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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 10, No. 58, August, 1862 - A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 10, No. 58, August, 1862 - A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics" ***

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Physical culture is on the top of the wave. But the movement is as yet
in the talk stage. Millions praise the gymnasium; hundreds seek its
blessings. Similar incongruities make up the story of human life. But
in this case inconsistency is consistent.

Evidences of physical deterioration crowd upon us. Fathers and mothers
regard their children with painful solicitude. Not even parental
partiality can close the eye to decaying teeth, distorted forms,
pallid faces, and the unseemly gait. The husband would gladly give his
fortune to purchase roses for the cheeks of the loved one, while
thousands dare not venture upon marriage, for they see in it only
protracted invalidism. Brothers look into the languishing eyes of
sisters with sad forebodings, and sisters tenderly watch for the
return of brothers, once the strength and hope of the fatherless
group, now waiting for death. The evil is immense. _What can be
done?_ Few questions have been repeated with such intense anxiety.

My object is to submit, for the consideration of the readers of the
"Atlantic," a new system of physical training, adapted to both sexes,
and to persons of all ages and degrees of strength. I have an ardent
faith that in it many will find an answer to the important question.

The common remark, that parents are too much absorbed in the
_accomplishments_ of their daughters to give any attention to
their health, is absurd. Mothers know that the happiness of their
girls, as well as the character of their settlement in life, turns
more upon health and exuberance of spirits than upon French and
music. To suppose, that, while thousands are freely given for
accomplishments, hundreds would be refused for bodily health and
bloom, is to doubt the parents' sanity. If the father were fully
satisfied that Miss Mary could exchange her stooping form, pale face,
and lassitude for erectness, freshness, and elasticity, does anybody
suppose he would hesitate? Fathers give their daughters Italian and
drawing, not because they regard these as the best of the good things
of life, but because they form a part of the established course of
education. Only let the means for a complete physical development be
organized, and announced as an integral part of our system of
education, and parents would be filled with grateful satisfaction. The
people are ready and waiting. No want is so universal, none so deeply
felt. But how shall symmetry and vigor be reached? What are the
means? Where is the school? During the heat of the summer our
city-girls go into the country, perhaps to the mountains: this is
good. When in town, they skate or walk or visit the riding-school:
all good. But still they are stooping and weak. The father, conscious
that their bodies, like their minds, are susceptible of indefinite
development, in his anxiety takes them to the gymnasium. They find a
large room furnished with bars, ladders, and swings. They witness the
wonderful performances of accomplished gymnasts and acrobates, admire
the brilliant feats; but the girls see no opportunity for themselves.
They are nearly right. The ordinary gymnasium offers little chance for
_girls_, none for _old_ people, but little for _fat_ people of any age,
and very little for small children of either sex.

Are not these the classes which most require artificial training? It
is claimed that the common gymnasium is admirable for young men. I
think there are other modes of training far more fascinating and
profitable; but suppose it were true that for young men it is the best
of all possible modes. These young men we need in the gymnasium where
young women exercise. If young women are left by themselves, they will
soon lose interest. A gymnasium with either sex alone is like a
ball-room with one sex excluded. To earn a living, men and women will
labor when separated; but in the department of recreation, if there be
lack of social stimulus, they will soon fall off. No gymnasium,
however well managed, with either sex excluded, has ever achieved a
large and enduring success. I know some of them have long lists of
subscribers; but the daily attendance is very small. Indeed, the only
gymnasium which never lacks patronage is the ball-room. Dancing is
undeniably one of the most fascinating exercises; but the places where
even this is practised would soon be forsaken, were the sexes

Some lady-reader suggests that ladies of delicate sensibilities would
scarcely be willing to join gentlemen in climbing about on ladders. I
presume not; but are such exercises the best, even for men?

I do not doubt that walking with the hands, on a ladder, or upon the
floor, head down, is a good exercise; but I think the common prejudice
in favor of the feet as a means of locomotion is well founded. Man's
anatomy contemplates the use of the legs in supporting the weight of
the body. His physical powers are most naturally and advantageously
brought into play while using the feet as the point of support. It is
around and from this centre of support that the upper part of the body
achieves its free and vigorous performances.

The deformities of gymnasts, to which Dr. Dixon and many others have
called attention, are produced in great part by substituting arms for
legs. I need scarcely say that ring, dumb-bell, club, and many other
similar exercises, with cane and sword practice, boxing, etc., are all
infinitely superior to the ladder and bar performances. In the new
system there is opportunity for all the strength, flexibility, and
skill which the most advanced gymnasts possess, with the priceless
advantage that the two sexes may mingle in the scene with equal
pleasure and profit.

I can but regard the common gymnasium as an institution of organized
selfishness. In its very structure it practically ignores woman. As I
have intimated, it provides for young men alone, who of all classes
least need a gymnasium. They have most out-door life; the active
games and sports are theirs; the instinct for motion compels them to a
great variety of active exercises, which no other class enjoys. Is it
not a strange mistake to provide a gymnasium for these alone?

But it is said, if you introduce women into the gymnasium, men will
have no opportunity for those difficult, daring feats which constitute
the charm of the place. If by this is meant that there can be no
competition between the sexes in lifting heavy weights, or turning
somersets, the objection holds good. But are not games of skill as
attractive as lifting kegs of nails? Women need not fall behind men in
those exercises which require grace, flexibility, and skill. In the
Normal Institute for Physical Education, where we are preparing
teachers of the new gymnastics, females succeed better than
males. Although not so strong, they are more flexible. There are in my
gymnasium at this time a good many ladies with whom the most ambitious
young man need not be ashamed to compete, unless the shame come from
his being defeated. Gentlemen will sacrifice nothing by joining their
lady-friends in the gymnasium. But suppose it costs them something; I
greatly mistake the meaning of their protestations of devotion, if
they are not quite willing to make the sacrifice.

Before proceeding farther, I desire to answer a question which wise
educators have asked:--"Do children require special gymnastic
training?" An eminent writer has recently declared his conviction that
boys need no studied muscle-culture. "Give them," he says, "the
unrestrained use of the grove, the field, the yard, the street, with
the various sorts of apparatus for boys' games and sports, and they
can well dispense with the scientific gymnasium."

With all our lectures, conversations, newspapers, and other similar
means of mental culture, we are not willing to trust the intellect
without scientific training. The poorest man in the State demands for
his children the culture of the organized school; and he is right. An
education left to chance and the street would be but a disjointed
product. To insure strength, patience, and consistency, there must be
methodical cultivation and symmetrical growth. But there is no need of
argument on this point. In regard to mental training, there is,
fortunately, among Americans, no difference of opinion.
Discriminating, systematic, scientific culture is our demand. No man
doubts that chess and the newspaper furnish exercise and growth; but
we hold that exercise and growth without qualification are not our
desire. We require that the growth shall be of a peculiar kind,--what
we call scientific and symmetrical. This is vital. The education of
chance would prove unbalanced, morbid, profitless.

_Is not this equally true of the body?_ Is the body one single
organ, which, if exercised, is sure to grow in the right way? On the
contrary, is it not an exceedingly complicated machine, the
symmetrical development of which requires discriminating, studied
management? With the thoughtful mind, argument and illustration are
scarcely necessary; but I may perhaps be excused by the intelligent
reader for one simple illustration. A boy has round or stooping
shoulders: hereby the organs of the chest and abdomen are all
displaced. Give him the freedom of the yard and street,--give him
marbles, a ball, the skates! Does anybody suppose he will become
erect? Must he not, for this, and a hundred other defects, have
special training?

Before our system of education can claim an approach to perfection, we
must have attached to each school a professor who thoroughly
comprehends the wants of the body, and knows practically the means by
which it may be made symmetrical, flexible, vigorous, and enduring.

Since we have, unhappily, become a military people, the soldier's
special training has been much considered as a means of general
physical culture. Numberless schools, public and private, have already
introduced the drill, and make it a part of each day's exercises.

But this mode of exercise can never furnish the muscle-culture which
we Americans so much need. Nearly all our exercise is of the lower
half of the body: we walk, we run up and down stairs, and thus
cultivate hips and legs, which, as compared with the upper half of the
body, are muscular. But our arms, shoulders, and chests are ill-formed
and weak. Whatever artificial muscular training is employed should be
specially adapted to the development of the upper half of the body.

Need I say that the military drill fails to bring into varied and
vigorous play the chest and shoulders? Indeed, in almost the entire
drill, are not these parts held immovably in one constrained position?
In all but the cultivation of erectness, the military drill is
singularly deficient in the requisites of a system of muscle-training
adapted to a weak-chested people.

Dancing, to say nothing of its almost inevitably mischievous
concomitants, brings into play chiefly that part of the body which is
already in comparative vigor, and which, besides, has little to do
directly with the size, position, and vigor of the vital organs.

Horseback exercise is admirable, and has many peculiar advantages
which can be claimed for no other training; but may it not be much
indulged while the chest and shoulders are left drooping and weak?

Skating is graceful and exhilarating; but, to say nothing of the
injury which not unfrequently attends the sudden change from the
stagnant heat of our furnaced dwellings to the bleak winds of the icy
lake, is it not true that the chest-muscles are so little moved that
the finest skating may be done with the arms folded?

I should be sorry to have any of these exercises abandoned. While some
of them demand reform, they are all, on the whole, exceedingly useful.

What I would urge is this: As bodily _symmetry_ is vital to the
highest physiological conditions, and as departure from symmetry is
the rule among all classes, but especially with Young America, we
must, to secure this symmetry, introduce into our system of physical
education a variety of special, studied means.

The new gymnastics are all adapted to music. A party may dance without
music. I have seen it done. But the exercise is a little dull.

Exercises with the upper extremities are as much improved by music as
those with the lower extremities. Indeed, with the former there is
much more need of music, as the arms make no noise, such as might
secure concert in exercises with the lower extremities.

A small drum, costing perhaps five dollars, which may be used as a
bass-drum, with one beating-stick, with which any one may keep time,
is, I suppose, the sort of music most classes in gymnastics will use
at first. And it has advantages. While it is less pleasing than some
other instruments, it secures more perfect concert than any other. The
violin and piano are excellent, but on some accounts the hand-organ is
the best of all.

Feeble and apathetic people, who have little courage to undertake
gymnastic training, accomplish wonders under the inspiration of
music. I believe three times as much muscle can be coaxed out, with
this delightful stimulus, as without it.


I have selected the dumb-bell as perhaps the happiest means by which
to illustrate the mischievous consequences of "heavy weights."
Thoughtful physiologists deeply regret the _lifting_ mania. In
every possible case, _lifting_ is an inferior means of physical
training, and for women and children, in short for nine-tenths of the
people, it is positively mischievous. I introduce the dumb-bell
exercises to illustrate and enforce this doctrine.

Heretofore dumb-bells have been made of metal. The weight in this
country has usually been considerable. The general policy at present
is to employ those as heavy as the health-seeker can "put up." In the
great German gymnastic institutes dumb-bells were formerly employed
weighing from fifty to one hundred pounds; but now Kloss and other
distinguished authors condemn such weights, and advocate those
weighing from two to five pounds. I think those weighing two pounds
are heavy enough for any man; and as it is important that they be of
considerable size, I introduced, some years ago, dumb-bells made of
wood. Every year my faith grows stronger in their superiority.

Some years since, before I had seen the work of Professor Kloss on the
Dumb-Bell, I published a paper upon the use of this piece of
apparatus, in which I stated the best weight for men as from two to
five pounds, and gave at length the reasons for the employment of such
light weights, and the objections to heavy ones. I was filled, not
with pride, but with profound satisfaction, while engaged in
translating Kloss's work recently, to find, as fundamental with this
great author, identically the same weights and reasons.

In my early experience as a teacher of gymnastics I advocated the use
of heavy dumb-bells, prescribing those weighing one hundred pounds for
persons who could put up that weight. As my success had always been
with heavy weights, pride led me to continue their use long after I
had begun to doubt the wisdom of such a course.

