort of defense was begun here very early. In 1665 the
commissioners of Charles II. attempted to fortify, but were met by a
prohibition from Massachusetts. In 1700 there existed on Great Island a
fort mounting thirty guns, pronounced by Earl Bellomont incapable of
defending the river. Colonel Romer made the plan of a new work, and
recommended a strong tower on the point of Fryer's (Gerrish's) Island,
with batteries on Wood and Clark's islands. In December, 1774, John
Langdon and John Sullivan committed open rebellion by leading a party to
seize the powder here. The fort was then called William and Mary. Old
Fort Constitution has the date of 1808 on the key-stone of the arch of
the gate-way. Its walls were carried to a certain height with rough
stone topped with brick. It was a parallelogram, and mounted barbette
guns only. The present work is of granite, inclosing the old walls. The
new earth-works on Jaffrey's Point and Gerrish's Island render it of
little importance.

[125] Governor of New Hampshire from 1682 to 1685. The house is the
residence of Mr. Albee.

[126] Odiorne's Point is in Rye, New Hampshire. The settlement began
under the auspices of a company, in which Gorges and Mason were leading
spirits. Their grant covered the territory between the Merrimac and
Sagadahoc rivers. Under its authority, David Thompson and others settled
at Little Harbor, and built what was subsequently known as Mason's Hall.
Disliking his situation, Thompson removed the next spring to the island
now bearing his name in Boston Bay. From this nucleus sprung the
settlements at Great Island and Portsmouth. The settlement at Hilton's
Point was nearly coincident.

[127] Peace with the thirteen colonies was proposed under the
administration of Rockingham, about the last official act of his life.
His name is often met with in Portsmouth.

[128] The house stands at the north end of Manning, formerly Wentworth
Street, and is thought from its size to have been a public-house. The
same house was also occupied by Lieutenant-Governor John, son of Samuel
Wentworth. Samuel was the son of William, the first settler of the name.
He had been an innkeeper, and had swung his sign of the "Dolphin" on
Great Island. Hon. John Wentworth, of Chicago, is the biographer of his

[129] His second wife was Henrietta du Roy, daughter of Frederick
Charles du Roy, generalissimo to the King of Denmark.

[130] Bennington, Vermont, is named from Governor Wentworth.

[131] Her grandfather, Hon. Richard Hilton, of Newmarket, was grandson
of Edward, the original settler of Dover, New Hampshire, and had been a
justice of the Superior Court of the Province.--JOHN WENTWORTH.

[132] Frances Deering Wentworth married John just two weeks after the
decease of her first husband, Theodore Atkinson, also her cousin, and in
the same church from which he had been buried--matter for such
condolence and reproof as Talleyrand's celebrated "Ah, madame," and "Oh,
madame." Benning Wentworth's widow married Colonel Michael Wentworth,
said to have been a retired British officer. He was a great horseman and
a free liver. Once he rode from Boston to Portsmouth between sunrise and
sunset. Having run through a handsome estate, he died under suspicion of
suicide, leaving his own epitaph, "I have eaten my cake." Colonel
Michael was the host, at the Hall, of Washington. In 1817, the house at
Little Harbor was purchased by Charles Cushing, whose widow was a
daughter of Jacob Sheaffe.

[133] "Paul Jones shall equip his _Bonne Homme Richard_; weapons,
military stores can be smuggled over (if the English do not seize them);
wherein, once more Beaumarchais, dimly as the Giant Smuggler, becomes
visible--filling his own lank pocket withal."--CARLYLE, "French
Revolution," vol. i., p. 43.

[Illustration: WITCH HILL, SALEM.]



      _Banquo._ "Were such things here as we do speak about?
    Or have we eaten of the insane root,
    That takes the reason prisoner?"--_Macbeth._

Salem Village has a sorrowful celebrity. It would seem as if an adverse
spell still hung over it, for in the changes brought by time to its
neighbors it has no part, remaining, as it is likely to remain, Salem
Village--that is to say, distinctively antiquated, sombre, and lifeless.

A collection of houses scattered along the old high-road from Salem to
Andover, decent-looking, brown-roofed, though humble dwellings, a
somewhat pretending village church, and pleasant, home-like, parsonage;
old trees, partly verdant, partly withered, stretching naked boughs
above the gables of houses even older than themselves, embody something
of the impressions of oft-repeated walks in what is known as the "Witch

The village contains one central point of paramount interest. It is an
inclosed space of grass ground, a short distance from the principal and
only street, reached by a well-trodden by-path. Within this now naked
field once stood a house, with a garden and orchard surrounding. Of the
house nothing remains except a slight depression in the soil; of the
orchard and garden there is no trace; yet hard by I chanced on a bank of
aromatic thyme once held of singular potency in witchcraft--as in the
"Faerie Queen," the tree laments to the knight:

    "I chanced to see her in her proper hue,
    Bathing herself in origan and thyme."

In this quiet, out-of-the-way little nook, Salem witchcraft had its
beginning. The sunken cavity is what remains of the Ministry House, so
called, pulled down in 1785 (not a day too soon); the den of error in
which the plague-spot first appeared. No one would have thought,
standing here, that he surveyed the focus of malevolence so deadly as
the wretched delirium of '92.

The well-informed reader is everywhere familiar with the origin and
development of Salem witchcraft.[134] It has employed the best pens as
it has puzzled the best brains among us; until to-day the whole affair
remains enveloped in a mystery which the theories of nearly two hundred
years have failed wholly to penetrate.

The writer has had frequent occasion to know how wide-spread is the
belief that witchcraft began in New England, and particularly in Salem.
This is to be classed among popular errors upon which repeated denials
have little effect. Nevertheless, witchcraft did not originate in New
England; no, nor in old England either, for that matter. The belief in
it was earlier than the _Mayflower_, older than the Norman Conquest, and
antedated the Roman Empire. The first written account of it is contained
in Scripture.[135]

Saul incurred the anger of God by consulting the Witch of Endor. Joan of
Arc was burned as a witch in 1431. About fifty years later the Church of
Rome fulminated a bull against witchcraft. The number of suspected
persons already burned at the stake or subjected to the most cruel
torments is estimated at many thousands.

In taking leave of the Dark Ages we do not take our leave of witchcraft.
More than a hundred thousand victims had perished in Germany and France
alone before the _Mayflower_ sailed from Delft. The Pilgrims, I engage,
believed in it to a man.

Old England! Why, the statute against witchcraft was not repealed until
1736, in the second George's time, though it had lain dormant some
years. The last recorded execution in the British Islands occurred in
Scotland, as late as 1722. The sixth chapter of Lord Coke's "Third
Institutes" is devoted to a panegyric on the statutes for punishing
"conjuration, sorcery, witchcraft, or enchantment." The laws of England
were the fundamental law of New England; witchcraft was in the list of
recognized crimes throughout Christendom.

France, under Louis le Grand, whose style history will change,
notwithstanding his famous "_L'etat c'est moi_," to Louis the Little,
was immeshed in the net of superstition. The highest personages of the
court resorted to the astrologers for horoscopes, charms, or philters.
We might see later the magic and sorcery of the sixteenth century and
of the seventeenth transformed into studies in chemistry under the
Regency, and become experiments in magnetism in the eighteenth century.

The settlers in New England, who brought all their Old-World
superstitions with them, were not surprised to find the Indians fully
impregnated with a belief in magic equal to their own. The wonderful
cures of the Indian magicians or medicine-men were thoroughly believed
in, and are vouched for by white evidence. One of their favorite methods
of revenging private injury was by enchanting a hair, which entered the
bodies of their enemies and killed them while sleeping. It is noted that
Tituba, an Indian, had much to do with the outbreak in Salem village.

Sir William Phips, an illiterate but not incapable man, had been
appointed Governor of Massachusetts Bay, under the new charter of
William and Mary. The charter conferred the power of civil government,
and separated the legislative from the judicial authority. Sir William
constituted a commission of seven to try the witchcraft cases at Salem.
As he had no power to create such a court under the charter, one of the
saddest reflections that arise from these bloody proceedings is that
twenty persons suffered death for an imaginary crime, inflicted by an
illegal tribunal. The province law of 1692 decreed death for
"enchantment, sorcery, charm, or conjuration, or invocation, or to feed
any wicked spirit."

The first authenticated case of witchcraft in New England, and also the
first execution, took place at Boston, as early as 1648. The culprit,
Margaret Jones, of Charlestown, was suspected of having and using the
"malignant touch." She professed some knowledge of medicine, and
probably availed herself of the awe in which she was held by the
superstitious to ply her trade. Many other cases are mentioned in the
other colonies, Connecticut bearing her full share, before the climax of
1692 is reached. Then, as afterward, the accusations fell chiefly upon
women; the old, friendless, or half-witted bearing the burden of every
accident in their neighborhood.

An English writer gravely says in 1690: "Several old women suspected for
witches in and about Lancashire have been often noted to have beards of
considerable growth, tho' that's no general rule, some of the reverend
and virtuous being often liable to the same." Everywhere witchcraft was
received as a stubborn fact. The criminal codes of nearly if not quite
all the colonies recognized it. In Pennsylvania, if tradition may be
believed, the fact was met by no less stubborn common sense. It is said,
when Philadelphia was three years old, a woman was brought before
Governor Penn, charged with witchcraft and riding through the air on a
broomstick. Although the woman confessed her guilt, she was dismissed by
the Quaker magistrate with the assurance that, as there was no law
against it, she might ride a broomstick as often as she pleased.


Could a full and candid confession be obtained of the present
generation there would appear more superstition than we wot of, such
as would show us legitimate descendants of credulous colonists. It is
not long since a staid old town in Massachusetts was in consternation at
the report of a ghost in a school-room. Signs and portents have been
handed down and are religiously believed in by other than the ignorant
and credulous, as has been already stated in a former chapter. A very
small proportion of the skeptical could be induced to enter a
church-yard at night. There is some subtle principle of our nature that
gives ready adhesion to the mystical or the marvelous; and it is
believed they were not differently constituted in 1692.

[Illustration: REBECCA NURSE'S HOUSE.]

Leaving the Witch Ground, the visitor, in retracing his steps, will pass
near the old Nurse House, a memorial of one of the most damning of the
innocent sacrifices to superstition. It is not easy to sit down and
write of it with the indifference of the professional historian.

Rebecca Nurse, aged and infirm, universally beloved by her neighbors,
was accused. The jury, moved by her innocence, having brought in a
verdict of "not guilty," the court sent them out again with instructions
to find her guilty. She was executed. The tradition is that her sons
disinterred her body by stealth from the foot of the gallows, where it
had been thrown, and brought it to the old homestead, laying it
reverently and with many tears in the little burying-ground which the
family always kept, and which is still seen near by.

But briefly to our history. We there discover that twenty persons lost
their lives through the denunciation of eight simple country girls, the
youngest being eleven, and the oldest not more than twenty years of
age.[136] These maidens met at the house of Samuel Parris, the then
minister of the village, and on the spot where the earth is now trying
to heal the scar left by the old cellar. They formed what was then and
is still known as a "circle" in New England, devoted in these more
modern days to clothing the heathen and bewitching the youth who enter
their influence.

The most plausible, and therefore the commonly received opinion is, that
these girls, having at first practiced some of the well-known methods of
performing magic, were led into a series of false accusations which,
from being conceived in a spirit of mischief, grew into crimes of the
first magnitude as they found themselves carried away by a frenzy they
had not moral courage to stay. Another presumption supposes the girls
believers in their own powers. This view is sustained by the universal
belief in witchcraft, the ready adhesion given to their charges, the
support they received from the judges, and the terrible power with which
they found themselves possessed. Another solution is found in the occult
influences of second-sight so widely credited in Scotland in years
by-gone, the psychology and clairvoyance of the present day. Dr. Samuel
Johnson said he would rather believe in second-sight than in the poetry
of Ossian. If the soundest thinkers of the nineteenth century are
staggered to account for the phenomena of spirit-rappings, it is wise to
defer a hasty condemnation of the "possessed damosels" of Salem village.

[Illustration: PROCTER HOUSE]

Instead of plying its needles, the circle was engaged in attempts to
discover the future. Rev. John Hale, in his "Modest Inquiry into the
Nature of Witchcraft," has this to say:

"I fear some young persons, through a vain curiosity to know their
future condition, have tampered with devil's tools, so far that thereby
one door was opened to Satan to play those pranks--_Anno_ 1692. I knew
one of the Afflicted persons, who (as I was credibly informed), did try
with an egg and a glass to find her future husband's calling; till there
came up a coffin, that is, a spectre in likeness of a coffin. And she
was afterward followed with diabolical molestation to her death; and so
dyed a single person. A just warning to others, to take heed of handling
the devil's weapons lest they get a wound thereby." This John Hale,
teacher of the people, was at first a zealous believer. Perhaps the
denunciation of his own wife had something to do with his backsliding
into common sense.

The accusing girls were believed infallible witch-finders. Their
services were consequently in demand as their fame spread abroad. Some
of them were taken to Andover, leaving distrust, dismay, and death in
the quiet old West Parish. "In a short time," says the annalist, "it
was commonly reported forty men of Andover could raise the devil as well
as any astrologer."

A "Boston Man" having taken his sick child to Salem in order to consult
the afflicted ones, obtained the names of two of his own towns-people as
the authors of its distemper; but the Boston justices refused warrants
to apprehend them, and Increase Mather asked the father if there was not
a God in Boston that he must go to the devil in Salem. These two persons
are said to have been Mrs. Thatcher, mother-in-law of Curwin, one of the
judges,[137] and the wife of Sir William Phips.

As soon as the prosecutions stopped, it was remarked that the
apparitions ceased. Once or twice the accuser recoiled before a sharp
and swift reproof, as at Lieutenant Ingersoll's, when one of them cried
out, "There's Goody Procter!" Raymond and Goody Ingersoll told her
flatly she lied; there was nothing. The girl was cowed, and "said she
did it for sport."

Even the witchcraft horrors have a humorous side--grimly humorous, it is
true, like the jokes cracked in a dissecting-room. The thought of pots
and kettles jumping on the crane, of anchors leaping overboard of
themselves, and of hay-cocks found hanging to trees is rather
mirth-provoking. Mirrors were daily consulted by maids and widows
looking for a husband. A matter of life and death could not prevent
George Jacobs, the old grandfather, from laughing heartily at the
spasmodic antics of Abigail Williams.

It seems a pity that New England in her greatest need should have found
no champion, like St. Dunstan, to argue with and finally compel the
devil to own himself confuted, as, according to vulgar belief, he did,
by taking the fiend by the nose with a pair of red-hot tongs; or as
Ignatius Loyola, who, when disturbed at his devotions by the devil,
seized his cudgel and drubbed him away.[138] Montmorency, a peer and
marshal of France, son of the famous Bouteville, whom Richelieu had
caused to be decapitated for fighting a duel at midday in the Place
Royal, was weak enough to visit La Voisin, the renowned conjuror and
fabricator of poisons in the reign of Louis XIV. La Voisin had promised
to show him the devil, and the duke was curious. When the _maréchal_
whipped out his rapier and thrust vigorously at the spectre, it fell on
its knees, and begged its life. The devil proved to be a confederate of
La Voisin. Archibald, duke of Argyle, was haunted by blue phantoms--the
origin of our epithet for melancholy, "blue devils."

In the village tavern there was a battle with spectres that Abigail
Williams and Mary Walcut declared were present. Benjamin Hutchinson and
Eleazer Williams pulled out their swords and cut and stabbed the air
until, as the two girls averred, the floor was deep in ghostly blood!

A ride through the woods then was little coveted by the stoutest hearts.
A spark of fear is soon blown into uncontrollable panic. Bushes grew
spectres and trees outstretched goblin arms. Elizabeth Hubbard was
riding home from meeting on the crupper, behind old Clement Coldum. The
rustling leaves were witches' whisperings, the white birches seemed
ghosts in their winding-sheets. The woman, faint-hearted and
overmastered by a nameless dread, cried out to the goodman to ride for
life--the woods were full of devils. Though he could see none, the
valiant rider spurred his horse like mad, and rode as Tam O'Shanter rode
his fearful race when pursued by the witches of Kirk Alloway.

The trysting-place of the witches was in Parris's pasture. It was here
Abigail Hobbs, who had sold herself to the "Old Boy," attending, saw the
sacrament of the "red bread and the red wine" administered to the
devil's elect. Poor George Burroughs, whom we met for a moment in our
walk through Wells, was denounced for summoning with a trumpet the
attending witches. Obedient to the sound, from far and near, the
withered beldams, toothless hags in short petticoats, white linen hoods,
and conical high crowned hats, come flocking on flying broomsticks.
Satan is there in person, not playing the bagpipe, as in Tam O'Shanter's
fearful conclave, but with the conventional book written in letters of

Certes, these were but rude ghosts. Nowadays the devil is raised as
easily, but conducts himself with greater propriety, as becomes the
devil of the nineteenth century. The damp grass of the church-yard and
the witches' den are bugbears no longer. We sit in a comfortable
apartment around a mahogany table. Our ghost no more appears in mouldy
shroud, but, like a well-bred spectre, knocks for admittance. Soon his
card will be handed in on a salver, and we may perhaps in time expect
daily weather reports from the nether world.

Before leaving the village, I turned into one of those old abandoned
roads in which I like so well to walk. Left on one side by a shorter
cut, saving some rods to this hurrying age, the deserted by-way conducts
you into solitudes proper for communion with the past. Grass has sprung
up so thickly as almost to conceal traces of the once well-worn ruts,
now only two indistinct lines of lighter green. Young pines, a foot
high, are rooted in the cart-way; stone walls, moss-grown and tumbling
down. Here and there are the ghastly remains of some old orchard, the
ground strewed with withered branches. A half-obliterated cellar denotes
a former habitation; even the land betrays evidences of having been
turned by the plows of two centuries ago. Who have passed this way?
Perhaps the laying-out of this very road begot disputes transmitted from
father to son.

A mile beyond the Witch Neighborhood the Andover road crosses the
Newburyport turnpike. At the junction of the two roads stands the old
farm-house in which Israel Putnam, the "Old Put" of the Revolutionary
army, was born.

The house, or rather houses, for two structures compose it, is still
occupied by Putnams. The newer building, already old by comparison with
some of its neighbors, was built in 1744; the original in 1650, or
thereabouts, according to family tradition. One object, to which the
attention of every visitor is directed, is the old pollard of enormous
girth standing near the house. House and tree seem types of the sturdy,
indomitable old man, who at nearly three-score was full of the rage of


By the courtesy of the family, ever ready to indulge a proper curiosity,
I looked over the old house from garret to cellar. The little room in
which the general was born remains just as when its rough-hewn posts and
thick beams were revealed to his astonished gaze. There are few relics
of the general remaining.

While in the Wadsworth Museum at Hartford, I lately saw the damaged sign
displayed by Putnam when he kept an inn at Brooklyn, Connecticut, about
1768. Another famous soldier, Murat, was the son of an _aubergiste_, and
Napoleon was not too willing on this account to give him the hand of his


The Putnams settled early in Salem. John, the first emigrant, came from
Buckinghamshire, in 1634, with three sons, Thomas, Nathaniel, and John.
Some of the name exercised a fatal influence during the reign of
witchcraft. Israel was already an old man when he left his plow in the
furrow to gallop to Cambridge, having been born in 1718. At twenty-one
he removed to Pomfret, Connecticut. Putnam was prompt, resolute, and
incapable of fear--full of fight, and always ready. Washington, who did
not judge badly, thought him the only fit man to make an assault on
Boston. Though uneducated, Putnam wrote pithily, as to Governor Tryon:

     "SIR,--Nathan Palmer, a lieutenant in your king's service, was
     taken in my camp as a spy; he was condemned as a spy; and he
     shall be hanged as a spy.

     "P.S.--_Afternoon._ He is hanged."

[Illustration: ENDICOTT PEAR-TREE.]

Danvers, in whose territory we have been rambling, is an aggregate of
several widely scattered villages taken from Salem in the last century.
Some of its villages have grown into good-sized, prosperous towns, and
one has taken the name of her eminent banker-philanthropist, George
Peabody. When at Salem, the visitor may easily reach Peabody, Danvers,
and the Witch Neighborhood by rail, having in the latter instance a walk
of a mile before him on leaving the little station near the Putnam
House. In a circuit of several miles, embracing what is to be seen of
interest on this side, it is, perhaps, better to leave Salem by the old
Boston road and return to it by the Andover highway. Following this
route, we successively pass by Governor Endicott's farm, on which is
still seen the aged pear-tree, sole relic of the ancient orchard,[139]
the house which became the head-quarters in 1774 of General Gage, and
the Witch Neighborhood. But before hurrying away from Peabody, it will
be well to read the inscription on the monument which one sees in the
main street,[140] examine the memorials of royal munificence in the
library of the Institute,[141] and, if the stranger be of my mind, to
halt for a moment before the humble dwelling in which Bowditch was born.
As there is no place in New England which so highly prizes its antique
memorials and traditions as Salem, the first person you meet will be
able to direct you to the one or relate to you the other.

[Illustration: PUTNAM'S TAVERN SIGN.]


[134] Mather and Hutchinson deal largely with it. Upham and Drake have
compiled, arranged, and analyzed it.

[135] Exod. xxii., 18 (1491 B.C.): "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to

[136] Abigail Williams, eleven; Mary Walcut, seventeen; Ann Putnam,
twelve; Mercy Lewis, seventeen; Mary Warren, twenty; Elizabeth Booth,
eighteen; Sarah Churchill, twenty; Susannah Sheldon, age not known.

[137] Account of Thomas Brattle.

[138] See his life, page 80.

[139] Endicott had a grant of three hundred acres on the tongue of land
between Cow-house and Duck rivers. The site does justice to his

[140] Raised in 1837 to the memory of soldiers of Danvers killed in the
battle of Lexington.

[141] The Queen's portrait by Tilt, the gold box and medal presented by
the city of London and by Congress to Mr. Peabody.




    "Do not the hist'ries of all ages
    Relate miraculous presages,
    Of strange turns in the world's affairs,
    Foreseen by astrologers, soothsayers,
    Chaldeans, learned genethliacs,
    And some that have writ almanacs?"


In 1692 Salem may have contained four hundred houses. A few specimens of
this time now remain in odd corners--Rip Van Winkles or Wandering Jews
of old houses, that have outlived their day of usefulness, and would now
be at rest. Objects of scorn to the present generation, they have
silently endured the contemptuous flings of the passer-by, as well,
perchance, as the frowns and haughty stare of rows of plate-glass
windows along the street. As well put new wine in old bottles, as an old
house in a new dress; it is always an old house, despite the thin veneer
of miscalled improvements. The architect can do nothing with it to the
purpose; the carpenter can make nothing of it. There they are, with
occupants equally old-fashioned--of, yet not belonging to the present.
Some have stood so long in particular neighborhoods, have outlived so
many modern structures, as to become points of direction, like London
Stone or Charing-cross. The stranger's puzzled questioning is often met
with, "You know that old house in such a street?" And so the old house
helps us to find our way not alone to the past, but in the present.


Undoubted among such specimens as will be met with in the neighborhood
of the wharves, or between Essex Street and the water-side, is the old
gambrel-roofed, portly-chimneyed house in which our "Wizard of the
North" first drew breath. It stands in Union Street, at the left as you
pass down. Many pilgrims loiter and ponder there over these words:

    "SALEM, October 4th, Union Street [Family Mansion]."

[Illustration: SHATTUCK HOUSE.]

     "Here I sit in my old accustomed chamber, where I used to sit
     in days gone by. Here I have written many tales--many that have
     been burned to ashes, many that doubtless deserved the same
     fate. This claims to be called a haunted chamber, for thousands
     upon thousands of visions have appeared to me in it; and some
     few of them have become visible to the world. If ever I should
     have a biographer, he ought to make great mention of this
     chamber in my memoirs, because so much of my lonely youth was
     wasted here, and here my mind and character were formed; and
     here I have been glad and hopeful, and here I have been
     despondent. And here I sat a long, long time, waiting patiently
     for the world to know me, and sometimes wondering why it did
     not know me sooner, or whether it would ever know me at all--at
     least, till I were in my grave."


It is not my purpose to attempt a description of Salem, or of what is to
be seen there. Her merchants are princes. No doubt they were in
Josselyn's mind when he said some of the New Englanders were "damnable
rich." French writers of that day speak of her "_bourgeois entièrement
riches_." Those substantial mansions of red brick, tree-shaded and
ivy-trellised, represent what Carlyle named the "noblesse of commerce,"
with money in its pocket.

Writing in 1685 upon the English invasions of Acadia, Sieur Bergier thus
characterizes Salem and Boston:

"The English who inhabit these two straggling boroughs (_bourgades_) are
for the greater part fugitives out of England, guilty of the death of
the late king (Charles Stuart), and accused of conspiring against the
reigning sovereign. The rest are corsairs and sea-robbers, who have
united themselves with the former in a sort of independent republic."
This is rather earlier than the date usually fixed for the planting of
democracy in America, but perhaps none too early. Endicott had then cut
the cross from the standard of England with his poniard; and Charles II.
had been humbled in the persons of his commissioners.

Let us walk on through Essex Street, unheeding the throng, unmindful of
the statelier buildings, until we approach an ancient landmark at the
corner of North Street. Its claims on our attention are twofold. It is
said to have been the dwelling of Roger Williams, for whom Southey, when
reminded that Wales had been more famous for mutton than great men,
avowed he had a sincere respect, yet it is even more celebrated as the
scene of examinations during the Reign of Terror in 1692.[142]

In appearance the original house might have been transplanted out of old
London. Its peaked gables, with pine-apples carved in wood surmounting
its latticed windows, and colossal chimney, put it unmistakably in the
age of ruffs, Spanish cloaks, and long rapiers. It has long been
divested of its antique English character, now appearing no more than a
reminiscence of its former self. However, from a recessed area at the
back its narrow casements and excrescent stairways are yet to be seen. A
massive frame, filled between with brick, plastered with clay, with the
help of its tower-like chimney, has stood immovable against the assaults
of time. Such houses, and their number is not large, represent the
original forest that stood on the site of ancient Salem.

[Illustration: THE OLD WITCH HOUSE.]

Jonathan Corwin, or Curwin, made a councilor under the new charter
granted by King William, was one of the judges before whom the
preliminary examinations were held, both here and at the Village.
Governor Corwin, of Ohio, is accounted a descendant, as was the author
of "The Scarlet Letter" of another witch-judge, John Hathorne. The
reader may imagine the novelist on his knees before the grave-stone of
his ancestor, striving to scrape the moss from its half-obliterated
characters.[143] Other examinations took place in Thomas Beadle's


In Handwriting of Rev. Samuel Parris.[144]]

Knowing the world believed in witchcraft, our horror at the atrocities
of '92 is moderated by the probability that nothing less than the
shedding of innocent blood could have annihilated the delusion. The king
believed in it, the governor and judges believed in it, and the most
sensible and learned gave ample credence to it. Queen Anne wrote a
letter to Phips that shows she admitted it as a thing unquestioned.[145]
The clergy, with singular unanimity, recognized it.

[Illustration: THOMAS BEADLE'S TAVERN, 1692.]

The revulsion that followed equaled the precipitation that had marked
the proceedings. One of the judges made public confession of his
error.[146] Officers of the court were persecuted until the day of their

There is one hard, inflexible character, that was never known to have
relented. William Stoughton, lieutenant-governor, presided at these
trials. It is related that once, on hearing of a reprieve granted some
of the condemned, he left the bench, exclaiming, "We were in a way to
have cleared the land of these. Who is it obstructs the course of
justice I know not. The Lord be merciful to the country."

This pudding-faced, sanctimonious, yet merciless judge had listened to
the heart-broken appeals of the victims, raising their manacled hands to
heaven for that justice denied them upon earth. "I have got nobody to
look to but God." "There is another judgment, dear child." "The Lord
will not suffer it." Others as passionately reproached their accusers,
but all were confounded, because all were believers in the fact of

Whether Witch Hill be the first or last place visited, it is there Salem
witchcraft culminates. There is seen, in approaching by the railway from
Boston, a bleak and rocky eminence bestrown with a little soil. Houses
of the poorer sort straggle up its eastern acclivity, while the south
and west faces remain as formed by nature, abrupt and precipitous. The
hill is one of a range stretching away northward in a broken line toward
the Merrimac. On the summit is a tolerably level area of several acres.
Not a tree was growing on it when I was there. The bleak winds sweep
over it without hinderance.

On the 19th of July, 1692, an unusual stir might have been observed in
Salem. We may suppose the town excited beyond any thing that had been
known in its history. The condemned witches, Sarah Good, Sarah Wildes,
Elizabeth Howe, Susannah Martin, and Rebecca Nurse, are to be hanged on
Gallows Hill.

The narrow lane in which the common jail is situated is thronged with
knots of men and women, wearing gloomy, awe-struck faces, conversing in
under-tones. Before the jail door are musketeers of the train-band,
armed and watchful. The crowd gives way on the approach of a cart that
stops in front of the prison door, which is now wide opened. On one side
stands the jailer, with ponderous keys hanging at his girdle; on the
other is the sheriff, grasping his staff of office. The guard clears a
passage, and then the sheriff's voice is heard calling upon the
condemned to come forth.

There are five of them, all women. They look pale, haggard, despairing.
At sight of them a murmur ripples through the crowd, succeeded by solemn
stillness. As they mount the cart with weak and tottering steps--for
some are old and feeble and gray-haired--audible sobs are heard among
the by-standers. Men's lips are compressed and teeth clenched as they
look on with white faces. All is ready. The guard surrounds the cart, as
if a rescue were feared. It takes a score of strong men, armed to the
teeth, to conduct five helpless women to death!

I suppose there were outcries, hootings, and imprecations, as is the
rabble's wont. If so, I believe they were borne with the resignation and
heroism that make woman the superior of man in supreme moments. At last
the cavalcade is grouped around the place of execution. The gallows and
the fatal ladder are there, grotesque yet horrible. To each of those
five women they meant martyrdom, and nothing less.

The provost-marshal commands silence while he reads the warrant. This
formality ended, he replaces it in his belt. Expectation is intense as
the condemned are seen to take leave of each other, like people who have
done with this world. Then a shiver, like an electric spark, runs
through the multitude as the hangman seizes them, pinions and blindfolds
them, and, in the name of King William and Queen Mary, hangs them by the
neck until dead.

Being leagued with Satan, they were denied the consolations of religion
vouchsafed to pirates, murderers, and like malefactors. Poor old Rebecca
Nurse had been led, heavily ironed, up the broad aisle of Salem Church
to be thrust out of its communion. At the scaffold Rev. Mr. Noyes, of
Salem, insulted the last moments of Sarah Good. "You are a witch, and
you know it," said this servant of Christ. She turned upon him fiercely,
"You lie, and if you take away my life God will give you blood to
drink."[148] That few of the martyrs chose to buy their lives with a
lie has ennobled their memories for all time. It is written: "If I would
but go to hell for an eternal moment or so, I might be knighted."

[Illustration: INTERIOR OF FIRST CHURCH.[149]]

Other executions took place in August and September, swelling the number
of victims hanged to nineteen. Giles Corey was, by the old English law,
pressed to death for standing mute when told to plead.

John Adams mentions a visit to this hill in 1766, then called Witchcraft
Hill. Somebody, he says, within a few years had planted a number of
locust-trees over the graves. In 1793 Dr. Morse notes that the graves
might still be traced. I felt no regret at their total disappearance.
Would that the bloody chapter might as easily disappear from history!


[142] Considerable changes were necessary so long ago as 1674-'75, when
it became the property of Jonathan Corwin, of witchcraft notoriety. In
1745, and again about 1772, it underwent other repairs, leaving it as
now seen.

[143] A scene from life in the old Copp's Hill burial-ground at Boston.

[144] In the library of Harvard College is a book having the name of
Parris on the fly-leaf.

[145] She approved Governor Phips's conduct, but advised the utmost
moderation and circumspection in all proceedings for
witchcraft.--"Manuscript Files."

[146] Samuel Sewall, afterward chief-justice of the Supreme Court of the

[147] Some of the pins said to have been thrust by witches into the
bodies of their victims are still preserved in Salem.

[148] This incident appears in Hawthorne's "Seven Gables." The tradition
is that Noyes was choked with blood--dying by a hemorrhage.

[149] The frame of the old First Church of Salem has been preserved. It
is now standing in the rear of Plummer Hall, a depository of olden




     "_Launcelot._ Turn up on your right hand at the next turning,
     but at the next turning of all on your left; marry, at the very
     next turning, turn of no hand, but turn down indirectly to the
     Jew's house."--_Merchant of Venice._

Marblehead is a backbone of granite, a vertebra of syenite and porphyry
thrust out into Massachusetts Bay in the direction of Cape Ann, and
hedged about with rocky islets. It is somewhat sheltered from the weight
of north-east storms by the sweep of the cape, which launches itself
right out to sea, and gallantly receives the first bufferings of the
Atlantic. The promontory of Marblehead may once have been a prolongation
of Cape Ann, the whole coast hereabouts looking as if the ocean had
licked out the softer parts, leaving nothing that was digestible behind.
This rock, on which a settlement was begun two hundred and forty odd
years ago, performs its part by making Salem Harbor on one hand, and
another for its own shipping on the east, where an appendage known as
Marblehead Neck[150] is joined to it by a ligature of sand and shingle.
The port is open to the north-east, and vessels are sometimes blown from
their anchorage upon the sand-banks at the head of the harbor, though
the water is generally deep and the shores bold. At the entrance a
light-house is built on the extreme point of the Neck; and on a tongue
of land of the opposite shore is Fort Sewall--a beckoning finger and a
clenched fist.

[Illustration: GREAT HEAD.]

The harbor, as the "Gazetteer" would say, has a general direction from
north-east to south-west. It is a mile and a half long by half a mile
wide, with generally good holding ground, though in places the bottom is
rocky. La Touche Treville lost the _Hermione's_ anchor here in 1780,
when he brought over M. De Lafayette, sent by the king to announce the
speedy arrival of Rochambeau's army.[151] Probably the good news was
first proclaimed in the narrow streets of Marblehead, though it has
hitherto escaped a spirited lyric from some disciple of Mr. Browning.

The geologist will find Marblehead and the adjacent islands an
interesting ground, with some tolerably hard nuts for his hammer. The
westerly shore of the harbor is indented with little coves niched in the
rock, and having each a number, though the Marbleheaders have other
names for them. One or two wharves are fitted in these coves, but I did
not see a vessel unlading or a bale of merchandise there. The flow of
the tide as it sucked around the wooden piles was the only evidence of
life about them.

[Illustration: "THE CHURN."]

The varying formations of these shores go very far to redeem the haggard
landscape. Even the coves differ in the materials with which their walls
are built, feldspar, porphyry, and jasper variegating their rugged
features with pleasing effect. The floor of one of these coves is
littered with fractured rock of a reddish brown, from which it is
locally known as Red Stone Cove. Captain Smith says this coast resembled
Devonshire with its "tinctured veines of divers colors." The Rev. Mr.
Higginson, of Salem, in 1629, speaks of the stone found here as "marble
stone, that we have great rocks of it, and a harbor hard by. Our
plantation is from thence called Marble Harbor." His marble was perhaps
the porphyritic rock which it resembles when wetted by sea moisture.

The beach is the mall of Marblehead. It opens upon Nahant Bay, and is
much exposed to the force of south-east gales. Over this beach a
causeway is built, which from time to time has required extensive
repairs. Under the province, and as late even as 1812, the favorite
method of raising moneys for such purposes was by lottery, duly
authorized. In this way a work of public necessity was relegated to the
public cupidity.

A run over the Neck revealed many points of interest. There are rock
cavities of glassy smoothness, worn by the action of pebbles, chasms
that receive the coming waveband derisively toss it high in air; and
there are precipitous cliffs which the old stone-cutter and lapidary can
never blunt, though he may fret and fume forever at their base. Looking
off to sea, the eye is everywhere intercepted by islands or sunken
ledges belted with surf. They have such names as Satan, Roaring Bull,
Great and Little Misery, Great and Little Haste, Cut-throat Ledge, the
Brimbles, Cat Island, and the like. Each would have a story, if it were
challenged, how it came by its name. The number of these islands is
something surprising. In fact they appear like a system, connecting the
craggy promontory of Marblehead with the cape side. At some time the sea
must have burst through this rocky barrier, carrying all before its
resistless onset. The channels are intricate among these islands, and
must be hit with the nicest precision, or a strong vessel would go to
pieces at the first blow on the sharp rocks.

The Neck is the peculiar domain of a transient population of care-worn
fugitives from the city. The red-roofed cottages were picturesque
objects among the rocks, but bore marks of the disorder in which the
winter had left them. They seemed shivering up there on the ledges,
though it was the seventh day of May, for there had been a light fall of
snow, followed by a searching north-west wind. Not even a curl of smoke
issued from the chimneys to take off the prevailing chilliness. Down at
the harbor side there was an old farmstead with some noble trees I liked
better. On the beach I had trod in Hawthorne's "Foot-prints." I might
here rekindle Longfellow's "Fire of Drift-wood:"

    "We sat within the farm-house old,
      Whose windows, looking o'er the bay,
    Gave to the sea-breeze, damp and cold,
      An easy entrance night and day.

    "Not far away we saw the port,
      The strange old-fashioned silent town,
    The light-house, the dismantled fort,
      The wooden houses quaint and brown."

The light-keeper, whom I found at home, indulged me in a few moments'
chat. He could not account, he said, for the extraordinary predilection
of the Light-house Board for whitewash. Dwelling, covered way, and tower
were each and all besmeared; and the keeper seemed not overconfident
that he might not soon receive an order to put on a coat of it himself.
He did not object to the summer, but in winter his berth was not so
pleasant. I already felt convinced of this. To a question he replied
that Government estimated his services at five hundred dollars per
annum; and he pointedly asked me how he was to support a family on the
stipend? Yet he must keep his light trimmed and burning; for if that
goes out, so does he.

All the light-houses are supplied with lard-oil, which burns without
incrusting the wick of the lamp; but the keeper objected that it was
always chilled in cold weather, and that he usually had to take it into
the dwelling and heat it on the stove before it could be used. A good
deal of moisture collects on the plate-glass windows of the lantern when
the wind is off-shore, but if it be off the land the glass is dry. In
very cold weather, when it becomes coated with frost, the light is
visible but a short distance at sea. To remedy this evil, spirits of
wine are furnished to keepers, but does not wholly remove the


Afterward we spoke of the commerce of Marblehead. The only craft now in
port were five or six ballast-lighters that had wintered in the upper
harbor; with this exception it was deserted. The keeper had been master
of a fishing vessel. I could not help remarking to him on this ominous
state of things.

"I have seen as many as a hundred and twenty vessels lying below us
here, getting ready for a cruise on the Banks," he said.

"And now?"

"Now there are not more than fifteen sail that hail out of here."

"So that fishing, as a business--"

"Is knocked higher than a kite."

Will it ever come down again?

We commiserate the situation of an individual out of business; what
shall we, then, say of a town thrown out of employment? Before the
Revolution, Marblehead was our principal fishing port. When the war came
this industry was broken up for the seven years of the contest. Most of
the men went into the army, one entire regiment being raised here. Many
entered on board privateers or the public armed vessels of the revolted
colonies. At the close of the war, great destitution prevailed by reason
of the losses in men the town had sustained; and as usual a lottery was
resorted to for the benefit of the survivors. The War of 1812 again
drove the Marblehead fishermen from their peaceful calling to man our
little navy. At its close five hundred of her sons were in British

Fisheries have often been called the agriculture of the seas. Sir Walter
Raleigh attributed the wealth and power of Holland, not to its commerce
or carrying trade, but to its fisheries. Captain John Smith was of this
opinion; so were Mirabeau and De Witt. Franklin seemed to prefer the
fisheries of America to agriculture; and Edmund Burke paid our fishermen
the noblest panegyric of them all:

"No sea but is vexed by their fisheries. No climate that is not witness
to their toils. Neither the perseverance of Holland, nor the activity of
France, nor the dexterous and firm sagacity of English enterprise ever
carried this most perilous mode of hardy industry to the extent to which
it has been pushed by this recent people--a people who are still, as it
were, but in the gristle, and not yet hardened into the bone of

Add to this Napoleon's opinion that the American was the superior of the
English seaman, and national self-complacency may safely rest on two
such eminent authorities.

The light-keeper, who had been on the Banks, informed me that it was
still the custom, when lying to in a heavy blow, to pour oil on the
waves alongside the vessel; and that it was effectual in smoothing the
sea--not a wave breaking within its influence. Dr. Franklin's
experiments are the first I remember to have read of. A single
tea-spoonful, he says, quieted the ruffled surface of near half an acre
of water in a windy day, and rendered it as smooth as a
looking-glass.[153] This man would have triumphed over nature herself.

Without doubt Marblehead owes a large share of her naval renown to her
fishery; to those men who entered the sea-service at the bowsprit, like
the great navigator, Cook, and not at the cabin windows. They gave a
distinctively American character to our little navies of 1776 and 1812.
Southey, while writing his "Life of Nelson," flings down his pen in
despair to say: "What a miserable thing is this loss of a second frigate
to the Americans. It is a cruel stroke; and, though their frigates are
larger ships than ours, must be felt as a disgrace, and in fact is
disgrace. It looks as if there was a dry-rot in our wooden walls. Is it
that this captain also is a youngster hoisted up by interest, or that
the Americans were manned by Englishmen, or that our men do not fight
heartily, or that their men are better than ours?"

One writer calls the fishery "a great nursery of the marine, from whence
a constant supply of men, inured to the perils of the sea, are
constantly ready for the service of their country." Supposing this
doctrine correct, it becomes an interesting question where the sailors
of future navies are to come from? The whale-fishery has been fairly
beaten out of the field by oil-spouting rocks. Why should we brave the
perils of the Arctic circle when by sinking a tube in Pennsylvania we
may strike a fellow of a thousand barrels, and wax rich while asleep?
New London, Nantucket, New Bedford, and Edgartown have answered. The cod
and mackerel fisheries have dwindled into like insignificance, say
Marblehead, Gloucester, and all fishing ports along shore. When these
towns, once so exclusively maritime, found the fishery slipping through
their fingers, they took up shoe-making, and at present you will see
plenty of Crispins, but not many blue-jackets, in Marblehead. Cobbling
is now carried on in the barn-lofts, fish-houses, and cottages. Yet this
change of condition is not met, as in the failing whale-fishery, by a
supply from a different source; fish continues to be as highly esteemed
and in greater request than ever; it is the supply, not the demand, that
is diminishing.

There are some of those larger shoe-factories in the town where hides
are received at the front door, and are delivered at the back, in an
incredibly short time, ready for wear. The young men I saw in long
aprons at the benches had none of the rugged look of their fathers.
Their white arms showed little of the brawn that comes from constant
handling of the oar. The air of the work-shop was stifling, and I gladly
left it, thinking these were hardly the fellows to stand by the guns or
reef-tackles. One old man with whom I conversed bitterly deplored that
shoe-making had killed fishing, and had made the young men, as he
phrased it, "nash," which is what they say of fish that the sun has
spoiled. At the time I was there shoe-making itself was suffering from a
depression of trade, and many of the inhabitants appeared to be in a
state of uncertainty as to their future that, I imagine, may become
chronic. One individual, while lamenting the decline of business,
brightened up as he said, "But I understand they an't much better off at

The decline of the cod-fishery is attributed to the use of trawls, and
to the greed that kills the goose that has laid the golden egg. Formerly
fish were taken with hand-lines only, over the side of the vessel. Then
they began to carry dories, in which the crew sought out the best
places. The men lost in fogs or bad weather while looking for or
visiting their trawls swell the list of casualties year by year. Fitting
out fishing-vessels, instead of being the simple matter it once was, has
become an affair of capital, the trawls for a vessel sometimes costing
fifteen hundred dollars.

Douglass gives some particulars of the fishery, as practiced in his own
and at an earlier day. He says the North Sea cod, and those taken on the
Irish coast were considered better than the American fish, but were
inadequate to the supply. No fish were considered merchantable in
England or Ireland less than eighteen inches long from the first fin to
the beginning of the tail. In Newfoundland they worked their fish "belly
down;" in New England they were worked with their backs downward, to
receive more salt, and add to their weight. The stock-fish of Norway and
Iceland were cured without salt, by hanging them in winter upon sticks
called by the Dutch "stocks"--this may have been the origin of our
dun-fish. The fish made in Marblehead for Spain were known as "Bilboa
drithe," and could be held out horizontally by the tail. Those cured for
the western market were called "Albany drithe," from the fact that
Albany was the head-quarters of that trade.

[Illustration: UNLOADING FISH.]

To quote from Douglass, he says: "In 1746 Marblehead ships off more
dried cod than all the rest of New England besides. Anno 1732 a good
fish year, and in profound peace, Marblehead had about one hundred and
twenty schooners of about fifty tons burden, seven men aboard, and one
man ashore to make the fish, or about one thousand men employed, besides
the seamen who carry the fish to market. Two hundred quintals considered
a fare. In 1747 they have not exceeding seventy schooners, and make five
fares yearly to I. Sables, St. George's Banks, etc."

M. Rochefoucauld Liancourt, who visited New England in 1799, making a
tour of the coast as far as the Penobscot, says at that time the vessels
were usually of seventy tons, and had a master, seven seamen, and a boy.
The owner had a quarter, the dryer on the coast an eighth, and the rest
was shared by the master and seamen, in proportion to the fish they had
taken. Every man took care of his own fish.

As early as 1631 Governor Matthew Cradock established a fishing station
at Marblehead, in charge of Isaac Allerton, whose name appears fifth on
the celebrated compact of the Pilgrims, signed at Cape Cod, November
11th, 1620.[154] Winthrop mentions in his journal that as the _Arabella_
was standing in for Naumkeag, on the 12th of June, 1630, Mr. Allerton
boarded her in a shallop as he was sailing to Pemaquid. Moses Maverick
lived at Marblehead with Allerton, and married his daughter Sarah. In
1635 Allerton conveyed to his son-in-law all the houses, buildings, and
stages he had at Marblehead. In 1638 Moses was licensed to sell a tun of
wine a year.

In Winthrop's "Journal," under the date of 1633, is the following with
reference to this plantation:[155]

"_February_ 1.--Mr. Cradock's house at Marblehead was burnt down about
midnight before, there being then in it Mr. Allerton, and many fishermen
whom he employed that season, who all were preserved by a special
providence of God, with most of his goods therein, by a tailor, who sat
up that night at work in the house, and, hearing a noise, looked out and
saw the house on fire above the oven in the thatch."[156]

While retracing my steps back to town, I pictured the harbor in its day
of prosperity. A hundred sail would have given it a degree of animation
quite marvelous to see. Six hours a hundred sharp prows point up the
harbor, and six they look out to sea. Above the tapering forest of equal
growth are thrust the crossed spars of ships from Cadiz, in Spain.
Innumerable wherries dart about, rowed by two men each; they are
strongly built, for baiting trawls on the banks and in a sea is no
child's play. The cheery cries, rattling of blocks, and universal bustle
aboard the fleet announce the preparations for sailing. At the top of
the flood up go a score of sails, and round go as many windlasses to a
rattling chorus. Anchors are hove short in a trice. The vessels first
under way draw out from among the fleet, clear the mouth of the harbor,
and in a few minutes more are flinging the seas from their bows with
Marblehead Light well under their lee.

I do not know who first discovered Marblehead. The vague idea associates
it with a heap of sterile rocks, inhabited by fishermen speaking an
unintelligible jargon. Though not twenty miles from the New England
metropolis, and notwithstanding its past is interwoven with every page
of our historic times, less is known of it than would seem credible to
the intelligent reader. A faithful chronicle of its fortunes would, no
doubt, be sufficiently curious, though many would, I fear, prefer the
stories of Tyre and Carthage. But Marblehead is unique; there is nothing
like it on this side of the water.

[Illustration: A GROUP OF ANTIQUES.]

I was struck, on entering the place, with Whitefield's observation when
he asked where the dead were buried; for the great want appears to be
earth. But a further acquaintance revealed more pleasant inclosures of
turf, orchards, and garden-spots than its gaunt crags seemed capable of
sustaining. The town may be said to embrace two very dissimilar
portions, of which the larger appears paralyzed with age, and the other
the outgrowth of a newer and more thriving generation. It is with the
old town I have to do.

I preferred to commit myself to the guidance of the narrow streets, and
drift about wherever they listed. The stranger need not try to settle
his topography beforehand. He would lose his labor. It was only after a
third visit that I began to have some notions of the maze of rocky
lanes, alleys, and courts. Caprice seemed to have governed the location
of a majority of the houses by the water-side, and the streets to have
adjusted themselves to the wooden anarchy; or else the idea forced
itself upon you that the houses must have been stranded here by the
flood, remaining where the subsiding waters left them; for they stand
anywhere and nowhere, in a ravine or atop a cliff, crowding upon and
elbowing each other until no man, it would seem, might know his own. How
one of those ancient mariners rolling heavily homeward after a night's
carouse could have found his own dwelling, is a mystery I do not
undertake to solve.

M. De Chastellux, who had a compliment ready-made for every thing
American, was accosted when in Boston with the remark,

"Marquis, you find a crooked city in Boston?"

"Ah, ver good, ver good," said the chevalier; "it show de _liberté_."

I found Washington Street a good base of operations. A modern dwelling
is rarely met with between this thoroughfare and the water. On State
(formerly King) Street there is but one house less than a century old,
and the frame of that one was being raised the day Washington came to
town. Even he was struck by the antiquated look of the buildings. The
long exemption from fire is little less than miraculous, for a building
of brick or stone is an exception. Old houses, gambrel-roofed,
hip-roofed, and pitch-roofed, with an occasional reminiscence of London
in Milton's day, are ranged on all sides; little altered in a hundred
years, though I should have liked better to have chanced this way when
the porches of some were projecting ten feet into the street. I enjoyed
losing myself among them; for, certes, there is more of the crust of
antiquity about Marblehead than any place of its years in America.

An air of snug and substantial comfort hung about many of the older
houses, and some localities betokened there was an upper as well as a
nether stratum of society in Marblehead. Fine old trees flourished in
secluded neighborhoods, where the brass door-knockers shone with
unwonted lustre. I think my fingers itched to grasp them, so suggestive
were they of feudal times when stranger knight summoned castle-warden by
striking with his sword-hilt on the oaken door. Fancy goes in unbidden
at their portals, and roves among their cramped corridors and best
rooms, peering into closets where choice china is kept, or rummaging
among the curious lumber of the garrets, the accumulations of many
generations. On the whole, the dwellings represent so far as they may a
singular equality of condition. It is only by turning into some court or
by-way that you come unexpectedly upon a mansion having about it some
relics of a former splendor. Though Marblehead has its Billingsgate, I
saw nothing of the squalor of our larger cities; and though it may have
its Rotten Row, I remarked neither lackeys nor showy equipages.

There are few sidewalks in the older quarter. The streets are too
narrow to afford such a luxury, averaging, should say, not more than a
rod in width in the older ones, with barely room for a single vehicle.
The passer-by may, if he pleases, look into the first-floor
sitting-rooms, and see the family gathered at its usual occupations.
Whether it be a greater indiscretion to look in at the windows than to
look out of them, as the matrons and maidens are in the habit of doing
when a stranger is in the neighborhood is a question I willingly remand
to the decision of my readers; yet I confess I found the temptation too
strong to be resisted. In order to protect those houses at the street
corners, a massive stone post is often seen imbedded in the ground; but
to give them a wide berth is impossible, and I looked for business to be
brisk at the wheelwright's shop.

[Illustration: LEE STREET.]

Again, as the street encounters a ledge in its way, one side of it
mounts the acclivity, ten, twenty feet above your head, while the other
keeps the level as before. Such accidental looking-down upon their
neighbors does not, perhaps, argue moral or material pre-eminence; but,
for all that, there may be a shilling side. One thing about these old
houses impressed me pleasantly; though many of them were guiltless of
paint, and on some roofs mosses had begun to creep, and a yellow rust to
cover the clapboards, there were few windows that did not boast a goodly
show of scarlet geraniums, fuchsias, or mignonnette, with ivy clustering
lovingly about the frames, making the dark old casements blossom again,
and glow with a wealth of warm color.

I was too well acquainted with maritime towns to be surprised at finding
fishing-boats, even of a few tons burden, a quarter of a mile from the
water. They might even be said to crop out with remarkable frequency.
Some were covered with boughs, their winter protection; others were
being patched, painted, or calked, preparatory for launching, with an
assiduity and solicitude that can only be appreciated by the owners of
such craft. On the street that skirts the harbor I saw a fisherman just
landed enter his cottage, "paying out," as he went, from a coil of rope,
one end being, I ascertained, fastened to his wherry. I remember to have
seen in Mexico the _vaqueros_, on alighting from their mules, take from
the pommel of their saddles some fathoms of braided hair-rope, called a
lariat, and, on entering a shop or dwelling, uncoil it as they went. The
custom of these Marblehead fishermen seemed no less ingenious.

In a sea-port my instinct is for the water. I have a predilection for
the wharves, and, though I could well enough dispense with their smells,
for their sights and sounds. The cross-ways in Marblehead seem in search
of the harbor as they go wriggling about the ledges. I should say they
had been formed on the ancient foot-paths leading down to the fishing
stages. At the head of one pier, half imbedded in the earth, was an old
honey-combed cannon that looked as if it might have spoken a word in the
dispute with the mother country, but now played the part of a capstan,
and truant boys were casting dirt between its blistered lips. In Red
Stone Cove there lay, stranded and broken in two, a long-boat, brought
years ago from China, perhaps, on the deck of some Indiaman. Its build
was outlandish; so unlike the wherries that were by, yet so like the
craft that swim in the turbid Yang Tse. I took a seat in it, and was
carried to the land of pagodas, opium, and mandarins. Its sheathing of
camphor-wood still exhaled the pungent odor of the aromatic tree. On
either quarter was painted an enormous eye that seemed to follow you
about the strand. In all these voyages some part of the Old World seems
to have drifted westward, and attached itself to the shores of the New.
Here it was a Portuguese from the Tagus, or a Spaniard of Alicante;
elsewhere a Norwegian, Swede, or Finn, grafted on a strange clime and
way of life.

The men I saw about the wharves, in woolen "jumpers" and heavy fishing
boots, had the true "guinea-stamp" of the old Ironsides of the sea. To
see those lumberings fishermen in the streets you would not think they
could be so handy, or tread so lightly in a dory. I saw there an old
foreign-looking seaman, one of those fellows with short, bowed legs,
drooping shoulders, contracted eyelids, and hands dug in their pockets,
who may be met with at all hours of the day and night hulking about the
quays of a shipping town. This man eyed the preparations of amateur
boatmen with the contemptuous curiosity often vouchsafed by such
personages in the small affair of getting a pleasure-boat under way. One
poor fellow, who kept a little shop where he could hear the wash of the
tide on the loose pebbles of the cove, told me he had lost his leg by
the cable getting a turn round it. Though they have a rough outside,
these men have hearts. His skipper, he said, had put about, though it
was a dead loss to him, and sailed a hundred miles to land his mutilated

[Illustration: TUCKER'S WHARF--THE STEPS.]

How did Marblehead look in the olden time? Its early history is allied
with that of Salem, of which it formed a part until 1648. Francis
Higginson, who came over in 1629, says, in that year, "There are in all
of us, both old and new planters, about three hundred, whereof two
hundred of them are settled at Nehumkek, now called Salem; and the rest
have planted themselves at Masathulets Bay, beginning to build a town
there which wee do call Cherton or Charles Town." His New England's
"Plantation" is curious reading. I have observed in my researches that
these old divines are often fond of drawing the long bow, a failing of
which Higginson, one of the earliest, seems conscious when he asks in
his exordium, "Shall such a man as I lye? No, verily!"

William Wood, describing the place in 1633, says of it: "Marvil Head is
a place which lyeth 4 miles full south from Salem, and is a very
convenient place for a plantation, especially for such as will set upon
the trade of fishing. There was made here a ship's loading of fish the
last year, where still stand the stages and drying scaffolds." In 1635,
the court order that "there shal be a Plantacion at Marblehead."

[Illustration: GREGORY STREET.]

