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Title: Greater Britain - A Record of Travel in English-Speaking Countries During 1866-7
Author: Dilke, Charles Wentworth, 1843-1911
Language: English
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[Illustration: A CINGHALESE GENTLEMAN.]

[Illustration: VIEW FROM THE BULLER, NEW ZEALAND.]



GREATER BRITAIN.

_A RECORD OF TRAVEL_

IN

ENGLISH-SPEAKING COUNTRIES

DURING 1866-7.

BY

CHARLES WENTWORTH DILKE.

_TWO VOLUMES IN ONE._

WITH MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS.

[Illustration]

PHILADELPHIA:

J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.

LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO.

1869.



TO

MY FATHER

I Dedicate

THIS BOOK.

C. W. D.



PREFACE.


IN 1866 and 1867, I followed England round the world: everywhere I was
in English-speaking, or in English-governed lands. If I remarked that
climate, soil, manners of life, that mixture with other peoples had
modified the blood, I saw, too, that in essentials the race was always
one.

The idea which in all the length of my travels has been at once my
fellow and my guide--a key wherewith to unlock the hidden things of
strange new lands--is a conception, however imperfect, of the grandeur
of our race, already girding the earth, which it is destined, perhaps,
eventually to overspread.

In America, the peoples of the world are being fused together, but they
are run into an English mould: Alfred‘s laws and Chaucer‘s tongue are
theirs whether they would or no. There are men who say that Britain in
her age will claim the glory of having planted greater Englands across
the seas. They fail to perceive that she has done more than found
plantations of her own--that she has imposed her institutions upon the
offshoots of Germany, of Ireland, of Scandinavia, and of Spain. Through
America, England is speaking to the world.

Sketches of Saxondom may be of interest even upon humbler grounds: the
development of the England of Elizabeth is to be found, not in the
Britain of Victoria, but in half the habitable globe. If two small
islands are by courtesy styled “Great,” America, Australia, India, must
form a Greater Britain.

C. W. D.

76 SLOANE STREET, S. W.
1_st November_, 1868.



CONTENTS

OF

THE FIRST VOLUME.


PART I.

 CHAPTER                            PAGE

    I. VIRGINIA                        3

   II. THE NEGRO                      16

  III. THE SOUTH                      27

   IV. THE EMPIRE STATE               33

    V. CAMBRIDGE COMMENCEMENT         43

   VI. CANADA                         55

  VII. UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN         69

 VIII. THE PACIFIC RAILROAD           78

   IX. OMPHALISM                      86

    X. LETTER FROM DENVER             91

   XI. RED INDIA                     102

  XII. COLORADO                      110

 XIII. ROCKY MOUNTAINS               115

  XIV. BRIGHAM YOUNG                 122

   XV. MORMONDOM                     127

  XVI. WESTERN EDITORS               131

  XVII. UTAH                         144

 XVIII. NAMELESS ALPS                152

   XIX. VIRGINIA CITY                166

    XX. EL DORADO                    179

   XXI. LYNCH LAW                    190

  XXII. GOLDEN CITY                  207

 XXIII. LITTLE CHINA                 218

  XXIV. CALIFORNIA                   227

   XXV. MEXICO                       233

  XXVI. REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT       239

 XXVII. BROTHERS                     249

XXVIII. AMERICA                      258


PART II.

  I. PITCAIRN ISLAND                 271

 II. HOKITIKA                        278

III. POLYNESIANS                     293

 IV. PAREWANUI PAH                   299

  V. THE MAORIES                     319

 VI. THE TWO FLIES                   328

VII. THE PACIFIC                     334


APPENDIX.

A MAORI DINNER                       339



CONTENTS

OF

THE SECOND VOLUME.


PART III.

CHAPTER                               PAGE

   I. SYDNEY                             7

  II. RIVAL COLONIES                    15

 III. VICTORIA                          22

  IV. SQUATTER ARISTOCRACY              38

   V. COLONIAL DEMOCRACY                44

  VI. PROTECTION                        55

 VII. LABOR                             65

VIII. WOMAN                             75

  IX. VICTORIAN PORTS                   79

   X. TASMANIA                          83

  XI. CONFEDERATION                     94

 XII. ADELAIDE                          98

XIII. TRANSPORTATION                   109

 XIV. AUSTRALIA                        123

  XV. COLONIES                         130


PART IV.

  I. MARITIME CEYLON                   141

 II. KANDY                             154

III. MADRAS TO CALCUTTA                161

 IV. BENARES                           171

    V. CASTE                           178

   VI. MOHAMMEDAN CITIES               191

  VII. SIMLA                           202

 VIII. COLONIZATION                    217

   IX. THE “GAZETTE”                   224

    X. UMRITSUR                        233

   XI. LAHORE                          245

  XII. OUR INDIAN ARMY                 249

 XIII. RUSSIA                          255

  XIV. NATIVE STATES                   267

   XV. SCINDE                          280

  XVI. OVERLAND ROUTES                 289

 XVII. BOMBAY                          298

XVIII. THE MOHURRUM                    305

  XIX. ENGLISH LEARNING                312

   XX. INDIA                           320

  XXI. DEPENDENCIES                    333

 XXII. FRANCE IN THE EAST              339

XXIII. THE ENGLISH                     346



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


VOLUME I.

                                             PAGE

VIEW FROM THE BULLER        Frontispiece.

A CINGHALESE GENTLEMAN      Frontispiece.

PROFILE OF “JOE SMITH”                  }     150

FULL FACE OF “JOE SMITH”                }

PORTER ROCKWELL                               154

FRIDAY‘S STATION--VALLEY OF LAKE TAHOE        176

TEAMING UP THE GRADE AT SLIPPERY FORD, IN THE
    SIERRA                                    178

VIEW ON THE AMERICAN RIVER--THE PLACE WHERE
    GOLD WAS FIRST FOUND                      180

THE BRIDAL VEIL FALL, YOSEMITE VALLEY   }     228

EL CAPITAN, YOSEMITE VALLEY             }


MAPS.

ATLANTIC AND PACIFIC RAILROAD                  78

LEAVENWORTH TO SALT LAKE CITY                  92

SALT LAKE CITY TO SAN FRANCISCO               158

NEW ZEALAND                                   278


VOLUME II.

THE OLD AND THE NEW: BUSH SCENERY--COLLINS
    STREET EAST, MELBOURNE                     24

GOVERNOR DAVEY‘S PROCLAMATION                  86


MAPS.

AUSTRALIA AND TASMANIA                         16

OVERLAND ROUTES                               290



PART I.

AMERICA.



GREATER BRITAIN.

CHAPTER I.

VIRGINIA.


From the bows of the steamer _Saratoga_, on the 20th June, 1866, I
caught sight of the low works of Fort Monroe, as, threading her way
between the sand-banks of Capes Charles and Henry, the ship pressed on,
under sail and steam, to enter Chesapeake Bay.

Our sudden arrival amid shoals of sharks and kingfish, the keeping watch
for flocks of canvas-back ducks, gave us enough and to spare of idle
work till we fully sighted the Yorktown peninsula, overgrown with
ancient memories--ancient for America. Three towns of lost grandeur, or
their ruins, stand there still. Williamsburg, the former capital, graced
even to our time by the palaces where once the royal governors held more
than regal state; Yorktown, where Cornwallis surrendered to the
continental troops; Jamestown, the earliest settlement, founded in 1607,
thirteen years before old Governor Winthrop fixed the site of Plymouth,
Massachusetts.

A bump against the pier of Fort Monroe soon roused us from our musings,
and we found ourselves invaded by a swarm of stalwart negro troopers,
clothed in the cavalry uniform of the United States, who boarded us for
the mails. Not a white man save those we brought was to be seen upon the
pier, and the blazing sun made me thankful that I had declined an
offered letter to Jeff. Davis.

Pushing off again into the stream, we ran the gantlet of the Rip-Raps
passage, and made for Norfolk, having on our left the many exits of the
Dismal Swamp Canal. Crossing Hampton Roads--a grand bay with pleasant
grassy shores, destined one day to become the best known, as by nature
it is the noblest, of Atlantic ports--we nearly ran upon the wrecks of
the Federal frigates _Cumberland_ and _Congress_, sunk by the rebel ram
_Merrimac_ in the first great naval action of the war; but soon after,
by a sort of poetic justice, we almost drifted into the black hull of
the _Merrimac_ herself. Great gangs of negroes were laboring laughingly
at the removal, by blasting, of the sunken ships.

When we were securely moored at Norfolk pier, I set off upon an
inspection of the second city of Virginia. Again not a white man was to
be seen, but hundreds of negroes were working in the heat, building,
repairing, road-making, and happily chattering the while. At last,
turning a corner, I came on a hotel, and, as a consequence, on a bar and
its crowd of swaggering whites--“Johnny Rebs” all, you might see by the
breadth of their brims, for across the Atlantic a broad brim denotes
less the man of peace than the ex-member of a Southern guerrilla band,
Morgan‘s, Mosby‘s, or Stuart‘s. No Southerner will wear the Yankee
“stove-pipe” hat; a Panama or Palmetto for him, he says, though he keeps
to the long black coat that rules from Maine to the Rio Grande.

These Southerners were all alike--all were upright, tall, and heavily
moustached; all had long black hair and glittering eyes, and I looked
instinctively for the baldric and rapier. It needed no second glance to
assure me that as far as the men of Norfolk were concerned, the saying
of our Yankee skipper was not far from the truth: “The last idea that
enters the mind of a Southerner is that of doing work.”

Strangers are scarce in Norfolk, and it was not long before I found an
excuse for entering into conversation with the “citizens.” My first
question was not received with much cordiality by my new acquaintances.
“How do the _negroes_ work? Wall, we spells nigger with two ‘g‘s,’ I
reckon.” (Virginians, I must explain, are used to “reckon” as much as
are New Englanders to “guess,” while Western men “calculate” as often as
they cease to swear.) “How does the niggers work? Wall, niggers is
darned fools, certain, but they ain‘t quite sich fools as to work while
the Yanks will feed ’em. No, sir, not quite sich fools as that.” Hardly
deeming it wise to point to the negroes working in the sun-blaze within
a hundred yards, while we sat rocking ourselves in the veranda of the
inn, I changed my tack, and asked whether things were settling down in
Norfolk. This query soon led my friends upon the line I wanted them to
take, and in five minutes we were well through politics, and plunging
into the very war. “You‘re a Britisher. Now, all that they tell you‘s
darned lies. We‘re just as secesh as we ever was, only so many‘s killed
that we can‘t fight--that‘s all, I reckon.” “We ain‘t going to fight the
North and West again,” said an ex-colonel of rebel infantry; “next time
we fight, ’twill be us and the West against the Yanks. We‘ll keep the
old flag then, and be darned to them.” “If it hadn‘t been for the
politicians, we shouldn‘t have seceded at all, I reckon: we should just
have kept the old flag and the constitution, and the Yanks would have
seceded from us. Reckon we‘d have let ’em go.” “Wall, boys, s‘pose we
liquor?” closed in the colonel, shooting out his old quid, and filling
in with another. “We‘d have fought for a lifetime if the cussed
Southerners hadn‘t deserted like they did.” I asked who these
“Southerners” were to whom such disrespect was being shown. “You didn‘t
think Virginia was a Southern State over in Britain, did you? ’cause
Virginia is a border State, sir. We didn‘t go to secede at all; it was
them blasted Southerners that brought it on us. First they wouldn‘t give
a command to General Robert E. Lee, then they made us do all the
fighting for ’em, and then, when the pinch came, they left us in the
lurch. Why, sir, I saw three Mississippi regiments surrender without a
blow--yes, sir: that‘s right down good whisky; jess you sample it.” Here
the steam-whistle of the _Saratoga_ sounded with its deep bray. “Reckon
you‘ll have to hurry up to make connections,” said one of my new
friends, and I hurried off, not without a fear lest some of the group
should shoot after me, to avenge the affront of my quitting them before
the mixing of the drinks. They were but a pack of “mean whites,” “North
Carolina crackers,” but their views were those which I found dominant in
all ranks at Richmond, and up the country in Virginia.

After all, the Southern planters are not “The South,” which for
political purposes is composed of the “mean whites,” of the Irish of the
towns, and of the Southwestern men--Missourians, Kentuckians, and
Texans--fiercely anti-Northern, without being in sentiment what we
should call Southern, certainly not representatives of the “Southern
Chivalry.” The “mean whites,” or “poor trash,” are the whites who are
not planters--members of the slaveholding race who never held a
slave--white men looked down upon by the negroes. It is a necessary
result of the despotic government of one race by another that the poor
members of the dominant people are universally despised: the “destitute
Europeans” of Bombay, the “white loafers” of the Punjaub, are familiar
cases. Where slavery exists, the “poor trash” class must inevitably be
both large and wretched: primogeniture is necessary to keep the
plantations sufficiently great to allow for the payment of overseers and
the supporting in luxury of the planter family, and younger sons and
their descendants are not only left destitute, but debarred from earning
their bread by honest industry, for in a slave country labor is
degrading.

The Southern planters were gentlemen, possessed of many aristocratic
virtues, along with every aristocratic vice; but to each planter there
were nine “mean whites,” who, though grossly ignorant, full of
insolence, given to the use of the knife and pistol upon the slightest
provocation, were, until the election of Lincoln to the presidency, as
completely the rulers of America as they were afterward the leaders of
the rebellion.

At sunset we started up the James on our way to City Point and Richmond,
sailing almost between the very masts of the famous rebel privateer the
_Florida_, and seeing her as she lay under the still, gray waters. She
was cut out from a Brizilian port, and when claimed by the imperial
government, was to have been at once surrendered. While the dispatches
were on their way to Norfolk, she was run into at her moorings by a
Federal gunboat, and filled and sank directly. Friends of the
Confederacy have hinted that the collision was strangely opportune;
nevertheless, the fact remains that the commander of the gunboat was
dismissed the navy for his carelessness.

The twilight was beyond description lovely. The change from the auks and
ice-birds of the Atlantic to the blue-birds and robins of Virginia was
not more sudden than that from winter to tropical warmth and sensuous
indolence; but the scenery, too, of the river is beautiful in its very
changelessness. Those who can see no beauty but in boldness might call
the James as monotonous as the lower Loire.

After weeks of bitter cold, warm evenings favor meditation. The soft
air, the antiquity of the forest, the languor of the sunset breeze, all
dispose to dream and sleep. That oak has seen Powhatan; the founders of
Jamestown may have pointed at that grand old sycamore. In this drowsy
humor, we sighted the far-famed batteries of Newport News, and
turning-in to berth or hammock, lay all night at City Point, near
Petersburg.

A little before sunrise we weighed again, and sought a passage through
the tremendous Confederate “obstructions.” Rows of iron skeletons, the
frame-works of the wheels of sunken steamers, showed above the stream,
casting gaunt shadows westward, and varied only by here and there a
battered smoke-stack or a spar. The whole of the steamers that had plied
upon the James and the canals before the war were lying here in rows,
sunk lengthwise along the stream. Two in the middle of each row had been
raised to let the government vessels pass, but in the heat-mist and
faint light the navigation was most difficult. For five and twenty miles
the rebel forts were as thick as the hills and points allowed; yet, in
spite of booms and bars, of sunken ships, of batteries and torpedoes,
the Federal monitors once forced their way to Fort Darling in the outer
works of Richmond. I remembered these things a few weeks later, when
General Grant‘s first words to me at Washington were: “Glad to meet
you. What have you seen?” “The Capitol.” “Go at once and see the
Monitors.” He afterward said to me, in words that photograph not only
the Monitors, but Grant: “You can batter away at those things for a
month, and do no good.”

At Dutch Gap we came suddenly upon a curious scene. The river flowed
toward us down a long, straight reach, bounded by a lofty hill crowned
with tremendous earthworks; but through a deep trench or cleft, hardly
fifty yards in length, upon our right, we could see the stream running
with violence in a direction parallel with our course. The hills about
the gully were hollowed out into caves and bomb-proofs, evidently meant
as shelters from vertical fire, but the rough graves of a vast cemetery
showed that the protection was sought in vain. Forests of crosses of
unpainted wood rose upon every acre of flat ground. On the peninsula,
all but made an island by the cleft, was a grove of giant trees,
leafless, barkless, dead, and blanched by a double change in the level
of the stream. There is no sight so sad as that of a drowned forest,
with a turkey-buzzard on each bough. On the bank upon our left was an
iron scaffold, eight or ten stories high,--“Butler‘s Lookout,” as the
cleft was “Butler‘s Dutch Gap Canal.” The canal, unfinished in war, is
now to be completed at State expense for purposes of trade.

As we rounded the extremity of the peninsula an eagle was seen to light
upon a tree. From every portion of the ship--main deck, hurricane deck,
lower deck ports--revolvers, ready capped and loaded, were brought to
bear upon the bird, which sheered off unharmed amid a storm of bullets.
After this incident, I was careful in my political discussions with my
shipmates; disarmament in the Confederacy had clearly not been extended
to private weapons.

The outer and inner lines of fortifications passed, we came in view of a
many-steepled town, with domes and spires recalling Oxford, hanging on a
bank above a crimson-colored foaming stream. In ten minutes we were
alongside the wharf at Richmond, and in half an hour safely housed in
the “Exchange Hotel,” kept by the Messrs. Carrington, of whom the father
was a private, the son a colonel, in the rebel volunteers.

The next day, while the works and obstructions on the James were still
fresh in my mind, I took train to Petersburg, the city the capture of
which by Grant was the last blow struck by the North at the melting
forces of the Confederacy.

The line showed the war: here and there the track, torn up in Northern
raids, had barely been repaired; the bridges were burnt and broken; the
rails worn down to an iron thread. The joke “on board,” as they say here
for “in the train,” was that the engine-drivers down the line are
tolerably cute men, who, when the rails are altogether worn away,
understand how to “go it on the bare wood,” and who at all times “know
where to jump.”

From the window of the car we could see that in the country there were
left no mules, no horses, no roads, no men. The solitude is not all
owing to the war: in the whole five and twenty miles from Richmond to
Petersburg there was before the war but a single station; in New England
your passage-card often gives a station in every two miles. A careful
look at the underwood on either side the line showed that this forest is
not primeval, that all this country had once been plowed.

Virginia stands first among the States for natural advantages: in
climate she is unequaled; her soil is fertile; her mineral wealth in
coal, copper, gold, and iron enormous, and well placed; her rivers good,
and her great harbor one of the best in the world. Virginia has been
planted more than two hundred and fifty years, and is as large as
England, yet has a free population of only a million. In every kind of
production she is miserably inferior to Missouri or Ohio, in most,
inferior also to the infant States of Michigan and Illinois. Only a
quarter of her soil is under cultivation, to half that of poor, starved
New England, and the mines are deserted which were worked by the very
Indians who were driven from the land as savages a hundred years ago.

There is no surer test of the condition of a country than the state of
its highways. In driving on the main roads round Richmond, in visiting
the scene of McClellan‘s great defeat on the Chickahominy at
Mechanicsville and Malvern Hill, I myself, and an American gentleman who
was with me, had to get out and lay the planks upon the bridges, and
then sit upon them, to keep them down while the black coachman drove
across. The best roads in Virginia are but ill kept “corduroys;” but,
bad as are these, “plank roads” over which artillery have passed,
knocking out every other plank, are worse by far; yet such is the main
road from Richmond toward the west.

There is not only a scarcity of roads, but of railroads. A comparison of
the railway system of Illinois and Indiana with the two lines of
Kentucky or the one of Western Virginia or Louisiana, is a comparison of
the South with the North, of slavery with freedom. Virginia shows
already the decay of age, but is blasted by slavery rather than by war.

Passing through Petersburg, the streets of which were gay with the
feathery-brown blooms of the Venetian sumach, but almost deserted by
human beings, who have not returned to the city since they were driven
out by the shot and shell of which their houses show the scars, we were
soon in the rebel works. There are sixty miles of these works in all,
line within line, three deep: alternations of sand-pits and sand-heaps,
with here and there a tree-trunk pierced for riflemen, and everywhere a
double row of _chevaux de frise_. The forts nearest this point were
named by their rebel occupants Fort Hell and Fort Damnation. Tremendous
works, but it needed no long interview with Grant to understand their
capture. I had not been ten minutes in his office at Washington before I
saw that the secret of his unvarying success lay in his unflinching
determination: there is pith in the American conceit which reads in his
initials, “U. S. G.,” “unconditional-surrender Grant.”

The works defending Richmond, hardly so strong as those of Petersburg,
were attacked in a novel manner in the third year of the war. A strong
body of Federal cavalry on a raid, unsupported by infantry or guns, came
suddenly by night upon the outer lines of Richmond on the west.
Something had led them to believe that the rebels were not in force, and
with the strange aimless daring that animated both parties during the
rebellion, they rode straight in along the winding road, unchallenged,
and came up to the inner lines. There they were met by a volley which
emptied a few saddles, and they retired, without even stopping to spike
the guns in the outer works. Had they known enough of the troops opposed
to them to have continued to advance, they might have taken Richmond,
and held it long enough to have captured the rebel president and senate,
and burned the great iron-works and ships. The whole of the rebel army
had gone north, and even the home guard was camped out on the
Chickahominy. The troops who fired the volley were a company of the
“iron-works battalion,” boys employed at the founderies, not one of whom
had ever fired a rifle before this night. They confessed themselves that
“one minute more, and they‘d have run;” but the volley just stopped the
enemy in time.

The spot where we first struck the rebel lines was that known as the
Crater--the funnel-shaped cavity formed when Grant sprang his famous
mine: 1500 men are buried in the hollow itself, and the bones of those
smothered by the falling earth are working through the soil: 5000 negro
troops were killed in this attack, and are buried round the hollow where
they died, fighting as gallantly as they fought everywhere throughout
the war. It is a singular testimony to the continuousness of the fire,
that the still remaining subterranean passages show that in
countermining the rebels came once within three feet of the mine, yet
failed to hear the working parties. Thousands of old army shoes were
lying on the earth, and negro boys were digging up bullets for old lead.

Within eighty yards of the Crater are the Federal investing lines, on
which the trumpet-flower of our gardens was growing wild in deep rich
masses. The negroes told me not to gather it, because they believe it
scalds the hand. They call it “poison plant,” or “blister weed.” The
blue-birds and scarlet tannagers were playing about the horn-shaped
flowers.

Just within Grant‘s earthworks are the ruins of an ancient church,
built, it is said, with bricks that were brought by the first colonists
from England in 1614. About Norfolk, about Petersburg, and in the
Shenandoah Valley, you cannot ride twenty miles through the Virginian
forest without bursting in upon some glade containing a quaint old
church, or a creeper-covered roofless palace of the Culpeppers, the
Randolphs, or the Scotts. The county names have in them all a history.
Taking the letter “B” alone, we have Barbour, Bath, Bedford, Berkeley,
Boone, Botetourt, Braxton, Brooke, Brunswick, Buchanan, Buckingham. A
dozen counties in the State are named from kings or princes. The
slaveowning cavaliers whose names the remainder bear are the men most
truly guilty of the late attempt made by their descendants to create an
empire founded on disloyalty and oppression; but within sight of this
old church of theirs at Petersburg, thirty-three miles of Federal
outworks stand as a monument of how the attempt was crushed by the
children of their New England brother-colonists.

The names of streams and hamlets in Virginia have often a quaint English
ring. On the Potomac, near Harper‘s Ferry, I once came upon “Sir John‘s
Run.” Upon my asking a tall, gaunt fellow, who was fishing, whether this
was the spot on which the Knight of Windsor “larded the lean earth,” I
got for sole answer: “Wall, don‘t know ’bout that, but it‘s a mighty
fine spot for yellow-fin trout.” The entry to Virginia is
characteristic. You sail between capes named from the sons of James I.,
and have fronting you the estuaries of two rivers called after the King
and the Duke of York.

The old “F. F. V.’s,” the first families of Virginia, whose founders
gave these monarchic names to the rivers and counties of the State, are
far off now in Texas and California--those, that is, which were not
extinct before the war. The tenth Lord Fairfax keeps a tiny ranch near
San Francisco; some of the chief Denmans are also to be found in
California. In all such cases of which I heard, the emigration took
place before the war; Northern conquest could not be made use of as a
plea whereby to escape the reproaches due to the slaveowning system.
There is a stroke of justice in the fact that the Virginian oligarchy
have ruined themselves in ruining their State; but the gaming hells of
Farobankopolis, as Richmond once was called, have much for which to
answer.

When the “burnt district” comes to be rebuilt, Richmond will be the most
beautiful of all the Atlantic cities; while the water-power of the
rapids of the James, and a situation at the junction of canal and river,
secure for it a prosperous future.

The superb position of the State-house (which formed the rebel capitol),
on the brow of a long hill, whence it overhangs the city and the James,
has in it something of satire. The Parliament-house of George
Washington‘s own State, the State-house, contains the famed statue set
up by the general assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia to the hero‘s
memory. Without the building stands the still more noteworthy bronze
statue of the first President, erected jointly by all the States in the
then Union. That such monuments should overlook the battle-fields of the
war provoked by the secession from the Union of Washington‘s loved
Virginia, is a fact full of the grim irony of history.

Hollywood, the cemetery of Richmond, is a place full of touching sad
suggestion, and very beautiful, with deep shades and rippling streams.
During the war, there were hospitals in Richmond for 20,000 men, and
“always full,” they say. The Richmond men who were killed in battle were
buried where they fell; but 8000 who died in hospital are buried here,
and over them is placed a wooden cross, with the inscription in black
paint, “Dead, but not forgotten.” In another spot lie the Union dead,
under the shadow of the flag for which they died.

From Monroe‘s tomb the evening view is singularly soft and calm; the
quieter and calmer for the drone in which are mingled the trills of the
mocking-bird, the hoarse croaking of the bull-frog, the hum of the
myriad fire-flies, that glow like summer lightning among the trees, the
distant roar of the river, of which the rich red water can still be
seen, beaten by the rocks into a rosy foam.

With the moment‘s chillness of the sunset breeze, the golden glory of
the heavens fades into gray, and there comes quickly over them the
solemn blueness of the Southern night. Thoughts are springing up of the
many thousand unnamed graves, where the rebel soldiers lie unknown, when
the Federal drums in Richmond begin sharply beating the rappel.



CHAPTER II.

THE NEGRO.


In the back country of Virginia, and on the borders of North Carolina,
it becomes clear that our common English notions of the negro and of
slavery are nearer the truth than common notions often are. The London
Christy Minstrels are not more given to bursts of laughter of the form
“Yah! yah!” than are the plantation hands. The negroes upon the Virginia
farms are not maligned by those who represent them as delighting in the
contrasts of crimson and yellow, or emerald and sky-blue. I have seen
them on a Sunday afternoon, dressed in scarlet waistcoats and gold-laced
cravats, returning hurriedly from “meetin’,” to dance break-downs, and
grin from ear to ear for hours at a time. What better should we expect
from men to whom until just now it was forbidden, under tremendous
penalties, to teach their letters?

Nothing can force the planters to treat negro freedom save from the
comic side. To them the thing is too new for thought, too strange for
argument; the ridiculous lies on the surface, and to this they turn as a
relief. When I asked a planter how the blacks prospered under freedom,
his answer was, “Ours don‘t much like it. You see, it necessitates
monogamy. If I talk about the ‘responsibilities of freedom,’ Sambo says,
‘Dunno ’bout that; please, mass’ George: me want two wife.’” Another
planter tells me, that the only change he can see in the condition of
the negroes since they have been free is that formerly the supervision
of the overseer forced them occasionally to be clean, whereas now
nothing on earth can make them wash. He says that, writing lately to his
agent, he received an answer to which there was the following
postscript: “You ain‘t sent no sope. You had better send sope: niggers
is _certainly_ needing sope.”

It is easy to treat the negro question in this way; easy, on the other
hand, to assert that since history fails us as a guide to the future of
the emancipated blacks, we should see what time will bring, and
meanwhile set down negroes as a monster class of which nothing is yet
known, and, like the compilers of the Catalan map, say of places of
which we have no knowledge, “Here be giants, cannibals, and negroes.” As
long as we possess Jamaica, and are masters upon the African west
coast, the negro question is one of moment to ourselves. It is one, too,
of mightier import, for it is bound up with the future of the English in
America. It is by no means a question to be passed over as a joke. There
are five millions of negroes in the United States; juries throughout ten
States of the Union are mainly chosen from the black race. The matter is
not only serious, but full of interest, political, ethnological,
historic.

In the South you must take nothing upon trust; believe nothing you are
told. Nowhere in the world do “facts” appear so differently to those who
view them through spectacles of yellow or of rose. The old planters tell
you that all is ruin,--that they have but half the hands they need, and
from each hand but a half day‘s work: the new men, with Northern energy
and Northern capital, tell you that they get on very well.

The old Southern planters find it hard to rid themselves of their
traditions; they cannot understand free blacks, and slavery makes not
only the slaves but the masters shiftless. They have no cash, and the
Metayer system gives rise to the suspicion of some fraud, for the
negroes are very distrustful of the honesty of their former masters.

The worst of the evils that must inevitably grow out of the sudden
emancipation of millions of slaves have not shown themselves as yet, in
consequence of the great amount of work that has to be done in the
cities of the South, in repairing the ruin caused during the war by fire
and want of care, and in building places of business for the Northern
capitalists. The negroes of Virginia and North Carolina have flocked
down to the towns and ports by the thousand, and find in Norfolk,
Richmond, Wilmington, and Fort Monroe employment for the moment. Their
absence from the plantations makes labor dear up country, and this in
itself tempts the negroes who remain on land to work sturdily for wages.
Seven dollars a month--at the rate equal to one pound--with board and
lodging, were being paid to black field hands on the corn and tobacco
farms near Richmond. It is when the city works are over that the
pressure will come, and it will probably end in the blacks largely
pushing northward, and driving the Irish out of hotel service at New
York and Boston, as they have done in Philadelphia and St. Louis.

Already the negroes are beginning to ask for land, and they complain
loudly that none of the confiscated lands have been assigned to them.
“Ef yer dun gib us de land, reckon de ole massas ’ll starb de niggahs,”
was a plain, straightforward summary of the negro view of the negro
question, given me by a white-bearded old “uncle” in Richmond, and
backed by every black man within hearing in a chorus of “Dat‘s true, for
shore;” but I found up the country that the planters are afraid to let
the negroes own or farm for themselves the smallest plot of land, for
fear that they should sell ten times as much as they grew, stealing
their “crop” from the granaries of their employers.

At a farm near Petersburg, owned by a Northern capitalist, 1000 acres,
which before emancipation had been tilled by one hundred slaves, now
needed, I was told, but forty freedmen for their cultivation; but when I
reached the place, I found that the former number included old people
and women, while the forty were all hale men. The men were paid upon the
tally system. A card was given them for each day‘s work, which was
accepted at the plantation store in payment for goods supplied, and at
the end of the month money was paid for the remaining tickets. The
planters say that the field hands will not support their old people;
but this means only that, like white folk, they try to make as much
money as they can, and know that if they plead the wants of their wives
and children, the whites will keep their aged people.

That the negro slaves were lazy, thriftless, unchaste, and thieves, is
true; but it is as slaves, and not as negroes, that they were all these
things; and, after all, the effects of slavery upon the slave are less
terrible than its effects upon the master. The moral condition to which
the planter class had been brought by slavery, shows out plainly in the
speeches of the rebel leaders. Alexander H. Stephens, Vice-President of
the Confederacy, declared in 1861 that “Slavery is the natural and moral
condition of the negro.... I cannot permit myself to doubt,” he went on,
“the ultimate success of a full recognition of this principle throughout
the civilized and enlightened world ... negro slavery is in its
infancy.”

There is reason to believe that the American negroes will justify the
hopes of their friends; they have made the best of every chance that has
been given them as yet; they were good soldiers, they are eager to learn
their letters, they are steady at their work: in Barbadoes they are
industrious and well conducted; in La Plata they are exemplary citizens.
In America the colored laborer has had no motive to be industrious.

General Grant assured me of the great aptness at soldiering shown by the
negro troops. In battle they displayed extraordinary courage, but if
their officers were picked off they could not stand a charge; no more,
he said, could their Southern masters. The power of standing firm after
the loss of leaders is possessed only by regiments where every private
is as good as his captain and colonel, such as the Northwestern and New
England volunteers.

Before I left Richmond I had one morning found my way into a school for
the younger blacks. There were as many present as the forms would
hold--sixty, perhaps, in all--and three wounded New England soldiers,
with pale, thin faces, were patiently teaching them to write. The boys
seemed quick and apt enough, but they were very raw--only a week or two
in the school. Since the time when Oberlin first proclaimed the
potential equality of the race by admitting negroes as freely as white
men and women to the college, the negroes have never been backward to
learn.

It must not be supposed that the negro is wanting in abilities of a
certain kind. Even in the imbecility of the Congo dance we note his
unrivaled mimetic powers. The religious side of the negro character is
full of weird suggestiveness; but superstition, everywhere the handmaid
of ignorance, is rife among the black plantation hands. It is thought
that the punishment with which the shameful rites of Obi-worship have
been visited has proved, even in the City of New Orleans, insufficient
to prevent them. Charges of witchcraft are as common in Virginia as in
Orissa; in the Carolinas as in Central India the use of poison is often
sought to work out the events foretold by some noted sorceress. In no
direction can the matter be followed out to its conclusions without
bringing us face to face with the sad fact that the faults of the
plantation negro are every one of them traceable to the vices of the
slavery system, and that the Americans of to-day are suffering beyond
measure for evils for which our forefathers are responsible. We
ourselves are not guiltless of wrong-doing in this matter: if it is
still impossible openly to advocate slavery in England, it has, at
least, become a habit persistently to write down freedom. We are no
longer told that God made the blacks to be slaves, but we are bade
remember that they cannot prosper under emancipation. All mention of
Barbadoes is suppressed, but we have daily homilies on the condition of
Jamaica. The negro question in America is briefly this: is there, on the
one hand, reason to fear that, dollars applied to land decreasing while
black mouths to be fed increase, the Southern States will become an
American Jamaica? Is there, on the other hand, ground for the hope that
the negroes may be found not incapable of the citizenship of the United
States? The former of these two questions is the more difficult, and to
some extent involves the latter: can cotton, can sugar, can rice, can
coffee, can tobacco, be raised by white field hands? If not, can they be
raised with profit by black free labor? Can co-operative planting,
directed by negro over-lookers, possibly succeed, or must the farm be
ruled by white capitalists, agents, and overseers?

It is asserted that the negro will not work without compulsion; but the
same may be said of the European. There is compulsion of many kinds. The
emancipated negro may still be forced to work--forced as the white man
is forced in this and other lands, by the alternative, work or starve!
This forcing, however, may not be confined to that which the laws of
natural increase lead us to expect; it may be stimulated by bounties on
immigration.

The negro is not, it would seem, to have a monopoly of Southern labor in
this continent. This week we hear of three shiploads of Chinese coolies
as just landed in Louisiana; and the air is thick with rumors of labor
from Bombay, from Calcutta, from the Pacific Islands--of Eastern labor
in its hundred shapes--not to speak of competition with the whites, now
commencing with the German immigration into Tennessee.

The berries of this country are so large, so many, so full of juice,
that alone they form a never-failing source of nourishment to an idle
population. Three kinds of cranberries, American, pied, and English; two
blackberries, huckleberries, high-bush and low-bush blueberries--the
latter being the English bilberry--are among the best known of the
native fruits. No one in this country, however idle he be, need starve.
If he goes farther south, he has the banana, the true staff of life.

The terrible results of the plentiful possession of this tree are seen
in Ceylon, at Panama, in the coastlands of Mexico, at Auckland in New
Zealand. At Pitcairn‘s Island the plantain grove has beaten the
missionary from the field; there is much lip-Christianity, but no
practice to be got from a people who possess the fatal plant. The
much-abused cocoa-nut cannot come near it as a devil‘s agent. The
cocoa-palm is confined to a few islands and coast tracts--confined, too,
to the tropics and sea-level; the plantain and banana extend over
seventy-degrees of latitude, down to Botany Bay and King George‘s Sound,
and up as far north as the Khyber Pass. The palm asks labor--not much,
it is true; but still a few days’ hard work in the year in trenching,
and climbing after the nuts. The plantain grows as a weed, and hangs
down its bunches of ripe tempting fruit into your lap as you lie in its
cool shade. The cocoanut-tree has a hundred uses, and urges men to work
to make spirit from its juice, ropes, clothes, matting, bags, from its
fiber, oil from the pulp; it creates an export trade which appeals to
almost all men by their weakest side, in offering large and quick
returns for a little work. John Ross‘s “Isle of Cocoas,” to the west of
Java and south of Ceylon, yields him heavy gains; there are profits to
be made upon the Liberian coast, and even in Southern India and Ceylon.
The plantain will make nothing; you can eat it raw or fried, and that is
all; you can eat it every day of your life without becoming tired of its
taste; without suffering in your health, you can live on it exclusively.
In the banana groves of Florida and Louisiana there lurks much trouble
and danger to the American free States.

The negroes have hardly much chance in Virginia against the Northern
capitalists, provided with white labor; but the States of Louisiana,
Mississippi, Florida, and South Carolina promise to be wholly theirs.
Already they are flocking to places in which they have a majority of the
people, and can control the municipalities, and defend themselves, if
necessary, by force; but if the Southerners of the coast desert their
country, the negroes will not have it to themselves, unless nature
declares that they shall. New Englanders will pour in with capital and
energy, and cultivate the land by free black or by coolie labor, if
either will pay. If they do pay, competition will force the remaining
blacks to work or starve.

The friends of the negro are not without a fear that the laborers will
be too many for their work, for, while the older cotton States appear to
be worn out, the new, such as Texas and Tennessee, will be reserved by
public opinion to the whites. For the present the negroes will be
masters in seven of the rebel States; but in Texas, white men--English,
Germans, Danes--are growing cotton with success; and in Georgia and
North Carolina, which contain mountain districts, the negro power is not
likely to be permanent.

We may, perhaps, lay it down as a general principle that, when the negro
can fight his way through opposition, and stand alone as a farmer or
laborer, without the aid of private or State charity, then he should be
protected in the position he has shown himself worthy to hold, that of a
free citizen of an enlightened and laboring community. Where it is found
that when his circumstances have ceased to be exceptional, the negro
cannot live unassisted, there the Federal government may fairly and
wisely step in and say, “We will not keep you; but we will carry you to
Liberia or to Hayti, if you will.”

It is clear that the Southern negroes must be given a decisive voice in
the appointment of the legislatures by which they are to be ruled, or
that the North must be prepared to back up by force of opinion, or if
need be, by force of arms, the Federal Executive, when it insists on the
Civil Rights Bill being set in action at the South. Government through
the negroes is the only way to avoid government through an army, which
would be dangerous to the freedom of the North. It is safer for America
to trust her slaves than to trust her rebels--safer to enfranchise than
to pardon.

A reading and writing basis for the suffrage in the Southern States is
an absurdity. Coupled with pardons to the rebels, it would allow the
“boys in gray”--the soldiers of the Confederacy--to control nine States
of the Union; it would render the education of the freedmen hopeless.
For the moment, it would entirely disfranchise the negroes in six
States, whereas it is exactly for the moment that negro suffrage is in
these States necessary; while, if the rebels were admitted to vote, and
the negroes excluded from the poll, the Southern representatives, united
with the Copperhead wing of the Democratic party, might prove to be
strong enough to repudiate the Federal debt. This is one of a dozen
dangers.

An education basis for the suffrage, though pretended to be impartial,
would be manifestly aimed against the negroes, and would perpetuate the
antipathy of color to which the war is supposed to have put an end. To
education such a provision would be a death-blow. If the negroes were to
vote as soon as they could read, it is certain that the planters would
take good care that they never should read at all.

That men should be able to examine into the details of politics is not
entirely necessary to the working of representative government. It is
sufficient that they should be competent to select men to do it for
them. In the highest form of representative government, where all the
electors are both intelligent, educated, and alive to the politics of
the time, then the member returned must tend more and more to be a
delegate. That has always been the case with the Northern and Western
members in America, but never with those returned by the Southern
States; and so it will continue, whether the Southern elections be
decided by negroes or by “mean whites.”

In Warren County, Mississippi, near Vicksburg, is a plantation which
belongs to Joseph Davis, the brother of the rebel president. This he has
leased to Mr. Montgomery--once his slave--in order that an association
of blacks may be formed to cultivate the plantation on co-operative
principles. It is to be managed by a council elected by the community at
large, and a voluntary poor-rate and embankment-rate are to be levied on
the people by themselves.

It is only a year since the termination of the war, and the negroes are
already in possession of schools, village corporations, of the Metayer
system, of co-operative farms; all this tells of rapid advance, and the
conduct and circulation of the _New Orleans Tribune_, edited and
published by negroes, and selling 10,000 copies daily, and another
10,000 of the weekly issue, speaks well for the progress of the blacks.
If the Montgomery experiment succeeds, their future is secure.



CHAPTER III.

THE SOUTH.


The political forecasts and opinions which were given me upon
plantations were, in a great measure, those indicated in my talk with
the Norfolk “loafers.” On the history of the commencement of the
rebellion there was singular unanimity. “Virginia never meant to quit
the Union; we were cheated by those rascals of the South. When we did go
out, we were left to do all the fighting. Why, sir, I‘ve seen a
Mississippian division run away from a single Yankee regiment.”

As I heard much the same story from the North Carolinians that I met, it
would seem as though there was little union among the seceding States.
The legend upon the first of all the secession flags that were hoisted
was typical of this devotion to the fortunes of the State: “Death to
abolitionists; South Carolina goes it alone;” and during the whole war
it was not the rebel colors, but the palmetto emblem, or other State
devices, that the ladies wore.

About the war itself but little is said, though here and there I met a
man who would tell camp stories in the Northern style. One planter, who
had been “out” himself, went so far as to say to me: “Our officers were
good, but considering that our rank and file were just ‘white trash,’
and that they had to fight regiments of New England Yankee volunteers,
with all their best blood in the ranks, and Western sharpshooters
together, it‘s only wonderful how we weren‘t whipped sooner.”

As for the future, the planter‘s policy is a simple one: “Reckon we‘re
whipped, so we go in now for the old flag; only those Yankee rogues must
give us the control of our own people.” The one result of the war has
been, as they believe, the abolition of slavery; otherwise the situation
is unchanged. The war is over, the doctrine of secession is allowed to
fall into the background, and the ex-rebels claim to step once more into
their former place, if, indeed, they admit that they ever left it.

Every day that you are in the South you come more and more to see that
the “mean whites” are the controlling power. The landowners are not only
few in number, but their apathy during the present crisis is surprising.
The men who demand their readmission to the government of eleven States
are unkempt, fierce-eyed fellows, not one whit better than the brancos
of Brazil; the very men, strangely enough, who themselves, in their
“Leavenworth constitution,” first began disfranchisement, declaring that
the qualification for electors in the new State of Kansas should be the
taking oath to uphold the infamous Fugitive Slave Law.

These “mean whites” were the men who brought about secession. The
planters are guiltless of everything but criminal indifference to the
deeds that were committed in their name. Secession was the act of a pack
of noisy demagogues; but a false idea of honor brought round a majority
of the Southern people, and the infection of enthusiasm carried over
the remainder.

When the war sprang up, the old Southern contempt for the Yankees broke
out into a fierce burst of joy, that the day had come for paying off old
scores. “We hate them, sir,” said an old planter to me. “I wish to God
that the _Mayflower_ had sunk with all hands in Plymouth Bay.”

Along with this violence of language, there is a singular kind of
cringing to the conquerors. Time after time I heard the complaint, “The
Yanks treat us shamefully, I reckon. We come back to the Union, and give
in on every point; we renounce slavery; we consent to forget the past;
and yet they won‘t restore us to our rights.” Whenever I came to ask
what they meant by “rights,” I found the same haziness that everywhere
surrounds that word. The Southerners seem to think that men may rebel
and fight to the death against their country, and then, being beaten,
lay down their arms and walk quietly to the polls along with law-abiding
citizens, secure in the protection of the Constitution which for years
they have fought to subvert.

At Richmond I had a conversation which may serve as a specimen of what
one hears each moment from the planters. An old gentleman with whom I
was talking politics opened at me suddenly: “The Radicals are going to
give the ballot to our niggers to strengthen their party, but they know
better than to give it to their Northern niggers.”

_D_.--“But surely there‘s a difference in the cases.”

_The Planter_.--“You‘re right--there is; but not your way. The
difference is, that the Northern niggers can read and write, and even
lie with consistency, and ours can‘t.”

_D_.--“But there‘s the wider difference, that negro suffrage down here
is a necessity, unless you are to rule the country that‘s just beaten
you.”

_The Planter_.--“Well, there of course we differ. We rebs say we fought
to take our State out of the Union. The Yanks beat us; so our States
must still be in the Union. If so, why shouldn‘t our representatives be
unconditionally admitted?”

Nearer to a conclusion we of course did not come, he declaring that no
man ought to vote who had not education enough to understand the
Constitution, I, that this was good _prima facie_ evidence against
letting him vote, but that it might be rebutted by the proof of a higher
necessity for his voting. As a planter said to me, “The Southerners
prefer soldier rule to nigger rule;” but it is not a question of what
they prefer, but of what course is necessary for the safety of the Union
which they fought to destroy.

Nowhere in the Southern States did I find any expectation of a fresh
rebellion. It is only Englishmen who ask whether “the South” will not
fight “once more.” The South is dead and gone; there can never be a
“South” again, but only so many Southern States. “The South” meant
simply the slave country; and slavery being dead, it is dead. Slavery
gave us but two classes besides the negroes--planters and “mean whites.”
The great planters were but a few thousand in number; they are gone to
Canada, England, Jamaica, California, Colorado, Texas. The “mean
whites”--the true South--are impossible in the face of free labor: they
must work or starve. If they work, they will no longer be “mean whites,”
but essentially Northerners--that is, citizens of a democratic republic,
and not oligarchists.

As the Southerners admit that there can be no further war, it would be
better even for themselves that they should allow the sad record of
their rising to fade away. Their speeches, their newspapers continue to
make use of language which nothing could excuse, and which, in the face
of the magnanimity of the conquerors, is disgraceful. In a Mobile paper
I have seen a leader which describes with hideous minuteness Lincoln,
Lane, John Brown, and Dostie playing whist in hell. A Texas cutting
which I have is less blasphemous, but not less vile: “The English
language no longer affords terms in which to curse a sniveling,
weazen-faced piece of humanity generally denominated a Yankee. We see
some about here sometimes, but they skulk around, like sheep-killing
dogs, and associate mostly with niggers. They whine and prate, and talk
about the judgment of God, as if God had anything to do with them.” The
Southerners have not even the wit or grace to admit that the men who
beat them were good soldiers; “blackguards and braggarts,” “cravens and
thieves,” are common names for the men of the Union army. I have in my
possession an Alabama paper in which General Sheridan, at that time the
commander of the military division which included the State, is styled
“a short-tailed slimy tadpole of the later spawn, the blathering
disgrace of an honest father, an everlasting libel on his Irish blood,
the synonym of infamy, and scorn of all brave men.” While I was in
Virginia, one of the Richmond papers said: “This thing of ‘loyalty’ will
not do for the Southern man.”

The very day that I landed in the South a dinner was given at Richmond
by the “Grays,” a volunteer corps which had fought through the
rebellion. After the roll of honor, or list of men killed in battle, had
been read, there were given as toasts by rebel officers: “Jeff.
Davis--the caged eagle; the bars confine his person, but his great
spirit soars;” and “The conquered banner, may its resurrection at last
be as bright and as glorious as theirs--the dead.”

It is in the face of such words as these that Mr. Johnson, the most
unteachable of mortals, asks men who have sacrificed their sons to
restore the Union to admit the ex-rebels to a considerable share in the
government of the nation, even if they are not to monopolize it, as they
did before the war. His conduct seems to need the Western editor‘s
defense: “He must be kinder honest-like, he aire sich a tarnation
foolish critter.”

It is clear, from the occurrence of such dinners, the publication of
such paragraphs and leaders as those of which I have spoken, that there
is no military tyranny existing in the South. The country is indeed
administered by military commanders, but it is not ruled by troops.
Before we can give ear to the stories that are afloat in Europe of the
“government of major-generals,” we must believe that five millions of
Englishmen, inhabiting a country as large as Europe, are crushed down by
some ten thousand other men--about as many as are needed to keep order
in the single town of Warsaw. The Southerners are allowed to rule
themselves; the question now at issue is merely whether they shall also
rule their former slaves, the negroes.

I hardly felt myself out of the reach of slavery and rebellion till,
steaming up the Potomac from Aquia Creek by the gray dawn, I caught
sight of a grand pile towering over a city from a magnificent situation
on the brow of a long, rolling hill. Just at the moment, the sun,
invisible as yet to us below, struck the marble dome and cupola, and
threw the bright gilding into a golden blaze, till the Greek shape
stood out upon the blue sky, glowing like a second sun. The city was
Washington; the palace with the burnished cupola the Capitol; and within
two hours I was present at the “hot-weather sitting” of the 39th
Congress of the United States.



CHAPTER IV.

THE EMPIRE STATE.


At the far southeast of New York City, where the Hudson and East River
meet to form the inner bay, is an ill-kept park that might be made the
loveliest garden in the world. Nowhere do the features that have caused
New York to take rank as the first port of America stand forth more
clearly. The soft evening breeze tells of a climate as good as the world
can show; the setting sun floods with light a harbor secure and vast,
formed by the confluence of noble streams, and girt with quays at which
huge ships jostle; the rows of 500-pounder Rodmans at “The Narrows” are
tokens of the nation‘s strength and wealth; and the yachts, as well
handled as our own, racing into port from an ocean regatta, give
evidence that there are Saxons in the land. At the back is the city,
teeming with life, humming with trade, muttering with the thunder of
passage. Opposite, in Jersey City, people say: “Every New Yorker has
come a good half-hour late into the world, and is trying all his life to
make it up.” The bustle is immense.

All is so un-English, so foreign, that hearing men speaking what Czar
Nicholas was used to call “the American tongue,” I wheel round,
crying--“Dear me! if here are not some English folk!” astonished as
though I had heard French in Australia or Italian in Timbuctoo.

The Englishman who, coming to America, expects to find cities that smell
of home, soon learns that Baker Street itself, or Portland Place, would
not look English in the dry air of a continent four thousand miles
across. New York, however, is still less English than is Boston,
Philadelphia, or Chicago--her people are as little Saxon as her streets.
Once Southern, with the brand of slavery deeply printed in the foreheads
of her foremost men, since the defeat of the rebellion New York has to
the eye been cosmopolitan as any city of the Levant. All nationless
towns are not alike: Alexandria has a Greek or an Italian tinge; San
Francisco an English tone, with something of the heartiness of our
Elizabethan times; New York has a deep Latin shade, and the democracy of
the Empire State is of the French, not of the American or English type.

At the back, here, on the city side, are tall gaunt houses, painted red,
like those of the quay at Dort or of the Boompjes at Rotterdam, the
former dwellings of the “Knickerbockers” of New Amsterdam, the founders
of New York, but now forgotten. There may be a few square yards of
painting, red or blue, upon the houses in Broadway; there may be here
and there a pagoda summer-house overhanging a canal; once in a year you
may run across a worthy descendant of the old Netherlandish families;
but in the main the Hollanders in America are as though they had never
been; to find the memorials of lost Dutch empire, we must search Cape
Colony or Ceylon. The New York un-English tone is not Batavian. Neither
the sons of the men who once lived in these houses, nor the Germans
whose names are now upon the doors, nor, for the matter of that, we
English, who claim New York as the second of our towns, are the to-day‘s
New Yorkers.

Here, on the water‘s edge, is a rickety hall, where Jenny Lind sang when
first she landed--now the spot where strangers of another kind are
welcomed to America. Every true republican has in his heart the notion
that his country is pointed out by God for a refuge for the distressed
of all the nations. He has sprung himself from men who came to seek a
sanctuary--from the Quakers, or the Catholics, or the pilgrims of the
_Mayflower_. Even though they come to take the bread from his mouth, or
to destroy his peace, it is his duty, he believes, to aid the
immigrants. Within the last twenty years there have landed at New York
alone four million strangers. Of these two-thirds were Irish.

While the Celtic men are pouring into New York and Boston, the New
Englanders and New Yorkers, too, are moving. They are not dying. Facts
are opposed to this portentous theory. They are going West. The unrest
of the Celt is mainly caused by discontent with his country‘s present,
that of the Saxon by hope for his private future. The Irishman flies to
New York because it lies away from Ireland; the Englishman takes it upon
his road to California.

Where one race is dominant, immigrants of another blood soon lose their
nationality. In New York and Boston the Irish continue to be Celts, for
these are Irish cities. In Pittsburg, in Chicago, still more in the
country districts, a few years make the veriest Paddy English. On the
other hand, the Saxons are disappearing from the Atlantic cities, as the
Spaniards have gone from Mexico. The Irish here are beating down the
English, as the English have crushed out the Dutch. The Hollander‘s
descendants in New York are English now; it bids fair that the Saxons
should be Irish.

As it is, though the Celtic immigration has lasted only twenty years,
the results are already clear: if you see a Saxon face upon the
Broadway, you may be sure it belongs to a traveler, or to some raw
English lad bound West, just landed from a Plymouth ship. We need not
lay much stress upon the fact that all New Yorkers have black hair and
beard: men may be swarthy and yet English. The ancestors of the
Londoners of to-day, we are told, were yellow-headed roysterers; yet not
one man in fifty that you meet in Fleet Street or on Tower Hill is as
fair as the average Saxon peasant. Doubtless, our English eastern
counties were peopled in the main by low-Dutch and Flemings: the Sussex
eyes and hair are rarely seen in Suffolk. The Puritans of New England
are sprung from those of the “associated counties,” but the victors of
Marston Moor may have been cousins to those no less sturdy Protestants,
the Hollanders who defended Leyden. It may be that they were our
ancestors, those Dutchmen that we English crowded out of New
Amsterdam--the very place where we are sharing the fate we dealt. The
fiery temper of the new people of the American coast towns, their
impatience of free government, are better proofs of Celtic blood than
are the color of their eyes and beard.

Year by year the towns grow more and more intensely Irish. Already of
every four births in Boston, one only is American. There are 120,000
foreign to 70,000 native voters in New York and Brooklyn. Montreal and
Richmond are fast becoming Celtic; Philadelphia--shades of Penn!--can
only be saved by the aid of its Bavarians. Saxon Protestantism is
departing with the Saxons: the revenues of the Empire State are spent
upon Catholic asylums; plots of city land are sold at nominal rates for
the sites of Catholic cathedrals, by the “city _step_-fathers,” as they
are called. Not even in the West does the Latin Church gain ground more
rapidly than in New York City: there are 80,000 professing Catholics in
Boston.

When is this drama, of which the first scene is played in Castle Garden,
to have its close? The matter is grave enough already. Ten years ago,
the third and fourth cities of the world, New York and Philadelphia,
were as English as our London: the one is Irish now; the other all but
German. Not that the Quaker City will remain Teutonic: the Germans, too,
are going out upon the land; the Irish alone pour in unceasingly. All
great American towns will soon be Celtic, while the country continues
English: a fierce and easily-roused people will throng the cities, while
the law-abiding Saxons who till the land will cease to rule it. Our
relations with America are matters of small moment by the side of the
one great question: Who are the Americans to be?

Our kinsmen are by no means blind to the dangers that hang over them.
The “Know-Nothing” movement failed, but Protection speaks the same voice
in its opposition to commercial centers. If you ask a Western man why
he, whose interest is clearly in Free Trade, should advocate Protection,
he fires out: “Free Trade is good for our American pockets, but it‘s
death to us Americans. All your Bastiats and Mills won‘t touch the fact
that to us Free Trade must mean salt-water despotism, and the ascendency
of New York and Boston. Which is better for the country--one New York,
or ten contented Pittsburgs and ten industrious Lowells?”

The danger to our race and to the world from Irish ascendency is perhaps
less imminent than that to the republic. In January, 1862, the mayor,
Fernando Wood, the elect of the “Mozart” Democracy, deliberately
proposed the secession from the Union of New York City. Of all the
Northern States, New York alone was a dead weight upon the loyal people
during the war of the rebellion. The constituents of Wood were the very
Fenians whom in our ignorance we call “American.” It is America that
Fenianism invades from Ireland--not England from America.

It is no unfair attack upon the Irish to represent them as somewhat
dangerous inhabitants for mighty cities. Of the sixty thousand persons
arrested yearly in New York, three-fourths are alien born: two-thirds of
these are Irish. Nowhere else in all America are the Celts at present
masters of a city government--nowhere is there such corruption. The
purity of the government of Melbourne--a city more democratic than New
York--proves that the fault does not lie in democracy: it is the
universal opinion of Americans that the Irish are alone responsible.

The State legislature is falling into the hands of the men who control
the city council. They tell a story of a traveler on the Hudson River
Railroad, who, as the train neared Albany--the capital of New York--said
to a somewhat gloomy neighbor, “Going to the State legislatur’?” getting
for answer, “No, sir! It‘s not come to that with me yet. Only to the
State prison!”

Americans are never slow to ridicule the denationalization of New York.
They tell you that during the war the colonel of one of the city
regiments said: “I‘ve the best blood of eight nations in the ranks.”
“How‘s that?” “I‘ve English, Irish, Welsh, Scotch, French, Italians,
Germans.” “Guess that‘s only seven.” “Swedes,” suggested some one. “No,
no Swedes,” said the colonel. “Ah! I have it: I‘ve some Americans.”
Stories such as this the rich New Yorkers are nothing loth to tell; but
they take no steps to check the denationalization they lament. Instead
of entering upon a reform of their municipal institutions, they affect
to despise free government; instead of giving, as the oldest New England
families have done, their tone to the State schools, they keep entirely
aloof from school and State alike. Sending their boys to Cambridge,
Berlin, Heidelberg, anywhere rather than to the colleges of their native
land, they leave it to learned pious Boston to supply the West with
teachers, and to keep up Yale and Harvard. Indignant if they are pointed
at as “no Americans,” they seem to separate themselves from everything
that is American: they spend summers in England, winters in Algeria,
springs in Rome, and Coloradans say with a sneer, “Good New Yorkers go
to Paris when they die.”

Apart from nationality, there is danger to free government both in the
growth of New York City, and in the gigantic fortunes of New Yorkers.
The income, they tell me, of one of my merchant friends is larger than
the combined salaries of the president, the governors, and the whole of
the members of the legislatures of all the forty-five States and
territories. As my informant said, “He could keep the governments of
half a dozen States as easily as I can support my half dozen children.”

There is something, no doubt, of the exaggeration of political jealousy
about the accounts of New York vice given in New England and down
South, in the shape of terrible philippics. It is to be hoped that the
overstatement is enormous, for sober men are to be found even in New
York who will tell you that this city outdoes Paris in every form of
profligacy as completely as the French capital outherods imperial Rome.
There is here no concealment about the matter; each inhabitant at once
admits the truth of accusations directed against his neighbor. If the
new men, the “petroleum aristocracy,” are second to none in their
denunciations of the Irish, these in their turn unite with the oldest
families in thundering against “Shoddy.”

New York life shows but badly in the summer-time; it is seen at its
worst when studied at Saratoga. With ourselves, men have hardly ceased
to run from business and pleasures worse than toil to the comparative
quiet of the country house. Among New Yorkers there is not even the
affectation of a search for rest; the flight is from the drives and
restaurants of New York to the gambling halls of Saratoga; from winning
piles of greenbacks to losing heaps of gold; from cotton gambling to
roulette or faro. Long Branch is still more vulgar in its vice; it is
the Margate, Saratoga the Homburg of America.

“Shoddy” is blamed beyond what it deserves when the follies of New York
society are laid in a body at its door. If it be true that the New York
drawing-rooms are the best guarded in the world, it is also true that
entrance is denied as rigidly to intellect and eminence as to wealth. If
exclusiveness be needed, affectation can at least do nothing toward
subduing “Shoddy.” Mere cliqueism, disgusting every where, is ridiculous
in a democratic town; its rules of conduct are as out of place as kid
gloves in the New Zealand bush, or gold scabbards on a battle-field.

Good meat, and drink, and air, give strength to the men and beauty to
the women of a moneyed class; but in America these things are the
inheritance of every boy and girl, and give their owners no advantage in
the world. During the rebellion, the ablest generals and bravest
soldiers of the North sprang, not from the merchant families, but from
the farmer folk. Without special merit of some kind, there can be no
such thing as aristocracy.

Many American men and women, who have too little nobility of soul to be
patriots, and too little understanding to see that theirs is already, in
many points, the master country of the globe, come to you, and bewail
the fate which has caused them to be born citizens of a republic, and
dwellers in a country where men call vices by their names. The least
educated of their countrymen, the only grossly vulgar class that America
brings forth, they fly to Europe “to escape democracy,” and pass their
lives in Paris, Pau, or Nice, living libels on the country they are
believed to represent.

Out of these discordant elements, Cubans, Knickerbockers, Germans,
Irish, “first families,” “Petroleum,” and “Shoddy,” we are forced to
construct our composite idea--New York. The Irish numerically
predominate, but we have no experience as to what should be the moral
features of an Irish city, for Dublin has always been in English hands;
possibly that which in New York appears to be cosmopolitan is merely
Celtic. However it may be, this much is clear, that the humblest
township of New England reflects more truly the America of the past, the
most chaotic village of Nebraska portrays more fully the hopes and
tendencies of the America of the future, than do this huge State and
city.

If the political figure of New York is not encouraging, its natural
beauty is singularly great. Those who say that America has no scenery,
forget the Hudson, while they can never have explored Lake George, Lake
Champlain, and the Mohawk. That Poole‘s exquisite scene from the
“Decameron,” “Philomela‘s Song,” could have been realized on earth, I
never dreamt until I saw the singers at a New Yorker‘s villa on the
Hudson grouped in the deep shades of a glen, from which there was an
outlook upon the basaltic palisades and lake-like Tappan Zee. It was in
some such spot that De Tocqueville wrote the brightest of his brilliant
letters--that dated “Sing Sing”--for he speaks of himself as lying on a
hill that overhung the Hudson, watching the white sails gleaming in the
hot sun, and trying in vain to fancy what became of the river where it
disappeared in the blue “Highlands.”

That New York City itself is full of beauty the view from Castle Garden
would suffice to show; and by night it is not less lovely than by day.
The harbor is illuminated by the colored lanterns of a thousand boats,
and the steam-whistles tell of a life that never sleeps. The paddles of
the steamers seem not only to beat the water, but to stir the languid
air and so provoke a breeze, and the lime-lights at the Fulton and Wall
Street ferries burn so brightly that in the warm glare the eye reaches
through the still night to the feathery acacias in the streets of
Brooklyn. The view is as southern as the people: we have not yet found
America.



CHAPTER V.

CAMBRIDGE COMMENCEMENT.


“Old Cambridge! Long may she flourish!” proposed by a professor in the
University of Cambridge, in America, and drunk standing, with three
cheers, by the graduates and undergraduates of Harvard, is a toast that
sets one thinking.

Cambridge in America is not by any means a university of to-day. Harvard
College, which, being the only “house,” has engrossed the privileges,
funds, and titles of the university, was founded at Cambridge, Mass., in
1636, only ninety years later than the greatest and wealthiest college
of our Cambridge in old England. Puritan Harvard was the sister rather
than the daughter of our own Puritan Emmanuel. Harvard himself, and
Dunster, the first president of Harvard‘s College, were among the
earliest of the scholars of Emmanuel.

A toast from the Cambridge of new to the Cambridge of old England is one
from younger to elder sister; and Dr. Wendell Holmes, “The Autocrat,”
said as much in proposing it at the Harvard alumni celebration of 1866.

Like other old institutions, Harvard needs a ten-days’ revolution:
academic abuses flourish as luxuriantly upon American as on English
soil, and university difficulties are much the same in either country.
Here, as at home, the complaint is that the men come up to the
university untaught. To all of them their college is forced for a time
to play the high-school; to some she is never anything more than school.
At Harvard this is worse than with ourselves: the average age of entry,
though of late much risen, is still considerably under eighteen.

The college is now aiming at raising gradually the standard of entry:
when once all are excluded save men, and thinking men, real students,
such as those by whom some of the new Western universities are attended,
then Harvard hopes to leave drill-teaching entirely to the schools, and
to permit the widest freedom in the choice of studies to her students.

Harvard is not blameless in this matter. Like other universities, she is
conservative of bad things as well as good; indeed, ten minutes within
her walls would suffice to convince even an Englishman that Harvard
clings to the times before the Revolution.

Her conservatism is shown in many trivial things--in the dress of her
janitors and porters, in the cut of the grass-plots and college gates,
in the conduct of the Commencement orations in the chapel. For the
dainty little dames from Boston who came to hear their friends and
brothers recite their disquisitions none but Latin programmes were
provided, and the poor ladies were condemned to find such names as Bush,
Maurice, Benjamin, Humphrey, and Underwood among the graduating youths,
distorted into Bvsh, Mavritivs, Beniamin, Hvmphredvs, Vnderwood.

This conservatism of the New England universities had just received a
sharp attack. In the Commencement oration, Dr. Hedges, one of the
leaders of the Unitarian Church, had strongly pressed the necessity for
a complete freedom of study after entry, a liberty to take up what line
the student would, to be examined and to graduate in what he chose. He
had instanced the success of Michigan University consequent upon the
adoption of this plan; he had pointed to the fact that of all the
universities in America, Michigan alone drew her students from every
State. President Hill and ex-President Walker had indorsed his views.

There is a special fitness in the reformers coming forward at this time.
This year is the commencement of a new era at Harvard, for at the
request of the college staff, the connection of the university with the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts has just been dissolved, and the members
of the board of overseers are in future to be elected by the university,
instead of being nominated by the State. This being so, the question had
been raised as to whether the governor would come in state to
Commencement, but he yielded to the wishes of the graduates, and came
with the traditional pomp, attended by a staff in uniform, and escorted
by a troop of Volunteer Lancers, whose scarlet coats and polish recalled
the times before the Revolution.

While the ceremony was still in progress, I had been introduced to
several of the foremost rowing men among the younger graduates of
Harvard, and at its conclusion I accompanied them to their river. They
were in strict training for their university race with Yale, which was
to come off in a week, and as Cambridge had been beaten twice running,
and this year had a better crew, they were wishful for criticisms on
their style. Such an opinion as a stranger could offer was soon given:
they were dashing, fast, long in their stroke; strong, considering their
light weights, but terribly overworked. They have taken for a rule the
old English notions as to training which have long since disappeared at
home, and, looked upon as fanatics by their friends and tutors, they
have all the fanatic‘s excess of zeal.

Rowing and other athletics, with the exceptions of skating and base
ball, are both neglected and despised in America. When the smallest sign
of a reaction appears in the New England colleges, there comes at once a
cry from Boston that brains are being postponed to brawn. If New
Englanders would look about them, they would see that their climate has
of itself developed brains at the expense of brawn, and that if national
degeneracy is to be long prevented, brawn must in some way be fostered.
The high shoulder, head-voice, and pallor of the Boston men are not
incompatible with the possession of the most powerful brain, the keenest
wit; but it is not probable that energy and talent will be continued in
future generations sprung from the worn-out men and women of to-day.

The prospect at present is not bright; year by year Americans grow
thinner, lighter, and shorter-lived. Ælian‘s Americans, we may remember,
though they were greatly superior to the Greeks in stature, were
inferior to them in length of life. The women show even greater signs of
weakness than the men, and the high, undulating tones which are
affectation in the French, are natural to the ladies of America; little
can be expected of women whose only exercise is excessive dancing in
overheated rooms.

The American summer, often tropical in its heat, has much to answer for,
but it is the winter which makes the saddest havoc among the younger
people, and the boys and girls at school. Cooped up all day in the close
air of the heated school-house, the poor children are at night made to
run straight back to the furnace-dried atmosphere of home. The
thermometer is commonly raised indoors to eighty or ninety degrees Fahr.
The child is not only baked into paleness and sweated bit by bit to its
death, but fed meantime, out of mistaken kindness, upon the most
indigestible of dainties--pastry, hot dough-nuts, and sweetmeats taking
the place of bread, and milk, and meat--and is not allowed to take the
slightest exercise, except its daily run to school-house. Who can wonder
that spinal diseases should prevail?

One reason why Americans are pale and agueish is that, as a people, they
are hewers of primeval forest and tillers of virgin soil. These are the
unhealthiest employments in the world; the sun darts down upon the
hitherto unreached mould, and sets free malarious gases, against which
the new settlers have no antidotes.

The rowing men of Harvard tell me that their clubs are still looked on
somewhat coldly by the majority of the professors, who obstinately
refuse to see that improved physical type is not an end, but a means,
toward improvement of the mental faculties, if not in the present, at
least in the next generation. As for the moral training in the virtues
of obedience and command, for which a boat‘s crew is the best of
schools, that is not yet understood at Harvard, where rowing is confined
to the half dozen men who are to represent the college in the annual
race, and the three or four more who are being trained to succeed them
in the crew. Rowing in America is what it was till ten years since at
old Cambridge, and is still at Oxford--not an exercise for the majority
of the students, but a pursuit for a small number. Physical culture is,
however, said to be making some small progress in the older States, and
I myself saw signs of the tendency in Philadelphia. The war has done
some good in this respect, and so has the influx of Canadians to
Chicago. Cricket is still almost an unknown thing, except in some few
cities. When I was coming in to Baltimore by train, we passed a meadow
in which a match was being played. A Southerner to whom I was talking at
the time, looked at the players, and said with surprise: “Reckon they‘ve
got a wounded man ther’, front o’ them sticks, sah.” I found that he
meant the batsman, who was wearing pads.

One of the most brilliant of Harvard‘s thinkers has taken to
carpentrying as a relief to his mental toil; her most famed professor is
often to be found working in his garden or his farm; but such change of
work for work is possible only to certain men. The generality of
Americans need not only exercise, but relaxation; still, with less
physical, they possess greater mental vitality then ourselves.

On the day that follows Commencement--the chief ceremony of the academic
year--is held once in three summers the “Alumni Celebration,” or meeting
of the past graduates of Harvard--a touching gathering at all times, but
peculiarly so in these times that follow on the losses of the war.

The American college informal organizations rest upon the unit of the
“class.” The “class” is what at Cambridge is called “men of the same
year,”--men who enter together and graduate together at the end of the
regular course. Each class of a large New England college, such as
Harvard, will often possess an association of its own; its members will
dine together once in five years, or ten--men returning from Europe and
from the far West to be present at the gathering. Harvard is strong in
the affections of the New England people--her faults are theirs; they
love her for them, and keep her advantages to themselves, for in the
whole list of graduates for this year I could find only two Irish names.

Here, at the Alumni Celebration, a procession was marshaled in the
library in which the order was by classes; the oldest class of which
there were living members being called the first. “Class of 1797!” and
two old white-haired gentlemen tottered from the crowd, and started on
their march down the central aisle, and out bareheaded into the blaze of
one of the hottest days that America had ever known. “Class of 1800!”
missing two years, in which all the graduates were dead; and out came
one, the sole survivor. Then came “1803,” and so on, to the stalwart
company of the present year. When the classes of 1859 and 1860, and of
the war-years were called, those who marched out showed many an empty
sleeve.

The present triennial celebration is noteworthy not only for the efforts
of the university reformers, but also for the foundation of the Memorial
Hall, dedicated as a monument to those sons of Harvard who fell while
serving their country in the suppression of the late rebellion. The
purity of their patriotism hardly needed illustration by the fire of
young Everett, or the graceful speech of Dr. Holmes. Even the splendid
oratory of Governor Bullock could do little more than force us to read
for ourselves the Roll of Honor, and see how many of Harvard‘s most
distinguished younger men died for their country as privates of
Massachusetts Volunteers.

There was a time, as England knows, when the thinking men of Boston, and
the Cambridge professors, Emerson, Russell Lowell, Asa Gray, and a dozen
more of almost equal fame, morally seceded from their country‘s
councils, and were followed in their secession by the younger men. “The
best men in America stand aloof from politics,” it was said.

The country from which these men seceded was not the America of to-day:
it was the Union which South Carolina ruled. From it the Cambridge
professors “came out,” not because they feared to vex their nerves with
the shock of public argument and action, but because the course of the
slaveholders was not their course. Hating the wrongs they saw but could
not remedy, they separated themselves from the wrong-doers; another
matter, this, from the “hating hatred” of our culture class in England.

In 1863 and 1864 there came the reckoning. When America was first
brought to see the things that had been done in her name, and at her
cost, and, rising in her hitherto unknown strength, struck the noblest
blow for freedom that the world has seen, the men who had been urging on
the movement from without at once re-entered the national ranks, and
marched to victory. Of the men who sat beneath Longfellow, and Agassiz,
and Emerson, whole battalions went forth to war. From Oberlin almost
every male student and professor marched, and the university teaching
was left in the women‘s hands. Out of 8000 school-teachers in
Pennsylvania, of whom 300 alone were drafted, 3000 volunteered for the
war. Everywhere the teachers and their students were foremost among the
Volunteers, and from that time forward America and her thinkers were at
one.

The fierce passions of this day of wakening have not been suffered to
disturb the quiet of the academic town. Our English universities have
not about them the classic repose, the air of study, that belong to
Cambridge, Massachusetts. Those who have seen the lanes of Leyden, and
compared them with the noisy Oxford High Street, will understand what I
mean when I say that our Cambridge comes nearest to her daughter-town;
but even the English Cambridge has a bustling street or two, and a
weekly market-day, while Cambridge in New England is one great academic
grove, buried in a philosophic calm which our university towns can never
rival so long as men resort to them for other purposes than work.

It is not only in the Harvard precincts that the oldness of New England
is to be remarked. Although her people are everywhere in the vanguard of
all progress, their country has a look of gable-ends and steeple-hats,
while their laws seem fresh from the hands of Alfred. In all England
there is no city which has suburbs so gray and venerable as are the
elm-shaded towns round Boston: Dorchester, Chelsea, Nahant, and Salem,
each seems more ancient than its fellow; the people speak the English of
Elizabeth, and joke about us, ”---- speaks good English for an
Englishman.”

In the country districts, the winsome villages that nestle in the dells
seem to have been there for ten centuries at least; and it gives one a
shock to light on such a spot as Bloody Brook, and to be told that only
one hundred and ninety years ago Captain Lathrop was slain there by Red
Indians, with eighty youths, “the flower of Essex County,” as the
Puritan history says.

The warnings of Dr. Hedges, in reference to the strides of Michigan,
have taken the New Englanders by surprise. Secure, as they believed, in
their intellectual supremacy, they forgot that in a Federal Union the
moral and physical primacy will generally both reside in the same State.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, at one time the foremost upholder of
the doctrine of State rights, will soon be seen once more acting as its
champion--this time on behalf of herself and her five sister States.

Were the six New England Commonwealths grouped together in a single
State, it would still have only three-fourths of the population of New
York, and about an equal number of inhabitants with Pennsylvania. The
State of Rhode Island is one-fourth the size of many a single
Californian county. Such facts as these will not be long lost sight of
in the West, and when a divergence of interests springs up, Ohio will
not suffer her voice in the Senate to continue to be neutralized by that
of Connecticut or Rhode Island. Even if the Senate be allowed to remain
untouched, it is certain that the redistribution of seats consequent
upon the census of 1870 will completely transfer political power to the
central States. That New England will by this change inevitably lose her
hold upon the destinies of the whole Union is not so clear. The
influence for good of New England upon the West has been chiefly
seminal; but not for that the less enormous. Go into a State such as
Michigan, where half the people are immigrants--where, of the remaining
moiety, the greater part are born Westerners, and apparently in no way
of New England--and you will find that the inhabitants are for the most
part earnest, God-fearing men, with a New England tone of profound
manliness and conviction running through everything they say and do. The
colleges in which they have been reared are directed, you will find, by
New England professors, men trained in the classic schools of Harvard,
Yale, or Amherst; the ministers under whom they sit are, for the most
part, Boston men; the books they read are of New England, or old English
of the class from which the writers of the Puritan States themselves
have drawn their inspiration. To New England is chiefly due, in short,
the making of America a godly nation.

It is something in this age to come across a people who believe strongly
in anything, and consistently act upon their beliefs: the New Englanders
are such a race. Thoroughly God-fearing States are not so common that
we can afford to despise them when found; and nowhere does religion
enter more into daily life than in Vermont or Massachusetts.

The States of the Union owe so huge a debt of gratitude to New England,
that on this score alone they may refrain from touching her with
sacrilegious hands. Not to name her previous sacrifices, the single
little State of Massachusetts--one-fourth the size of Scotland, and but
half as populous as Paris--sent during the rebellion a hundred and fifty
regiments to the field.

It was to Boston that Lincoln telegraphed when, in 1861, at a minute‘s
notice, he needed men for the defense of Washington. So entirely were
Southerners of the opinion that the New Englanders were the true
supporters of the old flag, that “Yankee” became a general term for
loyalists of any State. America can never forget the steady heroism of
New England during the great struggle for national existence.

The unity that has been the chief cause of the strength of the New
England influence is in some measure sprung from the fact that these six
States are completely shut off from all America by the single State of
New York, alien from them in political and moral life. Every Yankee
feels his country bounded by the British, the Irish, and the sea.

In addition to the homogeneousness of isolation, the New Englanders,
like the Northern Scotch, have the advantages of a bad climate and a
miserable soil. These have been the true agents in the development of
the energy, the skill, and fortitude of the Yankee people. In the war,
for instance, it was plain that the children of the poor and rugged
Northeastern States were not the men to be beaten by the lotus-eaters
of Louisiana when they were doing battle for what they believed to be a
righteous cause.

One effect of the poverty of soil with which New England is afflicted
has been that her sons have wandered from end to end of the known world,
engaging in every trade, and succeeding in all. Sometimes there is in
their migrations a religious side. Mormonism, although it now draws its
forces from Great Britain, was founded in New England. At Brindisi, on
my way home, I met three Yankees returning from a Maine colony lately
founded at Jaffa, in expectation of the fulfillment of prophecy, and
destruction of the Mohammedan rule. For the moment they are intriguing
for a firman from the very government upon the coming fall of which all
their expectations have been based; and these fierce fanatics are making
money by managing a hotel. One of them told me that the Jaffa colony is
a “religio-commercial speculation.”

New England Yankees are not always so filled with the Puritan spirit as
to reject unlawful means of money-making. Even the Massachusetts common
schools and prim Connecticut meeting-houses turn out their black sheep
into the world. At Center Harbor, in New Hampshire, I met with an
example of the “Yankee spawn” in a Maine man--a shrewd, sailor-looking
fellow. He was sitting next me at the ordinary, and asked me to take a
glass of his champagne. I declined, but chatted, and let out that I was
a Britisher.

“I was subject to your government once for sixteen months,” my neighbor
said.

“Really! Where?”

“Sierra Leone. I was a prisoner there. And very lucky, too.”

“Why so?” I asked.

“Because, if the American government had caught me, they would have
hanged me for a pirate. But _I wasn‘t a pirate_.”

With over-great energy I struck in, “Of course not.”

_My Neighbor.--“No; I was a slaver.”_

       *       *       *       *       *

Idling among the hills of New Hampshire and the lakes of Maine, it is
impossible for a stranger, starting free from prejudice, not to end by
loving the pious people of New England, for he will see that there could
be no severer blow to the cause of freedom throughout the world than the
loss by them of an influence upon American life and thought, which has
been one of unmixed good. Still, New England is not America.



CHAPTER VI.

CANADA.


There is not in the world a nobler outlook than that from off the
terrace at Quebec. You stand upon a rock overhanging city and river, and
look down upon the guardship‘s masts. Acre upon acre of timber comes
floating down the stream above the city, the Canadian songs just
reaching you upon the heights; and beneath you are fleets of great
ships, English, German, French, and Dutch, embarking the timber from the
floating-docks. The Stars and Stripes are nowhere to be seen. Such are
the distances in North America, that here, farther from the sea than is
any city in Europe west of Moscow, we have a seaport town, with
gunboats and three-decker; morning and evening guns, and bars of “God
save the Queen,” to mark the opening and closing of the port.

The St. Lawrence runs in a chasm in a flat table-land, through which
some earlier Niagara seems to have cut for it a way. Some of the
tributaries are in sight, all falling from a cliff into the deep still
river. In the distance, seaward, a silver ribbon on the rock represents
the grand falls of Montmorenci. Long villages of white tiny cots
straggle along the roads that radiate from the city; the great black
cross of the French parish church showing reverently from all.

On the north, the eye reaches to the rugged outlines of the Laurentian
range, composed of the oldest mountains in the world, at the foot of
which is Lake St. Charles, full of fiord-like northern beauty, where at
a later time I learnt to paddle the Indian canoe of birch bark.

Leaving the citadel, we are at once in the European middle ages. Gates
and posterns, cranky steps that lead up to lofty gabled houses, with
sharp French roofs of burnished tin, like those of Liege; processions of
the Host; altars decked with flowers; statues of the Virgin; sabots;
blouses; and the scarlet of the British linesman,--all these are seen in
narrow streets and markets, that are graced with many a Cotentin lace
cap, and all within forty miles of the down-east Yankee State of Maine.
It is not far from New England to old France.

Quebec Lower Town is very like St. Peter Port in Guernsey. Norman-French
inhabitants, guarded by British troops, step-built streets, thronged
fruit-market, and citadel upon a rock, frowning down upon the quays,
are alike in each. A slight knowledge of the Upper Normandy patois is
not without its use; it procured me an offer of a pinch of snuff from an
old _habitante_ on board one of the river boats. Her gesture was worthy
of the _ancien regime_.

There has been no dying-out of the race among the French Canadians. They
number twenty times the thousands that they did a hundred years ago. The
American soil has left their physical type, religion, language, laws,
and habits absolutely untouched. They herd together in their rambling
villages, dance to the fiddle, after mass on Sundays, as gayly as once
did their Norman sires, and keep up the fleur-de-lys and the memory of
Montcalm. More French than the French are the Lower Canadian
_habitants_.

Not only here, but everywhere, a French “dependency” is France
transported; not a double of the France of to-day, but a mummy of the
France of the time of the “colony‘s” foundation. In Säigon, you find
Imperial France; here the France of Louis Quatorze. The Englishman
founds everywhere a New England--new in thought as in soil; the
Frenchman carries with him to California, to Japan, an undying
recollection of the Palais Royal. In San Francisco there lives a great
French capitalist, who, since 1849, has been the originator of every
successful Californian speculation. He cannot speak a word of English,
and his greatest pleasure, in a country of fruits and wine, is to bid
his old French servant assure him, upon honor, that his whole dessert,
from his claret to his olives, has been brought for him from France.
There is much in the colonizing instinct of our race, but something,
perhaps, in the consideration that the English are hardly happy enough
at home to be always looking back to what they have left in the old
country.

There is about this old France something of Dutch sleepiness and
content. There is, indeed, some bustle in the market-place, where the
grand old dames, in snowy caps, sit selling plums and pears; there is
much singing made over the lading of the timber-ships; there are rafts
in hundreds gliding down the river; old French carts in dozens, creaking
and wheezing on their lumbering way to town, with much clacking of whips
and clappering of wooden shoes. All these things there are, but then
there are these and more in Dol, and Quimper, and Morlaix--in all those
towns which in Europe come nearest to old France. There is quiet bustle,
subdued trade, prosperity deep, not noisy; but the life is sleepy; the
rafts float, and are not tugged nor rowed; the old Norman horses seem to
draw the still older carts without an effort, and the very boys wear
noisy shoes against their will, and make a clatter simply because they
cannot help it.

In such a scene it is impossible to forget that British troops are here
employed as guardians of the only true French colony in the world
against the inroads of the English race. “Nos institutions, notre
langue, nos lois,” is the motto of the _habitants_. Their newspapers are
filled with church celebrations, village fêtes, speeches of “M. le Curé”
at the harvest-home, announcements by the “scherif,” speech of M.
Cartier at the consecration of Monseigneur Laroque, blessings of bells,
of ships; but of life, nothing--of mention of what is passing in
America, not a word. One corner is given to the world outside America:
“Emprunt Pontifical, Emission Américaine, quatre millions de piastres,”
heads a solid column of holy finance. The pulse-beat of the continent
finds no echo here.

It is not only in political affairs that there is a want of energy in
French or Lower Canada; in journeying from Portland to Quebec, the
moment the frontier was passed, we seemed to have come from a land of
life to one of death. No more bustling villages, no more keen-eyed
farmers: a fog of unenterprise hung over the land; roads were wanting,
houses rude, swamps undrained, fields unweeded, plains untilled.

If the Eastern Townships and country round Quebec are a wilderness, they
are not a desert. The country on the Saguenay is both. At Quebec in
summer it is hot--mosquitoes are not unknown: even at Tadousac, where
the Saguenay flows into the St. Lawrence, there is sunlight as strong as
that of Paris. Once in the northern river, all is cold, gloomy,
arctic--no house, no boat, no sign of man‘s existence, no beasts, no
birds, although the St. Lawrence swarms with duck and loons. The river
is a straight, cold, black fiord, walled in by tremendous cliffs, which
go sheer down into depths to which their height above water is as
nothing; two walls of rock, and a path of ice-cold, inky water. Fish
there are, seal and salmon--that is all. The “whales and porpoises,”
which are advertised by the Tadousac folks as certain to “disport
themselves daily in front of the hotel,” are never to be seen in this
earth-crack of the Saguenay.

The cold, for summer, was intense; nowhere in the world does the limit
of ever-frozen ground come so far south as in the longitude of the
Saguenay. At night we had a wonderful display of northern lights. A
white column, towering to the mid-skies, rose, died away, and was
succeeded by broad white clouds, stretching from east to west, and
sending streamers northward. Suddenly there shot up three fresh silvery
columns in the north, northwest, and northeast, on which all the colors
of the rainbow danced and played. After moonrise, the whole seemed
gradually to fade away.

At Ha Ha Bay, the head of navigation, I found a fur-buying station of
the Hudson‘s Bay Company; but that association has enough to answer for
without being charged with the desolation of the Saguenay. The company
has not here, as upon the Red River, sacrificed colonists to minks and
silver-foxes. There is something more blighting than a monopoly that
oppresses Lower Canada. As I returned to Quebec, the boat that I was
aboard touched at St. Paschal, now called Rivière du Loup, the St.
Lawrence terminus of the Grand Trunk line: we found there immense
wharves, and plenty of bells and crosses, but not a single ship, great
or small. Even in Virginia I had seen nothing more disheartening.

North of the St. Lawrence religion is made to play as active a part in
politics as in the landscape. Lower Canada, as we have seen, is French
and Catholic; Upper Canada is Scotch and Presbyterian, though the
Episcopalians are strong in wealth and the Irish Catholics in numbers.

Had the Catholics been united, they might, since the fusion of the two
Canadas, have governed the whole country: as it is, the Irish and French
neither worship nor vote together, and of late the Scotch have had
nearly their own way.

Finding themselves steadily losing ground, the French threw in their lot
with the scheme for the confederation of the provinces, and their clergy
took up the cause with a zeal which they justified to their flocks by
pointing out that the alternative was annexation to America, and
possible confiscation of the church lands.

Confederation of the provinces means separation of the Canadas, which
regain each its Parliament; and the French Catholics begin to hope that
the Irish of Upper Canada, now that they are less completely overshaded
by the more numerous French, will again act with their co-religionists:
the Catholic vote in the new confederation will be nearly half the
whole. In Toronto, however, the Fenians are strong, and even in Montreal
their presence is not unknown: it is a question whether the whole of the
Canadian Irish are not disaffected. The Irish of the chief city have
their Irish priests, their cathedral of St. Patrick, while the French
have theirs upon the Place d‘Armes. The want of union may save the
dominion from the establishment of Catholicism as a State Church.

The confederation of our provinces was necessary, if British North
America was to have a chance for life; but it cannot be said to be
accomplished while British Columbia and the Red River tract are not
included. To give Canada an outlet on one side is something, but
communication with the Atlantic is a small matter by the side of
communication at once with Atlantic and Pacific through British
territory. We shall soon have railways from Halifax to Lake Superior,
and thence to the Pacific is but 1600 miles. It is true that the line is
far north, and exposed to heavy snows and bitter cold; but, on the other
hand, it is well supplied with wood, and if it possess no such fertile
tracts as that of Kansas and Colorado, it at least escapes the frightful
wilds of Bitter Creek and Mirage Plains.

We are now even left in doubt how long we shall continue to possess so
much as a route across the continent on paper. Since the cession of
Russian America to the United States, a map of North America has been
published in which the name of the Great Republic sprawls across the
continent from Behring‘s Straits to Mexico, with the “E” in “United”
ominously near Vancouver‘s Island, and the “T” actually planted upon
British territory. If we take up the _British Columbian_, we find the
citizens of the mainland portion of the province proposing to sell the
island for twenty million dollars to the States.

Settled chiefly by Americans from Oregon and California, and situated,
for purposes of reinforcement, immigration, and supply, at a distance of
not less than twenty thousand miles from home, the British Pacific
colonies can hardly be considered strong in their allegiance to the
crown: we have here the _reductio ad absurdum_ of home government.

Our hindering trade, by tolerating the presence of two sets of
custom-houses and two sets of coins between Halifax and Lake Superior,
was less absurd than our altogether preventing its extension now. Under
a so-called confederation of our American possessions, we have left a
country the size of civilized Europe, and nearly as large as the United
States--lying too, upon the track of commerce and highroad to China--to
be despotically governed by a company of traders in skins and peltries,
and to remain as long as it so pleases them in the dead stillness and
desertion needed to insure the presence of fur-bearing beasts.

“Red River” should be a second Minnesota, Halifax a second Liverpool,
Esquimault a second San Francisco; but double government has done its
work, and the outposts of the line of trade are already in American, not
British hands. The gold mines of Nova Scotia, the coal mines and forests
of British Columbia, are owned in New England and New York, and the
Californians are expecting the proclamation of an American territorial
government in the capital of Vancouver‘s Island.

As Montana becomes peopled up, we shall hear of the “colonization” of
Red River by citizens of the United States, such as preceded the
hoisting of the “lone star” in Texas, and the “bear flag” in California,
by Fremont; and resistance by the Hudson‘s Bay Company will neither be
possible, nor, in the interests of civilization, desirable.

Even supposing a great popular awakening upon colonial questions, and
the destruction of the Hudson‘s Bay monopoly, we never could make the
Canadian dominion strong. With the addition of Columbia and Red River,
British America would hardly be as powerful or populous as the two
Northwestern States of Ohio and Illinois, or the single State of New
York--one out of forty-five. “Help us for ten years, and then we‘ll help
ourselves,” the Canadians say; “help us to become ten millions, and then
we will stand alone;” but this becoming ten millions is not such an easy
thing.

The ideas of most of us as to the size of the British territories are
derived from maps of North America, made upon Mercator‘s projection,
which are grossly out in high latitudes, though correct at the equator.
The Canadas are made to appear at least twice their proper size, and
such gigantic proportions are given to the northern parts of the Hudson
territory that we are tempted to believe that in a country so vast there
must be some little value. The true size is no more shown upon the map
than is the nine-months’ winter.

To Upper Canada, which is no bad country, it is not for lack of asking
that population fails to come. Admirably executed gazettes give the
fullest information about the British possessions in the most glowing of
terms; offices and agencies are established in Liverpool, London, Cork,
Londonderry, and a dozen other cities; government immigration agents and
information offices are to be found in every town in Canada; the
government immigrant is looked after in health, comfort, and religion;
directions of the fullest kind are given him in the matters of money,
clothes, tools, luggage; Canada, he is told by the government papers,
possesses perfect religious, political, and social freedom; British
subjects step at once into the possession of political rights; the
winter is but bracing, the climate the healthiest in the world. Millions
of acres of surveyed crown lands are continually in the market. To one
who knows what the northern forests are there is perhaps something of
satire in the statement that “there is generally on crown lands an
unlimited supply of the best fuel.” What of that, however? The intending
immigrant knows nothing of the struggle with the woods, and fuel is fuel
in Old England. The mining of the precious metals, the fisheries,
petroleum, all are open to the settler--let him but come. Reading these
documents, we can only rub our eyes, and wonder how it is that human
selfishness allows the Canadian officials to disclose the wonders of
their El Dorado to the outer world, and invite all men to share
blessings which we should have expected them to keep as a close preserve
for themselves and their nearest and dearest friends. Taxation in the
States, the immigrants are told, is five and a half times what it is in
Canada, two and a half times the English rate. Laborers by the thousand,
merchants and farmers by the score, are said to be flocking into Canada
to avoid the taxation of the Radicals. The average duration of life in
Canada is 37 per cent. higher than in the States. Yet, in the face of
all these facts, only twenty or two and twenty thousand immigrants come
to Canada for three hundred thousand that flock annually to the States,
and of the former many thousands do but pass through on their way to the
Great West. Of the twenty thousand who land at Quebec in each year, but
four and a half thousand remain a year in Canada; and there are a
quarter of a million of persons born in British America now naturalized
in the United States.

The passage of the immigrants to the Western States is not for want of
warning. The Canadian government advertise every Coloradan duel, every
lynching in Montana, every Opposition speech in Kansas, by way of
teaching the immigrants to respect the country of which they are about
to become free citizens.

It is an unfortunate fact, that these strange statements are not
harmless--not harmless to Canada, I mean. The Provincial government by
these publications seems to confess to the world that Canada can live
only by running down the great republic. Canadian sympathy for the
rebellion tends to make us think that these northern statesmen must not
only share in our old-world confusion of the notions of right and wrong,
but must be sadly short-sighted into the bargain. It is only by their
position that they are blinded, for few countries have abler men than
Sir James Macdonald, or sounder statesmen than Cartier or Galt; but,
like men standing on the edge of a cliff, Canadian statesmen are always
wanting to jump off. Had Great Britain left them to their own devices,
we should have had war with America in the spring of 1866.

The position of Canada is in many ways anomalous: of the two chief
sections of our race--that in Britain and that in America--the latter is
again split in twain, and one division governed from across the
Atlantic. For such government there is no pretext, except the wishes of
the governed, who gain by the connection men for their defense, and the
opportunity of gratifying their spite for their neighbors at our
expense. Those who ask why a connection so one-sided, so opposed to the
best interests of our race, should be suffered to continue, are
answered, now that the argument of “prestige” is given up, that the
Canadians are loyal, and that they hate the Americans, to whom, were it
not for us, they must inevitably fall. That the Canadians hate the
Americans can be no reason why we should spend blood and treasure in
protecting them against the consequences of their hate. The world should
have passed the time when local dislikes can be suffered to affect our
policy toward the other sections of our race; but even were it
otherwise, it is hard to see how twelve thousand British troops, or a
royal standard hoisted at Ottawa, can protect a frontier of two thousand
miles in length from a nation of five and thirty millions. Canada,
perhaps, can defend herself, but we most certainly cannot defend her; we
provoke much more than we assist.

As for Canadian “loyalty,” it appears to consist merely of hatred toward
America, for while we were fighting China and conquering Japan, that we
might spread free trade, our loyal colonists of Canada set upon our
goods protective duties of 20 per cent, which they have now in some
degree removed, only that they may get into their hands the smuggling
trade carried on in breach of the laws of our ally, their neighbor. We
might, at least, fairly insist that the connection should cease, unless
Canada will entirely remove her duties.

At bottom, it would seem as though no one gained by the retention of our
hold on Canada. Were she independent, her borders would never again be
wasted by Fenian hordes, and she would escape the terrible danger of
being the battle-field in which European quarrels are fought out. Canada
once republican, the Monroe doctrine would be satisfied, and its most
violent partisans would cease to advocate the adoption of other than
moral means to merge her territories in the Union. An independent Canada
would not long delay the railway across the continent to Puget Sound,
which a British bureau calls impossible. England would be relieved from
the fear of a certain defeat by America in the event of war--a fear
always harmful, even when war seems most unlikely; relieved, too, from
the cost of such panics as those of 1861 and 1866.

Did Canada stand alone, no offense that she could give America would be
likely to unite all sections of that country in an attempt to conquer
her; while, on the other hand, such an attempt would be resisted to the
death by an armed and brave people, four millions strong. As it is, any
offense toward America committed by our agents, at any place or time, or
arising out of the continual changes of policy and of ministry in Great
Britain, united to the standing offense of maintaining the monarchical
principle in North America, will bring upon unhappy Canada the whole
American nation, indignant in some cause, just, or seeming just, and to
be met by a people deceived into putting their trust in a few regiments
of British troops, sufficient at the most to hold Quebec, and to be
backed by reinforcements which could never come in time, did public
opinion in Great Britain so much as permit their sailing. In all history
there is nothing stranger than the narrowness of mind that has led us to
see in Canada a piece of England, and in America a hostile country.
There are more sons of British subjects in America than in Canada, by
far; and the American looks upon the old country with a pride that
cannot be shared by a man who looks to her to pay his soldiers.

The independence of Canada would put an immediate end to much of the
American jealousy of Great Britain--a consideration which of itself
should outweigh any claim to protection which the Canadians can have on
us. The position which we have to set before us in our external dealings
is, that we are no more fellow-countrymen of the Canadians than of the
Americans of the North or West.

The capital of the new dominion is to be Ottawa, known as “Hole in the
Woods” among the friends of Toronto and Montreal, and once called
Bytown. It consists of the huge Parliament-house, the government
printing-office, some houseless wildernesses meant for streets, and the
hotel where the members of the legislature “board.” Such was the
senatorial throng at the moment of my visit, that we were thrust into a
detached building made of half-inch planks, with wide openings between
the boards; and as the French Canadian members were excited about the
resignation of Mr. Galt, indescribable chattering and bawling filled the
house.

The view from the Parliament-house is even more thoroughly Canadian than
that from the terrace at Quebec--a view of a land of rapids, of pine
forests, and of lumberers’ homes, full of character, but somewhat bleak
and dreary; even on the hottest summer‘s day, it tells of winter storms
past and to come. On the far left are the island-filled reaches of the
Upper Ottawa; nearer, the roaring Chaudière Falls, a mile across--a mile
of walls of water, of sudden shoots, of jets, of spray. From the
“caldron” itself, into which we can hardly see, rises a column of
rainbow-tinted mist, backed by distant ranges and black woods, now fast
falling before the settler‘s axe. Below you is the river, swift, and
covered with cream-like foam; on the right, a gorge--the mouth of the
Rideau Canal.

When surveyed from the fittest points, the Chaudière is but little
behind Niagara; but it may be doubted whether in any fall there is that
which can be called sublimity. Natural causes are too evident; water,
rushing to find its level, falls from a ledge of rock. How different
from a storm upon the coast, or from a September sunset, where the
natural causes are so remote that you can bring yourself almost to see
the immediate hand of God! It is excusable in Americans, who have no
sea-coast worthy of the name, to talk of Niagara as the perfection of
the sublime; but it is strange that a people who have Birling Gap and
Bantry Bay should allow themselves to be led by such a cry.

Niagara has one beauty in which it is unapproached by the great
Chaudière: the awesome slowness with which the deep-green flood, in the
center of the Horseshoe Fall, rolls rather than plunges into the gulf.



CHAPTER VII.

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN.


From the gloom of Buffalo, the smoke of Cincinnati, and the dirt of
Pittsburg, I should have been glad to escape as soon as might be, even
had not the death from cholera of 240 persons in a single day of my
visit to the “Queen City” warned me to fly north. From a stricken town,
with its gutters full of chloride of lime, and fires burning in the
public streets, to green Michigan, was a grateful change; but I was full
of sorrow at leaving that richest and most lovely of all States--Ohio.
There is a charm in the park-like beauty of the Monongahela valley,
dotted with vines and orchards, that nothing in Eastern America can
rival. The absence at once of stumps in the cornfields, and of untilled
or unfenced land, gives the “Buckeye State” a look of age that none of
the “old Eastern States” can show. In corn, in meadow, in timber-land,
Ohio stands alone. Her indian-corn exceeds in richness that of any other
State; she has ample stores of iron, and coal is worked upon the surface
in every Alleghany valley. Wool, wine, hops, tobacco, all are raised;
her Catawba has inspired poems. Every river-side is clothed with groves
of oak, of hickory, of sugar-maple, of sycamore, of poplar, and of
buckeye. Yet, as I said, the change to the Michigan prairie was full of
a delightful relief; it was Holland after the Rhine, London after Paris.

Where men grow tall there will maize grow tall, is a good sound rule:
limestone makes both bone and straw. The Northwestern States, inhabited
by giant men, are the chosen home of the most useful and beautiful of
plants, the maize--in America called “corn.” For hundreds of miles the
railway track, protected not even by a fence or hedge, runs through the
towering plants, which hide all prospects save that of their own green
pyramids. Maize feeds the people, it feeds the cattle and the hogs that
they export to feed the cities of the East; from it is made yearly, as
an Ohio farmer told me, “whisky enough to float the ark.” Rice is not
more the support of the Chinese than maize of the English in America.

In the great corn-field of the Northwestern States, dwells a people
without a history, without tradition, busy at hewing out of the forest
trunks codes and social usages of its own. The Kansas men have set
themselves to emancipating women; the “Wolverines,” as the people of
Michigan are called, have turned their heads to education, and are
teaching the teachers upon this point.

The rapidity with which intellectual activity is awakened in the West is
inexplicable to the people of New England. While you are admiring the
laws of Minnesota and Wisconsin, Boston men tell you that the
resemblance of the code of Kansas to that of Connecticut is consequent
only on the fact, that the framers of the former possessed a copy of
this one New England code, while they had never set eyes upon the code
of any other country in the world. While Yale and Harvard are trying in
vain to keep pace with the State universities of Michigan and Kansas,
you will meet in Lowell and New Haven men who apply an old Russian story
to the Western colleges, and tell you that their professors of
languages, when asked where they have studied, reply that they guess
they learned to read and write in Springfield.

One of the difficulties of the New England colleges has been to
reconcile university traditions with democracy; but in the Western
States there is neither reconciliation nor tradition, though
universities are plenty. Probably the most democratic school in the
whole world is the State University of Michigan, situate at Ann Arbor,
near Detroit. It is cheap, large, practical; twelve hundred students,
paying only the ten dollars entrance fee, and five dollars a year during
residence, and living where they can in the little town, attend the
university to be prepared to enter with knowledge and resolution upon
the affairs of their future life. A few only are educated by having
their minds unfolded that they may become many-sided men; but all work
with spirit, and with that earnestness which is seen in the Scotch
universities at home. The war with crime, the war with sin, the war with
death--Law, Theology, Medicine--these are the three foremost of man‘s
employments; to these, accordingly, the university affords her chiefest
care, and to one of these the student, his entrance examination passed,
often gives his entire time.

These things are democratic, but it is not in them that the essential
democracy of the university is to be seen. There are at Michigan no
honor-lists, no classes in our sense, no orders of merit, no
competition. A man takes, or does not take a certain degree. The
university is governed, not by its members, not by its professors, but
by a parliament of “regents” appointed by the inhabitants of the State.
Such are the two great principles of the democratic university of the
West.

