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Title: Historic Adventures - Tales from American History
Author: Holland, Rupert S.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Historic Adventures - Tales from American History" ***

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    Historic Adventures

    _Tales from American History_


    _Author of "Historic Boyhoods," "Historic Girlhoods,"
    "Historic Inventions," etc._



    Copyright, 1913, by
    _Published October, 1913_

    _All rights reserved_
    Printed in U.S.A.

    Robert D. Jenks_


       I. THE LOST CHILDREN                                     9

      II. THE GREAT JOURNEY OF LEWIS AND CLARK                 21

     III. THE CONSPIRACY OF AARON BURR                         59


       V. THE FATE OF LOVEJOY'S PRINTING-PRESS                113

      VI. HOW MARCUS WHITMAN SAVED OREGON                     135

     VII. HOW THE MORMONS CAME TO SETTLE UTAH                 165

    VIII. THE GOLDEN DAYS OF 'FORTY-NINE                      181


       X. THE PIG THAT ALMOST CAUSED A WAR                    222

      XI. JOHN BROWN AT HARPER'S FERRY                        229

     XII. AN ARCTIC EXPLORER                                  254

    XIII. THE STORY OF ALASKA                                 264



    Shooting tongues of smoke from their great black
            throats                                _Frontispiece_

                                                    _Facing page_
    Sawquehanna seemed to remember the voice                   18

    Decatur caught the Moor's arm                              90

    The last six hundred miles were the hardest               152

    Nauvoo had handsome houses and public buildings           166

    Wherever there was a stream explorers began to dig        186

    The teams, exhausted, began to fail                       200

    Spanish boats pulled close to them                        282



The valleys of Pennsylvania were dotted with log cabins in the days of
the French and Indian wars. Sometimes a number of the little houses
stood close together for protection, but often they were built far
apart. Wherever the pioneer saw good farm land he settled. It was a new
sensation for men to be able to go into the country and take whatever
land attracted them. Gentle rolling fields, with wide views of distant
country through the notches of the hills, shining rivers, splendid uncut
forests, and rich pasturage were to be found not far from the growing
village of Philadelphia, and were free to any who wished to take them.
Such a land would have been a paradise, but for one shadow that hung
over it. In the background always lurked the Indians, who might at any
time, without rhyme or reason, steal down upon the lonely hamlet or
cabin, and lay it waste. The pioneer looked across the broad acres of
central Pennsylvania and found them beautiful. Only when he had built
his home and planted his fields did he fully realize the constant peril
that lurked in the wooded mountains.

English, French, and Spanish came to the new world, and the English
proved themselves the best colonists. They settled the central part
of the Atlantic Coast, but among them and mixed with them were people
of other lands. The Dutch took a liking for the Island of Manhattan
and the Hudson River, the Swedes for Delaware, and into the colony of
William Penn came pilgrims from what was called the Palatinate, Germans,
a strong race drawn partly by desire for religious freedom, partly by
the reports of the great free lands across the ocean. They brought with
them the tongue, the customs, and the names of the German Fatherland,
and many a valley of eastern Pennsylvania heard only the German language

The Indian tribes known as the Six Nations roamed through the country
watered by the Susquehanna. They hunted through all the land south of
the Great Lakes. Sometimes they fought with the Delawares, sometimes
with the Catawbas, and again they would smoke the calumet or pipe of
peace with their neighbors, and give up the war-path for months at a
time. But the settlers could never be sure of their intentions. Wily
French agents might sow seeds of discord in the Indians' minds, and
then the chiefs who had lately exchanged gifts with the settlers might
suddenly steal upon some quiet village and leave the place in ruins.
This constant peril was the price men had to pay in return for the right
to take whatever land they liked.

In a little valley of eastern Pennsylvania a German settler named John
Hartman had built a cabin in 1754. He had come to this place with his
wife and four children because here he might earn a good living from the
land. He was a hard worker, and his farm was prospering. He had horses
and cattle, and his wife spun and wove the clothing for the family. The
four children, George, Barbara, Regina, and Christian, looked upon the
valley as their home, forgetting the German village over the sea. Not
far away lived neighbors, and sometimes the children went to play with
other boys and girls, and sometimes their friends spent a holiday on
John Hartman's farm.

The family, like all farmers' families, rose early. Before they began
the day's work the father would read to them from his big Bible, which
he had brought from his native land as his most valuable possession. On
a bright morning in the autumn of 1754 he gathered his family in the
living-room of his cabin and read them a Bible lesson. The doors and
windows stood open, and the sun flooded the little house, built of rough
boards, and scrupulously clean. The farmer's dog, Wasser, lay curled
up asleep just outside the front door, and a pair of horses, already
harnessed, stood waiting to be driven to the field. Birds singing in
the trees called to the children to hurry out-of-doors. They tried to
listen to their father's voice as he read, and to pay attention. As they
all knelt he prayed for their safety. Then they had breakfast, and the
father and mother made plans for the day. Mrs. Hartman was to take the
younger boy, Christian, to the flour-mill several miles away, and if
they had time was to call at the cabin of a sick friend. The father and
George went to the field to finish their sowing before the autumn rains
should come, and the two little girls were told to look after the house
till their mother should return. Little Christian sat upon an old horse,
held on by his mother, and waved his hand to his father and George as he
rode by the field on his way to the mill.

The girls, like their mother, were good housekeepers. They set the table
for dinner, and at noon Barbara blew the big tin horn to call her father
and brother. As they were eating dinner the dog Wasser came running into
the house growling, and acting as if he were very much frightened. Mr.
Hartman spoke to him, and called him to his side. But the dog stood in
the doorway, and then suddenly leaped forward and sprang upon an Indian
who came around the wall.

The peril that lurked in the woods had come. John Hartman jumped to the
door, but two rifle bullets struck him down. George sprang up, only to
fall beside his father. An Indian killed the dog with his tomahawk.
Into the peaceful cabin swarmed fifteen yelling savages. Barbara ran up
a ladder into the loft, and Regina fell on her knees, murmuring "Herr
Jesus! Herr Jesus!" The Indians hesitated, then one of them seized her,
and made a motion with his knife across her lips to bid her be silent.
Another went after Barbara and brought her down from the loft, and then
the Indians ordered the two girls to put on the table all the food there
was in the cabin.

When the food was gone the savages plundered the house, making bundles
of what they wanted and slinging them over their shoulders. They took
the two little girls into the field. There another girl stood tied to
the fence. When she saw Barbara and Regina she began to cry, and called
in German for her mother. While the three frightened girls stood close
together the Indians set fire to the cabin. Very soon the log house that
had cost John Hartman so much labor was burned to the ground. When their
work of destruction was completed the Indians took the three children
into the woods.

At sunset Mrs. Hartman returned from the flour-mill with little
Christian riding his horse, but when she came up the road it seemed as
if her house had disappeared. Yet the pine trees, the fences, the plowed
fields, and the orchard were still there. The little boy cried, "Where
is our house, mother?" and the poor woman could not understand.

The story of what had occurred was only too plain to her a few minutes
later. What had happened to many other pioneers had happened to her
family. Clutching Christian in her arms she ran to the house of her
nearest neighbor. There she heard that the Indians had left the same
track of blood through other parts of the valley; that farmers had
been slain; their crops burned; and their children carried off into the
wilderness. The terrified settlers banded together for protection. For
weeks new stories came of the Indians' massacres. If ever there were
heartless savages these were! They did not carry all the children to
their wigwams; some were killed on the way; and among them was little
Barbara Hartman. Word came from time to time of some of the stolen
children, but there was no word of Regina or Susan Smith, the daughter
of the neighboring farmer.

       *       *       *       *       *

Far in the forests of western New York was the camp of a great Indian
tribe. The wigwams stood on the banks of a beautiful mountain stream,
broken by great rocks that sent the water leaping in cascades and
falls. In one of the wigwams lived the mother of a famous warrior
of the tribe, and with her were two girls whom she treated as her
daughters. The name of the old squaw was She-lack-la, which meant "the
Dark and Rainy Cloud," a name given her because at times she grew very
angry and ill-treated every one around her. Fortunately there were two
girls in her wigwam, and when the old squaw was in a bad temper they
had each other for protection. The older girl had been given the name
of Saw-que-han-na, or "the White Lily," and the other was known as
Kno-los-ka, "the Short-legged Bear." Like all the Indian girls they had
to work hard, grinding corn, cooking and keeping house for the boys
and men who were brought up to hunt and fight. Sawquehanna was tall and
strong, spoke the language of the tribe, and looked very much like her
Indian girl friends.

In the meantime many battles had been fought through the country of
the pioneers, and the English colonists were beating the French and
Indians, and driving the Frenchmen farther and farther north. In 1765
the long war between the two nations ended. Under a treaty of peace the
English Colonel Boquet demanded that all the white children who had
been captured by the Indian tribes should be surrendered to the English
officers. So one day white soldiers came into the woods of western New
York and found the wigwams there. The children were called out, and the
soldiers took the two girls from the old squaw Shelackla. Then they
went on to the other tribes, and from each they took all the white
children. They carried them to Fort Duquesne. The Fort was in western
Pennsylvania, and as soon as it was known that the lost white children
were there, fathers and mothers all over the country hurried to find
their boys and girls. Many of the children had been away so long that
they hardly remembered their parents, but most of the parents knew their
children, and found them again within the walls of the fortress.

Some of the children, however, were not claimed. Sawquehanna and her
friend Knoloska and nearly fifty more found no one looking for them
and wondered what would happen to them. After they had waited at Fort
Duquesne eight days, Colonel Boquet started to march with his band
of children to the town of Carlisle, in hopes that they might find
friends farther east, or at least kind-hearted people who would give the
children homes. He sent news of their march all through the country, and
from day to day as they traveled through the mountains by way of Fort
Ligonier, Raystown, and Louden, eager people arrived to search among the
band of children for lost sons and daughters. When the children came to
Carlisle the town was filled with settlers from the East.

The children stood in the market-place, and the men and women pressed
about them, trying to recognize little ones who had been carried away by
Indians years before. Some people who lived in the Blue Mountains were
in the throng, and they recognized the dark-haired Indian girl Knoloska
as Susan, the daughter of Mr. Smith, the farmer who had lived near the
Hartmans. Knoloska and Sawquehanna had not been separated for a long
time. They had kept together ever since the white soldiers had freed
them from the old squaw's wigwam. Sawquehanna could not bear to think of
having her comrade leave her, and Susan clung to her adopted sister's
arm and kissed her again and again. The white people were much kinder
than the old squaw had been, and instead of beating the girls when they
cried, and frightening them with threats, the officers told Sawquehanna
that she would probably find some friends soon, and if she did not, that
perhaps Susan's family would let her live in their home. But as nobody
seemed to recognize her Sawquehanna felt more lonely than she had ever
felt before.

Meanwhile Mrs. Hartman was living in the valley with her son Christian,
who had grown to be a strong boy of fourteen. Neighbors told her that
the lost children were being brought across the mountains to Carlisle,
but there seemed little chance that her own Regina might be one of them.
She decided, however, that she must go to the town and see. Travel
was difficult in those days, but the brave woman set out over the
mountains and across the rivers to Carlisle, and at last reached the
town market-place. She looked anxiously among the girls, remembering
her little daughter as she had been on that autumn day eleven years
before; but none of the girls had the blue eyes, light yellow hair and
red cheeks of Regina. Mrs. Hartman shook her head, and decided that her
daughter was not among these children.

As she turned away, disconsolate, Colonel Boquet said to her, "Can't you
find your daughter?"

"No," said the disappointed mother, "my daughter is not among those

"Are you sure?" asked the colonel. "Are there no marks by which you
might know her?"

"None, sir," she answered, shaking her head.

Colonel Boquet considered the matter for a few minutes. "Did you ever
sing to her?" he asked presently. "Was there no old hymn that she was
fond of?"

The mother looked up quickly. "Yes, there was!" she answered. "I have
often sung her to sleep in my arms with an old German hymn we all loved
so well."

"Then," said the colonel, "you and I will walk along the line of girls
and you shall sing that hymn. It may be that your daughter has changed
so much that you wouldn't know her, but she may remember the tune."

Mrs. Hartman looked very doubtful. "There is little use in it, sir," she
said, "for certainly I should have known her if she were here; and if
I try your plan all these soldiers will laugh at me for a foolish old
German woman."


The colonel, however, begged her at least to try his plan, and she
finally consented. They walked back to the place where the children were
standing, and Mrs. Hartman began to sing in a trembling voice the first
words of the old hymn:

    "Alone, and yet not all alone, am I
       In this lone wilderness."

As she went on singing every one stopped talking and turned to look at
her. The woman's hands were clasped as if in prayer, and her eyes
were closed. The sun shone full upon her white hair and upturned face.
There was something very beautiful in the picture she made, and there
was silence in the market-place as her gentle voice went on through the
words of the hymn.

The mother had begun the second verse when one of the children gave a
cry. It was Sawquehanna, who seemed suddenly to have remembered the
voice and words. She rushed forward, and flung her arms about the
mother's neck, crying, "Mother, mother!" Then, with her arms tight about
her, the tall girl joined in singing the words that had lulled her to
sleep in their cabin home.

    "Alone, and yet not all alone, am I
       In this lone wilderness,
    I feel my Saviour always nigh;
       He comes the weary hours to bless.
    I am with Him, and He with me,
       E'en here alone I cannot be."

The people in the market-place moved on about their own affairs, and the
mother and daughter were left together. Now Mrs. Hartman recognized the
blue eyes of Regina, and knew her daughter in spite of her height and
dark skin. Regina began to remember the days of her childhood, and the
years she had spent among the Indians were forgotten. She was a white
girl again, and happier now than she had ever thought to be.

Next day Knoloska, now Susan Smith, and Sawquehanna, or Regina Hartman,
went back to their homes in the valley. Many a settler there had found
his son or daughter in the crowd of lost children at Carlisle.



French is still spoken in Quebec and New Orleans, reminders that the
land of the lilies had much to do with the settlement of North America.
Many of the greatest explorers of the continent were Frenchmen. Jacques
Cartier sailed up the St. Lawrence River in 1534, and Champlain in 1603
founded New France, and from his small fortress at Quebec planned an
empire that should reach to Florida. In 1666 Robert Cavalier, the Sieur
de La Salle, came to Canada, and set out from his _seigneurie_ near the
rapids of Montreal to find the long-sought road to China. Instead of
doing that he discovered the Ohio River, first of white men he voyaged
across the Great Lakes and sailed down the Mississippi to its mouth.
Great explorer, he mapped the country from the St. Lawrence to the
Gulf of Mexico, from the Mississippi to the Atlantic Ocean, and built
frontier-posts in the wilderness. He traveled thousands of miles, and in
1682 he raised the lilies of France near the mouth of the Mississippi
and named the whole territory he had covered _Louisiana_, in honor of
King Louis XIV of France.

The first colony on the Gulf was established seventeen years later at
Biloxi by a Canadian _seigneur_ named Iberville. Soon afterward this
_seigneur's_ brother, Bienville, founded New Orleans and attracted
many French pioneers there. The French proved to be better explorers
than farmers or settlers. In the south they hunted the sources of the
Arkansas and Red Rivers, and discovered the little-known Pawnee and
Comanche Indians. In the north they pressed westward and came in sight
of the Rocky Mountains. At that time it seemed as if France was to own
at least two-thirds of the continent. The English general, Braddock,
was defeated at Fort Duquesne in 1755, and the French commanded the
Ohio as well as the Mississippi; but four years later the English
general, Wolfe, won the victory of the Plains of Abraham near Quebec;
and France's chance was over. Men in Paris who knew little concerning
the new world did not scruple to give away their country's title to
vast lands. The French ceded Canada and all of La Salle's old province
of Louisiana east of the Mississippi, except New Orleans, to England.
Soon afterward France, to outwit England, gave Spain New Orleans and her
claim to the half of the Mississippi Valley west of the river to which
the name Louisiana now came to be restricted.

The French, however, were great adventurers by nature, and Napoleon,
changing the map of Europe, could not keep his fingers from North
America. He planned to win back the New France that had been given
away. Spain was weak, and Napoleon traded a small province in Italy for
the great tract of Louisiana. He meant to colonize and fortify this
splendid empire, but before it could be done enemies gathered against
his eagles at home, and to save his European throne he had to forsake
his western colony.

When Thomas Jefferson became President in 1801, he found the people of
the South and West disturbed at France's repossessing herself of so much
territory. He sent Robert R. Livingston and James Monroe to Paris to try
to buy New Orleans and the country known as the Floridas for $2,000,000.
Instead Napoleon offered to sell not only New Orleans, but the whole
of Louisiana Territory extending as far west as the Rocky Mountains
for $15,000,000. Napoleon insisted on the sale, and the envoys agreed.
Jefferson and the people in the eastern United States were dismayed at
the price paid for what they considered almost worthless land, but the
West was delighted, owning the mouth of the great Mississippi and with
the country beyond it free to them to explore. In time this purchase of
Louisiana, or the territory stretching to the Rocky Mountains, forming
the larger part of what are now thirteen of the states of the Union,
was to be considered one of the greatest pieces of good fortune in the
country's history.

Scarcely anything was known of Louisiana, except the stories told by
a few hunters. Jefferson decided that the region must be explored,
and asked his young secretary, Meriwether Lewis, who had shown great
interest in the new country, to make a path through the wilderness.
Lewis chose his friend William Clark to accompany him, and picked
thirty-two experienced men for their party. May 14, 1804, the expedition
set out in a barge with sails and two smaller boats from a point on the
Missouri River near St. Louis.

The nearer part of this country had already been well explored by
hunters and trappers, and especially by that race of adventurous
Frenchmen who were rovers by nature. These men could not endure
the confining life of towns, and were continually pushing into the
wilderness, driving their light canoes over the waters of the great
rivers, and often sharing the tents of friendly Indians they met. Many
had become almost more Indian than white man,--had married Indian
wives and lived the wandering life of the native. Such a man Captain
Lewis found at the start of his journey, and took with him to act as
interpreter among the Sioux and tribes who spoke a similar language.

The party traveled rapidly at the outset of their journey, meeting small
bands of Indians, and passing one or two widely-separated frontier
settlements. They had to pass many difficult rapids in the river, but as
they were for the most part expert boatmen they met with no mishaps. The
last white town on the Missouri was a little hamlet called La Charrette,
consisting of seven houses, with as many families located there to hunt
and trade for skins and furs. As they went up the river they frequently
met canoes loaded with furs coming down. Day by day they took careful
observations, and made maps of the country through which they were
traveling, and when they met Indians tried to learn the history and
customs of the tribe. Captain Lewis wrote down many of their curious
traditions. The Osage tribe had given their name to a river that flowed
into the Missouri a little more than a hundred miles from its mouth.
There were three tribes of this nation: the Great Osages, numbering
about five hundred warriors; the Little Osages, who lived some six miles
distant from the others, and numbered half as many men; and the Arkansas
band, six hundred strong, who had left the others some time before, and
settled on the Vermillion River. The Osages lived in villages and were
good farmers, usually peaceful, although naturally strong and tireless.
Captain Lewis found a curious tradition as to the origin of their tribe.
The story was that the founder of the nation was a snail, who lived
quietly on the banks of the Osage until a high flood swept him down to
the Missouri, and left him exposed on the shore. The heat of the sun
at length ripened him into a man, but with the change in his nature he
did not forget his native haunts on the Osage, but immediately bent
his way in that direction. He was, however, soon overtaken by hunger
and fatigue, when happily the Great Spirit appeared, and giving him a
bow and arrow showed him how to kill and cook deer, and cover himself
with the skins. He then pushed on to his home, but as he neared it he
was met by a beaver, who inquired haughtily who he was, and by what
authority he came to disturb his possession. The Osage answered that the
river was his own, for he had once lived on its borders. As they stood
disputing, the daughter of the beaver came, and having by her entreaties
made peace between her father and the young stranger, it was proposed
that the Osage should marry the young beaver, and share the banks of
the river with her family. The Osage readily consented, and from this
happy marriage there came the village and the nation of the Wasbasha,
or Osages, who kept a reverence for their ancestors, never hunting the
beaver, because in killing that animal they would kill a brother of the
Osage. The explorers found, however, that since the value of beaver
skins had risen in trade with the white men, these Indians were not so
particular in their reverence for their relatives.

The mouth of the Platte River was reached on July 21st, and the next day
Lewis held a council with the Ottoes and Missouri Indians, and named the
site Council Bluffs. At each of these meetings between Lewis and the
Indians the white man would explain that this territory was now part
of the United States, would urge the tribes to trade with their new
neighbors, and then present them with gifts of medals, necklaces, rings,
tobacco, ornaments of all sorts, and often powder and arms.

The Indians were friendly and each day taught the white men something
new. Both Captain Lewis and Lieutenant Clark had seen much of the red
men on the frontier, but now they were in a land where they found them
in their own homes. They grew accustomed to the round tepees decorated
with bright-colored skins, the necklaces made of claws of grizzly bears,
the head-dresses of eagle feathers, the tambourines, or small drums that
furnished most of their music, the whip-rattles made of the hoofs of
goats and deer, the white-dressed buffalo robes painted with pictures
that told the history of the tribe, the moccasins and tobacco pouches
embroidered with many colored beads. Each tribe differed in some way
from its neighbors. For the first time the explorers found among the
Rickarees eight-sided earth-covered lodges, and basket-shaped boats made
of interwoven boughs covered with buffalo skins.

Game was plentiful as they went farther up the Missouri River. At
first no buffaloes were found, but bands of elk were seen, and large
herds of goats crossing from their summer grazing grounds in the hilly
region west of the Missouri to their winter quarters. Besides these
were antelopes, beavers, bears, badgers, deer, and porcupines, and the
river banks supplied them with plover, grouse, geese, turkeys, ducks,
and pelicans. There were plenty of wild fruits to be had, and they lived
well during the whole of the summer. They traveled rapidly until the
approach of cold weather decided them to establish winter quarters on
October 27th.

They pitched their camp, which they called Fort Mandan, on the eastern
shore of the Missouri, near the present city of Bismarck. They built
some wooden huts, which formed two sides of a triangle, and a row of
pickets on the third side, to provide them with a stockade in case of
attack. They found a trader of the Hudson's Bay Company near by, and
during the winter a dozen other traders visited them. Although they
appeared to be friendly, Captain Lewis was convinced that the traders
had no desire to see this United States expedition push into the
country, and would in fact do all they could to prevent its advance.
The Indians in the neighborhood belonged to the tribes of the Mandans,
Rickarees, and Minnetarees. The first two of these tribes went to war
early in the winter, but peace was made through the efforts of Captain
Lewis. After that all the Indians visited the encampment, bringing
stores of corn and presents of different sorts, in exchange for which
they obtained beads, rings, and cloth from the white men. Here Captain
Lewis learned a curious legend of the Mandan tribe. They believed that
all their nation originally lived in one large village underground
near a subterranean lake, and that a grape-vine stretched its roots
down to their home and gave them a view of daylight. Some of the more
adventurous of the tribe climbed up the vine, and were delighted with
the sight of the earth, which they found covered with buffaloes and
rich with all kinds of fruits. They gathered some grapes and returned
with them to their countrymen, and told them of the charms of the land
they had seen. The others were very much pleased with the story and with
the grapes, and men, women and children started to climb up the vine.
But when only half of them had reached the top a heavy woman broke the
vine by her weight, and so closed the road to the rest of the nation.
Each member of this tribe was accustomed to select a particular object
for his devotion, and call it his "medicine." To this they would offer
sacrifices of every kind. One of the Indians said to Captain Lewis, "I
was lately the owner of seventeen horses; but I have offered them all
up to my 'medicine,' and am now poor." He had actually loosed all his
seventeen horses on the plains, thinking that in that way he was doing
honor to his god.

Almost every day hunting parties left the camp and brought back
buffaloes. The weather grew very cold in December, and several times
the thermometer fell to forty degrees below zero. As spring advanced,
however, the weather became very mild, and as early as April 7, 1805,
they were able to leave their camp at Fort Manden and start on again.
The upper Missouri they found was too shallow for the large barge they
had used the previous summer, so this was now sent back down the river
in charge of a party of ten men who carried letters and specimens,
while the others embarked in six canoes and two large open boats that
they had built during the winter. So far the country through which they
had passed had been explored by a few Hudson's Bay trappers, but as they
now turned westward they came into a region entirely unknown, which they
soon found was almost uninhabited.

The party had by this time three interpreters, one a Canadian half-breed
named Drewyer, who had inherited from his mother the Indian's skill in
woodcraft, and who also knew the language of the white explorers. The
other two were a man named Chaboneau and his wife, a young squaw called
Sacajawea, the "Bird-woman," who had originally belonged to the Snake
tribe, but who had been captured in her childhood by Blackfeet Indians.
This Indian girl had married Chaboneau, a French wanderer, who like
many others of his kind had sunk into an almost savage state. As the
squaw had not forgotten the language of her native people the two white
leaders thought she would prove a valuable help to them in the wild
country westward, and persuaded her and her husband to go on with them.

As the weather was fine the party traveled rapidly, and by April 26th
reached the mouth of the Yellowstone. They were now very far north,
near the northwest corner of what is the state of North Dakota. Game
was still plentiful but the banks of the river were covered with a
coating of alkali salts, which made the water of the streams bitter and
unpleasant for drinking. Occasionally they came upon a deserted Indian
camp, but in this northern territory they found few roving tribes. When
there was a favorable wind they sailed along the Missouri, but most of
the time they had to use their oars. Early in May they drew up their
birch canoes for the night at the mouth of a stream where they found a
large number of porcupines feeding on young willow trees. Captain Lewis
christened the stream Porcupine River. Here there were quantities of
game, and elk and buffalo in abundance, so that it was an easy matter to
provide food for all the party.

Now they were continually coming upon new rivers, many of them broad,
with swift-flowing currents, and all of them appealing to the love of
exploration. The Missouri was their highroad, however, and so they
simply stopped to name the different streams they came to. One they
passed had a peculiar white color, and Captain Lewis called it the Milk
River. The country along this stream was bare for some distance, with
gradually rising hills beyond.

The game here was very plentiful and the buffaloes were so tame that the
men were obliged to drive them away with sticks and stones. The only
dangerous animal was the grizzly bear, a beast that never seemed to know
when he had had enough of a fight. One evening the men in the canoes
saw a large grizzly lying some three hundred paces from the shore. Six
of them landed and hid behind a small hillock within forty paces of the
bear; four of the hunters fired, and each lodged a ball in the bear's
body. The animal sprang up and roared furiously at them. As he came near
them the two hunters who had not yet fired gave him two more wounds,
one of which broke a shoulder, but before they had time to reload their
guns, the bear was so near them that they had to run for the river.
He almost overtook them; two jumped into the canoes; the other four
separated, and hiding in the willows fired as fast as they could reload
their guns. Again and again they shot him, but each time the shots
only seemed to attract his attention toward the hunters, until finally
he chased two of them so closely that they threw away their guns, and
jumped down a steep bank into the river. The bear sprang after them, and
was almost on top of the rear man when one of the others on shore shot
him in the head, and finally killed him. They dragged him to shore, and
found that eight balls had gone through him in different directions. The
hunters took the bear's skin back to camp, and there they learned that
another adventure had occurred. One of the other canoes, which contained
all the provisions, instruments, and numerous other important articles,
had been under sail when it was struck on the side by a sudden squall
of wind. The man at the helm, who was one of the worst navigators of
the party, made the mistake of luffing the boat into the wind. The
wind was so high that it forced the brace of the square-sail out of the
hand of the man who was holding it, and instantly upset the canoe. The
boat would have turned upside down but for the resistance of the canvas
awning. The other boats hastened to the rescue, righted the canoe, and
by baling her out kept her from sinking. They rowed the canoe to shore
and the cargo was saved. Had it been lost the expedition would have been
deprived of most of the things that were necessary for its success, at
a distance of between two and three thousand miles from any place where
they could get supplies.

On May 20th they reached the yellowish waters of the Musselshell River.
A short distance beyond this Captain Lewis caught his first view of
the Rocky Mountains, one of the goals toward which they were tending.
Along the Musselshell the country was covered with wild roses and small
honeysuckle, but soon after they came into a region that was very
bare and dry, where both game and timber were scarce, the mosquitoes
annoying, the noonday sun uncomfortably hot, and the nights very cold.
The Missouri River, along which they were still traveling, was now
heading to the southwest. They were near the border of the present state
of Idaho when they passed several old Indian camps, most of which seemed
to have been deserted for five or six weeks. From this fact they judged
that they were following a band of about one hundred lodges, who were
traveling up the same river. They knew that the Minnetarees of the
Missouri often traveled as far west as the Yellowstone, and presumed
that the Indians ahead of them belonged to that tribe. There were other
evidences of the Indians. At the foot of a cliff they found the bodies
of a great many slaughtered buffaloes, which had been hunted after the
fashion of the Blackfeet. Their way of hunting was to select one of the
most active braves, and disguise him by tying a buffalo skin around his
body, fastening the skin of the head, with ears and horns, over the head
of the brave. Thus disguised the Indian would take a position between a
herd of buffalo and the precipice overlooking a river. The other hunters
would steal back of the herd, and at a given signal chase them. The
buffaloes would run in the direction of the disguised brave, who would
lead them on at full speed toward the river. As he reached the edge he
would quickly hide himself in some crevice or ravine of the cliff, which
he had chosen beforehand, and the herd would be left on the brink. The
buffaloes in front could not stop being driven on by those behind, who
in their turn would be closely pursued by the hunters. The whole herd,
therefore, would usually rush over the cliff, and the hunters could take
their pick of hides and meat in the river below. This method of hunting
was very extravagant, but at that time the Indians had no thought of
preserving the buffaloes. One of the rivers Lewis passed in this region
he named the Slaughter River, on account of this way of hunting.

When the Missouri turned southward the explorers came to many steep
rapids, around which the canoes had to be carried, which made traveling
slow. Often the banks were so steep and the mud so thick that the men
were obliged to take off their moccasins, and much of the time they were
up to their arms in the cold water of the river. But there was a great
deal to charm the eye in the opening spring, even in that bare country.
Lewis found places near the river filled with choke-cherries, yellow
currants, wild roses, and prickly pears in full bloom. In the distance
the mountains, rising in long greenish-blue chains, the tops covered
with snow, invited the travelers to find what lay on the other side of
their ridges.

On June 3d they reached a place where the river divided into two wide
streams, and it became very important to decide which of the two was
the one that the Indians called the Ahmateahza, or Missouri, which they
had said approached very near to the Columbia River. Lewis knew that
the success of his expedition depended largely upon choosing the right
stream, because if, after they had ascended the Rocky Mountains beyond,
they should find that the river they had taken did not bring them near
the Columbia, they would have to return, and thereby would lose a large
part of the summer, which was the only season when they could travel.
For this reason he decided to send out two exploring parties. He himself
made a two days' march up the north branch, and deciding that this was
not the Missouri, he named it Maria's River. As they came back they had
to walk along high cliffs, and at one steep point Captain Lewis slipped,
and, if he had not been able to catch himself with his mountain stick,
would have been thrown into the river. He had just reached a point of
safety when he heard a man behind him call out, "Good God, captain, what
shall I do?" Turning instantly he found that his companion had lost his
footing on the narrow pass, and had slipped down to the very edge of the
precipice, where he lay with his right arm and leg over the cliff, while
with the other arm and leg he was trying to keep from slipping over.
Lewis saw the danger, but calmly told the other to take his knife from
his belt with his right hand, and dig a hole in the side of the bluff in
which to stick his foot. With great presence of mind the man did this,
and getting a foothold, raised himself on his knees. Lewis then told him
to take off his moccasins, and crawl forward on his hands and knees, his
knife in one hand and his rifle in the other. In this manner the man
regained a secure place on the cliff.

Captain Lewis considered that this method of traveling was too
dangerous, and he ordered the rest of the party to wade the river at the
foot of the bluff, where the water was only breast-high. This adventure
taught them the danger of crossing the slippery heights above the
stream, but as the plains were broken by ravines almost as difficult
to pass, they kept on down the river, sometimes wading in the mud
of the low grounds, sometimes in the water, but when that became too
deep, cutting footholds in the river bank with their knives. On that
particular day they traveled through rain, mud, and water for eighteen
miles, and at night camped in a deserted Indian lodge built of sticks.
Here they cooked part of the six deer they had killed in the day's
traveling, and slept on willow boughs they piled inside the lodge.

Many of the party thought that the north fork was the Missouri River,
but Lewis and Clark were both convinced that the south fork was the real
Missouri. They therefore hid their heaviest boat and all the supplies
they could spare, and prepared to push on with as little burden as
possible. A few days later Lewis was proved to be right in his judgment
of the south fork, for on June 13th he came to the Great Falls of the
Missouri. The grandeur of the falls made a tremendous impression on
them all. The river, three hundred yards wide, was shut in by steep
cliffs, and for ninety yards from the left cliff the water fell in a
smooth sheet over a precipice of eighty feet. The rest of the river shot
forward with greater force, and, being broken by projecting rocks, sent
clouds of foam into the air. As the water struck the basin below the
falls it beat furiously against the ledge of rocks that extended across
the river, and Lewis found that for three miles below the stream was one
line of rapids and cascades, overhung by bluffs. Five miles above the
first falls the whole river was blocked by one straight shelf of rock,
over which the water ran in an even sheet, a majestic sight.

This part of the Missouri, however, offered great difficulties to their
travel. The men had now journeyed constantly for several months, and
were in a region of steep falls and rapids. It was clear that they could
not carry the boats on their shoulders for long distances. Fortunately
they found a small creek at the foot of the falls, and by this they were
able to reach the highlands. From there Lieutenant Clark and a few men
surveyed the trail they were to follow, while others hunted and prepared
stores of dried meat, and the carpenter built a carriage to transport
the boats. They found a large cottonwood tree, about twenty-two inches
in diameter, which provided them with the carriage wheels. They decided
to leave one of their boats behind, and use its mast for two axle-trees.

Meantime Clark studied the river and found that a series of rapids
made a perilous descent, and that a portage of thirteen miles would be
necessary. The country was difficult for traveling, being covered with
patches of prickly pears, the needles of which cut through the moccasins
of the men who dragged the boat's carriage. To add to the difficulty,
when they were about five miles from their goal the axle-trees broke,
and then the tongues of green cottonwood gave way. They had to stop
and search for a substitute, and finally found willow trees, which
provided them with enough wood to patch up the boat-carriage. Half a
mile from their new camping place the carriage broke again, and this
time they found it easier to carry boat and baggage than to build a
new conveyance. Captain Lewis described the state of his party at this
portage. "The men," he wrote, "are loaded as heavily as their strength
will permit; the crossing is really painful; some are limping with the
soreness of their feet, others are scarcely able to stand for more than
a few minutes from the heat and fatigue; they are all obliged to halt
and rest frequently, and at almost every stopping place they fall, and
many of them are asleep in an instant."

As they had to go back to the other side of the rapids for the stores
they had left, they were obliged to repair the carriage and cross the
portage again and again. After ten days' work all their stores were
above the falls.

While they were busy making this portage they had several narrow escapes
from attacks by grizzly bears. The bears were so bold that they would
walk into the camp at night, attracted by buffalo meat, and the sleeping
men were in danger from their claws. A tremendous storm added to their
discomfort, and the hailstones were driven so furiously by the high wind
that they wounded some of the men. Before the storm Lieutenant Clark,
with his colored servant York, the half-breed Chaboneau, and his Indian
wife and young child, had taken the road above the falls on their way
to camp when they noticed a very dark cloud coming up rapidly in the
west. Clark hunted about for shelter, and at length found a ravine
protected by shelving rocks under which they could take refuge. Here
they were safe from the rain, and they laid down their guns, compass,
and the other articles they had with them. Rain and hail beat upon their
shelter, and the rain began to fall in such solid sheets that it washed
down rocks and mud from higher up the ravine. Then a landslide started,
but just before the heaviest part of it struck them Lieutenant Clark
seized his gun in one hand, and pushed the Indian woman, her child in
her arms, up the bank. Her husband also caught at her and pulled her
along, but he was so much frightened at the noise and danger that but
for Clark's steadiness he, with his wife and child, would probably have
been lost. As it was, Clark could hardly climb as fast as the water
rose. Had they waited a minute longer they would have been swept into
the Missouri just above the Great Falls. They reached the top in safety,
and there found York, who had left them just before the storm to hunt
some buffalo. They pushed on to camp where the rest of the party had
already taken shelter, and had abandoned all work for that day.

While the men were building a new boat of skins, Captain Lewis spent
much time studying the animals, trees, and plants of the region, making
records of them to take home. Ever since their arrival at the falls
they had heard a strange noise coming from the mountains a little to the
north of west. "It is heard at different periods of the day and night,"
Lewis wrote, "sometimes when the air is perfectly still and without a
cloud, and consists of one stroke only, or of five or six discharges
in quick succession. It is loud, and resembles precisely the sound
of a six-pound piece of ordnance at the distance of three miles. The
Minnetarees frequently mentioned this noise like thunder, which they
said the mountains made; but we paid no attention to it, believing it to
have been some superstition, or perhaps a falsehood. The watermen also
of the party say that the Pawnees and Ricaras give the same account of a
noise heard in the Black Mountains to the westward of them. The solution
of the mystery given by the philosophy of the watermen is, that it is
occasioned by the bursting of the rich mines of silver confined within
the bosom of the mountain."

Early in July the new boat was finished. It was very strong, and yet
could be carried easily by five men. But when it was first launched
they found that the tar-like material with which they had covered the
skins that made the body of the boat would not withstand water, and so
the craft leaked. After trying to repair the boat for several days they
finally decided to abandon it. Putting all their luggage into the canoes
they resumed their journey up the river.

As the canoes were heavily loaded the men who were not needed to paddle
them walked along the shore. The country here was very picturesque. At
times they climbed hills that gave them wide views of open country never
explored by white men; again they waded through fields of wild rye,
reminding them of the farm lands of the East; sometimes their path wound
through forests of redwood trees, and always they could see the high
mountains, still snow-capped. The glistening light on the mountain tops
told the explorers why they were called the Shining Mountains.

Game was now less plentiful, and as they had to save the dried meat
for the crossing of the mountains, it became a problem to provide
food for the party of thirty-two people, who usually consumed a daily
supply equal to an elk and deer, four deer or one buffalo. The wild
berries, however, were now ripe, and as there were quantities of these
they helped to furnish the larder. There were red, purple, yellow, and
black currants, gooseberries, and service-berries. The sunflower grew
everywhere. Lewis wrote in his diary: "The Indians of the Missouri, more
especially those who do not cultivate maize, make great use of the seed
of this plant for bread or in thickening their soup. They first parch
and then pound it between two stones until it is reduced to a fine meal.
Sometimes they add a portion of water, and drink it thus diluted; at
other times they add a sufficient proportion of marrow grease to reduce
it to the consistency of common dough and eat it in that manner. This
last composition we preferred to all the rest, and thought it at that
time a very palatable dish."