John Josselyn looked in here in 1663. "Marvil, or Marblehead," he says,
is "a small harbour, the shore rockie, on which the town is built,
consisting of a few scattered houses; here they have stages for
fishermen, orchards, and gardens half a mile within land, good pastures,
and arable land."

It had now begun to emerge from the insignificance of a fishing village,
and to assume a place among the number of maritime towns. In 1696 a
French spy makes report: "Marvalet est composé de 100 ou 120 maisons
pescheurs où il peut entrer de gros vaisseaux."

In 1707-'8 Marblehead was represented to the Lords of Trade as a
smuggling port for Boston, for which it also furnished pilots. A few
years earlier (1704) Quelch, the pirate, had been apprehended there,
after having scattered his gold right and left. But it was not until an
order had come from the Governor and Council at Boston that he was
arrested, nor had there been a province law against piracy until within
a few years.[157] Seven of Quelch's gang were taken by Major Stephen
Sewall; and the inhabitants of Marblehead were required to bring in the
gold coin, melted down, and silver plate they had not been unwilling to

It was, no doubt, owing to the lawless habits introduced that the
character of the sea-faring population partook of a certain
wildness--such as good Parson Barnard inveighs against--manifesting
itself in every-day transactions, and infusing into the men an
adventurous and reckless spirit which fitted them in a measure for deeds
of daring, and gave to the old sea-port no small portion of the
notoriety it enjoys.

Mr. Barnard speaks of the earlier class of fishermen as a rude,
swearing, fighting, and drunken crew. The Rev. Mr. Whitwell, in his
discourse on the disasters of 1770, does not give them a better
character. "No wonder," he says, "the children of such parents imitate
their vices, and, when they return from their voyages, have learned to
curse and damn their younger brothers." He continues to pour balm into
their wounds in this wise: "We hope we shall hear no more cursing or
profaneness from your mouths.... Instead of spending your time in those
unmanly games which disgrace our children in the streets, we trust you
will be seriously concerned for the salvation of your souls."

Austin, in his "Life of Elbridge Gerry," speaks of the fishermen as a
sober and industrious class; but the testimony of local historians is
wholly opposed to his assertion.[158] They passed their winters in a
round of reckless dissipation, or until the arrival of the fishing
season set half the town afloat again. It was then left in the hands of
the women, the elders, and a few merchants. There is much in the annals
of such a community to furnish materials for history, or, on a lesser
scale, hints for romance. Captain Goelet, who was here in 1750,
estimated the town to contain about four hundred and fifty houses.

     "They were," he said, "all wood and clapboarded, the generality
     miserable buildings, mostly close in with the rocks, with rocky
     foundations very Cragy and Crasey. The whole towne is built
     upon a rock, which is heigh and steep to the water. The harbour
     is sheltered by an island, which runs along parallel to it and
     brakes off the sea. Vessells may ride here very safe; there is
     a path or way downe to the warf, which is but small, and on
     which is a large Ware House where they land their fish, etc.
     From this heigh Cliffty shore it took its name. I saw abt 5
     topsail vessels and abt 10 schooners or sloops in the harbour;
     they had then abt 70 sail schooners a-fishing, with about 600
     men and Boys imployd in the fishery: they take vast quantitys
     Cod, which they cure heere. Saw several thousand flakes then
     cureing. The place is noted for Children, and Nouriches the
     most of any place for its bigness in North America; it's said
     the chief cause is attributed to their feeding on Cod's heads,
     etc., which is their Principall Dish. The greatest distaste a
     person has to this place is the stench of the fish, the whole
     air seems tainted with it. It may in short be said it's a Dirty
     Erregular, Stincking place.'"[159]

The fortunes of the place were now greatly altered. The obscure fishing
village had become a bustling port, with rich cargoes from Spain and the
Antilles lying within its rock-bound shores. Ships were being built in
the coves, and substantial mansions were going up in the streets--in
whose cellars, as I have heard, were kegs of hard dollars, salted down,
as one might say, like the staple of Marblehead.

John Adams, then a young lawyer on the circuit, enters in his diary,
under date of 1766, the brief impression of a first visit to Marblehead:

     "14, _Thursday_.--In the morning rode a single horse, in
     company with Mrs. Cranch and Mrs. Adams, in a chaise to
     Marblehead. The road from Salem to Marblehead, four miles, is
     pleasant indeed (so I found it). The grass plats and fields are
     delightful, but Marblehead differs from Salem. The streets are
     narrow and rugged and dirty, but there are some very grand

As John Adams saw it so does the stranger of to-day, ignoring such
modern improvements as railway, gas-works, telegraph, and factories, and
sticking closely to the skirts of the old town.

I should say Marblehead might still assert its title to the number of
children it "nourishes." Certainly they seemed out of all proportion to
the adult population. Instinct guides them to the water from their
birth, and they may be seen paddling about the harbor in stray wherries
or clambering up the rigging of some collier, in emulation of their
elders. Even their talk has a salty flavor. I recollect an instance,
which must lose by the relation. A young scape-grace having incurred the
maternal displeasure, and then taken to his heels to escape
chastisement, the good-wife gave chase, brandishing a broomstick aloft,
and breathing vengeance on her unnatural offspring. Having the wind fair
and a heavy spread of petticoat, she was rapidly gaining on the
youngster, when a comrade, who was watching the progress of the race
with a critical eye, bawled out, "Try her on the wind, Bill; try her _on
the wind_."

A sailor on shore is not unlike Napoleon's dismounted dragoon: he is
emphatically a fish out of water. One talked of "making his horse fast;"
another complained that his neckerchief was "tew taut;" and a third
could not understand which way to move a boat until his companion called
out, "Haul to the west'ard, can't ye?"

If not insular, your genuine Marbleheader is the next thing to it. The
rest of the world is merged with him into a place to sell his fish and
buy his salt. Even Salem, Beverly, and the parts adjacent draw but
little on his sympathy or his fellowship: in short, they are not
Marblehead. During the Native American excitement of 18--, the
Marbleheaders entered into the movement with enthusiasm. A caucus being
assembled to nominate town officers, one old fisherman came into the
town hall in his baize apron, just as he had got out of his dory. He
glanced over the list of officers with an approving grunt at each name
until he came to that of Squire Fabens. Now Squire Fabens, though a
Salem man born, had lived a score of years in Marblehead, had married,
and held office there. Turning wrathfully to the person who had given
him the ticket, the fisherman tore it in pieces, exclaiming as he did
so, "D'ye call that a Native American ticket? Why, there's Squire Fabens
on it; he an't a Marbleheader!"

Though it is true there are few instances of the fatal straight line in
Marblehead, those who are native there are far from appreciating the
impression its narrow and crooked ways make on the stranger. They, at
any rate, appeared to find their way without the difficulty I at first
experienced. I asked one I met if I was in the right route to the dépôt.
"Go straight ahead," was his injunction, a direction nothing but a
round-shot from Fort Sewall could have followed. But I should add that
Marblehead is not a labyrinth, any more than it is a field for
missionary work: it has churches, banks, schools, a newspaper, and even
a debating society; and it has thoroughfares that may be traversed
without a guide.

The great man of Marblehead in the colonial day was Colonel Jeremiah
Lee, whose still elegant mansion is to be seen there. Unlike many of the
gentry of his time, Colonel Lee was a thorough-going patriot. He was,
with Orne and Gerry, a delegate to the first and second Provincial
Congresses of 1774. When the famous Revolutionary Committee of Safety
and Supplies was formed, he became and continued a member until his
death in May, 1775. Colonel Lee was with the committee on the day before
the battle of Lexington, and with Gerry and Orne remained to pass the
night at the Black Horse tavern in Menotomy, now Arlington. When the
British advance reached this house it was surrounded, the half-dressed
patriots having barely time to escape to a neighboring corn-field, where
they threw themselves upon the ground until the search was over. From
the exposure incident to this adventure Lee got his death. His townsmen
treasure his memory as one of the men who formed the Revolution, braved
its dangers, and accepted its responsibilities. Colonel Lee was a stanch
churchman, which makes his adhesion to the patriot side the more

[Illustration: LEE HOUSE.]

There is nothing about the exterior of the Lee mansion to attract the
stranger's attention, though it cost the colonel, when furnished, ten
thousand pounds sterling. As was customary, its offices were on one side
and its stables on the other, with a court-yard paved with
beach-pebble, in which the date of the house, 1768,[160] may be traced.
Entrance was gained on front and side over massive freestone steps, that
show the print of time to have pressed more heavily than human feet. The
house, long since deserted by the family, is now occupied as a bank.

On entering the mansion of the Lees the visitor is struck with the
expansive area of the hall, which is six paces broad, and of
corresponding depth. Age has imparted a rich coloring to the mahogany
wainscot and casing of the staircase. The balusters are curiously carved
in many different patterns; the walls are still hung with their original
paper, in panels representing Roman or Grecian ruins, with trophies of
arms, or implements of agriculture or of the chase between. One panel
represented a sea-fight of Blake and Van Tromp's day. Some of them have
been permanently disfigured by the use of the hall, at one time, as a
fish-market. In a corner, a trap-door led to the old merchant's
wine-cellar, which he thus kept under his own eye. It was after a visit
to some such mansion that Daniel Webster asked, "Did those old fellows
go to bed in a coach-and-four?"

The rooms opening at the right and left of the hall are worthy of it,
especially the first named, which is wainscoted from floor to ceiling,
and enriched with elaborate carving. Over the fire-place of this room
was formerly a portrait of Esther before Ahasuerus, beautifully painted
on a panel. There is an upper hall of ample size, from which open
sleeping apartments with pictured tiles, recessed windows, and panes
that were the wonder of the town, in which none so large had been seen.

Would I had been here when the old colonel's slaves kept the antique
brasses brightly polished, and stout logs crackled and snapped in the
fire-places, in the day of coffin-clocks, French mirrors, and massive
old plate, when the bowl of arrack-punch stood on the sideboard, and
Copley's portraits of master and mistress graced the walls.[161] The
painter has introduced the colonel in a brown velvet coat laced with
gold, and full-bottomed wig. He was short in stature and rather portly,
with an open face, thin nostril, and fine, intelligent eye. The head is
slightly thrown back, a device of the artist to add height to the
figure. Madam Lee is in a satin over-dress, with a pelisse of ermine
negligently cast about her bare shoulders. She looks a stately dame,
with her black eyes and self-possessed air, or as if she might have kept
the colonel's house, slaves included, in perfect order.[162]

When General Washington was making his triumphal tour of the Eastern
States, in 1789, he came to Marblehead. It was, he says, "four miles
out of the way; but I wanted to see it." And so he turned aside to ride
through its rocky lanes, and look into the faces of the men who had
followed him from Cambridge to Trenton, and from Trenton to Yorktown.
How the sight of their chief must have warmed the hearts of those
veterans! He jotted down in his diary very briefly what he saw and heard
in Marblehead: "About 5000 souls are said to be in this place, which has
the appearance of antiquity; the houses are old; the streets dirty; and
the common people not very clean. Before we entered the town we were met
and attended by a com'e, till we were handed over to the Selectmen, who
conducted us, saluted by artillery, into the town to the house of a Mrs.
Lee, where there was a cold collation prepared; after partaking of
which, we visited the harbor, etc." Lafayette, Monroe, and Jackson have
been entertained in the same house.

[Illustration: TOWN HOUSE AND SQUARE.]

When the Revolutionary junto wished to organize its artillery, William
Raymond Lee was summoned to Cambridge to command one of the companies.
He was nephew to the old colonel, valiantly taking up the cause where
his uncle had laid it down. Afterward he served in Glover's regiment,
passing through all the grades from captain to colonel. Another nephew
was that John Lee who, while in command of a privateer belonging to the
Tracys, with a battery, part of iron and partly of wooden guns, captured
a rich vessel of superior force in the bay. Both the colonel's fighting
nephews were of Manchester, on Cape Ann.

Threading my way onward, I came upon the old Town-house, the Faneuil
Hall of Marblehead, in which much treason was hatched when George III.
was king. The Whigs of Old Essex have often been heard there when grave
questions were to be discussed, and the jarring atoms of society have
oft been summoned greeting,

    "To grand parading of town-meeting."

In the old Town-house Judge Story went to school and was fitted for
college; the substantial dwelling in which he was born being nearly
opposite, with its best parlor become an apothecary's, under the sign of
Goodwin. This house was the dwelling of Dr. Elisha Story, of
Revolutionary memory, and the birthplace of his son, the eminent jurist.
The physicians of Dr. Story's time usually furnished their own
medicines. In cocked hat and suit of rusty black, with saddle-bags and
countenance severe, they were marked men in town or village. Since my
visit to Marblehead the last of Dr. Story's eighteen children, Miss
Caroline Story, died at the age of eighty-five. The chief-justice, her
brother, was one of the most lovable of men, and was never, I believe,
ashamed of the slight savor of the dialect that betrayed him native and
to the manner born.

The Episcopal church in Marblehead is one of its old landmarks,
concurring fully, so far as outward appearance goes, in the prevailing
mouldiness. It is not remarkable in any way except as an oddity in wood,
with a square tower of very modest height surmounting a broad and
sloping roof. At a distance it is scarcely to be distinguished in the
wooden chaos rising on all sides; its front was masked by buildings, so
that the entrance-door could only be reached by a winding path. The
parish has at length cleared its ancient glebe of intruders, and the old
church is no longer jostled by its dissenting neighbors. Immediately
adjoining is a little church-yard, in which repose the ashes of former
worshipers who loved these old walls, and would lie in their shadow.

[Illustration: ST. MICHAEL'S, MARBLEHEAD.]

St. Michael's, as originally built, must have been an antique gem.
According to the account given me by the rector, it had seven gables,
topped by a tower, from which sprung a shapely spire, with another on
the north and one on the south side. The form of the building was a
square, with entrances on the south and west. The aisles crossed each
other at right angles; the ceiling, supported by oaken columns, was in
the form of a St. Andrew's cross. The present barren area of pine
shingles was built above the old roof, which it extinguished
effectually. Cotton Mather--he did not allude to the Church of
England--styled the New England churches golden candlesticks, set up to
illuminate the country; but what would he have said had he lived to see
the Puritan Thanksgiving and Fast gradually superseded by Christmas and
by Easter?

The interior of the old church well repays a visit. Its antiquities are
guarded as scrupulously as the old faith has been. Suspended from the
ceiling is a chandelier, a wonderful affair in brass, the gift of a
merchant of Bristol, England. The little pulpit, successor to an earlier
one of wine-glass pattern, belongs to an era before the introduction of
costly woods. Above the altar is the Decalogue, in the ancient
lettering, done in England in 1714. Manifestly St. Michael's clings to
its relics with greater affection than did that parish in the Old
Country, which offered its second-hand Ten Commandments for sale, as it
was going to buy new ones. In the organ-loft is a diminutive instrument,
going as far back as the day of Snetzler. Notwithstanding the
disappearance of the cross from its pinnacle, and of the royal emblems
from their place (save the mark!) above the Decalogue, St. Michael's
remains to-day an interesting memorial of Anglican worship in the
colonies. It was the third church in Massachusetts, and the fourth in
all New England, those of Boston, Newbury, and Newport alone having
preceded it.

The names of famous people are perpetuated in the place of their birth
in many ways. I noticed in Marblehead the streets bore the names of
Selman, Tucker, Glover, etc. Academies, public halls, and engine-houses
keep their memory green, or will do so until the era of snobbery ingulfs
the place, and pulls the old signs down. Its future, I apprehend, is to
become a summer resort. When that period of intermittent prosperity
shall have set in in full tide, it will be difficult, if not impossible,
to preserve the peculiar quaintness which now makes Marblehead the
embodiment of the old New England life.

[Illustration: ELBRIDGE GERRY.]

Elbridge Gerry was born in Marblehead. He was of middle stature, thin,
of courteous, old-school manners, and gentlemanly address. He has the
name of a strong partisan, and of standing godfather to the
geographical monstrosity called the Gerrymander, which has added a word
to our political vocabulary.[163] A more effective party caricature has
never appeared in America. It is admitted it has given its author a
notoriety that has somewhat obscured eminent public service, and made
his name a by-word for political chicanery.

[Illustration: THE GERRYMANDER.]

Those who believe the worst phases of political controversy have been
reserved to our own time would do well to read the history of the
administrations of Washington, Adams, and Jefferson, whom we are
accustomed to name with reverence as the fathers of the republic, yet
who, while in office, were the objects of as much personal malignity and
abuse as their successors have received. Mr. Gerry was invited to take a
seat in the Massachusetts Convention when the constitution of 1787 was
under consideration, in order that that body might have the benefit of
his conceded sagacity and knowledge of affairs. He opposed the adoption
of the constitution before the Convention. At heart Mr. Gerry was an
undoubted patriot. Once, when he believed himself dying, he remarked
that if he had but one day to live it should be devoted to his country.

Elbridge Gerry was destined for the practice of medicine, but engaged in
mercantile pursuits instead; having acquired a competency at the time of
the beginning of the Revolution, he was free to take part in the
struggle. He held many important offices, and his public career, full of
the incidents of stirring times, was marked also by some eccentricities.
Mr. Gerry, as early as November, 1775, introduced a bill into the
Provincial Congress for the fitting-out of armed vessels by
Massachusetts. In the direction of inaugurating warfare with England at
sea, he was, without doubt, the pioneer.


The number of naval heroes whom Marblehead may claim as her own is
something surprising. There were John Selman and Nicholas Broughton, who
sailed in two armed schooners from Beverly, as early as October, 1775,
with instructions from Washington to intercept, if possible, some of the
enemy's vessels in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Failing in this object,
they landed at St. John's, now Prince Edward Island, captured the fort,
and brought off a number of provincial dignitaries of rank. Washington,
who wanted powder, and not prisoners, was not well pleased with the
result of this expedition, as he held it impolitic then to embroil the
revolted colonies with Canada. Much was expected of the hereditary
antipathy of the French Canadians for their English rulers, but in this
respect the general's policy was founded in a mistaken judgment of those

Commodore Manly, to whom John Adams says the first British flag was
struck, was either native born, or came in very early life to
Marblehead. He was placed in command of the first cruiser that sailed
with a regular commission from Washington, in 1775, signalizing his
advent in the bay in the _Lee_--a schooner mounting only four guns--by
the capture of a British vessel laden with military stores, of the
utmost value to the Americans besieging Boston. When this windfall was
reported to Congress, the members believed Divine Providence had
interposed in their favor. Our officers declared their wants could not
have been better supplied if they had themselves sent a schedule of
military stores to Woolwich Arsenal. So apprehensive was the general
that his prize might slip through his fingers, that all the carts to be
obtained in the vicinity of Cape Ann were impressed, in order to bring
the cargo to camp. Manly died in Boston, in 1793, in circumstances
nearly allied to destitution. He was, says one who knew him well, "a
handy, hearty, honest, benevolent, blunt man, with more courage than
good conduct."

[Illustration: SAMUEL TUCKER.]

Another of these old sea-dogs was Commodore Samuel Tucker, the son of a
ship-master. The old house in which he was born was standing on Rowland
Hill. (I do not know that he of Surrey Chapel had any thing to do with
the name in Marblehead.) It was before the door of this house that
Tucker, in his shirt-sleeves, was chopping wood one evening, just at
dusk, when a finely mounted officer clattered down the street. Seeing
Tucker, the officer asked if he could inform him where the Honorable
Samuel Tucker resided. Tucker, astonished at the question, answered in
the negative, saying, "There is no such man lives here; there is no
other Sam Tucker in this town but myself." At this reply, the officer
raised his beaver, and, bowing low, presented him a commission in the

Tucker, in 1778, was taking John Adams to France in the old frigate
_Boston_,[164] when he fell in with an enemy. While clearing his decks
for action he espied Mr. Adams, musket in hand, among the marines.
Laying a hand on the commissioner's shoulder, Tucker said to him, "I am
commanded by the Continental Congress to carry you safely to Europe, and
I will do it," at the same time conducting him below.

The brave Captain Mugford, whose exploit in capturing a vessel laden
with powder in Boston Harbor, in May, 1776, proved of inestimable
value, was also an inhabitant of Marblehead. Like Selman and Broughton,
he had been a captain in the famous Marblehead regiment, and his crew
were volunteers from it. The year previous, Mugford, with others, had
been impressed on board a British vessel, the _Lively_, then stationed
at Marblehead. Mugford's wife, on hearing what had befallen her husband,
went off to the frigate and interceded with the captain for his release,
alleging that they were just married, and that he was her sole
dependence for support. The Englishman, very generously, restored
Mugford his liberty.

The Trevetts, father and son, were little less distinguished than any
already named, adding to the high renown of Marblehead, both in the Old
War and in the later contest with England.

[Illustration: GENERAL GLOVER.]

Glover and his regiment conferred lasting honor on this old town by the
sea. As soon as it had been determined to fit out armed vessels,
Washington intrusted the details to Glover, and ordered the regiment to
Beverly, where these amphibians first equipped and then manned the
privateers. The regiment signalized itself at Long Island and at
Trenton, and ought to have a monument on the highest point of land in
Marblehead, with the names of its heroes inscribed in bronze. General
Glover was long an invalid from the effects of disease contracted in the
army, dying in 1797.[165] He had been a shoe-maker, and is, I imagine,
the person referred to in the following extract from the memoirs of
Madame Riedesel:

"Some of the generals who accompanied us were shoe-makers; and upon
their halting days they made boots for our officers, and also mended
nicely the shoes of our soldiers. One of our officers had worn his boots
entirely into shreds. He saw that an American general had on a good
pair, and said to him, jestingly, 'I will gladly give you a guinea for
them.' Immediately the general alighted from his horse, took the guinea,
gave up his boots, and put on the badly-worn ones of the officer, and
again mounted his horse." General Glover's house is still standing on
Glover Square. I made, as every body must make, in Marblehead, a
pilgrimage to Oakum Bay, a classic precinct, and to the humble abode of
Benjamin Ireson, whom Whittier has made immortal. Questionless the poet
has done more to make Marblehead known than all the historians and
magazine-writers put together, though the notoriety is little relished
there. The facts were sufficiently dramatic as they existed; but Mr.
Whittier has taken a poet's license, and arranged them to his fancy. Old
Flood Ireson suffered in the flesh, and his memory has been pilloried in
verse for a crime he did not commit. Nevertheless, I doubt that the
people of Marblehead forget that Pegasus has wings, and can no more
amble at the historian's slow place than he can thrive on bran and

It is not many years since Ireson was alive, broken in spirit under the
obloquy of his hideous ride. Later in life he followed shore-fishing,
and was once blown off to sea, where he was providentially picked up by
a coaster bound to some Eastern port. I do not think he could have
declared his right name, for sailors are superstitious folk, and he
would have been accounted a Jonah in any ship that sailed these seas.
His wherry having been cut adrift, was found, and Old Flood Ireson was
believed to have gone to the bottom of the bay, when, to the genuine
astonishment of his townsmen, he appeared one day plodding wearily along
the streets. Some charitable souls gave him another wherry, but the boys
followed the old man about as he cried his fish with their cruel shouts

    "I, Flood Ireson, for leaving a wrack,
    Was blowed out to sea, and couldn't get back."

There is book authority for the terrible aspect of the vengeance of the
fish-wives of Marblehead, so picturesquely portrayed in the poet's
lines. Increase Mather, in a letter to Mr. Cotton, 23d of Fifth month,
1677, mentions an instance of rage against two Eastern Indians, then
prisoners at Marblehead: "Sabbath-day was sennight, the women at
Marblehead, _as they came out of the meeting-house_, fell upon two
Indians that were brought in as captives, and, in a tumultuous way, very
barbarously murdered them. Doubtless, if the Indians hear of it, the
captives among them will be served accordingly." This episode recalls
the rage of the fish-women of Paris during the Reign of Terror, those
unsexed and pitiless viragos of La Halle.

I could discover little of the old Marblehead dialect, once so
distinctive that even the better class were not free from it. It is true
a few old people still retain in their conversation the savor of it; but
it is dying out. Your true Marbleheader would say, "barn in a burn" for
"born in a barn." His speech was thick and guttural; only an occasional
word falling familiarly on the unaccustomed ear. All the world over he
was known so soon as he opened his mouth. The idiom may have been the
outgrowth of the place, or perchance a reminiscence of the speech of
old-time fishermen, grounded, as I apprehend, more in the long custom of
an illiterate people than any supposed relationship with our English
mother-tongue. Whittier was acquainted with the jargon, and the question
is open to the philologist.

There is a legend about the cove near Ireson's of a "screeching woman"
done to death by pirates a century and a half or more past--a shadowy
memorial of the fact of their presence here so long ago. They brought
her on shore from their ship, and murdered her. On each anniversary of
her death, says the legend, the town was thrilled to its marrow by the
unearthly outcries of the pirates' victim. Many believed the story,
while not a few had heard the screams. Chief-justice Story was among
those who asserted that they had listened to those midnight cries of

[Illustration: FORT SEWALL.]

Passing over the causeway and under the gate-way of Fort Sewall, said to
have been named from Chief-justice Stephen Sewall,[166] who once taught
school in Marblehead, I entered the spacious parade, on which a full
regiment might easily be formed. The fort was built about 1742, and
until what was so long known as "the late war" with England, remained
substantially in its original picturesque condition. A very old man,
whom I encountered on my way hither, bemoaned the demolition of the old
work, which had been pulled to pieces and made more destructive during
the Great Civil War. The walls were originally of rough stone, little
capable of withstanding the projectiles of modern artillery. There is
another fort on the summit of a rocky eminence that overlooks the
approach to the Neck, built also during the Rebellion. When I visited
it, the earthen walls of one face had fallen in the ditch, where the
remainder of the work bid fair, at no distant day, to follow. There is
still remaining in the town the quaint little powder-house built in
1755, with a roof like the cup of an acorn.

Seated under the muzzle of one of the big guns of Fort Sewall that
pointed seaward, I could descry Baker's Isle with its brace of lights,
and the narrow strait through which the _Abigail_ sailed in 1628, with
Endicott and the founders of Salem on board. Two years later the
_Arabella_ "came to an anchor a little within the island." Winthrop
tells us how the storm-tossed voyagers went upon the land at Cape Ann,
and regaled themselves with store of strawberries. Boston was settled.
The little colony gave its left hand to Salem, and its right to
Plymouth. It waxed strong, and no power has prevailed against it.

[Illustration: POWDER-HOUSE, 1755.]

Little Harbor, north-west of the fort, is the reputed site of the first
settlement at Marblehead. On Gerry's Island, which lies close under the
shore, was the house of the first regularly ordained minister; the
cellar and pebble-paved yard were, not long ago, identified. Near by, on
the main-land, is the supposed site of the "Fountain Inn," which, like
the "Earl of Halifax," has its romance of a noble gentleman taken in the
toils of a pretty wench.[167] Sir Charles Frankland, collector of his
Majesty's customs, visits Marblehead, and becomes enamored of the
handmaid of the inn, Agnes Surriage. He makes her his mistress, but at
length, having saved his life during the great earthquake at Lisbon, she
receives the reward of love and heroism at the altar as the baronet's
wedded wife. Arthur Sandeyn, who was the first publican in Marblehead,
was allowed to keep an ordinary there in 1640. The port was fortified
after some fashion as early as 1643-44.

I had pointed out to me the spot where the _Constitution_ dropped anchor
when chased in here by two British frigates in April, 1814. They
threatened for a time to fetch her out again; but as Stewart laid the
old invincible with her grim broadside to the entrance of the port, and
the fort prepared to receive them in a becoming manner, they prudently
hauled off. The battle between the _Chesapeake_ and _Shannon_ was also
visible from the high shores here, an eye-witness, then in a
fishing-boat off in the bay, relating that nothing was to be seen except
the two ships enveloped in a thick smoke, and nothing to be heard but
the roar of the guns. When the smoke drifted to leeward, and the
cannonade was over, the British ensign was seen waving above the Stars
and Stripes.

Poor, chivalric, ill-starred Lawrence! He had given a challenge to the
commander of the _Bonne Citoyen_, and durst not decline one.[168] At the
_Shannon's_ invitation, he put to sea with an unlucky ship, and a
mutinous crew fresh from the grog-shops and brothels of Ann Street. He
besought them in burning words to show themselves worthy the name of
American sailors. They replied with sullen murmurs. One wretch, a
Portuguese named Joseph Antonio, came forward as their spokesman. His
appearance was singularly fantastic. He wore a checked shirt, a laced
jacket, rings in his ears, and a bandana handkerchief about his head.
Laying his hand on his breast, he made a profound inclination to his
captain as he said:

"Pardon me, sir, but fair play be one jewel all over the world, and we
no touchee the specie for our last cruise with Capitaine Evans. The
Congress is ver' munificent; they keep our piasters in treasury, and pay
us grape and canister. Good fashion in Portuguee ship, when take rich
prize is not pay _poco a poco_, but break bulk and share out dollar on
drum-head of capstan."[169]

[Illustration: JAMES LAWRENCE.]

Already wounded in the leg, Lawrence was struck by a grape-shot on the
medal he wore in honor of his former victory. His words, as he was borne
from the deck, have become a watchword in our navy.[170] Samuel
Livermore, of Boston, who accompanied Lawrence on this cruise out of
personal regard, attempted to avenge him. His shot missed Captain Broke.
Lawrence hearing from below the firing cease, sent his surgeon to tell
his officers to fight on. "The colors shall wave while I live!" he
constantly repeated. He was only thirty-four; sixteen years of his life
had been passed in his country's service. His figure was tall and
commanding, and in battle he was the incarnation of a warrior.

When Mr. Croker read the statement of the action in the House of
Commons, the members from all parts interrupted him with loud and
continued cheering. Perhaps a greater compliment to American valor could
not have been paid than this. The capture of a single ship of any nation
had never before called forth such a triumphant outburst.

The oldest burial-ground in Marblehead is on the summit and slopes of
the highest of its rocky eminences. Here, also, the settlers raised the
frame of their primitive church; some part of which, I was told, has
since been translated into a more secular edifice. At the head of a
little pond, where a clump of dwarfish willows has become rooted, is a
sheltered nook, in which are the oldest stones now to be seen. This was
probably the choice spot of the whole field, but it now wears the same
air of neglect common to all these old cemeteries. A stone of 1690 with
the name of "Mr. Christopher Latimore, about 70 years," was the oldest I

As I picked my way among the thick-set head-stones, for there was no
path, and I always avoid treading on a grave, I came upon a grave-digger
busily employed, with whom I held a few moments' parley. The man,
already up to his waistband in the pit, seemed chiefly concerned lest he
should not be able to go much farther before coming to the ledge, which,
even in the hollow places, you are sure of finding at no great depth. On
one side of the grave was a heap of yellow mould, smelling of the earth
earthy, and on the other side a lesser one of human bones, that the
spade had once more brought above ground.


After observing that he should be lucky to get down six feet, the
workman told me the grave was destined to receive the remains of an old
lady of ninety-four, recently deceased, who, as if fearful her rest
might be less quiet in the midst of a generation to which she did not
belong, had begged she might be buried here among her old friends and
neighbors. Although interments had long been interdicted in the
overcrowded ground, her prayer was granted. An examination of the
inscriptions confirmed what I had heard relative to the longevity of the
inhabitants of Marblehead, of which the grave-digger also recounted more
instances than I am able to remember.

I asked him what was done with the bones I saw lying there, adding to
the heap a fragment or two that had fallen unnoticed from his spade.

"Why, you see, I bury them underneath the grave I am digging, before the
folks get here. We often find such bones on the surface, where they have
been left after filling up a grave," was his reply. This did not appear
surprising, for those I saw were nearly the color of the earth itself.
Seeing my look directed with a sort of fascination toward these relics
of frail mortality, the man, evidently misconstruing my thought, took up
an arm-bone with playful familiarity, and observed, "You should have
seen the thigh-bone I found under the old Episcopal Church! I could have
knocked a man down with it easy. These," he said, throwing the bone upon
the heap, with a gesture of contempt, "are mere rotten things." Who
would be put to bed with that man's shovel!

On a grassy knoll, on the brow of the hill, is a marble monument erected
by the Marblehead Charitable Seamen's Society, in memory of its members
deceased on shore and at sea. On one face are the names of those who
have died on shore, and on the east those lost at sea, from the
society's institution in 1831 to the year 1848. On the north are the
names of sixty-five men and boys lost in the memorable gale of September
19th, 1846. This number comprised forty-three heads of families; as many
widows, and one hundred and fifty-five fatherless children, were left to
mourn the fatality.

The grave-digger told me that brave Captain Mugford had been buried on
this hill, but the spot was now unknown. I could well believe it, for
never had I seen so many graves with nothing more than a shapeless
boulder at the head and foot to mark them. Many stones were broken and
defaced, and I saw the fragments of one unearthed while standing by.
There is no material so durable as the old blue slate, whereon you may
often read an inscription cut two hundred years ago, while those on
freestone and marble need renewing every fifty years. General Glover's
tomb here is inscribed:

    Erected with filial respect
    The Memory of
    Brigadier General in the late Continental Army.
    Died January 30th, 1797,
    Aged 64.

Many of the old graves were covered with freshly springing
"life-everlasting," beautifully symbolizing the rest of such as sleep in
the faith. From the Seamen's Monument, at the foot of which some wooden
benches are placed, is seen a broad horizon, dotted with white sails. I
never knew a sailor who did not wish to be buried as near as possible to
the sea, though never in it. "Don't throw me overboard, Hardy," was
Nelson's dying request. There are clumps of lone graves on the verge of
some headland all over New England, and one old grave-yard on Stage
Island, in Maine, has been wholly washed away.

[Illustration: LONE GRAVES.]

In allusion to the loss of life caused by disasters to the fishing
fleets from time to time, an old man with whom I talked thought it was
not greater than would occur through the ordinary chances of a life on
shore. It is wonderful how a sea-faring population come to associate the
idea of safety with the sea. Earthquakes, conflagrations, falling
buildings, and like accidents are more dreaded than hurricanes, squalls,
or a lee-shore.

By an estimate taken from the _Essex Gazette_, of January 2d, 1770, it
appears that in the two preceding years Marblehead lost twenty-three
sail of vessels, with their crews, numbering one hundred and sixty-two
souls, without taking into account those who were lost from vessels on
their return. There were few families that did not mourn a relative, and
some of the older inhabitants remember to have heard their elders speak
of it with a shudder.


These are the annals that doubtless suggested Miss Larcom's "Hannah
Binding Shoes," and the long, lingering, yet fruitless watching for
those who never come back. The last shake of the hand, the last kiss,
and the last flashing of the white sail are much like the farewell on
the day of battle.


[150] Captain Goelet calls it an island.

[151] Treville was the man thought most worthy by Napoleon to lead his
fleet in the long-meditated descent on England.

[152] "Address to the Electors of Bristol."

[153] "Philosophical Transactions," vol. lxiv., part ii.

[154] A headland of Boston Harbor is named for him, Point Allerton.

[155] "Moses Maverick testifieth that in the yeare 1640 or 41 the toune
of Salem granted unto the inhabitants of Marblehead the land we now
injoy, with one of Salem, to act with us, wh acordingly was acordingly
attended unto the yeare 1648, in which yeare Marblehead was confirmed a
toune, and to that time yt never knew or understood he desented from
what was acted in layeing out land or stinting the Comons, and have
beene accounted a Toune, and payd dutyes accordingly as it hath been
required. Taken vpon oath; 19: 1mo 73/4.

"(Original Document.) WM. HATHORNE, _Affit._ Vera Copia, taken the 25 of
May, 1674, by me, Robert Ford, Cleric."

[156] Relics of Indian occupation have been found in Marblehead at
various times. There is a shell heap on the Wyman Farm, on the line of
the Eastern Railway, quite near the farm-house.

[157] A bill against piracy was ordered to be brought in March 1st,
1686; March 4th the bill passed.

[158] The first mention of Marblehead in the colony records I have seen
is of two men fined there for being drunk, in the year 1633.

[159] "New England Historical and Genealogical Register," 1870, p. 57.

[160] I have seen the date of 1766 assigned for its building.

[161] Think of Copley painting these two canvases, eight feet long by
five wide, and in his best manner, for £25!

[162] These portraits are now in possession of Colonel William Raymond
Lee, of Boston.

[163] It is not settled who is entitled to the authorship of the word
"Gerrymander," for which a number of claimants have appeared. The map of
Essex, which gave rise to the caricature, was drawn by Nathan Hale, who
edited the _Boston Weekly Messenger_, in which the political deformity
first appeared.

[164] The old frigate _Boston_ was captured at Charleston in 1780 by the
British. In 1804 Tom Moore went over to England in her, she being then
commanded by Captain J. E. Douglas.

[165] William P. Upham, of Salem, has written a memoir of Glover.

[166] Son of Major Stephen, of Newbury.

[167] See "Old Landmarks of Boston," pp. 162, 163.

[168] It has been erroneously stated that Bainbridge accompanied
Lawrence to the pier and tried to dissuade him from engaging the
_Shannon_. They had not met for several days.

[169] This fact was established by Geoffrey Crayon (Washington Irving)
in one of his philippics against Great Britain, of which he so slyly
concealed the authorship in the preface to his "Sketch Book."

[170] "Don't give up the ship."




    "What constitutes a state?
    Not high raised battlements or labored mound,
    Thick walls or moated gate."

Plymouth is the American Mecca. It does not contain the tomb of the
Prophet, but the Rock of the Forefathers, their traditions, and their
graves. The first impressions of a stranger are disappointing, for the
oldest town in New England looks as fresh as if built within the
century. There is not much that is suggestive of the old life to be seen
there. Except the hills, the haven, and the sea, there is nothing
antique; save a few carefully cherished relics, nothing that has
survived the day of the Pilgrims.

Somehow monuments--and Plymouth is to be well furnished in the
future--do not compensate for the absence of living facts. The house of
William Bradford would have been worth more to me than any of them. Even
the rusty iron pot and sword of Standish are more satisfying to the
common run of us than the shaft they are building on Captain's Hill to
his memory. They, at least, link us to the personality of the man. And
with a sigh that it was so--for I had hoped otherwise--I was obliged to
admit that Old Plymouth had been rubbed out, and that I was too late by
a century at least to realize my ideal.

[Illustration: MAP OF PLYMOUTH.]

The most impressive thing about Plymouth is its quiet; though I would
not have the reader think it deserted. There are workshops and
factories, but I did not suspect their vicinity. Even the railway train
slips furtively in and out, as if its rumbling might awaken the
slumbering old sea-port. Although the foundation of a commonwealth, the
town, as we see, has not become one of the centres of traffic. It has
shared the fate of Salem, in having its commercial marrow sucked out by
a metropolis "opulent, enlarged, and still increasing," leaving the
first-born of New England nothing but her glorious past, and the old
fires still burning on her altars.

Court Street is a pleasant and well-built thoroughfare. It runs along
the base of three of the hills on whose slopes the town lies, taking at
length the name of Main, which it exchanges again beyond the town square
for Market Street. If you follow Court Street northwardly, you will find
it merging in a country road that will conduct you to Kingston; if you
pursue it with your face to the south, you will in due time arrive at
Sandwich. Trees, of which there is a variety, are the glory of Court
Street. I saw in some streets magnificent lindens, horse-chestnuts, and
elms branching quite across them; and in the areas such early flowering
shrubs as forsythia, spiræa, pyrus japonica, and lilac.

Many houses are old, but there are none left of the originals; nor any
so peculiar as to demand description. On some of the most venerable the
chimneys are masterpieces of masonry, showing curious designs, or, in
some instances, a stack of angular projections. The chimney of Governor
Bradford's house is said to have been furnished with a sun-dial.

[Illustration: PILGRIM HALL.]

Pursuing your way along Court Street, you will first reach Pilgrim Hall,
a structure of rough granite, in the style of a Greek temple, the
prevailing taste in New England fifty years ago for all public and even
for private buildings. Within are collected many souvenirs of the
Pilgrims, and of the tribes inhabiting the Old Colony. Lying in the
grass-plot before the hall is a fragment of Forefathers' Rock,
surrounded by a circular iron fence, and labeled in figures occupying
the larger part of its surface, with the date of 1620. In this place it
became nothing but a vulgar stone. I did not feel my pulses at all
quickened on beholding it.


One end of the hall is occupied by the well-known painting of the
"Landing of the Pilgrims," by Sargent. To heighten the effect, the
artist has introduced an Indian in the foreground, an historic
anachronism. A tall, soldierly figure is designated as Miles Standish,
who is reported as being short, and scarce manly in appearance. The
canvas is of large size, and the grouping does not lack merit, but its
interest is made to depend on the figures of Governor Carver and of
Samoset, in the foreground--both larger than life. We do not recognize,
in the crouching attitude of the Indian, the erect and dauntless Samoset
portrayed by Mourt, Bradford, and Winslow. This painting, which must
have cost the artist great labor, was generously presented to the
Pilgrim Society. I have seen a painting of the "Landing" in which a boat
is represented approaching the shore, filled with soldiers in red
coats.[171] The late Professor Morse also made it the subject of his


There are on the walls portraits of Governor Edward Winslow, Governor
Josiah Winslow and wife, and of General John Winslow, all copies of
originals in the gallery of the Massachusetts Historical Society. The
original of Edward Winslow is believed to be a Vandyke. There is also a
portrait of Hon. John Trumbull, presented by Colonel John, the

[Illustration: CARVER'S CHAIR.]

[Illustration: BREWSTER'S CHAIR.]

The cabinets contain many interesting memorials of the first settlers,
their arms, implements, household furniture, and apparel. I refer the
reader to the guide-books for an enumeration of them. The chairs of
Governor Carver and of Elder Brewster are good specimens of the
uncomfortable yet quaint furnishing of their time; as the capacious iron
pots, pewter platters, and wooden trenchers are suggestive of a
primitive people, whose town was a camp. I fancy there were few
breakages among the dishes of these Pilgrims, for they were as hard as
their owners; nor were there serious deductions to be made from the
maids' wages on the day of reckoning. I confess I should have liked to
see here, instead of the somewhat confusing jumble of articles
pertaining to Pilgrim or Indian, an apartment exclusively devoted to the
household economy of the first-comers, with furniture suitably arranged,
and the evidences of their frugal housewifery garnishing the walls.

[Illustration: MINCING-KNIFE.]


Many of the articles said to have been brought over in the _Mayflower_
are doubtless authentic, but the number of objects still existing and
claiming some part of the immortality of that little bark would freight
an Indiaman of good tonnage. There is a still pretty sampler,
embroidered by the spider fingers of a Puritan maiden, with a sentiment
worth the copying by any fair damsel in the land:

    "Lorea Standish is my name.
    Lord, guide my hart that I may doe thy will;
    Also fill my hands with such convenient skill
    As may conduce to virtue void of shame;
    And I will give the glory to thy name."

[Illustration: STANDISH'S SWORD.]

And here is the carnal weapon of Miles Standish, the living sword-blade
of the colony. It lacks not much of an English ell from hilt to point,
and looks still able to push its way in the world if well grasped. The
weapon has a brass cross and guard, and resembles those trenchant
Florentine blades of the sixteenth century, with its channels, curved
point, and fine temper. The sword figures in Mr. Longfellow's "Courtship
of Miles Standish," where we may hear it clank at the captain's heels as
he goes from his wrathful interview with John Alden, slamming the door
after him, no doubt, like the tempestuous little tea-pot he was. The
inscription on the blade has baffled the _savans_. For such a
hot-tempered captain it should have been that engraved on the Earl of
Shrewsbury's sword,

    "I am Talbot's, for to slay his foes."

It could hardly have been this legend, with a point inscribed on a
broadsword of the seventeenth century:

    "_Qui gladio ferit_
    _Gladio perit._"

Speaking of swords, I am reminded that the first duel in New England was
at Plymouth, in the year 1621. It was between Edward Doty or Doten, and
Edward Leister, servants of Steven Hopkins. They fought with sword and
dagger, like their betters, and were both wounded. Having no statute
against the offense, the Pilgrims met in council to determine on the
punishment. It was exemplary. The parties were ordered to be tied
together, hand and foot, and to remain twenty-four hours without food or
drink. The intercession of their master and their own entreaties
procured their release before the sentence was carried out.

[Illustration: THE OLD COLONY SEAL.]

In the front of the court-house is a mural tablet, with the seal of the
Old Colony sculptured in relief. The quarterings of the shield represent
four kneeling figures, having each a flaming heart in its hands. On one
side of the figures is a small tree, indicative, I suppose, of the
infant growth of the plantation. The attitude and semi-nude appearance
indicate an Indian, the subsequent device of Massachusetts, and are at
once significant of his subjection, hearty welcome, and ultimate
loyalty. The colony seal is said to have been abstracted from the
archives in Andros's time, and never recovered.[173] Its legend was
"Plimovth Nov-Anglia, Sigillvm Societatis," with the date of 1620 above
the shield. The union with Massachusetts, in 1692, dispensed with the
necessity for a separate seal.

I saw, in the office of the Register, the records of the First Church of
Plymouth, begun and continued by Nathaniel Morton to 1680. The court
records, as well as the ancient charter, on which the ink is so faded as
to be scarcely legible, are carefully kept.

But the compact, that august instrument, I did not see, nor is the fate
of the original known. Its language bears an extraordinary similitude to
the preamble of the Constitution of the United States, in its spirit and
idea. The name of the king is there in good set phrase; but the soul of
the thing is its assumption of sovereignty in the people. See now how
King James figures at the head and the tail of it, and then look into
the heart of the matter:

     "In ye name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the
     loyall subjects of our dread soveraigne Lord, King James, by
     ye grace of God, of Great Britaine, Franc, & Ireland, King,
     defender of ye faith, &c., haveing undertaken, for ye glorie
     of God and advancemente of ye Christian faith and honour of
     our king & countrie, a voyage to plant ye first colonie in ye
     Northerne parts of Virginia, doe by these presents solemnly &
     mutualy in ye presence of God, and one of another, covenant
     and combine our selves togeather in a civill body politick, for
     our better ordering & preservation & furtherance of ye ends
     aforesaid; and by vertue hearof to enacte, constitute, and
     frame such just & equall lawes, ordinances, acts, constitutions
     & offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete &
     convenent for ye generall good of ye Colonie, unto which we
     promise all due submission and obedience. In witnes wherof we
     have hereunder subscribed our names at Cap-Codd ye 11 of
     November, in ye year of ye raigne of our soveraigne lord,
     King James of England, Franc, & Ireland ye eighteenth & of
     Scotland ye fiftie fourth, Ano: Dom. 1620."

Bradford says the bond was partly due to the mutinous spirit of some of
the strangers on board the _Mayflower_, and partly to the belief that
such an act might be as firm as any patent, and in some respects more
sure. It is impossible not to be interested in the lives of such men;
they were deeply in earnest.

In 1630 the first public execution took place in Plymouth. The culprit
was John Billington, who, as Bradford wrote home to England, was a
knave, and so would live and die. Billington had waylaid and shot one of
the town,[174] and was adjudged guilty of murder. The colony patent
could not confer a power it did not itself possess to inflict the death
penalty, so they took counsel of their friends just come into
Massachusetts Bay, and were advised to "purge the land of blood."

In 1658, the crime of adultery appears to be first noticed in the laws.
The punishment of this offense was two whippings, the persons convicted
to wear two capital letters "A. D." cut in cloth and sewed on their
uppermost garment, on their arm or back; if they removed the letters,
they were again to be publicly whipped. Another law, that would bear
rather hardly on the present generation, was as follows: Any persons
"who behaved themselves profanely by being without doors at the
meeting-houses on the Lord's day, in time of exercise, and there
misdemeaning themselves by jestings, sleepings, or the like," were first
to be admonished, and if they did not refrain, set in the stocks; and if
still unreclaimed, cited before the court.

Josselyn, writing of the old "Body of Laws of 1646," says, "Scolds they
gag and set them at their doors for certain hours, for all comers and
goers by to gaze at." And here is material for the "Scarlet Letter:" "An
English woman suffering an Indian to have carnal knowledge of her was
obliged to wear an Indian cut out of red cloth sewed upon her right arm,
and worn twelve months." Swearing was punished by boring through the
tongue with a hot iron; adultery with death.

The chronicles of the Pilgrims have undergone many strange vicissitudes,
but are fortunately quite full and complete. It would be pleasant to
know more of their lives during their first year at Plymouth than is
given by Bradford or Morton. Governor Bradford's manuscript history of
Plymouth plantation was probably purloined from the New England Library
deposited in the Old South Church of Boston, during the siege of 1775.
It found its way to the Fulham Library in England, was discovered, and a
copy made which has since been printed, after remaining in manuscript
more than two hundred years. The letter-book of Governor Bradford has a
similar history. It was rescued from a grocer's shop in Halifax, after
the destruction of half its invaluable contents.

The next best thing to be done is probably to go at once to the top of
Burial Hill, which is here what the Hoe is to English Plymouth. Here, at
least, are plenty of memorials of the Pilgrims, and here town and harbor
are outspread for perusal. Seen at full tide, the harbor appears a
goodly port enough, but it is left as bare by the ebb as if the sea had
been commanded to remove and become dry land. Nothing except a broad
expanse of sand-bars and mussel shoals, with luxuriant growth of
eel-grass, meets the eye. Through these a narrow and devious channel
makes its way. The bay, however, could not be called tame with two such
landmarks as Captain's Hill on Duxbury side, and the promontory of
Manomet on the shoulder of the Cape.

[Illustration: MAP OF PLYMOUTH BAY.]

Plymouth Bay is formed by the jutting-out of Manomet on the south, and
by the long-attenuated strip of sand known as Duxbury Beach, on the
north. This beach terminates in a smaller pattern of the celebrated
Italian boot that looks equally ready to play at foot-ball with Sicily
or to kick intruders out of the Mediterranean. The heel of the boot is
toward the sea, and called The Gurnet; the toe points landward, and is
called Saquish Head. Just within the toe of the boot is Clark's Island,
named from the master's mate of the _Mayflower_; then comes Captain's
Hill, making, with the beach, Duxbury Harbor; and in the farthest reach
of the bay to the westward is Kingston, where a little water-course,
called after the master of the _Mayflower_,[175] makes up into the land.
In the southern board Cape Cod is seen on a clear day far out at sea; a
mere shining streak of white sand it appears at this distance.

Plymouth harbor proper is formed by a long sand-spit parallel with the
shore, that serves as a breakwater for the shallow roadstead. It is
anchored where it is, for the winds would blow it away else, by wooden
cribs on which the drifting sands are mounded; and it is also tethered
by beach-grass rooted in the hillocks or downs that fringe the
harbor-side. Now and then extensive repairs are necessary to make good
the ravages of a winter's sea-lashings, as many as six hundred tons of
stone having been added to the breakwater at the Point at one time.
Brush is placed in the jetties, and thousands of roots of beach-grass
are planted to catch and stay the shifting sands. The harbor is lighted
at evening by twin lights on the Gurnet, and by a single one off
Plymouth Beach. The latter is a caisson of iron rooted to the rock by a
filling of concrete, and is washed on all sides by the waters of the

Sand is everywhere; the "stern and rock-bound coast" of Mrs. Hemans
nowhere. Except one little cluster by the northern shore of the harbor,
the Forefathers' is the only rock on which those pious men could have
landed with dry feet. A few boulders, noticeably infrequent, are
scattered along the beach as you approach from Kingston. The hills on
which the town is built appear lean and emaciated, as if the light
yellow earth with which they are furnished were a compromise between
sand and soil. The gardens and house-plots, nevertheless, thrive if they
have moisture enough. Few vessels were lying in the harbor, for Plymouth
has at present little or no commerce; yet of these, two small colliers
were larger than the little _Mayflower_ that carried a greater than
Cæsar and his fortunes.[176]

The Pilgrims brought the name of their settlement along with them,
though Captain John Smith gives it first the Indian name of Accomack,
changed by Prince Charles to Plimouth, as it appears on the map
accompanying "Advertisements for the Unexperienced." The port was,
however, earlier known to both French and English. Samoset told the
Pilgrims, at his first interview with them, the Indian name was
Patuxet.[177] Prince, indeed, assigns a date (December 31st) for the
formal assumption of the English name.[178]

Plymouth, England, from which the Pilgrims finally set sail on the 6th
of September, 1619, is situated at the extreme north-west corner of
Devonshire, and is divided from Cornwall only by the river Tamar. The
name has no other significance than the mouth of the river _Plym_.
Exmouth and Dartmouth have the like derivation. Plymouth was long the
residence of Sir Francis Drake, and was the birthplace of Sir John
Hawkins; also of the painters Northcote, Prout, and B. Haydon. Captain
John Davis, the intrepid navigator, and Sir Humphrey Gilbert, who, Queen
Elizabeth said, was a "man of noe good happ by sea," were also of
Devonshire. It is of the two rivers upon which the "Three Towns" stand
that old Michael Drayton writes:

                            "Plym that claims by right
    The christening of that Bay, which bears her noble name."

In spite of historic antecedents, English Plymouth was distasteful to
Lord Nelson, who says, in one of his letters to Lady Hamilton, "I hate
Plymouth." American Plymouth should owe no grudge to his memory, for he
did a very noble act to one of her townsmen. While cruising on our coast
in the _Albemarle_, in 1782, Nelson captured a fishing schooner
belonging to Plymouth. The cargo of the vessel constituted nearly the
whole property of Captain Carver, the master, who had a large family at
home anxiously awaiting his return. There being no officer on board the
_Albemarle_ acquainted with Boston Bay, Nelson ordered the master of the
prize to act as pilot. He performed the service to the satisfaction of
his captor, who requited him by giving him his vessel and cargo back
again, with a certificate to prevent recapture by other British
cruisers. Sir N. Harris Nicolas relates that Nelson accompanied this
generous act with words equally generous: "You have rendered me, sir, a
very essential service, and it is not the custom of English seamen to be
ungrateful. In the name, therefore, and with the approbation of the
officers of this ship, I return your schooner, and with it this
certificate of your good conduct.[179] Farewell! and may God bless you."

The choice of the site of Plymouth by the Pilgrims was due rather to the
pressing necessities of their situation than to a well-considered
determination. Arriving on our coast in the beginning of winter, after
nearly six weeks passed in explorations that enfeebled the hardiest
among them, they found their provisions failing, while the increasing
rigor of the season called for a speedy decision. As it was not their
destination, so it may readily be conceived they were not prepared
beforehand with such knowledge of the coast as might now be most
serviceable to them. Cheated by their captain, they had thrown away the
valuable time spent in searching the barren cape for a harbor fit for
settlement. Smith, in his egotism, administers a rebuke to them in this

"Yet at the first landing at _Cape Cod_, being an hundred passengers,
besides twenty they had left behind at _Plimouth_ for want of good take
heed, thinking to find all things better than I advised them, spent six
or seven weeks in wandering up and downe in frost and snow, wind and
raine, among the woods, cricks, and swamps, forty of them died, and
three-score were left in a most miserable estate at New Plimouth, where
their ship left them, and but nine leagues by sea from where they
landed, whose misery and variable opinions, for want of experience,
occasioned much faction, till necessity agreed them."

It is not easily understood why they should have remained in so
unpromising a location after a better knowledge of the country had been
obtained. To the north was Massachusetts, called by Smith "the paradise
of those parts." South-west of them was the fertile Narraganset country,
with fair Aquidneck within their patent. In thirteen or fourteen years
the whole of Plymouth colony would not have made one populous town. But
there are indications that a removal was kept in view. Their brethren in
Leyden, who saw the hand of God in their first choice, advised them not
to abandon it. In 1633 they established a trading-house on the
Connecticut, and when afterward dispossessed by Massachusetts, alleged
as a reason for holding a post there that "they lived upon a barren
place, where they were by necessity cast, and neither they nor theirs
could long continue upon the same, and why should they be deprived of
that which they had provided and intended to remove to as soon as they
were able?"[180] Yet, like fatalists they continued on the very shores
to which Providence had directed them.

When the Pilgrims explored the bay, they were at first undetermined
whether to make choice of Clark's Island, the shores of the little river
at Kingston, or the spot on the main-land which became their ultimate
abode. The high ground of Plymouth shore, the "sweete brooke" under the
hill-side, and the large tract of land ready cleared for their use,
settled the question; the high hill from which they might see Cape Cod,
and withal very fit for a citadel, clenched their decision.