I know it will be said that dumb-bells of two pounds' weight will do
for women and children, but cannot answer the requirements of strong

The weight of the dumb-bell is to be determined entirely by the manner
in which it is used. If only lifted over the head, one or two pounds
would be absurdly light; but if used as we employ them, then one
weighing ten pounds is beyond the strength of the strongest. No man
can enter one of my classes of little girls even, and go through the
exercises with dumb-bells weighing ten pounds each.

We had a good opportunity to laugh at a class of young men, last year,
who, upon entering the gymnasium, organized an insurrection against
the wooden dumb-bells, and through a committee asked me to procure
iron ones; I ordered a quantity, weighing three pounds each; they used
them part of one evening, and when asked the following evening which
they would have, replied, "The wooden ones will do."

A just statement of the issue is this: If you only lift the dumb-bell
from the floor, put it up, and then put it down again, of course it
should be heavy, or there is no exercise; but if you would use it in a
great variety of ways, assuming a hundred graceful attitudes, and
bringing the muscles into exercise in every direction, requiring skill
and followed by an harmonious development, the dumb-bell must be

There need be no controversy between the light-weight and the
heavy-weight party on this point. We of the light-weight party agree,
that, if the dumb-bell is to be used as the heavy-weight party uses
it, it must be heavy; but if as we use it, then it must be light. If
they of the heavy-weight party think not, we ask them to try it.

The only remaining question is that which lies between all heavy and
light gymnastics, namely, whether strength or flexibility is to be
preferred. Without entering upon a discussion of the physiological
principles underlying this subject, I will simply say that I prefer
the latter. The Hanlon brothers and Heenan are, physiologically
considered, greatly superior to heavy-lifters.

But here I ought to say that no man can be flexible without a good
degree of strength. It is not, however, the kind of strength involved
in heavy-lifting. Heenan is a very strong man, can strike a blow
twice as hard as Windship, but cannot lift seven hundred pounds nor
put up a ninety-pound dumb-bell. William Hanlon, who is probably the
finest gymnast, with the exception of Blondin, ever seen on this
continent, cannot lift six hundred pounds. Such men have a great fear
of lifting. They know, almost by instinct, that it spoils the muscles.

One of the finest gymnasts in the country told me that in several
attempts to lift five hundred pounds he failed, and that he should
never try it again. This same gymnast owns a fine horse. Ask him to
lend that horse to draw before a cart and he will refuse, because such
labor would make the animal stiff, and unfit him for light, graceful
movements before the carriage.

The same physiological law holds true of man: lifting great weights
affects him as drawing heavy loads affects the horse. So far from
man's body being an exception to this law, it bears with peculiar
force upon him. Moving great weights through small spaces produces a
slow, inelastic, inflexible man. No matter how flexible a young man
may be, let him join a circus-company, and lift the cannon twice a day
for two or three years, and he will become as inflexible as a
cart-horse. No matter how elastic the colt is when first harnessed to
the cart, he will soon become so inelastic as to be unfit to serve
before the carriage.

If it be suspected that I have any personal feeling against
Dr. Windship or other heavy-lifters, I will say that I regard all
personal motives in a work of such magnitude and beneficence as simply
contemptible. On the contrary, I am exceedingly grateful to this class
of gymnasts for their noble illustration of the possibilities in one
department of physical development.

Men, women, and children should be strong, but it should be the
strength of grace, flexibility, agility, and endurance; it should not
be the strength of a great lifter. I have alluded to the gymnastics of
the circus. Let all who are curious in regard to the point I am
discussing visit it. Permit me to call special attention to three
performers,--to the man who lifts the cannon, to the India-rubber man,
and to the general performer. The lifter and the India-rubber man
constitute the two mischievous extremes. It is impossible that in
either there should be the highest physiological conditions; but in
the persons of the Hanlon brothers, who are general performers, are
found the model gymnasts. They can neither lift great weights nor tie
themselves into knots, but they occupy a position between these two
extremes. They possess both strength and flexibility, and resemble
fine, active, agile, vigorous carriage-horses, which stand
intermediate between the slow cart-horse and the long-legged,
loose-jointed animal.

"Strength is health" has become a favorite phrase. But, like many
common saws, it is an error. Visit the first half-dozen circuses that
may come to town, and ask the managers whether the cannon-lifter or
the general performer has the better health. You will find in every
case it is the latter. Ask the doctors whether the cartmen, who are
the strongest men in the city, have better health than other classes,
who, like them, work in the open air, but with light and varied
labor. You will not find that the measure of strength is the measure
of health. Flexibility has far more to do with it.

Suppose we undertake the training of two persons, of average
condition. They have equal strength,--can lift four hundred
pounds. Each has the usual stiff shoulders, back, and limbs. One lifts
heavy weights until he can raise eight hundred pounds. Inevitably he
has become still more inflexible. The other engages in such exercises
as will remove all stiffness from every part of the body, attaining
not only the greatest flexibility, but the most complete
activity. Does any intelligent physiologist doubt that the latter will
have done most for the promotion of his health? that he will have
secured the most equable and complete circulation of the fluids, which
is essentially what we mean by health, and have added most to the
beauty and effectiveness of his physical action?

With heavy dumb-bells the extent of motion is very limited, and of
course the range and freedom of action will be correspondingly
so. This is a point of great importance. The limbs, and indeed the
entire body, should have the widest and freest range of motion. It is
only thus that our performances in the business or pleasures of life
become most effective.

A complete, equable circulation of the blood is thereby most perfectly
secured. And this, I may remark, is in one aspect the physiological
purpose of all exercise. The race-horse has a much more vigorous
circulation than the cart-horse. It is a fact not unfamiliar to
horsemen, that, when a horse is transferred from slow, heavy work to
the carriage, the surface-veins about the neck and legs begin at once
to enlarge; when the change is made from the carriage to the cart, the
reverse is the result.

And when we consider that the principal object of all physical
training is an elastic, vigorous condition of the nervous system, the
superiority of light gymnastics becomes still more obvious. The
nervous system is the fundamental fact of our earthly life. All other
parts of the organism exist and work for it. It controls all, and is
the seat of pain and pleasure. The impressions upon the stomach, for
example, resulting in a better or worse digestion, must be made
through the nerves. This supreme control of the nervous system is
forcibly illustrated in the change made by joyful or sad tidings. The
overdue ship is believed to have gone down with her valuable,
uninsured cargo. Her owner paces the wharf, sallow and wan,--appetite
and digestion gone. She heaves in sight! She lies at the wharf! The
happy man goes aboard, hears all is safe, and, taking the officers to
a hotel, devours with them a dozen monstrous compounds, with the
keenest appetite, and without a subsequent pang.

I am confident that the loyal people of this country have eaten and
digested, since Roanoke and Donelson, as they had not before since

Could we have an unbroken succession of good news, we should all have
good digestion without a gymnasium. But in a world of vexation and
disappointment, we are driven to the necessity of studied and unusual
muscle-culture, and other hygienic expedients, to give the nervous
system that support and vitality which our fitful surroundings deny.

If we would make our muscle-training contributive in the highest
degree to the healthful elasticity of our nerves, the exercises must
be such as will bring into varied combinations and play all our
muscles and nerves. Those exercises which require great accuracy,
skill, and dash are just those which secure this happy and complete
intermarriage of nerve and muscle. If any one doubts that boxing and
small-sword will do more to give elasticity and tone to the nervous
system than lifting kegs of nails, then I will give him over to the

Another point I take the liberty to urge. Without _accuracy_ in
the performance of the feats, the interest must be transient. This
principle is strikingly exemplified in military training. Those who
have studied our infantry drill have been struck with its simplicity,
and have wondered that men could go through with its details every day
for years without disgust. If the drill-master permit carelessness,
then, authority alone can force the men through the evolutions; but if
he insist on the greatest precision, they return to their task every
morning, for twenty years, with fresh and increasing interest.

What precision, permit me to ask, is possible in "putting up" a heavy
dumb-bell? But in the new dumb-bell exercises there is opportunity
and necessity for all the accuracy and skill which are found in the
most elaborate military drills.

I have had experience in boxing and fencing, and I say with
confidence, that in neither nor both is there such a field for fine
posturing, wide, graceful action, and studied accuracy, as is to be
found in the new series of dumb-bell exercises.

But, it is said, if you use dumb-bells weighing only two pounds, you
must work an hour to obtain the exercise which the heavy ones would
furnish in five minutes. I need not inform those who have practised
the new series with the light dumb-bells that this objection is made
in ignorance. If you simply "put up" the light implement, it is true;
but if you use it as in the new system, it is not true. On the
contrary, in less than five minutes, legs, hips, back, arms,
shoulders, neck, lungs, and heart will each and all make the most
emphatic remonstrance against even a quarter of an hour's practice of
such feats.

At this point it may be urged that those exercises which quicken the
action of the thoracic viscera, to any considerable degree, are simply
exhaustive. This is another blunder of the "big-muscle" men. They seem
to think you can determine every man's constitution and health by the
tape-line; and that all exercises whose results are not determinable
by measurement are worthless.

I need scarcely say, there are certain conditions of brain, muscle,
and every other tissue, far more important than size; but what I
desire to urge more particularly in this connection is the importance,
the great physiological advantages, of just those exercises in which
the lungs and heart are brought into active play. These organs are no
exceptions to the law that exercise is the principal condition of
development. Their vigorous training adds more to the stock of
vitality than that of other organs. A man may stand still and lift
kegs of nails and heavy dumb-bells until his shoulders and arms are
Samsonian, it will contribute far less to his health and longevity
than a daily run of a mile or two.

Speaking in a general way, those exercises in which the lungs and
heart are made to go at a vigorous pace are to be ranked among the
most useful. The "double-quick" of the soldier contributes more in
five minutes to his digestion and endurance than the ordinary drill in
two hours.

I have said an elastic tone of the nervous system is the physiological
purpose of all physical training. If one may be allowed such an
analysis, I would add that we exercise our muscles to invigorate the
thoracic and abdominal viscera. These in their turn support and
invigorate the nervous system. All exercises which operate more
directly upon these internal organs--as, for example, laughing, deep
breathing, and running--contribute most effectively to the stamina of
the brain and nerves. It is only the popular mania for monstrous arms
and shoulders that could have misled the intelligent gymnast on this

But finally, it is said, you certainly cannot deny that rapid motions
with great sweep exhaust more than slow motions through limited
spaces. A great lifter said to me the other day,--

"Do you pretend to deny that a locomotive with a light train, flying
at the rate of forty miles an hour, consumes more fuel than one with a
heavy train, moving at the rate of five miles?"

I did not attempt to deny it.

"Well, then," he added, with an air of triumph, "what have you to say
now about these great sweeping feats with your light dumb-bells, as
compared with the slow putting up of heavy ones?"

I replied by asking him another question.

"Do you pretend to deny, that, when you drive your horse ten miles
within an hour, before a light carriage, he is more exhausted than by
drawing a load two miles an hour?"

"That's my doctrine exactly," he said.

Then I asked,--

"Why don't you always drive two miles an hour?"

"But my patients would all die," replied my friend.

I did not say aloud what was passing in my mind,--that the danger to
his patients might be less than he imagined; but I suggested, that
most men, as well as most horses, had duties in this life which
involved the necessity of rapid and vigorous motions,--and that, were
this slow movement generally adopted, every phase of human life would
be stripped of progress, success, and glory.

As our artificial training is designed to fit us for the more
successful performance of the duties of life, I suggest that the
training should be, in character, somewhat assimilated to those
duties. If you would train a horse for the carriage, you would not
prepare him for this work by driving at a slow pace before a heavy
load. If you did, the first fast drive would go hard with him. Just so
with a man. If he is to lift hogsheads of sugar, or kegs of nails, as
a business, he may be trained by heavy-lifting; but if his business
requires the average activity and free motions of human occupations,
then, upon the basis of his heavy, slow training, he will find himself
in actual life in the condition of the dray-horse who is pushed before
the light carriage at a high speed.

Perhaps it is not improper to add that all this talk about expenditure
of vitality is full of sophistry. Lecturers and writers speak of our
stock of vitality as if it were a vault of gold, upon which you cannot
draw without lessening the quantity. Whereas, it is rather like the
mind or heart, enlarging by action, gaining by expenditure.