The Missouri now flowed to the south, and on July 18th the party reached
a wide stream, which they named Dearborn River in honor of the Secretary
of War. Lewis meant to send back a small party in canoes from this
point, but as he had not yet met the Snake Indians, and was uncertain
as to their friendliness, he decided he had better not weaken his
expedition here. He, however, sent Clark with three men on a scouting
trip. Clark found an old Indian road, which he followed, but the prickly
pears cut the feet of his men so badly that he could not go far. Along
his track he strewed signals, pieces of cloth and paper, to show the
Indians, if they should cross that trail, that the party was composed
of white men. Before he returned the main party had discovered a great
column of smoke up the valley, and suspected that this was an Indian
signal to show that their approach had been discovered. Afterward they
learned that this was the fact. The Indians had heard one of Clark's men
fire a gun, and, taking alarm, had fled into the mountains, giving the
smoke signal to warn the rest of the tribe.

The high mountains now began to draw close to the expedition, and they
camped one night at a place called the Gates of the Rocky Mountains.
Here tremendous rocks rose directly from the river's edge almost twelve
hundred feet in the air; at the base they were made of black granite,
but the upper part Lewis decided was probably flint of a yellowish brown
and cream color. On July 25th the advance guard reached the three forks
of the Missouri. Chaboneau was ill, and they had to wait until Lewis
and the others caught up. They named the forks of the river Gallatin,
Madison, and Jefferson, in honor of the statesmen of those names. It was
at this place that the Indian squaw Sacajawea had been in camp with her
tribe five years before when the Minnetarees attacked them, killed some,
and made a prisoner of her and some others. Lewis hoped that she would
be able to help them if they should fall in with bands of her own tribe.

As the main stream ended here, the party now followed the Jefferson
River. They soon decided that it would be necessary to secure horses
if they were to cross the mountains, and Lewis with three men set out
to try to find the Shoshone Indians, from whom they might buy mounts.
After several hours' march they saw a man on horseback coming across the
plain toward them; examining him through the glass Lewis decided that
he belonged to a different tribe of Indians from any that they had yet
met, probably the Shoshones. He was armed with a bow and a quiver of
arrows, and rode a good horse without a saddle, a small string attached
to the lower jaw answering as a bridle. Lewis was anxious to convince
him that the white men meant to be friendly, and went toward him at his
usual pace. When they were still some distance apart the Indian suddenly
stopped. Lewis immediately stopped also, and taking his blanket from
his knapsack, and holding it with both hands at the four corners threw
it above his head and then unfolded it as he brought it to the ground,
as if in the act of spreading it. This signal, which was intended to
represent the spreading of a robe as a seat for guests, was the common
sign of friendship among the Indian tribes of the Missouri and the Rocky
Mountains. Lewis repeated the sign three times, and then taking some
beads, a looking-glass, and a few other trinkets from his knapsack, and
leaving his gun, walked on toward the Indian. But when he was within
two hundred yards of him the Indian turned his horse and began to ride
away. Captain Lewis then called to him, using words of the Shoshones.
The captain's companions now walked forward, also, and their advance
evidently frightened the Indian, for he suddenly whipped his horse and
disappeared in a clump of willow bushes. When they returned to the
camp Lewis packed some more Indian gifts in his knapsack, and fastened
a small United States flag to a pole to be carried by one of the men,
which was intended as a friendly signal should the Indians see them

The next day brought them to the head-waters of the Jefferson River,
rising from low mountains. They had now reached the sources of the
great Missouri River, a place never before seen by white men. From this
distant spot flowed the waters that traversed a third of the continent,
finally flowing into the Mississippi near St. Louis.

Leaving the river, they followed an Indian road through the hills, and
reached the top of a ridge from which they could see more mountains,
partly covered with snow. The ridge on which they stood marked the
dividing line between the waters of the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans.
Going down the farther side they came to a creek, which was part of
the Columbia River; near this was a spring. They gathered enough dry
willow brush for fuel, and halted for the night. Here they ate their
last piece of pork, and had only a little flour and parched meal left
in the way of provisions. Early next day Lewis went forward on foot,
hoping to find some Indians. After several hours he saw three; but they
fled away. Later he came upon three Indian women; one of them ran, but
the other two, an elderly woman and a little girl, approached, evidently
thinking that the strangers were too near for them to escape, and sat
down on the ground. Lewis put down his rifle and walking to them, took
the woman by the hand, and helped her up. He then rolled up his shirt
sleeve to show that he was a white man, since his hands and face were
almost as dark as an Indian's. His companions joined him, and they gave
the Indians some pewter mirrors, beads, and other presents. He painted
the women's cheeks with some vermilion paint, which was the Shoshone
custom, meaning peace. He then made them understand by signs that he
wished to go to their camp to see their chiefs. The squaw led the white
men along a road for some two miles, when they met a band of sixty
mounted warriors riding toward them. Again Lewis dropped his rifle, and
courageously marched out to deal with these unknown red men. The chief
and two others galloped up in advance and spoke to the women, who showed
them the presents they had just received. Then the three Indians leaped
from their horses, and coming up to Lewis, put their arms about him in
friendly greeting, at the same time rubbing their cheeks against his and
smearing considerable paint on his face. The other white men advanced
and were greeted in the same way. Lewis gave presents to the warriors,
and, lighting a pipe, offered it to them for the "smoke of peace."
Before they smoked it, however, the Indians took off their moccasins,
a custom which meant that they would go barefooted forever, before
they broke their treaty of friendship with their friends. The chief
then turned and led the white men and his warriors to their camp. Here
the white men were invited into a leathern lodge, and seated on green
boughs and antelope skins. A small fire was lit in the centre. Again
taking off their moccasins, the chief lighted a pipe made of some highly
polished green stone; after some words in his own tongue he handed the
pipe to Captain Lewis, who then handed it to the other white men.
Each took a few whiffs, and then passed it back to the warriors. After
this ceremony was finished, Lewis explained that they were in great
need of food. The chief presented them with cakes made of sun-dried
service-berries and choke-cherries. Later another warrior gave them
a piece of boiled antelope, and some fresh roasted salmon, the first
salmon Lewis had seen, which convinced him that he was now on the waters
of the Columbia River. He learned that the Indians had received word of
the advance of his party, whom they at first took to be a hostile tribe,
and had therefore set out, prepared for an attack. As a further sign of
good-will, the white men were invited to witness an Indian dance, which
lasted nearly all night. It was late when the white men, tired by their
long day's journey, were allowed to take their rest.

On the next day Captain Lewis tried to persuade the Shoshones to
accompany him across the divide in order to assist in bringing his
baggage over. It took considerable argument to get the Indians to do
this, and he had to promise them more gifts and arouse their curiosity
by telling them that there were a black man and a native Indian woman
in his camp, before he could induce them to consent. Finally the chief,
Cameahwait, and several of his warriors agreed to go with Lewis. When
they reached the place where the rest of the party were camped the chief
was surprised and delighted to find that the Indian woman, Sacajawea,
was his own sister, whom he had not seen since she had been captured
by the enemies of his tribe. Clark's negro servant, York, caused much
amazement to the Indians, who had never seen a man of his color before.
Lewis then had a long talk with the Shoshones, telling them of the great
power of the government he represented, and of the advantages they would
receive by trading with the white men. Presently he won their good-will,
and they agreed to give him four horses in exchange for firearms and
other articles. Sacajawea was of the greatest help in the talk between
the white men and the Shoshones, and it was she who finally induced her
brother to do all he could to assist the explorers.

Lewis now sent Clark ahead to explore the route along the Columbia
River, and to build canoes if possible. The Indians had told him that
their road would lie over steep, rocky mountains, where there would be
little or no game, and then for ten days across a sandy desert. Clark
pushed on, and found all the Indians' reports correct. He met a few
small parties of Indians, but they had no provisions to spare, and his
men were soon exhausted from hunger and the weariness of marching over
mountains. His expedition proved that it would be impossible for the
main party to follow this river, to which he gave the name of Lewis, and
he returned to the camp of the Shoshones, which Lewis and the others had
made their headquarters.

In this camp the white men made preparations for the rest of their
journey. They finally obtained twenty-nine young horses and saddles
for them. They also studied the history and habits of this tribe, who
had once been among the most powerful, but had been lately defeated in
battle by their neighbors. The Shoshones were also called the Snake
Indians, and lived along the rivers of the northwest, fishing for salmon
and hunting buffaloes. Their chief wealth lay in their small, wiry
horses, which were very sure-footed and fleet, and to which they paid a
great deal of attention.

On August 27th the expedition started afresh, with twenty-nine
packhorses, heading across the mountains to other Indian encampments on
another branch of the Columbia. Travel was slow, as in many places they
had to cut a road for the ponies, and often the path was so rough that
the heavily-burdened horses would slip and fall. Snow fell at one time,
and added to the difficulty of the journey, but by September 6th they
had passed the mountain range, and had come into a wide valley, at the
head of a stream they called Clark's Fork of the Columbia. Here they
met about four hundred Ootlashoot Indians, to whom they gave presents
in exchange for fresh horses. Continuing again, they reached Traveler's
Rest Creek, and here they stopped to hunt, as the Indians had told them
that the country ahead held no game. After refurnishing their larder
they pushed on westward, and ran into another snow-storm, which made
riding more difficult than ever. Their provisions were soon exhausted,
game was lacking, and the situation was discouraging. The march had
proved very tiring, and there was no immediate prospect of reaching
better country. Lewis, therefore, sent Clark with six hunters ahead,
but this light scouting party was able to find very little game, and
was nearly exhausted, when on September 20th Clark came upon a village
of the Chopunish or Nez Percés Indians, in a beautiful valley. These
Indians had fish, roots, and berries, which they gave the white men, who
at once sent some back to Lewis and the others. These provisions reached
the main party at a time when they had been without food for more than a
day. Strengthened by the supplies, and encouraged by news of the Indian
village, they hastened forward, and reached the Nez Percés' encampment.

Their stock of firearms and small articles enabled them to buy
provisions from these Indians; and they moved on to the forks of the
Snake River, where they camped for several days, to enable the party
to regain its strength. They built five canoes in the Indian fashion,
and launched them on the river, which they hoped would lead them to the
ocean. Lewis hid his saddles and extra ammunition, and, having branded
the horses, turned them over to three Indians, who agreed to take care
of them until the party should return.

The Snake River, flowing through beautiful country, was filled with
rapids, and they had many hardships in passing them. At one place a
canoe struck a rock, and immediately filled with water and sank. Several
of the men could not swim, and were rescued with difficulty. At the
same time they had to guard their supplies carefully at night from
wandering Indians, who, although they were friendly, could not resist
the temptation to steal small articles of all sorts. The rapids passed,
the river brought them into the main stream of the Lewis River, and
this in turn led them to the junction of the Lewis and Columbia Rivers,
which they reached on October 17th. Here they parted from the last of
the Nez Percés Indians. The Columbia had as many rapids as the smaller
river, and in addition they came to the Great Falls, where they had to
lower the canoes by ropes made of elkskin. At one or two places they
had to make portages, but as this involved a great deal of extra labor,
they tried to keep to the stream wherever they could. At one place a
tremendous rock jutted into the river, leaving a channel only forty-five
yards wide through which the Columbia passed, its waters tossed into
great whirlpools and wild currents. Lewis decided that it would be
impossible to carry the boats over this high rock, and determined
to rely on skillful steering of them through the narrow passage. He
succeeded in doing this, although Indians whom he had met shortly before
had told him that it was impossible. At several places they landed most
of the men and all the valuable articles, and the two chief explorers
took the canoes through the rapids themselves, not daring to trust the
navigation to less experienced hands.

In this far-western country they were continually meeting wandering
Indians, and they learned from them that the Pacific Ocean was not far
distant. On October 28th Lewis found an Indian wearing a round hat and
sailor's jacket, which had been brought up the river in trade, and
soon after he found other red men wearing white men's clothes. On the
thirty-first they came to more falls. Here they followed the example
of their Indian friends, and carried the canoes and baggage across the
slippery rocks to the foot of the rapids. The large canoes were brought
down by slipping them along on poles, which were stretched from one rock
to another. They had to stop constantly to make repairs to the boats,
which had weathered all sorts of currents, and had been buffeted against
innumerable rocks and tree-trunks. Then they discovered tide-water in
the river, and pushed on eagerly to a place called Diamond Island. Here,
Lewis wrote, "we met fifteen Indians ascending the river in two canoes;
but the only information we could procure from them was that they had
seen three vessels, which we presumed to be European, at the mouth of
the Columbia."

They came to more and more Indian villages, generally belonging to the
Skilloot tribe, who were very friendly, but who were too sharp at a
bargain to please Captain Lewis. On November 7, 1805, they reached a
point from which they could see the ocean. Lewis says: "The fog cleared
off, and we enjoyed the delightful prospect of the ocean--that ocean,
the object of all our labors, the reward of all our anxieties. This
cheering view exhilarated the spirits of all the party, who were still
more delighted on hearing the distant roar of the breakers, and went on
with great cheerfulness."

It was late in the year, and the captain wished to push on so that he
might winter on the coast, but a heavy storm forced them to land and
seek refuge under a high cliff. The waves on the river were very high,
and the wind was blowing a gale directly from the sea; great waves broke
over the place where they camped, and they had to use the utmost care
to save their canoes from being smashed by drifting logs. Here they
had to stay for six days, in which time their clothes and food were
drenched, and their supply of dried fish exhausted; but the men bore
these trials lightly now that they were so near the Pacific Ocean. When
the gale ended they explored the country for a good place to establish
their winter quarters. The captain finally decided to locate on a point
of high land above the river Neutel, well beyond the highest tide, and
protected by a grove of lofty pines. Here they made their permanent
camp, which was called Fort Clatsop. They built seven wooden huts in
which to spend the winter. They lived chiefly on elk, to which they
added fish and berries in the early spring. A whale stranded on the
beach provided them with blubber, and they found salt on the shore. The
winter passed without any unusual experiences, and gave the captain an
opportunity to make a full record of the country through which he had
passed, and of the Indian tribes he had met.

The original plan was to remain at Fort Clatsop until April, when Lewis
expected to renew his stock of merchandise from the trading vessels,
which visited the mouth of the Columbia every spring; but as the winter
passed the constant rain brought sickness among the men, and game grew
more and more scarce, so that it was decided to make an earlier return.
Before they did this Lewis wrote out an account of his expedition, and
arranged to have this delivered to the trading vessels when they should
arrive, and in this way the news of his discoveries would not be lost
in case anything should happen to his own party. The Indians agreed to
deliver the packets, and one of the messages, carried by an American
trader, finally reached Boston by way of China in February, 1807, some
six months after Lewis himself had returned to the East. On March 24,
1806, they started back on their long route of four thousand one hundred
and forty-four miles to St. Louis.

Searching for fish, they found the Multonah or Willamette River, and
Lewis wrote that the valley of this stream would furnish the only
desirable place of settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. Here he
found rich prairies, plenty of fish and game, unusual plants of various
sorts, and abundant timber. Soon they reached the village of the Walla
Walla Indians, who received them so hospitably that the captain said of
all the Indians they had met since leaving the United States this tribe
was the most honest and sincere. With twenty-three horses, and Walla
Walla Indians as guides, they followed a new road up the valley of the
Lewis or Snake River, which saved them eighty miles of their westward
route. It was still too early to cross the mountains, and they camped
near the place where they had trusted their thirty-eight horses to their
Indian friends the autumn before. The Indians returned the horses in
exchange for merchandise, and Lewis provided them with food. In all
these meetings the squaw wife of the French trader was invaluable.
Usually Lewis spoke in English, which was translated by one of his men
into French for the benefit of the trapper Chaboneau, who repeated it
in the tongue of the Minnetarees to his wife; she would then repeat
the words in the Shoshone tongue, and most of the Indians could then
understand them, or some could repeat them to the others in their own

Early in June they tried to cross the mountains, but the snow was
ten feet deep on a level, and they had to abandon the attempt until
late in the month. They finally crossed, and found their trail of
the previous September. At this point the party divided in order to
explore different parts of the country. Lewis took a direct road to the
Great Falls of the Missouri, where he wished to explore Maria's River.
Clark went on to the head of the Jefferson River, where he was to find
the canoes that they had hidden, and cross by the shortest route to
the Yellowstone; and the two parties were to meet at the mouth of the
Yellowstone River. Lack of game prevented Lewis getting far into the
country along Maria's River. On this journey he fell in with a band
of Minnetarees, and some of them tried to steal his guns and horses.
The only real fight of the journey followed, in which two Indians were
killed. He then continued eastward, and on August 7th reached the mouth
of the Yellowstone, where he found a note telling him that Clark had
camped a few miles below.

In the meantime Clark had explored a large part of the valleys of the
Jefferson, Gallatin, and Madison Rivers, and had found a boiling-hot
spring at the head of the Wisdom River, one of the first signs of the
wonders of the Yellowstone. His journey was made safely and comfortably,
although at one place he had to stop to build fresh canoes, and during
this delay a band of Indians stole twenty-four of his packhorses.

The united party descended the Missouri, and found that other explorers
were already following in their track. They met two men from Illinois
who had pushed as far west as the Yellowstone on a hunting trip, and
back of them they heard of hunters and trappers who were pushing into
this unexplored region. Travel homeward was rapid, and on September 23,
1806, the expedition arrived at St. Louis, from which they had started
two years and four months before. At the place where they parted with
the last of the Minnetarees they said goodbye to Chaboneau, his Indian
wife, and child. The squaw had been of the greatest service to them; but
for her it is possible that the expedition might never have been able to
get through the Shoshone country. Lewis offered to take the three to the
United States, but the French trader said that he preferred to remain
among the Indians. He was paid five hundred dollars, which included the
price of a horse and lodge that had been purchased from him.

The wonderful journey had been a complete success. The explorers had
passed through strange tribes of Indians, dangers from hunger and
hardship in the high mountains, the desert, and the plains, and had
brought back a remarkable record of the scenes and people they had met.
From their reports the people of the United States first learned the
true value of that great Louisiana Territory, which had been bought for
such a small price in money, but which was to furnish homesteads for
thousands of pioneers. The work begun by the brave French explorers of
earlier centuries was brought to a triumphant close by these two native
American discoverers.



There is a small island in the Ohio River, two miles below the town
of Parkersburg, that is still haunted with the memory of a strange
conspiracy. In 1805 the island, then some three hundred acres in size,
belonged to an Irish gentleman, Harman Blennerhassett, who had built
a beautiful home there and planted fields of hemp. For a time he and
his family lived there in great content, Blennerhassett himself being
devoted to science and to music, but presently he felt the need of
increasing his small fortune and looked about for a suitable enterprise.
Then there was introduced to him a gentleman from New York, a very
well-known man by the name of Aaron Burr. He also was seeking to make
his fortune, and he took Blennerhassett into his confidence. Together
they plotted a conspiracy. They started to put their plans into action,
and many people called them patriots, and many called them traitors.
History does not know all the secrets of that small island, but it tells
a curious story of the conspiracy.

Aaron Burr was a very talented and fascinating man, but he was a born
adventurer. At this time he was about fifty years old. He had fought
in the Revolution, and practiced law in New York City, where he
divided honors with Alexander Hamilton, the most brilliant attorney
of the period. He had been elected a senator, and then had become
a candidate for President of the United States. In the election of
1800 the Electoral College cast seventy-three votes apiece for Thomas
Jefferson and Aaron Burr, and these two candidates led all the others.
As there was a tie, the choice of President was thrown into the House
of Representatives, and there followed a long and bitter fight. Finally
Jefferson was chosen President, and Burr Vice-President. In the long
campaign Burr made many enemies, chief among whom were the powerful
New York families of Clinton and Livingston. These men charged him
with being a political trickster, and won most of his followers away
from him. When Burr became a candidate for Governor of New York he was
beaten, and his defeat was made more bitter by the stinging attacks of
his old rival, Alexander Hamilton.

In that day it was still the custom for gentlemen to settle questions
of honor on the dueling field. Burr, stung by Hamilton's criticisms,
challenged him, and the two met on the heights of Weehawken, overlooking
the Hudson River. Here Burr wounded Hamilton so severely that the latter
died a few days later. Hounded by Hamilton's friends, the luckless Burr
now found himself cast out by both the Federalists and Republicans, and
with no political future. Yet he knew that he had unusual talents for
leadership. Still filled with ambition and in great need of money, he
saw that there was little opportunity for him at home, and began to turn
his eyes outside of the Republic.

The western world was then a wonderful field for daring adventurers.
Thirteen small colonies lying close to the Atlantic Ocean had less than
twenty years before thrown off the yoke of a great European nation. Men
had already pushed west to the Mississippi, and settled the fertile
fields beyond the Alleghanies. Across the great "Mother of Rivers" lay a
vast tract that men knew little about. To the south lay Spanish colonies
and islands. The Gulf of Mexico was the home of freebooters and pirates.
In Europe a man of the people named Napoleon Bonaparte was carving out
an empire for himself, and stirring the blood of all ambitious men.
Soldiers of fortune everywhere were wondering whether they might not
follow in Napoleon's footsteps.

It is hard to say in which direction Burr was tempted first. He wanted
to hide his real plans not only from his own countrymen, but from the
English, French, and Spanish agents as well. He first pretended to
Anthony Merry, the British minister at Washington, that he intended to
join a conspiracy to start a revolution in the Spanish colonies, in the
hope of turning them into a new republic. Mr. Merry told his government
that it would be to the advantage of England if Mr. Burr's plans
succeeded. But even then Burr was working on a different scheme. He
thought that the people of Louisiana, a large territory at the mouth of
the Mississippi River, which had only lately become a part of the United
States, might be induced to separate into a new nation of their own. He
needed money for his plans, and so he kept pointing out to the British
minister the many advantages to England if either the Spanish colonies
or Louisiana should win freedom. A third plan was also dawning in Burr's
mind, the possibility of entering Mexico and carving out a kingdom
there for himself. So he began by dealing with the agents of different
countries, trying to get money from each for his own secret schemes.

In the spring of 1805 Burr set out for the West. He took coach for
the journey over the mountains to Pittsburgh, where he had arranged
by letter to meet General James Wilkinson, the governor of the new
territory of Louisiana. Wilkinson was delayed, however, and so Burr
embarked in an ark that he had ordered built to sail down the Ohio
River. After several days on the water he reached Blennerhassett Island
early in May. The owner of the island was away from home, but his wife
invited Burr to their house, and he learned from her that her husband
was looking for a way to mend his fortunes.

Next day Burr continued his journey in the ark. He reached Cincinnati,
then a very small town of fifteen hundred people, where he talked over
his plans with several friends. From Cincinnati he went to Louisville,
and from there rode to Frankfort. At Nashville he was the guest of
Andrew Jackson, who was major-general of the Tennessee militia. Word
spread about that Aaron Burr was plotting to free Florida and the West
Indies from Spanish rule, and the liberty-loving settlers welcomed him
with open arms.

Leaving Andrew Jackson, Burr floated in an open boat to the mouth of
the Cumberland River, where his ark, which had come down the Ohio, was
waiting for him. The ark made its first stop at a frontier post called
Fort Massac, and there Burr met General Wilkinson of Louisiana. These
two men were real soldiers of fortune. They had fought side by side at
the walls of Quebec, and Wilkinson, like many another, had fallen under
the spell of Burr's charm. They probably discussed the whole situation:
how a small army might seize Florida, how a small navy could drive the
Spaniards from Cuba, how a daring band of frontiersmen could march from
Vera Cruz to the city of Mexico. Wilkinson seemed delighted with Burr's
schemes, and when he left he provided his friend with a large barge
manned by ten soldiers and a sergeant.

In this imposing vessel Burr sailed on down the Mississippi to New
Orleans, and on June 25, 1805, landed at that quaint old city. It was
already a place of much importance; seagoing ships and thousands of
river flatboats docked at its levees, for it was the chief port for
sending goods to Mexico and the other Spanish colonies. Burr brought
letters to many prominent people, and a public dinner was given in his
honor. The visitor had been Vice-President of the United States, and was
said to be the leader of a band of mysterious patriots. Enthusiasm ran
high in New Orleans when their guest said, as he had already announced
in Tennessee, that he intended to devote his life to overthrowing all
Spanish rule in America.

Day after day the soldier of fortune was busy with his plans. When he
started north on horseback he carried with him the fame of a great
patriot. Wherever he stopped, at cabins, at villages, or cities, the
frontiersmen wanted to shake his hand. He rode four hundred and fifty
miles through the wilderness from Natchez to Nashville, where he again
visited Andrew Jackson, who promised him Tennessee soldiers for a war on
Spain. At St. Louis he learned that General Zebulon Pike was exploring
the best route over the plains to Santa Fé, and many letters told him
that the time was ripe to settle old grudges with the borderers of
Mexico. Everything seemed favorable to his adventure. Burr had only
to decide where he would strike first. He was back in the East by the
middle of November, 1805, having filled the whole country with rumors
of wild plots and insurrections. He was a figure of mystery. People
whispered that Aaron Burr was to be the Washington of a new republic in
the West, or the king of a country to be carved out of Mexico.

By the summer of 1806 Burr knew that he could not get money from England
to further his plans. He would have to depend on his own countrymen in
any attack on Mexico or Spain. His journey had showed him that many
of them were eager to follow his lead. Troubles were daily increasing
along the borders of Florida and Mexico. It looked easy to take an army
into Florida, but there would be more profit in the rich country to the
southwest. His friend, General Wilkinson, had just been sent to drive
the Mexicans across the Sabine River, the western boundary of Louisiana,
and Burr thought this was a good chance to go west again, and perhaps
call the settlers to arms. Men he trusted started west early in the
summer of 1806, and Burr, with his daughter, and a Colonel De Pestre,
who had fought in the French Revolution, and a few friends and servants,
set out in August for their meeting-place on Blennerhassett Island.
When he arrived there he was warmly welcomed by the owner. Burr showed
Blennerhassett how he could make his fortune in Mexico, because if the
conspiracy were successful they could take a large part of that country
for themselves. Fired by Burr's story the men on the island immediately
began preparations. They sent to the town of Marietta for one hundred
barrels of pork, and contracted to have fifteen boats delivered at the
island the following December. A kiln was built near Blennerhassett's
house for drying corn, which was then ground into meal, and packed for
shipping. All sorts of provisions were purchased, and the Blennerhassett
family prepared to send their household goods down the river. Word of
the plans spread, and men in various towns near the Ohio made ready to
join the expedition. When the leader should send out his messengers
recruits would come pouring in.

In the meantime Burr himself had left the little island and covered a
wide stretch of country. He wanted to be sure of Andrew Jackson's aid,
and he found that fiery warrior as ready as ever to fight Spaniard or
Mexican in the cause of liberty. The general still thought that his
friend Burr's only object was to free all of North America. Eager in
that cause, Jackson sent word to the Tennessee militia, urging them
to be ready for instant duty against the Spaniards, who, he said, had
already captured several citizens of the United States, had cut down
our flag, had driven our explorers away from the Red River, and had
taken an insulting position on the east bank of the River Sabine, in the
territory of Orleans. He wrote to President Jefferson offering to lead
his Tennessee militia against the troops of Spain. A large part of the
country expected war at once. Burr, for his own purposes, did all he
could to inflame this warlike feeling.

In October the chief conspirator met his daughter, Theodosia Alston, her
husband, and Blennerhassett at Lexington, Kentucky. He now arranged
to buy a tract, known as the Bastrop lands, which included nearly a
million acres in northern Louisiana on the Washita River. This purchase
he meant to use as a blind, intending to settle there only in case his
other plans failed. If the United States Government should suspect
the conspirators of plotting against Mexico, they could pretend to be
merely settlers, armed to defend themselves in case the Spaniards should
overrun their borders. The tract would be valuable in any case, because
of the rich bottom-lands and vast forests, and made a splendid base for
a raid into the Spanish provinces.

Recruits were added daily to Burr's forces. He told them as much or as
little of his schemes as he thought advisable. To some he said that he
was a secret agent of the government, to others that he only meant to
start a new pioneer settlement. If there should be war with Spain the
men who followed him would share in the spoils, if victorious. If there
was no war they would be ready to protect the border against invaders.

There were some people, however, who could not get over their distrust
of Burr because of what he had done. The mysterious preparations at
Blennerhassett Island caused some uneasiness in the neighborhood, and
on October 6th a mass meeting of the people of Wood County, Virginia,
was held, and the military preparations on the island were denounced.
Blennerhassett was away at the time, but his wife, hearing of the
meeting, grew uneasy, and sent her gardener, Peter Taylor, to tell her
husband this news. Taylor found the conspirators at Lexington, and gave
them Mrs. Blennerhassett's message. The gardener was evidently taken
into his master's confidence, because he said later that the plan was
"to take Mexico, one of the finest and richest places in the whole
world." He added, "Colonel Burr would be the King of Mexico, and Mrs.
Alston, daughter of Colonel Burr, was to be Queen of Mexico, whenever
Colonel Burr died.... Colonel Burr had made fortunes for many in his
time, but none for himself; but now he was going to make something
for himself. He said that he had a great many friends in the Spanish
territory; no less than two thousand Roman Catholic priests were
engaged, and all their friends would join, if once he could get to them;
that the Spaniards, like the French, had got dissatisfied with their
government, and wanted to swap it."

President Jefferson could no longer overlook the adventures of Burr and
his friends. He knew that very little was needed to kindle the flame
of war on the Mexican border. But he had his hands full with foreign
affairs; England was making trouble for American sailors, and Napoleon
was setting the whole world by the ears. So the busy President wrote
to his agents in the West and urged them to keep a secret watch over
Colonel Burr and Blennerhassett Island.

War with Spain almost came that summer. There were many disputed
boundary lines between the United States and the Spanish colonies. The
Spanish troops in Florida, Texas, and Mexico were prepared for an attack
from the United States, and Spanish agents were urging Indian tribes to
rise against the white men. Men protested in Western cities and towns.
The people of Orleans Territory were afraid that Spain was going to try
to win back their country by force of arms. On the 4th of July, 1806,
the people of New Orleans held a great patriotic celebration, and in the
evening a play called, "Washington; or the Liberty of the New World,"
was acted to a huge audience. Even the Creoles, who were more Spanish
than Anglo-Saxon, were eager to fight against the old tyranny of Spain.

In the midst of this war excitement word came that a man born in
Venezuela, named Francesco Miranda, had sailed from New York to free his
native country from Spanish rule. Miranda was looked upon as a hero and
patriot by many people in the United States, and this encouraged Burr
and his friends.

There were in 1806 about one thousand soldiers in Texas, which was then
a province of Mexico. These troops were ordered to cross the Sabine
River, which formed a part of the disputed boundary, and as soon as
they did cross the governor of Louisiana called for volunteers, and
the people of Mississippi Territory prepared to march to the aid of
New Orleans. The meeting place of the volunteers was Natchitoches,
and there hundreds of countrymen came flocking, armed, and eager to
defend Louisiana. Everything seemed ready for Aaron Burr to launch his
great adventure. But at this point Burr's former friend, General James
Wilkinson, the governor of Louisiana, changed his mind as to the wisdom
of Burr's schemes. He would not give the order to the volunteers to
march to the Mexican border, but waited, hoping that President Jefferson
would prevent the war by diplomacy, or that the Spanish troops would
decide to retreat.

On September 27th a great crowd in Nashville hailed Colonel Burr as the
deliverer of the Southwest, and Andrew Jackson proclaimed, "Millions for
defense; not one cent for tribute;" and at the same time the Mexican
General Herrera ordered his troops to retreat from the River Sabine.
Danger of war was over, and the moment the flag of Spain left the
Louisiana shore, Burr's dream of an empire for himself and his friends

General Wilkinson knew that the government in Washington was suspicious
of Aaron Burr's plans, and he thought that his name was included among
those of Burr's friends. Some newspapers had even linked their names
together, and the general, knowing perhaps the treachery of his own
thoughts, now decided to prove his patriotism by accusing Aaron Burr and
the others of treason. All the time that he was making a treaty with the
Mexican general on the Texan frontier he was also working up a strong
case against Burr. He saw to it that the agents put all suspicion on
the shoulders of the others, and made him appear as the one man who had
tried his best to protect his country. He intended to show that not only
was he not a traitor, but that he was able to unmask traitors, by having
pretended to join with them earlier.

In his sudden eagerness to prevent war with the Mexicans, General
Wilkinson made terms of peace with them, which proved a great
disadvantage to the United States at a later date, but which pleased
the peace party of the day. He met the Mexican general at the very time
when Burr and his allies were ready to launch their fleet of boats on
the Mississippi River. Then Wilkinson made haste to raise the cry of
"Treason in the West," which was to echo through the United States for
months, and ruin the reputation of many men.

President Jefferson trusted Wilkinson, and when he heard the latter's
charges against Burr he sent a special messenger to see what was
happening at Blennerhassett Island. Before the messenger reached the
Alleghany Mountains, however, another man had accused Burr in the court
at Frankfort, Kentucky, of having broken the laws of the country in
starting an expedition against Mexico. Burr said that he could easily
answer these charges, and sent a message to Blennerhassett, telling
him not to be disturbed. He went to the court at Frankfort, and when
the man who had accused him could not bring his witnesses the matter
was promptly dropped. Burr was more a hero than ever to the people of
Frankfort. They agreed with a leading newspaper that said, "Colonel
Burr has throughout this business conducted himself with the calmness,
moderation, and firmness which have characterized him through life. He
evinced an earnest desire for a full and speedy investigation--free from
irritation or emotion; he excited the strongest sensation of respect and
friendship in the breast of every impartial person present."

Burr then went back to Lexington, and continued raising money to buy
a fleet of boats. Andrew Jackson had already received three thousand
dollars in Kentucky for this purpose. Blennerhassett went on enrolling
volunteers. It looked as if Burr's conduct at Frankfort had put an end
to the rumors of treason.

General Wilkinson, however, was still anxious to make a name for himself
as a great patriot, and he kept sending alarming messages to Washington.
He accused his former friend of all sorts of treason. It was also
perfectly clear that a large number of boats were being gathered on the
Ohio under orders of Burr and his friends, and so President Jefferson
sent word to the officers at Marietta to post one hundred and fifty or
two hundred soldiers on the river to prevent Burr's fleet sailing. With
the news of this order people in the West began to suspect their former
hero, and even some of his old allies grew doubtful of his patriotism.

Wilkinson increased the alarm by orders he gave in New Orleans as
governor of Louisiana Territory. He began to make military arrests,
locking up all those he distrusted, and all those who were admirers
of Aaron Burr. He had gunboats stationed in the river, and they were
ordered to fire on Burr's fleet if it ever got that far, and he refused
to allow any boats to ascend the Mississippi without his express
permission. All this preparation caused great excitement in New Orleans,
which spread through the neighboring country. It seemed as if General
Wilkinson were trying to force the people to believe there was some
great conspiracy on foot.

The colonel and his allies tried to explain that their fleet of boats
was simply to carry settlers, arms and provisions into the Bastrop
tract of land that they had bought; but by now nobody would believe
them. On December 9, 1806, the boats that Blennerhassett had been
gathering on the Muskingum River were seized by order of the governor
of Ohio. Patrols were placed along the Ohio River, and the militia
called out to capture Blennerhassett and the men with him. The next day
the Virginia militia declared that they meant to find out the secret
of Blennerhassett Island. The owner and his friend, Comfort Tyler, had
word of this, and at once prepared for flight. At midnight they left the
island and started down the Ohio by boat. The Virginia troops arrived
to find the place deserted, and, leaving sentinels there, started
in pursuit of Blennerhassett. The next day the sentries captured a
flatboat with fourteen boys on board, who were coming from Pittsburgh
to join Burr. People along the Ohio began to expect attacks from Burr's
recruits. Cincinnati was especially alarmed. One of the newspapers there
stated that three of Burr's armed boats were anchored near the city,
which they meant to attack. That night some practical joker exploded
a bomb, and the people thought that Burr's army was firing on them.
The citizens armed, and the militia was called out, but when they came
to inspect the boats on the river next day they found that those they
thought belonged to Burr were vessels of a Louisville merchant loaded
with dry-goods. No story was now too wild to be believed when it was
attached to the name of Burr or Blennerhassett.

Burr now only intended to sail down to his own lands. On December 20th
he sent word to Blennerhassett that he would be at the mouth of the
Cumberland River on the twenty-third. Two days later he put a number of
horses on one of his boats, and with a few men to help him, floated down
the Cumberland River to its mouth, where Blennerhassett and the rest
of their party were waiting for him. They joined their seven boats to
his two vessels, and had a fleet of nine ships with about sixty men on
board. On December 28th they sailed down the Ohio, and the next night
anchored a little below Fort Massac.

Country people along the river saw the flotilla pass, and sent word
of it to the nearest military post. The captain there stopped all
ships, but found nothing suspicious on any of them. "Colonel Burr, late
Vice-President," the officer reported, "passed this way with about ten
boats of different descriptions, navigated with about six men each,
having nothing on board that would even suffer a conjecture more than
that he was a man bound to market. He has descended the river toward

On the last day of 1806 the fleet reached the broad waters of the
Mississippi River. Four days later they dropped anchor at Chickasaw
Bluffs, now the city of Memphis. Again officers boarded the boats, and
after examining the cargoes allowed them to go on their voyage. On
January 10th they reached Mississippi Territory, and here they found the
excitement intense.

The fleet was now in territory that was under the charge of General
Wilkinson, and he immediately sent three hundred and seventy-five
soldiers from Natchez to prevent Burr's further progress. On January
16th two officers rowed out to the boats, and were received pleasantly
by Colonel Burr, who laughed at General Wilkinson's suspicions, and,
pointing to his peaceful flotilla, asked if it looked as if it were
meant for war? When he was told that the soldiers had orders to stop
him, he answered that he was willing to appear in court at any time.
This satisfied the two officers, who asked him to ride next day to the
town of Washington, which was the capital of Mississippi Territory, and
appear before the court there. Burr agreed, and early next morning rode
to Washington with the two officers who had called on him. There he was
charged with having conspired against the United States government. His
friends on the river remained on their boats, waiting for his return.
The expedition never went any farther.

Burr promised to stay in the Territory until the charges against him
were cleared up. His charm of manner won him many friends, and people
would not believe him a traitor. When the grand jury met they decided
that Aaron Burr was not guilty of treason. The judge, however, would
not set him free, and Burr realized that General Wilkinson was using
all his power against him. He thought that his only chance of safety
lay in defying the court, and taking the advice of some friends fled to
a hiding-place near the home of Colonel Osmun, an old acquaintance. He
meant to leave that part of the country, but the severe weather blocked
his plans. Heavy rains had swollen all the streams, and he had to change
his route. He set out with one companion, but had to ask a farmer the
road to the house of Colonel Hinson. The farmer suspected that one of
the horsemen was Aaron Burr, and knew that a large reward had been
offered for his capture. He carried his news to the sheriff, and then
to the officers at Fort Stoddert. A lieutenant from the fort with
four soldiers joined the farmer, and, mounting fast horses, they rode
after the two men. Early the next morning they came up with them. The
lieutenant demanded in the name of the government of the United States
whether one of the horsemen was Colonel Burr. Aaron Burr admitted his
name, and was put under arrest. He was taken to the fort, and held there
as a fugitive from justice.