It did not seem to occur to the Pilgrims that to pitch their residence
in a place desolated by the visitation of God was at all ill-omened. In
their circuit of the bay they did not see an Indian or an Indian wigwam,
though they met with traces of a former habitation. Added to the sadness
and gloom of the landscape, the frozen earth, the bare and leafless
trees, was a silence not alone of nature, but of death. The plague had
cleared the way for them; they built upon graves.

This terrible forerunner of the English is alluded to by several of the
old writers. It swept the coast from the Fresh Water River to the
Penobscot, with a destructiveness like to that witnessed in London a few
years later. Sir F. Gorges tells us that the Indians inhabiting the
region round about the embouchure of the Saco were sorely afflicted with
it, "so that the country was in a manner left void of inhabitants."
Vines, Sir Ferdinando's agent, with his companions, slept in the cabins
with those that died; but, to their good fortune, as the narrative
quaintly sets forth, "not one of them ever felt their heads to ache
while they stayed there." This was in the year 1616-'17. Levett says the
Indians at "Aquamenticus" were all dead when he was there. Samoset
explains, in his broken English, to the Pilgrims that the lawful
occupants of Patuxet had, four years before, been swept away by an
extraordinary plague. The Indians had never seen or heard of the disease
before. Villages withered away when the blight fell upon them; tribes
were obliterated, and nations were reduced to tribes. Doubtless, this
disaster had much to do with the peaceable settlement of Plymouth,
Salem, and Boston. Had the Pilgrims been everywhere resisted, as at
Nauset, they could hardly have planted their colony in Plymouth Bay.

There was another cause to which the English owed their safety, as
related to them by many aged Indians. A French ship had been cast away
on Cape Cod. The crew succeeded in landing, but the Indians, less
merciful than the sea, butchered all but three of them. Two were
ransomed by Dermer, one of Sir F. Gorges's captains. The other remained
with the savages, acquired their language, and died among them. Before
his death he foretold that God was angry, and would destroy them, and
give their heritage to a strange people. They derided him, and answered
boastfully, they were so strong and numerous that the Manitou could not
kill them all. Soon after the pestilence depopulated the country. Then
came the Englishmen in their ships. The savages assembled in a dark
swamp, where their conjurors, with incantations lasting several days,
solemnly cursed the pale-faces, devoting them to destruction. Thus the
English found safety in the superstitious awe of the natives. The story
of the terrible plague is as yet unwritten. Governor Bradford says that
when Winslow went to confer with Massasoit, he passed by numbers of
unburied skulls and bones of those who had died.

Captain Levett is corroborative of the Pilgrims' settled intention to
depart from their original place of settlement. He observes in his
"Voyage into New England:" "Neither was I at New Plymouth, but I fear
that place is not so good as many others; for if it were, in my conceit,
they would content themselves with it, and not seek for any other,
having ten times so much ground as would serve ten times so many people
as they have now among them. But it seems they have no fish to make
benefit of; for this year they had one ship fish at Pemaquid, and
another at Cape Ann, where they have begun a new plantation, but how
long it will continue I know not."

It is evident from the testimony that the settlement at Plymouth was
ill-considered, and that the Pilgrims were themselves far from satisfied
with it. In this, too, we have the solution of the rapid overshadowing
of the Old Colony by its neighbors, and the fading away of its political
and commercial importance.

There is no manner of doubt that Plymouth had been visited by whites
long before the advent of the _Mayflower's_ band. Hutchinson erroneously
says De Monts "did not go into the Massachusetts bay, but struck over
from some part of the eastern shore to Cape Ann, and so to Cape Cod, and
sailed farther southward." Definite is this!

It was the object of De Monts to examine the coast, and his pilot seems
to have kept in with it as closely as possible, making a harbor every
night where one was to be found. The Indian pilot proved to have little
knowledge of the shores or of the language of the tribes to the westward
of the Saco; for on being confronted with the natives of the
Massachusetts country, he was not able to understand them. Gorges
recounts that his natives from Pemaquid and from Martha's Vineyard at
first hardly comprehended each other.

Hutchinson, it is probable, saw the edition of "Champlain's Voyages" of
1632, contenting himself with a cursory examination of it. An attentive
reading of the text of the edition of 1613 would have undeceived him as
to the movements of De Monts. Although the reprint of 1632 gives the
substance of the voyage, it is so mutilated in its details as to afford
scanty satisfaction to the student.

After leaving Cape Ann, De Monts entered Boston Bay and saw Charles
River, named by his company "Rivière du Gas," in compliment to their
chief. From thence they continued their route to a place that has for
the moment a greater interest. Given the latitude, the physical
features, and the distance from Cape Ann, we are at no loss to put the
finger on Plymouth Bay, of which the geographer of the expedition is the
first to give us a description.

The wind coming contrary, they dropped anchor in a little
roadstead.[181] While lying there they were boarded by canoes that had
been out fishing for cod. These, going to shore, notified their
companions, who assembled on the sands, dancing and gesticulating in
token of amity and welcome. A canoe from the bark landed with a few
trifles with which the simple natives were well pleased, and begged
their strange visitors to come and visit them within their river. The
man-stealers had not yet been among them. They offered a simple but
sincere hospitality.


Let us have recourse to the musty pages and antiquated French of
Champlain, following in the wake of the bark as it weathers the Gurnet,
and doubles Saquish, with the cheery cry of the leadsman, and the eyes
of De Monts, Champlain, and Champdoré fixed on the shores of coming

     "Nous levames l'ancre pour ce faire, mais nous n'y peusmes
     entrer à cause du peu d'eau que nous y trouvames estans de
     basse mer et fumes contrainctes de mouiller l'ancre à l'entrée
     d'icelle. Je decendis à terre où j'eu vis quantité d'autres qui
     nous reçeurent fort gratieusement: et fus recognoistre la
     rivière, où n'y a vey autre chose qu'un bras d'eau qui s'estant
     quelque peu dans les terres qui font en partie desertées:
     dedans lequel il n'y a qu'un ruisseau qui ne peut porter
     basteaux sinon de pleine mer. Ce lieu peut avoir une lieue de
     circuit. En l'une des entrées duquel y a une manière d'icelle
     couverte de bois et principalement de pins qui tient d'un coste
     à des dunes de sable, qui font assez longues: l'autre coste est
     une terre assez haute. II y a deux islets dans lad. Baye, qu'on
     ne voit point si l'on n'est dedans, où autour la mer asséche
     presque toute de basse mer. Ce lieu est fort remarquable de la
     mer; d'autant que la coste est fort basse, hormis le cap de
     l'entrée de la Baye qu'avons nommé le port du cap St. Louys
     distant dud. cap deux lieues et dix du Cap aux Isles. Il est
     environ par le hauteur du Cap St. Louys."


     We raised the anchor to do this, but we could not enter therein
     by reason of the little water which we found there, being low
     sea, and were constrained to let go the anchor at the entrance
     of it. I went ashore, where I saw numbers of natives who
     received us very graciously, and surveyed the river, which is
     nothing more than an arm of water that makes a little way in
     the lands which are in part deserted, within which it is only a
     rivulet that can not float vessels except at full sea. This
     place may be a league in circuit. At one of the entrances is a
     sort of island, which is covered with wood, principally pines,
     which holds to a coast of sandy downs of some length; the other
     shore is pretty high land. There are two isles in the said Bay
     which are not perceived until you are within, which the sea
     leaves almost entirely at low tide. This place is very
     remarkable from the sea, inasmuch as the coast is very low,
     except the cape at the entrance of the Bay, which we have named
     Port Cape St. Louis, distant from the said Cape two leagues,
     and ten from the Cape of Islands. It is about the latitude of
     Cape St. Louis.[183]

In this description the Gurnet and Manomet stand out for easy
recognition. The sandy downs of Duxbury Beach, the shallow harbor, the
river, even the soundings establish the identity of Port St. Louis with
Plymouth; and the two islands become further evidence, if more were

To account for the hostility of the Indians inhabiting the Cape when the
Pilgrims were reconnoitring there, it is only necessary to cite a few
facts. Cabot stole three savages and carried them to England, where,
says Stow, in ludicrous astonishment, after two years' residence they
could not be told from Englishmen. In 1508, it is said, Thomas Aubert, a
pilot of Dieppe, excited great curiosity by bringing over several
natives to France. Cartier took two back with him to France, but with
their own consent; and they were eventually, I believe, restored to
their native country. Weymouth, in 1605, seized five at Pemaquid;
Harlow, in 1611, five more; and Hunt, the greatest thief of them all,
kidnaped in this very harbor of Plymouth, in the year 1614, twenty-four
of those silly savages, and sold them in Spain for reals of eight. After
such treachery it is not strange the red men looked on these new-comers
as their natural enemies. It is more extraordinary that Samoset, on
entering their weak village some months after their landing, should have
greeted them with the memorable "Welcome, Englishmen!"

The Pilgrims saw in the evidences of prior intercourse with Europeans,
that they were not the pioneers in this wilderness of New England. They
found implements and utensils of civilized manufacture, though no
fire-arms. These articles were probably obtained by barter with the
fishing or trading ships.

On William Wood's map of 1634,[184] Old Plymouth is laid down on the
eastern shore of Narraganset Bay, while New Plymouth has its proper
position. "New Plimouth" is placed on Blauw's map at the head of a small
bay, into which a large river flows. One of the headlands of the bay is
named C. Blanco Gallis, and the bay itself Crane Bay. Josselyn has also
this reference to Old Plymouth:

"At the farther end of the bay, by the mouth of Narraganset River, on
the south side thereof was Old Plymouth plantation, _Anno_ 1602." He may
have borrowed his itinerary in part from Wood, who, as I take it,
referred to Gosnold's attempt at the mouth of Buzzard's Bay. In his
summary, under date of 1607, Josselyn notes, "Plimouth plantation in New
England attempted."

I spent some hours among the grave-stones on Burial Hill. Here, as in
the streets of the living inhabitants, the old familiar names of the
_Mayflower's_ passengers are to be met with. And in every burial-place
in the land, I make no doubt, are to be found Howlands and Winslows,
Bradfords and Brewsters, side by side. I have felt myself much moved in
thinking on the story of those stern men and self-contained, trustful
women. Their whole lives might justly be called a pilgrimage. Consider
their gathering in the Old England they loved so well; then their
dispersion, suffering, and hurried flight into Holland; afterward the
staking their all on the issue of their venture in the New World, and
the painful, anxious lives they led; despoiling the young of their
youth, and the elders of a peaceful old age.

This spot, as is well known, was not the Pilgrims' original place of
interment. They who first died were buried on Cole's Hill, nearer the
shore, and to the strait limits of their little hamlet. They lost one
half their number during the first dismal winter, and there was room
enough without going far to make their graves. Tradition says that,
fearing their wretchedness might inspire the Indians with the hope of
exterminating them, those early graves were first leveled and then
planted upon in order to conceal their losses. It is said that sixty
years elapsed before a grave-stone with an inscription was set up in
Plymouth; certain it is that none older has been found than that of
Edward Gray, merchant, who died in 1681.

The obliterated grave-yard on Cole's Hill, which was nothing more than a
sea-bluff overhanging the shore, was flooded by a freshet about 1735,
laying bare many of the graves, and carrying along with it to the sea
many of the remains. It is the supposed resting-place of Carver, the
first governor of Plymouth, and of his wife, who did not long survive
him. It contained the ashes of fifty of the one hundred and two that had
landed in December. In the time of the first winter's sickness, says
Hutchinson, there were not above seven men capable of bearing arms. And
yet, when they were almost too few to bury their own dead, they talked
of war with Canonicus as if it were mere bagatelle, answering defiance
with defiance. I fancy those Pilgrims were of the right stuff!

On Burial Hill is a monument to the memory of Governor Bradford, who
succeeded Carver, and was annually chosen from 1621 until his death, in
1657--except during the years 1633, 1636, 1638, and 1644, when Edward
Winslow, and in 1634, when Thomas Prence, administered the colony
affairs. In seventy years there were only six different persons
governors of Plymouth. Roger White, the friend of Bradford, writes him a
letter from Leyden, December, 1625, counseling rotation in office, more
than hinting that the constant re-election of himself to the chief
office in the colony tended to an oligarchy.[185] Bradford was among the
earliest to go into Holland for conscience' sake. He was of good estate,
and had learned the art of silk-dyeing in Amsterdam. His residence in
the New World began in affliction, for, before a site for settlement had
been fixed upon, his wife, Dorothy May, fell from the vessel into the
sea and was drowned. His monument was erected, some years ago, by

In a conspicuous position is the monument raised, in 1858, by the
descendants of Robert Cushman, and of Thomas Cushman, his son, for
forty-three years ruling elder of the church of the Pilgrims. Of all the
original memorial tablets in this old cemetery, those of Thomas Cushman,
who came in 1621, in the _Fortune_, and of Thomas Clark, a passenger by
the _Ann_, in 1623, alone were remaining. The grave of John Howland, an
emigrant of the _Mayflower_, has been identified, and furnished with a
handsome head-stone. In some instances boards bearing simply the name
and age of the deceased have replaced the aged and no longer legible
stones, as in the cases of Elder Thomas Faunce, William Crowe, and
others. The stone of Thomas Clark was the most curious I saw, and in
general the inscriptions do not possess other interest than the
recollections they summon up. The grave of Dr. Adoniram Judson is also

Burial Hill is also memorable as the site of the second[186] regular
church edifice in New England, built to serve the double purpose of
church and citadel. From this cause the eminence was long called Fort
Hill. By February, 1621, after the defiance of Canonicus, the town was
inclosed within a palisade, taking in the top of the hill under which it
was situated. In 1622 the colonists built their church-fortress; it
should have been dedicated with Luther's anthem:

    "God is a castle and defense,
      When troubles and distress invade,
    He'll help and free us from offense,
      And ever shield us with his aid."

Ever willing to turn an honest penny, the Dutch, in 1627, opened a
correspondence between Fort Amsterdam and Plymouth, with offers of
trade. They followed it with an embassy in the person of Isaac de
Rasieres, who, says Bradford, was their chief merchant, and second to
their governor. He came into Plymouth "honorably attended with a noise
of trumpeters." It is in a letter of De Rasieres, found at The Hague by
Mr. Brodhead, that we obtain a circumstantial account of town and
fortress as they then existed.

"Upon the hill," he writes, "they have a large, square house, with a
flat roof, made of thick sawn planks, stayed with oak beams, upon the
top of which they have six cannons, which shoot iron balls of four and
five pounds, and command the surrounding country. The lower part they
use for their church, where they preach on Sundays and the usual

A looker-on here in 1807 found in this burying-ground and on the summit
of the hill the remains of the ditch that surrounded the ancient
fortification erected in 1675, on the approach of Philip's war. This was
a work of greater magnitude than that of the first adventurers,
inclosing a space one hundred feet square, strongly palisaded with
pickets ten and a half feet high. As late as 1844 the whole circuit of
this work was distinctly visible.[188] The head of Wittuwamet, one of
the chiefs killed by Standish's party at Weymouth in 1623, was set up on
the battlements of the fort, as was afterward that of the renowned King
Philip. The vaunting, the exasperating mockery of a savage, is in these

    'Who is there here to fight with the brave Wattawamat?'
    Then he unsheathed his knife, and, whetting the blade on his left
    Held it aloft and displayed a woman's face on the handle,
    Saying, with bitter expression and look of sinister meaning,
    'I have another at home, with the face of a man on the handle;
    By-and-by they shall marry; and there will be plenty of children.'

According to Edward Winslow, the English stood to their guns when
Indians came among them. To allay distrust in the minds of the savages,
they were told it was an act of courtesy observed by the English, both
on land and sea. The sentinel who paced his lonely round here in 1622
should have had steady nerves. The nearest outpost was his
fellow-watcher on the ramparts of Fort Amsterdam. He could hardly pass
the word on "All's well!" to Jamestown or Saint Augustine, or hear the
challenge from Port Royal, in Acadia. Behind him was the wilderness, out
of which it was a wonder the Indians did not burst, it was so easy to
overwhelm the devoted little band of Englishmen and brush them away into
the sea. I make no account of the few scattered cabins along the
northern coast, and the Pilgrims made no account of them. Thus they
lived for ten years within the narrow limits of an intrenched camp, a
picket lodged within an enemy's country, until the settlement in
Massachusetts Bay enabled them to draw breath. Why might they not say to
those after-comers,

    "We are the Jasons; we have won the fleece?"

The procession of the Pilgrims to their church was a sight that must
have exceedingly stirred the sluggish blood of the Dutch emissary. He
found them attentive to proffers of trade; acute, as might be expected
of the first Yankees, where profits were in question; but there was no
doubt about the quality of their piety. At the hour of worship the
silent village was assembled by drum-beat, as was befitting in the
Church Militant. At this signal the house-doors open and give passage to
each family. The men wear their sad-colored mantles, and are armed to
the teeth, as if going to battle. Silently they take their places in
front of the captain's door, three abreast, with matchlocks shouldered.
The tall, stern-visaged ones, we may suppose, lead the rest. In front is
the sergeant. Behind the armed men comes Bradford, in a long robe. At
his right hand is Elder Brewster, with his cloak on. At the governor's
left marches Miles Standish, his rapier lifting up the corner of his
mantle, and carrying a small cane in his hand. The women in sober gowns,
kerchiefs, and hoods, their garments poor, but scrupulously neat, follow
next; the lowlier yielding precedence to those of better condition. At
command, they take their way up the hill in this order, and, entering
within the rude temple they have raised, each man sets down his musket
where he may lay hand upon it. "Thus," says De Rasieres, "they are on
their guard night and day."

Thomas Lechford, "of Clement's Inn, Gent," in his "Plain Dealing," says
he once looked in the church-door in Boston where the sacrament was
being administered. He thus noted down what he saw: "They come together
about nine o'clock by ringing of a bell. Pastor prayed for a quarter of
an hour. The teacher then readeth and expoundeth a chapter; then a psalm
is sung, which one of the ruling Elders dictates. Afterward the pastor
preaches a sermon, or exhorts _ex tempore_."

This is the way in which they made contributions: "On Sundays, in the
afternoon, when the sermon is ended, the people in the galleries come
down and march two abreast up one aisle and down the other, until they
come before the desk, for pulpit they have none. Before the desk is a
long pue where the elders and deacons sit, one of them with a money-box
in his hand, into which the people, as they pass, put their offering,
some a shill, some 2s., some half a crown, five s., according to their
ability. Then they conclude with a prayer."

Lechford adds that the congregation used to pass up by the deacon's
seat, giving either money, or valuable articles, or paper promises to
pay, and so to their seats again, the chief men or magistrates first.
The same author describes the method of excommunication practiced in
some of the New England churches. "At New Haven, _alias_ Quinapeag," he
says, "where Master Davenport is pastor, the excommunicate is held out
of the meeting, at the doore, if he will heare, in frost, snow, and

The Pilgrims are often called Puritans, a term of reproach first applied
to the whole body of Dissenters, but in their day belonging strictly to
those who renounced the forms and ceremonies while believing in the
doctrines and sacraments of the Church of England. Boston was settled by
Puritans, who, according to Governor Winthrop, adhered to the
mother-church when they left Old England. It is curious to observe that
the Boston Puritans became rigid Separatists, while the Plymouth
Separatists became more and more moderate. The Pilgrims were originally
of the sect called Brownists, from Robert Brown, a school-master in
Southwark about 1580, and a relation of Cecil, Lord Burghley.[189]
Cardinal Bentivoglio erroneously calls the Holland refugees a distinct
sect by the name of Puritans. Hutchinson, usually well informed,
observes, "If all in England who called themselves Brownists and
Independents at that day had come over with them (the Pilgrims), they
would scarcely have made one considerable town." Yet in 1592 there were
said to be twenty thousand Independents in England.

The Church of the Pilgrims, formed, in 1602, of people living on the
borders of Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, and Yorkshire, made their way,
after innumerable difficulties, into Holland. Their pastor, John
Robinson, is usually regarded as the author of Independency. A residence
on the scene of the Reformation softened, in many respects, the
inflexible religious character of the Brownists. They discarded the name
rendered odious on many accounts. It is stated, on the authority of
Edward Winslow, that Robinson and his Church did not require
renunciation of the Church of England, acknowledging the other reformed
churches, and allowing occasional communion with them. It is also
evident from what Bradford says that the Pilgrims chose the Huguenots as
their models in Church affairs.[190]

Both in regard to civil and ecclesiastical affairs the Pilgrims were
placed in a situation of serious difficulty. The King of England
promised not to interfere with them in religious matters, but would not
acknowledge them by any public act under his hand and seal. Some of the
most influential of the company of English merchants, by whom they were
transported to New England, did not sympathize with them in their
religious views, and at length broke off from them, and left them to
struggle on alone as best they might. This is apparent in the plan to
prevent the remnant of the Church of Leyden from coming over. It is also
clear that neither the motives nor the intentions of the Pilgrims were
well understood by the adventurers at the outset, and that as soon as
these were fully developed, the merchants, or a majority of them,
preferred to augment their colony with a more pliant and less obnoxious
class of emigrants than the first-comers had proved. In examining the
charges and complaints of the one, and the explanations of the other, it
is difficult to avoid the conclusion that a good deal of duplicity was
used by the Pilgrims to keep the breath of life in their infant

It appears that the settlers in Massachusetts Bay were not acquainted
with the form of worship practiced by the Pilgrims, as Endicott writes
to Governor Bradford from "Naumkeak, May 11th, 1629: I acknowledge
myself much bound to you for your kind love and care in sending Mr.
Fuller among us, and rejoice much that I am by him satisfied touching
your judgments of the outward form of God's worship; it is (as far as I
can yet gather) no other than is warranted by the evidence of truth, and
the same which I have professed and maintained ever since the Lord in
his mercy revealed himself unto me, being far differing from the common
reports that hath been spread of you touching that particular."[191]

I have thought it worth mentioning that the church at Salem was the
first completely organized Congregational church in America. It was
gathered August 6th, 1629, when Rev. Mr. Higginson was ordained teacher,
and Mr. Skelton pastor.[192] Governor Bradford and others deputed from
the church at Plymouth, coming into the assembly in the hour of the
solemnity, gave them the right hand of fellowship. Robinson never having
come over, Plymouth was without a pastor for some years.

Under Charles I. the Pilgrims fared little better than in the preceding
reign; but they had seated themselves firmly by the period of the Civil
War. On the day before his arrival at Shrewsbury, the king caused the
military orders to be read at the head of each regiment. Then, mounting
his horse, and placing himself in the midst, where all might hear, he
made a speech to his soldiers, in which this passage occurs:

"Gentlemen, you have heard these orders read; it is your part, in your
severall places, to observe them exactly.... I can not suspect your
Courage and Resolution; your Conscience and your Loyalty hath brought
you hither to fight for your Religion, your King, and the Laws of the
Land; you shall fight with no Enemies, but Traitours, most of them
Brownists, Anabaptists, and Atheists, such who desire to destroy both
Church and State, and who have already condemned you to ruin for being
Loyall to vs."

Here, then, were a handful of men repudiated by their king, cast off by
their commercial partners, a prey to the consequences of civil war at
home, and living by sufferance in the midst of a fierce and warlike
people, compelled at last to work out their own political destiny. What
wonder that with them self-preservation stood first, last, and always!
All other settlements in New England were made with the hope of gain
alone, few, if any, colonists meaning to make a permanent home in its
wilds. We may not withhold the respect due to these Pilgrims, who were
essentially a unit, embodying the germ of civil, political, and
religious liberty. They beheld from the beach the vanishing sail of the
_Mayflower_ as men who had accepted what fate may bring to them. They
did not mean to go back.



[171] In possession of New England Historic Genealogical Society,
Boston. It is by Corné, a marine painter of some repute in his day.

[172] Other portraits are of Dr. James Thacher, by Frothingham, and of
John Alden, great-grandson of John, of the _Mayflower_, who died at the
great age of one hundred and two years. He was of Middleborough. Dr.
Thacher, a surgeon of the old Continental army, deserves more space than
I am able to give him. He has embodied a great deal of Revolutionary
history, in a very interesting way, in his "Military Journal," having
been present at the principal battles.

[173] "Pilgrim Memorial."

[174] John Newcomen.

[175] Jones's River.

[176] The _Mayflower_ was only one hundred and eighty tons burden.

[177] Mourt.

[178] I do not find any exact authority for this.

[179] "This is to certify that I took the schooner _Harmony_, Nathaniel
Carver, master, belonging to Plymouth, but, on account of his good
services, have given him up his vessel again.


"Dated on board H.M. ship _Albemarle_, 17th August, 1782."

[180] Governor Bradford's "History of Plymouth."

[181] Green's Harbor, perhaps.

[182] Followed as literally as possible, to preserve the style.

[183] Named by De Monts, and supposed to be Brant Point.

[184] "The south part of New England, as it is planted this yeare,

[185] "Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society."

[186] See Popham's settlement on the Kennebec; the Episcopal service was
doubtless the first religious exercise in New England.

[187] Captain John Smith, speaking of the town in 1624, says of this
fortress, there was "within a high mount a fort, with a watch-tower,
well built of stone, lome, and wood, their ordnance well mounted."

[188] During some excavations made on the hill, remains of the
watch-tower of brick came to light, indicating its position to have been
in the vicinity of the Judson monument. There also existed on the hill,
until about 1860, a powder-house of antique fashion, built in 1770. It
had an oval slab of slate imbedded in the wall, with a Latin
inscription; and there were also engraved upon it a powder-horn,
cartridge, and a cannon.--"Pilgrim Memorial."

[189] Robert Brown, the founder of the sect, after thirty-two
imprisonments, eventually conformed. Henry Penay, Henry Barrow, and
other Brownists, were cruelly executed for alleged sedition, May 29th,
1593. Elizabeth's celebrated Act of 1593 visited a refusal to make a
declaration of conformity with the Church of England with banishment and
forfeiture of citizenship; death if the offender returned into the

[190] Sir Matthew Hale used to say, "Those of the Separation were good
men, but they had narrow souls, or they would not break the peace of the
Church about such inconsiderable matters as the points of difference
were." In this country the Independents took the name of
Congregationalists. They held, among other things, that one church may
advise or reprove another, but had no power to excommunicate. The
churches outside of Plymouth did, however, practice excommunication.

[191] Governor Bradford's Letter-book.

[192] The teacher explained doctrines; the pastor enforced them by
suitable exhortations.




    "Ay, call it holy ground,
      The soil where first they trod!
    They have left unstain'd what there they found--
      Freedom to worship God!"--MRS. HEMANS.

Let us now take a walk in Leyden Street. Until 1802 the principal street
of the Pilgrims was without a name; it was then proposed to give it the
one it now so appropriately bears. In my descent of the hill into the
town square, I passed under the shade of some magnificent elms just
putting forth their spring buds. Some of those natural enemies of trees
were talking of cutting down the noblest of them all, that has stood for
nearly a hundred years, and long shaded Governor Bradford's house.[193]

Consulting again our old guide, De Rasieres, I find he tells us, "New
Plymouth lies on the slope of a hill stretching east, toward the
sea-coast, with a broad street about a cannon-shot of eight hundred
[yards] long leading down the hill; with a street crossing in the middle
northward to the rivulet and southward to the land. The houses are
constructed of hewn planks, with gardens, also inclosed behind and at
the sides with hewn planks; so that their houses and court-yards are
arranged in very good order, with a stockade against a sudden attack;
and at the ends of the sides with hewn planks; so that their houses and
court-yards are arranged in very good order, with a stockade against a
sudden attack; and at the ends of the streets there are three wooden
gates. In the centre, on the cross-street, stands the governor's house,
before which is a square inclosure, upon which four pateros
[steenstucken] are mounted, so as to flank along the streets." We are
standing, then, in the ancient place of arms of the Pilgrims.


Nearest to us, on the north side of the square, is the site of Governor
Bradford's house, with the Church of the Pilgrimage just beyond. The
dwelling of the governor was long ago removed to the north part of the
town, and this, its successor, does not fulfill our want, as the
veritable habitation of the much-honored magistrate would do. Nearly
opposite is the old county court-house, erected in 1749. Up at the head
of this inclosed space, which long custom miscalls a square, is the
First Church, its pinnacles appearing dimly through the interweaving
branches of tall elms. There is a coolness as well as a repose about the
spot that makes us loiter.

After the tragic death of his first wife, Bradford bethought him of Mrs.
Southworth, whom he had known and wooed in old England as Alice
Carpenter. She was now a widow. He renewed his suit, and she hearkened
to him. But as the governor could not leave his magistracy, the lady,
ceding her woman's rights, took ship, and came to Plymouth in August,
1623. In a fortnight they were married.

Bradford tells how the passengers of the ship _Ann_, of whom Mistress
Southworth was one, were affected by what they saw when they first set
foot in Plymouth. They were met by a band of haggard men and women,
meanly appareled, and in some cases little better than half-naked. The
best dish they could set before their friends was a lobster or piece of
fish, without other drink than a cup of water. Some of the newly arrived
fell weeping; others wished themselves in England again, while even the
joy of meeting friends from whom they had long been separated could not
dispel the sadness of others in beholding their miserable condition. The
governor has not told us of the coming of Alice Southworth, but says
simply there were "some very useful persons" on board the ship _Ann_.

Here the governor entertained Père Gabriel Dreuillettes, in 1650 with a
fish dinner, because, says the good old Jesuit, it was a Friday. The
governor was equal to the courtesy; yet, I fancy, fish dinners were
often eaten in Plymouth.

Bradford's second wife survived him thirteen years. With her came his
brother-in-law, George Morton, her sister, Bridget Fuller,[194] and two
daughters of Elder Brewster. She lived thirty years with her second
husband, and, from the tribute of Nathaniel Morton,[195] must have been
a woman of an exemplary and beautiful character. Her sister, Mary
Carpenter, lived to be ninety years old. She is referred to in the
church records of Plymonth as "a godly old maid, never married."

Apropos of the governor's wedding, I extract this notice of the first
marriage in the colony from his history: "May 12th, 1621, was ye first
marriage in this place, which, according to ye laudable custome of ye
Low Countries, was thought most requisite to be performed by the
magistrate, as being a civill thing, upon which many questions aboute
inheritance doe depende," etc.

When Edward Winslow was in England as agent of the colony, and was
interrogated at the instance of Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, before
the Lords Commissioners of the Plantations, he was, among other things,
questioned upon this practice of marriage by magistrates. He answered
boldly that he found nothing in Scripture to restrict marriage to the
clergy. He also alleged that the plantation had long been without a
minister, and finished by citing, as a precedent, his own marriage by a
magistrate at the _Staat-haus_ in Holland. Morton, who appeared as an
accuser of Winslow, says, "The people of New England held the use of a
ring in marriage to be a relique of popery, a diabolical circle for the
Devell to daunce in."

As soon as they had definitely settled upon a location, the colonists
went to work building their town. They began to prepare timber as early
as the 23d of December, but the inclemency of the season and the
distance every thing was to be transported--there were no trees standing
within an eighth of a mile of the present Leyden Street--made the work
painfully laborious and the progress slow. On the twenty-eighth day the
company was consolidated into nineteen families, the single men joining
some household in order to lessen the number of houses to be built. They
then staked out the ground, giving every person half a pole in breadth
and three in length. Each head of a family chose his homestead by lot,
and each man was required to build his own house. By Tuesday, the 9th of
January, the Common House wanted nothing but the thatch to be complete;
still, although it was only twenty feet square, the weather was so
inclement that it took four days to cover it. They could seldom work
half the week.


Captain Smith says, in 1624, the town consisted of two-and-thirty houses
and about a hundred and eighty people. The Common House is believed to
have stood on the south side of Leyden Street, where the abrupt descent
of the hill begins. In digging a cellar on the spot, in 1801, sundry
tools and a plate of iron were discovered, seven feet below the surface
of the ground. This house is supposed to have served the colonists for
every purpose of a public nature until the building of their fortress on
Burial Hill. Mourt calls it their rendezvous, and relates that a few
days after completion it took fire from a spark in the thatch. At the
time of the accident Governor Carver and William Bradford were lying
sick within, with their muskets charged, and the thatch blazing above
them, to their very great danger. In this Common House the working
parties slept until their dwellings were made ready.

It was worth living two hundred years ago to have witnessed one street
scene that took place here. John Oldham, the contentious, the
incorrigible, dared to return to Plymouth after banishment. He had, with
Lyford, tried to breed a revolt among the disaffected of the colony. A
rough and tough malignant was Oldham, fiercely denouncing the
magistrates to their teeth when called to answer for his misdeeds. He
defied them roundly in their grave assembly. Turning to the by-standers,
he exclaimed:

"My maisters whar is your harts? now show your courage, you have oft
complained to me so and so; now is ye tyme if you will doe any thing, I
will stand by you."

He returned more choleric than before, calling those he met rebels and
traitors, in his mad fury. They put him under guard, until his wrath had
time to cool, and set their invention to work. He was compelled to pass
through a double file of musketeers, every one of whom "was ordered to
give him a thump on ye brich, with ye but end of his musket," and was
then conveyed to the water-side, where a boat was in readiness to carry
him away. They then bid him go and mend his manners. The idea of the
gantlet was, I suspect, borrowed from the Indians.

This little colony of pilgrims was at first a patriarchal community.
Every thing was in common. Each year an acre of land was allotted to
every inhabitant to cultivate. The complete failure of the experiment
ought to stand for a precedent, though it seems somehow to have been
forgotten. Men, they found, would not work for the common interest as
for themselves, and so the idea of a community of dependents was
abandoned for an association of independent factors. From this time they
began to get on. The rent-day did not trouble them. "We are all
freeholders," writes Edward Hilton home to England. In 1626 the planters
bought themselves free of the undertakers, who oppressed them with
ruinous charges for every thing furnished the colony. Allerton, who was
sent over in 1625 to beg the loan of one hundred pounds sterling, was
obliged to pay thirty pounds in the hundred interest for the two hundred
pounds he had obtained. In the year 1627 they divided all their stock
into shares, giving each person, or share, twenty acres of land, besides
the single acre already allotted.

[Illustration: THE ALLYNE HOUSE.]

It is time to resume our walk down Leyden Street. On reaching the bluff
before mentioned the street divides, one branch descending the declivity
toward the water, while the other skirts the hill-side. The Universalist
Church at the corner marks the site of the Allyne House, an ancient
dwelling demolished about 1826. By the Plymouth records, it appears
that, in 1699, Mr. Joseph Allyne married Mary Doten, daughter of Edward,
and granddaughter of that Edward Doten who had come in the _Mayflower_.
Among the children of Joseph Allyne born in the old homestead was Mary,
who became the mother of that "flame of fire," James Otis. The house
commanded a fine view of the bay, its foundations being higher than the
chimneys in the streets below. It may not, perhaps, be generally known
that James Otis, after completing his studies in the office of Jeremiah
Gridley, then the most eminent lawyer in the province, came from Boston
to Plymouth, where he took an office in the main street. He practiced
there during the years 1748-'49, when his talents called him to a
broader field.

Mercy, the sister of James Otis, married James Warren, a native of
Plymouth. He succeeded General Joseph Warren as president of the
Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, but is better known as the author
of the celebrated "Committee of Correspondence," which he proposed to
Samuel Adams while the latter was at his house. Mrs. Warren, at the age
of seventy, was visited by the Duke De Liancourt. "She then retained,"
he says, "the activity of mind which distinguished her as a sister of
James Otis; nor had she lost the graces of person or conversational
powers, which made her still a charming companion." For reasons apparent
to the reader, she resolved not to send her "History of the Revolution"
to the press during her husband's lifetime.


Going beyond the church, we come upon the open space of greensward,
intersected by foot-paths, known as Cole's Hill. Some defensive works
were erected on this bank in 1742, in the Revolution, and again in 1814.
I have already traversed it in imagination, when standing on the summit
of Burial Hill. It is no longer a place of graves, nor does it in the
least suggest, by any monumental symbol, the tragedy of the Pilgrims'
first winter here, when, as Bradford touchingly says, "Ye well were not
in any measure sufficient to tend ye sicke; nor the living scarce able
to burie the dead." Their greatest strait was in May and June, when
there were no wild fowl. Winslow says they were without good tackle or
seines to take the fish that swam so abundantly in the harbor and

We may not disguise the fact. The least attractive object is the Rock of
the Forefathers. The stranger who comes prepared to do homage to the
spot the Pilgrims' feet first pressed, finds his sensibility stricken in
a vital place. The insignificant appearance of the rock itself, buried
out of sight beneath a shrine made with hands, and the separation of the
sacred ledge into two fragments, each of which claims a divided regard,
give a death-blow to the emotions of awe and reverence with which he
approaches this corner-stone of American history.

Plymouth Rock, or rather what is left of it in its original position, is
reached by following Water Street, which, as its name indicates, skirts
the shore, conducting you through a region once devoted to commerce, now
apparently consigned to irretrievable decay. Near Hedge's Wharf, and in
close vicinity to the old Town Dock, is the object of our present
search. A canopy, designed by Billings, has been built above it. I
entered. In the stone pavement is a cavity of perhaps two feet square,
and underneath the uneven surface the rock appears. I had often wished
to stand here, but now all enthusiasm was gone out of me. I had rather
have contented myself with the small piece so long treasured, and with
the loom of the rock as my imagination had beheld it, than to stand in
the actual presence of it.

[Illustration: PLYMOUTH ROCK IN 1850.]

By the building of street and wharf on a higher level the rock is now at
some little distance from high-water mark.[196] At one time the sea had
heaped the sand upon it to the depth of twenty feet, but the tradition
of the spot had been well kept, and at the dawn of the Revolution the
sand was cleared away, and the rock again laid bare. This was in 1774.
In the attempt to remove it from its bed it split asunder, the
superstitious seeing in this accidental fracture a presage of the
division of the British empire in America. The upper half, or shell, of
Forefathers' Rock was removed to the middle of the village, and placed
at the end of a wall, where, along with vulgar stones, it propped the
embankment. In 1834 the fractured half was removed from the town square
to its present position in front of Pilgrim Hall, where it is now lying.

The honor of having first set foot on this threshold of fame is claimed
for John Alden and Mary Chilton. The question of precedence will
probably never be settled. It is also claimed for the exploring party
who landed from the shallop on Monday, the 21st of December, commonly
called Forefathers' Day.[197]

For more than two hundred years the 22d of December had been observed as
the day of the landing; that is, in effect, to say, it had been so
observed by the Pilgrims themselves, by their descendants around their
firesides, and had received the sanction of formal commemoration, in
1769, by the Old Colony Club. Men were then living who were within two
generations of the first comers, and retained all their traditions
unimpaired. After this long period had elapsed, it was assumed that the
Pilgrims had designed to signalize the landing of the exploring party of
eighteen, rather than that from the _Mayflower_, and upon this theory,
by adopting the new style, the landing was fixed for the 21st, a
substitution which has been generally acquiesced in by recent writers.
Unless it is believed that the landing of the party of discovery
possessed greater significance to the Pilgrims, and to those who lived
within hearing of the voices of the _Mayflower_, than the disembarkation
of the whole body of colonists on the very strand they had finally
adopted for their future home, the presumption of error in computing the
difference between old and new style has little force.

For six weeks these explorations had continued all along the coast-line
of Cape Cod, and nothing had been settled until the return of the last
party to the ship. The _Mayflower_ then sailed for Plymouth, and cast
anchor in the harbor on the 16th; but the explorations continued, nor
was there a decision until the 20th as to the best point for fixing the
settlement. Moreover, there are no precise reasons for saying that the
first exploring party landed anywhere within the limits of the present
town of Plymouth, nor any tradition of its making the rock a

We prefer to believe that the Pilgrims meant to illustrate the landing
from the _Mayflower_--the event emphasized by poets, painters, and
orators--as marking the true era of settlement; that the 22d of December
was intelligently adopted by those best able to judge of their
intentions; and that an unbroken custom of more than two centuries
should remain undisturbed, even if it had originated in a technical
error, which we do not believe was the case. "This rock," says the
gifted De Tocqueville, "has become an object of veneration in the United
States. I have seen bits of it carefully preserved in several towns of
the Union. Does not this sufficiently show that all human power and
greatness is in the soul of man? Here is a stone which the feet of a few
outcasts pressed for an instant, and the stone becomes famous; it is
treasured by a great nation; its very dust is shared as a relic. And
what has become of the gate-ways of a thousand palaces? Who cares for

The skeleton of a body was here before them, but, as Carlyle says, the
soul was wanting until these men and women came. Mr. Sherley, writing to
Bradford, says, "You are the people that must make a plantation and
erect a city in those remote places when all others fail and return."

I do not find such conspicuous examples of intolerance among the
Pilgrims as afterward existed in the Bay Colony. Lyford said they were
Jesuits in their ecclesiastical polity, but they permitted him to gather
a separate church and perform the Episcopal service among them. Beyond
question, they were not willing to see the hierarchy from which they had
fled establish itself in their midst. The intrigues of such men as
Lyford within the colony, and Weston in the company at home, kept back
the remnant of their own chosen associates, and re-enforced them with
churchmen, or else men of no particular religion or helpfulness.

In November, 1621, the planters received an accession of thirty-five
persons by the _Fortune_.[198] It was the custom in the plantation for
the governor to call all the able-bodied men together every day, and
lead them to their work in the fields or elsewhere. On Christmas-day
they were summoned as usual, but most of the new-comers excused
themselves, saying it was against their consciences to work on that day.
The governor told them if they made it a matter of conscience he would
spare them until they were better informed. He then led away the rest.
When those who had worked came home at noon they found the conscientious
observers of the day in the street, at play; some pitching the bar, and
some at stool-ball and like sports. The governor went to them, took away
their implements, and told them it was against his conscience they
should play while others worked. If they made keeping the day a matter
of devotion, they must keep their houses, but there must be no gaming or
reveling in the streets. Assuredly there was some fun in William
Bradford, governor.

Hutchinson--after all the abuse of him, the fairest historian as to what
transpired in advance of the Revolutionary period--gives the Plymouth
colonists credit for moderation. When Mrs. Hutchinson was banished by
Massachusetts, she and her adherents applied for and obtained leave to
settle on Aquidneck, then acknowledged to be within the Plymouth patent.
Before this, Roger Williams, who had been their minister, was, after his
banishment from Salem, kindly used, though requested to remove beyond
their limits, for fear of giving offense to the Massachusetts colony.
Many Quakers probably saved their lives by fleeing to Plymouth, although
the Pilgrims detested their worship and enacted laws against them. The
town of Swanzey[199] was almost wholly settled by Baptists.

The relations of the Pilgrims with the Indians were founded in right and
justice, and stood on broader grounds than mere policy. This is shown in
the unswerving attachment of Massasoit, the fidelity of Samoset, and the
friendship of Squanto. The appearance of Samoset in the Pilgrim village
was of good augury to the colony, and is worthy of a more appreciative
pencil than has yet essayed it.

About the middle of March, after many false alarms of the savages, an
Indian stalked into the town. Passing silently by the houses, he made
straight for the rendezvous. I think I see the matrons and maids peeping
through their lattices at the dusky intruder. He was tall, straight of
limb, and comely, with long black hair streaming down his bare back,
for, except a narrow girdle about his loins, he was stark naked. When he
would have gone into the rendezvous the guard intercepted him. He was
armed with a bow, and in his quiver were only two arrows, one headed,
the other unheaded, as indicating the pacific nature of his mission. His
bearing was frank and fearless, as became a sagamore. "Welcome,
Englishmen," he said to the by-standers, astounded, as well they might
be, on hearing such familiar salutation from the lips of a savage.

The first thing this Indian asked for was beer. The Pilgrims themselves
preferred it to water, but they had none left; so they feasted him on
good English cheer, and gave him strong waters to wash it down. His
naked body excited astonishment, and a compassionate Pilgrim cast a
horseman's cloak about him. Of all the assembly that encircled him,
Samoset alone seemed unconcerned. The settlers had seen skulking savages
on the hills, but they knew not what to make of this fellow, who thus
dropped in on them, as it were, for a morning call. Since their first
encounter with the Nauset Indians, they expected enmity, and not
friendship. A midnight assault in their unprepared state was the thing
most dreaded. Peace or war seemed to reside in the person of this
Indian. They watched him narrowly. At night-fall they hoped he would
take his leave; but he showed neither disposition to depart, nor
distrust at beholding himself the evident object of mingled fear and
suspicion. They concluded to send him on board the _Mayflower_ for
safe-keeping, and Samoset went willingly to the shallop; but it was low
tide, and they could not reach the vessel. So they lodged him in Steven
Hopkins's house. The next day he left them to go to Massasoit, and they
finished by recognizing him as a friend, sent them by Heaven. Samoset
was the Pemaquid chief, of whom we should gladly know more than we do.
His communications were of importance to the Pilgrims, for Bradford
admits that the exact description he gave them of his own country and of
its resources was very profitable to them. I suppose it led to their
establishing the trading-houses at Penobscot and Kennebec, and to the
addition of the strip of country on the latter river to their patent of
1629, afterward enlarged by other tracts purchased of the Indians. The
Pilgrims preferred trading to fishing, and no subsequent colony had such
an opportunity to enrich themselves; but it was the policy of the
English adventurers to keep them poor, and it may be questioned whether
they developed the shrewdness in traffic for which their descendants
have become renowned.

Samoset's coming paved the way for that of Massasoit, who made his entry
into Plymouth with Indian pomp, in March. He was preceded by Samoset and
Squanto,[200] who informed the settlers that the king was close at hand.
The Pilgrims were then assembled under arms on the top of Burial Hill,
engaged in military exercise, and witnessed the approach of Massasoit
with his savage retinue of sixty warriors. Here were two representative
delegations of the Old World and the New; the English in steel caps and
corslets, the Indians in wild beasts' skins, paint, and feathers. The
bearing of the Christians was not more martial than that of the savages.

The Pilgrims stood on their dignity, and waited. At the king's request,
Edward Winslow went out to hold parley with him. His shining armor
delighted the Indian sachem, who would have bought it, together with his
sword, on the spot, but Winslow was unwilling to part with either. After
mutual salutations and some talk of King James, Massasoit, accompanied
by twenty, proceeds to the town, leaving Winslow a hostage in the hands
of Quadequina, his brother. At the town brook Massasoit is met by
Standish with half a dozen musketeers. Here are more grave salutations,
and then the king is conducted to an unfinished house, where the utmost
state the Pilgrims could contrive was a green rug and three or four
cushions placed on the floor. There is a roll of drum and blast of
trumpet in the street, and Bradford, attended by musketeers, enters. He
kisses the hand of the New England prince--"tho'," says Mourt, "the king
looked greasily"--and the savage kisses Bradford. Then they sit. The
governor calls for a stoup of strong waters, which he quaffs to the
king, after the manner of chivalry; the royal savage drinks, in return,
a great draught, that makes him "sweate all the time after."

                                        "Give me the cups,
    And let the kettle to the trumpet speak,
    The trumpet to the cannoneer without,
    The cannons to the heavens, the heaven to earth.
    'Now the king drinks to Hamlet.' Come, begin."

It may interest some readers to know what a real Indian king was like.
"He was," says an eye-witness, "a very lustie man, in his best yeares,
an able body, grave of countenance, and spare of speech; in his Attyre
little or nothing differing from the rest of his followers, only in a
great Chaine of white bone Beades about his necke; and at it behinde his
necke hangs a little bagg of Tobacco, which he dranke and gave us to
drinke; his face was painted with a sad red like murry, and oyled both
head and face, that hee looked greasily. All his followers, likewise,
were in their faces in whole or in part painted, some blacke, some red,
some yellow, and some white, some with crosses, and other Antick workes,
some had skins on them, and some naked, all strong, tall, all men in

"One thing I forgot; the king had in his bosome, hanging to a string, a
great long knife. He marvelled much at our trumpet, and some of his men
would sound it as well as they could." Mourt also states that the king
trembled with fear while he sat by the governor, and that the savages
showed such apprehension of the fire-arms that the governor caused them
to be removed during the conference.

This was the first American Congress of which I have found mention. The
Indians knew what a treaty of amity meant. They needed no instruction in
international law. I believe they knew the Golden Rule, or had a strong
inkling of it. That was a convention more famous than the Field of the
Cloth of Gold, though there were but a green rug and a few cushions.
"The peace," Bradford writes, "hath now (1645) continued this
twenty-four years." "To which I may add," says Prince, "_yea, 30 years
longer, viz., to 1675_."

The Indians, at the entertainment given them in Plymouth, partook
heartily of the food set before them, but they could not be induced to
taste spices or condiments. Salt was not used by them. Gosnold regaled
them with a picnic at the Vineyard, of which John Brereton says, "the
Indians misliked nothing but our mustard, whereat they made many a sowre
face." I doubt not the English spread it thickly on the meat, even at
the hazard of good understanding.

It took these simple natives a long time to comprehend the English
method of correspondence. They could not penetrate the mystery of
talking paper. There is a story of an Indian sent by Governor Dudley to
a lady with some oranges, the present being accompanied with a letter in
which the number was mentioned. When out of the town, the Indian put the
letter under a stone, and going a short distance off, ate one of the
oranges. His astonishment at finding the theft discovered was unbounded.

I did not omit a ramble among the wharves, but saw little that would
interest the reader. When you are there, the proper thing to do is to
take a boat and cross the bay to Clark's Island and Duxbury. We sailed
over the submerged piles at the end of Long Wharf; for the pier, once
the pride of Plymouth, was fast going to wreck. The tops of the piles,
covered with sea-weed kept in motion by the waves, bore an unpleasant
resemblance to drowned human heads bobbing up and down. As we passed
close to the new light-house off Beach Point, the boatman remarked that
when it was being placed in position the caisson slipped in the slings,
and dropped to the bottom nearer the edge of the channel than was

[Illustration: THE GURNET.]

Having wind enough, we were soon up with Saquish Head, and in a few
minutes more were fast moored to the little jetty at Clark's Island. The
presence at one time of two islands in Plymouth Bay is fully attested by
competent witnesses. Many have supposed Brown's Island, a shoal seaward
of Beach Point, to have been one of these, tradition affirming that the
stumps of trees have been seen there. One author[201] believes Brown's
Island to have been above water in the time of the Pilgrims. Champlain
locates two islands on Duxbury side, with particulars that leave no
doubt where they then were. Mourt twice mentions them, and they are on
Blauw's map inside the Gurnet headland. In an account of Plymouth
Harbor, printed near the close of the last century, two islands are
mentioned: "Clark's, consisting of about one hundred acres of excellent
land, and Saquish, which was joined to the Gurnet by a narrow piece of
sand: for several years the water has made its way across and insulated
it. The Gurnet is an eminence at the southern extremity of the beach, on
which is a light-house, built by the State."[202]

Bradford mentions the narrow escape of their pinnace from shipwreck on
her return from Narraganset in 1623, by "driving on ye _flats_ that lye
without, caled Brown's Ilands." Winthrop relates that in 1635 "two
shallops, going, laden with goods, to Connecticut, were taken in the
night with an easterly storm and cast away upon Brown's Island, near the
Gurnett's Nose, and the men all drowned." In 1806 it was, as now, a
shoal. There can be little dispute as to Saquish having been permanently
united to the main-land by those shifting movements common to a
sea-coast of sand.[203]

It is rather remarkable that, with a sea-coast exceeding that of the
other New England colonies, Plymouth had so few good harbors. The beach,
the safeguard of Plymouth, was once covered on the inner side with plum
and wild cherry trees, pitch-pines, and undergrowth similar to that
existing on Cape Cod and the adjacent islands. The sea has, in great
storms, made a clean breach through it, digging channels by which
vessels passed. There was a shocking disaster within the harbor in
December, 1778, when the privateer brig _General Arnold_ broke from her
anchorage in the Cow Yard,[204] and was driven by the violence of the
gale upon the sand-flats. Twenty-four hours elapsed before assistance
could be rendered, and when it arrived seventy-five of the crew had
perished from freezing and exhaustion, and the remainder were more dead
than alive.[205]

As we sailed I observed shoals of herring breaking water, or, as the
fishermen word it, "scooting." Formerly they were taken in prodigious
quantity, and used by the Pilgrims to enrich their land. Squanto gave
them the hint of putting one in every hill of corn. His manner of
fishing for eels, I may add, was new to me. He trod them out of the mud
with his feet, and caught them in his hands. I was surprised at the
number of seals continually rising within half a cable's length of the
boat, at which they curiously gazed with their bright liquid eyes. We
did them no harm as ever and anon one pushed his sleek round head and
whiskered muzzle above water. Hundreds of them disport themselves here
in summer, though in winter they usually migrate.


It is only a little way from the landing-place at Clark's Island to the
venerable Watson mansion, seen embowered among trees as we
approached.[206] The parent house was removed from its first situation,
rather nearer the water than it now stands, and has incorporated with
itself newer additions, till it is quite lost in the transformation it
has undergone. The island is a charming spot, and the house a
substantial, hospitable one. I did not like it the less because it was
old, and seemed to carry me something nearer to the Pilgrims than any of
the white band of houses I saw across the bay. Ducks, turkeys, geese,
and fowls lived in good-fellowship together in the barn-yard, where were
piled unseaworthy boats; and store of old lumber-drifts the sea had
provided against the winter. The jaw-bone of a whale, that Mr. Watson
said he had found stranded on the beach, and brought home on his back,
lay bleaching in the front yard. I may have looked a trifle incredulous,
for the hale old gentleman, turned, I should say, of three-score, drew
himself up as if he would say, "Sir, I can do it again."


After showing us his family portraits, ancient furniture, and other
heir-looms, our host told us how Sir Edmund Andros had tried to
dispossess his ancestors. My companion and myself then took the path
leading to Election Rock, that owes its name, doubtless, to some local
event. It is a large boulder, about twelve feet high, on the highest
point of the island. Two of its faces are precipitous, while the
western side offers an easy ascent. At the instance of the Pilgrim
Society, the following words, from "Mourt's Relation," have been graven
on its face:

    "On the
    Sabboth Day
    wee rested.
    20 December,

As is well known to all who have followed the fortunes of the little
band of eighteen--and who has not followed them in their toilsome
progress in search of a haven of rest?--their shallop, after narrowly
escaping wreck among the shoals of Saquish, gained a safe anchorage
under the shelter of one of the then existing islands. It is probable
that when they rounded Saquish Head they found themselves in smoother

The gale had carried away their mast and sail. Their pilot proved not
only ignorant of the place into which he was steering, but a coward when
the pinch came. They were on the point of beaching the shallop in a cove
full of breakers, when one of the sailors bid them about with her, if
they were men, or else they would be all lost. So that the fortunes of
the infant colony hung, at this critical moment, on the presence of mind
of a nameless mariner.

Cold, hungry, and wet to the skin, they remained all night in a
situation which none but the roughest campaigner would know how rightly
to estimate. The Indians had met them, at Eastham, with such determined
hostility that they expected no better reception here. Their arms were
wet and unserviceable. As usual, present discomfort triumphed over their
fears, for many were so much exhausted that they could no longer endure
their misery on board the shallop. Some of them gained the shore, where
with great difficulty they lighted a fire of the wet wood they were able
to collect. The remainder of the party were glad to join them before
midnight; for the wind shifted to north-west, and it began to freeze.
They had little idea where they were, having come upon the land in the
dark. It was not until day-break that they knew it to be an island.
Surely, these were times to try the souls of men, and to wring the
selfishness out of them.

This night bivouac, this vigil of the Pilgrims around their blazing
camp-fire, the flames painting their bronzed faces, and sending a
grateful warmth into benumbed bodies, was a subject worthy the pencil of
Rembrandt. I doubt that they dared lay their armor aside or shut their
eyes the live-long night. I believe they were glad of the dawn of a
bright and glorious December day.[207] They dried their buff coats,
cleansed their arms of rust, and felt themselves once more men fit for
action. Then they shouldered their muskets and reconnoitred the island.
Probably the eighteen stood on the summit of this rock.

I found Clark's Island to possess a charm exceeding any so-called
restoration or monumental inscription--the charm of an undisturbed
state. No doubt much of the original forest has disappeared, and Boston
has yet to return the cedar gate-posts so carefully noted by every
succeeding chronicler of the Old Colony. A few scrubby originals of this
variety yet, however, remain; and the eastern side of the island is not
destitute of trees. The air was sweet and wholesome, the sea-breeze
invigorating. In the quietude of the isle the student may open his
history, and read on page and scene the story of a hundred English
hearts sorely tried, but triumphing at last.