When Daniel Boone was living alone in Kentucky, his intellectual
exercises were doubtless of the quiet, slow, heavy character. Other
white men joined him. Under the social stimulus, his thinking became
more sprightly. Suppose that in time he had come to write vigorously,
and to speak in the most eloquent, brilliant manner, does any one
imagine that he would have lost in mental vigor by the process? Would
not the brain, which had only slow exercise in his isolated life,
become bold, brilliant, and dashing, by bold, brilliant, and dashing

A farm-boy has slow, heavy muscles. He has been accustomed to heavy
exercises. He is transferred to the circus, and performs, after a few
years' training, a hundred beautiful, splendid feats. He at length
reaches the matchless Zampillacrostation of William Hanlon. Does any
one think that his body has lost power in this brilliant education?

Is it true, either in intellectual or physical training, that great
exertions, under proper conditions and limitations, exhaust the powers
of life? On the contrary, is it not true that we find in vigorous,
bold, dashing, brilliant efforts the only source of vigorous, bold,
dashing, and brilliant powers?

In this discussion I have not considered the treatment of
invalids. The principles presented are applicable to the training of
children and adults of average vitality.

I will rest upon the general statement, that all persons, of both
sexes, and of every age, who are possessed of average vitality,
should, in the department of physical education, employ light
apparatus, and execute a great variety of feats which require skill,
accuracy, courage, presence of mind, quickness of eye and hand,--in
brief, which demand a vigorous and complete exercise of all the powers
and faculties with which the Creator has endowed us; while deformed
and diseased persons should be treated in consonance with the
philosophy of the _Swedish Movement-Cure_, in which the movements
are slow and limited.

It is but justice to the following series of exercises with dumb-bells
to state that not only are they, with two or three exceptions, the
writer's own invention, but the wisdom of the precise arrangement
given, as well as the balance of exercise in all the muscles of the
body and limbs, has been well proved by an extensive use during
several years.

By way of illustrating the new system of dumb-bell exercises, I
subjoin a few cuts. The entire series contains more than fifty

The pupil, assuming these five positions, in the order presented,
twists the arms. In each twisting, the ends of the dumb-bells should,
if possible, be exactly reversed. Great precision will sustain the
interest through a thousand repetitions of this or any other
exercise. The object in these twisting exercises is to break up all
rigidity of the muscles and ligaments about the shoulder-joint. To
remove this should be the primary object in gymnastic training. No one
can have examined the muscles of the upper half of the body without
being struck with the fact that nearly all of them diverge from the
shoulder like a fan. Exercise of the muscles of the upper part of the
back and chest is dependent upon the shoulder. It is the centre from
which their motions are derived. As every one not in full training has
inflexibility of the parts about the shoulder-joint, this should be
the first object of attack. These twistings are well calculated to
effect the desired result. While practising them, the position should
be a good one,--head, shoulders, and hips drawn far back.

In our attempts to correct stooping shoulders, one good series of
exercises is found in thrusting the dumb-bells directly upwards. While
performing this the positions must be varied. A few illustrations are

As effective means by which to call into vigorous play neck,
shoulders, back, hips, arms, and legs, I submit the following


Bearing burdens on the head results in an erect spine and
well-balanced gait. Observing persons, who have visited Switzerland,
Italy, or the Gulf States, have noticed a thousand verifications of
this physiological law.

Cognizant of the value of this feature of gymnastic training, I have
employed, within the last twelve years, various sorts of weights, but
have recently invented an iron crown, which I think completely
satisfactory. I have it made to weigh from five to thirty pounds. It
is so padded within that it rests pleasantly on the head, and yet so
arranged that it requires skill to balance it.

The skull-cap, which is fitted to the top of the head, must have an
opening of two inches in diameter at the crown, so that that part of
the head shall receive no pressure. If this be neglected, many persons
will suffer headache. The skull-cap should be made of strong cotton,
and supported with a sliding cord about the centre. With such an
arrangement, a feeble girl can easily carry a crown, weighing ten or
fifteen pounds, sufficiently long, morning and evening, to secure an
erect spine in a few months.

The crown which I employ is so constructed as to admit within itself
two others, whereby it may be made to weigh nine, eighteen, or
twenty-seven pounds, at the pleasure of the wearer. This is a
profitable arrangement, as in the first use nine pounds might be as
heavy as could be well borne, while twenty-seven pounds could be as
easily borne after a few weeks.

The crown may be used at home. It has been introduced into schools
with excellent results.

Instead of this iron crown, a simple board, with an oblong rim on one
side so padded with hair that the crown of the head entirely escapes
pressure, may prove a very good substitute. The upholsterer should so
fill the pad that the wearer will have difficulty in balancing it. It
may be loaded with bags of beans.


Wear it five to fifteen minutes morning and evening. Hold the body
erect, hips and shoulders thrown far back, and the crown rather on the
front of the head.

Walk up and down stairs, keeping the body very erect. While walking
through the hall or parlors, first turn the toes inward as far as
possible; second, outward; third, walk on the tips of the toes;
fourth, on the heels; fifth, on the right heel and left toe; sixth, on
the left heel and right toe; seventh, walk without bending the knees;
eighth, bend the knees, so that you are nearly sitting on the heels
while walking; ninth, walk with the right leg bent at the knee, rising
at each step on the straight left leg; tenth, walk with the left leg
bent, rising at each step on the straight right leg.

With these ten different modes of walking, the various muscles of the
back will receive the most invigorating exercise.

Wearing the crown is the most valuable of all exercises for young
people. If perseveringly practised, it would make them quite erect,
give them a noble carriage of the head, and save them from those
maladies of the chest which so frequently take their rise in drooping


After the exercises with the crown, those with the new gymnastic ring
are the best ever devised. Physiologists and gymnasts have everywhere
bestowed upon them the most unqualified commendation. Indeed, it is
difficult to conceive any other series so complete in a physiological
point of view, and so happily adapted to family, school, and general

If a man were as strong as Samson, he would find in the use of these
rings, with another man of equal muscle, the fullest opportunity to
exert his utmost strength; while the frailest child, engaged with one
of equal strength, would never be injured.

There is not a muscle in the entire body which may not be brought into
direct play through the medium of the rings. And if one particular
muscle or set of muscles is especially deficient or weak, the exercise
may be concentrated upon that muscle or set of muscles.

Wherever these rings are introduced, they will obtain favor and awaken

The rings are made of three pieces of wood, glued together with the
grain running in opposite directions. They are round, six inches in
diameter with body one inch thick, and finished with a hard, smooth

The first series with the rings consists of a number of twisting
exercises with the arms. Not only are these valuable in producing
freedom about the shoulder-joint, which, as has been explained, is a
great desideratum, but twisting motions of the limbs contribute more
to a rounded, symmetrical development than any other exercises. If the
flexors and extensors are exercised in simple, direct lines, the
muscular outlines will be too marked.

In twisting with the rings, the arms may be drawn into twenty
positions, thus producing an almost infinite variety of action in the
arm and shoulder.

Two of the positions assumed in this series are shown in the cuts.

It is our policy in these exercises to pull with a force of from five
to fifty pounds, and thus add indefinitely to the effectiveness of the

To illustrate a few of the many hundred exercises possible with rings,
the subjoined cuts are introduced.

In this exercise, the rings are made to touch the floor, as shown, in
alternation with the highest point they can be made to reach, all
without bending the knees or elbows.

The hands are thrust upward, outward, and downward with force.

The hands are thrust forward and drawn backward in alternation as far
as the performers can reach.

It will be understood that in none of these exercises are the
performers to maintain the illustrated positions for a single
moment. As in dancing, there is constant motion and change, while the
music secures concert. When, by marks on the floor, the performers are
kept in linear rank and file, the scene is most exhilarating to
participants and spectators.

The above are specimens of the many _charges_ with the
rings. Shoulders, arms, back, and legs receive an incomparable
training. In constant alternation with the charges, the pupils rise to
the upright position; and when the company move simultaneously to the
music, few scenes are so brilliant.

_In most exercises there must be some resistance. How much better
that this should be another human being, rather than a pole, ladder,
or bar! It is social, and constantly changing._


A straight, smooth stick, four feet long, (three feet for children,)
is known in the gymnasium as a _wand_. It is employed to
cultivate flexibility, and is useful to persons of all ages and
degrees of strength.

Of this series there are sixty-eight exercises in the new system, but
I have space only for a few illustrations.


The use of small bags filled with beans, for gymnastic exercise, was
suggested to my mind some years since, while attempting to devise a
series of games with large rubber-balls. Throwing and catching objects
in certain ways, requiring skill and presence of mind, not only
affords good exercise of the muscles of the arms and upper half of the
body, but cultivates a quickness of eye and coolness of nerve very
desirable. Appreciating this, I employed large rubber-balls, but was
constantly annoyed at the irregularities resulting from the difficulty
of catching them. When the balls were but partially inflated, it was
observed that the hand could better seize them. This at length
suggested the bean-bags. Six years' use of these bags has resulted in
the adoption of those weighing from two to five pounds, as the best
for young people. The bags should be very strong, and filled
three-quarters full with clean beans. The beans must be frequently
removed and the bags washed, so that the hands and dress may not be
soiled, nor the lungs troubled with dust.

Forty games have been devised. If managers of schools are unwilling to
_study_ these games, and organize their practice, it is hoped
they will reject them altogether. If well managed, a school of young
ladies will use the bags half an hour every day for years, and their
interest keep pace with their skill; but mismanaged, as they generally
have been, it is a marvel, if the interest continues through a single

The following cuts may serve to illustrate some of the
bag-exercises. It will be observed that the players appear to be
looking and throwing somewhat upward. Most of the exercises
illustrated are performed by couples,--the bags being thrown to and
fro. It has been found advantageous, where it is convenient, to
suspend a series of hoops between the players, and require them to
throw the bags through these hoops, which, being elevated several
feet, compel the players to assume the positions seen in the figures.

With the bean-bags there are numberless possible games, requiring eye
and hand so quick, nerves so cool, skill and endurance so great, that
the most accomplished has ever before him difficulties to be

In a country where pulmonary maladies figure so largely in the bills
of mortality, a complete system of physical training must embrace
special means for the development of the respiratory apparatus. The
new system is particularly full and satisfactory in this
department. Its spirometers and other kindred agencies leave nothing
to be desired.

Physiologists and teachers believe that the new system of gymnastics
is destined to establish a new era in physical education. It is
ardently hoped that events may justify their confidence.



I cannot tell who built it. It is a queer piece of architecture, a
fragment, that has been thrown off in the revolutions of the wheel
mechanical, this tower of mine. It doesn't seem to belong to the
parsonage. It isn't a part of the church now, if ever it has been. No
one comes to service in it, and the only voiced worshipper who sends
up little winding eddies through its else currentless air is I.

My sister said "I will" one day, (naughty words for little children,)
and so it came to pass that she paid the penalty by coming to live in
the parsonage with a very grave man. And he preaches every Sunday out
of the little square pulpit, overhung by a great, tremulous
sounding-board, to the congregation, sitting silently listening below,
within the church.

I come every year to the parsonage, and in my visiting-time I occupy
this tower. It is quite deserted when I am away, for I carry the key,
and keep it with me wherever I go. I hang it at night where I can see
the great shadow wavering on the ceiling above my head, when the jet
of gas, trembling in the night-wind below, sends a shimmer of light
into my room.

It is a skeleton-key. It wouldn't open ordinary homes. There's a
something about it that seems to say, as plainly as words _can_
say, "There are prisoners within"; and as oft as my eyes see it
hanging there, I say, "I am your jailer."

On the first day of March, in the year one thousand eight hundred and
sixty, I arrived at the parsonage. It was early morning when I saw the
little wooden church-"steeple," in the distance, and the sun was not
risen when she who said the "naughty words" and the grave minister
came out to welcome me.

Ere the noontide came, I had learned who had gone from the village,
all unattended, on the mysterious journey, since last I had been
there. There were new souls within the town. And a few, that had been
two, were called one. These things I heard whilst the minister sat in
his study up-stairs, and held his head upon his hands, thinking over
the theology of the schools; his wife, meanwhile, in the room below,
working out a strange elective predestination, free-will gifts to be,
for some little ones that had strayed into the fold to be warmed and
clothed and fed. At length the village "news" having all been imparted
to me, I gave a thought to my tower.