The cry of "Treason in the West" had been heard all over the country.
The great expedition against Mexico had dwindled to a small voyage to
settle certain timber-lands. The formidable fleet was only nine ordinary
river boats. The army of rebels had shrunk to less than sixty peaceful
citizens; and the store of arms and ammunition had been reduced to a few
rifles and powder-horns. Moreover Aaron Burr had neither attempted to
fight nor to resist arrest. He had merely fled when he thought he stood
little chance of a fair trial. Yet the cry of treason had so alarmed the
country that the government found it necessary to try the man who had so
nearly defeated Jefferson for the Presidency.

Orders were sent to bring Aaron Burr east. After a journey that lasted
twenty-one days the prisoner was lodged in the Eagle Tavern in Richmond,
Virginia. Here Chief-Justice Marshall examined the charges against Burr,
and held him in bail to appear at the next term of court. The bail was
secured, and on the afternoon of April 1st Burr was once more set at
liberty. From then until the day of the trial interest in the case grew.
Everywhere people discussed the question whether Aaron Burr had been a
traitor to his country. By the time for the hearing of the case feeling
against him ran high. When court met on May 22, 1807, Richmond was
crowded with many of the most prominent men of the time, drawn by the
charges against a man who had so lately been Vice-President.

It was not until the following August that Colonel Burr was actually
put on trial. The question was simply whether he had planned to make
war against the United States. There were many witnesses, led by the
faithless General Wilkinson, who were ready to declare that the purpose
of the meetings at Blennerhassett Island was to organize an army to
divide the western country from the rest of the republic. Each side was
represented by famous lawyers; and the battle was hard fought. In the
end, however, the jury found that Aaron Burr was not guilty of treason.
No matter what Burr and Blennerhassett and their friends had planned to
do in Mexico, the jury could not believe they had been so mad as to plot
a war against the United States.

Burr, although now free, was really a man without a country. He went to
England and France, and in both countries engaged in plans for freeing
the colonies of Spain. But both in England and in France the people
looked upon him with suspicion, remembering his strange history. At the
end of four years he returned to the United States. Here he found that
some of his early plans were coming to fulfilment. Revolts were breaking
out in Florida, in Mexico, and in some of the West Indies. He was
allowed no part in any of these uprisings. Florida became a part of the
United States, and in time Burr saw the men of Texas begin a struggle
for freedom from Mexico. When he read the news of this, he exclaimed,
"There! You see! I was right! I was only thirty years too soon. What was
treason in me thirty years ago is patriotism now!" Later he was asked
whether he had really planned to divide the Union when he started on his
voyage from Blennerhassett Island. He answered, "No; I would as soon
have thought of taking possession of the moon, and informing my friends
that I intended to divide it among them."

Such is the story of Aaron Burr, a real soldier of fortune, who wanted
to carve out a new country for himself, and came to be "a man without a




Long after pirates had been swept from the Western Ocean they flourished
in the Mediterranean Sea. They hailed from the northern coast of Africa,
where between the Mediterranean and the desert of Sahara stretched what
were known as the Barbary States. These states were Morocco, Algeria,
Tunis, Tripoli, and the tiny state of Barca, which was usually included
in Tripoli. Algeria, or, as it was commonly called from the name of its
capital, Algiers, was the home of most of the Mediterranean pirates.

There was hardly a port in the whole of that inland sea that had not
seen a fleet of the pirates' boats sweep down upon some innocent
merchant vessel, board her, overpower the crew, and carry them off
to be sold in the African slave-markets. Their ships were usually
square-rigged sailing vessels, which were commonly called galleons. The
pirates did not trust to cannon, and the peculiar shape of the ships
gave them a good chance for hand-to-hand fighting. The dark-skinned crew
would climb out on the long lateen yards that hung over their enemies'
deck, and drop from the yards and from the rigging, their sabers held
between their teeth, their loaded pistols stuck in their belts, so that
they might have free use of their hands for climbing and clinging to
ropes and gunwales.

Strange as it seems, the great countries of Europe made no real effort
to destroy these pirates of the Barbary coast, but instead actually
paid them bribes in order to protect their crews. The larger countries
thought that, as they could afford to pay the tribute that the pirates
demanded, and their smaller rivals could not, the pirates might actually
serve them by annoying other countries. So England and France, and the
other big nations of Europe, put up with all sorts of insults at the
hands of these Moorish buccaneers, and many times their consuls were
ill-treated and their sailors made to work in slave-gangs because they
had not paid as much tribute as the Moors demanded.

Many an American skipper fell into the hands of these corsairs. The brig
_Polly_ of Newburyport, Massachusetts, was heading for the Spanish port
of Cadiz in October, 1793, when she was overhauled by a brig flying the
English flag. As the brig came near her captain hailed the _Polly_ in
English, asking where she was bound. Meanwhile the brig ran close in
beside the _Polly_, and the Americans saw a large number of men, Moors
by the look of their beards and dress, spring up from under the rail.
This crew launched a big boat, and nearly one hundred men, armed with
swords, pistols, spears, and knives, were rowed up to the _Polly_. The
Moors sprang on board. The Yankees were greatly outnumbered, and were
driven into the cabin, while the pirates broke open all the trunks
and chests, and stripped the brig of everything that could be moved.
The prisoners were then rowed to the Moorish ship, which sailed for
Algiers. There they were landed and marched to the palace of the Dey,
or ruler of Algiers, while the people clapped their hands, shouted, and
gave thanks for the capture of so many "Christian dogs." They were put
in prison, where they found other Americans, and nearly six hundred
Christians of other countries, all of whom were treated as slaves. On
the next day each captive was loaded with chains, fastened around his
waist and joined to a ring about his ankle. They were then set to work
in rigging and fitting out ships, in blasting rocks in the mountains, or
carrying stones for the palace the Dey was building. Their lot was but
little better than that of the slaves of olden times who worked for the
Pharaohs. As more American sailors were captured and made slaves their
friends at home grew more and more eager to put an end to these pirates,
and when the Revolution was over the young Republic of the United States
began to heed the appeals for help that came from the slave-markets
along the Barbary coast.

The Republic found, however, that so long as England and France were
paying tribute to the pirates it would be easier for her to do the
same thing than to fight them. The American Navy was very small, and
the Mediterranean was far distant. England seemed actually to be
encouraging the pirates, thinking that their attacks on American ships
would injure the country that had lately won its independence. So the
United States made the best terms it could with the rulers of Algiers,
Morocco, Tunis, and Tripoli, and paid heavy ransoms for the release of
the captives. There was little self-respect or honor among the Moorish
chiefs, however. One Dey succeeded another, each more greedy than the
last, and each demanded more tribute money or threatened to seize all
the Americans he could lay hands upon. The consuls had to be constantly
making presents in order to keep the Moors in a good humor, and whenever
the Dey felt the need of more money he would demand it of the United
States consul, and threaten to throw him in prison if he refused.

This state of affairs was very unpleasant for free men, but for a number
of years it had to be put up with. When Captain Bainbridge dropped
anchor off Algiers in command of the United States frigate _George
Washington_, the Dey demanded that he should carry a Moorish envoy to
Constantinople with presents for the Sultan of Turkey. Bainbridge did
not like to be treated as a messenger boy; but the Dey said, "You pay
me tribute, by which you become my slaves. I have, therefore, a right
to order you as I may think proper." Bainbridge had no choice but to
obey the command, or leave American merchant vessels at the mercy of the
Moors, and so he carried the Dey's presents to the Sultan.

As all the Barbary States throve on war, in that way gaining support
from the enemies of the country they attacked, one or the other was
constantly making war. In May, 1801, the Pasha of Tripoli declared
war against the United States, cut down the American flagstaff at
his capital, and sent out his pirate ships. In reply the United
States ordered a squadron of four vessels under command of Commodore
Richard Dale to sail to the Mediterranean. This squadron did good
service, capturing a number of the galleys of Tripoli, and exchanging
Moorish prisoners for American slaves. But the pirates were like a
swarm of hornets; they stung wherever they got a chance, and as soon
as the war-ships were out of sight they would steal out from their
hiding-places to terrorize the coast. The United States had to keep
sending squadrons to act as policemen. When the fleet kept together the
Moors had proper respect for them, but once the ships separated they
became the target for the hornets.

The frigate _Philadelphia_, of thirty-six guns, was detailed in October,
1803, to blockade the port of Tripoli. The morning after she reached
there she saw a ship inshore preparing to sail westward. The frigate
gave chase, and as the other vessel carried the colors of Tripoli, the
frigate opened fire. As she chased the Moor the _Philadelphia_ ran on
a shelving rock that was part of a long reef. Her crew worked hard to
get her off, but she stuck fast. As the Moors on shore saw the plight of
the _Philadelphia_ they manned their boats, and soon she was surrounded
by a swarm of pirate galleys. The galleys sailed under the fire of
the frigate's heavy guns, and came up to close quarters, where the
cannon could not reach them. The Americans were helpless, and by sunset
Commodore Bainbridge had to strike his flag. As soon as he surrendered
the Moors swarmed over the sides of his ship, broke everything they
could lay their hands on, stripped officers and men of their uniforms,
and tumbled them into the small boats. The prisoners were landed at
night, and led to the castle gate. The sailors were treated as slaves,
but the officers were received by the Pasha in the great marble-paved
hall of his palace, where that ruler, dressed in silks and jewels, and
surrounded by a gorgeous court, asked them many questions, and later
offered them supper. But the favor of the Pasha was as fickle as the
wind; within a day or two he was treating the American officers much as
he treated his other Christian captives, and the crew, three hundred
and seven in number, were worked as slaves. Meantime the Moors, using
anchors and cables, succeeded in pulling the _Philadelphia_ off the
reef, and the frigate was pumped out and made seaworthy. She was brought
into the harbor, to the delight of the Pasha and his people at owning
so fine a war-ship. The loss of the _Philadelphia_ was a severe blow,
not only to American pride, but to American fortunes. The squadron
was now much too small for service, and Bainbridge and his crew were
hostages the United States must redeem.

It fell to the lot of Commodore Preble to take charge of the American
ships in the Mediterranean, and he began to discuss terms of peace
with Tripoli through an agent of the Pasha at Malta. By these terms
the frigate _Philadelphia_ was to be exchanged for a schooner, and
the Moorish prisoners in Preble's hands, sixty in number, were to be
exchanged for as many of the American prisoners in Tripoli, and the rest
of the American captives were to be ransomed at five hundred dollars
a man. Before these terms were agreed upon, however, a more daring
plan occurred to the American commodore, and on February 3, 1804, he
entrusted a delicate task to Stephen Decatur, who commanded the schooner
_Enterprise_. Decatur picked a volunteer crew, put them on board the
ships _Siren_ and _Intrepid_, and sailed for Tripoli. They reached
that port on February 7th, and to avoid suspicion the _Intrepid_ drew
away from the other ship and anchored after dark about a mile west
of the town. A small boat with a pilot and midshipman was sent in to
reconnoiter the harbor. They reported that the sea was breaking across
the western entrance, and as the weather was threatening advised Decatur
not to try to enter that night. The two American ships therefore stood
offshore, and were driven far to the east by a gale. The weather was so
bad that it was not until February 16th that they returned to Tripoli.
This time the _Intrepid_ sailed slowly toward the town, while the
_Siren_, disguised as a merchantman, kept some distance in the rear.

The frigate _Philadelphia_, now the Pasha's prize ship, lay at anchor in
the harbor, and the _Intrepid_ slowly drifted toward her in the light
of the new moon. No one on ship or shore realized the real purpose of
the slowly-moving _Intrepid_. Had the men at the forts on shore or the
watchman at the Pasha's castle suspected her purpose they could have
blown her from the water with their heavy guns.

The _Intrepid_ drifted closer and closer, with her crew hidden, except
for six or eight men dressed as Maltese sailors. Decatur stood by the
pilot at the helm. When the little ship was about one hundred yards
from the _Philadelphia_ she was hailed and ordered to keep away. The
pilot answered that his boat had lost her anchor in the storm, and asked
permission to make fast to the frigate for the night. This was given,
and the Moorish officer on the _Philadelphia_ asked what the ship in
the distance was. The pilot said that she was the _Transfer_, a vessel
lately purchased at Malta by the Moors, which was expected at Tripoli
about that time. The pilot kept on talking in order to lull the Moors'
suspicions, and meantime the little _Intrepid_ came close under the port
bow of the _Philadelphia_. Just then the wind shifted and held the
schooner away from the frigate, and directly in range of her guns. Again
the Moors had a chance to destroy the American boat and crew if they had
known her real object. They did not suspect it, however. Each ship sent
out a small boat with a rope, and when the ropes were joined the two
ships were drawn close together.

When the vessels were almost touching some one on the _Philadelphia_
suddenly shouted, "Americanos!" At the same moment Decatur gave the
order "Board!" and the American crew sprang over the side of the frigate
and jumped to her deck. The Moors were huddled on the forecastle.
Decatur formed his men in line and charged. The surprised Moors made
little resistance, and Decatur quickly cleared the deck of them; some
jumped into the sea, and others escaped in a large boat. The Americans
saw that they could not get the _Philadelphia_ safely out of the harbor,
and so quickly brought combustibles from the _Intrepid_, and stowing
them about the _Philadelphia_, set her on fire. In a very few minutes
she was in flames, and the Americans jumped from her deck to their
own ship. It took less than twenty minutes to capture and fire the

Decatur ordered his men to the oars, and the _Intrepid_ beat a retreat
from the harbor. But now the town of Tripoli was fully aroused. The
forts opened fire on the little schooner. A ship commanded the channel
through which she had to sail, but fortunately for the _Intrepid_ the
Moors' aim was poor, and the only shot that struck her was one through
the topgallantsail. The harbor was brightly lighted now. The flames had
run up the mast and rigging of the _Philadelphia_, and as they reached
the powder loud explosions echoed over the sea. Presently the cables of
the frigate burned, and the _Philadelphia_ drifted ashore and blew up.
In the meantime the _Intrepid_ reached the entrance safely, and joining
the _Siren_ set sail for Syracuse.

The blowing up of the _Philadelphia_ was one of the most daring acts
ever attempted by the United States Navy, and won Decatur great credit.
It weakened the Pasha's strength, and kept his pirate crews in check.
Instead of making terms with the Moorish ruler, the United States
decided to attack his capital, and in the summer of 1804, Commodore
Preble collected his squadron before Tripoli. On August 3d the fleet
approached the land batteries, and in the afternoon began to throw
shells into the town. The Moors immediately opened fire, both from the
forts and from their fleet of nineteen gunboats and two galleys that lay
in the harbor. Preble divided his ships, and ordered them to close in
on the enemy's vessels, although the latter outnumbered them three to
one. Again Decatur was the hero of the fight. He and his men boarded a
Moorish gunboat and fought her crew hand-to-hand across the decks. He
captured the first vessel, and then boarded a second. Decatur singled
out the captain, a gigantic Moor, and made for him. The Moor thrust
at him with a pike, and Decatur's cutlass was broken off at the hilt.
Another thrust of the pike cut his arm, but the American seized the
weapon, tore it away, and threw himself on the Moor. The crews were
fighting all around their leaders, and a Moorish sailor aimed a blow
at Decatur's head with a scimitar. An American seaman struck the blow
aside, and the scimitar gashed his own scalp. The Moorish captain,
stronger than Decatur, got him underneath, and drawing a knife, was
about to kill him, when Decatur caught the Moor's arm with one hand,
thrust his other hand into his pocket, and fired his revolver. The Moor
was killed, and Decatur sprang to his feet. Soon after the enemy's
crew surrendered. The other United States ships had been almost as
successful, and the battle taught the Americans that the Barbary pirates
could be beaten in hand-to-hand fighting as well as at long range.


The Pasha was not ready to come to terms even after that day's defeat,
however, and on August 7th Commodore Preble ordered another attack.
Again the harbor shook under the guns of the fleet and the forts, and at
sunset Preble had to withdraw. To avoid further bloodshed the commodore
sent a flag of truce to the Pasha, and offered to pay eighty thousand
dollars for the ransom of the American prisoners, and to make him a
present of ten thousand dollars more. The Pasha, however, demanded
one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and Preble was not willing to
pay that amount. So later in August he attacked Tripoli again. Each of
these bombardments did great damage to the city, but the forts were too
strong to be captured. The blockading fleet, however, held its position,
and on September 3d opened fire again in the last of its assaults. In
spite of the heavy firing the Pasha refused to pull down his flag.

On the night of September 4th a volunteer crew took the little
_Intrepid_ into the harbor. She was filled with combustibles, and when
she was close to the Moorish ships the powder was to be fired by a fuse
that would give time for the crew to escape in a small boat. The night
was dark, and the fleet soon lost sight of this fire-ship. She took the
right course through the channel, but before she was near the Moors she
was seen and they opened fire on her. Then came a loud explosion, and
the _Intrepid_, with her crew, was blown into the air. No one knows
whether one of the enemy's shots or her own crew fired the powder. This
was the greatest disaster that befell the United States Navy during all
its warfare with the Barbary pirates. Soon after Commodore Preble sailed
for home, though most of his fleet were kept in the Mediterranean to
protect American sailing vessels.

The government at Washington, tired with the long warfare in the
Mediterranean, soon afterward ordered the consul at Algiers, Tobias
Lear, to treat for peace with the Pasha. A bargain was finally struck.
One hundred Moors were exchanged for as many of the American captives,
and sixty thousand dollars were paid as ransom for the rest. June 4,
1805, the American sailors, who had been slaves for more than nineteen
months, were released from their chains and sent on board the war-ship
_Constitution_. The Pasha declared himself a friend of the United
States, and saluted its flag with twenty-one guns from his castle and

In the Barbary States rulers followed one another in rapid succession.
He who was Dey or Pasha one week might be murdered by an enemy the next,
and that enemy on mounting the throne was always eager to get as much
plunder as he could. Treaties meant little to any of them, and so other
countries kept on paying them tribute for the sake of peace.

The United States fell into the habit of buying peace with Algiers,
Tripoli, Morocco, and Tunis by gifts of merchandise or gold or costly
vessels. But the more that was given to them the more greedy these
Moorish rulers grew, and so it happened that from time to time they
sent out their pirates to board American ships in order to frighten the
young Republic into paying heavier tribute. Seven years later the second
chapter of our history with the Barbary pirates opened.


The brig _Edwin_ of Salem, Massachusetts, was sailing under full canvas
through the Mediterranean Sea, bound out from Malta to Gibraltar,
on August 25, 1812. At her masthead she flew the Stars and Stripes.
The weather was favoring, the little brig making good speed, and the
Mediterranean offered no dangers to the skipper. Yet Captain George
Smith, and his crew of ten Yankee sailors, kept constantly looking
toward the south at some distant sails that had been steadily gaining on
them since dawn. Every stitch of sail on the _Edwin_ had been set, but
she was being overhauled, and at this rate would be caught long before
she could reach Gibraltar.

Captain Smith and his men knew who manned those long, low,
rakish-looking frigates. But the _Edwin_ carried no cannon, and if
they could not out-sail the three ships to the south they must yield
peaceably, or be shot down on their deck. Hour after hour they watched,
and by sunset they could see the dark, swarthy faces of the leading
frigate's crew. Before night the _Edwin_ had been overhauled, boarded,
and the Yankee captain and sailors were in irons, prisoners about to be
sold into slavery.

They had been captured by one of the pirate crews of the Dey of Algiers,
and when they were taken ashore by these buccaneers they were stood up
in the slave market and sold to Moors, or put to work in the shipyards.
Other Yankee crews had met with the same treatment.

Now the United States had been paying its tribute regularly to the
pirates, but in the spring of 1812 the Dey of Algiers suddenly woke up
to the fact that the Americans had been measuring time by the sun while
the Moors figured it by the moon, and found that in consequence he had
been defrauded of almost a half-year's tribute money, or twenty-seven
thousand dollars. He sent an indignant message to Tobias Lear, the
American consul at Algiers, threatening all sorts of punishments, and
Mr. Lear, taking all things into account, decided it was best to pay
the sum claimed by the Dey. The United States sent the extra tribute
in the shape of merchandise by the sailing vessel _Alleghany_; but
the Dey was now in a very bad temper, and declared that the stores
were of poor quality, and ordered the consul to leave at once in the
_Alleghany_, as he would have no further dealings with a country that
tried to cheat him. At almost the same time he received a present from
England of two large ships filled with stores of war,--powder, shot,
anchors, and cables. He immediately sent out word to the buccaneers to
capture all the American ships they could, and sell the sailors in the
slave-markets. The Dey of Algiers appeared to have no fear of the United

The truth of the matter was that his Highness the Dey, and also the
Bey of Tunis, had been spoiled by England, who at this time told them
confidently that the United States Navy was about to be wiped from the
seas. English merchants assured them that they could treat Captain
Smith and other Yankee skippers exactly as they pleased, since Great
Britain had declared war on the United States, and the latter country
would find herself quite busy at home. Algiers and Tripoli and Tunis,
remembering their old grudge against the Americans, assured their
English friends that nothing would delight them so much as to rid the
Mediterranean of the Stars and Stripes.

The pirates swept down on the brig _Edwin_, and laid hands on every
American they could find in the neighborhood. They stopped and boarded
a ship flying the Spanish flag, and took prisoner a Mr. Pollard, of
Virginia. Tripoli and Tunis permitted English cruisers to enter their
harbors, contrary to the rules of war, and recapture four English prizes
that had been sent to them by the American privateer _Abellino_. When
the United States offered to pay a ransom of three thousand dollars for
every American who was held as a prisoner the Dey replied that he meant
to capture a large number of them before he would consider any terms of

Our country was young and poor, and our navy consisted of only seventeen
seaworthy ships, carrying less than four hundred and fifty cannon.
England was indeed "Mistress of the Seas," with a great war-fleet of
a thousand vessels, armed with almost twenty-eight thousand guns. No
wonder that the British consul at Algiers had told the Dey "the American
flag would be swept from the seas, the contemptible navy of the United
States annihilated, and its maritime arsenals reduced to a heap of
ruins." No wonder the Dey believed him. But as a matter of fact the
little David outfought the giant Goliath; on the Great Lakes and on the
high seas the Stars and Stripes waved triumphant after many a long and
desperate encounter, and the small navy came out of the War of 1812 with
a glorious record of victories, with splendid officers and crews, and
with sixty-four ships. The English friends of the Barbary States had
been mistaken, and Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli began to wish they had
not been so scornful of the Yankees.

It was time to show the pirates that Americans had as much right to
trade in the Mediterranean as other people. On February 23, 1815,
a few days after the treaty of peace with England was published,
President Madison advised that we should send a fleet to Algiers. Two
squadrons were ordered on this service, under command of Commodore
William Bainbridge. One collected at Boston, and the other at New York.
Commodore Stephen Decatur was in charge of the latter division.

Decatur's squadron was the first to sail, leaving New York on May 20,
1815. He had ten vessels in all, his flag-ship being the forty-four-gun
frigate _Guerrière_, and his officers and crew being all seasoned
veterans of the war with England. The fleet of the Dey of Algiers,
however, was no mean foe. It consisted of twelve vessels, well armed
and manned, six sloops, five frigates, and one schooner. Its admiral
was a very remarkable man, one of the fierce tribe of Kabyles from the
mountains, Reis Hammida by name, who had made himself the scourge
of the Mediterranean. He had plenty of reckless courage; once he had
boarded and captured in broad daylight a Portuguese frigate under the
very cliffs of Gibraltar, and at another time, being in command of three
Algerine frigates, had dared to attack a Portuguese ship of the line
and three frigates, in face of the guns leveled at him from the Rock of
Lisbon, directly opposite.

The city of Algiers itself was one of the best fortified ports on the
Mediterranean. It lay in the form of a triangle, one side extending
along the sea, while the other two rose against a hill, meeting at the
top at the Casbah, the historic fortress of the Deys. The city was
guarded by very thick walls, mounted with many guns, and the harbor,
made by a long mole, was commanded by heavy batteries, so that at least
five hundred pieces of cannon could be brought to bear on any hostile
ships trying to enter.

Decatur's fleet was only a few days out of New York when it ran into a
heavy gale, and the wooden ships were badly tossed about. The _Firefly_,
a twelve-gun brig, sprung her masts, and had to put back to port.
The other ships rode out the storm, and kept on their course to the
Azores, keeping a sharp watch for any suspicious-looking craft. As they
neared the coast of Portugal the vigilance was redoubled, for here was
a favorite hunting-ground of Reis Hammida, and Decatur knew what the
Algerine admiral had done before the Rock of Lisbon. They found no
trace of the enemy here, however. At Cadiz Decatur sent a messenger
to the American consul, who informed him that three Algerine frigates
and some smaller ships had been spoken in the Atlantic Ocean, but were
thought to have returned to the Mediterranean.

Decatur wanted to take the enemy by surprise, and so sailed cautiously
to Tangier, where he learned that two days earlier Reis Hammida had gone
through the Straits of Gibraltar in the forty-six-gun frigate _Mashuda_.
The American captain at once set sail for Gibraltar, and found out there
that the wily Algerine was lying off Cape Gata, having demanded that
Spain should pay him half a million dollars of tribute money to protect
her coast-towns from attack by his fleet.

Lookouts on the _Guerrière_ reported to Decatur that a despatch-boat had
left Gibraltar as soon as the American ships appeared, and inquiry led
the captain to believe the boat was bearing messages to Reis Hammida.
Other boats were sailing for Algiers, and Decatur, realizing the ease
with which his wily opponent, thoroughly familiar with the inland sea,
would be able to elude him, decided to give chase at once.

The fleet headed up the Mediterranean June 15th, under full sail.
The next evening ships were seen near shore, and Decatur ordered the
frigate _Macedonian_ and two brigs to overhaul them. Early the following
morning, when the fleet was about twenty miles out from Cape Gata,
Captain Gordon, of the frigate _Constellation_, sighted a big vessel
flying the flag of Algiers, and signaled "An enemy to the southeast."

Decatur saw that the strange ship had a good start of his fleet, and was
within thirty hours' run of Algiers. He suspected that her captain might
not have detected the fleet as American, and ordered the _Constellation_
back to her position abeam of his flag-ship, gave directions to try to
conceal the identity of his squadron, and stole up on the stranger.
The latter was seen to be a frigate, lying to under small sail, as if
waiting for some message from the African shore near at hand. One of the
commanders asked permission to give chase, but Decatur signaled back "Do
nothing to excite suspicion."

The Moorish frigate held her position near shore while the American
ships drew closer. When they were about a mile distant a quartermaster
on the _Constellation_, by mistake, hoisted a United States flag. To
cover this blunder the other ships were immediately ordered to fly
English flags. But the crew of the Moorish frigate had seen the flag on
the _Constellation_, and instantly swarmed out on the yard-arms, and
had the sails set for flight. They were splendid seamen, and almost
immediately the frigate was leaping under all her canvas for Algiers.
The Americans were busy too. The rigging of each ship was filled with
sailors, working out on the yards, the decks rang with commands, and
messages were signaled from the flag-ship to the captains. Decatur
crowded on all sail, fearing that the Algerine frigate might escape him
in the night or seek refuge in some friendly harbor, and the American
squadron raced along at top speed, just as the Barbary pirates had
earlier chased after the little brig _Edwin_, of Salem.

Soon the _Constellation_, which was to the south of the fleet and so
nearest to the Moorish frigate, opened fire and sent several shots
on board the enemy. The latter immediately came about, and headed
northeast, as if making for the port of Carthagena. The Americans also
tacked, and gained by this manoeuvre, the sloop _Ontario_ cutting across
the Moor's course, and the _Guerrière_ being brought close enough for
musketry fire.

As the flag-ship came to close quarters the Moors opened fire, wounding
several men, but Decatur waited until his ship cleared the enemy's
yard-arms, when he ordered a broadside. The crew of the Algerine
frigate, which was the _Mashuda_, were mowed down by this heavy fire.
Reis Hammida himself had already been wounded by one of the first shots
from the _Constellation_. He had, however, insisted on continuing to
give orders from a couch on the quarter-deck, but a shot from the first
broadside killed him. The _Guerrière's_ gun crews loaded and fired again
before the first smoke had cleared; at this second broadside one of
her largest guns exploded, killing three men, wounding seventeen, and
splintering the spar-deck.

The Moors made no sign of surrender, but Decatur, seeing that there were
too few left to fight, and not wishing to pour another broadside into
them, sailed past, and took a position just out of range. The Algerines
immediately tried to run before him. In doing this the big _Mashuda_
was brought directly against the little eighteen-gun American brig
_Epervier_, commanded by John Downes. Instead of sailing away Downes
placed his brig under the Moor's cabin ports, and by backing and filling
escaped colliding with the frigate while he fired his small broadsides
at her. This running fire, lasting for twenty-five minutes, finished the
Moor's resistance, and the frigate surrendered.

The flag-ship, the _Guerrière_, now took charge of the Algerine prize,
and Decatur sent an officer, two midshipmen, and a crew on board her.
The _Mashuda_ was a sorry sight, many of her men killed or wounded, and
her decks splintered by the American broadsides. The prisoners were
transferred to the other ships, and orders were given to the prize-crew
to take the captured frigate to the port of Carthagena, under escort of
the _Macedonian_.

Before this was done, however, Decatur signaled all the officers to meet
on his flag-ship. In the cabin they found a table covered with captured
Moorish weapons,--daggers, pistols, scimitars, and yataghans. Decatur
turned to Commandant Downes, who had handled the small _Epervier_ so
skilfully. "As you were fortunate in obtaining a favorable position and
maintained it so handsomely, you shall have the first choice of these
weapons," he said. Downes chose, and then each of the other officers
selected a trophy of the victory. That evening the squadron, leaving
the _Mashuda_ in charge of the _Macedonian_, resumed its hunt for other
ships belonging to the navy of the piratical Dey.

The fleet was arriving off Cape Palos on June 19th when a brig was seen,
looking suspiciously like an Algerine craft. When the Americans set sail
toward her, the stranger ran away. Soon she came to shoal water, and
the frigates had to leave the chase to the light-draught _Epervier_,
_Spark_, _Torch_, and _Spitfire_. These followed and opened fire. The
strange brig returned several shots, and was then run aground by her
crew on the coast between the watch-towers of Estacio and Albufera,
which had been built long before for the purpose of protecting fishermen
and peasants from the raids of pirates. The strangers took to their
small boats. One of these was sunk by a shot. The Americans then boarded
the ship, which was the Algerine twenty-two-gun brig _Estedio_, and
captured eighty-three prisoners. The brig was floated off the shoals and
sent with a prize-crew into the Spanish port of Carthagena.

Decatur, being unable to sight any more ships that looked like Moorish
craft, and supposing that the rest of the pirate fleet would probably be
making for Algiers, gave commands to his squadron to sail for that port.
He was determined to bring the Dey to terms as quickly as possible,
and to destroy his fleet, or bombard the city, if that was necessary.
When he arrived off the Moorish town, however, he found none of the
fleet there, and no apparent preparation for war in the harbor. The next
morning he ran up the Swedish flag at the mainmast, and a white flag
at the foremast, a signal asking the Swedish consul to come on board
the flag-ship. Mr. Norderling, the consul, came out to the _Guerrière_,
accompanied by the Algerine captain of the port. After some conversation
Decatur asked the latter for news of the Dey's fleet. "By this time it
is safe in some neutral port," was the assured answer.

"Not all of it," said Decatur, "for we have captured the _Mashuda_ and
the _Estedio_."

The Algerine could not believe this, and told the American so. Then
Decatur sent for a wounded lieutenant of the _Mashuda_, who was on his
ship, and bade him confirm the statement. The Moorish officer of the
port immediately changed his tactics, dropped his haughty attitude, and
gave Decatur to understand that he thought the Dey would be willing to
make a new treaty of peace with the United States.

Decatur handed the Moor a letter from the President to the Dey, which
stated that the Republic would only agree to peace provided Algiers
would give up her claim to tribute and would cease molesting American

The Moor wanted to gain as much time as possible, hoping his fleet
would arrive, and said that it was the custom to discuss all treaties in
the palace on shore. Decatur understood the slow and crafty methods of
these people, and answered that the treaty should be drawn up and signed
on board the _Guerrière_ or not at all. Seeing that there was no use in
arguing with the American the Moorish officer went ashore to consult
with the Dey.

Next day, June 30th, the captain of the port returned, with power to act
for his Highness Omar Pasha. Decatur told him that he meant to put an
end to these piratical attacks on Americans, and insisted that all his
countrymen who were being held as slaves in Algiers should be given up,
that the value of goods taken from them should be paid them, that the
Dey should give the owners of the brig _Edwin_ of Salem ten thousand
dollars, that all Christians who escaped from Algiers to American ships
should be free, and that the two nations should act toward each other
exactly as other civilized countries did. Then the Moorish officer began
to explain and argue. He said that it was not the present ruling Dey,
Omar Pasha, called "Omar the Terrible" because of his great courage,
who had attacked American ships; it was Hadji Ali, who was called the
"Tiger" because of his cruelty, but he had been assassinated in March,
and his prime minister, who succeeded him, had been killed the following
month, and Omar Pasha was a friend of the United States. Decatur replied
that his terms for peace could not be altered.

The Moor then asked for a truce while he should go ashore and confer
with the Dey. Decatur said he would grant no truce. The Algerine
besought him to make no attack for three hours. "Not a minute!" answered
Decatur. "If your squadron appears before the treaty is actually signed
by the Dey, and before the American prisoners are sent aboard, I will
capture it!"

The Moorish captain said he would hurry at once to the Dey, and added
that if the Americans should see his boat heading out to the _Guerrière_
with a white flag in the bow they would know that Omar Pasha had agreed
to Decatur's terms.

An hour later the Americans sighted an Algerine war-ship coming from the
east. Decatur signaled his fleet to clear for action, and gave orders
to his own men on the _Guerrière_. The fleet had hardly weighed anchor,
however, before the small boat of the port captain was seen dashing out
from shore, a white flag in the bow. The excited Moor waved to the crew
of the flag-ship. As soon as the boat was near enough Decatur asked
if the Dey had signed the treaty, and set the American captives free.
The captain assured him of this, and a few minutes later his boat was
alongside the flag-ship, and the Americans, who had been seized and held
by the pirates, were given over to their countrymen. Some of them had
been slaves for several years, and their delight knew no bounds.

In so short a time did Decatur succeed in bringing the Dey to better
terms than he had made with any other country. When the treaty had
been signed the Dey's prime minister said to the English consul, with
reproach in his voice, "You told us that the Americans would be swept
from the seas in six months by your navy, and now they make war upon us
with some of your own vessels which they have taken." As a fact three of
the ships in Decatur's squadron had actually been won from the English
in the War of 1812.

The _Epervier_, commanded by Lieutenant John Templer Shubrick, was now
ordered to return to the United States, with some of the Americans
rescued from Algiers. The fate of the brig is one of the mysteries of
the sea. She sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar July 12, 1815, and
was never heard of again. She is supposed to have been lost in a heavy
storm in which a number of English merchantmen foundered near the West

Algiers had now been brought to her knees by Decatur, and he was free
to turn to Tunis and Tripoli. The rulers of each of these countries had
been misled by the English agents exactly as had the Dey of Algiers, and
the Bey of Tunis had allowed the British cruiser _Lyra_ to recapture
some English prizes that the American privateer _Abellino_ had taken
into harbor during the War of 1812. Like Algiers, both Tunis and Tripoli
were well protected by fleets and imposing forts. Decatur, however,
had now learned that downright and prompt measures were the ones most
successful in dealing with the Moors, who were used to long delays and
arguments. He anchored off Tunis on July 26th, and immediately sent word
to the Bey that the latter must pay the United States forty-six thousand
dollars for allowing the English _Lyra_ to seize the American prizes,
and that the money must be paid within twelve hours.

The United States consul, Mordecai M. Noah, carried Decatur's message
to the Bey. The Moorish ruler was seated on a pile of cushions at
a window of his palace, combing his long, flowing black beard with
a tortoise-shell comb set with diamonds. Mr. Noah politely stated
Decatur's terms.

"Tell your admiral to come and see me," said the Bey.

"He declines coming, your Highness," answered the consul, "until these
disputes are settled, which are best done on board the ship."

The Bey frowned. "But this is not treating me with becoming dignity.
Hammuda Pasha, of blessed memory, commanded them to land and wait at the
palace until he was pleased to receive them."

"Very likely, your Highness," said Mr. Noah, "but that was twenty years

The Bey considered. "I know this admiral," he remarked at length; "he is
the same one who, in the war with Sidi Yusuf, burned the frigate." He
referred to Decatur's burning the _Philadelphia_ in the earlier warfare.

The consul nodded. "The same."

"Hum!" said the Bey. "Why do they send wild young men to treat for peace
with old powers? Then, you Americans do not speak the truth. You went
to war with England, a nation with a great fleet, and said you took her
frigates in equal fight. Honest people always speak the truth."

"Well, sir, and that was true. Do you see that tall ship in the bay
flying a blue flag?" The consul pointed through the window. "It is the
_Guerrière_, taken from the British. That one near the small island, the
_Macedonian_, was also captured by Decatur on equal terms. The sloop
near Cape Carthage, the _Peacock_, was also taken in battle."

The Bey, looking through his telescope, saw a small vessel leave the
American fleet and approach the forts. A man appeared to be taking
soundings. The Bey laid down the telescope. "I will accept the admiral's
terms," said he, and resumed the combing of his beard.

Later he received Decatur with a great show of respect. The American
consul was also honored, but the British was not treated so well. When
a brother of the prime minister paid the money over to Decatur the Moor
turned to the Englishman, and said, "You see, sir, what Tunis is obliged
to pay for your insolence. You should feel ashamed of the disgrace you
have brought upon us. I ask you if you think it just, first to violate
our neutrality and then to leave us to be destroyed or pay for your

Having settled matters with Tunis, Decatur sailed for Tripoli, and
there sent his demands to the Pasha. He asked thirty thousand dollars
in payment for two American prizes of war that had been recaptured by
the British cruiser _Paulina_, a salute of thirty-one guns to be fired
from the Pasha's palace in honor of the United States flag, and that the
treaty of peace be signed on board the _Guerrière_.

The Pasha pretended to be offended, summoned his twenty thousand Arab
soldiers and manned his cannon; but when he heard how Algiers and Tunis
had already made peace with Decatur, and saw that the Americans were
all prepared for battle, he changed his tactics and sent the governor
of Tripoli to the flag-ship to treat for peace. The American consul
told Decatur that twenty-five thousand dollars would make good the lost
prize-ships, but that the Pasha was holding ten Christians as slaves in
Tripoli. Decatur thereupon reduced the amount of his claim on condition
that the slaves should be released. This was agreed to. The prisoners,
two of whom were Danes, and the others Sicilians, were sent to the
flag-ship, and by way of compliment the band of the _Guerrière_ went
ashore and played American airs to the delight of the people.