History has not told us how the eighteen adventurous Pilgrims passed
their first Sabbath on Clark's Island. One writer says very simply "wee
rested;" and his language re-appears on the tablet of imperishable rock.
Bradford says, on the "last day of ye weeke they prepared ther to keepe
ye Sabbath." If ever they had need of rest it was on this day; and if
ever they had reason to give thanks for their "manifold deliverances,"
now was the occasion. They would hardly have stirred on any enterprise
without their Bible; and probably one having the imprint of Geneva, with
figured verses, was now produced. Bradford, yet ignorant of his wife's
death, may have prayed, and Winslow exhorted, as both admit they often
did in the church. Master Carver may have struck the key-note of the
Hundredth Psalm, "the grand old Puritan anthem;" and even Miles Standish
and the "saylers" three, may have joined in the forest hymnal.[208]

Hood, in his "History of Music in New England," speaking of the early
part of the eighteenth century, says: "Singing psalms, at that day, had
not become an amusement among the people. It was used, as it ever ought
to be, only as a devotional act. So great was the reverence in which
their psalm-tunes were held, that the people put off their hats, as they
would in prayer, whenever they heard one sung, though not a word was

On leaving Clark's Island we steered for Captain's Hill. By this time
the water had become much roughened, or, to borrow a word from the
boatmen's vocabulary, "choppy;" I should have called it hilly. Our
attempt to land at Duxbury was met with great kicking, bouncing, and
squabbling on the part of the boat, which seemed to like the chafing of
the wharf as little as we did the idea of a return to Plymouth against
wind and tide. Quiet perseverance, however, prevailed, and, after
clambering up the piles, we stood upon the wharf. A short walk by the
cart-way, built to fetch stone from the pier to the monument, brought us
to the brow of the hill.

Captain's Hill, named from Captain Miles Standish, its early possessor,
is on a peninsula jutting out between Duxbury and Plymouth bays. Its
surface is smooth, with few trees, except those belonging to the
farm-houses near its base. The soil, that is elsewhere in Duxbury sandy
and unproductive, is here rather fertile, which accounts for its having
become the seat of the puissant Captain Standish. The monument, already
mentioned as in progress, had advanced as high as the foundations. As
originally planned, it was to be built of stones contributed by each of
the New England States, and by the several counties and military
organizations of Massachusetts.

Standish, about 1632, settled upon this peninsula, building his house on
a little rising ground south-east of the hill near the shore. All traces
that are left of it will be found on the point of land opposite Mr.
Stephen M. Allen's house. The cellar excavation was still visible when I
visited it, with some of the foundation-stones lying loosely about.
Except a clump of young trees that had become rooted in the hollows, the
point is bare, and looks anything but a desirable site for a homestead.
Plymouth is in full view, as is also the harbor's open mouth. The space
between the headland on which the house stood and Captain's Hill was at
one time either an arm of the sea, or else in great gales the water
broke over the level, forming a sort of lagoon. Mr. Winsor, in his
"History of Duxbury," says the sea, according to the traditions of the
place, once flowed between Standish's house and the hill. The ground
about the house, he adds, has been turned up in years past, the search
being rewarded by the recovery of several relics of the old
inhabitant.[209] The house is said to have been burned, but so long ago
that even the date has been quite forgotten. On this same neck Elder
Brewster is believed to have lived, but the situation of his dwelling is
at best doubtful.

The earliest reference I have seen to the tradition of John Alden
"popping the question" to Priscilla Mullins for his friend, Miles
Standish, is in "Alden's Epitaphs," printed in 1814. No mention is there
of the snow-white bull,

    "Led by a cord that was tied to an iron ring in its nostrils,
    Covered with crimson cloth, and a cushion placed for a saddle."

John Alden's marriage took place, it is supposed, in 1621. The first
cattle brought to Plymouth were a bull, a heifer, and "three or four
jades," sent by Mr. Sherley, of the Merchant's Association, in 1624.
They were consigned to Winslow and Allerton, to be sold. The tradition
of the embassy of Alden, and of the incomparably arch rejoinder of
Priscilla, "Prythee, John, why don't you speak for yourself?" was firmly
believed in the family of Alden, where, along with that of the young
cooper having first stepped on the ever-famous rock, it had passed from
the mouth of one generation to another, without gainsaying.

I am not of those who experience a thrill of joy at destroying the
illusions of long-hoarded family traditions. What of romance has been
interwoven with the singularly austere lives of the Puritans, gracious
reader, let us cherish and protect. The province of the Dryasdust of
to-day is to bewilder, to deny the existence of facts that have passed
without challenge for centuries. The farther he is from the event, the
nearer he accounts himself to truth. Historic accuracy becomes another
name for historic anarchy. Nothing is settled. The grand old characters
he strips of their hard-earned fame can not confront him. Would they
might! Columbus, Tell, Pocahontas, are impostors: Ireson's Ride and
Standish's Courtship are rudely handled. His tactics would destroy the
Christian religion. Without doubt mere historic truth is better written
in prose, but by all means let us put a stop to the slaughter of all the
first-born of New England poesy. Let us have Puritan lovers and
sweethearts while we may. "What is your authority?" asked a visitor of
the guide who was relating the story of a ruined castle. "We have
tradition, and if you have any thing better we will be glad of it."

The position of Standish in the colony was in a degree anomalous, for he
was neither a church member nor a devout man. But the Pilgrims, who knew
on occasion how to smite with the sword, did not put too trifling an
estimate upon the value of the little iron man. He seems to have
deserved, as he certainly received, their confidence, as well in those
affairs arising out of religious disorders among them as in those of a
purely military character. When wanted, they knew where he was to be

After his fruitless embassy to England, Standish seems to have turned
his sword into a pruning-hook, leading a life of rural simplicity,
perhaps of comparative ease. He had, as the times went, a goodly estate.
There is little doubt he was something "splenetic and rash," or that the
elders feared he would bring them into trouble by his impetuous temper.
He was of a race of soldiers.[210] Hubbard calls him a little chimney
soon fired. Lyford speaks of him as looking like a silly boy, and in
utter contempt. The Pilgrims managed his infirmities with address, and
he served them faithfully as soldier and magistrate. It is passing
strange a man of such consequence as he should sleep in an unknown

Near the foot of Captain's Hill is an old gambrel-roofed house, with
the date of 1666 on the chimney. At the entrance the stairs part on
each side of an immense chimney-stack. The timbers, rough-hewn and
exposed to view, are bolted with tree-nails. One fire-place would have
contained a Yule-log from any tree in the primeval forest. The hearth
was in breadth like a side-walk. On the doors were wooden latches, or
bobbins, with the latch-string out, as we read in nursery tales. The
front of the house was covered with climbing vines, and, taken
altogether, as it stood out against the dark background of the hill, was
as picturesque an object as I have seen in many a day.[211]

I would like to walk with you two miles farther on, and visit the old
Alden homestead, the third that has been inhabited by the family since
pilgrim John built by the margin of Eagle Tree Pond. This old house,
erected by Colonel Alden, grandson of the first-comer of the name, is
still in the same family, and would well repay a visit; but time and
tide wait for us.

Farther on I have rambled over ancient Careswell, the seat of the
Winslows, a family with a continuous stream of history, from Edward, the
governor, who became one of Cromwell's Americans, and died in his
service (you may see his letters in the ponderous folios of Thurloe),
down to the winner in the sea-fight between the _Kearsarge_ and
_Alabama_. Beyond is the mansion Daniel Webster inhabited in his
lifetime, and the hill where, among the ancient graves, he lies
entombed. Here, in Kingston, General John Thomas, of the Revolution,

[Illustration: CHURCH'S SWORD.]

Another military chieftain, little less renowned than Standish, was
Colonel Benjamin Church, the famous Indian fighter. He was
Plymouth-born, but lived some time in Duxbury. In turning over the pages
of Philip's and King William's wars, we meet him often enough, and
always giving a good account of himself. One act of the Plymouth
authorities during Philip's war deserves eternal infamy. It drew from
Church the whole-hearted denunciation of a brave man.

During that war Dartmouth was destroyed. The Dartmouth Indians had not
been concerned in this outrage, and after much persuasion were induced
to surrender themselves to the Plymouth forces. They were conducted to
Plymouth. The Government ordered all of them to be sold as slaves, and
they were transported out of the country, to the number of one hundred
and sixty.[212]

I despaired of being able to match this act of treachery with any
contemporaneous history. But here is a fragment that somewhat approaches
it in villainy. In 1684 the King of France wrote M. de la Barre,
Governor of New France, to seize as many of the Iroquois as possible,
and send them to France, where they were to serve in the galleys, in
order to diminish the tribe, which was warlike, and waged war against
the French. Many of them were actually in the galleys of

The balance is still in our favor. In 1755 we expatriated the entire
French population of Acadia. Mr. Longfellow tells the story graphically
in "Evangeline." John Winslow, of Marshfield, was the instrument chosen
by the home government for the work. It was conducted with savage
barbarity. Families were separated, wives from husbands, children from
parents. They were parceled out like cattle among the English
settlements. Their aggregate number was nearly two thousand persons,
thenceforth without home or country. One of these outcasts, describing
his lot, said, "It was the hardest that had happened since our Saviour
was upon earth." The story is true.

Our little boat worked her way gallantly back to Plymouth. Though
thoroughly wet with the spray she had flung from her bows, I was not
ill-pleased with the expedition. Figuratively speaking, my knapsack was
packed, my staff and wallet waiting my grasp. With the iron horse that
stood panting at the door I made in two hours the journey that Winthrop,
Endicott, and Winslow took two days to accomplish. Certainly I found
Plymouth much changed. The Pilgrims would hardly recognize it, though
now, as in centuries before their coming,

    "The waves that brought them o'er
    Still roll in the bay, and throw their spray,
    As they break along the shore."



[193] These trees are said to have been planted in 1783, by Thomas

[194] Wife of Samuel Fuller. She gave the church the lot of ground on
which the parsonage stood.--_Allen._

[195] See Appendix to Bradford's History.

[196] In 1741, when it was proposed to build a wharf near the rock, it
was pointed out as the identical landing-place of the Pilgrims by Elder
Thomas Faunce, who, having been born in 1646, had received the fact from
the original settlers.

[197] This party consisted of eighteen persons--viz., Miles Standish,
John Carver, William Bradford, Edward Winslow, John Tilley, Edward
Tilley, John Howland, Richard Warren, Steven Hopkins, and Edward Doten.
Besides these were two seamen, John Alderton and Thomas English. Of the
ship's company were Clark and Coppin, two of the master's mates, the
master-gunner, and three sailors. This little band of discoverers left
the ship at anchor at Cape Cod Harbor on the 16th of December. Mourt
calls Alderton and English "two of our seamen," in distinction from the
ship's company proper, they having been sent over by the undertakers, in
the service of the plantation.

[198] On her return voyage the _Fortune_ was seized by a French
man-of-war, Captain Frontenan de Pennart, who took Thomas Barton,
master, and the rest prisoners to the Isle of Rhé, plundering the vessel
of beaver worth five hundred pounds, belonging to the Pilgrims. The
vessel and crew were discharged after a brief detention.--"British

[199] First spelled Swansea, and named from Swansea, in South Wales.

[200] Squanto was one of the Indians kidnaped by Hunt, and the last
surviving native inhabitant of Plymouth. He had lived in London with
John Slany, merchant, treasurer of the Newfoundland Company.

[201] Winsor, "History of Duxbury," p. 26, note.

[202] See _ante_, also "Massachusetts Historical Collections," vol. ii.,
p. 5. First light-house erected 1763; burned 1801.

[203] Saquish is the Indian for clams. They are of extraordinary size in
Plymouth and Duxbury.

[204] An anchorage near Clark's Island, so called from a cow-whale
having been taken there.

[205] The following account of what straits light-keepers have been
subjected to in coast-harbors during the past winter will perhaps be
read with some surprise by those acquainted with Plymouth only in its
summer aspect: "On Tuesday evening, February 9th, 1875, the United
States revenue steamer _Gallatin_ put into Plymouth harbor for the
night, to avoid a north-west gale blowing outside. On the morning of the
10th, at daylight, when getting under way, Captain Selden discovered a
signal of distress flying on Duxbury Pier Light. The light-house was so
surrounded by ice that he was utterly unable to reach the pier with a
boat; the captain, therefore, steamed the vessel through the ice near
enough to converse with the keeper, and found that he had had no
communication with any one outside of the light since December 22d,
1874; that his fuel and water were out; and that they had been on an
allowance of a pint of water a day since February 6th, 1875. The steamer
forced her way to within some fifty or seventy-five yards of the pier,
when Lieutenants Weston and Clayton, with the boats, succeeded, after
two hours' hard work cutting through the ice, in reaching the pier, and
furnished the keeper and his wife with plenty of wood and water."

[206] There is tradition for it that Edward Dotey, the fighting
serving-man, was the first who attempted to land on Clark's Island, but
was checked for his presumption. Elkanah Watson was one of the three
original grantees of the island, which has remained in the family since
1690. Previous to that time it belonged to the town. The other
proprietors were Samuel Lucas and George Morton.

[207] Saturday, December 9th, Old Style.

[208] No reasonable doubt can be entertained that the Pilgrims' first
religious services were held in Provincetown Harbor, either on board the
_Mayflower_ or on shore. They were not the men and women to permit
several Sabbaths to pass by without devotional exercises.

[209] The first substance discovered was a quantity of barley, charred
and wrapped in a blanket. Ashes, as fresh as if the fire had just been
extinguished, were found in the chimney-place, with pieces of an
andiron, iron pot, and other articles. There were discovered, also, a
gun-lock, sickle, hammer, whetstone, and fragments of stone and earthen
ware. A sword-buckle, tomahawk, brass kettle, etc., with glass beads,
showing the action of intense heat, likewise came to light.

[210] I find that a Captain Standish, who is called a great commander, a
captain of foot, was killed in an attack by Lord Strange on Manchester,
England, dining the Civil War, 1642.

[211] This house has been stated to have been built in part of materials
from the house of Captain Miles Standish.

[212] Baylies's "New Plymouth."

[213] "Massachusetts Archives."




     "A man may stand there and put all America behind

As it was already dark when I arrived in Provincetown, I saw only the
glare from the lantern of Highland Light in passing through Truro, and
the gleaming from those at Long Point and Wood End, before the train
drew up at the station. It having been a rather busy day with me (I had
embarked at Nantucket in the morning, idled away a few hours at Vineyard
Haven, and rested as many at Cohasset Narrows), it will be easily
understood why I left the investigation of my whereabouts to the morrow.
My wants were at this moment reduced to a bed, a pair of clean sheets,
and plenty of blankets; for though the almanac said it was July in
Provincetown, the night breeze blowing freshly was strongly suggestive
of November.

It was Swift, I think, who said he never knew a man reach eminence who
was not an early riser. Doubtless the good doctor was right. But, then,
if he had lodged as I lodged, and had risen as I did, two mortal hours
before breakfast-time, he might have allowed his precept to have its
exceptions. I devoted these hours to rambling about the town.

Though not more than half a hundred miles from Boston, as the crow
flies, Cape Cod is regarded as a sort of _terra incognita_ by fully half
of New England. It has always been considered a good place to emigrate
from, rather than as offering inducements for its young men and women to
remain at home; though no class of New Englanders, I should add, are
more warmly attached to the place of their nativity. The ride throughout
the Cape affords the most impressive example of the tenacity with which
a population clings to locality that has ever come under my observation.
To one accustomed to the fertile shores of Narraganset Bay or the
valley of the Connecticut, the region between Sandwich, where you enter
upon the Cape, and Orleans, where you reach the bend of the fore-arm, is
bad enough, though no desert. Beyond this is simply a wilderness of

The surface of the country about Brewster and Orleans is rolling
prairie, barren, yet thinly covered with an appearance of soil. Stone
walls divide the fields, but from here down the Cape you will seldom see
a stone of any size in going thirty miles. My faith in Pilgrim testimony
began to diminish as I looked on all sides, and in vain, for a
"spit's-depth of excellent black earth," such as they tell of. It has,
perchance, been blown away, or buried out of sight in the shiftings
constantly going on here. Eastham, Wellfleet, and Truro grow more and
more forbidding, as you approach the _Ultima Thule_, or land's end.[214]

[Illustration: COHASSET NARROWS.]

Mr. Thoreau, who has embodied the results of several excursions to the
Cape in some admirable sketches, calls it the bared and bended arm of
Massachusetts. Mr. Everett had already used the same figure. To me it
looks like a skinny, attenuated arm thrust within a stocking for
mending--the bony elbow at Chatham, the wrist at Truro, and the
half-closed fingers at Provincetown. It seems quite down at the heel
about Orleans, and as if much darning would be needed to make it as good
as new. It was something to conceive, and more to execute, such a tramp
as Thoreau's, for no one ought to attempt it who can not rise superior
to his surroundings, and shake off the gloom the weird and wide-spread
desolateness of the landscape inspires. I would as lief have marched
with Napoleon from Acre, by Mount Carmel, through the moving sands of

The resemblance of the Cape to a hook appears to have struck navigators
quite early. On old Dutch maps it is delineated with tolerable accuracy,
and named "Staaten Hoeck," and the bay inclosed within the bend of it
"Staaten Bay." Massachusetts Bay is "Noord Zee," and Cape Malabar
"Vlacke Hoeck." Milford Haven appears about where Eastham is now
located. On the earliest map of Champlain the extremity of the Cape is
called "C. Blanc," or the White Cape.[215] Mather says of Cape Cod, he
supposes it will never lose the name "till swarms of cod-fish be seen
swimming on the highest hills."


This hook, though a sandy one, caught many a school of migratory fish,
and even whales found themselves often embayed in the bight of it, on
their way south, until, from being so long hunted down, they learned to
keep a good offing. It also caught all the southerly drift along shore,
such as stray ships from France and England. Bartholomew Gosnold and
John Brereton were the first white men to land on it. De Monts,
Champlain, De Poutrincourt, Smith, and finally the Forefathers, were
brought up and turned back by it.

Bradford, under date of 1620, writes thus in his journal: "A word or two
by ye way of this Cape: it was thus first named (Cape Cod) by Captain
Gosnold and his company, Ano:1602, and after by Capten Smith was caled
Cape James; but it retains ye former name amongst seamen. Also yt
pointe which first shewed those dangerous shoulds unto them, they
called Point Care, and Tucker's Terrour;[216] but ye French and Dutch,
to this day, call it Malabarr, by reason of those perilous shoulds, and
ye losses they have suffered their."

Notwithstanding what Bradford says, the name of Mallebarre is affixed to
the extreme point of Cape Cod on early French maps. In Smith's "New
England" is the following description:

"Cape Cod is the next presents itselfe, which is onely a headland of
high hills of sand, overgrowne with shrubbie pines, hurts, and such
trash, but an excellent harbor for all weathers. The Cape is made by the
maine sea on the one side and a great Bay on the other, in forme of a
sickle; on it doth inhabit the people of Pawmet; and in the bottome of
the Bay, the people of Chawum. Towards the south and south-west of this
Cape is found a long and dangerous shoale of sands and rocks. But so
farre as I encircled it, I found thirtie fadom water aboard the shore
and a strong current, which makes mee thinke there is a channel about
this Shoale, where is the best and greatest fish to be had, Winter and
Summer, in all that Countrie. But the Salvages say there is no channel,
but that the shoales beginne from the maine at Pawmet to the ile of
Nausit, and so extends beyond their knowledge into the sea."

The historical outcome of the Cape is in the early navigations, and in
the fact that Provincetown was the harbor entered by the Forefathers.
The first land they saw, after Devon and Cornwall had sunk in the sea,
was this sand-bar, for it is nothing else. It appeared to their eager
eyes, as it will probably never again be seen, wooded down to the shore.
Whales, that they had not the means of taking, disported around them.
They dropped anchor three-quarters of a mile from shore, and, in order
to land, were forced to wade a "bow shoot," by which many coughs and
colds were caught, and a foundation for the winter's sickness laid. The
first landing was probably on Long Point. The men set about discovery;
for the master had told them, with a sailor's bluntness, he would be rid
of them as soon as possible. The women went also to shore to wash, thus
initiating on Monday, November 23d, the great New England washing-day.

Were there to be a day of general observance in New England
commemorative of the landing of the Pilgrims, it should be that on which
they first set foot on her soil at Cape Cod; the day, too, on which the
compact was signed.[217] Whatever of sentiment attached to the event
should, it would seem, be consecrated to the very spot their feet first
pressed. There is yet time to rescue the day from unaccountable and
unmerited neglect.

On the map of Cyprian Southack a thoroughfare is delineated from
Massachusetts Bay to the ocean at Eastham, near Sandy Point. His words
are: "The place where I came through with a whale-boat, April 26th,
1717, to look after Bellame the pirate." I have never seen this map,
which Douglass pronounces "a false and pernicious sea-chart."

From its barring their farther progress, Cape Cod was well known to the
discoverers of the early part of the seventeenth century. According to
Lescarbot, Poutrincourt spent fifteen days in a port on the south side.
It had been formally taken possession of in the name of the French king.
The first conflict between the whites and natives occurred there; and in
its sands were interred the remains of the first Christian who died
within the ancient limits of New England.[218]

The assault of the natives on De Poutrincourt is believed to have
occurred at Chatham, ironically named by the French Port Fortuné, in
remembrance of their mishaps there. It was the very first collision
recorded between Europeans and savages in New England. Five of De
Poutrincourt's men having slept on shore contrary to orders, and without
keeping any watch, the Indians fell on them at day-break, October 15th,
1606, killing two outright. The rest, who were shot through and through
with arrows, ran down to the shore, crying out, "Help! they are
murdering us!" the savages pursuing with frightful whoopings.

Hearing these outcries and the appeal for help, the sentinel on board
the bark gave the alarm: "_Aux armes!_ they are killing our people!"
Roused by the signal, those on board seized their arms, and ran on deck,
without taking time to dress themselves. Fifteen or sixteen threw
themselves into the shallop, without stopping to light their matches,
and pushed for the shore. Finding they could not reach it on account of
an intervening sand-bank, they leaped into the water and waded a
musket-shot to land. De Poutrincourt, Champlain, Daniel Hay, Robert
Gravé the younger, son of Du Pont Gravé, and the younger Poutrincourt,
with their trumpeter and apothecary, were of the party that rushed
pell-mell, almost stark naked, upon the savages.

The Indians, perceiving the rescuing band within a bow-shot of them,
took to flight. It was idle to pursue those nimble-footed savages; so
the Frenchmen brought their dead companions to the foot of the cross
they had erected on the preceding day, and there buried them. While
chanting the funeral prayers and orisons of the Church, the natives,
from a safe distance, shouted derisively and danced to celebrate their
treason. After their funeral rites were ended the French voyagers
silently returned on board.

In a few hours, the tide being so low as to prevent the whites from
landing, the natives again appeared on the shore. They threw down the
cross, disinterred the bodies of the slain Frenchmen, and stripped them
before the eyes of their exasperated comrades. Several shots were fired
at them from the bronze gun on board, the natives at every discharge
throwing themselves flat on their faces. As soon as the French could
land, they again set up the cross, and reinterred the dead. The natives,
for the second time, fled to a distance.[219]

[Illustration: WASHING FISH.]

Provincetown was originally part of Truro. Its etymology explains that
its territory belonged to the province of Massachusetts. The earliest
inhabitants had no other title than possession, and their conveyance is
by quit-claim. For many years the place experienced the alternations of
thrift and decay, being at times well-nigh deserted. In 1749, says
Douglass, in his "Summary," the town consisted of only two or three
settled families, two or three cows, and six to ten sheep. The houses
formerly stood in one range, without regularity, along the beach, with
the drying-flakes around them. Fishing vessels were run upon the soft
sand, and their cargoes thrown into the water, where, after being washed
free from salt, the fish were taken up and carried to the flakes in
hand-barrows. Cape Cod Harbor, by which name it is also familiar to the
readers of Pilgrim chronicles, was the earliest name of Provincetown.

The place has now lost the peculiar character it owed to the windmills
on the sandy heights above the town and the salt-works on the beach
before it. The streets, described by former writers as impassable, by
reason of the deep sand, I found no difficulty in traversing. What with
an admixture of clay, and a top-dressing of oyster-shells and pebble,
brought from a distance, they have managed to make their principal
thoroughfares solid enough. Step aside from these, if you would know
what Provincetown was like in the past.

If the streets were better than I had thought, the houses were far
better. The great number of them were of wood, looking as most New
England houses look--ready for the torch. They usually had underpinnings
of brick, instead of being, as formerly, built on posts, in order that
the sand might blow underneath them. There were willows, poplars,
locusts, and balm of Gilead, standing about in odd corners, and of good
size. I saw a few sickly fruit-trees that appeared dying for lack of
moisture; and some enterprising citizens were able to make a show of
lilacs, syringas, pinks, and geraniums in their front yards. I talked
with them, and saw that the unremitting struggle for life that attended
the growth of these few simple flowers seemed to increase their love for
them, and enlarge their feeling for what was beautiful. All the earth
they have is imported. I called to mind those Spanish vineyards, where
the peasant carries a hamper of soil up the sunny slopes of the
mountain-sides, and in some crevice of the rocks plants his vine.

There are two principal streets in Provincetown. One of them, I should
imagine, more than a mile in length, runs along the harbor; the other
follows an elevated ridge of the sand-hills, and is parallel with the
first. A plank-walk is laid on one side of the avenue by the shore, the
other side being occupied by stores, fish-houses, and wharves. No
sinister meaning is attached to walking the plank in Provincetown; for
what is the whole Cape if not a gang-plank pushed out over the side of
the continent?

Where the street on the ridge is carried across gaps among the hills,
the retaining walls were of bog-peat, which was also laid on the sides
of those hills exposed to the force of the wind. Whortleberry, bayberry,
and wild rose were growing out of the interstices. They flourish as well
as when the Pilgrims were here, though all the primitive forest
disappeared long ago. I ascended the hill on which the town-hall
building stands. You must go up the town road, or break the law, as I
saw, by the straggling foot-paths, the youngsters were in the habit of
doing. Read sand for scoriæ, and the fate of Herculaneum seems impending
over Provincetown. The safeguards taken to prevent the hills blowing
down upon it impresses the stranger with a sense of insecurity, though
the inhabitants do not seem much to mind it. I have heard that in
exposed situations on the Cape window-glass becomes opaque by reason of
the frequent sand-blasts rattling against the panes.

On the hill was formerly a windmill, having the flyers inside, so
resembling, say the town annalists, a lofty tower. It was a famous
landmark for vessels making the port. The chart-makers have now
replaced it with the town hall, and every mariner steering for
Provincetown has an eye to it.

The harbor is completely landlocked. There is good anchorage for vessels
of the largest class. Ofttimes it is crowded with shipping seeking a
haven of refuge. This morning there were perhaps fifty sail, of every
kind of craft. An inward-bound vessel must steer around every point of
the compass before the anchor is let go in safety. In the Revolution the
port was made use of by the British squadrons, to refit, and procure
water.[220] The tide flows on the bay side of the Cape about twenty
feet, while at the back of it there is a flow of only five or six feet.

The town is of extreme length, compared with its breadth, being
contracted between the range of high sand-hills behind it and the beach.
It lies fronting the south-east, bordering the curve of the shore, which
sweeps grandly around half the circumference of a circle on the bay
side. In one direction extends the long line of shore. If Boston be your
starting-point, you must travel a hundred and twenty miles to get fifty;
and, by the time you arrive at the extremity of the Cape, should be able
to box the compass. Looking south, Long Point terminates the land view.
Following with the eye the outline of the hook, it rests an instant on
the shaft of the light-house at Wood End, the extreme southerly point of
the Cape. Thence the coast trends north-west as far as Race Point, which
is shut out from view by intervening hills. Race Point is the outermost
land of the Cape. All these names are well known to mariners, the world

The shores are bordered with dangerous bars and shallows. As shipping
could not get up to the town, the town has gone off to it, in the shape
of a wharf of great length. Our Pilgrim ancestors had to wade a "bow
shoot" to get on dry land. A resident told me that with fishing-boots on
I could cross to the head of Herring Cove at low tide. Assuredly, it is
one of the most wonderful of havens, and little likely to be dispensed
with, even if the vexed question of

              "A way for ships to shape,
    Instead of winding round the _Cape_
    A short-cut through the _collar_,"

be answered by a ship-canal from Barnstable to Buzzard's Bay.[221]

On the summit of Town Hill you are almost astride the Cape, having the
Atlantic on one side, and Massachusetts Bay in full view on the other.
The port is not what it was when some storm-tossed bark, in accepting
its shelter, was the town talk for months. Ships come and go by scores
and hundreds, folding their wings and settling down on the water like
weary sea-gulls.

With an outward appearance of prosperity, I found the people bemoaning
the hard times. Taxes, they said, were twenty dollars in the thousand,
and only ten at Wareham; fish were scarce, and prices low, too, though
as to the last item consumers think otherwise. The fishermen I saw were
burly, athletic fellows, apparently not more thrifty than their class
everywhere. They are averse to doing any thing else than fish, and, if
the times are bad, are content to potter about their boats and
fishing-gear till better days, much as they would wait for wind and
tide. If they can not go fishing they had as lief do nothing, though
want threatens.

The boys take to the water by instinct. I saw one adrift in a boat
without oars, making his way to land by tilting the side of the dory.
They go to the fishing-banks with their fathers, and can hand, reef, and
steer with an old salt. One traveler tells of a Provincetown cow-boy who
captured and killed a blackfish he descried near the shore. As soon as
they had strength to pull in a fish, they were put on board a boat.

I noticed the familiar names that have been transplanted and thriven
everywhere. Those of Atwood, Nickerson, Newcomb, Rich, Ryder, Snow, and
Doane have the Cape ring about them. In general they are "likely" men,
as the phrase here is, getting on as might be expected of a people who
literally cast their bread upon the waters, and live on a naked crust of
earth that the sea is forever gnawing and growling at. The girls are
pretty. I say it on the authority of an expert in such matters who
accompanied me. Not all are sandy-haired.

There is a strong dash of humor about these people. They are piquant
Capers, dry and sharp as the sand. One of them was relating that he had
once watched for so long a time that he finally fell asleep while
crossing the street to his boarding-house, and on going to bed had not
waked for twenty-four hours. "Wa'al," said an old fellow, removing a
short pipe from between his lips, "you was jest a-cannin' on it up,
warn't ye?"

There is quite a colony of Portuguese in Provincetown. In my rambles I
met with a band of them returning from the swamp region back of the
town. They looked gypsy-like with their swarthy faces and gleaming eyes.
The younger women had clear olive complexions, black eyes, and the
elongated Madonna faces of their race; the older ones were grisly and
witch-like, with shriveled bodies and wrinkled faces. All of them bore
bundles of fagots on their heads that our tender women would have sunk
under, yet they did not seem in the least to mind them. They chattered
merrily as they passed by me, and I watched them until out of sight;
for, picturesque objects anywhere, here they were doubly so. They had
all gaudy handkerchiefs tied about their heads, and shawls worn
sash-wise, and knotted at the hip, the bright bits of warm color
contrasting kindly with the dead white of the sand. There were shapely
figures among them, but the men's boots they of necessity wore
subtracted a little from the symmetry of outline and my admiration.

They number about fifty families--these Portuguese--and are increasing.
One citizen expressed a vague apprehension lest they should exclude,
eventually, the whites, as the whites had expelled the Indians. And why
not? They believe in large families, while we believe in small ones or
none at all. The Pilgrims were fewer than they when they came to Cape
Cod, though they did believe in large families. Besides, Gaspard
Cortereal, a "Portingale," fell in with the land hereabouts before any
of our English. The Portuguese are reported to have stocked Sable Island
with domestic animals thirty years before Gilbert's coming to
Newfoundland.[222] Assuredly, Cortereal had as good a mortgage on the
country as Cabot, who did not land, but only beheld it in sailing by. I
had found the town effervescent. The killing of a Portuguese by his
captain, in a quarrel on board a fishing vessel, had set the whole town
talking. Coming from the city, where we average a murder a week, I was
quite startled at the measure of horror and indignation the deed excited
here. Subsequently I learned that such crimes were rare, and that in
this out-of-the-way corner of the land people had quite old-fashioned
notions about the value of human life and limb.

[Illustration: MACKEREL.--A FAMILY GROUP.]

The cod and mackerel fisheries have been the making of Provincetown,
though they complained of dull times when I was there, the fleet not
numbering more than fifty or sixty sail. Some schooners go whaling to
the Gulf of Mexico, Western Islands, or far up the north coast; but the
fares there are poor, they say, and growing poorer. The first mackerel
exhibited in the spring in Boston market are taken in Provincetown

Former travelers have observed that the art as well as the name of
hay-making was applied to the curing of the cod here, the fish, when
made, being stacked in the same manner. Cattle are reported to have
sometimes eaten them in lieu of salt hay. When the fishing season was at
its height, it must have been something to have seen--the length and
breadth of the town over-spread with cod-fish, occupying the front yards
and intervals between the houses. A good wife then, instead of going to
the garden for vegetables, would bring in a cod-fish from the flakes.
Then the hook was well baited.

I suppose the phrase "cod-fish aristocracy" did not originate on the
Cape, but may have a more ancient beginning than is generally believed,
as the Dutch were, in the year 1347, engaged in a civil war which lasted
many years, the rival parties being called "Hooks" and "Cod-fish,"
respectively. The former supported Margaret, Countess of Holland; the
latter, William, her son.

Champlain relates that the Indians, in this bay, fished for cod with
lines made of bark, to which a bone hook was attached, the bone being
fashioned like a harpoon, and fastened to a piece of wood with what he
believed to be hemp, such as they had in France. Bass, blue-fish, and
sturgeon were taken by spearing.

A fish dinner is eaten at least once a week by every family in New
England. In Catholic countries the supply of dried fish is usually
exhausted by the end of Lent. We have seen that Bradford received a
Jesuit at his own table, and regaled him with a fish dinner because it
was Friday, a piece of old-time courtesy some would have us think the
Pilgrims incapable of. Somewhat later they had a law in Massachusetts
banishing Jesuits or other Roman Catholic ecclesiastics out of their
jurisdiction on pain of death.

In effect, the cod-fish is to New England what roast beef is to old
Albion. The likeness of one is hanging in the State-house at Boston, as
the symbol of a leading Massachusetts industry. Down East the girls
carry bits of it in their pockets, and it is set on the bar-room
counters for luncheon. A Yankee can fatten on it where an Englishman
would starve. The statement is fortified by what we call the truth of

In 1714 her Majesty of England concluded a peace with her restless
neighbor across the Channel; or, as Pope rhymes it,

    "At length great Anna said, 'Let discord cease;'
    She said, the world obey'd, and all was peace."

This was the famous treaty that Matthew Prior, the negotiator-poet,
calls "the d--d Peace of Utrecht." Prior went to Paris with Bolingbroke.
Having arrived there during Lent, he was, by an edict, permitted to have
roast beef as a mark of royal favor, and on, I presume, his own
application. I rescue this _morceau_ from the abyss of state archives:

"Nous Baron de Breteuil et de Preuilly, premier Baron de Touraine, Conr
du Roy en ses Conseils, Introducteur des Ambassadeurs et Princes
Etrangères pres de Sa Matie; Enjoignons au Boucher de l'Hôtel de Dieu
de fournir pendant le Carême au _prix ordinaire_, suivant l'ordre du
Roy, toute la viande de Boucherie, et Rotisserie qui sera necessaire
pour la subsistance de la maison de plenipotentiaire de la Reyne de la
Grande Bretagne, M. Prior."[223]

If the great staple of New England is so firmly associated with the
Cape, its claims in another direction deserve also to be remembered. The
whale-fishery of New England had its beginning here. The hook caught
those leviathans as the Penobscot weirs catch salmon. It was long
afterward that Nantucket bristled with harpoons. That sea-girt isle
borrowed her art of the Cape, and induced a professor in whale-craft,
Ichabod Paddock by name, to come over and teach it to her. The Pilgrims
would have begun on the instant, but they had not the gear. The Indians
followed it in their primitive way, and the exploring parties saw them
stripping blubber from a stranded blackfish exactly as now practiced.

[Illustration: POND VILLAGE, CAPE COD.]

During the years the whales swam along the shore by Cape Cod there was
good fishing in boats. Watchmen stationed on the hills gave notice by
signals when one was in sight. After some time they passed farther off
on the banks, and sloops carrying whale-boats were used. Cotton Mather
refers to the fishery here. Douglass notes a whale struck on the back of
Cape Cod that yielded one hundred and thirty-four barrels of oil. In
1739 six small whales were taken in Provincetown Harbor. In 1746 not
more than three or four whales were taken on the Cape.

The first whaling adventure to the Falkland Islands is referred to the
enterprise of two inhabitants of Truro, who received the hint from
Admiral Montague, of the British navy, in 1774.[224]

This admiral, commonly called "Mad Montague," was a character. There is
an anecdote of his causing his coxswain to put the hands of some drowned
Dutch sailors in their pockets, and then betting fifty guineas to five
they died thus. The only reminiscence of whaling that I saw in
Provincetown was a gate-way formed of the ribs of a whale before the
door of a cottage. Over the house-door was a gilded eagle, of wood, that
had decorated some luckless craft. At the tavern the door was kept ajar
by a curiously carved whale's tooth wedged underneath. My landlord,
gray-haired, but still straight and sinewy, remarked, as he saw me
examining it, "I struck that fellow."

But what I came to see here was the desert, and I had not yet seen it.
Turning my back upon the town, I set out for Race Point, three miles
distant. The last house I passed--and this was a slaughter-house--had
the sign-board of a ship, the _Plymouth Rock_, nailed above the lintel.
For a certain distance the path was easy to follow; it then became
obscure, and I finally lost it altogether; but the sea on the Atlantic
side was always roaring a hoarse halloo.

It was never before my fortune to thread so curious and at the same time
so desolate a way as this. It filled up the pictures of my reading of
the coasts of Barbary or of Lower Egypt. I first crossed a range of
sand-hills thinly grown with beach-plum, whortleberry, brake, and sheep
laurel, or wild rhododendron.[225] Now and then there was a grove of
stunted pitch-pines on the hill-sides, and upon descending I found the
hollows occupied by swamps more or less extensive, where the growth was
denser and the stagnant water dotted with white blossoming lilies. There
were also clumps of the fragrant white laurel in full bloom. In such
places the bushes grew thickly, and I had to force my way through them.

The largest of these sunken ponds is named Shank Painter. Seeing what a
share they have in preserving Provincetown, I shall always respect a bog
or a morass. Over on the shore, between Race Point and Wood End, they
have Shank Painter Bar. Here and there in the swamp were clearings of an
acre or two planted with cranberry-vines, which yield a handsome return.
It was blossoming-time, and the ground was starred with their delicate
white flowers, having the corolla rolled back, as seen in the
tiger-lily. I found ripe blueberries growing close to the sand, and wild
strawberries, of excellent flavor, on the borders of cranberry meadows.
An account says, cows might once be seen "wading, and even swimming, in
these ponds, plunging their heads into the water up to their horns,
picking up a scanty subsistence from the roots and herbs produced in
the water." I saw birch, maple, and a few other forest trees of stinted
growth in the swamp, and stumps of very large pines that had been,
perhaps, many times covered and uncovered by sand.[226]


Cranberry culture, already briefly alluded to, has become an important
industry on Cape Cod. It is pleasant to see the pickers busily gathering
the fruit for market, a labor performed almost wholly by females. An
instrument called a cranberry-rake was formerly used; but as it bruised
the fruit, it has been discarded for hand-picking. Very little outlay is
necessary in the preparation of a cranberry-bed, and much less labor
than is usual with ordinary farm crops, while the return is much
greater. Here the visitor is astonished at seeing the vine producing
abundantly in what appears to be pure white sand. These cranberry
plantations are very profitable. Captain Henry Hull, of Barnstable, was
one of the earliest cultivators on the Cape.


Though it was raw and windy the marsh-flies bit shrewdly. After passing
over the first hills beyond Shank Painter, a very different scene
presented itself. Here was a stretch of lofty mounds of clean white
sand, five miles in length and a mile and a half in breadth, bare of all
vegetation, except scanty patches of beach grass. There was no longer a
path, and though I saw occasional foot-prints, I did not meet any one.
A carriage would be of no use where a horse would sink to his knees in
the sand. It was Equality Lane, where pauper or millionaire must trudge
for it. In some places the sand was soft and yielding, and again it was
so hard beaten by the wind that the footfall would scarcely leave an
impression. Scrambling to the summit of one of the highest hills, I
found myself overlooking a remarkable hollow completely surrounded with
sandy walls. A Bedouin might have been at home here, but shipwrecked
sailors would wander aimlessly, until, caught in some such _cul-de-sac_,
they gave up the ghost in despair. In wintry storms the route is
impracticable. The tourist who has never been to Naples may here do
Vesuvius _in poco_, taking care to empty his shoes after sliding from
the top to the bottom of a sand-hill.

The beach grass, I noticed, resembled the buffalo grass of the plains.
It grew at equal distances, even in spots where it had seeded itself. It
is the sheet-anchor of the Cape; for, now that the woods are nearly
gone, there is nothing else to prevent this avalanche of sand from
advancing and overwhelming every thing in its way. Why may not the
cotton-wood, which propagates itself in the sand on the borders of
Western rivers, prove a valuable auxiliary here? I have known a newly
formed sand-bar in the Missouri become a well-wooded island in ten
years. There, the tree grows to a great size, and seems to care little
for the kind of soil it gets. The poplar (of the same species)
flourished well, I saw, in Provincetown and elsewhere on the Cape. The
experiment is worth the trying.

In Dr. Belknap's account of Provincetown, printed in 1791, he says of
this range of sand-hills: "This volume of sand is gradually rolling
into the woods with the winds, and as it covers the trees to the tops,
they die. The tops of the trees appear above the sand, but they are all
dead. Where they have been lately covered the bark and twigs are still
remaining; from others they have fallen off; some have been so long
whipped and worn out with the sand and winds that there is nothing
remaining but the hearts and knots of the trees; but over the greater
part of this desert the trees have long since disappeared." The tops of
the dead trees mentioned by Dr. Belknap, the remnant of the forest seen
here by the Pilgrims, have been cut off for fuel, until few, if any, are
to be seen.

After crossing the wilderness, I came to the shore. It was blowing half
a gale, the sea being roughened by it, but not grand. There was but
little drift, and that such "unconsidered trifles" of the sea as the
vertebræ of fishes, jelly-fish, a few tangled bunches of weed, and some
pretty pebbles. Looking up and down the beach, I discovered one or two
wreckers seeking out the night's harvest; and presently there came a
cart in which were a man and woman, the man ever and anon jumping out to
gather up a little bundle of drift-wood, with which he ran back to the
cart, followed by a shaggy Newfoundland dog that barked and gamboled at
his side. These wreckers claim what they have discovered by placing
crossed sticks upon the heap, the mark being respected by all who come

I followed the bank by the verge of the beach, the tide having but just
turned. Before me was the light-house, and the collection of huts at
Race Point. A single vessel, bound for a Southern port, was in sight,
that, after standing along, gunwale under, within half a mile of the
shore, filled away on the other tack, rounding the point in good style.
A hundred yards back of the usual high-water mark were well-defined
lines of drift, indicating the limit where the sea in great storms had
forced its way. I passed a group of huts, used perhaps at times by
fishermen, and at others as a shelter for shipwrecked mariners. The
doors were open, and, notwithstanding a palisade of barrel-staves, the
sand had drifted to a considerable depth within. Here also were pieces
of a vessel's bulwarks, the first vestiges of wreck I had seen.

In 1802 the Humane Society erected a hut of refuge at the head of
Stout's Creek; but it being improperly built with a chimney, and placed
on a spot where no beach grass grew, the strong winds blew the sand from
its foundation, and the weight of the chimney brought it to the ground.
A few weeks later the ship _Brutus_ was cast away. Had the hut remained,
it is probable the whole of the unfortunate crew might have been saved,
as they gained the shore within a few rods of the spot where it had
stood. Upon such trifles the lives of men sometimes depend.

The curvature of the shore south of Race Point, by which I was walking,
is called Herring Cove. There is good anchorage here, and vessels may
ride safely when the wind is from north-east to south-east. The shore
between Race Point and Stout's Creek, in Truro, was formerly considered
the most dangerous on the Cape. Since the erection of Race Point Light,
disasters have been less frequent. An attempt to penetrate through the
hills to Provincetown by night would be attended with danger, especially
in the winter season, but by day the steeple of the Methodist church is
always in sight from the highest sand-hills.

Freeman, in his "History of Cape Cod," relates an occurrence that
happened here in 1722. A sloop from Duxbury, in which the Rev. John
Robinson and wife, and daughter Mary, had taken passage, was upset by a
sudden tempest near Nantasket Beach, at the entrance of Boston Harbor.
The body of Mrs. Robinson was found "in Herring Cove, a little within
Race Point," by Indians, about six weeks after the event. It was
identified by papers found in the stays, and by a gold necklace, that
had been concealed from the natives by the swelling of the neck. A
finger had been cut off, doubtless for the gold ring the unfortunate
lady had worn.

The winter of 1874-'75 will be memorable in New England beyond the
present generation, the extreme cold having fast locked up a greater
number of her harbors than was ever before known. Provincetown, that is
so providentially situated to receive the storm-tossed mariner, was
hermetically sealed by a vast ice-field, which extended from Wood End to
Manomet, a distance of twenty-two miles, grasping in its icy embrace all
intermediate shores and havens. In the neighborhood of Provincetown a
fleet of fishing vessels that was unable to reach the harbor became
immovably imbedded in the floe, thus realizing at our very doors all the
perils of Arctic navigation. A few were released by the aid of a
steam-cutter, but by far the greater number remained helplessly
imprisoned without other change than that caused by the occasional drift
of the ice-floe in strong gales.

The sight was indeed a novel one. Where before was the expanse of
blue-water, nothing could now be seen except the white slab, pure as
marble, which entombed the harbors. All within the grasp of the eye was
a Dead Sea. Flags of distress were displayed in every direction from the
masts of crippled vessels that no help could reach. Their hulls,
rigging, and tapering spars were so ice-crusted as to resemble ships of
glass. As many as twenty signals of distress were counted at one time
from the life-saving station at Provincetown. Some of these luckless
craft were crushed and sunk to the bottom; others were abandoned by
their crews, who had eaten their last crust and burned the bulwarks of
their vessels for fuel. The remainder were at length released by the
breaking-up of the ice-floe, which only relaxed its grip after having
held them fast for a month.

It would not be extravagant to say that the beach on the ocean side,
between Highland Light and Wood End, was strewed with wrecks. Vessel
after vessel was dashed into pieces by waves that bore great blocks of
drift-ice to aid in the work of destruction. One starless morning the
_James Rommell_ struck between Highland Light and Race Point. Instantly
the ice-laden surges leaped upon her decks. Wood and iron were crushed
like paper under the blows of sea and ice. The helpless vessel was
forced side wise toward the beach, where the waves began heaping up the
loose sand on the leeward side, until it reached as high as her decks.
When the vessel struck, the crew clambered up the rigging, and all were
saved, in a perishing condition, with the help of rescuing hands from
the life station. One poor fellow dropped dead on the shore he had
periled life to gain, a frozen corpse. In twenty-four hours there was no
more left of the _James Rommell_ than could be carried away in the
wreckers' carts.


But saddest of all was the loss of the Italian bark _Giovanni_. After
eighty-one days of stormy voyage from Palermo, a terrible gale, which
tore the frozen sails in shreds from her masts, drove her upon this
dangerous coast. In the midst of a blinding snow-storm, the unmanageable
vessel was borne steadily and mercilessly upon the shore. When she
struck, the shock brought down portions of her rigging, leaving her a
dismantled wreck. Her crew could see people moving about on the beach,
but no human power could aid them. Soon the _Giovanni_ began to sink
into the sandy grave the waves were fast digging to receive her hull,
and the seas sweeping her decks raged around the rigging, in which the
sailors had taken refuge. One by one they were picked off by the waves.
The wreckers' bombs failed to bring a line to them. A few of the ship's
company made a desperate push for the beach, which only one reached
alive. All night long the wreckers kept their watch by the shore, hoping
the gale might abate; but sea and wind beat and howled as wildly as
before. When it was light enough to descry the _Giovanni_, six objects
could be seen clinging in the ringing. The ship, it was perceived, was
fast breaking up. God help them, for no other could! The spectators saw
these poor fellows perish before their eyes. They saw the overstrained
masts bend and shiver and break, crashing in ruin down upon the
shattered hull. The next day only a piece of the bow remained, sticking
up like a grave-stone on the reef.

Of the _Giovanni's_ crew of fifteen only the one mentioned escaped. He
could not speak a syllable of English, but was able, by signs, to
identify the body of his captain, when it came ashore. The other bodies
that came in were laid out in Provincetown church, three miles from the
scene of the wreck. Stray portions of the ship's cargo of wine and fruit
were washed up, and while any of the former was to be had the beach was
not safe to be traversed. In the midst of this carnival of death, men
drunk with wine wandered up and down in the bitter cold, intent upon
robbery and violence. One or more of these beach pirates were found
dead, the victims of their own debauch.

The configuration of the shores of the Cape on the Atlantic side is very
different from what was observed by early voyagers. The Isle Nauset of
Smith has, for more than a century, been "wiped out" by the sea.[227]
Inlets to harbors have in some cases been closed and other passages
opened, as at Eastham and Orleans. In 1863 remains of the hull of an
ancient ship were uncovered at Nauset Beach in Orleans, imbedded in the
mud of a meadow a quarter of a mile from any water that would have
floated her. Curiosity was aroused by the situation as well as the
singular build of the vessel, and what was left of her was released from
the bed in which, it is believed, it had been inclosed for more than two
centuries. A careful writer considers it to have been the wreck of the
_Sparrow-hawk_, mentioned by Bradford as having been stranded here in

There are generally two ranges of sand-bars on the ocean side of the
Cape; the outward being about three-fourths of a mile from shore, and
the inner range five hundred yards. As in the case of the ill-fated
_Giovanni_, a vessel usually brings up on the outer bar, and pounds over
it at the next tide, merely to encounter the inward shoal. Between these
two ranges a tremendous cross-sea is always running in severe gales,
and, if the wind has continued long from the same quarter, causing also
a current that will float the _débris_ of a wreck along the shore faster
than a man can walk. With the wind at south-east the wreck stuff will
not land, but is carried rapidly to the north-west. Shipwrecked mariners
have to cross this hell gate to reach the beach. The mortars used at the
life-stations will not carry a life-line to a vessel at five hundred
yards from the shore in the teeth of a gale, and are therefore useless
at that distance; but if the wreck is fortunate enough to be lifted over
the inner bar by the sea, it will strike the beach at a distance where
it is practicable to save life under ordinary contingencies. So great
are the obstacles to be overcome on this shore, that there is no part of
the New England coast, Nantucket perhaps excepted, where a sailor would
not rather suffer shipwreck.

Standing here, I felt as if I had not lived in vain. I was as near
Europe as my legs would carry me, at the extreme of this withered arm
with a town in the hollow of its hand. You seem to have invaded the
domain of old Neptune, and plucked him by the very beard. For centuries
the storms have beaten upon this narrow strip of sand, behind which the
commerce of a State lies intrenched. The assault is unflagging, the
defense obstinate. Fresh columns are always forming outside for the
attack, and the roll of ocean is forever beating the charge. Yet the
Cape stands fast, and will not budge. It is as if it should say, "After
me the Deluge."

[Illustration: A "SUNFISH."]


[214] There is a well-defined line of demarkation between the almost
uninterrupted rock wall of the north coast and the sand, which,
beginning in the Old Colony, in Scituate, constitutes Cape Cod; and, if
we consider Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, and Long Island as having at
some period formed the exterior shores, the almost unbroken belt of sand
continues to Florida. This line is so little imaginary that it is plain
to see where granite gives place to sand; and it is sufficiently curious
to arrest the attention even of the unscientific explorer.

[215] "Lequel nous nommâmes C. Blanc pour ce que c'estoient sables et
dunes qui paroissent ainsi."

[216] Named by Captain Gosnold, on account of the expressed fears of one
of his company.

[217] Being the 21st of November, it would fall quite near to the day
usually set apart for Thanksgiving in New England, which is merely an
arbitrary observance, commemorative of no particular occurrence.

[218] One of De Monts's men ("_un charpentier Maloin_") was killed here
in 1605 by the natives. In attempting to recover a kettle one of them
had stolen, he was transfixed with arrows.

[219] Lescarbot adds that the natives, turning their backs to the
vessel, threw the sand with both hands toward them from between their
buttocks, in derision, yelling like wolves.

[220] Hubbard relates a terrific storm here. See "New England," p. 644.
In 1813 there was a naval engagement at Provincetown.

[221] General Knox was interested in this project. Lemuel Cox, the
celebrated bridge architect, was engaged in cutting it.

[222] Champlain confirms this.

[223] Prior was personally acceptable to Louis XIV., who gave him a
diamond box with his portrait. He was also well known to Boileau.

[224] Captain David Smith and Captain Gamaliel Collins.

[225] In old times a decoction of checker-berry leaves was given to
lambs poisoned by eating the young leaves of the laurel in spring.

[226] There is an authentic account of ice being found here on the 4th
of July, 1741.

[227] When the English first settled upon the Cape there was an island
off Chatham, three leagues distant, called Webb's Island. It contained
twenty acres, covered with red-cedar or savin. The Nantucket people
resorted to it for fire-wood. In 1792, as Dr. Morse relates, it had
ceased to exist for nearly a century. "A large rock," he says, "that was
upon the island, and which settled as the earth washed away, now marks
the place."

[228] Amos Otis, in the "New England Historical and Genealogical
Register," 1865.

[Illustration: NANTUCKET, FROM THE SEA.]



    "God bless the sea-beat island!
      And grant for evermore
    That charity and freedom dwell,
      As now, upon her shore."--WHITTIER.

The sea-port of Nantucket, every body knows, rose, flourished, and fell
with the whale-fishery. It lies snugly ensconced in the bottom of a bay
on the north side of the island of the name, with a broad sound of water
between it and the nearest main-land of Cape Cod. The first Englishman
to leave a distinct record of it was Captain Dermer, who was here in
1620, though Weymouth probably became entangled among Nantucket Shoals
in May, 1605. The relations of Archer and Brereton render it at least
doubtful whether this island was not the first on which Gosnold landed,
and to which he gave the name of Martha's Vineyard. The two accounts are
too much at variance to enable the student to bring them into reciprocal
agreement, yet that of Archer, being in the form of a diary, in which
each day's transactions are noted, will be preferred to the narrative of
Brereton, who wrote from recollection. To these the curious reader is


The name of "Nautican" is the first I have found applied to Nantucket
Island.[230] Whether the derivation is from the Latin _nauticus_, or a
corruption of the Indian, is disputed, though the word has an
unmistakably Indian sound and construction.[231] In the patents and
other documents it is called Nantukes, Mantukes, or Nantucquet Isle,
indifferently, showing, as may be suggested, as many efforts to construe
good Indian into bad English. Previous to Gosnold's voyage the English
had no knowledge of it, nor were the names he gave the isles discovered
by him in general use until long afterward. One other derivation is too
far-fetched for serious consideration, a mere _jeu de mot_, to which all
readers of Gosnold's voyage are insensible. Historians and antiquaries
having alike failed to solve these knotty questions, it is proposed to
refer them to a council of Spiritualists, with power to send for persons
and papers.

Those who wish to enjoy a foretaste of crossing the British Channel may
have it by going to Nantucket. The passage affords in a marked degree
the peculiarities of a sea-voyage, and, in rough weather, is not exempt
from its drawbacks. The land is nearly, if not quite, lost to view. You
are on the real ocean, and the remainder of the voyage to Europe is
merely a few more revolutions of the paddles. You have enjoyed the
emotions incident to getting under way, of steering boldly out into the
open sea, and of tossing for a few hours upon its billows: the rest is
but a question of time and endurance.

Every one is prepossessed with Nantucket. Its isolation from the world
surrounds it with a mysterious haze, that is the more fascinating
because it exacts a certain faith in the invisible. Inviting the
imagination to depict it for us, is far more interesting than if we
could, by going down to the shore, see it any day. In order to get to it
we must steer by the compass, and in thick weather look it up with the
plummet. In brief, it answers many of the conditions of an undiscovered
country. Although laid down on every good map of New England, and
certified by the relations of many trustworthy writers, it is not
enough; we do not know Nantucket.