"How is the old place?" asked I, as my sister paused a moment in the
cutting out of a formula for a coat, destined for a growing boy.

"Don't get excited about the tower yet, Sister Anna," she said; "let
it alone one day."

"Oh, I can't, Sophie!" I said; "it's such a length of days since I sat
in the grated window!"--and I looked out as I spoke.

Square and small and high stood the tower, as high as the church's

"What could it have been built for?"

I knew not that I had spoken my thought, until Sophie answered,--

"We have found out recently that the tower was here when the first
church was built. It may have been here, for aught we know, before
white men came."

"Perhaps the church was built near to it for safety," I suggested.

"It has been very useful," said Sophie. "Not long ago, the first
night in January, I think, Mr. Bronson came to see my husband. He
lived here when he was a boy, and remembers stories told by his father
of escapes, from the church to the tower, of women and children, at
the approach of Indians. One stroke of the bell during service, and
all obeyed the signal. Deserted was the church, and peopled the
tower, when the foes came up to meet the defenders outside."

"I knew my darling old structure had a history," said I. "Is there
time for me to take one little look before dinner?"

"No," somewhat hastily said Sophie; "and I don't wish you to go up
there alone."

"Don't wish me to go alone, Sophie? Why, I have spent hours there,
and never a word said you."

"I--believe--the--place--is--haunted," slowly replied she, "by living,
human beings."

"Never! Why, Sophie, think how absurd! Here's the key,--a great,
strong, honest key; where could another be found to open the heavy
door? Such broad, true wards it has,--look, and believe!"

As if unhearing, Sophie went on,--

"I certainly heard a voice in there one day. Old Mother Hudson died,
and was buried in the corner, close beside the church. My husband went
away as soon as the burial was over, and I came across the graveyard
alone. It was a bright winter's day, with the ground all asnow, and no
footstep had broken the fleecy white that lay on my way. As I passed
under the tower I heard a voice, and the words, too, Anna, as plainly
as ever spoken words were heard."

"What were they, Sophie?"

"'But hope will not die; it has a root of life that goes down into the
granite formation; human hand cannot reach it.'"

"Who said it?" I asked.

"That is the mystery, Anna. The words were plainly spoken; the voice
was that of one who has sailed out into the region of great storms,
and found that heavy calms are more oppressive."

"Was it voice of man?"

"Yes, deep and earnest."

"Where did it come from?"

"From the high window up there, I thought."

"And there were no footsteps near?"

"I told you, none; my own were the first that had crossed the
church-yard that day."

"You know, Sophie, we voice our own thoughts sometimes all
unknowingly; and knowing the thought only, we might dissever the
voice, and call it another's."

Sophie looked up from the table upon which she had been so
industriously cutting, and holding in one hand an oddly shapen sleeve,
she gave a demonstrative wave at me, and said,--

"Anna, your distinctions are too absurd for reason to examine
even. Have I a voice that _could command an army_, or shout out
orders in a storm at sea? Have I the voice of a man?"

Sophie had a depth of azure in her eyes that looked ocean-deep into an
interior soul; she had softly purplish windings of hair around a low,
cool brow, that said, "There are no torrid thoughts in me." And yet I
always felt that there was an equator in Sophie's soul, only no mortal
could find it. Looking at her, as thus she stood, I forgot that she
Lad questioned me.

"Why do you look at me so?" she asked. "Answer me! Have I the voice of
a man? Listen now! Hear Aaron up-stairs: he's preaching to himself, to
convince himself that some thorn in theology grows naturally: could I
do that?"

"Your voice, I fancy, can do wonders: but about the theology, I don't
believe you like thorns in it; I think you would break one off at
once, and cast it out";--and I looked again at the rough tower, and
ran my fingers over the strong protective key in my hands.

"Don't look that way, Anna,--please don't!--for your footsteps have an
ugly way of following some will-o'-the-wisp that goes out of your
eyes. I know it,--I've seen it all your life," Sophie urged, as I
shook my head in negation.

"Will you lend me this hood?" I asked, as I took up one lying near.

"If you are determined to go; but do wait. Aaron shall go with you
after dinner; he will have settled the thorn by that time."

"What for should I take Aaron up the winding stairs? There is no
parishioner in want or dying up there."

And I tied the hood about my head, and in a wrapping-shawl, closely
drawn,--for cold and cannon-like came the bursts of wind down through
the mountain valleys,--I went out. Through the path, hedged with
leafless lilac-shrubs, just athrob with the mist of life sent up from
the roots below, I went, and crossed the church-yard fence. Winding in
and out among the graves,--for upon a heart, living and joyous, or
still and dead, I cannot step,--I took my way. "Dear old tower, I have
thee at last!" I said; for I talk to unanswering things all over the
world. In crowded streets I speak, and murmur softly to highest

But I quite forgot to tell what my tower was built like, and of what
it was made. A few miles away, a mountain, neither very large nor very
high, has met with some sad disaster that cleaved its stony shell, and
so, time out of memory, the years have stolen into its being, and
winter frosts have sadly cut it up, and all along its rocky ridges,
and thickly at its base, lie beds of shaly fragments, as various in
form and size as the autumn-leaves that November brings.

I've traced these bits of broken stone all the way from yonder
mountain hither; and that once my tower stood firm and fast in the
hill's heart, I know.

There are sides and curves, concaves and convexities, and angles of
every degree, in the stones that make up my tower. The vexing question
is, What conglomerated the mass?

No known form of cement is here, and so the simple village-people say,
"It was not built by the present race of men."

On the northern side of the tower leaves of ungathered snow still lay.

In the key-hole all winter must have been dead, crispy, last-year
leaves, mingled with needles of the pine-tree that stands in the
church-yard corner; for I drew out fragment after fragment, before I
could find room for my key. At last the opening was free, and my
precious bit of old iron had given intimation of doing duty and
letting me in, when a touch upon my shoulder startled me.

'T was true the wind was as rude as possible, but I knew it never
could grasp me in that way. It was Aaron.

"What is the matter?" I asked; for he had come without his hat.

My brother-in-law, rejoicing in the authoritative name of Aaron,
looked decidedly foolish, as I turned my clear brown eyes upon him,
standing flushed and anxious, with only March wind enveloping his hair
all astir with breezes of Theology and Nature.

"Sophie sent me," he said, with all the meekness belonging to a former
family that had an Aaron in it.

"What does Sophie wish?" I asked.

"She says it's dinner-time."

"And did she send you out in such a hurry to tell me that?"

"No, Anna,"--and the importance of his mission grew upon him, for he
spoke quite firmly,--"Sophie is troubled and anxious about your visit
to this tower; please turn the key and come away."

"I will, if you give me good reason," I said.

"Why do you wish to go up, just now?"

"Simply because I like it."

"To gratify a passing fancy?"

"Nothing more, I do assure you; but why shouldn't I?"--and I grasped
the key with a small attempt at firmness of purpose.

"Because Sophie dislikes it. She called to me to come and keep you
from going in; there was distress in her manner. Won't you come away,
for now?"

He had given me a reason. I rejoice in being reasonable. I lent him a
bit of knitting-work that I happened to have brought with me, with
which he kept down his locks, else astray, and walked back with him.

"You are not offended?" he asked, as we drew near to the door.

"Oh, no!"

Sophie hid something that had been very close to her eyes, as we went

My brother-in-law gave me back my strip of knitting-work, and went

"You think I'm selfish, Anna," spoke Sophie, when he was gone.

"I don't."

"You can't help it, I think."

"But I can. I recognize a law of equilibrium that forbids me to think

"How? What is the law like?"

"Did you ever go upon the top of a great height, whether of building
or earth?"

"Oh, yes,--and I'm not afraid at all. I can go out to the farthest
edge, where other heads would feel the motion of the earth, perhaps,
and I stand firm as though the north-pole were my support."

"That is just it," replied I. "Now it puts all my fear in action, and
imagination works indescribable horrors in my mind, to stand even upon
a moderate elevation, or to see a little child take the first steps at
the head of a staircase; and I think it would be the height of cruelty
for you to go and stand where it gave me such pain."

"I wouldn't do it knowingly,"--and the blue in Sophie's eyes was misty
as she spoke.

"How did you feel about my going into the tower a few moments ago?"

"As you would, if you saw me on a jutting rock over the age-chiselled
chasm at Niagara."

"Thus I felt that it would be wrong to go in, though I had no
fear. But you will go with me, perhaps, this afternoon; I can't quite
give up my devotion."

"If Aaron can't, I will," she said; but a bit of pallor whitened her
face as she promised.

I thoroughly hate ghosts. There is an antagonism between mystery and
me. My organs of hearing have been defended by the willingest of
fingers, from my childhood, against the slightest approach of the
appearance or the actions of one, as pictured in description. I think
I'm afraid. But in the mid-day flood of sunlight, and the great sweep
of air that enveloped my tower, standing very near to the church,
where good words only were spoken, and where prayers were prayed by
true-hearted people, _why_ should my cool-browed sister Sophie
deter me from a pleasure simple and true, one that I had grown to
like, weaving fancies where I best pleased? I asked myself this
question, with a current of impatience flowing beneath it, as I waited
for Sophie to finish the "sewing-society work," which must go to
Deacon Downs's before two of the clock.

I know she did not hasten. I know she wished for an interruption; but
none came. The work-basket was duly sent off, whither Sophie soon must
follow; for her hands, and her good, true heart, were both in the work
she had taken up to do. Sophie won't lay it down discouraged; she
sees plains of verdure away on,--a sort of _mirage_ of the
mind. I cannot. It is not given unto me.

I had prepared the way to open the door of the tower when Aaron
interrupted me in the morning. I didn't keep Sophie standing long in
the wind, but she was trembling when I said,--

"Help me a little; my door has grown heavy this winter."

It creaked on its hinges, rusted with the not-far-away sea-air; and a
good strong pull, from four not very strong hands, was necessary to
admittance. Darkness was inside, except the light that we let in. We
stood a little, to accustom our eyes to the glimmer of rays that came
down from the high-up window, and those that went up from the open
door. At length they met, and mingled in a half-way gloom. There were
broad winding stairs, with every inch of standing-room well used; for
wherever within a mortal might be, there was fixed a foundation.

"What's the use of going up, Anna? It's only a few minutes that we
can stay."

Sophie looked pale and weary.

"You shall not," I said; "stay here; let me reconnoitre: I'll come
down directly."

I left her standing outside,--or rather, I felt her going out, as I
ran lightly on, up the rude stairway. Past a few of the landings, (how
short the way seemed this day!) and I was beside the window. I looked
across into the belfry of the church, lying scarce a hundred feet
away. I thought it was bird-time; but no,--deserted were the beamy
rafters and the spaces between.

What is this upon the window-bar? A scrap, a shred of colored
fabric. "It has been of woman's wear," thought I, as I took the little
bit from off its fastening-hook; "but how came it here? It isn't
anything that I have worn, nor Sophie. A grave, brown, plaid morsel of
a woman's dress, up here in my tower, locked all the winter, and the
key never away from me!"

Ah! what is that? A paper, on the floor. I got down from the high
window-ledge, where I had climbed to get the piece of cloth, and
picked up an envelope, or as much of one as the mysterious visitor had
left. The name, once upon it, was so severed that I could not link the

I heard a voice away down the winding stair. It was Sophie, calling,
because I stayed so long. I hid the trophies of my victory, for I
considered my coming to be a style of conquering, and relieved her
waiting by my presence.

"Perhaps you were afraid to come up?" I asked, as I joined her.

"I was, and I was not," she said; "but please hurry, Anna, and lock
the door, for we shall be late at 'Society.'"

"No one knows that I am here as yet," I pleaded, "and I feel a little
weary with having been last night on the steamboat. Suppose you let
me stay quietly at home. I don't feel like talking, and you know I'm
not of much assistance in deeds of finger-charity."

"And will you not get lonely?"