It might be supposed that these two strange departures from the systems
of older universities were irregularities, introduced to meet the
temporary embarrassments incidental to educational establishments in
young States. So far is this from being the case that, as I saw at
Cambridge, the clearest-sighted men of the older colleges of America are
trying to assimilate their teaching system to that of Michigan--at least
in the one point of the absence of competition. They assert that toil
performed under the excitement of a fierce struggle between man and man
is unhealthy work, different in nature and in results from the loving
labor of men whose hearts are really in what they do: toil, in short,
not very easily distinguishable from slave labor.

In the matter of the absence of competition, Michigan is probably but
returning to the system of the European universities of the Middle Ages,
but the government by other than the members of the university is a
still stranger scheme. It is explained when we look to the sources
whence the funds of the university are drawn--namely, from the pockets
of the taxpayers of the State. The men who have set up this corporation
in their midst, and who tax themselves for its support, cannot be called
on, they say, to renounce its government to their nominees, professors
from New England, unconnected with the State, men of one idea, often
quarrelsome, sometimes “irreligious.” There is much truth in these
statements of the case, but it is to be hoped that the men chosen to
serve as “regents” are of a higher intellectual stamp than those
appointed to educational offices in the Canadian backwoods. A report was
put into my hands at Ottawa, in which a superintendent of instruction
writes to the Minister of Education, that he had advised the ratepayers
of Victoria County not in future to elect as school trustees men who
cannot read or write. As Michigan grows older, she will, perhaps, seek
to conform to the practice of other universities in this matter of her
government, but in the point of absence of competition she is likely to
continue firm.

Even here some difficulty is found in getting competent school
directors; one of them reported 31½ children attending school. Of
another district its superintendent reports: “Conduct of scholars about
the same as that of ‘Young America’ in general.” Some of the
superintendents aim at jocosity, and show no want of talent in
themselves, while their efforts are to demonstrate its deficiency among
the boys. The superintendent of Grattan says, in answer to some numbered
questions: “Condition good, improvement fair; for ¼ of ¼ of the year in
school, and fifteen-sixteenths of the time at play. Male teachers most
successful with the birch; female with Cupid‘s darts. Schoolhouses in
fair whittling order. _Apparatus_: Shovel, none; tongs, ditto; poker,
one. Conduct of scholars like that of parents--good, bad, and
indifferent. No minister in town--sorry; no lawyer--good!” The
superintendents of Manlius Township report that Districts 1 and 2 have
buildings “fit (in winter) only for the polar bear, walrus, reindeer,
Russian sable, or Siberian bat;” and they go on to say: “Our children
read everything, from Mr. Noodle‘s Essays on Matrimony to Artemus Ward‘s
Lecture on First Principles of American Government.” Another report from
a very new county runs: “Sunday-schools afford a little reading-matter
to the children. Character of matter most read--battle, murder, and
sudden death.” A third states that the teachers are meanly paid, and
goes on: “If the teaching is no better than the pay, it must be like the
soup that the rebels gave the prisoners.” A superintendent, reporting
that the success of the teachers is greater than their qualifications
warrant, says: “The reason is to be found in the Yankeeish adaptability
of even Wolverines.”

After all, it is hard even to pass jokes at the expense of the
Northwestern people. A population who would maintain schools and
universities under difficulties apparently overwhelming was the source
from which to draw Union volunteers such as those who, after the war,
returned to their Northern homes, I have been told, shocked and
astonished at the ignorance and debasement of the Southern whites.

The system of elective studies pursued at Michigan is one to which we
are year by year tending in the English universities. As sciences
multiply and deepen, it becomes more and more impossible that a “general
course” scheme can produce men fit to take their places in the world.
Cambridge has attempted to set up both systems, and, giving her students
the choice, bids them pursue one branch of study with a view to honors,
or take a less valued degree requiring some slight proficiency in many
things. Michigan denies that the stimulus of honor examinations should
be connected with the elective system. With her, men first graduate in
science, or in an arts degree, which bears a close resemblance to the
English “poll,” and then pursue their elected study in a course which
leads to no university distinction, which is free from the struggle for
place and honors. These objections to “honors” rest upon a more solid
foundation than a mere democratic hatred of inequality of man and man.
Repute as a writer, as a practitioner, is valued by the Ann Arbor man,
and the Wolverines do not follow the Ephesians, and tell men who excel
among them to go and excel elsewhere. The Michigan professors say, and
Dr. Hedges bears them out, that a far higher average of real knowledge
is obtained under this system of independent work than is dreamt of in
colleges where competition rules. “A higher average” is all they say,
and they acknowledge frankly that there is here and there a student to
be found to whom competition would do good. As a rule, they tell us this
is not the case. Unlimited battle between man and man for place is
sufficiently the bane of the world not to be made the curse of schools:
competition breeds every evil which it is the aim of education, the duty
of a university to suppress: pale faces caused by excessive toil,
feverish excitement that prevents true work, a hatred of the subject on
which the toil is spent, jealousy of best friends, systematic
depreciation of men‘s talents, rejection of all reading that will not
“pay,” extreme and unhealthy cultivation of the memory, general
degradation of labor--all these evils, and many more, are charged upon
the competition system. Everything that our professors have to say of
“cram” these American thinkers apply to competition. Strange doctrines
these for young America!

Of the practical turn which we should naturally expect to discover in
the university of a bran-new State I found evidence in the regulation
which prescribes that the degree of Master of Arts shall not be
conferred as a matter of course upon graduates of three years’ standing,
but only upon such as have pursued professional or general scientific
studies during that period. Even in these cases an examination before
some one of the faculties is required for the Master‘s degree. I was
told that for the medical degree “four years of reputable practice” is
received, instead of certain courses.

In her special and selected studies, Michigan is as merely practical as
Swift‘s University of Brobdingnag; but, standing far above the ordinary
arts or science courses, there is a “University course” designed for
those who have already taken the Bachelor‘s degree. It is harder to say
what this course includes than what it does not. The twenty heads range
over philology, philosophy, art, and science; there is a branch of
“criticism,” one of “arts of design,” one of “fine arts.” Astronomy,
ethics, and Oriental languages are all embraced in a scheme brought into
working order within ten years of the time when Michigan was a
wilderness, and the college-yard an Indian hunting-ground.

Michigan entered upon education work very early in her history as a
State. In 1850, her legislature commissioned the Hon. Ira Mayhew to
prepare a work on education for circulation throughout America. Her
progress has been as rapid as her start was good; her natural history
collection is already one of the most remarkable in America; her medical
school is almost unequaled, and students flow to her even from New
England and from California, while from New York she draws a hundred men
a year. In only one point is Ann Arbor anywhere but in the van: she has
hitherto followed the New England colleges in excluding women. The State
University of Kansas has not shown the same exclusiveness that has
characterized the conduct of the rulers of Michigan: women are admitted
not only to the classes, but to the professorships at Lawrence.

This Northwestern institution at Ann Arbor was not behind even Harvard
in the war: it supplied the Union army with 1000 men. The 17th Regiment
of Michigan Volunteers, mainly composed of teachers and Ann Arbor
students, has no cause to fear the rivalry of any other “record;” and
such was the effect of the war, that in 1860 there were in Michigan 2600
male to 5350 female teachers, whereas now there are but 1300 men to 7500
women.

So proud are Michigan men of their roll of honor, that they publish it
at full length in the calendar of the university. Every “class” from the
foundation of the schools shows some graduates distinguished in their
country‘s service during the suppression of the rebellion. The Hon.
Oramel Hosford, Superintendent of Public Instruction in Michigan,
reports that, owing to the presence of crowds of returned soldiers, the
schools of the State are filled almost to the limit of their capacity,
while some are compelled to close their doors against the thronging
crowds. Captains, colonels, generals, are among the students now humbly
learning in the Ann Arbor University Schools.

The State of Michigan is peculiar in the form that she has given to her
higher teaching; but in no way peculiar in the attention she bestows on
education. Teaching, high and low, is a passion in the West, and each of
these young States has established a university of the highest order,
and placed in every township not only schools, but public libraries,
supported from the rates, and managed by the people.

Not only have the appropriations for educational purposes by each State
been large, but those of the Federal government have been upon the most
splendid scale. What has been done in the Eastern and the Central States
no man can tell, but even west of the Mississippi twenty-two million
acres have already been granted for such purposes, while fifty-six
million more are set aside for similar gifts.

The Americans are not forgetful of their Puritan traditions.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE PACIFIC RAILROAD.


When the companions of the explorer Cartier found that the rapids at
Montreal were not the end of all navigation, as they had feared, but
that above them there commenced a second and boundless reach of deep,
still waters, they fancied they had found the long-looked-for route to
China, and cried, “La Chine!” So the story goes, and the name has stuck
to the place.

[Illustration]

Up to 1861, the Canadians remained in the belief that they were at least
the potential possessors of the only possible road for the China
trade of the future, for in that year a Canadian government paper
declared that the Rocky Mountains, south of British territory, were
impassable for railroads. Maps showed that from St. Louis to San
Francisco the distance was twice that from the head of navigation on
Lake Superior to the British Pacific ports.

America has gone through a five years’ agony since that time; but now,
in the first days of peace, we find that the American Pacific Railroad,
growing at the average rate of two miles a day at one end, and one mile
a day at the other, will stretch from sea to sea in 1869 or 1870, while
the British line remains a dream.

Not only have the Rocky Mountains turned out to be passable, but the
engineers have found themselves compelled to decide on the conflicting
claims of passes without number. Wall-like and frowning as the Rocky
Mountains are when seen from the plains, the rolling gaps are many, and
they are easier crossed by railway lines than the less lofty chains of
Europe. From the heat of the country, the snow-line lies high; the
chosen pass is in the latitude of Constantinople or Oporto. The dryness
of the air of the center of a vast continent prevents the fall of heavy
snows or rains in winter. At eight or nine thousand feet above the sea,
in the Black Hills, or Eastern Piedmont, the drivers on the Pacific line
will have slighter snow-drifts to encounter than their brothers on the
Grand Trunk or the Camden and Amboy at the sea-level. On the other hand,
fuel and water are scarce, and there is an endless succession of smaller
snowy chains which have to be crossed, upon the Grand Plateau or basin
of the Great Salt Lake. Whatever the difficulties, in 1870 the line will
be an accomplished fact.

In the act creating the Pacific Railroad Company, passed in 1862, the
company were bound to complete their line at the rate of a hundred miles
a year. They are completing it at more than three times that rate.

When the act is examined, it ceases to be strange that the road should
be pushed with extraordinary energy and speed, so numerous are the baits
offered to the companies to hasten its completion. Money is to be
advanced them; land is to be given them for every mile they finish--on a
generous scale while the line is on the plains, on three times the scale
when it reaches the most rugged tracts. These grants alone are estimated
at twenty millions of acres. Besides the alternate sections, a width of
four hundred feet, with additional room for works and stations, is
granted for the line. The California Company is tempted by similar
offers to a race with the Union Pacific, and each company is struggling
to lay the most miles and get the most land upon the great basin. It is
the interest of the Eastern Company that the junction should be as far
as possible to the west; of the Western, that it should be as far as
possible to the east. The result is an average laying of three, and an
occasional construction of four, miles a day. If we look to the progress
at both ends, we find as much sometimes laid in a day as a bullock train
could travel. So fast do the headquarters “cities” keep moving forward,
that at the Californian end the superintendent wished me to believe that
whenever his chickens heard a wagon pass, they threw themselves upon
their backs, and held up their legs, that they might be tied and thrown
into the cart for a fresh move. “They are true birds of passage,” he
said.

When the iron trains are at the front, the laying will for a short time
proceed at the rate of nine yards in every fifteen seconds; but three or
four hundred tons of rails have to be brought up every day upon the
single track, and it is in this that the time is lost.

The advance carriages of the construction train are well supplied with
rifles hung from the roofs; but even when the Indians forget their
amaze, and attack the “city upon wheels,” or tear up the track, they are
incapable of destroying the line so fast as the machinery can lay it
down. “Soon,” as a Denver paper said, during my stay in the Mountain
City, “the iron horse will sniff the Alpine breeze upon the summit of
the Black Hills 9000 feet above the sea;” and upon the plateau, where
deer are scarce and buffalo unknown, the Indians have all but
disappeared. The worst Indian country is already crossed, and the red
men have sullenly followed the buffalo to the south, and occupy the
country between Kansas State and Denver, contenting themselves with
preventing the construction of the Santa Fé and Denver routes to
California. Both for the end in view, and the energy with which it is
pursued, the Pacific Railroad will stand first among the achievements of
our times.

If the end to be kept in view in the construction of the first Pacific
Railroad line were merely the traffic from China and Japan to Europe, or
the shortest route from San Francisco to Hampton Roads, the Kansas route
through St. Louis, Denver, and the Berthoud Pass would be, perhaps, the
best and shortest of those within the United States; but the
Saskatchewan line through British territory, with Halifax and Puget
Sound for ports, would be still more advantageous. As it is, the true
question seems to be, not the trade between the Pacific and Great
Britain, but between Asia and America, for Pennsylvania and Ohio must be
the manufacturing countries of the next fifty years.

Whatever our theory, the fact is plain enough: in 1870 we shall reach
San Francisco from London in less time than by the severest traveling I
can reach it from Denver in 1866.

Wherever, in the States, Forth and South have met in conflict, North has
won. New York has beaten Norfolk; Chicago, in spite of its inferior
situation, has beaten the older St. Louis. In the same way, Omaha, or
cities still farther north, will carry off the trade from Leavenworth,
Lawrence, and Kansas City. Ultimately Puget Sound may beat San Francisco
in the race for the Pacific trade, and the Southern cities become still
less able to keep their place than they have been hitherto. Time after
time, Chicago has thrown out intercepting lines, and diverted from St.
Louis trade which seemed of necessity to belong to her; and the success
of the Union Pacific line, and failure of the Kansas road, is a fresh
proof of the superior energy of the Northern to the Southern city. This
time a fresh element enters into the calculation, and declares for
Chicago. The great circle route, the true straight line, is in these
great distances shorter by fifty or a hundred miles than the straight
lines of the maps and charts, and the Platte route becomes not only the
natural, but the shortest route from sea to sea.

Chicago has a great advantage over St. Louis in her comparative freedom
from the cholera, which yearly attacks the Missourian city. During my
stay in St. Louis, the deaths from cholera alone were known to have
reached 200 a day, in a population diminished by flight to 180,000. A
quarantine was established on the river; the sale of fruit and
vegetables prohibited; prisoners released on condition that they should
work at burying the dead; and funeral corteges were forbidden. Chicago
herself, unreached by the plague, was scattering handbills on every
Western railroad line, warning immigrants against St. Louis.

The Missourians have relied overmuch upon the Mississippi River, and
have forgotten that railroads are superseding steamboats every day.
Chicago, on the other hand, which ten years ago was the twentieth city
in America, is probably by this time the third. As a center of thought,
political and religious, she stands second only to Boston, and her
Wabash and Michigan Avenues are among the most beautiful of streets.

One of the chief causes of the future wealth of America is to be found
in the fact that all her “inland” towns are ports. The State of Michigan
lies between 500 and 900 miles from the ocean, but the single State has
upon the great lakes a coast of 1500 miles. From Fort Benton to the sea
by water is nearly 4000 miles, but the post is a much-used steamboat
port, though more distant, even in the air-line, from the nearest sea
upon the same side the dividing range, than is the White Sea from the
Persian Gulf. Put it in which way you would, Europe could not hold this
river.

A great American city is almost invariably placed at a point where an
important railroad finds an outport on a lake or river. This is no
adaptation to railways of the Limerick saying about rivers--namely, that
Providence has everywhere so placed them as to pass through the great
towns; for in America railways precede population, and when mapped out
and laid, they are but tramways in the desert. There is no great wonder
in this, when we remember that 158,000,000 acres of land have been up to
this time granted to railroads in America.

One tendency of a costly railroad system is that few lines will be
made, and trade being thus driven into certain unchanging routes, a
small number of cities will flourish greatly, and, by acting as housing
stations or as ports, will rise to enormous wealth and population. Where
a system of cheap railways is adopted, there will be year by year a
tendency to multiply lines of traffic, and consequently to multiply also
ports and seats of trade--a tendency, however, which may be more than
neutralized by any special circumstances which may cause the lines of
transit to converge rather than run parallel to one another. Of the
system of costly grand trunk lines we have an instance in India, where
we see the creation of Umritsur and the prosperity of Calcutta alike due
to our single great Bengal line; of the converging system we have
excellent instances in Chicago and Bombay; while we see the plan of
parallel lines in action here in Kansas, and causing the comparative
equality of progress manifested in Leavenworth, in Atchison, in Omaha.
The coasts of India swarmed with ports till our trunk lines ruined Goa
and Surat to advance Bombay, and a hundred village ports to push our
factory at Calcutta, founded by Charnock as late as 1690, but now grown
to be the third or fourth city of the empire.

Of the dozen chaotic cities which are struggling for the honor of
becoming the future capital of the West, Leavenworth, with 20,000
people, three daily papers, an opera house, and 200 drinking saloons,
was, at the time of my visit in 1866, somewhat ahead of Omaha, with its
12,000, two papers, and a single “one-horse” theater, though the
northern city tied Leavenworth in the point of “saloons.”

Omaha, Leavenworth, Kansas City, Wyandotte, Atchison, Topeka, Lecompton,
and Lawrence, each praises itself and runs down its neighbor.
Leavenworth claims to be so healthy that when it lately became
necessary to “inaugurate” the new grave-yard, “they had to shoot a man
on purpose”--a change since the days when the Southern Border Ruffians
were in the habit of parading its streets, bearing the scalps of
abolitionists stuck on poles. On the other hand, a Nebraska man, when
asked whether the Kansas people were fairly honest, said: “Don‘t know
about honest; but they _do_ say as how the folk around take in their
stone fences every night.” Lawrence, the State capital, which is on the
dried-up Kansas River, sneeringly says of all the new towns on the
Missouri that the boats that ply between them are so dangerous that the
fare is collected in installments every five minutes throughout the
trip. Next after the jealousy between two Australian colonies, there is
nothing equal to the hatreds between cities competing for the same
trade. Omaha has now the best chance of becoming the capital of the far
West, but Leavenworth will no doubt continue to be the chief town of
Kansas.

The progress of the smaller cities is amazing. Pistol-shots by day and
night are frequent, but trade and development are little interfered with
by such incidents as these; and as the village cities are peopled up,
the pioneers, shunning their fellows, keep pushing westward, seeking new
“locations.” “You‘re the second man I‘ve seen this fall! Darn me, if
‘taint ’bout time to varmose out westerly--y,” is the standing joke of
the “frontier-bars” against each other.

       *       *       *       *       *

At St. Louis I had met my friend Mr. Hepworth Dixon, just out from
England, and with him I visited the Kansas towns, and then pushed
through Waumego to Manhattan, the terminus (for the day) of the Kansas
Pacific line. Here we were thrust into what space remained between
forty leathern mail-bags and the canvas roof of the mule-drawn
ambulance, which was to be at once our prison for six nights, and our
fort upon wheels against the Indians.



CHAPTER IX.

OMPHALISM.


Dashing through a grove of cottonwood-trees draped in bignonia and ivy,
we came out suddenly upon a charming scene: a range of huts and forts
crowning a long, low hill seamed with many a timber-clothed ravine,
while the clear stream of the Republican fork wreathed itself about the
woods and bluffs. The block-house, over which floated the Stars and
Stripes, was Fort Riley, the Hyde Park Corner from which continents are
to measure all their miles; the “capital of the universe,” or “center of
the world.” Not that it has always been so. Geographers will be glad to
learn that not only does the earth gyrate, but that the center of its
crust also moves: within the last ten years it has removed westward into
Kansas from Missouri--from Independence to Fort Riley. The contest for
centership is no new thing. Herodotus held that Greece was the very
middle of the world, and that the unhappy Orientals were frozen, and the
yet more unfortunate Atlantic Indians baked every afternoon of their
poor lives in order that the sun might shine on Greece at noon; London
plumes herself on being the “center of the terrestrial globe;” Boston is
the “hub of the hull universe,” though the latter claim is less
physical than moral, I believe. In Fort Riley the Western men seem to
have found the physical center of the United States, but they claim for
the Great Plains as well the intellectual as the political leadership of
the whole continent. These hitherto untrodden tracts, they tell you,
form the heart of the empire, from which the life-blood must be driven
to the extremities. Geographical and political centers must ultimately
coincide.

Connected with this belief is another Western theory--that the powers of
the future must be “continental.” Germany, or else Russia, is to absorb
all Asia and Europe, except Britain. North America is already cared for,
as the gradual extinction of the Mexican and absorption of the Canadians
they consider certain. As for South America, the Californians are
planning an occupation of Western Brazil, on the ground that the
continental power of South America must start from the head-waters of
the great rivers, and spread seaward down the streams. Even in the
Brazilian climate they believe that the Anglo-Saxon is destined to
become the dominant race.

The success of this omphalism, this government from the center, will be
brought about, in the Western belief, by the necessity under which the
nations on the head-waters of all streams will find themselves of having
the outlets in their hands. Even if it be true that railways are beating
rivers, still the railways must also lead seaward to the ports, and the
need for their control is still felt by the producers in the center
countries of the continent. The Upper States must everywhere command the
Lower, and salt-water despotism find its end.

The Americans of the Valley States, who fought all the more heartily in
the Federal cause from the fact that they were battling for the freedom
of the Mississippi against the men who held its mouth, look forward to
the time when they will have to assert, peaceably but with firmness,
their right to the freedom of their railways through the Northern
Atlantic States. Whatever their respect for New England, it cannot be
expected that they are forever to permit Illinois and Ohio to be
neutralized in the Senate by Rhode Island and Vermont. If it goes hard
with New England, it will go still harder with New York; and the Western
men look forward to the day when Washington will be removed, Congress
and all, to Columbus or Fort Riley.

The singular wideness of Western thought, always verging on
extravagance, is traceable to the width of Western land. The immensity
of the continent produces a kind of intoxication; there is moral
dram-drinking in the contemplation of the map. No Fourth of July oration
can come up to the plain facts contained in the Land Commissioners’
report. The public domain of the United States still consists of one
thousand five hundred millions of acres; there are two hundred thousand
square miles of coal lands in the country, ten times as much as in all
the remaining world. In the Western territories not yet States, there is
land sufficient to bear, at the English population rate, five hundred
and fifty millions of human beings.

It is strange to see how the Western country dwarfs the Eastern States.
Buffalo is called a “Western City;” yet from New York to Buffalo is only
three hundred and fifty miles, and Buffalo is but seven hundred miles to
the west of the most eastern point in all the United States. On the
other hand, from Buffalo we can go two thousand five hundred miles
westward without quitting the United States. “The West” is eight times
as wide as the Atlantic States, and will soon be eight times as strong.

The conformation of North America is widely different to that of any
other continent on the globe. In Europe, the glaciers of the Alps occupy
the center point, and shed the waters toward each of the surrounding
seas: confluence is almost unknown. So it is in Asia: there the Indus
flowing into the Arabian Gulf, the Oxus into the Sea of Aral, the Ganges
into the Bay of Bengal, the Yangtse Kiang into the Pacific, and the
Yenesei into the Arctic Ocean, all take their rise in the central
table-land. In South America, the mountains form a wall upon the west,
whence the rivers flow eastward in parallel lines. In North America
alone are there mountains on each coast, and a trough between, into
which the rivers flow together, giving in a single valley 23,000 miles
of navigable stream to be plowed by steamships. The map proclaims the
essential unity of North America. Political geography might be a more
interesting study than it has yet been made.

In reaching Leavenworth, I had crossed two of the five divisions of
America: the other three lie before me on my way to San Francisco. The
eastern slopes of the Alleghanies, or Atlantic coast; their western
slopes; the Great Plains; the Grand Plateau, and the Pacific
coast--these are the five divisions. Fort Riley, the center of the
United States, is upon the border of the third division, the Great
Plains. The Atlantic coast is poor and stony, but the slight altitude of
the Alleghany chain has prevented its being a hinderance to the passage
of population to the West: the second of the divisions is now the
richest and most powerful of the five: but the wave of immigration is
crossing the Mississippi and Missouri into the Great Plains, and here
at Fort Riley we are upon the limit of civilization.

This spot is not only the center of the United States and of the
continent, but, if Denver had contrived to carry the Pacific Railroad by
the Berthoud Pass, would have been the center station upon what Governor
Gilpin, of Colorado, calls the “Asiatic and European railway line.” As
it is, Columbus in Nebraska has somewhat a better chance of becoming the
Washington of the future than has this block-house.

Quitting Fort Riley, we found ourselves at once upon the plains. No more
sycamore and white-oak and honey-locust; no more of the rich deep green
of the cottonwood groves; but yellow earth, yellow flowers, yellow
grass, and here and there groves of giant sunflowers with yellow blooms,
but no more trees.

As the sun set, we came on a body of cavalry marching slowly from the
plains toward the fort. Before them, at some little distance, walked a
sad-faced man on foot, in sober riding-dress, with a repeating carbine
slung across his back. It was Sherman returning from his expedition to
Santa Fé.



CHAPTER X.

LETTER FROM DENVER.


MONDAY, _3d September._

MY DEAR ----,

Here we are, scalps and all.

On Tuesday last, at sundown, we left Fort Riley, and supped at Junction
City, the extreme point that “civilization” has reached upon the plains.
Civilization means whisky: post-offices don‘t count.

It was here that it first dawned upon us that we were being charged 500
dollars to guard the United States Californian mail, with the
compensation of the chance of being ourselves able to rob it with
impunity. It is at all events the case that we, well armed as the mail
officers at Leavenworth insisted on our being, sat inside with forty-two
cwt. of mail, in open bags, and over a great portion of the route had
only the driver with us, without whose knowledge we could have read all
and stolen most of the letters, and with whose knowledge, but against
whose will, we could have carried off the whole, leaving him gagged,
bound, and at the mercy of the Indians. As it was, a mail-bag fell out
one day, without the knowledge of either Dixon or the driver, who were
outside, and I had to shout pretty freely before they would pull up.

On Wednesday we had our last “squar’ meal” in the shape of a breakfast,
at Fort Ellsworth, and soon were out upon the almost unknown plains. In
the morning we caught up and passed long wagon trains, each wagon drawn
by eight oxen, and guarded by two drivers and one horseman, all armed
with breech-loading rifles and revolvers, or with the new “repeaters,”
before which breech-loaders and revolvers must alike go down. All day we
kept a sharp look-out for a party of seven American officers, who, in
defiance of the scout‘s advice, had gone out from the fort to hunt
buffalo upon the track. About sundown we came into the little station of
Lost Creek. The ranchmen told us that they had, during the day, been
driven in from their work by a party of Cheyennes, and that they had
some doubts as to the wisdom of the officers in going out to hunt.

Just as we were leaving the station, one of the officers’ horses dashed
in riderless, and was caught; and about two miles from the station we
passed another on its back, ripped up either by a knife or buffalo horn.
The saddle was gone, but there were no other marks of a fight. We
believe that these officers were routed by buffalo, not Cheyennes, but
still we should be glad to hear of them.

The track is marked in many parts of the plains by stakes, such as those
from which the Llano Estacado takes its name; but this evening we turned
off into devious lines by way of precaution against ambuscades, coming
round through the sandy beds of streams to the ranches for the change of
mules. The ranchmen were always ready for us; for, while we were still a
mile away, our driver would put his hand to his mouth, and give a “How!
how! how! how--w!” the Cheyenne warhoop.

[Illustration]

In the weird glare that follows sunset we came upon a pile of rocks,
admirably fitted for an ambush. As we neared them, the driver said:
“It‘s ’bout an even chance thet we‘s sculp ther’!” We could not avoid
them, as there was a gully that could only be crossed at this one
point. We dashed down into the “creek” and up again, past the rocks:
there were no Indians, but the driver was most uneasy till we reached
Big Creek.

Here they could give us nothing whatever to eat, the Indians having, on
Tuesday, robbed them of everything they had, and ordered them to leave
within fifteen days on pain of death.

For 250 miles westward from Big Creek we found that every station had
been warned (and most plundered) by bands of Cheyennes, on behalf of the
forces of the confederation encamped near the creek itself. The warning
was in all cases that of fire and death at the end of fifteen days, of
which nine days have expired. We found the horse-keepers of the company
everywhere leaving their stations, and were, in consequence, very nearly
starved, having been unsuccessful in our shots from the “coach,” except,
indeed, at the snakes.

On Thursday we passed Big Timber, the only spot on the plains where
there are trees; and there the Indians had counted the trunks and
solemnly warned the men against cutting more: “Fifty-two tree. You no
cut more tree--no more cut. Grass! You cut grass; grass make big fire.
You good boy--you clear out. Fifteen day, we come: you no gone--ugh!”
The “ugh” accompanied by an expressive pantomime.

On Thursday evening we got a meal of buffalo and prairie dog, the former
too strong for my failing stomach, the latter wholesome nourishment, and
fit for kings--as like our rabbit in flavor as he is in shape. This was
at the horse-station of “The Monuments,” a natural temple of awesome
grandeur, rising from the plains like a giant Stonehenge.

On Friday we “breakfasted” at Pond Creek station, two miles from Fort
Wallis. Here the people had applied for a guard, and had been answered:
“Come into the fort; we can‘t spare a man.” So much for the value of the
present forts; and yet even these--Wallis and Ellsworth--are 200 miles
apart.

We were joined at breakfast by Bill Comstock, interpreter to the
fort,--a long-haired, wild-eyed half-breed,--who gave us, in an hour‘s
talk, the full history of the Indian politics that have led to the
present war.

The Indians, to the number of 20,000, have been in council with the
Washington Commissioners all this summer at Fort Laramie; and, after
being clothed, fed, and armed, lately concluded a treaty, allowing the
running on the mail-roads. They now assert that this treaty was intended
to apply to the Platte road (from Omaha and Atchison through Fort
Kearney), and to the Arkansas road, but not to the Smoky Hill road,
which lies between the others, and runs through the buffalo country; but
their real opposition is to the railroad. The Cheyennes (pronounced
Shíans) have got the Camanches, Appaches, and Arrapahoes from the south,
and the Sioux and Kiowas from the north, to join them in a
confederation, under the leadership of Spotted Dog, the chief of the
Little Dog section of the Cheyennes, and son of White Antelope,--killed
at Sand Creek battle by the Kansas and Colorado Volunteers,--who has
sworn to avenge his father.

Soon after leaving Pond Creek, we sighted at a distance three mounted
“braves,” leading some horses; and when we reached the next station, we
found that they had been there openly proclaiming that their mounts had
been stolen from a team.

All this day we sat with our revolvers laid upon the mail-bags in front
of us, and our driver also had his armory conspicuously displayed, while
we swept the plains with many an anxious glance. We were on lofty
rolling downs, and to the south the eye often ranged over much of the
130 miles which lay between us and Texas. To the north the view was more
bounded; still, our chief danger lay near the boulders, which here and
there covered the plains.

All Thursday and Friday we never lost sight of the buffalo, in herds of
about 300, and the “antelope”--the prong-horn, a kind of gazelle--in
flocks of six or seven. Prairie dogs were abundant, and wolves and
black-tail deer in view at every turn.

The most singular of all the sights of the plains is the constant
presence every few yards of the skeletons of buffalo and of horse, of
mule and of ox; the former left by the hunters, who take but the skin,
and the latter the losses of the mails and the wagon-trains through
sunstroke and thirst. We killed a horse on the second day of our
journey.

When we came upon oxen that had not long been dead, we found that the
intense dryness of the air had made mummies of them: there was no
stench, no putrefaction.

During the day I made some practice at antelope with the driver‘s
Ballard; but an antelope at 500 yards is not an easy target. The driver
shot repeatedly at buffalo at twenty yards, but this only to keep them
away from the horses; the revolver balls did not seem to go through
their hair and skin, as they merely shambled on in their usual happy
sort of way, after receiving a discharge or two.

The prairie dogs sat barking in thousands on the tops of their mounds,
but we were too grateful to them for their gayety to dream of
pistol-shots. They are no “dogs” at all, but rabbits that bark, with all
the coney‘s tricks and turns, and the same odd way of rubbing their
face with their paws while they con you from top to toe.

With wolves, buffalo, antelope, deer, skunks, dogs, plover, curlew,
dottrel, herons, vultures, ravens, snakes, and locusts, we never seemed
to be without a million companions in our loneliness.

From Cheyenne Wells, where we changed mules in the afternoon, we brought
on the ranchman‘s wife, painfully making room for her at our own
expense. Her husband had been warned by the Cheyennes that the place
would be destroyed: he meant to stay, but was in fear for her. The
Cheyennes had made her cook for them, and our supper had gone down
Cheyenne throats.

Soon after leaving the station, we encountered one of the great
“dirt-storms” of the plains. About 5 P.M. I saw a little white cloud
growing into a column, which in half an hour turned black as night, and
possessed itself of half the skies. We then saw what seemed to be a
waterspout; and, though no rain reached us, I think it was one. When the
storm burst on us we took it for rain, and halting, drew down our canvas
and held it against the hurricane. We soon found that our eyes and
mouths were full of dust; and when I put out my hand I felt that it was
dirt, not rain, that was falling. In a few minutes it was pitch dark,
and after the fall had continued for some time, there began a series of
flashes of blinding lightning, in the very center and midst of which we
seemed to be. Notwithstanding this, there was no sound of thunder. The
“norther” lasted some three or four hours, and when it ceased, it left
us total darkness, and a wind which froze our marrow as we again started
on our way. When Fremont explored this route, he reported that the high
ridge between the Platte and Arkansas was notorious among the Indians
for its tremendous dirt-storms. Sheet lightning without thunder
accompanies dust-storms in all great continents; it is as common in the
Punjab as in Australia, in South as in North America.

On Saturday morning, at Lake station, we got beyond the Indians, and
into a land of plenty, or at all events a land of something, for we got
milk from the station cow, and preserved fruits that had come round
through Denver from Ohio and Kentucky. Not even on Saturday, however,
could we get dinner, and as I missed the only antelope that came within
reach, our supper was not much heavier than our breakfast.

Rolling through the Arrapahoe country, where it is proposed to make a
reserve for the Cheyennes, at eight o‘clock on Saturday morning we
caught sight of the glittering snows of Pike‘s Peak, a hundred and fifty
miles away, and all the day we were galloping toward it, through a
country swarming with rattlesnakes and vultures. Late in the evening,
when we were drawing near to the first of the Coloradan farms, we came
on a white wolf unconcernedly taking his evening prowl about the
stock-yards. He sneaked along without taking any notice of us, and
continued his thief-like walk with a bravery that seemed only to show
that he had never seen man before; this might well be the case, if he
came from the south, near the upper forks of the Arkansas.

All this, and the frequency of buffalo, I was unprepared for. I imagined
that though the plains were uninhabited, the game had all been killed.
On the contrary, the “Smoky district” was never known so thronged with
buffalo as it is this year. The herds resort to it because there they
are close to the water of the Platte River, and yet out of the reach of
the traffic of the Platte road. The tracks they make in traveling to
and fro across the plains are visible for years after they have ceased
to use them. I have seen them as broad and as straight as the finest of
Roman roads.

On Sunday, at two in the morning, we dashed into Denver; and as we
reeled and staggered from our late prison, the ambulance, into the
“cockroach corral” which does duty for the bar-room of the “Planters’
House,” we managed to find strength and words to agree that we would fix
no time for meeting the next day. We expected to sleep for thirty hours;
as it was, we met at breakfast at seven A.M., less than five hours from
the time we parted. It is to-day that we feel exhausted; the
exhilaration of the mountain air, and the excitement of frequent visits,
carried us through yesterday. Dixon is suffering from strange blains and
boils, caused by the unwholesome food.

We have been called upon here by Governor Gilpin and Governor Cummings,
the opposition governors. The former is the elected governor of the
State of Colorado which is to be, and would have been but for the fact
that the President put his _big toe_ (Western for _veto_) upon the bill;
the latter, the Washington-sent governor of the Territory. Gilpin is a
typical pioneer man, and the descendant of a line of such. He comes of
one of the original Quaker stocks of Maryland, and he and his ancestors
have ever been engaged in founding States. He himself, after taking an
active share in the foundation of Kansas, commanded a regiment of
cavalry in the Mexican war. After this, he was at the head of the
pioneer army which explored the _parcs_ of the Cordilleras and the
Territory of Nevada. He it was who hit upon the glorious idea of placing
Colorado half upon each side of the Sierra Madre. There never, in the
history of the world, was a grander idea than this. Any ordinary
pioneer or politician would have given Colorado the “natural” frontier,
and have tried for the glory of the foundation of two States instead of
one. The consequence would have been, lasting disunion between the
Pacific and Atlantic States, and a possible future break-up of the
country. As it is, this commonwealth, little as it at present is, links
sea to sea, and Liverpool to Hong Kong.

The city swarms with Indians of the bands commanded by the chiefs Nevara
and Collorego. They are at war with the six confederate tribes, and with
the Pawnees--with all the plain Indians, in short. Now, as the Pawnees
are also at war with the six tribes, there is a pretty triangular fight.
They came in to buy arms, and fearful scoundrels they look. Short,
flat-nosed, long-haired, painted in red and blue, and dressed in a gaudy
costume, half Spanish, half Indian, which makes their filthiness appear
more filthy by contrast, and themselves carrying only their Ballard and
Smith-and-Wesson, but forcing the squaws to carry all their other goods,
and papooses in addition, they present a spectacle of unmixed ruffianism
which I never expect to see surpassed. Dixon and I, both of us, left
London with “Lo! the poor Indian,” in all his dignity and
hook-nosedness, elevated on a pedestal of nobility in our hearts. Our
views were shaken in the East, but nothing revolutionized them so
rapidly as our three days’ risk of scalping in the plains. John Howard
and Mrs. Beecher Stowe themselves would go in for the Western “disarm at
any price, and exterminate if necessary” policy if they lived long in
Denver. One of the braves of Nevara‘s command brought in the scalp of a
Cheyenne chief taken by him last month, and to-day it hangs outside the
door of a pawnbroker‘s shop, for sale, fingered by every passer-by.

Many of the band were engaged in putting on their paint, which was
bright vermilion, with a little indigo round the eye. This, with the
sort of pigtail which they wear, gives them the look of the gnomes in
the introduction to a London pantomime. One of them--Nevara himself, I
was told--wore a sombrero with three scarlet plumes, taken probably from
a Mexican, a crimson jacket, a dark-blue shawl, worn round the loins and
over the arm in Spanish dancer fashion, and embroidered moccasins. His
squaw was a vermilion-faced bundle of rags, not more than four feet
high, staggering under buffalo hides, bow and arrows, and papoose. They
move everywhere on horseback, and in the evening withdraw in military
order, with advance and rear guard, to a camp at some distance from the
town.

I inclose some prairie flowers, gathered in my walks round the city.
Their names are not suited to their beauty; the large white one is “the
morning blower,” the most lovely of all, save one, of the flowers of the
plains. It grows with many branches to a height of some eighteen inches,
and bears from thirty to fifty blooms. The blossoms are open up to a
little after sunrise, when they close, seldom to open even after sunset.
It is, therefore, peculiarly the early riser‘s flower; and if it be true
that Nature doesn‘t make things in vain, it follows that Nature intended
men--or, at all events, _some_ men--to get up early, which is a point
that I believe was doubtful hitherto.

For the one prairie flower which I think more beautiful than the blower
I cannot find a name. It rises to about six inches above ground, and
spreads in a circle of a foot across. Its leaf is thin and spare; its
flower-bloom a white cup, about two inches in diameter; and its buds
pink and pendulent.

All our garden annuals are to be found in masses acres in size upon the
plains. Penstemon, coreopsis, persecaria, yucca, dwarf sumach, marigold,
and sunflower, all are flowering here at once, till the country is
ablaze with gold and red. The coreopsis of our gardens they call the
“rosin-weed,” and say that it forms excellent food for sheep.

The view of the “Cordillera della Sierra Madre,” the Rocky Mountain main
chain, from the outskirts of Denver is sublime; that from the roof at
Milan does not approach it. Twelve miles from the city the mountains
rise abruptly from the plains. Piled range above range with step-like
regularity, they are topped by a long white line, sharply relieved
against the indigo of the sky. Two hundred and fifty miles of the mother
Sierra are in sight from our veranda; to the south, Pike‘s Peak and
Spanish Peak; Long‘s Peak to the north; Mount Lincoln towering above
all. The views are limited only by the curvature of the earth, such is
the marvelous purity of the Coloradan air, the effect at once of the
distance from the sea and of the bed of limestone which underlies the
plains.

The site of Denver is heaven-blessed in climate as well as loveliness.
The sky is brilliantly blue, and cloudless from dawn till noon. In the
mid-day heats, cloud-making in the Sierra begins, and by sunset the
snowy chain is multiplied a hundred times in curves of white and purple
cumuli, while thunder rolls heavily along the range. “This is a great
country, sir,” said a Coloradan to me to-day. “We make clouds for the
whole universe.” At dark there is dust or thunder-storm at the mountain
foot, and then the cold and brilliant night. Summer and winter it is the
same.



CHAPTER XI

RED INDIA.


“These Red Indians are not red,” was our first cry when we saw the Utes
in the streets of Denver. They had come into the town to be painted as
English ladies go to London to shop; and we saw them engaged within a
short time after their arrival in daubing their cheeks with vermilion
and blue, and referring to glasses which the squaws admiringly held.
Still, when we met them with peaceful paintless cheeks, we had seen that
their color was brown, copper, dirt, anything you please except red.

The Hurons, with whom I had stayed at Indian Lorette, were French in
training if not in blood; the Pottawatomies of St. Mary‘s Mission, the
Delawares of Leavenworth, are tame Indians: it is true that they can
hardly be called red; but still I had expected to have found these wild
prairie and mountain Indians of the color from which they take their
name. Save for paint, I found them of a color wholly different from that
which we call red.

Low in stature, yellow-skinned, small-eyed, and Tartar-faced, the
Indians of the plains are a distinct people from the tall, hook-nosed
warriors of the Eastern States. It is impossible to set eyes on their
women without being reminded of the dwarf skeletons found in the mounds
of Missouri and Iowa; but, men or women, the Utes bear no resemblance to
the bright-eyed, graceful people with whom Penn traded and Standish
fought. They are not less inferior in mind than in body. It was no
Shoshoné, no Ute, no Cheyenne, who called the rainbow the “heaven of
flowers,” the moon “the night queen,” or the stars “God‘s eyes.” The
plain tribes are as deficient, too, in heroes as in poetry: they have
never even produced a general, and White Antelope is their nearest
approach to a Tecumseh. Their mode of life, the natural features of the
country in which they dwell, have nothing in them to suggest a reason
for their debased condition. The reason must lie in the blood, the race.

All who have seen both the Indians and the Polynesians at home must have
been struck with innumerable resemblances. The Maori and Red Indian
wakes for the dead are identical; the Californian Indians wear the Maori
mat; the “medicine” of the Mandan is but the “tapu” of Polynesia; the
New Zealand dance-song, the Maori tribal scepter, were found alike by
Strachey in Virginia and Drake in California; the canoes of the West
Indies are the same as those of Polynesia. Hundreds of arguments, best
touched from the farther side of the Pacific, concur to prove the
Indians a Polynesian race. The canoes that brought to Easter Island the
people who built their mounds and rock temples there, may as easily have
been carried on by the Chilian breeze and current to the South American
shore. The wave from Malaya would have spent itself upon the northern
plains. The Utes would seem to be Kamtchatkans, or men of the Amoor,
who, fighting their way round by Behring Straits, and then down south,
drove a wedge between the Polynesians of Appalachia and California. No
theory but this will account for the sharp contrast between the
civilization of ancient Peru and Mexico, and the degradation in which
the Utes have lived from the earliest recorded times. Mounds, rock
temples, worship, all are alike unknown to the Indians of the plains; to
the Polynesian Indians, these were things that had come down to them
from all time.

Curious as is the question of the descent of the American tribes, it has
no bearing on the future of the country--unless, indeed, in the eyes of
those who assert that Delawares and Utes, Hurons and Pawnees, are all
one race, with features modified by soil and climate. If this were so,
the handsome, rollicking, frank-faced Coloradan “boys” would have to
look forward to the time when their sons’ sons should be as like the
Utes as many New Englanders of to-day are like the Indians they
expelled--that, as the New Englanders are tall, taciturn, and
hatchet-faced, the Coloradans of the next age should be flat-faced
warriors, five feet high. Confidence in the future of America must be
founded on a belief in the indestructible vitality of race.

Kamtchatkans or Polynesians, Malays or sons of the prairies on which
they dwell, the Red Indians have no future. In twenty years there will
scarcely be one of pure blood alive within the United States.

In La Plata, the Indians from the inland forests gradually mingle with
the whiter inhabitants of the coast, and become indistinguishable from
the remainder of the population. In Canada and Tahiti, the French
intermingle with the native race: the Hurons are French in everything
but name. In Kansas, in Colorado, in New Mexico, miscegenation will
never be brought about. The pride of race, strong in the English
everywhere, in America and Australia is an absolute bar to
intermarriage, and even to lasting connections with the aborigines. What
has happened in Tasmania and Victoria is happening in New Zealand and
on the plains. When you ask a Western man his views on the Indian
question, he says: “Well, sir, we can destroy them by the laws of war,
or thin ’em out by whisky; but the thinning process is plaguy slow.”

There are a good many Southerners out upon the plains. One of them,
describing to me how in Florida they had hunted down the Seminoles with
bloodhounds, added, “And sarved the pesky sarpints right, sah!”
Southwestern volunteers, campaigning against the Indians, have been
known to hang up in their tents the scalps of the slain, as we English
used to nail up the skins of the Danes.

There is in these matters less hypocrisy among the Americans than with
ourselves. In 1840, the British government assumed the sovereignty of
New Zealand in a proclamation which set forth with great precision that
it did so for the sole purpose of protecting the aborigines in the
possession of their lands. The Maories numbered 200,000 then; they
number 20,000 now.

Among the Western men there is no difference of opinion on the Indian
question. Rifle and revolver are their only policy. The New Englanders,
who are all for Christianity and kindliness in their dealings with the
red men, are not similarly united in one cry. Those who are ignorant of
the nature of the Indian, call out for agricultural employment for the
braves; those who know nothing of the Indian‘s life demand that
“reserves” be set aside for him, forgetting that no “reserve” can be
large enough to hold the buffalo, and that without the buffalo the red
men must plow or starve.

Indian civilization through the means of agriculture is all but a total
failure. The Shawnees are thriving near Kansas City, the Pottawatomies
living at St. Mary‘s mission, the Delawares existing at Leavenworth; but
in all these cases there is a large infusion of white blood. The
Canadian Hurons are completely civilized; but then they are completely
French. If you succeed with an Indian to all appearance, he will
suddenly return to his untamed state. An Indian girl, one of the most
orderly of the pupils at a ladies’ school, has been known, on feeling
herself aggrieved, to withdraw to her room, let down her back hair,
paint her face, and howl. The same tendency showed itself in the case of
the Delaware chief who built himself a white man‘s house, and lived in
it thirty years, but then suddenly set up his old wigwam in the
dining-room, in disgust. Another bad case is that of the Pawnee who
visited Buchanan, and behaved so well that when a young Englishman, who
came out soon after, told the President that he was going West, he gave
him a letter to the chief, then with his tribe in Northern Kansas. The
Pawnee read the note, offered a pipe, gravely protested eternal
friendship, slept upon it, and next morning scalped his visitor with his
own hand.

The English everywhere attempt to introduce civilization, or to modify
that which exists, in a rough-and-ready manner which invariably ends in
failure or in the destruction of the native race. A hundred years of
absolute rule, mostly peaceable, have not, under every advantage, seen
the success of our repeated attempts to establish trial by jury in
Bengal. For twenty years the Maories have mixed with the New Zealand
colonists on nearly equal terms, have almost universally professed
themselves Christians, have attended English schools, and learnt to
speak the English language, and to read and write their own; in spite of
all this, a few weeks of fanatic outburst were enough to reduce almost
the whole race to a condition of degraded savagery. The Indians of
America have, within the few last years, been caught and caged, given
acres where they once had leagues, and told to plow where once they
hunted. A pastoral race, with no conception of property in land, they
have been manufactured into freeholders and tenant farmers; Western
Ishmaelites, sprung of a race which has wandered since its legendary
life begins, they have been subjected to homestead laws and title
registrations. If our experiments in New Zealand, in India, on the
African coast have failed, cautious and costly as they were, there can
be no great wonder in the unsuccess that has attended the hurried
American experiments. It is not for us, who have the past of Tasmania
and the present of Queensland to account for, to do more than record the
fact that the Americans are not more successful with the red men of
Kansas than we with the black men of Australia.

The Bosjesman is not a more unpromising subject for civilization than
the red man; the Ute is not even gifted with the birthright of most
savages, the mimetic power. The black man, in his dress, his farming,
his religion, his family life, is always trying to imitate the white. In
the Indian there is none of this: his ancestors roamed over the
plains--he will roam; his ancestors hunted--why should not he hunt? The
American savage, like his Asiatic cousins, is conservative; the African
changeable, and strong in imitative faculties of the mind. Just as the
Indian is less versatile than the negro, so, if it were possible
gradually to change his mode of life, slowly to bring him to the
agricultural state, he would probably become a skillful and laborious
cultivator, and worthy inhabitant of the Western soil; as it is, he is
exterminated before he has time to learn. “Sculp ’em fust, and then talk
to ’em,” the Coloradans say.

Peace commissioners are yearly sent from Washington to treat with
hostile tribes upon the plains. The Indians invariably continue to fight
and rob till winter is at hand; but when the snows appear, they send in
runners to announce that they are prepared to make submission. The
commissioners appoint a place, and the tribe, their relatives, allies,
and friends, come down thousands strong, and enter upon debates which
are purposely prolonged till spring. All this time the Indians are kept
in food and drink; whisky even is illegally provided them, with the
cognizance of the authorities, under the name of “hatchets.” Blankets,
and, it is said, powder and revolvers, are supplied to them as necessary
to their existence on the plains; but when the first of the spring
flowers begin to peep up through the snow-drifts on the prairies, they
take their leave, and in a few weeks are out again upon the war-path,
plundering and scalping all the whites.

Judging from English experience in the north, and Spanish in Mexico and
South America, it would seem as though the white man and the red cannot
exist on the same soil. Step by step the English have driven back the
braves, till New Englanders now remember that there were Indians once in
Massachusetts, as we remember that once there were bears in Hampshire.
King Philip‘s defeat by the Connecticut volunteers seems to form part of
the early legendary history of our race; yet there is still standing,
and in good repair, in Dorchester, a suburb of Boston, a frame-house
which in its time has been successfully defended against Red Indians. On
the other hand, step by step, since the days of Cortez, the Indians and
half-bloods have driven out the Spaniards from Mexico and South
America. White men, Spaniards, received Maximilian at Vera Cruz, but he
was shot by full-blooded Indians at Queretaro.

If any attempt is to be made to save the Indians that remain, it must be
worked out in the Eastern States. Hitherto the whites have but pushed
back the Indians westward: if they would rescue the remnant from
starvation, they must bring them East, away from Western men and Western
hunting-grounds, and let them intermingle with the whites, living,
farming, along with them, intermarrying, if possible. The hunting Indian
is too costly a being for our age; but we are bound to remember that
ours is the blame of having failed to teach him to be something better.

After all, if the Indian is mentally, morally, and physically inferior
to the white man, it is in every way for the advantage of the world that
the next generation that inhabits Colorado should consist of whites
instead of reds. That this result should not be brought about by cruelty
or fraud upon the now existing Indians is all that we need require. The
gradual extinction of the inferior races is not only a law of nature,
but a blessing to mankind.

The Indian question is not likely to be one much longer: before I
reached England again, I learnt that the Coloradan capital had offered
“twenty dollars a piece for Indian scalps with the ears on.”



CHAPTER XII.

COLORADO.


When you have once set eyes upon the never-ending sweep of the Great
Plains, you no longer wonder that America rejects Malthusianism. As
Strachey says of Virginia, “Here is ground enough to satisfy the most
covetous and wide affection.” The freedom of these grand countries was
worth the tremendous conflict in which it was, in reality, the foremost
question; their future is of enormous moment to America.

Travelers soon learn, when making estimates of a country‘s value, to
despise no feature of the landscape; that of the plains is full of life,
full of charm--lonely, indeed, but never wearisome. Now great rolling
uplands of enormous sweep, now boundless grassy plains; there is all the
grandeur of monotony, and yet continual change. Sometimes the grand
distances are broken by blue buttes or rugged bluffs. Over all there is
a sparkling atmosphere and never-failing breeze; the air is bracing even
when most hot; the sky is cloudless, and no rain falls. A solitude which
no words can paint, and the boundless prairie swell, convey an idea of
vastness which is the overpowering feature of the plains.

Maps do not remove the impression produced by views. The Arkansas River,
which is born and dies within the limit of the plains, is two thousand
miles in length, and is navigable for eight hundred miles. The Platte
and Yellowstone are each of them as long. Into the plains and plateau
you could put all India twice. The impression is not merely one of size.
There is perfect beauty, wondrous fertility, in the lonely steppe; no
patriotism, no love of home, can prevent the traveler wishing here to
end his days.

To those who love the sea, there is a double charm. Not only is the roll
of the prairie as grand as that of the Atlantic, but the crispness of
the wind, the absence of trees, the multitude of tiny blooms upon the
sod, all conspire to give a feeling of nearness to the ocean, the effect
of which is we are always expecting to hail it from off the top of the
next hillock.

The resemblance to the Tartar plains has been remarked by Coloradan
writers; it may be traced much farther than they have carried it. Not
only are the earth, air, and water much alike, but in Colorado, as in
Bokhara, there are oil wells and mud volcanoes. The color of the
landscape is, in summer, green and flowers; in fall-time, yellow and
flowers, but flowers ever.

The eastern and western portions of the plains are not alike. In Kansas
the grass is tall and rank; the ravines are filled with cottonwood,
hickory, and black walnut; here and there are square miles of
sunflowers, from seven to nine feet high. As we came west, we found that
the sunflowers dwindled, and at Denver they are only from three to nine
inches in height, the oddest little plants in nature, but thorough
sunflowers for all their smallness. We found the buffalo in the eastern
plains in the long bunch-grass, but in the winter they work to the west
in search of the sweet and juicy “blue grass,” which they rub out from
under the snow in the Coloradan plains. This grass is crisp as hair, and
so short that, as the story goes, you must lather before you can mow it.
The “blue grass” has high vitality: if a wagon train is camped for a
single night among the sunflowers or tall weeds, this crisp turf at once
springs up, and holds the ground forever.

The most astounding feature of these plains is their capacity to receive
millions, and, swallowing them up, to wait open-mouthed for more. Vast
and silent, fertile yet waste, fieldlike yet untilled, they have room
for the Huns, the Goths, the Vandals, for all the teeming multitudes
that have poured and can pour from the plains of Asia and of Central
Europe. Twice as large as Hindostan, more temperate, more habitable,
nature has been placed here hedgeless, gateless, free to all--a green
field for the support of half the human race, unclaimed, untouched,
awaiting smiling, hands and plow.

There are two curses upon this land. Here, as in India, the rivers
depend on the melting of distant snows for their supplies, and in the
hot weather are represented by beds of parched white sand. So hot and
dry is a great portion of the land, that crops require irrigation. Water
for drinking purposes is scarce; artesian bores succeed, but they are
somewhat costly for the Coloradan purse, and the supply from common
wells is brackish. This, perhaps, may in part account for the Western
mode of “prospecting” after water, under which it is agreed that if none
be found at ten feet, a trial shall be made at a fresh spot. The
thriftless ranchman had sooner find bad water at nine feet than good at
eleven.

Irrigation by means of dams and reservoirs, such as those we are
building in Victoria, is but a question of cost and time. The
never-failing breezes of the plains may be utilized for water-raising,
and with water all is possible. Even in the mountain plateau, overspread
as it is with soda, it has been found, as it has been by French farmers
in Algeria, that, under irrigation, the more alkali the better corn
crop.

When fires are held in check by special enactments, such as those which
have been passed in Victoria and South Australia, and the waters of the
winter streams retained for summer use by tanks and dams; when artesian
wells are frequent and irrigation general, belts of timber will become
possible upon the plains. Once planted, these will in their turn
mitigate the extremes of climate, and keep alike in check the forces of
evaporation, sun, and wind. Cultivation itself brings rain, and steam
will soon be available for pumping water out of wells, for there is a
great natural store of brown coal and of oil-bearing shale near Denver,
so that all would be well were it not for the locusts--the scourge of
the plains--the second curse. The coming of the chirping hordes is a
real calamity in these far-western countries. Their departure, whenever
it occurs, is officially announced by the governor of the State.

I have seen a field of indian-corn stripped bare of every leaf and cob
by the crickets; but the owner told me that he found consolation in the
fact that they ate up the weeds as well. For the locusts there is no
cure. The plovers may eat a few billions, but, as a rule, Coloradans
must learn to expect that the locusts will increase with the increase of
the crops on which they feed. The more corn, the more locusts--the more
plovers, perhaps; a clear gain to the locusts and plovers, but a dead
loss to the farmers and ranchmen.

The Coloradan “boys” are a handsome, intelligent race. The mixture of
Celtic and Saxon blood has here produced a generous and noble manhood;
and the freedom from wood, and consequent exposure to wind and sun, has
exterminated ague, and driven away the hatchet-face; but for all this,
the Coloradans may have to succumb to the locusts. At present they
affect to despise them. “How may you get on in Colorado?” said a
Missourian one day to a “boy” that was up at St. Louis. “Purty well,
guess, if it warn‘t for the insects.” “What insects? Crickets?”
“Crickets! Wall, guess not--jess insects like: rattlesnakes, panther,
bar, catamount, and sichlike.”

“The march of empire stopped by a grasshopper” would be a good heading
for a Denver paper, but would not represent a fact. The locusts may
alter the step, but not cause a halt. If corn is impossible, cattle are
not; already thousands are pastured round Denver on the natural grass.
For horses, for merino sheep, these rolling table-lands are peculiarly
adapted. The New Zealand paddock system may be applied to the whole of
this vast region--Dutch clover, French lucern, could replace the Indian
grasses, and four sheep to the acre would seem no extravagant estimate
of the carrying capability of the lands. The world must come here for
its tallow, its wool, its hides, its food.

In this seemingly happy conclusion there lurks a danger. Flocks and
herds are the main props of great farming, the natural supporters of an
aristocracy. Cattle breeding is inconsistent, if not with republicanism,
at least with pure democracy. There are dangerous classes of two
kinds--those who have too many acres, as well as those who have too few.
The danger at least is real. Nothing short of violence or special
legislation can prevent the plains from continuing to be forever that
which under nature‘s farming they have ever been--the feeding ground for
mighty flocks, the cattle pasture of the world.



CHAPTER XIII.

ROCKY MOUNTAINS.


“What will I do for you if you stop here among us? Why, I‘ll name that
peak after you in the next survey,” said Governor Gilpin, pointing to a
snowy mountain towering to its 15,000 feet in the direction of Mount
Lincoln. I was not to be tempted, however; and as for Dixon, there is
already a county named after him in Nebraska: so off we went along the
foot of the hills on our road to the Great Salt Lake, following the
“Cherokee Trail.”

Striking north from Denver by Vasquez Fork and Cache la Poudre--called
“Cash le Powder,” just as Mont Royal has become Montreal, and Sault de
Ste Marie, Soo--we entered the Black Mountains, or Eastern foot-hills,
at Beaver Creek. On the second day, at two in the afternoon, we reached
Virginia Dale for breakfast, without adventure, unless it were the
shooting of a monster rattlesnake that lay “coiled in our path upon the
mountain side.” Had we been but a few minutes later, we should have made
it a halt for “supper” instead of breakfast, as the drivers had but
these two names for our daily meals, at whatever hour they took place.
Our “breakfasts” varied from 3.30 A.M. to 2 P.M.; our suppers from 3
P.M. to 2 A.M.

Here we found the weird red rocks that give to the river and the
territory their name of Colorado, and came upon the mountain plateau at
the spot where last year the Utes scalped seven men only three hours
after Speaker Colfax and a Congressional party had passed with their
escort.

While trundling over the sandy wastes of Laramie Plains, we sighted the
Wind River chain drawn by Bierstadt in his great picture of the “Rocky
Mountains.” The painter has caught the forms, but missed the atmosphere
of the range: the clouds and mists are those of Maine and Massachusetts;
there is color more vivid, darkness more lurid, in the storms of
Colorado.

This was our first sight of the main range since we entered the Black
Hills, although we passed through the gorges at the very foot of Long‘s
Peak. It was not till we had reached the rolling hills of “Medicine
Bow”--a hundred miles beyond the peak--that we once more caught sight of
it shining in the rear.

In the night between the second and third days the frost was so bitter
at the great altitude to which we had attained, that we resorted to
every expedient to keep out the cold. While I was trying to peg down one
of the leathern flaps of our ambulance with the pencil from my
note-book, my eye caught the moonlight on the ground, and I drew back
saying, “We are on the snow.” The next time we halted, I found that what
I had seen was an impalpable white dust, the much dreaded alkali.

In the morning of the third day we found ourselves in a country of
dazzling white, dotted with here and there a tuft of sage-brush--an
Artemisia akin to that of the Algerian highlands. At last we were in the
“American desert”--the “_Mauvaises terres_.”

Once only did we escape for a time from alkali and sage to sweet waters
and sweet grass. Near Bridger‘s Pass and the “divide” between Atlantic
and Pacific floods, we came on a long valley swept by chilly breezes,
and almost unfit for human habitation from the rarefaction of the air,
but blessed with pasture ground on which domesticated herds of Himalayan
yâk should one day feed. Settlers in Utah will find out that this
animal, which would flourish here at altitudes of from 4000 to 14,000
feet, and which bears the most useful of all furs, requires less herbage
in proportion to its weight and size than almost any animal we know.

This Bridger‘s Pass route is that by which the telegraph line runs, and
I was told by the drivers strange stories of the Indians and their views
on this great Medicine. They never destroy out of mere wantonness, but
have been known to cut the wire and then lie in ambush in the
neighborhood, knowing that repairing parties would arrive and fall an
easy prey. Having come one morning upon three armed overlanders lying
fast asleep, while a fourth kept guard by a fire which coincided with a
gap in the posts, but which was far from any timber or even scrub, I
have my doubts as to whether “white Indians” have not much to do with
the destruction of the line.

From one of the uplands of the Artemisia barrens we sighted at once
Fremont‘s Peak on the north, and another great snow-dome upon the south.
The unknown mountain was both the more distant and the loftier of the
two, yet the maps mark no chain within eyeshot to the southward. The
country on either side of this well-worn track is still as little known
as when Captain Stansbury explored it in 1850; and when we crossed the
Green River, as the Upper Colorado is called, it was strange to remember
that the stream is here lost in a thousand miles of undiscovered wilds,
to be found again flowing toward Mexico. Near the ferry is the place
where Albert S. Johnson‘s mule-trains were captured by the Mormons
under General Lot Smith.

In the middle of the night we would come upon mule-trains starting on
their march in order to avoid the mid-day sun, and thus save water,
which they are sometimes forced to carry with them for as much as fifty
miles. When we found them halted, they were always camped on bluffs and
in bends, far from rocks and tufts, behind which the Indians might creep
and stampede the cattle: this they do by suddenly swooping down with
fearful noises, and riding in among the mules or oxen at full speed. The
beasts break away in their fright, and are driven off before the
sentries have time to turn out the camp.

On the fourth day from Denver, the scenery was tame enough, but strange
in the extreme. Its characteristic feature was its breadth. No longer
the rocky defiles of Virginia Dale, no longer the glimpses of the main
range as from Laramie Plains and the foot-hills of Medicine Bow, but
great rolling downs like those of the plains much magnified. We crossed
one of the highest passes in the world without seeing snow, but looked
back directly we were through it on snow-fields behind us and all
around.

At Elk Mountain we suffered greatly from the frost, but by mid day we
were taking off our coats, and the mules hanging their heads in the sun
once more, while those which should have taken their places were, as the
ranchman expressed it, “kicking their heels in pure cussedness” at a
stream some ten miles away.

While walking before the “hack” through the burning sand of Bitter
Creek, I put up a bird as big as a turkey, which must, I suppose, have
been a vulture. The sage-brush growing here as much as three feet high,
and as stout and gnarled as century-old heather, gave shelter to a few
coveys of sage-hens, at which we shot without much success, although
they seldom ran, and never rose. Their color is that of the brush
itself--a yellowish gray--and it is as hard to see them as to pick up a
partridge on a sun-dried fallow at home in England. Of wolves and
rattlesnakes there were plenty, but of big game we saw but little, only
a few black-tails in the day.

This track is more traveled by trains than is the Smoky Hill route,
which accounts for the absence of game on the line; but that there is
plenty close at hand is clear from the way we were fed. Smoky Hill
starvation was forgotten in piles of steaks of elk and antelope; but
still no fruit, no vegetable, no bread, no drink save “sage-brush tea,”
and that half poisoned with the water of the alkaline creeks.

Jerked buffalo had disappeared from our meals. The droves never visit
the Sierra Madre now, and scientific books have said that in the
mountains they were ever unknown. In Bridger‘s Pass we saw the skulls of
not less than twenty buffalo, which is proof enough that they once were
here, though perhaps long ago. The skin and bones will last about a year
after the beast has died, for the wolves tear them to pieces to get at
the marrow within, but the skull they never touch; and the oldest
ranchman failed to give me an answer as to how long skulls and horns
might last. We saw no buffalo roads like those across the plains.

From the absence of buffalo, absence of birds, absence of flowers,
absence even of Indians, the Rocky Mountain plateau is more of a
solitude than are the plains. It takes days to see this, for you
naturally notice it less. On the plains, the glorious climate, the
masses of rich blooming plants, the millions of beasts, and insects, and
birds, all seem prepared to the hand of man, and for man you are
continually searching. Each time you round a hill, you look for the
smoke of the farm. Here on the mountains you feel as you do on the sea:
it is nature‘s own lone solitude, but from no fault of ours--the higher
parts of the plateau were not made for man.

Early on the fifth night we dashed suddenly out of utter darkness into a
mountain glen blazing with fifty fires, and perfumed with the scent of
burning cedar. As many wagons as there were fires were corraled in an
ellipse about the road, and 600 cattle were pastured within the
fire-glow in rich grass that told of water. Men and women were seated
round the camp-fires praying and singing hymns. As we drove in, they
rose and cheered us “on your way to Zion.” Our Gentile driver yelled
back the warhoop “How! How! How! How--w! We‘ll give yer love to
Brigham;” and back went the poor travelers to their prayers again. It
was a bull train of the Mormon immigration.

Five minutes after we had passed the camp we were back in civilization,
and plunged into polygamous society all at once, with Bishop Myers, the
keeper of Bear River Ranch, drawing water from the well, while Mrs.
Myers No. 1 cooked the chops, and Mrs. Myers No. 2 laid the table
neatly.

The kind bishop made us sit before the fire till we were warm, and
filled our “hack” with hay, that we might continue so, and off we went,
inclined to look favorably on polygamy after such experience of
polygamists.

Leaving Bear River about midnight, at two o‘clock in the morning of the
sixth day we commenced the descent of Echo Canyon, the grandest of all
the gully passes of the Wasatch Range. The night was so clear that I
was able to make some outline sketches of the cliffs from the ranch
where we changed mules. Echo Canyon is the Thermopylæ of Utah, the pass
that the Mormons fortified against the United States forces under Albert
S. Johnson at the time of “Buchanan‘s raid.” Twenty-six miles long,
often not more than a few yards wide at the bottom, and a few hundred
feet at the top, with an overhanging cliff on the north side, and a
mountain wall on the south, Echo Canyon would be no easy pass to force.
Government will do well to prevent the Pacific Railroad from following
this defile.

After breakfast at Coalville, the Mormon Newcastle, situated in a
smiling valley not unlike that between Martigny and Saint Maurice, we
dashed on past Kimball‘s Ranch, where we once more hitched horses
instead of mules, and began our descent of seventeen miles down Big
Canyon, the best of all the passes of the Wasatch. Rounding a spur at
the end of our six-hundredth mile from Denver, we first sighted the
Mormon promised land.

The sun was setting over the great dead lake to our right, lighting up
the valley with a silvery gleam from Jordan River, and the hills with a
golden glow from off the snow-fields of the many mountain chains and
peaks around. In our front, the Oquirrh, or Western Range, stood out in
sharp purple outlines upon a sea-colored sky. To our left were the Utah
Mountains, blushing rose, all about our heads the Wasatch glowing in
orange and gold. From the flat valley in the sunny distance rose the
smoke of many houses, the dust of many droves; on the bench-land of
Ensign Peak, on the lake side, white houses peeped from among the
peach-trees, modestly, and hinted the presence of the city.

Here was Plato‘s table-land of the Atlantic isle--one great field of
corn and wheat, where only twenty years ago Fremont, the pathfinder,
reported wheat and corn impossible.



CHAPTER XIV.

BRIGHAM YOUNG.


“I look upon Mohammed and Brigham as the very best men that God could
send as ministers to those unto whom He sent them,” wrote Elder
Frederick Evans, of the “Shaker” village of New Lebanon, in a letter to
us, inclosing another by way of introduction to the Mormon president.

Credentials from the Shaker to the Mormon chief--from the great living
exponent of the principle of celibacy to the “most married” in all
America--were not to be kept undelivered; so the moment we had bathed we
posted off to a merchant to whom we had letters, that we might inquire
when his spiritual chief and military ruler would be home again from his
“trip north.” The answer was, “To-morrow.”

After watching the last gleams fade from the snow-fields upon the
Wasatch, we parted for the night, as I had to sleep in a private house,
the hotel being filled even to the balcony. As I entered the
drawing-room of my entertainer, I heard the voice of a lady reading, and
caught enough of what she said to be aware that it was a defense of
polygamy. She ceased when she saw the stranger; but I found that it was
my host‘s first wife reading Belinda Pratt‘s book to her
daughters--girls just blooming into womanhood.

After an agreeable chat with the ladies, doubly pleasant as it followed
upon a long absence from civilization, I went to my room, which I
afterward found to be that of the eldest son, a youth of sixteen years.
In one corner stood two Ballard rifles, and two revolvers and a militia
uniform hung from pegs upon the wall. When I lay down with my hands
underneath the pillow--an attitude instinctively adopted to escape the
sand-flies, I touched something cold. I felt it--a full-sized Colt, and
capped. Such was my first introduction to Utah Mormonism.

On the morrow, we had the first and most formal of our four interviews
with the Mormon president, the conversation lasting three hours, and all
the leading men of the church being present. When we rose to leave,
Brigham said: “Come to see me here again; Brother Stenhouse will show
you everything;” and then blessed us in these words: “Peace be with you,
in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Elder Stenhouse followed us out of the presence, and somewhat anxiously
put the odd question: “Well, is he a white man?” “White” is used in Utah
as a general term of praise: a white man is a man--to use our
corresponding idiom--not so black as he is painted. A “white country” is
a country with grass and trees; just as a white man means a man who is
morally not a Ute, so a white country is a land in which others than
Utes can dwell.

We made some complimentary answer to Stenhouse‘s question; but it was
impossible not to feel that the real point was: Is Brigham sincere?

Brigham‘s deeds have been those of a sincere man. His bitterest
opponents cannot dispute the fact that in 1844, when Nauvoo was about to
be deserted, owing to the attacks of a ruffianly mob, Brigham rushed to
the front, and took the chief command. To be a Mormon leader then was to
be a leader of an outcast people, with a price set on his head, in a
Missourian county in which almost every man who was not a Mormon was by
profession an assassin. In the sense, too, of believing that he is what
he professes to be, Brigham is undoubtedly sincere. In the wider sense
of being that which he professes to be he comes off as well, if only we
will read his words in the way he speaks them. He tells us that he is a
prophet--God‘s representative on earth; but when I asked him whether he
was of a wholly different spiritual rank to that held by other devout
men, he said: “By no means. I am a prophet--one of many. All good men
are prophets; but God has blessed me with peculiar favor in revealing
His will oftener and more clearly through me than through other men.”

Those who would understand Brigham‘s revelations must read Bentham. The
leading Mormons are utilitarian deists. “God‘s will be done,” they, like
other deists, say is to be our rule; and God‘s will they find in written
Revelation and in Utility. God has given men, by the actual hand of
angels, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Book of Covenants, the
revelation upon Plural Marriage. When these are exhausted, man, seeking
for God‘s will, has to turn to the principle of Utility: that which is
for the happiness of mankind--_that is of the church_--is God‘s will,
and must be done. While Utility is their only index to God‘s pleasure,
they admit that the church must be ruled--that opinions may differ as to
what is the good of the church, and therefore the will of God. They
meet, then, annually, in an assembly of the people, and electing church
officers by popular will and acclamation, they see God‘s finger in the
ballot-box. They say, like the Jews in the election of their judges,
that the choice of the people is the choice of God. This is what men
like John Taylor or Daniel Wells appear to feel; the ignorant are
permitted to look upon Brigham as something more than man, and though
Brigham himself does nothing to confirm this view, the leaders foster
the delusion. When I asked Stenhouse, “Has Brigham‘s re-election as
prophet ever been opposed?” he answered sharply, “I should like to see
the man who‘d do it.”

Brigham‘s personal position is a strange one: he calls himself prophet,
and declares that he has revelations from God himself, but when you ask
him quietly what all this means, you find that for prophet you should
read political philosopher. He sees that a canal from Utah Lake to Salt
Lake Valley would be of vast utility to the church and people--that a
new settlement is urgently required. He thinks about these things till
they dominate in his mind, and take in his brain the shape of physical
creations. He dreams of the canal, the city; sees them before him in his
waking moments. That which is so clearly for the good of God‘s people
becomes God‘s will. Next Sunday at the Tabernacle he steps to the front,
and says: “God has spoken; He has said unto his prophet, ‘Get thee up,
Brigham, and build Me a city in the fertile valley to the South, where
there is water, where there are fish, where the sun is strong enough to
ripen the cotton plants, and give raiment as well as food to My saints
on earth.’ Brethren willing to aid God‘s work should come to me before
the Bishops’ meeting.” As the prophet takes his seat again, and puts on
his broad-brimmed hat, a hum of applause runs round the bowery, and
teams and barrows are freely promised.

Sometimes the canal, the bridge, the city may prove a failure, but this
is not concealed; the prophet‘s human tongue may blunder even when he is
communicating holy things.

“After all,” Brigham said to me the day before I left, “the highest
inspiration is good sense--the knowing what to do, and how to do it.”

In all this it is hard for us, with our English hatred of casuistry and
hair-splitting, to see sincerity; still, given his foundation, Brigham
is sincere. Like other political religionists, he must feel himself
morally bound to stick at nothing when the interests of the church are
at stake. To prefer man‘s life or property to the service of God must be
a crime in such a church. The Mormons deny the truth of the
murder-stories alleged against the Danites, but they avoid doing so in
sweeping or even general terms--though, if need were, of course they
would be bound to lie as well as to kill in the name of God and His holy
prophet.

The secret polity which I have sketched gives, evidently, enormous power
to some one man within the church; but the Mormon constitution does not
very clearly point out who that man shall be. With a view to the
possible future failure of leaders of great personal qualifications, the
First Presidency consists of three members with equal rank; but to his
place in the Trinity, Brigham unites the office of Trustee in Trust,
which gives him the control of the funds and tithing, or church
taxation.

All are not agreed as to what should be Brigham‘s place in Utah.
Stenhouse said one day: “I am one of those who think that our President
should do everything. He has made this church and this country, and
should have his way in all things; saying so gets me into trouble with
some.” The writer of a report of Brigham‘s tour which appeared in the
Salt Lake _Telegraph_ the day we reached the city, used the words: “God
never spoke through man more clearly than through President Young.”

One day, when Stenhouse was speaking of the morality of the Mormon
people, he said: “Our penalty for adultery is death.” Remembering the
Danites, we were down on him at once: “Do you inflict it?” “No;
but--well, not practically; but really it is so. A man who commits
adultery withers away and perishes. A man sent away from his wives upon
a mission that may last for years, if he lives not purely--_if, when he
returns, he cannot meet the eye of Brigham, better for him to be at once
in hell._ He withers.”

Brigham himself has spoken in strong words of his own power over the
Mormon people: “Let the talking folk at Washington say, if they please,
that I am no longer Governor of Utah. I am, and will be Governor, until
God Almighty says, ‘Brigham, you need not be Governor any more.’”

Brigham‘s head is that of a man who nowhere could be second.



CHAPTER XV.

MORMONDOM.


We had been presented at court, and favorably received; asked to call
again; admitted to State secrets of the presidency. From this moment our
position in the city was secured. Mormon seats in the theater were
placed at our disposal; the director of immigration, the presiding
bishop, Colonel Hunter--a grim, weather-beaten Indian fighter--and his
coadjutors, carried us off to see the reception of the bull-train at the
Elephant Corral; we were offered a team to take us to the Lake, which we
refused only because we had already accepted the loan of one from a
Gentile merchant; presents of peaches, and invitations to lunch, dinner,
and supper, came pouring in upon us from all sides. In a single morning
we were visited by four of the apostles and nine other leading members
of the church. Ecclesiastical dignitaries sat upon our single chair and
wash-hand-stand; and one bed groaned under the weight of George A.
Smith, “church historian,” while the other bore Æsop‘s load--the peaches
he had brought. These growers of fruit from standard trees think but
small things of our English wall-fruit, “baked on one side and frozen on
the other,” as they say. There is a mellowness about the Mormon peaches
that would drive our gardeners to despair.

One of our callers was Captain Hooper, the Utah delegate to Congress. He
is an adept at the Western plan of getting out of a fix by telling you a
story. When we laughingly alluded to his lack of wives, and the
absurdity of a monogamist representing Utah, he said that the people at
Washington all believed that Utah had sent them a polygamist. There is a
rule that no one with the entry shall take more than one lady to the
White House receptions. A member of Congress was urged by three ladies
to take them with him. He, as men do, said, “The thing is
impossible”--and did it. Presenting himself with the bevy at the door,
the usher stopped him: “Can‘t pass; only one friend admitted with each
member.” “Suppose, sir, that I‘m the delegate from Utah Territory?” said
the Congressman. “Oh, pass in, sir--pass in,” was the instant answer of
the usher. The story reminds me of poor Browne‘s “family” ticket to his
lecture at Salt Lake City: “Admit the bearer and _one_ wife.” Hooper is
said to be under pressure at this moment on the question of polygamy,
for he is a favorite with the prophet, who cannot, however, with
consistency promote him to office in the church on account of a saying
of his own: “A man with one wife is of less account before God than a
man with no wives at all.”

Our best opportunity of judging of the Mormon ladies was at the theater,
which we attended regularly, sitting now in Elder Stenhouse‘s “family”
seats, now with General Wells. Here we saw all the wives of the leading
churchmen of the city; in their houses, we saw only those they chose to
show us: in no case but that of the Clawson family did we meet in
society all the wives. We noticed at once that the leading ladies were
all alike--full of taste, full of sense, but full, at the same time, of
a kind of unconscious melancholy. Everywhere, as you looked round the
house, you met the sad eye which I had seen but once before--among the
Shakers at New Lebanon. The women here, knowing no other state, seem to
think themselves as happy as the day is long: their eye alone is there
to show the Gentile that they are, if the expression may be allowed,
unhappy without knowing it. That these Mormon women love their religion
and reverence its priests is but a consequence of its being “their
religion”--the system in the midst of which they have been brought up.
Which of us is there who does not set up some idol in his heart round
which he weaves all that he has of poetry and devotion in his character?
Art, hero-worship, patriotism are forms of this great tendency. That the
Mormon girls, who are educated as highly as those of any country in the
world--who, like all American girls, are allowed to wander where they
please--who are certain of protection in any of the fifty Gentile
houses in the city, and absolutely safe in Camp Douglas at the distance
of two miles from the city-wall--all consent deliberately to enter on
polygamy--shows clearly enough that they can, as a rule, have no dislike
to it beyond such a feeling as public opinion will speedily overcome.

Discussion of the institution of plural marriage in Salt Lake City is
fruitless; all that can be done is to observe. In assaulting the Mormon
citadel, you strike against the air. “Polygamy degrades the women,” you
begin. “Morally or socially?” says the Mormon. “Socially.” “Granted,” is
the reply, “and that is a most desirable consummation. By socially
lowering, it morally raises the woman. It makes her a servant, but it
makes her pure and good.”

It is always well to remember that if we have one argument against
polygamy which from our Gentile point of view is unanswerable, it is not
necessary that we should rack our brains for others. All our modern
experience is favorable to ranking woman as man‘s equal; polygamy
assumes that she shall be his servant--loving, faithful, cheerful,
willing, but still a servant.

The opposite poles upon the women question are Utah polygamy and Kansas
female suffrage.



CHAPTER XVI.

WESTERN EDITORS.


The attack upon Mormondom has been systematized, and is conducted with
military skill, by trench and parallel. The New England papers having
called for “facts” whereon to base their homilies, General Connor, of
Fenian fame, set up the _Union Vedette_ in Salt Lake City, and publishes
on Saturdays a sheet expressly intended for Eastern reading. The mantle
of the _Sangamo Journal_ has fallen on the _Vedette_, and John C.
Bennett is effaced by Connor. From this source it is that come the whole
of the paragraphs against Brigham and all Mormondom which fill the
Eastern papers, and find their way to London. The editor has to fill his
paper with peppery leaders, well-spiced telegrams, stinging “facts.”
Every week there must be something that can be used and quoted against
Brigham. The Eastern remarks upon quotations in turn are quoted at Salt
Lake. Under such circumstances, even telegrams can be made to take a
flavor. In to-day‘s _Vedette_ we have one from St. Joseph, describing
how above one thousand “of these dirty, filthy dupes of the Great Salt
Lake iniquity” are now squatting round the packet depot, awaiting
transport. Another from Chicago tells us that the seven thousand
European Mormons who have this year passed up the Missouri River “are of
the lowest and most ignorant classes.” The leader is directed against
Mormons in general, and Stenhouse in particular, as editor of one of
the Mormon papers, and ex-postmaster of the Territory. He has already
had cause to fear the _Vedette_, as it was through the exertions of its
editor that he lost his office. This matter is referred to in the leader
of to-day: “When we found our letters scattered about the streets in
fragments, we succeeded in getting an honest postmaster appointed in
place of the editor of the _Telegraph_--an organ where even carrots,
pumpkins, and potatoes are current funds--directed by a clique of
foreign writers, who can hardly speak our language, and who never drew a
loyal breath since they came to Utah.” The Mormon tax frauds, and the
Mormon police, likewise come in for their share of abuse, and the writer
concludes with a pathetic plea against arrest “for quietly indulging in
a glass of wine in a private room with a friend.”

Attacks such as these make one understand the suspiciousness of the
Mormon leaders, and the slowness of Stenhouse and his friends to take a
joke if it concerns the church. Poor Artemus Ward once wrote to
Stenhouse, “If you can‘t take a joke, you‘ll be darned, and you
oughter;” but the jest at which he can laugh has wrought no cure. Heber
Kimball said to me one day: “They‘re all alike. There was ---- came here
to write a book, and we thought better of him than of most. I showed him
more kindness than I ever showed a man before or since, and then he
called me a ‘hoary reprobate.’ I would advise him not to pass this way
next time.”

The suspicion often takes odd shapes. One Sunday morning, at the
tabernacle, I remarked that the Prophet‘s daughter, Zina, had on the
same dress as she had worn the evening before at the theater, in playing
“Mrs. Musket” in the farce of “My Husband‘s Ghost.” It was a black silk
gown, with a vandyke flounce of white, impossible to mistake. I pointed
it out in joke to a Mormon friend, when he denied my assertion in the
most emphatic way, although he could not have known for certain that I
was wrong, as he sat next to me in the theater during the whole play.

The Mormons will talk freely of their own suspiciousness. They say that
the coldness with which travelers are usually received at Salt Lake City
is the consequence of years of total misrepresentation. They forget that
they are arguing in a circle, and that this misrepresentation is itself
sometimes the result of their reserve.

The news and advertisements are even more amusing than the leaders in
the _Vedette_. A paragraph tells us, for instance, that “Mrs. Martha
Stewart and Mrs. Robertson, of San Antonio, lately had an impromptu
fight with revolvers; Mrs. Stewart was badly winged.” Nor is this the
only reference in the paper to shooting by ladies, as another paragraph
tells us how a young girl, frightened by a sham ghost, drew on the
would-be apparition, and with six barrels shot him twice through the
head, and four times “in the region of the heart.” A quotation from the
_Owyhee Avalanche_, speaking of gambling hells, tells us that “one hurdy
shebang” in Silver City shipped 8000 dollars as the net proceeds of its
July business. “These leeches corral more clear cash than most quartz
mills,” remonstrates the editor. “Corral” is the Mexican cattle
inclosure; the yard where the team mules are ranched; the _kraal_ of
Cape Colony, which, on the plains and the plateau, serves as a fort for
men as well as a fold for oxen, and resembles the _serai_ of the East.
The word “to corral” means to shut into one of these pens; and thence
“to pouch,” “to pocket,” “to bag,” to get well into hand.

The advertisements are in keeping with the news. “Everything, from a
salamander safe to a Limerick fish-hook,” is offered by one firm.
“Fifty-three and a half and three and three-quarter thimble-skein
Schuttler wagons,” is offered by another. An advertiser bids us “Spike
the Guns of Humbug! and Beware of Deleterious Dyes! Refuse to have your
Heads Baptized with Liquid Fire!” Another says, “If you want a paper
free from entanglements of cliques, and antagonistic to the corrupting
evils of factionism, subscribe to the _Montana Radiator_.” Nothing beats
the following: “Butcher‘s dead-shot for bed-bugs! Curls them up as fire
does a leaf! Try it, and sleep in peace! Sold by all live druggists.”

If we turn to the other Salt Lake papers, the _Telegraph_, an
independent Mormon paper, and the _Deseret News_, the official journal
of the church, we find a contrast to the trash of the _Vedette_.
Brigham‘s paper, clearly printed and of a pleasant size, is filled with
the best and latest news from the outlying portions of the Territory,
and from Europe. The motto on its head is a simple one--“Truth and
Liberty;” and twenty-eight columns of solid news are given us. Among the
items is an account of a fight upon the Smoky Hill route, which occurred
on the day we reached this city, and in which two teamsters--George Hill
and Luke West--were killed by the Kiowas and Cheyennes. A loyal Union
article from the pen of Albert Carrington, the editor, is followed by
one upon the natural advantages of Utah, in which the writer complains
that the very men who ridiculed the Mormons for settling in a desert are
now declaiming against their being allowed to squat upon one of the
“most fertile locations in the United States.” The paper asserts that
Mormon success is secured only by Mormon industry, and that as a merely
commercial speculation, apart from the religious impulse, the
cultivation of Utah would not pay: “Utah is no place for the loafer or
the lazy man.” An official report, like the _Court Circular_ of England,
is headed, “President Brigham Young‘s trip North,” and is signed by G.
D. Watt, “Reporter” to the church. The Old Testament is not spared.
“From what we saw of the timbered mountains,” writes one reporter, “we
had no despondency of Israel ever failing for material to build up,
beautify, and adorn pleasant habitations in that part of Zion.” A
theatrical criticism is not wanting, and the church actors come in for
“praise all round.” In another part of the paper are telegraphic reports
from the captains of the seven immigrant trains not yet come in, giving
their position, and details of the number of days’ march for which they
have provisions still in hand. One reports “thirty-eight head of cattle
stolen;” another, “a good deal of mountain fever;” but, on the whole,
the telegrams look well. The editor, speaking of the two English
visitors now in the city, says: “We greet them to our mountain
habitation, and bid them welcome to our orchard; and that‘s considerable
for an editor, especially if he has plural responsibilities to look
after.” Bishop Harrington reports from American Fork that everybody is
thriving there, and “doing as the Mormon creed directs--minding their
own business.” “That‘s good, bishop,” says the editor. The “Passenger
List of the 2d Ox-train, Captain J. D. Holladay,” is given at length;
about half the immigrants come with wife and family, very many with five
or six children. From Liverpool, the chief office for Europe, comes a
gazette of “Releases and Appointments,” signed “Brigham Young, Jun.,
President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the
British Isles and Adjacent Countries,” accompanied by a dispatch, in
which the “President for England” gives details of his visits to the
Saints in Norway, and of his conversations with the United States
minister at St. Petersburg.

The _Telegraph_, like its editor, is practical, and does not deal in
extract. All the sheet, with the exception of a few columns, is taken up
with business advertisements; but these are not the least amusing part
of the paper. A gigantic figure of a man in high boots and felt hat,
standing on a ladder and pasting up Messrs. Eldredge and Clawson‘s
dry-goods advertisement, occupies nearly half the back page. Mr. Birch
informs “parties hauling wheat from San Pete County” that his mill at
Fort Birch “is now running, and is protected by a stone-wall
fortification, and is situate at the mouth of Salt Canyon, just above
Nephi City, Juab County, on the direct road to Pahranagat.” A view of
the fort, with posterns, parapets, embrasures, and a giant flag, heads
the advertisement. The cuts are not always so cheerful: one far-western
paper fills three-quarters of its front page with an engraving of a
coffin. The editorial columns contain calls to the “brethren with teams”
to aid the immigrants, an account of a “rather mixed case” of “double
divorce” (Gentile), and of a prosecution of a man “for violation of the
seventh commandment.” A Mormon police report is headed, “One drunk at
the calaboose.” Defending himself against charges of “directing bishops”
and “steadying the ark,” the editor calls on the bishops to shorten
their sermons: “we may get a crack for this, but we can‘t help it; we
like variety, life, and short meetings.” In a paragraph about his
visitors, our friend, the editor of the _Telegraph_, said, a day or two
after our arrival in the city: “If a stranger can escape the strychnine
clique for three days after arrival, he is forever afterward safe.
Generally the first twenty-four hours are sufficient to prostrate even
the very robust.” In a few words of regret at a change in the Denver
newspaper staff, our editor says: “However, a couple of sentences
indicate that George has no intention of abandoning the tripod. That‘s
right: keep at it, my boy; misery likes company.”

The day after we reached Denver, the _Gazette_, commenting on this same
“George,” said: “Captain West has left the _Rocky Mountains News_
office. We are not surprised, as we could never see how any respectable,
decent gentleman like George could get along with Governor Evans‘s paid
hireling and whelp who edits that delectable sheet.” Of the two papers
which exist in every town in the Union, each is always at work
attempting to “use up” the other. I have seen the Democratic print of
Chicago call its Republican opponent “a radical, disunion, disreputable,
bankrupt, emasculated evening newspaper concern of this city”--a string
of terms by the side of which even Western utterances pale.

A paragraph headed “The Millennium” tells us that the editors of the
_Telegraph_ and _Deseret News_ were seen yesterday afternoon walking
together toward the Twentieth Ward. Another paragraph records the ill
success of an expedition against Indians who had been “raiding” down in
“Dixie,” or South Utah. A general order, signed “Lieut.-General Daniel
H. Wells,” and dated “headquarters Nauvoo Legion,” directs the assembly,
for a three days’ “big drill,” of the forces of the various military
districts of the Territory. The name of “Territorial Militia,” under
which alone the United States can permit the existence of the legion, is
carefully omitted. This is not the only warlike advertisement in the
paper: fourteen cases of Ballard rifles are offered in exchange for
cattle; and other firms offer tents and side-arms to their friends.
Amusements are not forgotten: a cricket match between two Mormon
settlements in Cache County is recorded: “Wellsville whipping Brigham
City with six wickets to go down;” and is followed by an article in
which the First President may have had a hand, pointing out that the
Salt Lake Theater is going to be the greatest of theaters, and that the
favor of its audience is a passport beyond Wallack‘s, and equal to Drury
Lane or the Haymarket. In sharp contrast to these signs of present
prosperity, the First Presidency announce the annual gathering of the
surviving members of Zion‘s camp, the association of the first immigrant
band.

There is about the Mormon papers much that tells of long settlement and
prosperity. When I showed Stenhouse the _Denver Gazette_ of our second
day in that town, he said: “Well, _Telegraph‘s_ better than that!” The
Denver sheet is a literary curiosity of the first order. Printed on
chocolate-colored paper, in ink of a not much darker hue, it is in parts
illegible--to the reader‘s regret, for what we were able to make out was
good enough to make us wish for more.

The difference between the Mormon and Gentile papers is strongly marked
in the advertisements. The _Denver Gazette_ is filled with puffs of
quacks and whisky shops. In the column headed “Business Cards,” Dr.
Ermerins announces that he may be consulted by his patients in the
“French, German, and English” tongues. Lower down we have the card of
“Dr. Treat, Eclectic Physician and Surgeon,” which is preceded by an
advertisement of “sulkies made to order,” and followed by a leaded
heading, “Know thy Destiny; Madame Thornton, the English Astrologist and
Psychometrician, has located herself at Hudson, New York; by the aid of
an instrument of intense power, known as the Psychomotrope, she
guarantees to produce a lifelike picture of the future husband or wife
of the applicant.” There is a strange turning toward the supernatural
among this people. Astrology is openly professed as a science throughout
the United States; the success of spiritualism is amazing. The most
sensible men are not exempt from the weakness: the dupes of the
astrologers are not the uneducated Irish; they are the strong-minded,
half-educated Western men, shrewd and keen in trade, brave in war,
material and cold in faith, it would be supposed, but credulous to
folly, as we know, when personal revelation, the supernaturalism of the
present day, is set before them in the crudest and least attractive
forms. A little lower, “Charley Eyser” and “Gus Fogus” advertise their
bars. The latter announces “Lager Beer at only 10 cents,” in a “cool
retreat,” “fitted up with green-growing trees.” A returned warrior heads
his announcement, in huge capitals, “Back Home Again, An Old Hand at the
Bellows, the Soldier Blacksmith:--S. M. Logan.” In a country where
weights and measures are rather a matter of practice than of law, Mr.
O‘Connell does well to add to “Lager beer 15 cents,” “Glasses hold Two
Bushels.” John Morris, of the “Little Giant” or “Theater Saloon,” asks
us to “call and see him;” while his rivals of the “Progressive Saloon”
offer the “finest liquors that the East can command.” Morris Sigi, whose
“lager is pronounced A No. 1 by all who have used it,” bids us “give him
a fair trial, and satisfy ourselves as to the false reports in
circulation.” Daniel Marsh, dealer in “breech-loading guns and
revolvers,” adds, “and anything that may be wanted, from a cradle to a
coffin, both inclusive, made to order. An Indian Lodge on view, for
sale.” This is the man at whose shop scalps hang for sale; but he fails
to name it in his advertisement; the Utes brought them in too late for
insertion, perhaps.

Advertisements of freight-trains now starting to the East, of
mail-coaches to Buckskin Joe--advertisements slanting, topsy-turvy, and
sideways turned--complete the outer sheet; but some of them, through bad
ink, printer‘s errors, strange English, and wilder Latin, are wholly
unintelligible. It is hard to make much of this, for instance: “Mr.
Æsculapius, no offense, I hope, as this is written extempore and ipso
facto. But, perhaps, I ought not to disregard ex unci disce omnes.”

In an editorial on the English visitors then in Denver, the chance of
putting into their mouths a puff of the Territory of Colorado was not
lost. We were made to “appreciate the native energy and wealth of
industry necessary in building up such a Star of Empire as Colorado.”
The next paragraph is communicated from Conejos, in the south of the
Territory, and says: “The election has now passed off, and I am
confident that we can beat any ward in Denver, and give them two in the
game, for rascality in voting.” Another leader calls on the people of
Denver to remember that there are two men in the calaboose for mule
stealing, and that the last man locked up for the offense was allowed to
escape: some cottonwood-trees still exist, it believes. In former times,
there was for the lynching here hinted at a reason which no longer
exists: a man shut up in jail built of adobe, or sun-dried brick, could
scratch his way through the crumbling wall in two days, so the citizens
generally hanged him in _one_. Now that the jails are in brick and
stone, the job might safely be left to the sheriff; but the people of
Denver seem to trust themselves better even than they do their delegate,
Bob Wilson.

A year or two ago, the jails were so crazy that Coloradan criminals,
when given their choice whether they would be hanged in a week, or “as
soon after breakfast to-morrow as shall be convenient to the sheriff and
agreeable, Mr. Prisoner, to you,” as the Texan formula runs, used to
elect for the quick delivery, on the ground that otherwise they would
catch their deaths of cold--at least so the Denver story runs. They
have, however, a method of getting the jails inspected here which might
be found useful at home; it consists in the simple plan of giving the
governor of a jail an opportunity of seeing the practical working of the
system by locking him up inside for awhile.

These far-western papers are written or compiled under difficulties
almost overwhelming. Mr. Frederick J. Stanton, at Denver, told me that
often he had been forced to “set up” and print as well as “edit” the
paper which he owns. Type is not always to be found. In its early days,
the _Alta Californian_ once appeared with a paragraph which ran: “I have
no VV in my type, as there is none in the Spanish alphabet. I have sent
to the Sandvvich Islands for this letter; in the mean time vve must use
tvvo V‘s.”

Till I had seen the editors’ rooms in Denver, Austin, and Salt Lake
City, I had no conception of the point to which discomfort could be
carried. For all these hardships, payment is small and slow. It consists
often of little but the satisfaction which it is to the editor‘s vanity
to be “liquored” by the best man of the place, treated to an occasional
chat with the governor of the Territory, to a chair in the overland mail
office whenever he walks in, to the hand of the hotel proprietor
whenever he comes near the bar, and to a pistol-shot once or twice in a
month.

It must not be supposed that the _Vedette_ does the Mormons no harm;
the perpetual reiteration in the Eastern and English papers of three
sets of stories alone would suffice to break down a flourishing power.
The three lines that are invariably taken as foundations for their
stories are these--that the Mormon women are wretched, and would fain
get away, but are checked by the Danites; that the Mormons are ready to
fight with the Federal troops with the hope of success; that robbery of
the people by the apostles and elders is at the bottom of Mormonism--or,
as the _Vedette_ puts it, “on tithing and loaning hang all the law and
the profits.”

If the mere fact of the existence of the _Vedette_ effectually refutes
the stories of the acts of the Danites in these modern days, and
therefore disposes of the first set of stories, the third is equally
answered by a glance at its pages. Columns of paragraphs, sheets of
advertisements, testify to the foundation by industry, in the most
frightful desert on earth, of an agricultural community which California
herself cannot match. The Mormons may well call their country
“Deseret”--“land of the bee.” The process of fertilization goes on day
by day. Six or seven years ago, Southern Utah was a desert bare as Salt
Bush Plains. Irrigation from the fresh-water lake was carried out under
episcopal direction, and the result is the growth of fifty kinds of
grapes alone. Cotton-mills and vineyards are springing up on every side,
and “Dixie” begins to look down on its parent, the Salt Lake Valley.
Irrigation from the mountain rills has done this miracle, _we_ say,
though the Saints undoubtedly believe that God‘s hand is in it, helping
miraculously “His peculiar people.”

In face of Mormon prosperity, it is worthy of notice that Utah was
settled on the Wakefieldian system, though Brigham knows nothing of
Wakefield. Town population and country population grew up side by side
in every valley, and the plow was not allowed to gain on the machine-saw
and the shuttle.

It is not only in water and verdure that Utah is naturally poor. On the
mining-map of the States, the countries that lie around Utah--Nevada,
Arizona, Colorado, Montana--are one blaze of yellow, and blue, and red,
colored from end to end with the tints that are used to denote the
existence of precious metals. Utah is blank at present--blank, the
Mormons say, by nature; Gentiles say, merely through the absence of
survey; and they do their best to circumvent mother nature. Every fall
the “strychnine” party raise the cry of gold discoveries in Utah, in the
hope of bringing a rush of miners down to Salt Lake City, too late for
them to get away again before the snows begin. The presence of some
thousands of broad-brimmed rowdies in Salt Lake City, for a winter,
would be the death of Mormonism, they believe. Within the last few days,
I am told that prospecting parties have found “pay dirt” in City Canyon,
which, however, they had first themselves carefully “salted” with gold
dust. There is coal at the settlement at which we breakfasted on our way
from Weber River to Salt Lake; and Stenhouse tells us that the only
difference between the Utah coal and that of Wales is, that the latter
will burn, and the former _won‘t_!

Poor as Utah is by nature, clear though it be that whatever value the
soil now possesses, represents only the loving labor bestowed upon it by
the Saints, it is doubtful whether they are to continue to possess it,
even though the remaining string of _Vedette_-born stories assert that
Brigham “threatens hell” to the Gentiles who would expel him.

The constant, teasing, wasp-like pertinacity of the _Vedette_ has done
some harm to liberty of thought throughout the world.



CHAPTER XVII.

UTAH.


“When you are driven hence, where shall you go?”

“We take no thought for the morrow; the Lord will guide his people,” was
my rebuke from Elder Stenhouse, delivered in the half-solemn,
half-laughing manner characteristic of the Saints. “You say miracles are
passed and gone,” he went on; “but if God has ever interfered to protect
a church, he has interposed on our behalf. In 1857, when the whole army
of the United States was let slip at us under Albert S. Johnson, we were
given strength to turn them aside, and defeat them without a blow. The
Lord permitted us to dictate our own terms of peace. Again, when the
locusts came in such swarms as to blacken the whole valley, and fill the
air with a living fog, God sent millions of strange new gulls, and these
devoured the locusts, and saved us from destruction. The Lord will guide
his people.”

Often as I discussed the future of Utah and the church with Mormons, I
could never get from them any answer but this; they would never even
express a belief, as will many Western Gentiles, that no attempt will be
made to expel them from the country they now hold. They cannot help
seeing how immediate is the danger: from the American press there comes
a cry, “Let us have this polygamy put down; its existence is a disgrace
to England from which it springs, a shame to America in which it dwells,
to the Federal government whose laws it outrages and defies. How long
will you continue to tolerate this retrogression from Christianity, this
insult to civilization?”

With the New Englanders, the question is political as well as
theological, personal as well as political--political, mainly because
there is a great likeness between Mormon expressions of belief in the
divine origin of polygamy and the Southern answers to the Abolitionists:
“Abraham was a slaveowner, and father of the faithful;” “David, the
best-loved of God, was a polygamist”--“show us a biblical prohibition of
slavery;” “show us a denunciation of polygamy, and we‘ll believe you.”
It is this similarity of the defensive positions of Mormonism and
slavery which has led to the present peril of the Salt Lake Church: the
New Englanders look on the Mormons, not only as heretics, but as friends
to the slaveowners; on the other hand, if you hear a man warmly praise
the Mormons, you may set him down as a Southerner, or at the least a
Democrat.