No brighter or sunnier day could be wished for than the one on which the
_Island Home_ steamed out from Wood's Hole into the Vineyard Sound for
the sea-girt isle. Besides the usual complement of health and pleasure
seekers was a company of strolling players, from Boston, as they
announced themselves--a very long way indeed, I venture to affirm. These
"abstracts and brief chronicles of the time" were soon "well bestowed"
on the cabin sofas, the rising sea making it at least doubtful whether
they would be able to perform before a Nantucket audience so soon as
that night. From the old salt who rang the bell and urged immediate
attendance at the captain's office, to the captain himself, with golden
rings in his ears, and the Indian girl who officiated as stewardess, the
belongings of the _Island Home_ afloat were spiced with a novel yet
agreeable foretaste of the island home fast anchored in the Atlantic.

The sail across the Vineyard Sound is more than beautiful; it is a poem.
Trending away to the west, the Elizabeth Islands, like a gate ajar, half
close the entrance into Buzzard's Bay. Among them nestles Cuttyhunk,
where the very first English spade was driven into New England
soil.[232] Straight over in front of the pathway the steamer is cleaving
the Vineyard is looking its best and greenest, with oak-skirted
highlands inclosing the sheltered harbor of Vineyard Haven,[233] famous
on all this coast. Edgartown is seen at the bottom of a deep
indentation, its roofs gleaming like scales on some huge reptile that
has crawled out of the sea, and is basking on the warm yellow sands.
Chappaquiddick Island, with its sandy tentacles, terminates in Cape
Poge, on which is a light-house.

Between the shores, and as far as eye can discern, the fleet that passes
almost without intermission is hurrying up and down the Sound. One
column stretches away under bellying sails, like a fleet advancing in
line of battle, but the van-guard is sinking beneath the distant waves.
Still they come and go, speeding on to the appointed mart, threading
their way securely among islands, capes, and shoals. Much they enliven
the scene. A sea without a sail is a more impressive solitude than a
deserted city.

We ran between the two sandy points, long and low, that inclose the
harbor into smoother water. The captain went on the guard. "Heave your
bow-line." "Ay, ay, sir." "Back her, sir" (to the pilot). "Hold on your
spring." "Stop her." "Slack away the bow-line there." "Haul in." It is
handsomely done, and this is Nantucket.

The wharf, I should infer, would be the best place in which to take the
census of Nantucket. No small proportion of the inhabitants were
assembled at the pier's head, waiting the arrival of the boat. You had
first to make your way through a skirmishing line of hack-drivers and of
boys eager to carry your luggage; then came the solid battalion of
citizen idlers, and behind these was a reserve of carriages and carts.
On the pier you gain the idea that Nantucket is populous; that what you
see is merely the overflow; whereas it is the wharf that is populous,
while the town is for the moment well-nigh deserted. There could be no
better expression of the feeling of isolation than the agitation
produced by so simple an event as the arrival of the daily packet. Doors
are slammed, shutters pulled to in a hurry, while a tide of curious
humanity pours itself upon the landing-place. The coming steamer is
heralded by the town-crier's fish-horn, as soon as descried from the
church-tower that is his observatory. In winter, when communication with
the main-land is sometimes interrupted for several days together, the
sense of separation from the world must be intensified.[234]


After running the gantlet of the crowd on the wharf, the stranger is at
liberty to look about him.

The fire of 1846 having destroyed the business portion of the town, that
part is not more interesting than the average New England towns of
modern growth. Generally speaking, the houses are of wood, the idea of
spaciousness seeming prominent with the builders. Plenty of house-room
was no doubt synonymous with plenty of sea-room in the minds of retired
ship-masters, whose battered hulks I saw safe moored in snug and quiet
harbors. The streets are cleanly, and, having trees and flower-gardens,
are often pretty and cheerful.

The roofs of many houses are surmounted by a railed platform, a reminder
of the old whaling times. Here the dwellers might sit in the cool of the
evening, and take note of the passing ships, or of some deep-laden
whaleman with rusty sides and grimy spars wallowing toward the harbor.
Here the merchant anxiously scanned the horizon for tidings of some
loitering bark; and here superannuated skippers paced up and down, as
they had done the quarter-deck. I question if the custom was not first
brought here from the tropics, for in Spanish-talking America the best
room is not unfrequently the roof, to which the family resort on
sweltering hot nights. Sometimes a storm arises, when the precipitancy
with which the sleepers gather up their pallets and seek a shelter is
the more amusing if witnessed near day-break. Formerly every other house
in Nantucket had one of these lookouts, or a vane at the gable-end, to
show if the wind was fair for vessels homeward-bound.

While other towns have increased, Nantucket for a length of time has
stood still. I saw no evidences of squalid poverty or of actual want,
though there was a striking absence of activity. The fire, of which they
still talk, though it happened thirty years ago, can not be traced by
such visible reminders as a mass of new buildings fitted into the burned
space, or by a cordon of old houses drawn around its charred edges. The
disaster caused the loss of many handsome buildings, among them Trinity
Church, a beautiful little edifice, having latticed windows.

If there was no squalor obtruding itself upon the stranger, neither was
there any display of ostentatious wealth. There were a few large square
mansions of brick or wood, and even an aristocratic quarter, once known
as India Row; but, on the whole, a remarkable equality existed in the
houses of Nantucket. The old New England Greek temple greets you
familiarly here and there. I read on the sign-boards the well-remembered
names of Coffin, Folger, Bunker, Macy, Starbuck, etc., that could belong
nowhere else than here. Whenever I have seen one of them in some distant
corner of the continent, I have felt like raising the island slogan of
other times, "There she blows!"

The Nantucket of colonial times was not more like the present than
sailors in pigtails and high-crowned hats are like the close-cropped,
wide-trowsered tars of to-day. Houses were scattered about without the
semblance of order. The streets had never any names until the assessment
of the direct tax in the administration of President Adams. Common
convenience divided the town into neighborhoods, familiarly known as
"Up-in-Town," "West Cove," or "North Shore." An old traveler says the
stranger formerly received direction to Elisha Bunker's Street, or David
Mitchell's Street, or Tristram Hussey's Street.

The average conversation is still interlarded with such sea phrases as
"cruising about," "short allowance," "rigged out," etc. I heard one
woman ask for the "bight" of a clothes-line. I had it from credible
authority that a Cape Cod girl, when kissed, always presented the other
cheek, saying, "You darsent do that again." A Nantucket lass would say,
"Sheer off, or I'll split your mainsail with a typhoon."

There is a story of a "cute" Nantucket skipper, who boasted he could
tell where his schooner might be in the thickest weather, simply by
tasting what the sounding-lead brought up. His mates resolved to put him
to the test. The lead was well greased, and thrust into a box of earth,
"a parsnip bed," that had been brought on board before sailing. It was
then taken down to the skipper, and he was requested to tell the
schooner's position. At the first taste

    "The skipper stormed, and tore his hair,
      Thrust on his boots, and roared to Marden,
    'Nantucket's sunk, and here we are
      Right over old Marm Hackett's garden!'"

The streets avoid the fatal straight-line, though they are not
remarkably crooked. In the business quarter they are paved with
cobble-stones, showing ruts deeply worn by the commerce of other days.
Grass was growing out of the interstices of the pavement, where once
merchants most did congregate. One of the principal avenues is built
along the brow of the sea-bluff, so that almost every house commands a
broad sweep of ocean view. The sides of a great many houses were
shingled, being warmer, as many will tell you, than if covered with
clapboards. As in all maritime towns, the weather-vane is usually a
fish, and that, of course, a whale. It is the first thing looked at in
the morning by every male inhabitant of the island. Some of the lanes go
reeling and twisting about in a remarkable manner.

Nantucket was larger than I had expected. The best view of it is
obtained from the side of Coatue. A single old windmill on the summit of
a hill behind the town adds to its picturesqueness, and somewhat
relieves the too-familiar outlines of roof and steeple. But what, in a
place of its size, is most remarkable, is the almost total absence of
movement. It impressed me, the time I was there, as uninhabited. There
were no troops of joyous children by day, nor throngs of promenaders by
night; all was listless and still. Here, indeed, was the town, but where
were the people? I was not at all surprised when accosted by one who,
like me, wandered and wondered, with the question, "Does any body live
in Nantucket?" In midwinter, said an old resident to me, you might have
a hospital in the town market-place without danger of disturbing any
body. The noise of wheels rattling over the stony street is not often

Owing to the total loss of its great industry, the population of
Nantucket is not greater than it was a hundred years ago, and not half
what it was early in the century.[235] A large proportion of the houses,
it would appear, were unoccupied; yet many that had long remained vacant
were being thrown open to admit new guests, that are seeking

    "The breath of a new life--the healing of the seas!"

Old brasses were being furbished up, and cobwebs swept away by new and
ruthless brooms. The town is being colonized from the main-land, and
though the inhabitants welcome the change, the crust and flavor of
originality can not survive it. Already the drift has set in: we may,
perhaps, live to see a full-fledged lackey in Nantucket streets.

The wharves show the same decay as in Salem and Plymouth, except that
here all are about equally dilapidated and grass-grown. Not a whaling
vessel of any tonnage to be seen in Nantucket! The assertion seems
incredible. In 1834 there were seventy-three ships and a fleet of
smaller craft owned on the island. At this moment a brace of fishing
schooners, called smacks, were the largest craft in the harbor. The
dispersion of the shipping has been like to that of the inhabitants. I
have seen those old whale-ships, with their bluff bows and flush decks,
moored in a long line inside the Golden Gate. There they lay, rotting at
their anchors, with topmasts struck, and great holes cut in their sides,
big enough to drive a wagon right into their holds. To a lands-man they
looked not unlike a fleet in array of battle.

[Illustration: LAST OF THE WHALE-SHIPS.]

Others of these old hulks drifted into such ports as Acapulco and
Panama, where they were used for coaling the steamships of that coast;
and at Sacramento I saw they had converted one into a prison-ship. The
last of them remaining in New England harbors were purchased by the
Government, and sunk in rebel harbors, as unfit longer to swim the seas.
It is not pleasant to think how the last vestiges of a commerce that
carried the fame of the island to the remotest corners of the earth have
been swept from the face of the ocean.

The whale-ship I was last on board of was the old _Peri_, of New London,
that looked able to sail equally well bow or stern foremost. The brick
try-house, thick with soot, remained on deck, the water-butt was still
lashed to the mizzen-mast. How she smelled of oil! Her timbers were
soaked with it, and, on looking down the hatchway, I could see it
floating, in prismatic colors, on the surface of the bilge-water in her
hold. Many a whale had been cut up alongside. Her decks were greasy as a
butcher's block. Though her spars were aloft, she had a slipshod look
that would have vexed a sailor beyond measure. The very manner in which
the yards were crossed told as plainly of abandonment as unreeved blocks
and slackened rigging betokened a careless indifference of her future.

In the days of whaling, a different scene presented itself from that now
seen on Nantucket wharves. Ships were then constantly going and coming,
discharging their cargoes, or getting ready for sea. The quays were
encumbered with butts of oil and heaps of bone. The smith was busy at
his forge, the cooper beside himself with work. Let us step into the
warehouse. Oil is everywhere. The counting-house ceiling is smeared with
it. The walls are hung with pictures of famous whalemen--in oil, of
course--coming into port with flags aloft, and I know not how many
barrels under their hatches. See the private signal at the mizzen, the
foam falling from the bows, and bubbling astern! A brave sight; but
become unfrequent of late.

On the walls are also models of fortunate ships, neatly lettered with
their names and voyages. I have seen the head and tusks of the walrus
affixed to them, as the head and antlers of the stag might grace the
halls of the huntsmen of the land. A strip of whalebone; maps or charts,
smoke-blackened, and dotted with greasy finger-marks, indicating where
ships had been spoken, or mayhap gone to Davy Jones's Locker; a South
Sea javelin with barbed head, a war club and sheaf of envenomed arrows,
or a paddle curiously carved, were the usual paraphernalia appropriate
in such a place.

In the store-room are all the supplies necessary to a voyage. There are
harpoons, lances, and cutting spades, with a rifle or two for the cabin.
Coils of rigging, and lines for the boats, with a thousand other objects
belonging to the ship's outfitting, are not wanting.

According to Langlet, the whale-fishery was first carried on by the
Norwegians, in the ninth century. Up to the sixteenth century,
Newfoundland and Iceland were the fishing-grounds. The use of bone was
not known until 1578; consequently, says an old writer, "no stays were
worn by the ladies." The English commenced whaling at Spitzbergen in
1598, but they had been preceded in those seas by the Dutch. As many as
two thousand whales a year have been annually killed on the coast of


Champlain says that in his time it was believed the whale was usually
taken by balls fired from a cannon, and that several impudent liars had
sustained this opinion to his face. The Basques, he continues, were the
most skillful in this fishery. Leaving their vessels in some good
harbor, they manned their shallops with good men, well provided with
lines a hundred and fifty fathoms in length, of the best and strongest
hemp. These were attached to the middle of the harpoons.[236] In each
shallop was a harpooner, the most adroit and "_dispos_" among them, who
had the largest share after the master, inasmuch as his was the most
hazardous office. The boats were provided also with a number of
partisans of the length of a half-pike, shod with an iron six inches
broad and very trenchant.[237]

When at Provincetown, I referred to the beginning of the whale-fishery
of Nantucket. Ichabod Paddock, in 1690, instructed the islanders how to
kill whales from the shore in boats. The Indians of the island joined in
the chase, and were as dexterous as any. Early in the eighteenth century
small sloops and schooners of thirty or forty tons burden were fitted
out, in which the blubber, after being first cut in large square pieces,
was brought home, for trying out. In a few years vessels of sixty to
eighty tons, fitted with try-works, were employed.

Douglass gives some additional particulars. About 1746, he says,
whaling was by sloops or schooners, each carrying two boats and
thirteen men. In every boat were a harpooner, steersman, and four
oarsmen, who used nooses for their oars, so that by letting them go they
would trail alongside when they were fast to a whale. The "fast" was a
rope of about twenty-five fathoms, attached to a drag made of plank,
about two feet square, with a stick through its centre. To the end of
this stick the tow-rope of fifteen fathoms was fastened.[238]

[Illustration: WHALE OF THE ANCIENTS.]

It passes without challenge that the isle's men were the most skillful
whalemen in the world. The boys, as soon as they could talk, made use of
the Indian word "townor," meaning, "I have twice seen the whale;" and as
soon as able they took to the oar, becoming expert oarsmen. Language
would inadequately express the triumph of the youngster who landed in
his native town after having struck his first whale. The Indian who
proudly exhibits his first scalp could not rival him. Thus it happens
that you suppose every man in Nantucket can handle the harpoon, and
every woman the oar. Nor was it in whaling battles alone that the island
prowess made itself famous. Reuben Chase, midshipman of the _Bonne Homme
Richard_ in the battle with the _Serapis_, became, under Mr. Cooper's
hand, Long Tom Coffin of "The Pilot."

The Revolution was near giving the death-blow to Nantucket. In February,
1775, Lord North brought in his famous bill to restrain the trade and
commerce of New England with Great Britain and her dependencies, and to
prohibit their fishery on the Banks of Newfoundland.[239] It was
represented to Parliament that of the population of the islands,
amounting to some thousands, nine-tenths were Quakers; that the land was
barren, but by astonishing industry one hundred and forty vessels were
kept employed, of which all but eight were engaged in the

The inhabitants having been exempted from the restraining act of
Parliament, the Continental Congress, in 1775, took steps to prevent the
export of provisions to the island from the main-land, except what might
be necessary for domestic use. The Provincial Congress of Massachusetts
also prohibited the export of provisions until full satisfaction was
given that they were not to be used for foreign consumption.[241] These
precautions were necessary, because the enemy's ships made the island a

Some stigma has attached to the Nantucket Friends for their want of
patriotism in the Revolution. They were perhaps in too great haste to
apply for the protection of the crown to suit the temper of the day.
Justice to their position requires the impartial historian to state that
they were at the mercy of the enemy's fleets. They were virtually left
to shift for themselves, and ought not to be censured for making the
best terms possible. At the close of hostilities their commerce was, in
fact, nearly destroyed. Starved by their friends, now become their
enemies, and robbed by their enemies, of whom they had sought to make
friends, they were in danger of being ground between the upper and
nether millstones of a hard destiny.

I well enough remember the first sight I had of whale-ships on their
cruising-grounds; of the watchmen in their tubs at the mast-head, where
they looked like strange birds in strange nests; and of the great whales
that rose to breathe, casting fountains of spray high in the air. They
seemed not more animated than the black hull of a vessel drifting
bottom-up, and rolling lazily from side to side, until, burying their
huge heads deeper, a monster tail was lifted into view, remained an
instant motionless, and then, following the rolling plunge of the
unwieldy body, sunk majestically beneath the wave.

The curious interest with which, from the deck of a matter-of-fact
steamship, I had watched the indolent gambols and puffings of the
school, had caused me to lose sight of the whaleman, until an
extraordinary commotion recalled her to my attention. Blocks were
rattling, commands quick and sharp were ringing out, and I could plainly
see the splash that followed the descent of the boats into the water.
Away they went, the ashen blades bending like withes with the energy and
vim of the stroke. Erect in the stern, his arms bared to the shoulder,
his body inclined forward like a bended bow, was the boat-steerer. I
fancied I could hear his voice and see his gestures as he shook his
clenched fist in the faces of the boat's crew. This was the
boat-steerer's speech:

"Now, boys, give it to her; lay back hard! Spring _hard_, I tell you!
There she blows! Break your backs, you duff-eaters! Put me right on top
of that whale, boys! There she is, boys--a beauty! One more lift, and
hurra for Nantucket bar!"

After a weary and fruitless chase--for the whales had sounded--we were
boarded by the mate's boat, and requested to report their vessel. I
gazed with real curiosity at its crew. Every man had a bandana
handkerchief bound tightly about his head. Faces, chests, and arms were
the color of old mahogany well oiled. They were then two years out, they
said, and inquired anxiously for news from the "States." They neither
knew who was President, nor of the war raging between the great powers
of Europe, and were thankful for the old newspapers that we tossed to
them. At length they rowed off, cutting their way through the water with
a powerful stroke, their boat mounting the seas like an egg-shell.

An ancient salt with whom I talked in Nantucket spoke of the
disappearance of the whales, and of their turning up in new and
unexpected waters. From the beginning of the century until the decline
of the fishery, vessels usually made a straight course for Cape Horn;
but of late years, whales, he said, had re-appeared in the Atlantic,
making their way, it is believed, through the North-west Passage. Whales
with harpoons sticking in them having the names of vessels that had
entered the Arctic by way of Behring's Straits have been taken by other
ships on the Atlantic side of the continent.

"When I first went whaling," quoth he, "you might wake up of a morning
in the Sea of Japan with fifty sail of whalemen in sight. A fish darsent
(durst not) show his head: some ship would take him."

"I have gone on deck off the Cape of Good Hope," he continued, "when we
hadn't a bar'l of ile in the ship, an' the whales nearly blowin' on us
out o' the water. We took in twelve hundred bar'ls afore we put out the

Now, though they burn coal-oil in Nantucket, I believe they would prefer
sperm. You could not convince an islander that the discovery of oil in
the coal-fields was any thing to his advantage; nor would he waste words
with you about the law of compensations. A few, I was told, still cling
to the idea of a revival in the whale-fishery, but the greater number
regard it as clean gone. I confess to a weakness for oil of sperm
myself. There are the recollections of a shining row of brazen and
pewter lamps on the mantel, the despair of house-maids. In coal-oil
there is no poetry; Shakspeare and Milton did not study, nor Ben Jonson
rhyme, by it. Napoleon did not dictate nor Nelson die by the light of
it. Nowadays there are no lanterns, no torches, worthy the name.

As there is not enough depth of water on Nantucket bar for large ships,
Edgartown Harbor was formerly resorted to by the whalemen of this
island, to obtain fresh water and fit their ships for sea. If they
returned from a voyage in winter, they were obliged to discharge their
cargoes into lighters at Edgartown before they could enter Nantucket
Harbor. One of the Nantucket steeples was constructed with a lookout
commanding the whole island, from which the watchman might, it is said,
with a glass, distinguish vessels belonging here that occasionally came
to anchor at Martha's Vineyard.

In time a huge floating dock that could be submerged, called a camel,
was employed to bring vessels over the bar. After going on its knees and
taking the ship on its back, the camel was pumped free of water, when
both came into port. These machines are not of Yankee invention. They
were originated by the celebrated De Witt, for the purpose of conveying
large vessels from Amsterdam over the Pampus. They were also introduced
into Russia by Peter the Great, who had obtained their model while
working as a common shipwright in Holland. As invented, the camel was
composed of two separate parts, each having a concave side to embrace
the ship's hull, to which it was fastened with strong cables.

The harbors of Edgartown, New London, and New Bedford, not being subject
to the inconvenience of a bar before them, flourished to some extent at
the expense of Nantucket; but all these ports have shared a common fate.
The gold fever of 1849 broke out when whaling was at its ebb, and then
scores of whale-ships for the last time doubled Cape Horn. Officers and
men drifted into other employments, or continued to follow the sea in
some less dangerous service. They were considered the best sailors in
the world. I remember one athletic Islesman, a second-mate, who quelled
a mutiny single-handed with sledge-hammer blows of his fist. When his
captain appeared on deck with a brace of pistols, the affray was over.
The ringleader bore the marks of a terrible punishment. "You've a heavy
hand, Mr. Blank," said Captain G----. "I'm a Nantucket whaleman, and
used to a long dart."

At the Nantucket Athenæum are exhibited some relics of whales and
whaling, of which all true islanders love so well to talk. The jaw-bone
of a sperm-whale may there be seen. It would have made Samson a better
weapon than the one he used with such effect against the Philistines.
This whale stores the spermaceti in his cheek. You can compress the oil
from it with the hand, as from honey-comb. What is called the "case" is
contained in the reservoir he carries in his head, from which barrels of
it are sometimes dipped. What does he want with it? Or is it, mayhap, a
softening of his great, sluggish brain?

The tremendous power the whale is able to put forth when enraged is
illustrated by the tale of a collision with one that resulted in the
loss of the ship _Essex_, of Nantucket. On the 13th of November, 1820,
the ship was among whales, and three boats were lowered. A young whale
was taken. Shortly after, another of great size, supposed to have been
the dam of the one just killed, came against the ship with such violence
as to tear away part of the false keel. It then remained some time
alongside, endeavoring to grip the ship in its jaws; but, failing to
make any impression, swam off about a quarter of a mile, when, suddenly
turning about, it came with tremendous velocity toward the _Essex_. The
concussion not only stopped the vessel's way, but actually forced her
astern. Every man on deck was knocked down. The bows were completely
stove. In a few minutes the vessel filled and went on her beam-ends.

Near one of the principal wharves is the Custom-house. It is situated at
the bottom of the square already referred to, of which the Pacific Bank,
established in 1805, occupies the upper end, the sides being bordered by
shops. The first-floor of the Custom-house is used by a club of retired
ship-masters, in which they meet to recount the perils and recall the
spoils of whaling battles.

We are told by Macy, the historian of the island, that "the inhabitants
live together like one great family. They not only know their nearest
neighbors, but each one knows the rest. If you wish to see any man, you
need but ask the first inhabitant you meet, and he will be able to
conduct you to his residence, to tell you what occupation he is of,
etc., etc." If one house entertained a stranger, the neighbors would
send in whatever luxuries they might have. After a lapse of nearly forty
years, I found Macy's account still true. All questionings were answered
with civility and directness, and, as if that were not enough, persons
volunteered to go out of their way to conduct me. In a whaling port
there is no cod-fish aristocracy. Thackeray could not have found
materials for his "Book of Snobs" in Nantucket, though, if rumor may be
believed, a few of the genus are dropping in from the main-land.

I observed nothing peculiar about the principal centre of trade, except
the manner of selling meat, vegetables, etc. When the butchers
accumulate an overstock of any article they dispose of it by auction,
the town-crier being dispatched to summon the inhabitants, greeting.

This functionary I met, swelling with importance, but a trifle blown
from the frequent sounding of his clarion, to wit, a japanned fish-horn.
Met him, did I say? I beg the indulgence of the reader. Wherever I
wandered in my rambles, he was sure to turn the corner just ahead of me,
or to spring from the covert of some blind alley. He was one of those
who, Macy says, knew all the other inhabitants of the island; me he knew
for a stranger. He stopped short. First he wound a terrific blast of his
horn. Toot, toot, toot, it echoed down the street, like the discordant
braying of a donkey. This he followed with lusty ringing of a large
dinner-bell, peal on peal, until I was ready to exclaim with the Moor,

    "Silence that dreadful bell! it frights the isle
    From her propriety."

Then, placing the fish-horn under his arm, and taking the bell by the
tongue, he delivered himself of his formula. I am not likely to forget
it: "Two boats a day! Burgess's meat auction this evening! Corned beef!
Boston Theatre, positively last night this evening!"

He was gone, and I heard bell and horn in the next street. He was the
life of Nantucket while I was there; the only inhabitant I saw moving
faster than a moderate walk. They said he had been a soldier,
discharged, by his own account, for being "_non compos_," or something
of the sort. I doubt there is any thing the matter with his lungs, or
that his wits are, "like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;"
yet of his fish-horn I would say,

    "O would I might turn poet for an houre,
    To satirize with a vindictive powere
    Against the _blower_!"

The history of Nantucket is not involved in obscurity, though Dr.
Morse, in his _Gazetteer_, printed in 1793, says no mention is made of
the discovery and settlement of the island, under its present name, by
any of our historians. Its settlement by English goes no further back
than 1659, when Thomas Macy[242] removed from Salisbury, in
Massachusetts, to the west end of the island, called by the Indians
Maddequet, a name still retained by the harbor and fishing hamlet there.
Edward Starbuck, James Coffin, and another of the name of Daget, or
Daggett, came over from Martha's Vineyard, it is said, for the sake of
the gunning, and lived with Macy. At that time there were nearly three
thousand Indians on the island.

Nantucket annals show what kind of sailors may be made of Quakers. The
illustration is not unique. In the same year that Macy came to the
island a ship wholly manned by them went from Newfoundland to Lisbon
with fish. Some of them much affronted the Portuguese whom they met in
the streets by not taking off their hats to salute them. If the gravity
of the matter had not been the subject of a state paper I should not
have known it.[243]

Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard were not included in either of the four
New England governments. All the islands between Cape Cod and Hudson
River were claimed by the Earl of Sterling. In 1641 a deed was passed to
Thomas Mayhew, of Martha's Vineyard, by James Forett, agent of the earl,
and Richard Vines, the steward of Sir F. Gorges. The island, until the
accession of William and Mary, was considered within the jurisdiction of
New York, though we find the deed to Mayhew reciting that the government
to be there established by him and his associates should be such as was
then existing in Massachusetts, with the same privileges granted by the
patent of that colony. In 1659 Mayhew conveyed to the associates
mentioned in his deed, nine in number, equal portions of his grant,
after reserving to himself Masquetuck Neck, or Quaise.[244] The
consideration was thirty pounds of lawful money and two beaver hats, one
for himself, and one for his wife. The first meeting of the proprietors
was held at Salisbury, Massachusetts, in September of the same year
(1659), at which time ten other persons were admitted partners,[245]
enlarging the whole number of proprietors to nineteen. After the removal
to the island, the number was further increased to twenty-seven by the
admission of Richard and Joseph Gardiner, Joseph Coleman, William Worth,
Peter and Eleazer Folger, Samuel Stretor, and Nathaniel Wier.

The English settlers in 1660 obtained a confirmation of their title from
the sachems Wanackmamack and Nickanoose, with certain reservations to
the Indian inhabitants, driving, as usual, a hard, ungenerous bargain,
as the Indians learned when too late. In 1700 their grievances were
communicated by the Earl of Bellomont, then governor, to the crown.
Their greatest complaint was, that the English had by calculation
stripped them of the means of keeping cattle or live stock of any kind,
even on their reserved lands, by means of concessions they did not
comprehend. At that time the Indians had been decimated, numbering fewer
than four hundred, while the whites had increased to eight hundred
souls. The mortality of 1763 wasted the few remaining Indians to a
handful.[246] In 1791 there were but four males and sixteen females.
Abraham Quady, the last survivor, died within a few years.

The choice of the island by Macy is accounted for by the foregoing
facts, doubtless within his knowledge, as many of the original
proprietors were his townsmen.

Thomas Mayhew ought to be considered one of the fathers of English
settlement in New England. He was of Watertown, in Massachusetts, and I
presume the same person mentioned by Drake, in his "Founders," as
desirous of passing, in 1637, into "fforaigne partes." He is styled Mr.
Thomas Mayhew, Gent., a title raising him above the rank of tradesmen,
artificers, and the like, who were not then considered gentlemen; nor is
this distinction much weakened at the present day in England. Mayhew
received his grant of Nantucket and two small islands adjoining in
October, 1641, and on the 23d of the same month, of Martha's Vineyard
and the Elizabeth Islands. The younger Mayhew, who, Mather says, settled
at the Vineyard in 1642, seems to have devoted himself to the conversion
of the Indians with the zeal of a missionary.[247] In 1657 he was
drowned at sea, the ship in which he had sailed for England never having
been heard from. He was taking with him one of the Vineyard Indians,
with the hope of awakening an interest in their progress toward
Christianity. Jonathan Mayhew, the celebrated divine, was of this stock.

The first settlement at Maddequet Harbor was abandoned after a more
thorough knowledge of the island and the accession of white inhabitants.
The south side of the present harbor was first selected; but its
inconvenience being soon felt, the town was located where it now is. By
instruction of Governor Francis Lovelace it received, in 1673, the name
of Sherburne, changed in 1795 to the more familiar one of Nantucket.

The town stands near the centre of the island, the place having formerly
been known by the Indian name of "Wesko," signifying White Stone. This
stone, which lay, like the rock of the Pilgrims, on the harbor shore,
was in time covered by a wharf. The bluff at the west of the town still
retains the name of Sherburne. I found the oldest houses at the
extremities of the town.


Another of the original proprietors is remembered with honor by the
islanders. Peter Folger was looked up to as a superior sort of man. He
was so well versed in the Indian tongue that his name is often found on
the deeds from the natives. The mother of Benjamin Franklin was the
daughter of Folger. They do not forget it. The name of Peter Folger is
still continued, and family relics of interest are preserved by the
descendants of the first Peter.

Any account of Nantucket must be incomplete that omits mention of Sir
Isaac Coffin. Sir Isaac was a Bostonian. His family were out-and-out
Tories in the Revolution, with more talent than in general falls to the
share of one household. He was descended from an ancient family in the
northern part of Devonshire, England. In 1773 Isaac Coffin was taken to
sea by Lieutenant Hunter, of the _Gaspee_, at the recommendation of
Admiral John Montague. His commanding officer said he never knew any
young man acquire so much nautical knowledge in so short a time. After
reaching the grade of post-captain, Coffin, for a breach of the
regulations of the service, was deprived of his vessel, and Earl Howe
struck his name from the list of post-captains. This act being illegal,
he was reinstated in 1790. In 1804 he was made a baronet, and in 1814
became a full admiral in the British navy. One of his brothers was a
British general.

On a visit to the United States, in 1826, Sir Isaac came to Nantucket.
Finding that many of the inhabitants claimed descent from his own
genealogical tree, he authorized the purchase of a building, and endowed
it with a fund of twenty-five hundred pounds sterling, for the
establishment of a school to which all descendants of Tristram Coffin,
one of the first settlers, should be admitted. On one of his voyages to
America the admiral suffered shipwreck.

During the war of 1812, it is related that the admiral made a visit to
Dartmoor prison, for the purpose of releasing any American prisoners of
his family name. Among others who presented themselves was a negro.
"Ah," said the admiral, "you a Coffin too?" "Yes, massa." "How old are
you?" "Me thirty years, massa." "Well, then, you are not one of the
Coffins, for they never turn black until forty."



[229] Purchas, iv.; reprinted in "Massachusetts Historical Collections,"
iii., viii. I can not give space to those points that confirm my view,
but they make a strong presumptive case. It has been alleged that De
Poutrincourt landed here after his conflict with the Indians of Cape
Cod. So far from landing on the island they saw, Champlain says they
named it "_La Soupçonneuse_," from the doubts they had of it. Lescarbot
adds that "they saw an island, six or seven leagues in length, which
they were not able to reach, and so called '_Ile Douteuse_.'" The land,
it is probable, was the Vineyard.

[230] By Sir F. Gorges.

[231] Nantasket, Namasket, Naushon, Sawtuckett, are Indian.

[232] In 1602 by the colony of Bartholomew Gosnold, already so often
mentioned in these pages.

[233] Better known as Holmes's Hole.

[234] On the raising of the ice-blockade of the past winter seventeen
mails were due, the greatest number since 1857, when twenty-five regular
and two semi-monthly mails were landed at Quidnet.

[235] In 1837 its population was 9048; it is now a little more than

[236] The Dutch also whaled with long ropes, as is now our method.

[237] Weymouth also describes the Indian manner of taking whales: "One
especial thing is their manner of killing the whale, which they call
powdawe; and will describe his form; how he bloweth up the water; and
that he is twelve fathoms long; and that they go in company of their
King, with a multitude of their boats, and strike him with a bone made
in the fashion of a harping-iron, fastened to a rope, which they make
great and strong of the bark of trees, which they veer out after him;
that all their boats come about him, and as he riseth above water, with
their arrows they shoot him to death. When they have killed him and
dragged him to shore, they call all their chief lords together, and sing
a song of joy; and these chief lords, whom they call sagamores, divide
the spoil, and give to every man a share, which pieces so distributed
they hang up about their houses for provision; and when they boil them,
they blow off the fat, and put to their pease, maize, and other pulse
which they eat."--"Weymouth's Voyage."

[238] Nantucket in 1744 had forty sloops and schooners in the
whale-fishery. The catch was seven thousand to ten thousand barrels of
oil per annum. There were nine hundred Indians on the island of great
use in the fishery.--Douglass, vol. i., p. 405.

[239] State papers.

[240] Gordon, vol. i., p. 463.

[241] Records of Congress.

[242] Of Macy it is known that he fled from the rigorous persecution of
the Quakers by the government of Massachusetts Bay. The penalties were
ordinarily cropping the ears, branding with an iron, scourging, the
pillory, or banishment. These cruelties, barbarous as they were, were
merely borrowed from the England of that day, where the sect, saving
capital punishment, was persecuted with as great rigor as it ever was in
the colonies. The death-penalty inflicted in the Bay Colony brought the
affairs of the Friends to the notice of the reigning king. Thereafter
they were tolerated; but as persecution ceased the sect dwindled away,
and in New England it is not numerous. The Friends' poet sings of Macy,
the outcast:

"Far round the bleak and stormy Cape The vent'rous Macy passed, And on
Nantucket's naked isle Drew up his boat at last."

[243] Thurloe, vol. v., p. 422.

[244] The nine were Tristram Coffin, Thomas Macy, Christopher Hussey,
Richard Swain, Thomas Barnard, Peter Coffin, Stephen Greenleaf, John
Swain, and William Pile, who afterward sold his tenth to Richard Swain.

[245] John Smith, Nathaniel Starbuck, Edward Starbuck, Thomas Look,
Robert Barnard, James Coffin, Robert Pike, Tristram Coffin, Jun., Thomas
Coleman, and John Bishop.

[246] Of three hundred and fifty-eight Indians alive in 1763, two
hundred and twenty-two died by the distemper.

[247] Hutchinson.




    Muskeeget, Tuckanuck, Maddequet,
    Sankoty, Coatue, Siasconset.

History is said to repeat itself, and why may not the whale-fishing? Now
that the ships are all gone, a small whale is occasionally taken off the
island, as in days of yore. While I was at Nantucket, a school of
blackfish were good enough to come into the shallows not far from the
harbor, and stupid enough to permit themselves to be taken. The manner
of their capture was truly an example of the triumph of mind over

When the school were discovered near the shore, the fishermen, getting
outside of them in their dories, by hallooing, sounding of horns, and
other noises, drove them, like frightened sheep, toward the beach. As
soon as the hunters were in shoal water they left their boats, and
jumped overboard, urging the silly fish on by outcries, splashing the
water, and blows. Men, and even boys, waded boldly up to a fish, and led
him ashore by a fin; or, if inclined to show fight, put their knives
into him. They cuffed them, pricked them onward, filling the air with
shouts, or with peals of laughter, as some pursuer, more eager than
prudent, lost his footing, and became for the moment a fish. All this
time the blackfish were nearing the shore, uttering sounds closely
resembling groanings and lamentations. The calves kept close to the old
ones, "squealing," as one of the captors told me, like young pigs. It
was great sport, not wholly free from danger, for the fish can strike a
powerful blow with its flukes; and the air was filled with jets of water
where they had lashed it into foam. At length the whole school were
landed, even to one poor calf that had wandered off, and now came back
to seek its dam. The fishermen, after putting their marks upon them,
went up to town to communicate their good luck. Sometimes a hundred or
two are taken at once in this wise, here or on the Cape.

The oil of the blackfish is obtained in precisely the same manner as
that of the whale, of which it is a pocket edition. The blubber, nearly
resembling pork-fat, was stripped off and taken in dories to town. I saw
the men tossing it with their pitchforks on the shore, whence it was
loaded into carts, and carried to the try-house on one of the wharves.
Here it was heaped in a palpitating and by no means savory mass. Men
were busily engaged in trimming off the superfluous flesh, or in slicing
it, with great knives resembling shingle-froes, into pieces suitable for
the try-pot; and still others were tossing it into the smoking caldron.

But if whales are getting scarce round about Nantucket, the blue-fish is
still plenty. This gamest and most delicious of salt-water fish is noted
for its strength, voracity, and grit. He is a very pirate among fish,
making prey of all alike. Cod, haddock, mackerel, or tautog, are glad to
get out of his way; the smaller fry he chases among the surf-waves of
the shore, much as the fishermen pursue the blackfish. Where the
blue-fish abounds you need not try for other sort: he is lord high
admiral of the finny tribes.

This fish has a curious history. Before the year 1763, in which the
great pestilence occurred among the Indians of the island, and from the
first coming of the Indians to Nantucket, a large, fat fish, called the
blue-fish, thirty of which would fill a barrel, was caught in great
plenty all around the island, from the 1st of July to the middle of
October. It was remarked that in 1764, the year in which the sickness
ended, they disappeared, and were not again seen until about fifty years

It was a delicious afternoon that I set sail for the "Opening," as it is
called, between Nantucket and Tuckanuck,[249] an appanage of the former,
and one of the five islands constituting the county of Nantucket. The
tide runs with such swiftness that the boatmen do not venture through
the Opening except with plenty of wind, and of the right sort. With a
stiff breeze blowing, the breakers are superb, especially when wind and
tide are battling with each other. With the wind blowing freshly over
these shallow waters, it does not take long for the seas to assume
proportions simply appalling to a lands-man. It was a magnificent
sight! Great waves erected themselves into solid walls of green,
advancing at first majestically, then rushing with course to crash in
clouds of foam upon the opposite shore. It needs a skillful boatman at
the helm. What with the big seas, the seething tide-rips, and the scanty
sea-room, the sail is of itself sufficiently exciting.


But the fishing, what of that? We cast our lines over the stern, and, as
the boat was going at a great pace, they were straightened out in a
trice. At the end of each was a wicked-looking hook of large size,
having a leaden sinker run upon the shank of it. Over this hook, called
by the fishermen hereabouts a "drail," an eel-skin was drawn, though I
have known the blue-fish to bite well at a simple piece of canvas or
leather. Away bounded the boat, while we stood braced in the
standing-room to meet her plunging. Twenty fathoms with a pound of lead
at the end seems fifty, at least, with your boat rushing headlong under
all she can bear. Half an acre of smooth water wholly unruffled is just
ahead. "I'm going to put you right into that slick," said our helmsman.
"Now look out for a big one."

I felt a dead weight at my line. At the end of it a shining object
leaped clear from the water and fell, with a loud plash, a yard in
advance. Now, haul in steadily; don't be flurried; but, above all, mind
your line does not slacken. I lost one splendid fellow by too great
precipitation. The line is as rigid as steel wire, and, if your hands
are tender, cuts deep into the flesh. Ah! he is now near enough to see
the boat. How he plunges and tries to turn! He makes the water boil, and
the line fairly sing. I had as lief try to hold an old hunter in a
steeple-chase. Ha! here you are, my captive, under the counter; and now
I lift you carefully over the gunwale. I enjoin on the inexperienced to
be sure they land a fish in the boat, and not lose one, as I did, by
throwing him on the gunwale.

The fish shows fight after he is in the tub, shutting his jaws with a
vicious snap as he is being unhooked. Look out for him; he can bite, and
sharply too. The blue-fish is not unlike the salmon in looks and in
action. He is furnished with a backbone of steel, and is younger brother
to the shark.

I looked over my shoulder. My companion, a cool hand ordinarily, was
engaged in hauling in his line with affected nonchalance; but compressed
lips, stern eye, and rigid figure said otherwise. There is a quick flash
in the water, and in comes the fish. "Eight-pounder," says the boatman.

[Illustration: THE BLUE-FISH.]

These "slicks" are not the least curious feature of blue-fishing. The
fish seems to have the ability to exude an oil, by which he calms the
water so that he may, in a way, look about him, showing himself in this
an adept in applying a well-known principle in hydrostatics. A
perceptible odor arises from the slicks, so that the boatmen will often
say, "I smell blue-fish."

The boatman steered among the tide-rips, where each of us soon struck a
fish, or, as the phrase here is, "got fast." The monster--I believe he
was a ten-pounder at least--that took my hook threw himself bodily into
the air, shaking his head as if he did not mean to come on board us. And
he was as good as his threat: I saw the drail skipping on the top of the
wave as my line came in empty.

In two hours we had filled a barrel with fish, and it was time to shape
our course harborward. We saw the smoke of the _Island Home_, looking at
first as if rising out of the Sound; then her funnel appeared, and at
length her hull rose into view; but she was come within a mile of us
before I could distinguish her walking-beam. Tuckanuck and Low Water
Island were soon a-lee. Maddequet Harbor opened a moment for us, but we
did not enter. We rounded Eel Point with a full sail, and shot past
Whale Rock and the shoal of stranded blackfish I told you of. Ever and
anon we had passed one adrift, stripped of his fatty epidermis, and now
food for the sharks. They were grotesque objects, though now mere
carrion, above which the tierce gulls screamed noisily. Here is Brant
Point, and its light-house of red brick. We stand well over for Coatue,
then about with her for the home stretch. "Fast bind fast find." Our
bark is moored. With stiffened joints, but light hearts, we seek our
lodgings. What do they say to us? I' faith I am not sorry I went
blue-fishing. Reader, are you?

[Illustration: BLUE-FISHING.]

Many blue-fish are caught off the beach on the south shore of the island
by casting a line among the breakers, and then hauling it quickly in.
This method they call "heave and haul." It takes an expert to get the
sleight of it. Gathering the line in a coil and swinging it a few times
around his head, an old hand will cast it to an incredible distance. The
fish is also frequently taken in seines in shallow creeks and inlets,
but he as often escapes through the rents he has made in the net.

I had three excursions to make before I could say I had seen Nantucket.
One was to the hills and sands toward Coatue, that curved like a sickle
around the harbor; another was to Siasconset; and yet another to the
south side. This being done, I had not left much of the island

It was on a raw, blustering morning that I set out for a walk around the
eastern shore of the harbor. I saw the steamboat go out over the bar,
now settling down in the trough, and now shaking herself and staggering
onward. Dismally it looked for a day in July, but I had not the mending
of it. After getting well clear of the town I found the hills assuming
some size and appearance of vegetation. They were overgrown with
wild-cranberry vines bearing stunted fruit, each turning a little red
cheek to be kissed by the morning sun. Some beautiful flowers sprung
from among the neutral patches of heather. The Indian pea, unmatched in
wild beauty, displayed its sumptuous plume among the gray moss or modest

The beach grass was rooted everywhere in the hillocks next the shore,
and appeared to be gradually working its way inland. I attempted to pull
some of it up, but only the stalks remained in my hand. Each leaf is
like a sword-blade. Pass your hand across the under-surface, and it is
prickly and rough. What there formerly was of soil has been growing
thinner and thinner by being blown into the sea. Unlike the
buffalo-grass of the plains, the beach grass possesses little nutriment,
though cattle crop the tender shoots in spring. It was formerly much
used for broom-stuff.

I picked up by the shore many scallop-shells, and on the hills saw many
more lying where pleasure-seekers had held, as the saying is, their
"_squantum_" or picnic. This is a historical shell. It surmounts the
cap-stone of the monument built over the Rock of the Forefathers at
Plymouth. In the Dark Ages, a scallop-shell fastened to the hat was the
accepted sign that the wearer had made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. We
read in Parnell's "Hermit:"

    "He quits his cell, the pilgrim staff he bore,
    And fixed the scallop in his hat before."

Professor Gosse says there was a supposed mystical connection between
the scallop-shell and St. James, the brother of the Lord, first bishop
of Jerusalem. The scallop beds are usually in deep water, and the fish,
therefore, can be obtained only by dredging. They are rather plentiful
in Narraganset Bay. Some, of a poetic turn, have called them the
"butterflies of the sea;" others a "frill," from their fancied
resemblance to that once indispensable badge of gentility. As much as
any thing they look like an open fan. Many other shells I found,
particularly the valves of quahaugs, and a periwinkle six inches in
length. Its shell is obtained by fastening a hook in the fish and
suspending it by a string. In a few hours the inhabitant drops his
integument. Amber is sometimes picked up on the shores, they say, but
none came to my share.

Shells of the same kind as those now common to the shores of the island
have been found at the depth of fifty feet, after penetrating several
strata of earth and clay. In digging as deep as the sea-level, the same
kind of sand is brought to the surface as now makes the beaches, and the
same inclination has been observed that now exists on the shores. Mr.
Adams, my landlord, told me he saw taken from a well, at the depth of
sixty feet, a quantity of quahaug-shells of the size of a half-dollar.
They usually have to go this depth in the sand, and then get poor,
brackish water. There is an account of the finding of the bone of a
whale thirty feet under-ground at Siasconset. I saw many covered wells
in Nantucket streets that appeared to be the supply of their immediate

The fogs that sometimes envelop Nantucket gave rise to a pleasant
fiction, which smacks of the salt. A whaling ship, outward-bound, having
been caught in one of unusual density in leaving the port, the captain
made a peculiar mark in it with a harpoon, and on his return, after a
three years' cruise, fell in with the harbor at the very same spot.

The Indian legend of the origin of Nantucket is that Mashope, the Indian
giant, formed it by emptying the ashes of his pipe into the sea. This
same Mashope, having in one of his excursions lighted his pipe on the
island, and sat down for a comfortable smoke, caused the fogs that have
since prevailed there. He probably waded across from the Vineyard, when
he wanted a little distraction from domestic infelicities.

The residence of Mashope was in a cavern known as the Devil's Den, at
Gay Head. Here he broiled the whale on a fire made of the largest trees,
which he pulled up by the roots. After separating No Man's Land from Gay
Head, metamorphosing his children into fishes, and throwing his wife on
Seconnet Point, where she now lies, a misshapen rock, he broke up
housekeeping and left for parts unknown.

Another Indian legend ascribed the discovery of Nantucket to the ravages
made by an eagle among the children of the tribes on Cape Cod. The bird
having seized a papoose, was followed by the parents in a canoe until
they came to the island, where they found the bones of the child. The
existence of the island was not before suspected.

Anciently, the dwellers were shepherds, living by their flocks as well
as by fishing. Every inhabitant had the right to keep a certain number
of sheep. One day in the year--formerly the only holiday kept on the
island--every body repaired to the commons. The sheep were driven into
pens and sheared. Sheep-shearing day continued the red-letter day on
Nantucket well into the present century. I saw flocks browsing almost
everywhere in my rambles, and thought them much more picturesque objects
in the landscape than corn-fields or vegetable gardens. There is a
freedom about a shepherd's life, a communion with and knowledge of
nature in all her variable moods, that renders it more attractive than
delving in the soil. No one is so weather-wise as a shepherd-boy. I
liked to hear the tinkling of the bells, and watch the gambols of the
lambs on the hill-sides.

In his day, Philip was lord and sagamore of the Nantucket Indians. He
came once to the island, in pursuit of a subject who had violated savage
laws by speaking the name of the dead. The culprit took refuge in the
house of Thomas Macy, and Philip, by the payment of a considerable
ransom, was induced to spare his life. This occurred in 1665.

The Indian prince was absolute lord on land and sea. Every thing
stranded on his coasts--whales or other wreck of value found floating on
the sea washing his shores--or brought and landed from any part of the
sea, was no less his own. In the "Magnalia" is related an incident
illustrating this absolutism of Indian sagamores. An Indian prince, with
eighty well-armed attendants, came to Mr. Mayhew's house at Martha's
Vineyard. Mayhew entered the room, but, being acquainted with their
customs, took no notice of the visitors, it being with them a point of
honor for an inferior to salute the superior. After a considerable time
the chief broke silence, addressing Mr. Mayhew as sachem, a title
importing only good or noble birth. The prince having preferred some
request, Mayhew acceded to it, adding that he would confer with the
whites to obtain their consent also. The Indian demanded why he recalled
his promise, saying, "What I promise or speak is always true; but you,
an English governor, can not be true, for you can not of yourself make
true what you promise."

It has been observed that the island is gradually wasting away. On the
east and south some hundreds of acres have been encroached upon by the
sea, and, by the accounts of ancient inhabitants, as many more on the
north. During some years the sea has contributed to extend the shores;
in others the waste was arrested; but the result of a long series of
observations shows a constant gain for the ocean. Smith's Point, now
isolated from the main-land, once formed a part of it, the sea in 1786
making a clean breach through, and forming a strait half a mile wide.

I have no wish to depreciate the value of real estate upon Nantucket,
but by the year 3000, according to our present calendar, I doubt if
there will be more than a grease-spot remaining to mark the habitation
of a race of vikings whose javelins were harpoons.

Siasconset is the paradise of the islander: not to see it would be in
his eyes unpardonable. Therefore I went to Siasconset, or Sconset, as
your true islander pronounces it, retaining all the kernel of the word.
It is situated on the south-east shore of the island, seven miles from
the town.

You may have, for your excursion, any sort of vehicle common to the
main-land, but the islanders most affect a cart with high-boarded sides
and a step behind, more resembling a city coal-cart than any thing else
I can call to mind. Though not like an Irish jaunting-car, it is of
quite as peculiar construction, and, when filled with its complement of
gleeful excursionists, is no bad conveyance. For my own part, I would
rather walk, but they will tell you every body rides to Sconset. Take
any vehicle you will, you can have only a single horse, the road, or
rather track, being so deeply rutted that, when once in it, the wheels
run in grooves six to twelve inches in depth, while the horse jogs along
in a sort of furrow.

I own to a rooted antipathy to carts, going much farther back than my
visit to Nantucket. The one I rode in over a stony road in Maine, with a
sack of hay for a cushion, put me out of conceit with carts. I would
have admired the scenery, had not my time been occupied in holding on,
and in catching my breath. I might have talked with the driver, had not
the jolting put me under the necessity of swallowing my own words, and
nobody, I fancy, quite likes to do that. What little was said came out
by jerks, like the confession of a victim stretched on the rack.
Henceforth I revolted against having my utterance broken on the wheel.

But when I came to be the involuntary witness of a family quarrel in a
cart, I banished them altogether from the catalogue of vehicles. "You
are kept so very close to it, in a cart, you see. There's thousands of
couples among you getting on like sweet-ile on a whetstone, in houses
five and six pairs of stairs high, that would go to the divorce court in
a cart. Whether the jolting makes it worse, I don't undertake to decide,
but in a cart it does come home to you, and stick to you. Wiolence in a
cart is so wiolent, and aggrawation in a cart so aggrawating."

After leaving the town the way is skirted, for some distance, with
scraggy, weird-looking pitch-pines, that are slowly replacing the native
forest. At every mile is a stone--set at the roadside by the care of one
native to this, and now an inhabitant of the most populous island in
America.[250] They are painted white, and stand like sentinels by day,
or ghosts by night, to point the way. In one place I noticed the bone of
a shark stuck in the ground for a landmark. There are two roads to
Siasconset, the old and the new. I chose the old.

A stretch of seven miles across a lonely prairie, with no other object
for the eye to rest upon than a few bare hills or sunken ponds, brought
us in sight of the village and of the sea.

The Siasconset of the past was neither more nor less than a collection
of fishermen's huts, built of the simplest materials that would keep out
wind and weather. In the beginnings of the English along our coast these
little fishing-hamlets were called "stages." Other fishing-stages were
at Weweeders, Peedee, Sesacacha, and Quidnet. Of these Siasconset alone
has flourished. All early navigators and writers agree that the waters
hereaway were abundantly stocked with the cod.

I found the village pleasantly seated along the margin of the bluff,
that rises here well above the sea. Behind it the land swelled again so
as to intercept the view of the town. Underneath the cliff is a terrace
of sand, to which a flight of steps, eked out with a foot-path, assists
the descent. Here were lying a number of dories, and one or two
singular-looking fish-carts, with a cask at one end for a wheel. A
fish-house, with brush flakes about it, and a pile of wreck lumber,
completed what man might have a title to. This terrace pitches abruptly
into the sea, with a regularity of slope like the glacis of a fortress;
It would never do to call the Atlantic a ditch, yet you seem standing
on a parapet of sand. The sand here appears composed of particles of
granite; in other parts of the island it is like the drift at Cape Cod.


The village is an odd collection of one-story cottages, so alike that
the first erected might have served as a pattern for all others. Iron
cranes projected from angles of the houses, on which to hang lanterns at
night-fall, in place of street-lamps. Fences, neatly whitewashed or
painted, inclosed each householder's possession, and in many instances
blooming flower-beds caused an involuntary glance at the window for
their guardians. On many houses were the names of wrecks that had the
seeming of grave-stones overlooking the sands that had entombed the
ships that wore them. In one front yard was the carved figure of a woman
that had been filliped by the foam of many a sea. Fresh from the loftier
buildings and broader streets of the town, this seemed like one of those
miniature villages that children delight in.

Looking off seaward, I could descry no sails. The last objects on the
horizon line were white-crested breakers combing above the "gulf or
ship-swallower" lying in wait beneath them. It is a dangerous sea, and
Nantucket Shoals have obtained a terrible celebrity--unequaled, perhaps,
even by the Goodwin Sands, that mariners shudder at the mention of. If a
ship grounds on the Shoal she is speedily wrenched in pieces by the
power of the surf. They will tell you of a brig (the _Poinsett_) that
came ashore on the south side with her masts in her, apparently
uninjured. Two days' pounding strewed the beach with her timbers. "A
ship on the Shoals!" is a sound that will quicken the pulses of men
familiar with danger. I suppose the calamitous boom of a minute-gun has
often roused the little fishing-hamlet to exertions of which a few human
lives were the guerdon. Heard amidst the accompaniments of tempest,
gale, and the thunder of the breakers, it might well thrill the listener
with fear; or, if unheard, the lightning flashes would tell the watchers
that wood and iron still held together, and that hope was not yet

It may be that the great Nantucket South Shoal, forty-five miles in
breadth, by fifty in length, tends to the preservation of the island,
for which it is a breakwater. The great extent of shallows on both sides
of the island, with the known physical changes, would almost justify the
belief that these sands and this island once formed part of the
main-land of New England.

Much is claimed, doubtless with justice, for the salubrity of Siasconset
air. Many resort thither during the heats of midsummer. I found denizens
of Nantucket who, it would seem, had enough of sea and shore at home,
domesticated in some wee cottage. The season over, houses are shut up,
and the village goes into winter-quarters. The greensward, elevation
above the sea, and pure air are its credentials. I saw it on a sunny
day, looking its best.