The American captain now ordered the rest of his squadron to sail to
Gibraltar, while the _Guerrière_ landed the prisoners at Sicily. As the
flag-ship came down the coast from Carthagena she met that part of the
Algerine fleet that had put into Malta when the Americans first arrived
in the Mediterranean. The _Guerrière_ was alone, and Decatur thought
that the Moors, finding him at such a disadvantage, might break their
treaty of peace, and attack him. He called his men to the quarter-deck.
"My lads," said he, "those fellows are approaching us in a threatening
manner. We have whipped them into a treaty, and if the treaty is to be
broken let them break it. Be careful of yourselves. Let any man fire
without orders at the peril of his life. But let them fire first if they
will, and we'll take the whole of them!"

The decks were cleared, and every man stood ready for action. The fleet
of seven Algerine ships sailed close to the single American frigate in
line of battle. The crews looked across the bulwarks at each other, but
not a word was said until the last Algerine ship was opposite. "Where
are you going?" demanded the Moorish admiral.

"Wherever it pleases me," answered Decatur; and the _Guerrière_ sailed
on her course.

Early in October there was a great gathering of American ships
at Gibraltar. Captain Bainbridge's fleet, which included the
seventy-four-gun ship of the line _Independence_, was there when Decatur
arrived. The war between the United States and England was only recently
ended, and the presence of so many ships of the young Republic at the
English Rock of Gibraltar caused much talk among the Spaniards and other
foreigners. The sight of ships which had been English, but which were
now American, added to the awkward situation, and more than one duel was
fought on the Rock as the result of disputes over the War of 1812.

The Dey of Algiers, left to his own advisers and to the whispers of men
who were jealous of the United States' success, began to wish he had not
agreed to the treaty he had made with Decatur. His own people told him
that a true son of the Prophet should never have humbled himself before
the Christian dogs. In addition the English government agreed to pay him
nearly four hundred thousand dollars to ransom twelve thousand prisoners
of Naples and Sardinia that he was holding. Before everything else the
Dey was greedy. Therefore when Captain Oliver Hazard Perry, the hero of
the battle of Lake Erie, brought out in the _Java_ a copy of the treaty
after it had been ratified by the United States Senate, and it was
presented to the Dey by the American consul, William Shaler, the ruler
of Algiers pretended that the United States had changed the treaty,
and complained of the way in which Decatur had dealt with the Algerine
ships. Next day he refused to meet Mr. Shaler again, and sent the treaty
back to him, saying that the Americans were unworthy of his confidence.
Mr. Shaler hauled down the flag at his consulate, and boarded the _Java_.

Fortunately there were five American ships near Algiers; and these
were made ready to open fire on the Moorish vessels in the harbor.
Plans were also made for a night attack. The small boats of the fleet
were divided into two squadrons, to be filled by twelve hundred
volunteer sailors. One division was to make for the water battery and
try to spike its guns, while the other was to attack the batteries
on shore. Scaling-ladders were ready, and the men were provided with
boarding-spikes; but shortly before they were to embark the captain
of a French ship in the harbor got word of the plan and carried the
information to the Dey. The latter was well frightened, and immediately
sent word that he would do whatever his good friends from America
wanted. The next day Mr. Shaler landed again, and the Dey signed the

The fleet then called a second time on the Bey of Tunis, who had been
grumbling about his dissatisfaction with Decatur's treatment. He
too, however, was most friendly when American war-ships poked their
noses toward his palace. After that the Barbary pirates let American
merchantmen trade in peace, although an American squadron of four ships
was kept in the Mediterranean to see that the Dey, and the Bey, and the
Pasha did not forget, and go back to their old tricks.

So it was that Decatur put an end to the African pirates, so far as the
United States was concerned, and taught them that sailors of the young
Republic, far away though it was, were not to be made slaves by greedy
Moorish rulers.



Ever since the thirteen colonies that lay along the Atlantic coast
had become a nation ambitious men had heard the call, "Go West,
young man, go West!" There was plenty of fertile land in the country
beyond the Alleghany Mountains, and it was free to any who would
settle on it. Adventure beckoned men to come and help in founding new
states, and many, who thought the villages of New England already
overcrowded, betook themselves to the inviting West. One such youth was
Elijah Parrish Lovejoy, who came from the little town of Albion, in
Maine, and who, after graduating at Waterville College, had become a
school-teacher. This did not satisfy him; he wanted to see more of the
world than lay in the village of his birth, and when he was twenty-five
years old, in May, 1827, he set out westward.

The young man was a true son of the Puritans, brought up to believe
in many ideas that were already often in conflict with the views of
men of the South and West. He reached the small city of St. Louis, in
the pioneer country of Missouri, and there he found a chance to teach
school. He wrote for several newspapers that were being started, and in
the course of the next year edited a political paper that was urging
the election of Henry Clay as President. His interest in politics grew,
and he might have sought some public office himself had he not suddenly
become convinced that he was meant to be a minister, and determined to
prepare for that work at Princeton Seminary. When he returned to St.
Louis in 1833 his friends helped him to found a weekly religious paper
called the _St. Louis Observer_.

The editor found time from his newspaper work to ride into the country
and preach at the small churches that were springing up at every
crossroads. Missouri was more southern than northern, and he saw much
of slave-owning people. It was not long before he decided that negro
slavery was wrong, and that the only way to right the wrong was to do
away with it altogether. He began to attack slavery in his newspaper and
in his sermons, and soon slavery men in that part of Missouri came to
consider him as one of their most bitter foes.

Lovejoy had married, and expected to make St. Louis his permanent
home. But neither all the men who were interested in the _Observer_,
nor all the members of his church, approved of his arguments against
slaveholding, and when he was away at a religious meeting the
proprietors of his paper issued a statement promising that the editor
would deal more gently with the question of slavery in the future. When
Lovejoy returned and read this statement he was indignant; he was not a
man to fear public opinion, and he attacked his enemies more ardently
than ever.

The law of the land permitted slavery, and many of the chief citizens
in the frontier country approved of it. They hated the Abolitionists,
as those who wanted to do away with slavery were called. When men were
suspected of having helped to free slaves, or of sheltering runaway
negroes, they were taken into the country and given two hundred lashes
with a whip as a lesson. Sometimes Abolitionists were tarred and
feathered and ridden out of town; often their houses were burned and
their property destroyed. Lovejoy knew that he might have to face all
this, but the spirit of the Puritan stock from which he sprang would not
let him turn from his course.

He went on printing articles against the evils of slavery, he denounced
the right of a white man to separate colored husbands and wives, parents
and children, brothers and sisters, or to send his slaves to the market
to be sold to the highest bidder, or to whip or ill-use them as if they
had no feelings.

There was danger that the young editor would be mobbed, and the owners
of the _Observer_ took the paper out of his charge. Friends, however,
who believed in a free press, bought it, and gave it back to him. Waves
of public opinion, now for Lovejoy, now against him, swept through St.
Louis. By the end of 1835 mobs had attacked Abolitionists in Boston,
New York, and Philadelphia, and the news fanned the flames of resentment
against them in Missouri.

Lovejoy had good reason to know the danger of his position. One
September day he went out to a camp-meeting at the little town of
Potosi. He learned that two men had waited half a day in the village,
planning to tar and feather him when he arrived, but he was late, and
they had left. When he returned to St. Louis he found that handbills had
been distributed through the city, calling on the people to tear down
the office of the _Observer_. A newspaper named the _Missouri Argus_
urged patriotic men to mob the New England editor. Crowds, gathered on
street corners, turned dark, lowering looks upon him as he passed, and
every mail brought him threatening letters. He would not, however, stop
either writing or preaching against slavery.

His work constantly called him on journeys to small towns, sometimes
several days' ride from his home. Late in 1835 he was at a meeting in
Marion when reports came that St. Louis was in an uproar, that men who
opposed slavery were being whipped in the streets, and that no one
suspected of being an Abolitionist would be allowed to stay there.
Lovejoy had left his wife ill in bed. He started to ride back, a friend
going some seventy miles with him, half of the journey. The friend urged
him not to stay in St. Louis, pointing out that his young and delicate
wife would have to suffer as well as he. Travelers they met all warned
him that he would not be safe in the city. He rode on to St. Charles,
where he had left his wife. He talked with her, and she told him to go
on to his newspaper office if he thought duty called him there.

St. Louis was all excitement and alarm. The newspapers had attacked
the _Observer_ so bitterly that the owners had stopped printing it. A
mob had planned to wreck the office, but had postponed the task for a
few days. Men went to Lovejoy and told him he would not be safe in the
streets by day or night. Even the men of his church would not stand
by him, and a religious paper declared "that they would soon free the
church of the rotten sheep in it," by which they meant Elijah Lovejoy
and others who opposed slavery.

This Yankee, however, like many others who had gone to that border
country in the days when bitterness ran high, had a heroic sense of
duty. He wrote and printed a letter to the people, stating that men had
no right to own their brothers, no matter what the law might say. The
letter caused more excitement than ever.

The owners of the _Observer_ went to Lovejoy and requested him to retire
as its editor. For two days it was a question what the angry mobs would
do to him. Then a little better feeling set in. Men came to him, and
told him that he must go on printing his paper or there would be no
voice of freedom in all that part of the country. A friend bought
the newspaper from its owners, and urged Lovejoy to write as boldly
as before. This friend, however, suggested that he should move the
newspaper across the state line to Alton, Illinois, where feeling was
not so intense. Lovejoy agreed, and set out for Alton; but while he was
preparing to issue the paper there the same friend and others wrote him
that his pen was so much needed in St. Louis that he must come back. He
did so, and the _Observer_ continued its existence in St. Louis until
June, 1836.

There was so much strife and ill feeling, however, in Missouri that
the editor decided his newspaper would be better supported, and would
exert more influence, in Illinois. Accordingly he arranged to move
his printing-press to the town of Alton in July. Just before he left
St. Louis he published severe criticisms of a judge of that city who
had sided with slave-owners, and these articles roused even greater
resentment among the rabble who hated Lovejoy's freedom of speech.

If some of the people of Alton were glad to have this fearless editor
come to their town, many were not. Slavery was too sore a subject for
them to wish it talked about publicly. Many people all through that
part of the country looked upon an Abolitionist as a man who delighted
in stirring up ill feeling. Lovejoy sent his printing-press to Alton by
steamboat, and it was delivered at the wharf on a Sunday morning, about
daybreak. The steamboat company had agreed to land the press on Monday,
and Lovejoy refused to move it from the dock on the Sabbath. Early
Monday morning five or six men went down to the river bank and destroyed
the printing-press.

This was the young editor's welcome by the lawless element, but next day
the better class of citizens, thoroughly ashamed of the outrage, met and
pledged themselves to repay Lovejoy for the loss of his press. These
people denounced the act of the mob, but at the same time they expressed
their disapproval of Abolitionists. They wanted order and quiet, and
hoped that Lovejoy would not stir up more trouble.

The editor bought a new press and issued his first paper in Alton
on September 8, 1836. Many people subscribed to it, and it appeared
regularly until the following August. Lovejoy, however, would speak
his mind, and again and again declared that he was absolutely opposed
to slavery, and that the evil custom must come to an end. This led to
murmurs from the slavery party, and slanders were spread concerning the
editor's character. All freedom-loving men had to weather such storms
in those days, and Lovejoy, like a great many others, stuck to his
principles at a heavy cost.

The murmurs and slanders grew. On July 8, 1837, posters announced
that a meeting would be held at the Market House to protest against
the articles in the _Alton Observer_. The meeting condemned Lovejoy's
writings and speeches, and voted that Abolitionism must be suppressed
in the town. This was the early thunder that heralded the approach of a
gathering storm.

The Yankee editor showed no intention of giving up his stand against
slavery, but preached and wrote against it at every opportunity. As a
result threats of destroying the press of the _Observer_ were heard on
the streets of Alton, and newspapers in neighboring cities encouraged
ill feeling against the editor. The _Missouri Republic_, a paper printed
in St. Louis, tried to convince the people of Alton that it was a
public danger to have such men as Lovejoy in their midst, and condemned
the Anti-Slavery Societies that were being formed in that part of the
country. Two attempts were made to break into his printing-office during
the early part of the summer, but each time the attackers were driven
off by Lovejoy's friends.

The editor went to a friend's house to perform a marriage ceremony
on the evening of August 21, 1837. His wife and little boy were ill
at home, and on his return he stopped at an apothecary's to get some
medicine for them. His house was about a half mile out of town. As
he left the main street he met a crowd of men and boys. They did not
recognize him at once, and he hurried past them; but soon some began
to suspect who he was, and shouted his name to the rest. Those in the
rear urged the leaders to attack him, but those in front held back; some
began to throw sticks and stones at him, and one, armed with a club,
pushed up to him, denouncing him for being an Abolitionist. At last a
number linked arms and pushed past him, and then turning about in the
road stopped him. There were cries of "Tar and feather him," "Ride him
on a rail," and other threats. Lovejoy told them they might do as they
pleased with him, but he had a request to make; his wife was ill, and he
wanted some one to take the medicine to her without alarming her. One of
the men volunteered to do this. Then the editor, standing at bay, argued
with them. "You had better let me go home," he said; "you have no right
to detain me; I have never injured you." There was more denouncing,
jostling and shoving, but the leaders, after a short talk, allowed
Lovejoy to go on toward his house.

Meantime, however, another band had gone to the newspaper office between
ten and eleven o'clock, and, seeing by the lights in the building that
men were still at work there, had begun to throw stones at the windows.
A crowd gathered to watch the attack. The mayor and some of the leading
citizens hurried to the building, and argued with the ringleaders. A
prominent merchant told them that if they would wait until the next
morning he would break into the newspaper office with them, and help
them take out the press and the other articles, stow them on a boat,
put the editor on top, and send them all down the Mississippi River
together. But the crowd did not want to wait. The stones began to strike
some of Lovejoy's assistants inside the building, and they ran out by
a rear door. As soon as the office was empty the leaders rushed in and
broke the printing-press, type, and everything else in the building.
Next morning the slavery men in Alton said that the Abolitionist had
been silenced for the time, at least. They looked upon Lovejoy, and men
of his kind, as a thorn in the flesh of their peaceful community.

There were still a small number of "freedom-loving" people in Alton,
however, and these stood back of Elijah Lovejoy. Although two
printing-presses had now been destroyed, these men called a meeting
and decided that the _Observer_ must continue to be printed. Money was
promised, and the editor prepared to set up his press for the third
time. He issued a short note to the public, in which he said: "I now
appeal to you, and all the friends of law and order, to come to the
rescue. If you will sustain me, by the help of God, the press shall be
again established at this place, and shall be sustained, come what will.
Let the experiment be fairly tried, whether the liberty of speech and of
the press is to be enjoyed in Illinois or not." The money was raised,
and the dauntless spokesman for freedom sent to Cincinnati for supplies
for his new office.

That autumn enemies scattered pamphlets accusing Lovejoy and other
Abolitionists of various crimes against the country. Although few
people believed them, the circulars increased the hostile feelings, and
disturbed many of the editor's friends. Some of the latter began to
doubt whether the _Observer_ ought to continue its stirring articles.
Some thought it should be only a religious paper. But Lovejoy answered
that he felt it was his duty to speak out in protest against the great
evil of slavery. He finally offered to resign, if the supporters of
the paper thought it best for him to do so. They could not come to any
decision, and so let him continue his course.

The third printing-press arrived at Alton on September 21st, while
Lovejoy was away attending a church meeting. The press was landed from
the steamboat a little after sunset, and was protected by a number of
friends of the _Observer_. It was carted to a large warehouse to be
stored. As it passed through the street some men cried, "There goes
the Abolition press; stop it, stop it!" but no one tried to injure it.
The mayor of Alton declared that the press should be protected, and
placed a constable at the door of the warehouse, with orders to remain
till a certain hour. As soon as this man left, ten or twelve others,
with handkerchiefs tied over their faces as disguise, broke into the
warehouse, rolled the press across the street to the river, broke it
into pieces, and threw it into the Mississippi. The mayor arrived and
protested, but the men paid no attention to him.

Lovejoy's business had called him to the town of St. Charles, near St.
Louis, and he preached there while his third press was being attacked.
After his sermon in the evening he was sitting chatting with a clergyman
and another friend when a young man came in, and slipped a note into
his hand. The note read:


    "Be watchful as you come from church to-night.

        A FRIEND."

Lovejoy showed the note to the two other men, and the clergyman invited
him to stay at his house. The editor declined, however, and walked to
his mother-in-law's residence with his two friends. No one stopped them,
and when they came to the house Lovejoy and the clergyman went in, and
sat down to chat in a room on the second floor. About ten o'clock they
heard a knock on the door at the foot of the stairs. Mrs. Lovejoy's
mother went to the door, and asked what was wanted. Voices answered,
"We want to see Mr. Lovejoy; is he in?" The editor called down, "Yes, I
am here." As soon as the door was opened, two men rushed up-stairs, and
into the sitting-room. They ordered Lovejoy to go down-stairs, and when
he resisted, struck him with their fists. Mrs. Lovejoy heard the noise,
and came running from her room. A crowd now filled the hall, and she had
to fight her way through them. Several men tried to drag the editor out
of the house, but his wife clung to him, and aided by her mother and
sister finally persuaded the assailants to leave.

Exhausted by the struggle, Mrs. Lovejoy fainted. While her husband
was trying to help her, the mob came back, and, paying no attention to
the sick woman, insisted that they were going to ride Lovejoy out of
town. By this time a few respectable citizens had heard the noise, and
came to his aid. A second time the rabble was driven away; but they
stayed in the yard, and made the night hideous with their threats to
the Abolitionist. Presently some of the men went up to Lovejoy's room
the third time, and one of them gave him a note, which demanded that he
leave St. Charles by ten o'clock the next morning. Lovejoy's friends
begged him to send out an answer promising that he would leave. Although
he at first declined to do this, he finally yielded to their urging. He
wrote, "I have already taken my passage in the stage, to leave to-morrow
morning, at least by nine o'clock." This note was carried out to the
crowd on the lawn, and read to them. His friends thought the mob would
scatter after that, and they did for a time; but after listening to
violent speeches returned again. The noise was now so threatening that
Lovejoy's friends begged him to fly from the house. His wife added her
pleadings to theirs, and at last he stole out unnoticed by a door at the
rear. He hated to leave his wife in such a dangerous situation, however,
and so, after waiting a short time, he went back. His friends reproached
him for returning, and their reproaches were justified, for, like hounds
scenting the fox, the mob menaced the house more noisily than ever.
Lovejoy saw that he must leave again in order to protect his wife and
friends. This he succeeded in doing, and walked about a mile to the
residence of a Major Sibley. This friend lent him a horse, and he rode
out of town to the house of another friend four miles away. Next day
Mrs. Lovejoy joined him, and they went on together to Alton.

One of the very first people they met in Alton was a man from St Charles
who had been among those who had broken into their house the night
before. Mrs. Lovejoy was alarmed at seeing him in Illinois, because the
mob in St. Charles had declared that they were going to drive Lovejoy
out of that part of the country. In order to quiet her fears her husband
asked some friends to come to his house, and ten men, well armed, spent
the next night guarding it, while he himself kept a loaded musket at his
side. The storm-clouds were gathering about his devoted head.

Even the leading citizens of this Illinois town now felt that it was
Lovejoy's own fault if his newspaper was attacked. They hated mobs, but
most of them hated Abolitionists even more. If he would stop attacking
slavery, the crowds would stop attacking him. It was evident that
the lawless element did not intend to let him continue to print his
newspaper, and it was almost as clear that the mayor and authorities
were not going to protect him. Three times now his press had been

This son of the Puritans was not to be driven from his purpose by
threats or blows, but he was forced to see that it was a great waste
of money to have one press after another thrown into the Mississippi
River. His friends in the town of Quincy urged him to set up his press
there, and he felt much inclined to do so. He decided to wait, however,
until the next meeting of the Presbyterian Synod, when he would learn
whether the men of his church sided with him or not. This meeting
ended in discussion, breaking up along the old lines of those who were
friends and those who were enemies of slavery. Some of the members had
already joined Anti-Slavery Societies, while others, although they were
opposed to mob-violence, did not approve of the newspaper's attack on
slaveholding citizens. In a stirring speech Lovejoy said that they were
to decide whether the press should be free in that part of the United
States. He ended with an appeal for justice. "I have no personal fears,"
he declared. "Not that I feel able to contest the matter with the whole
community. I know perfectly well I am not. I know, sir, that you can
tar and feather me, hang me up, or put me into the Mississippi, without
the least difficulty. But what then? Where shall I go? I have been made
to feel that if I am not safe at Alton, I shall not be safe anywhere.
I recently visited St. Charles to bring home my family, and was torn
from their frantic embrace by a mob. I have been beset night and day at
Alton. And now if I leave here and go elsewhere, violence may overtake
me in my retreat, and I have no more claim upon the protection of any
other community than I have upon this; and I have concluded, after
consultation with my friends, and earnestly seeking counsel of God, to
remain at Alton, and here to insist on protection in the exercise of my

This speech made a great impression upon its hearers. The words were
those of a man who had thought long upon his subject, and had made up
his mind as to what he should do. He expressed no enmity toward the men
who had treated him so ill, and he did not complain of the members of
his own church who were lukewarm in their support. A man who was present
said that Lovejoy's speech reminded him of the words of St. Paul when
brought before Festus, or of Martin Luther speaking to the council at

Having decided to stay, Lovejoy ordered his fourth printing-press. This
was due to arrive early in November, and as the time drew near there
was no little excitement and anxiety among the friends of peace in the
town. Whenever the puff of a steamboat was heard men hurried to the
banks of the Mississippi. Some meant to defend the press from attack;
others meant to hurl it into the river as they had already done with
its predecessors. The press had an eventful journey. The first plan was
to land it at a place called Chippewa, about five miles down the river,
and then carry it secretly into Alton. But the roads grew bad, and
this plan was abandoned. The press reached St. Louis on Sunday night,
November 5th, and it was arranged that the steamer should land it at
Alton about three o'clock Tuesday morning. As soon as this was known,
Lovejoy and his friend Gilman went to the mayor and told him of the
threat that had been made to destroy the press, asking him to appoint
special constables to protect it. The town council voted that Lovejoy
and his friends be requested not to persist in setting up an Abolition
press in Alton, but the mayor refused to sign this request.

Monday night forty or fifty citizens, intent on seeing that the press
was protected, gathered at the warehouse of Godfrey, Gilman and Company
where the press was to be stored. Some thirty of them formed a volunteer
company, with one of the city constables in command. They were armed
with rifles and muskets loaded with buckshot or small balls. The editor
of the _Observer_ was not there. Only a night or two before his house
had been attacked, and his sister had narrowly escaped serious injury.
So he arranged with a brother, who was staying with him, to take turns
standing guard at his house and at the office.

At three o'clock the steamboat arrived at the dock. Lovejoy's enemies
had stationed sentinels along the river, and as the boat passed they
gave the alarm by blowing horns, so that when the dock was reached a
large crowd had gathered. Some one called the mayor, and he came down
to the warehouse. He begged the volunteer company to keep quiet, and
said he himself would see to the safe storing of the press. No serious
trouble followed. The crowd watched the stevedores carry the press to
the warehouse, but did not attack it, except to throw a few stones. It
was stood in the garret of the stone warehouse, safe from the enemy.

On Tuesday every one knew that the "Abolition press" had arrived, and
Tuesday night the same volunteers went down to the warehouse again.
Everything was quiet, and by nine o'clock all but about a dozen left the
place. Lovejoy stayed by the press, it being his brother's turn to guard
his house. The warehouse stood high above the river, apart from other
buildings, with considerable open space on the sides to the river and to
the north.

About ten o'clock that night loafers and stragglers began to come
from saloons and restaurants, and gather in the streets that led to
the warehouse. Some thirty, armed with muskets, pistols, and stones,
marched to the door, and demanded admittance. Mr. Gilman, one of the
owners of the warehouse, standing at the garret door, asked what they
wanted. The leader answered, "The press." Mr. Gilman said that he would
not give up the press. "We have no ill feelings toward any of you," he
added, "and should regret to harm you; but we are authorized by the
mayor to defend our property, and shall do so with our lives." The
mob leader answered that they meant to have the press at any cost,
and leveled a pistol at Mr. Gilman, who drew back from the door. The
crowd began to throw stones, and broke a number of windows. Then they
fired through the windows. The men inside returned the shots. One or
two of the mob were wounded; and this checked them for a time. Soon,
however, others came with ladders, and materials for setting fire to
the roof of the building. They kept on the side of the warehouse where
there were no windows, and where they could not be driven away by the
defenders. It was a moonlight night, and the small company inside the
building did not dare go out into the open space in front. At this
point the mayor appeared and carried a flag of truce through the mob to
Lovejoy's friends, asking that the press be given up, and the men in
the warehouse depart peacefully without other property being destroyed.
He told them that unless they surrendered the mob would set fire to
the warehouse. They answered that they had gathered to defend their
property, and intended to do it. He admitted that they had a perfect
right to do this, and went back to report the result of his mission to
the leaders. Outside a shout went up, "Fire the building, drive out the
Abolitionists, burn them out!" A great crowd had gathered, but there
were no officers of the law ready to defend the press.

Ladders were placed against the building, and the roof was set on fire.
Five men volunteered to go out and try to prevent the firing. They
left the building by the riverside, fired at the men on the ladder,
and drove them away. The crowd drew back, while the five returned to
the store. The mob did not venture to put up their ladder again, and
presently Lovejoy and two or three others opened a door and looked out.
There appeared to be no one on this side, and Lovejoy stepped forward
to reconnoiter. Some of his enemies, however, were hidden behind a pile
of lumber, and one of them fired a double-barreled gun. The editor
was hit by five balls. He turned around, ran up a flight of stairs in
the warehouse, and into the counting-room. There he fell, dying a few
minutes later.

With their leader killed some of the company wanted to give up the
battle, while others insisted on fighting it out. They finally resolved
to yield. A clergyman went to one of the upper windows and called out
that Elijah Lovejoy had been killed and that they would give up the
press if they might be allowed to go unmolested. The crowd answered
that they would shoot them all where they were. One of the defenders
determined to go out at any risk and make terms. As soon as he opened
the door, he was fired upon and wounded. The roof was now blazing, and
one of their friends reached a door and begged them to escape by the
rear. All but two or three laid down their arms, running out at the
southern door, and fled down the bank of the river. The mob fired at
them, but only one was wounded. The crowd rushed into the warehouse,
threw the press out the window, breaking it into pieces, and scattered
the pieces in the Mississippi. At two o'clock they had disappeared,
having accomplished their evil purpose of preventing a "free press" in

Elijah Lovejoy was only thirty-five years old when he met his martyr's
death. His life in Missouri and Illinois had been one constant fight
against slavery, and for liberty of speech. His Puritan ancestry made it
impossible for him to give up the battle he knew to be right. The story
of his heroic struggle and death aroused lovers of liberty all over the
country, and newspapers everywhere denounced the acts of the mob at
Alton. Such acts meant that men could not speak their minds on public
questions, and a "free press" had been one of the dearest rights of
American citizens. Men in the North at that time had by no means agreed
that slavery must be abolished, but they did all believe in the freedom
of the press. For that cause Lovejoy had been a martyr.

More than two decades were to pass before the question of slavery was to
be settled forever, and in the years between 1837 and 1860 many men of
the same stock and stripe as Elijah Lovejoy were to give up their lives
in heroic defense of their belief in freedom. He was one of the first
of a long line of heroes. His voice sounded a call that was to echo
through the border states for years to come, inspiring others to take up
his cause. A freedom-loving country should place among its noblest sons
this dauntless editor and preacher.



The Hudson's Bay Company, whose business was to buy skins and furs
from the American Indians, had located a trading-post at Fort Walla
Walla, in the country of the Cayuse and Nez Percés Indians. This was
in what was known as Oregon Territory in 1842, although it is now
near the southeast corner of the state of Washington. Here was a very
primitive settlement, the frame houses of a few white men and the tents
of Indians. Very little effort had been made to grow grain or fruit or
to raise sheep or cattle, since the Hudson's Bay Company wanted the
Indians to be continually on the hunt for furs, and discouraged them
from turning into farmers. Besides the traders and the Indians there was
a small missionary camp near at hand, located on a beautiful peninsula
made by two branches of the Walla Walla River. This place was called
by the Indians Wai-i-lat-pui, meaning the region of rye grass. Beyond
the fertile ground on the river's banks were borders of timber-land,
and beyond them plains stretching to the foot-hills of the great Blue
Mountains. In 1842 this wonderful country was free to any who cared to
come and settle there, but as yet very few had ventured so far into the

The chief man at the missionary camp, Dr. Marcus Whitman, was called to
Fort Walla Walla on the first day of October, 1842, to see a sick man.
He found a score or so of traders and Hudson's Bay clerks, almost all
Englishmen, gathered there, and accepted their invitation to stay to
dinner. The men were a genial company, and had already taken a liking
to Whitman, who was frank and amiable, and an interesting story-teller.
Gradually the conversation at the dinner table came round to a subject
that was vastly important to the men present, although the outside world
seemed to be paying little attention to it--to which country was this
great territory of Oregon to belong, to the United States or to England?
The general opinion appeared to be that under the old treaties it would
belong to the country that settled it first.

In the midst of the discussion there was the sound of hoof-beats
outside, the door of the company's office was flung open, and an express
messenger ran into the dining-room. "I'm just from Fort Colville!" he
cried. "A hundred and forty Englishmen and Canadians are on the march to
settle here!"

There was instant excitement. A young priest threw his cap in the
air, shouting, "Hurrah for Oregon--America's too late; we've got the
country!" The traders clapped each other on the shoulder, and made a
place for the messenger at the head of the table. As he ate he told them
how he had ridden from the post three hundred and fifty miles up the
Columbia River to let all the fur-traders know that the English were on
the way to colonize the country.

Marcus Whitman smiled, and pretended to enjoy the celebration; but in
reality he was already considering whether he could not do something
to save this vast and fruitful region for his own nation. It was an
enormous tract of land, of untold wealth, and stretching over a long
reach of the Pacific coast. As he considered, Whitman heard the Hudson's
Bay Company's men grow more and more excited, until they declared that
they intended to take possession of all the country west to the Pacific
slope the following spring.

The missionary had been expecting this struggle between the English
and the Americans for the ownership of Oregon, but had not thought
it would come to a head quite so soon. He left the men at Fort Walla
Walla as early as he could, and rode back to the little settlement
at Wai-i-lat-pui. There he told his wife and friends the news he had
learned at the trading-post. "If our country is to have Oregon," he
said, "there is not a day to lose."

"But what can we do?" the others asked him.

"I must get to Washington as quick as I can, and let them know the

His friends understood what that meant, a journey on horseback across
almost an entire continent, through hostile Indians, over great rivers
and mountain ranges, and in the depths of winter. Some one pointed out
that under the rules of the American Mission Board that had sent them
into the far west none of their number could leave his post without
consent from the headquarters in Boston. "Well," said Whitman, "if the
Board dismisses me, I will do what I can to save Oregon to the country.
My life is of but little worth if I can save this country to the
American people."

His wife, a brave, patriotic woman who had shared his hard travels
westward without a murmur, agreed with him that he must go. They all
insisted, however, that he should have a companion. "Who will go with
me?" asked Whitman. In answer a man who had only lately joined the small
encampment, Amos L. Lovejoy, immediately volunteered.

Urging upon their friends the need of keeping the plan a secret from the
Hudson's Bay Company fur-traders, the two men quickly prepared, and left
the camp on October 3d. They had a guide, three pack-mules, and for the
start of their journey an escort of a number of Cayuse braves, men of
an Indian tribe that was not large, but was wealthy, and that seemed to
have taken a liking to Whitman and his friends at the mission settlement.

The leader himself had one fixed idea in his mind, to reach Washington
before Congress adjourned. He was convinced that only through his
account of the riches of Oregon could the government learn what the
country stood in danger of losing.

The little company got a good start, and with fresh horses, riding
southeast toward the border of what is now the state of Idaho, they
reached Fort Hall in eleven days. Here was stationed Captain Grant, who
had always done his best to hinder immigration into Oregon, and had
induced many an American settler to go no farther westward. He knew
Whitman of old, and six years before had tried to stop his expedition to
the Walla Walla River, but Whitman had overcome his arguments, and had
taken the first wagon that ever crossed the Rocky Mountains into Oregon.
As he had tried to prevent Whitman from going west before, so now he
tried to prevent him from going east. He told him that the Blackfeet
Indians had suddenly grown hostile to all white men, that the Sioux and
Pawnees were at war with each other, and would let no one through their
country, and finally that the snow was already twenty feet deep in the
passes of the Rockies, and travel through them was altogether out of the

This information was far from reassuring, and, backed as it was by
Captain Grant's entreaties and almost by his commands, would have
deterred many a man from plunging into that winter wilderness. Whitman,
however, was a man who could neither be turned aside nor discouraged.
His answer to all protests at Fort Hall was to point to the official
permit he had carried west with him, ordering all officers to protect
and aid him in his travels, and signed by Lewis Cass, Secretary of
War, and to declare that he intended to push on east, hostile Indians,
mountains, and blizzards notwithstanding. Captain Grant saw that he
could not stop Whitman, and, much to his chagrin, had to let him pass
the fort.

The route Whitman had plotted out lay first east and then south, in the
general direction of the present site of Salt Lake City. His objective
points were two small military posts, Fort Uintah and Fort Uncompahgra.
As soon as the two men left Fort Hall they ran into terribly cold
weather. The deep snow kept them back, and they had to pick any shelter
they could find, and crawl slowly on, sometimes taking a day to cover
a few miles. At Fort Uintah they procured a guide to the second post,
which was on the Grand River, and at the latter point a Mexican agreed
to show them the way to Taos, a settlement in what is now the state of
New Mexico. So far their southeasterly course had allowed them to skirt
the high mountains, but here they had to cross a range, and in the pass
ran full into a terrific snow-storm.

It was impossible to go forward in the teeth of that gale, so Whitman,
Lovejoy, and their guide looked about for shelter. They found a rocky
defile with a mountain shoulder to protect it, and led their horses and
pack-mules into this pocket. In this dark, cold place they stayed for
ten days, trying each morning to push on through the pass, and being
blown back each time. On the eleventh day the wind had abated somewhat,
and they tried again. They went a short distance when, coming around a
corner, a fresh storm broke full upon them, blinding and freezing the
men, and pelting the animals with frozen snow so that they were almost

The native guide now admitted that he was no longer sure of the way,
and refused to go any farther. Clearly the only thing to be done was to
return for the eleventh time to the sheltered ravine. But now the snow
had drifted across their trail, and none of the three men was at all
certain of the road back. Whitman dismounted, and kneeling in the snow,
prayed that they might be saved for the work that they had to do.

Meantime the guide resolved to try an old hunting expedient, and turned
one of the lead mules loose. The mule was confused at first, and
stumbled about, heading one way and then another, but finally started to
plunge back through the drifts as if to a certain goal. "There," shouted
the guide, "that mule will find the camp if he can live long enough in
this storm to reach it." The men urged their horses after the plunging
beast, and slipping and sliding and beating their half-frozen mounts,
at last came around the mountain shoulder and got in the lee of the
ravine. That bit of hunter's knowledge and that mule had much to do with
saving the great northwest to the United States.

Once safe in this comparative shelter the guide turned to Dr. Whitman.
"I will go no farther," said he; "the way is impassable."

Whitman knew that the man meant what he said, and he had just seen for
himself what a storm could do to travelers, but he said as positively in
the ravine as he had already said in the comfortable protection of Fort
Hall, "I must go on." He considered their situation a minute, and then
said to Lovejoy, "You stay in camp, and I'll return with the guide to
the fort and get a new man."

The pack-mules needed rest, and so this plan was agreed to. Whitman and
the obstinate guide went back, while Lovejoy waited in the ravine and
tried to nourish the mules by gathering brush and the inner bark of
willows for them to eat. Fortunately mules can live on almost anything.

For a week Lovejoy stayed in the ravine, only partly sheltered from wind
and snow, before Whitman returned. He brought a new guide with him, and,
the storm having now lessened, the little party was able to get through
the pass and strike out for the post at Taos.

The route Whitman was taking was far from direct, was in fact at least a
thousand miles longer than if they had headed directly east from Walla
Walla, but they were avoiding the highest Rockies, and were traveling
to a certain extent in the shelter of the ranges, where there was much
less snow and plenty of fire-wood could be found. The winter of 1842-43
was very cold, and if they had journeyed direct the continual storms and
lack of all fuel for camp-fires might have caused a different ending
to their cross-country ride. As it was they suffered continually from
frozen feet and hands and ears, and lost a number of days when one or
the other could not sit his saddle.

Traveling far to the south they came to the Grand River, one of the most
dangerous rivers in the west. The current, even in summer, is rapid,
deep, and cold. Now, in winter, solid ice stretched two hundred feet
from either shore, and between the ice was a rushing torrent over two
hundred feet wide.

The guide studied the swift, boiling current, and shook his head. "It's
too risky to try to cross," he declared.

"We must cross, and at once," said Whitman positively. He dismounted,
and, picking out a willow tree near the shore, cut a pole about eight
feet long. He carried this back to his horse, mounted, and put the pole
on his shoulder, gripping it with his left arm. "Now you shove me off,"
he said to the men. Lovejoy and the guide did as he ordered, and Whitman
and his horse were pushed into the stream. They disappeared under the
water, but soon came up, struggling and swimming. In a minute or two the
horse struck rocky bottom and could wade. Whitman jumped off, broke the
ice with his pole, and helped the animal to get to the shore.

Meantime Lovejoy and the guide, breaking the ice on their side, headed
their horses and the pack-mules into the river. Animals in that country
are always ready to follow where their leader goes, and they all swam
and splashed their way across. The men found plenty of wood at hand, and
soon had a roaring fire, by which they camped, and dried out thoroughly
before riding on.

The delays caused by their stay in the mountains and physical hardships
had made their store of provisions run low. At one time they had to
kill a dog that had joined them, and a little later one of the mules
for food. Eating and sleeping little, and pushing on as rapidly as they
could they finally reached the old city of Santa Fé, the metropolis of
the southwest. But here Whitman only stopped long enough to buy fresh

They were now heading for Bent's Fort near the head of the Arkansas
River. The storms in the hills were past, and they were riding over
vast treeless prairies, where there was plenty of grass for the horses,
and any amount of wild game if they could have stopped long enough to
replenish their larder with it. Again and again they were forced to
prairie expedients. Once, as they reached one of the tributaries of
the Arkansas River, after a long and tedious day on the plains, they
found the river frozen over with a layer of smooth, clear ice, hardly
strong enough to bear a man. They must have wood, but although there was
plenty of it on the other side, there was none on their shore of the
stream. Whitman took the ax from his kit, and lying down on the thin
ice, contrived with great caution and patience to make his way across.
On the other bank he cut long poles and short cross-pieces. These he
pushed across the ice to Lovejoy, and with them they made enough of a
bridge for the latter to urge the horses and mules to try to cross. They
all got over safely, though with much slipping and splashing. In cutting
his last pole Whitman split the ax-helve. When they camped he bound the
break with a deerskin thong, but that night a thieving wolf found the
ax at the edge of the camp, wanted the fresh deerskin, and dragged away
ax and thong. The loss would have been very serious if it had happened
earlier in their journey.