Another reason for the hostility of New England is, that while the
discredit of Mormonism falls upon America, the American people have but
little share in its existence: a few of the leaders are New Englanders
and New Yorkers, but of the rank and file, not one. In every ten
immigrants, the missionaries count upon finding that four come from
England, two from Wales, one from the Scotch Lowlands, one from Sweden,
one from Switzerland, and one from Prussia: from Catholic countries,
none; from all America, none. It is through this purely local and
temporary association of ideas that we see the strange sight of a party
of tolerant, large-hearted churchmen eager to march their armies against
a church.

If we put aside for a moment the question of the moral right to crush
Mormonism in the name of truth, we find that it is, at all events, easy
enough to do it. There is no difficulty in finding legal excuses for
action--no danger in backing Federal legislation with military force.
The legal point is clear enough--clear upon a double issue. Congress can
legislate for the Territories in social matters--has, in fact, already
done so. Polygamy is at this moment punishable in Utah, but the law is,
pending the completion of the railroad, not enforced. Without
extraordinary action, its enforcement would be impossible, for Mormon
juries will give no verdict antagonistic to their church; but it is not
only in this matter that the Mormons have been offenders. They have
sinned also against the land laws of America. The church, Brigham,
Kimball, all are landholders on a scale not contemplated by the
“Homestead” laws--unless to be forbidden; doubly, therefore, are the
Mormons at the mercy of the Federal Congress. There is a loophole open
in the matter of polygamy--that adopted by the New York Communists when
they chose each a woman to be his _legal_ wife, and so put themselves
without the reach of law. This method of escape, I have been assured by
Mormon elders, is one that nothing could force them to adopt. Rather
than indirectly destroy their church by any such weak compliance, they
would again renounce their homes, and make their painful way across the
wilderness to some new Deseret.

It is not likely that New England interference will hinge upon
plurality. A “difficulty” can easily be made to arise upon the land
question, and no breach of the principle of toleration will, on the
surface at least, be visible. No surveys have been held in the Territory
since 1857, no lands within the territorial limits have been sold by the
Federal land office. Not only have the limitations of the “Homestead”
and “Pre-emption” laws been disregarded, but Salt Lake City, with its
palace, its theater, and hotels, is built upon the public lands of the
United States. On the other hand, Mexican titles are respected in
Arizona and New Mexico; and as Utah was Mexican soil when, before the
treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the Mormons settled on its wastes, it seems
hard that their claims should not be equally respected.

After all, the theory of Spanish authority was a ridiculous fiction. The
Mormons were the first occupants of the country which now forms the
Territories of Utah and Colorado and the State of Nevada, and were thus
annexed to the United States without being in the least degree
consulted. It is true that they might be said to have occupied the
country as American citizens, and so to have carried American
sovereignty with them into the wilderness; but this, again, is a
European, not an American theory. American citizens are such, not as men
born upon a certain soil, but as being citizens of a State of the Union,
or an organized Territory; and though the Mormons may be said to have
accepted their position as citizens of the Territory of Utah, still they
did so on the understanding that it should continue a Mormon country,
where Gentiles should at the most be barely tolerated.

We need not go further into the mazes of public law, or of _ex post
facto_ American enactments. The Mormons themselves admit that the letter
of the law is against them; but say that while it is claimed that
Boston and Philadelphia may fitly legislate for the Mormons three
thousand miles away, because Utah is a Territory, not a State, men
forget that it is Boston and Philadelphia themselves who force Utah to
remain a Territory, although they admitted the less populous Nebraska,
Nevada, and Oregon to their rights as States.

If, wholly excluding morals from the calculation, there can be no doubt
upon the points of law, there can be as little upon the military
question. Of the fifteen hundred miles of waterless tract or desert that
we crossed, seven hundred have been annihilated, and 1869 may see the
railroad track in the streets of Salt Lake City. This not only settles
the military question, but is meant to do so. When men lay four miles of
railroad in a day, and average two miles a day for a whole year, when a
government bribes high enough to secure so startling a rate of progress,
there is something more than commerce or settlement in the wind. The
Pacific Railroad is not merely meant to be the shortest line from New
York to San Francisco; it is meant to put down Mormonism.

If the Federal government decides to attack these peaceable citizens of
a Territory that should long since have been a State, they certainly
will not fight, and they no less surely will not disperse. Polynesia or
Mexico is their goal, and in the Marquesas or in Sonora they may,
perhaps, for a few years at least, be let alone, again to prove the
forerunners of English civilization--planters of Saxon institutions and
the English tongue; once more to perform their mission, as they
performed it in Missouri and in Utah.

When we turn from the simple legal question, and the still more simple
military one, to the moral point involved in the forcible suppression of
plural marriage in one State by the might of all the others, we find
the consideration of the matter confused by the apparent analogy between
the so-called crusade against slavery and the proposed crusade against
polygamy. There is no real resemblance between the cases. In the
strictest sense there was no more a crusade against slavery than there
is a crusade against snakes on the part of a man who strikes one that
bit him. The purest republicans have never pretended that the abolition
of slavery was the justification of the war. The South rose in
rebellion, and in rising gave New England an opportunity for the
destruction in America of an institution at variance with the republican
form of government, and aggressive in its tendencies. So far is polygamy
from being opposed in spirit to democracy, that it is impossible here,
in Salt Lake City, not to see that it is the most leveling of all social
institutions--Mormonism the most democratic of religions. A rich man in
New York leaves his two or three sons a large property, and founds a
family; a rich Mormon leaves his twenty or thirty sons each a miserable
fraction of his money, and each son must trudge out into the world, and
toil for himself. Brigham‘s sons--those of them who are not gratuitously
employed in hard service for the church in foreign parts--are
cattle-drivers, small farmers, ranchmen. One of them was the only
poorly-clad boy I saw in Salt Lake City. A system of polygamy, in which
all the wives, and consequently all the children, are equal before the
law, is a powerful engine of democracy.

The general moral question of whether Mormonism is to be put down by the
sword, because the Latter-day Saints differ in certain social customs
from other Christians, is one for the preacher and the casuist, not for
a traveling observer of English-speaking countries as they are.
Mormonism comes under my observation as the religious and social system
of the most successful of all pioneers of English civilization. From
this point of view it would be an immediate advantage to the world that
they should be driven out once more into the wilderness, again to found
an England in Mexico, in Polynesia, or on Red River. It may be an
immediate gain to civilization, but America herself was founded by
schismatics upon a basis of tolerance to all; and there are still to be
found Americans who think it would be the severest blow that has been
dealt to liberty since the St. Bartholomew, were she to lend her
enormous power to systematic persecution at the cannon‘s mouth.

The question of where to draw the line is one of interest. Great Britain
draws it at black faces, and would hardly tolerate the existence among
her white subjects in London of such a sect as that of the Maharajas of
Bombay. “If you draw the line at black faces,” say the Mormons, “why
should you not let the Americans draw it at two thousand miles from
Washington?”

The moral question cannot be dissociated from Mormon history. The Saints
marched from Missouri and Illinois, into no man‘s land, intending there
to live out of the reach of those who differed from them, as do the
Russian dissenters transported in past ages to the provinces of Taurida
and Kherson. It is by no fault of theirs, they say, that they are
citizens of the United States.

[Illustration: PROFILE OF “JOE SMITH.”]

[Illustration: FULL FACE OF “JOE SMITH.”--P. 150.]

There is in the far West a fast increasing party who would leave people
to be polygynists, polyandrists, Free-lovers, Shakers, or monogamists,
as they please; who would place the social relations as they have placed
religion--out of the reach of the law. I need hardly say that public
opinion has such overwhelming force in America that it is probable that
even under a system of perfect toleration by law, two forms of the
family relation would never be found existing side by side. Polygamists
would continue to migrate to Mormon land, Free-lovers to New York,
Shakers to New England. Some will find in this a reason for, and some a
reason against, a change. In any case, a crusade against Mormonism will
hardly draw sympathy from Nebraska, from Michigan, from Kansas.

Many are found who say: “Leave Mormonism to itself, and it will die.”
The Pacific Railroad alone, they think, will kill it. Those Americans
who know Utah best are not of this opinion. Mormonism is no superstition
of the past. There is huge vitality in the polygamic church. Emerson
once spoke to me of Unitarianism, Buddhism, and Mormonism as three
religions which, right or wrong, are full of force. “The Mormons only
need to be persecuted,” said Elder Frederick to me, “to become as
powerful as the Mohammedans.” It is, indeed, more than doubtful whether
polygamy can endure side by side with American monogamy--it is certain
that Mormon priestly power and Mormon mysteries cannot in the long run
withstand the presence of a large Gentile population; but, if Mormon
titles to land are respected, and if great mineral wealth is not found
to exist in Utah, Mormonism will not be exposed to any much larger
Gentile intrusion than it has to cope with now. Settlers who can go to
California or to Colorado “pares” will hardly fix themselves in the Utah
desert. The Mexican table-lands will be annexed before Gentile
immigrants seriously trouble Brigham. Gold and New England are the most
dreaded foes of Mormondom. Nothing can save polygamy if lodes and
placers such as those of all the surrounding States are found in Utah;
nothing can save it if the New Englanders determine to put it down.

Were Congress to enforce the Homestead laws in Utah, and provide for the
presence of an overwhelming Gentile population, polygamy would not only
die of itself, but drag Mormonism down in its fall. Brigham knows more
completely than we can the necessity of isolation. He would not be
likely to await the blow which increased Gentile immigration would deal
his power.

If New England decides to act, the table-lands of Mexico will see played
once more the sad comedy of Utah. Again the Mormons will march into
Mexican territory, again to wake some day, and find it American. Theirs,
however, will once more be the pride of having proved the pioneers of
that English civilization which is destined to overspread the temperate
world. The treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo annexed Utah to the United
States, but Brigham Young annexed it to Anglo-Saxondom.



CHAPTER XVIII.

NAMELESS ALPS.


At the post-office, in Main Street, I gave Mr. Dixon a few last messages
for home--he one to me for some Egyptian friends; and, with a shake and
a wave, we parted, to meet in London after between us completing the
circuit of the globe.

This time again I was not alone: an Irish miner from Montana, with a
bottle of whisky, a revolver and pick, shared the back-seat with the
mail-bags. Before we had forded the Jordan, he had sung “The Wearing of
the Green,” and told me the day and the hour at which the republic was
to be proclaimed at his native village in Galway. Like a true Irishman
of the South or West, he was happy only when he could be generous; and
so much joy did he show when I discovered that the cork had slipped from
my flask, and left me dependent on him for my escape from the alkaline
poison, that I half believed he had drawn it himself when we stopped to
change horses for mules. Certain it is that he pressed his whisky so
fast upon me and the various drivers, that the day we most needed its
aid there was none, and the bottle itself had ended its career by
serving as a target for a trial of breech-loading pistols.

At the sixth ranch from the city, which stands on the shores of the
lake, and close to the foot of the mountains, we found Porter Rockwell,
accredited chief of the Danites, the “Avenging Angels” of Utah, and
leader, it is said, of the “White Indians” at the Mountain Meadows
massacre.

Since 1840 there has been no name of greater terror in the West than
Rockwell‘s; but in 1860 his death was reported in England, and the
career of the great Brother of Gideon was ended, as we thought. I was
told in Salt Lake City that he was still alive and well, and his
portrait was among those that I got from Mr. Ottinger; but I am not
convinced that the man I saw, and whose picture I possess, was in fact
_the_ Porter Rockwell who murdered Stephenson in 1842. It may be
convenient to have two or three men to pass by the one name; and I
suspect that this is so in the Rockwell case.

Under the name of Porter Rockwell some man (or men) has been the terror
of the Mississippi Valley, of plains and plateau, for thirty years. In
1841, Joe Smith prophesied the death of Governor Boggs, of Missouri,
within six months: within that time he was shot--rumor said by Rockwell.
When the Danite was publicly charged with having done the deed for fifty
dollars and a wagon-team, he swore he‘d shoot any man who said he‘d shot
Boggs _for gain;_ “but if I am charged with shooting him, they‘ll have
to prove it”--words that looked like guilt. In 1842 Stephenson died by
the same hand, it is believed. Rockwell was known to be the working
chief of the band organized in 1838 to defend the First Presidency by
any means whatever, fair or foul, known at various times as the “Big
Fan” that should winnow the chaff from the wheat; the “Daughter of
Zion,” the “Destructives,” the “Flying Angels,” the “Brother of Gideon,”
the “Destroying Angels.” “Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion, for I
will make thy horn iron, and will make thy hoofs brass; and thou shalt
beat in pieces many people; and I will consecrate their gain unto the
Lord, and their substance unto the lords of the whole earth”--this was
the motto of the band.

Little was heard of the Danites from the time that the Mormons were
driven from Illinois and Missouri until 1852, when murder after murder,
massacre after massacre, occurred in the Grand Plateau. Bands of
immigrants, of settlers on their road to California, parties of United
States officers, and escaping Mormons, were attacked by “Indians,” and
found scalped by the next whites who came upon their trail. It was
rumored in the Eastern States that the red men were Mormons in disguise,
following the tactics of the Anti-Renters of New York. In the case of
Almon Babbitt, the “Indians” were proved to have been white.

[Illustration: PORTER ROCKWELL.--P. 154.]

The atrocities culminated in the Mountain Meadows massacre in 1857, when
hundreds of men, women, and children were murdered by men armed and
clothed as Indians, but sworn to by some who escaped as being whites.
Porter Rockwell has had the infamy of this tremendous slaughter piled on
to the huge mass of his earlier deeds of blood--whether rightly or
wrongly, who shall say? The man that I saw was the man that Captain
Burton saw in 1860. His death was solemnly recorded in the autumn of
that year, yet of the identity of the person I saw with the person
described by Captain Burton there can be no question. The bald, frowning
forehead, the sinister smile, the long grizzly curls falling upon the
back, the red cheek, the coal beard, the gray eye, are not to be
mistaken. Rockwell or not, he is a man capable of any deed. I had his
photograph in my pocket, and wanted to get him to sign it; but when, in
awe of his glittering bowie and of his fame, I asked, by way of caution,
the ranchman--a new-come Paddy--whether Rockwell could write, the fellow
told me with many an oath that “the boss” was as innocent of letters as
a babe. “As for writin’,” he said, “cuss me if he‘s on it. You bet he‘s
not--you bet.”

Not far beyond Rockwell‘s, we drove close to the bench-land; and I was
able to stop for a moment and examine the rocks. From the veranda of the
Mormon poet Naisbitt‘s house in Salt Lake City, I had remarked a double
line of terrace running on one even level round the whole of the great
valley to the south, cut by nature along the base alike of the Oquirrh
and the Wasatch.

I had thought it possible that the terrace was the result of the
varying hardness of the strata; but, near Black Rock, on the overland
track, I discovered that where the terrace lines have crossed the
mountain precipices, they are continued merely by deep stains upon the
rocks. The inference is that within extremely recent, if not historic
times, the water has stood at these levels from two to three hundred
feet above the present Great Salt Lake City, itself 4500 feet above the
sea. Three days’ journey farther west, on the Reese‘s River Range, I
detected similar stains. Was the whole basin of the Rocky
Mountains--here more than a thousand miles across--once filled with a
huge sea, of which the two Sierras were the shores, and the Wasatch,
Goshoot, Waroja, Toi, Abbé, Humboldt, Washoe, and a hundred other
ranges, the rocks and isles? The Great Salt Lake is but the largest of
many such. I saw one on Mirage Plains that is salter than its greater
fellow. Carson Sink is evidently the bed of a smaller bitter lake; and
there are salt pools in dozens scattered through Ruby and Smoky Valleys.
The Great Salt Lake itself is sinking year by year, and the sage-brush
is gaining upon the alkali desert throughout the Grand Plateau. All
these signs point to the rapid drying-up of a great sea, owing to an
alteration of climatic conditions.

In the Odd Fellows’ Library at San Francisco I found a map of North
America, signed “John Harris, A.M.,” and dated “1605,” which shows a
great lake in the country now comprised in the Territories of Utah and
Dakota. It has a width of fifteen degrees, and is named “Thongo, or
Thoya.” It is not likely that this inland sea is a mere exaggeration of
the present Great Salt Lake, because the views of that sheet of water
are everywhere limited by islands in such a way as to give to the eye
the effect of exceeding narrowness. It is possible that the Jesuit
Fathers, and other Spanish travelers from California, may have looked
from the Utah mountains on the dwindling remnant of a great inland sea.

On we jogged and jolted, till we lost sight of the American dead sea and
of its lovely valley, and got into a canyon floored with huge boulders
and slabs of roughened rock, where I expected each minute to undergo the
fate of that Indian traveler who received such a jolt that he bit off
the tip of his own tongue, or of Horace Greeley, whose head was bumped,
it is said, through the roof of his conveyance. Here, as upon the
eastern side of the Wasatch, the track was marked by never-ending lines
of skeletons of mules and oxen.

On the first evening from Salt Lake, we escaped once more from man at
Stockton, a Gentile mining settlement in Rush Valley, too small to be
called a village, though possessed of a municipality, and claiming the
title of “city.” By night we crossed by Reynolds’ Pass the Parolom or
Cedar Range, in a two-horse “jerky,” to which we had been shifted for
speed and safety. Upon the heights the frost was bitter; and when we
stopped at 3 A.M. for “supper,” in which breakfast was combined, we
crawled into the stable like flies in autumn, half killed by the sudden
chill. My miner spoke but once all night. “It‘s right cold,” he said;
but fifty times at least he sang “The Wearing of the Green.” It was his
only tune.

Soon after light, we passed the spot where Captain Gunnison of the
Federal Engineers, who had been in 1853 the first explorer of the Smoky
Hill route, was killed “by the Ute Indians.” Gunnison was an old enemy
of the Mormons, and the spot is ominously near to Rockwell‘s home. Here
we came out once more into the alkali, and our troubles from dust began.
For hours we were in a desert white as snow; but for reward we gained a
glorious view of the Goshoot Range, which we crossed by night, climbing
silently on foot for hours in the moonlight. The walking saved us from
the cold.

The third day--a Sunday morning--we were at the foot of the Waroja
Mountains, with Egan Canyon for our pass, hewn by nature through the
living rock. You dare swear you see the chisel-marks upon the stone. A
gold-mill had years ago been erected here, and failed. The heavy
machinery was lost upon the road; but the four stone walls contained
between them the wreck of the lighter “plant.”

[Illustration]

As we jolted and journeyed on across the succeeding plain, we spied in
the far distance a group of black dots upon the alkali. Man seems very
small in the infinite expanse of the Grand Plateau--the roof, as it
were, of the world. At the end of an hour we were upon them--a company
of “overlanders” “tracking” across the continent with mules. First came
two mounted men, well armed with Deringers in the belt, and Ballard
breech-loaders on the thigh, prepared for ambush--ready for action
against elk or red-skin. About fifty yards behind these scowling fellows
came the main band of bearded, red-shirted diggers, in huge boots and
felt hats, each man riding one mule, and driving another laden with
packs and buckets. As we came up, the main body halted, and an
interchange of compliments began. “Say, mister, thet‘s a slim horse of
yourn.” “Guess not--guess he‘s all sorts of a horse, he air. And how far
might it be to the State of Varmount?” “Wall, guess the boys down to hum
will be kinder joyed to see us, howsomever that may be.” Just at this
moment a rattlesnake was spied, and every revolver discharged with a
shout, all hailing the successful shot with a “Bully for you; thet
hit him whar he lives.” And on, without more ado, they went.

Even the roughest of these overlanders has in him something more than
roughness. As far as appearance goes, every woman of the far West is a
duchess, each man a Coriolanus. The royal gait, the imperial glance and
frown, belong to every ranchman in Nevada. Every fellow that you meet
upon the track near Stockton or Austin City, walks as though he were
defying lightning, yet this without silly strut or braggadocio. Nothing
can be more complete than the ranchman‘s self-command, save in the one
point of oaths; the strongest, freshest, however, of their moral
features is a grand enthusiasm, amounting sometimes to insanity. As for
their oaths, they tell you it is nothing unless the air is “blue with
cusses.” At one of the ranches where there was a woman, she said quietly
to me, in the middle of an awful burst of swearing, “Guess Bill swears
steep;” to which I replied, “Guess so”--the only allusion I ever heard
or hazarded to Western swearing.

Leaving to our north a snowy range--nameless here, but marked on
European maps as the East Humboldt--we reached the foot of the Ruby
Valley Mountains on the Sunday afternoon in glowing sunshine, and
crossed them in a snow-storm. In the night we journeyed up and down the
Diamond or Quartz Range, and morning found us at the foot of the Pond
Chain. At the ranch--where, in the absence of elk, we ate “bacon,” and
dreamt we breakfasted--I chatted with an agent of the Mail Company on
the position of the ranchmen, divisible, as he told me, into “cooks and
hostlers.” The cooks, my experience had taught me, were the aptest
scholars, the greatest politicians; the hostlers, men of war and
completest masters of the art of Western swearing. The cooks had a New
England cut; the hostlers, like Southerners, wore their hair all down
their backs. I begged an explanation of the reason for the marked
distinction. “They are picked,” he said, “from different classes. When a
boy comes to me and asks for something to do, I give him a look, and see
what kind of stuff he‘s made of. If he‘s a gay duck out for a six-weeks’
spree, I send him down here, or to Bitter Wells; but if he‘s a clerk or
a poet, or any such sorter fool as that, why then I set him cooking; and
plaguy good cooks they make, as you must find.”

The drivers on this portion of the route are as odd fellows as are the
ranchmen. Wearing huge jack-boots, flannel shirts tucked into their
trowsers, but no coat or vest, and hats with enormous brims, they have
their hair long, and their beards untrimmed. Their oaths, I need hardly
say, are fearful. At night they wrap themselves in an enormous cloak,
drink as much whisky as their passengers can spare them, crack their
whips, and yell strange yells. They are quarrelsome and overbearing,
honest probably, but eccentric in their ways of showing it. They belong
chiefly to the mixed Irish and German race, and have all been in
Australia during the gold rush, and in California before deep sinking
replaced the surface diggings. They will tell you how they often washed
out and gambled away a thousand ounces in a month, living like Roman
emperors, then started in digging-life again upon the charity of their
wealthier friends. They hate men dressed in “biled shirts,” or in “store
clothes,” and show their aversion in strange ways. I had no objection
myself to build fires and fetch wood; but I drew the line at going into
the sage-brush to catch the mules, that not being a business which I
felt competent to undertake. The season was advanced, the snows had not
yet reached the valleys, which were parched by the drought of all the
summer, feed for the mules was scarce, and they wandered a long way.
Time after time we would drive into a station, the driver saying, with
strange oaths, “Guess them mules is clared out from this here ranch;
guess they is into this sage-brush;” and it would be an hour before the
mules would be discovered feeding in some forgotten valley. Meanwhile
the miner and myself would have revolver practice at the skeletons and
telegraph-posts when sage fowl failed us, and rattlesnakes grew scarce.

After all, it is easy to speak of the eccentricities of dress and manner
displayed by Western men, but Eastern men and Europeans upon the plateau
are not the prim creatures of Fifth Avenue or Pall Mall. From San
Francisco I sent home an excellent photograph of myself in the clothes
in which I had crossed the plateau, those being the only ones I had to
wear till my baggage came round from Panama. The result was, that my
oldest friends failed to recognize the portrait. At the foot I had
written “A Border Ruffian:” they believed not the likeness, but the
legend.

The difficulties of dress upon these mountain ranges are great indeed.
To sit one night exposed to keen frost and biting wind, and the next day
to toil for hours up a mountain-side, beneath a blazing sun, are very
opposite conditions. I found my dress no bad one. At night I wore a
Canadian fox-fur cap, Mormon ’coon-skin gloves, two coats, and the whole
of my light silk shirts. By day I took off the coats, the gloves, and
cap, and walked in my shirts, adding but a Panama hat to my “fit-out.”

As we began the ascent of the Pond River Range, we caught up a
bullock-train, which there was not room to pass. The miner and myself
turned out from the jerky, and for hours climbed alongside the wagons. I
was struck by the freemasonry of this mountain travel: Bryant, the
miner, had come to the end of his “solace,” as the most famed chewing
tobacco in these parts is called. Going up to the nearest teamster, he
asked for some, and was at once presented with a huge cake--enough, I
should have thought, to have lasted a Channel pilot for ten years.

The climb was long enough to give me deep insight into the inner
mysteries of bullock-driving. Each of the great two-storied Californian
wagons was drawn by twelve stout oxen; still, the pace was not a mile an
hour, accomplished, as it seemed to me, not so much by the aid as in
spite of tremendous flogging. Each teamster carried a short-handled whip
with a twelve-foot leathern lash, which was wielded with two hands, and,
after many a whirl, brought down along the whole length of the back of
each bullock of the team in turn, the stroke being accompanied by a
shout of the bullock‘s name, and followed, as it was preceded, by a
string of the most explosive oaths. The favorite names for bullocks were
those of noted public characters and of Mormon elders, and cries were
frequent of “Ho, Brígham!” “Ho, Jóseph!” “Ho, Gránt!”--the blow falling
with the accented syllable. The London Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals would find at Pond River ranch an excellent opening
for a mission. The appointed officer should be supplied with two
Deringers and a well-filled whisky-barrel.

Through a gap in the mountain crest we sighted the West Humboldt Range,
across an open country dotted here and there with stunted cedar, and,
crossing Smoky Valley, we plunged into a deep pass in the Toi Abbé
Range, and reached Austin--a mining town of importance, rising two years
old--in the afternoon of the fourth day from Salt Lake City.

After dining at an Italian digger‘s restaurant with an amount of luxury
that recalled our feasts at Salt Lake City, I started on a stroll, in
which I was stopped at once by a shout from an open bar-room of “Say,
mister!” Pulling up sharply, I was surrounded by an eager crowd, asking
from all sides the one question: “Might you be Professor Muller?”
Although flattered to find that I looked less disreputable and ruffianly
than I felt, I nevertheless explained as best I could that I was no
professor--only to be assured that if I was any professor at all, Muller
or other, I should do just as well: a mule was ready for me to ride to
the mine, and “Jess kinder fix us up about this new lode.” If my
new-found friends had not carried an overwhelming force of pistols, I
might have gone to the mine as Professor Muller, and given my opinion
for what it was worth: as it was, I escaped only by “liquoring up” over
the error. Cases of mistaken identity are not always so pleasant in
Austin. They told me that, a few weeks before, a man riding down the
street heard a shot, saw his hat fall into the mud, and, picking it up,
found a small round hole on each side. Looking up, he saw a tall miner,
revolver smoking in hand, who smiled grimly, and said: “Guess thet‘s my
muel.” Having politely explained when and where the mule was bought, the
miner professed himself satisfied with a “Guess I was wrong--let‘s
liquor.”

In the course of my walk through Austin I came upon a row of neat huts,
each with a board on which was painted, “Sam Sing, washing and ironing,”
or “Mangling by Ah Low.” A few paces farther on was a shop painted red,
but adorned with cabalistic scrawls in black ink; and farther still was
a tiny joss house. Yellow men, in spotless clothes of dark-green and
blue, were busy at buying and selling, at cooking, at washing. Some, at
a short trot, were carrying burdens at the end of a long bamboo pole.
All were quiet, quick, orderly, and clean. I had at last come thoroughly
among the Chinese people, not to lose sight of them again until I left
Geelong, or even Suez.

Returning to the room where I had dined, I parted with Pat Bryant,
quitting him, in Western fashion, after a good “trade” or “swop.” He had
taken a fancy to the bigger of my two revolvers. He was going to breed
cattle in Oregon, he told me, and thought it might be useful for
shooting his wildest beasts by riding in the Indian manner, side by side
with them, and shooting at the heart. I answered by guessing that I “was
on the sell;” and traded the weapon against one of his that matched my
smaller tool. When I reached Virginia City, I inquired prices, and was
almost disappointed to find that I had not been cheated in the “trade.”

A few minutes after leaving the “hotel” at Austin, and calling at the
post-office for the mails, I again found myself in the desert--indeed,
Austin itself can hardly be styled an oasis: it may have gold, but it
has no green thing within its limits. It is in canyons and on plains
like these, with the skeletons of oxen every few yards along the track,
that one comes to comprehend the full significance of the terrible entry
in the army route-books--“No grass; no water.”

Descending a succession of tremendous “grades,” as inclines upon roads
and railroads are called out West, we came on to the lava-covered plain
of Reese‘s River Valley, a wall of snowy mountain rising grandly in our
front. Close to the stream were a ranch or two, and a double camp, of
miners and of a company of Federal troops. The diggers were playing with
their glistening knives as diggers only can; the soldiers--their huge
sombreros worn loosely on one side--were lounging idly in the sun.

Within an hour, we were again in snow and ice upon the summit of another
nameless range.

This evening, after five sleepless nights, I felt most terribly the
peculiar form of fatigue that we had experienced after six days and
nights upon the plains. Again the brain seemed divided into two parts,
thinking independently, and one side putting questions while the other
answered them; but this time there was also a sort of half insanity, a
not altogether disagreeable wandering of the mind, a replacing of the
actual by an imagined ideal scene.

On and on we journeyed, avoiding the Shoshoné and West Humboldt
Mountains, but picking our way along the most fearful ledges that it has
been my fate to cross, and traversing from end to end the dreadful
Mirage Plains. At nightfall we sighted Mount Davidson and the Washoe
Range, and at 3 A.M. I was in bed once more--in Virginia City.



CHAPTER XIX.

VIRGINIA CITY.


“Guess the governor‘s consid‘rable skeert.”

“You bet, he‘s mad.”

My sitting down to breakfast at the same small table seemed to end the
talk; but I had not been out West for nothing, so explaining that I was
only four hours in Virginia City, I inquired what had occurred to fill
the governor of Nevada with vexation and alarm.

“D‘you tell now! only four hours in this great young city. Wall, guess
it‘s a bully business. You see, some time back the governor pardoned a
road agent after the citizens had voted him a rope. Yes, sir! But that
ain‘t all: yesterday, cuss me if he didn‘t refuse ter pardon one of the
boys who had jess shot another in play like. Guess he thinks hisself
some pumpkins.” I duly expressed my horror, and my informant went on:
“Wall, guess the citizens paid him off purty slick. They jess sent him a
short thick bit of rope with a label ‘For his Excellency.’ You bet ef he
ain‘t mad--you bet! Pass us those molasses, mister.”

I was not disappointed: I had not come to Nevada for nothing. To see
Virginia City and Carson, since I first heard their fame in New York,
had been with me a passion, but the deed thus told me in the dining-room
of the “Empire” Hotel was worthy a place in the annals of “Washoe.”
Under its former name, the chief town of Nevada was ranked not only the
highest, but the “cussedest” town in the States, its citizens expecting
a “dead man for breakfast” every day, and its streets ranging from seven
to eight thousand feet above the sea. Its twofold fame is leaving it:
the Coloradan villages of North Empire and Black Hawk are nine or ten
thousand feet above sea level, and Austin, and Virginia City in Montana
beat it in playful pistoling and vice. Nevertheless, in the point of
“pure cussedness” old Washoe still stands well, as my first introduction
to its ways will show. All the talk of Nevada reformation applies only
to the surface signs: when a miner tells you that Washoe is turning
pious, and that he intends shortly to “vamose,” he means that, unlike
Austin, which is still in its first state of mule-stealing and monté,
Virginia City has passed through the second period--that of “vigilance
committees” and “historic trees”--and is entering the third, the stage
of churches and “city officers,” or police.

The population is still a shifting one. A by-law of the municipality
tells us that the “permanent population” consists of those who reside
more than a month within the city. At this moment the miners are pouring
into Washoe from north and south and east, from Montana, from Arizona,
and from Utah, coming to the gayeties of the largest mining city to
spend their money during the fierce short winter. When I saw Virginia
City, it was worse than Austin.

Every other house is a restaurant, a drinking-shop, a gaming-hell, or
worse. With no one to make beds, to mend clothes, to cook food--with no
house, no home--men are almost certain to drink and gamble. The Washoe
bar-rooms are the most brilliant in the States: as we drove in from
Austin at 3 A.M., there was blaze enough for us to see from the frozen
street the portraits of Lola Montez, Ada Menken, Heenan, and the other
Californian celebrities with which the bar-rooms were adorned.

Although “petticoats,” even Chinese, are scarce, dancing was going on in
every house; but there is a rule in miners’ balls that prevents all
difficulties arising from an over-supply of men: every one who has a
patch on the rear portion of his breeches does duty for a lady in the
dance, and as gentlemen are forced by the custom of the place to treat
their partners at the bar, patches are popular.

Up to eleven in the morning hardly a man was to be seen: a community
that sits up all night, begins its work in the afternoon. For hours I
had the blazing hills called streets to myself for meditating ground;
but it did not need hours to bring me to think that a Vermonter‘s
description of the climate of the mountains was not a bad one when he
said: “You rise at eight, and shiver in your cloak till nine, when you
lay it aside, and walk freely in your woolens. At twelve you come in for
your gauze coat and your Panama; at two you are in a hammock cursing the
heat, but at four you venture out again, and by five are in your
woolens. At six you begin to shake with cold, and shiver on till
bedtime, which you make darned early.” Even at this great height, the
thermometer in the afternoon touches 80° Fahr. in the shade, while from
sunset to sunrise there is a bitter frost. So it is throughout the
plateau. When morning after morning we reached a ranch, and rushed out
of the freezing ambulance through the still colder outer air to the
fragrant cedar fire, there to roll with pain at the thawing of our
joints, it was hard to bear it in mind that by eight o‘clock we should
be shutting out the sun, and by noon melting even in the deepest shade.

As I sat at dinner in a miner‘s restaurant, my opposite neighbor,
finding that I was not long from England, informed me he was “the
independent editor of the _Nevada Union Gazette_,” and went on to ask:
“And how might you have left literatooral pursoots? How air Tennyson and
Thomas T. Carlyle?” I assured him that to the best of my belief they
were fairly well, to which his reply was: “Guess them ther men ken sling
ink, they ken.” When we parted, he gave me a copy of his paper, in which
I found that he called a rival editor “a walking whisky-bottle” and “a
Fenian imp.” The latter phrase reminded me that, of the two or three
dozen American editors that I had met, this New Englander was the first
who was “native born.” Stenhouse, in Salt Lake City, is an Englishman,
so is Stanton, of Denver, and the whole of the remainder of the band
were Irishmen. As for the earlier assertion in the “editorial,” it was
not a wild one, seeing that Virginia City has five hundred whisky-shops
for a population of ten thousand. Artemus Ward said of Virginia City, in
a farewell speech to the inhabitants that should have been published in
his works: “I never, gentlemen, was in a city where I was treated so
_well_, nor, I will add, so _often_.” Through every open door the
diggers can be seen tossing the whisky down their throats with a scowl
of resolve, as though they were committing suicide--which, indeed,
except in the point of speed, is probably the case.

The _Union Gazette_ was not the only paper that I had given me to read
that morning. Not a bridge over a “crick,” not even a blacked pair of
boots, made me so thoroughly aware that I had in a measure returned to
civilization as did the gift of an _Alta Californian_ containing a
report of a debate in the English Parliament upon the Bank Charter Act.
The speeches were appropriate to my feelings; I had just returned not
only to civilization, but to the European inconveniences of gold and
silver money. In Utah, gold and greenbacks circulate indifferently, with
a double set of prices always marked and asked; in Nevada and
California, greenbacks are as invisible as gold in New York or Kansas.
Nothing can persuade the Californians that the adoption by the Eastern
States of an inconvertible paper system is anything but the result of a
conspiracy against the Pacific States--one in which they at least are
determined to have no share. Strongly Unionist in feeling as were
California, Oregon, and Nevada during the rebellion, to have forced
greenbacks upon them would have been almost more than their loyalty
would have borne. In the severest taxation they were prepared to
acquiesce; but paper money they believe to be downright robbery, and the
invention of the devil.

To me the reaching gold once more was far from pleasant, for the
advantages of paper money to the traveler are enormous; it is light, it
wears no holes in your pockets, it reveals its presence by no untimely
clinking; when you jump from a coach, every thief within a mile is not
at once aware that you have ten dollars in your right-hand pocket. The
Nevadans say that forgeries are so common that their neighbors in
Colorado have been forced to agree that any decent imitation shall be
taken as good, it being too difficult to examine into each case. For my
part, though in rapid travel a good deal of paper passed through my
hands in change, my only loss by forgery was one half-dollar note; my
loss by wear and tear the same.

In spite of the gold currency, prices are higher in Nevada than in
Denver. A shave is half a dollar--gold; in Washoe and in Atchison, but a
paper quarter. A boot-blacking is fifty cents in gold, instead of ten
cents paper, as in Chicago or St. Louis.

During the war, when fluctuations in the value of the paper were great
and sudden, prices changed from day to day. Hotel proprietors in the
West received their guests at breakfast, it is said, with “Glorious
news; we‘ve whipped at ----. Gold‘s 180; board‘s down half a dollar.”
While I was in the country, gold fluctuated between 140 and 163, but
prices remained unaltered.

Paper money is of some use to a young country in making the rate of
wages appear enormous, and so attracting immigration. If a Cork
bog-trotter is told that he can get two dollars a day for his work in
America, but only one in Canada, no economic considerations interfere to
prevent him rushing to the nominally higher rate. Whether the workingmen
of America have been gainers by the inflation of the currency, or the
reverse, it is hard to say. It has been stated in the Senate that wages
have risen sixty per cent., and prices ninety per cent.; but “prices” is
a term of great width. The men themselves believe that they have not
been losers, and no argument can be so strong as that.

My first afternoon upon Mount Davidson I spent underground in the Gould
and Curry Mine, the wealthiest and largest of those that have tapped the
famous Comstock Lode. In this single vein of silver lies the prosperity
not only of the city, but of Nevada State; its discovery will have
hastened the completion of the overland railway itself by several years.
It is owing to the enormous yield of this one lode that the United
States now stands second only to Mexico as a silver-producing land. In
one year Nevada has given the world as much silver as there came from
the mines of all Peru.

The rise of Nevada has been sudden. I was shown in Virginia City a
building block of land that _rents_ for ten times what it _cost_ four
years ago. Nothing short of solid silver by the yard would have brought
twenty thousand men to live upon the summit of Mount Davidson. It is
easy here to understand the mad rush and madder speculation that took
place at the time of the discovery. Every valley in the Washoe Range was
“prospected,” and pronounced paved with silver; every mountain was a
solid mass. “Cities” were laid out, and town lots sold, wherever room
was afforded by a flat piece of ground. The publication of the
Californian newspapers was suspended, as writers, editors, proprietors,
and devils, all had gone with the rush. San Francisco went clean mad,
and London and Paris were not far behind. Of the hundred “cities”
founded, but one was built; of the thousand claims registered, but a
hundred were taken up and worked; of the companies formed, but half a
dozen ever paid a dividend, except that obtained from the sale of their
plant. The silver of which the whole base of Mount Davidson is composed
has not been traced in the surrounding hills, though they are covered
with a forest of posts, marking the limits of forgotten “claims:”

“James Thompson, 130 feet N.E. by N.”

“Ezra Williams, 130 feet due E.;”

and so for miles. The Gould and Curry Company, on the other hand, is
said to have once paid a larger half-yearly dividend than the sum of the
original capital, and its shares have been quoted at 1000 per cent. Such
are the differences of a hundred yards.

One of the oddities of mining life is, that the gold-diggers profess a
sublime contempt for silver-miners and their trade. A Coloradan going
West was asked in Nevada if in his country they could beat the Comstock
lode. “Dear, no!” he said. “The boys with us are plaguy discouraged
jess at present.” The Nevadans were down upon the word. “Discouraged,
air they!” “Why, yes! They‘ve jess found they‘ve got ter dig through
three feet of solid silver ’fore ever they come ter gold.”

Some of the Nevada companies have curious titles. “The Union Lumber
Association” is not bad; but “The Segregated Belcher Mining Enterprise
of Gold Hill District, Storey County, Nevada State,” is far before it as
an advertising name.

In a real “coach” at last--a coach with windows and a roof--drawn by six
“mustangs,” we dashed down Mount Davidson upon a real road, engineered
with grades and bridges--my first since Junction City. Through the
Devil‘s Gate we burst out upon a chaotic country. For a hundred miles
the eye ranged over humps and bumps of every size, from stones to
mountains, but no level ground, no field, no house, no tree, no green.
Not even the Sahara so thoroughly deserves the name of “desert.” In
Egypt there is the oasis, in Arabia here and there a date and a
sweet-water well; here there is nothing, not even earth. The ground is
soda, and the water and air are full of salt.

This road is notorious for the depredations of the “road agents,” as
white highwaymen are politely called, red or yellow robbers being still
“darned thieves.” At Desert Wells, the coach had been robbed, a week
before I passed, by men who had first tied up the ranchmen, and taken
their places to receive the driver and passengers when they arrived. The
prime object with the robbers is the treasury box of “dust,” but they
generally “go through” the passengers, by way of pastime, after their
more regular work is done. As to firing, they have a rule--a simple
one. If a passenger shoots, every man is killed. It need not be said
that the armed driver and armed guard never shoot; they know their
business far too well.

Close here we came on hot and cold springs in close conjunction, flowing
almost from the same “sink-hole”--the original twofold springs, I hinted
to our driver, that Poseidon planted in the Atlantic isle. He said that
“some one of that name” had a ranch near Carson, so I “concluded” to
drop Poseidon, lest I should say something that might offend.

From Desert Wells the alkali grew worse and worse, but began to be
alleviated at the ranches by irrigation of the throat with delicious
Californian wine. The plain was strewn with erratic boulders, and here
and there I noticed sharp sand-cones, like those of the Elk Mountain
country in Utah.

At last we dashed into the “city” named after the notorious Kit Carson,
of which an old inhabitant has lately said: “This here city is growing
plaguy mean--there was only one man shot all yesterday.” There was what
is here styled an “altercation” a day or two ago. The sheriff tried to
arrest a man in broad daylight in the single street which Carson boasts.
The result was that each fired several shots at the other, and that both
were badly hurt.

The half-deserted mining village and wholly ruined Mormon settlement
stand grimly on the bare rock, surrounded by weird-looking depressions
of the earth, the far-famed “sinks,” the very bottom of the plateau, and
goal of all the plateau streams--in summer dry, and spread with sheets
of salt; in winter filled with brine. The Sierra Nevada rises like a
wall from the salt pools, with a fringe of giant, leafless trees hanging
stiffly from its heights--my first forest since I left the Missouri
bottoms. The trees made me feel that I was really across the continent,
within reach at least of the fogs of the Pacific--on “the other side;”
that there was still rough, cold work to be done was clear from the
great snow-fields that showed through the pines with that threatening
blackness that the purest of snows wear in the evening when they face
the east.

As I gazed upon the tremendous battlements of the Sierra, I not only
ceased to marvel that for three hundred years traffic had gone round by
Panama rather than through these frightful obstacles, but even wondered
that they should be surmounted now. In this hideous valley it was that
the California immigrants wintered in 1848, and killed their Indian
guides for food. For three months more the strongest of them lived upon
the bodies of those who died, incapable in their weakness of making good
their foothold upon the slippery snows of the Sierra. After awhile, some
were cannibals by choice; but the story is not one that can be told.

Galloping up the gentle grades of Johnson‘s Pass, we began the ascent of
the last of fifteen great mountain ranges crossed or flanked since I had
left Great Salt Lake City. The thought recalled a passage of arms that
had occurred at Denver between Dixon and Governor Gilpin. In his grand
enthusiastic way, the governor, pointing to the Cordillera, said: “Five
hundred snowy ranges lie between this and San Francisco.” “Peaks,” said
Dixon. “Ranges!” thundered Gilpin; “I‘ve seen them.”

Of the fifteen greater ranges to the westward of Salt Lake, eight at
least are named from the rivers they contain, or are wholly nameless.
Trade has preceded survey; the country is not yet thoroughly explored.
The six paper maps by which I traveled--the best and latest--differed
in essential points. The position and length of the Great Salt Lake
itself are not yet accurately known; the height of Mount Hood has been
made anything between nine thousand and twenty thousand feet; the
southern boundary line of Nevada State passes through untrodden wilds. A
rectification of the limits of California and Nevada was attempted no
great time ago, and the head-waters of some stream which formed a
starting-point had been found to be erroneously laid down. At the
flourishing young city of Aurora, in Esmeralda County, a court of
California was sitting. A mounted messenger rode up at great pace, and,
throwing his bridle round the stump, dashed in breathlessly, shouting,
“What‘s this here court?” Being told that it was a Californian court, he
said, “Wall, thet‘s all wrong: this here‘s Nevada. We‘ve been and
rectified this boundary, an’ California‘s a good ten mile off here.”
“Wall, Mr. Judge, I move this court adjourn,” said the plaintiff‘s
counsel. “How can a court adjourn thet‘s not a court?” replied the
judge. “Guess I‘ll go.” And off he went. So, if the court of Aurora
_was_ a court, it must be sitting now.

The coaching on this line is beyond comparison the best the world can
show. Drawn by six half-bred mustangs, driven by whips of the fame of
the Hank Monk “who drove Greeley,” the mails and passengers have been
conveyed from Virginia City to the rail at Placerville, 154 miles, in 15
hours and 20 minutes, including a stoppage of half an hour for supper,
and sixteen shorter stays to change horses. In this distance, the Sierra
Nevada has to be traversed in a rapid rise of three thousand feet, a
fall of a thousand feet, another rise of the same, and then a descent of
five thousand feet on the Californian side.

[Illustration: FRIDAY‘S STATION--VALLEY OF LAKE TAHOE.--P. 176.]

Before the road was made, the passage was one of extraordinary
difficulty. A wagon once started, they say, from Folsom, bearing “Carson
or bust” in large letters upon the tilt. After ten days, it returned
lamely enough, with four of the twelve oxen gone, and bearing the label
“Busted.”

When we were nearing Hank Monk‘s “piece,” I became impatient to see the
hero of the famous ride. What was my disgust when the driver of the
earlier portion of the road appeared again upon the box in charge of six
magnificent iron-grays. The peremptory cry of “All aboard” brought me
without remonstrance to the coach, but I took care to get upon the box,
although, as we were starting before the break of day, the frost was
terrible. To my relief, when I inquired after Hank, the driver said that
he was at a ball at a timber ranch in the forest “six mile on.” At early
light we reached the spot--the summit of the more eastern of the twin
ranges of the Sierra. Out came Hank, amid the cheers of the half dozen
men and women of the timber ranch who formed the “ball,” wrapped up to
the eyes in furs, and took the reins without a word. For miles he drove
steadily and moodily along. I knew these drivers top well to venture
upon speaking first when they were in the sulks; at last, however, I
lost all patience, and silently offered him a cigar. He took it without
thanking me, but after a few minutes said: “Thet last driver, how did he
drive?” I made some shuffling answer, when he cut in: “Drove as ef he
were skeert; and so he was. Look at them mustangs. Yoo--ou!” As he
yelled, the horses started at what out here they style “the run;” and
when, after ten minutes, he pulled up, we must have done three miles,
round most violent and narrow turns, with only the bare precipice at the
side, and a fall of often a hundred feet to the stream at the bottom of
the ravine--the Simplon without its wall. Dropping into the talking
mood, he asked me the usual questions as to my business, and whither I
was bound. When I told him I thought of visiting Australia, he said,
“D‘you tell now! Jess give my love--at Bendigo--to Gumption Dick.” Not
another word about Australia or Gumption Dick could I draw from him. I
asked at Bendigo for Dick; but not even the officer in command of the
police had ever heard of Hank Monk‘s friend.

The sun rose as we dashed through the grand landscapes of Lake Tahoe. On
we went, through gloomy snow-drifts and still sadder forests of gigantic
pines nearly three hundred feet in height, and down the canyon of the
American River from the second range. Suddenly we left the snows, and
burst through the pine woods into an open scene. From gloom there was a
change to light; from somber green to glowing red and gold. The trees,
no longer hung with icicles, were draped with Spanish moss. In ten yards
we had come from winter into summer. Alkali was left behind forever; we
were in El Dorado, on the Pacific shores--in sunny, dreamy California.

[Illustration: TEAMING UP THE GRADE AT SLIPPERY FORD, IN THE SIERRA.--P.
178.]



CHAPTER XX.

EL DORADO.


The city of the high priest clothed in robes of gold figures largely in
the story of Spanish discovery in America. The hardy soldiers who
crossed the Atlantic in caravels and cockboats, and toiled in leathern
doublets and plate armor through the jungle swamp of Panama, were lured
on through years of plague and famine by the dream of a country whose
rivers flowed with gold. Diego de Mendoza found the land in 1532, but it
was not till January, 1848, that James Marshall washed the golden sands
of El Dorado.

The Spaniards were not the first to place the earthly paradise in
America. Not to speak of New Atlantis, the Canadian Indians have never
ceased to hand down to their sons a legend of western abodes of bliss,
to which their souls journey after death, through frightful glens and
forests. In their mystic chants they describe minutely the obstacles
over which the souls must toil to reach the regions of perpetual spring.
These stories are no mere dreams, but records of the great Indian
migration from the West: the liquid-eyed Hurons, not sprung from the
Canadian snows, may be Californian if they are not Malay, the Pacific
shores their happy hunting-ground, the climate of Los Angeles their
never-ending spring.

The names The Golden State and El Dorado are doubly applicable to
California; her light and landscape, as well as her soil, are golden.
Here, on the Pacific side, nature wears a robe of deep rich yellow:
even the distant hills, no longer purple, are wrapt in golden haze. No
more cliffs and canyons--all is rounded, soft, and warm. The Sierra,
which faces eastward, with four thousand feet of wall-like rock, on the
west descends gently in vine-clad slopes into the Californian vales, and
trends away in spurs toward the sea. The scenery of the Nevada side was
weird, but these western foot-hills are unlike anything in the world.
Drake, who never left the Pacific shores, named the country New Albion,
from the whiteness of a headland on the coast; but the first viceroys
were less ridiculously misled by patriotic vanity when they christened
it New Spain.

[Illustration: VIEW ON THE AMERICAN RIVER--THE PLACE WHERE GOLD WAS
FIRST FOUND.--P. 180.]

In the warm dry sunlight, we rolled down hills of rich red loam, and
through forests of noble redwood--the _Sequoia sempervirens_, brother to
the _Sequoia gigantea_, or Wellingtonia of our lawns. Dashing at full
gallop through the American River, just below its falls, where, in 1848,
the Mormons first dug that Californian gold which in the interests of
their church they had better have let alone, we came upon great gangs of
Indians working by proxy upon the Continental railroad. The Indian‘s
plan for living happily is a simple one: he sits and smokes in silence
while his women work, and he thus lives upon the earnings of the squaws.
Unlike a Mormon patriarch, he contrives that polygamy shall pay, and
says with the New Zealand Maori: “A man with one wife may starve, but a
man with many wives grows fat.” These fellows were Shoshonés from the
other side of the plateau; for the Pacific Indians, who are black, not
red, will not even force their wives to work, which, in the opinion of
the Western men, is the ultimate form of degradation in a race. Higher
up the hills, Chinamen alone are employed; but their labor is too
costly to be thrown away upon the easier work.

In El Dorado City we stayed not long enough for the exploration of the
once famous surface gold mines, now forming one long vineyard, but,
rolling on, were soon among the tents of Placerville, which had been
swept with fire a few months before. All these valley diggings have been
deserted for deep-sinking--not that they are exhausted yet, but that the
yield has ceased to be sufficient to tempt the gambling digger. The men
who lived in Placerville and made it infamous throughout the world some
years ago are scattered now through Nevada, Arizona, Montana, and the
Frazer country, and Chinamen and Digger Indians have the old workings to
themselves, settling their rights as against each other by daily battle
and perpetual feud. The Digger Indians are the most degraded of all the
aborigines of North America--outcasts from the other tribes--men under a
ban--“tapu,” as their Maori cousins say--weaponless, naked savages who
live on roots, and pester the industrious Chinese.

It is not with all their foes that the yellow men can cope so easily. In
a tiny Chinese theater in their camp near Placerville, I saw a farce
which to the remainder of the audience was no doubt a very solemn drama,
in which the adventures of two Celestials on the diggings were given to
the world. The only scene in which the pantomime was sufficiently clear
for me to read it without the possibility of error was one in which a
white man--“Melican man”--came to ask for taxes. The Chinamen had paid
their taxes once before, but the fellow said that didn‘t matter. The
yellow men consulted together, and at last agreed that the stranger was
a humbug, so the play ended with a big fight, in which they drove him
off their ground. A Chinaman played the over ’cute Yankee, and did it
well.

Perhaps the tax-collectors in the remoter districts of the States count
on the Chinese to make up the deficiencies in their accounts caused by
the non-payment of their taxes by the whites; for even in these days of
comparative quiet and civilization, taxes are not gathered to their full
amount in any of the Territories, and the justice of the collector is in
Montana tempered by many a threat of instant lynching if he proceeds
with his assessment. Even in Utah, the returns are far from
satisfactory: the three great merchants of Salt Lake City should, if
their incomes are correctly stated, contribute a heavier sum than that
returned for the whole of the population of the Territory.

The white diggers who preceded the Chinese have left their traces in the
names of lodes and places. There is no town in California with such a
title as the Coloradan City of Buckskin Joe, but Yankee Jim comes near
it. Placerville itself was formerly known as Hangtown, on account of its
being the city in which “lynch-law was inaugurated.” Dead Shot Flat is
not far from here, and within easy distance are Hell‘s Delight, Jackass
Gulch, and Loafer‘s Hill. The once famous Plug-ugly Gulch has now
another name; but of Chucklehead Diggings and Puppytown I could not find
the whereabouts in my walks and rides. Graveyard Canyon, Gospel Gulch,
and Paint-pot Hill are other Californian names. It is to be hoped that
the English and Spanish names will live unmutilated in California and
Nevada, to hand down in liquid syllables the history of a half-forgotten
conquest, an already perished race. San Francisco has become “Frisco” in
speech if not on paper, and Sacramento will hardly bear the wear and
tear of Californian life; but the use of the Spanish tongue has spread
among the Americans who have dealings with the Mexican country folk of
California State, and, except in mining districts, the local names will
stand.

It is not places only that have strange designations in America. Out of
the Puritan fashion of naming children from the Old Testament patriarchs
has grown, by a sort of recoil, the custom of following the heroes of
the classics, and when they fail, inventing strange titles for children.
Mahonri Cahoon lives in Salt Lake City; Attila Harding was secretary to
one of the governors of Utah; Michigan University has for president
Erastus Haven; for superintendent, Oramel Hosford; for professors, Abram
Sanger, Silas Douglas, Moses Gunn, Zina Pitcher, Alonzo Pitman, De
Volson Wood, Lucius Chapin, and Corydon Ford. Luman Stevens, Bolivar
Barnum, Wyllys Ransom, Ozora Stearnes, and Buel Derby were Michigan
officers during the war, and Epaphroditus Ransom was formerly governor
of the State. Theron Rockwell, Gershon Weston, and Bela Kellogg are
well-known politicians in Massachusetts, and Colonel Liberty Billings is
equally prominent in Florida. In New England school-lists it is hard to
pick boys from girls. Who shall tell the sex of Lois Lombard, Asahel
Morton, Ginery French, Royal Miller, Thankful Poyne? A Chicago man, who
was lynched in Central Illinois while I was in the neighborhood, was
named Alonza Tibbets. Eliphalet Arnould and Velenus Sherman are ranchmen
on the overland road; Sereno Burt is an editor in Montana; Persis
Boynton a merchant in Chicago. Zelotes Terry, Datus Darner, Zeryiah
Rainforth, Barzellai Stanton, Sardis Clark, Ozias Williams, Xenas
Phelps, Converse Hopkins, and Hirodshai Blake are names with which I
have met. Zilpah, Huldah, Nabby, Basetha, Minnesota, and Semantha are
New England ladies; while one gentleman of Springfield, lately married,
caught a Tartia. One of the earliest enemies of the Mormons was Palatiah
Allen; one of their first converts Preserved Harris. Taking the pedigree
of Joe Smith, the Mormon prophet, as that of a representative New
England family, we shall find that his aunts were Lovisa and Lovina
Mack, Dolly Smith, Eunice and Miranda Pearce; his uncles, Royal, Ira,
and Bushrod Smith. His grandfather‘s name was Asael; of his great aunts
one was Hephzibah, another Hypsebeth, and another Vasta. The prophet‘s
eldest brother‘s name was Alvin; his youngest Don Carlos; his sister,
Sophronia; and his sister-in-law, Jerusha Smith; while a nephew was
christened Chilon. One of the nieces was Levira, and another Rizpah. The
first wife of George A. Smith, the prophet‘s cousin, is Bathsheba, and
his eldest daughter also bears this name.

In the smaller towns near Placerville, there is still a wide field for
the discovery of character as well as gold; but eccentricity among the
diggers here seems chiefly to waste itself on food. The luxury of this
Pacific country is amazing. The restaurants and cafés of each petty
digging-town put forth bills-of-fare which the “Trios Frères” could not
equal for ingenuity; wine lists such as Delmonico‘s cannot beat. The
facilities are great: except in the far interior or on the hills, one
even spring reigns unchangeably--summer in all except the heat; every
fruit and vegetable of the world is perpetually in season. Fruit is not
named in the hotel bills-of-fare, but all the day long there are piled
in strange confusion on the tables, Mission grapes, the Californian
Bartlet pears, Empire apples from Oregon, melons--English, Spanish,
American and Musk; peaches, nectarines, and fresh almonds. All comers
may help themselves, and wash down the fruit with excellent
Californian-made Sauterne. If dancing, gambling, drinking, and still
shorter cuts to the devil have their votaries among the diggers, there
is no employment upon which they so freely spend their cash as on dishes
cunningly prepared by cooks--Chinese, Italian, Bordelais--who follow
every “rush.” After the doctor and the coroner, no one makes money at
the diggings like the cook. The dishes smell of the Californian soil;
baked rock-cod à la Buena Vista, broiled Californian quail with Russian
River bacon, Sacramento snipes on toast, Oregon ham with champagne
sauce, and a dozen other toothsome things--these were the dishes on the
Placerville bill-of-fare in an hotel which had escaped the fire, but
whose only guests were diggers and their friends. A few Atlantic States
dishes were down upon the list: hominy, cod chowder--hardly equal, I
fear, to that of Salem--sassafras candy, and squash tart, but never a
mention of pork and molasses, dear to the Massachusetts boy. All these
good things the diggers, when “dirt is plenty,” moisten with Clicquot,
or Heidsick cabinet; when returns are small, with their excellent Sonoma
wine.

Even earthquakes fail to interrupt the triumphs of the cooks. The last
“bad shake” was fourteen days ago, but it is forgotten in the joy called
forth by the discovery of a thirteenth way to cook fresh oysters, which
are brought here from the coast by train. There is still a something in
Placerville that smacks of the time when tin-tacks were selling for
their weight in gold.

Wandering through the only remaining street of Placerville before I left
for the Southern country, I saw that grapes were marked “three cents a
pound;” but as the lowest coin known on the Pacific shores is the
ten-cent bit, the price exists but upon paper. Three pounds of grapes,
however, for “a bit” is a practicable purchase, in which I indulged when
starting on my journey South: in the towns you have always the hotel
supply. If the value of the smallest coin be a test of the prosperity of
a country, California must stand high. Not only is nothing less than the
bit, or fivepence, known, but when fivepence is deducted from a
“quarter,” or shilling, fivepence is all you get or give for change--a
gain or loss upon which Californian shopkeepers look with profound
indifference.

Hearing a greater jingling of glasses from one bar-room than from all
the other hundred whisky-shops of Placerville, I turned into it to seek
the cause, and found a Vermonter lecturing on Lincoln and the war to an
audience of some fifty diggers. The lecturer and bar-keeper stood
together within the sacred inclosure, the one mixing his drinks, while
the other rounded off his periods in the inflated Western style. The
audience was critical and cold till near the close of the oration, when
the “corpse revivers” they were drinking seemed to take effect, and to
be at the bottom of the stentorian shout, “Thet‘s bully,” with which the
peroration was rewarded. The Vermonter told me that he had come round
from Panama, and was on his way to Austin, as Placerville was “played
out” since its “claims” had “fizzled.”

They have no lecture-room here at present, as it seems; but that there
are churches, however small, appears from a paragraph in the Placerville
news-sheet of to-day, which chronicles the removal of a Methodist
meeting-house from Block A to Block C, _vice_ a Catholic chapel retired,
“having obtained a superior location.”

A few days were all that I could spend in the valleys that lie between
the Sierra and the Contra Costa Range, basking in a rich sunlight, and
unsurpassed in the world for climate, scenery, and soil. This single
State--one of forty-five--has twice the area of Great Britain, the most
fertile of known soils, and the sun and sea-breeze of Greece. Western
rhapsodies are the expression of the intoxication produced by such a
spectacle; but they are outdone by facts.

For mere charm to the eye, it is hard to give the palm between the
cracks and canyons of the Sierra and the softer vales of the Coast
Range, where the hot sun is tempered by the cool Pacific breeze, and
thunder and lightning are unknown. To one coming from the wilds of the
Carson Desert and of Mirage Plains, the more sensuous beauty of the
lower dells has for the eye the relief that travelers from the coast
must seek in the loftier heights and precipices of the Yosémite. The
oak-filled valleys of the Contra Costa Range have all the pensive repose
of the sheltered vales that lie between the Apennines and the Adriatic
from Rimini to Ancona; but California has the advantage in her skies.
Italy has the blue, but not the golden haze.

Nothing can be more singular than the variety of beauty that lies hid in
these Pacific slopes; all that is best in Canada and the Eastern States
finds more than its equal here. The terrible grandeur of Cape Trinité on
the Saguenay, and the panorama of loveliness from the terrace at Quebec,
are alike outdone.

Americans certainly need not go to Europe to find scenery; but neither
need they go to California, or even Colorado. Those who tell us that
there is no such thing as natural beauty west of the Atlantic can
scarcely know the Eastern, while they ignore the Western and Central
States. The world can show few scenes more winning than Israel‘s River
Valley in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, or North Conway in the
southern slopes of the same range. Nothing can be more full of grandeur
than the passage of the James at Balcony Falls, where the river rushes
through a crack in the Appalachian chain; the wilderness of Northern New
York is unequaled of its kind, and there are delicious landscapes in the
Adirondacks. As for river scenery, the Hudson is grander than the Rhine;
the Susquehanna is lovelier than the Meuse; the Schuylkill prettier than
the Seine; the Mohawk more enchanting than the Dart. Of the rivers of
North Europe, the Neckar alone is not beaten in the States.

Americans admit that their scenery is fine, but pretend that it is
wholly wanting in the interest that historic memories bestow. So-called
republicans affect to find a charm in Bishop Hatto‘s Tower which is
wanting in Irving‘s “Sunnyside;” the ten thousand virgins of Cologne
live in their fancy, while Constitution Island and Fort Washington are
forgotten names. Americans or Britishers, we Saxons are all alike--a
wandering, discontented race; we go 4000 miles to find us Sleepy Hollow,
or Kilian Van Rensselaer‘s Castle, or Hiawatha‘s great red pipe-stone
quarry; and the Americans, who live in the castle, picnic yearly in the
Hollow, and flood the quarry for a skating-rink, come here to England to
visit Burns‘s house, or to sit in Pope‘s arm-chair.

Down South I saw clearly the truth of a thought that struck me before I
had been ten minutes west of the Sierra Pass. California is Saxon only
in the looks and language of the people of its towns. In Pennsylvania,
you may sometimes fancy yourself in Sussex; while in New England, you
seem only to be in some part of Europe that you have never happened to
light upon before; in California, you are at last in a new world. The
hills are weirdly peaked or flattened, the skies are new, the birds and
plants are new; the atmosphere, crisp though warm, is unlike any in the
world but that of South Australia. It will be strange if the Pacific
coast does not produce a new school of Saxon poets--painters it has
already given to the world.

Returning to Placerville, after an eventless exploration of the
exquisite scenery to the south, I took the railway once again, for the
first time since I had left Manhattan City--1800 miles away--and was
soon in Sacramento, the State capital, now recovering slowly from the
flood of 1862. Near the city I made out Oak Grove--famed for duels
between well-known Californians. Here it was that General Denver, State
Senator, shot Mr. Gilbert, the representative in Congress, in a duel
fought with rifles. Here, too, it was that Mr. Thomas, district attorney
for Placer County, killed Dr. Dickson, of the Marine Hospital, in a duel
with pistols in 1854. Records of duels form a serious part of the State
history. At Lone Mountain Cemetery near San Francisco, there is a great
marble monument to the Hon. David Broderick, shot by Chief Justice
Terry, of the Supreme Court, in 1859.

A few hours’ quiet steaming in the sunlight down the Sacramento River,
past Rio Vista and Montezuma, through the gap in the Contra Costa Range,
at which the grand volcanic peak of Monte Diablo stands sentinel
watching over the Martinez Straits, and there opened to the south and
west a vast mountain-surrounded bay. Volumes of cloud were rolling in
unceasingly from the ocean, through the Golden Gate, past the fortified
island of Alcatras, and spending themselves in the opposite shores of
San Rafael, Benicia, and Vallejo. At last I was across the continent,
and face to face with the Pacific.



CHAPTER XXI.

LYNCH LAW.


“Californians are called the scum of the earth, yet their great city is
the best policed in the world,” said a New York friend to me, when he
heard that I thought of crossing the continent to San Francisco.

“Them New Yorkers is a sight too fond of looking after other people‘s
morals,” replied an old “Forty-niner,” to whom I repeated this phrase,
having first toned it down however. “Still,” he went on, “our history‘s
baddish, but it ain‘t for us to play showman to our own worst
pints:--let every man skin his own skunk!”

The story of the early days of San Francisco, as to which my curiosity
was thus excited, is so curious an instance of the development of an
English community under the most inauspicious circumstances, that the
whole time which I spent in the city itself I devoted to hearing the
tale from those who knew the actors. Not only is the history of the two
Vigilance Committees in itself characteristic, but it works in with what
I had gathered in Kansas, and Illinois, and Colorado as to the operation
of the claim-clubs; and the stories, taken together, form a typical
picture of the rise of a New English country.

The discovery of gold in 1848 brought down on luckless California the
idle, the reckless, the vagabonds first of Polynesia, then of all the
world. Street fighting, public gaming, masked balls given by unknown
women and paid for nobody knew how, but attended by governor,
supervisors, and alcalde--all these were minor matters by the side of
the general undefined ruffianism of the place. Before the end of 1849,
San Francisco presented on a gigantic scale much the same appearance
that Helena in Montana wears in 1866.

Desperadoes poured in from all sides, the best of the bad flocking off
to the mines, while the worst among the villains--those who lacked
energy as well as moral sense--remained in the city, to raise by
thieving or in the gambling-booth the “pile” that they were too indolent
to earn by pick and pan. Hundreds of “emancipists” from Sydney, “old
lags” from Norfolk Island, the pick of the criminals of England, still
further trained and confirmed in vice and crime by the experiences of
Macquarie Harbor and Port Arthur, rushed to San Francisco to continue a
career which the vigilance of the police made hopeless in Tasmania and
New South Wales. The floating vice of the Pacific ports of South America
soon gathered to a spot where there were not only men to fleece, but men
who, being fleeced, could pay. The police were necessarily few, for,
appoint a man to-day, and to-morrow he was gone to the placers with some
new friend; those who could be prevailed upon to remain a fortnight in
the force were accessible to bribes from the men they were set to watch.
They themselves admitted their inaction, but ascribed it to the
continual change of place among the criminals, which prevented the
slightest knowledge of their characters and haunts. The Australian
jail-birds formed a quarter known as “Sydney Town,” which soon became
what the Bay of Islands had been ten years before--the Alsatia of the
Pacific. In spite of daily murders, not a single criminal was hanged.

The ruffians did not all agree: there were jealousies among the various
bands; feuds between the Australians and Chilians; between the Mexicans
and the New Yorkers. Under the various names of “Hounds,” “Regulators,”
“Sydney ducks,” and “Sydney coves,” the English convict party organized
themselves in opposition to the Chilenos as well as to the police and
law-abiding citizens. Gangs of villains, whose sole bond of union was
robbery or murder, marched, armed with bludgeons and revolvers, every
Sunday afternoon, to the sound of music, unhindered through the streets,
professing that they were “guardians of the community” against the
Spaniards, Mexicans, and South Americans.

At last a movement took place among the merchants and reputable
inhabitants which resulted in the break-up of the Australian gangs. By
an uprising of the American citizens of San Francisco, in response to a
proclamation by T. M. Leavenworth, the alcalde, twenty of the most
notorious among the “Hounds” were seized and shipped to China: it is
believed that some were taken south in irons, and landed near Cape Horn.
“Anywhere so that they could not come back,” as my informant said.

For a week or two things went well, but a fresh impour of rogues and
villains soon swamped the volunteer police by sheer force of numbers;
and in February, 1851, occurred an instance of united action among the
citizens which is noticeable as the forerunner of the Vigilance
Committees. A Mr. Jansen had been stunned by a blow from a slung-shot,
and his person and premises rifled by Australian thieves. During the
examination of two prisoners arrested on suspicion, five thousand
citizens gathered round the City Hall, and handbills were circulated in
which it was proposed that the prisoners should be lynched. In the
afternoon an attempt to seize the men was made, but repulsed by another
section of the citizens--the Washington Guard. A meeting was held on the
plaza, and a committee appointed to watch the authorities, and prevent a
release. A well-known citizen, Mr. Brannan, made a speech, in which he
said: “We, the people, are the mayor, the recorder, and the laws.” The
alcalde addressed the crowd, and suggested, by way of compromise, that
they should elect a jury, which should sit in the regular court, and try
the prisoners. This was refused, and the people elected not only a jury,
but three judges, a sheriff, a clerk, a public prosecutor, and two
counsel for the defense. This court then tried the prisoners in their
absence, and the jury failed to agree--nine were for conviction, and
three were doubtful. “Hang ’em, anyhow; majority rules,” was the shout,
but the popular judges stood firm, and discharged their jury, while the
people acquiesced. The next day the prisoners were tried and convicted
by the regular court, although they were ultimately found to be innocent
men.

Matters now went from bad to worse: five times San Francisco was swept
from end to end by fires known to have been helped on, if not originally
kindled, by incendiaries in the hope of plunder; and when, by the fires
of May and June, 1851, hardly a house was left untouched, the pious
Bostonians held up their hands, and cried “Gomorrah!”

Immediately after the discovery that the June fire was not an accident,
the Vigilance Committee was formed, being self-appointed, and
consisting of the foremost merchants in the place. This was on the 7th
of June, according to my friend; on the 9th, according to the
Californian histories. It was rumored that the committee consisted of
two hundred citizens; it was known that they were supported by the whole
of the city press. They published a declaration, in which they stated
that there is “no security for life or property under the ... law as now
administered.” This they ascribed to the “quibbles of the law,” the
“corruption of the police,” the “insecurity of prisons,” the “laxity of
those who pretend to administer justice.” The secret instructions to the
committee contained a direction that the members should at once assemble
at the committee-room whenever signals, consisting of two taps on a
bell, were heard at intervals of one minute. The committee was organized
with president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, sergeant-at-arms,
standing committee on qualifications, and standing committee of finance.
No one was to be admitted a member unless he were a “respectable
citizen, and approved by the Committee on Qualifications.”

The very night of their organization, according to the histories, or
three nights later, according to my friend Mr. A----, the work of the
committee began. Some boatmen at Central Wharf saw something which led
them to follow out into the Yerba Buena cove a man, whom they captured
after a sharp row. As they over-hauled him, he threw overboard a safe,
just stolen from a bank, but this was soon fished out. He was at once
carried off to the committee-room of the Vigilants, and the bell of the
Monumental Engine Company struck at intervals, as the rule prescribed.
Not only the committee, but a vast surging crowd collected, although
midnight was now past. A---- was on the plaza, and says that every man
was armed, and evidently disposed to back up the committee. According to
the _Alta Californian_, the chief of the police came up a little before
1 A.M., and tried to force an entrance to the room; but he was met,
politely enough, with a show of revolvers sufficient to annihilate his
men, so he judged it prudent to retreat.

At one o‘clock, the bell of the engine-house began to toll, and the
crowd became excited. Mr. Brannan came out of the committee-room, and,
standing on a mound of sand, addressed the citizens. As well as my
friend could remember, his words were these: “Gentlemen, the
man--Jenkins by name--a Sydney convict, whose supposed offense you know,
has had a fair trial before eighty gentlemen, and been unanimously found
guilty by them. I have been deputed by the committee to ask whether it
is your pleasure that he be hanged.” “Ay!” from every man in the crowd.
“He will be given an hour to prepare for death, and the Rev. Mr. Mines
has been already sent for to minister to him. Is this your pleasure?”
Again a storm of “Ay!” Nothing was known in the crowd of the details of
the trial, except that counsel had been heard on the prisoner‘s behalf.
For another hour the excitement of the crowd was permitted to continue,
but at two o‘clock the doors of the committee-room were thrown open, and
Jenkins was seen smoking a cigar. Mr. A---- said that he did not believe
the prisoner expected a rescue, but thought that an exhibition of pluck
might make popular with the crowd, and save him. A procession of
Vigilants with drawn Colts was then formed, and set off in the moonlight
across the four chief streets to the plaza. Some of the people shouted
“To the flagstaff!” but there came a cry, “Don‘t desecrate the Liberty
Pole. To the old adobe! the old adobe!” and to the old adobe
custom-house the prisoner was dragged. In five minutes he was hanging
from the roof, three hundred citizens lending a hand at the rope. At six
in the morning, A---- went home, but he heard that the police cut down
the body about that time, and carried it to the coroner‘s house.

An inquest was held next day. The city officers swore that they had done
all they could to prevent the execution, but they refused to give up the
names of the Vigilance Committee. The members themselves were less
cautious. Mr. Brannan and others came forward of their own proper
motion, and disclosed all the circumstances of the trial: 140 of the
committee backed them up by a written protestation against interference
with the Vigilants, to which their signatures were appended. Protest and
evidence have been published, not only in the newspapers of the time,
but in the San Francisco “Annals.” The coroner‘s jury found a verdict of
“Strangulation, consequent on the concerted action of a body of citizens
calling themselves a Committee of Vigilance.” An hour after the verdict
was given, a mass meeting of the whole of the respectable inhabitants
was held in the plaza, and a resolution approving of the action of the
committee passed by acclamation.

In July, 1851, the committee hanged another man on the Market Street
wharf, and appointed a sub-committee of thirty to board every ship that
crossed the bar, seize all persons suspected of being “Sydney Coves,”
and reship them to New South Wales.

In August came the great struggle between the Vigilants and constituted
authority. It was sharp and decisive. Whittaker and McKenzie, two Sydney
Coves, were arrested by the committee for various crimes, and sentenced
to death. The next day, Sheriff Hays seized them on a writ of habeas
corpus, in the rooms of the committee. The bell was tolled: the citizens
assembled, the Vigilants told their story, the men were seized once
more, and by noon they were hanging from the loft of the
committee-house, by the ordinary lifting tackle for heavy goods. Fifteen
thousand people were present, and approved. “After this,” said A----,
“there could be no mistake about the citizens supporting the committee.”

By September, the Vigilants had transported all the “Coves” on whom they
could lay hands; so they issued a proclamation, declaring that for the
future they would confine themselves to aiding the law by tracing out
and guarding criminals; and in pursuance of their decision, they soon
afterward helped the authorities in preventing the lynching of a
ship-captain for cruelty to his men.

After the great sweep of 1851, things became steadily worse again till
they culminated in 1855, a year to which my friend looked backed with
horror. Not counting Indians, there were four hundred persons died by
violence in California in that single year. Fifty of these were lynched,
a dozen were hanged by law, a couple of dozen shot by the sheriffs and
tax-collectors in the course of their duty. The officers did not escape
scot free. The under-sheriff of San Francisco was shot in Mission
Street, in broad daylight, by a man upon whom he was trying to execute a
writ of ejectment.

Judges, mayors, supervisors, politicians, all were bad alike. The
merchants of the city were from New England, New York, and foreign
lands; but the men who assumed the direction of public affairs, and
especially of public funds, were Southerners, many of them “Border
Ruffians” of the most savage stamp--“Pikes,” as they were called, from
Pike‘s County in Missouri, from which their leaders came. Instead of
banding themselves together to oppose the laws, these rogues and
ruffians found it easier to control the making of them. Their favorite
method of defeating their New England foes was by the simple plan of
“stuffing,” or filling the ballot-box with forged tickets when the
elections were concluded. Two Irishmen--Casey and Sullivan--were their
tools in this shameful work. Werth, a Southerner, the leader of Casey‘s
gang, had been denounced in the _San Francisco Bulletin_ as the murderer
of a man named Kittering; and Casey, meeting James King, editor of the
_Bulletin_, shot him dead in Montgomery Street in the middle of the day.
Casey and one of his assistants--a man named Cora--were hanged by the
people as Mr. King‘s body was being carried to the grave, and Sullivan
committed suicide the same day.

Books were opened for the enrollment of the names of those who were
prepared to support the committee: nine thousand grown white males
inscribed themselves within four days. Governor Johnson at once declared
that he should suppress the committee, but the City of Sacramento
prevented war by offering a thousand men for the Vigilants’ support, the
other Californian cities following suit. The committee got together 6000
stand of arms and thirty cannon, and fortified their rooms with
earthworks and barricades. The governor, having called on the general
commanding the Federal forces at Benicia, who wisely refused to
interfere, marched upon the city, was surrounded, and taken prisoner
with all his forces without the striking of a blow.

Having now obtained the control of the State government, the committee
proceeded to banish all the “Pikes” and “Pukes.” Four were hanged,
forty transported, and many ran away. This done, the committee prepared
an elaborate report upon the property and finances of the State, and
then, after a great parade, ten regiments strong, upon the plaza and
through the streets, they adjourned forever, and “the thirty-three” and
their ten thousand backers retired into private life once more, and put
an end to this singular spectacle of the rebellion of a free people
against rulers nominally elected by itself. As my friend said, when he
finished his long yarn, “This has more than archæologic interest: we may
live to see a similar Vigilance Committee in New York.”

For my own part, I do not believe that an uprising against bad
government is possible in New York City, because there the supporters of
bad government are a majority of the people. Their interest is the other
way: in increased city taxes they evidently lose far more than, as a
class, they gain by what is spent among them in corruption; but when
they come to see this, they will not rebel against their corrupt
leaders, but elect those whom they can trust. In San Francisco, the case
was widely different: through the ballot frauds, a majority of the
citizens were being infamously misgoverned by a contemptible minority,
and the events of 1856 were only the necessary acts of the majority to
regain their power, coupled with certain exceptional acts in the shape
of arbitrary transportation of “Pikes” and Southern rowdies, justified
by the exceptional circumstances of the young community. At Melbourne,
under circumstances somewhat similar, our English colonists, instead of
setting up a committee, built Pentridge Stockade with walls some thirty
feet high, and created a military police, with almost arbitrary power.
The difference is one of words. The whirl of life in a young gold
country not only prevents the best men entering the political field, and
so forces citizens to exercise their right of choice only between
candidates of equal badness, but so engrosses the members of the
community who exercise the ballot as to prevent the detection of fraud
till it has ruled for years. Throughout young countries generally you
find men say: “Yes! we‘re robbed, we know; but no one has time to go
into that.” “I‘m for the old men,” said a Californian elector once, “for
they‘ve plundered us so long that they‘re gorged, and can‘t swallow any
more.” “No,” said another, “let‘s have fresh blood. Give every man a
chance of robbing the State. Shape and share alike.” The wonder is, not
that in such a State as California was till lately the machinery of
government should work unevenly, but that it should work at all.
Democracy has never endured so rough a test as that from which it has
triumphantly emerged in the Golden State and City.

The public spirit with which the merchants came forward and gave time
and money to the cause of order is worthy of all praise, and the
rapidity with which the organization of a new government was carried
through is an instance of the singular power of our race for building up
the machinery of self-government under conditions the most unpromising.
Instead of the events of 1856 having been a case of opposition to law
and order, they will stand in history as a remarkable proof of the
law-abiding character of a people who vindicated justice by a
demonstration of overwhelming force, laid down their arms, and returned
in a few weeks to the peaceable routine of business life.

If, in the merchant founders of the Vigilance Committees of San
Francisco we can see the descendants of the justice-loving Germans of
the time of Tacitus, I found in another class of vigilants the moral
offspring of Alfred‘s village aldermen of our own Saxon age. From Mr.
William M. Byers, now editor of the _Rocky Mountain News_, I had heard
the story of the early settlers’ land-law in Missouri; in Stanton‘s
office in Denver City, I had seen the records of the Arrapahoe County
Claim-club, with which he had been connected at the first settlement of
Colorado; but at San José, I heard details of the settlers’
custom-law--the Californian “grand-coûtumier,” it might be called--which
convinced me that, in order to find the rudiments of all that,
politically speaking, is best and most vigorous in the Saxon mind, you
must seek countries in which Saxon civilization itself is in its
infancy. The greater the difficulties of the situation, the more racy
the custom, the more national the law.

When a new State began to be “settled up”--that is, its lands entered
upon by actual settlers, not landsharks--the inhabitants often found
themselves in the wilderness, far in advance of attorneys, courts, and
judges. It was their custom when this occurred to divide the territory
into districts of fifteen or twenty miles square, and form for each a
“claim-club” to protect the land-claims, or property of the members.
Whenever a question of title arose, a judge and jury were chosen from
among the members to hear and determine the case. The occupancy title
was invariably protected up to a certain number of acres, which was
differently fixed by different clubs, and varied in those of which I
have heard the rules from 100 to 250 acres, averaging 150. The United
States “Homestead” and “Pre-emption” laws were founded on the practice
of these clubs. The claim-clubs interfered only for the protection of
their members, but they never scrupled to hang willful offenders
against their rules, whether members or outsiders. Execution of the
decrees of the club was generally left to the county sheriff, if he was
a member, and in this case a certain air of legality was given to the
local action. It is perhaps not too much to say that a Western sheriff
is an irresponsible official, possessed of gigantic powers, but seldom
known to abuse them. He is a Cæsar, chosen for his honesty,
fearlessness, clean shooting, and quick loading, by men who know him
well: if he breaks down, he is soon deposed, and a better man chosen for
dictator. I have known a Western paper say: “Frank is our man for
sheriff, next October. See the way he shot one of the fellows who robbed
his store, and followed up the other, and shot him too the next day.
Frank is the boy for us.” In such a state of society as this, the
distinction between law and lynch-law can scarcely be said to exist, and
in the eyes of every Western settler the claim-club backed by the
sheriff‘s name was as strong and as full of the majesty of the law as
the Supreme Court of the United States. Mr. Byers told me of a case of
the infliction of death-punishment by a claim-club which occurred in
Kansas after the “Homestead” law was passed allowing the occupant when
he had tilled and improved the land for five years, to purchase it at
one and a quarter dollars an acre. A man settled on a piece of land, and
labored on it for some years. He then “sold it,” which he had, of
course, no power to do, the land being still the property of the United
States. Having done this, he went and “pre-empted” it under the
Homestead Act, at the government price. When he attempted to eject the
man to whom he had assumed to sell, the club ordered the sheriff to “put
the man away,” and he was never seen again. Perhaps Mr. Byers was the
sheriff; he seemed to have the details at his fingers’ ends, and his
later history in Denver, where he once had the lynching rope round his
neck for exposing gamblers, testifies to his boldness.

Some of the rascalities which the claim-clubs were expected to put down
were ingenious enough. Sometimes a man would build a dozen houses on a
block of land, and, going there to enter on possession after they were
complete, would find that in the night the whole of them had
disappeared. Frauds under the Homestead Act were both many and strange.
Men were required to prove that they had on the land a house of at least
ten feet square. They have been known to whittle out a toy-house with
their bowie, and, carrying it to the land, to measure it in the presence
of a friend--twelve inches by thirteen. In court the pre-emptor,
examining his own witness, would say, “What are the dimensions of that
house of mine?” “Twelve by thirteen.” “That will do.” In Kansas a
log-house of the regulation size was fitted up on wheels, and let at ten
dollars a day, in order that it might be wheeled on to different lots,
to be sworn to as a house upon the land. Men have been known to make a
window-sash and frame, and keep them inside of their windowless huts, to
swear that they had a window in their house--another of the requirements
of the act. It is a singular mark of deference to the traditions of a
Puritan ancestry that such accomplished liars as the Western landsharks
should feel it necessary to have any foundation whatever for their lies;
but not only in this respect are they a curious race. One of their
peculiarities is that, however wealthy they may be, they will never
place their money out at interest, never sink it in a speculation,
however tempting, when there is no prospect of almost immediate
realization. To turn their money over often, at whatever risk, is with
these men an axiom. The advanced-guard of civilization, they push out
into an unknown wilderness, and seize upon the available lots, the
streams, the springs, the river bottoms, the falls or
“water-privileges,” and then, using their interest in the territorial
legislature--using, perhaps, direct corruption in some cases--they
procure the location of the State capital upon their lands, or the
passage of the railroads through their valleys. The capital of Nebraska
has been fixed in this manner at a place two hundred and fifty miles
from the nearest settlement. A newspaper appeared suddenly, dated from
“Lincoln City, center of Nebraska Territory,” but published in reality
in Omaha. To cope with such fellows, Western sheriffs must be no
ordinary men.

Thanks to the Vigilance Committees, California stands now before the
other far-western States. Rowdyism is being put down as the God-fearing
Northerners gain ground. It may still be dangerous to stroke your beard
in a bar-room at Placerville or El Dorado; “a gentleman in the loafing
and chancing line” may still be met with in Sacramento; here and there a
Missourian “Pike,” as yet unhung, may boast that he can whip his weight
in wild cats,--but San Francisco has at least reached the age of outward
decorum, has shut up public gaming-houses, and supports four church
papers.

In Colorado lynch law is not as yet forgotten: the day we entered Denver
the editor of the _Gazette_ expressed, “on historical grounds,” his deep
regret at the cutting down of two fine cottonwood-trees that stood on
Cherry Creek. When we came to talk to him we found that the “history”
alluded to was that of the “escape up” these trees of many an early
inhabitant of Denver City. “There‘s the tree we used to put the jury
under, and that‘s the one we hanged ’em on. Put a cart under the tree,
and the boy standing on it, with the rope around him; give him time for
a pray, then smack the whip, and ther’ you air.”

In Denver we were reserved upon the subject of Vigilance Committees, for
it is dangerous sometimes to make close inquiries as to their
constitution. While I was in Leavenworth a man was hanged by the mob at
Council Bluffs for asking the names of the Vigilants who had hanged a
friend of his the year before. We learned enough, however, at Denver to
show that the committee in that city still exists; and in Virginia and
Carson I know that the organizations are continued; but offenders are
oftener shot quietly than publicly hanged, in order to prevent an
outcry, and avoid the vengeance of the relatives. The verdict of the
jury never fails to be respected, but acquittal is almost as unknown as
mercy to those convicted. Innocent men are seldom tried before such
juries, for the case must be clear before the sheriff will run the risk
of being shot in making the arrest. When the man‘s fate is settled, the
sheriff drives out quietly in his buggy, and next day men say when they
meet, “Poor ----‘s escaped;” or else it is, “The sheriff‘s shot. Who‘ll
run for office?”

It will be seen from the history of the Vigilance Committees, as I heard
their stories from Kansas to California, that they are to be divided
into two classes, with sharply-marked characteristics--those where
committee hangings, transportations, warnings, are alike open to the
light of day, such as the committees of San Francisco in 1856, and the
Sandwich Islands in 1866, and those--unhappily the vast majority--where
all is secret and irresponsible. Here, in San Francisco, the committee
was the government; elsewhere, the organization was less wide, and the
members, though always shrewdly guessed at, never known. Neither class
should be necessary, unless when a gold rush brings down upon a State
the desperadoes of the world; but there is this encouragement even in
the history of lynch law: that, although English settlements often start
wild, they never have been known to go wild.

The men who formed the second Vigilance Committee of San Francisco are
now the governor, Senators, and Congressmen of California, the mayors
and sheriffs of her towns. Nowadays the citizens are remarkable, even
among Americans, for their love of law and order. Their city, though
still subject to a yearly deluge from the outpourings of all the
overcrowded slums of Europe, is, as the New Yorker said, the best
policed in all America. In politics, too, it is remarked that party
organizations have no power in this State from the moment that they
attempt to nominate corrupt or time-serving men. The people break loose
from their caucuses and conventions, and vote in a body for their honest
enemies, rather than for corrupt friends. They have the advantage of
singular ability, for there is not an average man in California.



CHAPTER XXII.

GOLDEN CITY.


The first letter which I delivered in San Francisco was from a Mormon
gentleman to a merchant, who, as he read it, exclaimed: “Ah! so you want
to see the lions? I‘ll pick you up at three, and take you _there_.” I
wondered, but went, as travelers do.

At the end of a pleasant drive along the best road in all America, I
found myself upon a cliff overhanging the Pacific, with a glorious
outlook, seaward toward the Farallones, and northward to Cape Benita and
the Golden Gate. Beneath, a few hundred yards from shore, was a conical
rock, covered with shapeless monsters, plashing the water and roaring
ceaselessly, while others swam around. These were “the lions,” my
acquaintance said--the sea-lions. I did not enter upon an explanation of
our slang phrase, “the lions” which the Mormon, himself an Englishman,
no doubt had used, but took the first opportunity of seeing the
remainder of “the lions” of the Golden City.

The most remarkable spot in all America is Mission Dolores, in the
outskirts of San Francisco City--once a settlement of the Society of
Jesus, and now partly blanket factory and partly church. Nowhere has the
conflict between the Saxon and Latin races been so sharp and so
decisive. For eighty or ninety years California was first Spanish, then
Mexican, then a half independent Spanish-American republic. The progress
of those ninety years was shown in the foundation of half a dozen
Jesuit “missions,” which held each of them a thousand or two tame
Indians as slaves, while a few military settlers and their friends
divided the interior with the savage tribes. Gold, which had been
discovered here by Drake, was never sought: the fathers, like the Mormon
chiefs, discouraged mining; it interfered with their tame Indians. Here
and there, in four cases, perhaps, in all, a presidio, or castle, had
been built for the protection of the mission, and a puebla, or tiny free
town, had been suffered to grow up, not without remonstrance from the
fathers. Los Angeles had thus sprung from the mission of that name, the
fishing village of Yerba Buena, from Mission Dolores on the bay of San
Francisco, and San José, from Santa Clara. In 1846, Fremont the
Pathfinder conquered the country with forty-two men, and now it has a
settled population of nearly half a million; San Francisco is as large
as Newcastle or Hull, as flourishing as Liverpool, and the Saxon blanket
factory has replaced the Spanish mission. The story might have served as
a warning to the French Emperor, when he sent ships and men to found a
“Latin empire in America.”

Between the presidio and the Mission Dolores lies Lone Mountain
Cemetery, in that solitary calm and majesty of beauty which befits a
home for the dead, the most lovely of all the cemeteries of America.
Queen Emma, of the Sandwich Islands, who is here at present, said of it
yesterday to a Californian merchant: “How comes it that you Americans,
who live so fast, find time to bury your dead so beautifully?”

Lone Mountain is not the only delicious spot that is given to the
American dead. Laurel Hill, Mount Auburn, Greenwood, Cypress Grove,
Hollywood, Oak Hill, are names not more full of poetry than are the
places to which they belong; but Lone Mountain has over all an advantage
in its giant fuchsias, and scarlet geraniums of the size and shape of
trees; in the distant glimpses, too, of the still Pacific.

San Francisco is ill placed, so far as mere building facilities are
concerned. When the first houses were built in 1845 and 1846, they stood
on a strip of beach surrounding the sheltered cove of Yerba Buena, and
at the foot of the steep and lofty sand-hills. Dunes and cove have
disappeared together; the hills have been shot bodily into the bay, and
the former harbor is now the business quarter of the city. Not a street
can be built without cutting down a hill, or filling up a glen. Never
was a great town built under heavier difficulties; but trade requires it
to be exactly where it is, and there it will remain and grow. Its former
rivals, Vallejo and Benicia, are grass-grown villages, in spite of their
having had the advantage of “a perfect situation.” While the spot on
which the Golden City stands was still occupied by the struggling
village of Yerba Buena, Francisca was a rising city, where corner lots
were worth their ten or twenty thousand dollars. When the gold rush
came, the village, shooting to the front, voted itself the name of its
great bay, and Francisca had to change its title to Benicia, in order
not to be thought a mere suburb of San Francisco. The mouth of the
Columbia was once looked to as the future haven of Western America, and
point of convergence of the railroad lines; but the “center of the
universe” has not more completely removed from Independence to Fort
Riley than Astoria has yielded to San Francisco the claim to be the port
of the Pacific.

The one great danger of this coast all its cities share in common. Three
times within the present century, the spot on which San Francisco stands
has been violently disturbed by subterranean forces. The earthquake of
last year has left its mark upon Montgomery Street and the plaza, for it
frightened the San Franciscans into putting up light wooden cornices to
hotels and banks, instead of the massive stone projections that are
common in the States; otherwise, though lesser shocks are daily matters,
the San Franciscans have forgotten the “great scare.” A year is a long
time in California. There is little of the earliest San Francisco left,
though the city is only eighteen years old. Fires have done good work as
well as harm, and it is worth a walk up to the plaza to see how prim and
starched are the houses which now occupy a square three sides of which
were, in 1850, given up to the public gaming-hells.

One of the few remaining bits of old Golden City life is to be found in
the neighborhood of the “What Cheer House,” the resting-place of diggers
on their way from the interior to take ship for New York or Europe. Here
there is no lack of coin, no want of oaths, no scarcity of drinks.
“Juleps” are as plentiful as in Baltimore itself; Yerba Buena, the old
name for San Francisco, means “mint.”

If the old character of the city is gone, there are still odd scenes to
be met with in its streets. To-day I saw a master builder of great
wealth with his coat and waistcoat off, and his hat stowed away on one
side, carefully teaching a raw Irish lad how to lay a brick. He told me
that the acquisition of the art would bring the man an immediate rise in
his wages from five to ten shillings a day. Unskilled labor, Mexican and
Chinese, is plentiful enough, but white artisans are scarce. The want of
servants is such, that even the wealthiest inhabitants live with their
wives and families in hotels, to avoid the cost and trouble of an
establishment. Those who have houses pay rough unkempt Irish girls from
£6 to £8 a month, with board, “outings” when they please, and
“followers” unlimited.

The hotel boarding has much to do with the somewhat unwomanly manner of
a few among the ladies of the newest States, but the effect upon the
children is more marked than it is upon their mothers. To a woman of
wealth, it matters, perhaps, but little whether she rules a household of
her own, or boards in the first floor of some gigantic hostelry; but it
does matter a great deal to her children, who, in the one case, have a
home to play and work in, and who, in the other, play on the stairs or
in the corridors, to the annoyance of every sojourner in the hotel, and
never dream of work out of school-hours, or of solid reading that is not
compulsory. The only one of the common charges brought against America
in English society and in English books and papers that is thoroughly
true, is the statement that American children, as a rule, are “forward,”
ill mannered, and immoral. An American can scarcely be found who does
not admit and deplore the fact. With the self-exposing honesty that is a
characteristic of their nation, American gentlemen will talk by the hour
of the terrible profligacy of the young New Yorkers. Boys, they tell
you, who in England would be safe in the lower school at Eton or in
well-managed houses, in New York or New Orleans are deep gamesters and
God-defying rowdies. In New England, things are better; in the West,
there is yet time to prevent the ill arising; but even in the most
old-fashioned of American States, the children are far too full of
self-assurance. Their faults are chiefly faults of manner, but such in
children have a tendency to become so many vices. On my way home from
Egypt, I crossed the Simplon with a Southerner and a Pennsylvanian boy
of fourteen or fifteen. An English boy would have expressed his opinion,
and been silent: this lad‘s attacks upon the poor Southerner were
unceasing and unfeeling; yet I could see that he was good at bottom. I
watched my chance to give him my view of his conduct, and when we
parted, he came up and shook hands, saying: “You‘re not a bad fellow for
a Britisher, after all.”

In my walks through the city I found its climate agreeable rather for
work than idleness. Sauntering or lounging is as little possible as it
is in London. The summer is not yet ended; and in the summer at San
Francisco it is cold after eleven in the day--strangely cold for the
latitude of Athens. The fierce sun scorches up the valleys of the San
Joaquin and the Sacramento in the early morning; and the heated air,
rising from off the ground, leaves its place to be filled by the cold
breeze from the Pacific. The Contra Costa Range is unbroken but by the
single gap of the Golden Gate, and through this opening the cold winds
rush in a never-ceasing gale, spreading fanlike as soon as they have
passed the narrows. Hence it is that the Golden Gate is called “The
Keyhole,” and the wind “The Keyhole Breeze.” Up country they make it
raise the water for irrigation. In winter there is a calm, and then the
city is as sunny as the rest of California.

So purely local is the bitter gale that at Benicia, ten miles from San
Francisco, the mean temperature is ten degrees higher for the year, and
nearly twenty for the summer. I have stood on the shore at Benicia when
the thermometer was at a hundred in the shade, and seen the clouds
pouring in from the Pacific, and hiding San Francisco in a murky pall,
while the temperature there was under seventy degrees. This fog retarded
by a hundred years the discovery of San Francisco Bay. The entrance to
the Golden Gate is narrow, and the mists hang there all day. Cabrillo,
Drake, Viscaino, sailed past it without seeing that there was a bay, and
the great land-locked sea was first beheld by white men when the
missionaries came upon its arms and creeks, far away inland.

The peculiarity of climate carries with it great advantages. It is never
too hot, never too cold, to work--a fact which of itself secures a grand
future for San Francisco. The effect upon national type is marked. At a
San Franciscan ball you see English faces, not American. Even the lean
Western men and hungry Yankees become plump and rosy in this temple of
the winds. The high metallic ring of the New England voice is not found
in San Francisco. As for old men, California must have been that fabled
province of Cathay, the virtues of which were such that, whatever a
man‘s age when he entered it, he never grew older by a day. To dogs and
strangers there are drawbacks in the absence of winter: dogs are muzzled
all the year round, and musquitoes are perennial upon the coast.

The city is gay with flags; every house supports a liberty pole upon its
roof, for when the Union sentiment sprang up in San Francisco, at the
beginning of the war, public opinion forced the citizens to make a
conspicuous exhibition of the stars and stripes, by way of showing that
it was from no want of loyalty that they refused to permit the
circulation of the Federal greenbacks. In this matter of flags the
sea-gale is of service, for were it not for its friendly assistance, a
short house between two tall ones could not sport a huge flag with much
effect. As it is, the wind always blowing across the chief streets, and
never up or down, the narrowest and lowest house can flaunt a large
ensign without fear of its ever flapping against the walls of its proud
neighbors.

It is not only in rosy cheeks that the Californian English have the
old-world type. With less ingenuity than the New England Yankees, they
have far more depth and solidity in their enterprise; they do not rack
their brain at inventing machines to peel apples and milk cows, but they
intend to tunnel through the mountains to Lake Tahoe, tap it, and with
its waters irrigate the Californian plains. They share our British love
for cash payments and good roads; they one and all set their faces
against repudiation in any shape, and are strongly for what they call
“rolling-up” the debt. Throughout the war they quoted paper as
depreciated, not gold as risen. Indeed, there is here the same
unreasoning prejudice against paper money that I met with in Nevada.
After all, what can be expected of a State which still produces
three-eighths of all the gold raised yearly in the world?

San Francisco is inhabited, as all American cities bid fair to be, by a
mixed throng of men of all lands beneath the sun. New Englanders and
Englishmen predominate in energy, Chinese in numbers. The French and
Italians are stronger here than in any other city in the States; and the
red-skinned Mexicans, who own the land, supply the market people and a
small portion of the townsfolk. Australians, Polynesians, and Chilians
are numerous; the Germans and Scandinavians alone are few; they prefer
to go where they have already friends--to Philadelphia or Milwaukee. In
this city--already a microcosm of the world--the English, British, and
American are in possession--have distanced the Irish, beaten down the
Chinese by force, and are destined to physically preponderate in the
cross-breed, and give the tone, political and moral, to the Pacific
shore. New York is Irish, Philadelphia German, Milwaukee Norwegian,
Chicago Canadian, Sault de Ste Marie French; but in San Francisco--where
all the foreign races are strong--none is dominant; whence the singular
result that California, the most mixed in population, is also the most
English of the States.

In this strange community, starting more free from the Puritan influence
of New England than has hitherto done any State within the Union, it is
doubtful what religion will predominate. Catholicism is “not
fashionable” in America--it is the creed of the Irish, and that is
enough for most Americans; so Anglicanism, its critics say, is popular
as being “very proper.” Whatever the cause, the Episcopalian Church is
flourishing in California, and it seems probable that the church which
gains the day in California will eventually be that of the whole
Pacific.

On Montgomery Street are some of the finest buildings in all America;
the “Occidental Hotel,” the “Masonic Hall,” the “Union Club,” and
others. The club has only just been rebuilt after its destruction by a
nitro-glycerin explosion which occurred in the express office next door.
A case, of which no one knew the contents, was being lifted by two
clerks, when it exploded, blowing down a portion of the club, and
breaking half the windows in the city. On examination it was found to be
nitro-glycerin on its way to the mines.

Another accident occurred here yesterday with this same compound. A
sharp report was heard on board a ship lying in the docks, and the cook
was found dead, below; pieces of a flask had been driven into his heart
and lungs. The deposit on the broken glass was examined, and found to be
common oil; but this morning, I read in the _Alta_ a report from a
chemist that traces of nitro-glycerin have been discovered by him upon
the glass, and a statement from one of the hands says that the ship on
her way up had called at Manzanilla, where the cook had taken the flask
from a merchant‘s office, emptied it of its contents, the character of
which was unknown to him, and filled it with common vegetable oil.

Since the great explosion at Aspinwall, nitro-glycerin has been the
nightmare of Californians. For earthquakes they care little, but the
freaks of the devilish oil, which is brought here secretly, for use in
the Nevada mines, have made them ready to swear that it is itself a
demon. They tell you that it freezes every night, and then the slightest
friction will explode it--that, on the other hand, it goes off if
heated. If you leave it standing in ordinary temperatures, the odds are
that it undergoes decomposition, and then, if you touch it, it explodes;
and no lapse of time has on its power the smallest deteriorating effect,
but, on the contrary, the oil will crystallize, and then its strength
for harm is multiplied by ten. If San Francisco is ever destroyed by
earthquake, old Californians will certainly be found to ascribe the
shock to nitro-glycerin.