The sand is coarse-grained and very soft. There is no beach on the
island firm enough for driving, or even tolerable walking. The waves
that came in here projected themselves fully forty feet up the
escarpment of the bank that I have spoken of. I recollect that, having
chosen what I believed a safe position, I was overtaken by a wave, and
had to beat a hasty retreat. Bathing here is, on account of the
under-tow and quicksands, attended with hazard, and ought not to be
attempted except with the aid of ropes. Willis talks of the tenth wave.
I know about the third of the swell, for I have often watched it. The
first and second are only forerunners of the mighty one. The dories come
in on it. A breaker fell here every five seconds, by the watch.

We returned by the foreland of Sankoty Head, on which a light-house
stands. From an eminence here the sea is visible on both sides of the
island. When built, this light was unsurpassed in brilliancy by any on
the coast, and was considered equal to the magnificent beacon of the
Morro. Fishermen called it the blazing star. Its flashes are very full,
vivid, and striking, and its position is one of great importance, as
warning the mariner to steer wide of the great Southern Shoal. Seven
miles at sea the white flash takes a reddish hue.


The following afternoon I walked across the island to the south shore at
Surfside, a distance of perhaps three miles or more. A south-west gale
that had prevailed for twenty-four hours led me to expect an angry and
tumultuous sea; nor was I disappointed: the broad expanse between shore
and horizon was a confused mass of foam and broken water. It was a
mournful sea: not a sail nor a living soul was in sight. A few
sand-birds and plover piped plaintively to the hoarse diapason of the

Here I saw a sunset in a gale; the sun, as the sailors say, "setting up
shrouds and backstays"--screened from view by a mass of dark clouds, yet
pouring down from behind them through interstices upon the bounds of the
sea, the rays having somewhat the appearance of golden ropes arising
from the ocean and converging to an unseen point.


I seated myself in one of the dories on the beach and gazed my fill. Say
what you will, there is a mighty fascination in the sea. Darkness
surprised me before I had recrossed the lonely moor, and I held my way,
guided by the deep cart-ruts, until the lights of the town twinkled
their welcome before me. It was my last night on sea-girt Nantucket. I
do not deny that I left it with reluctance.



[248] Zaccheus Macy, in his account of the island, written in 1792, says
none had been taken up to that time--"a great loss to the islanders."

[249] The Indian name Tuckanuck signifies a loaf of bread.

[250] Rev. F. C. Ewer, of New York.




    "This castle hath a pleasant seat: the air
    Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself
    Unto our gentle senses."--_Macbeth._

Newport is an equivoque. It is old, and yet not; grave, though gay;
opulent and poor; splendid and mean; populous or deserted. As the only
place in New England where those who flee from one city are content to
inhabit another, it is anomalous.

In his "Trois Mousquetaires" Alexander Dumas makes his giant, Porthos,
encounter a ludicrous adventure. The guardsman is the complacent
possessor of a magnificent golden sword-belt, the envy of his comrades,
until on one unlucky day it is discovered that the half concealed
beneath his cloak is nothing but leather; whereupon some sword-thrusts
occur. It was M. Besmeaux, afterward governor of the Bastile, who was
the real hero of the sword-belt--half gold, half leather--that Dumas has
hung on the shoulders of his gigantic guardsman.

Newport's ocean side is belted with modern villas, costly, showy, and
ornate. They mask the town in splendid succession, as if each had been
built to surpass its neighbor. This is the Newport of to-day. Behind it,
old, gray, and commonplace by comparison, is the Newport of other days.
The difference between the two is very marked. The old town is the
effete body into which the new is infusing young blood, warming and
invigorating it into new life. If the figure were permissible, we should
say the Queen of Aquidneck had drunk of the elixir of life, so
unexampled is the rapidity with which she transfigures herself.

I like Newport because it is old, quaint, and peculiar. Though far from
insensible to its difficult feats in architecture, I did not come to
see fine houses. To me they embody nothing besides the idea of wealth
and luxurious ease. Many of them are as remarkable for elegance as are
others for ugliness of design; yet I found it much the same as walking
in Fifth Avenue or Beacon Street. They are at first bewildering, then
monotonous; or, as Ruskin says of types of form, mere form, "You learn
not to see them. You don't look at them."

I said Newport was commonplace, and I said it with mental reservation.
It has a matchless site, glorious bay, and delicious climate, that many
have been willing, perhaps a little too willing, to compare with Italy.
If we have in New England any phase of climate we may safely match with
that favored land,[251] I frankly concede Newport possesses it. The Gulf
Stream approaches near enough to temper in summer the harshness of
sea-breezes, and the rigor of cold northern winds in winter. The only
faults I had to find with the summer and autumn aspects of Newport
climate were the fogs and humidity of the nights. The pavements are
frequently wet as if by light showers. This condition of the atmosphere
is the plague of laundresses and hair-dressers at the great houses: the
ringlets you see in Newport are natural.

When at the Isles of Shoals, we were a "thin under-waistcoat warmer"
than on the main-land. Neal says it is a coat warmer in winter at
Newport than at Boston. I remarked that evening promenaders in the
streets there were more thinly clothed than would be considered prudent
elsewhere. In Newport, according to Neal, it would lose much point to
say a man was without a coat to his back. Mr. Cooper, in the "Red
Rover," calls attention to the magnificent harbor of Newport in the
language of the practiced seaman. It fully meets all the requisites of
easy approach, safe anchorage, and quiet basin. Isles and promontories,
frowning with batteries, shield it from danger or insult. The verdure of
the shores is of the most brilliant green, and grows quite to the
water's edge, or to the verge of the cliffs. In a calm day, when the
water is ruffled only by light airs, the tints of sea and sky are
scarcely different: then the bay really looks like

    "Un pezzo di cielo caduto in terra."


In approaching Newport from sea, after weathering much-dreaded Point
Judith,[252] we shall fall in with the light-vessel anchored off
Brenton's Reef, the extreme south-west point of the island of Rhode
Island. At the same time the light-house on Beaver Tail[253] flashes
greeting, and we may now enter the port with confidence. Passing beside
the "Dumplings" and the old round tower, perched on a projecting and
almost insulated rock, we steer under the walls of Fort Adams.[254]
Sleepy fishing-boats, coming in with the morning's flood, are sent, with
rattling blocks, and sails idly flapping, reeling and rocking on big
waves caused by the majestic onward march of our great steamer; the beat
of the paddles comes audibly back from rocks washed for a moment by our
attendant wave. As we round the fortress the bugles play. A ball goes
quickly up to the very top of the flag-staff; there is a flash, and a
roar of the morning gun; and when the smoke drifts slowly before the
breeze, we see the dear old flag blowing out clear, with every stripe
still there, and never a reproach in one of them. At our right, and
close inshore, is Lime Rock Light, with its associations of female
heroism.[255] At the left is Goat Island, long and low, with Fort
Wolcott and pleasant cottages for the officers of the torpedo
station.[256] Beyond, rising tier above tier, with the beautiful spire
of Trinity Church in its midst, is Newport.

Newport has been compared to the Lothians and to the Isle of Wight, the
British Eden. By all old travelers it was admitted to be the paradise of
New England. Its beautiful and extensive bay reminds Scotsmen of the
Clyde. In fact, every traveled person at once estimates it with what has
hitherto impressed him most--an involuntary but sure recognition of its

Previous to the Revolution, Newport was the fourth commercial town in
the colonies, once having more than nine thousand inhabitants. It was at
first tributary to Boston, sending its corn, pork, and tobacco to be
exchanged for European goods. Its commercial recovery from the
prostration in which the old war left it was again arrested by that of
1812; and this time it did not rise again. The whale-fishery was
introduced and abandoned: writers of this period describe it as
lifeless, with every mark of dilapidation and decay. The salubrity of
the climate of Newport had long been acknowledged, and before 1820 it
had become a place of resort for invalids from the Southern States and
the West Indies. This one original gift has ever since been out at
interest, until, where a few acres of grass once flourished, you might
cover the ground with dollars before you became its owner.[257]

At Newport the visitor is challenged by past and present, each having
large claims on his attention. I spent much of my time among old houses,
monuments, and churches. Some of these are in public places and are
easily found, while others are hidden away in forgotten corners, or
screened from observation by the walls of intervening buildings. As is
inevitable in such a place, the visitor will unwittingly pass by many
objects that he will be curious to see, and in retracing his footsteps
will have occasion to remark how much a scrap of history or tradition
adds to the charm of an otherwise uninteresting structure.

The town along the water resembles Salem, except that it has neither its
look of antiquity nor its dilapidation. Here the principal thoroughfare
is Thames Street, long, narrow, and almost wholly built of wood. The
narrowness of Thames Street has been referred to the encroachments of
builders of a former time, the old houses standing at some distance back
from the pavement being pointed to as evidence of the fact. I can only
vouch for glimpses of some very habitable and inviting old residences in
back courts and alleys opening upon the street. Here, too, old
gambrel-roofed houses are plenty as blackberries in August. They have a
portly, aldermanic look, with great breadth of beam, like ships of their
day. When these houses that now stand end to the street had pleasant
garden spots between, a walk here would have been worth the taking. When
there were no sidewalks, it meant something to give the wall to your
neighbor, and tact and breeding were requisite to know when to demand
and when to decline it.

[Illustration: OLD-TIME HOUSES.]

In Thames Street are several imperturbable notables in brick or wood.
The City Hall--for as early as 1784 Newport had reached the dignity of a
city--is usually first encountered. Notwithstanding they tell you it was
one of Peter Harrison's[258] buildings, it is very ordinary-looking,
inside and out. It was built on arches, which indicates the lower floor
to have been intended as a public promenade; and shows that the
architect had the Old Royal Exchange in mind. For some time it was used
as a market. This house came into the little world of Newport in 1763. A
word of admiration from Allston has long been treasured.

In this building I saw hanging the escutcheon of William Coddington,
who, as every body at all familiar with the history of Rhode Island
knows, was one of the founders of Newport, and first governor of the
little body politic organized upon the Isle of Aquidneck.

We have decided to cast a glance backward, and, to know our ground, must
pay our duty to this old founder. William Coddington, Esquire, came to
New England in 1630 with the Boston colonists, as one of the assistants
named in their charter. He was several times rechosen to this important
position, became a leading merchant in Boston, and is said to have built
the first brick house there.[259] The house he afterward built and lived
in at Newport, of the quaint old English pattern, was standing within
the recollection of many older inhabitants.


Mr. Coddington became involved in the Anne Hutchinson controversy, as
did Wheelwright, the founder of Exeter. Mrs. Hutchinson was banished,
and took refuge with Coddington and others on Rhode Island. In the
presence of Governor Winthrop and of Dudley, his deputy; of the
assistants, among whom were Endicott, Bradstreet, and Stoughton;
confronted by the foremost and hardest-shelled ministers in the colony,
such as Hugh Peters, Eliot, and Wilson, this woman defended herself,
almost single-handed and with consummate address, against a court which
had already prejudged her case, and which stubbornly refused, until the
very last stage of the proceedings, to put the witnesses upon oath. As a
specimen of the way in which justice was administered in the early day,
and of judicial procedure, this trial is exceedingly curious.[260] Here
is a specimen of brow-beating that recalls "Oliver Twist:"

_Deputy-governor._ "Let her witnesses be called."

_Governor._ "Who be they?"

_Mrs. Hutchinson._ "Mr. Leveret, and our teacher, and Mr. Coggeshall."

_Governor._ "Mr. Coggeshall was not present."

_Mr. Coggeshall._ "Yes, but I was, only I desired to be silent until I
was called."

_Governor._ "Will you, Mr. Coggeshall, say that she did not say so?"

_Mr. Coggeshall._ "Yes, I dare say that she did not say all that which
they lay against her."

_Mr. Peters._ "How dare you look into the court to say such a word?"

_Mr. Coggeshall._ "Mr. Peters takes upon him to forbid me. I shall be

As the governor was about to pass sentence, Mr. Coddington arose and
spoke some manly words:

_Mr. Coddington._ "I do think that you are going to censure, therefore I
desire to speak a word."

_Governor._ "I pray you speak."

_Mr. Coddington._ "There is one thing objected against the meetings.
What if she designed to edify her own family in her own meetings, may
none else be present?"

_Governor._ "If you have nothing else to say but that, it is a pity, Mr.
Coddington, that you should interrupt us in proceeding to censure."

Despite this reproof, Mr. Coddington had his say, and one of the
assistants (Stoughton) insisting, the ministers were compelled to repeat
their testimony under oath; which they did after much parleying and with
evident reluctance. It is curious to observe that in this trial the
by-standers were several times appealed to for an expression of opinion
on some knotty question.[261] Had it not involved the liberty and
fortunes of many more than the Hutchinsons, its ludicrous side would
scarcely have been surpassed by the celebrated cause of "Bardell _vs._

There is something inexpressibly touching in the decay of an old and
honorable name--in the struggle between grinding poverty and hereditary
family pride. Instead of finding the Coddingtons, as might be expected,
among the princes of Newport, a native of the place would only shake his
head when questioned of them.

Touching the northern limits of Newport is a placid little basin called
Coddington's Cove. It is a remembrancer of the old governor. The last
Coddington inherited an ample estate, upon the principal of which, like
Heine's monkey, who boiled and ate his own tail, he lived, until there
was no more left. The Cossacks have a proverb: "He eats both ends of his
candle at once." Having dissipated his ancestral patrimony to the last
farthing, the thriftless and degenerate Coddington descended all the
steps from shabby gentility to actual destitution; yet, through all
these reverses, he maintained the bearing of a fine gentleman. One day
he was offered a new suit of clothes--his own had the threadbare gloss
of long application of the brush--for the Coddington escutcheon that had
descended to him. Drawing himself up with the old look and air, he
indignantly exclaimed, "What, sell the coat of arms of a Coddington!"
Nevertheless, he at last became an inmate of the poor-house at
Coddington's Cove; and that is the way the family escutcheon came to be
hanging in the City Hall. I tell you the story as it was told to me.

The Wanton House, still pointed out in Thames Street, may be known by
its ornamented cornice and general air of superior condition. It stands
within a stone's-throw of the City Hall. The Wantons, like the Malbones,
Godfreys, Brentons, Wickhams, Cranstons, and other high-sounding Newport
names, were merchants. Like the Wentworths of New Hampshire, this was a
family, I might almost say a dynasty, of governors. When one Wanton went
out, another came in. It was the house of Wanton, governing, with few
intervals, from 1732, until swept from place by the Revolution.[262] As
the king never dies, at the exit of a Wanton the sheriff should have
announced, "The governor is dead. Long live the governor!"

Joseph Wanton, the last governor of Rhode Island under the crown, was
the son of William. He was a Harvard man, amiable, wealthy, of elegant
manners, and handsome person. In the description of his outward
appearance we are told that he "wore a large white wig with three curls,
one falling down his back, and one forward on each shoulder." I have
nowhere met with an earlier claimant of the fashion so recently in vogue
among young ladies who had hearts to lose.

[Illustration: NEWPORT STATE-HOUSE.]

Turning out of narrow and noisy Thames Street into the broader and
quieter avenues ascending the hill, we find ourselves on the Parade
before the State-house. Broad Street, which enters it on one side, was
the old Boston high-road; Touro Street, debouching at the other, loses
its identity ere long in Bellevue Avenue, and is, beyond comparison, the
pleasantest walk in Newport.

The Parade, also called Washington Square, is the delta into which the
main avenues of Newport flow. It is, therefore, admirably calculated as
a starting-point for those street rambles that every visitor has enjoyed
in anticipation. On this ground I saw some companies of the Newport
Artillery going through their evolutions with the steadiness of old
soldiers. Their organization goes back to 1741, and is maintained with
an _esprit de corps_ that a people not long since engaged in war ought
to know how to estimate at its true value. A custom of the corps, as I
have heard, was to fire a _feu de joie_ under the windows of a newly
married comrade; if a commissioned officer, a field-piece.


At the right of the Parade, and a little above the hotel of his name,
stands the house purchased by Commodore Perry after the battle of Lake
Erie; in Clarke Street, near-by, is the church in which Dr. Stiles,
afterward president of Yale, preached, built in 1733; and next beyond is
the gun-house of the Newport Artillery.

The State-house is a pleasing, though not imposing, building, known to
all evening promenaders in Newport by the illuminated clock in the
pediment of the façade. It is in the style of colonial architecture of
the middle of the last century, having two stories, with a wooden
balustrade surmounting the roof. The pediment of the front is topped by
a cupola, and underneath is a balcony, from which proclamations, with
"God save the king" at the end of them, have been read to assembled
colonists; as in these latter days, on the last Tuesday of May, which is
the annual election in Rhode Island, after a good deal of parading about
the streets, the officials elect are here introduced by the high sheriff
with a flourish of words: "Hear ye! Take notice that his Excellency,
Governor ----, of Dashville, is elected governor, commander-in-chief,
and captain-general of Rhode Island for the year ensuing. God save the
State of Rhode Island, and Providence Plantations!" The candidate
smiles, bows, and withdraws, and the populace, as in duty bound, cheers
itself hoarse. It loves the old forms, though some of them seem cumbrous
for "Little Rhody." Sometimes a sheriff has been known to get his
formula "out of joint," and to tack the words "for the year ensuing" at
the end of the invocation.

During the Revolution the State-house was used as a hospital by British
and French, and of course much abused. In the restoration some little
savor of its ancient quaintness is missed. The interior has paneled
wainscoting, carved balusters, and wood-work in the old style of
elegance. The walls of the Senate chamber are sheathed quite up to the
ceiling, in beautiful paneling, relieved by a massive cornice. Stuart's
full-length portrait of Washington, in the well-known black velvet and
ruffles, is here. I have somewhere seen that the French "desecrated," as
some would say, the building by raising an altar on which to say mass
for the sick and dying. In the garret I saw a section of the old pillory
that formerly stood in the vacant space before the building. Many think
the restoration of stocks, whipping-post, and pillory would do more
to-day to suppress petty crimes than months of imprisonment. They still
cling in Delaware to their whipping-post. There, they assert, the dread
of public exposure tends to lessen crime.

The pillory, which a few living persons remember, was usually on a
movable platform, which the sheriff could turn at pleasure, making the
culprit front the different points of the compass it was the custom to
insert in the sentence. Whipping at the cart's tail was also practiced.

One of the finest old characters Rhode Island has produced was Tristram
Burgess, who administered to that dried-up bundle of malignity, John
Randolph, a rebuke so scathing that the Virginian was for the time
completely silenced. Having roused the Rhode Islander by his Satanic
sneering at Northern character and thrift, his merciless criticism, and
incomparably bitter sarcasm, Burgess dealt him this sentence on the
floor of Congress: "Moral monsters can not propagate; we rejoice that
the father of lies can never become the father of liars."

It was at first intended to place the State-house with its front toward
what was then known as "the swamp," in the direction of Farewell Street.
In 1743 it was completed. Rhode Island may with advantage follow the
lead of Connecticut in abolishing one of its seats of government. At
present its constitution provides that the Assembly shall meet and
organize at Newport, and hold an adjourned session at Providence.[263]

[Illustration: JEWISH CEMETERY.]

Walking onward and upward in Touro Street, the visitor sees at its
junction with Kay Street what he might easily mistake for a pretty and
well-tended garden, but for the mortuary emblems sculptured on the
gate-way. The chaste and beautiful design of this portal, even to the
inverted flambeaux, is a counterpart of that of the Old Granary ground
at Boston. This is the Jewish Cemetery.

    "How strange it seems! These Hebrews in their graves,
      Close by the street of this fair sea-port town.
    Silent beside the never-silent waves,
      At rest in all this moving up and down!

    "And these sepulchral stones, so old and brown,
      That pave with level flags their burial-place,
    Seem like the tablets of the Law, thrown down
      And broken by Moses at the mountain's base."


Close at hand is the synagogue, in which services are no longer held,
though, like the cemetery, it is scrupulously cared for.[264] The
silence and mystery which brood over each are deepened by this reverent
guardianship of unseen hands. In 1762 the synagogue was dedicated with
the solemnities of Jewish religious usage. It was then distinguished as
the best building of its kind in the country. The interior was rich and
elegant. Over the reading-desk hung a large brass chandelier; in the
centre, and at proper distances around it, four others. On the front of
the desk stood a pair of highly ornamented brass candlesticks, and at
the entrance on the east side were four others of the same size and
workmanship. As usual, there was for the women a gallery, screened with
carved net-work, resting on columns. Over this gallery another rank of
columns supported the roof. It was the commonly received opinion that
the lamp hanging above the altar was never extinguished.

[Illustration: JUDAH TOURO.]

The Hebrews began to settle on the island before 1677. The deed of their
ancient burial-place is dated in this year. They first worshiped in a
private house. Accessions came to them from Spain, from Portugal, and
from Holland, with such names as Lopez, Riveriera, Seixas, and Touro,
until the congregation numbered as many as three hundred families. The
stranger becomes familiar with the name of Touro, which at first he
would have Truro, from the street and park, no less than the respect
with which it is pronounced by all old residents. The Hebrews of old
Newport seem to have fulfilled the destiny of their race, becoming
scattered, and finally extinct. Moses Lopez is said to have been the
last resident Jew, though, unless I mistake, the Hebrew physiognomy met
me more than once in Newport. This fraction formed one of the curious
constituents of Newport society. Its history is ended, and "_Finis_"
might be written above the entrances of synagogue and cemetery.

Lord Chesterfield once told Lady Shirley, in a serious conversation on
the evidences of Christianity, that there was one which he thought to be
invincible, namely, the present state of the Jews--a fact to be
accounted for on no human principle. The Hebrew customs have remained
inviolate amidst all the strange mutations which time has brought. The
Sabbath by which Shylock registered his wicked oath is still the
Christian's Saturday. In the Jewish burial rite the grave was filled in
by the nearest of kin.

In no other cemetery in New England have I been so impressed with the
sanctity, the inviolability of the last resting-place of the dead, as
here among the graves of a despised people. The idea of eternal rest
seemed really present. Not long since I heard the people of a thriving
suburb discussing the removal of their old burial-place, bodily--I mean
no play upon the word--to the skirts of the town. Being done, it was
thought the land would pay for the removal, and prove a profitable
speculation. Since Abraham gave four hundred shekels of silver for the
field of Ephron, the Israelites have reverenced the sepulchres wherein
they bury their dead. Here is religion without ostentation. In our great
mausoleums is plenty of ostentation, but little religion.

The visitor here may note another distinctive custom of this ancient
people. The inscription above the gate reads, "Erected 5603, from a
bequest made by Abraham Touro."[265] They compute the passage of time
from the creation.

[Illustration: THE REDWOOD LIBRARY.]

An hour, or many hours, may be well spent in the Redwood Library,
founded by Abraham Redwood,[266] one of the Quaker magnates of old
Newport. His fine and kindly face has been carefully reproduced in the
engraving. The library building is in the pure yet severe style of a
Greek temple. The painter Stuart considered it classical and refined. It
has a cool and secluded look, standing back from the street and shaded
by trees, that is inviting to the appreciative visitor. This is one of
the institutions of Newport which all may praise without stint. It has
grown with its growth; yet, after repeated enlargements, the increased
collections in art and literature of this store-house of thought have
demanded greater space.

[Illustration: ABRAHAM REDWOOD.]

Another benefactor worthy to be ranked with Abraham Redwood was Charles
Bird King, whose portrait is hanging in the hall. At his death he made a
munificent bequest of real estate, yielding nine thousand dollars, his
valuable library, engravings, and more than two hundred of the paintings
which now adorn the walls.

Among other portraits here are those of Bishop Berkeley in canonicals,
and of Governor Joseph Wanton, in scarlet coat and periwig, his face
looking as if he and good living were no strangers to each other; of
William Coddington, and of a long catalogue of soldiers and statesmen,
many being copies by Mr. King. The library suffered from pilfering
during the British occupation: it now numbers something in excess of
twenty thousand volumes.[267]

I admit the first object in Newport I went to see was the Old Stone
Mill. I went directly to it, and should not venture to conduct the
reader by any route that did not lead to it. I returned often, and could
only wonder at the seeming indifference of people constantly passing,
but never looking at it.

The Old Stone Mill stands within the pleasant inclosure of Touro Park, a
place as fitting as any in Newport for the beginning of a sentimental
journey. It is a pretty sight on a summer's evening, this green spot,
dotted with moving figures sauntering up and down under the grim shadow
of this picturesque ruin.[268] By moonlight it is superb.

[Illustration: THE OLD STONE MILL.]

No structure in America is probably so familiar to the great mass of the
people as this ruined mill. The frequency of pictorial representation
has fixed its general form and character until there is probably not a
school-boy in his teens who would not be able to make a rude sketch of
it on the blackboard. For years it has been the toughest historical
_pièce de resistance_ our antiquaries have had to deal with, and by many
it was supposed to embody a secret as impenetrable as that of

The Old Mill was dozing quietly away on this hill, when, in 1836, the
Society of Northern Antiquaries, of Copenhagen, declared it to be
evidence of the discovery and occupation of Newport by Northmen, in the
eleventh century. An historical chain was immediately sought to be
established between Dighton Rock, an exhumed skeleton at Fall River, and
this tower, of which the inscription at Monhegan Island was believed to
be another link.

Common opinion, prior to the declaration of the Danish antiquaries, was
that the tower was the remains of a windmill, and nothing more. In a
gazetteer of Rhode Island, printed in 1819, is the following paragraph:
"In this town (Newport) there is now standing an ancient stone mill, the
erection of which is beyond the date of its earliest records; but it is
supposed to have been erected by the first settlers, about one
hundred-and eighty years ago. It is an interesting monument of

About this time Timothy Dwight, formerly president of Yale, was in
Newport. In his letters, published in 1822, he has something to say of
the Old Stone Mill: "On a skirt of this town is the foundation of a
windmill erected some time in the seventeenth century. The cement of
this work, formed of shell-lime and beach gravel, has all the firmness
of Roman mortar, and when broken off frequently brings with it part of
the stone. Time has made no impression on it, except to increase its
firmness. It would be an improvement in the art of building in this
country, if mortar made in the same manner were to be generally

All readers of early New England history know that nothing was too
trivial, in the opinion of those old chroniclers, to be recorded.
Winthrop mentions the digging-up of a French coin at Dorchester in 1643.
It is pertinent to inquire why Roger Williams, Hubbard, Mather, the
antiquary, and correspondent of the Royal Society, Prince, Hutchinson,
and others, have wholly ignored the presence of an old ruin antedating
the English occupation of Rhode Island? Would not Canonicus have led the
white men to the spot, and there recounted the traditions of his people?
No spot of ground in New England has had more learned and observing
annalists. Where were Bishop Berkeley, Rochambeau, Chastellux, Lauzun,
Abbé Robin, Ségur, Dumas, and Deux-Pouts, that they make no mention, in
their writings or memoirs, of the remarkable archæological remains at
Newport? Yet, on the report of the Danish Society, nearly or quite all
our American historians have admitted their theory of the origin of the
Old Stone Mill to their pages. With this leading, and the ready credence
the marvelous always obtains, the public rested satisfied.[270]

The windmill was an object of the first necessity to the settlers. More
of them may be seen on Rhode Island to-day than in all the rest of New
England. That this mill should have been built of stone is in no way
surprising, considering that the surface of the ground must have been
bestrewed with stones of proper size and shape ready to the builders'
hands.[271] I saw these flat stones of which the tower is built turned
up by the plowshare in the roads. Throughout the island the walls are
composed of them.[272]

[Illustration: THE PERRY MONUMENT.]

The cut on the preceding page represents the Old Stone Mill, with the
moon's radiance illuminating its arches. It is a cylindrical tower,
resting on eight rude columns, also circular. The arches have no proper
key-stone,[273] and two of them appear broader than the others, as if
designed for the entrance of some kind of vehicle. One column is so
placed as to show an inner projection, an evident fault of workmanship.
Two stages are also apparent, and there are two windows and a
fire-place. On the inside the haunches are cut to receive the timbers of
the first-floor, just at the turn of the arch. Some cement is still seen
adhering to the interior walls. The whole tower I estimated to be
twenty-five feet high, with an inside diameter of twenty feet. This was
probably nearly or quite its original height. For the rude materials, it
is a remarkable specimen of masonry.[274]

I could see that even some of the best-informed Newporters with whom I
talked were reluctant to let go the traditional antiquity of their Old
Stone Mill. It is more interesting when tinged with the romance of Norse
vikings than as the prosaic handiwork of English colonists, who had corn
to grind, though American antiquaries have ceased to attribute to it any
other origin. I confess to a feeling of remorse in aiding to destroy the
illusion which has so long made the Old Mill a tower of strength to
Newport. Its beauty, when seen draped in ivy and woodbine, clustering so
thickly as to screen its gray walls from view, is at least not



[251] Judah Touro, the philanthropist, was born here in Newport, in
1775, the year of American revolt. His father, the old rabbi, Isaac,
came from Holland, officiating as preacher in 1762 in Newport. When
still a young man, Judah Touro removed to New Orleans, where he acquired
a fortune. He was a volunteer in the battle of 1815, and was wounded by
a cannon-ball in the hip. Though a Jew, Judah Touro was above sect,
generously contributing to Christian church enterprises. Bunker Hill
Monument, toward which he gave ten thousand dollars, is a memorial of
his patriotic liberality.

[252] At Naples the summer temperature is seldom above 73°; in winter it
does not fall below 47°.

[253] Point Judith is named from Judith Quincy, the wife of John Hull,
coiner of the rare old pine-tree shillings of 1652.

[254] Beaver Tail is a peninsula at the southern extremity of Canonicut
Island, so named from its marked resemblance, on the map, to the
appendage of the beaver.

[255] Fort Adams is situated at the upper (northern) end of a point of
land which helps to form the harbor of Newport; it also incloses a piece
of water called Brenton's Cove.

[256] By our American Grace Darling, Miss Ida Lewis.

[257] Goat Island was the site of a colonial fortress. During the reign
of King William, Colonel Romer advised the fortification of Rhode
Island, which he says had never been done "by reason of the mean
condition and refractoriness of the inhabitants." In 1744 the fort on
Goat Island mounted twelve cannon. At the beginning of the Revolution
General Lee, and afterward Colonel Knox, marked out defensive works; but
they do not appear to have been executed when the British, on the same
day that Washington crossed the Delaware, took possession of the island.
The Whigs, in 1775, removed the cannon from the batteries in the harbor.
Major L'Enfant, the engineer of West Point, was the author of Fort

[258] There should be added to the detail of maps given in the initial
chapter that of Jerome Verrazani, in the College de Propaganda Fide, at
Rome, of the supposed date of 1529. This map is described and discussed,
together with the detail of Giovanni Verrazani's letter to Francis I.,
dated at Dieppe, July 8th, 1524, in "Verrazano, the Navigator," by J. C.
Brevoort. A reduced copy of the map or "Planisphere" is there given. The
author adopts the theory, not without plausibility, that Verrazani
passed fifteen days at anchor in Narraganset Bay. As I have before said,
there is something of fact in these early relations; but if tested by
the only exact marks given (latitude, distances, and courses), they
establish nothing.

[259] Harrison, the first architect of his day in New England, was the
author of many of the older public buildings in Newport, Trinity Church
and Redwood Library among others. He also designed King's Chapel,
Boston, and did what he could to drag architecture out of the mire of
Puritan ugliness and neglect.

[260] He owned, besides his house and garden in Boston, lands at Mount
Wollaston, now Quincy, Massachusetts. Coddington is mentioned in Samuel
Fuller's letter to Bradford, June, 1630. "Mrs. Cottington is dead," he
also says.

[261] It may be found at length in Hutchinson, appendix, vol. ii.
Governor Hutchinson was a relative of the schismatic Anne.

[262] This was called an appeal to the country. A judge would hardly, at
the present day, permit such an expression in court.

[263] William Wanton, 1732 to 1734; John Wanton, 1734 to 1741; Gideon
Wanton, 1745 to 1746, and from 1747 to 1748; Joseph Wanton, from 1769 to
1775. The last named left Newport with the British, in 1780, and died in
New York. His son Joseph, junior, commanded the regiment of loyalists
raised on the island.

[264] One of the most curious chapters of Rhode Island's political
history was the "Dorr Rebellion" of 1842, growing out of a partial and
limited franchise under the old charter.

[265] A fund bequeathed by Abraham Touro, who died in Boston in 1822,
secures this object.

[266] It was incorporated 1747: the same year Mr. Redwood gave five
hundred pounds sterling, in books, or about thirteen hundred volumes.
The lot was the gift of Henry Collins, in 1748; building erected
1748-'50; enlarged in 1758; and now (1875) a new building is erecting.
Abraham Redwood was a native of Antigua. When the library sent its
committee to Stuart, with a commission to paint a full-length portrait
of Mr. Redwood, Stuart refused, for reasons of his own, to execute it.

[267] Dr. Ezra Stiles was librarian for twenty years.

[268] The discovery of any portion of the coast of New England by
Northmen belongs to the realms of conjecture. It is not unreasonable to
suppose that they may have fallen in with the continent; but what should
have brought them so far south as Rhode Island, when Nova Scotia must
have appeared to their eyes a paradise? The vine grows there. Champlain
called Richmond's Island Isle de Bacchus, on account of its grapes.

[269] "Travels in New England and New York:" New Haven, 1822, vol. iii.,
p. 56.

[270] Among the records of Newport was found one of 1740, in which
Edward Pelham bequeathed to his daughter eight acres of land, "with an
Old Stone Wind Mill thereon standing and being, and commonly called and
known as the Mill Field." The lane now called Mill Street appears to
have been so named from its conducting up the hill to the mill. The wife
of Pelham was granddaughter of Governor Benedict Arnold. In the
governor's will, dated in 1677, he gives direction for his burial in a
piece of ground "being and lying in my land in or near ye line or path
from my dwelling-house, leading to my stone-built Wind Mill in ye town
of Newport above mentioned."

[271] I incline to the opinion that the Indians had here, as at
Plymouth, cleared a considerable area. There the carpenters had to go an
eighth of a mile for timber suitable for building.

[272] Within five miles of Boston is standing an ancient stone windmill,
erected about 1710. It had been so long used as a powder-magazine that
no tradition remained in the neighborhood that it had ever been a
windmill. They still call it the Old Powder-house.

[273] The keys are compound, and, though rude, are tolerably defined. No
two are alike; they are generally of a hard gray stone, instead of the
slate used in the structure.

[274] This building may have been mentioned by Church in his account of
Philip's War, when, after some display of aversion on the part of a
certain captain to a dangerous enterprise, he was advised by the Indian
fighter to lead his men "to the windmill on Rhode Island, where they
would be out of danger."

[Illustration: BOAT LANDING.]



    "Don't you see the silvery wave?
    Don't you hear the voice of God?"


There is a walk of singular beauty along the sea-bluffs that terminate
the reverse of the hills on which Newport is built. It is known as the
Cliff Walk. Every body walks there. A broken wall of rock overhanging or
retreating from its base, but always rising high above the water, is
bordered by a foot-path with pleasant windings and elastic turf. The
face of the cliff is studded with stony pimples; its formation being the
conglomerate, or pudding-stone, intermingled with schists. Color
excepted, these rocks really look like the artificial cement used in
laying the foundations of ponderous structures. They appear to resist
the action of the sea with less power than the granite of the north
coast. Masses of fallen rock are grouped along the beach underneath the
cliff, around which the rising waves seethe and foam and hiss.

A persistent pedestrian, having reached the shore at Easton's Beach, may
pass around the southern limb of the island to Fort Adams. He may then
make his way back to town by the Fort Road, or take the little
ferry-boat plying between Newport and Jamestown, on Canonicut. This
ramble has been much, yet not undeservingly, praised.

My first walk here was on one of those rare October days that are to the
New England climate what the bloom is to the peach. The air, after the
sun had swept aside the vapors arising from the ocean, was intoxicating;
it was so light and crystal, it seemed as if it might put new life into
the most confirmed valetudinarian. On one side the sea glittered like
silvery scales on fine armor. The intruding promontories of Sachuest and
Seconnet bathed their feet in tranquil waves; and as the eye roved along
the horizon it lodged an instant on the island known as Cormorant Rock,
betrayed by the whitening foam around it. In the farthest sea-board a
dark cloud of brooding vapor prolonged the land in seeming, and veiled
the approach of ships.

[Illustration: THE BEACH.]

Along the verge of the cliff where I walked the dash of the surf
frequently tossed a shower of fine spray as high as the shelf itself,
drenching the grass, and immeshing for an instant among its myriad drops
the fleeting hues of the rainbow. The rocks had a prevailing purple mass
of color, fringed at the edge with green grass, that sometimes crept
down the face of the cliff and toyed with its wrinkles.

These rocks, constantly varnished by sea-spray, sparkle with glancing
lights that relieve the hardness of their angular lineaments. As you
walk on, they are always presenting new profiles of grotesque
resemblances. Yet not a sphinx of them all would tell how long the sea
had been battering at their rugged features, or of the fire that had
baked their tooth-defying pudding--Old Ocean's daily repast. Now and
then, when standing on the brink of some table-rock, the plunge of a
billow underneath caused a sensible tremor. At various points the
descent of the cliffs is facilitated by steps, and at proper stages of
the tide the outlying rocks are the favorite resort of anglers for
tautog, bass, and perch. The Forty Steps are of note as conducting to
Conrad's Cave, a favorite haunt of lovers who have heart secrets they
may no longer keep. The ways of such people are past finding out. At
Niagara vows are whispered at the brink of the cataract. Perchance there
is a savor of romance about these old sea caverns which plain
matter-of-fact folk may not fathom.

Turning away from the sea, the rambler perceives the long line of
cottages, villas, and country houses, Swiss, Italian, English, or
nondescript, to which these territories pertain.[275] These houses
represent the best and at the same time the most rational feature of a
semi-residence at the sea-side. People are really at home, and may enjoy
the natural beauties of their situation without the disadvantages
inseparable from hotel life. To be sure, at Newport it is only Murray
Hill or Beacon Hill transplanted. The social system revolves with much
the same regularity as the planetary, and with no abatement of its
exclusive privileges. But home life or cottage life at the sea-side is
within the means of all those possessing moderate incomes, who are
content to dispense with luxury or more house-room than they know what
to do with; and it is remarkable how little may serve one's turn where
outdoor life is the desideratum. Those who are content to leave all the
surplusage at home, whether of frivolity or luggage, and honestly mean
to enjoy the shore for itself, come where they may forget the world, the
flesh, and money-getting. To this sort of life--a hint borrowed of
English sea-side customs--Newport has led the way. At Oak Bluffs a city
has sprung into existence on this plan, and the shores of New England
are dotted with little red-roofed cottages.

[Illustration: CLIFF WALK.]

If he has come to the cliffs by the Bath road, the visitor sees, almost
at the beginning of his ramble, the summer cottage of Charlotte Cushman,
whose career has some resemblance to that of the gifted Mrs. Siddons.
Both were poor girls at the outset of their professional lives. The
Englishwoman, even after she became famous, usually refused invitations
to the houses of the great or opulent, excusing herself from accepting
them on the ground that all her time was due to the public, whose
continued favor she wished to merit by unremitting application to her

Whatever money or taste or art has been able to do toward the
embellishment of the grounds along the cliffs--and in this category are
included Bellevue and other favored avenues--has not been omitted. A
horticulturist would see something to notice everywhere. As the houses
stand well back from the shore, the space between is laid out in
bright-hued _parterres_, that look like Persian carpets spread on the
well-kept lawns. The eye at times fairly revels in sumptuous masses of
color. Yet Newport was now deserted by the fashionable world, in the
month of months, when sea and shore are incomparably enticing and

[Illustration: THE CLIFFS.]

[Illustration: A NEWPORT COTTAGE.]

In the angle formed by the meeting of Ocean and Carroll avenues is Lily
Pond, where knights of the rod love to loiter and cast a line. If still
pursuing the cliffs, you pass by Gooseberry Island, whither the old-time
magnates were wont to wend for fishing, bathing, and drinking-bouts.
Spouting Rock, where, in gales, inrolling seas are forced high in air,
lies this way. Bass Rock, of piscatory renown, and Brenton's Reef, the
place of wrecks, show their jagged sides. Point Judith and Block Island
are visible from Castle Hill, where in former times a watch-tower stood.
No other day of the seven in Newport is quite equal to Fort Day. Then
the very long line of equipages directs itself upon the point where Fort
Adams is located. On this gala-day the commandant keeps open house, with
colors flying, music playing, and gates opened wide. The procession
winds around the parade, a very moving picture of peace in the lap of
war. Gay scarfs instead of battle-flags wave, jewels instead of steel,
and dog-carts instead of ammunition-carts flash and rumble. The crash,
glitter, and animation are reminders of Hyde Park Corner or the Bois de
Boulogne. The soldiers I saw were much improved in appearance since the
war, and now seemed really proud of the dress they wore. They paced the
jetty and rampart in jaunty shakos, white gloves, and well-fitting
uniforms, as men not ashamed of themselves, and of whom Uncle Sam need
not be ashamed.


Fort Adams was begun in the administration of the president whose name
it bears. The father of the American navy intended Newport as a station
for her squadrons of the future. To this end fortifications were begun,
designed to guarantee the approaches to the harbor. At this time we were
dreading our late ally, France, more than any other European power.
Fortifying Newport against France now seems incredible, yet the
Directory, with citizen Talleyrand at the helm, would either mould
American politics to its will or trample the ancient amity in the dust.
In 1798, a French cruiser, after the capture of several American
vessels, had the impudence to bring her prize into one of our own ports
to escape the more dreaded English.[276] Mr. Adams brought citizen
Talleyrand and the Directoire Exécutif to their senses;[277] but Mr.
Jefferson, who decidedly leaned to the French side of European politics,
stopped the work begun by his predecessor. In 1800, Mr. Humphreys, the
naval constructer, was sent to examine the New England ports with regard
to their eligibility as great national dock-yards. He reported that
Newport possessed by far the most suitable harbor for such an

Fort Adams was chiefly constructed under the watchful supervision of the
accomplished engineer, General J. G. Totten. It is said that during the
progress of the work a full set of plans of the fortress mysteriously
disappeared, and as mysteriously re-appeared after a long interval. It
is believed in certain quarters that copies of these drawings might be
found in the topographical bureau of the British War Office.

[Illustration: SPOUTING ROCK.]

Before setting out for the campaign of 1812, the Emperor Napoleon, as
Bourrienne relates, wished to have exact information respecting Ragusa
and Illyria. He sent for Marmont, whose answers were not satisfactory.
He then interrogated different generals to as little purpose. Dejean,
inspector of engineers, was then summoned. "Have you," demanded the
emperor, "among your officers any one who is acquainted with Ragusa?"

Dejean, after a moment's reflection, answered, "Sire, there is a chief
of battalion who has been a long time forgotten, who is well acquainted
with Ragusa."

"What do you call him?"


"Ah, stop a little; Bernard--I recollect that name. Where is he?"

"Sire, he is at Antwerp, employed upon the fortifications."

"Send notice by the telegraph that he instantly mount his horse and
repair to Paris."

The promptitude with which the emperor's orders were always executed is
well known. A few days afterward Bernard was in Paris at the house of
General Dejean, and shortly after in the cabinet of the emperor. He was
graciously received, and Napoleon immediately said, "Tell me about

When Bernard had done speaking, the emperor said, "_Colonel_ Bernard, I
now know Ragusa." He then conversed familiarly with him, and having a
plan of the works at Antwerp before him, showed how he would
successfully besiege the place. The newly made colonel explained so well
how he would defend himself against the emperor's attacks that Napoleon
was delighted, and immediately bestowed upon him a mark of distinction
which, says Bourrienne, "he never, to my knowledge, granted but upon
this one occasion." As he was going to preside at the council he desired
Colonel Bernard to accompany him, and several times during the sitting
requested his opinion upon the points under discussion. On the
breaking-up of the council, Napoleon said to him, "You are my

Bourrienne continues: "At the end of the campaign he was made general of
brigade; shortly after, general of division; and he is now known
throughout Europe as the first officer of engineers in existence. A
piece of folly of Clarke's[278] has deprived France of the services of
this distinguished man, who, after refusing most brilliant offers made
to him by different sovereigns of Europe, has retired to the United
States of America, where he commands the engineers, and where he has
constructed on the side of the Floridas fortifications which are by
engineers declared to be masterpieces of military skill."[279]

Bernard came to the United States in 1816, and was associated with the
late General Totten in carrying out the now discarded system of
sea-coast fortifications. It is said that Colonel M'Cree, then chief of
engineers, resigned rather than serve under him. Accord between the
French engineer and Colonel Totten was only secured by a division of the
works, and agreement to accept, on the part of each, the other's plans.
Bernard wished to construct one great fortress, like Antwerp or the once
famous strongholds of the Quadrilateral. Fortress Monroe is the result
of this idea. He also planned the defenses of Mobile.[280]

From Fort Adams it is a short sail across to the Dumplings, and the
circular tower of stone, built also in the administration of John Adams.
This work, now in ruins, is second only in picturesqueness to the Old
Stone Mill, if indeed it should yield the first place to that singular
structure. The parapet has crumbled, and the bomb-proofs are choked with
rubbish. It is about a hundred feet from the crown of the parapet to the
water, and, though the elevation is inconsiderable, is one of the choice
points of observation in Narraganset Bay. The neighboring rocks are of
good report among fishermen, and the tower and its neighborhood are
places much affected by picnic parties. Taken altogether, the old fort
on Canonicut, with its swarthy rock foundations, is one of the last
objects to fade from the recollection. Seen with the setting sun gilding
the broken rampart or glancing from out its blackened embrasures, it
embodies something of the idea of an antique castle by the sea.

Being here on the island of Canonicut, the visitor will find it pleasant
sauntering along the shores, or across a broad, smooth road leading to
the farther side of the island and the ferry to the opposite main-land.
The water between is called the Western Passage. When I saw it, not
fewer than a hundred vessels were lying wind-bound, their sails spread
to catch the first puff of the land-breeze. Dutch Island, with its
light-house, appears in full view, about midway of the passage. The rock
formation of this side of Canonicut is largely slate, with abundant
intrusion of white quartz. Along the beach the slate is so decomposed as
to give way to the pressure of the foot.

Canonicut is a beautiful island, with graceful slopes and fertile soil.
It is here, on the northern end, a cottage city is designed of summer
houses, accessible to people who do not keep footmen or carriages, or
give champagne breakfasts. Five hundred acres have been laid out in
avenues, parks, and drives: the shores, by special reservation, are to
remain forever open for the equal enjoyment of all who resort

[Illustration: THE DUMPLINGS.]

At the coming of D'Estaing and the French fleet, Canonicut was
garrisoned by Brown's provincial corps, and two regiments of Anspach,
who were compelled to evacuate it. The French land troops then took
possession of the Dumpling and Beaver Tail batteries.[282] In the year
1749 a light-house was erected on Beaver Tail.

[Illustration: HESSIAN GRENADIER.]

Newport has not treasured the memory of the Hessians. They were never in
favor, being about equally feared and hated. At the battle of Long
Island they pinned American soldiers to the trees with their bayonets.
Loaded down with arms and accoutrements, they marched and fought with
equal phlegm. As foragers they were even more to be dreaded than in
battle, as they usually stripped a garden or a house of its last root or
crust. Brutalized by the removal of the only incentive that is honorable
in the soldier, they lived or died at so much per head.

Newport as a British garrison was the resort of numbers of courtesans,
many of whom had followed the army from New York. Quarrels between
Hessian and British officers, growing out of their amours, were
frequent. A Hessian major and captain at last fought a duel about a
woman of the town, in which glorious cause the major was run through the
body and killed. General Prescott then ordered all the authors of these
troubles to be confined in Newport jail.

Driving in Newport is one of the duties the fashionable world owes to
itself and to society. On every fine day between four in the afternoon
and dusk Bellevue Avenue is thronged with equipages, equestrians, and
promenaders. Nowhere in America can so many elegant turnouts be seen as
here: every species of vehicle known to the wheeled vocabulary is in
requisition. The cortége is not, as might be supposed, a racing mob, but
a decorous-paced, well-reined procession--a sort of reunion upon wheels
of all that is brilliant and fascinating in Newport society. The quiet
though elegant carriages with crests on them are Bostonian; the most
"stylish" horse-furniture and mettled horses are at home in Central
Park: Philadelphia is self-contained, and of substantial elegance.
Imagine this pageant of beautiful women and cultivated men passing and
repassing, mingling and separating, smiling, saluting, admiring, and
admired; the steady beat of hoofs on the hard gravel and continuous roll
of wheels proceeding without intermission, until the whole becomes
bewildering, confused, and indistinct, as if the whirl of wheels were
indeed "in your brain."

[Illustration: COAST SCENE, NEWPORT.]

[Illustration: THE DRIVE.]

When "The Drive" is spoken of, that through Bellevue and Ocean
avenues--with, on Fort days (Wednesdays and Fridays), the _détour_ to
the fortress and so back to town--is meant. Another charming drive is by
the Bath road, then skirting the beaches, to continue on through
Middletown, where the hills are still blistered with the remains of
Revolutionary intrenchments. Paradise and Purgatory are both reached by
this road, and are within easy distance of any part of Newport.

On two occasions when I crossed the beaches the sea was running too
heavily to make bathing practicable. The surf, too, was much discolored
with sea-wrack and the nameless rubbish it is always turning over and
over. Groups of bathing-houses were dispersed along the upper margin of
the strand. They are not much larger than, and bear a strong
resemblance to, sentry-boxes. When feasible, bathing is regulated by
signals, flags of different colors being used to designate the hours
assigned to males or females. The floor of the beach is hard and gently
shelving. There being little tide, a plunge into the sea may be enjoyed
without danger from quicksands or under-tow.

[Illustration: PURGATORY BLUFF.]

On the eastern side of Easton's Point, which divides what would
otherwise be a continuous beach into two, is Purgatory Bluff, a mass of
conglomerate split asunder by some unknown process of nature. The two
faces of the fissure appear to correspond to each other, but no other
force than that which smote may restore them. A place used to be shown
on the irregular surface of the rocks above where the Evil Spirit of the
red men once dragged a squaw, and, in spite of her frantic struggles,
which might be traced, dispatched her, and flung the body into the
chasm. Another and more recent legend is, that here a lover was dared by
his mistress to leap across the chasm, some fourteen feet, her glove to
be the guerdon of his success. The feat was performed, but the lover
flung the glove into the face of his silly mistress. What seems curious
in these fractures of pudding-stone, the pebbles break in the same
direction as the mass of rock.[283]

[Illustration: WHITEHALL.]

Hanging Rock, a favorite haunt of good Dean Berkeley, is a cavity or
shelf where it would be practicable to sit, and, while looking off to
sea, indulge in dreamy musings. Half a mile farther on is the house
he built, and afterward, on his departure from the country, gave to
Yale. It bears the pretending name of Whitehall, for, though
comfortable-looking, it is little palatial.

The dean, it is said, told the painter, Smibert, who ventured to betray
some distrust of his patron's sanguine belief in the future importance
of Newport, "Truly, you have very little foresight, for in fifty years'
time every foot of land in this place will be as valuable as in
Cheapside." If he indeed made the remark attributed to him, he was only
a century or so out of his reckoning.

The name and fame of George, Bishop of Cloyne, the friend of Swift and
of Steele, the professor of an ideal philosophy, and the projector of a
Utopian scheme for evangelizing and educating the Indians, is dear to
the people of Newport. He came to America in 1728 with the avowed
purpose of establishing a college, "to be erected on the Summer
Islands," the "still vext Bermoothes" of Shakspeare.

Berkeley is perhaps more familiar to American readers by four lines--of
which the first is as often misquoted as any literary fragment I can
call to mind--than by his philosophical treatises:

    "Westward the course of empire takes its way;
      The four first acts already past,
    A fifth shall close the drama with the day:
      Time's noblest offspring is the last."

The residence of the dean at Newport was a forced retirement, the sum of
twenty thousand pounds promised by Sir Robert Walpole in aid of his
college never having been paid. In this college, "he most exorbitantly
proposed," as Swift humorously remarked, "a whole hundred pounds a year
for himself, forty pounds for a fellow, and ten for a student." Seven
years were passed in literary pursuits; "The Minute Philosopher," of
which no one who comes to Newport may go ignorant away, being the
offspring of his meditations. Along with the dean came John Smibert, of
whose canvases a few remain scattered over New England, and whose chief
excellence lay in infusing the love of his art into such men as Copley,
Trumbull, and Allston.[284] Pope assigns to Berkeley "every virtue under
heaven." There is no question but that he was as amiable and learned as
he was thoroughly speculative and unpractical.

The return to town by Honyman's Hill, named from the first pastor of
Trinity, is thoroughly enjoyable and interesting. The historical student
may here see how near the Americans were advanced toward the capture of
Newport. An old windmill or two or a farm-house are picturesque objects
by the way.


"I saw," says Miss Martineau, "the house which Berkeley built in Rhode
Island--built in the particular spot where it is, that he might have to
pass, in his rides, over the hill which lies between it and Newport, and
feast himself with the tranquil beauty of the sea, the bay, and the
downs as they appear from the ridge of the eminence. I saw the pile of
rocks, with its ledges and recesses, where he is said to have meditated
and composed his 'Minute Philosopher.' It was at first melancholy to
visit these his retreats, and think how empty the land still is of the
philosophy he loved."


[275] Many of these so-called cottages cost from $50,000 to $200,000.
For the season, $2000 is considered a moderate rental, and $5000 is
frequently paid.

[276] "R. Goodloe Harper's Speeches, p. 275."

[277] By smashing their frigates, _L'Insurgente_, _La Vengeance_,
_Berceau_, and making it generally unpleasant for them.

[278] Duke de Feltre, French minister of war.

[279] He afterward returned to France, and was made minister of war.

[280] Fort Morgan was constructed by him with twelve posterns, a
statement significant to military engineers. General Totten closed six
of them, and the Confederates, when besieged, all but two.

[281] Canonicut is about seven miles long, its longest axis lying almost
north and south. It includes a single township, incorporated 1678, by
the name of Jamestown. The island was purchased from the Indians in
1657. Prudence Island, six miles long, is also attached to Jamestown.

[282] At this time four British frigates and several smaller craft were
destroyed. The French forced the passage on the west of Canonicut, and
raised the blockade of Providence.

[283] The chasm is one hundred and sixty feet in length, with an average
depth of about sixty feet.

[284] Smibert planned the original Faneuil Hall, Boston. Trumbull
painted in the studio left vacant by Smibert.

[Illustration: D'ESTAING]



     "Grenadiers, rendez-vous!"

     "La Garde meurt et ne se rend pas."

     "Braves Français, rendez-vous; vous serez traités comme les
     premiers soldats du monde."

     "_La garde meurt et ne se rend pas._"--OLD GUARD AT WATERLOO.

Another phase of Newport in by-gone days was the sojourn of our French
allies in the Revolution. Then there were real counts, and dukes, and
marquises in Newport. There had also been a British occupation; but the
troops of his Britannic Majesty ruined the town, humiliated its pride,
and crushed its prejudices under an armed heel. On the other hand, the
French soldiers respected property, were considerate in their treatment
of the inhabitants, and paid scrupulously for every thing they took. In
time of war a garrisoned town is usually about equally abused by friend
or enemy. Here the approach of the French was dreaded, and their
departure regarded as a misfortune.

Apropos to the good behavior of our French friends is the testimony of
an eye-witness, who says: "The different deputations of savages who came
to view their camp exhibited no surprise at the sight of the cannon, the
troops, or of their exercise; but they could not recover from their
astonishment at seeing apple-trees loaded with fruit above the tents
which the soldiers had been occupying for three months." The English,
during their occupation, had burned almost the last forest-tree on the

The astonishing spectacle of monarchy aiding democracy against itself is
one of the reflections suggested by the alliance. Besides Louis Seize,
other crowned heads would willingly have helped America as against the
old "Termagant of the Seas," had not the idea been too illogical. The
Empress Catherine II. is reported as having hinted, in a private
interview with Sir James Harris,[285] at the possibility of restoring
European peace by renouncing the struggle England was making with her
American colonies. "May I ask your Majesty," said the _ruse_ old Briton,
"if this would be your policy in case the colonies had belonged to you?"

"J'aimerais mieux perdre ma tête," replied the empress (I would sooner
lose my head).

Kaiser Joseph repulsed the idea with equal candor and bluntness:
"Madame, mon métier à moi c'est d'être royaliste" (Madam, my trade is to
be a royalist).