When they were within four days' ride of Bent's Fort they met a
caravan traveling toward Taos. The leader told Whitman that a party of
mountaineers was about leaving Bent's Fort for St. Louis, but added that
Whitman and Lovejoy, hampered by their pack animals, would not be in
time to join them.

Whitman was very anxious to join the mountaineers if he could, and
decided to leave Lovejoy and the guide with the pack-mules. Taking the
fastest horse, and a small store of food, he rode on alone, hoping
to catch the party. To do this he would have to travel on Sunday,
something they had not done before.

Lovejoy saw Dr. Whitman start on his ride, but when the former reached
Bent's Fort four days later he was astonished to find that Whitman had
not arrived there, nor been heard from. As that part of the country was
full of packs of gray wolves, now half-starved on account of the snow,
Lovejoy was alarmed.

If not a prey to the wolves, Whitman must be lost; so his friend took
a good guide from the Fort and started to search for him. He traveled
up-river a hundred miles, and there fell in with Indians who told him
of a lost white man who was trying to find the Fort, and whom they had
directed down the river. Lovejoy went back, and late that afternoon saw
Whitman come riding in, convinced that his journey had been so much
delayed because he had traveled on Sunday.

The party of mountaineers had already left, but a messenger had been
sent after them, and they stayed in camp, waiting for Whitman. Tired as
he was, he started out immediately with a new guide, particularly eager
to join this company, because they were now nearing the outposts of
civilization, where the worst white men and Indians beset the pioneers.
Lovejoy waited at Bent's Fort, and went east with the next caravan that
started for St. Louis.

Whitman came safely through to St. Louis, where he had friends. He was
at once surrounded by trappers and traders in Indian goods and furs
who wanted news of the plains. In his turn he asked news of Congress,
and learned that the Ashburton Treaty, settling a part of the boundary
between Canada and the United States, had been approved and signed, but
that the question of Oregon had not been settled, and from the reports
of what had been said in the debates at Washington he knew that none of
the American statesmen realized what a great prize Oregon Territory was.

He must reach the capital before Congress adjourned if possible. The
rivers were frozen, and he had to rely on a journey by stage, slow at
all times, but especially so in midwinter. He toiled slowly eastward,
taking one coach after another, swinging and swaying and rocking across
the center of the country, and reaching the capital in time to plead the
cause of the northwest.

Washington was used to many strange types of men in those pioneer days,
but even among such Marcus Whitman was a striking figure. He was of
medium height, compact of build, with big shoulders and a large head.
His hair was iron gray, and that, as well as his moustache and beard,
had not been cut for four months. He was of pioneer type, living so
long among Indians and trappers, and watching so constantly for wolves
and bears, that he seemed awkward and uncouth in an eastern city. His
clothes were a coarse fur jacket with buckskin breeches, fur leggings,
and boot moccasins. Over these he wore a buffalo overcoat, with a
head-hood for bad weather. He did not show an inch of woven garment.

Whitman reached Washington in March, 1843, and immediately urged his
case before President Tyler, Secretary of State Daniel Webster, and
many congressmen. He found the densest ignorance concerning Oregon
Territory, a tract of territory which has since been divided into the
three states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. A senator had said of
that territory, "What is the character of this country? As I understand
it there are seven hundred miles this side of the Rocky Mountains that
are uninhabitable; where rain never falls; mountains wholly impassable,
except through gaps and depressions, to be reached only by going
hundreds of miles out of the direct course.... Of what use would it be
for agricultural purposes? I would not, for that purpose, give a pinch
of snuff for the whole territory. I wish the Rocky Mountains were an
impassable barrier. If there was an embankment of even five feet to be
removed I would not consent to expend five dollars to remove it and
enable our population to go there." Another statesman declared, "With
the exception of land along the Willamette and strips along other water
courses, the whole country is as irreclaimable and barren a waste as the
Desert of Sahara. Nor is this the worst; the climate is so unfriendly
to human life that the native population has dwindled away under the
ravages of malaria." And newspaper opinions were no more favorable.
The Louisville _Journal_ wrote, "Of all the countries upon the face of
the earth Oregon is one of the least favored by heaven. It is the mere
riddlings of creation. It is almost as barren as Sahara and quite as
unhealthy as the Campagna of Italy. Russia has her Siberia and England
has her Botany Bay, and if the United States should ever need a country
to which to banish her rogues and scoundrels, the utility of such a
region as Oregon would be demonstrated. Until then, we are perfectly
willing to leave this magnificent country to the Indians, trappers and
buffalo hunters that roam over its sand-banks."

Marcus Whitman had ridden four thousand miles, and starved, frozen,
and never rested in order to overcome such opinions. The President and
Daniel Webster were polite to him, but neither seemed to think much of
the northwest. As he was describing the richness of the country, its
fertile soil, great forests, precious minerals, and delightful climate,
Webster interrupted. "But Oregon is shut off by impassable mountains and
a great desert, which make a wagon road impossible," said he. Whitman
answered, "Six years ago I was told there was no wagon road to Oregon,
and it was impossible to take a wagon there, and yet in despite of
pleadings and almost threats, I took a wagon over the road and have
it now." The missionary's earnest, forceful manner impressed both
President Tyler and Secretary Webster, and gradually they began to think
it might be worth while to protect the claim of the United States to
that country. Finally Whitman said, "All I ask is that you won't barter
away Oregon, or allow English interference until I can lead a band of
stalwart American settlers across the plains: for this I will try to do."

"Dr. Whitman," answered President Tyler, "your long ride and frozen
limbs speak for your courage and patriotism; your missionary credentials
are good vouchers for your character;" and he granted the request.

This was all Whitman wanted, because he believed that under the treaty
then in force between the United States and England the nation that
should colonize the country was to own it. He knew that up to that time
the English Hudson's Bay Company had bought out all American traders or
driven out all settlers, but he hoped he could lead enough emigrants
there now to hold it for the United States.

He next went to the American Missionary Board in Boston, which had
originally sent him out to Oregon. There he met with cold treatment,
and was told he should not have left the camp at Wai-i-lat-pui without
permission from Boston, and that his trip across the continent was a
wild-goose chase. This unmerited rebuke must have hurt him sorely.
He was, however, so filled with eagerness to lead his party of
pioneers west that he did not let it daunt him, but went on with his
preparations. In this he was very much helped by his companion Lovejoy,
who was gathering a large number of emigrants on the frontier awaiting
Whitman's return.

The meeting point of the emigrants was the little town of Weston, not
far from where Kansas City now stands. Here and at various near-by
settlements the pioneers gathered early in the year 1843, waiting for
Dr. Whitman to join them, and for the spring grass to grow high enough
to feed their cattle. As it happened, that year the grass was late, and
the caravan did not get under way until the first week in June. Whitman
himself was delayed through the need of leaving careful instructions
for those who were to cross the plains later in the year. The caravan
started before Whitman arrived, and he did not overtake the advance
guard until they had reached the Platte River. When he did actually join
the emigrants he looked after everything, mending broken prairie wagons,
cheering tired mothers, acting as surgeon and doctor, hunting out fords
through quicksands and rivers, searching for water and grass in the
desert plains, seeking new passes through the mountains, and at night
superintending the building of camp-fires and keeping watch against an
attack by wolves or other wild animals.

The journey from the Platte River as far as Fort Hall, which was near
the eastern border of Oregon Territory, was much like other pioneer
travels through the west. Whitman had been over this trail several times
and the difficulties he encountered were not new to him. At Fort Hall
he had to meet Captain John Grant again, who, as an agent of the Fur
Company, did not want new farmers to settle in Oregon.


Instead of appealing only to a few men Captain Grant now spoke to
several hundred resolute pioneers. He told them of the terrors of the
long journey through the mountains and the impossibility of hauling
their heavy prairie wagons over the passes; he recounted the failures
of other pioneers who had tried what they had planned to do; he showed
them in the corral wagons, farm tools, and other pioneer implements
that earlier emigrants had had to leave when they ventured into the
mountains. He stated the difficulties so clearly that this company
was almost persuaded, as earlier companies had been, to follow his
suggestions, leave their farming implements behind, and try to make a
settlement without any of the tools or comforts that were so greatly
needed in that country. Whitman, however, spoiled Grant's plans. He said
to his followers, "Men, I have guided you thus far in safety. Believe
nothing you hear about not being able to get your wagons through; every
one of you stick to your wagons and your goods. They will be invaluable
to you when you reach the end of your journey. I took a wagon over to
Oregon six years ago." The men believed their leader, refused to obey
Captain Grant, and prepared to start on the trail into the high Rockies.

It was the last six hundred miles of the journey to Oregon that usually
made the most severe test of the settlers' endurance. From Fort Hall
the nature of the traveling changed entirely, and was apt to resemble
the retreat of a disorganized army. Earlier caravans, although they had
taken Captain Grant's advice and left many wagons, horses, and camp
comforts behind, had suffered untold hardships. Oxen and horses, worn
by their long trip across the plains, and toiling for long stretches
through the high passes, were apt to perish in large numbers and
frequently fell dead in their yokes on the road. Wagons already baked in
the blazing sun of the desert would fall to pieces when they struck a
sharp rock or were driven over a rough incline. Families were obliged to
join company and throw away everything that tended to impede their speed.

The approaching storms of autumn, which meant impassable snow, would not
allow them to linger. In addition to this there were grizzlies in the
mountains and the constant fear of attack from Indians. Such pioneers as
strayed from the main company were likely to fall in with an enemy that
was continually hovering on either flank of the march, ready to swoop
down upon unprotected men or women. This fear added to the speed of the
journey, and as they progressed the road over which they traveled was
strewn with dead or worn-out cattle, abandoned wagons, discarded cooking
utensils, yokes, harness, chests, log chains, and all kinds of family
heirlooms that the settlers had hoped to carry to their new homes.
Sometimes the teams grew so much weakened that none dared to ride in
the wagons, and men, women, and children would walk beside them, ready
to give a helping push up any steep part of the road. A pioneer who
had once made this journey said, referring to a former trip across the
mountains, "The fierce summer's heat beat upon this slow west-rolling
column. The herbage was dry and crisp, the rivulets had become but lines
in the burning sand; the sun glared from a sky of brass; the stony
mountainsides glared with the garnered heat of a cloudless summer. The
dusky brambles of the scraggy sage-brush seemed to catch the fiery rays
of heat and shiver them into choking dust, that rose like a tormenting
plague and hung like a demon of destruction over the panting oxen and
thirsty people.

"Thus day after day, for weeks and months, the slow but urgent retreat
continued, each day demanding fresh sacrifices. An ox or a horse would
fall, brave men would lift the useless yoke from his limp and lifeless
neck in silence. If there was another to take his place he was brought
from the loose band, yoked up and the journey resumed. When the stock
of oxen became exhausted, cows were brought under the yoke, other wagons
left, and the lessening store once more inspected; if possible another
pound would be dispensed with.

"Deeper and deeper into the flinty mountains the forlorn mass drives its
weary way. Each morning the weakened team has to commence a struggle
with yet greater difficulties. It is plain the journey will not be
completed within the anticipated time, and the dread of hunger joins the
ranks of the tormentors.... The Indians hover in the rear, impatiently
waiting for the train to move on that the abandoned trinkets may be
gathered up. Whether these are gathering strength for a general attack
we cannot tell. There is but one thing to do--press on. The retreat
cannot hasten into rout, for the distance to safety is too great. Slower
and slower is the daily progress."

Marcus Whitman, however, had known these difficulties before, and
guarded his caravan from many of them.

Up to that date almost no man had crossed into Oregon by the route
he was taking. A few missionaries had made the journey on horseback,
driving some head of cattle with them, and three or four wagons drawn
by oxen had reached the Snake River at an earlier date, but it was the
general opinion of trappers that no large company of people could travel
down the Snake River because of the scarcity of pasturage and the rugged
road through the mountains. It was also thought that the Sioux Indians
would oppose the approach of such a large caravan because the emigrants
might kill or drive away the buffaloes, which were already diminishing
in number and were hunted by this tribe for food.

When they came to cross the Snake River Whitman gave orders to fasten
the wagons together in one long line, the strongest ones being placed in
the lead. When the teams were in position Whitman tied a long rope about
his waist and fastened the other end to the first team. Riding his horse
into the current he swam across the river. He called to the other riders
to follow him, and at the same time to pull on the rope that was tied to
the first team. In this way the leaders were started into the water, and
all were drawn over in safety. At times, however, it took a great deal
of pulling on the ropes by many men to drag the weaker teams to a safe
foothold on the farther bank. The Snake River at the place where Whitman
forded it was divided into three separate rivers by islands, and as
the last stream on the Oregon shore was a deep and rapid current fully
a mile wide, it can be seen what a task it was to get so many wagons,
tired ox-teams, and the great company of men, women and children across
it. But Whitman had solved many such problems before. When he and his
wife went to Oregon six years earlier she had said it was a shame that
her husband should wear himself out in getting their wagon through.
"Yesterday," she said, "it was overset in the river and he was wet from
head to foot getting it out; to-day it was upset on the mountainside,
and it was hard work to save it."

There were over a thousand people in this expedition that was going out
to colonize Oregon for the United States. They had about one hundred
and twenty wagons drawn by ox-teams, which averaged six yoke of oxen to
a team, and, in addition, several thousand horses and cattle, led or
driven by the emigrants. Although they started to travel in one body
they soon found they could do better by dividing into two columns,
marching within easy hailing distance of each other, so long as they
were in danger of attack by the Indians, and later separating into small
parties, better suited to the narrow mountain paths and the meagre
pasture lands.

It is interesting to learn how such a company traveled. At four o'clock
in the morning the sentinels who were on guard waked the camp by shots
from their rifles, the emigrants crept from their canvas-covered wagons
or tents built against the side of the wagons, and soon the smoke of
camp-fires began to rise in the air. Sixty men, whose duty it was to
look after the cattle, would start out from the corral, or enclosed
space, spreading through the horses and cattle, who had found pasturage
over night in a great semicircle about the camp. The most distant
animals were sometimes two miles away. These sixty scouts looked for
Indian trails beyond the herd and tried to discover whether any of
the animals had been stolen or had strayed during the night. If none
were lost the herders drove the animals close to the camp, and by five
o'clock horses, oxen, and cattle were rounded up, and the separate
emigrants chose their teams and drove them into the corral to be yoked.
The corral was a circle about one hundred yards deep, formed by wagons
fastened together by ox-chains, making a barrier that could not be
broken by any vicious ox or horse, and a fortification in case of an
attack by Indians.

The camp was very busy from six to seven o'clock; the women prepared
breakfast; the tents were packed away, the wagons loaded and the oxen
yoked and fastened to their owners' wagons. Each of the two divisions
had about sixty wagons, and these were separated into sixteen platoons.
Each platoon took its turn at leading, and in this way none of the
wagons had to travel continually in the dust. By seven o'clock the
corral was broken up; the women and children had found their places in
the wagons, and the leader, or pilot as he was called, mounted his horse
and was ready to lead the way for the day's journey. A band of young men
who were not needed at the wagons, well mounted and armed, would start
on a buffalo hunt, keeping within easy reach of the caravan and hoping
to bring back food for the night's encampment.

At seven o'clock the trumpet sounded the advance, and the wagon that
was to lead for that day slowly rolled out of the camp and headed
the line of march. The other wagons fell in behind it, and guided by
the horsemen, the long line commenced its winding route through the

The country through which Whitman had chosen to travel was beautiful
in the extreme; at times the road lay through the great heights of the
Rockies, with a panorama of wonderful charm stretched on the horizon;
at times it lay beside broad rivers where the clearness of the air
brought out all the colors of late summer foliage. The party of hunters
were also scouts for the caravan, searching the rivers for the most
promising fords. Having found one to their liking, they would signal
with a flag to the pilot and his guides to show in which direction to
lead the wagons. These guides kept constantly on the alert, for it would
be hard if they had to march a mile or two out of their way or retrace
their steps because of wrong advice. The rest of the emigrants trusted
the route entirely to their leaders and rode or marched stolidly along,
occasionally stopping to gather a few flowers for the women and children
in the wagons. At noon the whole line stopped for dinner. The scouting
party would carefully choose a good camping place, looking especially
for the grass and water that were so much needed at the end of five
hours of hard traveling. The teams were not unyoked, but only turned
loose from their wagons, and the latter were drawn up in columns, four
abreast. No corral was formed, as there was little danger from Indians
or risk of animals straying in the daytime.

At this noon rest many matters were discussed by the caravan leaders.
Whitman and one or two others had been chosen to decide disputes between
the different members of the party. Orders for the good of the caravan
would be given out at this time, and Dr. Whitman would visit any who
were sick and advise with the various families as to new difficulties
they had met with.

When dinner was eaten and the teams rested the march was resumed, and
continued until sundown, when the scouts picked out the best camping
place for the night. The wagons were driven into a great circle,
fastened each to each, and the cattle freed to seek a pasture; tents
were pitched, fires started, and all hands were busy. The scene was
almost like a small frontier town.

The caravan was divided into three companies, and each of the companies
subdivided into four watches. Each company had the duty of acting as
sentries for the camp every third night, and each watch took its turn.
The first watch was set at eight o'clock in the evening, just after the
evening meal. For a short time there would be talking, perhaps singing,
or the music of the violin or flute. Usually, however, the day's
traveling had been hard and trying, and at an early hour the emigrants
went to sleep.

Late in the summer of 1843 Whitman's pioneers left the mountains behind
them, and came down into the valleys watered by the tributaries of
the Columbia River. As they approached the missionary settlement at
Wai-i-lat-pui a band of Cayuse and Nez Percés Indians came to meet them,
bringing pack-mules loaded with supplies. Few messengers could have been
more welcome. They told Whitman that his wife and friends were still at
the little clearing where he had left them almost a year before, and
were eagerly looking forward to the arrival of the new settlers. The
leader thought that the caravan could finish its journey without him
now, so he chose one of his most reliable Indian guides, Istikus, and
placed him in charge of the company. Whitman himself hurried on to the
mission. Back of him rolled the long train of canvas-covered wagons
that had traveled so far over prairies, rivers, and mountains. Almost
a thousand men, women, and children were coming into this far western
section of the continent to settle and hold the country for the United

Whitman's ride changed the situation. No more statesmen could speak
of the impassable mountains or the impossibility of taking settlers'
wagons into Oregon. Before Whitman left Washington Daniel Webster sent
a message to England stating that the United States would insist on
holding all territory south of the forty-ninth degree of latitude. When
President Tyler was told that a caravan of nearly a thousand people
under Whitman's leadership had started for Oregon, a second and more
positive message to the same effect was sent to England. All over the
United States men were now demanding that their government should claim
the country as far as the Pacific coast, and one great political party
took as its watchword the motto, "Oregon, fifty-four, forty,--or fight,"
referring to the degree of latitude they wanted for the boundary line.
The Hudson's Bay Company, finding so large a colony of pioneers settling
among them, was forced to give over its efforts to hold the northwest
entirely for itself. In time the English statesmen agreed to the claims
of the United States, and on July 17, 1846, a treaty was signed, fixing
the boundary between Canada and the United States at the forty-ninth
degree, which gave Oregon to the Republic.

The settlers prospered, and the little missionary colony near the Walla
Walla River grew in size. Whitman resumed his work among the Indians,
and seemed to win their friendship. There seemed no reason why the
native tribes and their white friends should not live in peace in such
an undeveloped country. After a time, however, fear or greed or false
leaders stirred up certain Indians and sent them on the war-path against
their friends. No one knew the real cause for the outburst, but on
November 29, 1847, a band of the Cayuse crept down on the little cluster
of houses at Wai-i-lat-pui and killed fourteen of the white settlers.
Marcus Whitman was one of the first to fall. He was in his house, with
several Indians as usual in the room with him. One was sitting close to
him, asking for some medicine, when another came up behind and struck
him with a tomahawk. These two then gave the signal, and their allies
in other houses fell upon the white men and women. After the massacre
forty men, women, and children were carried away from the valley by the
Indians, but most of them were later rescued by the Hudson's Bay Company
and sent back to their homes. Other white settlers joined forces and
marched against the treacherous Cayuse, but the latter fled through the
country, scattering into different tribes, and the leaders of the attack
were not captured until nearly two years later.

Daniel Webster had said in the Senate: "What do we want with the vast,
worthless area, this region of savages and wild beasts, of deserts, of
shifting sands and whirlwinds of dust, of cactus and prairie dogs? To
what use could we ever hope to put these great deserts, or these endless
mountain ranges, impenetrable, and covered to their base with eternal
snow? What can we ever hope to do with the western coast, a coast of
three thousand miles, rock-bound, cheerless, and uninviting, and not
a harbor on it? What use have we for such a country?" But though many
great statesmen agreed with Webster a simple missionary who had been to
Oregon looked into the future, saw the value of the vast expanse, and
had the courage and determination to ride across the continent for aid,
and then bring back a thousand settlers to help him realize his dream.
Marcus Whitman is one of the noblest examples of that great type of
pioneers who won the western country for the United States.



In the winter of 1838-39 a large number of people moved into the country
on the east bank of the Mississippi River in the state of Illinois. They
had taken the name of "Latter-Day Saints," but were generally called
Mormons, and were followers of a new religion that had been founded by
a man named Joseph Smith a few years earlier. This strange new religion
had attracted many people to it, and the greater number of them had
first moved to Ohio, and then into the new state of Missouri, but they
were not well received by the people of either of those states, and had
finally been driven from Missouri at the point of the sword. Fortunately
for them there was plenty of unoccupied land in the West, and their
leader decided to take refuge near the town of Quincy in Illinois. At
that time a man had only to reside in the state for six months in order
to cast a vote for president, and as an election was near at hand the
politicians of Illinois were glad to welcome the Mormons. Looking about,
the newcomers found two "paper" cities, or places that had been mapped
out on paper with streets and houses, but had never actually been
built. The Mormon leaders bought two large farms in the "paper" town of
Commerce, and many thousand acres in the country adjoining, and there
they laid out their new city, to which they gave the strange name of

The Mormon city lay along the Mississippi River, and its streets and
public buildings were planned on a large scale. People flocked to the
place, and as the Mormon missionaries were eager workers the number of
converts grew rapidly. A temple was built, which a stranger who saw
it in 1843 said was the wonder of the world. Many Mormon emigrants
came from England, usually by ship to New Orleans, and thence by river
steamboat up the Mississippi to Nauvoo. By the end of 1844 at least
fifteen thousand people had settled there, and as many more were
scattered through the country in the immediate neighborhood. Nauvoo was
the largest city in Illinois, and its only rival in that part of the
West was St. Louis. Joseph Smith had obtained a charter, and both the
political parties, the Whigs and the Democrats, were doing their best to
make friends of his people. Nauvoo had little of the rough look of most
newly-settled frontier towns, and handsome houses and public buildings
sprang up rapidly along its fine wide streets.


Unfortunately for the Mormons their leader was a man who made enemies as
easily as he made friends. He had aroused much ill feeling when he lived
in Missouri. As a result, when, one day in May, 1842, Governor Boggs
of Missouri was shot and seriously wounded while sitting at the window
of his home, many people laid the crime to Smith or his followers, and
believed that the prophet himself, as Smith was called, had ordered the
shooting. The officers of Missouri asked the governor of Illinois to
hand Smith over to them. This was not done, and consequently ill feeling
against the prophet grew stronger. In the meantime a man named John C.
Bennett, who had joined the Mormons at Nauvoo, and had been the first
mayor of the city, deserted the church, and turned into one of the most
bitter of its enemies. He denounced the Mormons in letters he wrote to
the newspapers, and exposed what he called their secrets. This led other
people to attack the ideas of the Mormons, and it was not long before
there was almost as much dislike of them in Illinois as there had been
in Missouri.

Even in the Mormon church itself there were men who would not agree
with all the prophet Joseph Smith said. A few of these men set up a
printing-press and published a paper that they called the _Nauvoo
Expositor_. Only one issue of this sheet appeared, dated June 7, 1844.
That was enough, however, to raise the wrath of Joseph Smith and his
elders, and they ordered the city marshal to destroy the press. The
marshal broke the press and type in the main street of the city, and
burned the contents of the newspaper office.

The editors hastily fled to the neighboring town of Carthage. The
people there and in all the neighboring villages denounced the
destruction of the press, and declared that the time had come to force
the Mormons to obey the laws, and, if they would not do so, to drive
them out of Illinois. Military companies were formed, cannon were sent
for, and the governor of the state was asked to call out the militia.

The governor went to the scene of the trouble to investigate. He found
all that part of the east shore of the Mississippi divided between
the Mormons and their enemies. He ordered the mayor of Nauvoo to send
Mormons to him to explain why they had destroyed the printing-press, and
when he had heard their story the governor told them that Smith and his
elders must surrender to him, or the whole military force of the state
would be called out to capture them. But the prophet had not been idle.
He had put his city under martial law, had formed what was called the
Legion of the Mormons, and had called in his followers from the near-by
villages. He had meant to defend his new city; but when he heard the
governor's threat to arrest him, he left Nauvoo with a few comrades and
started for the Rocky Mountains. Friends went after him, and begged
him not to desert his people. He could not resist their appeal to him
to return, and he went back, although he was afraid of the temper of
his enemies. As soon as he returned to Illinois he was arrested on the
charge of treason and of putting Nauvoo under martial law, and together
with his brother Hyrum was sent to the jail at Carthage.

Some seventeen hundred men, members of the militia, had gathered at the
towns of Carthage and Warsaw, and the enemies of the Mormons urged the
governor to march at the head of these troops to Nauvoo. He knew that
in the excited state of affairs there was danger that if these troops
entered the city they might set it on fire and destroy much property.
He therefore ordered all except three companies to disband; with one
company he set out to visit the Mormon city, and the other two companies
he left to guard the jail at Carthage.

The governor marched to Nauvoo, spoke to the citizens, and, having
assured them that he meant no harm to their church, left about sundown
on his road back to Carthage. In the meantime, however, events had been
happening in the latter place that were to affect the whole history of
the Mormons.

The two Smiths, Joseph and Hyrum, with two friends, Willard Richards and
John Taylor, were sitting in a large room in the Carthage jail when a
number of men, their faces blackened in disguise, came running up the
stairway. The door of the room had no lock or bolt, and, as the men
inside feared some attack, Hyrum Smith and Richards leaped to the door
and shutting it stood with their shoulders against it. The men outside
could not force the door open, and began to shoot through it. The two
men at the door were driven back, and on the second volley of shot
Hyrum Smith was killed. As his brother fell the prophet seized a six
shooting revolver that one of their visitors had left on the table, and
going to the door opened it a few inches. He snapped each barrel at the
men on the stair; three barrels missed fire, but each of the three that
exploded wounded a man. As the prophet fired Taylor and Richards stood
close beside him, each armed with a hickory cane. When Joseph Smith
stopped shooting the enemy fired another volley into the room. Taylor
tried to strike down some of the guns that were leveled through the
broken door.

"That's right, Brother Taylor, parry them off as well as you can!"
cried Joseph Smith. He ran to the window, intending to leap out, but as
he jumped two bullets fired through the doorway struck him, and also
another aimed from outside the building. As soon as the mob saw that the
prophet was killed they scattered, alarmed at what had been done.

The people of Carthage and the neighboring country expected that the
Legion of the Mormons would immediately march on them and destroy them.
Families fled in wagons, on horseback, and on foot. Most of the people
of the near-by town of Warsaw crossed the Mississippi in order to put
the river between them and their enemies. In this state of excitement
the governor did not know which party to trust, so he rode to the town
of Quincy, forty miles away, and at a safe distance from the scene of
trouble. But the Mormons made no attempt to avenge the death of their
leader; they intended to let the law look after that.

Week by week, however, it grew harder for them to live on friendly terms
with the other people of Western Illinois, and more and more troubles
arose to sow distrust. The Gentiles, as those who were not Mormons were
called, began to charge the Mormons with stealing their horses and
cattle, and the state repealed the charter that had been granted to the
city of Nauvoo.

During that summer of 1845, the troubles of Nauvoo's people increased.
One night in September a meeting of Gentiles at the town of Green Plains
was fired on, and many laid the attack to the Mormons. Whether this was
true or not, their enemies gathered in force and scoured the country,
burning the houses, barns, and crops of the Latter-Day Saints, and
driving them from the country behind the walls of Nauvoo. From their
city streets the saints rode out to pay their enemies in kind, and so
the warfare went on until the governor appointed officers to try to
settle the feud. The people, however, wanted the matter settled in only
one way. They insisted that the Mormons must leave Illinois. In reply
word came from Nauvoo that the Saints would go in the spring, provided
that they were not molested, and that the Gentiles would help them
to sell or rent their houses and farms, and give them oxen, horses,
wagons, dry-goods, and cash in exchange for their property. The Gentile
neighbors would not promise to buy the goods the Mormons had for sale,
but promised not to interfere with their selling whatever they could. At
last the trouble seemed settled. Brigham Young, the new leader of the
Mormons, said that the whole church would start for some place beyond
the Rocky Mountains in the spring, if they could sell enough goods to
make the journey there. So the people of Nauvoo prepared to abandon the
buildings of their new flourishing city on the Mississippi, and spent
the winter trading their houses for flour, sugar, seeds, tents, wagons,
horses, cattle, and whatever else might be needed for the long trip
across the plains.

The Mormons now looked forward eagerly to their march to a new home,
and many of them traveled through the near-by states, buying horses and
mules, and more went to the large towns in the neighborhood to work
as laborers and so add to the funds for their journey. The leaders
announced that a company of young men would start west in March, and
choose a good situation for their new city. There they would build
houses, and plant crops which should be ready when the rest of the
Mormons arrived. But they knew there was always a chance that the people
of the country would attack them, and therefore they sent messengers to
the governors of the territories they would cross, asking for protection
on the march. On February 10th Brigham Young and a few other men crossed
the Mississippi and selected a spot on Sugar Creek as the first camp
for the people who were to follow. Young and the twelve elders of the
Mormons traveled together, and wherever their camp was pitched that
place was given the name of "Camp of Israel."

The emigrants had a test of hardship even when they first moved across
the Mississippi. The temperature dropped to twenty degrees below zero,
and the canvas-covered wagons and tents were a poor shelter from the
snow-storms for women and children who had been used to the comforts
of a large town. Many crossed the Mississippi on ice. When they were
gathered on Sugar Creek Brigham Young spoke to them from a wagon. He
told them of the perils of the journey, and then called for a show of
hands by those who were willing to start upon it; every hand was raised.
On March 1st the camp was broken up, and the long western march began.
The Mormons were divided into companies of fifty or sixty wagons, and
every night the cattle were carefully rounded up and guards set to
protect them from attack. From time to time they built more elaborate
camps, and men were left in charge to plant grain, build log cabins,
dig wells, and fence the farms, in order that they might give food and
shelter to other Mormons who would be making the journey later. The
weather was all against their progress. Until May it was bitter cold,
and there were heavy snow-storms, constant rains, sleet, and thick mud
to be fought with, but like many other bands of American pioneers the
Mormons pushed resolutely on, some days marching one mile, some days
six, until May 16th, when they reached a charming spot on a branch of
the Grand River, and built a camp that they called "Mount Pisgah." Here
they plowed and planted several acres of land. While this camp was being
pitched, Brigham Young and some of the other leaders went on to Council
Bluffs and at a place north of Omaha, now the town of Florence, located
the last permanent camp of the expedition.

The trail of the Mormons now stretched across all the western country.
At each of the camps men, women, and children were living, resting and
preparing supplies to cover the next stage of their journey. But in
spite of the care with which the march was planned those who left Nauvoo
last suffered the most. There was a great deal of sickness among them,
and owing to illness they were often forced to stop for several days at
some unprotected point on the prairies. Twelve thousand people in all
shared that Mormon march.

The Gentiles in Illinois did not think that the Mormons were leaving
Nauvoo as rapidly as they should. Every week from two to five hundred
Mormon teams crossed the ferry into Iowa, but the neighbors thought that
many meant to stay. Ill feeling against them grew, and a meeting at
Carthage called on people to arm and drive out all Mormons who remained
by mid-June. Six hundred men armed, ready to march against Nauvoo.

When the Mormons first announced that they meant to leave their
prosperous city in Illinois men came hurrying from other parts of the
country to pick up bargains in houses and farms that they thought they
would find there. Many of these new citizens were as much alarmed at the
threats of the neighbors as were the Mormons themselves; some of them
armed, and asked the governor to send them aid. The men at Carthage grew
very much excited, and started to march on Nauvoo. Word came, however,
that the sheriff, with five hundred men, had entered the city, prepared
to defend it, and the Gentile army retreated. A few weeks afterward the
hostilities broke out again, and seven hundred men with cannon took the
road to the city.

Those of the Mormons who were left, a few hundreds in number, had built
rude breastworks for protection; some of the Gentile army took these,
and the rest marched through the corn fields, and entered the city on
another side. A battle followed between the Gentiles in the streets and
the Mormons in their houses, and lasted an hour before the Gentiles
withdrew to their camp in the corn fields.

Peaceful citizens now tried to settle the matter. They arranged that all
the Mormons should leave immediately, and promised to try to protect
them from any further attacks. So matters stood until May 17th, when
the sheriff and his men marched into the city, and found the last of
the Mormons waiting to leave by the ferry. The next day they were told
to go at once, and to make sure that they did bands of armed men went
through the streets, broke into houses, threw what goods were left out
of doors and windows, and actually threatened to shoot the people.
The few remaining Saints, most of them those who had been too ill to
take up the march earlier, were now thoroughly frightened, and before
sundown the last one of them had fled across the Mississippi. A few days
later this last party, six hundred and forty in number, began the long
wearisome journey to the far west, and the empty city of Nauvoo was at
last in the hands of the Gentiles.

The object of the Mormons was to find a place where they might be free
to live according to their own beliefs. So far they had been continually
hunting for what they called their own City of Zion. As they spent that
winter of 1846-47 in their camp near Council Bluffs, they tried to
decide where they would be safest from persecution. The far west had few
settlements as yet, and they were free to take what land they would,
but the Mormons wanted a site on which to lay the foundations of a city
that should one day be rich and prosperous. They decided to send out a
party of explorers, and in April, 1847, one hundred and forty-three men,
under command of Brigham Young, with seventy-three wagons filled with
food and farm tools, left the headquarters to go still farther west.
They journeyed up the north fork of the Platte River, and in the valleys
found great herds of buffaloes, so many in number that they had to
drive them away before the wagons could pass. Each day the bugle woke
the camp about five o'clock in the morning. At seven the journey began.
The wagons were driven two abreast by men armed with muskets. They were
always prepared for attacks from Indians, but in the whole of their long
journey no red men ever disturbed them. Each night the wagons were drawn
up in a half-circle on the river bank, and the cattle driven into this
shelter. At nine the bugle sent them all to bed. So they made their way
over the Uinta range to Emigration Canyon. Down this canyon they moved,
and presently came to a terrace from which they saw wide plains, watered
by broad rivers, and ahead a great lake filled with little islands.
Three days later the company camped on the plain by the bank of one of
the streams, and decided that this should be the site of their new city.
They held a meeting at which they dedicated the land with religious
ceremonies, and at once set to work to lay off fields and start plowing
and planting. Some of them visited the lake, which they called the Great
Salt Lake, and bathed in its buoyant waters. Day by day more of the
pioneers arrived, and by the end of August they had chosen the site of
their great temple, built log cabins and adobe huts, and christened the
place the "City of the Great Salt Lake." This name was later changed to
Salt Lake City.

It took some time for this large body of emigrants to build their
homes. Wood was scarce and had to be hauled over bad roads by teams that
were still worn out by the long march, therefore many built houses of
adobe bricks, and as they did not know how to use this clay the rains
and frost caused many of the walls to crumble, and when snow fell the
people stretched cloths under their roofs to protect themselves from
the dripping bricks. Many families lived for months in their wagons.
They would take the top part from the wheels, and setting it on the
ground, divide it into small bedrooms. The furniture was of the rudest
sort; barrels or chests for tables and chairs, and bunks built into
the side of the house for beds. But at last they were free from their
enemies in this distant country. Men in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois had
hounded them from their settlements, but in this far-off region they
had no neighbors except a few pioneer settlers, and wandering bands of
Indians, who were glad to trade with them. A steady stream of converts
to the Mormon church followed that first trail across the plains. A
missionary sent to England brought many men and women from that country
to the city on the Great Salt Lake. Brigham Young and the other leaders
encouraged their followers above all else to cultivate the land. Most of
the Mormons were farmers, and what shops there were dealt only in the
necessities of life. Food was a matter of the first importance, and they
had to rely entirely upon their own efforts to provide it. Every one was
given a piece of land for his house, and most of them had their own
farms in the outlying country. When they were sure of their food they
began to build their temple and other public buildings, and these, like
their streets, were all planned on the lines of a great future city.
They first called their territory Deseret, but later changed it to the
Indian name of Utah.

Salt Lake City, and the territory of Utah, of which it was the chief
settlement, might have remained for years almost unknown to the rest
of the United States had not gold been discovered in California in the
winter of 1849. The news of untold riches in the land that lay between
Utah and the Pacific Ocean brought thousands of fortune hunters across
the plains, and many of them traveled by way of Salt Lake City. That
rush of men brought trade in its track and served to make the Mormons'
capital well known. The quest for gold opened up the lands along the
Pacific and helped to tie the far west to the rest of the nation. Soon
railroads began to creep into the valleys beyond the Rocky Mountains,
and wherever they have gone they have brought men closer together. But
in Utah the Mormons were the first settlers, and no one could come and
drive them out of their chosen land. At last they had found a city
entirely of their own. They had not been allowed to live in Nauvoo, and
so they built a new capital. Like all founders of new religions the
Mormons had to weather many storms, but after they had passed through
cold, hunger, and hardships of many kinds they came to their promised

Such is the story of the founding of Salt Lake City, the home of the
Mormon people.



In 1848 California was largely an unexplored region, the home of certain
old Spanish missions, with a few seaport towns scattered along the
coast. Some pioneers from the East had settled inland after California
had been separated from Mexico, and were ranching and farming. One of
these pioneers, a well-to-do man named John A. Sutter, had staked out
a considerable tract of land near the American River. He built a fort
or stockade as headquarters, and made his plans to cultivate the tract.
He had a number of men working for him, building a sawmill on the south
branch of the American River, about forty miles from his main house.
These workmen were in charge of James Wilson Marshall, who intended to
have a dry channel serve as the tail-race for the mill, and was widening
and deepening it by loosening the earth. At night the water of the
stream was allowed to run through this channel, and wash out the gravel
and sand. One day early in January, as Marshall was walking along the
bank of the race, he noticed some shining yellow flakes in the soil.
He thought these flakes might be gold, and gathering some of the earth
carefully washed and screened it. In this way he obtained what looked
like gold-dust. Early the next morning he went back to the race, and
after some searching found a yellow scale larger than the others. He
showed this, together with those he had obtained the day before, to some
of the workmen, and they helped him to gather about three ounces. Later
in the day Marshall went to his employer Sutter, who was at the fort,
and there the two men tested the flakes as well as they were able, and
reached the conclusion that they were really gold-dust.