A day or two after my return from Benicia, I escaped from the city, and
again went south, halting at San José, “The Garden City,” and chief town
of the fertile Guadalupe district, on my way to the quicksilver mines of
New Almaden, now the greatest in the world since they have beaten the
Spanish mines and Idria. From San José, I drove myself to Almaden along
a sun-dried valley with a fertile tawny soil, reaching the delicious
mountain stream and the groves it feeds in time to join my friends at
lunch in the shady hacienda. The director took me through the refining
works, in which the quicksilver may be seen running in streams down
gutters from the furnaces, but he was unable to go with me up the
mountain to the mines from which the cinnabar comes shooting down by its
weight. The superintendent engineer--a meerschaum-equipped Bavarian--and
myself mounted, at the Hacienda Gate, upon our savage-looking beasts,
and I found myself for the first time lost in the depths of a Mexican
saddle, and my feet plunged into the boot-stirrups that I had seen used
by the Utes in Denver. The riding feats of the Mexicans and the
Californian boys are explained when you find that their saddle puts it
out of the question that they should be thrown; but the fatigue that its
size and shape cause to man and horse, when the man is a stranger to New
Spain, and the horse knows that he is so, outweighs any possible
advantages that it may possess. With their huge gilt spurs, attached to
the stirrup, not to the boot, the double peak, and the embroidered
trappings, the Mexican saddles are the perfection at once of the
cumbersome and the picturesque.

Silently we half scrambled, half rode, up a break-neck path which forms
a short cut to the mine, till all at once a charge of our horses at an
almost perpendicular wall of rock was followed by their simultaneously
commencing to kick and back toward the cliff. Springing off, we found
that the girths had been slackened by the Mexican groom, and that the
steep bit of mountain had caused the saddles to slip. This broke the
ice, and we speedily found ourselves discussing miners and mining in
French, my German not being much worse than my Bavarian‘s English.

After viewing the mines, the walls of which, composed of crimson
cinnabar, show bravely in the torch-glare, we worked our way through the
tunnels to the topmost lode and open air.

Bidding good-by to what I could see of my German in the fog from his
meerschaum, I turned to ride down by the road instead of the path. I had
not gone a furlong, when, turning a corner, there burst upon me a view
of the whole valley of tawny California, now richly golden in the colors
of the fall. Looking from this spur of the Santa Cruz Mountains, with
the Contra Costa Range before me, and Mount Hamilton towering from the
plain, apart, I could discern below me the gleam of the Coyote Creek,
and of the windows in the church of Santa Clara--in the distance, the
mountains and waters of San Francisco Bay, from San Mateo to Alameda and
San Pablo, basking in unhindered sun. The wild oats dried by the heat
made of the plain a field of gold, dotted here and there with groups of
black oak and bay, and darkened at the mountain foot with “chapparal.”
The volcanic hills were rounded into softness in the delicious haze, and
all nature overspread with a poetic calm. As I lost the view, the mighty
fog was beginning to pour in through the Golden Gate to refresh America
with dews from the Pacific.



CHAPTER XXIII.

LITTLE CHINA.


“The Indians begin to be troublesome again in Trinity County. _One man
and a Chinaman_ have been killed, and a lady crippled for life.”

That the antipathy everywhere exhibited by the English to colored races
was not less strong in California than in the Carolinas I had
suspected, but I was hardly prepared for the deliberate distinction
between men and yellow men drawn in this paragraph from the _Alta
Californian_ of the day of my return to San Francisco.

A determination to explore Little China, as the celestial quarter of the
city is termed, already arrived at, was only strengthened by the
unconscious humor of the _Alta_, and I at once set off in search of two
of the detectives, Edes and Saulsbury, to whom I had some sort of
introduction, and put myself under their charge for the night.

We had not been half an hour in the Chinese theater or opera house
before my detectives must have repented of their offer to “show me
around,” for, incomprehensible as it must have seemed to them with their
New England gravity and American contempt for the Chinese, I was amused
beyond measure with the performance, and fairly lost myself in the
longest laugh that I had enjoyed since I had left the plantations of
Virginia.

When we entered the house, which is the size of the Strand Theater of
London, it may have been ten or eleven o‘clock. The performance had
begun at seven, and was likely to last till two A.M. By the
“performance” was meant this particular act or scene, for the piece had
been going on every evening for a month, and would be still in progress
during the best part of another, it being the principle of the Chinese
drama to take up the hero at an early age, and conduct him to the grave,
which he reaches full of years and of honor.

The house was crammed with a grinning crowd of happy “yellow boys,”
while the “China ladies” had a long gallery to themselves. No sound of
applause is to be heard in a Chinese place of amusement, but the crowd
grin delight at the actors, who, for their part, grin back at the crowd.

The feature of the performance which struck me at once was the hearty
interest the actors took in the play, and the chaff that went on between
them and the pit; it is not only from their numbers and the nature of
their trades that the Chinese may be called the Irish of the Pacific:
there was soul in every gesture.

On the stage, behind the actors, was a band, which played unceasingly,
and so loud that the performers, who clearly had not the smallest
intention of subordinating their parts to the music, had to talk in
shrieks in order to be heard. The audience, too, all talked in their
loudest natural tones.

As for the play, a lady made love to an old gentleman (probably the
hero, as this was the second month or third act of the play), and,
bawling at him fiercely, was indignantly rejected by him in a piercing
shriek. Relatives, male and female, coming with many howls to the
assistance of the lady, were ignominiously put to flight, in a high
falsetto key, by the old fellow‘s footmen, who were in turn routed by a
force of yelling spearmen, apparently the county _posse_. The soldiers
wore paint in rings of various colors, put on so deftly, that of nose,
of eyes, of mouth, no trace could be discovered; the front face
resembled a target for archery. All this time, a steady, unceasing
uproar was continued by four gongs and a harp, with various cymbals,
pavilions, triangles, and guitars.

Scenery there was none, but boards were put up in the Elizabethan way,
with hieroglyphics denoting the supposed locality; and another archaic
point is, that all the female parts were played by boys. For this I have
the words of the detectives; my eyes, had I not long since ceased to
believe them, would have given me proof to the contrary.

The acting, as far as I could judge by the grimace, was excellent.
Nowhere could be found greater spirit, or equal power of facial
expression. The stage fight was full of pantomimic force; the leading
soldier would make his fortune as a London pantaloon.

When the detectives could no longer contain their distaste for the
performance, we changed our quarters for a restaurant--the “Hang Heong,”
the wood of which was brought from China.

The street along which we had to pass was decorated rather than lit by
paper lanterns hung over every door; but the “Hang Heong” was
brilliantly illuminated, with a view, no doubt, to attracting the crowd
as they poured out from the theater at a later hour. The ground-floor
was occupied by shop and kitchen, the dining-rooms being up stairs. The
counter, which is on the plan of that in the houses of the Palais Royal,
was presided over, not by a smiling woman, but by grave and pig-tailed
gentlemen in black, who received our order from the detective with the
decorous solemnity of the head waiter in an English country inn.

The rooms up stairs were nearly full; and as the Chinese by no means
follow the Americans in silent eating, the babel was tremendous. A
saucer and a pair of chopsticks were given each of us, but at our
request a spoon was furnished as a special favor to the “Melicans.”

Tiny cups of a sweet spirit were handed us before supper was brought up.
The liquor was a kind of shrub, but white, made, I was told, from
sugar-canes. For first course, we had roast duck cut in pieces, and
served in an oil-filled bowl, and some sort of fish; tea was then
brought in, and followed by shark‘s fin, for which I had given a special
order; the result might have been gum arabic for any flavor I could
find. Dog was not to be obtained, and birds’-nest soup was beyond the
purse of a traveler seven thousand miles from home, and twelve thousand
from his next supplies. A dish of some strange, black fungus stewed in
rice, followed by preserves and cakes, concluded our supper, and were
washed down by our third cups of tea.

After paying our respects and our money to the gentleman in black, who
grunted a lugubrious something that answered to “good night,” we paid a
visit to the Chinese “bad quarter,” which differs only in degree of
badness from the “quartier Mexicain,” the bad pre-eminence being
ascribed, even by the prejudiced detectives, to the Spaniards and
Chilenos.

Hurrying on, we reached the Chinese gaming-houses just before they
closed. Some difficulty was made about admitting us by the “yellow
loafers” who hung around the gate, as the houses are prohibited by law;
but as soon as the detectives, who were known, explained that they came
not on business, but on pleasure, we were suffered to pass in among the
silent, melancholy gamblers. Not a word was heard, beyond every now arid
then a grunt from the croupier. Each man knew what he was about, and won
or lost his money in the stillness of a dead-house. The game appeared to
be a sort of loto; but a few minutes of it was enough, and the
detectives pretended to no deep acquaintance with its principles.

The San Francisco Chinese are not all mere theater-goers, loafers,
gamblers; as a body they are frugal, industrious, contented men. I soon
grew to think it a pleasure to meet a Chinese-American, so clean and
happy is his look: not a speck is to be seen upon the blue cloth of his
long coat or baggy trowsers. His hair is combed with care; the bamboo on
which he and his mate together carry their enormous load seems as though
cleansed a dozen times a day.

It is said to be a peculiarity of the Chinese that they are all alike:
no European can, without he has dealings with them, distinguish one
Celestial from another. The same, however, may be said of the Sikhs, the
Australian natives, of most colored races, in short. The points of
difference which distinguish the yellow men, the red men, the black men
with straight hair, the negroes, from any other race whatever, are so
much more prominent than the minor distinctions between Ah Sing and Chi
Long, or between Uncle Ned and Uncle Tom, that the individual are sunk
and lost in the national distinctions. To the Chinese in turn all
Europeans are alike; but beneath these obvious facts there lies a grain
of solid truth that is worth the hunting out, and which is connected
with the change-of-type question in America and Australasia. Men of
similar habits of mind and body are alike among ourselves in Europe;
noted instances are the close resemblance of Père Enfantin, the St.
Simonian chief, to the busts of Epicurus; of Bismarck to Cardinal
Ximenes. Irish laborers--men who for the most part work hard, feed
little, and leave their minds entirely unplowed--are all alike;
Chinamen, who all work hard, and work alike, who live alike, and who go
further, and all think alike, are, by a mere law of nature,
indistinguishable one from the other.

In the course of my wanderings in the Golden City, I lighted on the
house of the Canton Company, one of the Chinese benevolent societies,
the others being those of Hong Kong, Macao, and Amoy. They are like the
New York Immigration Commission, and the London “Société Française de
Bienfaisance,” combined; added to a theater and joss-house, or temple,
and governed on the principles of such clubs as those of the “whites” or
“greens” at Heidelberg, they are, in short, Chinese trades unions,
sheltering the sick, succoring the distressed, finding work for the
unemployed, receiving the immigrants from China when they land, and
shipping their bones back to China, ticketed with name and address, when
they die. “Hong Kong, with dead Chinamen,” is said to be a common answer
from outward-bounders to a hail from the guard-ship at the Golden Gate.

Some of the Chinese are wealthy: Tung Yu & Co., Chi Sing Tong & Co.,
Wing Wo Lang & Co., Chy Lung & Co., stand high among the merchants of
the Golden City. Honest and wealthy as these men are allowed to be, they
are despised by every white Californian, from the governor of the State
to the Mexican boy who cleans his shoes.

In America, as in Australia, there is a violent prejudice against John
Chinaman. He pilfers, we are told; he lies, he is dirty, he smokes
opium, is full of bestial vices--a pagan, and--what is far more
important--yellow! All his sins are to be pardoned but the last.
Californians, when in good humor, will admit that John is sober,
patient, peaceable, and hard working, that his clothes at least are
scrupulously clean; but he is yellow! Even the Mexicans, themselves
despised, look down upon the Chinamen, just as the New York Irish affect
to have no dealings with “the naygurs.” The Chinese themselves pander to
the feeling. Their famous appeal to the Californian Democrats may or may
not be true: “What for Democlat allee timee talkee dam Chinaman?
Chinaman allee samee Democlat; no likee nigger, no likee injun.”
“Infernals,” “Celestials,” and “Greasers”--or black men, yellow men, and
Mexicans--it is hard to say which are most despised by the American
whites in California.

The Chinaman is hated by the rough fellows for his cowardice. Had the
Chinese stood to their rights against the Americans, they would long
since have been driven from California. As it is, here and in Victoria
they invariably give way, and never work at diggings which are occupied
by whites. Yet in both countries they take out mining licenses from the
State, which is bound to protect them in the possession of the rights
thus gained, but which is powerless against the rioters of Ballarat, or
the “Anti-Chinese mob” of El Dorado.

The Chinese in California are practically confined by public opinion,
violence, or threats, to inferior kinds of work, which the “meanest” of
the whites of the Pacific States refuse to perform. Politically, this is
slavery. All the evils to which slavery has given rise in the cotton
States are produced here by violence, in a less degree only because the
Chinese are fewer than were the negroes.

In spite of a prejudice which recalls the time when the British
government forbade the American colonist to employ negroes in the
manufacture of hats, on the ground that white laborers could not stand
the competition, the yellow men continue to flock to the “Gold Hills,”
as they call San Francisco. Already they are the washermen, sweepers,
and porters of three States, two Territories, and British Columbia. They
are denied civil rights; their word is not taken in cases where white
men are concerned; a heavy tax is set upon them on their entry to the
State; a second tax when they commence to mine--still their numbers
steadily increase. In 1852, Governor Bigler, in his message, recommended
the prohibition of the immigration of the Chinese, but they now number
one-tenth of the population.

The Irish of Asia, the Chinese have commenced to flow over on to the
outer world. Who shall say where the flood will stop? Ireland, with now
five millions of people, has, in twenty years, poured an equal number
out into the world. What is to prevent the next fifty years seeing an
emigration of a couple of hundreds of millions from the rebellion-torn
provinces of Cathay?

Three Chinamen in a temperate climate will do as much arm-work as two
Englishmen, and will eat or cost less. It looks as though the cheaper
would starve out the dearer race, as rabbits drive out stronger but
hungrier hares. This tendency is already plainly visible in our
mercantile marine: the ships are manned with motley crews of Bombay
lascars, Maories, Negroes, Arabs, Chinamen, Kroomen, and Malays. There
are no British or American seamen now, except boys who are to be
quartermasters some day, and experienced hands who are quartermasters
already. But there is nothing to regret in this: Anglo-Saxons are too
valuable to be used as ordinary seamen where lascars will do nearly, and
Maories quite as well. Nature seems to intend the English for a race of
officers, to direct and guide the cheap labor of the Eastern peoples.

The serious side of the Chinese problem--just touched on here--will
force itself rudely upon our notice in Australia.

[Illustration: THE BRIDAL VEIL FALL, YOSEMITE VALLEY.--P. 228]



CHAPTER XXIV.

CALIFORNIA.


“In front of San Francisco are 745 millions of hungry Asiatics, who have
spices to exchange for meat and grain.”

The words are Governor Gilpin‘s, made use of by him in discussing the
future of overland trade, and worthy of notice as showing why it is
that, in making forecasts of the future of California, we have to look
more to her facilities for trade than to her natural productions. San
Francisco aims at being, not so much the port of California as one of
the main stations on the Anglo-Saxon highway round the globe.

Although the chief claim of California to consideration is her position
on the Pacific, her fertility and size alone entitle her to notice. This
single State is 750 miles in length--would stretch from Chamouni to the
southernmost point of Malta. There are two capes in California--one
nearly in the latitude of Jerusalem, the other nearly in the latitude of
Rome. The State has twice the area of Great Britain; the single valley
of the Joaquin and Sacramento, from Tulare Lake to the great snow-peak
of Shasta, is as large as the three kingdoms. Every useful mineral,
every kind of fertile soil, every variety of helpful climate, are to be
found within the State. There are in the Union forty-five such States or
Territories, with an average area equal to that of Britain.

Between the Pacific and the snows of the Sierra are three great tracts,
each with its soil and character. On the slopes of the Sierra are the
forests of giant timber, the sheltered valleys, and the gold fields in
which I spent my first week in California. Next comes the great hot
plain of Sacramento, where, with irrigation, all the best fruits of the
tropics grow luxuriantly, where water for irrigation is plentiful, and
the Pacific breeze will raise it. Round the valley are vast tracts for
sheep and wheat, and on the Contra Costas are millions of acres of wild
oats growing on the best of lands for cattle, while the slopes are
covered with young vines. Between the Contra Costa Range and the sea is
a winterless strip, possessing for table vegetables and flowers the
finest soil and climate in the world. The story goes that Californian
boys, when asked if they believe in a future state, reply: “Guess so;
California.”

[Illustration: EL CAPITAN, YOSEMITE VALLEY.--P. 228.]

Whether San Francisco will grow to be a second Liverpool or New York is
an all-absorbing question to those who live on the Pacific shores, and
one not without an interest and a moral for ourselves. New York has
waxed rich and huge mainly because she is so placed as to command one of
the best harbors on the coast of a country which exports enormously of
breadstuffs. Liverpool has thrived as one of the shipping ports for the
manufactures of the northern coal counties of England. San Francisco
Bay, as the best harbor south of Puget Sound, is, and will remain, the
center of the export trade of the Pacific States in wool and cereals. If
coal is found in plenty in the Golden State, population will increase,
manufactures spring up, and the export of wrought articles take the
place of that of raw produce. If coal is found in the Contra Costa
Range, San Francisco will continue, in spite of earthquakes, to be the
foremost port on the Pacific side; if, as is more probable, the find
of coal is confined to the Monte Diablo district, and is of trifling
value, still the future of San Francisco, as the meeting point of the
railways, and center of the import of manufactured goods, and of the
export of the produce of an agricultural and pastoral interior, is as
certain as it must inevitably be brilliant. Whether the chief town of
the Pacific States will in time develop into one of the commercial
capitals of the world is a wider and a harder question. That it will be
the converging point of the Pacific railroads, both of Chicago and St.
Louis, there can be no doubt. That all the new overland trade from China
and Japan will pass through it seems as clear; it is the extent of this
trade that is in question. For the moment, land transit cannot compete
on equal terms with water carriage; but assuming that, in the long run,
this will cease to be the case, it will be the overland route across
Russia, and not that through the United States, that will convey the
silks and teas of China to Central and Western Europe. The very
arguments of which the Californian merchants make use to show that the
delicate goods of China need land transport, go to prove that shipping
and unshipping in the Pacific, and a repetition in the Atlantic of each
process, cannot be good for them. The political importance to America of
the Pacific railroads does not admit of overstatement; but the Russian
or English Pacific routes must, commercially speaking, win the day. For
rare and costly Eastern goods, the English railway through Southern
China, Upper India, the Persian coast, and the Euphrates is no longer
now a dream. If Russian bureaucracy takes too long to move, trade will
be diverted by the Gulf route; coarser goods and food will long continue
to come by sea, but in no case can the City of San Francisco become a
western outpost of Europe.

The luster of the future of San Francisco is not dimmed by
considerations such as these; as the port of entry for the trade of
America, with all the East, its wealth must become enormous; and if, as
is probable, Japan, New Zealand, and New South Wales become great
manufacturing communities, San Francisco must needs in time take rank as
a second, if not a greater, London. This, however, is the more distant
future. With cheaper labor than the Pacific States and the British
colonies possess, with a more settled government than
Japan--Pennsylvania and Ohio, from the time that the Pacific railroad is
completed, will take, and for years will keep, the China trade. As for
the colonies, the voyage from San Francisco to Australia is almost as
long and difficult as that from England, and there is every probability
that Lancaster and Belgium will continue to supply the colonists with
clothes and tools, until they themselves, possessed as they are of coal,
become competent to make them. The merchants of San Francisco will be
limited in the main to the trade with China and Japan. In this direction
the future has no bounds: through California and the Sandwich Islands,
through Japan, fast becoming American, and China, the coast of which is
already British, our race seems marching westward to universal rule. The
Russian empire itself, with all its passive strength, cannot stand
against the English horde, ever pushing with burning energy toward the
setting sun. Russia and England are said to be nearing each other upon
the Indus; but long before they can meet there, they will be face to
face upon the Amoor.

For a time, the flood may be diverted south or north: Mexico will
doubtless, and British Columbia will probably, carry off a portion of
the thousands who are pouring West from the bleak rocks of New England.
The Californian expedition of 1853 against Sonora and Lower California
will be repeated with success, but the tide will be but momentarily
stayed. So entirely are English countries now the motherlands of energy
and adventure throughout the world, that no one who has watched what has
happened in California, in British Columbia, and on the west coast of
New Zealand, can doubt that the discovery of placer gold fields on any
coast or in any sea-girt country in the world, must now be followed by
the speedy rise there of an English government: were gold, for instance,
found in surface diggings in Japan, Japan would be English in five
years. We know enough of Chili, of the new Russian country on the Amoor,
of Japan, to be aware that such discoveries are more than likely to
occur.

In the face of facts like these, men are to be found who ask whether a
break-up of the Union is not still probable--whether the Pacific States
are not likely to secede from the Atlantic; some even contend for the
general principle that “America must go to pieces--she is to big.” It is
small powers, not great ones, that have become impossible: the
unification of Germany is in this respect but the dawn of a new era. The
great countries of to-day are smaller than were the smallest of a
hundred years ago. Lewes was farther from London in 1700 than Edinburgh
is now. New York and San Francisco will in 1870 be nearer to each other
than Canton and Pekin. From the point of view of mere size, there is
more likelihood of England entering the Union than of California
seceding from it.

The material interests of the Pacific States will always lie in union.
The West, sympathizing in the main with the Southerners upon the slavery
question, threw herself into the war, and crushed them, because she saw
the necessity of keeping her outlets under her own control. The same
policy would hold good for the Pacific States in the case of the
continental railroad. America, of all countries, alone shares the future
of both Atlantic and Pacific, and she knows her interests too well to
allow such an advantage to be thrown away. Uncalculating rebellion of
the Pacific States upon some sudden heat, is the only danger to be
apprehended, and such a rising could be put down with ease, owing to the
manner in which these States are commanded from the sea. Throughout the
late rebellion, the Federal navy, though officered almost entirely by
Southerners, was loyal to the flag, and it would be so again. In these
days, loyalty may be said to be peculiarly the sailor‘s passion: perhaps
he loves his country because he sees so little of it.

The single danger that looms in the more distant future is the eventual
control of Congress by the Irish, while the English retain their hold on
the Pacific shores.

       *       *       *       *       *

California is too British to be typically American: it would seem that
nowhere in the United States have we found the true America or the real
American. Except as abstractions, they do not exist; it is only by
looking carefully at each eccentric and irregular America--at Irish New
York, at Puritan New England, at the rowdy South, at the rough and
swaggering far West, at the cosmopolitan Pacific States--that we come to
reject the anomalous features, and to find America in the points they
possess in common. It is when the country is left that there rises in
the mind an image that soars above all local prejudice--that of the
America of the law-abiding, mighty people who are imposing English
institutions on the world.



CHAPTER XXV.

MEXICO.


In company with a throng of men of all races, all tongues, and all
trades, such as a Californian steamer can alone collect, I came coasting
southward under the cliffs of Lower California. Of the thousand
passengers who sought refuge from the stifling heat upon the upper and
hurricane decks, more than half were diggers returning with a “pile” to
their homes in the Atlantic States. While we hung over the bulwarks
watching the bonitos and the whales, the diggers threw “bolas” at the
boobies that flew out to us from the blazing rocks, and brought them
down screaming upon the decks. Threading our way through the reefs off
the lovely Island of Margarita, where the “Independence” was lost with
three hundred human beings, we lay-to at Cape St. Lucas, and landed his
Excellency Don Antonio Pedrin, Mexican Governor of Lower California, and
a Juarez man, in the very bay where Cavendish lay in wait for months for
the “great Manilla ship”--the Acapulco galleon.

When Girolamo Benzoni visited the Mexican Pacific coast, he confused the
turtle with the “crocodile,” describing the former under the latter‘s
name; but at Manzanilla, the two may be seen lying almost side by side
upon the sands. Separated from the blue waters of the harbor by a narrow
strand there is a festering lagoon, the banks of which swarm with the
smaller alligators; but a few yards off, upon the other slope, the
townsfolk and the turtles they had brought down for sale to our ship‘s
purser were lying, when I saw them, in a confused heap under an awning
of sailcloth nailed up to the palm-trees. Alligator, turtle, Mexican, it
was hard to say which was the superior being. A French corvette was in
possession of the port--one of the last of the holding-places through
which the remnants of the army of occupation were dribbling back to
France.

In the land-locked bay of Acapulco, one of the dozen “hottest places in
the world,” we found two French frigates, whose officers boarded us at
once. They told us that they landed their marines every morning after
breakfast, and re-embarked them before sunset; they could get nothing
from the shore but water; the Mexicans, under Alvarez, occupied the town
at night, and carried off even the fruit. When I asked about supplies,
the answer was sweeping: “Ah, mon Dieu, monsieur, cette _ssacrrréeee_
canaille de Alvarez nous vole tout. Nous n‘avons que de l‘eau fraîche,
et Alvarez va nous emporter la fontaine aussi quelque nuit. Ce sont des
voleurs, voyez-vous, ces Méchicanos.” When they granted us leave to
land, it was with the proviso that we should not blame them if we were
shot at by the Mexicans as we went ashore, and by themselves as we came
off again. Firing often takes place at night between Alvarez and the
French, but with a total loss in many months of only two men killed.

The day of my visit to Acapulco was the anniversary of the issue, one
year before, of Marshal Bazaine‘s famous order of the day, directing the
instant execution, as red-handed rebels, of Mexican prisoners taken by
the French. It is a strange commentary upon the Marshal‘s circular that
in a year from its issue the “Latin empire in America” should have had
a term set to it by the President of the United States. In Canada, in
India, in Egypt, in New Zealand, the English have met the French abroad,
and in this Mexican affair history does but repeat itself. There is
nothing more singular to the Londoner than the contempt of the Americans
for France. All Europe seems small when seen from the United States; but
the opinion of Great Britain and the strength of Russia are still looked
on with some respect: France alone completely vanishes, and instead of
every one asking, as with us, “What does the Emperor say?” no one cares
in the least what Napoleon does or thinks. In a Chicago paper I have
seen a column of Washington news headed, “Seward orders _Lewis_ Napoleon
to leave Mexico right away! Nap. lies badly to get out of the fix!”
While the Americans are still, in a high degree, susceptible of affront
from England, and would never, if they conceived themselves purposely
insulted, stop to weigh the cost of war, toward France they only feel,
as a Californian said to me, “Is it worth our while to set to work to
whip her?” The effect of Gettysburg and Sadowa will be that, except
Great Britain, Italy, and Spain, no nations will care much for the
threats or praises of Imperial France.

The true character of the struggle in Mexico has not been pointed out.
It was not a mere conflict between the majority of the people and a
minority supported by foreign aid, but an uprising of the Indians of the
country against the whites of the chief town. The Spaniards of the
capital were Maximilian‘s supporters, and upon them the Indians and
Mestizos have visited their revenge for the deeds of Cortez and Pizarro.
On the west coast there is to be seen no trace of Spanish blood: in
dress, in language, in religion the people are Iberian; in features, in
idleness, and in ferocity, undoubtedly Red Indian.

In the reports of the Argentine Confederation it is stated that the
Caucasian blood comes to the front in the mixed race; a few hundred
Spanish families in La Plata are said to have absorbed several hundred
thousand Indians, without suffering in their whiteness or other national
characteristics. There is something of the frog that swallowed the ox in
this; and the theories of the Argentine officials, themselves of the
mixed race, cannot outweigh the evidence of our own eyes in the seaport
towns of Mexico. There at least it is the Spaniards, not the Indians,
who have disappeared; and the only mixture of blood that can be traced
is that of Red Indian and negro in the fisher boys about the ports. They
are lithe lads, with eyes full of art and fire.

The Spaniards of Mexico have become Red Indians, as the Turks of Europe
have become Albanians or Circassians. Where the conquering marries into
the conquered race it ends by being absorbed, and the mixed breed
gradually becomes pure again in the type of the more numerous race. It
would seem that the North American continent will soon be divided
between the Saxon and the Aztec republics.

In California I once met with a caricature in which Uncle Sam or Brother
Jonathan is lying on his back upon Canada and the United States, with
his head in Russian America, and his feet against a tumble-down fence,
behind which is Mexico. His knees are bent, and his position cramped. He
says, “Guess I shall soon have to stretch my legs _some!_” There is not
in the United States any strong feeling in favor of the annexation of
the remainder of the continent, but there is a solemn determination that
no foreign country shall in any way gain fresh footing or influence
upon American soil, and that monarchy shall not be established in Mexico
or Canada. Further than this, there is a belief that, as the south
central portions of the States become fully peopled up, population will
pour over into the Mexican provinces of Chihuahua and Sonora, and that
the annexation of these and some other portions of Mexico to the United
States cannot long be prevented. For such acquisitions of territory
America would pay as she paid in the case of Texas, which she first
conquered, and then bought at a fair price.

In annexing the whole of Mexico, Protestant Americans would feel that
they were losing more than they could gain. In California and New
Mexico, they have already to deal with a population of Mexican
Catholics, and difficulties have arisen in the matter of the church
lands. The Catholic vote is powerful not only in California and New
York, but in Maryland, in Louisiana, in Kansas, and even in
Massachusetts. The sons of the Pilgrim Fathers would scarcely look with
pleasure on the admission to the Union of ten millions of Mexican
Catholics, and, on the other hand, the day-dreams of Leonard Calvert
would not be realized in the triumph of such a Catholicism as theirs any
more than in the success of that of the Philadelphia Academy, or New
York Tammany Hall.

With the exception of the Irish, the great majority of Catholic
emigrants avoid the United States, but the migration of European
Catholics to South America is increasing year by year. Just as the
Germans, the Norwegians, and the Irish flow toward the States, the
French, the Spanish, and the Italians flock into La Plata, Chili, and
Brazil. The European population of La Plata has already reached three
hundred thousand, and is growing fast. The French “mission” in Mexico
was the making of that great country a further field for the Latin
immigration; and when the Californians marched to Juarez‘s help, it was
to save Mexico to North America.

In all history, nothing can be found more dignified than the action of
America upon the Monroe doctrine. Since the principle was first laid
down in words, in 1823, the national behavior has been courteous,
consistent, firm; and the language used now that America is
all-powerful, is the same that her statesmen made use of during the
rebellion in the hour of her most instant peril. It will be hard for
political philosophers of the future to assert that a democratic
republic can have no foreign policy.

The Pacific coast of Mexico is wonderfully full of beauties of a
peculiar kind; the sea is always calm, and of a deep dull blue, with
turtles lying basking on the surface, and flying-fish skimming lightly
over its expanse, while the shores supply a fringe of bright yellow sand
at once to the ocean blue and to the rich green of the cactus groves. On
every spit or sand-bar there grows the feathery palm. A low range of
jungle-covered hills is cut by gullies, through which we get glimpses of
lagoons bluer than the sea itself, and behind them the sharp volcanic
peaks rise through and into cloud. Once in awhile, Colima, or other
giant hill, towering above the rest in blue-black gloom, serves to show
that the shores belong to some mightier continent than Calypso‘s isle.



CHAPTER XXVI.

REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT.


Among our Californian passengers, we had many strong party men, and
political conversation never flagged throughout the voyage. In every
discussion it became more and more clear that the Democratic is the
Constitutional, the Republican the Utilitarian party--rightly called
“Radical,” from its habit of going to the root of things, to see whether
they are good or bad. Such, however, is the misfortune of America in the
possession of a written Constitution, such the reverence paid to that
document on account of the character of the men who penned it, that even
the extremest radicals dare not admit in public that they aim at
essential change, and the party loses, in consequence, a portion of the
strength that attaches to outspoken honesty.

The President‘s party at their convention--known as the “Wigwam”--which
met while I was in Philadelphia, maintained that the war had but
restored the “Union as it was,” with State rights unimpaired. The
Republicans say that they gave their blood, as they are ready again to
shed it, for the “Union as it was _not;_” for one nation, and not for
thirty-six, or forty-five. The Wigwam declared that the Washington
government had no constitutional right to deny representation in
Congress to any State. The Republicans ask how, if this constitutional
provision is to be observed, the government of the country is to be
carried on. The Wigwam laid it down as a principle, that Congress has
no power to interfere with the right possessed by each State to
prescribe qualifications for the elective franchise. The Radicals say
that State sovereignty should have vanished when slavery went down, and
ask how the South is to be governed consistently with republicanism
unless by negro suffrage, and how this is to be maintained except by
Federal control over the various States--by abolition, in short, of the
old Union, and creation of a new. The more honest among the Republicans
admit that for the position which they have taken up, they can find no
warrant in the Constitution; that, according to the doctrine which the
“continental statesmen” and the authors of “The Federalist” would lay
down, were they living, thirty-five of the States, even if they were
unanimous, could have no right to tamper with the constitution of the
thirty-sixth. The answer to all this can only be that, were the
Constitution to be closely followed, the result would be the ruin of the
land.

The Republican party have been blamed because their theory and practice
alike tend toward a consolidation of power, and a strengthening of the
hands of the government at Washington. It is in this that lies their
chief claim to support. Local government is an excellent thing; it is
the greatest of the inventions of our inventive race, the chief security
for continued freedom possessed by a people already free. This local
government is consistent with a powerful executive; between the village
municipality and Congress, between the cabinet and the district council
of selectmen, there can be no conflict: it is State sovereignty, and the
pernicious heresy of primary allegiance to the State, that have already
proved as costly to the Republic as they are dangerous to her future.

It has been said that America, under the Federal system, unites the
freedom of the small State with the power of the great; but though this
is true, it is brought about, not through the federation of the States,
but through that of the townships and districts. The latter are the true
units to which the consistent Republican owes his secondary allegiance.
It is, perhaps, only in the tiny New England States that Northern men
care much about their commonwealth; a citizen of Pennsylvania or New
York never talks of his State, unless to criticise its legislature.
After all, where intelligence and education are all but universal, where
a spirit of freedom has struck its roots into the national heart of a
great race, there can be no danger in centralization, for the power that
you strengthen is that of the whole people, and a nation can have
nothing to fear from itself.

In watching the measures of the Radicals, we must remember that they
have still to guard their country against great dangers. The war did not
last long enough to destroy anti-republicanism along with slavery. The
social system of the Carolinas was upset; but the political fabric built
upon a slavery foundation in such “free” States as New York and Maryland
is scarcely shaken.

If we look to the record of the Republican party with a view to making a
forecast of its future conduct, we find that at the end of the war the
party had before it the choice between military rule and negro rule for
the South--between a government carried on through generals and
provost-marshals, unknown to the Constitution and to the courts, and
destined to prolong for ages the disruption of the Union and disquiet of
the nation, and, on the other hand, a rule founded upon the principles
of equity and self-government, dear to our race, and supported by local
majorities, not by foreign bayonets. Although possessed of the whole
military power of the nation, the Republicans refuse to endanger their
country, and established a system intended to lead by gradual steps to
equal suffrage in the South. The immediate interest of the party, as
distinguished from that of the country at large, was the other way. The
Republican majority of the presidential elections of 1860 and 1864 had
been increased by the success of the Federal arms, borne mainly by the
Republicans of New England and the West, in a war conducted to a
triumphant issue under the leadership of Republican Congressmen and
generals. The apparent magnanimity of the admission of a portion of the
rebels, warm-handed, to the poll, would still further have strengthened
the Republicans in the Western and Border States; and while the extreme
wing would not have dared to desert the party, the moderate men would
have been conciliated by the refusal of the franchise to the blacks. A
foresight of the future of the nation happily prevailed over a more
taking policy, and, to the honor of the Republican leaders, equal
franchise was the result.

The one great issue between the Radicals and the Democrats since the
conclusion of the war is this: the “Democracy” deny that the readmission
to Congress of the representatives of the Southern States is a matter of
expediency at all; to them they declare that it is a matter of right.
There was a rebellion in certain States which temporarily prevented
their sending representatives; it is over, and their men must come.
Either the Union is or is not dissolved; the Radicals admit that it is
not, that all their endeavors were to prevent the Union being destroyed
by rebels, and that they succeeded in so doing. The States, as States,
were never in rebellion; there was only a powerful rebellion localized
in certain States. “If you admit, then,” say the Democrats, “that the
Union is not dissolved, how can you govern a number of States by
major-generals?” Meanwhile the Radicals go on, not wasting their time in
words, but passing through the House and over the President‘s veto the
legislation necessary for the reconstruction of free government--with
their illogical, but thoroughly English, good sense, avoiding all talk
about constitutions that are obsolete, and laws that it is impossible to
enforce, and pressing on steadily to the end that they have in view:
equal rights for all men, free government as soon as may be. The one
thing to regret is, that the Republicans have not the courage to appeal
to the national exigencies merely, but that their leaders are forced by
public opinion to keep up the sham of constitutionalism. No one in
America seems to dream that there can be anything to alter in the
“matchless Constitution,” which was framed by a body of slaveowners
filled with the narrowest aristocratic prejudices, for a country which
has since abolished slavery, and become as democratic as any nation in
the world.

The system of presidential election and the constitution of the Senate
are matters to which the Republicans will turn their attention as soon
as the country is rested from the war. It is not impossible that a
lifetime may see the abolition of the Presidency proposed, and carried
by the vote of the whole nation. If this be not done, the election will
come to be made directly by the people, without the intervention of the
electoral college. The Senate, as now constituted, rests upon the
States, and that State rights are doomed no one can doubt who remembers
that of the population of New York State less than half are native-born
New Yorkers. What concern can the cosmopolitan moiety of her people
have with the State rights of New York? When a system becomes purely
artificial, it is on the road to death; when State rights represented
the various sovereign powers which the old States had allowed to sleep
while they entered a federal union, State rights were historical; but
now that Congress by a single vote cuts and carves territories as large
as all the old States put together, and founds new commonwealths in the
wilderness, the doctrine is worn out.

It is not likely that the Republicans will carry all before them without
a check; but though one Conservative reaction may follow another,
although time after time the Democrats may return victorious from the
fall elections, in the end Radicalism must inevitably win the day. A
party which takes for its watch-word, “The national good,” will always
beat the Constitutionalists.

Except during some great crisis, the questions which come most home at
election times in a democratic country are minor points, in which the
party not in power has always the advantage over the office-holders: it
is on these petty matters that a cry of jobbery and corruption can be
got up, and nothing in American politics is more taking than such a cry.
“We are a liberal people, sir,” said a Californian to me, “but among
ourselves we don‘t care to see some men get more than their share of
Uncle Sam‘s money. It doesn‘t go down at election time to say that the
Democrats are spoiling the country; but it‘s a mighty strong plank that
you‘ve got if you prove that Hank Andrews has made a million of dollars
by the last Congressional job. We say, ‘Smart boy, Hank Andrews;’ but we
generally vote for the other man.” It is these small questions, or “side
issues,” as they are termed, which cause the position of parties to
fluctuate frequently in certain States.

The first reaction against the now triumphant Radicals will probably be
based upon the indignation excited by the extension of Maine liquor laws
throughout the whole of the States in which the New Englanders have the
mastery. Prohibitive laws are not supported in America by the arguments
with which all of us in Britain are familiar. The New England Radicals
concede that, so far as the effects of the use of alcohol are strictly
personal, there is no ground for the interference of society. They go
even further, and say that no ground for general and indiscriminate
interference with the sale of liquor is to be found in the fact that
drink maddens certain men, and causes them to commit crime. They are
willing to admit that, were the evils confined to individuals, it would
be their own affair; but they attempt to show that the use of alcohol
affects the condition, moral and physical, of the drinker‘s offspring,
and that this is a matter so bound up with the general weal that public
interference may be necessary. It is the belief of a majority of the
thinkers of New England that the taint of alcoholic poison is
hereditary; that the children of drunkards will furnish more than the
ordinary proportion of great criminals; that the descendants of habitual
tipplers will be found to lack vital force, and will fall into the ranks
of pauperism and dependence: not only are the results of morbid
appetites, they say, transmitted to the children, but the appetites
themselves descend to the offspring with the blood. If this be true, the
New England Radicals urge, the use of alcohol becomes a moral wrong, a
crime even, of which the law might well take cognizance.

We are often told that party organization has become so dictatorial, so
despotic, in America, that no one not chosen by the preliminary
convention, no one, in short, whose name is not upon the party ticket,
has any chance of election to an office. To those who reflect upon the
matter, it would seem as though this is but a consequence of the
existence of party and of the system of local representation: in England
itself the like abuse is not unknown. Where neither party possesses
overwhelming strength, division is failure; and some knot or other of
pushing men must be permitted to make the selection of a candidate, to
which, when made, the party must adhere, or suffer a defeat. As to the
composition of the nominating conventions, the grossest misstatements
have been made to us in England, for we have been gravely assured that a
nation which is admitted to present the greatest mass of education and
intelligence with the smallest intermixture of ignorance and vice of
which the world has knowledge, allows itself to be dictated to in the
matter of the choice of its rulers by caucuses and conventions composed
of the idlest and most worthless of its population. Bribery, we have
been told, reigns supreme in these assemblies; the nation‘s interest is
but a phrase; individual selfishness the true dictator of each choice;
the name of party is but a cloak for private ends, and the wire-pullers
are equaled in rascality only by their nominees.

It need hardly be shown that, were these stories true, a people so full
of patriotic sentiment as that which lately furnished a million and a
half of volunteers for a national war, would without doubt be led to see
its safety in the destruction of conventions and their wire-pullers--of
party government itself, if necessary. It cannot be conceived that the
American people would allow its institutions to be stultified and law
itself insulted to secure the temporary triumph of this party or of
that, on any mere question of the day.

The secret of the power of caucus and convention is, general want of
time on the part of the community. Your honest and shrewd Western
farmer, not having himself the leisure to select his candidate, is fain
to let caucus or convention choose for him. In practice, however, the
evil is far from great: the party caucus, for its own interest, will, on
the whole, select the fittest candidate available, and, in any case,
dares not, except perhaps in New York City, fix its choice upon a man of
known bad character. Even where party is most despotic, a serious
mistake committed by one of the nominating conventions will seldom fail
to lose its side so many votes as to secure a triumph for the opponents.

King Caucus is a great monarch, however; it would be a mistake to
despise him, and conventions are dear to the American people--at least
it would seem so, to judge from their number. Since I have been in
America there have been sitting, besides doubtless a hundred others, the
names of which I have not noticed, the Philadelphia “Copper Johnson
Wigwam,” or assembly of the Presidential party (of which the Radicals
say that it is but “the Copperhead organization with a fresh snout”), a
dentists’ convention, a phrenological convention, a pomological
congress, a school-teachers’ convention, a Fenian convention, an
eight-hour convention, an insurance companies’ convention, and a loyal
soldiers’ convention. One is tempted to think of the assemblies of ’48
in Paris, and of the caricatures representing the young bloods of the
Paris Jockey Club being addressed by their President as “Citoyens
Vicomtes,” whereas, when the _café_ waiters met in their congress, it
was “Messieurs les Garçons-limonadiers.”

The pomological convention was an extremely jovial one, all the
horticulturists being whisky-growers themselves, and having a proper
wish to compare their own with their neighbors’ “Bourbon” or “old Rye.”
Caucuses (or cauci: which is it?) of this kind suggest a derivation of
this name for what many consider a low American proceeding, from an
equally low Latin word of similar sound and spelling. In spite of the
phrase “a dry caucus” being not unknown in the temperance State of
Maine, many might be inclined to think that caucuses, if not exactly
vessels of grace, were decidedly “drinking vessels;” but Americans tell
you that the word is derived from the phrase a “caulker‘s meeting,”
caulkers being peculiarly given to noise.

The cry against conventions is only a branch of that against
“politicians,” which is continually being raised by the adherents of the
side which happens at the moment to be the weaker, and which evidently
helps to create the evils against which its authors are protesting. It
is now the New York Democrats who tell such stories as that of the
Columbia District census-taker going to the Washington house of a
wealthy Boston man to find out his religious tenets. The door was opened
by a black boy, to whom the white man began: “What‘s your name?” “Sambo,
sah, am my Christian name.” “Wall, Sambo, is your _master_ a Christian?”
To which Sambo‘s indignant answer was: “No, sah! Mass member ob
Congress, sah!” When the Democrats were in power, it was the Republicans
of Boston and the Cambridge professors who threw out sly hints, and
violent invectives too, against the whole tribe of “politicians.” Such
unreasoning outcries are to be met only by bare facts; but were a jury
of readers of the debates in Parliament and in Congress to be impaneled
to decide whether political immorality were not more rife in England
than in America, I should, for my part, look forward with anxiety to
the result.

The organization of the Republican party is hugely powerful; it has its
branches in every township and district in the Union; but it is strong,
not in the wiles of crafty plotters, not in the devices of unknown
politicians, but in the hearts of the loyal people of the country. If
there were nothing else to be said to Englishmen on the state of parties
in America, it should be sufficient to point out that, while the
“Democracy” claim the Mozart faction of New York and the shoddy
aristocracy, the pious New Englanders and their sons in the Northwest
are, by a vast majority, Republicans; and no “side issues” should be
allowed to disguise the fact that the Democratic is the party of New
York, the Republican the party of America.



CHAPTER XXVII.

BROTHERS.


I had landed in America at the moment of what is known in Canada as “the
great scare”--that is, the Fenian invasion at Fort Erie. Before going
South, I had attended at New York a Fenian meeting held to protest
against the conduct of the President and Mr. Seward, who, it was
asserted, after deluding the Irish with promises of aid, had abandoned
them, and even seized their supplies and arms. The chief speaker of the
evening was Mr. Gibbons, of Philadelphia, “Vice-President of the Irish
Republic,” a grave and venerable man; no rogue or schemer, but an
enthusiast as evidently convinced of the justice as of the certainty of
the ultimate triumph of the cause.

At Chicago, I went to the monster meeting at which Speaker Colfax
addressed the Brotherhood; at Buffalo, I was present at the “armed
picnic” which gave the Canadian government so much trouble. On Lake
Michigan, I went on board a Fenian ship; in New York, I had a
conversation with an ex-rebel officer, a long-haired Georgian, who was
wearing the Fenian uniform of green-and-gold in the public streets. The
conclusion to which I came was, that the Brotherhood has the support of
ninety-nine hundredths of the Irish in the States. As we are dealing not
with British, but with English politics and life, this is rather a fact
to be borne in mind than a text upon which to found a homily; still, the
nature of the Irish antipathy to Britain is worth a moment‘s
consideration; and the probable effect of it upon the future of the race
is a matter of the gravest import.

The Fenians, according to a Chicago member of the Roberts’ wing, seek to
return to the ancient state of Ireland, of which we find the history in
the Brehon laws--a communistic tenure of land (resembling, no doubt,
that of the Don Cossacks), and a republic or elective kingship. Such are
their objects; nothing else will in the least conciliate the Irish in
America. No abolition of the Establishment, no reform of land-laws, no
Parliament on College Green, nothing that England can grant while
preserving the shadow of union, can dissolve the Fenian league.

All this is true, and yet there is another great Irish nation to which,
if you turn, you find that conciliation may still avail us. The Irish in
Ireland are not Fenians in the American sense: they hate us, perhaps,
but they may be mollified; they are discontented, but they may be
satisfied; customs and principles of law, the natural growth of the
Irish mind and the Irish soil, can be recognized, and made the basis of
legislation, without bringing about the disruption of the empire.

The first Irish question that we shall have to set ourselves to
understand is that of land. Permanent tenure is as natural to the Irish
as freeholding to the English people. All that is needed of our
statesmen is, that they recognize in legislation that which they cannot
but admit in private talk--namely, that there may be essential
differences between race and race.

The results of legislation which proceeds upon this basis may follow
very slowly upon the change of system, for there is at present no
nucleus whatever for the feeling of amity which we would create. Even
the alliance of the Irish politicians with the English Radicals is
merely temporary; the Irish antipathy to the English does not
distinguish between Conservative and Radical. Years of good government
will be needed to create an alliance against which centuries of
oppression and wrong-doing protest. We may forget, but the Irish will
hardly find themselves able to forget at present that, while we make New
Zealand savages British citizens as well as subjects, protect them in
the possession of their lands, and encourage them to vote at our
polling-booths, and take their place as constables and officers of the
law, our fathers “planted” Ireland, and declared it no felony to kill an
Irishman on his mother-soil.

In spite of their possession of much political power, and of the entire
city government of several great towns, the Irish in America are neither
physically nor morally well off. Whatever may be the case at some future
day, they still find themselves politically in English hands. The very
language that they are compelled to speak is hateful, even to men who
know no other. With an impotent spite which would be amusing were it not
very sad, a resolution was carried by acclamation through both houses of
the Fenian congress, at Philadelphia, this year, “that the word
‘English’ be unanimously dropped, and that the words ‘American language’
be used in the future.”

From the Cabinet, from Congress, from every office, high or low, not
controlled by the Fenian vote, the Irish are systematically excluded;
but it cannot be American public opinion which has prevented the
Catholic Irish from rising as merchants and traders, even in New York.
Yet, while there are Belfast names high up on the Atlantic side and in
San Francisco, there are none from Cork, none from the southern
counties. It would seem as though the true Irishman wants the
perseverance to become a successful merchant, and thrives best at pure
brain-work, or upon land. Three-fourths of the Irish in America remain
in towns, losing the attachment to the soil which is the strongest
characteristic of the Irish in Ireland, and finding no new home:
disgusted at their exclusion in America from political life and power,
it is these men who turn to Fenianism as a relief. Through drink,
through gambling, and the other vices of homeless, thriftless men, they
are soon reduced to beggary; and, moral as they are by nature, the Irish
are nevertheless supplying America with that which she never before
possessed--a criminal and pauper class. Of ten thousand people sent to
jail each year in Massachusetts, six thousand are Irish born; in
Chicago, out of the 3598 convicts of last year, only eighty-four were
native born Americans.

To the Americans, Fenianism has many aspects. The greater number hate
the Irish, but sympathize profoundly with Ireland. Many are so desirous
of seeing republicanism prevail throughout the world that they support
the Irish republic in any way, except, indeed, by taking its paper
money, and look upon its establishment as a first step toward the
erection of a free government that shall include England and Scotland as
well. Some think the Fenians will burn the Capitol and rob the banks;
some regard them with satisfaction, or the reverse, from the religious
point of view. One of the latter kind of lookers-on said to me: “I was
glad to see the Fenian movement, not that I wish success to the
Brotherhood as against you English, but because I rejoice to see among
Irishmen a powerful center of resistance to the Catholic Church. We, in
this country, were being delivered over, bound hand and foot, to the
Roman Church, and these Fenians, by their power and their violence
against the priests, have divided the Irish camp and rescued us.” The
unfortunate Canadians, for their part, ask why they should be shot and
robbed because Britain maltreats the Irish; but we must not forget that
the Fenian raid on Canada was an exact repetition, almost on the same
ground, of the St. Alban‘s raid into the American territory during the
rebellion.

The Fenians would be as absolutely without strength in America as they
are without credit were it not for the anti-British traditions of the
Democratic party, and the rankling of the Alabama question, or rather of
the remembrance of our general conduct during the rebellion, in the
hearts of the Republicans. It is impossible to spend much time in New
England without becoming aware that the people of the six Northeastern
States love us from the heart. Nothing but this can explain the
character of their feeling toward us on these Alabama claims. That we
should refuse an arbitration upon the whole question is to them
inexplicable, and they grieve with wondering sorrow at our perversity.

It is not here that the legal question need be raised; for observers of
the present position of the English race it is enough that there exists
between Britain and America a bar to perfect friendship--a ground for
future quarrel--upon which we refuse to allow an all-embracing
arbitration. We allege that we are the best judges of a certain portion
of the case, that our dignity would be compromised by arbitration upon
these points; but such dignity must always be compromised by
arbitration, for common friends are called in only when each party to
the dispute has a case, in the justice of which his dignity is bound up.
Arbitration is resorted to as a means of avoiding wars; and, dignity or
no dignity, everything that can cause war is proper matter for
arbitration. What even if some little dignity be lost by the affair, in
addition to that which has been lost already? No such loss can be set
against the frightful hurtfulness to the race and to the cause of
freedom, of war between Britain and America.

The question comes plainly enough to this point; we say we are right;
America says we are wrong; they offer arbitration, which we refuse upon
a point of etiquette--for on that ground we decline to refer to
arbitration a point which to America appears essential. It looks to the
world as though we offer to submit to the umpire chosen those points
only on which we are already prepared to admit that we are in the wrong.
America asks us to submit, as we should do in private life, the whole
correspondence on which the quarrel stands. Even if we, better
instructed in the precedents of international law than were the
Americans, could not but be in the right, still, as we know that
intelligent and able men in the United States think otherwise, and would
fancy their cause the just one in a war which might arise upon the
difficulty, surely there is ground for arbitration. It would be to the
eternal disgrace of civilization that we should set to work to cut our
brothers’ throats upon a point of etiquette; and, by declining on the
ground of honor to discuss these claims, we are compromising that honor
in the eyes of all the world.

In democracies such as America or France, every citizen feels an insult
to his country as an insult to himself. The Alabama question is in the
mouth or in the heart--which is worse--of every American who talks with
an Englishman in England or America.

All nations commit, at times, the error of acting as though they think
that every people on earth, except themselves, are unanimous in their
policy. Neglecting the race distinctions and the class distinctions
which in England are added to the universal essential differences of
minds, the Americans are convinced that, during the late war, we thought
as one man, and that, in this present matter of the Alabama claims, we
stand out and act as a united people.

A New Yorker with whom I stayed at Quebec--a shrewd but kindly
fellow--was an odd instance of the American incapacity to understand the
British nation, which almost equals our own inability to comprehend
America. Kind and hospitable to me, as is any American to every
Englishman in all times and places, he detested British policy, and
obstinately refused to see that there is an England larger than Downing
Street, a nation outside Pall Mall. “England was with the rebels
throughout the war.” “Excuse me; our ruling classes were so, perhaps,
but our rulers don‘t represent us any more than your 39th Congress
represents George Washington.” In America, where Congress does fairly
represent the nation, and where there has never been less than a quarter
of the body favorable to any policy which half the nation supported, men
cannot understand that there should exist a country which thinks one
way, but, through her rulers, speaks another. We may disown the national
policy, but we suffer for it.

The hospitality to Englishmen of the American England-hater is
extraordinary. An old Southerner in Richmond said to me in a breath,
“I‘d go and live in England if I didn‘t hate it as I do. England, sir,
betrayed us in the most scoundrelly way--talked of sympathy with the
South, and stood by to see us swallowed up. I _hate_ England, sir! Come
and stay a week with me at my place in ---- County. Going South to-day?
Well, then, you return this way next week. Come then! Come on Saturday
week.”

When we ask, “Why do you press the Alabama claims against us, and not
the Florida, the Georgia, and the Rappahannock claims against the
French?” the answer is: “Because we don‘t care about the French, and
what they do and think; besides, we owe them some courtesy after
bundling them out of Mexico in the way we did.” In truth there is among
Americans an exaggerated estimate of the offensive powers of Great
Britain; and such is the jealousy of young nations that this
exaggeration becomes of itself a cause of danger. Were the Americans as
fully convinced, as we ourselves are, of our total incapacity to carry
on a land war with the United States on the western side of the
Atlantic, the bolder spirits among them would cease to feel themselves
under an assumed necessity to show us our own weakness and their
strength.

The chief reason why America finds much to offend her in our conduct is,
that she cares for the opinion of no other people than the English.
America, before the terrible blow to her confidence and love that our
conduct during the rebellion gave, used morally to lean on England.
Happily for herself she is now emancipated from the mental thraldom; but
she still yearns toward our kindly friendship. A Napoleonic Senator
harangues, a French paper declaims, against America and Americans; who
cares? But a _Times_’ leader, or a speech in Parliament from a minister
of the Crown, cuts to the heart, wounding terribly. A nation, like an
individual, never quarrels with a stranger; there must be love at bottom
for even querulousness to arise. While I was in Boston, one of the
foremost writers of America said to me in conversation: “I have no son,
but I had a nephew of my own name; a grand fellow; young, handsome,
winning in his ways, full of family affections, an ardent student. He
felt it his duty to go to the front as a private in one of our regiments
of Massachusetts volunteers, and was promoted for bravery to a
captaincy. All of us here looked on him as a New England Philip Sidney,
the type of all that was manly, chivalrous, and noble. The very day that
I received news of his being killed in leading his company against a
regiment, I was forced by my duties here to read a leader in one of your
chief papers upon the officering of our army, in which it was more than
hinted that our troops consisted of German cut-throats and pot-house
Irish, led by sharpers and broken politicians. Can you wonder at my
being bitter?”

That there must be in America a profound feeling of affection for our
country is shown by the avoidance of war when we recognized the rebels
as belligerents; and, again, at the time of the _Trent_ affair, when
the surface cry was overwhelmingly for battle, and the cabinet only able
to tide it over by promising the West war with England as soon as the
rebellion was put down. “One war at a time, gentlemen,” said Lincoln.
The man who, of all in America, had most to lose by war with England,
said to me of the _Trent_ affair: “I was written to by C---- to do all I
could for peace. I wrote him back that if our attorney-general decided
that our seizure of the men was lawful, I would spend my last dollar in
the cause.”

The Americans, everywhere affectionate toward the individual Englishman,
make no secret of their feeling that the first advances toward a renewal
of the national friendship ought to come from us. They might remind us
that our Maori subjects have a proverb, “Let friends settle their
disputes as friends.”



CHAPTER XXVIII.

AMERICA.


We are coasting again, gliding through calm blue waters, watching the
dolphins as they play, and the boobies as they fly stroke and stroke
with the paddles of the ship. Mountains rise through the warm misty air,
and form a long towering line upon the upper skies. Hanging high above
us are the Volcano of Fire and that of Water--twin menacers of Guatamala
City. In the sixteenth century, the water-mountain drowned it; in the
eighteenth, it was burnt by the fire-hill. Since then, the city has
been shaken to pieces by earthquakes, and of sixty thousand men and
women, hardly one escaped. Down the valley, between the peaks, we have
through the mahogany groves an exquisite distant view toward the city.
Once more passing on, we get peeps, now of West Honduras, and now of the
island coffee plantations of Costa Rica. The heat is terrible. It was
just here, if we are to believe Drake, that he fell in with a shower so
hot and scalding, that each drop burnt its hole through his men‘s
clothes as they hung up to dry. “Steep stories,” it is clear, were known
before the plantation of America.

Now that the time has come for a leave-taking of the continent, we can
begin to reflect upon facts gleaned during visits to twenty-nine of the
forty-five Territories and States--twenty-nine empires the size of
Spain.

A man may see American countries, from the pine-wastes of Maine to the
slopes of the Sierra; may talk with American men and women, from the
sober citizens of Boston to Digger Indians in California; may eat of
American dishes, from jerked buffalo in Colorado to clambakes on the
shores near Salem; and yet, from the time he first “smells the molasses”
at Nantucket light-ship to the moment when the pilot quits him at the
Golden Gate, may have no idea of an American. You may have seen the
East, the South, the West, the Pacific States, and yet have failed to
find America. It is not till you have left her shores that her image
grows up in the mind.

The first thing that strikes the Englishman just landed in New York is
the apparent Latinization of the English in America; but before he
leaves the country, he comes to see that this is at most a local fact,
and that the true moral of America is the vigor of the English race--the
defeat of the cheaper by the dearer peoples, the victory of the man
whose food costs four shillings a day over the man whose food costs four
pence. Excluding the Atlantic cities, the English in America are
absorbing the Germans and the Celts, destroying the Red Indians, and
checking the advance of the Chinese.

The Anglo-Saxon is the only extirpating race on earth. Up to the
commencement of the now inevitable destruction of the Red Indians of
Central North America, of the Maories, and of the Australians by the
English colonists, no numerous race had ever been blotted out by an
invader. The Danes and Saxons amalgamated with the Britons, the Normans
with the English, the Tartars with the Chinese, the Goths and
Burgundians with the Gauls: the Spaniards not only never annihilated a
people, but have themselves been all but completely expelled by the
Indians, in Mexico and South America. The Portuguese in Ceylon, the
Dutch in Java, the French in Canada and Algeria, have conquered but not
killed off the native peoples. Hitherto it has been nature‘s rule, that
the race that peopled a country in the earliest historic days should
people it to the end of time. The American problem is this: does the
law, in a modified shape, hold good, in spite of the destruction of the
native population? Is it true that the negroes, now that they are free,
are commencing slowly to die out? that the New Englanders are dying
fast, and their places being supplied by immigrants? Can the English in
America, in the long run, survive the common fate of all migrating
races? Is it true that, if the American settlers continue to exist, it
will be at the price of being no longer English, but Red Indian? It is
certain that the English families long in the land have the features of
the extirpated race; on the other hand, in the negroes there is at
present no trace of any change, save in their becoming dark brown
instead of black.

The Maories--an immigrant race--were dying off in New Zealand when we
landed there. The Indians of Mexico--another immigrant people--had
themselves undergone decline, numerical and moral, when we first became
acquainted with them. Are we English in turn to degenerate abroad, under
pressure of a great natural law forbidding change? It is easy to say
that the English in Old England are not a native but an immigrant race;
that they show no symptoms of decline. There, however, the change was
slight, the distance short, the difference of climate small.

The rapidity of the disappearance of physical type is equaled at least,
if not exceeded, by that of the total alteration of the moral
characteristics of the immigrant races--the entire destruction of
eccentricity, in short. The change that comes over those among the Irish
who do not remain in the great towns is not greater than that which
overtakes the English handworkers, of whom some thousands reach America
each year. Gradually settling down on land, and finding themselves lost
in a sea of intelligence, and freed from the inspiring obstacles of
antiquated institutions and class prejudice, the English handicraftsman,
ceasing to be roused to aggressive Radicalism by the opposition of
sinister interests, merges into the contented homestead settler, or
adventurous backwoodsman. Greater even than this revolution of character
is that which falls upon the Celt. Not only is it a fact known alike to
physiologists and statisticians, that the children of Irish parents born
in America are, physically, not Irish, Americans, but the like is true
of the moral type: the change in this is at least as sweeping. The son
of Fenian Pat and bright-eyed Biddy is the normal gaunt American, quick
of thought, but slow of speech, whom we have begun to recognize as the
latest product of the Saxon race, when housed upon the Western prairies,
or in the pine-woods of New England.

For the moral change in the British workman it is not difficult to
account: the man who will leave country, home, and friends, to seek new
fortunes in America, is essentially not an ordinary man. As a rule, he
is above the average in intelligence, or, if defective in this point, he
makes up for lack of wit by the possession of concentrativeness and
energy. Such a man will have pushed himself to the front in his club,
his union, or his shop, before he emigrates. In England he is somebody;
in America he finds all hands contented; or, if not this, at all events
too busy to complain of such ills as they profess to labor under. Among
contented men, his equals both in intelligence and ambition, in a
country of perfect freedom of speech, of manners, of laws, and of
society, the occupation of his mind is gone, and he comes to think
himself what others seem to think--a nobody; a man who no longer is a
living force. He settles upon land; and when the world knows him no
more, his children are happy corn-growers in his stead.

The shape of North America makes the existence of distinct peoples
within her limits almost impossible. An upturned bowl, with a mountain
rim, from which the streams run inward toward the center, she must fuse
together all the races that settle within her borders, and the fusion
must now be in an English mould.

There are homogeneous foreign populations in several portions of the
United States; not only the Irish and Chinese, at whose prospects we
have already glanced, but also Germans in Pennsylvania, Spanish in
Florida, French in Louisiana and at Sault de Ste Marie. In Wisconsin
there is a Norwegian population of over a hundred thousand, retaining
their own language and their own architecture, and presenting the
appearance of a tough morsel for the English to digest; at the same
time, the Swedes were the first settlers of Delaware and New Jersey, and
there they have disappeared.

Milwaukee is a Norwegian town. The houses are narrow and high, the
windows many, with circular tops ornamented in wood or dark-brown stone,
and a heavy wooden cornice crowns the front. The churches have the
wooden bulb and spire which are characteristic of the Scandinavian
public buildings. The Norwegians will not mix with other races, and
invariably flock to spots where there is already a large population
speaking their own tongue. Those who enter Canada generally become
dissatisfied with the country, and pass on into Wisconsin, or Minnesota,
but the Canadian government has now under its consideration a plan for
founding a Norwegian colony on Lake Huron. The numbers of this people
are not so great as to make it important to inquire whether they will
ever merge into the general population. Analogy would lead us to expect
that they will be absorbed; their existence is not historical, like that
of the French in Lower Canada.

From Burlington, in Iowa, I had visited a spot the history of which is
typical of the development of America--Nauvoo. Founded in 1840 by Joe
Smith, the Mormon city stood upon a bluff overhanging the Des Moines
rapids of the Mississippi, presenting on the land side the aspect of a
gentle, graceful slope, surmounted by a plain. After the fanatical
pioneers of English civilization had been driven from the city, and
their temple burnt, there came Cabet‘s Icarian band, who tried to found
a new France in the desert; but in 1856 the leader died, and his people
dispersed themselves about the States of Iowa and Missouri. Next came
the English settlers, active, thriving, regardless of tradition, and
Nauvoo is entering on a new life as the capital of a Wine-growing
country. I found Cabet and the Mormons alike forgotten. The ruins of the
temple have disappeared, and the huge stones have been used up in
cellars, built to contain the Hock--a pleasant wine, like Zeltinger.

The bearing upon religion of the gradual destruction of race is of great
moment to the world. Christianity will gain by the change; but which of
its many branches will receive support is a question which only admits
of an imperfect answer. Arguing _à priori_, we should expect to find
that, on the one hand, a tendency toward unity would manifest itself,
taking the shape, perhaps, of a gain of strength by the Catholic and
Anglican Churches; on the other hand, there would be a contrary and
still stronger tendency toward an infinite multiplication of beliefs,
till millions of men and women would become each of them his own church.
Coming to the actual cases in which we can trace the tendencies that
commence to manifest themselves, we find that in America the Anglican
Church is gaining ground, especially on the Pacific side, and that the
Catholics do not seem to meet with any such success as we should have
looked for; retaining, indeed, their hold over the Irish women and a
portion of the men, and having their historic French branches in
Louisiana and in Canada, but not, unless it be in the Cities of New York
and Philadelphia, making much way among the English.

Between San Francisco and Chicago, for religious purposes the most
cosmopolitan of cities, we have to draw distinctions. In the Pacific
city the disturbing cause is the presence of New Yorkers; in the
metropolis of the Northwestern States it is the dominance of New England
ideas: still, we shall find no two cities so free from local color, and
from the influence of race. The result of an examination is not
encouraging: in both cities there is much external show in the shape of
church attendance; in neither does religion strike its roots deeply into
the hearts of the citizens, except so far as it is alien and imported.

The Spiritualist and Unitarian churches are both of them in Chicago
extremely strong: they support newspapers and periodicals of their own,
and are led by men and women of remarkable ability, but they are not the
less Cambridge Unitarianism, Boston Spiritualism; there is nothing of
the Northwest about them. In San Francisco, on the other hand,
Anglicanism is prospering, but it is New York Episcopalianism, sustained
by immigrants and money from the East; in no sense is it a Californian
church.

Throughout America the multiplication of churches is rapid, but among
the native-born Americans, Supernaturalism is advancing with great
strides. The Shakers are strong in thought, the Spiritualists in wealth
and numbers; Communism gains ground, but not Polygamy--the Mormon is a
purely European church.

There is just now progressing in America a great movement, headed by the
“Radical Unitarians,” toward “free religion,” or church without creed.
The leaders deny that there is sufficient security for the spread of
religion in each man‘s individual action: they desire collective work by
all free-thinkers and liberal religionists in the direction of truth and
purity of life. Christianity is higher than dogma, we are told; there is
no way out of infinite multiplication of creeds but by their total
extirpation. Oneness of purpose and a common love for truth form the
members’ only tie. Elder Frederick Evans said to me: “All truth forms
part of Shakerism;” but these free religionists assure us that in all
truth consists their sole religion.

The distinctive feature of these American philosophical and religious
systems is their gigantic width: for instance, every human being who
admits that disembodied spirits may in any way hold intercourse with
dwellers upon earth, whatever else he may believe or disbelieve, is
claimed by the Spiritualists as a member of their church. They tell us
that by “Spiritualism they understand whatever bears relation to
spirit;” their system embraces all existence, brute, human, and divine;
in fact, “the real man is a spirit.” According to these ardent
proselytizers, every poet, every man with a grain of imagination in his
nature, is a “Spiritualist.” They claim Plato, Socrates, Milton,
Shakspeare, Washington Irving, Charles Dickens, Luther, Joseph Addison,
Melancthon, Paul, Stephen, the whole of the Hebrew prophets, Homer, and
John Wesley, among the members of their Church. They have lately
canonized new saints: St. Confucius, St. Theodore (Parker), St. Ralph
(Waldo Emerson), St. Emma (Hardinge), all figure in their calendar. It
is a noteworthy fact that the saints are mostly resident in New England.

The tracts published at the _Spiritual Clarion_ office, Auburn, New
York, put forward Spiritualism as a religion which is to stand toward
existing churches as did Christianity toward Judaism, and announce a new
dispensation to the peoples of the earth “who have sown their wild oats
in Christianity,” but they spell supersede with a “c.”

This strange religion has long since left behind the rappings and
table-turnings in which it took its birth. The secret of its success is
that it supplies to every man the satisfaction of the universal craving
for the supernatural, in any form in which he will receive it. The
Spiritualists claim two millions of active believers and five million
“favorers” in America.

The presence of a large German population is thought by some to have an
important bearing on the religious future of America, but the Germans
have hitherto kept themselves apart from the intellectual progress of
the nation. They, as a rule, withdraw from towns, and, retaining their
language and supporting local papers of their own, live out of the world
of American literature and politics; taking, however, at rare intervals,
a patriotic part in national affairs, as was notably the case at the
time of the late rebellion. Living thus by themselves, they have even
less influence upon American religious thought than have the Irish, who,
speaking the English tongue, and dwelling almost exclusively in towns,
are brought more into contact with the daily life of the republic. The
Germans in America are in the main pure materialists under a certain
show of deism, but hitherto there has been no alliance between them and
the powerful Chicago Radical Unitarians, difference of language having
thus far proved a bar to the formation of a league which would otherwise
have been inevitable.

On the whole, it would seem that for the moment religious prospects are
not bright; the tendency is rather toward intense and
unhealthily-developed feeling in the few, and subscription to some one
of the Episcopalian churches--Catholic, Anglican, or Methodist--among
the many, coupled with real indifference. Neither the tendency to unity
of creeds nor that toward infinite multiplication of beliefs has yet
made that progress which abstract speculation would have led us to
expect, but so far as we can judge from the few facts before us, there
is much likelihood that multiplication will in the future prove too
strong for unity.

After all there is not in America a greater wonder than the Englishman
himself, for it is to this continent that you must come to find him in
full possession of his powers. Two hundred and fifty millions of people
speak or are ruled by those who speak the English tongue, and inhabit a
third of the habitable globe; but, at the present rate of increase, in
sixty years there will be two hundred and fifty millions of Englishmen
dwelling in the United States alone. America has somewhat grown since
the time when it was gravely proposed to call her Alleghania, after a
chain of mountains which, looking from this western side, may be said to
skirt her eastern border, and the loftiest peaks of which are but half
the height of the very passes of the Rocky Mountains.

America is becoming not English merely, but world-embracing in the
variety of its type; and, as the English element has given language and
history to that land, America offers the English race the moral
directorship of the globe, by ruling mankind through Saxon institutions
and the English tongue. Through America, England is speaking to the
world.



PART II.

POLYNESIA.



CHAPTER I.

PITCAIRN ISLAND.


Panama is a picturesque time-worn Spanish city, that rises abruptly from
the sea in a confused pile of decaying bastions and decayed cathedrals,
while a dense jungle of mangrove and bamboo threatens to bury it in rich
greenery. The forest is filled with baboons and lizards of gigantic
size, and is gay with the bright plumage of the toucans and macaws,
while, within the walls, every housetop bears its living load of hideous
turkey-buzzards, foul-winged and bloodshot-eyed.

It was the rainy season (which here, indeed, lasts for three-quarters of
the year), and each day was an alternation of shower-bath, and
vapor-bath with sickly sun. On the first night of my stay, there was a
lunar rainbow, which I went on to the roof of the hotel to watch. The
misty sky was white with the reflected light of the hidden moon, which
was obscured by an inky cloud, that seemed a tunnel through the heavens.
In a few minutes I was driven from my post by the tropical rain.

At the railway station, I parted from my Californian friends, who were
bound for Aspinwall, and thence by steamer to New York. A stranger scene
it has not often been my fortune to behold. There cannot have been less
than a thousand natives, wearing enormous hats and little else, and
selling everything, from linen suits to the last French novel. A tame
jaguar, a pelican, parrots, monkeys, pearls, shells, flowers, green
cocoa-nuts and turtles, mangoes and wild dogs, were among the things for
sale. The station was guarded by the army of the Republic of New
Granada, consisting of five officers, a bugler, a drummer, and nineteen
privates. Six of the men wore red trowsers and dirty shirts for uniform;
the rest dressed as they pleased, which was generally in Adamic style.
Not even the officers had shoes; and of the twenty-one men, one was a
full-blooded Indian, some ten were negroes, and the remainder
nondescripts, but among them was of course an Irishman from Cork or
Kilkenny. After the train had started, the troops formed, and marched
briskly through the town, the drummer trotting along some twenty yards
before the company, French-fashion, and beating the _retraite_. The
French invalids from Acapulco, who were awaiting in Panama the arrival
of an Imperial frigate at Aspinwall, stood in the streets to see the New
Granadans pass, twirling their moustaches, and smiling grimly. One old
drum-major, lean and worn with fever, turned to me, and, shrugging his
shoulders, pointed to his side: the Granadans had their bayonets tied on
with string.

Whether Panama will continue to hold its present position as the “gate
of the Pacific” is somewhat doubtful: Nicaragua offers greater
advantages to the English, Tehuantepec to the American traders. The Gulf
of Panama and the ocean for a great distance to the westward from its
mouth are notorious for their freedom from all breezes; the gulf lies,
indeed, in the equatorial belt of calms, and sailing-vessels can never
make much use of the port of Panama. Aspinwall or Colon, on the Atlantic
side, has no true port whatever. As long, however, as the question is
merely one of railroad and steamship traffic, Panama may hold its own
against the other isthmus cities; but when the canal is cut, the
selected spot must be one that shall be beyond the reach of calms--in
Nicaragua or Mexico.

From Panama I sailed in one of the ships of the new Colonial Line, for
Wellington, in New Zealand--the longest steam-voyage in the world. Our
course was to be a “great circle” to Pitcairn Island, and another great
circle thence to Cape Palliser, near Wellington--a distance in all of
some 6600 miles; but our actual course was nearer 7000. When off the
Galapagos Islands, we met the cold southerly wind and water, known as
the Chilian current, and crossed the equator in a breeze which forced us
all to wear great-coats, and to dream that, instead of entering the
southern hemisphere, we had come by mistake within the arctic circle.

After traversing lonely and hitherto unknown seas and looking in vain
for a new guano island, on the sixteenth day we worked out the ship‘s
position at noon with more than usual care, if that were possible, and
found that in four hours we ought to be at Pitcairn Island. At half-past
two o‘clock, land was sighted right ahead; and by four o‘clock, we were
in the bay, such as it is, at Pitcairn.

Although at sea there was a calm, the surf from the ground-swell beat
heavily upon the shore, and we were faint to content ourselves with the
view of the island from our decks. It consists of a single volcanic
peak, hung with an arras of green creeping plants, passion-flowers, and
trumpet-vines. As for the people, they came off to us dancing over the
seas in their canoes, and bringing us green oranges and bananas, while a
huge Union Jack was run up on their flagstaff by those who remained on
shore.

As the first man came on deck, he rushed to the captain, and, shaking
hands violently, cried, in pure English, entirely free from accent,
“How do you do, captain? How‘s Victoria?” There was no disrespect in the
omission of the title “Queen;” the question seemed to come from the
heart. The bright-eyed lads, Adams and Young, descendants of the Bounty
mutineers, who had been the first to climb our sides, announced the
coming of Moses Young, the “magistrate” of the isle, who presently
boarded us in state. He was a grave and gentlemanly man, English in
appearance, but somewhat slightly built, as were, indeed, the lads. The
magistrate came off to lay before the captain the facts relating to a
feud which exists between two parties of the islanders, and upon which
they require arbitration. He had been under the impression that we were
a man-of-war, as we had fired two guns on entering the bay, and being
received by our officers, who wore the cap of the Naval Reserve, he
continued in the belief till the captain explained what the “Rakaia”
was, and why she had called at Pitcairn.

The case which the captain was to have heard judicially was laid before
us for our advice while the flues of the ship were being cleaned. When
the British government removed the Pitcairn Islanders to Norfolk Island,
no return to the old home was contemplated, but the indolent half-castes
found the task of keeping the Norfolk Island convict roads in good
repair one heavier than they cared to perform, and fifty-two of them
have lately come back to Pitcairn. A widow who returned with the others
claims a third of the whole island as having been the property of her
late husband, and is supported in her demand by half the islanders,
while Moses Young and the remainder of the people admit the facts, but
assert that the desertion of the island was complete, and operated as an
entire abandonment of titles, which the reoccupation cannot revive. The
success of the woman‘s claim, they say, would be the destruction of the
prosperity of Pitcairn.

The case would be an extremely curious one if it had to be decided upon
legal grounds, for it would raise complicated questions both on the
nature of British citizenship and the character of the “occupation”
title; but it is probable that the islanders will abide by the decision
of the Governor of New South Wales, to which colony they consider
themselves in some degree attached.

When we had drawn up a case to be submitted to Sir John Young, at
Sydney, our captain made a commercial treaty with the magistrate, who
agreed to supply the ships of the new line, whenever daylight allowed
them to call at Pitcairn, with oranges, bananas, ducks, and fowls, for
which he was to receive cloth and tobacco in exchange, tobacco being the
money of the Polynesian Archipelago. Mr. Young told us that his people
had thirty sheep, which were owned by each of the families in turn, the
household taking care of them, and receiving the profits for one year.
Water, he said, sometimes falls short in the island, but they then make
use of the juice of the green cocoa-nut. Their school is excellent; all
the children can read and write, and in the election of magistrates they
have female suffrage.

When we went on deck again to talk to the younger men, Adams asked us a
new question: “Have you a _Sunday at Home_, or a _British Workman_?” Our
books and papers having been ransacked, Moses Young prepared to leave
the ship, taking with him presents from the stores. Besides the cloth,
tobacco, hats, and linen, there was a bottle of brandy; given for
medicine, as the islanders are strict teetotalers. While Young held the
bottle in his hand, afraid to trust the lads with it, Adams read the
label and cried out, “Brandy? How much for a dose?.... Oh, yes! all
right--I know: it‘s good for the women!” When they at last left the
ship‘s side, one of the canoes was filled with a crinoline and blue silk
dress for Mrs. Young, and another with a red and brown tartan for Mrs.
Adams, both given by lady passengers, while the lads went ashore in
dust-coats and smoking-caps.

Now that the French, with their singular habit of everywhere annexing
countries which other colonizing nations have rejected, are rapidly
occupying all the Polynesian groups except the only ones that are of
value--namely, the Sandwich Islands and New Zealand--Pitcairn becomes of
some interest as a solitary British post on the very border of the
French dominions, and it has for us the stronger claim to notice which
is raised by the fact that it has figured for the last few years on the
wrong side of our British budget.

As we stood out from the bay into the lonely seas, the island peak
showed a black outline against a pale-green sky, but in the west the
heavy clouds that in the Pacific never fail to cumber the horizon were
glowing with a crimson cast by the now-set sun, and the dancing wavelets
were tinted with reflected hues.

The “scarlet shafts,” which poets have ascribed to the tropical sunrise,
are common at sunset in the South Pacific. Almost every night the
declining sun, sinking behind the clouds, throws rays across the
sky--not yellow, as in Europe and America, but red or rosy pink. On the
night after leaving Pitcairn, I saw a still grander effect of light and
color. The sun had set, and in the west the clear greenish sky was
hidden by pitch-black thunder-clouds. Through these were crimson caves.

On the twenty-ninth day of our voyage, we sighted the frowning cliffs of
Palliser, where the bold bluff, coming sheer down three thousand feet,
receives the full shock of the South Seas--a fitting introduction to the
grand scenery of New Zealand; and within a few hours we were running up
the great sea-lake of Port Nicholson toward long lines of steamers at a
wharf, behind which were the cottages of Wellington, the capital.

To me, coming from San Francisco and the Nevadan towns, Wellington
appeared very English and extremely quiet; the town is sunny and still,
but with a holiday look; indeed, I could not help fancying that it was
Sunday. A certain haziness as to what was the day of the week prevailed
among the passengers and crew, for we had arrived upon our Wednesday,
the New Zealand Thursday, and so, without losing an hour, lost a day,
which, unless by going round the world the other way, can never be
regained. The bright colors of the painted wooden houses, the clear air,
the rose-beds, and the emerald-green grass, are the true cause of the
holiday look of the New Zealand towns, and Wellington is the gayest of
them all; for, owing to the frequency of earthquakes, the townsfolk are
not allowed to build in brick or stone. The natives say that once in
every month “Ruaimoko turns himself,” and sad things follow to the
shaken earth.

It was now November, the New Zealand spring, and the outskirts of
Wellington were gay with the cherry-trees in full fruiting and English
dog-roses in full bloom, while on every road-side bank the gorse blazed
in its coat of yellow: there was, too, to me, a singular charm in the
bright green turf, after the tawny grass of California.

Without making a long halt, I started for the South Island, first
steaming across Cook‘s Straits, and up Queen Charlotte Sound to Picton,
and then through the French Pass--a narrow passage filled with fearful
whirlpools--to Nelson, a gemlike little Cornish village. After a day‘s
“cattle-branding” with an old college friend at his farm in the valley
of the Maitai, I sailed again for the south, laying for a night in
Massacre Bay, to avoid the worst of a tremendous gale, and then coasting
down to The Buller and Hokitika--the new gold-fields of the colonies.



CHAPTER II.

HOKITIKA.


Placed in the very track of storms, and open to the sweep of rolling
seas from every quarter, exposed to waves that run from pole to pole, or
from South Africa, to Cape Horn, the shores of New Zealand are famed for
swell and surf, and her western rivers for the danger of their bars.
Insurances at Melbourne are five times as high for the voyage to
Hokitika as for the longer cruise to Brisbane.

In our little steamer of a hundred tons, built to cross the bars, we had
reached the mouth of the Hokitika River soon after dark, but lay all
night some ten miles to the southwest of the port. As we steamed in the
early morning from our anchorage, there rose up on the east the finest
sunrise view on which it has been my fortune to set eyes.

[Illustration: NEW ZEALAND]

A hundred miles of the Southern Alps stood out upon a pale-blue sky in
curves of a gloomy white that were just beginning to blush with pink,
but ended to the southward in a cone of fire that stood up from the
ocean: it was the snow-dome of Mount Cook struck by the rising sun. The
evergreen bush, flaming with the crimson of the rata-blooms, hung upon
the mountain-side, and covered the plain to the very margin of the
narrow sands with a dense jungle. It was one of those sights that haunt
men for years, like the eyes of Mary in Bellini‘s Milan picture.

On the bar, three ranks of waves appeared to stand fixed in walls of
surf. These huge rollers are sad destroyers of the New Zealand coasting
ships: a steamer was lost here a week before my visit, and the
harbormaster‘s whale-boat dashed in pieces, and two men drowned.

Lashing everything that was on deck, and battening down the hatches in
case we should ground in crossing, we prepared to run the gauntlet. The
steamers often ground for an instant while in the trough between the
waves, and the second sea, pooping them, sweeps them from end to end,
but carries them into the still water. Watching our time, we were borne
on a great rolling white-capped wave into the quiet lakelet that forms
the harbor, just as the sun, coming slowly up behind the range, was
firing the Alps from north to south; but it was not till we had lain
some minutes at the wharf that the sun rose to us poor mortals of the
sea and plain. Hokitika Bay is strangely like the lower portion of the
Lago Maggiore, but Mount Rosa is inferior to Mount Cook.

As I walked up from the quay to the town, looking for the “Empire”
Hotel, which I had heard was the best in Hokitika, I spied a boy
carrying a bundle of some newspaper. It was the early edition for the
up-country coaches, but I asked if he could spare me a copy. He put one
into my hand. “How much?” I asked. “A snapper.” “A snapper?” “Ay--a
tizzy.” Understanding this more familiar term, I gave him a shilling.
Instead of “change,” he cocked up his knee, slapt the shilling down on
it, and said “Cry!” I accordingly cried “Woman!” and won, he loyally
returning the coin, and walking off minus a paper.

When I reached that particular gin-palace which was known as _the_
hotel, I found that all the rooms were occupied, but that I could, if I
pleased, lie down on a deal side-table in the billiard-room. In our
voyage down the coast from Nelson, we had brought for The Buller and for
Hokitika a cabin full of cut flowers for bouquets, of which the diggers
are extremely fond. The fact was pretty enough: the store set upon a
single rose--“an English rosebud”--culled from a plant that had been
brought from the Old Country in a clipper ship, was still more touching,
but the flowers made sleep below impossible, and it had been blowing too
hard for me to sleep on deck, so that I was glad to lie down upon my
table for an hour‘s rest. The boards were rough and full of cracks, and
I began to dream that, walking on the landing-stage, I ran against a
man, who drew his revolver upon me. In wrenching it from him, I hurt my
hand in the lock, and woke to find my fingers pinched in one of the
chinks of the long table. Despairing of further sleep, I started to walk
through Hokitika, and to explore the “clearings” which the settlers are
making in the bush.

At Pakihi and The Buller, I had already seen the places to which the
latest gold-digging “rush” had taken place, with the result of planting
there some thousands of men with nothing to eat but gold--for diggers,
however shrewd, fall an easy prey to those who tell them of spots where
gold may be had for the digging, and never stop to think how they shall
live. No attempt is at present made to grow even vegetables for the
diggers’ food: every one is engrossed in the search for gold. It is true
that the dense jungle is being driven back from the diggers’ camps by
fire and sword, but the clearing is only made to give room for tents and
houses. At The Buller, I had found the forest, which comes down at
present to the water‘s edge, and crowds upon the twenty shanties and
hundred tents and boweries which form the town, smoking with fires on
every side, and the parrots chattering with fright. The fires
obstinately refused to spread, but the tall feathery trees were falling
fast under the axes of some hundred diggers, who seemed not to have much
romantic sympathy for the sufferings of the tree-ferns they had
uprooted, or of the passion-flowers they were tearing from the
evergreens they had embraced.

The soil about The Fox, The Buller, The Okitiki, and the other
west-coast rivers on which gold is found, is a black leaf-mould of
extraordinary depth and richness; but in New Zealand, as in America, the
poor lands are first occupied by the settlers, because the fat soils
will pay for the clearing only when there is already a considerable
population on the land. On this west coast it rains nearly all the year,
and vegetation has such power, that “rainy Hokitika” must long continue
to be fed from Christchurch and from Nelson, for it is as hard to keep
the land clear as it is at the first to clear it.

The profits realized upon ventures from Nelson to the Gold Coast are
enormous; nothing less than fifty per cent. will compensate the owners
for losses on the bars. The first cattle imported from Nelson to The
Buller fetched at the latter place double the price they had cost only
two days earlier. One result of this maritime usury that was told me by
the steward of the steamer in which I came down from Nelson is worth
recording for the benefit of the Economists. They had on board, he said,
a stock of spirits, sufficient for several trips, but they altered their
prices according to locality; from Nelson to The Buller, they charged
6_d_. a drink, but, once in the river, the price rose to 1_s_., at which
it remained until the ship left port upon her return to Nelson, when it
fell again to 6_d_. A drover coming down in charge of cattle was a great
friend of this steward, and the latter confirmed the story which he had
told me by waking the drover when we were off The Buller bar: “Say,
mister, if you want a drink, you‘d better take it. It‘ll be shilling
drinks in five minutes.”

The Hokitikians flatter themselves that their city is the “most rising
place” on earth, and it must be confessed that if population alone is to
be regarded, the rapidity of its growth has been amazing. At the time of
my visit, one year and a half had passed since the settlement was formed
by a few diggers, and it already had a permanent population of ten
thousand, while no less than sixty thousand diggers and their friends
claimed it for their headquarters. San Francisco itself did not rise so
fast, Melbourne not much faster; but Hokitika, it must be remembered, is
not only a gold field port, but itself upon the gold field. It is San
Francisco and Placerville in one--Ballarat and Melbourne.

Inferior in its banks and theaters to Virginia City, or even Austin,
there is one point in which Hokitika surpasses every American mining
town that I have seen--the goodness, namely, of its roads. Working upon
them in the bright morning sun which this day graced “rainy Hokitika”
with its presence, were a gang of diggers and sailors, dressed in the
clothes which every one must wear in a digging town, unless he wishes
to be stared at by passers-by. Even sailors on shore “for a run” here
wear cord breeches and high tight-fitting boots, often armed with spurs,
though, as there are no horses except those of the Gold Coast Police,
they cannot enjoy much riding. The gang working on the roads were like
the people I met about the town--rough, but not ill-looking fellows. To
my astonishment I saw, conspicuous among their red shirts and “jumpers,”
the blue and white uniform of the mounted police; and from the way in
which the constables handled their loaded rifles, I came to the
conclusion that the road-menders must be a gang of prisoners. On
inquiry, I found that all the New Zealand “convicts,” including under
this sweeping title men convicted for mere petty offenses, and sentenced
to hard labor for a month, are made to do good practical work upon the
roads: so much resistance to the police, so much new road made or old
road mended. I was reminded of the Missourian practice of setting
prisoners to dig out the stumps that cumber the streets of the younger
towns: the sentence on a man for being drunk is said to be that he pull
up a black walnut stump; drunk and disorderly, a large buck-eye;
assaulting the sheriff, a tough old hickory root, and so on.

The hair and beard of the short-sentence “convicts” in New Zealand is
never cut, and there is nothing hang-dog in their looks; but their faces
are often bright, and even happy. These cheerful prisoners are for the
most part “runners”--sailors who have broken their agreements in order
to get upon the diggings, and who bear their punishment philosophically,
with the hope of future “finds” before them.

When the great rush to Melbourne occurred in 1848, ships by the hundred
were left in the Yarra without a single hand to navigate them. Nuggets
in the hand would not tempt sailors away from the hunt after the nuggets
in the bush. Ships left Hobson‘s Bay for Chili with half a dozen hands;
and in one case that came within my knowledge, a captain, his mate, and
three Maories took a brig across the Pacific to San Francisco.

As the morning wore on, I came near seeing something of more serious
crime than that for which these “runners” were convicted. “Sticking-up,”
as highway robbery is called in the colonies, has always been common in
Australia and New Zealand, but of late the bush-rangers, deserting their
old tactics, have commenced to murder as well as rob. In three months of
1866, no less than fifty or sixty murders took place in the South Island
of New Zealand, all of them committed, it was believed, by a gang known
as “The Thugs.” Mr. George Dobson, the government surveyor, was murdered
near Hokitika in May, but it was not till November that the gang was
broken up by the police and volunteers. Levy, Kelly, and Burgess, three
of the most notorious of the villains, were on their trial at Hokitika
while I was there, and Sullivan, also a member of the band, who had been
taken at Nelson, had volunteered to give evidence against them. Sullivan
was to come by steamer from the North, without touching at The Buller or
The Grey; and when the ship was signaled, the excitement of the
population became considerable, the diggers asserting that Sullivan was
not only the basest, but the most guilty of all the gang. As the vessel
ran across the bar and into the bay, the police were marched down to the
landing-place, and a yelling crowd surrounded them, threatening to lynch
the informer. When the steamer came alongside the wharf, Sullivan was
not to be seen, and it was soon discovered that he had been landed in a
whale-boat upon the outer beach. Off rushed the crowd to intercept the
party in the town; but they found the jail gates already shut and
barred.

It was hard to say whether it was for Thuggism or for turning Queen‘s
evidence that Sullivan was to be lynched: crime is looked at here as
leniently as it is in Texas. I once met a man who had been a coroner at
one of the digging towns, who, talking of “old times,” said, quietly
enough: “Oh, yes, plenty of work; we used to _make_ a good deal of it.
You see I was paid by fees, so I used generally to manage to hold four
or five inquests on each body. Awful rogues my assistants were: I
shouldn‘t like to have some of those men‘s sins to answer for.”

The Gold Coast Police Force, which has been formed to put a stop to
Thuggism and bush-ranging, is a splendid body of cavalry, about which
many good stories are told. One digger said to me: “Seen our policemen?
We don‘t have no _younger sons_ of British peers among ’em.” Another
account says that none but members of the older English universities are
admitted to the force.

There are here, upon the diggings, many military men and university
graduates, who generally retain their polish of manner, though outwardly
they are often the roughest of the rough. Some of them tell strange
stories. One Cambridge man, who was acting as a post-office clerk (not
at Hokitika), told me that in 1862, shortly after taking his degree, he
went out to British Columbia to settle upon land. He soon spent his
capital at billiards in Victoria City, and went as a digger to the
Frazer River. There he made a “pile,” which he gambled away on his road
back, and he struggled through the winter of 1863-4 by shooting and
selling game. In 1864 he was attached as a hunter to the Vancouver‘s
Exploring Expedition, and in 1865 started with a small sum of money for
Australia. He was wrecked, lost all he had, and was forced to work his
passage down to Melbourne. From there he went into South Australia as
the driver of a reaping machine, and was finally, through the efforts of
his friends in England, appointed to a post-office clerkship in New
Zealand, which colony he intended to quit for California or Chili. This
was not the only man of education whom I myself found upon the diggings,
as I met with a Christchurch man, who, however, had left Oxford without
a degree, actually working as a digger in a surface mine.

In the outskirts of Hokitika, I came upon a palpable Life Guardsman,
cooking for a roadside station, with his smock worn like a soldier‘s
tunic, and his cap stuck on one ear in Windsor fashion. A “squatter”
from near Christchurch, who was at The Buller, selling sheep, told me
that he had an ex-captain in the Guards at work for weekly wages on his
“sheep-run,” and that a neighbor had a lieutenant of lancers
rail-splitting at his “station.”

Neither the habits nor the morals of this strange community are of the
best. You never see a drunken man, but drinking is apparently the chief
occupation of that portion of the town population which is not actually
employed in digging. The mail-coaches which run across the island on the
great new road, and along the sands to the other mining settlements,
have singularly short stages, made so, it would seem, for the benefit of
the keepers of the “saloons,” for at every halt one or other of the
passengers is expected to “shout,” or “stand,” as it would be called at
home, “drinks all round.” “What‘ll yer shout?” is the only question;
and want of coined money need be no hinderance, for “gold-dust is taken
at the bar.” One of the favorite amusements of the diggers at Pakihi, on
the days when the store-schooner arrives from Nelson, is to fill a
bucket with champagne, and drink till they feel “comfortable.” This
done, they seat themselves in the road, with their feet on the
window-sill of the shanty, and, calling to the first passer, ask him to
drink from the bucket. If he consents--good: if not, up they jump, and
duck his head in the wine, which remains for the next comer.

When I left Hokitika, it was by the new road, 170 miles in length, which
crosses the Alps and the island, and connects Christchurch, the capital
of Canterbury, with the western parts of the province. The bush between
the sea and mountains is extremely lovely. The highway is “corduroyed”
with trunks of the tree-fern, and, in the swamps, the sleepers have
commenced to grow at each end, so that a close-set double row of young
tree-ferns is rising along portions of the road. The bush is densely
matted with an undergrowth of supple-jack and all kinds of creepers, but
here and there one finds a grove of tree-ferns twenty feet in height,
and grown so thickly as to prevent the existence of underwood and ground
plants.

The peculiarity which makes the New Zealand west-coast scenery the most
beautiful in the world to those who like more green than California has
to show, is that here alone can you find semi-tropical vegetation
growing close up to the eternal snows. The latitude and the great
moisture of the climate bring the long glaciers very low into the
valleys; and the absence of all true winter, coupled with the rain-fall,
causes the growth of palmlike ferns upon the ice-river‘s very edge. The
glaciers of Mount Cook are the longest in the world, except those at
the sources of the Indus, but close about them have been found
tree-ferns of thirty and forty feet in height. It is not till you enter
the mountains that you escape the moisture of the coast, and quit for
the scenery of the Alps the scenery of fairy-land.

Bumping and tumbling in the mail-cart through the rushing blue-gray
waters of the Taramakao, I found myself within the mountains of the
Snowy Range. In the Otira Gorge, also know as Arthur‘s Pass--from Arthur
Dobson, brother to the surveyor murdered by the Thugs--six small
glaciers were in sight at once. The Rocky Mountains opposite to Denver
are loftier and not less snowy than the New Zealand Alps, but in the
Rockies there are no glaciers south of about 50° N.; while in New
Zealand--a winterless country--they are common at eight degrees nearer
to the line. The varying amount of moisture has doubtless caused this
difference.

As we journeyed through the pass, there was one grand view--and only
one: the glimpse of the ravine to the eastward of Mount Rollestone,
caught from the desert shore of Lake Misery--a tarn near the “divide” of
waters. About its banks there grows a plant, unknown, they say, except
at this lonely spot--the Rockwood lily--a bushy plant, with a round,
polished, concave leaf, and a cup-shaped flower of virgin white, that
seems to take its tint from the encircling snows.

In the evening, we had a view that for gloomy grandeur cannot well be
matched--that from near Bealey township, where we struck the Waimakiriri
Valley. The river bed is half a mile in width, the stream itself not
more than ten yards across, but, like all New Zealand rivers, subjects
to freshets, which fill its bed to a great depth with a surging, foaming
flood. Some of the victims of the Waimakiriri are buried alongside the
road. Dark evergreen bush shuts in the river bed, and is topped on the
one side by dreary frozen peaks, and on the other by still gloomier
mountains of bare rock.

Our road, next morning, from The Cass, where we had spent the night, lay
through the eastern foot-hills and down to Canterbury Plains by way of
Porter‘s Pass--a narrow track on the top of a tremendous precipice, but
soon to be changed for a road cut along its face. The plains are one
great sheep-run, open, almost flat, and upon which you lose all sense of
size. At the mountain-foot they are covered with tall, coarse, native
grass, and are dry, like the Kansas prairie; about Christchurch, the
English clover and English grasses have usurped the soil, and all is
fresh and green.

New Zealand is at present divided into nine semi-independent provinces,
of which three are large and powerful, and the remainder comparatively
small and poor. Six of the nine are true States, having each its history
as an independent settlement; the remaining three are creations of the
Federal government or of the crown.

These are not the only difficulties in the way of New Zealand statesmen,
for the provinces themselves are far from being homogeneous units. Two
of the wealthiest of all the States, which were settled as colonies with
a religious tinge--Otago, Presbyterian; and Canterbury,
Episcopalian--have been blessed or cursed with the presence of a vast
horde of diggers, of no particular religion, and free from any reverence
for things established. Canterbury Province is not only politically
divided against itself, but geographically split in twain by the Snowy
Range, and the diggers hold the west-coast bush, the old settlers the
east-coast plain. East and west, each cries out that the other side is
robbing it. The Christchurch people say that their money is being spent
on Westland, and the Westland diggers cry out against the foppery and
aristocratic pretense of Christchurch. A division of the province seems
inevitable, unless, indeed, the “Centralists” gain the day, and bring
about either a closer union of the whole of the provinces, coupled with
a grant of local self-government to their subdivisions, or else the
entire destruction of the provincial system.

The division into provinces was at one time necessary, from the fact
that the settlements were historically distinct, and physically cut off
from each other by the impenetrability of the bush and the absence of
all roads; but the barriers are now surmounted, and no sufficient reason
can be found for keeping up ten cabinets and ten legislatures for a
population of only 200,000 souls. Such is the costliness of the
provincial system and of Maori wars, that the taxation of the New
Zealanders is nine times as heavy as that of their brother colonists in
Canada.

It is not probable that so costly and so inefficient a system of
government as that which now obtains in New Zealand can long continue to
exist. It is not only dear and bad, but dangerous in addition; and
during my visit to Port Chalmers, the province of Otago was loudly
threatening secession. Like all other federal constitutions, that of New
Zealand fails to provide a sufficiently strong central power to meet a
divergence of interests between the several States. The system which
failed in Greece, which failed in Germany, which failed in America, has
failed here in the antipodes; and it may be said that, in these days of
improved communications, wherever federation is possible, a still
closer union is at least as likely to prove lasting.

New Zealand suffers, not only by the artificial division into provinces,
but also by the physical division of the country into two great islands,
too far apart to be ever thoroughly homogeneous, too near together to be
wholly independent of each other. The difficulty has been hitherto
increased by the existence in the North of a powerful and warlike native
race, all but extinct in the South Island. Not only have the Southern
people no native wars, but they have no native claimants from whom every
acre for the settler must be bought, and they naturally decline to
submit to ruinous taxation to purchase Parewanui from, or to defend
Taranaki against, the Maories. Having been thwarted by the Home
government in the agitation for the “separation” of the islands, the
Southern people now aim at “Ultra-Provincialism,” declaring for a system
under which the provinces would virtually be independent colonies,
connected only by a confederation of the loosest kind.

The jealousies of the great towns, here as in Italy, have much bearing
upon the political situation. Auckland is for separation, because in
that event it would of necessity become the seat of the government of
the North Island. In the South, Christchurch and Dunedin have similar
claims; and each of them, ignoring the other, begs for separation in the
hope of becoming the Southern capital. Wellington and Nelson alone are
for the continuance of the federation--Wellington because it is already
the capital, and Nelson because it is intriguing to supplant its
neighbor. Although the difficulties of the moment mainly arise out of
the war expenditure, and will terminate with the extinction of the Maori
race, her geographical shape almost forbids us to hope that New Zealand
will ever form a single country under a strong central government.

To obtain an adequate idea of the difficulty of his task, a new
governor, on landing in New Zealand, could not do better than cross the
Southern Island. On the west side of the mountains he would find a
restless digger-democracy, likely to be succeeded in the future by small
manufacturers, and spade-farmers growing root-crops upon small holdings
of fertile loam; on the east, gentlemen sheep-farmers, holding their
twenty thousand acres each; supporters by their position of the existing
state of things, or of an aristocratic republic, in which men of their
own caste would rule.

Christchurch--Episcopalian, dignified--the first settlement in the
province, and still the capital, affects to despise Hokitika, already
more wealthy and more populous. Christchurch imports English rooks to
caw in the elm-trees of her cathedral close; Hokitika imports men.
Christchurch has not fallen away from her traditions: every street is
named from an English bishopric, and the society is that of an English
country town.

Returning northward, along the coast, in the shade of the cold and
gloomy mountains of the Kaikoura Range, I found at Wellington two
invitations awaiting me to be present at great gatherings of the native
tribes.

The next day I started for the Manawatu River and Parewanui Pah.



CHAPTER III.

POLYNESIANS.


The name “Maori” is said to mean “native,” but the boast on the part of
the Maori race contained in the title “Natives of the Soil” is one which
conflicts with their traditions. These make them out to be mere
interlopers--Tahitians, they themselves say--who, within historic ages,
sailed down island by island in their war canoes, massacring the
inhabitants, and, finally landing in New Zealand, found a numerous horde
of blacks of the Australian race living in the forests of the South
Island. Favored by a year of exceptional drought, they set fire to the
woods, and burnt to the last man, or drove into the sea the aboriginal
possessors of the soil. Some ethnologists believe that this account is
in the main correct, but hold that the Maori race is Malay, and not
originally Tahitian: others have tried to show that the conflict between
blacks and browns was not confined to these two islands, but raged
throughout the whole of Polynesia; and that it was terminated in New
Zealand itself, not by the destruction of the blacks, but by the
amalgamation of the opposing races.