"Not a bit of it,--or if I do, there's Aaron up-stairs; he doesn't
mind my pulling his sermons in pieces, for want of better amusement."

Thus good sister Sophie let me escape scrutiny and observation on the
first day of March, 1860. How recent it is, scarcely a week old, the

Sophie went her way to Deacon Downs's farm-house up the hill, to tire
her fingers out with stitches put in, to hear the village grievances
told over, and to speak her words of womanly kindness. I walked a
little of the way with her; then, in turning back, I remembered that
Aaron would think me gone with Sophie; so I had the time, four full
hours, to dream my dreams and weave my fancies in.

I took out my envelope, and tried to find a name to fit it among the
good people whose names were known to me. The wind was blowing in my
face. A person came up and passed me by, as I, with head bent over the
paper, walked slowly. I only noticed that he turned to see what I was
doing. At the paper bit he cast only the slightest glance.

The church-door was open. This was the day for sweeping out the Sunday
dust. "Is there any record here, any old, forgotten list of deeds
done by the early church?" I questioning thought. "There's a new
sexton, I heard Aaron say,--a man who used, years ago, to fulfil the
duties; perhaps he'll know something of the tower. I'll ask him this
very afternoon."

In the vestibule lay the brooms and brushes used in renovating the
place, the windows were open, but no soul was inside. I walked up the
central aisle, and read the mortuary tablets on either pulpit-side. We
sometimes like to read that which we best know, and the words on these
were written in the air wherever I went, still I chose the
marble-reading that day.

A little church-mouse ran along the rail, and stopped a moment at the
baptismal basin, but, finding no water left by careless sexton there,
it continued its journey up the pulpit-stairs, and I saw the hungry
little thing go gnawing at the corner of the Book wherein is the Bread
of Life. I threw a pine-tree cone that I had gathered in my walk up at
the little Vandal, and went out.

"I'll wait for the sexton in my tower," thought I; "he'll not be long
away, and I can see him as he comes."

I looked cautiously up at the study-windows ere I went into the
tower. I took out the key, for it fastened only on the outside, and
closed myself tightly in. A moment of utter darkness, then the thread
of light was let down to me from above. I caught at it, and, groping
up the stairs, gained my high window-seat. Without the tower, I saw
the deep-sea line, crested with short white waves, the far-away
mountain, and all the valley that lay between, while just below me,
surging close to the tower's base, were the graves of those who had
gone down into the deeper, farther-away Sea of Death, the terrible
sea! What _must_ its storms be to evolve such marble foam as that
which the shore of our earth receives?

"O Death, Death! what art thou?" my spirit cried out in words, and
only the dream of Life answered me. In the midst of it, I saw the
person who had passed me as I examined the envelope coming up the
street churchward. Not a sound of life or of motion came from the
building, and I must have heard the slightest movement, for my window
was only of iron bars. Losing sight of this face new to me, I lost the
memory of it in my dream. Still, this figure coming up the silent
village-street on that afternoon I found had unwoven the heavier part
of my vision; and to restore it, I took from my pocket, for the second
time, my two treasures.

Oh, how I did glory in those two wisps of material! The fragment of
envelope had come from a foreign land. What contained it once? joy or
sorrow? Was the recipient worthy, or the gift true? And I went on
with the imaginary story woven out of the shreds of fabric before me
until it filled all my vision, when suddenly fancy was hushed to
repose,--for, as sure as I sat there, living souls had come into the
tower below.


All was darkness down there; not one ray of light since I shut the
door. Why did I do it?

It was the fear that Aaron in his study would see me.

Voices, confused and indistinct, I heard, sending bubbling words up
through the sea of darkness down below. At first I did not try to
hear; I listened only to the great throbbings of my own heart, until
there came the sound of a woman's voice. It was eager, anxious, and
pained. It asked,--

"Did he see you?"

A man's voice, deep and earnest, answered,--

"No, no; hush, child!"

"This is dreadful!"

"But I know I was not seen. And here you are sure no one ever comes?"
--and I heard a hand going over the great door down there, to find the

"Yes, no one ever comes but the minister's wife's sister. She takes a
fancy to the dreariness, and always carries the key with her. She's
away, and no one can get in."

"Shall we go up higher, nearer to the window?"

"No. I must wait but a moment; I have something yet to do."

I heard the deep voice say,--

"Oh, woman's moments, how much there is in one of them! Will you sit
on this step? But you won't heed what I have to say, I know."

"I always heed you, Herbert. What have you to say? Speak quickly."

"Sit here, upon this step."

A moment's rustling pause in the darkness down below, and then the
far-out-at-sea voice spoke again.

"Do you send me away?"

"Indeed you must go; it is terrible to have you here. Think, what if
you had been seen!"

"I know, I know; but you won't go with me?"

"Why are you cruel, uselessly?" said the pleading voice of woman.

"Cruel? Who? I cruel?"

"What is it that keeps me? Answer me that!"

"Your will is all."

Silence one moment,--two,--and an answer came.

"Herbert! Herbert! is it _you_ speaking to _me_? My will
keeping me? Who hath sinned?"

The sound of a soul in torture came eddying up in confused words; all
that came to the mortal ear, listening unseen, were, "Forgive--I--I

A few murmurous sounds, and then the voice that had uttered its
confession in that deep confessional of a gloomy soul said, and there
was almost woman's pleadingness in it,--

"When can I come again?"

"I will write to you."

"When will you write?"

"When one more soul is gone."

"Oh, it's wicked to shorten life by wishes even! but when one has done
one terrible wrong, little wickednesses gather fast."

Woman has a pathos, when she pleads for God, deeper than when she
pleads for anything on earth. That pleading,--I can't make you hear
it,--the words were,--

"Herbert! Herbert! don't you see, _won't you see_, that, if you
leave the one great sin all uncovered, open to the continual attrition
of a life of goodness, God _will_ let it wear away? It will
lessen and lessen, until at the last, when the Ocean of Eternity beats
against it, it shall go down, down into the deeps of love that no
mortal line can fathom. Oh, Herbert, come out with me!--come out into
this Infinity of Love!"

"With you? yes, anywhere!"

"Oh, oh! this is it!--_this is man!_ It isn't _my_ love that
you want; it isn't the little one-grained thing that the Angel of Life
takes from out of Heaven's granary and scatters into the human soul;
it is the great Everlasting, a sempiternity of love, that _you_
want, Herbert!"

"And you can't give it to me?"

"No, I will ask it for you; and you will ask it for yourself?"

"Only tell me how."

"You know how to ask for human love."

"Yours, yes; but then I haven't sinned against you."

"Have you not, Herbert?"

"Well,--but not in the same way. I haven't gone beyond the measure of
your affection, I feel that it is larger than my sin, or I could not
be here."

"Tell me how you know this. What is the feeling like?"

"What is it like? Why, when I come to you, I don't forever feel it
rising up with a thousand speary heads that shut you out; it drowns in
your presence; the surface is cool and clear, and I can look down,
down, into the very heart of my sin, like that strange lake we looked
into one day,--do you remember it?--the huge branches and leafless
trunks of gigantic pines coming up stirless and distinct almost to the
surface; and do you remember the little island there, and the old
tradition that it was the feasting-place of a tribe of red men, who
displeased the Great Spirit by their crimes, and in direful
punishment, one day, when they were assembled on their mountain, it
suddenly gave way beneath them, and all were drowned in the flood of
waters that rushed up, except one good old squaw who occupied one of
the peaks that is now the island?"

"And so I am the good old squaw?" said the lady.

"For all that I can see in the darkness."

"But that makes me better than the many who lie below;--the squaw was
good, you remember. But how did she get off of the island? Pity
tradition didn't tell us. Loon's Island, in Lake Mashapaug in
Killingly, wasn't it?"

A little silence came, broken by the words,--

"It's so long since I have been with you!"

"Yes, and it's time that I was gone."

"Not a few moments more?--not even to go back to the old subject?"

"No,--it's wrong,--it perils you. You put away your sin when you come
to the little drop of my love; go and hide it forever in the sea that
every hour washes at your feet."

"You'll write?"

"I will."

I heard a sound below, like the drawing of a match across a stone;
then a faint bit of glimmer flickered a moment. I couldn't see where
they were. I bent forward a little, in vain.

"My last match," said the lady. "What shall we do? We can't go
through in the darkness."

"We must. I will go first. Give me your hand. Now, three steps down,
then on; come,--fear nothing."

A heavy sound, as of some ponderous weight let fall, and I knew that
the only living soul in there was hers who sat with hands fast hold of
frosty bars, high up in the window of the tower.

I left fragments of the skin of my fingers upon the cold iron, in pay
for the woollen bit I had taken thence.

I ventured down a step or two. Beyond was inky darkness. If only a
speck of light were down below! Why did I shut the door? Go on I could
not. I turned my face upward, where the friendly light, packing up
its robes of every hue for the journey of a night, looked kindly
in. And so I went back, and sat in my usual seat, and watched the
going day, as, one by one, she took down from forest-pegs and
mountain-hooks breadths of silver, skirts of gold, folding silently
the sheeny vestments, pressing down each shining fold, gathering from
the bureau of the sea, with scarcely time enough for me to note, waves
of whitely flowing things, snowy caps, crimpled crests, and crispy
laces, made by hands that never tire, in the humid ocean-cellar. A
wardrobe fit for fair Pre-Evites to wear lay rolled away, and still I,
poor prisoner in my tower, watched in vain the dying day. It sent no
kind jailer to let me free. No footstep crossed the church-yard. The
sexton had put the windows down before my visitors went away. He must
have gone home an unusual way, for I waited in vain to hear him go.

I saw, when just enough of light was left to see, my sister Sophie
coming down the hill. Strange fancy,--she went as far from the tower
as if it were a ghostly quarantine. She did not hear me call in a very
human voice, but went right on; and I heard the parsonage door-latch
sharply close her in.

Would they look for me, now I was not there? I waited, and a strange,
unearthly tremor shook both blood and nerves, until tears were wrought
out, and came dropping down, and in the stillness I heard one fall
upon a stone below.

A forsaken, forgotten, uncared-for feeling crept up to me, half from
the words of woful meaning that I that afternoon had heard, and half
the prisoned state, with fear, weak and absurd, jailing me in.

The reverberations from my fallen tear scarce were dead in my ears
when I heard footsteps coming. I called,--


Aaron's own true voice answered me,--

"Where are you, Anna?"

"In the tower. Open the door, please."

"Give me the lantern," Sophie said, "whilst you open the door."

I, thoughtlessly taking the key, had left nothing by which to draw it
out. Aaron worked away at it, right vigorously, but it would not

"Can't you come down and push?" timidly asked Sophie, creeping round
the corner, in view of tombstones.

"It's very dark inside; I can't," I said; and so Aaron went on,
pulling and prying, but not one inch did the determined door yield.

Out of the darkness came an idea. I came in with the key,--why not
they? and, calling loudly, I bade them watch whilst I threw it from
the window. In the lantern's circle of light it went rushing down; and
I'm sorry to tell that in its fall it grazed an angel's wing of
marble, striking off one feather from its protecting mission above a
sleeping child.

The door was opened at last; at last a circle of light came into this
inverted well, and arose to me. Can you imagine, any one, I ask, who
is of mortal hue and mould,--can you imagine yourself deep down in a
well, such a one as those living on high lands draw their water from,
holding on with weary fingers to the slimy mosses, fearing each new
energy of grasping muscle is the last that Nature holds in its store
for you; and then, weary almost unto death, you look up and see two
human faces peering above the curbstone, see the rope curling down to
you, swinging right before your grasp, and a doubt comes,--have you
life enough to touch it?

So, could I get down to them, to the two friendly, anxious faces that
peered up at me? You who have no imaginary fears, who never press the
weight of all your will to weigh down eyelids that something tells
you, if uplifted, would let in on the sight a something nameless, come
from where you know not, made visible in midnight darkness, can never
know with what a throbbing of heart I went weakly down. If I did not
know that the great public opinion becomes adamant after a slight
stratum of weakness, I would say what befell me when Sophie's fingers,
tired with stitching, clasped mine.