It was important to keep the discovery as quiet as possible. Searching
along the dry channel Sutter and Marshall found more of the gold flakes.
In some places the yellow scales were very plentiful, and seemed to
promise that large quantities of the valuable mineral could be found
near at hand. It was impossible, however, to keep the news from the
workmen who had helped in finding the flakes. Before long the news
spread, and in March, 1848, two newspapers of California mentioned the
discovery on the south fork of the American River.

The country was so sparsely settled, and life so primitive, that no
great excitement was caused by this news for some months. But in May a
Mormon, coming from the settlement of Coloma to San Francisco, walked
down the main street waving a bottle filled with gold-dust and shouting
"Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River!"

His words, and the sight of the glittering bottle, caused tremendous
excitement in San Francisco, and in the twinkling of an eye men took
possession of sailboats, sloops, launches, any kind of craft, and
started up the Sacramento River. Those who could not get boats to take
the quicker course hurried off on horses or mules, in wagons or on foot.
It was like a fairy tale. The seaport town of San Francisco, which had
been well filled, was practically deserted overnight. Shopkeepers closed
their stores, families hurried from their houses, and every class of
people pushed toward the American River. The roads that led thither,
which had usually been almost as empty as the prairies, were now filled
with a wildly rushing throng. A man who had crossed the Strait of
Carquines in April was the only passenger on the ferry, but when he
returned two weeks later he found two hundred wagons trying to drive on
board the ferry-boat.

Business on the coast came to a standstill. The newspapers that had
been started stopped publication. The churches closed, and all the town
officers deserted their posts. As soon as a ship touched the coast and
the crew heard of the finding of gold they deserted, and the captain
and mates, seeing themselves without a crew, usually dashed after the
others. Empty vessels lay at the docks. A large ship belonging to the
Hudson's Bay Company, which had put into San Francisco harbor, was in
charge of the captain's wife, every one else having left for the gold
fields. Prices in all the country from San Francisco to Los Angeles
jumped prodigiously. If men were to stay at their work they demanded
and received twice their former wages. Shovels and spades sold for ten
dollars apiece. They, and a few other mining implements, were the only
things still manufactured. The cry of gold had turned men's heads like
the magic wand of some fairy.

Inland California presented a strange sight. The roads that ran from San
Francisco to Sutter's Fort had formerly lain between prosperous farm
lands, but now the crops were going to waste, the houses were empty, and
the cattle free to wander through fields of grain. Along the American
River, on the other hand, hills and valleys were filled with sheltering
tents, and huts built of brush and rocks thrown together in a hurry. Men
could not stop for comfort, but worked all day on the river bank. There
were almost as many ways of searching for the gold as there were men.
Some tried to wash the sand and gravel in pans; some used closely woven
Indian baskets; some used what were called cradles. The cradle was a
basket six or eight feet long, mounted on rockers, and open at one end;
at the other end was a coarse screen sieve. Cleats were nailed across
the bottom of the cradle. One workman would dig the gravel from the
river bank, another carry it to the sieve, a third pour water over it,
and a fourth rock the cradle The screen separated the stones from the
gravel, the water washed away the earth and carried the heavier soil out
of the cradle, thus leaving the black sand filled with the gold. This
was later carried to a pan and dried in the sun. The sand could then be
blown away, and the gold would be left.

Men knew that fortunes were to be found here. On a creek a few miles
below Coloma, seventeen thousand dollars' worth of gold was taken from
a ditch three hundred feet long, four wide, and two deep. Another small
channel had yielded no less than twelve thousand dollars. Many men
already had bags and bottles that held thousands of dollars' worth of
the precious mineral. One man, who had been able to get fifty Indians to
work for him as washers, obtained sixteen thousand dollars from a small
creek in five weeks' time.

All this quickly changed the character of upper California. Every man
wanted to be a miner, and no longer a cattleman or farmer, as before. It
looked as though the towns would shrivel up, because of the tremendously
high wages demanded by the men who were needed there. Cooks in San
Francisco were paid three hundred dollars a month, and all kinds of
mechanics secured wages of fifteen or twenty dollars a day. The forts
found it impossible to keep soldiers on duty. As soon as men were paid
off they rushed to the American River. Sailors deserted as fast as they
could, and the American war-ships that came to anchor off Monterey did
not dare to allow a single man to land. Threats of punishment or offers
of reward had no influence over the sailors. They all felt certain they
could make fortunes in a month at the gold fields.

Soon men began to wonder whether they could not duplicate in other
places the discovery that Marshall had made on Sutter's land. Wherever
there was a river or stream explorers began to dig. They were well
rewarded. Rich placers of gold were found along the course of almost all
the streams that flowed to the Feather and San Joaquin Rivers. Along
the course of the Stanislaus and Toulumne Rivers was another field
for mining. By midsummer of 1848 settlers in southern California were
pouring north in thousands, and by October at least ten thousand men
were washing and screening the soil of river banks.


The Pacific coast was very far away from the rest of the United States
in that day. News usually traveled by ship, and sailors brought the
report of the discovery of gold to Honolulu, to Oregon City, and to the
ports at Victoria and Vancouver. Letters carried the first tidings to
the people in the East, and by the middle of the summer Washington and
New York had learned what was happening in California, and adventurers
along the Atlantic coast were beginning to turn their faces westward.
The letters often greatly exaggerated the truth. A New York paper
printed reports which stated that men were picking gold out of the earth
as easily as hogs could root up groundnuts in a forest. One man, who
employed sixty Indians, was said to be making a dollar a minute.
Small holes along the banks of streams were stated to yield many pounds
of gold. But even allowing for much exaggeration it was evident that men
were making fortunes in that country.

Colonel Mason, in charge at San Francisco, sent Lieutenant Loeser with
his report to Washington. The lieutenant had to take a roundabout
route. He went from Monterey to Peru, from there to Panama, across the
Isthmus, took boat to Jamaica, and from there he sailed to New Orleans.
When he reached the capital he delivered his message, and showed a
small tea chest which held three thousand dollars' worth of gold in
lumps and flakes. This chest was placed on exhibition, and served to
convince those who saw it that California must possess more gold than
any other country yet discovered. President Taylor announced the news
in an official message. He said that the mineral had been found in such
quantities as could hardly be believed, except on the word of government
officers in the field. During the winter of 1848-49 thousands of men in
the East planned to start for this El Dorado as soon as they could get
their outfits together, and spring should open the roads.

The overland route to the West was long and very difficult. At that
time, though the voyage by sea was longer, it was easier for men who
lived on the Atlantic coast. They might sail around Cape Horn, or to the
Isthmus of Panama, or to Vera Cruz, and in the two latter cases cross
land, and hope to find some ship in the western ocean that would take
them to San Francisco. Business men in the East seized the opportunity
to advertise tents, beds, blankets, and all manner of camp equipment,
as well as pans, rockers, and every kind of implement for washing gold
from the gravel. The owners of ships of every description, many of them
unseaworthy, fitted up their craft, and advertised them as ready to sail
for San Francisco. The ports of Boston, Salem, Newburyport, New York,
Baltimore, and New Orleans were crowded with brigs and schooners loading
for the Pacific. A newspaper in New York stated that ten thousand people
would leave for the gold country within a month.

All sorts of schemes were tried. Companies were formed, each member
of which paid one hundred dollars or more to charter a ship to take
them around the Horn. Almost every town in the East had its California
Association, made up of adventurers who wanted to make their fortunes
rapidly. By the end of January, 1849, eighty vessels had sailed by way
of Cape Horn, and many others were heading for Vera Cruz, and for ports
on the Isthmus of Panama. The newspapers went on printing fabulous
stories of the discoveries. One had a letter stating that lumps of gold
weighing a pound had been found in several places. Another printed
a letter from a man who said he would return in a few months with a
fortune of half a million dollars in gold. A miner was said to have
arrived in Pittsburgh with eighty thousand dollars in gold-dust that he
had gathered in a few weeks. Whenever men met they discussed eagerly the
one absorbing topic of the fortunes waiting on the coast.

The adventurers who sailed around Cape Horn had in most cases the
easiest voyages. There were plenty of veteran sea-captains ready to
command the ships. A Boston merchant organized "The Mining and Trading
Company," bought a full-rigged vessel, sold places in it to one hundred
and fifty men, and sailed from Boston early in January, 1849. The
first place at which she touched was Tierra del Fuego, and she reached
Valparaiso late in April. There she found two ships from Baltimore, and
in two days four more arrived from New York, and one from Boston. July
6th she entered the Golden Gate of San Francisco, and found it crowded
with vessels from every port. The ships were all deserted, and within an
hour all this ship's crew were on shore. The town itself was filled with
bustle and noise. Gambling was practically the only business carried on,
and the stores were jammed with men paying any price for outfits for the
gold country. This company chose a place on the Mokelumne River, and
hastened there, but they found it difficult to work on a company basis.
The men soon scattered and drifted to other camps; some of them found
gold, others in time made their way east poorer than when they came.

Those who went by the Isthmus had many adventures. Two hundred young
men sailed to Vera Cruz, and landed at that quaint old Mexican city.
There they were told that bands of robbers were prowling all through the
country, that their horses would die of starvation in the mountains,
and that they would probably be killed, or lose themselves on the wild
trail. Fifty of them decided not to go farther, and sailed back in a
homeward-bound ship to New York. Those who went on were attacked by a
mob at the town of Jalapa, and had to fight their way through at the
point of revolvers. In several wild passes bandits tried to hold them
up, but the Easterners put them to flight and pushed on their way. All
through the country they found relics and wreckage of the recent days
when General Scott had marched an army into Mexico.

There was more trouble at Mexico City. A religious procession was
passing along the plaza, and the Americans did not fall upon their
knees. The crowd set upon them, and they had to form a square for their
protection, and hold the mob at bay until Mexican officers came to their
rescue. Only after fighting a path through other towns and a long march
did they reach the seaport of San Blas. One hundred and twenty of them
took ship from there to San Francisco. Thirty, however, had left the
others at Mexico City, thinking they could reach the sea-coast more
quickly by another route. The ship they caught could get no farther
than San Diego. From there they had to march on foot across a blazing
desert country. Their food gave out, and they lived on lizards, birds,
rattlesnakes, and even buzzards, anything they could find. Worn and
almost starving they reached San Francisco, ten months after they had
left New York. Such adventures were common to the American Argonauts of

Those gold-seekers who went by the Isthmus of Panama had to stop at the
little settlement of Chagres, where one hundred huts of bamboo stood on
the ruins of the old Spanish fort of San Lorenzo. The natives, lazy and
half-clad, gazed in astonishment at the scores of men from the eastern
United States, who suddenly began to hurry through their town. Here the
gold-hunters bargained for river boats, which were usually rude dugouts,
with roofs made of palmetto branches and leaves, and rowed by natives.
It was impossible with such rowers to make much speed against the strong
current of the Chagres River. Three days were required to make the
journey to Gorgona, where the travelers usually landed. At this place
they had to bargain afresh for pack-mules to carry them the twenty-four
miles that lay between Gorgona and Panama. Many men, who could not find
any mules left in the town, deserted their baggage and started for the
Pacific coast on foot. The chances were that no ship would be waiting
for them there, and they would have to warm their heels in idleness for

General Persifor F. Smith, who had been ordered to take command of the
United States troops at San Francisco, was one of those who had to
wait for a ship at Panama. Here he heard reports that a good deal of
the new-found gold was being sent to foreign countries. Some said that
the British Consul had forwarded fifteen thousand ounces of California
gold to England, and that more than nine million francs' worth of the
mineral had been received in the South American ports of Lima and
Valparaiso. As a result hundreds of men from those ports were taking
ship to California. General Smith did not like the idea of foreigners
profiting by the discovery of gold in California, and issued an order
that only citizens of the United States should be allowed to enter the
public lands where the diggings were located. When the _California_,
a steamship from New York, reached Panama in January, 1849, with
seventy-five Peruvians on board, General Smith warned them that they
would not be allowed to go to the mines, and sent word of this order
to consuls along the Pacific coast of South America. In spite of his
efforts, however, foreigners would go to Upper California, and the
American prospectors were too busy with their own searches to prevent
the strangers from taking what gold they could find.

When the _California_ arrived at Panama she was already well filled
with passengers, but there were so many men waiting for her that the
captain had to give in to their demands, and crowd his vessel with
several hundred more gold-seekers. Loaded with impatient voyagers, the
steamship sailed up the coast, and reached San Francisco about the end
of February. Immediately every one on board, except the captain, the
mate, and the purser, deserted the ship, and dashed for the gold fields.
The next steamer to reach Panama, the _Oregon_, found an even larger
crowd waiting at that port. She took more passengers on board than she
was intended to carry, but fortune favored the gold-seekers, and the
_Oregon_, like the _California_, discharged her adventurous cargo in
safety at San Francisco. Hundreds of others who could not board either
of these steamers ventured on the Pacific in small sailing vessels, or
any manner of ship that would put out from Panama bound north.

It is interesting to know the story of some of these pilgrimages. One of
the Argonauts has told how he organized, in a little New England town,
a company of twenty men. Each man subscribed a certain sum of money in
return for a share in any profits, and in this way ten thousand dollars
was raised. The men who were to go on the expedition signed a paper
agreeing to work at least two years in the gold fields for the company.
The band went from the New England town to New York, where they found
the harbor filled with ships that were advertised to sail for Nicaragua,
Vera Cruz, or Chagres. The leader of the company chose a little brig
bound for the latter port, and in this the party, with some twenty-five
other passengers, set sail in March. They ran into a heavy storm, but
in three weeks reached the port on the Isthmus. There they had to wait
some days, as all the river boats had gone up to Gorgona. When the boats
were ready, thirty natives poled ten dugouts up the river. When the men
landed they were told that there was no ship at Panama; that half the
gold-seekers in that town were ill, and that there was no use in pushing
on. So the party built tents on the bank of the river, and stayed there
until the rainy season drove them to the coast. There they camped again,
and waited for a ship to arrive. There was one vessel anchored in the
harbor, but the owner was under a bond to keep it there as a coal-ship.
The leader of the company, however, persuaded the owner to forfeit this
bond, and four hundred waiting passengers paid two hundred dollars
apiece to be conveyed to California. The ship was hardly seaworthy,
and took seven weeks of sailing and floating to reach the harbor of
Acapulco. There the vessel was greeted by a band of twenty Americans,
ragged and penniless, who had come on foot from the City of Mexico. They
had waited so long for a ship that twenty of the passengers agreed to
give them their tickets, and take their places to wait until the next
vessel should arrive. It was almost seven months after that New England
party had left New York before they arrived at the Golden Gate of San

There was very little choice between the Panama and the Nicaragua routes
to the West. Among those who tried the latter road were a number of
young men who had just graduated from Yale College. They boarded a
ship in New York that was advertised to sail during the first week in
February, and expected to land in San Francisco in sixty days. It was
March, however, before the ship, crowded with voyagers, set sail south
from Sandy Hook. Three weeks brought her to the mouth of the San Juan
River. The ship's company was landed at the little tropical town of San
Juan de Nicaragua. A small steamboat had been brought along to take them
up the river, but when the machinery was put together the boat was found
to be worthless. Like the voyagers by Panama, these men then had to
trust to native dugouts, and in this way they finally got up the river
to San Carlos. Had it not been for their eagerness to reach California
such a trip would have been a delight to men who had never seen the
tropics before. The San Juan River flowed through forests of strange
and beautiful trees. Tamarind and dyewood trees, tall palms, and giant
cacti, festooned with bright-colored vines, made a background for the
brilliant birds that flew through the woods. Fruit was to be had for the
taking, and the weather at that time of the year was delightful. But the
thought of the fortunes waiting to be picked up in California filled the
minds of most of the travelers.

After leaving the boats this party traveled by mule to Leon. Nicaragua
was in the midst of a revolution, and the Americans acted as a guard
to the President on the road to Leon. Near the end of July the company
separated. Some finally sailed from the port of Realejo, and after many
dangers and a voyage of almost five months succeeded in reaching San
Francisco. Others reached Panama, set sail in a small boat, and were
never heard from again; while yet a third party boarded a vessel at a
Nicaraguan port, and managed to reach California after almost perishing
from hunger and thirst.

Such were the adventures of some of those who tried to reach the gold
fields of the West by sea. Hundreds of men made the trip by one of these
routes, and as soon as spring arrived thousands set out overland. It was
understood that large parties would leave from western Missouri early
in March, and as a result many men, some alone, some in bands of twenty
or thirty, gathered there from all parts of the East. Sometimes they
formed military companies, wore uniforms, and carried rifles. The main
place of gathering was the town of Independence, which grew to the size
of a large city in a few weeks. Men came on foot and on horseback; some
with canvas-covered wagons, prairie schooners, and pack-mules; some with
herds of cattle; some bringing with them all their household goods. All
the Middle West seemed to be in motion. In a single week in March, 1849,
hundreds of wagons drove through Burlington, Iowa. Two hundred from
Memphis went along the Arkansas River, and hundreds more from Michigan,
Wisconsin, Illinois, and Pennsylvania crossed the border of Iowa.

The spring was late, and as the overland trip could not be taken until
the grass was high enough to feed the cattle, the great company had to
wait along the frontiers from Independence to Council Bluffs. As men
gathered at these towns they would form into companies, and then move
on to a more distant point, in order to make room for later arrivals.
Twenty thousand gathered along these frontiers before the signal was
given to start westward. The march began about May 1st, and from then
on, day and night, scores of wagons crossed the Missouri River, and the
country looked like a field of tents.

From Independence most of the emigrants crossed rolling prairies for
fifteen days to the Platte River at Grand Island. The route then wound
up the valley of the Platte to the South Fork, and from there to the
North Fork, where a rude post-office had been built, at which letters
might be left to be carried back east by any travelers who were going
in that direction. From here the emigrants journeyed to the mountain
passes. They usually stopped at Laramie, which was the farthest western
fort of the United States. By this time the long journey would be
telling on many of the companies, and the road be strewn with all sorts
of household goods, thrown away in order to lighten the burden on the

At the South Pass, midway of the Rocky Mountains, two roads divided;
those who took the southern road traveled by the Great Salt Lake to
the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and so into California. The northern road
lay partly along the course of the Snake River to the headwaters of the
Humboldt, and from there the emigrants might choose a path still farther
to the north toward the Columbia River, or westward to the Sacramento.
Many went by the trail along the Humboldt, although this route was one
of the most difficult. "The river had no current," said one of the
gold-hunters. "No fish could live in its waters, which wound through
a desert, and there was not enough wood in the whole valley to make a
snuff-box, nor vegetation enough on its banks to shelter a rabbit. The
stream flowed through desert sands, which the summer heat made almost
unbearable for men and horses." Following its course the travelers came
to a lake of mud, surrounded for miles by a sandy plain. Across this
they had to march for thirty-four hours to reach the Carson River. Along
the trail lay the bodies of horses, mules, and oxen, and broken wagons
parched and dried out in the blazing sun.

The first of the overland travelers who crossed the mountains late in
the summer brought such reports to the officers at the Pacific posts
that the latter decided that relief parties must be sent back to help
those who were still toiling in the desert. It was known that some had
been attacked by Indians, and obliged to leave their covered wagons;
that some had lost all their cattle, and were almost without food.
Therefore relief parties were hurried into the mountains from the
western side. They found the overland trail crowded with men on foot and
in wagons. Many were sick, and almost all were hungry. One man carried
a child in his arms, while a little boy trudged by his side, and his
invalid wife rode on a mule. The soldiers gave food to all who needed
it, and urged them to push on to the army posts. Day after day they met
the same stream of emigrants, all bent on reaching the golden fields of

Late in the autumn, with winter almost at hand, the voyagers were still
crossing the deserts and mountains. The soldiers could not induce many
of them to throw away any of their goods. They crept along slowly, their
wagons loaded from baseboard to roof. The teams, gradually exhausted,
began to fall, and progress was almost impossible. Then the rescuers
hurried the women to near-by settlements, and forced the men to abandon
some of their baggage in an effort to reach shelter before the winter
storms should come. By the end of November almost all the overland
emigrants had crossed the mountains.


The city of San Francisco had sprung up almost overnight. In 1835 a
Captain Richardson had landed on the shore of Yerba Buena Cove, and
built a hut of four redwood posts, covered by a sail. Five years
afterward this village of Yerba Buena contained about fifty people and
a dozen houses. In 1846 the American war-ship _Portsmouth_ anchored
there, and her captain raised the "Stars and Stripes" on the Plaza. At
that time there were not more than fifty houses and two hundred people.
When the town became American the Plaza was renamed Portsmouth Square,
and a year later the settlement was christened San Francisco. That was
in January, 1847; and by midsummer of 1849 the town had become a city.
It was an odd place to look at. The houses were made of rough unpainted
boards, with cotton nailed across the walls and ceiling in place of
plaster; and many a thriving business was carried on in canvas tents.
There were few homes. The city was crowded; but most of the population
did not intend to stay. They came to buy what they needed, or sell what
they brought with them, and then hasten away to the mines. So many eager
strangers naturally drove the prices up enormously, especially when
it seemed as though gold could be had for the taking. The restaurants
charged three dollars for a cup of coffee, a slice of ham, and two eggs.
Houses and lots sold for from ten thousand to seventy-five thousand
dollars each, and everything else was in proportion. What happened in
San Francisco also happened in many other California towns. Sacramento
was the result of the gold-craze. Speculators bought large tracts of
land in any attractive place, gave it a high-sounding name, and sold
city lots. Many of these so-called cities, however, shriveled up
within a year or two. The seaports flourished because they were the
gateways through which the newcomers passed in their rush to locate in
the gold country.

These seaports became the goal of merchants everywhere. Necessary
articles were so scarce that they were shipped long distances. Flour
was brought from Australia and Chili, rice and sugar from China, and
the cities along the Atlantic provided the dry-goods, the tools,
and the furniture. At one time a cotton shirt would sell for forty
dollars, a tin pan for nine, and a candle for three. But on the other
hand cargoes of goods that were not needed, silks and satins, costly
house-furnishings, were left on the beaches and finally sold for a song.

From the seaports the new arrivals hurried either up the Sacramento and
the Feather Rivers to the northern gold fields, or up the San Joaquin
to the southern country. Usually they were guided by the latest story
of a rich find, and went where the chances seemed best. Several men
would join forces and pitch their tents together, naming their camp
Rat-trap Slide, Rough and Ready Camp, Slap-jack Bar, Mad Mule Gulch,
Git-up-and-Git, You Bet, or any other name that struck their fancy.
There were no laws to govern these little settlements, and the men
adopted a rough system of justice that suited themselves. But as the
numbers increased it was evident that California must have a better
form of government, and steps were taken to have that rich stretch of
land along the Pacific admitted as a state to the United States.

In three years California had grown from the home of about two thousand
people to the home of eighty thousand. The finding of gold had changed
that almost unknown wilderness into a thriving land in the twinkling of
an eye. Railroads were built to reach it, and more and more men poured
west. Some men made great fortunes, but more in a few months abandoned
their claims and drifted to the cities, or made their way slowly back
to the eastern farms and villages from which they had set out. The
Forty-niners, as the gold-seekers were called, found plenty of adventure
in California, even if they did not all find a short-cut to wealth.



One of the beautiful names that the Japanese have given to their country
is "Land of Great Peace," and at no time was this name more appropriate
than in the middle of the nineteenth century. Two hundred years before
the last of the civil wars of Japan had come to an end, and the people,
weary of years of bloodshed, had turned delightedly to peaceful ways.
The rice-fields were replanted, artisans returned to their crafts,
shops opened again, and poets and painters followed the call of their
arts. The samurai, or warriors, sheathed their swords, though they
still regarded them as their very souls. They hung their armor in their
ancestral halls, and spent their time in sport or idleness. The daimios,
or nobles of Japan, lived either in the city of Yedo or at their country
houses, taking their ease, and gradually forgetting the arts of war on
which their power had been founded. All the people were quite contented,
and had no desire to trade with the rest of the world. As a matter of
fact they knew almost nothing about other countries, except through
English or Russian sailors who occasionally landed on their coasts.
Japan was satisfied to be a hermit nation.

On the afternoon of the seventh day of July, 1853, or the third day of
the sixth month of Kayéi, in the reign of the Emperor Koméi, the farmers
working in the muddy rice-fields near the village of Uraga saw a strange
sight. It was a clear summer afternoon, and the beautiful mountain Fuji,
its cone wreathed in white clouds, could be seen from sea and shore.
What startled the men in the fields, the people in the village, and the
boatmen in the harbor, was a fleet of vessels coming to anchor in the
bay of Yedo. These monsters, with their sails furled, although they were
heading against the wind, were shooting tongues of smoke from their
great black throats. "See the fire-vessels!" cried the Japanese to each
other. When the peasants asked the priests where the monsters came from
the wise men answered that they were the fire-vessels of the barbarians
who lived in the West.

The monsters were four ships of the United States navy, the
_Mississippi_, _Susquehanna_, _Plymouth_, and _Saratoga_, all under
command of Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry. The fleet dropped anchor
in the wide bay, forming a line broadside to the shore. The gun-ports
were opened, and sentries set to guard against attack by pirates, or
by fire-junks. As the anchors splashed in the water rockets shot up
from one of the forts on shore signaling to the court at Yedo that the
barbarians had reached Japan.

The town of Uraga was usually not a very busy place, and the government
officers spent their time drinking tea, smoking, and lounging in the
sun, and occasionally collecting custom duties from junks bound to other
harbors. But there was a great bustle on the day the strange ships
arrived. The chief magistrate, or buni[=o], his interpreter, and suite
of attendants, put on their formal dress of hempen cloth, and fastened
their lacquered ornamented hats to their heads; with two swords in each
belt, the party marched to the shore and boarded their state barge.
Twelve oarsmen rowed it to the nearest foreign ship, but when they
tried to fasten ropes to the vessel so that they might go on board, the
barbarians threw off the ropes, and gestured to them to keep away.

The Japanese officer was surprised to find that, although he was
gorgeously robed, and his companions carried spears and the Tokugawa
trefoil flag, the barbarians were not at all impressed. They told him,
through an interpreter, that their commander wished to confer with the
governor himself. The officer answered that the governor was not allowed
to board foreign ships. After some further discussion the surprised
Japanese was permitted to climb the gangway ladder and meet the
barbarians on the deck of their vessel.

Commodore Perry knew that the Japanese loved mystery, high-sounding
names, and ceremonies, and so he stayed in his cabin and would not show
himself to the visitors. A secretary carried his messages, and explained
that the mysterious commodore had come on a friendly mission and bore
a letter from the President of the United States to the Emperor of
Japan, which he wished to present with all proper ceremony. He declined
to go to Nagasaki, and insisted that he should remain in Yedo Bay,
and added that although his visit was entirely friendly, he would not
allow any inquisitive sightseers to prowl about his fleet. Very much
impressed with the power of this hidden barbarian, the Japanese officer
immediately ordered all the small boats, the punts and sampans that had
gathered about the fleet, to row away.

The officer and his body-guard returned to shore, and told the villagers
that the visitors were very remarkable men, who were not at all
impressed by their costumes or weapons. The Japanese had no such title
as commodore in their language, and they referred to Perry as Admiral,
and credited him with almost as much majesty as their own hidden Mikado,
or as the mighty Shogun.

The western coast of Japan was much excited that night. Rockets from the
forts, and huge watch-fires on the cliffs, told the whole country that
a most unusual event had happened. The peasants set out their sacred
images, and prayed to them as they had not done in years. It was evident
that the gods of Japan were punishing the people for their neglect
by sending these great fire-vessels to disturb the coast. To add to
the general excitement a wonderful light appeared in the sky about
midnight, spreading a pale red and blue path across the heavens, as
though a dragon were flying through space. Priests and soothsayers made
the most of this display of Northern Lights, and pointed out that the
fire-vessels, clearly revealed in the harbor, must have something to do
with the strange omen.

The governor of Uraga himself, with a retinue of servants, all clad in
embroidered gowns and lacquered helmets, and each carrying two swords,
went out to the flag-ship next morning. He had evidently overlooked
the fact that the barbarians had been told on the day before that
the governor could not pay such a visit to their fleet. The governor
was used to being received with a great deal of attention, and to
having people bow to the ground as he went by; but on the deck of the
_Susquehanna_ the sailors looked at him with simple curiosity, and when
he asked to speak with the mysterious admiral, he was told that he
would only be allowed to speak with the captains. These men said that
their commander would only wait three days for an answer from Yedo as
to whether the Mikado would receive the letter of the President. They
showed him the magnificent box that held the letter, and the governor's
curiosity grew even greater. When he left the flag-ship he had promised
to urge the Americans' cause.

Next day, the men dressed in silk and brocade, painted helmets, and
gleaming sashes, eager to visit the ships again, were surprised to learn
that the barbarian prince would transact no business. His interpreter
declared that it was a day of religious observance, known as Sunday.
The people on shore heard the sailors of the fleet singing hymns,
a strange sound in those waters. Hastily the Japanese offered new
presents at the shrines of their own gods to ensure protection from the
barbarians. 8 By now the hermit people thought they might have to guard
themselves, and began to build earthworks along the shore. Farmers,
fishermen, shopkeepers, women, and children were pressed into service.
Rude embankments were thrown up, and enormously heavy brass cannon
were placed at openings. The old samurai, who had almost forgotten
warfare, sought out their weapons, and gathered their troops. Their
armor consisted of jackets of silk, iron and paper. Their arms were old
matchlocks and spears. They could have fought each other, but they were
several hundred years behind the barbarians in military matters. On
the hills they set up canvas tents, with flags bearing flaming dragons
and the other emblems of their clans. In the days of their civil wars
bright-colored trappings had played an important part.

Yedo was then the chief city of Japan. When Perry arrived in 1853 it
was the home of the Shogun Iyéyoshi, who was the real ruler of the
land, although the Mikado was called the sovereign. Yedo had been the
home of a long line of Shoguns of the Tokugawa family who had ruled
the country, calling themselves "Tycoons." They had built up the city,
and filled it with palaces and temples that had never been equaled in
magnificence. The people of Yedo, numbering over a million, were greatly
excited when they heard of the fleet of war-ships lying in their great
bay. The Shogun, his courtiers and his warriors bestirred themselves at
once. Soldiers were summoned, armor polished, swords unsheathed, castles
repaired, and everything possible done to make an impression on the

The chief men knew that they could not oppose this foreign admiral. Once
they had had war-vessels of their own, but years of peace had reduced
their navy, and they could not defend their coasts. The Shogun was
afraid that the admiral might insist upon seeing the Mikado at Ki[=o]to,
and that would be a great blow to his own dignity. After hours of
debate and discussion he chose two daimios to receive the letter of the
American President, Millard Fillmore, and sent word to all coast towns
to man their forts.

Perry had played the game well, and so far had allowed no Japanese
to see him. He wanted to make a treaty with Japan, and he knew that
to succeed he must impress this Oriental people with his dignity. He
allowed his captains and two daimios to arrange a meeting to be held
at a little town called Kurihâma, near the port of Uraga. Each side
had tried to outdo the other in politeness. The American captains had
received the Japanese officers with great respect, had served them
wines, and seated them in upholstered armchairs. The Japanese regretted
that they could not provide their guests with armchairs or with wine on
shore, but the visitors assured them that they would be willing to adopt
Japanese customs.

By July 13th the scene for the meeting was ready. Hundreds of yards of
canvas, with the Tokugawa trefoil, had been stretched along the road to
Kurihâma. Hundreds of retainers, clad in all the colors of their feudal
days, were gathered about the tents, and on the beach stood as many
soldiers, glittering in their lacquered armor. The American officers
were almost as brilliantly dressed as the Japanese. They wore coats
with a great many bright brass buttons, and curious shaped hats cocked
on their heads. They brought musicians with them who played on cornets
and drums, and the music was quite unlike anything the natives had ever
heard before. Three hundred of the barbarians landed and marched from
the beach to the main tent, while the eager-eyed people lined the road
and wondered at their strange appearance.

Two or three big sailors carried the American flag, and back of them
came two boys with the mysterious red box that had been shown to the
officers of the port. Back of them marched the great commodore, clad in
full uniform, and on either side of him strode a black man armed with a
large sabre. Many of the Japanese had never seen a white man before, and
still fewer had ever looked upon a negro. They were therefore very much
impressed by the procession.

The officers of the Shogun received their magnificent visitor at the
door of the pavilion. After greetings the two boys handed the box to the
negro guards, who opened the scarlet cloth envelope and the gold-hinged
rosewood cases, and laid the President's letter on a lacquered stand
brought from Yedo. A receipt for the President's letter was then handed
to the commodore, who said that he would return to Japan the next
spring, probably in April or May. The meeting lasted half an hour, and
then, with the same pomp and ceremony, the Americans returned to their

For eight days the fleet remained in the bay. One party of sailors
landed, but made no trouble, and was actually so polite that the
people offered them refreshments of tea and fruit. At close range the
barbarians were not so terrifying as the natives had thought them at
first, and when they embarked for their fleet the people urged them to
come back again. On July 17th the war-ships steamed away, leaving the
cliffs covered with people, who gazed in astonishment at vessels that
had no canvas spread, but were driven entirely by fire.

Perry's object in visiting Japan was to obtain a treaty that would allow
trade relations between the United States and this hermit nation. He
wanted to give the Japanese people time to consider President Fillmore's
letter, and so he planned to keep his squadron in Eastern waters until
the following spring, when he would return to learn the result of his
mission at Yedo. There was much of interest to him in China, and he
spent the autumn and part of the winter making charts of that coast, and
visiting ports where American merchants were already established.

Meantime the letter of the American President had caused great
excitement in Japan. Almost as soon as Perry left a messenger was sent
to the Shinto priests at the shrines of Isé to offer prayers for the
peace of the empire, and to urge that the barbarians be swept away. A
week later the Shogun Iyéyoshi died, and left the government at odds as
to what to do.

Some of the daimios remembered the military ardor of their ancestors,
and wanted to fight the barbarians, rather than make a treaty with
them. Others thought that it would be madness to oppose an enemy who
had such powerful ships that they could capture all the Japanese junks,
and destroy the coast cities. One powerful nobleman declared that it
would be well for Japan to meet the barbarians, and learn from them
how to build ships and lead armies, so that they would be able in time
to defeat them at their own arts. The Mikado had little to do in the
discussion. The actual ruler was the new Shogun Iyésada, son of the
former Shogun.

While Commodore Perry was cruising along the coast of China he heard
that French and Russian merchants were planning to visit Japan. He was
afraid that his country might lose the benefits of his visit unless
he could obtain a treaty before these other countries did. Therefore,
although a midwinter cruise to Japan was difficult and dangerous, he
determined to risk this and return at once. Four ships set sail for Yedo
Bay February 1, 1854, and a week later the commodore followed with three

In the city of Yedo the new Shogun was very busy preparing either for
peace or war. A long line of forts was hurriedly built on the edge of
the bay in front of the city. Thousands of laborers were kept at work
there, a great number of cannon were cast, and shops worked day and
night turning out guns and ammunition. An old law had directed that all
vessels of a certain size were to be burned, and only small coasting
junks built. This law was repealed, and all the rich daimios hurriedly
built war-ships. These ships flew a flag representing a red sun on a
white background, and this later became the national flag of Japan. A
native who had learned artillery from the Dutch was put in charge of the
soldiers; old mediæval methods of fighting were abandoned, and artillery
that was somewhat like that of European countries was adopted.

In spite of all this bustle and preparation, however, the Shogun and his
advisers thought it would be wisest for them to agree to a treaty with
the United States. Therefore a notice was issued on December 2, 1853,
which stated that "owing to want of military efficiency, the Americans
would, on their return, be dealt with peaceably." At the same time the
old practice of Fumi-yé, which consisted in trampling on the cross and
other emblems of Christianity, and which had been long practiced in the
city of Nagasaki, was abolished.

Some men in the country were insisting that the time had come for the
Japanese to visit the West, and learn the new arts and trades. One of
these was a scholar, Sakuma, who urged the government to send Japanese
youths to Europe to learn shipbuilding and navigation. The Shogun did
not approve of this idea; but a pupil of the scholar, named Yoshida
Shoin, heard of it, and decided to go abroad by himself. Sakuma gave him
money for his expenses, and advised him how he might get passage on one
of the American ships, when the fleet should return to Japan.

As soon as the Shogun learned that Commodore Perry was about to return
he chose Hayâshi, the chief professor of Chinese in the university,
to serve as interpreter. The Americans had used Chinese scholars in
their communications with the Japanese, and Hayâshi was a man of great
learning and courtly manners. The Shogun also found a native who
understood English, although the Americans did not know this. This man,
Nakahama Manjiro, with two companions, had been picked up at sea by an
American captain, and taken to the United States, where he obtained a
good education. He and his two mates then decided that they would return
to their native land, and went to Hawaii, where they built a whale-boat,
and then sailed for the coast of China on board an American merchantman.
In time the wanderers reached home, and when the Shogun heard of
Manjiro's travels he made him a samurai, or wearer of two swords. The
whale-boat that he had built was used as a model for others, and the
traveler taught his friends some of the knowledge of the Western people.

On February 11, 1854, the watchmen on the hills of Idzu saw the American
fleet approaching. Two days later the great war-ships of the barbarians
steamed up the bay. The seven vessels dropped anchor not far from
Yokos[)u]ka, and the captain of the flag-ship received visits from the
governor and his interpreters. Again the same exaggerated forms of
politeness were observed, and presents of many kinds, fruits, wines, and
confectionery, were exchanged. The Japanese suggested that Perry should
land and meet them at Kamakura or Uraga, but the commodore replied,
through his captain, that he should stay where he was until the Japanese
had decided what they would do. He gave them until February 21st to
decide about the treaty.

Boats were sent out from the fleet daily to make surveys of the bay, but
none of the crews were allowed to land. At length the Japanese stated
that they were ready to treat with the American officers, and Captain
Adams was sent to Uraga to inspect the place where the fleet was to
anchor, and the new building in which the treaty was to be signed. The
captain, with his aides, entered the hall of reception, and was met by
a daimio named Izawa. The daimio was fond of joking. After many polite
greetings Captain Adams handed the nobleman a note from Commodore Perry.
Izawa took out his great spectacles, but before he put them on he folded
up his large fan with a loud snap. The Americans, alarmed at the noise,
clapped their hands to their revolvers. Izawa could not help laughing at
their confusion, but quickly adjusted his spectacles, and after reading
the note, said that he was much gratified at the commodore's greeting.
Rice and tea, cake and oranges were served the guests. A long argument
followed. Captain Adams said that the building was large enough for
simple talking, but not for the display of presents; and that Commodore
Perry would much rather go to the city of Yedo. The Japanese answered
that they much preferred that the meeting should take place at Uraga or
Kanagawa. The debate, carried on through Chinese interpreters, was a
lengthy one.

Two days later the commodore moved his fleet ten miles farther up the
bay. From here his crews could see the great temple-roofs, castles, and
pagodas of Yedo itself, and could hear the bells in the city towers.
This advance of the fleet convinced the Shogun that Perry meant to go to
Yedo. Some of his court had thought that it would be a national disgrace
if the barbarians were permitted to enter that city, but the government
now decided to yield the point, and suggested a place directly opposite,
at Yokohama, for the place of treaty.