This was not the first move France had made to detach the American
colonies from the British crown. Far back in the day of the Puritans the
thing had been attempted. Again, in 1767, M. de Choiseul dispatched
Baron De Kalb on a secret mission. The baron came, saw, and made his
report. He wrote from Boston in March, 1768, that he did not believe it
possible to induce the Americans to accept foreign aid, on account of
their fixed faith in their sovereign's justice.[286] We were still,
while growling, licking the hand that smote us. And this little fragment
shows that before the day of Caron Beaumarchais, of "Sleek Silas," of
"Sleek Benjamin," the idea of assistance was already germinating. France
was to heave away at the old British empire as soon as she had found a
fulcrum on which to rest her lever.

D'Estaing came first to Newport; but his appearance, like that of a
meteor, was very brilliant and very brief. Besides being vice-admiral,
he was also lieutenant-general, and brought with him something in excess
of fifteen hundred land soldiers, without counting the marines of his
fleet. The chevalier advanced his squadron in two divisions, one
ascending the Narraganset, the other the Seconnet passage. He cannonaded
Sir Robert Pigot's batteries, destroyed some British vessels, and
caused some addition to the national debt of England. Then, when the
pear was ready to fall, at sight of Earl Howe's fleet he put to sea, and
was battered by his lordship and by storms until he brought his
shattered vessels into Boston Harbor, where he should refit, and taste
Governor Hancock's wine.

The Americans, who had advanced under Sullivan within two miles of
Newport--old continentals, militia, and volunteer corps, full of fight
and confident of success--were obliged to withdraw in good order but bad
temper. Sullivan secured his retreat by a brilliant little action at the
head of the island.

The French at Boston found themselves very ill received. They were
accused of having abandoned, betrayed Sullivan. French sailors and
soldiers were beaten in the streets, and their officers seriously
wounded in attempting to quell affrays with the populace. D'Estaing
conducted himself with great circumspection. He refused to press the
punishment of the leaders in these outrages; but, stung by the
imputation of cowardice, offered to put himself, a vice-admiral of
France, with seven hundred men, under the orders of Sullivan, who, says
a French historian, "was lately nothing but a lawyer."

[Illustration: EARL HOWE.]

An extraordinary number of personages, distinguished in the Revolution,
or under the empire, its successor, served France in America. The heads
of many fell under the guillotine. In this way perished D'Estaing. He
was in Paris during the Reign of Terror, and present at the trial of
Marie Antoinette. One of those ladies who met him at Boston describes
him as of dignified presence, affable, and gracious.

With D'Estaing came Jourdan, a shop-keeper, and the son of a doctor. At
sixteen he was the comrade of Rochambeau, and in the same regiment
Montcalm had commanded in 1743. The Limousin shows with pride to the
stranger the old wooden house, with dark front, in which the conqueror
of Fleurus was born. The marshal who had commanded the army of the
_Sambre et Meuse_ became the scape-goat of Vittoria.

[Illustration: ROCHAMBEAU.]

After D'Estaing came Rochambeau, and with him a crowd of young officers
of noble birth, fortune's favorites, who yet sought with the eagerness
of knights-errant to enroll themselves in the ranks of the alliance.
Gay, careless, chivalric, and debonair, carrying their high-bred
courtesy even to the front of battle, they were worthy sons of the men
who at Fontenoy advanced, hat in hand, from the ranks, and saluted their
English enemies: "Apres vous, messieurs les Anglais; nous ne tirons
jamais les premiers" (After you, gentlemen; we never fire first).

Having in some respects remained much as when the French were here,
there is no greater difficulty in beating our imaginary _rappel_ than in
supposing Newport peopled when walking at night through its deserted


We suppose an intrenched camp drawn across the island from the sea to
the harbor, having town, fleet, and transports under its wing, and
batteries on all the points and islands. Twelve days sufficed to secure
the position to the satisfaction of Rochambeau, who shrugged his
shoulders, saying, as another and greater said after him, "I have them
now, these English." Yet Washington, remembering Long Island and Fort
Washington, wrote in July to General Heath, "I wish the Count de
Rochambeau had taken a position on the main."[287]

[Illustration: LOUIS XVI.]

Under British rule, Newport wore a muzzle; under French, a collar
bristling with steel. The white standard was unfolded to the breeze in
all the camps and from the masts of shipping. Tents and marquees were
pitched along the line and dotted the green of Canonicut, Rose Island,
Coaster's and Goat islands. Bayonets brightly and cannon duskily flashed
in the sun everywhere. Sentinels in white uniforms, black gaiters, and
woolen epaulets tramped in little paths of their own making. Officers in
white, splendidly gold-embroidered, with rich and elegant side-arms, put
to the blush such of our poor fellows as chanced in their camps. In
every shady spot groups of soldiers, gay and jovial, reclined on the
grass, chattering all together, or laughing at the witticism of the
company _gaillard_. The drum--the type military, which has scarcely
changed its form in three hundred years--was improvised into the
card-table. "_Ma fois_," "_paroles d'honneur_," "_sacrés_" and "_milles
tonnerres_," flew thickly as bullets at Fontenoy.

[Illustration: MILITARY MAP OF RHODE ISLAND, 1778.]

A finer body of men had probably never taken the field. Many were
seasoned in the Seven Years' War. Perfectly disciplined, commanded by
generals of experience, they only asked to be led against the hereditary
enemy of France. Officers who had mounted guard at the Tuileries, and
had been intimate with crowned heads, embraced the campaign with the
careless vivacity of school-boys.

In the present region of old houses is a mansion having a high air of
respectability; it is situated at the corner of Clarke and Mary streets,
and known as the Vernon House. This was the _Quartier Général_ of the
Count Rochambeau, one of the four supreme generals of France in those
days. The count was a brave old soldier, rather short in stature, rather
inclined to fat, with a humane soul and noble heart. He was hampered by
his instructions, and his army lost time here, to the vexation of
Washington, and chagrin, it is believed, of himself. Hear what he says
when teased by a younger soldier to begin the fighting:

     "I owe it to the most scrupulous examination of my conscience,
     that of about fifteen thousand men killed or wounded under my
     orders in different grades and in the bloodiest actions, I have
     not to reproach myself with having caused the death of a single
     one to gratify my own ambition.


[Illustration: LAFAYETTE.]

It was to Lafayette, burning with the desire to see his countrymen
signalize their coming otherwise than by balls, routs, and reviews, that
the letter was addressed. Rochambeau was under the orders of Washington,
yet many of his officers disliked being commanded by Lafayette, their
junior in military service, or by lawyers, blacksmiths, and

[Illustration: BARON VIOMÉNIL.]

The career of M. de Ternay, admiral of the fleet, was soon ended. He
died in Newport, and was buried in Trinity Church-yard. One of
Rochambeau's staff-officers ascribes his death to chagrin in consequence
of having permitted five English ships to escape him without a general
engagement. These ships were then on their way to join Admiral Rodney.
It is certain he was openly denounced by many officers of rank for too
great caution. Rochambeau says:

    "Newport, December 18th, 1780.

     "I set out from here on the 12th to visit Boston and M.
     Hancock, leaving here M. de Ternay with a slight fever, which
     announced nothing serious. On the 16th, in the morning, I
     received a courier from Baron de Vioménil, announcing his death
     on the morning of the 15th. I returned at once, and reached
     here yesterday evening."

A mural tablet of black marble inscribed with golden letters was sent
from France. The admiral's grave happening not to be contiguous to the
church or church-yard wall, a wall was built to support the slab. Since
then it has been removed to the vestibule of Trinity Church, and a
granite stone, at the instance of the Marquis de Noailles, has replaced
it above the grave. The first house, built in 1702, was succeeded in
1726 by the present edifice. An organ was presented by Bishop Berkeley,
whose infant daughter lies in the church-yard.

In March, 1781, Washington, accompanied by Lafayette, came to Newport,
and was received by Rochambeau in the Vernon House. The curious interest
with which the American general was regarded by his allies is
sufficiently evident in their accounts of him. He at once commanded all
their admiration and respect, and was perhaps their only ideal not
destroyed by actual contact. They still show the visitor the house in
Church Street where Washington led the dance with "the beautiful Miss
Champlin," and where the French officers, taking the instruments from
the musicians' hands, played the minuet, "A successful Campaign."

Another of the _noblesse_ of the army was the Viscount de Noailles, in
whose regiment Napoleon was afterward a subaltern. Two grateful tasks
fell to his share in the war. As ambassador to England, he delivered to
Lord Weymouth intelligence of the alliance and acknowledgment of the
independence of the thirteen States. His manner was said to have been
very offensive, and considered tantamount to a challenge. An equally
agreeable duty devolved upon him as one of the commissioners to arrange
the capitulation of Yorktown.

[Illustration: TRINITY CHURCH.]

The alliance was a bitter draught for England. She offered, in 1781, to
cede Minorca to Russia if the empress would effect a peace between
France, Spain, and herself; but stipulated that there should be an
express condition that the French should immediately evacuate Rhode
Island and every other part of his Majesty's colonies in America; "no
stipulation or agreement whatever to be made with regard to H. M.
rebellious subjects, who could never be suffered to treat through the
medium of a foreign power."

[Illustration: CHASTELLUX.]

The Dutch republic, influenced by John Adams, having declared for the
alliance, England demanded satisfaction. Then Frederick the Great got
his "dander" up. Said he, "Puisque les Anglais veulent la guerre avec
tout le monde, ils l'auront" (Since the English wish war with all the
world, they shall have it). So much for him who was then called in the
court circles of Europe "Le Vieux de la Montagne" (Old Man of the
Mountain). Spain was arming. England continued to ply the empress
through her favorite and debauchee, Potemkin. Russia, as head of the
Northern League, now held the key of European politics. Potemkin was too
adroit for British diplomacy. It is believed he had a secret
understanding with the French ambassador, as the doctors whom Molière
makes say to each other, "Passez-moi la rhubarbe et je vous passerai le

In this same year, 1781, the mediating powers, Russia and Austria,
proposed an armistice for a year, during which hostilities were to be
suspended and peace negotiated. The American colonies were to be
admitted to this arrangement, and no treaty signed in which they were
not included. Lord Stormont, in notifying the refusal of England to this
proposal, declining any intervention between herself and her colonies,
pointed out that, in the then state of the struggle in America, a
suspension of hostilities would be fatal to the success of his Majesty's

England could not disentangle the knot of European politics, and
Yorktown brought her to her knees. Many of the Continental powers openly
rejoiced at her humiliation; Catharine could scarcely dissemble her joy.
The news reached London on Sunday, November 25th. Lord Walsingham, who
had been under-secretary of state, happened to be with Lord Germain when
the messengers arrived. Without mentioning the disaster to any other
persons, the two peers took a hackney-coach and drove to Lord
Stormont's, in Portland Place. Imparting their intelligence, his
lordship joined them, and they proceeded to the chancellor's, where,
after a short consultation, it was determined they would communicate it
in person to Lord North. The first minister's firmness, and even his
presence of mind, gave way under this crushing blow. He is represented
as having received it "as he would have taken a ball in his breast, for
he opened his arms, exclaiming wildly, as he paced up and down the
apartment, 'O God! it is all over!'"

The American is now living who will see justice done the memory of
George III. He was neither a bad king nor a bad man. Like his
antagonist, Louis Seize, he was possessed of strong good sense, which
accounts, perhaps, says one, for the decapitation of Louis by the
French. A well-informed authority attributes the insanity of George
III. to the revolt of his American colonies. Just as he was taken ill,
in 1788, he said, after the last levee he held, to Lord Thurlow, who was
advising him to take care of himself, and return to Windsor, "You, then,
too, my Lord Thurlow, forsake me and suppose me ill beyond recovery; but
whatever you and Mr. Pitt may think or feel, I, that am born a
gentleman, shall never lay my head on my last pillow in peace and quiet
as long as I remember the loss of my American colonies."[288]

[Illustration: LAUZUN.]

But to come back to our Frenchmen. Of others whose sabres and spurs have
clanked or jingled on the well-worn door-stone of the Vernon House was
Biron, better known as the _roué_ Lauzun. There being no forage on the
island, Lanzun's cavalry and the artillery horses were sent for the
winter to Lebanon, Connecticut, a place the duke compares to Siberia.
Lauzun had the talents that seduce men as well as women. Traveled,
speaking English well, gay and audacious, he was among men the model of
a finished gentleman, and among women the type of such dangerous
raillery that many, in order to control him, gave the lie to the
proverb, "We hate whom we fear."

At Berlin Lauzun had been a prodigious favorite with Frederick. His
connection with the Duke d'Orleans (Egalité) proved his ruin. At
forty-six, having unsuccessfully commanded the republican armies in La
Vendée, he was guillotined in 1793. Mademoiselle Laurent, his mistress,
attended him to the last. He would not let his hands be tied. "We are
both Frenchmen," said he to the executioner; "we shall do our duty."
Thus _exit_ Biron, capable of every thing, good for nothing.

[Illustration: MATHIEU DUMAS.]

The elegant and accomplished Marquis Chastellux, whose _petits soupers_
at Newport were the talk of every one who had the good fortune to be
invited, and whose "Travels in America," partly printed on board the
French fleet, are so charmingly written; the brave Baron Vioménil,
second in command, distinguished for gallantry at Yorktown; headlong
Charles Lameth, who fought the young Duke de Castries in the Bois de
Boulogne; Mathieu Dumas, aid to Rochambeau, and afterward fighting at
Waterloo, were prominent figures in an army pre-eminent among armies for
the distinction of its leaders.

La Peyrouse, in October, made his escape through the English blockade
during a severe gale, in which his vessel was dismasted; though,
fortunately, not until the enemy had given up the chase. He carried with
him Rochambeau's son, charged with an account of the conference at
Hartford and the necessities of the Americans.

[Illustration: DEUX-PONTS.]

Berthier, the military confidant of Napoleon, was of this army. He
embarked for America, a captain of dragoons in the regiment of Lorraine,
and here won the epaulets of a colonel. There were also two brothers
serving under the name of Counts Deux-Ponts. One of them, Count
Christian Deux-Ponts, was captured by Nelson, while on a boat excursion
with several friends, off Porto Cavallo. Southey, in his "Life of Lord
Nelson," says he was a prince of the German Empire, and brother to the
heir of the Electorate of Bavaria. Nelson, then a young captain, after
giving his prisoners a good dinner, released them.[289]

[Illustration: DE BARRAS.]

It would require a broad muster-roll merely to enumerate the
distinguished of Rochambeau's expeditionary army. I have not yet
mentioned De Broglie, Vauban, Champcenetz, Chabannes, De Melfort, and
Talleyrand; nor De Barras, La Touche, and La Clocheterie; nor Désoteux,
leader of Chouans in the French Revolution. To have withstood the
assaults of so much wit, gallantry, and condescension, Newport must have
been a city of vestals; yet, according to the good Abbé Robin, his
countrymen gave few examples of that gallantry for which their nation is
famed. One remarkable instance of a wife reclaimed, when on the point of
yielding to the seductions of an epauleted stranger, is related by him.
The story has a fine moral for husbands as well as wives.

The expected arrival of this army spread terror in Newport. The French
had been represented as man-eaters, whereas they were only frog-eaters.
The country was deserted, and those whom curiosity had brought to
Newport encountered nobody in the streets. Rochambeau landed in the
evening. These fears were soon dissipated by the exact discipline
enforced in the camps. They tell of pigs and fowls passing unmolested,
and of fields of corn standing untouched in their midst.

Beautiful Miss Champlin, charming Redwood, the _distingué_ Misses
Hunter, and the Quaker vestal, Polly Lawton, are names escaped to us
from the memoirs of Gallic admirers; yet there was only a single
suicide in the French ranks justly chargeable to an American love
account;[290] and this did not occur in Newport.

One of the French regiments at Yorktown was as famous in Old-World
annals as any battalion that ever stood under arms. This was the
regiment of Auvergne. Wherever men might march, Auvergne was seen or
heard. Once, when in the advance of the army--it was always there--one
of its captains, sent out to reconnoitre, was surrounded in the darkness
by foes. A hundred bayonets were leveled at his breast. "Speak above a
whisper and you die," said the German officer. Captain D'Assas saw
himself in the midst of a multitude of enemies, who were stealthily
approaching his weary and unsuspecting comrades. In an instant his
resolution was taken. Raising himself to his full height, that he might
give his voice greater effect, he cried out, "À moi, Auvergne! voilà les
ennemis!"[291] and fell dead as the French drums beat "To arms!" The
regiment was very proud of its motto, "_Sans tache_."

[Illustration: LATOUR D'AUVERGNE.]

In this regiment was Philip d'Auvergne, "the first grenadier of France,"
of whose prowess stories are told. When the corps came to America its
name had been changed to Gatinais, whereat there was much grumbling
among these aged mustaches. There were two redoubts at Yorktown to be
taken. One was assigned to Lafayette and his Americans, the other to the
French. The grenadiers of Gatinais were to lead this attack; and, as it
was expected to be bloody, Rochambeau himself addressed them. "My
friends," said he, "if I should want you this night, I hope you have
not forgotten that we have served together in that brave regiment of
Auvergne, '_Sans Tache_.'" "Promise, general, to give us back our old
name, and we will suffer ourselves to be killed, to the last man." The
promise was given, the redoubt won, and King Louis confirmed the pledge.
In token of its peerless valor Washington presented the regiment with
one of the captured cannon.

The comfortable and contented lives of the French soldiers daily
astonished our poor and tattered, but unconquerable ragamuffins. At
parade they appeared so neat and gentleman-like as hardly to be
distinguished from their officers. They were paid every week, and seemed
to want for nothing. No sentinel was allowed to stand on his post
without a warm watch-coat to cover him. The officers treated their
soldiers with attention, humanity, and respect, neglecting no means of
inculcating sentiments of honor. Stealing was held by them in
abhorrence. As a consequence, punishments were extremely rare,
desertions unfrequent, and the health of the troops excellent.

Speculations more or less unfavorable to French disinterestedness, more
or less destructive of American enthusiasm for the alliance, must arise
from a knowledge of the secret policy of France in coming to the aid of
democracy. Possibly she hoped for the reconquest of Canada. Rochambeau
would have first employed his forces against Castine, had he not been
overruled. That would have been curious, indeed, to have seen France
re-established at old Pentagoët, carrying war into Canada, as, more than
a century previous and from the same vantage-ground, she had carried it
into New England. Not much later she tried to wheedle and then to bully
us into ceding to her the island of Rhode Island, in order, as urged by
her, to prevent its being seized again at any future time by Great
Britain. Her armed intervention was of little worth compared with the
moral effect of the alliance.

Pierre du Guast had groped his way along the coast in 1605, seeking a
habitation. He, and his lieutenant, Poutrincourt, had well-nigh reached
their goal when compelled to turn back, baffled, for wintry Acadia. A
French colony, in 1605, upon Aquidneck might have changed the order of
history, and rendered impossible the events of which this chapter is the



[285] British ambassador at St. Petersburg, afterward Lord Malmesbury.

[286] Massachusetts Files.

[287] Heath then commanded at Providence: he was ordered to meet
Rochambeau on his arrival, and extend any assistance in his power.

[288] The manner and matter of his reception of Mr. Adams were equally
those of gentleman and king. Contrast him with the Prince Regent, and
his remark to the French ex-minister, Calonne, during his father's
sudden illness, in 1801: "Savez-vous, Monsieur de Calonne, que mon père
est aussi fou que jamais?" (Do you know, Monsieur de Calonne, that my
father is as crazy as ever?) Thackeray could not do him justice.

[289] The fellow-prisoner of Count Christian Deux-Ponts was an Irishman,
named Lynch, who belonged also to Rochambeau's army. Fearful that his
nationality might be discovered, he begged the count to be on his guard.
When at table, and heated with wine, the secret was divulged by the
count; but Nelson, as Ségur relates, pretended not to have heard it.

[290] That of Major Galvan, who pistoled himself on account of
unrequited love.

[291] Rally, Auvergne! here is the enemy!




     "Come, my spade. There is no ancient gentlemen but gardeners,
     ditchers, and grave-makers; they hold up Adam's

Assuming the looker-on to be free from all qualms on the subject of
grave-yard associations, I invite him to loiter with me awhile among the
tombstones of buried Newport. As we thread the streets of the town,
sign-boards or door-plates inform us who are the occupants; and in
pursuing the narrow paths of the burial-place, the tablets set up
denote, not only the final residences, but symbolize the dread of the
world's forgetfulness, of those who sleep there. The analogy might still
be pursued, as it was an old custom to inscribe the occupation and
birthplace upon a memorial stone. Here is one I found in the old ground
adjoining Rhode Island Cemetery:

    Here lyeth the Body
    of Roger Baster
    Bachelor Block mackr
    Aged 66 yeres He Dyed
    23 Day of Aprel 1687
    He was one of the Fi
    rst Beginers of a Chv
    rch of Christ obsrving ------
    Of the 7th Day Sab
    bath of THE LORD IN
    NE AND BEGAN 23D IS 1671

The grave-yards are the first green spots. Dandelions, buttercups, and
daisies blossom earliest there. The almost imperceptible shading-off of
winter into spring is signaled by tufts of freshly springing grass on
the sunny side of a grave-stone; the birds build betimes among the
tree-branches of the cemetery. Your grave-maker is always a merry
fellow, who cares no more for carved cross-bones than for the clay-pipes
so artistically crossed in shop-windows.


I found many stones dating from 1726 to 1800, but even these had become
much defaced by time. Where freestone slabs had been used, the
inscriptions were either illegible or quite obliterated. Some of the
older slate stones had been painted to protect them from the weather.
The city takes commendable care of the grounds; yet I could not help
thinking that a little money might be well spent in renewing the fading
inscriptions. Throughout the inclosure the pious chisel of some "Old
Mortality" is painfully in request.

In a retired part of the ground I found two horizontal slabs--one of
white, the other red, freestone--lying side by side over man and wife. I
transcribed the epitaph of the wife, as the more characteristic:

    DOM 1660
    AGED 55 YEARS.

Another slate stone contained the singular inscription given in the
engraving; and still another was lettered:

    In Memory Of
    Mrs. Elizabeth Lintu
    rn widow for many
    years a noted midwife
    She departed this life
    October 23d 1758
    In the 63d year of her age.

In the old Common Burying-ground is the following plaint:

    Here doth Simon Parrett lye
    Whose wrongs did for justice cry
    But none could haue
    And now the Graue
    Keeps him from Inivrie
    Who Departed this life
    The 23 Day of May 1718
    Aged 84 years.

Farewell Street, by which you approach the principal cemetery of
Newport, is not ill-named. The ground, a generally level area, permits
the eye to roam over the whole region of graves. Glimpses of the bay and
of the islands dispersed so picturesquely about it harmonize with the
calm of the place. Sails drift noiselessly by, and the fragrance of
evergreens and of eglantine perfumes the air. There was breeze enough to
bring the strains of martial music from the fort even here.

It is stated, I know not how authoritatively, that the Hessians, whose
hospital was close at hand, defaced many stones here by altering the
inscriptions. Here is buried William Ellery,[292] one of the signers of
the Declaration. On the day of his death he rose as usual, dressed, and
seated himself in the old flag-bottomed chair which he had sat in for
more than half a century. Here he remained reading a volume of Cicero in
Latin until his physician, who had dropped in, perceived that he could
scarcely raise his eyelids to look at him. The doctor found his pulse
gone. After giving him a little wine and water, Dr. W---- told him his
pulse beat stronger. "Oh, yes, doctor, I have a charming pulse,"
expressing at the same time his conviction that his life was nearly
ended, and his thankfulness that he was to pass away free from sickness
or pain. He at last consented to be placed upright in bed, so that he
might continue reading. He died thus without attracting the notice of
his attendants, like a man who becomes drowsy and falls asleep, sitting
in the same posture, with the book under his chin. Here is also the tomb
of Governor Cranston, and the gray stone slab with typical skull and
cross-bones, on which is graven the name of William Jefferay, said to
have been one of Charles Stuart's judges. Among other specimens of
grave-yard literature is the inscription to Christopher Ellery: "The
Human Form respected for its honesty, and known for fifty-three years by
the appellation of Christopher Ellery, began to dissolve in the month of
February, 1789."

There is not so much quaintness in the epitaphs here as in the old
Puritan grave-yards of Boston and Salem; less even of stateliness, of
pomp, and of human pride than is usual. I missed the Latin, the
blazonry, and the sounding detail of public service so often seen spread
over every inch of crumbling old tombstones. The grotesque emblems of
skull, cross-bones, and hour-glass--bugbears to frighten
children--change in a generation or two to weeping-willows, urns, and
winged cherubs. These are in turn discarded for sculptured types of
angels, lambs, doves, and lilies; of broken columns and chaplets. This
departure from the horrible for the beautiful is not matter for regret.
In these symbols we get all the religion of the place, and Death is
robbed of half his repulsiveness.

[Illustration: PERRY'S MONUMENT.[293]]

On a grassy knoll in Rhode Island Cemetery the visitor sees the granite
obelisk, erected by the State to the memory of the victorious young
captain who, at twenty-seven, gained imperishable renown. Ardent,
chivalrous, and brave, Perry showed the true inspiration of battle in
taking his flag to a ship still able to fight. His laconic dispatch, "We
have met the enemy, and they are ours," is modestly exultant. The marble
tablet of the monument's east face has the words,

    At the Age of Twenty-seven Years,
    He Achieved
    The Victory of Lake Erie,
    September 10, 1813.

[Illustration: OLIVER HAZARD PERRY.]

Within the neat iron fence that surrounds the monument are also the
graves of Perry's widow, Elizabeth Champlin, and of his eldest son,
Christopher Grant Perry, with the fresher one of Rev. Francis Vinton,
whose wife was a daughter of the naval hero. From this spot the bay and
all ancient Newport are visible. Another monument in the cemetery is in
memory of General Isaac Ingalls Stevens, "dead on the field of honor."

A prevailing ingredient of Newport society in the olden days was,
doubtless, the Quaker element. As the religious asylum of New England,
it alike received Jew and Gentile, Quaker and Anabaptist, followers of
the Church of England and of Rome. Its complexion at the beginning of
the eighteenth century might be in harmony with religious freedom,
though little homogeneous; and although there was plenty of toleration,
its religious character has been vaunted overmuch. It commands a passing
thought that all these human components intermingling and assimilating
in the active duties of life, separate in death. Their burial must be


The Quaker-meeting has contributed to our vocabulary a synonym for
dullness. Old England and New were in accord in persecuting the sect. It
is related of a number under sentence of banishment to America, that
soldiers from the Tower carried them on board the ships, the Friends
refusing to walk and the sailors to hoist them on board. In the year
1662 Hannah Wright came from Long Island, several hundred miles to the
"bloody town of Boston," into the court, and warned the magistrates to
spill no more innocent blood. They were at first abashed by the solemn
fervor of their accuser, until Rawson, the secretary, exclaimed, "What!
Shall we be baffled by such a one as this? Come, let us drink a dram."

The sufferings of the Friends in New England were heightened, no doubt,
by the zeal of some to embrace martyrdom, who, in giving way to the
promptings of religious fanaticism, outraged public decency, and shamed
the name of modesty in woman. Deborah Wilson went through the streets of
Salem naked as she came into the world, for which she was well whipped.
Two other Quaker women, says Mather, were whipped in Boston, "who came
as stark naked as ever they were born into our public assemblies." This
exhibition was meant to be a sign of religious nakedness in others; but
the Puritans preferred to consider it an offense against good morals,
and not a Godiva-like penance for the general sinfulness.[294]

[Illustration: GEORGE FOX.]

The Society of Friends is the youngest of the four surviving societies
which date from the Reformation, and is, without doubt, the sternest
protest against the ceremonial religion of Rome. George Fox, who
preached at Newport,[295] was the son of a Leicestershire weaver,
beginning his public assertion of religious sentiments at the age of
twenty-two. The pillory sometimes served him for a pulpit. He once
preached with such power to the populace that they rescued him "in a
tumultuous manner," setting a clergy-man who had been instrumental in
his punishment upon the same pillory.

Pagan superstition having originated most of the names bestowed by
custom on the days and months, the Friends ignore them, substituting in
their place "first day" and "first month," "second day" and "second
month" for those occurring at the beginning of our calendar. The Society
does not sanction appeals by its members to courts of law, but refers
disputes to arbitration, a practice well worthy imitation.

George Fox mentions in his "Journal" his interview in England with Simon
Bradstreet and Rev. John Norton, the agents whom Massachusetts had sent
over in answer to the command of Charles II. Says Fox, "We had several
discourses with them concerning their murdering our friends, but they
were ashamed to stand to their bloody actions. I asked Simon Bradstreet,
one of the New England magistrates, whether he had not an hand in
putting to death these four whom they hanged for being Quakers? He
confessed he had. I then demanded of him and his associates then present
if they acknowledged themselves subject to the laws of England? They
said they did. I then said by what law do you put our friends to death?
They answered, By the same law as the Jesuits were put to death in
England. I then asked if those Friends were Jesuits? They said nay.
Then, said I, ye have murdered them."[296]

The first Quakers came to Rhode Island in 1656. Roger Williams, in his
"George Fox digged out of his Burrowes," shows that tolerance did not go
so far with him as the Quaker fashion of wearing the hair long and
flowing. Speaking of one he met who accosted him with the salutation,
"Fear the Lord God," Williams says he retorted, "What God dost thou
mean--a ruffian's God?" Through Fox's preaching some of Cromwell's
soldiers became converted, and would not fight. He lies in the old
London burying-ground of Bunhill Fields, among the Dissenters.

The objection of the sect to sepulchral stones leaves little to be
remarked of the Quaker burying-ground in Newport.[297] Notwithstanding
the non-resistant principles of the Friends, it stands in strong light
that Nathaniel Greene, a Quaker, and Oliver Hazard Perry, the descendant
of a Quaker, were conspicuous figures in two of our wars. Few
innovations have appeared in the manners, customs, or dress of the
followers of George Fox.[298] Their broad-brims, sober garb, and sedate
carriage, their "thee" and "thou," may still occasionally be seen and
heard in Newport streets.

Newport contains several widely scattered burial-places, some of them
hardly more in appearance than family groups of graves. Not all exhibit
the care bestowed upon such as are more prominently before the public
eye. The little Clifton cemetery, at the head of Golden Hill Street, was
in a wretched plight. A crazy wooden paling afforded little or no
protection from intrusion. But there was no incentive to linger among
its few corroded monuments and accumulated rubbish. Here are buried the
Wantons, of whom Edward, the ancestor of the name in Newport, fled from
Scituate, Massachusetts, during the Quaker persecutions.

[Illustration: CHARLES LEE.]

When Washington was at Cambridge, besieging Boston, he sent Charles Lee
to look after "those of Rhode Island" who were still for King George.
Lee administered to the Tories who would take it an oath as whimsical as
characteristic. He knew the fondness of these old royalists for old
wine, good dinners, and fine raiment. They were required to swear
fidelity to the Whig cause "by their hope of present ease and comfort,
as well as the dread hereafter." Colonel Wanton refused the oath, and
was, I presume, of those whom Lee had taken to Providence with the
threat of forwarding them to the American camp.

Another isolated field of graves is that usually called the Coddington
burial-ground, containing the remains of Governor Coddington and
kindred. A stone erected on the second centennial anniversary of the
settlement of Newport, compresses in a few lines the chief events of his

"To the memory of William Coddington, Esq., that illustrious man who
first purchased this island from the Narraganset sachems, Canonicus and
Miantonimo, for and on account of himself and seventeen others, his
associates in the purchase and settlement. He presided many years as
Chief Magistrate of the Island and Colony of Rhode Island, and died,
much respected and lamented, November 1st, 1678, aged 78 years."[299]

Lechford, in his "Plain Dealing," relates a circumstance that has caused
some inquiry into the ecclesiastical polity of Coddington and his
associates. "There lately," he says, "they whipt one master Gorton, a
grave man, for denying their power, and abusing some of their
magistrates with uncivill tearmes; the governor, master Coddington,
saying in court, 'You that are for the king, lay hold on Gorton;' and he
again, on the other side, called forth, 'All you that are for the king,
lay hold on Coddington.' Whereupon Gorton was banished the island."
Gorton was the founder of Warwick, Rhode Island.

There is a little inclosure at the upper end of Thames Street in which
is a granite obelisk to the memory of John Coggeshall, president of the
plantations under their first patent. The name was originally Coxehall.
It is the same John Coggeshall briefly met with in the trial scene, to
whom a lineal descendant has raised this monument.

Other burial-places may be enumerated, but that lying in the shadow of
Trinity Church is probably first to challenge the attention of such as
seek to read the annals of the past on memorial stones. The church
steeple, with gilded crown on the pinnacle--how these churchmen love the
old emblems!--was in full view from my window, slender and graceful, the
gilded vane flashing in the morning sun, itself a monument of its
ancient flock below.

Here are the names of Hunter, of Kay, of Honyman, and of Malbone: all
are to be met with in Newport streets or annals. The presence of foreign
armies on the isle is emphasized by the burial of French and British
officers in this church-yard. A few family escutcheons designate the
ancient adherence to the dogma that all men were not created politically
free and equal. One of the unaccustomed objects the stranger sees in
peering through the railings of these old church-yards is the blazonry
of which the possessors were once so proud, and which is now carried
with them to their graves. In cavities where leaden coats of arms have
once been imbedded are little basins to catch the rain, where careless
sparrows drink and take their morning baths, twittering and chirruping
among the homesteads of the dead.

Stuart, who was fond of rambling through the old grave-yards, reading
the inscriptions, went to Trinity. He mentions his pew, and the
sweetness of the organ, the gift of Berkeley. The painter had a
Scotsman's inordinate fondness for snuff, and would be most naturally
drawn with palette in one hand and a huge pinch of snuff in the other. A
resident of the same street once told me that when Stuart's table-cloth
was shaken out at the window the whole street sneezed. He was a good
talker and listener, though crabbed and eccentric to a degree.

I venture to contribute to the already portentous number the following
anecdote of Stuart: Dining one day at the house of Josiah Quincy, his
attention was attracted by an engraving of West's "Battle of the Boyne."
"Ah!" said Stuart, "I was studying with West when he was at work on that
picture, and had to lie for hours on the floor, dressed in armor, for
him to paint me in the foreground as the Duke of Schomberg. At last West
said, 'Are you dead, Stuart?' 'Only half, sir,' was my reply; and my
answer was true; for the stiffness of the armor almost deprived me of
sensation. Then I had to sit for hours on a horse belonging to King
George, to represent King William. After the painting was finished, an
Irishman who saw it observed to West, 'You have the battle-ground there
correct enough, but where is the monument? I was in Ireland the other
day and saw it.' He expected to see a memorial of the battle in a
representation of its commencement."[300]

In the yard of the Congregational Church in Spring Street is a slate
grave-stone to the memory of Dr. Samuel Hopkins, settled as pastor of
the First Congregational Church of Newport, in 1770. At first his
sentiments were so little pleasing to his people that it was voted by
the church not to give him a call; but the doctor preached a farewell
sermon of such beauty and impressiveness that the vote was recalled, and
Hopkins consented to remain. The salient points of his character have
furnished the hero for Mrs. Stowe's "Minister's Wooing." The First
Congregational Church of Newport was established in 1720.


[292] William Ellery Channing, the pastor of "Old Federal Street,"
Boston, was one of the most gifted and eloquent men the American pulpit
has produced. His mother was the old signer's daughter.

[293] The other faces of Commodore Perry's monument recite his age,
birthplace, etc. He was born at South Kingston in 1785, and died at Port
Spain, Trinidad, 1819. According to a resolve of Congress his remains
were conveyed, in 1826, in an armed vessel to the United States.

[294] When appealed to by the United Colonies in 1657 to punish Quakers,
Rhode Island objected that no law of that colony sanctioned it. The
president, Benedict Arnold, however, replied that he (and the other
magistrates) conceived the Quaker doctrines tended to "very absolute
cutting down and overturning relations and civil government among men."
He urged as a measure of public policy that the Quakers should not be
molested, as they would not remain where the civil authority did not
persecute them. This has, in fact, been the history of this sect in New
England.--See Arnold's letter, Hutchinson, vol. i., appendix.

[295] George Fox was in Rhode Island in 1672. On arriving at Newport, he
went to the house of Nicholas Easton, who was then governor, and
remained there during his sojourn. A yearly meeting of all the Friends
in New England was held while he remained in Newport.--"George Fox his
Journal," London, 1709.

[296] Josselyn mentions the sect: "Narraganset Bay, within which bay is
Rhode Island, a harbor for the Shunamitish Brethren, as the saints
errant, the Quakers, who are rather to be esteemed vagabonds than
religious persons." He also attributes to them dealings in witchcraft.
Whittier, the Quaker poet, has depicted in stirring verse the
persecutions of this people. Cassandra Southwick is from real life.

[297] Stones giving simply the name and date of decease are now allowed.

[298] In 1708 M. de Subercase solicited of his Government the means of
attempting an enterprise against the island of Rhode Island. He says,
"Cette isle est habitée par des Coakers qui sent tous gens riches."

[299] Here also is the grave of Governor Henry Bull, who died in 1693,
and whose ancient stone house is now standing in Spring, near Sherman

[300] Stuart was in Boston at the time of the battle of Lexington, and
managed to escape a few days after Bunker Hill. His obituary in the
Boston _Daily Advertiser_, a very noble tribute from one man of genius
to another, was written by Allston.

[Illustration: MOUNT HOPE.]



    "La mattina al monte, e la sera al fonte."--_Italian Proverb._

Mohammed, it is said, on viewing the delicious and alluring situation of
Damascus, would not enter that city, but turned away with the
exclamation, "There is but one paradise for man, and I am determined to
have mine in the other world."

I started on my morning walk up the island just as the clocks were
striking eight. Spring comes in Newport very early and very verdant. The
bloom of orchard and of lilac greeted me. At every step I crushed the
perfume out of violets blossoming in the strip of greensward that
bordered the broad band of road. I often looked back upon the fortunate
city, mounting the green slopes and scattering itself among the quiet
fields. The last point of land was visible even down to Point Judith. A
faint roll of drums reached me from the fort. Good-bye to a pleasant
place! I felt, in turning away, that if Damascus had been like Newport,
I should have entered Damascus.

Distant about a mile from Newport is "Tonomy," or more properly
Miantonimo Hill. It is the highest elevation in the southern part of the
island, receiving its name as the seat of a sachem. Some remains of
field-works are seen on its slopes.[301]

Near the southern foot of Miantonimo Hill is the old Malbone place, the
site of a colonial mansion celebrated in its day as the finest in
Newport. It was destroyed by fire rather more than a century ago.
Tradition avers that Colonel Godfrey Malbone, seeing his house in
flames, ordered the table removed to the lawn, and coolly finished his
dinner there. It was a two-story stone-built house, which had cost the
owner a hundred thousand dollars.

Many are the dark, vague, and mysterious hints let fall from time to
time relative to the life of Malbone. As a merchant his ventures are
said to have been lawless even for his lawless age. His corsairs preyed
upon the commerce of Frenchman or Spaniard without regard for treaties.
Rum and slaves were the commodities in which the Newport of his time
trafficked largely. Smuggling was hardly deemed dishonorable in a
merchant. As confirming this easy condition of commercial virtue, a
writer mentions having seen in Malbone's garden the entrance of one of
those subterranean passages leading to the shore I have so often

During the French war of George II., Newport, from its beginning to the
year 1744, had armed and sent to sea more than a score of privateers. It
was called the nursery of corsairs. It was also called rich; and the
French, in planning its capture, facilitated by the information of a
resident French merchant, a spy, calculated on levying a heavy
contribution. "Perhaps we had better burn it, as a pernicious hole,
from the number of privateers there fitted out, as dangerous in peace as
in war; being a sort of freebooter, who confiscates _à tord et à
travers_," say they. These harsh expressions sound strangely unfamiliar
when contrasted with French panegyric of the next generation.

Edward G. Malbone, a natural son, belonged to a collateral branch of the
family.[302] Newport was the birthplace of this exquisite miniature
painter and most refined of men. This refinement appears in his works,
which are full of artistic grace and dainty delicacy. Little of his life
was passed here, though that little is much prized by all who know his
worth as a man. Allston and Malbone are said to have worked together in
Newport as pupils of Samuel King, beginning thus the friendship that so
long subsisted between them.

[Illustration: THE GLEN.]

About midway of the island, on the eastern shore, is The Glen, once more
frequented than at present. A line carried across the island from this
point would pass near the old farmstead, which was the quarters of the
British general, Prescott. It is on the west road leading by the most
direct route from Newport to Bristol Ferry.


Colonel Barton, whose station was at Tiverton, conceived the idea of
releasing General Lee, then a prisoner, by securing General Prescott.
Having matured his plans, he crossed over to Warwick Neck, where he was
detained two days by a violent storm. With him were forty volunteers,
who manned five whale-boats. The enemy were then in possession of both
Canonicut and Prudence islands, with some shipping lying under the
little isle, called Hope, which is between Prudence and the western
shore of the bay.

[Illustration: WILLIAM BARTON.]

On the night of the 9th of July, 1711, every thing being favorable,
Barton informed his men for the first time where they were going. His
party embarked in their boats, rowing between Patience and Prudence in
order to elude the enemy's guard-boats. Meeting with no obstacle, they
coasted the west shore of Prudence, passed around the southern end, and
landed on Rhode Island. They then pushed on for Overing's house, where
they knew General Prescott was to be found.

The sentinel on duty was quickly seized and disarmed, and the house
surrounded. On entering General Prescott's chamber, Barton saw him
rising from his bed.

"Are you General Prescott?"

"Yes, sir."

"Then you are my prisoner."

The general was allowed to half dress himself, and was then conducted to
the boats. His aid, Major Barrington, had also been taken. Arrived at
the shore, General Prescott finished his toilet in the open air. Soon
after leaving the island the alarm was given in the British camp. "Sir,"
said Prescott to Barton, as they stepped ashore at Warwick Neck, "you
have made a d--d bold push to-night." The Americans had returned in just
six and a half hours from the time they set out.

While on his way to the American head-quarters, Prescott was
horse-whipped by an innkeeper whom he insulted. The situation of the
house from which he was carried off is easily distinguished by the pond
before it, whose overflow falls in a miniature cascade into the road.
Very little, if any, of the original building is remaining.

[Illustration: SILAS TALBOT.]

Talbot's achievement the next year was in carrying off a British armed
vessel, the _Pigot_, that guarded Seconnet Passage and the communication
between the islands and the main-land. With a few troops from the camp
at Providence he manned a small vessel and set sail. On coming near the
_Pigot_, Talbot caused his vessel to drift down upon her, when he
carried her by boarding. He took his prize successfully into Stonington.

The absence of forest-trees on the island gives it a general resemblance
to the rolling prairie of the West. The slopes are gracefully rounded as
the Vermont hills--ground-swells, over which the road rises or descends
in regular irregularity. Over this road that discarded vehicle, the
stage-coach, once rolled and lurched, and was more wondered at than the
train that now rattles along under the hills by the shore.


It is said that Dexter Brown, "an enterprising man," set up a four-horse
stage-coach between Boston and Providence as early as 1772. When "well
regulated," it left Providence every Monday, and arrived in Boston on
Tuesday night; returning, it left Boston on Thursday, reaching
Providence on Friday night. The coach was chiefly patronized by people
who visited Newport for their health. On a long route, the change from
one coach into another, equally cramped, might not inaptly be said to
resemble an exchange of prisoners.

All travelers here have remarked on the productiveness of Rhode Island.
Its dairies and its poultry have always been celebrated. Orchards
bursting with blossoms somewhat relieved the bare aspect of the hills.
Fields of spinach and of clover varied the coloring of the pastures,
which were shaded off on cool slopes into the dark green of Kentucky
blue-grass. Groups of brown hay-ricks, left from the winter's store,
stood impaled in barn-yards. Flocks of geese waddled by the roadside.
Ox-teams, market-men, boys with droves of pigs, made the whole way a
pastoral. On lifting the eye from the yellow band of road a windmill
would be seen with its long arms beating the air. I liked to walk
through the green lanes that led up to them, and hold brief chat with
the boy or maid of the mill. I shall never look at one without thinking
of Don Quixote and of Sancho Panza. The lack of streams and water-power
is thus supplied by air-currents and wind-power. It is an ill wind
indeed that blows nobody good on Rhode Island.


I have said nothing of the fish-market of the island, and that market is
of course centred in Newport. Dr. Dwight enumerates twenty-six different
species, to be found in their season. Sheep's-head, considered superior
to turbot, were sometimes caught off Hanging Rocks. Blackfish (tautog)
and scup, or scuppaug, are much esteemed. When I was last on the island,
the fishermen were emptying their seines of the scup, which were so
plenty as to be almost valueless, a string of fine fish, ready dressed,
bringing only twelve cents. The flesh of a tautog is very firm, and he
will live a long time out of water. The boats used here by fishermen
have the mast well forward, in the manner known to experts along shore
as the "Newport rig." Formerly they used "pinkeys," or Chebacco boats,
so called from a famous fishing precinct of Essex County, Massachusetts.

The quartz imbedded in the stone makes the roadside walls appear as if
splashed with whitewash. I saw few ledges from Newport to Lawton's
Valley. The stones brought up by the plow were all small and flat, but
at the upper end of the island I observed they were the round masses or
pebbles met with on the opposite main-land. There is also on the western
shore a coal vein of inferior quality. The dust from it mingles with
that of the road before you arrive at Bristol ferry.

I made a brief halt at the old grass-grown earth-work on the crest of
the hill overlooking Lawton's Valley. No wayfarer should lose the rare
views to be had here. The fort forms a throne from which the Queen of
Aquidneck, a voluptuous rather than virgin princess, a Cleopatra rather
than an Elizabeth, might behold her empire. At the foot of the hill is
the remarkable vale intersecting the island, sprinkled with cottages
among orchards; on the left, part of Canonicut and all of Prudence lie
outstretched along the sunny bay; farther north the steeples of Bristol
distinctly, and of Providence dimly, are seen; to the right Mount Hope,
Tiverton, and perhaps a faint spectral chimney or two at Fall River. The
long dark line on the water from the island to Tiverton is the stone

Turning to the southward is the battle-field of 1778, where Sullivan and
Greene fought with Pigot and Prescott, and where Lafayette, though he
had ridden from Boston in six hours, was not. This campaign, begun so
auspiciously, terminated ingloriously. New England had been aroused to
arms. Men of all ranks of society shouldered their firelocks and
marched. Volunteers from Newburyport, a company of the first merchants
of Salem, artillery and infantry corps from Boston, thronged the roads
to Sullivan's camp. It was a good and salutary lesson to the Americans,
not to put their faith in French appearances.[304]


When Coddington and his associates determined to remove from
Massachusetts, they meant to settle upon Long Island or in Delaware Bay.
While their vessel was making the dangerous passage around Cape Cod
without them, they came by land to Providence, where Mr. Williams
courteously entertained and afterward influenced them to settle upon the
Isle of Aquidneck. Plymouth having disclaimed jurisdiction over it, and
promised to look upon and assist them as loving neighbors, in March,
1637-'38, the exiles organized their political community upon the
northern end of the island. Sir H. Vane and Roger Williams were
instrumental in procuring Rhode Island from the Narraganset chieftains,
Miantonimo and Canonicus. By the next spring their numbers were so much
augmented that some of the settlers removed to the southern or western
shores. The island was divided into two townships--Portsmouth, which now
engrosses its upper half, and Newport. In 1644 they named it the Isle of
Rhodes, which was merely exchanging one pagan name for another.[305]


Mount Hope is scarcely more than two hundred feet high, though in its
isolation it looks higher. It is commandingly situated on a point of
land on the eastern shore of Bristol Neck, giving its name to a broad
expanse of water that receives Taunton River in its course to the sea.
On the eastern side the hill is precipitous, vastly more so than Horse
Neck, down which the valiant Putnam urged his steed when pursued by
British dragoons. Down this declivity Philip is said to have rolled like
a cask when surprised by white enemies. Here, on the shores of Taunton
River, is the scene of those hand-to-hand encounters between settler and
savage in which the old historians are wont to mix up gunpowder with
religion so perplexedly. In those days the fall of a red chieftain on
the hunting-grounds of his fathers was hailed as a special providence.
Mount Hope was the sequel of Samoset's "Welcome, Englishmen."

[Illustration: BATTLE-GROUND OF AUGUST 29, 1778.]

By the river, in the forked branches of blasted sycamores, the fish-hawk
builds and broods. Their nests are made of dried eel-grass from the
shore interwoven with twigs. The shrill scream of the female at my
coming was answered by the cry of the male, who left his fishing out on
the river at the first signal of distress. An old traveler says this
bird sometimes seems to lie expanded on the water, he hovers so close to
it. Having by some attractive power drawn the fish within his reach, he
darts suddenly upon them. The charm he makes use of is supposed to be an
oil contained in a small bag in the body. In defense of his mate and her
young the bird seems to forget fear.

After many agreeable surprises already encountered, I was unprepared for
what I saw from the summit of Mount Hope. I felt it was good to be
there. Every town in Rhode Island is said to be visible. All the islands
dispersed about the bay are revealed at a glance. Glimmering in the
distance was Providence. On the farther shore of Mount Hope Bay, Fall
River appeared niched in the sheer side of a granite ledge. Here were
Warren and Bristol, there Warwick; and, far down the greater bay,
Newport was swathed in a hazy cloud. I had made a long walk, yet felt no
fatigue, on the top of Mount Hope.


Near the brow of the hill Philip fixed his wigwam and held his dusky
court. He has had Irving for his biographer, Southey for his bard, and
Forrest for his ideal representative. In his own time he was the public
enemy whom any should slay; in ours he is considered as a martyr to the
idea of liberty--his idea of liberty not differing from that of Tell and
Toussaint, whom we call heroes.

Philip did not comprehend the religion of the whites, but as he
understood their policy he naturally distrusted their faith. When the
prophet Eliot preached to him, he went up to that good man, and, pulling
off a button from his doublet, said he valued his discourse as little as
the piece of "brass--the monster!" exclaims pious Cotton Mather.

Such hills as Mount Hope were the settlers' sun-dials, when clocks and
watches were luxuries known only to the wealthy few. The crest is a
green nipple, having quartz cropping out everywhere; in fact, the basis
of the hill is nearly a solid mass of quartz. Between the site of
Philip's wigwam and the shore, where the escarpment is fifty feet, is a
natural excavation, five or six feet from the ground, called "Philip's
Throne." A small grass-plot is before it, and at its foot trickles a
never-failing spring of water, known as "Philip's Spring."

The manner of Philip's death, as given in Church's history, is
considered authentic. Church's party crossed the ferry, and reached
Mount Hope about midnight. Detachments were placed in ambush at all the
avenues of escape. Captain Golding, with a number of picked men and a
guide, was ordered to assault the stronghold by break of day. One of
Philip's Indians having showed himself, Golding fired a volley into the
camp. The Indians then fled to the neighboring swamp, Philip the
foremost. Having gained the shore, he ran directly upon Church's
ambuscade. An Englishman snapped his gun at him without effect, when his
companion, one of Church's Indian soldiers, sent a bullet through the
heart of the chief. He fell on his face in the mud and water, with his
gun under him. After the fight was over, Church ordered the body to be
quartered and decapitated. The executioner was also an Indian, and
before he struck the body made a short speech to it. Philip's head was
taken to Plymouth in triumph, where, arriving on the very day the church
was keeping a solemn thanksgiving, in the words of Mather, "God sent 'em
in the head of a leviathan for a thanksgiving feast."

I made the ascent of Mount Hope from the south, where it is gradual; but
on the west, where I descended, I found it abrupt, and covered with a
grove of oak-trees sprinkled with stones among fern. With the exception
of a few tumble-down stone walls that cross it, and now and then a cow
quietly cropping the herbage, it is as wild as when it was the eyrie of
the proud-spirited chieftain, "the Last of the Wampanoags."


At Bristol the railway will set you down opposite to Fall River, or by
returning to Bristol ferry you may take, on the Rhode Island side, the
rail for Dighton and its sculptured rock. This rock, which has puzzled
so many learned brains both of the Old World and the New, lies near the
eastern shore of Taunton River, opposite Dighton wharves.[306]

I wanted two things in Dighton--direction to the rock, and a skiff to
cross the river to it. An ancient builder of boats, very tall and very
lank, having his adze in his hand and his admeasurements chalked on the
toes of his boots, supplied me with both.

"What on airth do you want to look at that rock for?" he expostulated
rather than questioned. "I'd as lief look at the side of that house,"
pointing to his work-shop.

"You do not seem to value your archæological remains overmuch," I

"Bless you, I knew a gal born and brought up right in sight of that air
rock, who got married and went to Baltimore to live, without ever having
sot eyes on it. When she had staid there a spell she heard so much about
Dighton Rock, she came all the way back a purpose to see it. _Fee_-male
curiosity, you see, sir."

The river is half a mile broad at Dighton, with low, uninteresting
shores. The "Writing Rock," a large boulder of fine-grained greenstone,
is submerged either wholly or in part by the tidal flow, but when
uncovered presents a smooth face, slightly inclined toward the open
river. When so close as to lay hold of it, you are aware, of faint
impressions on its surface, yet these have become so nearly effaced by
the action of the tides and the chafing of drift ice as to be
fragmentary, and therefore disappointing. As is usual, the action of the
salt air has turned this, as other rocks by the shores, to a dusky red
color. Seventy years ago the characters or lines traced on the rock were
by actual measurement an inch in breadth by half an inch in depth, and
distinct enough to attract attention from the decks of passing vessels.

The rock is first mentioned, says Schoolcraft, in a sermon of Dr.
Danforth, of 1680. The river had then been frequented by white men for
sixty years. It is next alluded to in the dedication of a sermon to Sir
H. Ashurst by Cotton Mather, in these words: "Among the other
curiosities of New England one is that of a mighty rock, on a
perpendicular side whereof, by a river which at high tide covers part of
it, there are very deeply engraved, no man alive knows how or when,
about half a score lines near ten foot long and a foot and a half broad,
filled with strange characters, which would suggest as odd thoughts
about them that were here before us as there are odd shapes in that
elaborate monument, whereof you shall see the first line transcribed

In the "Philosophical Transactions" of the Royal Society of London,
covering a period from 1700 to 1720, are several communications from
Cotton Mather, one of which (part iv., p. 112) is as follows:

"At Taunton, by the side of a tiding river, part in, part out of the
river, is a large Rock; on the perpendicular side of which, next to the
Stream, are seven or eight lines, about seven or eight foot long, and
about a foot wide, each of them ingraven with unaccountable characters,
not like any known character."[307]

Schoolcraft believed the work to have been performed by Indians.
Washington, who had some knowledge of their hieroglyphics, was of this
opinion. Dr. Belknap asserts that they were acquainted with sculpture,
and also instances their descriptive drawings on the bark of trees.
Sculptured rocks, of which the origin is unknown, have been found in
other locations in the United States. Since the unsettling of Norse
traditions, the characters on Dighton Rock are generally admitted to be
of Indian creation; but if the work of white men, it would strengthen
the theory of Verazzani's presence in these waters.

Another link of the supposed discovery by Northmen was the skeleton
exhumed about 1834 at Fall River. It was found in a sitting posture,
having a plate of brass upon its breast, with arrow-heads of the same
metal lying near, thin, flat, and of triangular shape. The arrows had
been contained within a quiver of bark, that fell in pieces when exposed
to the air. The most remarkable thing about the remains was a belt
encircling the body, composed of brass tubes four and a half inches in
length, the width of the belt, and placed close together longitudinally.
The breastplate, belt, and arrow-heads were considered so many evidences
that the skeleton was that of some Scandinavian who had died and been
buried here by the natives.

An antiquary would of course prize a dead Scandinavian more than many
living ones. These mouldering bones and corroded trinkets were not,
however, the key to Dighton Rock. The mode of sepulture was that
practiced by the natives of this continent. In Archer's account of
Gosnold's voyage he speaks of the Indians on the south of Cape Cod as

"This day there came unto the ship's side divers canoes, the Indians
appareled as aforesaid, with tobacco and pipes steeled with copper,
skins, artificial strings, and other trifles, to barter; one had hanging
about his neck a plate of rich copper, in length a foot, in breadth half
a foot, for a breastplate."