Aaron and Sophie were not of the questioning order of humanity, and I
was left a few moments to my own way of expressing relief, and then
Aaron locked the tower as usual, and we went away. He, I noticed, put
the key in his pocket, instead of delivering it to me, self-constituted
its rightful owner.

"Will you give me my key?" I said, with a timid tenacity in the
direction of my right.

"Not enough of the dreary, ghoul-like place yet, Anna? And to give us
such an alarm upon your arrival-day!"

The key came to me, for Aaron would not keep it without good reason.

It was around the bright, cheerful tea-table that Sophie asked,--

"Why did you not come down, Anna? Did you choose staying up so late?"

"No, Sophie,"--and I looked with my clear brown eyes as fearlessly at
them both as when I had listened to reason in the morning,--"I shut
the door when I went up, and afterwards, when I would have come down,
I felt afraid invisible hands were weaving in the blackness to seize
me. I believe it would have killed me to come out, after I had been an
hour up there."

"And you don't mind confessing to such cowardice?" asked Sophie,
evidently slightly ashamed of me.

"I never did mind telling the truth, when it was needful to speak at
all. I don't cultivate this fear,--I urge reason to conquer it; but
when I have most rejoiced in going on, despite the ache of nerve and
brain, after it I feel as if I had lost a part of my life, my nature
doesn't unfold to sunny joys for a long time."

"'Tis a sorry victory, then!" said Aaron.

"You won't mind my telling you what it is like?"

"Certainly not."

"It's like that ugly point in theology that hurt you so, last autumn;
and when you had said a cruel _Credo_, you found sweet flowers
lost out of your religion. I know you missed them."

"Oh, Anna!"

"Don't interrupt me; let me finish. It's like making maple-sugar: one
eats the sugar, calling it monstrous sweet, and all through the
burning sun of summer sits under thin-leaved trees, to pay for the
condensation. The point is, it doesn't pay,--the truest bit of
sentiment the last winter has brought to me."

"Is this Anna?" asked the minister.

"Yes, Aaron, it is I, Anna."

"You're not what you were when last here."

"Quite a different person, Sir. But what is your new sexton's name?"

"That is more sensible. His name is Abraham Axtell."

"What sort of person is he?"

"The strangest man in all my parish. I cannot make him out. Have you
seen him?"

"No. Is there any harm in my making his acquaintance?"

"What an absurd question!" said Sophie.

"You are quite at liberty to get as many words out of him as he will
give, which I warn you will be very few," said the sexton's friendly

"Is he in need of the small salary your church must give its sexton?"
I asked.

"The strangest part of the whole is that he won't take anything for
his services; and the motive that induces him to fight the spiders
away is past my comprehension. He avoids Sophie and me."

So much for my thread of discovery: a very small fibre, it is true,--a
church-sexton performing the office without any reward of gold,--but I
twisted it and twirled it round in all the ideal contortions plausible
in idealic regions, and fell asleep, with the tower-key under my
pillow, and the rising moon shining into my room.

I awoke with my secret safely mine,--quite an achievement for one in
no wise heroic; but I _do delight_ in sole possessions.

There is the sun, a great round bulb of liquid electricity, open to
all the eyes that look into the sky; but do you fancy any one owns
that sun but I? Not a bit of it! There is no record of deed that
matches mine, no words that can describe what conferences sun and I do
hold. The cloudy tent-door was closed, the sun was not "at home" to
me, as I went down to life on the second day of March, 1860.

Sophie seemed stupid and commonplace that morning. Aaron had a
headache, (that theologic thorn, I know,) and Sophie must go and sit
beside him, and hold the thread of his Sunday's discourse to paper,
whilst with wrapped brow and vision-seeing eyes he told her what his
people ought to do.

Good Sophie! I forgave her, when she put sermons away, and came down
to talk a little to me. It is easy to forgive people for goodness to
others, when they are good to one's self _just afterwards_.

"Do you know any Herbert in Redleaf?" I ventured to ask, with as
careless a tone as I knew.

"No, Anna;--let me think;--I thought I knew,--but no, it is not
here. Why?"

"It doesn't matter. I thought there might be a person with that
name.--Don't you get very tired of this hum-drum life?"

"But it isn't hum-drum in the least, except in bee-time, and on
General-Training days."

"Oh, Sophie! you know what I mean."

"Well, I confess to liking a higher development of intellectual nature
than I find in Redleaf, but I feel that I belong to it, I ought to be
here; and feeling atones for much lack of mind,--it gets up higher,
nearer into the soul. You know, Anna, we ought to love Redleaf. Look
across that maple-grove."

"What is there?"


"Well, what of them?"

"There was smoke in them once,--smoke rising from our father's fires,
you know, Anna."

"But so long ago, one scarcely feels it."

"Only sixteen years; we remember, you and I, the day the fires were
put out."

"Yes, I remember."

"Don't you think we ought to love the place where our lives began,
because our father lived here too?"

"It's a sorry sort of obligation, to ought to love anything."

"Even the graves, out there, in the church-yard?"

"Yes, even them. I would rather love them through knowing something
that some one tenant of them loved and suffered and achieved than to
love them merely because they hold the mortal temples that once were
columns in 'our family.' The world says we ought to love so much, and
our hearts tell us we ought to love foolishly sometimes, and I say one
oughtn't to love at all."

"Anna! Anna!"

"I haven't got any Aaron, Sophie, to teach me the 'ought-tos.'"

There was a morsel of pity outgleaming from Sophie's eyes, as she went
to obey a somewhat peremptory call. She needn't have bestowed it on
me; I learned not to need it, yesterday.

Satisfied that the tower wouldn't give me any more information, and
that the visit of "the two" was the last for some time to come, I
closed down my horizon of curiosity over the church-steeple, a little
round, shingly spire with a vane,--too vain to tell which way the wind
might chance to go.

Ere Sophie came back to me, there was a bell-stroke from the
belfry. She hurried down at the sound of it.

"Will you come with me, Anna? Aaron wants to know who is dead."

"Who rings the bell?"

"The sexton, of course."

We were within the vestibule before he had begun to toll the years.

A little timidly, Sophie spoke,--

"Mr. Wilton wishes to know who has died."

The uncivil fellow never turned an inch; he only started, when Sophie
began to speak. I couldn't see his face.

"Tell Mr. Wilton that my mother is dead, if he wishes to know."

Sophie pulled my sleeve, and whispered, "Come away!"--and the man,
standing there, began to toll the years of his mother's life.

"Don't go," I said, outside; "_don't_ leave him without saying,
'I am sorry': you didn't even ask a question."

"You wouldn't, if you knew the man."

"Which I mean to do. You go on. I'll wait upon the step till he is
done, and then I'll talk to him."

"I wouldn't, Anna. But I must hurry. Aaron will go up at once."

Dutiful little wife! She went to send her headaching husband half a
mile away, to offer consolation, unto whom?

I sat upon the step until he had done. The years were not many,--half
a score less than the appointed lot.

Would he come out? He did. I heard him coming; but I would not move.
I knew that I was in his way, and wanted him to have to speak to me. I
sat just where he must stand to lock the door.

"Are you waiting to see me?" he asked. "Is there anything for the
sexton to do?"

I arose, and turned my face toward him.

"I am waiting to see if I can do anything for you. I am your
minister's wife's sister."

What could have made him shake so? And such a queer, incongruous
answer he gave!

"Isn't it enough to have a voice, without a face's coming to torment
me too?"

It was _not_ the voice that spoke in the tower yesterday. It was
of the kind that has a lining of sentiment that it never was meant by
the Good Spirit should be turned out for the world to breathe against,
making life with mortals a mental pleurisy.

"I hope I don't torment you."

"You do."

"When did your mother die?"

"There! I knew! _Will_ you take away your sympathy? I haven't
anything to do with it."

"You'll tell me, please, if I can do anything for you, or up at your
house. Do you live near here?"

"It's a long way. You can't go."

"Oh, yes, I can. I like walking."

He locked the door, and dropped the key when he was done. I picked it
up, before he could get it.

A melodious "Thank you," coming as from another being, rewarded me.

"Let me stop and tell my sister, and I'll go with you," I said,
believing that he had consented.

The old voice again was used as he said,--

"No, you had better not"; and he quickly walked on his way.

Completely baffled in my expectation of touching this strange being by
proffers of kindness, I turned toward the parsonage. Aaron was
already gone on his ministerial mission.

"What strange people one does find in this world!" said Sophie, as I
gave her the history of my defeat. "Now this Axtell family are past my

"Ah! a family. I didn't think him a married man."

"Neither is he."

"Then what is the family?"

"The mother, a sister, and himself."

"Do you know the sister?"

"Just a little. She is the finest person in mind we have here, but
wills to live alone, except she can do deeds of charity. I met her
once in a poor farmer's house. The man had lost his wife. Such a
soft, sweet glamour of comfort as she was winding in and out over his
sorrow, until she actually had the poor fellow looking up with an
expression that said he was grateful for the good gift Heaven had
gained! She stopped as soon as I went in. I wish she would come out in

"And the mother?"

"A proud old lady, sick these many years, and, ever since we've been
here, confined to her room. I've only seen her twice."

"And now she's dead?"

Sophie was silent.

"Who'll dig her grave?"

One of my bits of mental foam that strike the shore of sound.

"Anna, how queer you are growing! What made you think of such a

"I don't think my thoughts, Sophie."

But I did watch the church-yard that
day. No one came near it, and my knitting-work
grew, and my mystery in the
tower was as dark as ever, when at set
of sun Aaron came home.

"There is a sorry time up there," he said. "The old lady died in the
night, and Miss Lettie is quite beside herself. Doctor Eaton was
there when I came away, and says she will have brain-fever."

"Oh, I hope not!" said Sophie.

"Who is there?" I asked.

"No one but Abraham. I offered to let Sophie come, but he said no."

"That will never do, Aaron: one dead, and one sick in the house, and
only one other."

"Of course it will not, Sophie,--I will go and stay to-night," said I.

"You, Anna? What do you know of taking care of sick people?"

"I? Why, here, let me take this,"--and I picked up Miss Nightingale's
new thoughts thereon. "Thus armed and fortified, do you think they'll
ask other reference of their nurse?"

"It's better for her than going up to stay in the tower; and they
_are_ in need, though they won't say it. Let it be, Sophie."

And so my second night in March came on. A neighbor's boy walked the
way with me, and left me at the door.

"I guess you'll repent your job," he said, as I bade him good-night.

"Mr. Axtell will not send me back alone," I thought; and I waited just
a little, that my escort might get beyond call before I knocked.

It was a solemn, great house under whose entrance-porch I
stood. Generation after generation might have come, stayed, and gone,
like the last soul: here last night,--to-night, oh! where?

I looked up at the sombre roof, dropping a little way earthward from
the sides. Mosses hung from the eaves. Not one sound of life came to
me as I stood until the neighbor's boy was out of sight. I knocked
then, a timid, tremulous knock,--for last night's fear was creeping
over me. The noise startled a dog; he came bounding around the corner
with a sharp, quick bark.

I am afraid of dogs, as well as of several other things. Before he
reached me the door opened.

A little maid stood within it. Fear of the dog, scarce a yard away,
impelled me in.

"Away, Kino! Away, I say! Leave the lady alone!"

Kino went back to his own abode, and I was closed into the hall of
this large, melancholy house. The little maid waited for some words
from me. Before I found any to bestow, the second door along the hall
opened, and the voice that had been so uncivil to me in the morning

"What aroused Kino, Kate?"

"This lady, Sir."

The little Kate held a candle in her hand, but Mr. Axtell had not seen
me. Strange that I should take a wicked pleasure in making this man
ache!--but I know that I did, and that I would have owned it then, as
now, if I had been accused of it.

"What does the lady want?"

"It is I, who have come to stay with your sister. Mr. Wilton says
she's sick."

"She's sick, that's true; but I can take care of her."

"And you won't let me stay?"

"_Won't let you_? Pray tell me if young ladies like you like
taking care of sick people."

"Young ladies just like me do, if brothers don't send them away."

Did he say, "Brothers ar'n't Gibraltars"? I thought so; but
immediately thereafter, in that other voice, out of that other self
that revolved only in a long, long period, came,--

"Will you come in?"