No such scene had ever been witnessed in the hermit land of Japan as
the one that took place there on the morning of March 8, 1854. The bay
of Yedo was covered with great state barges and junks with many-colored
sails. On shore were hundreds of soldiers, the servants of the great
daimios, dressed in the gorgeous costumes of earlier centuries. Held
back by ropes were thousands of country people who had gathered from all
over that part of Japan to see the strange men from the West. Everywhere
was color. Tents, banners, houses, and the costumes of men, women and
children blazed with it. The American sailors in all their voyages in
the East had never seen such a brilliant picture.

Perry was not to be outdone. His men left the ships to the noise of
cannon that echoed and re-echoed along the shore. Twenty-seven boats
brought five hundred men, and as soon as they landed the marines formed
a hollow square, while three bands played martial music. The great
commodore, now looked upon by the Japanese with awe, embarked from the
_Powhatan_ in his white gig; more guns were fired; more flags waved; and
with great pomp, Perry landed on the beach. His object was to impress
the hermit people with the dignity of his nation.

A number of meetings followed before the treaty was completed. The
Americans insisted that vessels in need of wood, coal, water, or
provisions should be allowed to get them from shore, and that the
Japanese should care for shipwrecked sailors. They also wanted the two
ports, Shimoda and Hakodate, opened to them. The Japanese were willing,
provided they would not travel inland farther than they could return the
same day, and that no American women should be brought into the country.
But when the Japanese objected to the arrival of women, Commodore Perry
threw back his cloak and exclaimed, "Great heavens, if I were to permit
any such stipulation as that in the treaty, when I got home the women
would pull out all the hairs of my head!" The Japanese were surprised at
Perry's excitement, thinking that they must have offended him greatly.
When the interpreters explained what he had actually said, however, both
sides laughed and continued peacefully. They grew more and more friendly
as the meetings progressed. They dined together and exchanged gifts.
The Americans liked the sugared fruits, candied nuts, crabs, prawns,
and fish that the Japanese served in different forms, while the hermit
people developed a great fondness for the puddings and champagne the
Americans offered them. When it came to gifts, the eyes of the Japanese
opened wide at the many surprising things the barbarians had invented.
They were delighted with the rifles, the clocks, the stoves, the
sewing-machines, the model of a steam locomotive, and the agricultural
tools, scales, maps, and charts that Perry had brought to the Mikado.
These presents were to open the minds of the Japanese to the march of
progress in the rest of the world; and to teach them the uses of steam
and electricity, the printing-press, newspapers, and all the other
inventions that were products of Europe and America.

In exchange, the art-loving people of Japan gave their visitors
beautiful works in bronze, lacquer, porcelain, bamboo, ivory, silk, and
paper, and great swords, spears and shields, wonderfully inlaid and
decorated, that were handed down from their feudal days.

While the fleet stayed Japanese spy-boats kept watch in the bay, to see
that their young men did not board the foreign ships in their desire to
see something of the world. Time and again the young Yoshida Shoin and
a friend tried to break through the blockade, but every time they were
sent back to shore. At last the two left Yedo for the port of Shimoda.

The Americans set up telegraph poles, and laid rails to show the working
of the model locomotive. They gave an exhibition of the steam-engine.
This caused great excitement in the country near Yedo, and every one who
could went to see the strange performance. Already there was a struggle
between those who were eager to learn the inventions of the Americans,
and those who were afraid that the new ideas would spoil old Japan. Many
an ambitious youth stared at the Mikado's presents, and tried to learn
more of their secrets from the sailors on their way to or from the fleet.

The treaty was signed on March 31, 1854, and agreed that shipwrecked
sailors should be cared for, provisions needed by ships should be
obtained in the ports, and American vessels allowed to anchor in the two
harbors of Shimoda and Hakodate. Actual trade was not yet allowed, nor
were Americans to be permitted to reside in Japan. The hermit nation was
not at all eager to enter into competition with other countries, nor to
allow foreigners to trade with her. Commodore Perry knew, however, that
even the slight terms he had gained would prove the beginning of the
opening up of Japan to the rest of the world.

April 18, 1854, Perry left the bay of Yedo for Shimoda, and there the
fleet stayed until early in May. While the squadron was there two
Americans, who were botanizing on land, met the youth Yoshida Shoin
and his friend. The young Japanese gave the Americans a letter, but
seeing some native officers approaching, he and his friend stole away.
A few nights later the watch on the war-ship _Mississippi_ heard voices
calling, "Americans, Americans!" They found the two Japanese youths in
a small boat, and took them on board. Paper and writing materials were
found hidden in their clothes, and they explained that they wanted to
go with the fleet to America, and write down what they saw there. The
commodore, however, felt that he was in honor bound to send the two
young men back to their homes; and did so. Yoshida later came to be
one of the leaders of the new Japan that ended the long line of Shogun
rulers, and made the Mikado the actual emperor.

The fleet cruised from one port to another, now well received by the
people, who had forgotten their fear of the barbarians' fire-vessels.
The governors of the different provinces gave presents to Perry,
among them blocks of native stone to be used in building the great
obelisk that was rising on the banks of the Potomac River in memory of
Washington. On July 17th the last of the squadron left Napa for Hong

The Americans had shown the Japanese that they were a friendly people,
with no desire to harm them. A race that had lived shut off from the
rest of the world for so many centuries was naturally timid and fearful
of strange people. From time to time European ships had landed in Japan,
and almost every time the sailors had done injury to the natives. Perry,
however, convinced them that the United States was a friend, and the
treaty, slight though its terms were, marked the dawn of a new era in
Japan. Like the sleeping princess, she woke at the touch of a stranger
from overseas.



Off the far northwestern corner of the United States lie a number of
small islands scattered along the strait that separates the state of
Washington from Vancouver Island. One of these goes by the name of San
Juan Island, a green bit of land some fifteen miles long and seven wide.
The northern end rises into hills, while the southern part is covered
with rich pastures. In the hills are coal and limestone, and along the
shore is splendid cod, halibut, and salmon fishing. In the year 1859 a
farmer named Hubbs pastured his sheep at the southern end of San Juan,
and had for a neighbor to the north a man in the employ of the English
Hudson's Bay Company, whose business it was to raise pigs. The pigs
throve on San Juan, and following their fondness for adventure left
Mr. Griffiths' farm and overran the whole island. Day after day Hubbs
would find the pigs grubbing in his pasture, and finally in a moment
of anger he warned his neighbor that he would kill the next pig that
came on his land. Griffiths heard the warning, but evidently the pigs
did not, for the very next day one of them crossed the boundary line
and ventured into Mr. Hubbs' field. Here it began to enjoy itself in
a small vegetable patch that Mr. Hubbs had planted. As soon as he saw
the trespasser Hubbs went for his gun, and returning with it, shot the
intruding pig.

When Griffiths found his dead pig he was as angry as Hubbs had been,
and he immediately set out in his sailboat and crossed the strait to
Victoria, a little city on Vancouver Island, where officers of the
British Government had their headquarters. He stated his case, and
obtained a warrant of arrest for his neighbor Hubbs. Then he sailed back
to San Juan with the constable, and going to his neighbor's house read
the warrant to him. Hubbs indignantly replied that he was an American
citizen, and did not have to obey the order of the English officer.
Thereupon the constable left the house, vowing that he would return with
a force of men and compel the farmer to obey him.

Mr. Hubbs was a shrewd man, and believed that the constable would be
as good as his word. As soon as he had left Hubbs therefore sent a
note to Port Townsend, which was in Washington Territory, asking the
United States officers there to protect him from arrest for killing his
neighbor's pig. When he received the note General William S. Harney, who
was in command, ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Casey to take a company of
soldiers and camp on San Juan Island to protect Mr. Hubbs.

Now that thoughtless pig had actually lighted a fuse that threatened
to lead to a very serious explosion. As it happened San Juan lay near
the middle of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and commanded both shores. The
people at Victoria could see the American soldiers setting out in their
boats from Port Townsend, and landing on the green island. So long as it
had been the home of a few farmers San Juan had caused little concern,
but now that troops were camping upon it it presented quite a different
look. Victoria was all excitement. The governor, Sir James Douglas,
heard the news first, and then Admiral Prevost, who was in command
of some English war-ships anchored in the little bay near the city.
The admiral was very angry and threatened to blow the Yankees off the
island. He gave orders to move his fleet to one of the harbors of San
Juan, and his cannon were ready to fire shot over the peaceful fields,
where sheep and pigs had divided possession. Sir James Douglas, the
governor, however, was a more peaceful man. He persuaded the admiral not
to be in a hurry, but suggested that it would be wise to have a company
of British regulars camp somewhere on San Juan. This would serve as a
warning to the United States troops. Accordingly Captain Delacombe was
sent over, and pitched his tents on the northern end of the island that
belonged to the Hudson's Bay Company.

As a result of the pig having trespassed in Mr. Hubbs' vegetable patch,
the flag of the United States flew above the tents on the southern part
of San Juan, and the British flag over the tents on the northern end.
Mr. Hubbs was left in peace, and Mr. Griffiths went on raising pigs; but
the people in Victoria shook their fists across the strait at the people
in Port Townsend, and in each of those cities there was a great deal of
talk about war. The talk was mostly done by men who had nothing to do
with the army. The soldiers on the little island soon became the best of
friends, and spent their time in field sports and giving dinner-parties
to each other.

No part of the boundary line of the United States has given more trouble
than that in the northwest. The Hudson's Bay Company had once claimed
practically all of what was known as Oregon Territory for England, but
after Marcus Whitman brought his pioneers westward the Hudson's Bay
Company gradually withdrew, and left the southern part of that land to
the United States. For forty years the two countries had disputed about
the line of division, and the political party that was led by Stephen
A. Douglas had taken as its watchword, "Fifty-four, forty,--or fight!"
which meant that unless the United States should get all the land up
to the southern line of Alaska, they would go to war with England.
Fortunately President Polk was not so grasping, and the boundary was
finally settled in 1846 on latitude forty-nine degrees. That was a clear
enough boundary for most of the northwest country, but when one came
close to the Pacific the coast grew ragged, and was dotted with little
islands. Vancouver was by the treaty to belong to England, and the
agreement said that the boundary at this corner should be "the middle
of the channel." Now it happened that San Juan and its small neighbors
lay midway between the two shores, and the treaty failed to say which
channel was meant, the one on the American or the one on the British
side of San Juan.

As a matter of fact this question of the channel was very important
for the British. It would lead them to the coast of Canada, or the
United States to Alaska. The one to the west, called the Canal de Haro,
was much straighter than the other, and deep enough for the largest
war-ships. Naturally the United States wanted the boundary to run
through this channel, and the British equally naturally wanted the
boundary to run through the opposite channel, called Rosario Strait,
because midway between lay the little island, which would make a
splendid fortress, and might prevent the passage of ships in case of
war between the two nations. So long as the islands were simply pasture
lands the question of ownership was only a matter for debate, but when
the pig was killed, and the troops of both countries camped on San Juan
the question became a much more vital one.

News of what had happened on San Juan was sent to Washington and to
London; and General Winfield Scott hurried by way of Panama to Mr.
Hubbs' farm. He found that all the United States troops on that part
of the coast that could be spared had been crowded on to the southern
part of the island. This seemed unnecessary, and General Scott agreed
with Sir James Douglas that only one company of United States and one
of British soldiers should stay in camp there. The little island thus
became the scene of what was known as "a joint military occupation." In
the meantime there were many lengthy meetings at Washington and London,
and the two countries decided that they would leave the difficult
question of the boundary line to arbitration. So the statesmen at
Washington drew up papers to prove that the right line lay in the middle
of the Canal de Haro, and statesmen at London drew up other papers to
show that the correct line was through the middle of Rosario Strait,
which would give them San Juan and allow their ships to sail in perfect
safety between the islands and the Vancouver shore. The statesmen and
lawyers took their time about this, while the soldiers amused themselves
fishing for cod and salmon, and the farmers cared for their sheep and
pigs as peacefully as in the days before Hubbs had shot Griffiths' pig.

After some time the two nations decided to ask the Emperor of Germany to
decide the question of the boundary line. The Emperor appointed three
learned men to determine the question for him. They listened to the
arguments of both sides, and after much study made their report to the
Emperor, who gave his decision on October 23, 1872, and handed a copy
of it to Mr. Bancroft for the United States, and to Lord Odo Russell
for England. His decision was that the claim of the United States was
correct, and that the middle of the Canal de Haro should be the boundary
of that northwestern corner. This gave San Juan to the United States,
much to the disappointment of the people of Vancouver Island, who knew
that a fort on that little strip of land could control all navigation
through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. One month after the decision was
given the British troops cut down their flagstaff on the northern end
and left San Juan.

San Juan lies opposite the city of Victoria, which has grown to be
one of the largest ports of British Columbia. Instead of lessening in
importance the island has grown in value, because that part of the
country has filled up rapidly, and both sides of the line are more and
more prosperous. The question of who should own San Juan would have been
decided some day, but it was that prowling pig that brought matters to
a head, and for a few weeks at least threatened to draw two countries
into war. On such slight happenings (although in this case it was a very
serious matter for the pig) often hang the fates of nations if we trace
history back to the spark that fired the fuse.



In the days when Kansas was the battle-ground between those men who
upheld negro slavery, and those who attacked it, a man named John Brown
went from the east to that territory. Several of his sons had already
gone into Kansas, and had sent him glowing accounts of it. Many New
England families were moving west by 1855, and building homes for
themselves on the splendid rolling prairies across the Mississippi. John
Brown, however, went with another purpose. The years had built up in
him such a hatred for negro slavery that it filled his whole thoughts.
Kansas was the field where slave-owners and abolitionists, or those
who opposed slavery, were to fight for the balance of power. Therefore
he went to Kansas and made his home in the lowlands along the eastern
border, near a region that the Indians had named the Swamp of the Swan.

There were a great many men in Kansas at that time who had no real
convictions in regard to slavery, and to whom the question was one of
politics, and not of religion, as it was to John Brown. Those were days
of warfare on the border, and men from the south and the north were
constantly clashing, fighting for the upper hand in the government,
and taking every possible advantage of each other. Five of John Brown's
sons had already settled in Kansas when he came there with a sick son
and a son-in-law. Early in October, 1855, they reached the home of the
pioneers. They found the houses very primitive, small log shanties, the
walls plastered with mud. The father joined his boys in getting in their
hay, and set traps in the woods to secure game for food. But trouble was
brewing in the town of Lawrence, which was the leading city of Kansas.
Word come to the Swamp of the Swan that men who favored slavery were
marching on the town, intending to drive out the free-state Northerners
there. This was a direct call to John Brown to take the field. His
family set to work preparing corn bread and meat, blankets and cooking
utensils, running bullets, and loading guns. Then five of the men set
out for Lawrence, which was reached at the end of a twenty-four hours'

The town of Lawrence, a collection of many rude log houses, was filled
with crowds of excited men and women. John Brown, looking like a
patriarch with his long hair and beard, arrived at sundown, accompanied
by his stalwart sons armed with guns and pistols. He was at once put
in charge of a company, and set to work fortifying the town with
earthworks, and preparing for a battle. In a day or two, however, an
agreement was reached between the free-state and the slave-state
parties, and immediate danger of warfare disappeared. Satisfied with
this outcome, Brown and his sons took to the road again, and marched
back to their home. There they stayed during the next winter. In the
cold of the long ice-bound months, the passions of men lay dormant. But
with the coming of spring the old feud smouldered afresh.

Bands of armed men from the South arrived in Kansas, and one from
Georgia came to camp near the Brown settlement on the Swamp of the Swan.
On a May morning John Brown and four of his sons walked over to the new
camp to learn the Georgians' plans. He had some surveying instruments
with him, and the newcomers took him for a government surveyor and
therefore a slave man, for almost every official that was sent into
Kansas held the Southern views. Pretending to be a surveyor, the father
directed his sons to busy themselves in making a section line through
the camp. The men from Georgia looked on, talking freely. Presently one
of them said: "We've come here to stay. We won't make no war on them
as minds their own business; but all the Abolitionists, such as them
Browns over there, we're going to whip, drive out, or kill,--any way to
get shut of them!" The strangers went on to name other settlers they
meant to drive out, not suspecting who their listeners were, and John
Brown wrote every word down in his surveyor's book. A few days later the
Georgians moved their camp nearer to the Brown settlement, and began
to steal horses and cattle belonging to the free-state men. Brown took
his list, and went to see the men whose names were on it. They held a
meeting, and decided that it was time to teach the "border ruffians,"
as such men as the Georgians were called, a lesson. News of the meeting
spread rapidly, and soon it was generally known that the free-state men
about Osawatomie, which was the name of the town near which the Browns
lived, were prepared to take the war-path.

The old bitter feelings flamed up again in May of 1856. On the
twenty-first of the month, a band of slavery men swept down on the town
of Lawrence, and while the free-state citizens looked on, sacked and
burned the place. John Brown and his sons hurried there, but when they
reached Lawrence the houses were in ashes. He denounced the free-state
men as cowards, for to his ardent nature it seemed an outrage that
men should let themselves be treated so by ruffians. When a discreet
citizen said that they must act with caution John Brown burst out at
him: "Caution, caution, sir! I am eternally tired of hearing that word
caution--it is nothing but the word for cowardice!" There was nothing
for him to do, however, and he was about to turn toward home when a boy
came dashing up. He reported that the ruffians in the Swamp of the Swan
had warned all the women in the Brown settlement that they must leave
Kansas by Saturday or Sunday, or they would be driven out. The women
had been frightened, and taking their children, had fled in an ox-cart
to the house of a relative at a distance. The boy added that two houses
and a store near the settlement had been burned.

Those were dark days on the border, days that hardened men's natures.
Such a man as John Brown felt that it was his duty to stamp out the
pest of slavery at any cost. He turned to his sons and to some German
friends whose homes had been burned. "I will attend to those fellows,"
said he. "Something must be done to show these barbarians that we too
have rights!" A neighbor offered to carry the little band of men in his
wagon. They looked to their guns and cutlasses. Peace-loving people in
Lawrence grew uneasy. Judging from Brown's expression, they feared that
he was going to sow further trouble.

Eight men drove back to the Browns' settlement, and found that the
messenger's story was correct. They called a meeting of those who were
to be driven out of Kansas, according to the ruffians' threats. At the
meeting they decided to rid the country of the outlaws, who had only
come west to plunder, and some of whom had been employed in chasing
runaway slaves who had escaped from their masters. Their plans made,
Brown's band rode to a little saloon on the Pottawatomie Creek where the
raiders made their headquarters. Within an hour's walk were the men's
cabins. Members of Brown's band stopped at the door of each cabin that
night, and asked for the men they wanted. If the inmates hesitated to
open the door it was broken open. Two of the men on their list could
not be found, but five were led out into the woods and killed. It was a
horrible deed, barbarous even in those days of bloodshed. But Brown's
men felt that they were forced to do it.

John Brown thought that this one desperate act might set Kansas free;
but it only marked the beginning of a long and bloody drama. As soon
as the facts were known he and his sons became outlaws with prices on
their heads. Even his neighbors at Osawatomie were horrified at his act.
Two of his sons who had not been with him were arrested, and the little
settlement became a center of suspicion. The father withdrew to the
woods, and there about thirty-five men gathered about him. They lived
the life of outlaws, and neither slave-state nor free-state officers
dared to try to capture them. By chance a reporter of the New York
_Tribune_ came on their camp. He wrote: "I shall not soon forget the
scene that here opened to my view. Near the edge of the creek a dozen
horses were tied, all ready saddled for a ride for life, or a hunt
after Southern invaders. A dozen rifles and sabres were stacked against
the trees. In an open space, amid the shady and lofty woods, there was
a great blazing fire with a pot on it; a woman, bareheaded, with an
honest sunburnt face, was picking blackberries from the bushes; three or
four armed men were lying on red and blue blankets on the grass; and two
fine-looking youths were standing, leaning on their arms, on guard near
by.... Old Brown himself stood near the fire, with his shirt sleeves
rolled up, and a large piece of pork in his hand. He was cooking a pig.
He was poorly clad, and his toes protruded from his boots. The old man
received me with great cordiality, and the little band gathered about

This band, living in forest and swamp, was always ready to strike a
blow for the free-state cause. The slavery men were getting the upper
hand, and Northern families who had settled in Kansas began to look to
John Brown for protection. The "border ruffians" grew worse and worse,
attacking small defenseless settlements, burning homes and carrying
off cattle. Sometimes it was only the fear of retaliation from Brown's
company that kept the raiders from still greater crimes. Occasionally
they met; once they fought a battle at Black Jack, and twenty-four
of the enemy finally surrendered to nine of Brown's men. One of the
leader's sons was badly wounded, and the father had to nurse him in the

Affairs grew worse during the summer. The vilest scum of the slave
states poured into Kansas, and the scenes on the border grew more and
more disgraceful. There were pitched battles, and at last the governor
of the territory, thoroughly scared, surrendered his power into the
hands of the slave-holders, and fled for his life. The slave-state men
thought that the time had come to strike a blow that should settle the
question in Kansas permanently. They prepared to gather an army in
Missouri, intending to cross into Kansas, and so terrify settlers from
the North that they would make no further resistance. Conditions looked
desperate to John Brown, and he left the territory for a short time to
see what he could do to get help for his cause.

A large band of emigrants from the North were on the march toward
Kansas, and Brown rode to meet them. The emigrants had heard of him, and
welcomed him to their midst. He encouraged them and urged them to fight
for freedom, and went on his way hoping to rouse more free-state men to
enter Kansas.

The East was now thoroughly awake to the lawless situation on the
border, and a new governor, Geary by name, was sent out from Washington.
Meetings were held in the large cities, and money, arms, and men
began to pour into Kansas. Several hundred men from Missouri attacked
Osawatomie, which was defended by Abolitionists, and a battle followed.
John Brown was there, and when his party won the day he gained the
nickname of "Osawatomie Brown," by which he was generally called

Fired by this success, the leaders of the free-state army planned to
capture Lawrence. The new governor feared that such an act would mean
the beginning of a general civil war, and did his best to prevent it.
He succeeded in this. The free-state men were divided into two parties,
those whose aim was to have Kansas admitted to the Union as a free
state, and those who, like John Brown, were bent on abolishing slavery
throughout the United States. Governor Geary assured the former men
that Kansas would be free soil, and he tried to induce Brown to leave
that part of the country for a time in the interest of peace. Brown was
willing to do as Governor Geary wished, thinking that Kansas was safe
for the present. He wanted to turn his attention to other parts of the
country, where he thought he was more needed. In September, 1856, he
started east with his sons. He was now a well-known figure, hated by
all slave-owners, a hero to Abolitionists, and distrusted by that large
number of men whose object was to secure peace at any cost.

There were many people in the North at that time who were helping
runaway slaves to escape from their masters, and in certain parts of
the country there were stations of what was called the "Underground
Railroad." Negroes fleeing from the tyranny of Southern owners were
helped along from one station to another, until they were finally safe
across the Canadian border. The law of the country said that negro
slaves were like any other form of property, and that it was the duty of
citizens to return runaways to their masters. There were also scattered
through the border states a number of men whose business it was to catch
fugitive slaves and take them back south. These men were usually of a
brutal type, and the poor refugee who fell into their clutches was made
to suffer for his attempt at escape. Story after story of the sufferings
of slaves came to John Brown's ears, and he felt that it was his duty
to throw himself into the work of the Underground Railroad, and help as
many slaves as possible to cross into Canada.

This work was not enough for him, however; he wanted to strike some blow
at the slave-owners themselves. The Alleghany Mountain range was one
of the main roads for fugitives, for there men could hide in the thick
forests of the mountainside, and could make some show of defense when
the slave-catchers and bloodhounds came in pursuit. John Brown knew this
country well. He traveled through the North, talking with other men who
felt as he did, and trying to work out a plan which should force the
country to decide this question of negro slavery. At last he decided to
make a raid into Southern territory, and free slaves for himself.

In the heart of the Alleghanies, and almost midway between Maine and
Florida, is a great natural gateway in the mountains. Here the Potomac
and the Shenandoah Rivers meet, and seem to force their way through the
natural barrier. This pass is Harper's Ferry, and in 1859 it was the
seat of a United States arsenal. To the south was a country filled
with slaves, who looked to Harper's Ferry as the highroad to freedom.
Not far from the arsenal rose the Blue Ridge Mountains, the heights of
which commanded the pass. It was John Brown's plan to lead men from
the Maryland side of the Potomac River to attack the arsenal, and when
it was captured to carry arms and ammunition across the Shenandoah to
Loudoun Heights in the Blue Ridge, and hide there. From here his band
could make raids to the south, freeing slaves, and shielding them from
their masters, while using the mountains for a shelter.

There were many other men in the United States bent on destroying
slavery, but few so impulsive as John Brown. His plan was rash in the
extreme, and even its success would have profited only a few slaves. But
Brown was a born crusader. The men who followed him were all impulsive,
and many of them were already trained in the rude ways of frontier life.
They knew what he had done in Kansas, and were ready to fight on his
side anywhere else. They had a real reverence for John Brown. The tall
man with the long, almost white hair, keen eyes, and flowing beard was
no ordinary leader. He had the power to convince men that his cause was
just, and to hold them in his service afterward.

In June, 1859, John Brown, with two of his sons, and two friends,
started south. He rented a farm about five miles from Harper's Ferry,
in a quiet, out-of-the-way place. There were several cabins in the
neighborhood, and as his followers gradually joined him, they occupied
these shelters. A daughter kept house for him during the summer. The men
farmed in the daytime, and planned their conspiracy at night. The leader
did everything he could to win the friendship of his neighbors. He had
some knowledge of medicine, and attended all who were sick. Frequently
he preached in the little Dunker chapel near by. He was always ready
to share his food or give the shelter of his roof to any travelers.
Slowly he collected guns and ammunition, and late in September sent
his daughter north, and arranged to make his attack. At first some of
the other men objected to his plans. One or two did not approve of his
seizing the government arsenal, and thought they should simply make a
raid into Virginia as the slave-state men had formerly carried war into
Kansas. Their leader, however, was determined, and nothing could turn
him. Already he feared lest some suspicion of his purpose might have
spread, and was eager to make his start. He set Sunday night, October
16th, as the time for the raid. That morning he called his men together
and read to them from the Bible. In the afternoon he gave them final
instructions, and added: "And now, gentlemen, let me impress this one
thing upon your minds. You all know how dear life is to you, and how
dear life is to your friends. And in remembering that, consider that
the lives of others are as dear to them as yours are to you. Do not,
therefore, take the life of any one, if you can possibly avoid it; but
if it is necessary to take life in order to save your own, then make
sure work of it."

At eight o'clock that night the old farm was alive with action. John
Brown called: "Men, get on your arms; we will proceed to the Ferry."
His horse and wagon were driven up before the door, and some pikes, a
sledge-hammer, and a crowbar were put in it. John Brown pulled on his
old Kansas cap, and cried: "Come, boys!" and they went into the lane
that wound down the hill to the highroad.

Each of the band had been told exactly what he was to do. Two of the
men were to cut the telegraph lines, and two others were to detain the
sentinels at the bridge. Men were detailed to hold each of the bridges
over the two rivers, and others to occupy the engine house in the
arsenal yard.

The night was cold and dark. John Brown drove his one-horse farm-wagon,
and the men straggled behind him. They had to cover five miles through
woods and over hills before they came down to the narrow road between
the cliffs and the Cincinnati and Ohio canal. Telegraph wires were cut,
the watchman on the bridge was arrested, and the band found their way
open into Harper's Ferry.

Their object was to seize the arms in the arsenal and rifle factory.
They marched to the armory gate, where they found a watchman. "Open the
gate," one of Brown's men ordered. The watchman said that he could not,
and another of the band declared that there was no time for talk, but
that he would get a crowbar and hammer from the wagon. He twisted the
crowbar in the chain that held the gate, and broke it open; then leaving
the watchman in the care of two men, the rest made a dash for the

A great deal happened in a short time. Guards were overpowered, the
bridge secured, and the river forded close to the rifle-works. Not a gun
had to be fired, and both soldiers and civilians did as they were bid
by the armed men. Others of the raiders hurried out into the country,
and meeting some colored men, told them their plans, and the latter at
once agreed to join them. Each of the negroes was sent at once to stir
up the slaves in the neighborhood, and bring them to Harper's Ferry. The
raiders then came to the house of Colonel Lewis Washington. They knocked
on the door, and were admitted. Colonel Washington asked what they
wanted. The leader answered, "You are our prisoner, and must come to the
Ferry with us." The Virginian replied, "You can have my slaves, if you
will let me remain." He was told, however, that he must go back with
them; and so he did, together with a large four-horse wagon and some
arms, guns, swords, and cartridges.

Others of the band had brought in more Virginia prisoners. An east-bound
train on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad that reached Harper's Ferry
about one o'clock in the morning was detained, and the passengers were
kept there until sunrise. John Brown was in command at the arsenal,
and the rest of his band were acting at different points. By morning
the people of the village were all alarmed. They did not know what the
raiders meant to do, but many of them fled to the mountains, spreading
the news as they went.

In spite of some little confusion among his followers, practically all
of John Brown's plans had been successful up to this point. He had
captured the armory, and armed about fifty slaves. His next object was
to get the store of guns and ammunition that he had left at his farm.
Here came the first hitch in his plans. He ordered two of his men, Cook
and Tidd, to take some of the freed slaves in Colonel Washington's
wagon, and drive to the house of a man named Terrence Burns, and take
him, his brother and their slaves prisoners. Cook was to stay at Burns's
house while Tidd and the negroes were to go to John Brown's farm, load
the guns in the wagon, and bring them back to a schoolhouse near the
Ferry, stopping on the way for Cook and his prisoners. This the two men
did; but they were so slow in getting the arms from the farm to the
schoolhouse, a distance of not over three miles, that much valuable
time was lost. Cook halted to make a speech on human equality at one
of the houses they passed, and Tidd stopped his wagon frequently and
talked with passers-by on the road. They had the first load of arms at
the schoolhouse by ten o'clock in the morning, but it was four o'clock
in the afternoon before the second load arrived. All the guns and arms
should have been at the schoolhouse by ten o'clock, if the men had
followed John Brown's orders strictly.

John Brown probably still intended to carry his arms, together with the
prisoners and their slaves, up to Loudoun Heights, where he would be
safe for some time, but his men were so slow in obeying his orders that
the enemy was given time to collect. The train that had left Harper's
Ferry that morning carried word of the raid throughout the countryside,
and men gathered in the neighboring villages ready to march on Harper's
Ferry and put an end to the disturbance. John Brown held thousands of
muskets and rifles in the arsenal, while the men who were marching
to attack him were for the most part armed with squirrel guns and
old-fashioned fowling-pieces. The militia collected rapidly, and marched
toward the Ferry from all directions. By noon the Jefferson Guards had
seized the bridge that crossed the Potomac. Meantime John Brown had
girded to his side a sword that had belonged to Lafayette, that had been
taken from Colonel Lewis Washington's house the night before, called
his men from the arsenal into the street, and said, "The troops are on
the bridge, coming into town; we will give them a warm reception." He
walked back and forth before the small band, encouraging them. "Men, be
cool!" he urged. "Don't waste your powder and shot! Take aim, and make
every shot count! The troops will look for us to retreat on their first
appearance; be careful to shoot first."

The militia soon advanced across the bridge and up the main street.
When they were some sixty or seventy yards away from the raiders John
Brown gave the order to fire. Some of the militia fell. Other volleys
followed; and the attacking party was thrown into disorder. Finally
they were driven back to the bridge, and took up a position there until
reinforcements arrived. As they retreated John Brown ordered his men
back to the arsenal. In the lull of the firing nearly all the unarmed
people who were still in the town fled to the hills.

It was now one o'clock in the afternoon, and the band of raiders could
have escaped to Loudoun Heights. But their leader wanted to carry the
guns and ammunition away with him, and to do this he needed the aid
of the rest of his men. He sent a messenger to one of his followers
named Kagi, who was stationed with several others on the bank of the
Shenandoah, with orders for him to hold the place a short time longer.
The messenger, however, was fired on and wounded before he could reach
Kagi, and the latter's party was soon attacked by a force of militia,
and driven into the river. A large flat rock stood up in the river, and
four of the five raiders reached this. There three of them fell before
the fire of bullets, and the fourth was taken a prisoner. In similar
ways the number of John Brown's men was much reduced.

The leader realized the danger of the situation, and decided that
his best chance of escape lay in using the prisoners he had captured
as hostages for his band's safe retreat. He moved his men, and the
more important of the prisoners, to a small brick building called the
engine-house. There he said to his captives, "Gentlemen, perhaps you
wonder why I have selected you from the others. It is because I believe
you to be the most influential; and I have only to say now that you will
have to share precisely the same fate that your friends extend to my
men." He ordered the doors and windows barricaded, and port-holes cut in
the walls.

The engine-house now became the raiders' citadel, and the militia and
bands of farmers who were arriving at Harper's Ferry released the
prisoners who were still in the arsenal, and concentrated all their fire
on the band in the small brick house.

As the sun set the town filled with troops, and it was evident that the
men in the fort would have to surrender. They kept up their firing,
however, from the port-holes, and were answered with a rain of bullets
aimed at the doors and windows. Both sides lost a number of men. Two of
John Brown's sons had been shot during the day. Finally the leader asked
if one of his prisoners would volunteer to go out among the citizens and
induce them to cease firing on the fort, as they were endangering the
lives of their friends, the other captives. He promised that if they
would stop firing his men would do the same. One of the prisoners agreed
to try this, and the firing ceased for a time.

More troops poured into Harper's Ferry, and presently Colonel Robert E.
Lee arrived with a force of United States marines. Guards were set about
the engine-house to see that John Brown and his men did not escape. Then
Colonel Lee sent a flag of truce to the engine-house, and in the name of
the United States demanded that Brown surrender, advising him to throw
himself on the clemency of the government. John Brown answered that he
knew what that meant, and added, "I prefer to die just here." Again in
the morning Lee sent his aide to the fort. The officer asked, "Are you
ready to surrender, and trust to the mercy of the government?" Brown
answered, "No, I prefer to die here." Then the soldiers attacked, not
with guns this time, but with sledge-hammers, intending to break down
the doors. This did not succeed, and seizing a long ladder they used
it as a battering-ram, and finally broke the fastenings of the main
door. Lieutenant Green pushed his way in, and, jumping on top of the
engine, looked about for John Brown. Amid a storm of bullets, he saw
the white-haired leader, and sprang at him, at the same time striking
at him with his sword. John Brown fell forward, with his head between
his knees. In a few minutes all of the raiders who were left in the
engine-house had surrendered to the government troops.

Of the band that had left the farm on Sunday night seven were taken
prisoners, ten had been killed in the fighting, and six others had
managed to make their escape. By noon of Tuesday, October 18th, the raid
was over. John Brown, wounded in half a dozen places, lay on the floor
of the engine-house; and the governor of Virginia bent over him. "Who
are you?" asked the governor. The old man answered, "My name is John
Brown; I have been well known as old John Brown of Kansas. Two of my
sons were killed here to-day, and I'm dying too. I came here to liberate
slaves, and was to receive no reward. I have acted from a sense of duty,
and am content to await my fate; but I think the crowd have treated me
badly. I am an old man. Yesterday I could have killed whom I chose; but
I had no desire to kill any person, and would not have killed a man had
they not tried to kill me and my men. I could have sacked and burned the
town, but did not; I have treated the persons whom I took as hostages
kindly, and I appeal to them for the truth of what I say. If I had
succeeded in running off slaves this time, I could have raised twenty
times as many men as I have now for a similar expedition. But I have

The news of John Brown's raid spread through the country, and the people
North and South were amazed and bewildered. They had grown used to
hearing of warfare in the distant borderland of Kansas, but this was
a battle that had taken place in the very heart of the Union. Men did
not know what to think of it. John Brown appeared to many of them as a
monstrous figure, a firebrand who would touch his torch to the tinder
of slavery, and set the whole nation in a blaze. Newspapers and public
speakers denounced him. They said he was attacking the foundations of
the country when he seized the arsenal and freed slaves from their
lawful owners. Only a handful of men had any good to say for him, and
that handful were looked upon as madmen by their neighbors. Only a few
could read the handwriting on the wall, and realize that John Brown was
merely a year or two in advance of the times.

We who know the story of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery
think of John Brown as a hero. We forget the outlaw and remember the
martyr. If he was setting the laws of men at defiance he was also
following the law that he felt was given him by God. His faith and his
simplicity have made him a great figure in history. A man who met him
riding across the plains of Kansas in the days of the border warfare
drew a vivid picture of him. He said that a tall man on horseback
stopped and asked him a question. "It was on a late July day, and in its
hottest hours. I had been idly watching a wagon and one horse toiling
slowly northward across the prairie, along the emigrant trail that had
been marked out by free-state men.... John Brown, whose name the young
and ardent had begun to conjure with and swear by, had been described to
me. So, as I heard the question, I looked up and met the full, strong
gaze of a pair of luminous, questioning eyes. Somehow I instinctively
knew this was John Brown, and with that name I replied.... It was a
long, rugged-featured face I saw. A tall, sinewy figure, too (he had
dismounted), five feet eleven, I estimated, with square shoulders,
narrow flank, sinewy and deep-chested. A frame full of nervous power,
but not impressing one especially with muscular vigor. The impression
left by the pose and the figure was that of reserve, endurance, and
quiet strength. The questioning voice-tones were mellow, magnetic, and
grave. On the weatherworn face was a stubby, short, gray beard.... This
figure,--unarmed, poorly clad, with coarse linen trousers tucked into
high, heavy cowhide boots, with heavy spurs on their heels, a cotton
shirt opened at the throat, a long torn linen duster, and a bewrayed
chip straw hat ... made up the outward garb and appearance of John Brown
when I first met him. In ten minutes his mounted figure disappeared over
the north horizon."

But John Brown had seized the government's arsenal, and put arms in the
hands of negro slaves, and therefore the law must take its course with
him. Its officers came to him where he lay on the floor of his fort, a
badly-wounded man, who had fought for fifty-five long hours, who had
seen two sons and eight of his comrades shot in the battle, and who felt
that his cause was lost.

When men who owned slaves asked the reason for his raid, he answered,
"You are guilty of a great wrong against God and humanity and it would
be perfectly right for any one to interfere with you so far as to free
those you wilfully and wickedly hold in bondage.... I pity the poor
in bondage that have none to help them. That is why I am here; not to
gratify any personal animosity, revenge, or vindictive spirit."

A number of Virginians had been killed in the fight, and it was
difficult to secure a fair trial for the raiders. The state did its best
to hold the scales of justice even. The formal trial began on October
27, 1859. Friends from the North came to his aid, and a Massachusetts
lawyer acted as his counsel. John Brown heard the charges against him
lying on a straw pallet, and four days later he heard the jury declare
him guilty of treason. December 2, 1859, the sentence of the court was
carried out, and John Brown was hanged as a traitor. His last written
words were, "I, John Brown, am quite certain that the crimes of this
guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. I had, as I now
think vainly, flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might
be done."