The legends allege war as the cause for the flight to New Zealand. The
accounts of some of the migrations are circumstantial in the extreme,
and describe the first planting of the yams, the astonishment of the
people at the new flowers and trees of the islands, and many such
details of the landing. The names of the chiefs and of the canoes are
given in a sort of “catalogue of ships,” and the wars of the settlers
are narrated at length, with the heroic exaggeration common to the
legends of all lands.

The canoe fleet reached New Zealand in the fifteenth century it is
believed, and the people landed chanting a chorus-speech, which is still
preserved:

     “We come at last to this fair land--a resting-place; Spirit of the
     Earth, to thee, we, coming from afar, present our hearts for food.”

That the Maories are Polynesians there can be no doubt: a bird with them
is “manu,” a fish “ika” (the Greek ἱχθυς, become with
the digamma “piscis” and “poisson;” and connected with “fisch,” and
“fish”), as they are throughout the Malayan archipelago and Polynesian
isles; the Maori “atua,” a god, is the “hotua” of the Friendly
Islanders; the “wahrés,” or native huts, are identical in all the
islands; the names of the chief deities are the same throughout
Polynesia, and the practice of tattooing, the custom of carving
grotesque squatting figures on tombs, canoes, and “pahs,” and that of
tabooing things, places, times, and persons, prevail from Hawaii to
Stewart‘s Land, though not everywhere so strictly read as in the Tonga
Isles, where the very ducks are muzzled to keep them from disturbing by
their quacking the sacred stillness of “tapú time.”

Polynesian traditions mostly point to the Malay peninsula as the cradle
of the race, and the personal resemblance of the Maories to the Malays
is very strong, except in the setting of the eyes; while the figures on
the gate-posts of the New Zealand pahs have eyes more oblique than are
now found among the Maori people. Strangely enough, the New Zealand
“pah” is identical with the Burmese “stockade,” but the word “pah”
stands both for the palisade and for the village of wahrés which it
contains. The Polynesian and Malay tongues have not much in common; but
that variations of language sufficiently great to leave no apparent tie
spring up in a few centuries, cannot be denied by us who know for
certain that “visible” and “optician” come from a common root, and can
trace the steps through which “jour” is derived from “dies.”

The tradition of the Polynesians is that they came from Paradise, which
they place, in the southern islands, to the north; in the northern
islands, to the westward. This legend indicates a migration from Asia to
the northern islands, and thence southward to New Zealand, and accounts
for the non-colonization of Australia by the Polynesians. The sea
between New Zealand, and Australia is too rough and wide to be traversed
by canoes, and the wind-chart shows that the track of the Malays must
have been eastward along the equatorial belt of calms, and then back to
the southwest with the southeast trade-wind right abeam to their canoes.

The wanderings of the Polynesian race were, probably, not confined to
the Pacific. Ethnology is as yet in its infancy: we know nothing of the
Tudas of the Neilgherries; we ask in vain who are the Gonds; we are in
doubt about the Japanese; we are lost in perplexity as to who we may be
ourselves; but there is at least as much ground for the statement that
the Red Indians are Malays as for the assertion that we are Saxons.

The resemblances between the Red Indians and the Pacific Islanders are
innumerable. Strachey‘s account of the Indians of Virginia, written in
1612, needs but a change in the names to fit the Maories: Powhátan‘s
house is that of William Thompson. Cannibalism prevailed in Brazil and
along the Pacific coast of North America at the time of their discovery,
and even the Indians of Chili ate many an early navigator; the
aborigines of Vancouver Island are tattooed; their canoes resemble those
of the Malays, and the mode of paddling is the same from New Zealand to
Hudson‘s Bay--from Florida to Singapore. Jade ornaments of the shape of
the Maori “Heitiki” (the charm worn about the neck) have been found by
the French in Guadaloupe; the giant masonry of Central America is
identical with that of Cambodia and Siam. Small-legged squatting
figures, like those of the idols of China and Japan, not only surmount
the gate-posts of the New Zealand pahs, but are found eastward to
Honduras, westward to Burmah, to Tartary, and to Ceylon. The fiber mats,
common to Polynesia and Red India, are unknown to savages elsewhere, and
the feather headdresses of the Maories are almost identical with those
of the Delawares or Hurons.

In the Indians of America and of Polynesia there is the same hatred of
continued toil, and the same readiness to engage in violent exertion for
a time. Superstition and witchcraft are common to all untaught peoples,
but in the Malays and red men they take similar shapes; and the Indians
of Mexico and Peru had, like all the Polynesians, a sacred language,
understood only by the priests. The American altars were one with the
temples of the Pacific, and were not confined to Mexico, for they form
the “mounds” of Ohio and Illinois. There is great likeness between the
legend of Maui, the Maori hero, and that of Hiawatha, especially in the
history of how the sun was noosed, and made to move more slowly through
the skies, so as to give men long days for toil. The resemblance of the
Maori “runanga,” or assembly for debate, to the Indian council is
extremely close, and throughout America and Polynesia a singular
blending of poetry and ferocity is characteristic of the Malays.

In color, the Indians and Polynesians are not alike; but color does not
seem to be, ethnologically speaking, of much account. The Hindoos of
Calcutta have the same features as those of Delhi; but the former are
black, the latter brown, or, if high-caste men, almost white. Exposure
to sun, in a damp, hot climate, seems to blacken every race that it does
not destroy. The races that it will finally destroy, tropical heat first
whitens. The English planters of Mississippi and Florida are extremely
dark, yet there is not a suspicion of black blood in their veins: it is
the white blood of the slaves to which the Abolitionists refer in their
philippics. The Jews at Bombay and Aden are of a deep brown; in Morocco
they are swarthy; in England, nearly white.

Religious rites and social customs outlast both physical type and
language; but even were it otherwise, there is great resemblance in
build and feature between the Polynesians and many of the “Red-Indian”
tribes. The aboriginal people of New York State are described by the
early navigators not as tall, grave, hooked-nose men, but as copper
colored, pleasant looking, and with quick, shrewd eyes; and the Mexican
Indian bears more likeness to the Sandwich Islander than to the Delaware
or Cherokee.

In reaching South America, there were no distances to be overcome such
as to present insurmountable difficulties to the Malays. Their canoes
have frequently, within the years that we have had our missionary
stations in the islands, made involuntary voyages of six or seven
hundred miles. A Western editor has said of Columbus that he deserves no
praise for discovering America, as it is so large that he could not well
have missed it; but Easter Island is so small, that the chances must
have been thousands to one against its being reached by canoes sailing
even from the nearest land; yet it is an ascertained fact that Easter
Island was peopled by the Polynesians. Whatever drove canoes to Easter
Island would have driven them from the island to Chili and Peru. The
Polynesian Malays would sometimes be taken out to sea by sudden storms,
by war, by hunger, by love of change. In war time, whole tribes have,
within historic days, been clapped into their boats, and sent to sea by
a merciful conqueror who had dined: this occurs, however, only when the
market is already surfeited with human joints.

In sailing from America to New Zealand, we met strong westerly winds
before we had gone half way across the seas, and, south of the
trade-wind region, these blow constantly to within a short distance of
the American coast, where they are lost upon the edge of the Chilian
current. A canoe blown off from the southern islands, and running
steadily before the wind, would be cast on the Peruvian coast near
Quito.

When Columbus landed in the Atlantic islands, he was, perhaps, not
mistaken in his belief that it was “The Indies” that he had found--an
India peopled by the Malay race, till lately the most widely-scattered
of all the nations of the world, but one which the English seem destined
to supplant.

The Maories, without doubt, were originally Malays, emigrants from the
winterless climate of the Malay peninsula and Polynesian archipelago;
and, although the northernmost portions of New Zealand suited them not
ill, the cold winters of the South Island prevented the spread of the
bands they planted there. At all times it has been remarked by
ethnologists and acclimatizers that it is easier by far to carry men and
beasts from the poles toward the tropics than from the tropics to the
colder regions. The Malays, in coming to New Zealand, unknowingly broke
one of Nature‘s laws, and their descendants are paying the penalty in
extinction.



CHAPTER IV.

PAREWANUI PAH.


    “Here is Pétatoné.
     This is the 10th of December;
     The sun shines, and the birds sing;
     Clear is the water in rivers and streams;
     Bright is the sky, and the sun is high in the air.
     This is the 10th of December;
     But where is the money?
     Three years has this matter in many debates been discussed,
     And here at last is Pétatoné;
     But where is the money?”

A band of Maori women, slowly chanting in a high, strained key, stood at
the gate of a pah, and met with this song a few Englishmen who were
driving rapidly on to their land.

Our track lay through a swamp of the New Zealand flax. Huge swordlike
leaves and giant flower-stalks all but hid from view the Maori
stockades. To the left was a village of low wahrés, fenced round with a
double row of lofty posts, carved with rude images of gods and men, and
having posterns here and there. On the right were groves of karakas,
children of Tanemahuta, the New Zealand sacred trees--under their shade,
on a hill, a camp and another and larger pah. In startling contrast to
the dense masses of the oily leaves, there stretched a great extent of
light-green sward, where there were other camps and a tall flagstaff,
from which floated the white flag and the Union Jack, emblems of British
sovereignty and peace.

A thousand kilted Maories dotted the green landscape with patches of
brilliant tartans and scarlet cloth. Women lounged about, whiling away
the time with dance and song; and from all the corners of the glade the
soft cadence of the Maori cry of welcome came floating to us on the
breeze, sweet as the sound of distant bells.

As we drove quickly on, we found ourselves in the midst of a thronging
crowd of square-built men, brown in color, and for the most part not
much darker than Spaniards, but with here and there a woolly negro in
their ranks. Glancing at them as we were hurried past, we saw that the
men were robust, well limbed, and tall. They greeted us pleasantly with
many a cheerful, open smile, but the faces of the older people were
horribly tattooed in spiral curves. The chiefs carried battle-clubs of
jade and bone; the women wore strange ornaments. At the flagstaff we
pulled up, and, while the preliminaries of the council were arranged,
had time to discuss with Maori and with “Pakéha” (white man) the
questions that had brought us thither.

The purchase of an enormous block of land--that of the Manawatu--had
long been an object wished for and worked for by the Provincial
Government of Wellington. The completion of the sale it was that had
brought the Superintendent, Dr. Featherston, and humbler Pakéhas to
Parewanui Pah. It was not only that the land was wanted by way of room
for the flood of settlers, but purchase by government was, moreover, the
only means whereby war between the various native claimants of the land
could be prevented. The Pakéha and Maori had agreed upon a price; the
question that remained for settlement was how the money should be
shared. One tribe had owned the land from the earliest times; another
had conquered some miles of it; a third had had one of its chiefs cooked
and eaten upon the ground. In the eye of the Maori law, the last of
these titles was the best: the blood of a chief overrides all mere
historic claims. The two strongest human motives concurred to make war
probable, for avarice and jealousy alike prevented agreement as to the
division of the spoil. Each of the three tribes claiming had half a
dozen allied and related nations upon the ground; every man was there
who had a claim, direct or indirect, or thought he had, to any portion
of the block. Individual ownership and tribal ownership conflicted. The
Ngatiapa were well armed; the Ngatiraukawa had their rifles; the
Wanganuis had sent for theirs. The greatest tact on the part of Dr.
Featherston was needed to prevent a fight such as would have roused New
Zealand from Auckland to Port Nicholson.

On a signal from the Superintendent, the heralds went round the camps
and pahs to call the tribes to council. The summons was a long-drawn
minor-descending-scale: a plaintiff cadence, which at a distance blends
into a bell-like chord. The words mean: “Come hither! Come hither! Come!
come! Maories! Come--!” and men, women, and children soon came thronging
in from every side, the chiefs bearing scepters and spears of ceremony,
and their women wearing round their necks the symbol of nobility, the
Heitiki, or greenstone god. These images, we were told, have pedigrees,
and names like those of men.

We, with the resident magistrate of Wanganui, seated ourselves beneath
the flagstaff. A chief, meeting the people as they came up, stayed them
with the gesture that Homer ascribes to Hector, and bade them sit in a
huge circle round the spar.

No sooner were we seated on our mat than there ran slowly into the
center of the ring a plumed and kilted chief, with sparkling eyes, the
perfection of a savage. Halting suddenly, he raised himself upon his
toes, frowned, and stood brandishing his short feathered spear. It was
Hunia té Hakéké, the young chief of the Ngatiapa.

Throwing off his plaid, he commenced to speak, springing hither and
thither with leopard-like freedom of gait, and sometimes leaping high
into the air to emphasize a word. Fierce as were the gestures, his
speech was conciliatory, and the Maori flowed from his lips--a soft
Tuscan tongue. As, with a movement full of vigorous grace, he sprang
back to the ranks, to take his seat, there ran round the ring a hum and
buzz of popular applause.

“Governor” Hunia was followed by a young Wanganui chief, who wore
hunting breeches and high boots, and a long black mantle over his
European clothes. There was something odd in the shape of the cloak; and
when we came to look closely at it, we found that it was the skirt of
the riding-habit of his half-caste wife. The great chiefs paid so little
heed to this flippant fellow, as to stand up and harangue their tribes
in the middle of his speech, which came thus to an untimely end.

A funny old graybeard, Waitéré Maru Maru, next rose, and, smothering
down the jocularity of his face, turned toward us for a moment the
typical head of Peter, as you see it on the windows of every modern
church--for a moment only, for, as he raised his hand to wave his tribal
scepter, his apostolic drapery began to slip from off his shoulders, and
he had to clutch at it with the energy of a topman taking-in a reef in a
whole gale. His speech was full of Nestorian proverbs and wise saws, but
he wandered off into a history of the Wanganui lands, by which he soon
became as wearied as we ourselves were; for he stopped short, and, with
a twinkle of the eye, said: “Ah! Waitéré is no longer young: he is
climbing the snow-clad mountain Ruahiné; he is becoming an old man;” and
down he sat.

Karanama, a small Ngatiraukawa chief with a white moustache, who looked
like an old French concierge, followed Maru Maru, and, with much use of
his scepter, related a dream foretelling the happy issue of the
negotiations; for the little man was one of those “dreamers of dreams”
against whom Moses warned the Israelites.

Karanama‘s was not the only trance and vision of which we heard in the
course of these debates. The Maories believe that in their dreams the
seers hear great bands of spirits singing chants: these when they wake
the prophets reveal to all the people; but it is remarked that the
vision is generally to the advantage of the seer‘s tribe.

Karanama‘s speech was answered by the head chief of the Rangitané
Maories, Té Peeti Té Awé Awé, who, throwing off his upper clothing as he
warmed to his subject, and strutting pompously round and round the ring,
challenged Karanama to immediate battle, or his tribe to general
encounter; but he cooled down as he went on, and in his last sentence
showed us that Maori oratory, however ornate usually, can be made
extremely terse. “It is hot,” he said--“it is hot, and the very birds
are loath to sing. We have talked for a week, and are therefore dry. Let
us take our share--£10,000, or whatever we can get, and then we shall be
dry no more.”

The Maori custom of walking about, dancing, leaping, undressing,
running, and brandishing spears during the delivery of a speech is
convenient for all parties: to the speaker, because it gives him time to
think of what he shall say next; to the listener, because it allows him
to weigh the speaker‘s words; to the European hearer, because it permits
the interpreter to keep pace with the orator without an effort. On this
occasion, the resident magistrate of Wanganui, Mr. Buller, a Maori
scholar of eminence, and the attached friend of some of the chiefs,
interpreted for Dr. Featherston; and we were allowed to lean over him in
such a way as to hear every word that passed. That the able
Superintendent of Wellington--the great protector of the Maories, the
man to whom they look as to Queen Victoria‘s second in command, should
be wholly dependent upon interpreters, however skilled, seems almost too
singular to be believed; but it is possible that Dr. Featherston may
find in pretended want of knowledge much advantage to the government. He
is able to collect his thoughts before he replies to a difficult
question; he can allow an epithet to escape his notice in the filter of
translation; he can listen and speak with greater dignity.

The day was wearing on before Té Peeti‘s speech was done, and, as the
Maories say, our waistbands began to slip down low; so all now went to
lunch, both Maori and Pakéha, they sitting in circles, each with his
bowl, or flax-blade dish, and wooden spoon, we having a table and a
chair or two in the Mission-house; but we were so tempted by Hori
Kingi‘s whitebait that we begged some of him as we passed. The Maories
boil the little fish in milk, and flavor them with leeks. Great fish,
meat, vegetables, almost all they eat, in short, save whitebait, is
“steamed” in the underground native oven. A hole is dug, and filled with
wood, and stones are piled upon the wood, a small opening being left for
draught. While the wood is burning, the stones become red-hot, and fall
through into the hole. They are then covered with damp fern, or else
with wet mats of flax, plaited at the moment; the meat is put in, and
covered with more mats; the whole is sprinkled with water, and then
earth is heaped on till the vapor ceases to escape. The joint takes
about an hour, and is delicious. Fish is wrapped in a kind of dock-leaf,
and so steamed.

While the men‘s eating was thus going on, many of the women stood idly
round, and we were enabled to judge of Maori beauty. A profusion of
long, crisp curls, a short black pipe thrust between stained lips, a
pair of black eyes gleaming from a tattooed face, denote the Maori
_belle_, who wears for her only robe a long bedgown of dirty calico, but
whose ears and neck are tricked out with greenstone ornaments, the signs
of birth and wealth. Here and there you find a girl with long, smooth
tresses, and almond-shaped black eyes: these charms often go along with
prominent, thin features, and suggest at once the Jewess and the gipsy
girl. The women smoke continually; the men, not much.

When at four o‘clock we returned to the flagstaff, we found that the
temperature, which during the morning had been too hot, had become that
of a fine English June--the air light, the trees and grass lit by a
gleaming yellow sunshine that reminded me of the Californian haze.

During luncheon we had heard that Dr. Featherston‘s proposals as to the
division of the purchase-money had been accepted by the Ngatiapa, but
not by Hunia himself, whose vanity would brook no scheme not of his own
conception. We were no sooner returned to the ring than he burst in upon
us with a defiant speech. “Unjust,” he declared, “as was the proposition
of great ‘Pétatoné’ (Featherston), he would have accepted it for the
sake of peace had he been allowed to divide the tribal share; but as the
Wanganuis insisted on having a third of his £15,000, and as Pétatoné
seemed to support them in their claim, he should have nothing more to do
with the sale.” “The Wangenuis claim as our relatives,” he said:
“verily, the pumpkin-shoots spread far.”

Karanama, the seer, stood up to answer Hunia, and began his speech in a
tone of ridicule. “Hunia is like the ti-tree: if you cut him down he
sprouts again.” Hunia sat quietly through a good deal of this kind of
wit, till at last some epithet provoked him to interrupt the speaker.
“What a fine fellow you are, Karanama; you‘ll tell us soon that you‘ve
two pair of legs.” “Sit down!” shrieked Karanama, and a word-war ensued,
but the abuse was too full of native raciness and vigor to be fit for
English ears. The chiefs kept dancing round the ring, threatening each
other with their spears. “Why do you not hurl at me, Karanama?” said
Hunia; “it is easier to parry spears than lies.” At last Hunia sat down.

Karanama, feinting and making at him with his spear, reproached Hunia
with a serious flaw in his pedigree--a blot which is said to account for
Hunia‘s hatred to the Ngatiraukawa, to whom his mother was for years a
slave. Hunia, without rising from the ground, shrieked “Liar!” Karanama
again spoke the obnoxious word. Springing from the ground, Hunia
snatched his spear from where it stood, and ran at his enemy as though
to strike him. Karanama stood stock-still. Coming up to him at a charge,
Hunia suddenly stopped, raised himself on tiptoe, shaking his spear, and
flung out some contemptuous epithet; then turned, and stalked slowly,
with a springing gait, back to his own corner of the ring. There he
stood, haranguing his people in a bitter undertone. Karanama did the
like with his. The interpreters could not keep pace with what was said.
We understood that the chiefs were calling each upon his tribe to
support him, if need were, in war. After a few minutes of this pause
they wheeled round, as though by a common impulse, and again began to
pour out torrents of abuse. The applause became frequent, hums quickened
into shouts, cheer followed cheer, till at last the ring was alive with
men and women springing from the ground, and crying out on the opposing
leader for a dastard.

We had previously been told to have no fear that resort would be had to
blows. The Maories never fight upon a sudden quarrel: war is with them a
solemn act, entered upon only after much deliberation. Those of us who
were strangers to New Zealand were nevertheless not without our doubts,
while for half an hour we lay upon the grass watching the armed
champions running round the ring, challenging each other to mortal
combat on the spot.

The chieftains at last became exhausted, and the Mission-bell beginning
to toll for evening chapel, Hunia broke off in the middle of his abuse:
“Ah! I hear the bell!” and, turning, stalked out of the ring toward his
pah, leaving it to be inferred, by those who did not know him, that he
was going to attend the service. The meeting broke up in confusion, and
the Upper Wanganui tribes at once began their march toward the
mountains, leaving behind them only a delegation of their chiefs.

As we drove down to the coast, we talked over the close resemblance of
the Maori runanga to the Homeric council; it had struck us all. Here, as
in the Greek camp, we had the ring of people, into which advanced the
lance-bearing or scepter-bearing chiefs, they alone speaking, and the
people backing them only by a hum: “The block of wood dictates not to
the carver, neither the people to their chiefs,” is a Maori proverb. The
boasting of ancestry, and bragging of deeds and military exploits, to
which modern wind-bags would only casually allude, was also thoroughly
Homeric. In Hunia we had our Achilles; the retreat of Hunia to his wahré
was that of Achilles to his tent; the cause of quarrel alone was
different, though in both cases it arose out of the division of spoil,
in the one case the result of lucky wars, in the other of the Pakéha‘s
weakness. The Argive and Maori leaders are one in fire, figure, port,
and mien; alike, too, even in their sulkiness. In Waitéré and Aperahama
Tipai we had two Nestors; our Thersites was Porea, the jester, a
half-mad buffoon, continually mimicking the chiefs or interrupting them,
and being by them or their messengers as often kicked and cuffed. In the
frequency of repetition, the use of proverbs and of simile, the Maories
resemble not Homer‘s Greeks so much as Homer‘s self; but the calling
together of the people by the heralds, the secret conclave of the
chiefs, the feast, the conduct of the assembly--all were the exact
repetition of the events recorded in the first and second books of the
“Iliad” as having happened on the Trojan plains. The single point of
difference was not in favor of the Greeks; the Maori women took their
place in council with the men.

As we drove home, a storm came on, and hung about the coast so long,
that it was not till near eleven at night that we were able to take our
swim in the heated waters of the Manawatu River, and frighten off every
duck and heron in the district.

In the morning, we rose to alarming news. Upon the pretext of the
presence in the neighborhood of the Hau-Hau chief Wi Hapi, with a war
party of 200 men, the unarmed Parewanui natives had sent to Wanganui for
their guns, and it was only by a conciliatory speech at the midnight
runanga that Mr. Buller had succeeded in preventing a complete break-up
of all the camps, if not an intertribal war. There seemed to be white
men behind the scenes who were not friendly to the sale, and the debate
had lasted from dark till dawn.

While we were at breakfast, a Ngatiapa officer of the native contingent
brought down a letter to Dr. Featherston from Hunia and Hori Kingi,
calling us to a general meeting of the tribes convened for noon, to be
held in the Ngatiapa Pah. The letter was addressed, “Kia té Pétatoné té
Huperinténé”--“To the Featherston, the Superintendent”--the alterations
in the chief words being made to bring them within the grasp of Maori
tongues, which cannot sound _f‘s_, _th‘s_, nor sibilants of any kind.
The absence of harsh sounds, and the rule which makes every word end
with a vowel, give a peculiar softness and charm to the Maori language.
Sugar becomes huka; scissors, hikiri; sheep, hipi; and so with all
English words adopted into Maori. The rendering of the Hebrew names of
the Old Testament is often singular: Genesis becomes Kenehi; Exodus is
altered into Ekoruhe; Leviticus is hardly recognizable in Rewitikuha;
Tiuteronomi reads strangely for Deuteronomy, and Hohua for Joshua;
Jacob, Isaac, Moses, become Hakopa, Ihaka, and Mohi; Egypt is softened
into Ihipa, Jordan into Horámo. The list of the nations of Canaan seems
to have been a stumbling-block in the missionaries’ way. The success
obtained with Girgashites has not been great; it stands Kirekahi; Gaash
is transmuted into Kaaha, and Eleazar into Ereatara.

When we drove on to the ground all was at a deadlock--the flagstaff
bare, the chiefs sleeping in their wahrés, and the common folk whiling
away the hours with haka songs. Dr. Featherston retired from the ground,
declaring that till the Queen‘s flag was hoisted he would attend no
debate; but he permitted us to wander in among the Maories.

We were introduced to Tamiana té Rauparaha, chief of the Ngatitoa branch
of the Ngatiraukawa, and son of the great cannibal chief of the same
name, who murdered Captain Wakefield. Old Rauparaha it was who hired an
English ship to carry him and his nation to the South Island, where they
ate several tribes, boiling the chiefs, by the captain‘s consent, in the
ship‘s coppers, and salting down for future use the common people. When
the captain, on return to port, claimed his price, Rauparaha told him to
go about his business, or he should be salted too. The captain took the
hint, but he did not escape for long, as he was finally eaten by the
Sandwich Islanders in Hawaii.

In answer to our request for a dance-song, Tamiana and Horomona Torémi
replied, through an interpreter, that “the hands of the singers should
beat time as fast as the pinions of the wild duck;” and in a minute we
were in the middle of an animated crowd of boys and women collected by
Porea, the buffoon.

As soon as the singers had squatted upon the grass, the jester began to
run slowly up and down between their ranks as they sat swinging backward
and forward in regular time, groaning in chorus, and looking upward with
distorted faces.

In a second dance, a girl standing out upon the grass chanted the air--a
kind of capstan song--and then the “dancers,” who were seated in one
long row, joined in chorus, breathing violently in perfect time, half
forming words, but not notes, swinging from side to side like the
howling dervishes, and using frightful gestures. This strange
whisper-roaring went on increasing in rapidity and fierceness, till at
last the singers worked themselves into a frenzy, in which they rolled
their eyes, stiffened the arms and legs, clutched and clawed with the
fingers, and snorted like maddened horses. Stripping off their clothes,
they looked more like the Maories of thirty years ago than those who see
them only at the mission-stations would believe. Other song-dances, in
which the singers stood striking their heels at measured intervals upon
the earth, were taken up with equal vigor by the boys and women, the
grown men in their dignity keeping themselves aloof, although in his
heart every Maori loves mimetic dance and song. We remarked that in the
“haka” the old women seemed more in earnest than the young, who were
always bursting into laughter, and forgetting words and time.

The savage love for semitones makes Maori music somewhat wearisome to
the English ear; so after a time we began to walk through the pahs and
sketch the Maories, to their great delight. I was drawing the grand old
head of a venerable dame--Oriuhia té Aka--when she asked to see what I
was about. As soon as I showed her the sketch, she began to call me
names, and from her gestures I saw that the insult was in the omission
of the tattooing on her chin. When I inserted the stripes and curves,
her delight was such that I greatly feared she would have embraced me.

Strolling into the karaka groves, we came upon a Maori wooden tomb, of
which the front was carved with figures three feet high, grotesque and
obscene. Gigantic eyes, hands bearing clubs, limbs without bodies, and
bodies without limbs, were figured here and there among more perfect
carvings, and the whole was of a character which the Maories of to-day
disown as they do cannibalism, wishing to have these horrid things
forgotten. The sudden rise of the Hau-Hau fanaticism within the last few
years has shown us that the layer of civilization by which the old Maori
habits are overlaid is thin indeed.

The flags remained down all day, and in the afternoon we returned to the
coast to shoot duck and pukéko, a sort of moor-hen. It was not easy
work, for the birds fell in the flax swamp, and the giant swordlike
leaves of the _Phormium tenax_ cut our hands as we pushed our way
through its dense clumps and bushes, while some of the party suffered
badly from the sun: Maui, the Maories say, must have chained him up too
near the earth. After dark, we could see the glare of the fires in the
karaka groves, where the Maories were in council, and a government
surveyor came in to report that he had met the dissentient Wanganuis
riding fast toward the hills.

In the morning, we were allowed to stay upon the coast till ten or
eleven o‘clock, when a messenger came down from Mr. Buller to call us to
the pah: the council of the chiefs had again sat all night--for the
Maories act upon their proverb that the eyes of great chiefs should
know no rest--and Hunia had carried everything before him in the debate.

As soon as the ring was formed, Hunia apologized for the pulling down of
the Queen‘s flag; it had been done, he said, as a sign that the sale was
broken off, not as an act of disrespect. Having, in short, had things
entirely his own way, he was disposed to be extremely friendly both to
whites and Maories. The sale, he said, must be brought about, or the
“world would be on fire with an intertribal war. What is the good of the
mountain-land? There is nothing to eat but stones; granite is a hard but
not a strengthening food; and women and land are the ruin of men.”

After congratulatory speeches from other chiefs, some of the older men
treated us to histories of the deeds that had been wrought upon the
block of land. Some of their speeches--notably those of Aperahama and
Ihakara--were largely built up of legendary poems; but the orators
quoted the poetry as such only when in doubt how far the sentiments were
those of the assembled people: when they were backed by the hum which
denotes applause, they at one commenced with singular art to weave the
poetry into that which was their own.

As soon as the speeches were over, Hunia and Ihakara marched up to the
flagstaff carrying between them the deed-of-sale. Putting it down before
Dr. Featherston, they shook hands with each other and with him, and
swore that for the future there should be eternal friendship between
their tribes. The deed was then signed by many hundred men and women,
and Dr. Featherston started with Captain té Képa, of the native
contingent, to fetch the £25,000 from Wanganui town, the Maories firing
their rifles into the air as a salute.

The Superintendent was no sooner gone than a kind of solemn grief seemed
to come over the assembled people. After all, they were selling the
graves of their ancestors, they argued. The wife of Hamuéra, seizing her
husband‘s greenstone club, ran out from the ranks of the women, and
began to intone an impromptu song, which was echoed by the women, in a
pathetic chorus-chant:

    “The sun shines, but we quit our land: we abandon forever its forests,
          its mountains, its groves, its lakes, its shores.

    All its fair fisheries, here, under the bright sun, forever we renounce.

    It is a lovely day; fair will be the children that are born to-day; but
          we quit our land.

    In some parts there is forest; in others, the ground is skimmed over
          by the birds in their flight.

    Upon the trees there is fruit; in the streams, fish; in the fields,
          potatoes; fern-roots in the bush; but we quit our land.”

It is in chorus-speeches of this kind that David‘s psalms must have been
recited by the Jews; but on this occasion there was a good deal of mere
acting in the grief, for the tribes had never occupied the land that
they now sold.

The next day, Dr. Featherston drove into camp surrounded by a brilliant
cavalcade of Maori cavalry, amid much yelling and firing of pieces
skyward. Hunia, in receiving him, declared that he would not have the
money paid till the morrow, as the sun must shine upon the transfer of
the lands. It would take his people all the night, he said, to work
themselves up to the right pitch for a war-dance; so he sent down a
strong guard to watch the money-chests, which had been conveyed to the
missionary hut. The Ngatiapa sentry posted inside the room was an odd
cross between savagery and civilization; he wore the cap of the native
contingent; and nothing else but a red kilt. He was armed with a short
Wilkinson rifle, for which he had, however, not a round of ammunition,
his cartridges being Enfield and his piece unloaded. Barbarian or not,
he seemed to like raw gin, with which some Englishman had unlawfully and
unfairly tempted him.

In the morning, the money was handed over in the runanga-house, and a
signet-ring presented to Hunia by Dr. Featherston in pledge of peace,
and memory of the sale; but owing to the heat, we soon adjourned to the
karaka grove, where Hunia made a congratulatory and somewhat boastful
speech, offering his friendship and alliance to Dr. Featherston.

The assembly was soon dismissed, and the chiefs withdrew to prepare for
the grandest war-dance that had been seen for years, while a party went
off to catch and kill the oxen that were to be “steamed” whole, just as
our friends’ fathers would have steamed us.

A chief was detached by Hunia to guide us to a hill whence we commanded
the whole glade. No sooner had we taken our seats than the Ngatiraukawa
to the number of a hundred fighting-men, armed with spears and led by a
dozen women bearing clubs, marched out from their camp, and formed in
column, their chiefs making speeches of exhortation from the ranks.
After a pause, we heard the measured groaning of a distant haka, and
looking up the glade, at the distance of a mile saw some twoscore
Wanganui warriors jumping in perfect time, now to one side, now to the
other, grasping their rifles by the barrel, and raising them as one man
each time they jumped. Presently, bending one knee, but stiffening the
other leg, they advanced, stepping together with a hopping movement,
slapping their hips and thighs, and shouting from the palate, “Hough!
Hough!” with fearful emphasis.

A shout from the Ngatiraukawa hailed the approach of the Ngatiapa, who
deployed from the woods some two hundred strong, all armed with Enfield
rifles. They united with the Wanganuis, and marched slowly down with
their rifles at the “charge,” steadily singing war-songs. When within a
hundred yards of the opposing ranks, they halted, and sent in their
challenge. The Ngatiraukawa and Ngatiapa heralds passed each other in
silence, and each delivered his message to the hostile chief.

We could see that the allies were led by Hunia in all the bravery of his
war-costume. In his hair he wore a heron plume, and another was fastened
near the muzzle of his short carbine; his limbs were bare, but about his
shoulders he had a pure white scarf of satin. His kilt was gauze-silk,
of three colors--pink, emerald, and cherry--arranged in such a way as to
show as much of the green as of the two other colors. The contrast,
which upon a white skin would have been glaring in its ugliness, was
perfect when backed by the nut-brown of Hunia‘s chest and legs. As he
ran before his tribe, he was the ideal savage.

The instant that the heralds had returned, a charge took place, the
forces passing through each other‘s ranks as they do upon the stage, but
with frightful yells. After this they formed two deep, in three
companies, and danced the “musket-exercise war-dance” in wonderful time,
the women leading, thrusting out their tongues, and shaking their long
pendant breasts. Among them was Hamuéra‘s wife, standing drawn up to her
full height, her limbs stiffened, her head thrown back, her mouth wide
open and tongue protruding, her eyes rolled so as to show the white, and
her arms stretched out in front of her, as she slowly chanted. The
illusion was perfect: she became for the time a mad prophetess; yet all
the frenzy was assumed at a whim, to be cast aside in half an hour. The
shouts were of the same under-breath kind as in the haka, but they were
aided by the sounds of horns and conch-shells, and from the number of
men engaged the noise was this time terrible. After much fierce singing
the musket-dance was repeated, with furious leaps and gestures, till the
men became utterly exhausted, when the review was closed by a general
discharge of rifles. Running with nimble feet, the dancers were soon
back within their pahs, and the feast, beginning now, was, like a
Russian banquet, prolonged till morning.

It is not hard to understand the conduct of Lord Durham‘s settlers, who
landed here in 1837. The friendly natives received the party with a
war-dance, which had upon them such an effect that they immediately took
ship for Australia, where they remained.

The next day, when we called on Governor Hunia at his wahré to bid him
farewell, before our departure for the capital, he made two speeches to
us, which are worth recording as specimens of Maori oratory. Speaking
through Mr. Buller, who had been kind enough to escort us to the
Ngatiapa‘s wahré, Hunia said:

“Hail, guests! You have just now seen the settlement of a great
dispute--the greatest of modern time.

“This was a weighty trouble--a grave difficulty.

“Many Pakéhas have tried to settle it--in vain. For Pétatoné was it
reserved to end it. I have said that great is our gratitude to Pétatoné.

“If Pétatoné hath need of me in the future, I shall be there. If he
climbs the lofty tree, I will climb it with him. If he scales high
cliffs, I will scale them too. If Pétatoné needeth help, he shall have
it; and where he leads, there will I follow.

“Such are the words of Hunia.”

To this speech one of us replied, explaining our position as guests from
Britain.

Hunia then began again to speak:

“O my guests, a few days since when asked for a war-dance, I refused. I
refused because my people were sad at heart.

“We were loath to refuse our guests, but the tribes were grieved; the
peeple were sorrowful at heart.

“To-day we are happy, and the war-dance has taken place.

“O my guests, when ye return to our great Queen, tell her that we will
fight for her again as we have fought before.

“She is our Queen as well as your Queen--Queen of Maories and Queen of
Pakéha.

“Should wars arise, we will take up our rifles, and march whithersoever
she shall direct.

“You have heard of the King movement. I was a Kingite; but that did not
prevent me fighting for the Queen--I and my chiefs.

“My cousin, Wirému, went to England, and saw our Queen. He returned....

“When you landed in this island, he was already dead....

“He died fighting for our Queen.

“As he died, _we_ will die, if need be--I and all my chiefs. This do you
tell our Queen.

“I have said.”

This passage, spoken as Hunia spoke it, was one of noble eloquence and
singular rhetoric art. The few first words about Wirému were spoken in a
half indifferent way; but there was a long pause before and after the
statement that he was dead, and a sinking of the voice when he related
how Wirému had died, followed by a burst of sudden fire in the “As he
died, _we_ will die--I and all my chiefs.”

After a minute or two, Hunia resumed:

“This is another word.

“We are all of us glad to see you.

“When we wrote to Pétatoné, we asked him that he would bring with him
Pakéhas from England and from Australia--Pakéhas from all parts of the
Queen‘s broad lands.

“Pakéhas who should return to tell the Queen that the Ngatiapa are her
liegemen.

“We are much rejoiced that you are here. May your heart rest here among
us; but if you go once more to your English home, tell the people that
we are Pétatoné‘s faithful subjects and the Queen‘s.

“I have said.”

After pledging Hunia in a cup of wine, we returned to our temporary
home.



CHAPTER V.

THE MAORIES.


Parting with my companions (who were going northward) in order that I
might return to Wellington, and thence take ship to Taranaki, I started
at daybreak on a lovely morning to walk by the sea-shore to Otaki. As I
left the bank of the Manawatu River for the sands, Mount Egmont near
Taranaki, and Mounts Ruapéhu and Tongariro, in the center of the
island, hung their great snow domes in the soft blue of the sky behind
me, and seemed to have parted from their bases.

I soon passed through the flax-swamp where we for days had shot the
pukéko, and coming out upon the wet sands, which here are glittering and
full of the Taranaki steel, I took off boots and socks, and trudged the
whole distance barefoot, regardless of the morrow. It was hard to walk
without crunching with the heel shells which would be thought rare at
home, and here and there charming little tern and other tiny sea-fowl
flew at me, and all but pecked my eyes out for coming near their nests.

During the day, I forded two large rivers and small streams innumerable,
and swam the Ohau, where Dr. Featherston last week lost his dog-cart in
the quick-sands, but I managed to reach Otaki before sunset, in time to
revel in a typical New Zealand view. The foreground was composed of
ancient sand-hills, covered with the native flax, with the
deliciously-scented Manuka ti-tree, brilliant in white flower, and with
giant fern, tuft-grass, and tussac. Farther inland was the bush,
evergreen, bunchlike in its foliage, and so overladen with parasitic
vegetation, that the true leaves were hidden by usurpers, or crushed to
death in the folds of snakelike creepers. The view was bounded by
bush-clad mountains, rosy with the sunset tints.

Otaki is Archdeacon Hadfield‘s church-settlement of Christian Maories;
but of late there have been signs of wavering in the tribes, and I found
Major Edwardes, who had been with us at Parewanui, engaged in holding,
for the government, a runanga of Hau-Haus, or Antichristian Maories, in
the Otaki Pah. Some of these fellows had lately held a meeting, and had
themselves rebaptized, but this time _out of_ instead of _into_ the
church. They received fresh names, and are said to have politely invited
the archdeacon to perform the ceremony.

Maori Church of Englandism has proved a failure. A dozen native
clergymen are, it is true, supported in comfort by their countrymen, but
the tribes would support a hundred such, if necessary, rather than give
up the fertile “reservations,” such as that of Otaki, which their
pretended Christianity has secured. There is much in the Maori that is
tiger-like, and it is in the blood, not to be drawn out of it by a few
years of playing at Christianity.

The labors of the missionaries have been great, their earnestness and
devotion unsurpassed. Up to the day of the outbreak of Hau-Hauism, their
influence with the natives was thought to be enormous. The entire Maori
race had been baptized, thousands of natives had attended the schools,
hundreds had become communicants and catechists. In a day the number of
native Christians was reduced from thirty thousand to some hundreds.
Right and left the tribes flocked to the bush, deserting mission
stations, villages, herds, and fields. Those few who dared not go were
there in spirit; all sympathized, if not with the Hau-Hau movement, at
least with Kingism. The archdeacon and his brethren of the holy calling
were at their wits’ ends. Not only did Christianity disappear:
civilization itself accompanied religion in her flight, and habits of
bloodshed and barbarity, unknown since the nominal renunciation of
idolatry, in a day returned. The fall was terrible, but it went to show
that the apparent success had been fictitious. The natives had built
mills and owned ships; they had learnt husbandry and cattle-breeding;
they had invested money, and put acre to acre, and house to house; but
their moral could hardly have kept pace with their material, or even
with their mental gains.

A magistrate, who knows the Maories well, told me that their
Christianity is only on the surface. He one day asked Maténé té Whiwhi,
a Ngatiraukawa chief, “Which would you soonest eat, Maténé--pork, beef,
or Ngatiapa?” Maténé answered, with a turn up of his eyes, “Ah! I‘m a
Christian!” “Never mind that to me, you know,” said the Englishman. “The
flesh of the Ngatiapa is sweet,” said Maténé, with a smack of the lips
that was distinctly audible. The settlers tell you that when the Maories
go to war, they use up their Bibles for gun-wadding, and then come on
the missionaries for a fresh supply.

The Polynesians, when Christianity is first presented to them, embrace
it with excitement and enthusiasm; the “new religion” spreads like
wildfire; the success of the teachers is amazing. A few years, however,
show a terrible change. The natives find that all white men are not
missionaries; that if one set of Englishmen deplore their
licentiousness, there are others to back them in it; that Christianity
requires self-restraint. As soon as the first flare of the new religion
is over it commences to decline, and in some cases it expires. The story
of Christianity in Hawaii, in Otaheite, and in New Zealand, has been
much the same: among the Tahitians it was crushed by the relapse of the
converts into extreme licentiousness; among the Maories it was put down
by the sudden rise of the Hau-Hau fanaticism. A return to a better state
of things has in each case followed, but the missionaries work now in a
depressed and saddened way, which contrasts sternly with the exultation
that inspired them before the fresh outbreak of the demon which they
believed they had exorcised. They reluctantly admit that the
Polynesians are fickle as well as gross; not only licentious, but
untrustworthy. There is, they will tell you, no country where it is so
easy to plant or so hard to maintain Christianity.

The Maori religion is that of all the Polynesians--a vague polytheism,
which in their poems seems now and then to approach to pantheism. The
forest glades, the mountain rocks, the stormy shores, all swarm with
fairy singers, and with throngs of gnomes and elves. The happy laughing
islanders have a heaven, but no hell in their mythology; of “sin” they
have no conception. Hau-Hauism is not a Polynesian creed, but a
political and religious system based upon the earlier books of the Old
Testament; even the cannibalism which was added was not of the Maori
kind. The Indians of Chili ate human flesh for pleasure and variety;
those of Virginia were cannibals only on state occasions, or in
religious ceremonials; but the Maories seem originally to have been
driven to man-eating by sheer want of food. Since Cook left pigs upon
the islands, the excuse has been wanting, and the practice has
consequently ceased. As revived by the Hau-Haus, the man-eating was of a
ceremonial nature, and, like the whole of the observances of the Hau-Hau
fanaticism, an inroad upon ancient Maori customs.

There is one great difference which severs the Maories from the other
Polynesians. In New Zealand caste is unknown; every Maori is a gentleman
or a slave. Chiefs are elected by the popular voice, not, indeed, by a
show of hands, but by a sort of general agreement of the tribe; but the
chief is a political, not a social superior. In the windy climate of New
Zealand men can push themselves to the front too surely by their energy
and toil, to remain socially in an inferior class. Caste is impossible
where the climate necessitates activity and work. The Maories, too, we
should remember, are an immigrant race; probably no high-caste men came
with them--all started from equal rank.

Like the Tongans, the Maories pay great reverence to their well-born
women; slave women are of no account. The Friendly Islanders exclude
both man and woman slave from the Future Life; but the Maori Rangatira
not only admits his followers to heaven, but his wife to council. A
Maori chief is as obedient to the warlike biddings, and as grateful for
the praising glance or smile of his betrothed, as a planter-cavalier of
Carolina, or a Cretan volunteer; and even the ladies of New Orleans
cannot have gone further than the wives of Hunia and Ihakara in spurring
on the men to war. The Maori Andromaches outdo their European sisters,
for they themselves proceed to battle, and animate their Hectors by
songs and shouts. Even the scepter of tribal rule--the greenstone
_meri_, or royal club--is often intrusted to them by their warrior
husbands, and used to lead the war-dance or the charge.

The delicacy of treatment shown by the Maories toward their women may go
far to account for the absence of contempt for the native race among the
English population. An Englishman‘s respect for the sex is terribly
shocked when he sees a woman staggering under the weight of the wigwam
and the children of a “brave,” who stalks behind her through the streets
of Austin, carrying his rifles and his pistols, but not another ounce,
unless in the shape of a thong with which to hasten the squaw‘s steps.
What wonder if the men who sit by smoking while their wives totter under
basketsful of mould on the boulevard works at Delhi are called lazy
scoundrels by the press of the Northwest, or if the Shoshonés, who eat
the bread of idleness themselves, and hire out their wives to the
Pacific Railroad Company, are looked upon as worse than dogs in Nevada,
where the thing is done? It is the New Zealand native‘s treatment of his
wife that makes it possible for an honest Englishman to respect or love
an honest Maori.

In general, the newspaper editors and idle talkers of the frontier
districts of a colony in savage lands speak with mingled ridicule and
contempt of the men with whom they daily struggle; at best, they see in
them no virtue but ferocious bravery. The Kansas and Colorado papers
call Indians “fiends,” “devils,” or dismiss them laughingly in peaceful
times as “bucks,” whose lives are worth, perhaps, a buffalo‘s, but who
are worthy of notice only as potential murderers or thieves. Such, too,
is the tone of the Australian press concerning the aboriginal
inhabitants of Queensland or Tasmania. Far otherwise do the New Zealand
papers speak of the Maori warriors. They may sometimes call them
grasping, overreaching traders, or underrate their capability of
receiving civilization of a European kind, but never do they affect to
think them less than men, or to advocate the employment toward them of
measures which would be repressed as infamous if applied to brutes. We
should, I think, see in this peculiarity of conduct, not evidence of the
existence in New Zealand of a spirit more catholic and tolerant toward
savage neighbors than that which the English race displays in Australia
or America, but rather a tribute to the superiority in virtue,
intelligence, and nobility of mind possessed by the Maori over the Red
Indian or the Australian Black.

It is not only in their treatment of their women that the Maories show
their chivalry. One of the most noble traits of this great people is
their habit of “proclaiming” the districts in which lies the cause of
war as the sole fighting-ground, and never touching their enemies,
however defenseless, when found elsewhere. European nations might take a
lesson from New Zealand Maories in this and other points.

The Maories are apt at learning, merry, and, unlike other Polynesians,
trustworthy, but also, unlike them, mercenary. At the time of the
Manawatu sale, old Aperahama used to write to Dr. Featherston almost
every day: “O Pétatoné, let the price of the block be £9,999,999 19_s._
9_d._,” the mysteries of eleven pence three farthings being far beyond
his comprehension. The Maories have, too, a royal magnificence in their
ideas of gifts and grants--witness té Héké‘s bid of 100,000 acres of
land for Governor Fitzroy‘s head, in answer to the offer, by the
governor, of a small price for his.

The praises of the Maories have been sung by so many writers, and in so
many keys, that it is necessary to keep it distinctly before us that
they are mere savages, though brave, shrewd men. There is an Eastern
civilization--that of China and Hindostan--distinct from that of Europe,
and ancient beyond all count; in this the Maories have no share. No true
Hindoo, no Arab, no Chinaman, has suffered change in one tittle of his
dress or manners from contact with the Western races; of this essential
conservatism there is in the New Zealand savage not a trace. William
Thompson, the Maori “king-maker,” used to dress as any Englishman;
Maories on board our ships wear the uniform of the able-bodied seamen;
Governor Hunia has ridden as a gentleman-rider in a steeple-chase,
equipped in jockey dress.

Savages though they be, in irregular warfare we are not their match. At
the end of 1865, we had of regulars and militia seventeen thousand men
under arms in the North Island of New Zealand, including no less than
twelve regiments of the line at their “war strength,” and yet our
generals were despondent as to their chance of finally defeating the
warriors of a people which--men, women, and children--numbered but
thirty thousand souls.

Men have sought far and wide for the reasons which led to our defeats in
the New Zealand wars. We were defeated by the Maories, as the Austrians
by the Prussians, and the French by the English in old times--because
the victors were the better men. Not the braver men, when both sides
were brave alike; not the stronger; not, perhaps, taking the average of
our officers and men, the more intelligent; but capable of quicker
movement, able to subsist on less, more crafty, more skilled in the
thousand tactics of the bush. Aided by their women, who, when need was,
themselves would lead the charge, and who at all times dug their
fern-root and caught their fish; marching where our regiments could not
follow, they had, as have the Indians in America, the choice of time and
place for their attacks, and while we were crawling about our military
roads upon the coast, incapable of traversing a mile of bush, the
Maories moved securely and secretly from one end to the other of the
island. Arms they had, ammunition they could steal, and blockade was
useless with enemies who live on fern-root. When they found that we
burnt their pahs, they ceased to build them; that was all. When we
brought up howitzers, they went where no howitzers could follow. It
should not be hard even for our pride to allow that such enemies were,
man for man, in their own lands our betters.

All nations fond of horses, it has been said, flourish and succeed. The
Maories love horses and ride well. All races that delight in sea are
equally certain to prosper, empirical philosophers will tell us. The
Maories own ships by the score, and serve as sailors whenever they get a
chance: as deep-sea fishermen they have no equals. Their fondness for
draughts shows mathematical capacity; in truthfulness they possess the
first of virtues. They are shrewd, thrifty; devoted friends, brave men.
With all this, they die.

“Can you stay the surf which beats on Wanganui shore?” say the Maories
of our progress; and, of themselves: “We are gone--like the _moa_.”



CHAPTER VI.

THE TWO FLIES.

    “As the Pakéha fly has driven out the Maori fly;
     As the Pakéha grass has killed the Maori grass;
     As the Pakéha rat has slain the Maori rat;
     As the Pakéha clover has starved the Maori fern,
     So will the Pakéha destroy the Maori.”


These are the mournful words of a well-known Maori song.

That the English daisy, the white clover, the common thistle, the
chamomile, the oat, should make their way rapidly in New Zealand, and
put down the native plants, is in no way strange. If the Maori grasses
that have till lately held undisturbed possession of the New Zealand
soil, require for their nourishment the substances A, B, and C, while
the English clover needs A, B, and D; from the nature of things A and B
will be the coarser earths or salts, existing in larger quantities, not
easily losing vigor and nourishing force, and recruiting their energies
from the decay of the very plant that feeds on them; but C and D will be
the more ethereal, the more easily destroyed or wasted substances. The
Maori grass, having sucked nearly the whole of C from the soil, is in a
weakly state, when in comes the English plant, and, finding an abundant
store of untouched D, thrives accordingly, and crushes down the Maori.

The positions of flies and grasses, of plants and insects, are, however,
not the same. Adapted by nature to the infinite variety of soils and
climates, there are an infinite number of different plants and animals;
but whereas the plant depends upon both soil and climate, the animal
depends chiefly upon climate, and little upon soil--except so far as his
home or his food themselves depend on soil. Now, while soil wears out,
climate does not. The climate in the long run remains the same, but
certain apparently trifling constituents of the soil will wholly
disappear. The result of this is, that while pigs may continue to thrive
in New Zealand forever and a day, Dutch clover (without manure) will
only last a given and calculable time.

The case of the flies is plain enough. The Maori and the English fly
live on the same food, and require about the same amount of warmth and
moisture: the one which is best fitted to the common conditions will
gain the day, and drive out the other. The English fly has had to
contend not only against other English flies, but against every fly of
temperate climates: we having traded with every land, and brought the
flies of every clime to England. The English fly is the best possible
fly of the whole world, and will naturally beat down and exterminate, or
else starve out, the merely provincial Maori fly. If a great singer--to
find whom for the London stage the world has been ransacked--should be
led by the foible of the moment to sing for gain in an unknown village,
where on the same night a rustic tenor was attempting to sing his best,
the London tenor would send the provincial supperless to bed. So it is
with the English and Maori fly.

Natural selection is being conducted by nature in New Zealand on a
grander scale than any we have contemplated, for the object of it here
is man. In America, in Australia, the white man shoots or poisons his
red or black fellow, and exterminates him through the workings of
superior knowledge; but in New Zealand it is peacefully, and without
extraordinary advantages, that the Pakéha beats his Maori brother.

That which is true of our animal and vegetable productions is true also
of our man. The English fly, grass, and man, they and their progenitors
before them, have had to fight for life against their fellows. The
Englishman, bringing into his country from the parts to which he trades
all manner of men, of grass seeds, and of insect germs, has filled his
land with every kind of living thing to which his soil or climate will
afford support. Both old inhabitants and interlopers have to maintain a
struggle which at once crushes and starves out of life every weakly
plant, man, or insect, and fortifies the race by continual buffetings.
The plants of civilized man are generally those which will grow best in
the greatest variety of soils and climates; but in any case, the English
fauna and flora are peculiarly fitted to succeed at our antipodes,
because the climates of Great Britain and New Zealand are almost the
same, and our men, flies, and plants--the “pick” of the whole
world--have not even to encounter the difficulties of acclimatization in
their struggle against the weaker growths indigenous to the soil.

Nature‘s work in New Zealand is not the same as that which she is
quickly doing in North America, in Tasmania, in Queensland. It is not
merely that a hunting and fighting people is being replaced by an
agricultural and pastoral people, and must farm or die: the Maori does
farm; Maori chiefs own villages, build houses, which they let to
European settlers; we have here Maori sheep-farmers, Maori ship-owners,
Maori mechanics, Maori soldiers, Maori rough-riders, Maori sailors, and
even Maori traders. There is nothing which the average Englishman can do
which the average Maori cannot be taught to do as cheaply and as well.
Nevertheless, the race dies out. The Red Indian dies because he cannot
farm; the Maori farms, and dies.

There are certain special features about this advance of the birds,
beasts, and men of Western civilization. When the first white man landed
in New Zealand, all the native quadrupeds save one, and nearly all the
birds and river-fishes, were extinct, though we have their bones, and
traditions of their existence. The Maories themselves were dying out.
The moa and dinoris were both gone; there were few insects, and no
reptiles. “The birds die because the Maories, their companions, die,” is
the native saying. Yet the climate is singularly good, and food for
beast and bird so plentiful that Captain Cook‘s pigs have planted
colonies of “wild boars” in every part of the islands, and English
pheasants have no sooner been imported than they have commenced to swarm
in every jungle. Even the Pakéha flea has come over in the ships, and
wonderfully has he thriven.

The terrible want of food for men that formerly characterized New
Zealand has had its effects upon the habits of the Maori race. Australia
has no native fruit trees worthy cultivation, although in the whole
world there is no such climate and soil for fruits; still, Australia has
kangaroos and other quadrupeds. The Ladrones were destitute of
quadrupeds, and of birds, except the turtle-dove; but in the warm damp
climate fruits grew, sufficient to support in comfort a dense
population. In New Zealand the windy cold of the winters causes a need
for something of a tougher fiber than the banana or the fern-root. There
being no native beasts, the want was supplied by human flesh, and war,
furnishing at once food and the excitement which the chase supplies to
peoples that have animals to hunt, became the occupation of the Maories.
Hence in some degree the depopulation of the land; but other causes
exist, by the side of which cannibalism is as nothing.

The British government has been less guilty than is commonly believed as
regards the destruction of the Maories. Since the original misdeed of
the annexation of the isles, we have done the Maories no serious wrong.
We recognized the claim of a handful of natives to the soil of a country
as large as Great Britain, of not one-hundredth part of which had they
ever made the smallest use; and, disregarding the fact that our
occupation of the coast was the very event that gave the land its value,
we have insisted on buying every acre from the tribe. Allowing title by
conquest to the Ngatiraukawa, as I saw at Parewanui Pah, we refuse to
claim even the lands we conquered from the “Kingites.”

The Maories have always been a village people, tilling a little land
round their pahs, but incapable of making any use of the great pastures
and wheat countries which they “own.” Had we at first constituted native
reserves, on the American system, we might, without any fighting, and
without any more rapid destruction of the natives than that which is
taking place, have gradually cleared and brought into the market nearly
the whole country, which now has to be purchased at enormous prices, and
at the continual risk of war.

As it is, the record of our dealings with the Queen‘s native subjects in
New Zealand has been almost free from stain, but if we have not
committed crimes, we have certainly not failed to blunder: our treatment
of William Thompson was at the best a grave mistake. If ever there lived
a patriot he was one, and through him we might have ruled in peace the
Maori race. Instead of receiving the simplest courtesy from a people
which in India showers honors upon its puppet kings and rajahs, he
underwent fresh insults each time that he entered an English town or met
a white magistrate or subaltern, and he died, while I was in the
colonies--according to Pakéha physicians, of liver complaint; according
to the Maories, of a broken heart.

At Parewanui and Otaki, I remarked that the half-breeds are fine
fellows, possessed of much of the nobility of both the ancestral races,
while the women are famed for grace and loveliness. In miscegenation it
would have seemed that there was a chance for the Maori, who, if
destined to die, would at least have left many of his best features of
body and mind to live in the mixed race, but here comes in the prejudice
of blood, with which we have already met in the case of the negroes and
Chinese. Morality has so far gained ground as greatly to check the
spread of permanent illegitimate connections with native women, while
pride prevents intermarriage. The numbers of the half-breeds are not
upon the increase: a few fresh marriages supply the vacancies that come
of death, but there is no progress, no sign of the creation of a
vigorous mixed race. There is something more in this than foolish pride,
however; there is a secret at the bottom at once of the cessation of
mixed marriages and of the dwindling of the pure Maori race, and it is
the utter viciousness of the native girls. The universal unchastity of
the unmarried women, “Christian” as well as heathen, would be sufficient
to destroy a race of gods. The story of the Maories is that of the
Tahitians, and is written in the decorations of every gate-post or
rafter in their pahs.

We are more distressed at the present and future of the Maories than
they are themselves. For all our greatness, we pity not the Maories more
profoundly than they do us when, ascribing our morality to calculation,
they bask in the sunlight, and are happy in their gracelessness. After
all, virtue and arithmetic come from one Greek root.



CHAPTER VII.

THE PACIFIC.


Closely resembling Great Britain in situation, size, and climate, New
Zealand is often styled by the colonists “The Britain of the South,” and
many affect to believe that her future is destined to be as brilliant as
has been the past of her mother country. With the exaggeration of phrase
to which the English New Zealanders are prone, they prophesy a marvelous
hereafter for the whole Pacific, in which New Zealand, as the carrying
and manufacturing country, is to play the foremost part, the Australias
following obediently in her train.

Even if the differences of Separatists, Provincialists, and Centralists
should be healed, the future prosperity of New Zealand is by no means
secure. Her gold yield is only about a fifth of that of California or
Victoria. Her area is not sufficient to make her powerful as an
agricultural or pastoral country, unless she comes to attract
manufactures and carrying trade from afar, and the prospect of New
Zealand succeeding in this effort is but small. Her rivers are almost
useless for manufacturing purposes owing to their floods; the timber
supply of all her forests is not equal to that of a single county in the
State of Oregon; her coal is inferior in quality to that of Vancouver
Island, in quantity to that of Chili, in both respects to that of New
South Wales. The harbors of New Zealand are upon the eastern coasts, but
the coal is chiefly upon the other side, where the river bars make trade
impossible.

The coal that has been found at the Bay of Islands is said to be
plentiful and of good quality, and may be made largely available for
steamers on the coast; the steel sand of Taranaki, smelted by the use of
petroleum, also found within the province, may become of value; her own
wool, too, New Zealand will doubtless one day manufacture into cloth and
blankets; but these are comparatively trifling matters: New Zealand may
become rich and populous without being the great power of the Pacific,
or even of the South.

The climate of the North Island is winterless, moist, and warm, and its
effects are already seen in a certain want of enterprise shown by the
government and settlers. I remarked that the mail steamers which leave
Wellington almost everyday are invariably “detained for dispatches:” it
looks as though the officers of the colonial or imperial government
commence to write their letters only when the hour for the sailing of
the ship has come. An Englishman visiting New Zealand was asked in my
presence how long his business at Wanganui would keep him in the town.
His answer was: “In London it would take me half an hour; so I suppose
about a week--about a week!”

In Java, and the other islands of the Indian archipelago, we find
examples of the effect of the supineness of dwellers in the tropics upon
the economic position of their countries. Many of the Indian isles
possess both coal and cheap labor, but have failed to become
manufacturing communities on a large scale only because the natives have
not the energy requisite for the direction of factories and workshops,
while European foremen have to be paid enormous wages, and, losing their
spirit in the damp, unchanging climate of the islands, soon become more
indolent than the natives.

The position of the various stores of coal in the Pacific is of extreme
importance as an index to the future distribution of power in that
portion of the world; but it is not enough to know where coal is to be
found without looking also to the quantity, quality, cheapness of labor,
and facility for transport. In China (in the Si Shan district) and in
Borneo, there are extensive coal fields, but they lie “the wrong way”
for trade. On the other hand, the Californian coal--at Monte Diablo, San
Diego, and Monterey--lies well, but is bad in quality. The Talcahuano
bed in Chili is not good enough for ocean steamers, but might be made
use of for manufactures, although Chili has but little iron. Tasmania
has good coal, but in no great quantity, and the beds nearest to the
coast are formed of inferior anthracite. The three countries of the
Pacific which must, for a time at least, rise to manufacturing
greatness, are Japan, Vancouver Island, and New South Wales, but which
of these will become wealthiest and most powerful depends mainly on the
amount of coal which they respectively possess so situated as to be
cheaply raised. The dearness of labor under which Vancouver suffers will
be removed by the opening of the Pacific Railroad, but for the present
New South Wales has the cheaper labor; and upon her shores at Newcastle
are abundant stores of a coal of good quality for manufacturing
purposes, although for sea use it burns “dirtily,” and too fast, the
colony possesses also ample beds of iron, copper, and lead. Japan, as
far as can be at present seen, stands before Vancouver and New South
Wales in almost every point: she has cheap labor, good climate,
excellent harbors, and abundant coal; cotton can be grown upon her soil,
and this, and that of Queensland, she can manufacture and export to
America and to the East. Wool from California and from the Australias
might be carried to her to be worked, and her rise to commercial
greatness has already commenced with the passage of a law allowing
Japanese workmen to take service with European capitalists in the
“treaty-ports.” Whether Japan or New South Wales is destined to become
the great wool-manufacturing country, it is certain that fleeces will
not long continue to be sent half round the world--from Australia to
England--to be worked, and then round the other half back from England
to Australia, to be sold as blankets.

The future of the Pacific shores is inevitably brilliant; but it is not
New Zealand, the center of the water hemisphere, which will occupy the
position that England has taken in the Atlantic, but some country such
as Japan or Vancouver, jutting out into the ocean from Asia or from
America, as England juts out from Europe. If New South Wales usurps the
position, it will be not from her geographical situation, but from the
manufacturing advantages she gains by the possession of vast mineral
wealth.

The political power of America in the Pacific appears predominant: the
Sandwich Islands are all but annexed, Japan all but ruled by her, while
the occupation of British Columbia is but a matter of time, and a Mormon
descent upon the Marquesas is already planned. The relations of America
and Australia will be the key to the future of the South.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the 26th of December I left New Zealand for Australia.



APPENDIX.

A MAORI DINNER.


For those who would make trial of Maori dishes, here is a native
bill-of-fare, such as can be imitated in the South of England:

  HAKARI MAORI--A MAORI FEAST.

  _BILL-OF-FARE._

  SOUP.

  KOTA KOTA               Any shell-fish.

  FISH.

  INANGA           Whitebait (boiled in milk, with leeks).
  PIHARAU          Lamprey (stewed).
  TUNA             Eels (steamed).

  MADE-DISHES.

  PUKÉKO             Moor-hen (steamed).
  KOURA              Craw-fish (boiled).
  TUI TUI            Thrush (roast).
  KÉRÉRU             Pigeon (baked in clay).

  ROAST.

  POOKA              Pork (_short_ pig).

  GAME.

  PARÉRA             Wild Duck (roasted on embers).

  VEGETABLES.

  PAUKÉNA                  Pumpkin.
  KAMU KAMU                Vegetable Marrow.
  KAPUTI                   Cabbage (steamed).
  KUMATA                   Sweet Potatoes.

  SWEETS.

  TATARAMOA            Cranberries (steamed).
  TANA                 Damsons (steamed with sugar).

  DESSERT.

  KARAMU                    Currants.


  PIKAKARIKA, _Dec._ 1866.

END OF VOL. I.



GREATER BRITAIN.

_A RECORD OF TRAVEL_

IN

ENGLISH-SPEAKING COUNTRIES

DURING 1866-7.

BY

CHARLES WENTWORTH DILKE.

VOL. II.

WITH MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS.

[Illustration]

PHILADELPHIA:

J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.

LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO.

1869.



PART III.

AUSTRALIA.



GREATER BRITAIN.



CHAPTER I.

SYDNEY.


At early light on Christmas-day, I put off from shore in one of those
squalls for which Port Nicholson, the harbor of Wellington, is famed. A
boat which started from the ship at the same time as mine from the land,
was upset, but in such shallow water that the passengers were saved,
though they lost a portion of their baggage. As we flew toward the mail
steamer, the _Kaikoura_, the harbor was one vast sheet of foam, and
columns of spray were being whirled in the air, and borne away far
inland upon the gale. We had placed at the helm a post-office clerk, who
said that he could steer, but, as we reached the steamer‘s side, instead
of luffing-up, he suddenly put the helm hard a-weather, and we shot
astern of her, running violently before the wind, although our
treble-reefed sail was by this time altogether down. A rope was thrown
us from a coal hulk, and, catching it, we were soon on board, and spent
our Christmas walking up and down her deck on the slippery black dust,
and watching the effects of the gale. After some hours the wind
moderated, and I reached the _Kaikoura_ just before she sailed. While we
were steaming out of the harbor through the boil of waters that marks
the position of the submarine crater, I found that there was but one
other passenger for Australia to share with me the services of ten
officers and ninety men, and the accommodations of a ship of 1500 tons.
“Serious preparations and a large ship for a mere voyage from one
Australasian colony to another,” I felt inclined to say, but during the
voyage and my first week in New South Wales I began to discover that in
England we are given over to a singular delusion as to the connection of
New Zealand and Australia.

Australasia is a term much used at home to express the whole of our
Antipodean possessions; in the colonies themselves the name is almost
unknown, or, if used, is meant to embrace Australia and Tasmania, not
Australia and New Zealand. The only reference to New Zealand, except in
the way of foreign news, that I ever found in an Australian paper, was a
congratulatory paragraph on the amount of the New Zealand debt; the only
allusion to Australia that I ever detected in the Wellington
_Independent_ was in a glance at the future of the colony, in which the
editor predicted the advent of a time when New Zealand would be a great
naval nation, and her fleet engaged in bombarding Melbourne, or levying
a contribution upon Sydney.

New Zealand, though a change for the better is at hand, has hitherto
been mainly an aristocratic country; New South Wales and Victoria mainly
democratic. Had Australia and New Zealand been close together, instead
of as far apart as Africa and South America, there could have been no
political connection between them so long as the traditions of their
first settlement endured.

Not only is the name “Australasia” politically meaningless, but
geographically incorrect, for New Zealand and Australia are as
completely separated from each other as Great Britain and Massachusetts.
No promontory of Australia runs out to within 1000 miles of any New
Zealand cape; the distance between Sydney and Wellington is 1400 miles;
from Sydney to Auckland about the same. The distance from the nearest
point of New Zealand of Tasman‘s peninsula, which itself projects
somewhat from Tasmania, is greater than that of London from Algiers:
from Wellington to Sydney, opposite ports, is as far as from Manchester
to Iceland, or from Africa to Brazil.

The sea that lies between the two great countries of the south is not,
like the Central or North Pacific, a sea bridged with islands, ruffled
with trade winds, favorable to sailing ships, or overspread with a calm
that permits the presence of light-draught paddle steamers. The seas
which separate Australia from New Zealand are cold, bottomless, without
islands, torn by Arctic currents, swept by polar gales, and traversed in
all weathers by a mountainous swell. After the gale of Christmas-day we
were blessed with a continuance of light breezes on our way to Sydney,
but never did we escape the long rolling hills of seas that seemed to
surge up from the Antarctic pole: our screw was as often out of as in
the water; and in a fast new ship we could scarcely average nine knots
an hour throughout the day. The ship which had brought the last
Australian mail to Wellington before we sailed was struck by a sea which
swept her from stem to stern, and filled her cabin two feet deep, and
this in December, which here is midsummer, and answers to our July. Not
only is the intervening ocean wide and cold, but New Zealand presents to
Australia a rugged coast guarded by reefs and bars, and backed by a
snowy range, while she turns toward Polynesia and America all her ports
and bays.

No two countries in the world are so wholly distinct as Australia and
New Zealand. The islands of New Zealand are inhabited by Polynesians,
the Australian continent by negroes. New Zealand is ethnologically
nearer to America, Australia to Africa, than New Zealand to Australia.

If we turn from ethnology to scenery and climate, the countries are
still more distinct. New Zealand is one of the groups of volcanic
islands that stud the Pacific throughout its whole extent; tremendous
cliffs surround it on almost every side; a great mountain chain runs
through both islands from north to south; hot springs abound, often
close to glaciers and eternal snows; earthquakes are common, and active
volcanoes not unknown. The New Zealand climate is damp and windy; the
land is covered in most parts with a tangled jungle of tree-ferns,
creepers, and parasitic plants; water never fails, and, though winter is
unknown, the summer heat is never great; the islands are always green.
Australia has for the most part flat, yellow, sun-burnt shores; the soil
may be rich, the country good for wheat and sheep, but to the eye it is
an arid plain; the winters are pleasant, but in the hot weather the
thermometer rises higher in the interior than it does in India, and dust
storms and hot winds sweep the land from end to end. It is impossible to
conceive countries more unlike each other than are our two great
dominions of the south. Their very fossils are as dissimilar as are
their flora and fauna of our time.

At the dawn of the first day of the new year, we sighted the rocks where
the _Duncan Dunbar_ was lost with all hands, and a few minutes afterward
were boarded by the crew engaged by the Sydney _Morning Herald_, who
had been lying at “The Heads” all night, to intercept and telegraph our
news into the city. The pilot and regular news-boat hailed us a little
later, when we had fired a gun. The contrast between this Australian
energy and the supineness of the New Zealanders was striking, but not
more so than that between my first view of Australia and my last view of
New Zealand. Six days earlier I had lost sight of the snowy peak of
Mount Egmont, graceful as the Cretan Iva, while we ran before a strong
breeze, in the bright English sunlight of the New Zealand afternoon; the
albatrosses screaming around our stern: to-day, as we steamed up Port
Jackson, toward Sydney Cove, in the dead stillness that follows a night
of oven-like heat, the sun rose flaming red in a lurid sky, and struck
down upon brown earth, yellow grass, and the thin shadeless foliage of
the Australian bush; while, as we anchored, the ceaseless chirping of
the crickets in the grass and trees struck harshly on the ear.

The harbor, commercially the finest in the world, is not without a
singular beauty if seen at the best time. By the “hot-wind sunrise,” as
I first saw it, the heat and glare destroy the feeling of repose which
the endless succession of deep, sheltered coves would otherwise convey;
but seen from shore in the afternoon, when the sea-breeze has sprung up,
turning the sky from red to blue, all is changed. From a neck of land
that leads out to the Government House, you catch a glimpse of an arm of
the bay on either side, rippled with the cool wind, intensely blue, and
dotted with white sails; the brightness of the colors that the
sea-breeze brings almost atones for the wind‘s unhealthiness.

In the upper portion of the town the scene is less picturesque; the
houses are of the commonplace English ugliness, worst of all possible
forms of architectural imbecility, and built, too, as though for English
fogs, instead of semi-tropical heat and sun. Water is not to be had, and
the streets are given up to clouds of dust, while not a single
shade-tree breaks the rays of the almost vertical sun.

The afternoon of New Year‘s day I spent at the “Midsummer Meeting” of
the Sydney Jockey Club, on the race-course near the city, and found a
vast crowd of holiday-makers assembled on the bare red earth that did
duty for “turf,” although there was a hot wind blowing, and the
thermometer stood at 103° in the shade. For my conveyance to the
race-course I trusted to one of the Australian hansom cabs, made with
open fixed Venetian blinds on either side, so as to allow a free draught
of air.

The ladies in the grand stand were scarcely to be distinguished from
Englishwomen in dress or countenance, but the crowd presented several
curious types. The fitness of the term “cornstalks,” applied to the
Australian-born boys, was made evident by a glance at their height and
slender build; they have plenty of activity and health, but are wanting
in power and weight. The girls, too, are slight and thin; delicate,
without being sickly. Grown men who have emigrated as lads and lived ten
or fifteen years in New Zealand, eating much meat, spending their days
in the open air, constantly in the saddle, are burly, bearded, strapping
fellows, physically the perfection of the English race, but wanting in
refinement and grace of mind, and this apparently constitutionally, not
through the accident of occupation or position. In Australia there is
promise of a more intellectual nation: the young Australians ride as
well, shoot as well, swim as well, as the New Zealanders, are as little
given to book-learning, but there is more shrewd intelligence, more wit
and quickness, in the sons of the larger continent. The Australians
boast that they possess the Grecian climate, and every young face in the
Sydney crowd showed me that their sky is not more like that of the
Peloponnesus than they are like the old Athenians. The eager burning
democracy that is springing up in the Australian great towns is as
widely different from the republicanism of the older States of the
American Union as it is from the good-natured conservatism of New
Zealand, and their high capacity for personal enjoyment would of itself
suffice to distinguish the Australians from both Americans and British.
Large as must be the amount of convict blood in New South Wales, there
was no trace of it in the faces of the persons present upon the
race-course. The inhabitants of colonies which have never received felon
immigrants often cry out that Sydney is a convict city, but the
prejudice is not borne out by the countenances of the inhabitants, nor
by the records of local crime. The black stain has not yet wholly
disappeared: the streets of Sydney are still a greater disgrace to
civilization than are even those of London; but, putting the lighter
immoralities aside, security for life and property is not more perfect
in England than in New South Wales. The last of the bushrangers were
taken while I was in Sydney.

The race-day was followed by a succession of hot winds, during which
only the excellence of the fruit-market made Sydney endurable. Not only
are the English fruits to be found, but plantains, guavas, oranges,
loquats, pomegranates, pine-apples from Brisbane, figs of every kind,
and the delicious passion-fruit; and if the gum-tree forests yield no
shady spots for picnics, they are not wanting among the rocks at Botany,
or in the luxuriant orange-groves of Paramatta.

A Christmas week of heat such as Sydney has seldom known was brought to
a close by one of the heaviest southerly storms on record. During the
stifling morning, the telegraph had announced the approach of a gale
from the far south, but in the early afternoon the heat was more
terrible than before, when suddenly the sky was dark with whirling
clouds, and a cold blast swept through the streets, carrying a fog of
sand, breaking roofs and windows, and dashing to pieces many boats. When
the gale ceased, some three hours later, the sand was so deep in houses
that here and there men‘s feet left footprints on the stairs.

Storms of this kind, differing only one from another in violence, are
common in the hot weather: they are known as “southerly bursters;” but
the earlier settlers called them “brickfielders,” in the belief that the
dust they brought was whirled up from the kilns and brickfields to the
south of Sydney. The fact is that the sand is carried along for one or
two hundred miles, from the plains in Dampier and Auckland counties; for
the Australian “burster” is one with the Punjaub dust-storm, and the
dirt-storm of Colorado.



CHAPTER II.

RIVAL COLONIES.


New South Wales, born in 1788, and Queensland in 1859, the oldest and
youngest of our Australian colonies, stand side by side upon the map,
and have a common frontier of 700 miles.

The New South Welsh look with some jealousy upon the more recently
founded States. Upon the brilliant prosperity of Victoria they look
doubtingly, and, ascribing it merely to the gold fields, talk of
“shoddy;” but of Queensland--an agricultural country, with larger tracts
of rich lands than they themselves possess--the Sydney folks are not
without reason envious.

A terrible depression is at present pervading trade and agriculture in
New South Wales. Much land near Sydney has gone out of cultivation;
labor is scarce, and the gold discoveries in the neighboring colonies,
by drawing off the surplus population, have made harvest labor
unattainable. Many properties have fallen to one-third their former
value, and the colony--a wheat-growing country--is now importing wheat
and flour to the value of half a million sterling every year.

The depressed condition of affairs is the result, partly of commercial
panics following a period of inflation, partly of bad seasons, now
bringing floods, now drought and rust, and partly of the discouragement
of immigration by the colonial democrats--a policy which, however
beneficial to Australia it may in the long run prove, is for the moment
ruinous to the sheep-farmers and to the merchants in the towns. On the
other hand, the laborers for their part assert that the arrivals of
strangers--at all events, of skilled artisans--are still excessive, and
that all the ills of the colony are due to over-immigration and free
trade.

To a stranger, the rush of population and outpour of capital from
Sydney, first toward Victoria, but now to Queensland and New Zealand,
appear to be the chief among the causes of the momentary decline of New
South Wales. Of immigrants there is at once an insufficient and an
over-great supply. Respectable servant-girls, carpenters, masons,
blacksmiths, plasterers, and the like, do well in the colonies, and are
always wanted; of clerks, governesses, iron-workers, and the skilled
hands of manufacturers, there is almost always an over-supply. By a
perverse fate, these latter are just the immigrants of whom thousands
seek the colonies every year, in spite of the daily publication in
England of dissuading letters.

As the rivalry of the neighbor-colonies lessens in the lapse of time,
the jealousy that exists between them will doubtless die away, but it
seems as though it will be replaced by a political divergence, and
consequent aversion, which will form a fruitful source of danger to the
Australian confederation.

[Illustration]

In Queensland the great tenants of crown lands, “squatters,” as they are
called, sheep-farmers holding vast tracts of inland country, are in
possession of the government, and administer the laws to their own
advantage. In New South Wales power is divided between the pastoral
tenants on the one hand, and the democracy of the towns upon the other.
In Victoria the democrats have beaten down the squatters, and in the
interests of the people put an end to their reign; but the
sheep-farmers of Queensland and of the interior districts of New South
Wales, ignoring wells, assert that the “up-country desert” or “unwatered
tracts” can never be made available for agriculture, while the democracy
of the coast point to the fact that the same statements were made only a
few years back of lands now bearing a prosperous population of
agricultural settlers.

The struggle between the great crown tenants and the agricultural
democracy in Victoria, already almost over, in New South Wales can be
decided only in one way, but in Queensland the character of the country
is not entirely the same: the coast and river tracts are tropical
bush-lands, in which sheep-farming is impossible, and in which sugar,
cotton, and spices alone can be made to pay. To the copper, gold, hides,
tallow, wool, which have hitherto formed the stereotyped list of
Australian exports, the Northern colony has already added ginger,
arrowroot, tobacco, coffee, sugar, cotton, cinnamon, and quinine.

The Queenslanders have not yet solved the problem of the settlement of a
tropical country by Englishmen, and of its cultivation by English hands.
The future, not of Queensland merely, but of Mexico, of Ceylon, of every
tropical country, of our race, of free government itself, are all at
stake; but the success of the experiment that has been tried between
Brisbane and Rockampton has not been great. The colony, indeed, has
prospered much, quadrupling its population and trebling its exports and
revenue in six years, but it is the Darling Downs, and other table-land
sheep countries, or, on the other hand, the Northern gold fields, which
are the main cause of the prosperity; and in the sugar and cotton
culture of the coast, colored labor is now almost exclusively employed,
with the usual effect of degrading field-work in the eyes of European
settlers, and of forcing upon the country a form of society of the
aristocratic type.

It is possible that just as New England has of late forbidden to
Louisiana the importation of Chinamen to work her sugar fields, just as
the Kansas radicals have declared that they will not recognize the
Bombay Hammal as a brother, just as the Victorians have refused to allow
the further reception of convicts by West Australia, separated from
their territories by 1000 miles of desert, so the New South Welsh and
Victorians combined may at least protest against the introduction of a
mixed multitude of Bengalees, Chinamen, South Sea Islanders, and Malays,
to cultivate the Queensland coast plantations. If, however, the other
colonies permit their Northern sister to continue in her course of
importing dark-skinned laborers, to form a peon population, a few years
will see her a wealthy cotton and sugar-growing country, with all the
vices of a slaveholding government, though without the name of slavery.
The planters of the coast and villages, united with the squatters of the
table-lands or “Downs,” will govern Queensland, and render union with
the free colonies impossible, unless great gold discoveries take place,
and save the country to Australia.

Were it not for the pride of race that everywhere shows itself in the
acts of English settlers, there might be a bright side to the political
future of Queensland colony. The colored laborers at present introduced,
industrious Tongans, and active Hill-coolies from Hindostan, laborious,
sober, and free from superstition, should not only be able to advance
the commercial fortunes of Queensland as they have those of the
Mauritius, but eventually to take an equal share in free government
with their white employers. To avoid the gigantic evil of the
degradation of hand labor, which has ruined morally as well as
economically the Southern States of the American republic, the Indian,
Malay, and Chinese laborers should be tempted to become members of
landholding associations. A large spice and sugar-growing population in
Northern Queensland would require a vast agricultural population in the
south to feed it, and the two colonies, hitherto rivals, might grow up
as sister countries, each depending upon the other for the supply of
half its needs. It is, however, worthy of notice that the agreements of
the Queensland planters with the imported dark-skinned field-hands
provide only for the payment of wages _in goods_, at the rates of 6_s._
to 10_s._ a month. The “goods” consist of pipes, tobacco, knives, and
beads. Judging from the experience of California and Ceylon, there can
be little hope of the general admission of colored men to equal rights
by English settlers, and the Pacific islands offer so tempting a field
to the kidnapping commanders of colonial “island schooners,” that there
is much fear that Queensland may come to show us not merely
semi-slavery, but peonage of that worst of kinds, in which it is cheaper
to work the laborer to death than to “breed” him.

Such is the present rapidity of the growth and rise to power of tropical
Queensland, such the apparent poverty of New South Wales, that were the
question merely one between the Sydney wheat-growers and the
cotton-planters of Brisbane and Rockampton, the subtropical settlers
would be as certain of the foremost position in any future confederation
as they were in America when the struggle lay only between the Carolinas
and New England. As it is, just as America was first saved by the coal
of Pennsylvania and Ohio, Australia will be saved by the coal of New
South Wales. Queensland possesses some small stores of coal, but the
vast preponderance of acreage of the great power of the future is on the
side of the free settlers of the cooler climate, at Newcastle, in New
South Wales.

On my return from a short voyage to the north, I visited the coal field
of New South Wales at Newcastle, on the Hunter. The beds are of vast
extent, they lie upon the banks of a navigable river, and so near to the
surface that the best qualities are raised, in a country of dear labor,
at 8_s._ or 9_s._ the ton, and delivered on board ship for 12_s._ For
manufacturing purposes the coal is perfect; for steamship use it is,
though somewhat “dirty,” a serviceable fuel; and copper and iron are
found in close proximity to the beds. The Newcastle and Port Jackson
fields open a singularly brilliant future to Sydney in these times, when
coal is king in a far higher degree than was ever cotton. To her black
beds the colony will owe not only manufactures, bringing wealth and
population, but that leisure which is begotten of wealth--leisure that
brings culture, and love of harmony and truth.

Manufactories are already springing up in the neighborhood of Sydney,
adding to the whirl and the bustle of the town, and adding, too, to its
enormous population, already disproportionate to that of the colony in
which it stands. As the depot for much of the trade of Queensland and
New Zealand, and as the metropolis of pleasure to which the wealthy
squatters pour from all parts of Australia, to spend, rapidly enough,
their hard-won money, Sydney would in any case have been a populous
city; but the barrenness of the country in which it stands has, until
the recent opening of the railroads, tended still further to increase
its size, by failing to tempt into country districts the European
immigrants. The Irish in Sydney form a third of the whole population,
yet hardly one of these men but meant to settle upon land when he left
his native island.

In France there is a tendency to migrate to Paris, in Austria a
continual drain toward Vienna, in England toward London. A corresponding
tendency is observable throughout Australia and America. Immigrants hang
about New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Sydney, Melbourne; and, finding
that they can scrape a living in these large cities with toil somewhat
less severe than that which would be needed to procure them a decent
livelihood in the bush, the unthrifty as well as the dissipated throng
together in densely-populated “bad quarters” in these cities, and render
the first quarter of New York and the so-called “Chinese” quarter of
Melbourne a danger to the colonies, and an insult to the civilization of
the world.

In the case of Australia this concentration of population is becoming
more remarkable day by day. Even under the system of free selection, by
which the legislature has attempted to encourage agricultural
settlement, the moment a free selector can make a little money he comes
to one of the capitals to spend it. Sydney is the city of pleasure, to
which the wealthy Queensland squatters resort to spend their money,
returning to the north for fresh supplies only when they cannot afford
another day of dissipation, while Melbourne receives the outpour of
Tasmania.

The rushing to great cities the moment there is money to be spent,
characteristic of the settlers in all these colonies, is much to be
regretted, and presents a sad contrast to the quiet stay-at-home habits
of American farmers. Everything here is fever and excitement;--as in
some systems of geometry, motion is the primary, rest the derived idea.
New South Welshmen tell you that this unquiet is peculiar to Victoria;
to a new-comer it seems as rife in Sydney as in Melbourne.

Judging from the colonial government reports, which immigrants are
conjured by the inspectors to procure and read, and which are printed in
a cheap form for the purpose, the New South Welsh can hardly wish to
lure settlers into “the bush,” for in one of these documents, published
while I was in Sydney, the curator of the museum reported that he never
went more than twelve miles from the city, but that within that circuit
he found seventeen distinct species of land snakes, two of sea snakes,
thirty of lizards, and sixteen of frogs--seventy-eight species of
reptiles rewarded him in all. The seventeen species of land snakes found
by him within the suburbs were named by the curator in a printed list;
it commenced with the pale-headed snake, and ended with the death-adder.



CHAPTER III.

VICTORIA.


The smallest of our southern colonies except Tasmania,--one-fourth the
size of New South Wales, one-eighth of Queensland, one-twelfth of West
Australia, one-fifteenth of South Australia,--Victoria is the wealthiest
of the Australian nations, and, India alone excepted, has the largest
trade of any of the dependencies of Great Britain.

When Mr. Fawkner‘s party landed in 1835 upon the Yarra banks, mooring
their boat to the forest trees, they formed a settlement upon a grassy
hill behind a marsh, and began to pasture sheep where Melbourne, the
capital, now stands. In twenty years, Melbourne became the largest city
but one in the southern hemisphere, having 150,000 people within her
limits or those of the suburban towns. Victoria has grander public
buildings in her capital, larger and more costly railroads, a greater
income, and a heavier debt than any other colony, and she pays to her
governor £10,000 a year, or one-fourth more than even New South Wales.

When looked into, all this success means gold. There is industry, there
is energy, there is talent, there is generosity and public spirit, but
they are the abilities and virtues that gold will bring, in bringing a
rush from all the world of dashing fellows in the prime of life. The
progress of Melbourne is that of San Francisco; it is the success of
Kokitika on a larger scale, and refined and steadied by having lasted
through some years--the triumph of a population which has hitherto
consisted chiefly of adult males.

Sydney people, in their jealousy of the Victorians, refuse to admit even
that the superior energy of the Melbourne men is a necessary consequence
of their having been the pride of the spirited youths of all the world,
brought together by the rush for gold. At the time of the first “find”
in 1851, all the resolute, able, physically strong do-noughts of Europe
and America flocked into Port Phillip, as Victoria was then called, and
such timid and weak men as came along with them being soon crowded out,
the men of energy and tough vital force alone remained.

Some of the New South Welsh, shutting their eyes to the facts connected
with the gold-rush, assert so loudly that the Victorians are the refuse
of California, or “Yankee scum,” that when I first landed in Melbourne
I expected to find street-cars, revolvers, big hotels, and fire-clubs,
euchre, caucusses, and mixed drinks. I could discover nothing American
about Melbourne except the grandeur of the public buildings and the
width of the streets, and its people are far more thoroughly British
than are the citizens of the rival capital. In many senses Melbourne is
the London, Sydney the Paris, of Australia.

About the surpassing vigor of the Victorians there can be no doubt; a
glance at the map shows the Victorian railways stretching to the Murray,
while those of New South Wales are still boggling at the Green Hills,
fifty miles from Sydney. Melbourne, the more distant port, has carried
off the Australian trade with the New Zealand gold fields from Sydney,
the nearer port. Melbourne imports Sydney shale, and makes from it
mineral oil, before the Sydney people have found out its value; and gas
in Melbourne is cheaper than in Sydney, though the Victorians are
bringing their coal five hundred miles, from a spot only fifty miles
from Sydney.

It is possible that the secret of the superior energy of the Victorians
may be, not in the fact that they are more American, but more English,
than the New South Welsh. The leading Sydney people are mainly the sons
or grandsons of original settlers, “cornstalks” reared in the
semi-tropical climate of the coast; the Victorians are full-blooded
English immigrants, bred in the more rugged climes of Tasmania, Canada,
or Great Britain, and brought only in their maturity to live in the
exhilarating air of Melbourne, the finest climate in the world for
healthy men: Melbourne is hotter than Sydney, but its climate is never
tropical. The squatters on the Queensland downs, mostly immigrants from
England, show the same strong vitality that the Melbourne men
possess; but their brother immigrants in Brisbane--the Queensland
capital, where the afternoon languid breeze resembles that of
Sydney--are as incapable of prolonged exertion as are the Sydney
“cornstalks.”

[Illustration: THE OLD AND THE NEW. BUSH SCENERY.]

[Illustration: COLLINS STREET EAST, MELBOURNE.--P. 24.]

Whatever may be the causes of the present triumph of Melbourne over
Sydney, the inhabitants of the latter city are far from accepting it as
likely to be permanent. They cannot but admit the present glory of what
they call the “Mushroom City.” The magnificent pile of the new
Post-office, the gigantic Treasury (which, when finished, will be larger
than our own in London), the University, the Parliament-house, the Union
and Melbourne Clubs, the City Hall, the Wool Exchange, the viaducts upon
the government railroad lines,--all are Cyclopean in their architecture,
all seem built as if to last forever; still, they say that there is a
certain want of permanence about the prosperity of Victoria. When the
gold discovery took place, in 1851, such trade sprang up that the
imports of the colony jumped from one million to twenty-five millions
sterling in three years; but, although she is now commencing to ship
breadstuffs to Great Britain, exports and imports alike show a steady
decrease. Considerably more than half of the hand-workers of the colony
are still engaged in gold-mining, and nearly half the population is
resident upon the gold fields; yet the yield shows, year by year, a
continual decline. Had it not been for the discoveries in New Zealand,
which have carried off the floating digger population, and for the wise
discouragement by the democrats of the monopolization of the land, there
would have been distress upon the gold fields during the last few years.
The Victorian population is already nearly stationary, and the squatters
call loudly for assisted immigration and free trade, but the stranger
sees nothing to astonish him in the temporary stagnation that attends a
decreasing gold production.

The exact economical position that Victoria occupies is easily
ascertained, for her statistics are the most perfect in the world; the
arrangement is a piece of exquisite mosaic. The brilliant statistician
who fills the post of registrar-general to the colony, had the immense
advantage of starting clear of all tradition, unhampered and unclogged;
and, as the governments of the other colonies have of the last few years
taken Victoria for model, a gradual approach is being made to uniformity
of system. It was not too soon, for British colonial statistics are apt
to be confusing. I have seen a list of imposts, in which one class
consisted of ale, aniseed, arsenic, assafœtida, and astronomical
instruments; boots, bullion, and salt butter; capers, cards, caraway
seed; gauze, gin, glue, and gloves; maps and manure; philosophical
instruments and salt pork; sandal-wood, sarsaparilla, and smoked
sausages. Alphabetical arrangement has charms for the official mind.

Statistics are generally considered dull enough, but the statistics of
these young countries are figure-poems. Tables that in England contrast
jute with hemp, or this man with that man, here compare the profits of
manufactures with those of agriculture, or pit against each other, the
powers of race and race.

Victoria is the only country in existence which possesses a statistical
history from its earliest birth; but, after all, even Victoria falls
short of Minnesota, where the settlers founded the “State Historical
Society” a week before the foundation of the State.

Gold, wheat, sheep, are the three great staples of Victoria, and have
each its party, political and commercial--diggers, agricultural
settlers, and squatters--though of late the diggers and the landed
democracy have made common cause against the squatters. Gold can now be
studied best at Ballarat, and wheat at Clunes, or upon the Barrabool
hills behind Geelong; but I started first for Echuca, the headquarters
of the squatter interest, and metropolis of sheep, taking upon my way
Kyneton, one of the richest agricultural districts of the colony, and
also the once famous gold diggings of Bendigo Creek.

Between Melbourne and Kyneton, where I made my first halt, the railway
runs through undulating lightly-timbered tracks, free from underwood,
and well grassed. By letting my eyes persuade me that the burnt-up
herbage was a ripening crop of wheat or oats, I found a likeness to the
views in the weald of Sussex, though the foliage of the gums, or
eucalypti, is thinner than that of the English oaks.

Riding from Kyneton to Carlsruhe, Pastoria, and the foot hills of the
“Dividing Range,” I found the agricultural community busily engaged upon
the harvest, and much excited upon the great thistle question. Women and
tiny children were working in the fields, while the men were at Kyneton,
trying in vain to hire the harvest hands from Melbourne at less than £2
10_s._ or £3 a week and board. The thistle question was not less
serious; the “thistle inspectors,” elected under the “Thistle Prevention
Act,” had commenced their labors, and although each man agreed with his
friend that his neighbor‘s thistles were a nuisance, still he did not
like being fined for not weeding out his own. The fault, they say, lies
in the climate; it is too good, and the English seeds have thriven.
Great as was the talk of thistles, the fields in the fertile Kyneton
district were as clean as in a well-kept English farm, and showed the
clearest signs of the small farmer‘s personal care.

Every one of the agricultural villages in Australia that I visited was a
full-grown municipality. The colonial English, freed from the checks
which are put by interested landlords to local government in Britain,
have passed in all the settlements laws under which any village must be
raised into a municipality on fifty of the villagers (the number varies
in the different colonies) signing a requisition, unless within a given
time a larger number sign a petition to the contrary effect.

After a short visit to the bustling digging town of Castlemaine, I
pushed on by train to Sandhurst, a town of great pretensions, which
occupies the site of the former digging camp at Bendigo. On a level part
of the line between the two great towns, my train dashed through some
closed gates, happily without hurt. The _Melbourne Argus_ of the next
day said that the crash had been the result of the signalman taking the
fancy that the trains should wait on him, not he upon the trains, so he
had “closed the gates, hoisted the danger signal, and adjourned to a
neighboring store to drink.” On my return from Echuca, I could not find
that he had been dismissed.

When hands are scarce, and lives valuable not to the possessor only, but
to the whole community, care to avoid accidents might be expected; but
there is a certain recklessness in all young countries, and not even in
Kansas is it more observable than in Victoria and New South Wales.

Sandhurst, like Castlemaine, straggles over hill and dale for many
miles, the diggers following the gold-leads, and building a suburb by
each alluvial mine, rather than draw their supplies from the central
spot. The extent of the worked-out gold field struck me as greater than
the fields round Placerville, but then in California many of the old
diggings are hidden by the vines.

In Sandhurst I could find none of the magnificent restaurants of
Virginia City; none of the gambling saloons of Hokitika; and the only
approach to gayety among the diggers was made in a drinking-hall, where
some dozen red-shirted, bearded men were dancing by turns with four
well-behaved and quiet-looking German girls, who were paid, the
constable at the gate informed me, by the proprietor of the booth. My
hotel--“The Shamrock”--kept by New York Irish, was a thoroughly American
house; but, then, digger civilization is everywhere American--a fact
owing, no doubt, to the American element having been predominant in the
first-discovered diggings--those of California.

Digger revolts must have been feared when the Sandhurst Government
Reserve was surrounded with a ditch strangely like a moat, and palings
that bear an ominous resemblance to a Maori pah. In the morning I found
my way through the obstructions, and discovered the police station, and
in it the resident magistrate, to whom I had a letter. He knew nothing
of “Gumption Dick,” Hank Monk‘s friend, but he introduced me to his
intelligent Chinese clerk, and told me many things about the yellow
diggers. The bad feeling between the English diggers and the Chinese has
not in the least died out. Upon the worked-out fields of Castlemaine and
Sandhurst, the latter have things their own way, and I saw hundreds of
them washing quietly and quickly in the old Bendigo Creek, finding an
ample living in the leavings of the whites. So successful have they been
that a few Europeans have lately been taking to their plan, and an old
Frenchman who died here lately, and who, from his working persistently
in worn-out fields, had always been thought to be a harmless idiot, left
behind him a fortune of twenty thousand pounds, obtained by washing in
company with the Chinese.

The spirit that called into existence the Ballarat anti-Chinese mobs is
not extinct in Queensland, as I found during my stay at Sydney. At the
Crocodile Creek diggings in Northern Queensland, whither many of the
Chinese from New South Wales have lately gone, terrible riots occurred
the week after I landed in Australia. The English diggers announced
their intention of “rolling up” the Chinese, and proceeded to “jump
their claims”--that is, trespass on the mining plots, for in Queensland
the Chinese have felt themselves strong enough to purchase claims. The
Chinese bore the robbery for some days, but at last a digger who had
sold them a claim for £50 one morning, hammered the pegs into the soft
ground the same day, and then jumped the claim on the pretense that it
was not “pegged out.” This was too much for the Chinese owner, who
tomahawked the digger on the spot. The English at once fired the Chinese
town, and even attacked the English driver of a coach for conveying
Chinamen on his vehicle. Some diggers in North Queensland are said to
have kept bloodhounds for the purpose of hunting Chinamen for sport, as
the rowdies of the old country hunt cats with terriers.

On the older gold fields, such as those of Sandhurst and Castlemaine,
the hatred of the English for the Chinese lies dormant, but it is not
the less strong for being free from physical violence. The woman in a
baker‘s shop near Sandhurst, into which I went to buy a roll for lunch,
shuddered when she told me of one or two recent marriages between Irish
“Biddies” and some of the wealthiest Chinese.

The man against whom all this hatred and suspicion is directed is no
ill-conducted rogue or villain. The chief of the police at Sandhurst
tells me that the Chinese are “the best of citizens;” a member of the
Victorian Parliament, resident in the very edge of their quarter at
Geelong, spoke of the yellow men to me as “well-behaved and frugal;” the
registrar-general told me that there is less crime, great or small,
among the Chinese, than among any equal number of English in the colony.

The Chinese are not denied civil rights in Victoria, as they have been
in California. Their testimony is accepted in the courts against that of
whites; they may become naturalized, and then can vote. Some twenty or
thirty of them, out of 30,000, have been naturalized in Victoria up to
the present time.

That the Chinese in Australia look upon their stay in the gold fields as
merely temporary is clear from the character of their restaurants, which
are singularly inferior to those of San Francisco. The best in the
colonies is one near Castlemaine, but even this is small and poor.
Shark‘s fin is an unheard-of luxury, and even puppy you would have to
order. “Silk-worms fried in castor oil” is the colonial idea of a
Chinese delicacy; yet the famous sea-slug is an inhabitant of Queensland
waters, and the Gulf of Carpentaria.

From Sandhurst northward, the country, known as Elysium Flats, becomes
level, and is wooded in patches, like the “oak-opening” prairies of
Wisconsin and Illinois. When within fifty miles of Echuca, the line
comes out of the forest on to a vast prairie, across which I saw a
marvelous mirage of water and trees on various step-like levels. From
the other window of the compartment carriage (sadly hot and airless
after the American cars), I saw the thin dry yellow grass on fire for a
dozen miles. The smoke from these “bush-fires” sometimes extends for
hundreds of miles to sea. In steaming down from Sydney to Wilson‘s
Promontory on my way to Melbourne, we passed through a column of smoke
about a mile in width when off Wolongong, near Botany Bay, and never
lost sight of it, as it lay in a dense brown mass upon the sea, until we
rounded Cape Howe, two hundred miles farther to the southward.

The fires on these great plains are caused by the dropping of fusees by
travelers as they ride along smoking their pipes Australian fashion, or
else by spreading of the fires from their camps. The most ingenious
stories are invented by the colonists to prevent us from throwing doubt
upon their carefulness, and I was told at Echuca that the late fires had
been caused by the concentration of the sun‘s rays upon spots of grass
owing to the accidental conversion into burning-glasses of beer-bottles
that had been suffered to lie about. Whatever their cause, the fires, in
conjunction with the heat, have made agricultural settlement upon the
Murray a lottery. The week before my visit, some ripe oats at Echuca had
been cut down to stubble by the hot wind, and farmers are said to count
upon the success of only one harvest in every three seasons. On the
other hand, the Victorian apricots, shriveled by the hot wind, are so
many lumps of crystallized nectar when you pierce their thick outer
coats.

Defying the sun, I started off to the banks of the Murray River, not
without some regret at the absence of the continuous street verandas
which in Melbourne form a first step toward the Italian piazza. One may
be deceived by trifles when the character of an unknown region is at
stake. Before reaching the country, I had read, “Steam-packet Hotel,
Esplanade, Echuca;” and, though experiences on the Ohio had taught me to
put no trust in “packets,” yet I had somehow come to the belief that the
Murray must be a second Missouri at least, if not an Upper Mississippi.
The “Esplanade” I found to be a myth, and the “fleet” of “steam-packets”
were drawn up in a long line upon the mud, there being in this summer
weather no water in which they could float. The Murray in February is a
streamless ditch, which in America, if known and named at all, would
rank as a tenth-rate river.

The St. Lawrence is 2200 miles in length, and its tributary, the Ottawa,
1000 miles in length, itself receives a tributary stream, the Gatineau,
with a course of 420 miles. At 217 miles from its confluence with the
Ottawa the Gatineau is still 1000 feet in width. At Albury, which even
in winter is the head of navigation on the Murray, you are only some 600
or 700 miles by river from the open sea, or about the same distance as
from Memphis in Tennessee to the mouth of the Mississippi.