He had not moved one inch from the door of the room out of which he
had come; but I had walked a little nearer, that my voice might not
disturb the sick. The one lying dead, never more to be disturbed,
where was she? Kate, the little maid, said,--

"It is in there he wants you to go."

Abraham Axtell stood aside to let me enter. There was no woman there,
no one to say to me, in sweet country wise,--"I'm glad you're
come,--it's very kind of you; let me take your things."

I did not wait, but threw aside my hood, the very one Sophie had lent
me to go into the tower, and, taking off my shawl and furs, I laid
them as quietly away in the depths of a huge sofa's corner as though
they had hidden there a hundred times before.

"I think I scarcely needed this," I said, putting upon the
centre-table, under the light of the lamp, Miss Nightingale's good
book,--and I looked around at a library, tempting to me even, as it
spread over two sides of the room.

He turned at my speaking; for the ungrateful man had, I do believe,
forgotten that I was there.

He took up the book, looked at its title, smiled a little--scornfully,
was it?--at me, and said of her who wrote the book,--

"She is sensible; she bears the result of her own theories before
imposing their practice upon others; but," and he went back to the
thorn-apple voice, "do you expect to take care of my sister by the aid
of this to-night?"

"It may give me assistance."

"It will not. What does Miss Nightingale know of Lettie?"

Well, what does she? I don't know, and so I had to answer,--


"That doctor is here," said Kate, at the door.

"Are you coming up, too?" he asked, as he turned suddenly upon me,
half-way out of the room.

"Certainly!"--and I went out with him.

Up the wide staircase walked the little maid, lighting the way,
followed by the doctor, Mr. Axtell, and Anna Percival.

Kate opened the door of a room just over the library, where we had

The doctor went in, quietly moving on toward the fireplace, in which
burned a cheery wood-fire. In front of it, in one of those large
comfort-giving, chintz-covered, cushioned chairs, sat Miss Axtell; but
the comfort of the chair was nothing to her, for she sat leaning
forward, with her chin resting upon the palm of her right hand, and
her eyes were gone away, were burning into the heart of the amber
flame that fled into darkness up the chimney. Hers was the style of
face which one might expect to find under Dead-Sea waves, if diver
_could_ go down,--a face anxious to escape from Sodom, and held
fast there, under heavy, heavy waters, yet still with its eyes turned
toward Zoar.

Now a feverous heat flushed her face, white a moment before, when we
came in; but she did not turn away her eyes,--they seemed fixed, out
of her control. The doctor laid his hand upon her forehead. It broke
the spell that bound her gaze. She spoke quite calmly. I almost smiled
to think any one could imagine danger of brain-fever from that calm
creature who said,--

"Please don't give me anything, Doctor Eaton; believe me, I shall do
better without."

"And then we shall have you sick on our hands, Abraham and I. What
should we do with you?"

"I'll try not to trouble you," she said,--"but I would rather you left
me to myself to-night"; but even as she spoke, a quick convulsion of
muscles about her face told of pain.

Doctor Eaton had not seen me, for I stood in the shadow of the bed
behind him.

"Who will stay with your sister tonight?" he asked Mr. Axtell.

Mr. Axtell looked around at me, as if expecting that I would answer;
and I presented myself for the office.

"You look scarcely fit," was the village-physician's somewhat
ungracious comment; and his eyes said, what his lips dared not,--"Who
are you?"

"I think you'll find me so, if you try me."

Miss Axtell had gone away again, and neither saw nor heeded me.

"Will you come below?"--and the doctor looked at me as he went out.

I followed him. In the library he shut the door, sat down near the
table, took from his pocket a small phial containing a light brown
powder, and, dividing a piece of paper into the minute scraps needful,
made a deposit in each from the phial, and then, folding over the bits
of paper, handed them to me.

"Are you accustomed to take care of sick persons?" he asked.

"Not much; but I am a physician's daughter. I have a little

"Are you a visitor here?"

"No,--at the parsonage."

A pair of quick gray eyes danced out at me from under browy cliffs
clothed with a ledge of lashes, in an actually startling manner. I
didn't think the man had so much of life in him.

"You're Mrs. Wilton's sister, perhaps."

"I am."

"Give her one of these every half-hour, till she falls asleep."

"Yes, Sir."

"Don't let her talk; but she won't, though. If she gets
incoherent,--says wild things,--talks of what you can't
understand,--send for me; I live next door."

"Is this all for her?"

"Enough. Do you know her?"

"I never saw her until to-night."

"The brother? Monstrous fellow."

"Until to-day."

"Look up there."


"On the wall."

"At what?"

There were several paintings hanging there.

"The face, of course."

"I can't see it very well."

Shadows were upon it, and the lampshade was on.

"Then I'll take this off"; and Doctor Eaton removed the shade, letting
the light up to the wall.

"A young girl's face," I said.

The doctor was looking at me, and not at the painting there. A little
bit of confusion came,--I don't know why.

"Do you like it?" I ventured.

"I like it? I'm not the one to like it."

"Somebody does, then?"

"Of course. What did he paint it for, if he didn't like it?"

"I do not know of whom you are talking, at all," I said, a little
vexed at this information-no-information style.

"You don't?" in a voice of the utmost astonishment.

"No. Is this all, for the sick lady? I think I ought to go to her."

"Of course you ought. It's a sad thing, this death in the house"; and
Doctor Eaton picked up his hat, and opened the door.

Kate was waiting in the hall.

"Mr. Abraham thinks you'd better look in and see if it's well to have
any watchers in there, before you go," she said.

"Well, light me in, then, Katie. You wait in there, if you please,
Miss," to me; and I saw the two go to the front-room on the right.

A waft of something, it may have been the air that came out of that
room, sent me back from the hall, and I shut the door behind me. It
was several minutes before they came back. In the interim I had taken
a long look at the face on the wall. It seemed too young to be very
beautiful, and I couldn't help wishing that the artist had waited a
year or two, until a little more of the outline of life had come to
it; yet it was a sweet, loving face, with a brow as low and cool as
Sophie's own, only it hadn't any shadow of an Aaron on it. I didn't
hear the door open, I hadn't heard the sound of living thing, when
some one said, close to me, as I was standing looking up at the face
I've spoken of,--

"What are you doing?"

It was Mr. Axtell, and the voice was a prickly one.

"Is there any harm?" I said. "I'm only looking here,"--pointing to
where my eyes had been before. "Who painted it?"

"An unknown, poor painter."

"Was he poor in spirit?"

"He is now, I trust."

A man that has variant voices is a cruel thing in this world, because
one cannot help their coming in at some one of the gates of the heart,
which cannot all be guarded at the same moment. "Poor in spirit?" "He
is now, I trust." I felt decidedly vexed at this man before me for
having such tones in his voice.

"Can I go up to Miss Axtell now?" I asked.

"In a moment, when Kate has shown Doctor Eaton out."

I picked up my powders and my illustrious book, and waited.

Kate came.

"The doctor says there's no need," she said, in her laconic way.

Kate, I afterwards learned, was the daughter of the farmer that Sophie
heard Miss Axtell consoling for the loss of his wife, one day.


    My budding Daphne wanted scope
    To bourgeon all her flowers of hope.

    She felt a cramp around her root
    That crippled every outmost shoot.

    I set me to the kindly task;
    I found a trim and tidy cask,

    Shapely and painted; straightway seized
    The timely waif; and, quick released

    From earthen bound and sordid thrall,
    My Daphne sat there, proud and tall.

    Stately and tall, like any queen,
    She spread her farthingale of green;

    Nor stinted aught with larger fate,
    For that she was innately great.

    I learned, in accidental way,
    A secret, on an after-day,--

    A chance that marked the simple change
    As something ominous and strange.

    And so, therefrom, with anxious care,
    Almost with underthought of prayer,

    As, day by day, my listening soul
    Waited to catch the coming roll

    Of pealing victory, that should bear
    My country's triumph on the air,--

    I tended gently all the more
    The plant whose life a portent bore.

    The weary winter wore away,
    And still we waited, day by day;

    And still, in full and leafy pride,
    My Daphne strengthened at my side,

    Till her fair buds outburst their bars,
    And whitened gloriously to stars!

    Above each stalwart, loyal stem
    Rested their heavenly diadem,

    And flooded forth their incense rare,
    A breathing Joy, upon the air!

    Well might my backward thought recall
    The cramp, the hindrance, and the thrall,

    The strange release to larger space,
    The issue into growth and grace,

    And joyous hail the homely sign
    That so had spelled a hope divine!

    For all this life, and light, and bloom,
    This breath of Peace that blessed the room,

    Was born from out the banded rim,
    Once crowded close, and black, and grim,

    With grains that feed the Cannon's breath,
    And boom his sentences of death!


"On the whole, it was very disagreeable," wrote a certain great
traveller and hunter, summing up an account of his position, as he
composed himself to rest upon a certain evening after a hard day's
work. And no doubt it must have been very disagreeable. The night was
cold and dark; and the intrepid traveller had to lie down to sleep in
the open air, without even a tree to shelter him. A heavy shower of
hail was falling,--each hailstone about the size of an egg. The dark
air was occasionally illuminated by forked lightning, of the most
appalling aspect; and the thunder was deafening. By various sounds,
heard in the intervals of the peals, it seemed evident that the
vicinity was pervaded by wolves, tigers, elephants, wild-boars, and
serpents. A peculiar motion, perceptible under horse-cloth which was
wrapped up to serve as a pillow, appeared to indicate that a snake was
wriggling about underneath it. The hunter had some ground for thinking
that it was a very venomous one, as indeed in the morning it proved to
be; but he was too tired to look. And speaking of the general
condition of matters upon that evening, the hunter stated, with great
mildness of language, that "it was very disagreeable."

Most readers would be disposed to say that _disagreeable_ was
hardly the right word. No doubt, all things that are perilous,
horrible, awful, ghastly, deadly, and the like, are disagreeable
too. But when we use the word disagreeable by itself, our meaning is
understood to be, that in calling the thing disagreeable we have said
the worst of it. A long and tiresome sermon is disagreeable; but a
venomous snake under your pillow passes beyond being disagreeable. To
have a tooth stopped is disagreeable; to be broken on the wheel
(though nobody could like it) transcends _that_. If a thing be
horrible and awful, you would not say it was disagreeable. The
greater includes the less: as when a human being becomes entitled to
write D.D. after his name, he drops all mention of the M.A. borne in
preceding years.

Let this truth be remembered, by such as shall read the following
pages. We are to think about disagreeable people. Let it be
understood that (speaking generally) we are to think of people who are
no worse than disagreeable. It cannot be denied, even by the most
prejudiced, that murderers, pirates, slave-drivers, and burglars, are
disagreeable. The cut-throat, the poisoner, the sneaking black-guard
who shoots his landlord from behind a hedge, are no doubt disagreeable
people,--so very disagreeable that in this country the common consent
of mankind removes them from human society by the instrumentality of a
halter. But disagreeable is too mild a word. Such people are all that,
and a great deal more. And accordingly they stand beyond the range of
this dissertation. We are to treat of folk who are disagreeable, and
not worse than disagreeable. We may sometimes, indeed, overstep the
boundary-line. But it is to be remembered that there are people who
in the main are good people, who yet are extremely disagreeable. And
a further complication is introduced into the subject by the fact,
that some people who are far from good are yet unquestionably
agreeable. You disapprove them; but you cannot help liking
them. Others, again, are substantially good; yet you are angry with
yourself to find that you cannot like them.