Every great cause in history has its martyrs, and John Brown was one of
those who were sacrificed in the battle for human freedom. Statesmen
had tried for years to argue away the wrongs that began when the first
African bondsmen were brought to the American colonies. Statesmen,
however, cannot change the views of men and women as to what is right
and wrong, and all the arguments in the world could not convince such
men as John Brown and his friends that one man had a right to the
possession of a fellow-creature. He struck his blow wildly, but its echo
rang in the ears of the North, and never ceased until the Civil War was
ended, and slavery wiped off the continent. The great negro orator,
Frederick Douglass, said twenty-two years later at Harper's Ferry, "If
John Brown did not end the war that ended slavery, he did, at least,
begin the war that ended slavery. If we look over the dates, places, and
men for which this honor is claimed, we shall find that not Carolina,
but Virginia, not Fort Sumter, but Harper's Ferry and the arsenal,
not Major Anderson, but John Brown began the war that ended American
slavery, and made this a free republic.... When John Brown stretched
forth his arm the sky was cleared,--the armed hosts of freedom stood
face to face over the chasm of a broken Union, and the clash of arms was
at hand."

In the spring of 1861 the Boston Light Infantry went to Fort Warren in
Boston Harbor to drill. They formed a quartette to sing patriotic songs,
and some one wrote the verses that are known as "John Brown's Body,"
and set them to the music of an old camp-meeting tune. Regiment after
regiment heard the song and carried it with them into camp and battle.
So the spirit of the simple crusader went marching on through the war,
and his name was linked forever with the cause of freedom.



When Columbus sailed from Palos in 1492 he hoped to find a shorter
route to Cathay or China than any that was then known, and the great
explorers who followed after him had the same hope of such a discovery
in their minds. When men learned that instead of finding a short route
to China they had come upon two great continents that shared the Western
Ocean, they turned their thoughts to discovering what was known as
the Northwest Passage. They hoped to find a way by which ships might
sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean north of America. The
great English explorers in particular were eager to find such an ocean
route, and this search was the real beginning of the fur-trading around
Hudson's Bay, the cod-fishing of Newfoundland, and the whale-fishing of
Baffin Bay.

One sea-captain after another sailed across the Atlantic, and strove to
find the passage through the Arctic regions; but the world of snow and
ice defeated each of them. Some went back to report that there was no
Northwest Passage, and others were lost among the ice-floes and never
returned. Then in 1845 England decided to send a great expedition to
make another attempt, and put at the head of it Sir John Franklin, a
brave captain who had fought with Nelson and knew the sea in all its
variety. He sailed from England May 26, 1845, taking one hundred and
twenty-nine men in the two ships _Erebus_ and _Terror_. He carried
enough provisions to last him for three years. On July 26, 1845,
Franklin's two vessels were seen by the captain of a whaler, moored to
an iceberg in Baffin Bay. They were waiting for an opening in the middle
of an ice-pack, through which they might sail across the bay and enter
Lancaster Sound. They were never seen again, and the question of what
had happened to Sir John Franklin's party became one of the mysteries of
the age.

More than twenty ships, with crews of nearly two thousand officers and
men, at a cost of many millions of dollars, sought for Sir John Franklin
in the years between 1847 and 1853. One heroic explorer after another
sailed into the Arctic, crossed the ice-floes, and searched for some
trace of the missing men. But none could be found, and one after another
the explorers came back, their only report being that the ice had
swallowed all traces of the English captain and his vessels. At length
the last of the expeditions sent out by the English Government returned,
and the world decided that the mystery would never be solved. But brave
Lady Franklin, the wife of Sir John, urged still other men to seek for
news, and at last explorers found that all of Franklin's expedition had
perished in their search for the Northwest Passage.

Arctic explorers usually leave records telling the story of their
discoveries at different points along the road they follow. For a long
time after the fate of Franklin's party was known, men tried to find
records he might have left in cairns, or piles of stones through the
Arctic regions. Whale vessels sometimes brought news of such records,
but most of them proved to be idle yarns told by the whalers to surprise
their friends at home. One of these stories was that all the missing
records of Sir John Franklin were to be found in a cairn which was built
near Repulse Bay. This story was told so often that people came to
believe it was true, and some young Americans set out to make a search
of King William Land and try to find the cairn. The party sailed on the
whaler _Eothen_, and five men landed at Repulse Bay. The leader was
Lieutenant Frederick Schwatka, of the United States Army. He had three
friends with him named Gilder, Klutschak, and Melms, and with them was
an Eskimo, who was known as Joe.

The young Americans set up a winter camp on Chesterfield Inlet, and
tried to live as much like the native Eskimos as possible. During the
winter they met many natives on their hunting-trips, and the latter soon
convinced them that they were on a wild-goose chase, and that the story
of the cairn was probably only a sailor's yarn. Lieutenant Schwatka,
however, was not the sort of man to return home without some results
from his trip, and so he made up his mind to go into the country where
Franklin's party had perished, hoping that he might find some record
which would throw light on the earlier explorer's travels.

The Eskimos were a race largely unknown to civilized men. White men
had seen much more of the native American Indians who lived in more
temperate climates. These young Americans found a great deal to interest
them during the winter among these strange people of the far North.
Hunting was their chief pursuit, and the Americans found that they spent
much of their time indoors playing a game called _Nu-glew-tar_, which
sharpened their quickness of eye and sureness of aim. It was a simple
sport; a small piece of bone, pierced with a row of small holes, was
hung from the roof of the hut by a rope of walrus hide, and a heavy
weight was fastened to the end of the bone to keep it from swinging. The
Eskimo players were each armed with a small sharp-pointed stick, and
each in turn would thrust his stick at the bone, trying to pierce one of
the holes. The prize was won by the player who pierced the bone and held
it fast with his stick.

As soon as spring opened Lieutenant Schwatka started out, leaving his
winter camp in April, 1879, and crossing in as straight a line as
possible to Montreal Island, near the mouth of the Black River. He took
with him twelve Eskimos, men, women, and children, and dogs to pull the
sledges. They carried food for one month only, intending to hunt during
the summer. Every night the Eskimos built snow huts, or igloos, in which
the party camped. As they went on they met men of another Arctic tribe,
the Ook-joo-liks, who wore shoes and gloves made of musk-ox skin, which
was covered with hair several inches long, and made the wearers look
more like bears than like men. One of these natives said that he had
seen a ship that had sunk off Adelaide Peninsula, and that he and his
friends had obtained such articles as spoons, knives, and plates from
the ship. Lieutenant Schwatka thought the ship was probably either the
_Erebus_ or the _Terror_. Later his party found an old woman who said
that when she had been on the southeast coast of King William Land not
many years before she had seen ten white men dragging a sledge with a
boat on it. Five of the white men put up a tent on the shore and five
stayed with the boat. Some men of the woman's tribe had killed seals and
given them to the white men; then the white men had left, and neither
she nor any of her tribe had seen them again. Asking questions of the
Eskimos he met, Lieutenant Schwatka and his comrades gradually pieced
together the story of what had happened to Franklin and his men. But the
American was not content with what he had learned in this way, and he
determined to cross Simpson Strait to King William Land, and search for
records there during the summer. This meant that he would have to spend
the summer on this bare and desolate island, as there would be no chance
to cross the strait until the cold weather of autumn should form new ice
for a bridge.

The Eskimos did everything they could to persuade him not to cross
to the island. They told him that in 1848 more than one hundred men
had perished of starvation there, and added that no one could find
sufficient food to keep them through the summer. Yet the fearless
soldier and his friends insisted on making the attempt, and some of the
Eskimos were daring enough to go with them.

It seemed doubtful whether they could even get across the strait. Every
few steps some man would sink into the ice-pack up to his waist and his
legs would dangle in slush without finding bottom. The sledges would
sink so that the dogs, floundering and scrambling, could not pull them.
The men had to push the dog-teams along, and after the first day's
travel they were all so exhausted that they had to rest the whole of
the next day before they could start on again. Finally they reached the
opposite shore of the strait, and, while the natives built igloos and
hunted, the Americans searched for records of Franklin's party. They
found enough traces to prove that the men who had sought the Northwest
Passage had spent some time on this desolate strip of land.

More than once they were in danger of starvation. In the spring the
Eskimos hunted wild ducks, which they found in remote stretches of
water. Their way of hunting was to steal up on a flock of the birds,
and, as soon as the ducks took alarm, to rush toward the largest bunch
of them. The hunter then threw his spear, made with three barbs of
different lengths, and caught the duck on the sharp central prong. The
long wooden shaft of the spear would keep the duck floating on the water
until the hunter could seize it. But as summer drew on, and the ducks
migrated, food grew very scarce. Once or twice they discovered bears,
which they shot, and when there was nothing else to eat they lived on a
small black berry that the Eskimos called _parawong_, which proved very

As the white men tramped day after day over the icy hillocks their
footwear wore out, and often walking became a torment. In telling of
their march Gilder said, "We were either wading through the hillside
torrents or lakes, which, frozen on the bottom, made the footing
exceedingly treacherous, or else with sealskin boots, soft by constant
wetting, painfully plodding over sharp stones set firmly in the ground
with the edges pointed up. Sometimes as a new method of injury, stepping
and slipping on flat stones, the unwary foot slid into a crevice that
seemingly wrenched it from the body."

When they had nothing else to eat the white men lived on the same
food as the native hunters. This was generally a tallow made from the
reindeer, and eaten with strips of reindeer meat. A dish of this, mixed
with seal-oil, was said to look like ice-cream and took the place of
that dessert with the Eskimos. Lieutenant Schwatka said, however, that
instead of tasting like ice-cream it reminded him more of locust,
sawdust and wild-honey.

As autumn drew on they made ready to cross back to the mainland; but it
took some time for the ice to form on the strait. Gilder said of their
camp life: "We eat quantities of reindeer tallow with our meat, probably
about half of our daily food. Breakfast is eaten raw and frozen, but we
generally have a warm meal in the evening. Fuel is hard to obtain and
now consists of a vine-like moss called _ik-shoot-ik_. Reindeer tallow
is used for a light. A small, flat stone serves for a candlestick, on
which a lump of tallow is placed close to a piece of fibrous moss called
_mun-ne_, which is used for a wick. The melting tallow runs down upon
the stone and is immediately absorbed by the moss. This makes a cheerful
and pleasant light, but is most exasperating to a hungry man as it
smells exactly like frying meat. Eating such quantities of tallow is a
great benefit in this climate, and we can easily see the effects of it
in the comfort with which we meet the cold."

As soon as the ice on the strait was frozen hard enough the reindeer
crossed it, and by the middle of October King William Land was
practically deserted. Then the Americans and Eskimos started back to the
mainland. Winter had now come, and the weather was intensely cold, often
ninety degrees below freezing. In December the traveling grew worse, and
food became so scarce that they had to stop day after day for hunting.
In January a blizzard struck their camp and lasted thirteen days; then
wolves prowled about them at night, and once actually killed four of
their dogs. "A sealskin full of blubber," said Gilder, "would have saved
many of our dogs; but we had none to spare for them, as we were reduced
to the point when we had to save it exclusively for lighting the igloos
at night. We could not use it to warm our igloos or to cook with. Our
meat had to be eaten cold--that is, frozen so solid that it had to be
sawed and then broken into convenient-sized lumps, which when first put
into the mouth were like stones. Sometimes, however, the snow was beaten
off the moss on the hillsides and enough was gathered to cook a meal."

When they were almost on the point of starvation a walrus was killed,
and supplied them with food to last until they got back to the nearest
Eskimo village. From the coast they took ship to the United States. The
records they brought with them practically completed the account of what
had happened to Sir John Franklin's ill-fated expedition. And almost
equally important were the new details they brought in regard to Eskimo
life, and the proof they gave that men of the temperate zone could pass
a year in the frozen land of the far north if they would live as the
natives did, and adapt themselves to the rigors of that climate.



In the far northwestern corner of North America is a land that has had
few stirring scenes in its history. It is an enormous tract, close to
the Arctic Sea, and far from the busy cities of the United States.
Not until long after the English, French, and Spanish discoverers had
explored the country in the Temperate Zone did any European find Alaska.
Even when it was found it seemed to offer little but ice-fields and
desolate prairies, leading to wild mountain ranges that did not tempt
men to settle. Seal hunters came and went, but generally left the native
Indians in peace. Most of these hunters came from Siberia, for the
Russians were the first owners of this land.

An officer in the Russian Navy named Vitus Bering found the strait
that is called by his name in 1728. Some years later he was sent into
the Arctic Sea again by the Empress Anne of Russia to try to find the
wonderful country that Vasco de Gama had sought. He sailed in summer,
and after weathering heavy storms finally reached Kayak Island on St.
Elias Day, July 17, 1741, and named the great mountain peak in honor
of that saint. More storms followed, and soon afterward the brave
sailor was shipwrecked and drowned off the Comandorski Islands. His crew
managed to get back to Siberia, having lived on the meat of the seals
they were able to shoot. Russian traders saw the sealskins they brought
home, and sent out expeditions to obtain more furs. Some returned richly
laden, but others were lost in storms and never heard from. There was
so much danger in the hunting that it was not until 1783 that Russian
merchants actually established trading-posts in Alaska. Then a rich
merchant of Siberia named Gregory Shelikoff built a post on Kadiak
Island, and took into partnership with him a Russian named Alexander
Baranof. Baranof built a fort on an island named for him, some three
miles north of the present city of Sitka. The two men formed the Russian
American Fur Company, and Baranof became its manager in America.

One day a seal hunter came to Baranof at his fortress, and took from
his pocket a handful of nuggets and scales of gold. He held them out
to the Russian, and said that he knew where many more like them were
to be found. "Ivan," said Baranof, "I forbid you to seek for any more.
You must not say a word about this, or there will be trouble. If the
Americans or the English know that there is gold in these mountains we
will be ruined. They will rush in here by the thousands, and crowd us to
the wall." Baranof was a fur merchant, and did not want to see miners
flocking to his land, as his company was growing rich from the seals
and fur-trading with the natives.

Little by little, however, the news leaked out that the northwestern
country had rich minerals, and soon the King of Spain began to covet
some of that wealth for himself. The Spaniards claimed that they owned
all of the country that had not yet been mapped out, and they sent
an exploring party, under Perez, to make charts of the northwest.
Perez sailed along the coast, and finding two capes, named them Santa
Margarita and Santa Magdalena, but beyond that he did little to help the
cause of Spain. Some years later exploring parties were sent out from
Mexico, but they found that the wild ice-covered country was already
claimed by the Russians, and that the Czar had no intention of giving it
up. Other nations, therefore, soon ceased to claim it, and the Russian
hunters and traders were allowed to enjoy the country in peace.

Alexander Baranof made a great success of the trade in skins, but the
men who took his place were not equal to him. The company began to lose
money, and the Czar of Russia decided that the country was too far away
from his capital to be properly looked after. The United States finally
made an offer to buy the great territory from the Czar, although the
government at Washington was not very anxious to make the purchase.
The tract, large as it was, did not seem to promise much, and it was
almost as far from Washington as it was from St. Petersburg. The Czar
was quite willing to sell, however, and so the United States bought the
country from him in 1867, paying him $7,200,000 for it.

On a fine October afternoon in 1867 Sitka Bay saw the Stars and Stripes
flying from three United States war-ships, while the Russian Eagle waved
from the flagstaffs and houses in the small town. On the shore soldiers
of the two nations were drawn up in front of the old castle, and
officers stood waiting at the foot of the flagpole on the parade ground.
Then a gun was fired from one of the United States war-ships, and
instantly the Russian batteries returned the salute. A Russian officer
lowered his country's flag from the parade ground pole, and an American
pulled the Stars and Stripes to the peak. Guns boomed and regimental
bands played, and then the Russian troops saluted and left the fortress,
and the territory became part of the United States.

Up to that time the country had been known as Russian America, but now
a new name had to be found. Some suggested American Siberia, and others
the Zero Islands; but an American statesman, Charles Sumner, urged the
name of Alaska, a native word meaning "the Great Land," and this was the
name that was finally adopted.

It took many years to explore the western part of the United States, and
men who were in search of wealth in mines and forests did not have to
go as far as Alaska to find it. That bleak country was separated from
the United States by a long, stormy sea voyage on the Pacific, or a
tedious and difficult overland journey through Canada. Alaska might have
remained for years as little known as while Russia owned it had it not
been for a small party of men who set out to explore the Yukon and the
Klondike Rivers.

On June 16, 1897, a small ship called the _Excelsior_ sailed into San
Francisco Harbor, and half an hour after she had landed at her wharf the
news was spreading far and wide that gold had been discovered in large
quantities on the Klondike. Some of the men had gone out years before;
some only a few months earlier, but they all brought back fortunes.
Not one had left with less than $5,000 in gold, gathered in nuggets or
flakes, in tin cans, canvas bags, wooden boxes, or wrapped up in paper.
The cry of such sudden wealth was heard by many adventurers, and the old
days of 'Forty-Nine in California began over again when the wild rush
started north to the Klondike.

On June 17th another ship, the _Portland_, arrived at Seattle, with
sixty more miners and $800,000 in gold. This was the largest find of the
precious mineral that had been made anywhere in the world, and Seattle
followed the example of San Francisco in going gold-crazy. Immediately
hundreds of people took passage on the outward bound steamers, and
hundreds more were turned away because of lack of room. Ships set out
from all the seaports along the Pacific coast of the United States, and
from the Canadian ports of Victoria and Vancouver. As in the old days
of 1849 men gave up their business to seek the gold fields, but now they
had to travel to a wilder and more desolate country than California had

There were many ways of getting to the Klondike country. Those who
went by ocean steamer had to transfer to flat-bottomed boats to go up
the Yukon River. This was the easiest route, but the boats could only
be used on the Yukon from June until September, and the great rush of
gold-seekers came later that autumn. A second route was by the Chilkoot
trail, which had been used for many years by miners going into the
country of the Yukon. Over this trail horses could be used as far as
the foot of the great Chilkoot Pass, but from there luggage had to be
carried by hand. Another trail, much like this one, was the White Pass
trail, but it led through a less-known country than the Chilkoot, and
was not so popular. The Canadian government laid out a trail of its
own, which was called "the Stikeen route," and which ran altogether
through Canadian territory. Besides these there were innumerable other
roads through the mountains, and along the rivers; but the farther men
got from the better known trails the more danger they were in of losing
their way, or suffering from hunger and hardships.

Towns blossomed along the coast of Alaska almost over night, but they
were strange looking villages. The ships that landed at Skagway in the
summer of 1897 found a number of rough frame houses, with three or four
larger than the rest which hung out hotel signs. The only government
officer lived in a tent over which flew the flag of the United States.
The passengers landed their outfits themselves, for labor was scarce,
and found shelter wherever they could until they might start on the

No one seemed to know much about the country they were going through,
but fortunately most of the men were experienced woodsmen. They loaded
their baggage on their packhorses, and started out, ready for any sort
of country they might have to cross. Sometimes the trail lay over
miry ground, where a false step to the right or left would send the
horses or men deep into the bog; sometimes it led up steep and rocky
mountainsides, where a man had to guard his horse's footing as carefully
as his own; and much of the way was in the bed of an old river, where
each step brought a splash of mud, and left the travelers at the end
of the day spattered from head to foot. The journey was harder on the
horses than on the men. The heavy packs they carried, and the wretched
footing, caused them to drop along the road from time to time, and then
the travelers had to make the best shift they could with their luggage.
Had the men journeyed alone, or in small companies, they would have
suffered greatly, but the Chilkoot trail was filled with miners who
were ready to help each other, and to give encouragement to any who
lagged behind. At Dyea they came to an old Alaskan settlement, an Indian
trading post, where a number of native tribes lived in their little
wooden cabins. These men were the Chilkats, the Stikeen Indians, and the
Chilkoots, short, heavy men, with heads and eyes more like Mongolians
than like American Indians. Both men and women were accustomed to
painting their faces jet black or chocolate brown, in order to protect
their eyes and skin from the glare of the sunlight on the snow. The
traveler could here get Indians to act as guides, or if he had lost his
horses might obtain dogs and sleds to carry some of his packs.

Each of the little settlements through which the travelers went boasted
of a hotel, usually a frame building with two or three large rooms. Each
day meals were served to three or four hundred hungry travelers at rude
board tables, and at night the men would spread their blankets on the
floor and lie down to sleep. But as the trail went farther inland these
little settlements grew fewer, and the men had to find whatever shelter
they could. From Dyea they pushed on through the Chilkoot Pass, where
the cliffs rose high above them. The winds blew cold from the north, and
the mists kept everything wet. In the Pass some men turned back, finding
the trip too difficult. Those who went on met with increasing hardships.
They came to a place called Sheep Camp, where a stream of water and
rocks from the mountain top had swept down upon a town of tents and
carried them all away. Stories of similar happenings at other places
were passed from mouth to mouth along the trail. More men turned back,
finding such accidents a good excuse, and only the most determined stuck
to the road.

In time they came to a chain of lakes and rivers. The travelers stopped
to build rude boats and paddles, and navigated them as best they could.
The rivers were full of rapids, and it was only by a miracle that the
little clumsily-built skiffs went dancing over the waters safely, and
escaped the jutting rocks on either bank. In the rivers there was good
trout fishing, and in the wild country good hunting, and Indian boys
brought game to the tents at night. To the trees at each stopping-place
papers were fastened, telling of the marvelous adventures of the miners
who had just gone over the trail. As they neared Dawson City they found
the Yukon River more and more covered with floating ice, and travel by
boat became harder. After a time the oars, paddles, gunwales, and all
the baggage in the boats was encrusted with ice, and the boatmen had to
make their way slowly among the floes. Then they came to a turn in the
river, and on the bank saw a great number of tents and people. "How far
is it to Dawson?" the boatman would call. "This is Dawson. If you don't
look out you'll be carried past," the men on shore answered. Paddles
were thrust into the ice, and the boat brought to shore. The trip from
Seattle had so far taken ninety-two days.

Food was scarce in Dawson, and men were urged to leave as soon as they
could. Winter was now setting in, and the miners traveled with dog teams
and sleds to the place where they meant to camp. Little work could be
done in the winter, and the time was spent in preparing to work the
gold fields in the early spring. All through the cold weather the men
talked of the fortunes waiting for them, and when the warm weather came
they staked out their claims and set to work. Stories of fabulous finds
spread like wild-fire, and those who were not finding gold rushed to the
places that were proving rich. That summer many new towns sprang up, and
in a few weeks the Bonanza and Eldorado mines made their owners rich,
and all the tributaries of the Klondike River were yielding a golden

When men found land that they thought would prove rich they made haste
to claim it. Sometimes wild races followed, rivals trying to beat each
other to the government offices at Dawson in order to claim the land.
Frequently after such a wild race the claim would amount to nothing,
while another man, who had picked out some place that no one wanted,
would find a rich lode and make a fortune from it. Then there would be
great excitement, for sudden wealth usually went to the miner's head.
He would go down to Dawson, and spend his money freely, while every
one in the town would crowd around him to share in his good luck. One
of the most successful was a Scotchman, Alexander McDonald. At the
time of the Klondike strike he was employed by a company at the town of
Forty-Mile. He had a little money and began to buy separate pieces of
land. He could not afford the rich ground, but managed to purchase more
than forty claims through the Klondike. At the end of that first season
his fortune was said to be $5,000,000, and might well have been more, as
all his claims had not been fully worked. He was called "the King of the
Klondike," and pointed out to newcomers as an example of what men might
do in the gold fields.

That was only the beginning of the story of the Alaskan gold fields,
and each year brought news of other discoveries. But the one season of
1897 was enough to prove the great value of Alaska, and to show that the
United States had done well to buy that great territory from the Czar
of Russia. Yet gold is only a small part of its riches, and even should
the fields of the Klondike yield no more of the precious mineral, the
seals, the fur trade, and the cities springing up along its coast are
worth much more than the $7,000,000 paid for it. It is still a land of
adventure, one of the few waste places that beckon men to come and find
what wealth lies hidden within its borders.



In the small hours of the morning of June 3, 1898, the _Merrimac_, a
vessel that had once been a collier in the United States Navy, slipped
away from the war-ships of the American fleet that lay off the coast
of Cuba, and headed toward the harbor of Santiago. The moon was almost
full, and there was scarcely a cloud in the sky. To the northwest lay
the _Brooklyn_, her great mass almost white in the reflected light. On
the northeast the _Texas_ loomed dark and warlike, and farther away lay
a ring of other ships, dim and ghostly in the distance. Ahead was the
coast of Cuba, with an outline of mountains rising in a half-circle
beyond the harbor. Five miles across the water Morro Castle guarded the
entrance to the harbor, in which lay a fleet of the Spanish Admiral

To steer directly for Morro Castle would be to keep the _Merrimac_ full
in the moon's path, and to avoid this she stood to the eastward of the
course, and stole along at a slow rate of speed. The small crew on
board, a commander and seven men, were stripped to their underclothes
and wore life-preservers and revolver-belts. Each man had taken his
life in his hand when he volunteered for this night's work. They wanted
to sink the _Merrimac_ at a narrow point in the harbor, and bottle up
the Spanish fleet beyond it.

As they neared the great looming fortress of the Morro it was impossible
to keep the ship hidden; the sentries on the castle must see the dark
object now, and wonder what she intended. The _Merrimac_ gave up its
oblique course, and steered straight ahead. The order "Full speed!" went
from Lieutenant Hobson, a naval constructor in command, to the engineer.
Foam dashed over the bows, and the long shape shot for the harbor
entrance, regardless of what the enemy might think or do. Soon the Morro
stood up high above them, the moon clearly revealing the great central
battery that crowned the fortress top.

The Spanish guns were only five hundred yards away, and yet the enemy
had given no sign of having seen the _Merrimac_. Then suddenly a light
flashed from near the water's edge on the left side of the entrance,
and a roar followed. The _Merrimac_ did not quiver. The shot must have
fallen astern. Again there was a flash, and this time the crew could
hear the splash of water as the projectile struck back of them. Through
their night-glasses they saw a picket boat with rapid-fire guns lying
close in the shadows of the shore. Her guns had probably been aimed at
the _Merrimac's_ rudder; but so far they had missed their aim. With a
rapid-fire gun to reply the _Merrimac_ might have demolished the other
boat in half a minute, but she had no such equipment. She would have
to pass within a ship's length of this picket. There was nothing to do
but pay no heed to her aim at the _Merrimac's_ rudder, and steer for
the high wall off Morro Castle, where the deep-water channel ran close
inshore. "A touch of port helm!" was the order. "A touch of port helm,
sir," came the answer; and the vessel stood toward the wall.

There came a crash from the port side. "The western battery has opened
on us, sir!" reported the man on the bridge to Hobson. "Very well; pay
no attention to it," was the answer. The commander knew he must take the
_Merrimac_ at least another ship's length forward, and wondered if the
enemy would give him that much grace. A shot crossed the bridge, and
struck. No one was hurt. They had almost reached the point where they
were to stop. Another moment or two, and over the engine telegraph went
the order, "Stop!" The engineer obeyed. The _Merrimac_ slowed off Morro

A high rocket shot across the channel entrance. From each side came the
firing of batteries. Hobson and his men were too busy to heed them. The
_Merrimac_, still swinging under her own headway, brought her bow within
thirty feet of the rock before she righted. Another ship's length, and
she would be at the point where her commander had planned to take her;
then the stearing-gear stopped working, and she was left at the mercy of
the current.

The ship must be sunk before the current could carry her out of the
course. This was done by exploding torpedoes on the outside of the
vessel. Hobson gave the order, and the first torpedo went off, blowing
out the collision bulkhead. There was no reply from the second or third
torpedoes. Hobson crossed the bridge, and shouted, "Fire all torpedoes!"
In the roar of the Spanish batteries his voice could hardly be heard.

Meantime the guns on the shores back of the harbor were pouring their
shot at the black target in the moonlight, and the din was terrific.
Word came to Hobson that some of the torpedoes could not be fired, as
their cells had been broken. The order was given to fire the others, and
the fifth exploded promptly, but the remaining ones had been shattered
by Spanish fire and were useless. The commander knew that under these
circumstances it would take some time for the _Merrimac_ to sink.

The important point was to keep the ship in the center of the harbor;
but the stern-anchor had already been cut away. Hobson watched the bow
move against the shore-line. There was nothing to do but wait and see
where the tide would swing them.

The crew now gathered on deck. One of them, Kelly, had been dazed by
an exploding shell. When he had picked himself up he started down
the engine-room hatch, but found the water rising. Then he remembered
the _Merrimac's_ purpose, and tried to reach the torpedo of which he
had charge. The torpedo was useless, and he headed back to the deck,
climbing up on all fours. It was a strange sight to see him stealing up,
and Hobson and some of the others drew their revolvers, thinking for the
moment that he must be an enemy who had boarded the ship. Fortunately
they recognized him almost immediately.

The tide was bearing them to the center of the channel when there came
a blasting noise and shock. A mine had exploded beneath them. "Lads,
they're helping us!" cried the commander. But the mine did not break the
deck, and the ship only settled a little lower. For a moment it seemed
as if the coal might have closed the breach made by the explosion, but
just as the crew feared that they were to be carried past the point
chosen for sinking the current from the opposite shore caught them,
and the _Merrimac_ settled crosswise. It was now only a matter of time
before she would sink in the harbor.

The crew could now turn their attention to themselves. Hobson said to
them, "We will remain here, lads, till the moon sets. When it is dark
we will go down the after-hatch, to the coal, where her stern will
be left out of water. We will remain inside all day, and to-night at
ebb-tide try to make our way to the squadron. If the enemy comes on
board, we will remain quiet until he finds us, and will repel him. If
he then turns artillery on the place where we are, we will swim out
to points farther forward." He started toward the bow to reconnoiter,
but was persuaded not to expose himself to the enemy's fire. One of
the men discovered a break in the bulwarks that gave a good view, and
Hobson stood there. The moon was bright, though now low, and the muzzles
of the Spanish guns were very near them. The crew, however, remained
safely hidden behind the rail. From all sides came the firing, and
the Americans, lying full length on the _Merrimac's_ deck, felt the
continual shock of projectiles striking around them. Some of the crew
suggested that they should take to the small boat, but the commander
knew that this would be certain destruction, and ordered them to remain.
Presently a shot struck the boiler, and a rush of steam came up the deck
near where they lay. A canteen was passed from hand to hand. Hobson,
having no pockets, carried some tourniquets around his left arm, and a
roll of antiseptic lint in his left hand, ready in case any of his crew
were wounded.

Looking through the hole in the bulwarks the commander saw that the
_Merrimac_ was again moving. Sunk deep though she was, the tide was
carrying her on, and might bear her some distance. There seemed to be
no way in which they could make her sink where she was. Two more mines
exploded, but missed the ship, and as she floated on it became evident
that they could not block the channel completely. But shortly the
_Merrimac_ gave a lurch forward and settled to the port side. Now the
Spanish _Reina Mercedes_ was near at hand, and the _Pluton_ was coming
close inboard, but their guns and torpedoes did not hasten the sinking
of the collier. She plunged again and settled in the channel.

A rush of water came up the gangway, and the crew were thrown against
the bulwarks, and then into the sea. The life-preservers helped to
keep them afloat, but when they looked for the life-boat they found
that it had been carried away. A catamaran was the largest piece of
floating wreckage, and they swam to this. The firing had now stopped.
The wreckage began to drift away, and the crew were left swimming about
the catamaran, apparently unseen by the enemy. The men were ordered to
cling to this rude craft, their bodies in the water, their heads hidden
by the boards, and to keep quiet, as Spanish boats were passing close
to them. All the crew were safe, and Hobson expected that in time some
Spanish officers would come out to reconnoiter the channel. He knew that
his men could not swim against the tide to the harbor entrance, and even
had they been able to do so it would have been too dangerous a risk, as
the banks were now lined with soldiers, and the water patrolled by small
boats. Their hope lay in surrendering before they were fired upon.

The moon had now nearly set, and the shadow of the high banks fell
across the water. Boats rowed by Spanish sailors pulled close to the
catamaran; but acting under orders from their commander the crew of the
_Merrimac_ kept well out of sight. The sun rose, and a new day came.
Soon the crew could see the line of distant mountains, and the steep
slopes leading to Morro Castle. A Spanish torpedo-destroyer was heading
up the harbor, and a bugle at one of the batteries could be heard across
the waters. Still the Americans clung to the catamaran, although their
teeth were chattering, and they had to work their arms and legs to keep


Presently one of the men said, "A steam-launch is heading for us, sir!"
The commander looked about, and saw a large launch, the curtains aft
drawn down, coming from around a point of land straight toward the
catamaran. As it drew near the launch swerved to the left. When it was
about thirty yards away Hobson hailed it. The boat instantly stopped
and began to back, while some riflemen appeared on the deck and took
position for firing. No shot followed, however. Hobson called out
again, asking whether there were any officers on the boat, and adding
that if there were he was ready to surrender himself and his American
sailors as prisoners of war. The curtain at the stern was lowered, a
Spanish officer gave an order, and the rifles dropped. The American
commander swam to the launch, and climbed on board, being helped up by
the Spanish officer, who turned out later to be no other than Admiral
Cervera himself. Hobson surrendered for himself and his crew. The launch
then drew close to the catamaran, and the sailors clinging to it
were pulled on board. Although the Spaniards knew that the _Merrimac's_
men had bottled up their war-ships in the harbor, they could not help
praising their bravery.

The Spanish launch took them to the _Reina Mercedes_. There the men were
given dry clothes and food. Although all were scratched and bruised only
one was wounded, and his wound, though painful, was not serious. The
American officer was invited to join the Spaniards at breakfast, and
was treated with as much courtesy as if he had been an honored guest.
Afterward Hobson wrote a note to Admiral Sampson, who was in command
of the American fleet. The note read: "Sir: I have the honor to report
that the _Merrimac_ is sunk in the channel. No loss, only bruises. We
are prisoners of war, being well cared for." He asked that this should
be sent under a flag of truce. Later in the day the Americans were
taken from the war-ship in a launch, and carried across the harbor to
Morro Castle. This course brought them within a short distance of where
the _Merrimac_ had sunk, and as Hobson noted the position he concluded
that the plan had only partly succeeded, and that the channel was not
completely blocked.

Landing at a small wharf the Americans were marched up a steep hill that
led to the Morro from the rear. The fortress stood out like one of the
mediæval castles of Europe, commanding a wide view of sea and shore.
The road brought them to the bridge that crossed the moat. They marched
under the portcullis, and entered a vaulted passage. The American
officer was shown into the guard-room, while the crew were led on. A
few minutes later Admiral Cervera came into the guard-room, and held
out his hand to Hobson. The admiral said that he would have liked to
send the American's note under a flag of truce to his fleet, but that
this had been refused by the general in command. He added, however, that
some word should be sent to inform their friends of the safe escape of
the _Merrimac's_ men. Hobson was then led to a cell in the tower of
the castle. As the jailer stopped to unlock the door Hobson had a view
of the sea, and made out the line of the American battle-ships moving
in two columns. He was told to enter the cell, which was a bare and
ill-looking place, but a few minutes later a Spanish captain arrived
with apologies, saying that he hoped soon to provide the Americans with
better quarters.

A little later furniture was brought to the cell, and food, cigars,
cigarettes, and a bottle of brandy provided for the American officer. In
fact he and his men fared as well as the Spanish officers and soldiers
themselves. The governor of the fortress sent a note to ask what he
could do to improve Hobson's comfort. Officers of all ranks called to
shake hands with him, and express their admiration for his courage.
That first night in the castle, after the sentries had made their
rounds, Hobson climbed up on his cot-bed and looked through a small
window at the top of the cell. The full moon showed a steep slope from
the fortress to the water, then the wide sweep of the harbor, with a
picket-boat on duty as it had been the night before, and beyond the
boat the great Spanish war-ships, and still farther off the batteries
of Socapa. It was hard to believe that only twenty-four hours before
the center of that quiet moonlit water had been ablaze with fire aimed
at the small collier Hobson had commanded. As he studied the situation
he decided that the _Merrimac_ probably blocked the channel. The enemy
would hesitate a long time before they would try to take their fleet
past the sunken vessel, and that delay would give Admiral Sampson time
to gather his ships. Even if the channel were not entirely blocked
the Spanish ships could only leave the harbor in single line and with
the most skilful steering. Therefore he concluded that his perilous
expedition had been successful.

Next morning a Spanish officer brought him news that a flag of truce had
been carried to Admiral Sampson with word of the crew's escape, and that
the messengers had been given a box for Hobson, and bags of clothes,
some money, and other articles for him and his crew. The men now dressed
again in the uniform of American marines, were treated as prisoners of
war, and lived almost as comfortably as their captors.

While Hobson was having his coffee on the morning of June 6th, he heard
the whiz and crash of an exploding shell, then another, and another, and
knew that a general bombardment of the fortress had begun. He hastily
examined the cell to see what protection it would offer from bricks and
mortar falling from the walls and roof. At the first shot the sentry on
guard had bolted the door and left. The American pulled the table and
wash-stand in front of the door, and stood the galvanized iron box that
had been sent him against the end of the table; this he thought would
catch splinters and stones which would probably be more dangerous than
actual shells. He lay down under the protection of this cover. He knew
that the gunners of the American fleet were good shots, and figured that
they could easily demolish all that part of the Morro in which his cell
was situated. One shell after another against the walls of the fortress
made the whole structure tremble, and it seemed as if part of the walls
would be blown away. Fortunately, however, the firing soon turned in
another direction, and Hobson could come from his shelter, and, standing
on his cot-bed, look through the window at the battle. Several times
he took shelter again under the table, and several times returned to
watch the cannonade. The shells screamed through the air; plowed through
shrubs and earthworks; knocked bricks and mortar from the Morro, and set
fire to some of the Spanish ships. But no serious damage was done, and
the bombardment ended in a stand-off between the two sides.

The American officer had no desire to pass through such a cannonade
again, and he wrote to the Spanish governor to ask that his crew and
himself be transferred to safer quarters. Next day an officer arrived
with orders to take all the prisoners to the city of Santiago. So
after a four days' stay in Morro Castle the little party set out on an
inland march, guarded by some thirty Spanish soldiers. It was not far
to Santiago, and there the Americans were housed in the regular army
barracks. These quarters were much better than those in the fortress,
and the British Consul secured many comforts and delicacies for the

The men of the _Merrimac_ stayed in Santiago during the siege of that
city. On July 5th arrangements were made to exchange Hobson and his
men. In the afternoon they were blindfolded and guided out of the city.
Half a mile or more beyond the entrenchments they were told that they
might remove the handkerchiefs, and found themselves facing their own
troops on a distant ridge. Soon they were being welcomed by their own
men, who told them of the recent victories won by fleet and army. Not
long afterward they reached their ships, and were received on board the
_New York_ by the officers and men who had watched them set out on their
dangerous mission on that moonlight night of June 3d. They gave a royal
welcome to the small crew who had brought the collier into the very
heart of the Spanish lines and sunk her, taking their chances of escape.
They were the heroes of a desperate adventure, from which every man
returned unharmed.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Simple typographical errors were corrected.

Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

Accent marks on Japanese words have not been changed.

[=o] represents the letter "o" with macron accent mark. [)u] represents
the letter "u" with breve accent mark.

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