John Brereton, of the same voyage, tells us more of the Indians of the
Elizabeth Islands: "They have also great store of copper, some very red,
and some of a paler color; none of them but have chains, ear-rings, or
collars of this metal: they had some of their arrows herewith, much like
our broad arrow-heads, very workmanly made. Their chains are many hollow
pieces cemented together, each piece of the bigness of one of our reeds,
a finger in length, ten or twelve of them together on a string, which
they wear about their necks; their collars they wear about their bodies
like bandeliers, a handful broad, all hollow pieces like the other, but
somewhat shorter, four hundred pieces in a collar, very fine and evenly
set together." Were this evidence less positive, we know from Champlain
that the Indians would never have permitted the body of a stranger to
remain buried longer than was necessary to disinter and despoil it.
Verazzani's letter mentions the possession of copper trinkets by the

About two miles and a half from Taunton Green is the Leonard Forge, the
oldest in America. The spot is exceedingly picturesque. The brook,
overhung by trees, which of yore turned the mill-wheel, glides beneath a
rustic bridge ere it tumbles over the dam and hurries on to meet the
river. James and Henry Leonard built the forge in 1652.


Near the spot is the site of the dwelling they occupied, one of the
distinctive old structures of its day. Philip lived in amity with the
Leonards, who made for him spear and arrow heads when he came to hunt at
the Fowling Pond, not far from the forge, where he had a hunting-lodge.
When he had resolved to strike the English, it is said he gave strict
orders not to hurt those Leonards, his good friends of the forge.
Tradition has it that his head was afterward kept in the house some

My pilgrimage among the haunts of the Narragansets and Wampanoags of old
fame extended no farther. Setting my face again toward the sea, when on
board one of those floating hotels that ply between Fall River and New
York, I thought of the prediction I had cut from the Boston _Daily
Advertiser_ of just half a century ago: "We believe the time will not be
far distant when a steamboat will be provided to run regularly between
New York and Taunton River, to come to Fall River and Dighton, and
perhaps to the wharves in Taunton, a mile below the village. This route
from New York to Boston would in some respects be preferable to that
through Providence."


[301] It was the fortress of the British left wing. Two large and
elegant country houses at its base, included within the lines, were
occupied by the officers.

[302] He was the son of John, the son of Godfrey Malbone.

[303] The first bridge spanning what was known as Howland's Ferry was
completed in 1795. It was of wood, destroyed and swept to sea by a
storm; rebuilt, and again destroyed by worms. The present stone
structure was built in 1809-'10, and, though injured by the gale of
1815, stands firm.

[304] The battle was fought in the valley below Quaker, sometimes called
Meeting-house, Hill. Sullivan commanded in chief, though Greene is
entitled to a large share of the credit of repulsing the British attack.
It was a well-fought action. Pigot, by British accounts, had six
thousand regular troops. Lafayette was mad as a March hare at their
fighting without him.

[305] Lechford, writing between 1637 and 1641, says: "At the island
called Aquedney are about two hundred families. There was a church where
one Master Clark was elder: the place where the church was is called
Newport, but that church, I hear, is now dissolved. At the other end of
the island there is another town called Portsmouth, but no church. Those
of the island have a pretended civil government of their own erection
without the king's patent."

[306] To be exact, the shores adjacent to the rock are in the town of
Berkeley, formerly part of Dighton.

[307] A copy of the inscription, made by Professor Sewall, is deposited
in the Museum at Cambridge. There is another copy, by James Winthrop;
see plate in vol. iii., "Memoir American Academy," and description of
method of taking it, vol. ii., part ii., p. 126. Many others have been
taken, more or less imperfect; the best one recollected is in the hall
of the Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts.

[Illustration: NEW LONDON IN 1813.]



     "It seems that you take pleasure in these walks,

New London is a city hiding within a river, three miles from its meeting
with the waters of Long Island Sound. On the farthest seaward point of
the western shore is a light-house. Before, and yet a little eastward of
the river's mouth, is an island about nine miles long screening it from
the full power of Atlantic storms, and forming, with Watch Hill,[308]
the prolongation of the broken line of land stretching out into the
Sound from the northern limb of the Long Island shore. Through this
barrier, thrown across the entrance to the Sound, all vessels must pass.
The island is Fisher's Island. It seems placed on purpose to turn into
the Thames all commerce winging its way eastward. Across the western
extremity of Fisher's Island, on a fair night, New London and Montauk
lights exchange burning glances. From Watch Hill the low and distant
shore of Long Island is easily distinguished by day, and by night its
beacon-light flashes an answer to its twin-brother of Montauk. These two
towers are the Pillars of Hercules of the Sound, on which are hung the
long and radiant gleams that bridge its gate-way.

South-west of Fisher's Island are the two Gull Islets, on the smallest
of which is a light-house. The swift tide which washes them is called
the Horse-race. Next comes Plum Island, separated from the Long Island
shore by a narrow and swift channel known as Plum Gut, through which
cunning yachtsmen sometimes steer. In 1667, Samuel Wyllys, of Hartford,
bought Plum Island for a barrel of biscuit and a hundred awls and

Any one who looks at the long ellipse of water embraced within Long
Island and the Connecticut shore, and remarks the narrow and obstructed
channel through which it communicates with the Hudson, the chain of
islands at its meeting with the ocean on the east, must be impressed
with the belief that he is beholding one of the greatest physical
changes that have occurred on the New England coast. As it is, Long
Island Sound lacks little of being an inland sea. The absence of any
certain indications of the channels of the rivers emptying into the
Sound west of the Connecticut favors the theory of the union, at some
former time, of Long Island at its western end with the main-land.

To resume our survey of the coast, we see on the map, about midway
between Point Judith and Montauk, the pear-shaped spot of land
protruding above the ocean called Block Island.[309] It is about eight
miles long, diversified with abrupt hills and narrow dales, but
destitute of trees. A chain of ponds extending from the north and nearly
to the centre, with several separate and smaller ones, constitutes about
one-seventh of the island. There is no ship harbor, and in bad weather
fishing-boats are obliged to be hauled on shore, though the sea-mole in
process of construction by Government will afford both haven and
safeguard against the surges of the Atlantic; for the island, having no
rock foundation, is constantly wasting away. Cottages of wood,
whitewashed every spring, are scattered promiscuously over the island,
with wretched roads or lanes to accommodate every dwelling. The total
disappearance of the island has often been predicted, and I recollect
when the impression prevailed to some extent on the main-land that the
islanders had only an eye apiece.


Ascending now the river toward New London, wind, tide, or steam shall
sweep us under the granite battlements of Fort Trumbull, on the one
side, and the grassy mounds of Fort Griswold on the other.[310] Near the
latter is standing a monument commemorating the infamy of Benedict
Arnold and the heroism of a handful of brave men sacrificed to what is
called the chances of war.

[Illustration: NEW LONDON LIGHT.]

New London is seen straggling up the side of a steep and rocky hill,
dominated by three pointed steeples. Descending from the crest, its
principal street opens like the mouth of a tunnel at the water-side into
a broad space, always its market-place and chief landing. Other avenues
follow the natural shelf above the shore, or find their way deviously as
streams might down the hill-side. The glory of New London is in its
trees, though in some streets they stand so thick as to exclude the
sunlight, and oppress the wayfarer with the feeling of walking in a


The destruction of New London by Arnold's command, in 1781, has left
little that is suggestive of its beginning. Its English settlement goes
no farther back than 1646. In that year and the next a band of pioneers
from the Massachusetts colony, among whom was John Winthrop, Jun.,[311]
built their cottages, and made these wilds echo with the sounds of their

Old London and Father Thames are repeated in New England, because, as
these honest settlers avow, they loved the old names as much as they
disliked the barbaric sounds of the aboriginal ones, though the latter
were always typical of some salient characteristic. They settled upon
the fair Mohegan, in the country of the Pequots, a race fierce and
warlike, who in 1637 had made a death-grapple of it with the pale-faces,
and had been blotted out from among the red nations. Pequot was the name
of the harbor, changed in 1658 to New London.


I first visited New London in 1845. It was then a bustling place--a
little too bustling, perhaps, when rival crews of whalemen in port
joined battle in the market-place, unpaving the street of its
oyster-shells, and shouting war-cries never before heard except at
Otaheite or Juan Fernandez. A large fleet of vessels, engaged in whaling
and sealing voyages, then sailed out of the Thames. The few old hulks
laid up at the wharves, the rusty-looking oil-butts and discarded
paraphernalia pertaining to the fishery, yet reminded me of the hunters
who lassoed the wild coursers of sea-prairies.[312]

I have already confessed to a weakness for the wharves. There is one in
New London, appropriated to the use of the Light-house Board, on which
are piled hollow iron cylinders, spare anchors, chain cables, spars and
spindles, buoys and beacons. A "relief" light-ship, and a tug-boat with
steam up, lay beside it. The danger and privation of life in a
light-house is not to be compared with that on board the light-ship,
which is towed to its station on some dangerous shoal or near some reef,
and there anchored. It not unfrequently happens in violent storms that
the light-ship breaks from its moorings, and meets the fate it was
intended to signal to other craft.[313] The sight of a raging sea as
high as the decks of the vessel is one familiar to these hardy mariners.
When I expressed surprise that men were willing to hazard their lives on
these cockle-shells, a veteran sea-dog glanced at the scanty sail his
vessel carried as he replied, "We can get somewhere."

On the light-ship the lanterns are protected by little houses, built
around each mast, until lighted, when they are hoisted to the mast-head.
A fog-bell is carried on the forecastle to be tolled in thick weather. A
more funereal sound than its monotone, deep and heavy, vibrating across
a sea shrouded in mist, can scarcely be imagined.


Old sailors are considered to make the best keepers of either floating
or stationary beacons. Their long habit of keeping watches on shipboard
renders them more reliable than landsmen to turn out in all kinds of
weather, or on a sudden call. They are also far more observant of
changes of the weather, of tides, or the position of passing vessels. I
have found many persons in charge of our sea-coast lights who had been
ship-masters, and were men of more than ordinary intelligence. When the
Fresnel lenticular light was being considered, it was objected by those
having our system in charge that it would be difficult to procure
keepers of sufficient intelligence to manage the lens apparatus. M.
Fresnel replied that this difficulty had been most singularly
exaggerated, as in France the country keepers belonged almost
always to the class of ordinary mechanics or laborers, who, with
eight or ten days' instruction, were able to perform their duties

All visitors to New London find their way, sooner or later, to the Old
Hempstead House, a venerable roof dotted with moss-tufts, situated on
Jay Street, not far west of the court-house. It is one of the few
antiques which time and the flames have spared. As one of the old
garrison-houses standing in the midst of a populous city, it is an
eloquent reminder of the race it has outlived. It was built and occupied
by Sir Robert Hempstead, descending as entailed property to the seventh
generation, who continued to inhabit it. The Hempstead House is near the
cove around which the first settlement of the town appears to have
clustered. The last remaining house built by the first settlers stood
about half a mile west of the court-house, on what was called Cape Ann
Street: it was taken down about 1824. Governor Winthrop lived at the
head of the cove bearing his name at the north end of the city.

[Illustration: COURT-HOUSE, NEW LONDON.]

The court-house standing at the head of State (formerly Court) Street
has the date of 1784 on the pediment, having been rebuilt after the
burning of the town by Arnold.[315] At the other end of the street was
the jail. The court-house, which formerly had an exterior gallery, has a
certain family resemblance to the State-house at Newport. It is built of
wood, with some attempt at ornamentation. Freshened up with white paint
and green blinds, it looked remarkably unlike a seat of justice, which
is usually dirty enough in all its courts to be blind indeed.


In the chancel of St. James's repose the ashes of Samuel Seabury, the
first Anglican bishop in the United States. He took orders in 1753 in
London, and on returning to his native country entered upon the work of
his ministry. In 1775, having subscribed to a royalist protest,
declaring his "abhorrence of all unlawful congresses and committees," he
was seized by the Whigs, and confined in New Haven jail. Later in the
war, he became chaplain of Colonel Fanning's regiment of American
loyalists. After the war, Mr. Seabury went to England in order to obtain
consecration as bishop, but, meeting with obstacles there, he was
consecrated in Scotland by three non-juring bishops. The monument
reproduced is from the old burying-ground of New London.[316]

The ancient burial-place of New London is in the northern part of the
city, on elevated ground, not far from the river. An old fractured slab
of red sandstone once bore the now illegible inscription:

    "An epitaph on Captaine Richard Lord, deceased May 17, 1662, Aetatis
          svæ 51.
                          ... Bright starre of ovr chivallrie lies here
                          To the state a covnsellorr fvll deare
                          And to ye trvth a friend of sweete content
                          To Hartford towne a silver ornament
                          Who can deny to poore he was releife
                          And in composing paroxyies he was cheife
                          To Marchantes as a patterne he might stand
                          Adventring dangers new by sea and land."

The harbor of New London being considered one of the best in New
England, its claim to be a naval station has been urged from time to
time upon the General Government. It is spacious, safe, and deep. During
the past winter, which has so severely tested the capabilities of our
coast harbors, closing many of them with an ice-blockade of long
continuance, that of New London has remained open. In 1835, when the
navigation of the harbor of New York was suspended, by being solidly
frozen, New London harbor remained unobstructed, vessels entering and
departing as in summer.[317]

Among other observations made among the shipping, I may mention the
operations of the destructive worm that perforates a ship's bottom or a
thick stick of timber with equal ease. I now had an opportunity of
confirming what I had often been told, yet scarcely credited, that the
worm could be distinctly heard while boring. The sound made by the borer
exactly resembled that of an auger. It is not a little surprising to
reflect that so insignificant a worm--not longer than a cambric needle
when it first attacks the wood--is able to penetrate solid oak. I
noticed evidences where these dreaded workmen were still busy, in little
dust-heaps lying on the timber not yet removed from a vessel.

With the aid of a wheezy ferry-boat that landed me on Groton side, I
still pursued my questionings or communings under the inspiration of a
sunny afternoon, a transparent air, and a breeze brisk and bracing,
bringing with it the full flavor of the sea. A climb up the steep ascent
leading to the old fort was rewarded by the most captivating views, and
by gales that are above blowing in the super-heated streets of a city.

[Illustration: GROTON MONUMENT.]

The granite monument, which is our guide to the events these heights
have witnessed, was built with the aid of a lottery. A marble tablet
placed above its entrance is inscribed:

    This Monument
    was erected under the patronage of the State of Connecticut,
        A.D. 1830,
    and in the 55th year of the Independence of the U. S. A.,
    In Memory of the Brave Patriots
    who fell in the massacre of Fort Griswold, near this spot,
    on the 6th of September, A.D. 1781,
    When the British, under the command of the Traitor,
    burnt the towns of New London and Groton, and spread
    desolation and woe throughout this region.

[Illustration: BENEDICT ARNOLD.]

Westminster Abbey could not blot out that arraignment. Dr. Johnson did
not know Benedict Arnold when he said, "Patriotism is the last refuge of
a scoundrel." An American school-boy, if asked to name the greatest
villain the world has produced, would unhesitatingly reply, "The
traitor, Benedict Arnold." The sentence which history has passed upon
him is eternal. Some voice is always repeating it.

Shortly after the peace of '83 Arnold was presented at court. While the
king was conversing with him, Earl Balcarras, who had fought with
Burgoyne in America, was announced. The king introduced them.

"What, sire," exclaimed the haughty old earl, refusing his hand, "the
traitor Arnold!"

The consequence was a challenge from Arnold. The parties met, and it was
arranged they should fire together. Arnold fired at the signal, but the
earl, flinging down his pistol, turned on his heel, and was walking
away, when his adversary called out,

"Why don't you fire, my lord?"

"Sir," said the earl, looking over his shoulder, "I leave you to the

The British attack on New London was not a blind stroke of premeditated
cruelty, but a part of the only real grand strategy developed since the
campaign of Trenton. Sir Henry Clinton had been completely deceived by
Washington's movement upon Yorktown, and now launched his expedition
upon Connecticut, with the hope of arresting his greater adversary's
progress. Arnold was the suitable instrument for such work.

The expedition of 1781 landed on both sides of the harbor, one
detachment under command of the traitor himself, near the light-house,
the other at Groton Point. Fort Trumbull, being untenable, was
evacuated, its little garrison crossing the river to Fort Griswold.
Encountering nothing on his march except a desultory fire from scattered
parties, Arnold entered New London, and proceeded to burn the shipping
and warehouses near the river. In his official dispatch he disavows the
general destruction of the town which ensued, but the testimony is
conclusive that dwellings were fired and plundered in every direction by
his troops, and under his eye.[318]

The force that landed upon Groton side was led by Lieutenant-colonel
Eyre against Fort Griswold, which then contained one hundred and fifty
men, under Lieutenant-colonel William Ledyard, cousin of the celebrated
traveler. The surrender of the fort being demanded and refused, the
British assaulted it on three sides. They were resisted with determined
courage, but at length effected an entrance into the work. Eyre had been
wounded, and his successor, Montgomery, killed in the assault. Finding
himself overpowered, Ledyard advanced and offered his sword to Major
Bromfield, now in command of the enemy, who asked, "Who commands this

"I did," courteously replied Ledyard; "but you do now."

Bromfield immediately stabbed Ledyard with his own sword, and the hero
fell dead at the feet of the coward and assassin.[319] This revolting
deed was reserved for a Tory officer, of whom Arnold officially writes
Sir H. Clinton, his "behavior on this occasion does him great honor."
The survivors of the garrison were nearly all put to the sword, and even
the wounded treated with incredible cruelty.[320]

Fort Griswold is a parallelogram, having a foundation of rough stone, on
which very thick and solid embankments have been raised. It is the best
preserved of any of the old earth-works I have seen since Fort George,
at Castine. The position is naturally very strong, far stronger than
Bunker Hill, which cost so many lives to carry. On all sides except the
east the hill is precipitous; here the ascent is gradual, and having
surmounted it, an attacking force would find itself on an almost level
area of sufficient extent to form two thousand men. In consequence of
the knowledge that this was their weak point of defense, the Americans
constructed a small redoubt, the remains of which may still be seen
about three hundred yards distant from the main work.

Groton was the seat of the Pequot power, the royal residence of Sassacus
being situated on a commanding eminence called Fort Hill, four miles
east of New London. This was his principal fortress, though there was
another about eight miles distant from New London, near Mystic, which
was the scene of the memorable encounter which all our historians from
Cotton Mather to Dr. Palfrey have related with such minuteness. The
conquest of the Pequots, with whom, man against man, no other of the red
nations near their frontiers dared to contend, was heroic in the little
band of Englishmen by whom it was effected. The reduction to a handful
of outcasts of a nation that counted a thousand warriors was a stroke of
fortune the English owed to the assistance of Uncas, a rebel against his
lawful chieftain, Sassacus, and of Miantonimo, whose alliance had been
secured by Roger Williams.[321]


Captain John Mason, who had served under Fairfax in the Netherlands, is
the ideal Puritan soldier. Before leading his men on to storm the Pequot
stronghold, they knelt together in the moonlight, which shone brightly
on that May morning, and commended themselves and their enterprise to
God. Report says that the accompanying Narragansets and Mohegans were
much astounded and troubled at the sight. Satisfied that he could not
conquer the Pequots hand to hand with his little force, Mason himself
applied a fire-brand to the wigwams. His own account of the Pequot war,
reprinted by Prince in 1736, is the best and fullest narrative of its
varying fortunes.

Mason relates that he had but one pint of strong liquors in his army
during its whole march. Like a prudent commander, he carried the bottle
in his hand, and ingenuously says, when it was empty the very smelling
of it would presently recover such as had fainted away from the
extremity of the heat. Among the special providences of the day he
mentions that Lieutenant Bull had an arrow shot into a hard piece of
cheese he carried, that probably saved his life; "which may verify the
old saying," adds the narrator, that "a little armor would serve, if a
man knew where to place it."[322] Fuller, in one of his sermons, has
another and a similar proverb: "It is better to fight naked than with
bad armor, for the rags of a bad corselet make a deeper wound, and worse
to be healed, than the bullet itself." Mason ultimately settled in
Norwich, and died there.

[Illustration: SILAS DEANE.]

Silas Deane was a native of Groton. Of the three men to whom Congress
intrusted its secret negotiations with European powers, Franklin was the
only one whose character did not permanently suffer, although he did not
escape the malignity and envy of Arthur Lee. The Virginian's enmity and
jealousy, aided by the influence of his brothers, were more successful
in sullying the name and fame of Silas Deane. Yet Arthur Lee was a
patriot and an honest man, whose public life was corroded by a morbid
envy and distrust of his associates. A more disastrous appointment than
his could hardly have been made, as his temperament especially unfitted
him for a near approach to men who, with all the world's polish, were,
in diplomatic phrase, able to cut an adversary's throat with a hair.

John Quincy Adams, who may perhaps have inherited his father's dislike
of Deane, once said, in the course of a conversation with some friends:

"A son of Silas Deane was one of my school-fellows.[323] I never saw him
again until last autumn, when I recognized him on board a steamboat, and
introduced him to Lafayette, who said, 'Do you and Deane agree?' I said,
'Yes.' 'That's more than your fathers did before you,' replied the

"Silas Deane," continued Mr. Adams, "was a man of fine talents, but,
like General Arnold, he was not true to his country. After he was
dismissed from the service of the United States he went to England,
lived for a long time on Lord Sheffield's patronage, and wrote a book
which did more to widen the breach between England and America, and
produce unpleasant feelings between the two countries, than any work
that had been published. Finally he determined to return to America,
but, in a fit of remorse and despair, committed suicide before the
vessel left the Thames. His character and fate affected those of his
son, who has lived in obscurity."[324]

It is possible that Silas Deane's patriotism was not proof against the
ingratitude he had experienced, and that he became soured and
disaffected; but it is scarcely just to his memory to call him traitor,
or compare him with such an ignoble character as Arnold. Deane was the
friend of Beaumarchais; he was also his confidant. He was the means of
securing the services of Lafayette for America. There is little doubt
that he exceeded his powers as commissioner, involving Congress in
embarrassments, of which his recall was the solution. The malevolence of
Lee and the crookedness of French diplomacy did what was wanting to
consign him to obscurity and poverty. The controversy over Deane's case
produced a pamphlet from Thomas Paine, and caused John Jay to take the
place resigned by Mr. Laurens as president of Congress. Deane and
Beaumarchais were the scape-goats of the French alliance.[325]

John Ledyard was another monument of Groton. His first essay as a
traveler exhibits his courage and resource. He entered Dartmouth as a
divinity student; but poverty obliging him to withdraw from the college,
and not having a shilling in his pocket, he made a canoe fifty feet
long, with which he floated down the river one hundred and forty miles
to Hartford. He then embarked for England as a common sailor, and while
there, under the impulse of his passion for travel, enlisted with
Captain Cook as a corporal of marines. He witnessed the tragical death
of his captain. In 1771, after eight years' absence, Ledyard revisited
his native country. His mother was then keeping a boarding-house at
Southhold. Her son took lodgings with her without being recognized, as
had once happened to Franklin in similar circumstances.

Ledyard's subsequent exploits in Europe, Asia, and Africa bear the
impress of a daring and adventurous spirit. At last he offered himself
for the more perilous enterprise of penetrating into the unknown regions
of Central Africa. A letter from Sir Joseph Banks introduced him to the
projectors of the expedition. "Before I had learned," says the gentleman
to whom Sir Joseph's letter was addressed, "the name and business of my
visitor, I was struck with the manliness of his person, the breadth of
his chest, the openness of his countenance, and the inquietude of his
eye. Spreading the map of Africa before him, and tracing a line from
Cairo to Sennaar, and thence westward in the latitude and supposed
direction of the Niger, I told him that was the route by which I was
anxious that Africa might, if possible, be explored. He said he should
consider himself singularly fortunate to be intrusted with the
adventure. I asked him when he would set out. His answer was, 'To-morrow

New London's annals afford a passing glimpse of two men who, though
enemies, were worthy of each other. During the war with England of 1812,
Decatur, with the _United States_, _Macedonian_, and _Hornet_, was
blockaded in New London by Sir T. M. Hardy with a squadron of superior
force. The presence of the British fleet was a constant menace to the
inhabitants, disquieted as they also were by the recollections of
Arnold's descent. In vain Decatur tried to escape the iron grip of his
adversary. Hardy's vigilance never relaxed, and the American vessels
remained as uselessly idle to the end of the war, as if laid up in
ordinary. Once Decatur had prepared to slip away unperceived to sea, but
signals made to the hostile fleet from the shore compelled him to
abandon the attempt. He then proposed to Hardy a duel between his own
and an equal force of British ships, which, though he did not absolutely
decline the challenge,[327] it is pretty evident Sir Thomas never meant
should happen.

[Illustration: STEPHEN DECATUR.]

Decatur was brave, fearless, and chivalric. He was the handsomest
officer in the navy. Coleridge, who knew him well at Malta, always spoke
of him in the highest terms. Our history does not afford a more
impressive example of a useful life uselessly thrown away. Of his duel
with Barron the following is probably a correct account of the closing
scene: The combatants approached within sixteen feet of each other,
because one was near-sighted, and the rule was that both should take
deliberate aim before the word was given. They both fired, and fell with
their heads not ten feet apart. Each believed himself mortally hurt.
Before their removal from the ground they were reconciled, and blessed
each other, declaring there was nothing between them. All that was
necessary to have prevented the meeting was a personal explanation.

Sir T. Hardy is well known as the captain of Nelson's famous flag-ship,
the _Victory_, and as having received these last utterances of the dying
hero: "Anchor, Hardy, anchor!" When the captain replied, "I suppose, my
lord, Admiral Collingwood will now take upon himself the direction of
affairs?" "Not while I live, I hope, Hardy!" cried the dying chief,
endeavoring ineffectually to raise himself from the bed. "No," he added,
"do _you_ anchor, Hardy." "Shall _we_ make the signal, sir?" "Yes,"
replied his lordship, "for if I live, I'll anchor. Take care of my dear
Lady Hamilton, Hardy; take care of poor Lady Hamilton. Kiss me,

With whatever local preferences the traveler may have come, he will
think the approach to Norwich charming. Through banks high and green,
crested with groves, or decked with white villages, the river slips
quietly away to mingle in the noisy world of waters beyond. In deeper
shadows of the hills the pictures along the banks are reproduced with
marvelous fidelity of form and coloring; and even the blue of the sky
and white drifting clouds are mirrored there. All terrestrial things,
however, appear, as in the camera, inverted--roofs or steeples pointing
downward, men or animals walking with feet upward, along the banks, like
flies on a ceiling. When autumn tints are on, the effects seen in the
water are heightened by the confused masses of sumptuous foliage hung
like garlands along the shores.


Norwich is ranged about a hill overlooking the Thames. It is on a point
of rock-land infolded by two streams, the Yantic and Shetucket, that
come tumbling and hurrying down from the higher northern ranges to meet
and kiss each other in the Thames. Rising, terrace above terrace, the
appearance of Norwich, as viewed from the river, is more striking in its
_ensemble_ than by reason of particular features. The water-side is the
familiar dull red, above which glancing roofs and steeples among trees
are seen retreating up the ascent. By night a ridged and chimneyed
blackness bestrewed with lights rewards the curious gazer from the deck
of a Sound steamboat. I admired in Norwich the broad avenues, the wealth
of old trees, the luxurious spaciousness of the private grounds.
Washington Street is one of the finest I have walked in. There is
breathing-room everywhere, town and country seeming to meet and clasp
hands, each giving to the other of the best it had to offer. I do not
mean that Norwich is countrified; but its mid-city is so easily escaped
as to do away with the feeling of imprisonment in a wilderness of brick,
stone, and plate-glass. The suburban homes of Norwich have an air of
substantial comfort and delicious seclusion. In brief, wherever one has
made up his mind to be buried, he would like to live in Norwich.

[Illustration: OLD MILL, NORWICH.]

There are not a few picturesque objects about Norwich, especially by the
shores of the Yantic, which, since being robbed of the falls, once its
pride and glory, has become a prosaic mill-stream.[329] The water is of
the blackness of Acheron, streaked with amber where it falls over rocks,
and of a rusty brown in shallows, as if partaking of the color of bits
of decayed wood or dead leaves which one sees at the bottom. The stream,
after having been vexed by dams and tossed about by mill-wheels, bounds
joyously, and with some touch of savage freedom, to strike hands with
the Shetucket.

The practical reader should be told that the city of Norwich is the
outgrowth and was of yore the landing of Norwich town, two miles above
it. The city was then known as Chelsea and Norwich Landing. The Mohegans
were lawful owners of the soil. Subsequent to the Pequot war hostilities
broke out between Uncas, chief of the Mohegans, and Miantonimo, the
Narraganset sachem. The Narragansets invaded the territory of the
Mohegans, and a battle occurred on the Great Plains, near Greenville, a
mile and a half below Norwich. The Narragansets suffered defeat, and
their chief became a prisoner. He was delivered by Uncas to the English,
who condemned him to death, and devolved upon Uncas the execution of the
sentence. The captive chief was led to the spot where he had been made
prisoner, and, while stalking with Indian stoicism in the midst of his
enemies, was killed by one blow from a tomahawk at the signal of Uncas.
Miantonimo was buried where he fell, and from him the spot takes its
name of Sachem's Plain.[330]


War continued between the Narragansets and Mohegans, the former, led by
a brother of Miantonimo, being again the assailants. Uncas was at length
compelled to throw himself within his strong fortress, where he was
closely besieged, and in danger of being overpowered. He found means to
send intelligence to Saybrook, where Captain Mason commanded, that his
supply of food was exhausted. Mason immediately sent Thomas Leffingwell
with a boat-load of provision, which enabled Uncas to hold out until his
enemy withdrew. For this act, which he performed single-handed,
Leffingwell received from Uncas the greater part of Norwich; and in
1659, by a formal deed, signed by Uncas and his two sons, Owaneko and
Attawanhood, he, with Mason, Rev. James Fitch, and others, became
proprietors of the whole of Norwich.[331]

[Illustration: UNCAS'S MONUMENT.]

I did not omit a visit to the ground where the "buried majesty" of
Mohegan is lying. It is on the bank of the Yantic, in a secluded though
populous neighborhood. A granite obelisk, with the name of Uncas in
relief at its base, erected by citizens of Norwich, stands within the
inclosure. The foundation was laid by President Jackson in 1833. Around
are clustered a few mossy stones chiseled by English hands, with the
brief record of the hereditary chieftains of a once powerful race.[332]
In its native state the spot must have been singularly romantic and well
chosen. A wooded height overhangs the river in full view of the falls,
where their turbulence subsides into a placid onward flow, and where the
chiefs, ere their departure for the happy hunting-grounds, might look
their last on the villages of their people. It was the Indian custom to
bury by the margin of river, lake, or ocean. Here, doubtless, repose the
bones of many grim warriors, seated in royal state, with their weapons
and a pot of succotash beside them. The last interment here was of
Ezekiel Mazeon, a descendant of Uncas, in 1826. The feeble remnant of
the Mohegans followed him to the grave.[333]

Mr. Sparks remarks that the history of the Indians, like that of the
Carthaginians, has been written by their enemies. As the faithful,
unwavering ally of the English, Uncas has received the encomiums of
their historians. His statesmanship has been justified by time and
history. By alliance with the English he preserved his people for many
generations after the more numerous and powerful Pequots, Narragansets,
and Wampanoags had ceased to exist. In 1638 he came with his present of
wampum to Boston, and having convinced the English of his loyalty, thus
addressed them: "This heart" (laying his hand upon his breast) "is not
mine, but yours. Command me any difficult service, and I will do it. I
have no men, but they are all yours. I will never believe any Indian
against the English any more." It is this invincible fidelity, approved
by important services, that should make his name and character respected
by every descendant of the fathers of New England.

[Illustration: ARNOLD'S BIRTHPLACE.]

About midway of the pleasant avenue that unites old Norwich with new is
the birthplace of Benedict Arnold.[334] Somewhat farther on, and when
within half a mile of the town, you also see at the right the homely
little building which was the apothecary's in which Arnold worked as a
boy with pestle and mortar to the acceptance of his master, Dr. Lathrop,
who lived in the adjoining mansion. One can better imagine Arnold
dealing out musket-bullets than pills, and mixing brimstone with
saltpetre rather than harmless drugs. As a boy he was bold,
high-spirited, and cruel.


In this neighborhood I saw a group of elms unmatched for beauty in New
England. One of them is a king among trees. They are on a grassy slope,
before an inviting mansion, and are in the full glory of maturity. It
was a feast to stand under their branching arms, and be fanned and
soothed by the play of the breeze among their green tresses, that fell
in fountains of rustling foliage from their crowned heads. A benison on
those old trees! May they never fall into the clutches of that class who
have a real and active hatred of every thing beautiful, or that appeals
to more than their habitual perception is able to discover!


I made a brief visit at the mansion built by General Jedediah Huntington
before he removed to New London after the Old War.[335]

In the dining-room was a full-length of General Eben Huntington, painted
by Trumbull at the age of eighteen. On seeing it some years afterward,
Trumbull took out his penknife and said to his host and friend, "Eb,
let me put my knife through this." Another portrait by the same hand,
representing the general at the siege of Yorktown, is in a far different
manner. The three daughters of General Huntington, then living in the
old family mansion, in referring to the warm friendship between their
father and the painter, mentioned that the first and last portraits
painted by Colonel Trumbull were of members of their family.


Near General Huntington's, where many of the choicest spirits of the
Revolution have been entertained, is the handsome mansion of Governor
Huntington, a remote connection of his military neighbor. Without the
advantages of a liberal education, he became a member of the old
Congress, and its president, chief-justice, and governor of Connecticut.
President Dwight, who knew him well, extols his character and abilities
warmly and highly.

I had frequent opportunities of seeing, in my rambles about the environs
of New London and Norwich, the beautiful dwarf flowering laurel (_Kalmia
augustifolia_) that is almost unknown farther north. In the woods, where
it was growing in wild luxuriance, it appeared like a gigantic azelia,
ablaze with fragrant bloom of white and pink. It used to be said that
honey collected by the bee from this flower was poisonous. The
broad-leaved laurel, or calico-tree (_Kalmia latifolia_) was believed to
be even more injurious, instances being mentioned where death had
occurred from eating the flesh of pheasants that had fed on its leaves.

Norwich town represents the kernel from which the city has sprung, and
retains also no little of the savor incident to a population that has
held innovations at arms-length. It has quiet, freshness, and a certain
rural comeliness. A broad green, or common, planted with trees, is
skirted by houses, many of them a century or more old, among which I
thought I now and then detected the no longer familiar well-sweep, with
the "old oaken bucket" standing by the curb. On one side of the common
the old court-house is still seen.

Take the path beside the meeting-house, ascending the overhanging rocks
by some natural steps, and you will be richly repaid for the trifling
exertion. The view embraces a charming little valley watered by the
Yantic, which here flows through rich meadow-lands and productive farms.
Encompassing the settlement is another elevated range of the rocky hills
common to this region, making a sort of amphitheatre in which the town
is naturally placed.


The old church of Norwich town formerly stood in the hollow between two
high hills above its present site. The pound, now its next neighbor, is
still a lawful inclosure in most of the New England States. Not many
years ago, I knew of a town in Massachusetts that was presented by a
grand jury for not having one. I visited the old grave-yard, remarkable
for its near return to a state of nature. Many stones had fallen, and
sometimes two were kept upright by leaning one against the other. Weeds,
brambles, and vines impeded my footsteps or concealed the grave-stones.
I must often repeat the story of the shameful neglect which involves
most of our older cemeteries. One is not quite sure, in leaving them,
that he does not carry away on his feet the dust of former generations.
Some of the stones are the most curious in form and design I have met
with. The family tombs of Governor and General Huntington are here.



[308] Watch Hill, in the town of Westerly and near Stonington, is the
south-western extremity of Rhode Island.

[309] Named from Captain Adrian Blok, a Dutch navigator. Its Indian name
was Manisses. There are about twelve hundred inhabitants on this island,
all native-born, of whom two hundred and seventy-five are voters. There
are also six schools, two Baptist churches, and two windmills, a hotel,
and several summer boarding-houses. Two hundred fishing-boats are owned
by the islanders. In 1636 John Oldham, mentioned in our ramble in
Plymouth, was murdered here by the Pequots. Block Island in 1672 was
made a township, by the name of New Shoreham.

[310] The two forts, Trumbull and Griswold, are named from governors of
Connecticut. They date from the Revolution. Fort Trumbull in its present
form was completed in 1849, under the supervision of General G. W.
Cullum, U. S. A. In passing through New London in April, 1776, General
Knox, by Washington's direction, examined the harbor with the view of
erecting fortifications, and reported, by letter, that it would, in
connection with Newport, afford a safe retreat to the American navy or
its prizes in any wind that blew.

[311] Son of Governor Winthrop, of Massachusetts. He passed his first
winter on Fisher's Island, which remained in his family through six
generations. The valuable manuscript collection known as the Winthrop
papers was found some years ago on the island, which belongs to New York
in consequence of the grants to the Earl of Sterling and the Duke of
York. The origin of its present name is uncertain, though so called as
early as 1636. Governor Winthrop relates to Cotton Mather a singular
incident which happened on Fisher's Island the previous winter. During
the severe snow-storms hundreds of sheep, besides cattle and horses,
were buried in the snow. Even the wild beasts came into the settlements
for shelter. Twenty-eight days after the storm alluded to, the tenants
of Fisher's Island, in extricating the bodies of a hundred sheep from
one bank of snow in the valley, found two alive in the drift, where they
had subsisted by eating the fleeces of those lying dead near them.

[312] In 1834 New London employed thirty-six vessels in whaling and
sealing. A few are still engaged in the latter fishery, in the extreme
navigable waters of the Arctic and Antarctic seas.

[313] During the unexampled cold of the past winter (1874-'75), the
light-boat off New London was, in fact, carried away from her moorings
by an ice-field, and many others all along the coast were stranded.

[314] At the light-houses I have visited in cold weather, the unvarying
complaint is made of the poor quality of the oil furnished by the
Light-house Board. One keeper told me he was obliged to shovel the
congealed lard-oil out of the tank in the oil-room, and carry it into
the dwelling, some rods distant, to heat it on his stove; sometimes
repeating the operation frequently during the night, in order to keep
his light burning.

[315] It is shown in the view of New London in 1813, at the head of this

[316] Bishop Seabury was born in 1728, and died in 1796, aged 68. In
person he was large, robust, and vigorous; dignified and commanding in
appearance, and loved by his parishioners of low estate. After
consecration he discharged the functions of bishop of the diocese of
Connecticut and Rhode Island.

[317] The months of January and February, 1875, will be long remembered
in New England for the intense and long-continued cold weather. Long
Island Sound was a vast ice-field, which sealed up its harbors. For a
time navigation was entirely suspended, the boats usually plying between
Newport, Stonington, New London, and New York being obliged to
discontinue their voyages. Gardiner's Bay was completely closed. The
shore of Long Island, on its ocean side, was strewed with great blocks
of ice. An unusual number of disasters signalized the ice embargo
throughout the whole extent of the New England coast.

[318] In all, the British destroyed one hundred and forty-three
buildings, sixty-five of which were dwellings, and including the
court-house, jail, and church.

[319] In the Wadsworth Museum, Hartford, the vest and shirt worn by
Ledyard on the day of his death, are still shown to the visitor.
Lafayette, when attacking the British redoubt at Yorktown, ordered his
men, it is said with Washington's consent, to "remember New London." The
continental soldiers could not or would not execute the command on
prisoners who begged their lives on their knees.

[320] Soon after the surrender a wagon loaded with wounded Americans was
set in motion down the hill. In its descent it struck with great force
against a tree, causing the instant death of several of its
occupants.--"Gordon's Revolution," vol. iv., p. 179.

[321] Captain Mason, with the Connecticut and Massachusetts forces,
numbering in all only ninety men, together with about four hundred
Narragansets and Mohegans, attacked the Pequot fortress on the morning
of May 26th, 1637. His Indian allies skulked in the rear. Mason's onset
was a complete surprise; but he would not have succeeded had he not
fired the fort, which created a panic among the enemy, and rendered them
an easy prey to the English and friendly Indians surrounding it. Between
six and seven hundred Pequots perished.

[322] The English in these early wars fought in armor, that is to say, a
steel cap and corselet, with a back and breast piece, over buff coats,
the common equipment everywhere of that day for a horse or foot soldier.

[323] Mr. John Quincy Adams accompanied his father to France, and was
placed at school near Paris.

[324] Miss E. S. Quincy's "Memoir."

[325] In 1835, when President Jackson demanded twenty-five millions of
France on account of French spoliations, the claim of Beaumarchais was
allowed, after deducting a million livres which had been advanced by
Vergennes. Deane's heirs did not obtain an adjustment of his claims by
Congress until 1842.

[326] Ledyard proceeded no farther than Cairo, where he died, in 1788,
of a bilious fever.

[327] Decatur offered to match the _United States_ and _Macedonian_ with
the _Endymion_ and _Statira_. Sir Thomas declined the proposal as made,
but consented to a meeting between the _Statira_ and _Macedonian_ alone.

[328] Nelson commended almost with his latest breath Lady Hamilton and
his daughter as a legacy to his country. Lady Hamilton, however, died in
exile, sickness, and actual want at Calais, France, in 1815.

[329] The falls were very beautiful, and have been celebrated by
Trumbull's pencil and Mrs. Sigourney's verse. There still remain some
curious cavities, worn in the rock by the prolonged rotary motion of
loose stones. Lydia Huntley Sigourney, the most celebrated writer in
prose or poetry of her day in New England, was a native of Norwich.

[330] Before the battle with the Narragansets, Uncas is said to have
challenged Miantonimo to single combat, promising for himself and his
nation to abide the result. Miantonimo refused. This chief, in his
flight from the field, was overtaken by Mohegan warriors, who impeded
him until Uncas could come up. When Uncas laid his hand on Miantonimo's
shoulder, the latter sat down in token of submission, maintaining a
sullen silence. Uncas is said to have eaten a piece of his flesh.

[331] The proprietors numbered thirty-five. Uncas received about seventy
pounds for nine square miles. The settlement of Norwich is considered to
have begun in 1660, when Rev. James Fitch removed from Saybrook to
Norwich (town).

[332] The following inscriptions are from the royal burial-ground of the

"Here lies ye body of Pompi Uncas, son of Benjamin and Ann Uncas, and of
ye royal blood, who died May ye first, 1740, in ye 21st year of his

"Here lies Sam Uncas, the 2d and beloved son of his father, John Uncas,
who was the grandson of Uncas, grand sachem of Mohegan, the darling of
his mother, being daughter of said Uncas, grand sachem. He died July
31st, 1741, in the 28th year of his age."

"In memory of Elizabeth Joquib, the daughter of Mahomet,
great-grandchild to ye first Uncas, great sachem of Mohegan, who died
July ye 5th, 1750, aged 33 years."

[333] The hereditary chieftainship was extinct as long ago as the
beginning of the century. The Mohegans occupied a strip of land
containing two thousand seven hundred acres, lying on the Thames between
Norwich and New London, above the mouth of Stony Brook, and between the
river and Montville. In 1633 the Indian population of Connecticut was
computed at eight persons to the square mile; the earliest enumeration
of the Mohegans made their number one thousand six hundred and
sixty-three souls; in 1797 only four hundred remained. By 1825 the
nation was reduced to a score or two, a portion having emigrated to
Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The Mohegan reserve was divided in 1790
among the remaining families of the nation. The Mohegans were probably a
distinct nation, though Uncas was a vassal of the Pequots.

[334] On the Colchester road, or Town Street, near the junction of a
street leading toward the Falls. The estate is now locally known as the
Ripley Place.

[335] The general was appointed collector of New London by Washington.
His first wife was a daughter of Governor Trumbull.

[Illustration: PETER STUYVESANT.]



    "Says Tweed to Till,
      'What gars ye rin sae still?'
    Says Till to Tweed,
    'Though ye rin wi' speed,
      An' I rin slaw,
    For ae man that ye droon,
      I droon twa.'"--_Old Song._

Rather more than a hundred miles from New York the railway crosses the
Connecticut River, on one of those bridges that at a little distance
resemble spiders' webs hung between the shores. From here one may look
down quite to the river's mouth, where it enters the Sound; and if it be
a warm summer's day, the bluish-gray streak of land across it may be
seen. The Connecticut is the only river of importance emptying upon the
New England coast that has not an island lodged in its throat.

It was on one of those parched days of midsummer, when the very air is
quivering, and every green thing droops and shrivels under a vertical
sun, that I first alighted at the station at Saybrook. The listless,
fagged, and jaded air of city swells lounging about the platform, the
flushed faces of blooming girls and watchful dowagers, betokened the
general prostration of weary humanity, who yearned for the musical plash
of sea-waves as the withering leaves and dusty grass longed for rain.

How feminine New England exaggerates, to be sure! A group of three young
ladies exchange their views upon the sultriness of the day: one
observes, "What a dreadful hot day!" a second declares it "horrid"
(torrid, perhaps she meant to say); and the last pronounces it
"perfectly frightful," emphasizing the opinion by opening her umbrella
with a sharp snap. What they would have said to an earthquake, a
conflagration, or a shipwreck, is left to bewildering conjecture.

In a certain unquiet portion of the American Union, the term Connecticut
Yankee is expressive of concentrated dislike for shrewd bargaining, a
nasal twang of speech, and a supposed desire to overreach one's
neighbor. How often have I heard in the South the expression, "A mean
Yankee;" as if, forsooth, meanness were sectional! Here in New England a
Connecticut Yankee is spoken of as a cunning blade or sharp fellow; as
an Englishman would say, "He's Yorkshire;" or an Italian, "È Spoletino."

The day of wooden nutmegs is past and gone, and Connecticut is more
familiarly known as the "Land of Steady Habits." The whole State is a
hive. Every smoky town you see is a busy work-shop. The problem of the
Connecticut man is how to do the most work in the shortest time, whether
by means of a sewing-machine, a Colt, or a _mitrailleuse_. If I should
object to any thing in him, it would be the hurry and worry, the
_drive_, which impels him through life--and in this I do not imagine he
differs from the average American man of business--until, like one of
his own engines that is always worked under a full pressure of steam, he
stops running at last. That is why we see so many old men of thirty, and
so many premature gray hairs in New England.

But what I chiefly lament is the disappearance of the Yankee--not the
conventional Yankee of the theatre, for he had never an existence
elsewhere; but the hearty yet suspicions, "cute" though green, drawling,
whittling, unadulterated Yankee, with his broad humor, delicious
_patois_, and large-hearted patriotism. His very mother-tongue is
forgotten. Not once during these rambles have I heard his old familiar
"I swaow," or "Git aout," or "Dew tell."[336] Railway and telegraph,
factory and work-shop, penetrating into the most secluded hamlets, have
rubbed off all the crust of an originality so pronounced as to have
become the type, and often the caricature too, of American nationality
the world over.

One peculiarity I have noticed is that of calling spinsters, of whatever
age, "girls." I knew two elderly maiden ladies, each verging on
three-score, who were universally spoken of as the "Young girls," their
names, I should perhaps explain, being Young. Once, when in quest of
lodgings in a strange place, I was directed to apply to the two Brown
girls, whose united ages, as I should judge, could not be less than a
century and a quarter. But one is not to judge of New England girls by
this sample.

Another practice which prevails in some villages is that of designating
father and son, where both have a common Christian-name, as "Big Tom"
and "Little Tom;" and brother and sister as "Bub" and "Sis." One can
hardly maintain a serious countenance to hear a stalwart fellow of six
feet alluded to as "Little" Tom, or Joe, or Bill, or a full-grown man or
woman as "Bub" or "Sis." On the coast, nicknames are current principally
among the sea-faring element; "Guinea Bill" or "Portugee Jack,"
presupposes the owner to have made a voyage to either of those distant

The Italians count the whole twenty-four hours, beginning at half an
hour after sunset. By this method of computation I reckoned on arriving
at Saybrook Point at exactly twenty-two o'clock. I walked through the
village leisurely observant of its outward aspect, which was that of
undisturbed tranquillity. Modern life had been so long in reaching it,
that it had been willing to accommodate itself to the old houses, and so
far to the old life of the place. The toilets here, as elsewhere,
encroached in many instances upon those of the last century, and were
wonderfully like the portraits one sees of the time. Now, let us have
the old manners back again.

[Illustration: ISAAC HULL]

One of the pleasantest old houses in Saybrook is the Hart mansion, which
stands in the main street of the village, heavily draped by the foliage
of three elm-trees of great size and beauty. It was a favorite retreat
of that gallant sailor, Isaac Hull, who lost his heart there.[337] Like
Nelson, he was the idol of his sailors, for he was as humane as he was
brave. He seldom ordered one of his old sea-dogs to be flogged, but
would call a culprit before him, and after scolding him soundly with
affected roughness of tone and manner, would tell him to return to his
duty. The _Old Ironsides_ was loved with a love almost like that which
man bears to woman. Ladies would have kissed the hem of her sails; men
scraped the barnacles from her bottom, and carried them home in their
pockets. I have seen no end of canes, picture-frames, and other
souvenirs of this famous ship treasured by fortunate possessors; and one
of the old merchants of Boston had his street door made of her oak.

Saybrook is languid. It is dispersed along one broad and handsome
street, completely canopied by an arch of foliage. You seem, when at the
entrance, to be looking through a green tunnel. In this street there is
no noise and but little movement. The few shops were without custom.
After the spasm of activity caused by the arrival of the train--when it
seemed for the moment to rub its eyes and brisk up a little, carriages
and pedestrians having mysteriously disappeared somewhere--the old town
dozed again.

The Connecticut is here tame and uninteresting, with near shores of
salt-marsh flatness. Yellow sand-bars, green hummocks, or jutting points
skirted with pine-groves, inclose the stream, which is broad, placid,
and shallow. There are no iron headlands, or dangerous reefs. Nature
seems quite in harmony with the general quietude and restfulness.

A few years ago there existed at the Point the remains of a colonial
fortress, with much history clustering around it. It was raised in the
very infancy of English settlement at the mouth of the Connecticut; and
when the Revolution came, the old dismounted cannon, that had perhaps
done duty with Howard or Blake, were again placed on the ramparts. The
railway people have reduced the hill on which it stood to a flat and
dreary gravel waste.[338] This is walking into antiquity with a
vengeance! It is perhaps fortunate that the Coliseum, Temple Bar, and
St. Denis are not where they would be valued for the cubic yards of
waste material they might afford.

The Dutch anticipated the English in the settlement on Connecticut
River. The Hollanders at Fort Amsterdam, and the then rival colonies of
Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay, were each desirous of obtaining a
foothold which each felt too weak to undertake alone. The country had
been subjugated by the Pequots, whose territory neither colony might
invade without bringing the whole nation upon them.

The Dutch were also first to visit the river, and to inform the Pilgrims
of its beauty and advantages for traffic. In 1633, Massachusetts having
rejected overtures for a joint occupation, Plymouth determined to
establish a trading-post upon the river without her aid. Apprised of
this intention, the Dutch dispatched an expedition, which disembarked
where Hartford now is. A house was hastily erected, and ordnance
mounted, with which the Hollanders gave notice that they meant to keep
out intruders.

The Plymouth expedition, under command of William Holmes, ascended the
river, and, notwithstanding an attempt to stop them, passed by the Dutch
fort. They landed at Nattawanute, afterward Windsor, and, having made
themselves secure, sent their vessel home. Word was sent to Fort
Amsterdam of the invasion. A company of seventy dispatched to the scene
advanced "brimful of wrath and cabbage," with drums beating and colors
flying, against the English fort. Seeing the Pilgrims were in nowise
disconcerted, the Dutch captain ordered a halt; a parley took place,
and, having thus vindicated the national honor, Gualtier Twilley's men

The attempts of Plymouth to establish tributary plantations, with
trading-posts, at the extreme eastern and western limits of New England,
were equally disastrous. Massachusetts stood quietly by, and saw her
rival dispossessed at Penobscot, but at Windsor the Plymouth people soon
found themselves hemmed in between settlements made by emigrants from
the bay. As a quarrel would perhaps have been alike fatal to both,
Plymouth gave way to her more powerful neighbor.

The English settlement of Connecticut is usually assigned to the year
1635, the year of beginnings at Hartford, Wethersfield, and Saybrook. In
the autumn the younger Winthrop sent a few men to take possession and
fortify at the mouth of the Connecticut, as agent of Lords Say, Brook,
and their associate owners of the patent.[340] This expedition
forestalled by a few days only a new attempt to obtain possession by the
Dutch, who, finding the English already landed and having cannon
mounted, abandoned their design.

Through the agency of the celebrated Hugh Peters, the patentees engaged,
and sent to New England, Lion Gardiner, a military engineer who had
served in the Low Countries. He arrived at Boston in November, 1635, and
proceeded to the fort at the mouth of the Connecticut. He was followed
by George Fenwick, sent over by Lord Say to be resident agent of the
English proprietors. Fenwick, accompanied by Peters, reached the fort
in the spring. The plantation was called Saybrook, as a compliment to
the two principal personages interested in its founding.

Saybrook has perhaps acquired a certain importance in the eyes of
historical writers to which no other spot of New England's soil can
pretend. There is little room to doubt that Lord Say, and perhaps some
of his associates, strongly entertained the idea of removing
thither.[341] A more debatable assertion, which is, however, well
fortified with authorities, represents Oliver Cromwell, John Hampden,
Pym, and Sir Arthur Haselrig as having been prevented from embarking
only by an express order from the king: some, indeed, assert that they
actually embarked.[342]

[Illustration: A MOSS-GROWN MEMORIAL.]

In the old burial-place of Saybrook Point is the most curious sepulchral
memorial in New England. I can compare it with nothing but a Druid
monument, it is so massy, so roughly shaped, and so peculiar in form.
Until a few years ago, it stood within a field south-west of the fort,
over the dust of George Fenwick's wife, a woman of gentle blood. The
"improvements" made by the railway in this vicinity caused the removal
of the monument to its present position. When the remains of Lady
Fenwick were disinterred, the skeleton was found to be nearly entire.
Beneath the skull was lying a heavy braid of auburn hair, which was
parceled out among the villagers. My informant offered to show me the
tress that had fallen to his share.

I acknowledge it, I am the fool of association; and when I see the spade
thrust among graves, I wince a little. I would have Shakspeare's appeal
and malediction inscribed over the entrance to every old grave-yard in
New England. But, after all, what is Shakspeare's malediction to these
trouble-tombs who anticipate the Resurrection, and give the burial
service the lie. Our bones ache at the thought of being tossed about on
a laborer's shovel. Rather come cremation than mere tenure at will at
the tender mercies of these levelers. When we have been "put to bed with
a shovel," and have pulled our green coverlet over us, let us have the
peace that passeth all understanding.

Not much is known of Lady Anne Boteler, or Butler, the wife of George
Fenwick. It is surmised that she died in childbed. The inscription that
her monument undoubtedly bore has been so long obliterated that no
record remains of it. A newer one, with the simple name and date, "Lady
Fenwick, died 1648," has been cut in the perishable sandstone. Some one
has also caused the cross to be chiseled there.[343] Considering the
peculiar aversion with which the Puritans regarded the cross, the
appearance of one on the tombstone of Lady Fenwick is suggestive of the
famous prohibition of the cemetery of Saint Médard:

    "De par le roi, défense à Dieu
    De faire miracle en ce lieu."

Dr. Dwight states, as of report, that Fenwick, before his return to
England, made provision for having his wife's tomb kept in repair. The
sale of the title of Lords Say and Brook by him, in 1644, to
Connecticut, is considered evidence as well of the existence of the
design of removal alluded to as of its abandonment. After the death of
Lady Fenwick her husband returned to England, and is mentioned as one of
the regicide-judges. He subsequently appears with the title of
"colonel," and is believed to be the same person who besieged Hume
Castle, in 1650, for Cromwell. On being summoned, the governor sent his
defiance in verse:

    "I, William of the Wastle,
    Am now in my Castle:
    And aw the dogs in the town
    Shanna gar me gang down."[344]

The English at Saybrook Point protected the land approach with a
palisade drawn across the narrow isthmus, which very high tides
overflowed and isolated from the main-land. Their corn-field was two
miles distant from the fort, and skulking Pequots were always on the
alert to waylay and murder them. Some of the Bay magistrates having
spoken contemptuously of Indian arrows, Gardiner[345] sent them the rib
of a man in which one, after passing through the body, had