During six months of the year, however, the Murray is for wool-carrying
purposes an important river. The railway to Echuca has tapped the river
system in the Victorians’ favor, and Melbourne has become the port of
the back country of New South Wales, and even Queensland. “The Riverina
is commercially annexed” to Victoria, said the premier of New South
Wales while I was in that colony, and the “Riverina” means that portion
of New South Wales which lies between the Lachlan, the Murrumbidgee, and
the Murray, to the northward of Echuca.

Returning to the inn to escape the sun, I took up the _Riverina Herald_,
published at Echuca; of its twenty-four columns, nineteen and a half
are occupied by the eternal sheep in one shape or another. A
representation of Jason‘s fleece stands at the head of the title; “wool”
is the first word in the first line of the body of the paper. More than
half of the advertisements are those of wool brokers, or else of the
fortunate possessors of specifics that will cure the scab. One
disinfectant compound is certified to by no less than seventeen
inspectors; another is puffed by a notice informing flock-masters that,
in cases of foot-rot, the advertiser goes upon the principle of “no
cure, no pay.” One firm makes “liberal advances on the ensuing clip;”
another is prepared to do the like upon “pastoral securities.”
Sheep-chandlers, regardless of associations, advertise in one line their
bread and foot-rot ointment, their biscuit and sheep-wash solution; and
the last of the advertisements upon the front page is that of an “agent
for the sale of fat.” The body of the paper contains complaints against
the judges at a recent show of wool, and an account of the raising of a
sawyer “120 feet in length and 33 feet in girth” by the new “snag-boat”
working to clear out the river for the floating down of the next wool
clip. Whole columns of small type are filled with “impounding” lists,
containing brief descriptions of all the strayed cattle of each
district. The technicalities of the distinctive marks are surprising.
Who not to the manner born can make much of this: “Blue and white cow,
cock horns, 22 off-rump, IL off-ribs?” or of this: “Strawberry stag, top
off off-ear, J. C. over 4 off-rump, like H. G. conjoined near loin and
rump?” This, again, is difficult: “Swallow tail, off-ear, [backwards-D]
and illegible over F off-ribs, PT off-rump.” What is a “blue strawberry
bull?” is a question which occurred to me. Again, what a phenomenon is
this: “White cow, writing capital A off-shoulder?” A paragraph relates
the burning of “£10,000 worth of country near Gambier,” and
advertisements of Colt‘s revolvers and quack medicines complete the
sheet. The paper shows that for the most part the colonists here, as in
New Zealand, have had the wisdom to adopt the poetic native names of
places, and even to use them for towns, streets, and ships. Of the
Panama liners, the _Rahaia_ and _Maitoura_ bear the names of rivers, the
_Rechiné_ and the _Kaikoura_, names of mountain ranges; and the colonial
boats have for the most part familiar Maori or Australian names; for
instance, _Rangitoto_, “hill of hills,” and _Rangitiri_, “great and
good.” The New Zealand colonists are better off than the Australian in
this respect: Wongawonga, Yarrayarra, and Wooloomooloo are not inviting;
and some of the Australian villages have still stranger names.
Nindooinbah is a station in southern Queensland; Yallack-a-yallack,
Borongorong, Bunduramongee, Jabbarabbara, Thuroroolong, Yalla-y-poora,
Yanac-a-Yanac, Wuid Kerruick, Woolongu-woong-wrinan, Woori Yalloak, and
Borhoneyghurk, are stations in Victoria. The only leader in the _Herald_
is on the meat question, but there is in a letter an account of the
Christmas festivities at Melbourne, which contains much merry-making at
the expense of “unacclimatized new chums,” as fresh comers to the
colonies are called. The writer speaks rapturously of the rush on
Christmas-day from the hot, dry, dusty streets to the “golden fields of
waving corn.” The “exposed nature of the Royal Park” prevented many
excursionists from picnicking there, as they had intended; but we read
on, and find that the exposure dreaded was not to cold, but to the
terrible hot wind which swept from the plains of the northwest, and
scorched up every blade of grass, every green thing, in the open spots.
We hear of Christmas dinners eaten upon the grass at Richmond, in the
sheltered shade of the gum-forest, but in the botanical gardens the
“plants had been much affected by the trying heat.” However, “the
weather on boxing-day was somewhat more favorable for open-air
enjoyment,” as the thermometer was only 98° in the shade.

Will ever New Zealand or Australian bard spring up to write of the pale
primroses that in September commence to peep out from under the melting
snows, and to make men look forward to the blazing heat and the long
December days? Strangely enough, the only English poem which an
Australian lad can read without laughing at the old country conceit that
connects frosts with January, and hot weather with July, is Thomson‘s
“Seasons,” for in its long descriptions of the changes in England from
spring to summer, from autumn to winter, a month is only once named:
“rosy-footed May” cannot be said to “steal blushing on” in Australia,
where May answers to our November.

In the afternoon, I ventured out again, and strolled into the gum-forest
on the banks of the Campaspe River, not believing the reports of the
ferocity of the Victorian bunyips and alligators which have lately
scared the squatters who dwelt on creeks. The black trees, relieved upon
a ground of white dust and yellow grass, were not inviting, and the
scorching heat soon taught me to hate the shadeless boughs and ragged
bark of the inevitable gum. It had not rained for nine weeks at the time
of my visit, and the thermometer (in the wind) reached 116° in the
shade, but there was nothing oppressive in the heat; it seemed only to
dry up the juices of the frame, and dazzle you with intense brightness.
I soon came to agree with a newly-landed Irish gardener, who told a
friend of mine that Australia was a strange country, for he could not
see that the thermometer had “the slightest effect upon the heat.” The
blaze is healthy, and fevers are unknown in the Riverina, decay of
noxious matter, animal or vegetable, being arrested during summer by the
drought. This is a hot year, for on the 12th of January the thermometer,
even at the Melbourne Observatory, registered 108° in the shade, and
123° in the shade was registered at Wentworth, near the confluence of
the Murray and the Darling.

As the afternoon drew on, and, if not the heat, at least the sun
declined, the bell-birds ceased their tuneful chiming, and the forest
was vocal only with the ceaseless chirp of the tree-cricket, whose note
recalled the goatsucker of our English woods. The Australian landscapes
show best by the red light of the hot weather sunsets, when the dark
feathery foliage of the gum-trees comes out in exquisite relief upon the
fiery fogs that form the sky, and the yellow earth gaining a tawny hue
in the lurid glare, throws off a light resembling that which in winter
is reflected from our English snows. At sunset there was a calm, but, as
I turned to walk homeward, the hot wind sprang up, and died again, while
the trees sighed themselves uneasily to sleep, as though fearful of
to-morrow‘s blast.

A night of heavy heat was followed by a breathless dawn, and the
scorching sun returned in all its redness to burn up once more the
earth, not cooled from the glare of yesterday. Englishmen must be bribed
by enormous gains before they will work with continuous toil in such a
climate, however healthy.



CHAPTER IV.

SQUATTER ARISTOCRACY.


“What is a Colonial Conservative?” is a question that used to be daily
put to a Victorian friend of mine when he was in London. His answer, he
told me, was always, “A statesman who has got four of the ‘points’ of
the People‘s Charter, and wants to conserve them,” but as used in
Victoria, the term “Conservative” expresses the feeling less of a
political party than of the whole of the people who have anything
whatever to lose. Those who have something object to giving a share in
the government to those who have nothing; those who have much, object to
political equality with those who have less; and, not content with
having won a tremendous victory in basing the Upper House upon a £5000
qualification and £100 freehold or £300 leasehold franchise, the
plutocracy are meditating attacks upon the Legislative Assembly.

The democracy hold out undauntedly, refusing all monetary tests, though
an intelligence basis for the franchise is by no means out of favor,
except with the few who cannot read or write. One day, when I was
driving from Melbourne to Sandridge, in company with a colonial
merchant, he asked our car-driver: “Now, tell me fairly: do you think
these rogues of fellows that hang about the shore here ought to have
votes?” “No, I don‘t.” “Ah, you‘d like to see a 5_s._ fee on
registration, wouldn‘t you?” The answer was sharp enough in its tone.
“Five shillings would be nothing to you; it would be something to me,
and it would be more than my brother could pay. What I‘d have done would
be to say that those who couldn‘t read shouldn‘t vote, that‘s all. That
would keep out the loafers.”

The plutocratic party is losing, not gaining, ground in Victoria; it is
far more likely that the present generation will see the Upper House
abolished than that it will witness the introduction of restrictions
upon the manhood suffrage which exists for the Lower; but there is one
branch of the plutocracy which actively carries on the fight in all the
colonies, and which claims to control society, the pastoral tenants of
crown lands, or Squatter Aristocracy.

The word “squatter” has undergone a remarkable change of meaning since
the time when it denoted those who stole government land, and built
their dwellings on it. As late as 1837, squatters were defined by the
chief justice of New South Wales as people occupying lands without legal
title, and who were subject to a fine on discovery. They were described
as living by bartering rum with convicts for stolen goods, and as being
themselves invariably convicts or “expirees.”

Escaping suddenly from these low associations, the word came to be
applied to graziers who drove their flocks into the unsettled interior,
and thence to those of them who received leases from the crown of
pastoral lands.

The squatter is the nabob of Melbourne and Sydney, the inexhaustible
mine of wealth. He patronizes balls, promenade concerts, flower-shows;
he is the mainstay of the great clubs, the joy of the shopkeepers, the
good angel of the hotels; without him the opera could not be kept up,
and the jockey-clubs would die a natural death.

Neither squatters nor townsfolk will admit that this view of the
former‘s position is exactly correct. The Victorian squatters tell you
that they have been ruined by confiscation, but that their neighbors in
New South Wales, who have leases, are more prosperous; in New South
Wales they tell you of the destruction of the squatters by “free
selection,” of which there is none in Queensland, “the squatter‘s
paradise;” but in Queensland the squatters protest that they have never
made wages for their personal work, far less interest upon their
capital. “Not one of us in ten is solvent,” they say.

As sweeping assertions are made by the townsfolk upon the other side.
The squatters, they sometimes say, may well set up to be a great landed
aristocracy, for they have every fault of a dominant caste except its
generous vices. They are accused of piling up vast hoards of wealth
while living a most penurious life, and contributing less than would so
many mechanics to the revenue of the country, in order that they may
return in later life to England, there to spend what they have wrung
from the soil of Victoria or New South Wales.

The occupation of the whole of the crown lands by squatters has
prevented the making of railways to be paid for in land on the American
system; but the chief of all the evils connected with squatting is the
tendency to the accumulation in a few hands of all the land and all the
pastoral wealth of the country, an extreme danger in the face of
democratic institutions, such as those of Victoria and New South Wales.
Remembering that manufactures are few, the swelling of the cities shows
how the people have been kept from the land; considerably more than
half of the population of Victoria lives within the corporate towns.

A few years back, a thousand men held between them, on nominal rents,
forty million acres out of the forty-three and a half million--mountain
and swamp excluded--of which Victoria consists. It is true that the
amount so held has now decreased to thirty million, but on the other
hand the squatters have bought vast tracts which were formerly within
their “runs,” with the capital acquired in squatting, and, knowing the
country better than others could possibly know it, have naturally
selected all the most valuable land.

The colonial democracy in 1860 and the succeeding years rose to a sense
of its danger from the land monopoly, and began to search about for
means to put it down, and to destroy at the same time the system of
holding from the crown, for it is singular that while in England there
seems to be springing up a popular movement in favor of the
nationalization of the land, in the most democratic of the Australian
colonies the tendency is from crown land tenure to individual freehold
ownership of the soil rather than the other way. Yet here in Victoria
there was a free field to start upon, for the land already belonged to
the State--the first of the principles included under the phrase,
nationalized land. In America, again, we see that, with the similar
advantage of State possession of territories which are still fourteen
times the size of the French Empire, there is little or no tendency
toward agitation for the continuance of State ownership. In short,
freehold ownership, the Saxon institution, seems dear to the Anglo-Saxon
race. The national land plan would commend itself rather to the Celtic
races: to the Highlander, who remembers clan-ship, to the Irishman, who
regrets the Sept.

Since the Radicals have been in power, both here and in New South Wales,
they have carried act after act to encourage agricultural settlers on
freehold tenure, at the expense of the pastoral squatters. The “free
selection” plan, now in operation in New South Wales, allows the
agricultural settler to buy, but at a fixed price, the freehold of a
patch of land, provided it be over forty acres and less than 320,
anywhere he pleases--even in the middle of a squatter‘s “run,” if he
enters at once, and commences to cultivate; and the Land Act of 1862
provides that the squatting license system shall entirely end with the
year 1869. Forgetting that in every lease the government reserved the
power of terminating the agreement for the purpose of the sale of land,
the squatters complain that free selection is but confiscation, and that
they are at the mercy of a pack of cattle-stealers and horse-thieves,
who roam through the country haunting their “runs” like “ghosts,” taking
up the best land on their “runs,” “picking the eyes out of the land,”
turning to graze anywhere, on the richest grass, the sheep and cattle
they have stolen on their way. The best of them, they say, are but
“cockatoo farmers,” living from hand to mouth on what they manage to
grub and grow. On the other hand, the “free selection” principle “up
country” is tempered by the power of the wealthy squatter to impound the
cattle of the poor little freeholder whenever he pleases to say that
they stray on to his “run;” indeed, “Pound them off, or if you can‘t,
buy them off,” has become a much used phrase. The squatter, too, is
protected in Victoria by such provisions as that “improvements” by him,
if over £40 on forty acres, cover an acre of land for each £1. The
squatters are themselves buying largely of land, and thus profiting by
the free selection. To a stranger it seems as though the interests of
the squatter have been at least sufficiently cared for, remembering the
vital necessity for immediate action. In 1865, Victoria, small as she
is, had not sold a tenth of her land.

In her free selectors, Victoria will gain a class of citizens whose
political views will contrast sharply with the strong anti-popular
sentiments of the squatters, and who, instead of spending their lives as
absentees, will stay, they and their children, upon the land, and spend
all they make within the colony, while their sons add to its laboring
arms.

Since land has been, even to a limited extent, thrown open, Victoria has
suddenly ceased to be a wheat-importing, and become a wheat-exporting
country, and flourishing agricultural communities, such as those of
Ceres, Clunes, Kyneton, are springing up on every side, growing wheat
instead of wool, while the wide extension which has in Victoria been
given to the principle of local self-government in the shape of
shire-councils, road-boards, and village-municipalities allows of the
junction in a happy country of the whole of the advantages of small and
great farming, under the unequaled system of small holdings, and
co-operation for improvements among the holders.



CHAPTER V.

COLONIAL DEMOCRACY.


Payment of members by the State was the great question under debate in
the Lower House during much of the time I spent in Melbourne, and, in
spite of all the efforts of the Victorian democracy, the bill was lost.
The objection taken at home, that payment degrades the House in the eyes
of the people, could never arise in a new country, where a practical
nation looks at the salaries as payment for work done, and obstinately
refuses to believe in the work being done without payment in some shape
or other. In these colonies, the reasons in favor of payment are far
stronger than they are in Canada or America, for while their country or
town share equally the difficulties of finding representatives who will
consent to travel hundreds and thousands of miles to Ottawa or
Washington, in the Australias Parliament sits in towns which contain
from one-sixth to one-fourth of the whole population, and under a
non-payment system power is thrown entirely into the hands of Melbourne,
Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Hobarton. Not only do these
cities return none but their own citizens, but the country districts,
often unable to find within their limits men who have the time and money
to make them able to attend throughout the sessions at the capital,
elect the city traders to represent them.

Payment of members was met by a proposition on the part of the leader
of the squatter party in the Upper House to carry it through that
assembly if the Lower House would introduce the principle of personal
representation; but it was objected that under such a system the
Catholics, who form a fifth of the population, might, if they chose,
return a fifth of the members. That they ought to be able to do so never
seemed to strike friend or foe. The Catholics, who had a long turn of
power under the O‘Shaughnessey government, were finally driven out for
appointing none but Irishmen to the police. “I always said this ministry
would go out on the back of a policeman,” was the comment of the
Opposition wit. The present ministry, which is Scotch in tone, was
hoisted into office by a great coalition against the Irish Catholics, of
whom there are only a handful in the House.

The subject of national education, which was before the colony during my
visit, also brought the Catholics prominently forward, for an episcopal
pastoral was read in all their churches threatening to visit
ecclesiastical censure upon Catholic teachers in the common schools, and
upon the parents of the children who attend them. “Godless education” is
as little popular here as it used to be at home, and the Anglican and
Catholic clergymen insist that it is proposed to make their people pay
heavily for an education in which it would be contrary to their
conscience to share; but the laymen seem less distressed than their
pastors. It has been said that the reason why the Catholic bishop
declined to be examined upon the Education Commission was that he was
afraid of this question: “Are you aware that half the Catholic children
in the country are attending schools which you condemn?”

The most singular, perhaps, of the spectacles presented by colonial
politics during my visit was that of the Victorian Upper House going
deliberately into committee to consider its own constitution, with the
view of introducing a bill for its own reform, or to meditate, its
enemies said, upon self-destruction. Whether the blow comes from within
or without, there is every probability that the Upper House will shortly
disappear, and the advice of Milton and Franklin be followed in having
but a single chamber. It is not unlikely that this step will be followed
by the demand of the Victorians to be allowed to choose their own
governor, subject to his approval by the queen, with a view to making it
impossible that needy men should be sent out to suck the colony, as they
sometimes have been in the past. The Australians look upon the liberal
expenditure of a governor as their own liberality, but upon meanness on
his part as a robbery from themselves.

The Victorian have a singular advantage over the American democrats as
being unhampered by a constitution of antiquity and renown.
Constitution-tinkering is here continual; the new society is continually
reshaping its political institutions to keep pace with the latest
developments of the national mind; in America, the party of liberty, at
this moment engaged in remoulding the worn-out constitution in favor of
freedom, dares not even yet proclaim that the national good is its aim,
but keeps to the old watchwords, and professes to be treading in the
footsteps of George Washington.

The tone of Victorian democracy is not American. There is the defiant
way of taking care of themselves and ignoring their neighbors,
characteristic of the founders of English plantations in all parts of
the world; the spirit which prompted the passing, in 1852, of the act
prohibiting the admission to the colony of convicts for three years
after they had received their pardons; but the English race here is not
Latinized as it is in America. If it were, Australian democracy would
not be so “shocking” to the squatters. Democracy, like Mormonism, would
be nothing if found among Frenchmen or people with black faces, but it
is at first sight very terrible, when it smiles on you from between a
pair of rosy Yorkshire cheeks.

The political are not greater than the social differences between
Australia and America. Australian society resembles English middle-class
society; the people have, in matters of literature and religion, tastes
and feelings similar to those which pervade such communities as those of
Birmingham or Manchester. On the other hand, the vices of America are
those of aristocracies; her virtues, those of a landed republic. Shop
and factory are still in the second rank; wheat and corn still the
prevailing powers. In all the Australian colonies land is coming to the
front for the second time under a system of small holdings, except in
Queensland, where it has never ceased to rule, and that under an
oligarchic form of society and government; but it is doubtful whether,
looking to the size of Melbourne, the landed democracy will ever outvote
the townfolk in Victoria.

That men of ability and character are proscribed has been one of the
charges brought against colonial democracy. For my part, I found
gathered in Melbourne, at the University, at the Observatory, at the
Botanical Garden, and at the government offices, men of the highest
scientific attainments, drawn from all parts of the world, and tempted
to Australia by large salaries voted by the democracy. The statesmen of
all the colonies are well worthy of the posts they hold. Mr. Macalister,
in Queensland, and Mr. Martin, at Sydney, are excellent debaters. Mr.
Parkes, whose biography would be the typical history of a successful
colonist, and who has fought his way up from the position of a
Birmingham artisan free-emigrant to that of Colonial Secretary of New
South Wales, is an extremely able writer and deep thinker. The business
powers of the present Colonial Treasurer of New South Wales are
remarkable; and Mr. Higinbotham, the Attorney-General of Victoria,
possesses a fund of experience and a power of foresight which it would
be hard to equal at home. Many of the ministers in all the colonies are
men who have worked themselves up from the ranks, and it is amusing to
notice the affected horror with which their antecedents have been
recalled by those who have brought out a pedigree from the old country.
A government clerk in one of the colonies told me that the three last
ministers at the head of his department had been “so low in the social
scale, that my wife could not visit theirs.”

Class animosity and political feud runs much higher, and drives its
roots far deeper into private life in Victoria than in any other
English-speaking country I have seen. Political men of distinction are
shunned by their opponents in the streets and clubs; and, instead of its
being possible to differ on politics and yet continue friends, as in the
old country, I have seen men in Victoria refuse to sit down to dinner
with a statesman from whose views on land questions they happened to
dissent. A man once warned me solemnly against dining with a quiet grave
old gentleman, on the ground that he was “a most dangerous radical--a
perfect firebrand.”

Treated in this way, it is not strange that the democratic ministers and
members stand much upon their dignity, and colonial Parliaments are in
fact not only as haughty as the parent assembly at Westminster, but
often assert their privileges by the most arbitrary of means. A few
weeks before I arrived in Melbourne, a member of the staff of the
_Argus_ newspaper was given up by the proprietors to soothe the
infuriated Assembly. Having got him, the great question of what to do
with him arose, and he was placed in a vault with a grated window,
originally built for prisoners of the House, but which had been
temporarily made use of as a coal-hole. Such a disturbance was provoked
by the alleged barbarity of this proceeding, that the prisoner was taken
to a capital room up stairs, where he gave dinner-parties every day. His
opponents said the great difficulty was to get rid of him, for he seemed
to be permanently located in the Parliament-house, and that, when they
ordered his liberation, his friends insisted that it should not take
place until he had been carried down to the coal-hole cell which he had
occupied the first day, and there photographed “through the dungeon
bars” as the “martyr of the Assembly.”

Though both Victoria and New South Wales are democratic, there is a
great difference between the two democracies. In New South Wales, I
found not a democratic so much as a mixed country, containing a large
and wealthy class with aristocratic prejudices, but governed by an
intensely democratic majority--a country not unlike the State of
Maryland. On the other hand, the interest which attaches to the
political condition of Victoria is extreme, since it probably presents
an accurate view, “in little,” of the state of society which will exist
in England, after many steps toward social democracy have been taken,
but before the nation as a whole has become completely democratic.

One of the best features of the colonial democracy is its earnestness
in the cause of education. In England it is one of our worst national
peculiarities that, whatever our station, we either are content with
giving children an “education” which is absolutely wanting in any real
training for the mind, or aid to the brain in its development, or else
we give them a schooling which is a mere preparation for the Bar or
Church, for it has always been considered with us that it is a far
greater matter to be a solicitor or a curate than to be wise or happy.
This is, of course, a consequence partly of the energy of the race, and
partly of our aristocratic form of society, which leads every member of
a class to be continually trying to get into the class immediately above
it in wealth or standing. In the colonies, as in the United States, the
democratic form which society has taken has carried with it the
continental habit of thought upon educational matters, so that it would
seem as though the form of society influenced this question much more
than the energy of the race, which is rather heightened than depressed
in these new countries. The English Englishman says, “If I send Dick to
a good school, and scrape up money enough to put him into a profession,
even if he don‘t make much, at least he‘ll be a gentleman.” The
Australian or democratic Englishman says, “Tom must have good schooling,
and must make the most of it; but I‘ll not have him knocking about in
broadcloth, and earning nothing; so no profession for him; but let him
make money like me, and mayhap get a few acres more land.”

Making allowance for the thinness of population in the bush, education
in Victoria is extremely general among the children, and is directed by
local committees with success, although the members of the boards are
often themselves destitute of all knowledge except that which tells them
that education will do their children good. Mr. Geary, an inspector of
schools, told the Commissioners that he had examined one school where
not a single member of the local committee could write; but these
immigrant fathers do their duty honestly toward the children for all
their ignorance, and there is every chance that the schools will grow
and grow until their influence on behalf of freedom becomes as marked in
Victoria as ever it has been in Massachusetts. Education has a great
advantage in countries where political rights are widely extended: in
the colonies, as in America, there is a spirit of political life astir
throughout the country, and newspapers and public meetings continue an
education throughout life which in England ceases at twelve, and gives
place to driving sheep to paddocks, and shouting at rooks in a
wheat-field.

There is nothing in the state of the Victorian schools to show what will
be the type of the next generation, but there are many reasons for
believing that the present disorganization of colonial society will only
cease with the attainment of complete democracy or absolute equality of
conditions, which must be produced by the already completely democratic
institutions in little more than a generation. The squatter class will
disappear as agriculture drives sheep-farming from the field, and, on
the other hand, the town democracy will adopt a tone of manly
independence instead of one of brag and bluster, when education makes
them that which at present they are not--the equals of the wealthy
farmers.

It has been justly pointed out that one of the worst dangers of
democracy is the crushing influence of public opinion upon
individuality, and many who have written upon America have assumed that
the tendency has already manifested itself there. I had during my stay
in the United States arrived at the contrary opinion, and come to
believe that in no country in the world is eccentricity, moral and
religious, so ripe as in America, in no country individuality more
strong; but, ascribing to intermixture of foreign blood this apparently
abnormal departure from the assumed democratic shape of society, I
looked forward to the prospect of seeing the overwhelming force of the
opinion of the majority exhibited in all its hideousness in the
democratic colonies. I was as far from discovering the monster as I had
been in America, for I soon found that, although there may be little
intellectual unrest in Australia, there is marvelous variety of manners.

There is in our colonies no trace of that multiplication of creeds which
characterizes America, and which is said to be everywhere the result of
the abolition of Establishments. In Victoria, eighty per cent. of the
whites belong to either Episcopalians, Catholics, or Presbyterians, and
almost all of the remainder to the well-known English Churches; nothing
is heard of such sects as the hundreds that have sprung up in New
England--Hopkinsians, Universalists, Osgoodites, Rogerenes, Come-Outers,
Non-Resistants, and the like. The Australian democrat likes to pray as
his father prayed before him, and is strongly conservative in his
ecclesiastical affairs. It may be the absence in Australia of
enthusiastic religion which accounts for the want among the country-folk
of the peculiar gentleness of manner which distinguishes the farmer in
America. Climate may have its effect upon the voice; the influence of
the Puritan and Quaker in the early history of the thirteen States, when
manners were moulded and the national life shaped for good or harm, may
have permanently affected the descendants of the early settlers; but
everywhere in America I noticed that the most perfect dignity and
repose of manner was found in districts where the passionate religious
systems had their strongest hold.

There is no trace in the colonies at present of that love for general
ideas which takes America away from England in philosophy, and sets her
with the Latin and Celtic races on the side of France. The tendency is
said to follow on democracy, but it would be better said that democracy
is itself one of these general ideas. Democracy in the colonies is at
present an accident, and nothing more; it rests upon no basis of
reasoning, but upon a fact. The first settlers were active, bustling men
of fairly even rank or wealth, none of whom could brook the leadership
of any other. The only way out of the difficulty was the adoption of the
rule “All of us to be equal, and the majority to govern;” but there is
no conception of the nature of democracy, as the unfortunate Chinese
have long since discovered. The colonial democrats understood
“democracy” as little as the party which takes the name in the United
States; but there is at present no such party in the colonies as the
great Republican party of America.

Democracy cannot always remain an accident in Australia: where once
planted, it never fails to fix its roots; but even in America its growth
has been extremely slow. There is at present in Victoria and New South
Wales a general admission among the men of the existence of equality of
conditions, together with a perpetual rebellion on the part of their
wives to defeat democracy, and to reintroduce the old “colonial court”
society, and resulting class divisions. The consequence of this
distinction is that the women are mostly engaged in elbowing their way;
while among their husbands there is no such thing as the pretending to a
style, a culture, or a wealth that the pretender does not possess, for
the reason that no male colonist admits the possibility of the existence
of a social superior. Like the American “democrat,” the Australian will
admit that there may be any number of grades below him, so long as you
allow that he is at the top; but no republican can be stauncher in the
matter of his own equality with the best.

There is no sign that in Australia any more than in America there will
spring up a center of opposition to the dominant majority; but there is
as little evidence that the majority will even unwittingly abuse its
power. It is the fashion to say that for a State to be intellectually
great and noble there must be within it a nucleus of opposition to the
dominant principles of the time and place, and that the best and noblest
minds, the intellects the most seminal, have invariably belonged to men
who formed part of such a group. It may be doubted whether this assumed
necessity for opposition to the public will is not characteristic of a
terribly imperfect state of society and government. It is chiefly
because the world has never had experience of a national life at once
throbbing with the pulse of the whole people, and completely tolerant
not only in law but in opinion of sentiments the most divergent from the
views of the majority--firm in the pursuit of truths already grasped,
but ready to seize with avidity upon new; gifted with a love of order,
yet ready to fit itself to shifting circumstances--that men continue to
look with complacency upon the enormous waste of intellectual power that
occurs when a germ of truth such as that contained in the doctrines of
the Puritans finds development and acceptance only after centuries have
passed.

Australia will start unclogged by slavery to try this experiment for the
world.



CHAPTER VI.

PROTECTION.


The greatest of all democratic stumbling-blocks is said to be
Protection.

“Encourage native industry!” the colonial shopkeepers write up; “Show
your patriotism, and buy colonial goods!” is painted in huge letters on
a shopfront at Castlemaine. In England, some unscrupulous traders, we
are told, write “From Paris” over their English goods, but such
dishonesty in Victoria takes another shape; there we have “Warranted
colonial made” placed over imported wares, for many will pay a higher
price for a colonial product confessedly not more than equal to the
foreign, such is the rage for Native Industry, and the hatred of the
“Antipodean doctrine of Free Trade.”

Many former colonists who live at home persuade themselves, and
unfortunately persuade also the public in England, that the
Protectionists are weak in the colonies. So far is this from being the
case in either Victoria or New South Wales, that in the former colony I
found that in the Lower House the Free Traders formed but
three-elevenths of the Assembly, and in New South Wales the pastoral
tenants of the crown may be said to stand alone in their support of Free
Trade. Some of the squatters go so far as to declare that none of the
public men of the colonies really believe in the advantages of
Protection, but that they dishonestly accept the principle, and
undertake to act upon it when in office, in order to secure the votes
of an ignorant majority of laborers, who are themselves convinced that
Protection means high wages.

It would seem as though we Free Traders had become nearly as bigoted in
favor of Free Trade as our former opponents were in favor of Protection.
Just as they used to say “We are right; why argue the question?” so now,
in face of the support of Protection by all the greatest minds in
America, all the first statesmen of the Australias, we tell the New
England and the Australian politicians that we will not discuss
Protection with them, because there can be no two minds about it among
men of intelligence and education. We will hear no defense of “national
lunacy,” we say.

If, putting aside our prejudices, we consent to argue with an Australian
or American Protectionist, we find ourselves in difficulties. All the
ordinary arguments against the compelling people by act of Parliament to
consume a dearer or inferior article are admitted as soon as they are
urged. If you attempt to prove that Protection is bolstered up by those
whose private interests it subserves, you are shown the shrewd
Australian diggers and the calculating Western farmers in America--men
whose pocket interest is wholly opposed to Protection, and who yet,
almost to a man, support it. A digger at Ballarat defended Protection to
me in this way: he said he knew that under a protective tariff he had to
pay dearer than would otherwise be the case for his jacket and his
moleskin trowsers, but that he preferred to do this, as by so doing he
aided in building up in the colony such trades as the making up of
clothes, in which his brother and other men physically too weak to be
diggers could gain an honest living. In short, the self-denying
Protection of the Australian diggers is of the character of that which
would be accorded to the glaziers of a town by the citizens, if they
broke their windows to find their fellow-townsmen work: “We know we
lose, but men must live,” they say. At the same time they deny that the
loss will be enduring. The digger tells you that he should not mind a
continuing pocket loss, but that, as a matter of fact, this, which in an
old country would be pocket loss, in a new country such as his only
comes to this--that it forms a check on immigration. Wages being 5_s._ a
day in Victoria and 3_s._ a day in England, workmen would naturally
flock into Victoria from England until wages in Melbourne fell to 3_s._
6_d._ or 4_s._. Here comes in prohibition, and by increasing the cost of
living in Victoria, and cutting into the Australian handicraftsman‘s
margin of luxuries, and reducing his wages to 4_s._, diminishes the
temptation to immigration, and consequently the influx itself.

The Western farmers in America, I have heard, defend Protection upon far
wider grounds: they admit that Free Trade would conduce to the most
rapid possible peopling of their country with foreign immigrants; but
this, they say, is an eminently undesirable conclusion. They prefer to
pay a heavy tax in the increased price of everything they consume, and
in the greater cost of labor, rather than see their country
denationalized by a rush of Irish or Germans, or their political
institutions endangered by a still further increase in the size and
power of New York. One old fellow said to me: “I don‘t want the
Americans in 1900 to be 200 millions, but I want them to be happy.”

The American Protectionists point to the danger that their countrymen
would run unless town kept pace with country population. Settlers would
pour off to the West, and drain the juices of the fertile land by
cropping it year after year without fallow, without manure, and then, as
the land became in a few years exhausted, would have nowhere whither to
turn to find the fertilizers which the soil would need. Were they to
depend upon agriculture alone, they would sweep in a wave across the
land, leaving behind them a worn-out, depopulated, jungle-covered soil,
open to future settlement, when its lands should have recovered their
fertility, by some other and more provident race. The coastlands of most
ancient countries are exhausted, densely bushed, and uninhabited. In
this fact lies the power of our sailor race: crossing the seas, we
occupy the coasts, and step by step work our way into the upper country,
where we should not have attempted to show ourselves had the ancient
population resisted us upon the shores. In India, in Ceylon, we met the
hardy race of the highlands and interior only after we had already fixed
ourselves upon the coast, with a safe basis for our supply. The fate
that these countries have met is that which colonists expect to be their
own, unless the protective system be carried out in its entirety. In
like manner the Americans point to the ruin of Virginia, and if you urge
“slavery,” answer, “slavery is but agriculture.”

Those who speak of the selfishness of the Protectionists as a whole, can
never have taken the trouble to examine into the arguments by which
Protection is supported in Australia and America. In these countries,
Protection is no mere national delusion; it is a system deliberately
adopted with open eyes as one conducive to the country‘s welfare, in
spite of objections known to all, in spite of pocket losses that come
home to all. If it be, as we in England believe, a folly, it is at all
events a sublime one, full of self-sacrifice, illustrative of a certain
nobility in the national heart. The Australian diggers and Western
farmers in America are setting a grand example to the world of
self-sacrifice for a national object; hundreds of thousands of rough men
are content to live--they and their families--upon less than they might
otherwise enjoy, in order that the condition of the mass of their
countrymen may continue raised above that of their brother toilers in
Old England. Their manufactures are beginning now to stand alone, but
hitherto, without Protection, the Americans would have had no cities but
seaports. By picturing to ourselves England dependent upon the City of
London, upon Liverpool, and Hull, and Bristol, we shall see the
necessity the Western men are now under of setting off Pittsburg against
New York and Philadelphia. In short, the tendency, according to the
Western farmers, of Free Trade, in the early stages of a country‘s
existence, is to promote universal centralization, to destroy local
centers and the commerce they create, to so tax the farmer with the cost
of transport to the distant centers, consequent upon the absence of
local markets, that he can grow but wheat and corn continuously, and
cannot but exhaust his soil. With markets so distant, the richest forest
lands are not worth clearing, and a wave of settlement sweeps over the
country, occupying the poorer lands, and then abandoning them once more.

Protection in the colonies and America is to a great degree a revolt
against steam. Steam is making the world all one; steam “corrects”
differences in the price of labor. When steam brings all races into
competition with each other, the cheaper races will extinguish the
dearer, till at last some one people will inhabit the whole earth. Coal
remains the only power, as it will probably always be cheaper to carry
the manufactured goods than to carry the coal.

Time after time I have heard the Western farmers draw imaginary pictures
of the state of America if Free Trade should gain the day, and asking of
what avail it is to say that Free Trade and free circulation of people
is profitable to the pocket, if it destroys the national existence of
America; what good to point out the gain of weight to their purses, in
the face of the destruction of their religion, their language, and their
Saxon institutions.

One of the greatest of the thinkers of America defended Protection to me
on the following grounds: That without Protection, America could at
present have but few and limited manufactures. That a nation cannot
properly be said to exist as such, unless she has manufactures of many
kinds; for men are born, some with a turn to agriculture, some with a
turn to mechanics; and if you force the mechanic by nature to become a
farmer, he will make a bad farmer, and the nation will lose the
advantage of all his power and invention. That the whole of the possible
employments of the human race are in a measure necessary
employments--necessary to the making up of a nation. That every
concession to Free Trade cuts out of all chance of action some of the
faculties of the American national mind, and, so doing, weakens and
debases it. That each and every class of workers is of such importance
to the country, that we must make any sacrifice necessary to maintain
them in full work. “The national mind is manifold,” he said; “and if you
do not keep up every branch of employment in every district, you waste
the national force. If we were to remain a purely agricultural people,
land would fall into fewer and fewer hands, and our people become more
and more brutalized as the years rolled on.”

It must not be supposed that Protection is entirely defended upon these
strange new grounds. “Save us from the pauper-labor of Europe,” is the
most recent as well as the oldest of Protectionist cries. The
Australians and Americans say, that by working women at 1_s._ a day in
the mines in Wales, and by generally degrading all laborers under the
rank of highly-skilled artisans, the British keep wages so low, that, in
spite of the cost of carriage, they can almost invariably undersell the
colonists and Americans in American and Australian markets. This state
of degradation and poverty nothing can force them to introduce into
their own countries, and, on the other hand, they consider the iron
manufacture necessary for the national purpose alluded to before. The
alternative is Protection.

The most unavoidable of all the difficulties of Protection--namely, that
no human government can ever be trusted to adjust protective taxation
without corruption--is no objection to the prohibitions which the
Western Protectionists demand. The New Englanders say--“Let us meet the
English on fair terms;” the Western men say that they will not meet them
at all. Some of the New York Protectionists declare that their object is
merely the fostering of American manufactures until they are able to
stand alone, the United States not having at present reached the point
which had been attained by other nations when they threw Protection to
the winds. Such halting Protectionists as these manufacturers find no
sympathy in Australia or the West, although the highest of all
Protectionists look forward to the distant time when, local centers
being everywhere established, customs will be abolished on all sides,
and mankind form one great family.

The chief thing to be borne in mind in discussing Protection with an
Australian or an American is that he never thinks of denying that under
Protection he pays a higher price for his goods than he would if he
bought them from us, and that he admits at once that he temporarily pays
a tax of 15 or 20 per cent. upon everything he buys in order to help set
his country on the road to national unity and ultimate wealth. Without
Protection, the American tells you, there will be commercial New York,
sugar-growing Louisiana, the corn-growing Northwest, but no America.
Protection alone can give him a united country. When we talk about
things being to the advantage or disadvantage of a country, the American
Protectionist asks what you mean. Admitting that all you say against
Protection may be true, he says that he had sooner see America
supporting a hundred millions independent of the remainder of the world
than two hundred millions dependent for clothes upon the British. “You,
on the other hand,” he says, “would prefer our custom. How can we
discuss the question? The difference between us is radical, and we have
no base on which to build.”

It is a common doctrine in the colonies of England that a nation cannot
be called “independent” if it has to cry out to another for supplies of
necessaries; that true national existence is first attained when the
country becomes capable of supplying to its own citizens those goods
without which they cannot exist in the state of comfort which they have
already reached. Political is apt to follow upon commercial dependency,
they say.

The question of Protection is bound up with the wider one of whether we
are to love our fellow-subjects, our race, or the world at large;
whether we are to pursue our country‘s good at the expense of other
nations? There is a growing belief in England that the noblest
philosophy is to deny the existence of the moral right to benefit
ourselves by harming others; that love of mankind must in time replace
love of race as that has in part replaced narrow patriotism and love of
self. It would seem that our Free Trade system lends itself better to
these wide modern sympathies than does Protection. On the other hand, it
may be argued that, if every State consults the good of its own
citizens, we shall, by the action of all nations, obtain the desired
happiness of the whole world, and that, with rapidity, from the reason
that every country understands its own interests better than it does
those of its neighbor. As a rule, the colonists hold that they should
not protect themselves against the sister-colonies, but only against the
outer world; and while I was in Melbourne an arrangement was made with
respect to the border customs between Victoria and New South Wales; but
this is at present the only step that has been taken toward
intercolonial Free Trade.

It is passing strange that Victoria should be noted for the eagerness
with which her people seek Protection. Possessed of little coal, they
appear to be attempting artificially to create an industry which, owing
to this sad lack of fuel, must languish from the moment that it is let
alone. Sydney coal sells in Melbourne at thirty shillings a ton; at the
pit‘s-mouth at Newcastle, New South Wales, it fetches only seven or
eight shillings. With regard, however, to the making-up of native
produce, the question in the case of Victoria is merely this: Is it
cheaper to carry the wool to the coal, and then the woolen goods back
again, than to carry the coal to the wool? and as long as Victoria can
continue to export wheat, so that the coal-ships may not want freight,
wool manufactures may probably prosper in Victoria.

The Victorians naturally deny that the cost of coal has much to do with
the question. The French manufacturers, they point out, with dearer
coal, but with cheaper labor, have in many branches of trade beaten the
English out of common markets, but then under Protection there is no
chance of cheap labor in Victoria.

Writing for the Englishmen of Old England, it is not necessary for me to
defend Free Trade by any arguments. As far as we in our island are
concerned, it is so manifestly to the pocket interest of almost all of
us, and at the same time, on account of the minuteness of our territory,
so little dangerous politically, that for Britain there can be no danger
of a deliberate relapse into Protection; although we have but little
right to talk about Free Trade so long as we continue our enormous
subsidies to the Cunard liners.

The American argument in favor of Prohibition is in the main, it will be
seen, political, the economical objections being admitted, but
outweighed. Our action in the matter of our postal contracts, as in the
case of the Factory acts, at all events shows that we are not ourselves
invariably averse to distinguish between the political and the
economical aspect of certain questions.

My duty has been to chronicle what is said and thought upon the matter
in our various plantations. One thing at least is clear--that even if
the opinions I have recorded be as ridiculous when applied to Australia
or America as they would be when applied to England, they are not
supported by a selfish clique, but rest upon the generosity and
self-sacrifice of a majority of the population.



CHAPTER VII.

LABOR.

Side by side with the unselfish Protectionism of the diggers there
flourishes among the artisans of the Australias a self-interested desire
for non-intercourse with the outside world.

In America, the working men, themselves almost without exception
immigrants, though powerful in the various States from holding the
balance of parties, have never as yet been able to make their voices
heard in the Federal Congress. In the chief Australian colonies, on the
other hand, the artisans have, more than any other class, the possession
of political power. Throughout the world the grievance of the working
classes lies in the fact that, while trade and profits have increased
enormously within the last few years, true as distinguished from nominal
wages have not risen. It is even doubted whether the American or British
handicraftsman can now live in such comfort as he could make sure of a
few years back: it is certain that agricultural laborers in the south of
England are worse off than they were ten years ago, although the
depreciation of gold prevents us from accurately gauging their true
position. In Victoria and New South Wales, and in the States of
Wisconsin, Illinois, and Missouri, where the artisans possess some share
of power, they have set about the attempt to remedy by law the grievance
under which they suffer. In the American States, where the suppression
of immigration seems almost impossible, their interference takes the
shape of eight-hour bills, and exclusion of colored laborers. There is
no trades union in America which will admit to membership a Chinaman, or
even a mulatto. In Victoria and New South Wales, however, it is not
difficult quietly to put a check upon the importation of foreign labor.
The vast distance from Europe makes the unaided immigration of artisans
extremely rare, and since the democrats have been in power the funds for
assisted immigration have been withheld, and the Chinese influx all but
forbidden, while manifestoes against the ordinary European immigration
have repeatedly been published at Sydney by the Council of the
Associated Trades.

The Sydney operatives have always taken a leading part in opposition to
immigration, from the time when they founded the Anti-Transportation
Committee up to the present day. In 1847, a natural and proper wish to
prevent the artificial depression of wages was at the bottom of the
anti-transportation movement, although the arguments made use of in the
petition to the Queen were of the most general character, and Sydney
mechanics, many of them free immigrants themselves, say that there is no
difference of principle between the introduction of free or assisted
immigrants and that of convicts.

If we look merely to the temporary results of the policy of the
Australian artisans, we shall find it hard to deny that their acts are
calculated momentarily to increase their material prosperity; so far
they may be selfish, but they are not blind. Admitting that wages depend
on the ratio of capital to population, the Australians assert that, with
them, population increases faster than capital, and that hindering
immigration will restore the balance. Prudential checks on population
are useless, they say, in face of Irish immigration. At the same time,
it is clear that, from the discouragement of immigration and limitation
to eight hours of the daily toil, there results an exceptional scarcity
of labor, which cramps the development of the country, and causes a
depression in trade which must soon diminish the wage-fund, and react
upon the working men. It is unfortunately the fact, that colonial
artisans do not sufficiently bear in mind the distinction between real
and nominal wages, but are easily caught by the show of an extra few
shillings a week, even though the purchasing power of each shilling be
diminished by the change. When looked into, “higher wages” often mean
that the laborer, instead of starving upon ten shillings a week, is for
the future to starve upon twenty.

As regards the future, contrasted with the temporary condition of the
Australian laborer, there is no disguising the fact that mere exclusion
of immigration will not in the long run avail him. It might, of course,
be urged that immigration is, even in America, a small matter by the
side of the natural increase of the people, and that to shut out the
immigrant is but one of many checks to population; but in Australia the
natural increase is not so great as in a young country might be
expected. The men so largely outnumber the women in Australia, that even
early marriages and large families cannot make the birth-rate very high,
and fertile land being at present still to be obtained at first hand,
the new agricultural districts swallow up the natural increase of the
population. Still, important as is immigration at this moment,
ultimately through the influx of women--to which the democrats are not
opposed--or, more slowly, by the effort of nature to restore the balance
of the sexes, the rate of natural increase will become far greater in
Australia. Ultimately, there can be no doubt, if the Australian laborer
continues to retain his present standard of comfort, prudential checks
upon the birth of children will be requisite to maintain the present
ratio of capital to population.

Owing to the comparatively high prices fixed for agricultural land in
the three southeastern colonies of Australia, the abundance of
unoccupied tracts has not hitherto had that influence on wages in
Australia which it appears to have exercised in America, but under the
democratic amendments of the existing free selection system, wages will
probably again rise in the colonies, to be once more reduced by
immigration, or, if the democracy gains the day, more slowly lowered by
the natural increase of the population.

In places where competition has reduced the reward of labor to the
lowest amount consistent with the efficiency of the work, compulsory
restriction of the hours of toil must evidently be an unmixed benefit to
the laborer, until carried to the point at which it destroys the trade
in which he is engaged. In America and Australia, however, where the
laborer has a margin of luxuries which can be cut down, and where the
manufacturers are still to some extent competing with European rivals,
restriction of hours puts them at a disadvantage with the capitalists of
the old world, and, reducing their profits, tend also to diminish the
wage-fund, and ultimately to decrease the wages of their men. The
colonial action in this matter may, nevertheless, like all infringements
of general economic laws, be justified by proof of the existence of a
higher necessity for breaking than for adhering to the rule of freedom.
Our own Factory Acts, we should remember, were undoubtedly calculated to
diminish the production of the country.

Were the American and Australian handicraftsmen to become sufficiently
powerful to combine strict Protection, or prohibition of foreign
intercourse, with reduction of hours of toil, they would ultimately
drive capital out of their countries, and either lower wages, or else
diminish the population by checking both immigration and natural
increase. Here, as in the consideration of Protection, we come to that
bar to all discussion, the question, “What is a nation‘s good?” It is at
least doubtful whether in England we do not attach too great importance
to the continuance of nations in “the progressive state.” Unrestricted
immigration may destroy the literature, the traditions, the nationality
itself of the invaded country, and it is a question whether these ideas
are not worth preserving even at a cost of a few figures in the returns
of imports, exports, and population. A country in which Free Trade
principles have been carried to their utmost logical development must be
cosmopolitan and nationless, and for such a state of things to exist
universally without danger to civilization the world is not yet
prepared.

“Know-nothingism” in America, as what is now styled “native Americanism”
was once called--a form of the protest against the exaggeration of Free
Trade--was founded by handicraftsmen, and will in all probability find
its main support within their ranks whenever the time for its inevitable
resuscitation shall arrive. That there is honest pride of race at the
bottom of the agitation no one can doubt who knows the history of the
earlier Know-nothing movement; but class interest happens to point the
same way as does the instinct of the race. The refusal of political
privileges to immigrants will undoubtedly have some tendency to check
the flow of immigration; at all events, it will check the self-assertion
of the immigrants. That which does this leaves, too, the control of
wages more within the hands of actual laborers, and prevents the
European laborers of the eleventh hour coming in to share the heightened
wages for which the American hands have struck, and suffered misery and
want. No consistent republican can object to the making ten or twenty
years’ residence in the United States the condition for citizenship of
the land.

In the particular case of the Australian colonies, they are happily
separated from Ireland by seas so wide as to have a chance of preserving
a distinct nationality, such as America can scarcely hope for: only 1500
persons have come to New South Wales, unassisted, in the last five
years. The burden of proof lies upon those who propose to destroy the
rising nationality by assisting the importation of a mixed multitude of
negroes, Chinamen, Hill-coolies, Irish, and Germans, in order that the
imports and exports of Victoria and New South Wales may be increased,
and that there may be a larger number of so-called Victorians and New
South Welsh to live in misery.

Owing to the fostering of immigration by the aristocratic government,
the population of Queensland had, in 1866, quadrupled itself since 1860;
but, even were the other colonies inclined to follow the example of
their northern sister, they could not do so with success. New South
Wales and Tasmania might import colonists by the thousand, but they
would be no sooner landed than they would run to Queensland, or sail to
the New Zealand diggings, just as the “Canadian immigrants” flock into
the United States.

That phase of the labor question to which I have last alluded seems to
shape itself into the question, “Shall the laborer always and everywhere
be encouraged or permitted to carry his labor to the best market?” The
Australians answer that they are willing to admit that additional hands
in a new country mean additional wealth, but that there is but little
good in our preaching moral restraint to them if European immigration is
to be encouraged, Chinese allowed. The only effect, they say, that
self-control can have is that of giving such children as they do rear
Chinamen or Irishmen to struggle against instead of brothers. It is
hopeless to expect that the Australian workmen will retain their present
high standard of comfort if an influx of dark-skinned handicraftsmen is
permitted.

Some ten or even fewer years ago, we Free Traders of the Western world,
first then coming to know some little about the kingdoms of the further
East, paused a moment in our daily toil to lift to the skies our hands
in lamentation at the blind exclusiveness which we were told had for
ages past held sway within the council chambers of Pekin. No words were
too strong for our new-found laughing-stock; China became for us what we
are to Parisian journalists--a Bœotia redeemed only by a certain
eccentricity of folly. This vast hive swarming with two hundred million
working bees was said to find its interest in shutting out the world,
punishing alike with death the outgoing and incoming of the people.
“China for the Chinese” was the common war-cry of the rulers and the
ruled; “Self-contained has China been, and prospered; self-contained she
shall continue,” the favorite maxim of their teachers. Nothing could be
conceived nobler than the scorn which mingled with half-doubting
incredulity and with Pharisaic thanking of heaven that we were not as
they, when the blindness of these outer barbarians of “Gog and Magog
land” was drawn for us by skillful pens, and served out to us with all
the comments that self-complacency could suggest. A conversion in the
future was foretold, however; this Chinese infirmity of vision should
not last forever; the day, we were told, must come when Studentships in
Political Economy should be founded in Pekin, and Ricardo take the place
of Cou-fou-chow in Thibetian schools. A conversion has taken place of
late, but not that hoped for; or, if it be a conversion consistent with
the truths of Economic Science, it has taken a strange shape. The wise
men of Canton may be tempted, perhaps, to think that it is we who have
learnt the wisdom of the sages, and been brought back into the fold of
the great master. Chinese immigration is heavily taxed in California;
taxed to the point of prohibition in Victoria; and absolutely forbidden
under heavy penalties in Louisiana and the other ex-rebel States.

The Chinaman is pushing himself to the fore wherever his presence is not
prohibited. We find Chinese helmsmen and quartermasters in the service
of the Messageries and Oriental companies receiving twice the wages paid
to Indian Lascars. We hear of the importation of Chinese laborers into
India for railway and for drainage works. The Chinaman has great
vitality. Of the cheap races the Mongol seems the most pushing, the
likeliest to conquer in the fight. It would almost seem as though we
were wrong in our common scales of preference, far from right in our use
of the terms “superior” and “inferior” races.

A well-taught white man can outreason or can overreach a well-taught
Chinaman or negro. But under some climatic conditions, the negro can
outwork the white man; under almost all conditions, the Chinaman can
outwork him. Where this is the case, is it not the Chinaman or the negro
that should be called the better man? Call him what we may, will he not
prove his superiority by working the Englishman off the soil? In Florida
and Mississippi the black is certainly the better man.

Many Victorians, even those who respect and admire the Chinese, are in
favor of the imposition of a tax upon the yellow immigrants, in order to
prevent the destruction of the rising Australian nationality. They fear
that otherwise they will live to see the English element swamped in the
Asiatic throughout Australia. It is not certain that we may not some day
have to encounter a similar danger in Old England.

It will be seen from the account thus given of the state of the labor
question in Australia, that the colonial handicraftsmen stand toward
those of the world in much the same relative position as that held by
the members of a trade union toward the other workmen of the same trade.
The limitation of immigration there has much the same effects as the
limitation of apprentices in a single trade in England. It is easy to
say that the difference between fellow-countryman and foreigner is
important; that while it is an unfairness to all English workmen that
English hatters should limit apprentices, it is not unfair to English
hatters that Australian hatters should limit their apprentices. For my
own part, I am inclined to think that, fair or unfair--and we have no
international moral rule generally acknowledged to decide the
question--we might at least say to Australia that, while she throws upon
us the chief expenses of her defense, she is hardly in a position to
refuse to aid our emigrants.

Day by day the labor question in its older aspects becomes of less and
less importance. The relationship of master and servant is rapidly dying
the death; co-operative farming and industrial partnerships must
supersede it everywhere at no distant date. In these systems we shall
find the remedy against the decline of trade with which the
English-speaking countries of the earth are threatened.

The existing system of labor is anti-democratic; it is at once
productive of and founded on the existence of an aristocracy of capital
and a servitude of workmen; and our English democracies cannot afford
that half their citizens should be dependent laborers. If manufactures
are to be consistent with democracy, they must be carried on in shops in
which each man shall be at once capitalist and handicraftsman. Such
institutions are already in existence in Massachusetts, in Illinois, in
Pennsylvania, and in Sydney; while at Troy, in New York State, there is
a great iron foundery, owned from roof to floor by the men who work in
it. It is not enough that the workman should share in the profits. The
change which, continuing through the middle ages into the present
century, has at last everywhere converted the relation of lord and slave
into that of master and hireling, is already giving place to the silent
revolution which is steadily substituting for this relationship of
capital and labor that of a perfect marriage, in which the laborer and
the capitalist shall be one.

Under this system there can be no strikes, no petty trickery, no
jealousy, no waste of time. Each man‘s individual interest is coincident
with that of all. Where the labor is that of a brotherhood, the toil
becomes ennobled. Were industrial partnerships a new device, their
inventor would need no monument; his would be found in the future
history of the race. As it is, this latest advance of Western
civilization is but a return to the earliest and noblest form of labor;
the Arabs, the Don Cossacks, the Maori tribes are all co-operative
farmers; it is the mission of the English race to apply the ancient
principle to manufactures.



CHAPTER VIII.

WOMAN.


In one respect, Victoria stands at once sadly behind and strangely in
advance of other democratic countries. Women, or at least some women,
vote at the Lower House elections; but, on the other hand, the legal
position of the sex is almost as inferior to that of man as it is in
England or the East.

At an election held some few years ago, female ratepayers voted
everywhere throughout Victoria. Upon examination, it was found that a
new registration act had directed the rate-books to be used as a basis
for the preparation of the electoral lists, and that women householders
had been legally put on the register, although the intention of the
legislature was not expressed, and the question of female voting had not
been raised during the debates. Another instance, this, of the singular
way in which in truly British countries reforms are brought about by
accident, and, when once become facts, are allowed to stand. There is no
more sign of general adhesion in Australia than in England to the
doctrine which asserts that women, as well as men, being interested in
good government, should have a voice in the selection of that government
to which they are forced to submit themselves.

As far as concerns their social position, women are as badly off in
Australia as in England. Our theory of marriage--which has been tersely
explained thus: “the husband and wife are one, and _the husband is that
one_”--rules as absolutely at the antipodes as it does in Yorkshire. I
was daily forced to remember the men of Kansas and Missouri, and the
widely different view they take of these matters to that of the
Australians. As they used to tell me, they are impatient of seeing their
women ranked with “lunatics and idiots” in the catalogue of
incapacities. They are incapable of seeing that women are much better
represented by their male friends than were the Southern blacks by their
owners or overseers. They believe that the process of election would not
be more purified by female emancipation than would the character of the
Parliaments elected.

The Kansas people often say that if you were told that there existed in
some ideal country two great sections of a race, the members of the one
often gross, often vicious, often given to loud talking, to swearing, to
drinking, spitting, chewing, not infrequently corrupt; those of the
other branch, mild, kind, quiet, pure, devout, with none of the habitual
vices of the first-named sect,--if you were told that one of these
branches was alone to elect rulers and to govern, you would at once say,
“Tell us where this happy country is that basks in the rule of such a
godlike people.” “Stop a minute,” says your informant, “it is the
creatures I described first--the _men_--who rule; the others are only
women, poor silly fools--imperfect men, I assure you; nothing more.”

It is somewhat the fashion to say that the so-called “extravagancies” of
the Kansas folk and other American Western men arise from the
extraordinary position given to their women by the disproportion of the
sexes. Now in all the Australian colonies the men vastly outnumber the
women, yet the disproportion has none of those results which have been
attributed to it by some writers on America. In New South Wales, the
sexes are as 250,000 to 200,000, in Victoria 370,000 to 280,000, in New
Zealand 130,000 to 80,000, in Queensland 60,000 to 40,000, in Tasmania
50,000 to 40,000, in West Australia 14,000 to 8000, 90,000 to 80,000 in
South Australia. In all our Southern colonies together, there are a
million of men to only three-quarters of a million of women; yet with
all this disproportion, which far exceeds that in Western America, not
only have the women failed to acquire any great share of power,
political or social, but they are content to occupy a position not
relatively superior to that held by them at home.

The “Sewing Clubs” of the war-time are at the bottom of a good deal of
the “woman movement” in America. At the time of greatest need, the
ladies of the Northern States formed themselves into associations for
the supply of lint, of linen, and of comforts to the army: the women of
a district would meet together daily in some large room, and sew, and
chat while they were sewing.

The British section of the Teutonic race seems naturally inclined,
through the operation of its old interest-begotten prejudices, to rank
women where Plato placed them in the “Timæus,” along with horses and
draught cattle, or to think of them much as he did when he said that all
the brutes derived their origin from man by a series of successive
degradations, of which the first was from man to woman. There is,
however, one strong reason why the English should, in America, have laid
aside their prejudices upon this point, retaining them in Australia,
where the conditions are not the same. Among farming peoples, whose
women do not work regularly in the field, the woman to whom falls the
household and superior work is better off than she is among
town-dwelling peoples. The Americans are mainly a farming, the
Australians and British mainly a town-dwelling, people. The absence in
all sections of our race of regular woman labor in the field seems to be
a remnant of the high estimation in which women were held by our former
ancestry. In Britain we have, until the last few years, been steadily
retrograding upon this point.

It is a serious question how far the natural prejudice of the English
mind against the labor of what we call “inferior races” will be found to
extend to half the superior race itself. How will English laborers
receive the inevitable competition of women in many of their fields?
Woman is at present starved, if she works at all, and does not rest
content in dependence upon some man, by the terrible lowness of wages in
every employment open to her, and this low rate of wages is itself the
direct result of the fewness of the occupations which society allows
her. Where a man can see a thousand crafts in which he may engage, a
woman will perhaps be permitted to find ten. A hundred times as many
women as there is room for invade each of this small number of
employments. In the Australian labor-field the prospects of women are no
better than they are in Europe, and during my residence in Melbourne the
Council of the Associated Trades passed a resolution to the effect that
nothing could justify the employment of women in any kind of productive
labor.



CHAPTER IX.

VICTORIAN PORTS.


All allowance being made for the great number of wide roads for trade,
there is still a singular absence of traffic in the Melbourne streets.
Trade may be said to be transacted only upon paper in the city, while
the tallow, grain, and wool, which form the basis of Australian
commerce, do not pass through Melbourne, but skirt it, and go by railway
to Williamstown, Sandridge, and Geelong.

Geelong, once expected to rival Melbourne, and become the first port of
all Australia, I found grass-grown and half deserted, with but one
vessel lying at her wharf. At Williamstown a great fleet of first-class
ships was moored alongside the pier. When the gold-find at Ballarat took
place, Geelong rose fast as the digging port, but her citizens chose to
complete the railway line to Melbourne instead of first opening that to
Ballarat, and so lost all the up-country trade. Melbourne, having once
obtained the lead, soon managed to control the legislature, and grants
were made for the Echuca Railroad, which tapped the Murray, and brought
the trade of Upper Queensland and New South Wales down to Melbourne, in
the interest of the ports of Williamstown and Sandridge. Not content
with ruining Geelong, the Melbourne men have set themselves to ridicule
it. One of their stories goes that the Geelong streets bear such a fine
crop of grass, that a free selector has applied to have them surveyed
and sold to him, under the 42d clause of the New Land Act. Another
story tells how a Geelongee lately died, and went to heaven. Peter,
opening the door to his knock, asked, “Where from?” “Geelong.” “Where?”
said Peter. “Geelong.” “There‘s no such place,” replied the Apostle. “In
Victoria,” cried the colonist. “Fetch Ham‘s Australian Atlas,” called
Peter; and when the map was brought and the spot shown to him, he
replied, “Well, I beg your pardon, but I really never had any one here
from that place before.”

If Geelong be standing still, which in a colony is the same as rapid
decline would be with us, the famed wheat country around it seems as
inexhaustible as it ever was. The whole of the Barrabool range, from
Ceres to Mount Moriac, is one great golden waving sheet, save where it
is broken by the stunted claret-vineyards. Here and there I came upon a
group of the little daughters of the German vine-dressers, tending and
trenching the plants, with the round eyes, rosy cheeks, and shiny
pigtails of their native Rudesheim all flourishing beneath the Southern
Cross.

The colonial vines are excellent; better, indeed, than the growths of
California, which, however, they resemble in general character. The
wines are naturally all Burgundies, and colonial imitations of claret,
port, and sherry are detestable, and the hocks but little better. The
Albury hermitage is a better wine than can be bought in Europe at its
price, but in some places this wine is sold as Murray Burgundy, while
the dealers foist horrible stuff upon you under the name of hermitage.
Of the wines of New South Wales, White Dallwood is a fair Sauterne, and
White Cawarra a good Chablis, while for sweet wines the Chasselas is
singularly cheap; and the Tokay, the Shiraz, and the still Muscat are
remarkable.

Northwest of Geelong, upon the summit of the foot-hills of the dividing
range, lies Ballarat, the headquarters of deep quartz mining, and now no
longer a diggers’ camp, but a graceful city, full of shady boulevards
and noble buildings, and with a stationary population of thirty
thousand. My first visit was made in the company of the prime ministers
of all the colonies, who were at Melbourne nominally for a conference,
but really to enjoy a holiday and the International Exhibition. With
that extraordinary generosity in the spending of other people‘s money
which distinguishes colonial cabinets, the Victorian government placed
special trains, horses, carriages, and hotels at our disposal, the
result of which was that, fêted everywhere, we saw nothing, and I had to
return to Ballarat in order even to go through the mines.

In visiting Lake Learmouth and Clunes, and the mining district on each
side of Ballarat, I found myself able to discover the date of settlement
by the names of places, as one finds the age of a London suburb by the
titles of its terraces. The dates run in a wave across the country. St.
Arnaud is a town between Ballarat and Castlemaine, and Alma lies near to
it, while Balaklava Hill is near Ballarat, where also are Raglan and
Sebastopol. Inkerman lies close to Castlemaine, and Mount Cathcart bears
the name of the general killed at the Two Gun battery, while the
Malakhoff diggings, discovered doubtless toward the end of the war, lie
to the northward, in the Wimmera.

Everywhere I found the interior far hotter than the coast, but free from
the sudden changes of temperature that occur in Melbourne twice or
thrice a week throughout the summer, and are dangerous to children and
to persons of weak health. After two or three days of the hot wind, then
comes a night, breathless, heavy, still. In the morning the sun rises,
once more fierce and red. After such a night and dawn, I have seen the
shade thermometer in the cool verandas of the Melbourne Club standing at
95° before ten o‘clock, when suddenly the sun and sky would change from
red and brown to gold and blue, and a merry breeze, dancing up from the
ice-packs of the South Pole and across the Antarctic seas, would lower
the temperature in an hour to 60° or 65°. After a few days of cold and
rain, a quiet English morning would be cut in half about eleven by a
sudden slamming of doors and whirling of dust from the north across the
town, while darkness came upon the streets. Then was heard the cry of
“Shut the windows; here‘s a hot wind,” and down would go every window,
barred and bolted, while the oldest colonists walked out to enjoy the
dry air and healthy heat. The thick walls of the clubs and private
houses will keep out the heat for about three days, but if, as sometimes
happens, the hot wind lasts longer, then the walls are heated through,
and the nights are hardly to be borne. Up country the settlers know
nothing of these changes. The regular irregularity is peculiar to the
Melbourne summer.



CHAPTER X.

TASMANIA.


After the parching heat of Australia, a visit to Tasmania was a grateful
change. Steaming along Port Dalrymple and up the Tamar in the soft
sunlight of an English afternoon, we were able to look upward, and enjoy
the charming views of wood and river, instead of having to stand with
downcast head, as in the blaze of the Victorian sun.

The beauty of the Tamar is of a quiet kind: its scenery like that of the
non-Alpine districts of the west coast of New Zealand, but softer and
more habitable than is that of even the least rude portions of these
islands. To one fresh from the baked Australian plains, there is
likeness between any green and humid land and the last unparched country
that he may have seen. Still, New Zealand cannot show fresher cheeks nor
homes more cosy than those of the Tamar valley. Somersetshire cannot
surpass the orchards of Tasmania, nor Devon match its flowers.

The natural resemblance of _Maria_ Van Dieman‘s Land (as Tasman called
it after his betrothed) to England seems to have struck the early
settlers. In sailing up the Tamar, we had on one bank the County of
Dorset, with its villages touchingly named after those at home,
according to their situations, from its Lulworth Cove, Corfe Castle, and
St. Alban‘s Head, round to Abbotsbury, and, on our right hand, Devon,
with its Sidmouth, Exeter, and Torquay.

Hurrying through Launceston--a pretty little town, of which the banks
and post-office are models of simple architecture--I passed at once
across the island southward to Hobarton, the capital. The scenery on the
great convict road is not impressive. The Tasmanian Mountains--detached
and rugged masses of basaltic rock, from four to five thousand feet in
height--are wanting in grandeur when seen from a distance, with a
foreground of flat corn-land. It is disheartening, too, in an English
colony, to see half the houses shut up and deserted, and acre upon acre
of old wheat-land abandoned to mimosa scrub. The people in these older
portions of the island have worked their lands to death, and even guano
seems but to galvanize them into a momentary life. Since leaving
Virginia, I had seen no such melancholy sight.

Nature is bountiful enough: in the world there is not a fairer climate;
the gum-trees grow to 350 feet, attesting the richness of the soil; and
the giant tree-ferns are never injured by heat, as in Australia, nor by
cold, as in New Zealand. All the fruits of Europe are in season at the
same time, and the Christmas dessert at Hobarton often consists of five
and twenty distinct fresh fruits. Even more than Britain, Tasmania may
be said to present on a small area an epitome of the globe: mountain and
plain, forest and rolling prairie land, rivers and grand capes, and the
noblest harbor in the world, all are contained in a country the size of
Ireland. It is unhappily not only in this sense that Tasmania is the
Ireland of the South.

Beautiful as is the view of Hobarton from Mount Wellington,--the spurs
in the foreground clothed with a crimson carpet by a heathlike plant;
the city nestled under the basaltic columns of the crags,--even here it
is difficult to avoid a certain gloom when the eye, sweeping over the
vast expanse of Storm Bay and D‘Entrecasteaux Sound, discovers only
three great ships in a harbor fitted to contain the navies of the world.

The scene first of the horrible deeds of early convict days at Macquarie
Harbor and Port Arthur, and later of the still more frightful massacres
of the aboriginal inhabitants of the isle, Van Dieman‘s Land has never
been a name of happy omen, and now the island, in changing its title,
seems not to have escaped from the former blight. The poetry of the
English village names met with throughout Tasmania vanishes before the
recollection of the circumstances under which the harsher native terms
came to be supplanted. Fifty years ago, our colonists found in Tasmania
a powerful and numerous though degraded native race. At this moment,
three old women and a lad who dwell on Gun-carriage Rock, in Bass‘s
Straits, are all who remain of the aboriginal population of the island.

We live in an age of mild humanity, we are often told, but, whatever the
polish of manner and of minds in the old country, in outlying portions
of the empire there is no lack of the old savagery of our race. Battues
of the natives were conducted by the military in Tasmania not more than
twenty years ago, and are not unknown even now among the Queensland
settlers. Let it not be thought that Englishmen go out to murder natives
unprovoked; they have that provocation for which even the Spaniards in
Mexico used to wait, which the Brazilians wait for now--the provocation
of robberies committed in the neighborhood by natives unknown. It is not
that there is no offense to punish, it is that the punishment is
indiscriminate, that even when it falls upon the guilty it visits men
who know no better. Where one wretched untaught native pilfers from a
sheep-station, on the Queensland Downs, a dozen will be shot by the
settlers, “as an example,” and the remainder of the tribe brought back
to the district to be fed and kept, until whisky, rum, and other devils’
missionaries have done their work.

Nothing will persuade the rougher class of Queensland settlers that the
“black-fellow” and his “jin” are human. They tell you freely that they
look upon the native Australian as an ingenious kind of monkey, and that
it is not for us to talk too much of the treatment of the “jins,” or
native women, while the “wrens” of the Curragh exist among ourselves. No
great distance appears to separate us from the days when the Spaniards
in the West Indies used to brand on the face and arms all the natives
they could catch, and gamble them away for wine.

Though not more than three or four million acres out of seventeen
million acres of land in Tasmania have as yet been alienated by the
crown, the population has increased only by 15,000 in the last ten
years. Such is the indolence of the settlers, that vast tracts of land
in the central plain, once fertile under irrigation, have been allowed
to fall back into a desert state from sheer neglect of the dams and
conduits. Though iron and coal are abundant, they are seldom if ever
worked, and one house in every thirty-two in the whole island is
licensed for the sale of spirits, of which the annual consumption
exceeds five gallons a head for every man, woman, and child in the
population. Tasmania reached her maximum of revenue in 1858, and her
maximum of trade in 1853.

[Illustration: GOVERNOR DAVEY‘S PROCLAMATION.--P. 86.]

The curse of the country is the indolence of its lotus-eating
population, who, like all dwellers in climates cool but winterless, are
content to dream away their lives in drowsiness to which the habits
of a hotter but less equable clime--Queensland, for example--are energy
itself. In addition, however, to this natural cause of decline, Van
Dieman‘s Land is not yet free from all traces of the convict blood, nor
from the evil effects of reliance on forced labor. It is, indeed, but a
few years since the island was one great jail, and in 1853 there were
still 20,000 actual convicts in the island. The old free settlers will
tell you that the deadly shade of slave labor has not blighted Jamaica
more thoroughly than that of convict labor has Van Dieman‘s Land.

Seventy miles northwest of Hobarton is a sheet of water called Macquarie
Harbor, the deeds wrought upon the shores of which are not to be
forgotten in a decade. In 1823, there were 228 prisoners at Macquarie
Harbor, to whom, in the year, 229 floggings and 9925 lashes were
ordered, 9100 lashes being actually inflicted. The cat was, by order of
the authorities, soaked in salt water and dried in the sun before being
used. There was at Macquarie Harbor one convict overseer who took a
delight in seeing his companions punished. A day seldom passed without
five or six being flogged on his reports. The convicts were at his
mercy. In a space of five years, during which the prisoners at Macquarie
Harbor averaged 250 in number, there were 835 floggings and 32,723
lashes administered. In the same five years, 112 convicts absconded from
this settlement, of whom 10 were killed and eaten by their companions,
75 perished in the bush with or without cannibalism, two were captured
with portions of human flesh in their possession, and died in hospital,
two were shot, 16 were hanged for murder and cannibalism, and seven are
reported to have made good their escape, though this is by no means
certain.

It has been stated by a Catholic missionary bishop in his evidence
before a Royal Commission, that when, after a meeting at one of the
stations, he read out to his men the names of thirty-one condemned to
death, they with one accord fell upon their knees, and solemnly thanked
God that they were to be delivered from that horrible place. Men were
known to commit murder that they might be sent away for trial,
preferring death to Macquarie Harbor.

The escapes were often made with the deliberate expectation of death,
the men perfectly knowing that they would have to draw lots for which
should be killed and eaten. Nothing has ever been sworn to in the
history of the world which, for revolting atrocity, can compare with the
conduct of the Pierce-Greenhill party during their attempted escape. The
testimony of Pierce is a revelation of the depths of degradation to
which man can descend. The most fearful thought, when we hear of these
Tasmanian horrors, is that probably many of those subjected to them were
originally guiltless. If only one in a thousand was an innocent man,
four human beings were consigned each year to hell on earth. We think,
too, that the age of transportation for mere political offenses has long
gone by, yet it is but eleven or twelve years since Mr. Frost received
his pardon, after serving for sixteen years amid the horrors of Port
Arthur.

Tasmania has never been able to rid herself of the convict population in
any great degree, for the free colonies have always kept a jealous watch
upon her emigrants. Even at the time of the great gold-rush to Victoria,
almost every “Tasmanian bolter” and many a suspected but innocent man
was seized upon his landing, and thrown into Pentridge Jail, to toil
within its twenty-foot walls till death should come to his relief. Even
now, men of wealth and station in Victoria are sometimes discovered to
have been “bolters” in the digging times, and are at the mercy of their
neighbors and the police, unless the governor can be wheedled into
granting pardons for their former deeds. A wealthy Victorian was
arrested as a “Tasmanian bolter” while I was in the colony.

The passport system is still in force in the free colonies with regard
to passengers arriving from penal settlements, and there is a penalty of
£100 inflicted upon captains of ships bringing convicts into Melbourne.
The conditional pardons granted to prisoners in West Australia and in
Tasmania generally contain words permitting the convict to visit any
portion of the world except the British Isles, but the clause is a mere
dead letter, for none of our free colonies will receive even our
pardoned convicts.

It is hard to quarrel with the course the colonies have taken in this
matter, for to them the transportation system appears in the light of
moral vitriol-throwing; still, there is a wide distinction to be drawn
between the action of the New South Welsh and that of the New Yorkers,
when they declared to a British government of the last century, that
nothing should induce them to accept the labor of “white English
slaves:” the Sydney people have enjoyed the advantages of the system
they now blame. Even the Victorians and South Australians, who have
never had convicts in their land, can be met by argument. The Australian
colonies, it might be urged, were planted for the sole purpose of
affording a suitable soil for the reception of British criminals: in
face of this fact, the remonstrances of the free colonists read somewhat
oddly, for it would seem as though men who quitted, with open eyes,
Great Britain to make their home in the spots which their government
had chosen as its giant prisons have little right to pretend to rouse
themselves on a sudden, and cry out that England is pouring the scum of
her soil on to a free land, and that they must rise and defend
themselves against the grievous wrong. Weighing, however, calmly the
good and evil, we cannot avoid the conclusion that the Victorians have
much reason to object to a system which sends to another country a man
who is too bad for his own, just as Jersey rogues are transported to
Southampton. The Victorian proposition of selecting the most ruffianly
of the colonial expirees, and shipping them to England in exchange for
the convicts that we might send to Australia, was but a plagiarism on
the conduct of the Virginians in a similar case, who quietly began to
freight a ship with snakes.

The only cure for Tasmania, unless one is to be found in the mere lapse
of years, lies in annexation to Victoria; a measure strongly wished for
by a considerable party in each of the colonies concerned. No two
countries in the world are more manifestly destined by nature to be
complementary to each other.

Owing to the small size of the country, and the great moral influence of
the landed gentry, Tasmanian politics are singularly peaceful. For the
Lower House elections the suffrage rests upon a household, not a manhood
basis, as in Victoria and New South Wales; and for the Upper House it is
placed at £500 in any property, or £50 a year in freehold land.
Tasmanian society is cast in a more aristocratic shape than is that of
Queensland, with this exception the most oligarchical of all our
colonies; but even here, as in the other colonies and the United States,
the ballot is supported by the Conservatives. Unlike what generally
happens in America, the vote in the great majority of cases is here
kept secret, bribery is unknown, and, the public “nomination” of
candidates having been abolished, elections pass off in perfect quiet.
In the course of a dozen conversations in Tasmania, I met with one man
who attacked the ballot. He was the first person, aristocrat or
democrat, conservative or liberal, male or female, silly or wise, by
whom I had found the ballot opposed since I left home.

The method in which the ballot is conducted is simple enough. The
returning officer sits in an outer room, beyond which is an inner
chamber with only one door, but with a desk. The voter gives his name to
the returning officer, and receives a white ticket bearing his number on
the register. On the ticket the names of the candidates are printed
alphabetically, and the voter, taking the paper into the other room,
makes a cross opposite to the name of each candidate for whom he votes,
and then brings the paper folded to the returning officer, who puts it
in the box. In New South Wales and Victoria, he runs his pen through all
the names excepting those for which he wishes to vote, and himself
deposits the ticket in the box, the returning officer watching him, to
see that he does not carry out his ticket to show it to his bribers, and
then send it in again by a man on his own side. One scrutineer for each
candidate watches the opening of the box. In New South Wales, the voting
papers, after having been sealed up, are kept for five years, in order
to allow of the verification of the number of votes said to have been
cast; but in Tasmania they are destroyed immediately after the
declaration of the poll.

Escaping from the capital and its Lilliputian politics, I sailed up the
Derwent to New Norfolk. The river reminds the traveler sometimes of the
Meuse, but oftener of the Dart, and unites the beauties of both
streams. The scenery is exquisitely set in a framework of hops; for not
only are all the flats covered with luxuriant bines, but the hills
between which you survey the views have also each its “garden,” the
bines being trained upon a wire trellis.

A lovely ride was that from New Norfolk to the Panshanger salmon-ponds,
where the acclimatization of the English fish has lately been attempted.
The track, now cut along the river cliff, now lost in the mimosa scrub,
offers a succession of prospects, each more lovely than the one before
it; and that from the ponds themselves is a repetition of the view along
the vale of the Towy, from Steele‘s house near Caermarthen. Trout of a
foot long, and salmon of an inch, rewarded us (in the spirit) for our
ride, but we were called on to express our belief in the statement, that
salmon “returned from the sea” have lately been seen in the river.
Father ----, the Catholic parish priest, “that saw ’em,” is the hero of
the day, and his past experiences upon the Shannon are quoted as
testimonies to his infallibility in fish questions. My hosts of New
Norfolk had their fears lest the reverend gentleman should be lynched,
if it were finally proved that he had been mistaken.

The salmon madness will at least have two results: the catalogue of
indigenous birds will be reduced to a blank sheet, for every wretched
Tasmanian bird that never saw a salmon egg in all its life is shot down
and nailed to a post for fear it should eat the ova; and the British
wasp will be acclimatized in the southern hemisphere. One is known to
have arrived in the last box of ova, and to have survived with apparent
cheerfulness his one hundred days in ice. Happy fellow, to cross the
line in so cool a fashion!

The chief drawbacks to Tasmanian picnics and excursions are the snakes,
which are as numerous throughout the island as they are round Sydney.
One of the convicts in a letter home once wrote: “Parrots is as thick as
crows, and snakes is very bad, fourteen to sixteen feet long;” but in
sober truth the snakes are chiefly small.

The wonderful “snake stories” that in the colonial papers take the place
of the English “triple birth” and “gigantic gooseberry” are all written
in vacation time by the students at Melbourne University, but a true one
that I heard in Hobarton is too good to be lost. The chief justice of
the island, who, in his leisure time, is an amateur naturalist, and
collects specimens for European collections in his walks, told me that
it was his practice, after killing a snake, to carry it into Hobarton
tied to a stick by a double lashing. A few days before my visit, on
entering his hall, where an hour before he had hung his stick with a
rare snake in readiness for the government naturalist, he found to his
horror that the viper had been only scotched, and that he had made use
of his regained life to free himself from the string which confined his
head and neck. He was still tied by the tail, so he was swinging to and
fro, or “squirming around,” as some Americans would say, with open mouth
and protruded tongue. When lassoing with a piece of twine had been tried
in vain, my friend fetched a gun, and succeeded in killing the snake and
much damaging the stone-work of his vestibule.

After a week‘s sojourn in the neighborhood of Hobarton I again crossed
the island, but this time by a night of piercing moonlight such as can
be witnessed only in the dry air of the far south. High in the heavens,
and opposite the moon, was the solemn constellation of the Southern
Cross, sharply relieved upon the pitchy background of the Magellanic
clouds, while the weird-tinted stars which vary the night-sky of the
southern hemisphere stood out from the blue firmament elsewhere. The
next day I was again in Melbourne.



CHAPTER XI.

CONFEDERATION.


Melbourne is unusually gay, for at a shapely palace in the center of the
city the second great Intercolonial Exhibition is being held, and, as
its last days are drawing to their close, fifty thousand people--a great
number for the colonies--visit the building every week. There are
exhibitors from each of our seven southern colonies, and from French New
Caledonia, Netherlandish India, and the Mauritius. It is strange to
remember now that in the colonization both of New Zealand and of
Australia, we were the successful rivals of the French only after having
been behind them in awakening to the advisability of an occupation of
these countries. In the case of New Zealand, the French fleet was
anticipated there several times by the forethought and decision of our
naval officers on the station; and in the case of Australia, the whole
south coast was actually named “La Terre Napoléon,” and surveyed for
colonization by Captain Baudin in 1800. New Caledonia, on the other
hand, was named and occupied by ourselves, and afterward abandoned to
the French.

The present remarkable exhibition of the products of the Australias,
coming just at the time when the border customs between Victoria and New
South Wales have been abolished by agreement, and when all seems to
point to the formation of a customs union between the colonies, leads
men to look still further forward, and to expect confederation. It is
worthy of notice at this conjuncture that the Australian Protectionists,
as a rule, refuse to be protected against their immediate neighbors,
just as those of America protect the manufactures of the Union rather
than of single States. They tell us that they can point, with regard to
Europe, to pauper labor, but that they have no case as against the
sister colonies; they wish, they say, to obtain a wide market for the
sale of the produce of each colony; the nationality they would create is
to be Australian, not provincial.

Already there is postal union, and a partial customs union, and
confederation itself, however distant in fact, has been very lately
brought about in the spirit by the efforts of the London press, one
well-known paper having three times in a single article called the
governor of New South Wales by the sounding title of “Governor-General
of the Australasian colonies,” to which he has, of course, not the
faintest claim.

There are many difficulties in the way of confederation. The leading
merchants and squatters of Victoria are in favor of it; but not so those
of the poorer or less populous colonies, where there is much fear of
being swamped. The costliness of the federal government of New Zealand
is a warning against over-hasty confederation. Victoria, too, would
probably insist upon the exclusion of West Australia, on account of her
convict population. The continental theory is undreamt of by
Australians, owing to their having always been inhabitants of
comparatively small States, and not, like dwellers in the organized
territories of America, potentially citizens of a vast and homogeneous
empire.

The choice of capital will, here as in Canada, be a matter of peculiar
difficulty. It is to be hoped by all lovers of freedom that some
hitherto unknown village will be selected. There is in all great cities
a strong tendency to Imperialism. Bad pavement, much noise, narrow
lanes, blockaded streets, all these things are ill dealt with by free
government, we are told. Englishmen who have been in Paris, Americans
who know St. Petersburg, forgetting that without the Emperor the Préfet
is impossible, cry out that London, that New York, in their turn need a
Haussman. In this tendency lies a terrible danger to free States--a
danger avoided, however, or greatly lessened, by the seat of the
legislature being placed, as in Canada and the United States, far away
from the great cities. Were Melbourne to become the seat of government,
nothing could prevent the distant colonies from increasing the already
gigantic power of that city by choosing her merchants as their
representatives.

The bearing of confederation upon Imperial interests is a more simple
matter. Although union will tend to the earlier independence of the
colonies, yet, if federated, they are more likely to be a valuable ally
than they could be if remaining so many separate countries. They would
also be a stronger enemy; but distance will make all their wars naval,
and a strong fleet would be more valuable to us as a friend than
dangerous as an enemy, unless in the case of a coalition against us, in
which it would probably not be the interest of Australia to join.

From the colonial point of view, federation would tend to secure to the
Australians better general and local government than they possess at
present. It is absurd to expect that colonial governors should be upon
good terms with their charges when we shift men every four years--say
from Demerara to New South Wales, or from Jamaica to Victoria. The
unhappy governor loses half a year in moving to his post, and a couple
of years in coming to understand the circumstances of his new province,
and then settles down to be successful in the ruling of educated whites
under democratic institutions only if he can entirely throw aside the
whole of his experience, derived as it will probably have been from the
despotic sway over blacks. We never can have a set of colonial governors
fit for Australia until the Australian governments are made a separate
service, and entirely separated from the West Indies, Africa, and Hong
Kong.

Besides improving the government, confederation would lend to every
colonist the dignity derived from citizenship of a great country--a
point the importance of which will not be contested by any one who has
been in America since the war.

It is not easy to resist the conclusion that confederation is in every
way desirable. If it leads to independence, we must say to the
Australians what Houmai ta Whiti said in his great speech to the
progenitors of the Maori race when they were quitting Hawaiki: “Depart,
and dwell in peace; let there be no quarreling among you, but build up a
great people.”



CHAPTER XII.

ADELAIDE.


The capital of South Australia is reputed the hottest of all the cities
that are chiefly inhabited by the English race, and as I neared it
through the Backstairs Passage into the Gulf of St. Vincent, past
Kangaroo Island, and still more upon landing at Glenelg, I came to the
conclusion that its reputation was deserved. The extreme heat which
characterizes South Australia is to some extent a consequence of its
lying as far north as New South Wales and Queensland, and so far inland
as to escape the breeze by which their coasts are visited; for although
by “South Australia” we should, in the southern hemisphere, naturally
understand that portion of Australia which was farthest from the
tropics, yet it is a curious fact that the whole colony of Victoria lies
to the south of Adelaide, that neither of the great southern peninsulas
of Australia are in, but that nearly all the northernmost points of the
continent now lie within, the country misnamed “South Australia.”

The immense northern territory, being supposed to be valueless, has
generously been made a present of to South Australia, which thus becomes
the largest British colony, and nearly as large as British Hindostan. If
the great expenditure which is going on succeeds in causing the
discovery of any good land at the north, it will of course at once be
made into a separate colony. The only important result that seems
likely to follow from this annexation to South Australia of the northern
territory is that schoolboys’ geography will suffer; indeed, I should
say that a total destruction of all principle in the next generation
would be the inevitable result of so rude a blow to confidence in books
and masters as the assurance from a teacher‘s lips that the two most
remote countries of Australia from each other are united under one
colonial government, and that the northernmost points of the whole
continent are situated in South Australia. Boys will probably conclude
that across the line south becomes north and north south, and that in
Australia the sun rises in the west.

Instead of gold, wheat, sheep, as in Victoria, the staples here are
wheat, sheep, copper, and my introduction to South Australia was
characteristic of the colony, for I found in Port Adelaide, where I
first set foot, not only every store filled to overflowing, but piles of
wheat-sacks in the roadways, and lines of wheat-cars on the sidings of
railways, without even a tarpaulin to cover the grain.

Of all the mysteries of commerce, those that concern the wheat and flour
trade are, perhaps, the strangest to the uninitiated. Breadstuffs are
still sent from California and Chili to Victoria, yet from Adelaide,
close at hand, wheat is being sent to England and flour to New York!

There can be no doubt that ultimately Victoria and Tasmania will at
least succeed in feeding themselves. It is probable that neither New
Zealand nor Queensland will find it to their interest to do the like.
Wool-growing in the former and cotton and wool in the latter will
continue to pay better than wheat in the greater portion of their lands.
Their granary, and that possibly of the City of Sydney itself, will be
found in South Australia, especially if land capable of carrying wheat
be discovered to the westward of the settlements about Adelaide. That
the Australias, Chili, California, Oregon, and other Pacific States can
ever export largely of wheat to Europe is now more than doubtful. If
manufactures spring up on this side the world, these countries, whatever
their fertility, will have at least enough to do to feed themselves.

As I entered the streets of the “farinaceous village,” as Adelaide is
called by conceited Victorians, I was struck with the amount of
character they exhibit both in the way of buildings, of faces, and of
dress. The South Australians have far more idea of adapting their houses
and clothes to their climate than have the people of the other colonies,
and their faces adapt themselves. The verandas to the shops are
sufficiently contiguous to form a perfect piazza; the people rise early,
and water the sidewalk in front of their houses; and you never meet a
man who does not make some sacrifice to the heat, in the shape of
puggree, silk coat, or sun-helmet; but the women are nearly as unwise
here as in the other colonies, and persist in going about in shawls and
colored dresses. Might they but see a few of the Richmond or Baltimore
ladies in their pure white muslin frocks, and die of envy, for the dress
most convenient in a hot dry climate is also the most beautiful under
its bright sun.

The German element is strong in South Australia, and there are whole
villages in the wheat-country where English is never spoken; for here,
as in America, there has been no mingling of the races, and the whole
divergence from the British types is traceable to climatic influences,
and especially dry heat. The men born here are thin, and fine-featured,
somewhat like the Pitcairn Islanders, while the women are all
alike--small, pretty, and bright, but with a burnt-up look. The haggard
eye might, perhaps, be ascribed to the dreaded presence of my old friend
of the Rocky Mountains, the brulot sand-fly.

The inhabitants of all hot dry countries speak from the head, and not
the chest, and the English in Australia are acquiring this habit; you
seldom find a “cornstalk” who speaks well from the chest.

The air is crisp and hot--crisper and hotter even than that of
Melbourne. The shaded thermometer upon the Victorian coast seldom
reaches 110°, but in the town of Adelaide 117° has been recorded by the
government astronomer. Such is the figure of the Australian continent
that Adelaide, although a seaport town, lies far up as it were inland.
Catching the heated gales from three of the cardinal points, Adelaide
has a summer six months long, and is exposed to a fearful continuance of
hot winds; nevertheless, 105° at Adelaide is easier borne than 95° in
the shade at Sydney.

Nothing can be prettier than the outskirts of the capital. In laying out
Adelaide, its founders have reserved a park about a quarter of a mile in
width all round the city. This gives a charming drive nine miles long,
outside which again are the olive-yards and villas of the citizens.
Hedges of the yellow cactus, or of the graceful Kangaroo Island acacia,
bound the gardens, and the pomegranate, magnolia, fig, and aloe grow
upon every lawn. Five miles to the eastward are the cool wooded hills of
the Mount Lofty Range, on the tops of which are grown the English fruits
for which the plains afford no shade or moisture.

Crossing the Adelaide plains, for fifty miles by railway, to Kapunda, I
beheld one great wheat-field without a break. The country was finer than
any stretch of equal extent in California or Victoria, and looked as
though the crops were “standing”--which in one sense they were, though
the grain was long since “in.” The fact is that they use the Ridley
machines, by which the ears are thrashed out without any cutting of the
straw, which continues to stand, and which is finally plowed in at the
farmer‘s leisure, except in the neighborhood of Adelaide. There would be
a golden age of partridge-shooting in Old England did the climate and
the price of straw allow of the adoption of the Ridley reaper. Under
this system, South Australia grows on the average six times as much
wheat as she can use, whereas, if reaping had to be paid for, she could
only grow from one and a half to twice as much as would meet the home
demand.

In this country, as in America, “bad farming” is found to pay, for with
cheap land, the Ridley reaper, and good markets, light crops without
labor, save the peasant-proprietor‘s own toil, pay well when heavy crops
obtained by the use of hired labor would not reimburse the capitalist.
The amount of land under cultivation has been trebled in the last seven
years, and half a million acres are now under wheat. South Australia has
this year produced seven times as much grain as she can consume, and
twelve acres are under wheat for every adult male of the population of
the colony.

A committee has been lately sitting in New South Wales “to consider the
state of the colony.” To judge from the evidence taken before it, the
members seemed to have conceived that their task was to inquire why
South Australia prospered above New South Wales. Frugality of the
people, especially of the Germans, and fertility of the soil were the
reasons which they gave for the result, but it is impossible not to see
that the success of South Australia is but another instance of the
triumph of small proprietors, of whom there are now some seven or eight
thousand in the colony, and these were brought here by the adoption of
the Wakefield land system.

In the early days of the colony, land was sold at a good price in
130-acre sections, with one acre of townland to each agricultural
section. Now, under rules made at home, but confirmed after the
introduction of self-government, land is sold by auction, with a
reserved price of £1 an acre, but when once a block has passed the
hammer, it can forever be taken up at £1 the acre without further
competition. The Land Fund is kept separate from the other revenue, and
a few permanent charges, such as that for the aborigines, being paid out
of it, the remainder is divided into three portions, of which two are
destined for public works, and one for immigration.

There is a marvelous contrast to be drawn between the success which has
attended the Wakefield system in South Australia and the total failure,
in the neighboring colony of West Australia, of the old system, under
which vast tracts of land being alienated for small prices to the crown,
there remains no fund for introducing that abundant supply of labor
without which the land is useless.

Adelaide is so distant from Europe that no immigrants come of
themselves, and, in the assisted importation of both men and women, the
relative proportions of English, Scotch, and Irish that exist at home
are carefully preserved, by which simple precaution the colony is saved
from an organic change of type, such as that which threatens all
America, although it would, of course, be idle to deny that the
restriction is aimed against the Irish.

The greatest difficulty of young countries lies in the want of women:
not only is this a bar to the natural increase of population; it is a
deficiency preventive of permanency, destructive of religion; where
woman is not there can be no home, no country.

How to obtain a supply of marriageable girls is a question which Canada,
Tasmania, South Australia, New South Wales, have each in their turn
attempted to solve by the artificial introduction of Irish work-house
girls. The difficulty apparently got rid of, we begin to find that it is
not so much as fairly seen; we have yet to look it squarely in the face.
The point of the matter is that we should find not girls, but honest
girls,--not women merely, but women fit to bear families in a free
State.

One of the colonial superintendents, writing of a lately-received batch
of Irish work-house girls, has said that, if these are the
“well-conducted girls, he should be anxious to see a few of the
evil-disposed.” While in South Australia, I read the details of the
landing of a similar party of women from Limerick work-house one Sunday
afternoon at Point Levi, the Lambeth of Quebec. Although supplied by the
city authorities with meat and drink, and ordered to leave for Montreal
at early morning, nothing could be more abominable than their conduct in
the mean while. They sold baggage, bonnets, combs, cloaks, and scarfs,
keeping on nothing but their crinolines and senseless finery. With the
pence they thus collected they bought corn-whisky, and in a few hours
were yelling, fighting, swearing, wallowing in beastly drunkenness; and
by the time the authorities came down to pack them off by train, they
were as fiends, mad with rum and wisky. At five in the morning, they
reached the Catholic Home at Montreal, where the pious nuns were
shocked and horrified at their grossness of conduct and lewd speech;
nothing should force them, they declared, ever again to take into their
peaceable asylum the Irish work-house girls. This was no exceptional
case: the reports from South Australia, from Tasmania, can show as bad;
and in Canada such conduct on the part of the freshly-landed girls is
common. A Tasmanian magistrate has stated in evidence before a
Parliamentary Committee that once when his wife was in ill health he
went to one of the immigration offices, and applied for a decent woman
to attend on a sick lady. The woman was duly sent down, and found next
day in her room lying on the bed in a state best pictured in her own
words: “Here I am with my yard of clay, blowing a cloud, you say.”

It is evident that a batch of thoroughly bad girls cost a colony from
first to last, in the way of prisons, hospitals, and public morals, ten
times as much as the free passages across the seas of an equal number of
worthy Irish women, free from the work-house taint. Of one of these
gangs which landed in Quebec not many years ago, it has been asserted by
the immigration superintendents that the traces are visible to this day,
for wherever the women went, “sin, and shame, and death were in their
track.” The Irish unions have no desire in the matter beyond that of
getting rid of their most abandoned girls; their interests and those of
the colonies they supply are diametrically opposed. No inspection, no
agreements, no supervision can be effective in the face of facts like
these. The class that the unions can afford to send, Canada and Tasmania
cannot afford to keep. Women are sent out with babies in their arms; no
one will take them into service because the children are in the way, and
in a few weeks they fall chargeable on one of the colonial benevolent
societies, to be kept till the children grow up or the mothers die. Even
when the girls are not so wholly vicious as to be useless in service,
they are utterly ignorant of everything they ought to know. Of neither
domestic nor farm-work have they a grain of knowledge. Of thirteen who
were lately sent to an up-country town, but one knew how to cook, or
wash, or milk, or iron, while three of them had agreed to refuse
employment unless they were engaged to serve together. The agents are at
their wits’ ends; either the girls are so notoriously infamous in their
ways of life that no one will hire them, or else they are so extravagant
in their new-found “independence” that they on their side will not be
hired. Meanwhile the Irish authorities lay every evil upon the long sea
voyage. They say that they select the best of girls, but a few days at
sea suffice to demoralize them.

The colonies could not do better than combine for the establishment of a
new and more efficient emigration agency in Ireland. To avoid the evil,
by as far as possible refusing to meet it face to face at all, South
Australia has put restrictions on her Irish immigration; for here as in
America it is found that the Scotch and Germans are the best of
immigrants. The Scotch are not more successful in Adelaide than
everywhere in the known world. Half the most prominent among the
statesmen of the Canadian Confederation, of Victoria, and of Queensland,
are born Scots, and all the great merchants of India are of the same
nation. Whether it be that the Scotch emigrants are for the most part
men of better education than those of other nations, of whose citizens
only the poorest and most ignorant are known to emigrate, or whether the
Scotchman owes his uniform success in every climate to his perseverance
or his shrewdness, the fact remains, that wherever abroad you come
across a Scotchman, you invariably find him prosperous and respected.

The Scotch emigrant is a man who leaves Scotland because he wishes to
rise faster and higher than he can at home, whereas the emigrant
Irishman quits Galway or County Cork only because there is no longer
food or shelter for him there. The Scotchman crosses the seas in
calculating contentment; the Irishman in sorrow and despair.

At the Burra Burra and Kapunda copper-mines there is not much to see, so
my last days in South Australia were given to the politics of the
colony, which present one singular feature. For the elections to the
Council or Upper House, for which the franchise is a freehold worth £50
or a leasehold of £20 a year, the whole country forms but a single
district, and the majority elect their men. In a country where party
feeling runs high, such a system, were it possible, would evidently
unite almost all the evils conceivable in a plan of representation, but
in a peaceful colony it undoubtedly works well. Having absolute power in
their hands, the majority here, as in the selection of a governor for an
American State, use their position with great prudence, and make choice
of the best men that the country can produce. The franchise for the
Lower House, for the elections to which the colony is “districted,” is
the simple one of six months’ residence, which with the ballot works
irreproachably.

The day that I left Adelaide was also that upon which Captain Cadell,
the opener of the Murray to trade, sailed with his naval expedition to
fix upon a capital for the Northern territory; that coast of tropical
Australia which faces the Moluccas. As Governor Gilpin had pressed me to
stay, he pressed me to go with him, making as an inducement a promise to
name after me either “a city” or a headland. He said he should advise
me to select the headland, because that would remain, whereas the city
probably would not. When I pleaded that he had no authority to carry
passengers, he offered to take me as his surgeon. Hitherto the
expeditions have discovered nothing but natives, mangroves, alligators,
and sea-slugs, and the whole of the money received from capitalists at
home, for 300,000 acres of land to be surveyed and handed over to them
in North Australia, being now exhausted, the government are seriously
thinking of reimbursing the investors and giving up the search for land.
It would be as cheap to colonize equatorial Africa from Adelaide, as
tropical Australia. If the Northern territory is ever to be rendered
habitable, it must be by Queensland that the work is done.

It is not certain that North Australia may not be found to yield gold in
plenty. In a little known manuscript of the seventeenth century, the
northwest of Australia is called “The land of gold;” and we are told
that the fishermen of Solor, driven on to this land of gold by stress of
weather, picked up in a few hours their boat full of gold nuggets, and
returned in safety. They never dared repeat their voyage, on account of
their dread of the unknown seas; but Manoel Godinho de Eredia was
commissioned by the Portuguese Lord Admiral of India to explore this
gold land, and enrich the crown of Portugal by the capture of the
treasures it contained. It would be strange enough if gold came to be
discovered on the northwest coast, in the spot from which the Portuguese
reported their discovery.

By dawn, after one of the most stifling of Australian nights, I left
Port Adelaide for King George‘s Sound. A long narrow belt of a clear
red-yellow light lay glowing along the horizon to the east, portending
heat and drought; elsewhere the skies were of a deep blue-black. As we
steamed past Kangaroo Island, and through Investigator Straits, the sun
shot up from the tawny plains, and the hot wind from the northern
desert, rising on a sudden after the stillness of the night, whirled
clouds of sand over the surface of the bay.



CHAPTER XIII.

TRANSPORTATION.


After five days’ steady steaming across the great Australian bight,
north of which lies the true “Terra Australia incognita,” I reached King
George‘s Sound--“Le Port du Roi Georges en Australie,” as I saw it
written on a letter in the jail. At the shore end of a great land-locked
harbor, the little houses of bright white stone that make up the town of
Albany peep out from among geranium-covered rocks. The climate, unlike
that of the greater portion of Australia is damp and tropical, and the
dense scrub is a mass of flowering bushes, with bright blue and scarlet
blooms and curiously-cut leaves.

The contrast between the scenery and the people of West Australia is
great indeed. The aboriginal inhabitants of Albany were represented by a
tribe of filthy natives--tall, half starved, their heads bedaubed with
red ochre, and their faces smeared with yellow clay; the “colonists” by
a gang of fiend-faced convicts working in chains upon the esplanade,
and a group of scowling expirees hunting a monkey with bull-dogs on the
pier, while the native women, half clothed in tattered kangaroo-skins,
came slouching past with an aspect of defiant wretchedness. Work is
never done in West Australia unless under the compulsion of the lash,
for a similar degradation of labor is produced by the use of convicts as
by that of slaves.

Settled at an earlier date than was South Australia, West Australia,
then called Swan River, although one of the oldest of the colonies, was
so soon ruined by the free gift to the first settlers of vast
territories useless without labor, that in 1849 she petitioned to be
made a penal settlement, and though at the instance of Victoria
transportation to the Australias has now all but ceased, Freemantle
Prison is still the most considerable convict establishment we possess
across the seas.

At the time of my visit there were 10,000 convicts or emancipists within
the “colony,” of whom 1500 were in prison, 1500 in private service on
tickets-of-leave, while 1500 had served out their time, and over 5000
had been released upon conditional pardons: 600 of the convicts had
arrived from England in 1865. Out of a total population, free and
convict, of 20,000, the offenders in the year had numbered nearly 3500,
or more than one-sixth of the people, counting women and children.

If twenty years of convict labor seem to have done but little for the
settlement, they have at least enabled us to draw the moral, that
transportation and free emigration cannot exist side by side: the one
element must overbear and destroy the other. In Western Australia, the
convicts and their keepers form two-thirds of the whole population, and
the district is a great English prison, not a colony, and exports but a
little wool, a little sandal-wood, and a little cotton.

Western Australia is as unpopular with the convicts as with free
settlers: fifty or sixty convicts have successfully escaped from the
settlement within the last few years. From twenty to thirty escapes take
place annually, but the men are usually recaptured within a month or
two, although sheltered by the people, the vast majority of whom are
ticket-of-leave men or ex-convicts. Absconders receive a hundred lashes
and one year in the chain-gang, yet from sixty to seventy unsuccessful
attempts at escape are reported every year.

On the road between Albany and Hamilton I saw a man at work in ponderous
irons. The sun was striking down on him in a way that none can fancy who
have no experience of Western Australia or Bengal, and his labor was of
the heaviest; now he had to prise up huge rocks with a crow-bar, now to
handle pick and shovel, now to use the rammer, under the eye of an armed
warder, who idled in the shade by the roadside. This was an
“escape-man,” thus treated with a view to cause him to cease his
continual endeavors to get away from Albany. No wonder that the
“chain-gang” system is a failure, and the number both of attempts and
actual escapes heavier under it than before the introduction of this
tremendous punishment.

Many of the “escapes” are made with no other view than to obtain a
momentary change of scene. On the last return trip of the ship in which
I sailed from Adelaide to King George‘s Sound, a convict coal-man was
found built up in the coal-heap on deck: he and his mates at Albany had
drawn lots to settle which of them should be thus packed off by the help
of the others “for a change.” Of ultimate escape there could be no
chance; the coal on deck could not fail to be exhausted within a day or
two after leaving port, and this they knew. When he emerged, black, half
smothered, and nearly starved, from his hiding-place, he allowed himself
to be quietly ironed, and so kept till the ship reached Adelaide, when
he was given up to the authorities, and sent back to Albany for
punishment. Acts of this class are common enough to have received a
name. The offenders are called “bolters for a change.”

A convict has been known when marching in his gang suddenly to lift up
his spade, and split the skull of the man who walked in front of him,
thus courting a certain death for no reason but to escape from the
monotony of toil. Another has doubled his punishment for fun by calling
out to the magistrates, “Gentlemen, pray remember that I am entitled to
an iron-gang, because this is the second time of my absconding.”

One of the strangest things about the advance of England is the
many-sided character of the form of early settlement: Central North
America we plant with Mormons, New Zealand with the runaways of our
whaling ships, Tasmania and portions of Australia with our transported
felons. Transportation has gone through many phases since the system
took its rise in the exile to the colonies under Charles II. of the
moss-troopers of Northumberland. The plan of forcing the exiles to labor
as slaves on the plantations was introduced in the reign of George II.,
and by an Act then passed offenders were actually put up to auction, and
knocked down to men who undertook to transport them, and make what they
could of their labor. In 1786, an Order in Council named the eastern
coast of Australia and the adjacent islands as the spot to which
transportation beyond the seas should be directed, and in 1787 the black
bar was drawn indelibly across the page of history which records the
foundation of the colony of New South Wales. From that time to the
present day the world has witnessed the portentous sight of great
countries in which the major portion of the people, the whole of the
handicraftsmen, were convicted felons.

There being no free people whatever in the “colonies” when first formed,
the governors had no choice but to appoint convicts to all the official
situations. The consequence was robbery and corruption. Recorded
sentences were altered by the convict-clerks, free pardons and grants of
land were sold for money. The convict overseers forced their gangmen to
labor not for government, but for themselves, securing secrecy by the
unlimited supply of rum to the men, who in turn bought native women with
all that they could spare. On the sheep-stations whole herds were
stolen, and those from neighboring lands driven in to show on
muster-days. Enormous fortunes were accumulated by some of the
emancipists, by fraud and infamy rather than by prudence, we are told,
and a vast number of convicts were soon at large in Sydney town itself,
without the knowledge of the police. As the settlements grew in years
and size, the sons of convict parents grew up in total ignorance, while
such few free settlers as arrived--“the ancients,” as they were styled,
or “the ancient nobility of Botany Bay”--were wholly dependent on
convict tutors for the education of their children--the “cornstalks” and
“currency girls;” and cock-fighting was the chief amusement of both
sexes. The newspapers were without exception conducted by gentleman
convicts, or “specials,” as they were called, who were assigned to the
editors for that purpose, and the police force itself was composed of
ticket-of-leave men and “emancipists.” Convicts were thus the only
schoolmasters, the only governesses, the only nurses, the only
journalists, and, as there were even convict clergymen and convict
university professors, the training of the youth of the land was
committed almost exclusively to the felon‘s care.

A petition sent home from Tasmania in 1848 is simple and pathetic; it is
from the parents and guardians resident in Van Dieman‘s Land. They set
forth that there are 13,000 free children growing up in the colony, that
within six years alone 24,000 convicts have been turned into the island,
and of these but 4000 were women. The result is that their children are
brought up in the midst of profligacy and degradation.

The lowest depth of villainy, if in such universal infamy degrees can be
conceived, was to be met with in the parties working in the
“chain-gangs” on the roads. “Assignees” too bad even for the whip of the
harshest, or the “beef and beer” of the most lenient master, brutalized
still further, if that were possible, by association with those as vile
as themselves, and followed about the country by women too infamous even
for service in the houses of the up-country settlers, or the gin-palaces
of the towns, worked in gangs upon the roads by day, whenever promises
of spirits or the hope of tobacco could induce them to work at all, and
found a compensation for such unusual toil in nightly quitting their
camp, and traversing the country, robbing and murdering those they met,
and sacking every homestead that lay in their track.

The clerk in charge of one of the great convict barracks was himself a
convict, and had an understanding with the men under his care that they
might prowl about at night and rob on condition that they should share
their gains with him, and that, if they were found out, he should
himself prosecute them for being absent without leave. Juries were
composed either of convicts, or of publicans dependent on the convicts
for their livelihood, and convictions were of necessity extremely rare.
In a plain case of murder the judge was known to say: “If I don‘t attend
to the recommendation to mercy, these fellows will never find a man
guilty again,” and jurymen would frequently hand down notes to the
counsel for the defense, and bid him give himself no trouble, as they
intended to acquit their friend.

The lawyers were mostly convicts, and perjury in the courts was rife. It
has been given in evidence before a Royal Commission by a magistrate of
New South Wales that a Sydney free immigrant once had a tailor‘s bill
sent in which he did not owe, he having been but a few weeks in the
colony. He instructed a lawyer, and did not himself appear in court. He
afterward heard that he had won his case, for the tailor had sworn to
the bill, but the immigrant‘s lawyer, “to save trouble,” had called a
witness who swore to having paid it, which settled the case. Sometimes
there were not only convict witnesses and convict jurors, but convict
judges.

The assignment system was supposed to be a great improvement upon the
jail, but its only certain result was that convict master and convict
man used to get drunk together, while a night never passed without a
burglary in Sydney. Many of the convicts’ mistresses went out from
England as government free emigrants, taking with them funds subscribed
by the thieves at home and money obtained by the robberies for which
their “fancy men” had been convicted, and on their arrival at Sydney
succeeded in getting their paramours assigned to them as convict
servants. Such was the disparity of the sexes that the term “wife” was a
mockery, and the Female Emigration Society and the government vied with
each other in sending out to Sydney the worst women in all London, to
reinforce the ranks of the convict girls of the Paramatta factory. Even
among the free settlers, marriage soon became extremely rare. Convicts
were at the head of the colleges and benevolent asylums; the
custom-house officials were all convicts; one of the occupants of the
office of attorney-general took for his clerk a notorious convict, who
was actually recommitted to Bathurst after his appointment, and yet
allowed to return to Sydney and resume his duties.

The most remarkable peculiarity of the assignment system was its gross
uncertainty. Some assigned convicts spent their time working for high
wages, living and drinking with their masters; others were mere slaves.
Whether, however, he be in practice well or ill treated, in the
assignment or apprenticeship system the convict is, under whatever name,
a slave, subject to the caprice of a master who, though he cannot
himself flog his “servant,” can have him flogged by writing a note or
sending his compliments to his neighbor the magistrate on the next run
or farm. The “whipping-houses” of Mississippi and Alabama had their
parallel in New South Wales; a look or word would cause the hurrying of
the servant to the post or the forge as a preliminary to a month in the
chain-gang “on the roads.” On the other hand, nothing under the
assignment system can prevent skilled convict workmen being paid and
pampered by their masters, whose interest it evidently becomes to get
out of them all the work possible through excessive indulgence, as
intelligent labor cannot be produced through the machinery of the
whipping-post, but may be through that of “beef and beer.”

Whatever may have been the true interest of the free settlers, cruelty
was in practice commoner than indulgence. Fifty and a hundred lashes,
months of solitary confinement, years of labor in chains upon the roads,
were laid upon convicts for such petty offenses as brawling,
drunkenness, and disobedience. In 1835, among the 28,000 convicts then
in New South Wales, there were 22,000 summary convictions for disorderly
or dishonest conduct, and in a year the average was 3000 floggings, and
above 100,000 lashes. In Tasmania, where the convicts then numbered
15,000, the summary convictions were 15,000 and the lashes 50,000 a
year.

The criminal returns of Tasmania and New South Wales contain the
condemnation of the transportation system. In the single year of 1834,
one-seventh of the free population of Van Dieman‘s Land were summarily
convicted of drunkenness. In that year, in a population of 37,000,
15,000 were convicted before the courts for various offenses. Over a
hundred persons a year were at that time sentenced to death for crimes
of violence in New South Wales alone. Less than a fourth of the convicts
served their time without incurring additional punishment from the
police, and those who thus escaped proved generally in after-life the
worst of all, and even government officials were forced into admitting
that transportation demoralized far more persons than it reformed.
Hundreds of assigned convicts made their escape to the back country, and
became bushrangers; many got down to the coast, and crossed to the
Pacific islands, whence they spread the infamies of New South Wales
throughout all Polynesia. A Select Committee of the House of Commons
reported, in words characteristic of our race, that these convicts
committed, in New Zealand and the Pacific, “outrages at which humanity
shudders,” and which were to be deplored as being “injurious to our
commercial interests in that quarter of the globe.”

Transportation to New South Wales came to its end none too soon: in
fifty years, 75,000 convicts had been transported to that colony, and
30,000 to the little island of Tasmania in twenty years.

Were there no other argument for the discountenance of transportation,
it would be almost enough to say that the life in the convict-ship
itself makes the reformation of transported criminals impossible. Where
many bad men are brought together, the few not wholly corrupt who may be
among them have no opportunity for speech, and the grain of good that
may exist in every heart can have no chance for life; if not
inclination, pride at least leads the old hand to put down all acts that
are not vile, all words that are not obscene. Those who have sailed in
convict company say that there is something terrible in the fiendish
delight that the “old hands” take in watching the steady degradation of
the “new chums.” The hardened criminals invariably meet the less vile
with outrage, ridicule, and contempt, and the better men soon succumb to
ruffians who have crime for their profession, and for all their
relaxation vice.

To describe the horrors of the convict-ships, we are told, would be
impossible. The imagination will scarce suffice to call up dreams so
hideous. Four months of filthiness in a floating hell sink even the
least bad to the level of unteachable brutality. Mutiny is unknown; the
convicts are their own masters and the ship‘s, but the shrewd
callousness of the old jail-bird teaches all that there is nothing to be
gained even by momentary success. Rage and violence are seldom seen,
but there is a humor that is worse than blows,--conversation that
transcends all crime in infamy.

It will be long before the last traces of convict disease disappear from
Tasmania and New South Wales; the gold-find has done much to purify the
air, free selection may lead to a still more bright advance,
manufacturing may lend its help; but years must go by before Tasmania
can be prosperous or Sydney moral. Their history is not only valuable as
a guide to those who have to save West Australia, as General Bourke and
Mr. Wentworth saved New South Wales, but as an example, not picked from
ancient rolls, but from the records of a system founded within the
memory of living man, and still existent, of what transportation must
necessarily be, and what it may easily become.

The results of a dispassionate survey of the transportation system are
far from satisfactory. If deportation be considered as a punishment, it
would be hard to find a worse. Punishment should be equable,
reformatory, deterrent, cheap. Transportation is the most costly of all
the punishments that are known to us; it is subject to variations that
cannot be guarded against; it is severest to the least guilty and
slightest to the most hardened; it morally destroys those who have some
good remaining in them; it leaves the ruffianly malefactor worse if
possible than it finds him; and, while it is frightfully cruel and
vindictive in its character, it is useless as a deterrent because its
nature is unknown at home. Transportation to the English thief means
exile, and nothing more; it is only after conviction, when far away from
his uncaught associates, that he comes to find it worse than death.
Instead of deterring, transportation tempts to crime; instead of
reforming, it debases the bad, and confirms in villainy the already
infamous. To every bad man it gives the worst companions; the infamous
are to be reformed by association with the vile; while its effects upon
the colonies are described in every petition of the settlers, and
testified to by the whole history of our plantations in the antipodes,
and by the present condition of West Australia and Tasmania, from which,
however, New South Wales has happily escaped. We have come at last to
transportation in its most limited and restricted sense; the only
remaining step is to be quit of it altogether.

In conjunction with all punishment, we should secure some means of
separating the men one from another as soon as the actual punishment is
terminated: to settle them on land, to settle them with wives where
possible, should be our object. The work which really has in it
something of reformation is that which a man has to do, not in order
that he may avoid whipping, but that he may escape starvation; and it is
from this point of view that transportation is defensible. A man,
however bad, will generally become a useful member of society and a not
altogether neglectful father if allowed to settle upon land away from
his old associates; but morbid tendencies of every kind are strengthened
by close association with others who are laboring under a like
infirmity: and where the former convicts are allowed to hang together in
towns, nothing is to be expected better than that which is actually
found--namely, a state of society where wives speedily become as
villainous as their husbands, and where children are brought up to
emulate their fathers’ crimes.

To keep the men separate from each other, after the expiration of the
sentence, we need to send the convicts to a fairly populous country,
whence arises this great difficulty: if we send convicts to a populous
colony, we are met at once by a cry that we are forcing the workmen of
the colony into a one-sided competition; that we are offering an
unbearable insult to the free population; that, in attempting to reform
the felon, in allowing him to be absorbed into the colonial society, we
are degrading and corrupting the whole community on the chance of
possible benefit to our English villain. On the other hand, if we send
our convicts to an uninhabited land, such as New South Wales and
Tasmania were, such as West Australia is now, we build up an artificial
Pandemonium, whither we convey at the public cost the pick and cream of
the ruffians of the world, to form a community of which each member must
be sufficiently vile of himself to corrupt a nation.

If by care the difficulty of which I have spoken can be avoided,
transportation might be replaced by short sentences and solitary
confinement, and low diet, to be followed by forced exile, under
regulations, to some selected colony, say the Ghauts of Eastern Africa,
opposite to Madagascar, or the highlands that skirt the Zambesi River.
Exile after punishment may often be the only way of providing for
convicts who would otherwise be forced to return to their former ways.
The difficulties in the way of discharged convicts seeking employment
are too terrible for them not to accept joyfully any simple plan for
emigration to a country where they are unknown.

In Western Australia, transportation has not been made subservient to
colonization, and both in consequence have failed.

On going on board the Bombay at King George‘s Sound, I at once found
myself in the East. The captain‘s crew of Malays, the native cooks in
long white gowns, the Bombay serangs in dark-blue turbans, red
cummerbunds, and green or yellow trowsers; the negro or Abyssinian
stokers, and passengers in coats of China-grass; the Hindoo
deck-sweepers playing on their tomtoms in the intervals of work; the
punkahs below; the Hindostanee names for every one on deck; and, above
all, the general indolence of everybody, all told of a new world.

A convict clerk superintended the coaling, which took place before we
left the harbor for Ceylon, and I remarked that the dejection of his
countenance exceeded that of the felon-laborers who worked in irons on
the quay. There is a wide-spread belief in England that unfair favor is
shown to “gentlemen convicts.” This is simply not the case; every
educated prisoner is employed at in-door work, for which he is suited,
and not at road-making, in which he might be useless; but there are few
cases in which he would not wish to exchange a position full of hopeless
degradation for that of an out-door laborer, who passes through his
daily routine drudgery (far from the prison) unknown, and perhaps in his
fancy all but free. The longing to change the mattock for the pen is the
result of envy, and confined to those who, if listened to, would prove
incapable of pursuing the pen-driver‘s occupation.

Under a fair and freshening breeze, we left the port of Albany, happy to
escape from a jail the size of India, even those of us who had been
forced to pass only a few days in West Australia.



CHAPTER XIV.

AUSTRALIA.


Pacing the deck with difficulty as the ship tore through the
lava-covered seas, before a favoring gale that caught us off Cape Lewin,
some of us discussed the prospects of the great south land as a whole.

In Australia, it is often said, we have a second America in its infancy;
but it may be doubted whether we have not become so used to trace the
march of empire on a westward course, through Persia and Assyria, Greece
and Rome, then by Germany to England and America, that we are too
readily prepared to accept the probability of its onward course to the
Pacific.

The progress of Australia has been singularly rapid. In 1830, her
population was under 40,000; in 1860, it numbered 1,500,000;
nevertheless, it is questionable how far the progress will continue. The
natural conditions of America in Australia are exactly reversed. All the
best lands of Australia are on her coast, and these are already taken up
by settlers. Australia has three-quarters the area of Europe, but it is
doubtful whether she will ever support a dense population throughout
even half her limits. The uses of the northern territory have yet to be
discovered, and the interior of the continent is far from being tempting
to the settler. Upon the whole, it seems likely that almost all the
imperfectly-known regions of Australia will in time be occupied by
pastoral crown tenants, but that the area of agricultural operations is
not likely to admit of indefinite extension. The central district of
Australia, to the extent, perhaps, of half the entire continent, lies
too far north for winter rains, too far south for tropical wet seasons,
and in these vast solitudes agriculture may be pronounced impossible,
sheep-farming difficult. As far as sufficient water for sheep and
cattle-stations is concerned, there will be no difficulty in retaining
this in tanks or raising it by means of wells, and the wool, tallow, and
even meat, will be carried by those railways for which the country is
admirably fitted, while the construction of locks upon the Murray and
its tributaries will enable steamers to carry the whole trade of the
Riverina. So far, all is well, but the arable lands of Australia are
limited by the rains, and apparently the limit is a sadly narrow one.

Once in awhile, a heavy winter rain appears to fall in the interior;
grass springs up, the lagoons are filled, the up-country squatters make
their fortunes, and all goes prosperously for a time. Accounts reach the
coast cities of the astonishing fertility of the interior, and hundreds
of settlers set off to the remotest districts. Two or three years of
drought then follow, and all the more enterprising squatters are soon
ruined, with a gain, however, sometimes of a few thousand square miles
of country to civilization.

Hitherto the Australians have not made so much as they should have done
of the country that is within their reach. The want of railroads is
incredible. There are but some 400 miles of railway in all
Australia--far less than the amount possessed by the single infant State
of Wisconsin. The sums spent upon the Victorian lines have deterred the
colonists from completing their railway system: £10,000,000 sterling
were spent upon 200 miles of road, through easy country in which the
land cost nothing. The United States have made nearly 40,000 miles of
railroad for less than £300,000,000 sterling; Canada made her 2000 miles
for £20,000,000, or ten times as much railroad as Victoria for only
twice the money. Cuba has already more miles of railroad than all
Australia.

Small as are the inhabited portions of Australia when compared with the
corresponding divisions of the United States, this country nevertheless
to English eyes is huge enough. The part of Queensland already peopled
is five times larger than the United Kingdom. South Australia and West
Australia are each of them nearly as large as British India, but of
these colonies the greater part is desert. Fertile Victoria, the size of
Great Britain, is only a thirty-fourth part of Australia.

In face of the comparatively small amount of good agricultural country
known to exist in Australia, the disproportionate size of the great
cities shows out more clearly than ever. Even Melbourne, when it comes
to be examined, has too much the air of a magnified Hobart, of a city
with no country at its back, of a steam-hammer set up to crack nuts.
Queensland is at present free from the burden of gigantic cities, but
then Queensland is in greater danger of becoming what is in reality a
slave republic.

Morally and intellectually, at all events, the colonies are thriving. A
literature is springing up, a national character is being grafted upon
the good English stock. What shape the Australian mind will take is at
present somewhat doubtful. In addition to considerable shrewdness and
purely Saxon capacity and willingness to combine for local objects, we
find in Australia an admirable love of simple mirth, and a serious
distaste for prolonged labor in one direction, while the down-rightness
and determination in the pursuit of truth, remarkable in America, are
less noticeable here.

The extravagance begotten of the tradition of convict times has not been
without effect, and the settlers waste annually, it is computed, food
which would support in Europe a population of twice their numbers.

This wastefulness is perhaps, however, in some degree a consequence of
the necessary habits of a pastoral people. The 8000 tons of tallow
exported annually by the Australias are said to represent the boiling
down of sheep enough to feed half a million of people for a twelvemonth.

Australian manners, like the American, resemble the French rather than
the British--a resemblance traceable, perhaps, to the essential
democracy of Australia, America, and France. One surface point which
catches the eye in any Australian ball-room, or on any race-course, is
clearly to be referred to the habit of mind produced by democracy--the
fact, namely, that the women dress with great expense and care, the men
with none whatever. This, as a rule, is true of Americans, Australians,
and French.

Unlike as are the Australians to the British, there is nevertheless a
singular mimicry of British forms and ceremonies in the colonies, which
is extended to the most trifling details of public life. Twice in
Australia was I invited to ministerial dinners, given to mark the
approaching close of the session; twice also was I present at university
celebrations, in which home whimsicalities were closely copied. The
governors’ messages to the Colonial Parliaments are travesties of those
which custom in England leads us to call “the Queen‘s.” The very
phraseology is closely followed. We find Sir J. Manners Button gravely
saying: “The representatives of the government of New South Wales and
of _my_ government have agreed to an arrangement on the border
duties....” The “my” in a democratic country like Victoria strikes a
stranger as pre-eminently incongruous, if not absurd.

The imitation of Cambridge forms by the University of Sydney is
singularly close. One almost expects to see the familiar blue gown of
the “bull-dog” thrown across the arm of the first college servant met
within its precincts. Chancellor, Vice-chancellor, Senate, Syndicates,
and even Proctors, all are here in the antipodes. Registrar, professors,
“seniors,” fees, and “petitions with the University seal attached;”
“Board of Classical Studies”--the whole corporation sits in borrowed
plumage; the very names of the colleges are being imitated: we find
already a St. John‘s. The Calendar reads like a parody on the volume
issued every March by Messrs. Deighton. Rules upon matriculation, upon
the granting of _testamurs_; prize-books stamped with college arms are
named, _ad eundem_ degrees are known, and we have imitations of
phraseology even in the announcement of prizes to “the most
distinguished candidates for honors in each of the aforesaid schools,”
and in the list of subjects for the Moral Science tripos. Lent Term,
Trinity Term, Michaelmas Term, take the place of the Spring, Summer, and
Fall Terms of the less pretentious institutions in America, and the
height of absurdity is reached in the regulations upon “academic
costume,” and on the “respectful salutation” by undergraduates of the
“fellows and professors” of the University. The situation on a hot-wind
day of a member of the Senate, in “black silk gown, with hood of scarlet
cloth edged with white fur, and lined with blue silk, black velvet
trencher cap,” all in addition to his ordinary clothing, it is to be
presumed, can be imagined only by those who know what hot winds are. We
English are great acclimatizers: we have carried trial by jury to
Bengal, tenant-right to Oude, and caps and gowns to be worn over loongee
and paejama at Calcutta University. Who are we, that we should cry out
against the French for “carrying France about with them everywhere”?

The objects of the founders are set forth in the charter as “the
advancement of religion and morality, and the promotion of useful
knowledge;” but as there is no theological faculty, no religious test or
exercise whatever, the philosophy of the first portion of the phrase is
not easily understood.

In no Western institutions is the radicalism of Western thought so
thoroughly manifested as in the Universities; in no English colonial
institutions is Conservatism so manifest. The contrast between Michigan
and Sydney is far more striking than that between Harvard and old
Cambridge.

Of the religious position of Australia there is little to be said: the
Wesleyans, Catholics, and Presbyterians are stronger, and the other
denominations weaker, than they are at home. The general mingling of
incongruous objects and of conflicting races, characteristic of colonial
life, extends to religious buildings. The graceful Wesleyan church, the
Chinese joss-house, and the Catholic cathedral stand not far apart in
Melbourne. In Australia, the mixture of blood is not yet great. In South
Australia, where it is most complete, the Catholics and Wesleyans have
great strength. Anglicanism is naturally strongest where the race is
most exclusively British--in Tasmania and New South Wales.

As far as the coast tracts are concerned, Australia, as will be seen
from what has been said of the individual colonies, is rapidly ceasing
to be a land of great tenancies, and becoming a land of small freeholds,
each cultivated by its owner. It need hardly be pointed out that, in the
interests of the country and of the race, this is a happy change. When
English rural laborers commence to fully realize the misery of their
position, they will find not only America, but Australia also, open to
them as a refuge and future home. Looming in the distance, we still,
however, see the American problem of whether the Englishman can live out
of England. Can he thrive except where mist and damp preserve the juices
of his frame? He comes from the fogs of the Baltic shores, and from the
Flemish lowlands; gains in vigor in the south island of New Zealand. In
Australia and America--hot and dry--the type has already changed. Will
it eventually disappear?

It is still an open question whether the change of type among the
English in America and Australia is a climatic adaptation on the part of
nature, or a temporary divergence produced by abnormal causes, and
capable of being modified by care.

Before we had done our talk, the ship was pooped by a green sea, which,
curling in over her taffrail, swept her decks from end to end, and our
helmsmen, although regular old “hard-a-weather” fellows, had difficulty
in keeping her upon her course. It was the last of the gale, and when we
made up our beds upon the skylights, the heavens were clear of scud,
though the moon was still craped with a ceaseless roll of cloud.



CHAPTER XV.

COLONIES.


When a Briton takes a survey of the colonies, he finds much matter for
surprise in the one-sided nature of the partnership which exists between
the mother and the daughter lands. No reason presents itself to him why
our artisans and merchants should be taxed in aid of populations far
more wealthy than our own, who have not, as we have, millions of paupers
to support. We at present tax our humblest classes, we weaken our
defenses, we scatter our troops and fleets, and lay ourselves open to
panics such as those of 1853 and 1859, in order to protect against
imaginary dangers the Australian gold-digger and Canadian farmer. There
is something ludicrous in the idea of taxing St. Giles‘s for the support
of Melbourne, and making Dorsetshire agricultural laborers pay the cost
of defending New Zealand colonists in Maori wars.

It is possible that the belief obtains in Britain among the least
educated classes of the community that colonial expenses are rapidly
decreasing, if they have not already wholly disappeared; but in fact
they have for some years past been steadily and continuously growing in
amount.

As long as we choose to keep up such _propugnacula_ as Gibraltar, Malta,
and Bermuda, we must pay roundly for them, as we also must for such
costly luxuries as our Gold Coast settlements for the suppression of the
slave-trade; but if we confine the term “colonies” to English-speaking,
white-inhabited, and self-governed lands, and exclude on the one hand
garrisons such as Gibraltar, and on the other mere dependencies like the
West Indies and Ceylon, we find that our true colonies in North America,
Australia, Polynesia, and South Africa, involve us nominally in yearly
charges of almost two millions sterling, and, really, in untold
expenditure.

Canada is in all ways the most flagrant case. She draws from us some
three millions annually for her defense, she makes no contribution
toward the cost; she relies mainly on us to defend a frontier of 4000
miles, and she excludes our goods by prohibitive duties at her ports. In
short, colonial expenses which, rightly or wrongly, our fathers bore
(and that not ungrudgingly) when they enjoyed a monopoly of colonial
trade, are borne by us in face of colonial prohibition. What the true
cost to us of Canada may be is unfortunately an open question, and the
loss by the weakening of our home forces we have no means of computing;
but when we consider that, on a fair statement of the case, Canada would
be debited with the cost of a large portion of the half-pay and
recruiting services, of Horse Guards and War Office expenses, of arms,
accouterments, barracks, hospitals, and stores, and also with the
gigantic expenses of two of our naval squadrons, we cannot but admit
that we must pay at least three millions a year for the hatred that the
Canadians profess to bear toward the United States. Whatever may be the
case, however, with regard to Canada, less fault is to be found with the
cost of the Australian colonies. If they bore a portion of the half-pay
and recruiting expenses as well as the cost of the troops actually
employed among them in time of peace, and also paid their share in the
maintenance of the British navy--a share to increase with the increase
of their merchant shipping--there would be little to desire, unless,
indeed, we should wish that, in exchange for a check upon imperial
braggadocio and imperial waste, the Australians should also contribute
toward the expenses of imperial wars.

No reason can be shown for our spending millions on the defense of
Canada against the Americans or in aiding the New Zealand colonists
against the Maories that will not apply to their aiding us in case of a
European war with France, control being given to their representatives
over our public action in questions of imperial concern. Without any
such control over imperial action, the old American colonists were well
content to do their share of fighting in imperial wars. In 1689, in
1702, and in 1744, Massachusetts attacked the French, and, taking from
them Nova Scotia and others of their new plantations, handed them over
to Great Britain. Even when the tax-time came, Massachusetts, while
declaring that the English Parliament had no right to tax colonies, went
on to say that the king could inform them of the exigencies of the
public service, and that they were ready “to provide for them if
required.”

It is not likely, however, nowadays, that our colonists would, for any
long stretch of time, engage to aid us in our purely European wars.
Australia would scarcely feel herself deeply interested in the guarantee
of Luxembourg, nor Canada in the affairs of Servia. The fact that we in
Britain paid our share--or rather nearly the whole cost--of the Maori
wars would be no argument to an Australian, but only an additional proof
to him of our extraordinary folly. We have been educated into a habit of
paying with complacency other people‘s bills--not so the Australian
settler.

As far as Australia is concerned, our soldiers are not used as troops at
all. The colonists like the show of the red-coats, and the military
duties are made up partly of guard-of-honor work, and partly of the
labors of police. The colonists well know that in time of war we should
immediately withdraw our troops, and they trust wholly in their
volunteers and the colonial marine.

As long as we choose to allow the system to continue, the colonists are
well content to reap the benefit. When we at last decide that it shall
cease, they will reluctantly consent. It is more than doubtful whether,
if we were to insist to the utmost upon our rights as toward our
southern colonies, they would do more than grumble and consent to our
demands; and there is no chance whatever of our asking for more than our
simple due.

When you talk to an intelligent Australian, you can always see that he
fears that separation would be made the excuse for the equipment of a
great and costly Australian fleet--not more necessary then than now--and
that, however he may talk, he would, rather than separate from England,
at least do his duty by her.

The fear of conquest of the Australian colonies if we left them to
themselves is on the face of it ridiculous. It is sufficient, perhaps,
to say that the old American colonies, when they had but a million and a
half of people, defended themselves successfully against the then
all-powerful French, and that there is no instance of a self-protected
English colony being conquered by the foreigner. The American colonies
valued so highly their independence of the old country in the matter of
defense that they petitioned the Crown to be allowed to fight for
themselves, and called the British army by the plain name of
“grievance.”

As for our so-called defense of the colonies, in war-time we defend
ourselves; we defend the colonies only during peace. In war-time they
are ever left to shift for themselves, and they would undoubtedly be
better fit to do so were they in the habit of maintaining their military
establishments in time of peace. The present system weakens us and
them--us, by taxes and by the withdrawal of our men and ships; the
colonies, by preventing the development of that self-reliance which is
requisite to form a nation‘s greatness. The successful encountering of
difficulties is the marking feature of the national character of the
English, and we can hardly expect a nation which has never encountered
any, or which has been content to see them met by others, ever to become
great. In short, as matters now stand, the colonies are a source of
military weakness to us, and our “protection” of them is a source of
danger to the colonists. No doubt there are still among us men who would
have wished to have seen America continue in union with England, on the
principle on which the Russian conscripts are chained each to an old
man--to keep her from going too fast--and who now consider it our duty
to defend our colonies at whatever cost, on account of the “prestige”
which attaches to the somewhat precarious tenure of these great lands.
With such men it is impossible for colonial reformers to argue: the
stand-points are wholly different. To those, however, who admit the
injustice of the present system to the tax-payers of the mother-country,
but who fear that her merchants would suffer by its disturbance,
inasmuch as, in their belief, action on our part would lead to a
disruption of the tie, we may plead that, even should separation be the
result, we should be none the worse off for its occurrence. The
retention of colonies at almost any cost has been defended--so far as it
has been supported by argument at all--on the ground that the
connection conduces to trade, to which argument it is sufficient to
answer that no one has ever succeeded in showing what effect upon trade
the connection can have, and that as excellent examples to the contrary
we have the fact that our trade with the Ionian Islands has greatly
increased since their annexation to the kingdom of Greece, and a much
more striking fact than even this--namely, that while the trade with
England of the Canadian Confederation is only four-elevenths of its
total external trade, or little more than one-third, the English trade
of the United States was in 1860 (before the war) nearly two-thirds of
its total external trade, in 1861 more than two-thirds, and in 1866
(first year after the war) again four-sevenths of its total trade.
Common institutions, common freedom, and common tongue have evidently
far more to do with trade than union has; and for purposes of commerce
and civilization, America is a truer colony of Britain than is Canada.

It would not be difficult, were it necessary, to multiply examples
whereby to prove that trade with a country does not appear to be
affected by union with or separation from it. Egypt (even when we
carefully exclude from the returns Indian produce in transport) sends us
nearly all such produce as she exports, notwithstanding that the French
largely control the government, and that we have much less footing in
the country than the Italians, and no more than the Austrians or
Spanish. Our trade with Australia means that the Australians want
something of us and that we need something of them, and that we exchange
with them our produce as we do in a larger degree with the Americans,
the Germans, and the French.

The trade argument being met, and it being remembered that our colonies
are no more an outlet for our surplus population than they would be if
the Great Mogul ruled over them, as is seen by the fact that of every
twenty people who leave the United Kingdom, one goes to Canada, two to
Australia, and sixteen to the United States, we come to the “argument”
which consists in the word “prestige.” When examined, this cry seems to
mean that, in the opinion of the utterer, extent of empire is power--a
doctrine under which Brazil ought to be nineteen and a half times, and
China twenty-six times as powerful as France. Perhaps the best answer to
the doctrine is a simple contradiction: those who have read history with
most care well know that at all times extent of empire has been
weakness. England‘s real empire was small enough in 1650, yet it is
rather doubtful whether her “prestige” ever reached the height it did
while the Cromwellian admirals swept the seas. The idea conveyed by the
words “mother of free nations” is every bit as good as that contained in
the cry “prestige,” and the argument that, as the colonists are British
subjects, we have no right to cast them adrift so long as they wish to
continue citizens, is evidently no answer to those who merely urge that
the colonists should pay their own policemen.

It may, perhaps, be contended that the possession of “colonies” tends to
preserve us from the curse of small island countries, the dwarfing of
mind which would otherwise make us Guernsey a little magnified. If this
be true, it is a powerful argument in favor of continuance in the
present system. It is a question, however, whether our real preservation
from the insularity we deprecate is not to be found in the possession of
true colonies--of plantations such as America, in short--rather than in
that of mere dependencies. That which raises us above the provincialism
of citizenship of little England is our citizenship of the greater
Saxondom which includes all that is best and wisest in the world.

From the foundation, separation would be harmless, does not of necessity
follow the conclusion, separation is to be desired. This much only is
clear--that we need not hesitate to demand that Australia should do her
duty.

With the more enlightened thinkers of England, separation from the
colonies has for many years been a favorite idea, but as regards the
Australias it would hardly be advisable. If we allow that it is to the
interest both of our race and of the world that the Australias should
prosper, we have to ask whether they would do so in a higher degree if
separated from the mother-country than if they remained connected with
her and with each other by a federation. It has often been said that,
instead of the varying relations which now exist between Britain and
America, we should have seen a perfect friendship had we but permitted
the American colonies to go their way in peace; but the example does not
hold in the case of Australia, which is by no means wishful to go at
all.

Under separation we should, perhaps, find the colonies better
emigration-fields for our surplus population than they are at present.
Many of our emigrants who flock to the United States are attracted by
the idea that they are going to become citizens of a new nation instead
of dependents upon an old one. On the separation of Australia from
England we might expect that a portion of these sentimentalists would be
diverted from a colony necessarily jealous of us so long as we hold
Canada, to one which from accordance of interests is likely to continue
friendly or allied. This argument, however, would have no weight with
those who desire the independence of Canada, and who look upon America
as still our colony.

Separation, we may then conclude, though infinitely better than a
continuance of the existing one-sided tie, would, in a healthier state
of our relations, not be to the interest of Britain, although it would
perhaps be morally beneficial to Australia. Any relation, however, would
be preferable to the existing one of mutual indifference and distrust.
Recognizing the fact that Australia has come of age, and calling on her,
too, to recognize it, we should say to the Australian colonists: “Our
present system cannot continue; will you amend it, or separate?” The
worst thing that can happen to us is that we should “drift” blindly into
separation.

After all, the strongest of the arguments in favor of separation is the
somewhat paradoxical one that it would bring us a step nearer to the
virtual confederation of the English race.



PART IV.

INDIA.

A regular and uniform system of spelling of native names and other words
has lately been brought into common use in India, and adopted by the
government. Not without hesitation, I have decided upon ignoring this
improvement, and confining myself to spellings known to and used by the
English in England, for whom especially I am writing.

I am aware that there is no system in the spelling, and that it is
scientifically absurd; nevertheless, the new government spelling is not
yet sufficiently well understood in England to warrant its use in a book
intended for general circulation. The scientific spelling is not always
an improvement to the eye, moreover: Talookdars of Oude may not be
right, but it is a neater phrase than “Taâlukhdars of Awdh;” and it will
probably be long before we in England write “kuli” for coolie, or adopt
the spelling “Tátá hordes.”



CHAPTER I.

MARITIME CEYLON.


We failed to sight the Island of Cocoas, a territory where John Ross is
king--a worthy Scotchman, who having settled down in mid-ocean, some
hundreds of miles from any port, proceeded to annex himself to Java and
the Dutch. On being remonstrated with, he was made to see his error;
and, being appointed governor of and consul to himself and laborers, now
hoists the union-jack, while his island has a red line drawn under its
name upon the map. Two days after quitting John Ross‘s latitudes, we
crossed the line in the heavy noonday of the equatorial belt of calms.
The sun itself passed the equator the same day; so, after having left
Australia at the end of autumn, I suddenly found myself in Asia in the
early spring. Mist obscured the skies except at dawn and sunset, when
there was a clear air, in which floated cirrocumuli with flat
bases--clouds cut in half, as it seemed--and we were all convinced that
Homer must have seen the Indian Ocean, so completely did the sea in the
equatorial belt realize his epithet “purple” or “wine-dark.” All day
long the flying-fish--“those good and excellent creatures of God,” as
Drake styled them--were skimming over the water on every side. The
Elizabethan captain, who knew their delicacy of taste, attributed their
freedom from the usual slime of fish, and their wholesome nature, to
“their continued exercise in both air and water.” The heat was great,
and I made the discovery that Australians as well as Americans can put
their feet above their heads. It may be asserted that the height above
the deck of the feet of passengers on board ocean steamers varies
directly as the heat, and inversely as the number of hours before
dinner.

In the afternoon of the day we crossed the line, we sighted a large East
Indiaman lying right in our course, and so little way was she making
that, on coming up with her, we had to port our helm, in order not to
run her down. She hailed us, and we lay-to while she sent a boat aboard
us with her mail; for although she was already a month out from Calcutta
and bound for London, our letters would reach home before she was round
the Cape--a singular commentary upon the use of sailing ships in the
Indian seas. Before the boat had left our side, the ships had floated so
close together, through attraction, that we had to make several
revolutions with the screw in order to prevent collision.

When we, who were all sleeping upon deck, were aroused by the customary
growl from the European quartermaster of “Four o‘clock, sir! Going to
swab decks, sir! Get up, sir!” given with the flare of the lantern in
our eyes, we were still over a hundred miles from Galle; but before the
sun had risen, we caught sight of Adam‘s Peak, a purple mass upon the
northern sky, and soon we were racing with a French steamer from Saigon,
and with a number of white-sailed native craft from the Maldives. Within
a few hours, we were at anchor in a small bay, surrounded with lofty
cocoa-palms, in which were lying, tossed by a rolling swell, some dozen
huge steamers, yard-arm to yard-arm--the harbor of Point de Galle. Every
ship was flying her ensign, and in the damp hot air the old tattered
union-jacks seemed brilliant crimson, and the dull green of the
cocoa-palms became a dazzling emerald. The scene wanted but the bright
plumage of the Panama macaws.

Once seated in the piazza of the Oriental Company‘s hotel, the best
managed in the East, I had before me a curious scene. Along the streets
were pouring silent crowds of tall and graceful girls, as we at the
first glance supposed, wearing white petticoats and bodices; their hair
carried off the face with a decorated hoop, and caught at the back by a
high tortoise-shell comb. As they drew near, mustaches began to show,
and I saw that they were men, while walking with them were women naked
to the waist, combless, and far more rough and “manly” than their
husbands. Petticoat and chignon are male institutions in Ceylon, and
time after time I had to look twice before I could fix the passer‘s sex.
My rule at last became to set down everybody that was womanly as a man,
and everybody that was manly as a woman. Cinghalese, Kandians, Tamils
from South India, and Moormen with crimson caftans and shaven crowns,
formed the body of the great crowd; but, besides these, there were
Portuguese, Chinese, Jews, Arabs, Parsees, Englishmen, Malays, Dutchmen,
and half-caste burghers, and now and then a veiled Arabian woman or a
Veddah--one of the aboriginal inhabitants of the isle. Ceylon has never
been independent, and in a singular mixture of races her ports bear
testimony to the number of the foreign conquests.

Two American missionaries were among the passers-by, but one of them,
detecting strangers, came up to the piazza in search of news. There had
been no loss of national characteristics in these men;--they were
brimful of the mixture of earnestness and quaint profanity which
distinguishes the New England puritan: one of them described himself to
me as “just a kind of journeyman soul-saver, like.”

The Australian strangers were not long left unmolested by more serious
intruders than grave Vermonters. The cry of “baksheesh”--an Arabian word
that goes from Gibraltar to China, and from Ceylon to the Khyber Pass,
and which has reached us in the form of “boxes” in our phrase
Christmas-boxes--was the first native word I heard in the East, at
Galle, as it was afterward the last, at Alexandria. One of the beggars
was an Albino, fair as a child in a Hampshire lane; one of those strange
sports of nature from whom Cinghalese tradition asserts the European
races to be sprung.

The beggars were soon driven off by the hotel servants, and better
licensed plunderers began their work. “Ah safeer, ah rupal, ah imral, ah
mooney stone, ah opal, ah amtit, ah!” was the cry from every quarter,
and jewel-sellers of all the nations of the East descended on us in a
swarm. “Me givee you written guarantee dis real stone;” “Yes, dat real
stone; but dis _good_ stone--dat no good stone--no water. Ah, see!” “Dat
no good stone. Ah, sahib, you tell good stone: all dese bad stone,
reg‘lar England stone. You go by next ship? No? Ah, den you come see me
shop. Dese ship-passenger stone--humbuk stone. Ship gone, den you come
me shop; see good stone. When you come? eh? when you come?” “Ah, safeer,
ah catty-eye, ah pinkee collal!” Meanwhile every Galle-dwelling
European, at the bar of the hotel, was adding to the din by shouting to
the native servants, “Boy, turn out these fellows, and stop their
noise.” This cry of “boy” is a relic of the old Dutch times: it was the
Hollander‘s term for his slave, and hence for every member of the
inferior race. The first servant that I heard called “boy” was a
tottering, white-haired old man.

The gems of Ceylon have long been famed. One thousand three hundred and
seventy years ago, the Chinese records tell us that Ceylon, then
tributary to the empire, sent presents to the Brother of the Moon, one
of the gifts being a “lapis-lazuli spittoon.” It is probable that some
portion of the million and a half pounds sterling which are annually
absorbed in this small island, but four-fifths the size of Ireland, is
consumed in the setting of the precious stones for native use; every one
you meet wears four or five heavy silver rings, and sovereigns are
melted down to make gold ornaments.

Rushing away from the screaming crowd of peddlers, I went with some of
my Australian friends to stroll upon the ramparts and enjoy the evening
salt breeze. We met several bodies of white-faced Europeans, sauntering
like ourselves, and dressed like us in white trowsers and loose white
jackets and pith hats. What we looked like I do not know, but they
resembled ships’ stewards. At last it struck me that they were soldiers,
and upon inquiring I found that these washed-out dawdlers represented a
British regiment of the line. I was by this time used to see linesmen
out of scarlet, having beheld a parade in bushranger-beards and
blue-serge “jumpers” at Taranaki in New Zealand; but one puts up easier
with the soldier-bushranger than with the soldier-steward.

The climate of the day had been exquisite with its bright air and
cooling breeze, and I had begun to think that those who knew Acapulco
and Echuca could afford to laugh at the East, with its thermometer at
88°. The reckoning came at night, however, for by dark all the breeze
was gone, and the thermometer, instead of falling, had risen to 90° when
I lay down to moan and wait for dawn. As I was dropping off to sleep at
about four o‘clock, a native came round and closed the doors, to shut
out the dangerous land-breeze that springs up at that hour. Again, at
half-past five, it was cooler, and I had begun to doze, when a
cannon-shot, fired apparently under my bed, brought me upon my feet with
something more than a start. I remembered the saying of the Western boy
before Petersburg, when he heard for the first time the five o‘clock
camp-gun, and called to his next neighbor at the fire, “Say, Bill, did
you hap to hear how partic‘lar loud the day broke just now?” for it was
the morning-gun, which in Ceylon is always fired at the same time, there
being less than an hour‘s difference between the longest and shortest
days. Although it was still pitch dark, the bugles began to sound the
_réveille_ on every side--in the infantry lines, the artillery barracks,
and the lines of the Malay regiment, the well-known Ceylon Rifles. Ten
minutes afterward, when I had bathed by lamplight, I was eating
plantains and taking my morning tea in a cool room lit by the beams of
the morning sun, so short is the April twilight in Ceylon.

It is useless to consult the thermometer about heat: a European can
labor in the open air in South Australia with the thermometer at 110° in
the shade, while, with a thermometer at 88°, the nights are unbearable
in Ceylon. To discover whether the climate of a place be really hot,
examine its newspapers; and if you find the heat recorded, you may make
up your mind that it is a variable climate, but if no “remarkable heat”
or similar announcements appear, then you may be sure that you are in a
permanently hot place. It stands to reason that no one in the tropics
ever talks of “tropical heat.”

In so equable a climate, the apathy of the Cinghalese is not surprising;
but they are not merely lazy, they are a cowardly, effeminate, and
revengeful race. They sleep and smoke, and smoke and sleep, rousing
themselves only once in the day to snatch a bowl of curry and rice, or
to fleece a white man; and so slowly do the people run the race of life
that even elephantiasis, common here, does not seem to put the sufferer
far behind his fellow-men. Buddhism is no mystery when expounded under
this climate. See a few Cinghalese stretched in the shade of a
cocoa-palm, and you can conceive Buddha sitting cross-legged for ten
thousand years contemplating his own perfection.

The second morning that I spent in Galle, the captain of the _Bombay_
was kind enough to send his gig for me to the landing-steps at dawn, and
his Malay crew soon rowed me to the ship, where the captain joined me,
and we pulled across the harbor to Watering-place Point, and bathed in
the shallow sea, out of the reach of sharks. When we had dressed, we
went on to a jetty, to look into the deep water just struck by the
rising sun. I should have marveled at the translucency of the waters had
not the awful clearness with which the bottoms of the Canadian lakes
stand revealed in evening light been fresh within my memory, but here
the bottom was fairly paved with corallines of inconceivable brilliancy
of color, and tenanted by still more gorgeous fish. Of the two that bore
the palm, one was a little fish of mazarine blue, without a speck of any
other color, and perfect too in shape; the second, a silver fish, with a
band of soft brown velvet round its neck, and another about its tail. In
a still more sheltered cove the fish were so thick that dozens of Moors
were throwing into the water, with the arm-twist of a fly-fisher, bare
hooks, which they jerked through the shoal and into the air, never
failing to bring them up clothed with a fish, caught most times by the
fin.

In the evening, two of us tried a native dinner, at a house where
Cinghalese gentlemen dine when they come into Galle on business. Our
fare was as follows: First course: a curry of the delicious seir-fish, a
sort of mackerel; a prawn curry; a bread-fruit and cocoanut curry; a
Brinjal curry, and a dish made of jackfruit, garlic, and mace; all
washed down by iced water. Second course: plantains, and very old arrack
in thimble-glasses, followed by black coffee. Of meat there was no sign,
as the Cinghalese rarely touch it; and, although we liked our vegetarian
dinner, my friend passed a criticism in action on it by dining again at
the hotel-ordinary one hour later. We agreed, too, that the sickly smell
of cocoanut would cleave to us for weeks.

Starting with an Australian friend, at the dawn of my third day in the
island, I took the coach by the coast road to Columbo. We drove along a
magnificent road in an avenue of giant cocoanut-palms, with the sea
generally within easy sight, and with a native hut at each few yards.
Every two or three miles, the road crossed a lagoon, alive with bathers,
and near the bridge was generally a village, bazaar, and Buddhist
temple, built pagoda-shape, and filled with worshipers. The road was
thronged with gayly-dressed Cinghalese; and now and again we would pass
a Buddhist priest in saffron-colored robes, hastening along, his
umbrella borne over him by a boy clothed from top to toe in white. The
umbrellas of the priests are of yellow silk, and shaped like ours, but
other natives carry flat-topped umbrellas, gilt, or colored red and
black. The Cinghalese farmers we met traveling to their temples in carts
drawn by tiny bullocks. Such was the brightness of the air, that the
people, down to the very beggars, seemed clad in holiday attire.

As we journeyed on, we began to find more variety in the scenery and
vegetation, and were charmed with the scarlet-blossomed cotton-tree, and
with the areca, or betel-nut palm. The cocoanut groves, too, were
carpeted with an undergrowth of orchids and ipecacuanha, and here and
there was a bread-fruit tree or an hibiscus.

In Ceylon we have retained the Dutch posting system, and small light
coaches, drawn by four or six small horses at a gallop, run over
excellent roads, carrying, besides the passengers, two boys behind, who
shout furiously whenever vehicles or passengers obstruct the mails, and
who at night carry torches high in the air, to light the road. Thus we
dashed through the bazaars and cocoa groves, then across the golden
sands covered with rare shells, and fringed on the one side with the
bright blue dancing sea, dotted with many a white sail, and on the other
side with deep green jungle, in which were sheltered dark lagoons. Once
in a while, we would drive out on to a plain, varied by clumps of fig
and tulip trees, and, looking to the east, would sight the purple
mountains of the central range; then, dashing again into the thronged
bazaars, would see little but the bright palm-trees relieved upon an
azure sky. The road is one continuous village, for the population is
twelve times as dense in the western as in the eastern provinces of
Ceylon. No wonder that ten thousand natives have died of cholera within
the last few months! All this dense coast population is supported by the
cocoanut, for there are in Ceylon 200,000 acres under cocoa-palms, which
yield from seven to eight hundred million cocoa-nuts a year, and are
worth two millions sterling.

Near Bentotté, where we had lunched off horrible oysters of the
pearl-yielding kind, we crossed the Kaluganga River, densely fringed
with mangrove, and in its waters saw a python swimming bravely toward
the shore. Snakes are not so formidable as land-leeches, the Cinghalese
and planters say, and no one hears of many persons being bitten, though
a great reward for an antidote to the cobra bite has lately been offered
by the Rajah of Travancore.

As we entered what the early maps style “The Christian Kyngdom of
Colombo,” though where they found their Christians no one knows, our
road lay through the cinnamon gardens, which are going out of
cultivation, as they no longer pay, although the cinnamon laurel is a
spice-grove in itself, giving cinnamon from its bark, camphor from the
roots, clove oil from its leaves. The plant grows wild about the island,
and is cut and peeled by the natives at no cost save that of children‘s
labor, which they do not count as cost at all. The scene in the gardens
that still remain was charming: the cinnamon-laurel bushes contrasted
well with the red soil, and the air was alive with dragon-flies, moths,
and winged-beetles, while the softness of the evening breeze had tempted
out the half-caste Dutch “burgher” families of the city, who were
driving and walking clothed in white, the ladies with their jet hair
dressed with natural flowers. The setting sun threw brightness without
heat into the gay scene.

A friend who had horses ready for us at the hotel where the mail-coach
stopped, said that it was not too late for a ride through the fort, or
European town inside the walls; so, cantering along the esplanade, where
the officers of the garrison were enjoying their evening ride, we
crossed the moat, and found ourselves in what is perhaps the most
graceful street in the world:--a double range of long low houses of
bright white stone, with deep piazzas, buried in masses of bright
foliage, in which the fire-flies were beginning to play. In the center
of the fort is an Italian campanile, which serves at once as a belfry, a
clock-tower, and a light-house. In the morning, before sunrise, we
climbed this tower for the view. The central range stood up sharply on
the eastern sky, as the sun was still hid behind it, and to the
southeast there towered high the peak where Adam mourned his son a
hundred years. In color, shape, and height, the Cinghalese Alps resemble
the Central Apennines, and the view from Columbo is singularly like that
from Pesaro on the Adriatic. As we looked landwards from the campanile,
the native town was mirrored in the lake, and outside the city the
white-coated troops were marching by companies on to the parade-ground,
whence we could faintly hear the distant bands.

Driving back in a carriage, shaped like a street cab, but with fixed
venetians instead of sides and windows, we visited the curing
establishment of the Ceylon Coffee Company, where the coffee from the
hills is dried and sorted. Thousands of native girls are employed in
coffee-picking at the various stores, but it is doubted whether the
whole of this labor is not wasted, the berries being sorted according to
their shape and size--characteristics which seem in no way to affect the
flavor. The Ceylon exporters say that if we choose to pay twice as much
for shapely as for ill-shaped berries, it is no business of theirs to
refuse to humor us by sorting.

The most remarkable institution in Columbo is the steam factory where
the government make or mend such machinery as their experts certify
cannot be dealt with at any private works existing in the island. The
government elephants are kept at the same place, but I found them at
work up country on the Kandy road.

In passing through the native town upon Slave Island, we saw some French
Catholic priests in their working jungle dresses of blue serge. They
have met with singular successes in Ceylon, having made 150,000
converts, while the English and American missions have between them only
30,000 natives. The Protestant missionaries in Ceylon complain much of
the planters, whom they accuse of declaring, when they wish to hire men,
that “no Christian need apply;” but it is a remarkable fact that neither
Protestants nor Catholics can make converts among the self-supported
“Moormen,” the active pushing inhabitants of the ports, who are
Mohammedans to a man. The chief cause of the success of the Catholics
among the Cinghalese seems to be the remarkable earnestness of the
French and Italian missionary priests. Our English missionaries in the
East are too often men incapable of bearing fatigue or climate; ignorant
of every trade, and inferior even in teaching and preaching powers to
their rivals. It is no easy matter to spread Christianity among the
Cinghalese, the inventors of Buddhism, the most ancient and most widely
spread of all the religions of the world. Every Buddhist firmly believes
in the potential perfection of man, and is incapable of understanding
the ideas of original sin and redemption; and a Cinghalese
Buddhist--passionless himself--cannot comprehend the passionate worship
that Christianity requires. The Catholics, however, do not neglect the
Eastern field for missionary labor. Four of their bishops from Cochin
China and Japan were met by me in Galle, upon their way to Rome.

Our drive was brought to an end by a visit to the old Dutch quarter--a
careful imitation of Amsterdam; indeed, one of its roads still bears the
portentous Batavian name of Dam Street. Their straight canals, and
formal lines of trees, the Hollanders have carried with them throughout
the world; but in Columbo, not content with manufacturing imitation
canals, that began and ended in a wall, they dug great artificial lakes
to recall their well-loved Hague.

The same evening, I set off by the new railway for Kandy and Nuwara
Ellia (pronounced Nooralia) in the hills. Having no experience of the
climate of mountain regions in the tropics, I expected a merely pleasant
change, and left Columbo wearing my white kit, which served me well
enough as far as Ambe Pusse--the railway terminus, which we reached at
ten o‘clock at night. We started at once by coach, and had not driven
far up the hills in the still moonlight before the cold became extreme,
and I was saved from a severe chill only by the kindness of the
coffee-planter who shared the back seat with me, and who, being well
clad in woolen, lent me his great-coat. After this incident, we chatted
pleasantly without fear of interruption from our sole companion--a
native girl, who sat silently chewing betel all the way--and reached
Kandy before dawn. Telling the hotel servants to wake me in an hour, I
wrapped myself in a blanket--the first I had seen since I left
Australia--and enjoyed a refreshing sleep.



CHAPTER II.

KANDY.


The early morning was foggy and cold as an October dawn in an English
forest; but before I had been long in the gardens of the Government
House, the sun rose, and the heat returned once more. After wandering
among the petunias and fan-palms of the gardens, I passed on into the
city, the former capital of the Kandian or highland kingdom, and one of
the holiest of Buddhist towns. The kingdom was never conquered by the
Portuguese or Dutch while they held the coasts, and was not overrun by
us till 1815, while it has several times been in rebellion since that
date. The people still retain their native customs in a high degree: for
instance, the Kandian husband does not take his wife‘s inheritance
unless he lives with her on her father‘s land: if she lives with him,
she forfeits her inheritance. Kandian law, indeed, is expressly
maintained by us except in the matters of polygamy and polyandry,
although the maritime Cinghalese are governed, as are the English in
Ceylon and at the Cape, by the civil code of Holland.

The difference between the Kandian and coast Cinghalese is very great.
At Kandy, I found the men wearing flowing crimson robes and flat-topped
caps, while their faces were lighter in color than those of the coast
people, and many of them had beards. The women also wore the nose-ring
in a different way, and were clothed above as well as below the waist.
It is possible that some day we may unfortunately hear more of this
energetic and warlike people.

The city is one that dwells long in the mind. The Upper Town is one
great garden, so numerous are the sacred groves, vocal with the song of
the Eastern orioles, but here and there are dotted about pagoda-shaped
temples, identical in form with those of Tartary two thousand miles
away, and from these there proceeds a roar of tomtoms that almost drowns
the song. One of these temples contains the holiest of Buddhist relics,
the tooth of Buddha, which is yearly carried in a grand procession. When
we first annexed the Kandian kingdom, we recognized the Buddhist Church,
made our officers take part in the procession of the Sacred Tooth, and
sent a State offering to the shrine. Times are changed since then, but
the Buddhist priests are still exempt from certain taxes. All round the
sacred inclosures are ornamented walls, with holy sculptured figures;
and in the Lower Town are fresh-water lakes and tanks, formed by damming
the Mavaliganga River, and also, in some measure, holy. An atmosphere of
Buddhism pervades all Kandy.

From Kandy, I visited the coffee-district of which it is the capital and
center, but I was much disappointed with regard to the amount of land
that is still open to coffee-cultivation. At the Government Botanic
Garden at Peredenia (where the jalap plant, the castor-oil plant, and
the ipecacuanha were growing side by side), I was told that the shrub
does not flourish under 1500 nor over 3000 or 4000 feet above sea-level,
and that all the best coffee-land is already planted. Coffee-growing has
already done so much for Ceylon that it is to be hoped that it has not
reached its limit: in thirty-three years it has doubled her trade ten
times, and to England alone she now sends two millions’ worth of coffee
every year. The central district of the island, in which lie the hills
and coffee-country, is, with the exception of the towns, politically not
a portion of Ceylon: there are English capital, English management, and
Indian labor, and the cocoa-palm is unknown; Tamil laborers are
exclusively employed upon the plantations, although the carrying trade,
involving but little labor, is in the hands of the Cinghalese. No such
official discouragement is shown to the European planters in Ceylon as
that which they experience in India; and were there but more good
coffee-lands and more capital, all would be well. The planters say that,
after two years’ heavy expenditure and dead loss, 20 per cent. can be
made by men who take in sufficient capital, but that no one ever does
take capital enough for the land he buys, and that they all have to
borrow from one of the Columbo companies at 12 per cent., and are then
bound to ship their coffee through that company alone. It is regarded as
an open question by many disinterested friends of Ceylon whether it
might not be wise for the local government to advance money to the
planters; but besides the fear of jobbery, there is the objection to
this course, that the government, becoming interested in the success of
coffee-planting, might also come to connive at the oppression of the
native laborers. This oppression of the people lies at the bottom of
that Dutch system which is often held up for our imitation in Ceylon.

Those who narrate to us the effects of the Java system forget that it is
not denied that in the tropical islands, with an idle population and a
rich soil, compulsory labor may be the only way of developing the
resources of the countries, but they fail to show the justification for
our developing the resources of the country by such means. The Dutch
culture-system puts a planter down upon the crown lands, and, having
made advances to him, leaves it to him to find out how he shall repay
the government. Forced labor--under whatever name--is the natural
result.

The Dutch, moreover, bribe the great native chiefs by princely salaries
and vast percentage upon the crops their people raise, and force the
native agriculturists to grow spices for the Royal Market of Amsterdam.
Of the purchase of these spices the government has a monopoly: it buys
them at what price it will, and, selling again in Europe to the world,
clears annually some £4,000,000 sterling by the job. That plunder,
slavery, and famine often follow the extension of their system is
nothing to the Dutch. Strict press-laws prevent the Dutch at home from
hearing anything of the discontent in Java, except when famine or
insurrection calls attention to the isle; and £4,000,000 a year profit,
and half the expenses of their navy paid for them by one island in the
Eastern seas, make up for many deaths of brown-faced people by
starvation.

The Dutch often deny that the government retains the monopoly of export;
but the fact of the matter is that the Dutch Trading Company, who have
the monopoly of the exports of the produce of crown lands--which amount
to two-thirds of the total exports of the isle--are mere agents of the
government.

It is hard to say that, apart from the nature of the culture-system, the
Dutch principle of making a profit out of the countries which they rule
is inconsistent with the position of a Christian nation. It is the
ancient system of countries having possessions in the East, and upon our
side we are not able to show any definite reasons in favor of our course
of scrupulously keeping separate the Indian revenue, and spending
Indian profits upon India and Cinghalese in Ceylon, except such reasons
as would logically lead to our quitting India altogether. That the Dutch
should make a profit out of Java is perhaps not more immoral than that
they should be there. At the same time, the character of the Dutch
system lowers the tone of the whole Dutch nation, and especially of
those who have any connection with the Indies, and effectually prevents
future amendment. With our system, there is some chance of right being
done, so small is our self-interest in the wrong. From the fact that no
surplus is sent home from Ceylon, she is at least free from that bane of
Java,--the desire of the local authorities to increase as much as
possible the valuable productions of their districts, even at the risk
of famine, provided only that they may hope to put off the famine until
after their time--a desire that produces the result that subaltern Dutch
officers who observe in their integrity the admirable rules which have
been made for the protection of the native population are heartily
abused for their ridiculous scrupulosity, as it is styled.

Not to be carried away by the material success of the Dutch system, it
is as well to bear in mind its secret history. A private company--the
Dutch Trading Society--was founded at Amsterdam in 1824, the then King
being the largest shareholder. The company was in difficulties in 1830,
when the King, finding he was losing money fast, sent out as
Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies his personal friend Van den
Bosch. The next year, the culture-system, with all its attendant
horrors, was introduced into Java by Van den Bosch, the Dutch Trading
Society being made agents for the government. The result was the
extraordinary prosperity of the company, and the leaving by the
merchant-king of a private fortune of fabulous amount.

The Dutch system has been defended by every conceivable kind of blind
misrepresentation; it has even been declared, by writers who ought
certainly to know better, that the four millions of surplus that Holland
draws from Java, being profits on trade, are not taxation! Even the
blindest admirers of the system are forced, however, to admit that it
involves the absolute prohibition of missionary enterprise, and total
exclusion from knowledge of the Java people.

The Ceylon planters have at present political as well as financial
difficulties on their hands. They have petitioned the Queen for
“self-government for Ceylon,” and for control of the revenue by
“representatives of the public”--excellent principles, if “public” meant
public, and “Ceylon,” Ceylon; but, when we inquire of the planters what
they really mean, we find that by “Ceylon” they understand Galle and
Columbo Fort, and by “the public” they mean themselves. There are at
present six unofficial members of the Council: of these, the whites have
three members, the Dutch burghers one, and the natives two; and the
planters expect the same proportions to be kept in a Council to which
supreme power shall be intrusted in the disposition of the revenues.
They are, indeed, careful to explain that they in no way desire the
extension of representative institutions to Ceylon.

The first thing that strikes the English traveler in Ceylon is the
apparent slightness of our hold upon the country. In my journey from
Galle to Columbo, by early morning and mid-day, I met no white man; from
Columbo to Kandy, I traveled with one, but met none; at Kandy, I saw no
whites; at Nuwara Ellia, not half a dozen. On my return, I saw no whites
between Nuwara Ellia and Ambe Pusse, where there was a white man in the
railway-station; and on my return by evening from Columbo to Galle, in
all the thronging crowds along the roads there was not a single
European. There are hundreds of Cinghalese in the interior who live and
die and never see a white man. Out of the two and a quarter millions of
people who dwell in what the planters call the “colony of Ceylon,” there
are but 3000 Europeans, of whom 1500 are our soldiers, and 250 our
civilians. Of the European non-official class, there are but 1300
persons, or about 500 grown-up men. The proposition of the Planters’
Association is that we should confide the despotic government over two
and a quarter millions of Buddhist, Mohammedan, and Hindoo laborers to
these 500 English Christian employers. It is not the Ceylon planters who
have a grievance against us, but we who have a serious complaint against
them; so flourishing a dependency should certainly provide for all the
costs of her defense.

Some of the mountain views between Kandy and Nuwara Ellia are full of
grandeur, though they lack the New Zealand snows; but none can match,
for variety and color, that which I saw on may return from the ascent to
the Kaduganava Pass, where you look over a foreground of giant-leaved
talipot and slender areca palms and tall bamboos, lit with the scarlet
blooms of the cotton-tree, on to a plain dotted with banyan-tree groves
and broken by wooded hills. On either side, the deep valley-bottoms are
carpeted with bright green--the wet rice-lands, or terraced
paddy-fields, from which the natives gather crop after crop throughout
the year.

In the union of rich foliage with deep color and grand forms, no scenery
save that of New Zealand can bear comparison with that of the hill
country of Ceylon, unless, indeed, it be the scenery of Java and the far
Eastern Isles.



CHAPTER III.

MADRAS TO CALCUTTA.

SPENDING but a single day in Madras--an inferior Columbo--I passed on to
Calcutta with a pleasant remembrance of the air of prosperity that hangs
about the chief city of what is still called by Bengal civilians “The
Benighted Presidency.” Small as are the houses, poor as are the shops,
every one looks well-to-do, and everybody happy, from the not
undeservedly famed cooks at the club to the catamaran men on the shore.
Coffee and good government have of late done much for Madras.

The surf consists of two lines of rollers, and is altogether inferior to
the fine-weather swell on the west coast of New Zealand, and only to be
dignified and promoted into surfship by men of that fine imagination
which will lead them to sniff the spices a day before they reach Ceylon,
or the pork and molasses when off Nantucket light-ship. The row through
the first roller in the lumbering Massullah boat, manned by a dozen
sinewy blacks, the waiting for a chance between the first and second
lines of spray, and then the dash for shore, the crew singing their
measured “Ah! lah! lálala!--ah! lah! lálala!” the stroke coming with the
accented syllable, and the helmsman shrieking with excitement, is a more
pretentious ceremony than that which accompanies the crossing of
Hokitika bar, but the passage is a far less dangerous one. The
Massullah boats are like empty hay-barges on the Thames, but built
without nails, so that they “give” instead of breaking up when battered
by the sand on one side and the seas upon the other. This is a very wise
precaution in the case of boats which are always made to take the shore
broadside on. The first sea that strikes the boat either shoots the
passenger on to the dry sand, or puts him where he can easily be caught
by the natives on the beach, but the Massullah boat herself gets a
terrible banging before the crew can haul her out of reach of the seas.

Sighting the Temple of Juggernauth and one palm-tree, but seeing no
land, we entered the Hoogly, steaming between light-houses, guard-ships,
and buoys, but not catching a glimpse of the low land of the
Sunderabunds till we had been many hours in “the river.” After lying
right off the tiger-infested island of Saugur, we started on our run up
to Calcutta before the sun was risen. Compared with Ceylon, the scene
was English; there was nothing tropical about it except the mist upon
the land; and low villas and distant factory-chimneys reminded one of
the Thames between Battersea and Fulham. Coming into Garden Reach, where
large ships anchor before they sail, we had a long, low building on our
right, gaudy and architecturally hideous, but from its vast size almost
imposing: it was the palace of the dethroned King of Oude, the place
where, it is said, are carried on deeds become impossible in Lucknow.
Such has been the extravagance of the King that the government of India
has lately interfered, and appointed a commission to pay his debts, and
deduct them from his income of £120,000 a year; for we pay into the
privy purse of the dethroned Vizier of Oude exactly twice the yearly sum
that we set aside for that of Queen Victoria. Whatever income is
allowed to native princes, they always spend the double. The experience
of the Dutch in Java and our own in India is uniform in this respect.
Removed from that slight restraint upon expenditure which the fear of
bankruptcy or revolution forces upon reigning kings, native princes
supported by European governments run recklessly into debt. The
commission which was sitting upon the debts of the King of Oude while I
was in Calcutta warned him that, if he offended a second time,
government would for the future spend his income for him. It is not the
King‘s extravagance alone, however, that is complained of. Always
notorious for debauchery, he has now become infamous for his vices. One
of his wives was arrested while I was in Calcutta for purchasing girls
for the harem, but the King himself escaped. For nine years he has never
left his palace, yet he spends, we are told, from £200,000 to £250,000 a
year.

In his extravagance and immorality the King of Oude does not stand alone
in Calcutta. His mode of life is imitated by the wealthy natives; his
vices are mimicked by every young Bengalee baboo. It is a question
whether we are not responsible for the tone which has been taken by
“civilization” in Calcutta. The old philosophy has gone, and left
nothing in its place; we have by moral force destroyed the old religions
in Calcutta, but we have set up no new. Whether the character of our
Indian government, at once leveling and paternal, has not much to do
with the spread of careless sensuality is a question before answering
which it would be well to look to France, where a similar government has
for sixteen years prevailed. In Paris, at least, democratic despotism is
fast degrading the French citizen to the moral level of the Bengalee
baboo.

The first thing in Calcutta that I saw was the view of the Government
House from the Park Reserve--a miniature Sahara since its trees were
destroyed by the great cyclone. The Viceroy‘s dwelling, though crushed
by groups of lions and unicorns of gigantic stature and astonishing
design, is an imposing building; but it is the only palace in the “city
of palaces”--a name which must have been given to the pestiferous city
by some one who had never seen any other towns but Liverpool and London.
The true city of palaces is Lucknow.

In Calcutta, I first became acquainted with that unbounded hospitality
of the great mercantile houses in the East of which I have since
acquired many pleasing remembrances. The luxury of “the firm” impresses
the English traveler; the huge house is kept as a hotel; every one is
welcome to dinner, breakfast, and bed in the veranda, or in a room, if
he can sleep under a roof in the hot weather. Sometimes two and
sometimes twenty sit down to the meals, and always without notice to the
butlers or the cooks, but every one is welcome, down to the friend of a
friend‘s friend; and junior clerks will write letters of introduction to
members of the firm, which secure the bearer a most hospitable welcome
from the other clerks, even when all the partners are away. “If Brown is
not there, Smith will be, and if he‘s away, why then Johnson will put
you up,” is the form of invitation to the hospitalities of an Eastern
firm. The finest of fruits are on table between five and six, and tea
and iced drinks are ready at all times, from dawn to breakfast--a
ceremony which takes place at ten. To the regular meals you come in or
not as you please, and no one trained in Calcutta or Bombay can conceive
offense being taken by a host at his guest accepting, without consulting
him, invitations to dine out in the city, or to spend some days at a
villa in its outskirts. Servants are in the corridors by day and night
at the call of guests, and your entertainers tell you that, although
they have not time to go about with you, servants will always be ready
to drive you at sunset to the band-stand in the carriage of some member
of the firm.

The population of Calcutta is as motley as that of Galle, though the
constituents are not the same. Greeks, Armenians, and Burmese, besides
many Eurasians, or English-speaking half-castes, mingle with the mass of
Indian Mohammedans and Hindoos. The hot weather having suddenly set in,
the Calcutta officials, happier than the merchants--who, however, care
little about heat when trade is good--were starting for Simla in a body,
“just as they were warming to their work,” as the Calcutta people say,
and, finding that there was nothing to be done in the stifling city, I,
too, determined to set off.

The heat was great at night, and the noisy native crows and whistling
kites held durbars inside my window in the only cool hour of the
twenty-four--namely, that which begins at dawn--and thus hastened my
departure from Calcutta by preventing me from taking rest while in it.
Hearing that at Patna there was nothing to be seen or learnt, I traveled
from Calcutta to Benares--500 miles--in the same train and railway
carriage. Our first long stoppage was at Chandernagore, but, as the
native baggage-coolies, or porters, howl the station names in their own
fashion, I hardly recognized the city in the melancholy moan of
“Orn-dorn-orn-gorne,” which welcomed the train, and it was not till I
saw a French infantry uniform upon the platform that I remembered that
Chandernagore, a village belonging to the French, lies hard by Calcutta,
to which city it was once a dangerous rival. It is said that the French
retain their Indian dependencies, instead of selling them to us as did
the Dutch, in order that they may ever bear in mind the fact that we
once conquered them in India; but it would be hard to find any real
ground for their retention, unless they are held as centers for the
Catholic missions. We will not even permit them to be made smuggling
depots, for which purpose they would be excellently adapted. The whole
of the possessions in India of the French amount together to only
twenty-six leagues square. Even Pondicherry, the largest and only French
Indian dependency of which the name is often heard in Europe, is cut
into several portions by strips of British territory, and the whole of
the French-Indian dependencies are mere specks of land isolated in our
vast territories. The officer who was lounging in the station was a
native; indeed, in the territory of Chandernagore there are but 230
Europeans, and but 1500 in all French India. He made up to my
compartment as though he would have got in, which I wished that he would
have done, as natives in the French service all speak French, but,
seeing a European, he edged away to a dark uncomfortable compartment.
This action was, I fear, a piece of silent testimony to the prejudice
which makes our people in India almost invariably refuse to travel with
a native, whatever may be his rank.

As we passed through Burdwan and Rajmahal, where the East Indian Railway
taps the Ganges, the station scenes became more and more interesting. We
associate with the word “railway” ideas that are peculiarly
English:--shareholders and directors, guards in blue, policemen in dark
green, and porters in brown corduroy; no English institution, however,
assumes more readily an Oriental dress. Station-masters and sparrows
alone are English; everything else on a Bengal railway is purely
Eastern. Sikh irregulars jostle begging fakeers in the stations; palkees
and doolies--palankeens and sedans, as we should call them--wait at the
back doors; ticket-clerks smoke water-pipes; an ibis drinks at the
engine-tank; a sacred cow looks over the fence, and a tame elephant
reaches up with his trunk at the telegraph-wire, on which sits a hoopoe,
while an Indian vulture crowns the post.

When we came opposite to the Monghyr Hills, the only natural objects
which for 1600 miles break the level of the great plain of Hindostan,
people of the central tribes, small-headed and savage-looking, were
mingled with the Hindoos at the stations. In blackness there was not
much difference between the races, for low-caste Bengalees are as black
as Guinea negroes.

As the day grew hot, a water-carrier with a well-filled skin upon his
back appeared at every station, and came running to the native cars in
answer to the universal long-drawn shout of “Ah! ah! Bheestie--e!”

The first view of the Ganges calls up no enthusiasm. The Thames below
Gravesend half dried up would be not unlike it; indeed, the river itself
is as ugly as the Mississippi or Missouri, while its banks are more
hideous by far than theirs. Beyond Patna, the plains, too, become as
monotonous as the river,--flat, dusty, and treeless, they are in no way
tropical in their character; they lie, indeed, wholly outside the
tropics. I afterward found that a man may cross India from the Irawaddy
to the Indus, and see no tropical scenery, no tropical cultivation. The
aspect of the Ganges valley is that of Cambridgeshire, or of parts of
Lincoln seen after harvest time, and with flocks of strange and
brilliant birds and an occasional jackal thrown in. The sun is
hot--not, indeed, much hotter than in Australia, but the heat is of a
different kind from that encountered by the English in Ceylon or the
West Indies. From a military point of view, the plains may be described
as a parade-ground continued to infinity; and this explains the success
of our small forces against the rebels in 1857, our cavalry and
artillery having in all cases swept their infantry from these levels
with the utmost ease.

A view over the plains by daylight is one which in former times some old
Indians can never have enjoyed. Many a lady in the days of palki-dawk
has passed a life in the Deccan table-land without ever seeing a
mountain, or knowing she was on the top of one. Carried up and down the
ghauts at night, it was only by the tilting of her palki that she could
detect the rise or fall, for day traveling for ladies was almost unknown
in India before it was introduced with the railways.

At Patna, the station was filled with crowds of railway coolies, or
navvies, as we should say, who, with their tools and baggage, were
camped out upon the platform, smoking peacefully. I afterward found that
natives have little idea of time-tables and departure hours. When they
want to go ten miles by railway, they walk straight down to the nearest
station, and there smoke their hookahs till the train arrives--at the
end of twenty-four hours or ten minutes, as the case may be. There is
but one step that the more ignorant among the natives are in a hurry to
take, and that is to buy their tickets. They are no sooner come to the
terminus than with one accord they rush at the native ticket-clerk,
yelling the name of the station to which they wish to go. In vain he
declares that, the train not being due for ten or fifteen hours, there
is plenty of time for the purchase. Open-mouthed, and wrought up almost
to madness, the passengers dance round him, screaming “Burdwan!” or
“Serampoor!” or whatever the name may be, till at last he surrenders at
discretion. There is often no room for all who wish to go; indeed, the
worst point about the management of the railways lies in the defective
accommodation for the native passengers, and their treatment by the
English station-masters is not always good: I saw them on many occasions
terribly kicked and cuffed; but Indian station-masters are not very
highly paid, and are too often men who cannot resist the temptations to
violence which despotic power throws in their way. They might ask with
the Missourian in the United States army when he was accused of
drunkenness, “Whether Uncle Sam expected to get all the cardinal virtues
for fifteen dollars a month?”

The Indian railways are all made and worked by companies; but as the
government guarantees the interest of five per cent., which only the
East Indian, or Calcutta and Delhi, line can pay, it interferes much in
the management. The telegraph is both made and worked by government; and
the reason why the railways were not put upon the same footing is that
the government of India was doubtful as to the wisdom of borrowing
directly the vast sum required, and doubtful also of the possibility of
borrowing it without diminishing its credit.

The most marked among the effects of railways upon the state of India
are, as a moral change, the weakening of caste ties--as a physical, the
destruction of the Indian forests. It is found that if a rich native
discovers that he can, by losing caste in touching his inferiors, travel
a certain distance in a comfortable second-class carriage for ten
rupees, while a first-class ticket costs him twenty, he will often risk
his caste to save his pound; still, caste yields but slowly to railways
and the telegraph. It is but a very few years since one of my friends
received a thousand rupees for pleading in a case which turned on the
question whether the paint-spot on Krishna‘s nose, which is also a caste
sign, should be drawn as a plain horizontal crescent, or with a pendant
from the center. It is only a year since, in Orissa, it was seen that
Hindoo peasants preferred cannibalism, or death by starvation, to
defilement by eating their bullocks.

As for the forests, their destruction has already in many places changed
a somewhat moist climate to one of excessive drought, and planting is
now taking place with a view both to supplying the railway engines and
bringing back the rains. On the East Indian line, I found that they
burnt mixed coal and wood, but the Indian coal is scarce and bad, and
lies entirely in shallow “pockets.”

The train reached Mogul-Serai, the junction for Benares, at midnight of
the day following that on which it left Calcutta, and, changing my
carriage at once, I asked how long it would be before we started, to
which the answer was, “half an hour;” so I went to sleep. Immediately,
as it seemed, I was awakened by whispering, and, turning, saw a crowd of
boys and baggage-coolies at the carriage-door. When I tried to discover
what they wanted, my Hindostanee broke down, and it was some time before
I found that I had slept through the short journey from Mogul-Serai, and
had dozed on in the station till the lights had been put out, before the
coolies woke me. Crossing the Ganges by the bridge of boats, I found
myself in Benares, the ancient Varanasi, and sacred capital of the
Hindoos.



CHAPTER IV.

BENARES.


In the comparative cool of early morning, I sallied out on a stroll
through the outskirts of Benares. Thousands of women were stepping
gracefully along the crowded roads, bearing on their heads the
water-jars, while at every few paces there was a well, at which hundreds
were waiting along with the bheesties their turn for lowering their
bright gleaming copper cups to the well-water to fill their skins or
vases. All were keeping up a continual chatter, women with women, men
with men: all the tongues were running ceaselessly. It is astonishing to
see the indignation that a trifling mishap creates--such gesticulation,
such shouting, and loud talk, you would think that murder at least was
in question. The world cannot show the Hindoo‘s equal as a babbler; the
women talk while they grind corn, the men while they smoke their
water-pipes; your true Hindoo is never quiet; when not talking, he is
playing on his tomtom.

The Doorgha Khond, the famed Temple of the Sacred Monkeys, I found
thronged with worshipers, and garlanded in every part with roses: it
overhangs one of the best holy tanks in India, but has not much beauty
or grandeur, and is chiefly remarkable for the swarms of huge,
fat-paunched, yellow-bearded, holy monkeys, whose outposts hold one
quarter of the city, and whose main body forms a living roof to the
temple. A singular contrast to the Doorgha Khond was the Queen‘s
College for native students, built in a mixture of Tudor and Hindoo
architecture. The view from the roof is noticeable, depending as it does
for its beauty on the mingling of the rich green of the timber with the
gay colors of the painted native huts. Over the trees are seen the
minarets at the river-side, and an unwonted life was given to the view
by the smoke and flames that were rising from two burning huts, in
widely-separated districts of the native town. It is said that the
natives, whenever they quarrel with their neighbors, always take the
first opportunity of firing their huts; but in truth the huts in the hot
weather almost fire themselves, so inflammable are their roofs and
sides.

When the sun had declined sufficiently to admit of another excursion, I
started from my bungalow, and, passing through the elephant-corral, went
down with a guide to the ghauts, the observatory of Jai Singh, and the
Golden Temple. From the minarets of the mosque of Aurungzebe I had a
lovely sunset view of the ghauts, the city, and the Ganges; but the real
sight of Benares, after all, lies in a walk through the tortuous
passages that do duty for streets. No carriages can pass them, they are
so narrow. You walk preceded by your guide, who warns the people, that
they may stand aside and not be defiled by your touch, for that is the
real secret of the apparent respect paid to you in Benares; but the
sacred cows are so numerous and so obstinate that you cannot avoid
sometimes jostling them. The scene in the passages is the most Indian in
India. The gaudy dresses of the Hindoo princes spending a week in
purification at the holy place, the frescoed fronts of the shops and
houses, the deafening beating of the tomtoms, and, above all, the smoke
and sickening smell from the “burning ghauts” that meets you, mingled
with a sweeter smell of burning spices, as you work your way through
the vast crowds of pilgrims who are pouring up from the river‘s
bank--all alike are strange to the English traveler, and fill his mind
with that indescribable awe which everywhere accompanies the sight of
scenes and ceremonies that we do not understand. When once you are on
the Ganges bank itself, the scene is wilder still:--a river front of
some three miles, faced with lofty ghauts, or flights of river stairs,
over which rise, pile above pile, in sublime confusion, lofty palaces
with oriel windows hanging over the sacred stream; observatories with
giant sun-dials, gilt domes (_golden_, the story runs), and silver
minarets. On the ghauts, rows of fires, each with a smouldering body; on
the river, boat-loads of pilgrims, and fakeers praying while they float;
under the houses, lines of prostrate bodies--those of the sick--brought
to the sacred Ganges to die--or, say our government spies, to be
murdered by suffocation with sacred mud; while prowling about are the
wolf-like fanatics who feed on putrid flesh. The whole is lit by a
sickly sun fitfully glaring through the smoke, while the Ganges stream
is half obscured by the river fog and reek of the hot earth.

The lofty pavilions that crown the river front are ornamented with
paintings of every beast that walks and bird that flies, with monsters,
too--pink and green and spotted--with griffins, dragons, and
elephant-headed gods embracing dancing-girls. Here and there are
representations of red-coated soldiers--English, it would seem, for they
have white faces, but so, the Maories say, have the New Zealand fairies,
who are certainly not British. The Benares taste for painting leads to
the decoration with pink and yellow spots of the very cows. The tiger is
the commonest of all the figures on the walls--indeed, the explanation
that the representations are allegorical, or that gods are pictured in
tiger shape, has not removed from my mind the belief that the tiger must
have been worshiped in India at some early date. All Easterns are
inclined to worship the beasts that eat them: the Javanese light
floating sacrifices to their river crocodiles; the Scindees at Kurrachee
venerate the sacred muggur, or man-eating alligator; the hill-tribes
pray to snakes; indeed, to a new-comer, all Indian religion has the air
of devil-worship, or worship of the destructive principle in some shape:
the gods are drawn as grinning fiends, they are propitiated by infernal
music, they are often worshiped with obscene and hideous rites. There is
even something cruel in the monotonous roar of the great tomtoms; the
sound seems to connect itself with widow-burning, with child-murder,
with Juggernauth processions. Since the earliest known times, the tomtom
has been used to drown the cries of tortured fanatics; its booming is
bound up with the thousand barbarisms of false religion. If the scene on
the Benares ghauts is full of horrors, we must not forget that Hindooism
is a creed of fear and horror, not of love.

The government of India has lately instituted an inquiry into the
alleged abuses of the custom of taking sick Hindoos to the Ganges-side
to die, with a view to regulating or suppressing the practice which
prevails in the river-side portion of Lower Bengal. At Benares, Bengal
people are still taken to the river-side, but not so other natives, as
Hindoos dying anywhere in the sacred city have all the blessings which
the most holy death can possibly secure; the Benares Shastra, moreover,
forbids the practice, and I saw but two cases of it in the city,
although I had seen many near Calcutta. Not only are aged people brought
from their sick-rooms, laid in the burning sun, and half suffocated
with the Ganges water poured down their throats, but, owing to the
ridicule which follows if they recover, or the selfishness of their
relatives, the water is often muddier than it need be: hence the phrase
“ghaut murder,” by which this custom is generally known. Similar customs
are not unheard of in other parts of India, and even in Polynesia and
North America. The Veddahs, or black aborigines of Ceylon, were, up to
very lately, in the habit of carrying their dying parents or children
into the jungle, and, having placed a chatty of water and some rice by
their side, leaving them to be devoured by wild beasts. Under pressure
from our officials, they are believed to have ceased to act thus, but
they continue, we are told, to throw their dead to the leopards and
crocodiles. The Maories, too, have a way of taking out to die alone
those whom their seers have pronounced doomed men, but it is probable
that, among the rude races, the custom which seems to be a relic of
human sacrifice has not been so grossly abused as it has been by the
Bengal Hindoos. The practice of Ganjatra is but one out of many similar
barbarities that disgrace the religion of the Hindoos, but it is fast
sharing the fate of suttee and infanticide.

As I returned through the bazaar, I met many most unholy-looking
visitors to the sacred town. Fierce Rajpoots, with enormous turbans
ornamented with zig-zag stripes: Bengal bankers, in large purple
turbans, curling their long white mustaches, and bearing their critical
noses high aloft as they daintily picked their way over the garbage of
the streets; and savage retainers of the rajahs staying for a season at
their city palaces, were to the traveler‘s eye no very devout pilgrims.
In truth, the immoralities of the “holy city” are as great as its
religious virtues, and it is the chosen ground of the loose characters
as well as of the pilgrims of the Hindoo world.

In the whole of the great throng in the bazaar, hardly the slightest
trace of European dressing was to be perceived: the varnished boots of
the wealthier Hindoos alone bore witness to the existence of English
trade--a singular piece of testimony, this, to the essential
conservatism of the Oriental mind. With any quantity of old army
clothing to be got for the asking, you never see a rag of it on a native
back--not even on that of the poorest coolie. If you give a blanket to
an out-door servant, he will cut it into strips and wear them as a
puggree round his head; but this is about the only thing he will accept,
unless to sell it in the bazaar.

As I stopped to look for a moment at the long trains of laden camels
that were winding slowly through the tortuous streets, I saw a European
soldier cheapening a bracelet with a native jeweler. He was the first
_topee wallah_ (“hat-fellow,” or “European”) that I had seen in Benares
City. Calcutta is the only town in Northern India in which you meet
Europeans in your walks or rides, and, even there, there is but one
European to every sixty natives. In all India, there are, including
troops, children, and officials of all kinds, far less than as many
thousands of Europeans as there are millions of natives.

The evening after that on which I visited the native town, I saw in
Secrole cantonments, near Benares, the India hated and dreaded by our
troops--by day a blazing deadly heat and sun, at night a still more
deadly fog--a hot white fog, into which the sun disappears half an hour
before his time for setting, and out of which he shoots soon after seven
in the morning, to blaze and kill again--a pestiferous fever-breeding
ground-fog, out of which stand the tops of the palms, though their
stems are invisible in the steam. Compared with our English summer
climate, it seems the atmosphere of another planet.

Among the men in the cantonments, I found much of that demoralization
that heat everywhere produces among Englishmen. The newly-arrived
soldiers appear to pass their days in alternate trials of hard drinking
and of total abstinence, and are continually in a state of nervous
fright, which in time must wear them out and make them an easy prey to
fever. The officers who are fresh from England often behave in much the
same manner as the men, though with them “belatee pawnee” takes the
place of plain water with the brandy. “Belatee pawnee” means, being
translated, “English water,” but, when interpreted, it means
“soda-water”--the natives once believing that this was English
river-water, bottled and brought to India by us as they carry Ganges
water to the remotest parts. The superstition is now at an end, owing to
the fact that natives are themselves largely employed in the making of
soda-water, which is cheaper in India than it is at home; but the name
remains.

Our men kill themselves with beer, with brandy and soda-water, and with
careless inattention to night chills, and then blame the poor climate
for their fevers, or die cursing “India.” Of course, long residence in a
climate winterless and always hot at mid-day produces or intensifies
certain diseases; but brandy and soda-water produces more, and
intensifies all. They say it is “soda-and-brandy” the first month, and
then “brandy-and-soda,” but that men finally take to putting in the
soda-water first, and then somehow the brandy always kills them. If a
man wears a flannel belt and thick clothes when he travels by night, and
drinks hot tea, he need not fear India.

In all ways, Benares is the type of India; in the Secrole cantonments,
you have the English in India, intelligent enough, but careless, and
more English than they are at home, with garrison chaplains, picnics,
balls, and champagne suppers; hard by, in the native town, the fierce
side of Hindooism, and streets for an Englishman to show himself in
which ten years ago was almost certain death. Benares is the center of
all the political intrigues of India; but the great mutiny itself was
hatched there without being heard of at Secrole. Except that our
policemen now perambulate the town, change in Benares there has been
none. Were missionaries to appear openly in its streets, their fate
would still very possibly be the same as that which in this city befell
St. Thomas.



CHAPTER V.

CASTE.


One of the greatest difficulties with which the British have to contend
in Hindostan is how to discover the tendencies, how to follow the
changes, of native opinion. Your Hindoo is so complaisant a companion,
that, whether he is your servant at threepence a day, or the ruler of
the State in which you dwell, he is perpetually striving to make his
opinions the reflex of your own. You are engaged in a continual struggle
to prevent your views from being seen, in order that you may get at his:
in this you always fail; a slight hint is enough for a Hindoo, and, if
he cannot find even that much of suggestion in your words, he confines
himself to commonplace. We should see in this, not so much one of the
forms assumed by the cringing slavishness born of centuries of
subjection, not so much an example of Oriental cunning, as of the polish
of Eastern manners. Even in our rude country it is hardly courteous,
whatever your opinions, flatly to contradict the man with whom you
happen to be talking; with the Hindoo, it is the height of ill breeding
so much as to differ from him. The results of the practice are
deplorable; our utter ignorance of the secret history of the rebellion
of 1857 is an example of its working, for there must have been a time,
before discontent ripened into conspiracy, when we might have been
advised and warned. The native newspapers are worse than useless to us;
accepted as exponents of Hindoo views by those who know no better, and
founded mostly by British capital, they are at once incapable of
directing and of acting as indexes to native opinion, and express only
the sentiments of half a dozen small merchants at the presidency towns,
who give the tone to some two or three papers, which are copied and
followed by the remainder.

The result of this difficulty in discovering native opinion is that our
officers, however careful, however considerate in their bearing toward
the natives, daily wound the feelings of the people who are under their
care by acts which, though done in a praiseworthy spirit, appear to the
natives deeds of gross stupidity or of outrageous despotism. It is
hopeless to attempt to conciliate, it is impossible so much as to govern
unless by main force continually displayed, an Eastern people in whose
religious thought we are not deeply learned.

Not only are we unacquainted with the feelings of the people, but we
are lamentably ignorant of the simplest facts about their religions,
their wealth, and their occupations, for no census of all India has yet
been taken. A complete census had, indeed, been taken, not long before
my visit, in Central India, and another in the Northwest Provinces, but
none in Madras, Bombay, the Punjaub, or Bengal. The difficulties in the
way of the officials who carried through the arrangements for the two
that had been taken were singularly great. In the Central Provinces, the
census-papers had to be prepared in five languages; both here and in the
Northwest, the purely scientific nature of the inquiry had to be brought
home to the minds of the people. In Central India the hill-tribes
believed that our object in the census was to pave the way for the
collection of the unmarried girls as companions for our wifeless
soldiers, so all began marrying forthwith. In the Northwest, the natives
took it into their heads that our object was to see how many able-bodied
men would be available for a war against Russia, and to collect a
poll-tax to pay for the expedition. The numerous tribes that are
habitually guilty of infanticide threw every difficulty in the way;
Europeans disliked the whole affair, on account of the insult offered to
their dignity in ranking them along with natives. It must be admitted,
indeed, that the provisions for recording caste distinctions gave an odd
shape to the census-papers left at the houses at Secrole, in which
European officers were asked to state their “caste or tribe.” The census
of the Central Provinces was imperfect enough, but that of the Northwest
was the second that had been taken there, and showed signs of scientific
arrangement and great care.

The Northwest Provinces include the great towns of Benares, Agra, and
Allahabad, and the census fell into my hands at Benares itself, at the
Sanscrit College. It was a strange production, and seemed to have
brought together a mass of information respecting castes and creeds
which was new even to those who had lived long in the Northwest
Provinces. All callings in India being hereditary, there were entries
recording the presence in certain towns of “hereditary clerks who pray
to their inkhorns,” “hereditary beggars,” “hereditary planters of slips
or cuttings,” “hereditary grave-diggers,” “hereditary hermits,” and
“hereditary hangmen,” for in India a hangmanship descends with as much
regularity as a crown. In the single district of the Dehra Valley, there
are 1500 “hereditary tomtom men”--drummers at the festivals; 234
Brahmins of Bijnour returned themselves as having for profession “the
receipt of presents to avert the influence of evil stars.” In Bijnour,
there are also fifteen people of a caste which professes “the pleasing
of people by assuming disguises,” while at Benares there is a whole
caste--the Bhâts--whose hereditary occupation is to “satirize the
enemies of the rich, and to praise their friends.” In the Northwest
Provinces, there are 572 distinct castes in all.

The accounts which some castes gave of their origin read strangely in a
solemn governmental document: the members of one caste described
themselves as “descended from Maicasur, a demon;” but some of the
records are less legendary and more historic. One caste in the Dehra
Valley sent in a note that they came in 1000 A.D. from the Deccan;
another, that they emigrated from Arabia 500 years ago. The Gour
Brahmins claim to have been in the district of Moozuffernuggur for 5000
years.

Under the title of “occupations,” the heads of families alone were
given, and not the number of those dependent on them, whence it comes
that in the whole province only “11,000 tomtom players” were set down.
The habits and tastes of the people are easily seen in the entries:
“3600 firework manufacturers,” “45 makers of crowns for idols,” “4353
gold-bangle makers,” “29,136 glass-bangle makers,” “1123 astrologers.”
There are also 145 “ear-cleaners,” besides “kite-makers,”
“ear-piercers,” “pedigree-makers,” “makers of caste-marks,” “cow-dung
sellers,” and “hereditary painters of horses with spots.” There was no
backwardness in the followers of maligned pursuits: 974 people in
Allahabad described themselves as “low blackguards,” 35 as “men who beg
with threats of violence,” 25 as “hereditary robbers,” 479,015 as
“beggars,” 29 as “howlers at funerals,” 226 as “flatterers for gain;”
“vagabonds,” “charmers,” “informers” were all set down, and 1100
returned themselves as “hereditary buffoons,” while 2000 styled
themselves “conjurers,” 4000 “acrobats,” and 6372 “poets.” In one
district alone, there were 777 “soothsayers and astrologers” by
profession.

It is worthy of notice that, although there are in the Northwest
Provinces half a million of beggars in a population of thirty millions,
they seem never to beg of Europeans--at least, I was not once asked for
alms during my stay in India. If the smallest service be performed,
there comes a howl of “O Bauks-heece!” from all quarters, but at other
times natives seem afraid to beg of Englishmen.

The number of fakeers, soothsayers, charmers, and other “religious”
vagabonds is enormous, but the dense ignorance of the people renders
them a prey to witchcraft, evil-eye, devil-influence, and all such
folly. In Central India, there are whole districts which are looked upon
as witch-tracts or haunted places, and which are never approached by
man, but set aside as homes for devils. A gentleman who was lately
engaged there on the railroad survey found that night after night his
men were frightened out of their wits by “fire-fiends,” or blazing
demons. He insisted that they should take him to the spot where these
strange sights were seen, and to his amazement he, too, saw the
fire-devil; at least, he saw a blaze of light moving slowly through the
jungle. Gathering himself up for a chase, he rushed at the devil with a
club, when the light suddenly disappeared, and instantly shone out from
another spot, a hundred yards from the former place. Seeing that there
was some trickery at work, he hid himself, and after some hours caught
his devil, who, to escape from a sound drubbing, gave an explanation of
the whole affair. The man said that the natives of the surveyor‘s party
had stolen his mangoes for several nights, but that at last he had hit
on a plan for frightening them away. He and his sons went out at dark
with pots of blazing oil upon their heads, and, when approached by
thieves, the leading one put a cover on his pot, and became invisible,
while the second uncovered his. The surveying party got the drubbing,
and the devil escaped scot-free; but the surveyor, with short-sighted
wisdom, told his men, who had not seen him catch the fire-bearer, that
he had had the honor of an interview with the devil himself, who had
joyfully informed him of the thefts committed by the men. The surveyor
did not admit that he was from this time forward worshiped by his party,
but it is not unlikely that such was the case. One of the hill-tribes of
Madras worships Colonel Palmer, a British officer who died some seventy
years ago, just as Drake was worshiped in America, and Captain Cook in
Hawaii. It was one of these tribes that invented the well-known
worshiping machine, or “praying-wheel.”

The hill-tribes are less refined, but hardly more ignorant in their
fanaticism than are the Hindoos. At Bombay, upon the beach where the
dead are buried, or rather tossed to the wild beasts, I saw a filthy and
holy Hindoo saint, whose claim to veneration consists in his having
spent the whole of the days and portions of the nights for twenty years
in a stone box in which he can neither stand, nor lie, nor sit, nor
sleep. These saintly fakeers have still much influence with the Hindoo
mass, but in old times their power and their insolence were alike
unbounded. Agra itself was founded to please one of them. The great
Emperor Akbar, who, although a lax Mohammedan, was in no sense a Hindoo,
kept nevertheless a Hindoo saint for political purposes, and gave him
the foremost position in his train. When the emperor was beginning to
fortify Futtehpore Sikri, where he lived, the saint sent for him, and
said that the work must be stopped, as the noise disturbed him at his
prayers. The emperor offered him new rooms away from the site of the
proposed walls, but the saint replied that, whether Akbar went on with
his works or no, he should leave Futtehpore. To pacify him, Akbar
founded Agra, and dismantled Futtehpore Sikri.

From the census it appears that there are, in the Northwest Provinces,
no less than twenty-two newspapers under government inspection, of which
five are published at Agra. The circulation of these papers is extremely
small, and as the government itself takes 3500 of the 12,000 copies
which they issue, its hold over them, without exertion of force, is
great. Of the other 8500, 8000 go to native and 500 to European
subscribers. All the native papers are skillful at catering for their
double public, but those which are printed half in a native tongue and
half in English stand in the first rank for unscrupulousness. One of
these papers gave, while I was in India, some French speech in abuse of
the English. This was headed on the English side, “_Interesting_ Account
of the English,” but on the native side, “_Excellent_ Account of the
English.” The “English correspondence” and English news of these native
papers are so absurdly concocted by the editors out of their own brains
that it is a question whether it would not be advisable to send them
weekly a column of European news, and even to withhold government
patronage from them unless they gave it room, leaving them to qualify
and explain the facts as best they could. Their favorite statements are
that Russia is going to invade India forthwith, that the Queen has
become a Catholic or a Mohammedan, and that the whole population of
India is to be converted to Christianity by force. The external
appearance of the native papers is sometimes as comical as their matter.
The _Umritsur Commercial Advertiser_, of which nothing is English but
the title, gives, for instance, the time-tables of the Punjaub Railway
on its back sheet. The page, which is a mere maze of dots and crooked
lines, has at the top a cut of a railway train, in which guards
apparently cocked-hatted, but probably meant to be wearing pith helmets,
are represented sitting on the top of each carriage, with their legs
dangling down in front of the windows.

Neither Christianity nor native reformed religions make much show in the
Northwestern census. The Christians are strongest in the South of India,
the Hindoo reformers in the Punjaub. The Sikhs themselves, and the
Kookhas, Nirunkarees, Goolab Dasseas, Naukeeka-punth, and many other
Punjaubee sects, all show more or less hostility to caste; but in the
Northwest Provinces caste distinctions flourish, although in reality
they have no doubt lost strength. The high-caste men are beginning to
find their caste a drawback to their success in life, and are given to
concealing it. Just as with ourselves kings go _incognito_ when they
travel for pleasure, so the Bengal sepoy hides his Brahminical string
under his cloth, in order that he may be sent on foreign service without
its being known that by crossing the seas he will lose caste.

Judging by the unanimous opinion of the native press on the doings of
the Maharajahs of Bombay, and on the licentiousness of the Koolin
Brahmins, many of our civilians have come to think that Hindooism in its
present shape has lost the support of a large number of the more
intelligent Hindoos; but there is little reason to believe that this is
the case. In Calcutta, the Church of Hindoo Deists is gaining ground,
and one of their leaders is said to have met with some successes during
a recent expedition to the Northwest, but of this there is no proof. The
little regard that many high-caste natives show for caste except as a
matter of talk merely means that caste is less an affair of religion
than of custom, but that it is a matter of custom does not show that its
force is slight: on the contrary, custom is the lord of India.

The success of Mohammedanism in India should show that caste has never
been strong except so far as caste is custom. It is true that the
peasants in Orissa starved by the side of the sacred cows, but this was
custom too: any one man killing the cow would have been at once killed
by his also starving neighbors for breaking custom; but once change the
custom by force, and there is no tendency to return to the former state
of things. The Portuguese and the Mohammedans alike made converts by
compulsion, yet when the pressure was removed there was no return to the
earlier faith. Of the nature of caste we had an excellent example in the
behavior of the troopers of a Bengal cavalry regiment three weeks before
the outbreak of the mutiny of 1857, when they said that for their part
they knew that their cartridges were not greased with the fat of cows,
but that, as they looked as though they were, it came to the same thing,
for they should lose caste if their friends saw them touch the
cartridges in question.

It was the cry of infringement of custom that was raised against us by
the mutineers: “They aim at subverting our institutions; they have put
down the suttee of the Brahmins, the infanticide of the Marattas, caste
and adoption are despised; they aim at destroying all our religious
customs,” was the most powerful cry that could be raised. It is one
against which we shall never be wholly safe; but it is the custom and
not the religion which is the people‘s especial care.

There is one point in which caste forms a singular difficulty in our
way, which has not yet been brought sufficiently home to us. The
comparatively fair treatment which is now extended to the low-caste and
no-caste men is itself an insult to the high-caste nobility; and while
the no-caste men care little how we treat them, provided we pay them
well, and the bunnya, or shop-keeping class, encouraged by the
improvement, cry out loudly that the government wrongs them in not
treating them as Europeans, the high-caste men are equally disgusted
with our good treatment both of middle-class and inferior Hindoos. These
things are stumbling-blocks in our way, chiefly because no amount of
acquaintance with the various phases of caste feeling is sufficient to
bring home its importance to Englishmen. The Indian is essentially the
caste man, the Saxon as characteristically the no-caste man, and it is
difficult to produce a mutual understanding. Just as in England the
people are too democratic for the government, in India the government is
too democratic for the people.

Although caste has hitherto been but little shaken, there are forces at
work which must in time produce the most grave results. The return to
their homes of natives who have emigrated and worked at sugar-planting
in Mauritius and coffee-growing in Ceylon, mixing with negroes and with
Europeans, will gradually aid in the subversion of caste distinctions,
and the Parsees will give their help toward the creation of a healthier
feeling. The young men of the merchant-class--who are all pure
deists--set an example of doing away with caste distinctions which will
gradually affect the whole population of the towns; railways will act
upon the laborers and agriculturists; a closer intercourse with Europe
will possibly go hand in hand with universal instruction in the English
tongue, and the indirect results of Christian teaching will continue to
be, as they have been, great.

The positive results of missionary work in India have hitherto been
small. Taking the census as a guide, in the district of Mooradabad we
find but 107 Christians in 1,100,000 people; in Budaon, 64 “Christians,
Europeans, and Eurasians” (half-castes) out of 900,000 people; in
Bareilly, 137 native Christians in a million and a half of people; in
Shajehanpoor, 98 in a million people; in Turrai, none in a million
people; in Etah, no native Christians, and only twenty Europeans to
614,000 people; in the Banda district, thirteen native Christians out of
three-quarters of a million of people; in Goruckpoor, 100 native
Christians out of three and a half millions of people. Not to multiply
instances, this proportion is preserved throughout the whole of the
districts, and the native Christians in the Northwest are proved to form
but an insignificant fraction of the population.

The number of native Christians in India is extremely small.
Twenty-three societies, having three hundred Protestant missionary
stations, more than three hundred native missionary churches, and five
hundred European preachers, costing with their assistants two hundred
thousand pounds a year, profess to show only a hundred and fifty
thousand converts, of whom one-seventh are communicants. The majority of
the converts who are not communicants are converts only upon paper, and
it may be said that of real native non-Catholic Christians there are not
in India more than 40,000, of whom half are to be found among the
devil-worshipers of Madras. The so-called “aboriginal” hill-tribes,
having no elaborate religious system of their own, are not tied down to
the creed of their birth in the same way as are Mohammedans and Hindoos,
among whom our missionaries make no way whatever. The native
Protestant‘s position is a fearful one, except in such a city as Madras,
for he wholly loses caste, and becomes an outlaw from his people. The
native Catholic continues to be a caste man, and sometimes an
idol-worshiper, and the priests have made a million converts in Southern
India.

Besides revealing the fewness of the native Christians, the Northwestern
census has shown us plainly the weakness of the Europeans. In the
district of Mooradabad, 1,100,000 people are ruled by thirty-eight
Europeans. In many places, two Europeans watch over 200,000 people. The
Eurasians are about as numerous as the Europeans, to which class they
may for some purposes be regarded as belonging, for the natives reject
their society, and refuse them a place in every caste. The Eurasians are
a much-despised race, the butt of every Indian story, but as a community
they are not to be ranked high. That they should be ill educated, vain,
and cringing, is perhaps only what we might expect of persons placed in
their difficult position; nevertheless, that they are so tends to
lessen, in spite of our better feelings, the pity that we should
otherwise extend toward them.

The census had not only its revelations, but its results. One effect of
the census-taking is to check the practice of infanticide, by pointing
out to the notice of our officers the castes and the districts in which
it exists. The deaths of three or four hundred children are credited to
the wolves in the Umritsur district of the Punjaub alone, but it is
remarked that the “wolves” pick out the female infants. The great
disproportion of the sexes is itself partly to be explained as the
result of infanticide.

One weighty drawback to our influence upon Hindoo morals, is that in the
case of many abuses we legislate without effect, our laws being evaded
where they are outwardly obeyed. The practice of infanticide exists in
all parts of India, but especially in Rajpootana, and the girls are
killed chiefly in order to save the cost of marrying them--or, rather,
of buying husbands for them. Now we have “suppressed” infanticide--which
means that children are smothered or starved, instead of being exposed.
It is no easy task to bring about reforms in the customs of the people
of India.

The many improvements in the moral condition of the people which the
census chronicles are steps in a great march. Those who have known India
long are aware that a remarkable change has come over the country in the
last few years. Small as have been the positive visible results of
Christian teaching, the indirect effects have been enormous. Among the
Sikhs and Marattas, a spirit of reflection, of earnest thought, unusual
in natives, has been aroused; in Bengal it has taken the form of pure
deism, but then Bengal is not India. The spirit rather than the
doctrinal teaching of Christianity has been imbibed: a love of truth
appeals more to the feelings of the upright natives than do the whole of
the nine-and-thirty Articles. Here, as elsewhere, the natives look to
deeds, not words; the example of a Frere is worth the teaching of a
hundred missionaries, painstaking and earnest though they be.



CHAPTER VI.

MOHAMMEDAN CITIES.


Through Mirzapore, Allahabad, and Futtehpore, I passed on to Cawnpore,
spending but little time at Allahabad; for though the city is
strategically important, there is in it but little to be seen. Like all
spots of the confluence of rivers, Allahabad is sacred with the Hindoos,
for it stands, they say, at the meeting-point of no less than three
great streams--the Ganges, the Jumna, and a river of the spirit-land. To
us poor pagans the third stream is invisible; not so to the faithful.
Catching a glimpse of Marochetti‘s statue at the Cawnpore well, as I
hurried through that city, I diverged from the East Indian Railway, and
took dawk-carriage to Lucknow.

As compared with other Indian cities, the capital of Oude is a town to
be seen in driving rather than in walking; the general effects are
superior in charm and beauty to the details, and the vast size of the
city makes mere sight-seeing a work of difficulty. More populous before
1857 than either Calcutta or Bombay, it is still twice as large as
Liverpool. Not only, however, is Lucknow the most perfect of the modern
or Italianized Oriental towns, but there are in it several buildings
that have each the charm of an architecture special to itself. Of these,
the Martinière is the most singular, and it looks like what it is--the
freak of a wealthy madman. Its builder was General Martine, a Frenchman
in the service of the Kings of Oude. Not far behind the Martinière is
the Dilkousha--a fantastic specimen of an Oriental hunting-lodge. The
ordinary show-building of the place, the Kaiser-Bagh, or Palace of the
Kings of Oude, is a paltry place enough, but there is a certain grandeur
in the view of the great Imaumbara and the Hooseinabád from a point
whence the two piles form to the eye but one. The great Imaumbara
suffered terribly in 1858 from the wanton destruction which our troops
committed everywhere during the war of the mutiny. Had they confined
themselves to outrages such as these, however, but little could have
been said against the conduct of the war. There is too much fear that
the English, unless held in check, exhibit a singularly strong
disposition toward cruelty, wherever they have a weak enemy to meet.

The stories of the Indian mutiny and of the Jamaica riot are but two out
of many--two that we happen to have heard; but the Persian war in 1857
and the last of the Chinese campaigns are not without their records of
deliberate barbarity and wrong. From the first officer of one of the
Peninsular and Oriental steamers, which was employed in carrying troops
up the Euphrates during the Persian war, I heard a story that is the
type of many such. A Persian drummer-boy of about ten years old was seen
bathing from the bank one morning by the officers on deck. Bets were
made as to the chance of hitting him with an Enfield rifle, and one of
the betters killed him at the first shot.

It is not only in war-time that our cruelty comes out; it is often seen
in trifles during peace. Even a traveler, indeed, becomes so soon used
to see the natives wronged in every way by people of quiet manner and
apparent kindness of disposition, that he ceases to record the cases. In
Madras roads, for instance, I saw a fruit-seller hand up some limes to a
lower-deck port, just as we were weighing anchor. Three Anglo-Indians
(men who had been out before) asked in chorus, “How much?” “One quarter
rupee.” “Too much.” And, without more ado, paying nothing, they pelted
the man with his own limes, of which he lost more than half. In Ceylon,
near Bentotté rest-house, a native child offered a handsome cowrie (of a
kind worth in Australia about five shillings, and certainly worth
something in Ceylon) to the child of a Mauritius coffee-planter who was
traveling with us to Columbo, himself an old Indian officer. The white
child took it, and would not give it up. The native child cried for
money, or to have his shell back, but the mother of the white child
exclaimed, “You be hanged; it‘s worth nothing;” and off came the shell
with us in the dawk. Such are the small but galling wrongs inflicted
daily upon the Indian natives. It was a maxim of the Portuguese Jesuits
that men who live long among Asiatics seldom fail to learn their vices;
but our older civilians treat the natives with strict justice, and
Anglo-Indian ladies who have been reared in the country are generally
kind to their own servants, if somewhat harsh toward other natives. It
is those who have been in the country from five to ten years, and
especially soldiers, who treat the natives badly. Such men I have heard
exclaim that the new penal code has revolutionized the country.
“Formerly,” they say, “you used to send a man to a police-officer or a
magistrate with a note:--‘My dear ----. Please give the bearer twenty
lashes.’ But now the magistrates are afraid to act, and your servant can
have you fined for beating him.” In spite of the lamentations of
Anglo-Indians over the good old days, I noticed in all the hotels in
India the significant notice, “Gentlemen are earnestly requested not to
strike the servants.”

The jokes of a people against themselves are not worth much, but may be
taken in aid of other evidence. The two favorite Anglo-Indian stories
are that of the native who, being asked his religion, said, “Me
Christian--me get drunk like massa;” and that of the young officer who,
learning Hindostanee in 1858, had the difference between the negative
“né” and the particle “ne” explained to him by the moonshee, when he
exclaimed: “Dear me! I hanged lots of natives last year for admitting
that they had not been in their villages for months. I suppose they
meant to say that they had not left their villages for months.” It is
certain that in the suppression of the mutiny hundreds of natives were
hanged by Queen‘s officers who, unable to speak a word of any native
language, could neither understand evidence nor defense.

It is in India, when listening to a mess-table conversation on the
subject of looting, that we begin to remember our descent from
Scandinavian sea-king robbers. Centuries of education have not purified
the blood: our men in India can hardly set eyes upon a native prince or
a Hindoo palace before they cry, “What a place to break up!” “What a
fellow to _loot_!” When I said to an officer who had been stationed at
Secrole in the early days of the mutiny, “I suppose you were afraid that
the Benares people would have attacked you,” his answer was, “Well, for
my part, I rather hoped they would, because then we should have thrashed
them, and looted the city. It hadn‘t been looted for two hundred years.”

Those who doubt that Indian military service makes soldiers careless of
men‘s lives, reckless as to the rights of property, and disregardful of
human dignity, can hardly remember the letters which reached home in
1857, in which an officer in high command during the march upon Cawnpore
reported, “Good bag to-day; polished off ---- rebels,” it being borne in
mind that the “rebels” thus hanged or blown from guns were not taken in
arms, but villagers apprehended “on suspicion.” During this march,
atrocities were committed in the burning of villages, and massacre of
innocent inhabitants, at which Mohammed Togluk himself would have stood
ashamed, and it would be to contradict all history to assert that a
succession of such deeds would not prove fatal to our liberties at home.

The European officers of native regiments, and many officers formerly in
the Company‘s service, habitually show great kindness to the natives,
but it is the benevolent kindness of the master for a favorite slave, of
the superior for men immeasurably beneath him; there is little of the
feeling which a common citizenship should bestow, little of that
equality of man and man which Christianity would seem to teach, and
which our Indian government has for some years favored.

At Lucknow, I saw the Residency, and at Cawnpore, on my return to the
East Indian Railway, the intrenchments which were, each of them, the
scene in 1857 of those defenses against the mutineers generally styled
“glorious” or “heroic,” though made by men fighting with ropes about
their necks. The successful defenses of the fort at Arrah and of the
Lucknow Residency were rather testimonies to the wonderful fighting
powers of the English than to their courage,--for cowards would fight
when the alternative was, fight or die. As far as Oude was concerned,
the “rebellion” of 1857 seems to have been rather a war than a mutiny;
but the habits of the native princes would probably have led them to
have acted as treacherously at Lucknow in the case of a surrender as did
the Nana at Cawnpore, and our officers wisely determined that in no
event would they treat for terms. What is to be regretted is that we as
conquerors should have shown the Oude insurgents no more mercy than they
would have shown to us, and that we should have made use of the pretext
that the rising was a mere mutiny of our native troops, as an excuse for
hanging in cold blood the agriculturists of Oude. Whatever the duplicity
of their rulers, whatever the provocation to annexation may have been,
there can be no doubt that the revolution in the land-laws set on foot
by us resulted in the offer of a career as native policemen or railway
ticket-clerks to men whose ancestors were warriors and knights when ours
wore woad; and we are responsible before mankind for having treated as
flagrant treason and mutiny a legitimate war on the part of the nobility
of Oude. In the official papers of the government of the Northwest
Provinces, the so-called “mutiny” is styled more properly “a grievous
civil war.”

There is much reason to fear, not that the mutiny will be too long
remembered, but that it will be too soon forgotten. Ten years ago,
Monghyr was an ash-heap, Cawnpore a name of horror, Delhi a stronghold
of armed rebels, yet now we can travel without change of cars through
peaceful and prosperous Monghyr and Cawnpore--a thousand and twenty
miles--in forty hours, and find at the end of our journey that shaded
boulevards have already taken the place of the walls of Delhi.

Quitting the main line of the East Indian Railway at Toondla Junction, I
passed over a newly-made branch road to Agra. The line was but lately
opened, and birds without number sat upon the telegraph-posts, and were
seemingly too astonished to fly away from the train, while, on the open
barrens, herds of Indian antelopes grazed fearlessly, and took no notice
of us when we passed.

Long before we entered Akbarabad, as the city should be called, by the
great new bridge across the Jumna, I had sighted in the far distance the
majestic, shining dome of the famed Taj Mahal; but when arrived within
the city, I first visited the citadel and ramparts. The fort and palace
of Akbar are the Moslem creed in stone. Without--turned toward the
unbeliever and the foe--the far-famed triple walls, frowning one above
the other with the frown that a hill-fanatic wears before he strikes the
infidel; within is the secure paradise of the believing “Emperor of the
world”--delicious fountains pouring into basins of the whitest marble,
beds of rose and myrtle, balconies and pavilions; part of the zenana, or
women‘s wing, overhanging the river, and commanding the distant
snow-dome of the Taj. Within, too, the “Motee Musjid”--“Pearl of
Mosques” in fact as well as name--a marble-cloistered court, to which
an angel architect could not add a stone, nor snatch one from it,
without spoiling all. These for believers; for non-believers the grim
old Saracenic “Hall of the Seat of Judgment.” The palace, except the
mosque, which is purity itself, is overlaid with a crust of gems. There
is one famed chamber--a woman‘s bath-house--the roof and sides of which
are covered with tiny silver-mounted mirrors, placed at such angles as
to reflect to infinity the figures of those who stand within the bath;
and a court is near at hand, paved with marble squares in black and
white, over which Akbar and his vizier used to sit and gravely play at
draughts with dancing girls for “pieces.”

On the river bank, a mile from Akbar‘s palace, in the center of a vast
garden entered through the noblest gateways in the world, stands the Taj
Mahal, a terrace rising in dazzling whiteness from a black mass of
cypresses, and bearing four lofty, delicate minars, and the central pile
that gleams like an Alp against the deep-blue sky--minars, terrace,
tomb, all of spotless marble and faultless shape. Its Persian builders
named the Taj “the palace floating in the air.”

Out of the fierce heat and blazing sunlight you enter into chill and
darkness, but soon begin to see the hollow dome growing into form above
your head, and the tomb itself--that of Noor Mahal, the favorite queen
of Shah Jehan--before you, and beside it her husband‘s humbler grave.
Though within and without the Taj is white, still here you find the
walls profusely jeweled, and the purity retained. Flowers are pictured
on every block in mosaic of cinnamon-stone, carnelian, turquoise,
amethyst, and emerald; the corridors contain the whole Koran, inlaid in
jet-black stone, yet the interior as a whole exceeds in chastity the
spotlessness of the outer dome. Oriental, it is not barbaric, and a
sweet melancholy is the effect the Taj produces on the mind, when seen
by day; in the still moonlight, the form is too mysterious to be
touching.

In a Persian manuscript, there still remains a catalogue of the prices
of the gems made use of in the building of the Taj, and of the places
from which they came. Among those named are coral from Arabia, sapphires
from Moldavia, amethysts from Persia, crystal from China, turquoises
from Thibet, diamonds from Bundelcund, and lapis-lazuli from Ceylon. The
stones were presents or tribute to the emperor, and the master-masons
came mostly from Constantinople and Bagdad--a fact which should be
remembered when we are discussing the intellectual capacity of the
Bengal Hindoos. That a people who paint their cows pink with green
spots, and their horses orange or bright red, should be the authors of
the Pearl Mosque and the Taj, would be too wonderful for our belief; but
the Mohammedan conquerors brought with them the chosen artists of the
Moslem world. The contrast between the Taj and the Monkey Temple at
Benares reminds one of that between a Cashmere and a Norwich shawl.

It is not at Agra alone that we meet the works of Mogul emperors. Much
as we have ourselves done in building roads and bridges, there are many
parts of Upper India where the traces of the Moslem are still more
numerous than are at present those of the later conquerors of the
unfortunate Hindoos. Mosques, forts, conduits, bridges, gardens--all the
works of the Moguls are both solid and magnificent, and it was with
almost reverential feelings that I made my pilgrimage to the tomb at
Secundra of the great Emperor Akbar, grandfather of Shah Jehan, son of
Hoomayoon, and founder of Agra City.

It is to be remarked that the Mohammedans in India make a considerable
show for their small numbers. Of the great cities of India, the three
Presidency towns are English; and the three gigantic cities of Delhi,
Agra, and Lucknow, chiefly Mohammedan. Benares alone is a Hindoo city,
and even in Benares the Mohammedans have their temples. All the great
buildings of India are Mohammedan; so are all the great works that are
not English. Yet even in the Agra district the Mohammedans are only
one-twelfth of the population, but they live chiefly in the towns.

The history of the Mogul empire of India from the time of the conquest
of the older empire by Tamerlane in the fourteenth century, and the
forced conversion to Mohammedanism of a vast number of Hindoos, and that
of Akbar‘s splendor and enormous power, down to the transportation of
the last emperor in 1857 to Rangoon, and the shooting of his sons in a
dry ditch by Captain Hodson, is one for us to ponder carefully. Those
who know what we have done in India, say that even in our codes--and
they are allowed to be our best claim to the world‘s applause--we fall
short of Akbar‘s standard.

Delhi, the work of Shah Jehan, founder of the Taj and the Pearl Mosque,
was built by himself in a wilderness, as was Agra by the Emperor Akbar.
We who have seen the time that has passed since its foundation by
Washington before the capital of the United States has grown out of the
village shape, cannot deny that the Mogul emperors, if they were
despots, were at least tyrants possessed of imperial energy. Akbar built
Agra twenty or thirty miles from Futtehpore Sikri, his former capital,
but Jehan had the harder task of forcing his people to quit an earlier
site not five miles from modern Delhi, while Akbar merely moved his
palace and let the people follow.

Delhi suffered so much at our hands during the storm in 1857, and has
suffered so much since in the way of Napoleonic boulevards intended to
prevent the necessity of storming it again, that it must be much changed
from what it was before the war. The walls which surround the whole city
are nearly as grand as those of the fort at Agra, and the gate towers
are very Gibraltars of brick and stone, as we found to our cost when we
battered the Cashmere Gate in 1857. The palace and the Motee Musjid are
extremely fine, but inferior to their namesakes at Agra; and the Jumna
Musjid--reputed the most beautiful as it is the largest mosque in the
world--impressed me only by its size. The view, however, from its minars
is one of the whole Northwest. The vast city becomes an ant-heap, and
you instinctively peer out into space, and try to discern the sea toward
Calcutta or Bombay.

The historical memories that attach to Delhi differ from those that we
associate with the name of Agra. There is little pleasure in the
contemplation of the zenana, where the miserable old man, the last of
the Moguls, dawdled away his years.



CHAPTER VII.

SIMLA.


After visiting Nicholson‘s tomb at the Cashmere Gate, I entered my
one-horse dawk--the regulation carriage of India--and set off for
Kurnaul and Simla, passing between the sand-hills, gravel-pits, and
ruined mosques through which the rebel cavalry made their famous sortie
upon our camp. It was evening when we started, and as the dawk-gharrees
are so arranged that you can lie with comfort at full-length, but cannot
sit without misery, I brought my canvas bag into service as a pillow,
and was soon asleep.

When I woke, we had stopped; and when I drew the sliding shutter that
does duty for door and window, and peered out into the darkness, I
discovered that there was no horse in the shafts, and that my driver and
his horse syce--or groom--were smoking their hubble-bubbles at a well in
the company of a passing friend. By making free use of the strongest
language that my dictionary contained, I prevailed upon the men to put
in a fresh horse; but starting was a different matter. The horse refused
to budge an inch, except, indeed, backwards, or sideways toward the
ditch. Six grooms came running from the stable, and placed themselves
one at each wheel, and one on each side of the horse, while many boys
pushed behind. At a signal from the driver, the four wheelmen threw
their whole weight on the spokes, and one of the men at the horse‘s
head held up the obstinate brute‘s off fore-leg, so that he was fairly
run off the ground, and forced to make a start, which he did with a
violent plunge, for which all the grooms were, however, well prepared.
As they yelled with triumph, we dashed along for some twenty yards, then
swerved sideways, and came to a dead stop. Again and again the starting
process was repeated, till at last the horse went off at a gallop, which
carried us to the end of the stage. This is the only form of starting
known to up-country horses, as I soon found; but sometimes even this
ceremony fails to start the horse, and twice in the Delhi-to-Kalka
journey we lost a quarter of an hour over horses, and had finally to get
others from the stable.

About midnight, we reached a government bungalow, or roadside inn, where
I was to sup, and five minutes produced a chicken curry which, in spite
of its hardness, was disposed of in as many more. Meanwhile a storm had
come rumbling and roaring across the skies, and when I went to the door
to start, the bungalow butler and cook pointed to the gharree, and told
me that driver and horse were gone. Not wishing the bungalow men to
discover how small was my stock of Hindostanee, I paid careful attention
to their conversation, and looked up each time that I heard “sahib,” as
I knew that then they must be talking about me. Seeing this, they seemed
to agree that I was a thorough Hindostanee scholar, but too proud to
answer when they spoke. While they were humbly requesting that I would
bow to the storm and sleep in the bungalow, which was filled with
twittering sparrows, waked by the thunder or the lights, I was reading
my dictionary by the faint glimmer of the cocoanut oil-lamp, and trying
to find out how I was to declare that I insisted on going on at once.
When at last I hit upon my phrase, the storm was over, and the butler
soon found both horse and driver. After this adventure, my Hindostanee
improved fast.

A remarkable misapprehension prevails in England concerning the
languages of India. The natives of India, we are inclined to believe,
speak Hindostanee, which is the language of India as English is that of
Britain. The truth is that there are in India a multitude of languages,
of which Hindostanee is not even one. Besides the great tongues, Urdu,
Maratti, and Tamil, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of local
languages, and innumerable dialects of each. Hindostanee is a camp
language, which contains many native words, but which also is largely
composed of imported Arabic and Persian words, and which is not without
specimens of English and Portuguese. “Saboon,” for soap, is the latter;
“glassie,” for a tumbler, and “istubul,” for a stable, the former: but
almost every common English phrase and English word of command forms in
a certain measure part of the Hindostanee tongue. Some terms have been
ingeniously perverted; for instance, “Who comes there?” has become
“Hookum dar?” “Stand at ease!” is changed to “Tundel tis,” and “Present
arms!” to “Furyunt arm!” The Hindostanee name for a European lady is
“mem sahib,” a feminine formed from “sahib”--lord, or European--by
prefixing to it the English servants’ “mum,” or corruption of “madam.”
Some pure Hindostanee words have a comical sound enough to English ears,
as “hookm,” an order, pronounced “hook‘em;” “misri,” sugar, which sounds
like “misery;” “top,” fever; “molly,” a gardener; and “dolly,” a bundle
of vegetables.

Dawk traveling in the Punjaub is by no means unpleasant; by night you
sleep soundly, and by day there is no lack of life in the mere traffic
on the road, while the general scene is full of charm. Here and there
are _serais_, or corrals, built by the Mogul emperors or by the British
government for the use of native travelers. Our word “caravansery” is
properly “caravan-serai,” an inclosure for the use of those traveling in
caravans. The keeper of the serai supplies water, provender, and food,
and at night the serais along the road glow with the cooking-fires and
resound with the voices of thousands of natives, who when on journeys
never seem to sleep. Throughout the plains of India, the high-roads pass
villages, serais, police-stations, and groups of trees at almost equal
intervals. The space between clump and clump is generally about three
miles, and in this distance you never see a house, so compact are the
Indian villages. The Northwest Provinces are the most densely-peopled
countries of the world, yet between village and village you often see no
trace of man, while jackals and wild blue-cows roam about as freely as
though the country were an untrodden wilderness.

Each time you reach a clump of banyans, tamarind and tulip trees, you
find the same tenants of its shades: village police-station, government
posting-stable, and serai are always inclosed within its limits. All the
villages are fortified with lofty walls of mud or brick, as are the
numerous police-stations along the road, where the military
constabulary, in their dark-blue tunics, yellow trowsers, and huge
puggrees of bright red, rise up from sleep or hookah as you pass, and,
turning out with tulwárs and rifles, perform the military salute--due in
India to the white face from all native troops. Your skin here is your
patent of aristocracy and your passport, all in one.

It is not only by the police and troops that you are saluted: the
natives all salaam to you--except mere coolies, who do not think
themselves worthy even to offer a salute--and many Anglo-Indians refuse
to return their bow. Every Englishman in India ought to act as though he
were an ambassador of the Queen and people, and regulate accordingly his
conduct in the most trifling things; but too often the low bow and
humble “Salaam sahib” is not acknowledged even by a curt “Salaam.”

In the drier portions of the country, women were busy with knives
digging up little roots of grass for horse-food; and four or five times
a day a great bugling would be heard and answered by my driver, while
the mail-cart shot by us at full speed. The astonishment with which I
looked upon the Indian plains grew even stronger as I advanced up
country. Not only is bush scarce, and forest never seen, but where there
is jungle it is of the thinnest and least tropical kind. It would be
harder to traverse, on horse or foot, the thinnest coppice in the south
of England than the densest jungle in the plain country of all India.

Both in the villages and in the desert portions of the road, the
ground-squirrels galloped in troops before the dawk, and birds without
number hopped fearlessly beside us as we passed; hoopoes, blue-jays, and
minas were the commonest, but there were many paddy-birds and graceful
golden egrets in the lower grounds.

Between Delhi and Kurnaul were many ruins, now green with the
pomegranate leaf, now scarlet with the bloom of the peacock-tree, and,
about the ancient villages, acre after acre of plantain-garden,
irrigated by the conduits of the Mohammedan conquerors; at last, Kurnaul
itself--a fortified town--seen through a forest of date, wild mango, and
banyan, with patches of wheat about it, and strings of laden camels
winding along the dusty road. After a bheestie had poured a skinful of
water over me, I set off again for Kalka, halting in the territory of
the Puttiala Rajah to see his gardens at Pinjore, and then passed on
toward the base of the Himalayan foot-hills. The wheat-harvest was in
progress in the Kalka country, and the girls, reaping with the sickle,
and carrying away the sheaves upon their heads, bore themselves
gracefully, as Hindoo women ever do, and formed a contrast to the coarse
old land-owners as these rode past, each followed by his pipe-bearer and
his retinue.

A Goorkha battalion and a Thibetan goat-train had just entered Kalka
when I reached it, and the confusion was such that I started at once in
a jampan up the sides of the brown and desolate hills. A jampan, called,
tonjon in Madras, is an arm-chair in shafts, and built more lightly than
a sedan; it is carried at a short trot by four men, while another four,
and a mate or chief, make their way up the hills before you, and meet
you here and there to relieve guard. The hire of the jampan and nine men
is less than that of a pony and groom--a curious illustration of the
cheapness of labor in the East. When you first reach India, this
cheapness is a standing wonder. At your hotel at Calcutta you are asked,
“You wish boy pull punkah all night? Boy pull punkah all day and all
night for two annas” (3_d._). On some parts of the railway lines, where
there is also a good road, the natives find it cheaper to travel by
palankeen than to ride in a third-class railway carriage. It is cheaper
in Calcutta to be carried by four men in a palki than to ride in a
“second-class gharry,” or very bad cab; and the streets of the city are
invariably watered by hand by bheesties with skins. The key to Indian
politics lies in these facts.

At Wilson‘s at Calcutta, the rule of the hotel obliges one to hire a
kitmutghar, who waits at table. This I did for the magnificent wage of
11_d_. a day, out of which Cherry--the nearest phonetic spelling of my
man‘s name--of course fed and kept himself. I will do him the justice to
add that he managed to make about another shilling a day out of me, and
that he always brought me small change in copper, on the chance that I
should give it him. Small as seemed these wages, I could have hired him
for one-fifth the rate that I have named had I been ready to retain him
in my service for a month or two. Wages in India are somewhat raised by
the practice of dustooree--a custom by which every native, high or low,
takes toll of all money that passes through his hands. My first
introduction to this institution struck me forcibly, though afterward I
came to look upon it as tranquilly as old Indians do. It was in the
gardens of the Taj, where, to relieve myself from importunity, I had
bought a photograph of the dome: a native servant of the hotel, who
accompanied me much against my will, and who, being far more ignorant of
English than I was of Hindostanee, was of absolutely no use, I had at
last succeeded in warning off from my side, but directly I bought the
photograph for half a rupee, he rushed upon the seller, and claimed
one-fourth of the price, or two annas, as his share, I having
transgressed his privilege in buying directly instead of through him as
intermediary. I remonstrated, but to my amazement the seller paid the
money quietly, and evidently looked on me as a meddling sort of fellow
enough for interfering with the institution of dustooree. Customs, after
all, are much the same throughout the world. Our sportsmen follow the
habit of Confucius, whose disciples two or three thousand years ago
proclaimed that “he angled, but did not use a net; he shot, but not at
birds perching;” our servants, perhaps, are not altogether innocent of
dustooree. However much wages may be supplemented by dustooree, they are
low enough to allow of the keeping of a tribe of servants by persons of
moderate incomes. A small family at Simla “require” three body servants,
two cooks, one butler, two grooms, two gardeners, two messengers, two
nurses, two washermen, two water-carriers, thirteen jampan-men, one
sweeper, one lamp-cleaner, and one boy, besides the European lady‘s
maid, or thirty-five in all; but if wages were doubled, perhaps fewer
men would be “absolutely needed.” At the house where I stayed at Simla,
ten jampan-men and two gardeners were supposed to be continuously
employed in a tiny flower-garden round the house. To a European fresh
from the temperate climates there is something irksome in the restraint
produced by the constant presence of servants in every corner of an
Indian house. To pull off one‘s own socks or pour out the water into the
basin for one‘s self becomes a much-longed-for luxury. It is far from
pleasant to have three or four natives squatting in front of your door,
with nothing to do unless you find such odd jobs for them as holding the
heel of your boot while you pull it on, or brushing your clothes for the
fourteenth time.

The greater or less value of the smallest coin in common use in a
country is a rough test of the wealth or poverty of its inhabitants, and
by the application of it to India we find that country poor indeed. At
Agra, I had gone to a money-changer in the bazaar, and asked him for
change, in the cowrie-shells which do duty as money, for an anna, or
1½_d_. piece. He gave me handful after handful, till I cried enough. Yet
when in the afternoon of the same day I had a performance on my
threshold of “Tasa-ba-tasa”--that singular tune which reigns from Java
to the Bosphorus, with Sanscrit words in Persia, and Malay words in the
Eastern islands--the three players seemed grateful for half a dozen of
the cowries, for they treated me to a native version of “Vee vont gah
ham tall mardid, vee vont gah ham tall mardid,” by way of thanks. Many
strange natural objects pass as uncoined money in the East: tusks in
Africa, women in Arabia, human skulls in Borneo; the Red Indians of
America sell their neighbors’ scalps for money, but have not yet reached
the height of civilization which would be denoted by their keeping them
to use as such; cowrie-shells, however, pass as money in almost every
ancient trading country of the world.

The historical cheapness of labor in India has led to such an obstinate
aversion to all labor-saving expedients that such great works as the
making of railway embankments and the boulevard construction at Delhi
are conducted by the scraping together of earth with the hands, and the
collected pile is slowly placed in tiny baskets, much like strawberry
pottles, and borne away on women‘s heads to its new destination.
Wheelbarrows, water-carts, picks, and shovels are in India all unknown.

If, on my road from Kalka to Simla, I had an example of the cheapness of
Indian labor, I also had one of its efficiency. The coolie who carried
my baggage on his head trotted up the hills for twenty-one hours,
without halting for more than an hour or two, and this for two days’
pay.

During the first half-hour after leaving Kalka, the heat was as great as
on the plains, but we had not gone many miles before we came out of the
heat and dust into a new world, and an atmosphere every breath of which
was life. I got out, and walked for miles; and when we halted at a
rest-house on the first plateau, I thoroughly enjoyed a cup of the
mountain tea, and was still more pleased at the sight of the first
red-coated English soldiers that I had seen since I left Niagara. The
men were even attempting bowls and cricket, so cool were the evenings at
this station. There is grim satire in the fact that the director-general
of military gymnastics has his establishment at Simla, in the cold of
the Snowy Range, and there invents running drills and such like summer
diversions, to be executed by the unfortunates in the plains below.
Bowls, which are an amusement at Kussoolie, would in the hot weather be
death at Kalka, only ten miles away; but so short is the memory of
climate that you are no more able to conceive the heat of the plains
when in the hills than the cold of the hills when at Calcutta.

There is no reason except a slight and temporary increase of cost to
prevent the whole of the European troops in India being concentrated in
a few cool and healthy stations. Provided that all the artillery be
retained in the hands of the Europeans, almost the whole of the English
forces might be kept in half a dozen hill-stations, of which Darjeeling
and Bangalore would be two, and some place near Bombay a third. It has
been said that the men would be incapable, through want of
acclimatization, of acting on the plains if retained in hill-stations
except when their services were needed; but it is notoriously the fact
that newcomers from England--that is, men with health--do not suffer
seriously from heat during the first six months which they pass upon the
plains.

Soon after dark, a terrific thunder-storm came on, the thunder rolling
round the valleys and along the ridges, while the rain fell in short,
sharp showers. My men put me down on the lee-side of a hut, and
squatted for a long smoke. The custom common to all the Eastern races of
sitting round a fire smoking all night long explains the number and the
excellence of their tales and legends. In Europe we see the Swedish
peasants sitting round their hearths chatting during the long winter
evenings: hence follow naturally the Thor legends; our sailors are with
us the only men given to sitting in groups to talk: they are noted
story-tellers. The word “yarn” exemplifies the whole philosophy of the
matter. We meet, however, here the eternal difficulty of which is cause
and which is effect. It is easy to say that the long nights of Norway,
the confined space of the ship, making the fo‘castle the sailor‘s only
lounge, each in their way necessitate the story-telling; not so in
India, not so in Egypt, in Arabia, in Persia: there can here be no
necessity for men sitting up all night to talk, short of pure love of
talk for talking‘s sake.

When the light came in the morning, we were ascending the same
strangely-ribbed hills that we had been crossing by torchlight during
the night, and were meeting Chinese-faced Thibetans, with hair done into
many pig-tails, who were laboriously bringing over the mountain passes
Chinese goods in tiny sheep-loads. For miles I journeyed on, up mountain
sides and down into ravines, but never for a single moment upon a level,
catching sight sometimes of portions of the Snowy Range itself, far
distant, and half mingled with the clouds, till at last a huge mountain
mass rising to the north and east blocked out all view save that behind
me over the sea of hills that I had crossed, and the scene became
monotonously hideous, with only that grandeur which hugeness carries
with it--a view, in short, that would be fine at sunset, and at no other
time. The weather, too, grew damp and cold--a cruel cold, with driving
rain--and the landscape was dreariness itself.

Suddenly we crossed the ridge, and began to descend, when the sky
cleared, and I found myself on the edge of the rhododendron forest--tall
trees with dark-green leaves and masses of crimson flowers; ferns of a
hundred different kinds marking the beds of the rivulets that coursed
down through the woods, which were filled with troops of chattering
monkeys.

Rising again slightly, I began to pass the European bungalows, each in
its thicket of deodar, and few with flat ground enough for more than
half a rose-bed or a quarter of a croquet-ground. On either side the
ridge was a deep valley, with terraced rice-fields five thousand feet
below, and, in the distance, on the one side the mist-covered plains lit
by the single silvery ribbon of the distant Sutlej, on the other side
the Snowy Range.

The first Europeans whom I met in Simla were the Viceroy‘s children and
their nurses, who formed with their escort a stately procession. First
came a tall native in scarlet, then a jampan with a child, then one with
a nurse and viceregal baby, and so on, the bearers wearing scarlet and
gray. All the residents at Simla have different uniforms for their
jampanees, some clothing their men in red and green, some in purple and
yellow, some in black and white. Before reaching the center of the town,
I had met several Europeans riding, although the sun was still high and
hot; but before evening a hailstorm came across the range and filled the
woods with a chilling mist, and night found me toasting my feet at a
blazing fire in an Alpine room of polished pine--a real room, with doors
and casement; not a section of a street with a bed in it, as are the
rooms in the Indian plains. Two blankets were a luxury in this
“tropical climate of Simla,” as one of our best-informed London
newspapers once called it. The fact is that Simla, which stands at from
seven to eight thousand feet above the sea, and in latitude 31°, or 7°
north of the boundary of the tropics, has a climate cold in everything
except its sun, which is sometimes strong. The snow lies on the ground
at intervals for five months of the year; and during what is by courtesy
styled “the hot weather,” cold rains are of frequent occurrence.

The climate of Simla is no mere matter of curiosity; it is a question of
serious interest in connection with the retention of our Indian empire.
When the government seeks refuge here from the Calcutta heat, the
various departments are located in tiny cottages and bungalows up on the
mountain and down in the valley, practically as far from each other as
London from Brighton; and, moreover, Simla itself is forty miles from
Kalka by the shortest path, and sixty by the better bridle-path. There
is clearly much loss of time in sending dispatches for half the year to
and from a place like this, and there is no chance of the railway ever
coming nearer to it than Kalka, even if it reaches that. On the other
hand, the telegraph is replacing the railway day by day, and mountain
heights are no bar to wires. This poor, little, uneven hill-village has
been styled the “Indian Capua” and nicknamed the “Hill Versailles;” but
so far from enervating the ministers or enfeebling the administration,
Simla gives vigor to the government, and a hearty English tone to the
State papers issued in the hot months. English ministers are not in
London all the year long, and no men, ministers or not, could stand four
years’ continual brain-work in Calcutta. In 1866, the first year of the
removal of the government as a whole and publication of the _Gazette_
at Simla during the summer, all the arrears of work in all the offices
were cleared off for the first time since the occupation by us of any
part of India.

Bengal, the Northwest Provinces, and the Punjaub must soon be made into
“governorships,” instead of “lieutenant-governorships,” so that the
Viceroy may be relieved from tedious work, and time saved by the
Northern Governors reporting straight home, as do the Governors of
Madras and Bombay, unless a system be adopted under which all shall
report to the Viceroy. At all events, the five divisions must be put
upon the same footing one with another. This being granted, there is no
conceivable reason for keeping the Viceroy at Calcutta--a city
singularly hot, unhealthy, and out of the way. On our Council of India,
sitting at the capital, we ought to have natives picked from all India
for their honesty, ability, and discretion; but so bad is the water at
Calcutta, that the city is deadly to water-drinkers; and although they
value the distinction of a seat at the Council more than any other honor
within their reach, many of the most distinguished natives in India have
chosen to resign their places rather than pass a second season at
Calcutta.

It is not necessary that we should argue about Calcutta‘s disadvantages.
It is enough to say that, of all Indian cities, we have selected for our
capital the most distant and the most unhealthy. The great question is,
Shall we have one capital, or two? Shall we keep the Viceroy all the
year round in a central but hot position, such as Delhi, Agra,
Allahabad, or Jubbelpore, or else at a less central but cooler station,
such as Nassuck, Poonah, Bangalore, or Mussoorie? Or shall we keep him
at a central place during the cool, and a hill place during the hot
weather? There can be but little doubt that Simla is a necessity at
present, but with a fairly healthy city, such as Agra, for the
headquarters of the government, and the railway open to within a few
miles of Mussoorie, so that men could run to the hills in six or seven
hours, and even spend a few days there in each summer month, an
efficient government could be maintained in the plains. We must remember
that Agra is now within twenty-three days of London; and that, with the
Persian Gulf route open, and a railway from Kurrachee (the natural port
of England in India), leave for home would be a matter still more simple
than it has become already. With some such central town as Poonah for
the capital, the Bombay and Madras commander-in-chiefships could be
abolished, with the result of saving a considerable expense, and greatly
increasing the efficiency of the Indian army. It is probable that Simla
will not continue to be the chosen station of the government in the
hills. The town is subject to the ravages of dysentery; the cost of
draining it would be immense, and the water supply is very limited; the
bheesties have often to wait whole hours for their turn.

Mussoorie has all the advantages and none of the drawbacks of Simla, and
lies compactly in ground on which a small city could be built, whereas
Simla straggles along a narrow mountain ridge, and up and down the steep
sides of an Alpine peak. It is questionable, however, whether, if India
is to be governed from at home, the seat of government should not be at
Poonah, within reach of London. The telegraph has already made viceroys
of the ancient kind impossible.

The sunrise view of the Snowy Range from my bungalow was one rather
strange, from the multitude of peaks in sight at once, than either
beautiful or grand. The desolate ranges of foot-hills destroy the
beauty that the contrast of the deodars, the crimson rhododendrons, and
the snow would otherwise produce, and the height at which you stand
seems to dwarf the distant ranges; but from one of the spots which I
reached in a mountain march, the prospect was widely different. Here we
saw at once the sources of the Jumna, the Sutlej, and the Ganges, the
dazzling peaks of Gungootrie, of Jumnotrie, and of Kamet; while behind
us in the distant plains we could trace the Sutlej itself, silvered by
the hazy rays of the half-risen sun. We had in sight not only the 26,000
feet of Kamet, but no less than twenty other peaks of over 20,000 feet,
snow-clad to their very bases, while between us and the nearest outlying
range were valleys from which the ear caught the humble murmur of
fresh-risen streams.



CHAPTER VIII.

COLONIZATION.


Connected with the question of the site of the future capital is that of
the possibility of the colonization by Englishmen of portions of the
peninsula of India.

Hitherto the attempts at settlement which have been made have been
mainly confined to six districts--Mysore, where there are only some
dozen planters; the Neilgherries proper, where coffee-planting is
largely carried on; Oude, where many Europeans have taken land as
zemindars, and cultivate a portion of it, while they let out the
remainder to natives on the Metayer plan; Bengal, where indigo-planting
is gaining ground; the Himalayan valleys, and Assam. Settlement in the
hot plains is limited by the fact that English children cannot there be
reared, so to the hill districts the discussion must be confined.

One of the commonest of mistakes respecting India consists in the
supposition that there is available land in large quantities on the
slopes of the Himalayas. There are no Himalayan slopes; the country is
all straight up and down, and for English colonists there is no room--no
ground that will grow anything but deodars, and those only moderately
well. The hot sun dries the ground, and the violent rains follow, and
cut it through and through with deep channels, in this way gradually
making all the hills both steep and ribbed. Mysore is still a native
State, but, in spite of this, European settlement is increasing year by
year, and there, as in the Neilgherries proper, there is room for many
coffee-planters, though fever is not unknown; but when India is
carefully surveyed, the only district that appears to be thoroughly
suited to English settlement, as contrasted with mere planting or
land-holding, is the valley of Cashmere, where the race would probably
not suffer deterioration. With the exception of Cashmere, none of the
deep mountain valleys are cool enough for permanent European settlement.
Family life is impossible where there is no home; you can have no
English comfort, no English virtues, in a climate which forces your
people to live out of doors, or else in rocking-chairs or hammocks.
Night-work and reading are all-but impossible in a climate where
multitudes of insects haunt the air. In the Himalayan valleys, the hot
weather is terribly scorching, and it lasts for half the year, and on
the hill-sides there is but little fertile soil.

The civilians and rulers of India in general are extremely jealous of
the “interlopers,” as European settlers are termed; and, although
tea-cultivation was at first encouraged by the Bengal government, recent
legislation, fair or unfair, has almost ruined the tea-planters of
Assam. The native population of that district is averse to labor, and
coolies from a distance have to be brought in; but the government of
India, as the planters say, interferes with harsh and narrow
regulations, and so enormously increases the cost of imported labor as
to ruin the planters, who, even when they have got their laborers on the
ground, cannot make them work, as there exists no means of compelling
specific performance of a contract to work. The remedy known to the
English law is an action for damages brought by the employer against the
laborer, so with English obstinacy we declare that an action for damages
shall be the remedy in Burmah or Assam. A provision for attachment of
goods and imprisonment of person of laborers refusing to perform their
portion of a contract to work was inscribed in the draft of the proposed
Indian “Code of Civil Procedure,” but vetoed by the authorities at home.

The Spanish Jesuits themselves were not more afraid of free white
settlers than is our Bengal government. An enterprising merchant of
Calcutta lately obtained a grant of vast tracts of country in the
Sunderbunds--the fever-haunted jungle near Calcutta--and had already
completed his arrangements for importing Chinese laborers to cultivate
his acquisitions, when the jealous civilians got wind of the affair, and
forced government into a most undignified retreat from their agreement.

The secret of this opposition to settlement by Europeans lies partly in
a horror of “low-caste Englishmen,” and a fear that they will somewhat
debase Europeans in native eyes, but far more in the wish of the old
civilians to keep India to themselves as a sort of “happy
hunting-ground”--a wish which has prompted them to start the cry of
“India for the Indians”--which of course means India for the
Anglo-Indians.

Somewhat apart from the question of European colonization, but closely
related to it, is that of the holding by Europeans of landed estates in
India. It will perhaps be conceded that the European should, on the one
hand, be allowed to come into the market and purchase land, or rent it
from the government or from individuals, on the same conditions as those
which would apply to natives, and, on the other hand, that special
grants should not be made to Europeans as they were by us in Java in old
times. In Eastern countries, however, government can hardly be wholly
neutral, and, whatever the law, if European landholders be encouraged,
they will come; if discouraged, they will stop away. From India they
stop away, while such as do reach Hindostan are known in official
circles by the significant name of “interlopers.”

Under a healthy social system, which the presence of English planters
throughout India, and the support which would thus be given to the
unofficial press, would of itself do much to create, the owning of land
by Europeans could produce nothing but good. The danger of the use of
compulsion toward the natives would not exist, because in India--unlike
what is the case in Dutch Java--the interest of the ruling classes would
be the other way. If it be answered that, once in possession of the
land, the Europeans would get the government into their own hands, we
must reply that they could never be sufficiently numerous to have the
slightest chance of doing anything of the kind. As we have seen in
Ceylon, the attempt on the part of the planters to usurp the government
is sternly repressed by the English people, the moment that its true
bearing is understood, and yet in Ceylon the planters are far more
numerous in proportion to the population than they can ever be in India,
where the climate of the plains is fatal to European children, and where
there is comparatively little land upon the hills; while in Ceylon the
coffee-tracts, which are mountainous and healthy, form a sensible
proportion of the whole lands of the island. It is true that the press,
when once completely in the planters’ hands, may advocate their
interests at the expense of those of the natives, but in the case of
Queensland we have seen that this is no protection to the planters
against the inquisitive home eye, which would be drawn to India as it
has been to Queensland by the reports of independent travelers and of
interested but honest missionaries.

The infamies of the foundation of the indigo-plantations in Bengal, and
of many of the tea-plantations in Assam, in which violence was freely
used to make the natives grow the selected crop, and in some cases the
land actually stolen from its owners, have gone far to make European
settlement in India a by-word among the friends of the Hindoo; but it is
clear that an efficient police would suffice to restrain these
illegalities and hideous wrongs. It might become advisable in the
interest of the natives to provide that not only the officers, but also
the sub-officers and some constables of the police, should be Europeans
in districts where the plantations lay, great care being taken to select
honest and fearless men, and to keep a strict watch on their conduct.

The two great securities against that further degradation of the natives
which has been foretold as a result of the expected influx of Europeans
are the general teaching of the English language, and the grant of
perfect freedom of action (the government standing aloof) to
missionaries of every creed under heaven. The bestowal of the English
tongue upon the natives will give the local newspapers a larger
circulation among them than among the planter classes, and so, by the
powerful motive of self-interest, force them to the side of liberty;
while the honesty of some of the missionaries and the interest of others
will certainly place the majority of the religious bodies on the side of
freedom. It is needless to say that the success of a policy which would
be opposed by the local press and at the same time by the chief English
Churches is not an eventuality about which we need give ourselves
concern, and it is therefore probable that on the whole the
encouragement of European settlement upon the plains would be conducive
to the welfare of the native race.

That settlement or colonization would make our tenure of India more
secure is very doubtful, and, if certain, would be a point of little
moment. If, when India has passed through the present transition stage
from a country of many peoples to a country of only one, we cannot
continue to rule her by the consent of the majority of her inhabitants,
our occupation of the country must come to an end, whether we will or
no. At the same time, the union of interests and community of ideas
which would rise out of well-ordered settlement would do much to endear
our government to the great body of the natives. As a warning against
European settlement as it is, every Englishman should read the drama
“Nil Darpan.”

During my stay at Simla, I visited a pretty fair in one of the
neighboring valleys. There was much buffoonery and dancing--among other
things, a sort of jig by a fakeer, who danced himself into a fit, real
or pretended; but the charm of this, as of all Hindoo gatherings, lay
in the color. The women of the Punjaub dress very gayly for their fêtes,
wearing tight-fitting trowsers of crimson, blue, or yellow, and a long
thin robe of white, or crimson-grounded Cashmere shawl; bracelets and
anklets of silver, and a nose-ring, either huge and thin, or small and
nearly solid, complete the dress.

At the fair were many of the Goorkhas (of whom there is a regiment at
Simla), who danced, and seemingly enjoyed themselves immensely; indeed,
the natives of all parts of India, from Nepaul to the Deccan, possess a
most enviable faculty of amusement, and they say that there is a
professional buffoon attached to every Goorkha regiment. Their
full-dress is like that of the French _chasseurs à pied_, but in their
undress uniform of white, the trowsers worn so tight as to wrinkle from
stretching--these dashing little fellows, with their thin legs, broad
shoulders, bullet heads, and flat faces, look extremely like a corps of
jockeys. A general inspecting one of these regiments once said to the
colonel: “Your men are small, sir.” “Their pay is small, sir!” growled
the colonel, in a towering passion.

There were unmistakable traces of Buddhist architecture in the little
valley Hindoo shrine. Of the Chinese pilgrimages to India in the
Buddhist period there are many records yet extant, and one of these, we
are told, relates how, as late as the fourteenth century, the Emperor of
China asked leave of the Delhi ruler to rebuild a temple at the southern
base of the Himalayas, inasmuch as it was visited by his Tartar people.



CHAPTER IX.


THE “GAZETTE.”


Of all printed information upon India, there is none which, either for
value or interest, can be ranked with that contained in the Government
_Gazette_, which during my stay at Simla was published at that town, the
Viceroy‘s Council having moved there for the hot weather. Not only are
the records of the mere routine business interesting from their variety,
but almost every week there is printed along with the _Gazette_ a
supplement, which contains memoranda from leading natives or from the
representatives of the local governments upon the operations of certain
customs, or on the probable effects of a proposed law, or similar
communications. Sometimes the circulars issued by the government are
alone reprinted, “with a view to elicit opinions,” but more generally
the whole of the replies are given.

It is difficult for English readers to conceive the number and variety
of subjects upon which a single number of the _Gazette_ will give
information of some kind. The paragraphs are strung together in the
order in which they are received, without arrangement or connection. “A
copy of a treaty with his Highness the Maharajah of Cashmere” stands
side by side with a grant of three months’ leave to a lieutenant of
Bombay Native Foot; while above is an account of the suppression of the
late murderous outrages in the Punjaub, and below a narrative of the
upsetting of the Calcutta mails into a river near Jubbelpore. “A
khureta from the Viceroy to his Highness the Rao Oomaid Singh Bahadoor”
orders him to put down crime in his dominions, and the humble answer of
the Rao is printed, in which he promises to do his best. Paragraphs are
given to “the floating dock at Rangoon;” “the disease among mail
horses;” “the Suez Canal;” “the forests of Oude;” and “polygamy among
the Hindoos.” The Viceroy contributes a “note on the administration of
the Khetree chieftainship;” the Bengal government sends a memorandum on
“bribery of telegraph clerks;” and the Resident of Kotah an official
report of the ceremonies attending the reception of a viceregal khureta
restoring the honors of a salute to the Maha Rao of Kotah. The khureta
was received in state, the letter being mounted alone upon an elephant
magnificently caparisoned, and saluted from the palace with 101 guns.
There is no honor that we can pay to a native prince so great as that of
increasing his salute, and, on the other hand, when the Guicodar of
Baroda allows a suttee, or when Jung Bahadoor of Nepaul expresses his
intention of visiting Paris, we punish them by docking them of two guns,
or abolishing their salute, according to the magnitude of the offense.

An Order in Council confers upon the High Priest of the Parsees in the
Deccan, “in consideration of his services during the mutiny of 1857,”
the honorary title of “Khan Bahadoor.” A paragraph announces that an
official investigation has been made into the supposed desecration by
Scindia and the Viceroy of a mosque at Agra, and that it has been found
that the place in question was not a mosque at all. Scindia had given an
entertainment to the Viceroy at the Taj Mahal, and supper had been laid
out at a building in the grounds. The native papers said the building
was a mosque, but the Agra officials triumphantly demonstrated that it
had been used for a supper to Lord Ellenborough after the capture of
Cabool, and that its name meant “Feast-place.” “Report on the
light-houses of the Abyssinian coast;” “Agreement with the Governor of
Leh,” Thibet, in reference to the trans-Himalayan caravans; the
promotion of one gentleman to be “Commissioner of Coorg,” and of another
to be “Superintendent of the teak forests of Lower Burmah;” “Evidence on
the proposed measures to suppress the abuses of polyandry in Travancore
and Cochin (by arrangement with the Rajah of Travancore);” “Dismissal of
Policeman Juggernauth Ramkam--Oude division, No. 11 company--for gross
misconduct;” “Report on the Orissa famine;” “Plague in Turkey;” “Borer
insects in coffee-plantations;” “Presents to gentlemen at Fontainebleau
for teaching forestry to Indian officers;” “Report on the Cotton States
of America,” for the information of native planters; “Division of
Calcutta into postal districts” (in Bengalee as well as English); “Late
engagement between the Punjaub cavalry and the Afghan tribes;” “Pension
of 3rs. per mensem to the widow (aged 12) of Jamram Chesà, Sepoy, 27th
Bengal N. I.,” are other headings. The relative space given to matters
of importance and to those of little moment is altogether in favor of
the latter. The government of two millions of people is transferred in
three lines, but a page is taken up with a list of the caste-marks and
nose-borings of native women applying for pensions as soldiers’ widows,
and two pages are full of advertisements of lost currency notes.

The columns of the _Gazette_, or at all events its supplements, offer to
government officials whose opinion has been asked upon questions on
which they possess valuable knowledge, or in which the people of their
district are concerned, an opportunity of attacking the acts or laws of
the government itself--a chance of which they are not slow to take
advantage. One covertly attacks the license-tax; a second, under
pretense of giving his opinion on some proposed change in the contract
law, backs the demands of the indigo-planters for a law that shall
compel specific performance of labor-contracts on the part of the
workman, and under penalty of imprisonment; another lays all the ills
under which India can be shown to suffer at the door of the home
government, and points out the ruinous effects of continual changes of
Indian Secretaries in London.

It would be impossible to overrate the importance of the supplements to
the _Gazette_, viewed either as a substitute for a system of
communicated articles to the native papers, or as material for English
statesmen, whether in India or at home, or as a great experiment in the
direction of letting the people of India legislate for themselves. The
results of no less than three government inquiries were printed in the
supplement during my stay in India, the first being in the shape of a
circular to the various local governments requesting their opinion on
the proposed extension to natives of the testamentary succession laws
contained in the Indian Civil Code; while the second related to the
“ghaut murders,” and the third to the abuses of polygamy among the
Hindoos. The second and third inquiries were conducted by means of
circulars addressed by government to those most interested, whether
native or European.

The evidence in reply to the “ghaut murder” circular was commenced by a
letter from the Secretary to the government of Bengal to the Secretary
to the government of India, calling the attention of the Viceroy in
Council to an article written in Bengalee by a Hindoo in the _Dacca
Prokash_ on the practice of taking sick Hindoos to the river-side to
die. It appears from this letter that the local governments pay careful
attention to the opinions of the native papers--unless, indeed, we are
to accept the view that “the Hindoo” was a government clerk, and the
article written to order--a supposition favored by its radical and
destructive tone. The Viceroy answered that the local officers and
native gentlemen of all shades of religious opinion were to be privately
consulted. A confidential communication was then addressed to eleven
English and four Hindoo gentlemen, and the opinions of the English and
native newspapers were unofficially invited. The Europeans were chiefly
for the suppression of the practice; the natives--with the exception of
one, who made a guarded reply--stated that the abuses of the custom had
been exaggerated, and that they could not recommend its suppression. The
government agreed with the natives, and decided that nothing should be
done--an opinion in which the Secretary of State concurred.

In his reply to the “ghaut murder” circular, the representative of the
orthodox Hindoos, after pointing out that the _Dacca Prokash_ is the
Dacca organ of the Brahmos, or Bengal Deists, and not of the true
Hindoos, went on to quote at length from the Hindoo scriptures passages
which show that to die in the Ganges water is the most blessed of all
deaths. The quotations were printed in native character as well as in
English in the _Gazette_. One of the officials in his reply pointed out
that the discouragement of a custom was often as effective as its
prohibition, and instanced the cessation of the practice of
“hook-swinging” and “self-mutilation.”

Valuable as is the correspondence as a sample of the method pursued in
such inquiries, the question under discussion has not the importance
that attaches to the examination into the abuses of the practice of
polygamy.

To prevent an outcry that the customs of the Hindoo people were being
attacked, the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal stated in his letters to the
government of India that it was his wish that the inquiry should be
strictly confined to the abuses of Koolin polygamy, and that there
should be no general examination into ordinary polygamy, which was not
opposed even by enlightened Hindoos. The polygamy of the Koolin Brahmins
is a system of taking a plurality of wives as a means of subsistence:
the Koolins were originally Brahmins of peculiar merit, and such was
their sanctity that there grew up a custom of payments being made to
them by the fathers of the forty or fifty women whom they honored by
marriage. So greatly has the custom grown that Koolins have sometimes as
many as eighty wives, and the husband‘s sole means of subsistence
consists in payments from the fathers of his wives, each of whom he
visits, however, only once in three or four years. The Koolin Brahmins
live in luxury and indolence, their wives exist in misery, and the whole
custom is plainly repugnant to the teachings of the Hindoo scriptures,
and is productive of vice and crime. The committee appointed for the
consideration of the subject by the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal--which
consisted of two English civilians and five natives--reported that the
suggested systems of registration of marriages, or of fines increasing
in amount for every marriage after the first, would limit the general
liberty of the Hindoos to take many wives, which they were forbidden to
touch. On the other hand, to recommend a declaratory law on plural
marriages would be to break their instructions, which ordered them to
refrain from giving the sanction of English law to Hindoo polygamy. One
native dissented from the report, and favored a declaratory law.

The English idea of “not recognizing” customs or religions which exist
among a large number of the inhabitants of English countries is a
strange one, and productive of much harm. It is not necessary, indeed,
that we should countenance the worship of Juggernauth by ordering our
officials to present offerings at his shrine, but it is at least
necessary that we should recognize native customs by legislating to
restrain them within due limits. To refuse to “recognize” polygamy,
which is the social state of the vast majority of the citizens of the
British Empire, is not less ridiculous than to refuse to recognize that
Hindoos are black.

Recognition is one thing, interference another. How far we should
interfere with native customs is a question upon which no general rule
can be given, unless it be that we should in all cases of proposed
interference with social usages or religious ceremonies consult
intelligent but orthodox natives, and act up to their advice. In Ceylon,
we have prohibited polygamy and polyandry, although the law is not
enforced; in India, we “unofficially recognize” the custom; in
Singapore, we have distinctly recognized it by an amendment to the
Indian Succession Law, which there applies to natives as well as
Europeans. In India, we put down suttee; while, in Australia, we
tolerate customs at least as barbarous.

One of the social systems which we recognize in India is far more
revolting to our English feelings than is that of polygamy--namely, the
custom of polyandry, under which each woman has many husbands at a time.
This custom we unofficially recognize as completely as we do polygyny,
although it prevails only on the Malabar coast, and among the
hill-tribes of the Himalaya, and not among the strict Hindoos. The
Thibetan frontier tribes have a singular form of the institution, for
with them the woman is the wife of all the brothers of a family, the
eldest brother choosing her, and the eldest son succeeding to the
property of his mother and all her husbands. In Southern India, the
polyandry of the present day differs little from that which in the
middle of the fifteenth century Niccolo de Conti found flourishing in
Calicut. Each woman has several husbands, some as many as ten, who all
contribute to her maintenance, she living apart from all of them; and
the children are allotted to the husbands at the will of the wife.

The toleration of polygyny, or common polygamy, is a vexed question
everywhere. In India, all authorities are in favor of respecting it; in
Natal, opinion is the other way. While we suppress it in Ceylon, even
among black races conquered by us with little pretext only fifty years
ago, we are doubtful as to the propriety of its suppression by the
United States among white people, who, whatever was the case with the
original leaders, have for the most part settled down in Utah since it
has been the territory of a nation whose imperial laws prohibit polygamy
in plain terms.

The inquiries into the abuses of polygamy which have lately been
conducted in Bengal and in Natal have revealed singular differences
between the polygamy of the Hindoos and of the hill-tribes, between
Indian and Mormon polygamy, and between both and the Mohammedan law.
The Hindoo laws, while they limit the number of legal wives, allow of
concubines, and, in the Maharajah case, Sir Joseph Arnould went so far
as to say that polygamy and courtesanship are always found to flourish
side by side, although the reverse is notoriously the case at Salt Lake
City, where concubinage is punishable, in name at least, by death.
Again, polygamy is somewhat discouraged by Mohammedan and Hindoo laws,
and the latter even lay down the sum which in many cases is to be paid
to the first wife as compensation for the wrong done her by the taking
of other wives. Among the Mormons, on the other hand, polygamy is
enjoined upon the faithful, and, so far from feeling herself aggrieved,
the first wife herself selects the others, or is at the least consulted.
Among some of the hill-tribes of India, such as the Paharis of
Bhaugulpoor, polygamy is encouraged, but with a limitation to four
wives.

Among the Mohammedans, the number of marriages is restricted, and
divorce is common; among the Mormons, there is no limit--indeed, the
more wives the greater a man‘s glory--and divorce is all-but unknown.
The greatest, however, of all the many differences between Eastern and
Mormon polygamy lies in the fact that, of the Eastern wives, one is the
chief, while Mormon wives are absolutely equal in legitimacy and rank.

Not only is equality the law, but the first wife has recognized
superiority of position over the others in the Mormon family. By custom
she is always consulted by her husband in reference to the choice of a
new wife, while the other wives are not always asked for their opinion;
but this is a matter of habit, and the husband is in no way bound by her
decision. Again, the first wife--if she is a consenting party--often
gives away the fresh wives at the altar; but this, too, is a mere
custom. The fact that in India one of the wives generally occupies a
position of far higher dignity than that held by the others will make
Indian polygamy easy to destroy by the lapse of time and operation of
social and moral causes. As the city-dwelling natives come to mix more
with the Europeans, they will find that only one of their wives will be
generally recognized. This will tend of itself to repress polygamy among
the wealthy native merchants and among the rajahs who are members of our
various councils, and their example will gradually react upon the body
of the natives. Already a majority of the married people of India are
monogamists by practice, although polygamists in theory; their marriages
being limited by poverty, although not by law. The classes which have to
be reached are the noble families, the merchants, and the priests; and
over the two former European influence is considerable, while the
inquiry into Koolinism has proved that the leading natives will aid us
in repressing the abuses of polygamy among the priests.



CHAPTER X.

UMRITSUR.


At Umbala, I heard that the Sikh pilgrims returning from the sacred
fair, or great Hindoo camp-meeting, at Hurdwar, had been attacked by
cholera, and excluded from the town; and as I quitted Umbala in the
evening, I came upon the cholera-stricken train of pilgrims escaping by
forced marches toward their homes, in many cases a thousand miles away.
Tall, lithe, long-bearded men with large hooked noses, high foreheads,
and thin lips, stalked along, leading by one hand their veiled women,
who ran behind, their crimson and orange trowsers stained with the dust
of travel, while bullock-carts decked out with jingling bells bore the
tired and the sick. Many children of all ages were in the throng. For
mile after mile I drove through their ranks, as they marched with a
strange kind of weary haste, and marched, too, with few halts, with
little rest, if any. One great camp we left behind us, but only one; and
all night long we were still passing ranks of marching men and women.
The march was silent; there was none of the usual chatter of an Indian
crowd; gloom was in every face, and the people marched like a beaten
army flying from a destroying foe.

The disease, indeed, was pressing on their heels. Two hundred men and
women, as I was told at the Umbala lines, had died among them in the
single day. Many had dropped from fright alone, but the pestilence was
in the horde, and its seeds were carried into whatever villages the
pilgrims reached.

The gathering at Hurdwar had been attended by a million people drawn
from every part of the Punjaub and Northwest; not only Hindoos and
Sikhs, but Scindhees, Beloochees, Pathans, and Afghans had their
representatives in this great throng. As we neared the bridge of boats
across the Sutlej, I found that a hurried quarantine had been set up on
the spot. Only the sick or dying and bearers of corpses were detained,
however; a few questions were asked of the remainder, and ultimately
they were allowed to cross; but driving on at speed, I reached Jullundur
in the morning, only to find that the pilgrims had been denied
admittance to the town. A camp had been formed without the city, to
which the pilgrims had to go, unless they preferred to straggle on along
the roads, dropping and dying by the way; and the villagers throughout
the country had risen on the wretched people, to prevent them returning
to their homes.

It is not strange that the government of India should lately have turned
its attention to the regulation or suppression of these fairs, for the
city-dwelling people of North India will not continue long to tolerate
enormous gatherings at the commencement of the hot weather, by which the
lives of thousands must ultimately be lost. At Hurdwar, at Juggernauth,
and at many other holy spots, hundreds of thousands--millions, not
unfrequently--are collected yearly from all parts of India. Great
princes come down traveling slowly from their capitals with trains of
troops and followers so long that they often take a day or more to pass
a given spot. The Maharajah of Cashmere‘s camp between Kalka and Umbala
occupied when I saw it more space than that of Aldershot. Camels, women,
sutlers without count, follow in the train, so that a body of five
thousand men is multiplied until it occupies the space and requires the
equipments of a vast army. A huge multitude of cultivators, of princes,
of fakeers, and of roisterers met for the excitement and the pleasures
of the camp is gathered about the holy spot. There is religion, and
there is trade; indeed, the religious pilgrims are for the most part
shrewd traders, bent on making a good profit from their visit to the
fair.

The gathering at Hurdwar in 1867 had been more than usually well
attended and successful, when suddenly a rumor of cholera was heard; the
police procured the break-up of the camp, and government thought fit to
prohibit the visit to Simla of the Maharajah of Cashmere. The pilgrims
had hardly left the camp upon their journey home when cholera broke out,
and by the time I passed them hundreds were already dead, and a panic
had spread through India. The cholera soon followed the rumor, and
spread even to the healthiest hill-towns, and 6000 deaths occurred in
the city of Srinuggur, after the Maharajah‘s return with his infected
escort from Hurdwar. A government which has checked infanticide and
suppressed suttee could not fail to succeed, if it interfered, in
causing these fairs to be held in the cold weather.

At Jullundur I encountered a terrible dust-storm. It came from the south
and west, and, to judge from its fierceness, must have been driven
before the wind from the great sandy desert of Northern Scinde. The sun
was rising for a sultry day, when from the south there came a blast
which in a minute covered the sky with a leaden cloud, while from the
horizon there advanced, more slowly, a lurid mass of reddish-brown. It
soon reached the city, and then, from the wall where I sought shelter,
nothing could be seen but driving sand of ocher color, nothing heard but
the shrieking of the wind. The gale ceased as suddenly as it began, but
left a day which, delightful to travelers upon the Indian plains, would
elsewhere have been called by many a hard name--a day of lowering sky
and dropping rain, with chilling cold--in short, a day that felt and
looked like an English thaw, though the thermometer must have stood at
75°. Another legacy from the storm was a view of the Himalayas such as
is seldom given to the dwellers on the plains. Looking at the clouds
upon the northern horizon, I suddenly caught sight of the Snowy Range
hanging, as it seemed, above them, half-way up the skies. Seen with a
foreground of dawk jungle in bright bloom, the scene was beautiful; but
the view too distant to be grand, except through the ideas of immensity
called up by the loftiness of the peaks. While crossing the Beeas (the
ancient Hyphasis, and eastern boundary of the Persian empire in the days
of Darius), as I had crossed the Sutlej, by a bridge of boats, I noticed
that the railway viaduct, which was being built for the future Umritsur
and Delhi line, stood some way from the deep water of the river; indeed,
stood chiefly upon dry land. The rivers change their course so often
that the Beeas and Sutlej bridges will each have to be made a mile long.
There has lately been given us in the Punjaub a singular instance of the
blind confidence in which government orders are carried out by the
subordinates. The order was that the iron columns on which the Beeas
bridge was to rest should each be forty-five feet long. In placing them,
in some cases the bottom of the forty-five feet was in the shifting
sand--in others, it was thirty feet below the surface of the solid rock;
but a boring which was needless in the one case and worse than useless
in the other has been persevered in to the end, the story runs, because
it was the “hook‘m.” The Indian rivers are the great bars to road and
railway making; indeed, except on the Grand Trunk road, it may be said
that the rivers of India are still unbridged. On the chief mail-roads
stone causeways are built across the river-beds, but the streams are
all-but impassable during the rains. Even on the road from Kalka to
Umbala, however, there is one river-bed without a causeway, across which
the dawk-gharree is dragged by bullocks, who struggle slowly through the
sand; and, in crossing it, I saw a steam-engine lying half buried in the
drift.

In India, we have been sadly neglectful of the roads. The Grand Trunk
road and the few great railroads are the only means of communication in
the country. Even between the terminus of the Bengal lines at Jubbelpore
and of the Bombay railroad at Nagpore there was at the time of my visit
no metaled road, although the distance was but 200 miles, and the mails
already passed that way. Half a day at least was lost upon all the
Calcutta letters, and Calcutta passengers for Bombay or England were put
to an additional expense of some £30 and a loss of a week or ten days in
time from the absence of 200 miles of road. Until we have good
cross-roads in India, and metaled roads into the interior from every
railway station, we shall never succeed in increasing the trade of
India, nor in civilizing its inhabitants. The Grand Trunk road is,
however, the best in the world, and is formed of soft white nodules,
found in beds through North India, which when pounded and mixed with
water is known as “kunkur,” and makes a road hard, smooth, clean, and
lasting, not unlike to that which asphalt gives.

At Umritsur I first found myself in the true East--the East of myrtles,
roses, and veiled figures with flashing eyes--the East of the “Arabian
Nights” and “Lalla Rookh.” The city itself is Persian, rather than
Indian, in its character, and is overgrown with date-palms,
pomegranates, and the roses from which the precious attar is distilled.
Umritsur has the making of the attar for the world, and it is made from
a rose which blossoms only once a year. Ten tons of petals of the
ordinary country rose (_Rosa centifolia_) are used annually in
attar-making at Umritsur, and are worth from £20 to £30 a ton in the raw
state. The petals are placed in the retort with a small quantity of
water, and heat is applied until the water is distilled through a hollow
bamboo into a second vessel, which contains sandal-wood oil. A small
quantity of pure attar passes with the water into the receiver. The
contents of the receiver are then poured out, and allowed to stand till
the attar rises to the surface, in small globules, and is skimmed off.
The pure attar sells for its weight in silver.

Umritsur is famous for another kind of merchandise more precious even
than the attar. It is the seat of the Cashmere shawl trade, and three
great French firms have their houses in the town, where, through the
help of friends, shawls may be obtained at singularly low prices; but
travelers in far-off regions are often in the financial position of the
Texan hunter who was offered a million of acres for a pair of
boots--they “have not got the boots.”

It is only shawls of the second class that can be bought cheap at
Umritsur; those of the finest quality vary in price from £40 to £250,
£30 being the cost of the material. The shawl manufacture of the Punjaub
is not confined to Umritsur; there are 900 shawl-making shops in
Loodiana, I was told while there. There are more than sixty permanent
dyes in use at the Umritsur shawl-shops; cochineal, indigo, log-wood,
and saffron are the commonest and best. The shawls are made of the down
which underlies the hair of the “shawl-goat” of the higher levels. The
yak, the camel, and the dog of the Himalayas, all possess this down as
well as their hair or wool; it serves them as a protection against the
winter cold. _Chogas_--long cloaks used as dressing-gowns by
Europeans--are also made in Umritsur, from the soft wool of the Bokhara
camel, for Umritsur is now the headquarters of the Central Asian trade
with Hindostan.

The bazaar is the gayest and most bustling in India--the goods of all
India and Central Asia are there. Dacca muslin--known as “woven
air”--lies side by side with thick chogas of kinkob and embroidered
Cashmere, Indian towels of coarse huckaback half cover Chinese watered
silks, and the brilliant dyes of the brocades of Central India are
relieved by the modest grays of the soft _puttoo_ caps. The buyers are
as motley as the goods--Rajpoots in turbans of deep blue, ornamented
with gold thread, Cashmere valley herdsmen in strange caps, nautch girls
from the first three bridges of Srinuggur, some of the so-called
“hill-fanatics,” whose only religion is to levy contributions on the
people of the plains, and Sikh troopers, home on leave, stalking through
the streets with a haughty swagger. Some of the Sikhs wear the pointed
helmets of their ancestors, the ancient Sakæ; but, whether he be
helmeted or not, the enormous white beard of the Sikh, the fierce curl
of his mustache, the cock of the turban, and the amplitude of his sash,
all suggest the fighting-man. The strange closeness of the likeness of
the Hungarians to the Sikhs would lead one to think that the races are
identical. Not only are they alike in build, look, and warlike habits,
but they brush their beards in the same fashion, and these little
customs endure longer than manners--longer, often, than religion itself.
One of the crowd was a ruddy-faced, red-bearded, Judas-haired fellow,
that looked every inch a Fenian, and might have stepped here from the
Kilkenny wilds; but the majority of the Sikhs had aquiline noses and
fine features, so completely Jewish of the best and oldest type that I
was reminded of Sir William Jones‘s fanciful derivation of the Afghan
races from the lost Ten Tribes of Israel. It may be doubted whether the
Sikhs, Afghans, Persians, ancient Assyrians, Jews, ancient Scythians,
and Magyars were not all originally of one stock.

In India, dress still serves the purpose of denoting rank. The peasant
is clothed in cotton, the prince in cloth of gold; and even religion,
caste, and occupation are distinguished by their several well-known and
unchanging marks. Indeed, the fixity of fashion is as singular in
Hindostan as its infinite changeableness in New York or France. The
patterns we see to-day in the Bombay bazaar are those which were popular
in the days of Shah Jehan. This regulation of dress by custom is one of
the many difficulties in the way of our English manufacturers in their
Indian ventures. There has been an attempt made lately to bring about
the commercial annexation of India to England: Lancashire is to
manufacture the Longee, Dhotee, and Saree, we are told; Nottingham or
Paisley are to produce us shumlas; Dacca is to give way to Norwich, and
Coventry to supersede Jeypoor. It is strange that men of Indian
knowledge and experience should be found who fail to point out the
absurdity of our entertaining hopes of any great trade in this
direction. The Indian women of the humbler castes are the only customers
we can hope to have in India; the high-caste people wear only ornamented
fabrics, in the making of which native manufacturers have advantages
which place them out of the reach of European competition: cheap labor;
workmen possessed of singular culture, and of a grace of expression
which makes their commonest productions poems in silk and velvet;
perfect knowledge of their customers’ wants and tastes; scrupulous
regard to caste conservatism--all these are possessed by the Hindoo
manufacturer, and absent in the case of the firms of Manchester and
Rochdale. As a rule, all Indian dress is best made by hand; only the
coarsest and least ornamented fabrics can be largely manufactured at
paying rates in England. As for the clothing of the poorer people, the
men for the most part wear nothing, the women little, and that little
washed often, and changed never. Even for the roughest goods we cannot
hope to undersell the native manufacturers by much in the presidency
towns. Up country, if we enter into the competition, it can scarcely
fail to be a losing one. England is not more unlikely to be clothed from
India than India from Great Britain. If European machinery is needed, it
will be erected in Yokohama, or in Bombay, not in the West Riding.

It is hardly to be believed that Englishmen have for some years been
attempting to induce the natives to adopt our flower patterns--peonies,
butterflies, and all. Ornament in India is always subordinate to the
purpose which the object has to serve. Hindoo art begins where English
ends. The principles which centuries of study have given us as the
maxims upon which the grammar of ornament is based are those which are
instinctive in every native workman. Every costume, every vase, every
temple and bazaar in India, gives eye-witness that there is truth in the
saw that the finest taste is consistent with the deepest slavery of
body, with the utmost slavishness of mind. A Hindoo of the lowest caste
will spurn the gift of a turban or a loin-cloth the ornamentation of
which consists not with his idea of symmetry and grace. Nothing could
induce a Hindoo to clothe himself in such a gaudy, masquerading dress as
maddens a Maori with delight and his friends with jealousy and
mortification. In art as in deportment, the Hindoo loves harmony and
quiet; and dress with the Oriental is an art: there is as much
feeling--as deep poetry--in the curves of the Hindoo Saree as in the
outlines of the Taj.

Umritsur is the spiritual capital of the Sikhs, and the Durbar Temple in
the center of the town is the holiest of their shrines. It stands, with
the sunbeams glancing from its gilded roof, in the middle of a very holy
tank, filled with huge weird fish-monsters that look as though they fed
on men, and glare at you through cruel eyes.

Leaving your shoes outside the very precincts of the tank, with the
police guard that we have stationed there, you skirt one side of the
water, and then leave the mosaic terrace for a still more gorgeous
causeway, that, bordered on either side by rows of golden
lamp-supporters, carries the path across toward the rich pavilion, the
walls of which are as thickly spread with gems as are those of Akbar‘s
palace. Here you are met by a bewildering din, for under the inner dome
sit worshipers by the score, singing with vigor the grandest of barbaric
airs to the accompaniment of lyre, harp, and tomtom, while in the
center, on a cushion, is a long-bearded gray old gooroo, or priest of
the Sikh religion--a creed singularly pure, though little known. The
effect of the scene is much enhanced by the beauty of the surrounding
houses, whose oriel windows overhang the tank, that the Sikh princes may
watch the evolutions of the lantern-bearing boats on nights when the
temple is illuminated. When seen by moonlight, the tank is a very
picture from the “Arabian Nights.”

This is a time of ferment in the Sikh religion. A carpenter named Ram
Singh--a man with all that combination of shrewdness and imagination, of
enthusiasm and worldliness, by which the world is governed--another
Mohammed or Brigham Young, perhaps--has preached his way through the
Punjaub, infusing his own energy into others, and has drawn away from
the Sikh Church some hundred thousand followers--reformers--who call
themselves the Kookas. These modern Anabaptists--for many are disposed
to look upon Ram Singh as another John of Leyden--bind themselves by
some terrible and secret oath, and the government fear that reformation
of religion is to be accompanied by reformation of the State of a kind
not advantageous to the English power. When Ram Singh lately proclaimed
his intention of visiting the Durbar Temple, the gooroos incited the
Sikh fanatics to attack his men with clubs, and the military police were
forced to interfere. There is now, however, a Kooka temple at Lahore.

In spite of religious ferment, there is little in the bazaar or temples
of Umritsur to remind one of the times--only some twenty years ago--when
the Sikh army crossed the Sutlej, and its leaders threatened to sack
Delhi and Calcutta, and drive the English out of India; it is
impossible, however, to believe that there is no undercurrent in
existence. Eighteen years cannot have sufficed to extinguish the Sikh
nationality, and the men who beat us at Chillianwallah are not yet dead,
or even old. When the Maharajah Dhuleep Singh returned from England in
1864 to bury his mother‘s body, the chiefs crowded round him as he
entered Lahore, and besought him to resume his position at their head.
His answer was a haughty “Jao!” (“Begone!”) If the Sikhs are to rise
once more, they will look elsewhere for their leader.



CHAPTER XI.

LAHORE.


Crossing in a railway journey of an hour one of the most fertile
districts of the Punjaub, I was struck with the resemblance of the
country to South Australia: in each great sweeps of wheat-growing lands,
with here and there an acacia or mimosa tree; in each a climate hot, but
dry, and not unhealthy;--singularly hot here for a tract in the latitude
of Vicksburg, near which the Mississippi is sometimes frozen.

Through groves of a yellow-blossomed, sweet-scented, weeping acacia,
much like laburnum, in which the fortified railway station seems out of
place, I reached the tomb-surrounded garden that is called Lahore--a
city of pomegranates, oleanders, hollyhocks, and roses. The date-groves
of Lahore are beautiful beyond description; especially so the one that
hides the Agra Bank.

Lahore matches Umritsur in the purity of its Orientalism, Agra in the
strength and grandeur of its walls: but it has no Tank Temple and no
Taj; the Great Mosque is commonplace, Runjeet Singh‘s tomb is tawdry,
and the far-famed Shalimar Gardens inferior to those of Pinjore. The
strangest sight of Lahore is its new railway station--a fortress of red
brick, one of many which are rising all over India. The fortification of
the railway stations is decidedly the next best step to that of having
no forts at all.

The city of Lahore is surrounded by a suburb of great tombs, in which
Europeans have in many cases taken up their residence by permission of
the owner, the mausoleums being, from the thickness of their walls, as
cool as cellars. Sometimes, however, a fanatical relative of the man
buried in the tomb will warn the European tenant that he will die within
a year--a prophecy which poison has once or twice brought to its
fulfillment in the neighborhood of Lahore and at Moultan.

Strolling in the direction of the Cabool Gate, I came on the
Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjaub, driving in an open carriage drawn by
camels; and passing out on to the plain, I met all the officers in
garrison returning on Persian ponies from a game at the Afghan sport of
“hockey upon horseback,” while a little farther were some English ladies
with hawks. Throughout the Northern Punjaub a certain settling down in
comfort on the part of the English officials is to be remarked, and the
adaptation of native habits to English uses, of which I had in one
evening‘s walk the three examples which I have mentioned, is a sign of a
tendency toward that making the best of things which in a newly-occupied
country precedes the entrance upon a system of permanent abode. Lahore
has been a British city for nineteen years, Bombay for two centuries and
more; yet Lahore is far more English than Bombay.

Although there are as yet no signs of English settlement in the Punjaub,
still the official community in many a Punjaub station is fast becoming
colonial in its type, and Indian traditions are losing ground. English
wives and sisters abound in Lahore, even the railway and canal officials
having brought out their families; and during the cool weather race
meetings, drag hunts, cricket matches, and croquet parties follow one
another from day to day, and Lahore boasts a volunteer corps. When the
hot season comes on, those who can escape to the hills, and the wives
and children of those who cannot go, run to Dalhousie, as Londoners do
to Eastbourne.

The healthy English tone of the European communities of Umritsur and
Lahore is reflected in the newspapers of the Punjaub, which are the best
in India, although the blunders of the native printers render the
“betting news” unintelligible, and the “cricket scores” obscure. The
columns of the Lahore papers present as singular a mixture of
incongruous articles as even the Government _Gazette_ offers to its
readers. An official notice that it will be impossible to allow more
than 560 elephants to take part in the next Lucknow procession follows a
report of the “ice meeting” of the community of Lahore, to arrange about
the next supply; and side by side with this is an article on the Punjaub
trade with Chinese Tartary, which recommends the government of India to
conquer Afghanistan, and to reoccupy the valley of Cashmere. A paragraph
notices the presentation by the Punjaub government to a native
gentleman, who has built a serai at his own cost, of a valuable gift;
another records a brush with the Wagheers. The only police case is the
infliction on a sweeper of a fine of thirty rupees for letting his
donkey run against a high-caste woman, whereby she was defiled; but a
European magistrate reprimands a native pleader for appearing in court
with his shoes on; and a notice from the Lieutenant-Governor gives a
list of the holidays to be observed by the courts, in which the “Queen‘s
Birthday” comes between “Bhudur Kalee” and “Oors data Gunjbuksh,” while
“Christmas” follows “Shubberat,” and “Ash Wednesday” precedes “Holee.”
As one of the holidays lasts a fortnight, and many more than a week, the
total number of _dies non_ is considerable; but a postscript decrees
that additional local holidays shall be granted for fairs and festivals,
and for the solar and lunar eclipse, which brings the no-court days up
to sixty or seventy, besides those in the Long Vacation. The Hindoos are
in the happy position of having also six new-year‘s days in every
twelvemonth; but the editor of one of the Lahore papers says that his
Mohammedan compositors manifest a singular interest in Hindoo feasts,
which shows a gratifying spread of toleration! An article on the
“Queen‘s English in Hindostan,” in the _Punjaub Times_, gives, as a
specimen of the poetry of Young Bengal, a serenade in which the skylark
carols on the primrose bush. “Emerge, my love,” the poet cries

                 “The fragrant, dewy grove
    We‘ll wander through till gun-fire bids us part.”

But the final stanza is the best:

    “Then, Leila, come! nor longer cogitate;
       Thy egress let no scruples dire retard;
     Contiguous to the portals of thy gate
       Suspensively I supplicate regard.”

The advertisements range from books on the languages of Dardistan to
government contracts for elephant fodder, or price-lists of English
beer; and an announcement of an Afghan history in the Urdu tongue is
followed by a prospectus of Berkhamstead Grammar School. King Edward
would rub his eyes were he to wake and find himself being advertised in
Lahore.

The Punjaub Europeans, with their English newspapers and English ways,
are strange governors for an empire conquered from the bravest of all
Eastern races little more than eighteen years ago. One of them, taking
up a town policeman‘s staff, said to me, one day, “Who could have
thought in 1850 that in 1867 we should be ruling the Sikhs with this?”



CHAPTER XII.

OUR INDIAN ARMY.



During my stay in Lahore, a force of Sikhs and Pathans was being raised
for service at Hong Kong by an officer staying in the same hotel with
myself, and a large number of men were being enlisted in the city by
recruiting parties of the Bombay army. In all parts of India, we are now
relying, so far as our native forces are concerned, upon the men who
only a few years back were by much our most dangerous foes.

Throughout the East, subjects concern themselves but little in the
quarrels of their princes, and the Sikhs are no exception to the rule.
They fought splendidly in the Persian ranks at Marathon; under Shere
Singh, they made their memorable stand at Chillianwallah; but, under
Nicholson, they beat the bravest of the Bengal sepoys before Delhi.
Whether they fight for us or against us is all one to them. They fight
for those who pay them, and have no politics beyond their pockets. So
far, they seem useful allies to us, who hold the purse of India. Unable
to trust Hindoos with arms, we can at least rule them by the employment
as soldiers of their fiercest enemies.

When we come to look carefully at our system, its morality is hardly
clear. As we administer the revenues of India, nominally at least, for
the benefit of the Indians, it might be argued that we may fairly keep
on foot such troops as are best fitted to secure her against attack; but
the argument breaks down when it is remembered that 70,000 British
troops are maintained in India from the Indian revenues for that
purpose, and that local order is secured by an ample force of military
police. Even if the employment of Sikhs in times of emergency may be
advisable, it cannot be denied that the day has gone by for permanently
overawing a people by means of standing armies composed of their
hereditary foes.

In discussing the question of the Indian armies, we have carefully to
distinguish between the theory and the practice. The Indian official
theory says that not only is the native army a valuable auxiliary to the
English army in India, but that its moral effect on the people is of
great benefit to us, inasmuch as it raises their self-respect, and
offers a career to men who would otherwise be formidable enemies. The
practice proclaims that the native troops are either dangerous or
useless by arming them with weapons as antiquated as the bow and arrow,
destroys the moral effect which might possibly be produced by a Hindoo
force by filling the native ranks with Sikh and Goorkha aliens and
heretics, and makes us enemies without number by denying to natives that
promotion which the theory holds out to them. The existing system is
officially defended by the most contradictory arguments, and on the most
shifting of grounds. Those who ask why we should not trust the natives,
at all events to the extent of allowing Bengal and Bombay men to serve,
and to serve with arms that they can use, in bodies which profess to be
the Bengal and Bombay armies, but which in fact are Sikh regiments which
we are afraid to arm, are told that the native army has mutinied times
without end, that it has never fought well except where, from the
number of British present, it had no choice but to fight, and that it is
dangerous and inefficient. Those who ask why this shadow of a native
army should be retained are told that its records of distinguished
service in old times are numerous and splendid. The huge British force
maintained in India, and the still huger native army, are each of them
made an excuse for the retention of the other at the existing standard.
If you say that it is evident that 70,000 British troops cannot be
needed in India, you are told that they are required to keep the 120,000
native troops in check. If you ask, Of what use, then, are the latter?
you hear that in the case of a serious imperial war the English troops
would be withdrawn, and the defense of India confided to these very
natives who in time of peace require to be thus severely held in check.
Such shallow arguments would be instantly exposed were not English
statesmen bribed by the knowledge that their acceptance as good logic
allows us to maintain at India‘s cost 70,000 British soldiers, who in
time of danger would be available for our defense at home.

That the English force of 70,000 men maintained in India in time of
peace can be needed there in peace or war is not to be supposed by those
who remember that 10,000 men were all that were really needed to
suppress the wide-spread mutiny of 1857, and that Russia--our only
possible enemy from without--never succeeded during a two years’ war in
her own territory in placing a disposable army of 60,000 men in the
Crimea. Another mutiny such as that of 1857 is, indeed, impossible, now
that we retain both forts and artillery exclusively in British hands;
and Russia, having to bring her supplies and men across almost boundless
deserts, or through hostile Afghanistan, would be met at the Khyber by
our whole Indian army, concentrated from the most distant stations at a
few days’ notice, fighting in a well-known and friendly country, and
supplied from the plains of all India by the railroads. Our English
troops in India are sufficiently numerous, were it necessary, to fight
both the Russians and our native army; but it is absurd that we should
maintain in India, in a time of perfect peace, at a yearly cost to the
people of that country of from fourteen to sixteen millions sterling, an
army fit to cope with the most tremendous disasters that could overtake
the country, and at the same time unspeakably ridiculous that we should
in all our calculations be forced to set down the native army as a cause
of weakness. The native rulers, moreover, whatever their unpopularity
with their people, were always able to array powerful levies against
enemies from without; and if our government of India is not a miserable
failure, our influence over the lower classes of the people ought, at
the least, to be little inferior to that exercised by the Mogul emperors
or the Maratta chiefs.

As for local risings, concentration of our troops by means of the
railroads that would be constructed in half a dozen years out of our
military savings alone, and which American experience shows us cannot be
effectually destroyed, would be amply sufficient to deal with them were
the force reduced to 30,000 men; and a general rebellion of the people
of India we have no reason to expect, and no right to resist should it
by any combination of circumstances be brought about.

The taxation required to maintain the present Indian army presses
severely upon what is in fact the poorest country in the world; the
yearly drain of many thousand men weighs heavily upon us; and our system
seems to proclaim to the world the humiliating fact, that under British
government, and in times of peace, the most docile of all peoples need
an army of 200,000 men, in addition to the military police, to watch
them, or keep them down.

Whatever the decision come to with regard to the details of the changes
to be made in the Indian army system, it is at least clear that it will
be expedient in us to reduce the English army in India if we intend it
for India‘s defense, and our duty to abolish it if we intend it for our
own. It is also evident that, after allowing for mere police
duties--which should in all cases be performed by men equipped as, and
called by the name of, police--the native army should, whatever its
size, be rendered as effective as possible, by instruction in the use of
the best weapons of the age. If local insurrections have unfortunately
to be quelled, they must be quelled by English troops; and against
European invaders, native troops, to be of the slightest service, must
be armed as Europeans. As the possibility of European invasion is
remote, it would probably be advisable that the native army should be
gradually reduced until brought to the point of merely supplying the
body-guards and ceremonial-troops; at all events, the practice of
overawing Sikhs with Hindoos, and Hindoos with Sikhs, should be
abandoned as inconsistent with the nature of our government in India,
and with the first principles of freedom.

There is, however, no reason why we should wholly deprive ourselves of
the services of the Indian warrior tribes. If we are to continue to hold
such outposts as Gibraltar, the duty of defending them against all
comers might not improperly be intrusted wholly or partly to the Sikhs
or fiery little Goorkhas, on the ground that, while almost as brave as
European troops, they are somewhat cheaper. It is possible, indeed,
that, just as we draw our Goorkhas from independent Nepaul, other
European nations may draw Sikhs from us. We are not even now the only
rulers who employ Sikhs in war; the Khan of Kokand is said to have many
in his service: and, tightly ruled at home, the Punjaubees may not
improbably become the Swiss of Asia.

Whatever the European force to be maintained in India, it is clear that
it should be local. The Queen‘s army system has now had ten years’
trial, and has failed in every point in which failure was prophesied.
The officers, hating India, and having no knowledge of native languages
or customs, bring our government into contempt among the people;
recruits in England dread enlistment for service they know not where;
and Indian tax-payers complain that they are forced to support an army
over the disposition of which they have not the least control, and which
in time of need would probably be withdrawn from India. Even the Dutch,
they say, maintain a purely colonial force in Java, and the French have
pledged themselves that, when they withdraw the Algerian local troops,
they will replace them by regiments of the line. England and Spain alone
maintain purely imperial troops at the expense of their dependencies.

Were the European army in India kept separate from the English service,
it would be at once less costly and more efficient, while the officers
would be acquainted with the habits of the natives and customs of the
country, and not, as at present, mere birds of passage, careless of
offending native prejudice, indifferent to the feelings of those among
whom they have to live, and occupied each day of their idle life in
heartily wishing themselves at home again. There are, indeed, to the
existing system drawbacks more serious than have been mentioned.
Sufficient stress has not hitherto been laid upon the demoralization of
our army and danger to our home freedom that must result from the
keeping in India of half our regular force. It is hard to believe that
men who have periodically to go through such scenes as those of 1857, or
who are in daily contact with a cringing dark-skinned race, can in the
long run continue to be firm friends to constitutional liberty at home;
and it should be remembered that the English troops in India, though
under the orders of the Commander-in-Chief, are practically independent
of the House of Commons.

It is not only constitutionally that Indian rotation service is bad. The
system is destructive to the discipline of our troops, and a separate
service is the only remedy.



CHAPTER XIII.

RUSSIA.


For fifty years or more, we have been warned that one day we must
encounter Russia, and for fifty years Muscovite armies, conquering their
way step by step, have been advancing southward, till we find England
and Russia now all-but face to face in Central Asia.

Steadily the Russians are advancing. Their circular of 1864, in which
they declared that they had reached their wished-for frontier, has been
altogether forgotten, and all Kokand, and portions of Bokhara, have been
swallowed up, while our spies in St. Petersburg tell the Indian Council
that Persia herself is doomed. Although, however, the distance of the
Russian from the English frontiers has been greatly reduced of late, it
is still far more considerable than is supposed. Instead of the Russian
outposts being 100 miles from Peshawur, as one alarmist has said, they
are still 400; and Samarcand, their nearest city, is 450 miles in a
straight line over the summit of the Hindoo Koosh, and 750 by road from
our frontier at the Khyber. At the same time, we must, in our
calculations of the future, assume that a few years will see Russia at
the northern base of the Hindoo Koosh, and in a position to overrun
Persia and take Herat.

It has been proposed that we should declare to Russia our intention to
preserve Afghanistan as neutral ground; but there arises this
difficulty, that, having agreed to this plan, Russia would immediately
proceed to set about ruling Afghanistan through Persia. On the other
hand, it is impossible, as we have already found, to treat with
Afghanistan, as there is no Afghanistan with which to treat; nor can we
enter into friendly relations with any Afghan chief, lest his neighbor
and enemy should hold us responsible for his acts. If we are to have any
dealings with the Afghans, we shall soon be forced to take a side, and
necessarily to fight and conquer, but at a great cost in men and money.
It might be possible to make friends of some of the frontier tribes by
giving them lands within our borders on condition of their performing
military service and respecting the lives and property of our merchants;
but the policy would be costly, and its results uncertain, while we
should probably soon find ourselves embroiled in Afghan politics.
Moreover, meddling in Afghanistan, long since proved to be a foolish and
a dangerous course, can hardly be made a wise one by the fact of the
Russians being at the gate.

Many would have us advance to Herat, on the ground that it is in
Afghanistan, and not on the plains of India, that Russia must be met;
but such is the fierceness of the Afghans, such the poverty of their
country, that its occupation would be at once a source of weakness and a
military trap to the invader. Were we to occupy Herat, we should have
Persians and Afghans alike against us; were the Russians to annex
Afghanistan, they could never descend into the plains of India without a
little diplomacy, or a little money from us, bringing the Afghan
fanatics upon their rear. When, indeed, we look carefully into the
meaning of those Anglo-Indians who would have us repeat our attempt to
thrash the Afghans into loving us, we find that the pith of their
complaint seems to be that battles and conquests mean promotion, and
that we have no one left in India upon whom we can wage war. Civilians
look for new appointments, military men for employment, missionaries for
fresh fields, and all see their opening in annexation, while the
newspapers echo the cry of their readers, and call on the Viceroy to
annex Afghanistan “at the cost of impeachment.”

Were our frontier at Peshawur a good one for defense, there could be but
little reason shown for an occupation of any part of Afghanistan; but,
as it is, the question of the desirability of an advance is complicated
by the lamentable weakness of our present frontier. Were Russia to move
down upon India, we should have to meet her either in Afghanistan or
upon the Indus: to meet her at Peshawur, at the foot of the mountains
and with the Indus behind us, would be a military suicide. Of the two
courses that would be open to us, a retreat to the Indus would be a
terrible blow to the confidence of our troops, and an advance to Cabool
or Herat would be an advance out of reach of our railroad
communications, and through a dangerous defile. To maintain our frontier
force at Peshawur, as we now do, is to maintain in a pestilential valley
a force which, if attacked, could not fight where it is stationed, but
would be forced to advance into Afghanistan or retreat to the Indus. The
best policy would probably be to withdraw the Europeans from Peshawur
and Rawul Pindee, and place them upon the Indus in the hills near
Attock, completing our railroad from Attock to Lahore and from Attock to
the hill station, and to leave the native force to defend the Khyber and
Peshawur against the mountain tribes. We should also encourage European
settlement in the valley of Cashmere. On the other hand, we should push
a short railroad from the Indus to the Bholan Pass, and there
concentrate a second powerful European force, with a view to resisting
invasion at that point, and of taking in flank and rear any invader who
might advance upon the Khyber. The Bholan Pass is, moreover, on the road
to Candahar and Herat; and, although it would be a mistake to occupy
those