I take for granted that all observant human beings will admit that in
this world there are disagreeable people. Probably the distinction
which presses itself most strongly upon our attention, as we mingle in
the society of our fellow-men, is the distinction between agreeable
people and disagreeable. There are various tests, more or less
important, which put all mankind to right and left. A familiar
division is into rich and poor. Thomas Paine, with great vehemence,
denied the propriety of that classification, and declared that the
only true and essential classification of mankind is into male and
female. I have read a story whose author maintained, that, to his
mind, by far the most interesting and thorough division of our race is
into such as have been hanged and such as have not been hanged: he
himself belonging to the former class. But we all, more or less,
recognize and act upon the great classification of all human beings
into the agreeable and the disagreeable. And we begin very early to
recognize and act upon it. Very early in life, the little child
understands and feels the vast difference between people who are nice
and people who are not nice. In school-boy days, the first thing
settled as to any new acquaintance, man or boy, is on which side he
stands of the great boundary-line. It is not genius, not scholarship,
not wisdom, not strength nor speed, that fixes the man's place. None
of these things is chiefly looked to: the question is, Is he agreeable
or disagreeable? And according as that question is decided, the man is
described, in the forcible language of youth, as "a brick," or as "a

Yet it is to be remembered that the division between the agreeable and
disagreeable of mankind is one which may be transcended. It is a
scratch on the earth,--not a ten-foot wall. And you will find men who
pass from one side of it to the other, and back again,--probably
several times in a week, or even in a day. There are people whom you
never know where to have. They are constantly skipping from side to
side of that line of demarcation; or they even walk along with a foot
on each side of it. There are people who are always disagreeable, and
disagreeable to all men. There are people who are agreeable at some
times, and disagreeable at others. There are people who are agreeable
to some men, and disagreeable to other men. I do not intend by the
last-named class people who intentionally make themselves agreeable to
a certain portion of the race, to which they think it worth while to
make themselves agreeable, and who do not take that trouble in the
case of the remainder of humankind. What I mean is this: that there
are people who have such an affinity and sympathy with certain other
people, who so _suit_ certain other people, that they are
agreeable to these other people, though perhaps not particularly so to
the race at large. And exceptional tastes and likings are often the
strongest. The thing you like enthusiastically another man absolutely
loathes. The thing which all men like is for the most part liked with
a mild and subdued liking. Everybody likes good and well-made bread;
but nobody goes into raptures over it. Few persons like caviare; but
those who do like it are very fond of it. I never knew but one being
who liked mustard with apple-pie; but that solitary man ate it with
avidity, and praised the flavor with enthusiasm.

But it is impossible to legislate for every individual case. Every
rule must have exceptions from it; but it would be foolish to resolve
to lay down no more rules. There may be, somewhere, the man who likes
Mr. Snarling; and to that man Mr. Snarling would doubtless be
agreeable. But for practical purposes Mr. Snarling may justly be
described as a disagreeable man, if he be disagreeable to nine hundred
and ninety-nine mortals out of every thousand. And with precision
sufficient for the ordinary business of life we may say that there are
people who are essentially disagreeable.

There are people who go through life, leaving an unpleasant influence
on all whom they come near. You are not at your ease in their
society. You feel awkward and constrained while with them. _That_
is probably the mildest degree in the scale of unpleasantness. There
are people who disseminate a much worse influence. As the upas-tree
was said to blight all the country round it, so do these disagreeable
folk prejudicially affect the whole surrounding moral atmosphere.
They chill all warmth of heart in those near them; they put down
anything generous or magnanimous; they suggest unpleasant thoughts and
associations; they excite a diverse and numerous array of bad
tempers. The great evil of disagreeable people lies in this: that they
tend powerfully to make other people disagreeable too. And these
people are not necessarily bad people, though they produce a bad
effect. It is not certain that they design to be disagreeable. There
are those who do entertain that design; and they always succeed in
carrying it out. Nobody ever tried diligently to be disagreeable, and
failed. Such persons may, indeed, inflict much less annoyance than
they wished; they may even fail of inflicting any pain whatever on
others; but they make themselves as disgusting as they could desire.
And in many cases they succeed in inflicting a good deal of pain. A
very low, vulgar, petty, and uncultivated nature may cause much
suffering to a lofty, noble, and refined one,--particularly if the
latter be in a position of dependence or subjection. A wretched hornet
may madden a noble horse; a contemptible mosquito may destroy the
night's rest which would have recruited a noble brain. But without any
evil intention, sometimes with the very kindest intention, there are
those who worry and torment you. It is through want of perception,
--want of tact,--coarseness of nature,--utter lack of power
to understand you. Were you ever sitting in a considerable company, a
good deal saddened by something you did not choose to tell to any one,
and probably looking dull and dispirited enough,--and did a fussy host
or hostess draw the attention of the entire party upon you, by
earnestly and repeatedly asking if you were ill, if you had a
headache, because you seemed so dull and so unlike yourself? And did
that person time after time return to the charge, till you would have
liked to poison him? There is nothing more disagreeable, and few
things more mischievous, than a well-meaning, meddling fool. And
where there was no special intention, good or bad, towards yourself,
you have known people make you uncomfortable through the simple
exhibition to you, and pressure upon you, of their own inherent
disagreeableness. You have known people after talking to whom for a
while you felt disgusted with everything, and above all, with those
people themselves. Talking to them, you felt your moral nature being
rubbed against the grain, being stung all over with nettles. You
showed your new house and furniture to such a man, and with eagle eye
he traced out and pointed out every scratch on your fine fresh paint,
and every flaw in your oak and walnut; he showed you that there were
corners of your big mirrors that distorted your face,--that there were
bits of your grand marble mantel-pieces that might be expected soon to
scale away. Or you have known a man who, with no evil intention, made
it his practice to talk of you before your face as your other friends
are accustomed to talk of you behind your back. It need not be said
that the result is anything but pleasant. "What a fool you were,
Smith, in saying _that_ at Snooks's last night!" your friend
exclaims, when you meet him next morning. You were quite aware, by
this time, that what you said was foolish; but there is something
grating in hearing your name connected with the unpleasant epithet. I
would strongly advise any man, who does not wish to be set down as
disagreeable, entirely to break off the habit (if he has such a habit)
of addressing to even his best friends any sentence beginning with
"What a fool you were." Let me offer the like advice as to sentences
which set out as follows:--"I say, Smith, I think your brother is the
greatest fool on the face of the earth." Stop that kind of thing, my
friend; or you may come to be classed with Mr. Snarling. You are
probably a manly fellow, and a sincere friend; and for the sake of
your substantial good qualities, one would stand a great deal. But
over-frankness is disagreeable; and if you make over-frankness your
leading characteristic, of course your entire character will come to
be disagreeable, and you will be a disagreeable person.

Besides the people who are disagreeable through malignant intention,
and through deficiency of sensitiveness, there are other people who
are disagreeable through pure ill-luck. It is quite certain that there
are people whom evil fortune dogs through all their life, who are
thoroughly and hopelessly unlucky. And in no respect have we beheld a
man's ill-luck so persecute him as in the matter of making him
(without the slightest evil purpose, and even when he is most anxious
to render himself agreeable) render himself extremely disagreeable. Of
course there must be some measure of thoughtlessness and
forgetfulness,--some lack of that social caution, so indispensable in
the complication of modern society, which teaches a man (so to speak)
to try if the ice will bear him before venturing his entire weight
upon it,--about people who are unlucky in the way of which I am
speaking. But doubtless you have known persons who were always saying
disagreeable things, or putting disagreeable questions,--either
through forgetfulness of things which they ought to have remembered,
or through unhappily chancing on forbidden ground. You will find a
man, a thoughtless, but quite good-natured man, begin at a
dinner-table to relate a succession of stories very much to the
prejudice of somebody, while somebody's daughter is sitting opposite
him. And you will find the man quite obtuse to all the hints by which
the host or hostess tries to stop him, and going on to particulars
worse and worse, till, in terror of what all this might grow to, the
hostess has to exclaim, "Mr. Smith, you won't take a hint: _that_
is Mr. Somebody's daughter sitting opposite you." It is quite
essential that any man, whose conversation consists mainly of
observations not at all to the advantage of some absent acquaintance,
should carefully feel his way before giving full scope to his malice
and his invention, in the presence of any general company. And before
making any playful reference to halters, you should be clear that you
are not talking to a man whose grandfather was hanged. Nor should you
venture any depreciatory remarks upon men who have risen from the
ranks, unless you are tolerably versed in the family-history of those
to whom you are talking. You may have heard a man very jocular upon
lunatic-asylums, to another who had several brothers and sisters in
one. And though in some cases human beings may render themselves
disagreeable through a combination of circumstances which really
absolves them from all blame, yet, as a general rule, the man who is
disagreeable through ill-luck is at least guilty of culpable

       *      *      *      *      *

You have probably, my reader, known people who had the faculty of
making themselves extremely agreeable. You have known one or two men
who, whenever you met them, conveyed to you, by a remarkably frank and
genial manner, an impression that they esteemed you as one of their
best and dearest friends. A vague idea took possession of your mind
that they had been longing to see you ever since they saw you
last,--which in all probability was six or twelve months
previously. And during all that period it may be regarded as quite
certain that the thought of you had never once entered their
mind. Such a manner has a vast effect upon young and inexperienced
folk. The inexperienced man fancies that this manner, so wonderfully
frank and friendly, is reserved specially for himself, and is a
recognition of his own special excellences. But the man of greater
experience has come to suspect this manner, and to see through it. He
has discovered that it is the same to everybody,--at least, to
everybody to whom it is thought worth while to put it on. And he no
more thinks of arguing the existence of any particular liking for
himself, or of any particular merit in himself, from that friendly
manner, than he thinks of believing, on a warm summer day, that the
sun has a special liking for himself, and is looking so beautiful and
bright all for himself. It is perhaps unjust to accuse the man, always
overflowing in geniality upon everybody he meets, of being an impostor
or humbug. Perhaps he does feel an irrepressible gush of love to all
his race: but why convey to each individual of the race that he loves
_him_ more than all the others?

Yet it is to be admitted that it is always well that a man should be
agreeable. Pleasantness is always a pleasing thing. And a sensible
man, seeking by honest means to make himself agreeable, will generally
succeed in making himself agreeable to sensible men. But although
there is an implied compliment, to your power, if not to your
personality, in the fact of a man's taking pains to make himself
agreeable to you, it is certain that he may try to make himself so by
means of which the upshot will be to make him intensely
disagreeable. You know the fawning, sneaking manner which an
occasional shopkeeper adopts. It is most disagreeable to
right-thinking people. Let him remember that he is also a man; and
let his manner be manly as well as civil. It is an awful and
humiliating sight, a man who is always squeezing himself together like
a whipped dog, whenever you speak to him,--grinning and bowing, and
(in a moral sense) wriggling about before you on the earth, and
begging you to wipe your feet on his head. You cannot help thinking
that the sneak would be a tyrant, if he had the opportunity. It is
pleasant to find people, in the humblest position, blending a manly
independence of demeanor with the regard justly due to those placed by
Providence farther up the social scale. Yet doubtless there are
persons to whom the sneakiest manner is agreeable,--who enjoy the
flattery and the humiliation of the wretched toady who is always ready
to tell them that they are the most beautiful, graceful, witty,
well-informed, aristocratic-looking, and generally-beloved of the
human race. You must remember that it depends very much upon the
nature of a man himself whether any particular demeanor shall be
agreeable to him or not. And you know well that a cringing, toadying
manner, which would be thoroughly disgusting to a person of sense, may
be extremely agreeable and delightful to a self-conceited idiot. Was
there not an idiotic monarch who was greatly pleased, when his
courtiers, in speaking to him, affected to veil their eyes with their
hands, as unable to bear the insufferable effulgence of his
countenance? And would not a monarch of sense have been ready to kick
the people who thus treated him like a fool? And every one has
observed that there are silly women who are much gratified by coarse
and fulsome compliments upon their personal appearance, which would be
regarded as grossly insulting by a woman of sense. You may have heard
of country-gentlemen, of Radical politics, who had seldom wandered
beyond their paternal acres, (by their paternal acres I mean the acres
they had recently bought,) and who had there grown into a fixed belief
that they were among the noblest and mightiest of the earth, who
thought their parish-clergyman an agreeable man, if he voted at the
county-election for the candidate they supported, though that
candidate's politics were directly opposed to those of the
parson. These individuals, of course, would hold their clergyman as a
disagreeable man, if he held by his own principles, and quite declined
to take their wishes into account in exercising the trust of the
franchise. Now, of course, a nobleman or gentleman of right feeling
would regard the parson as a turncoat and sneak, who should thus deny
his convictions. Yes, there is no doubt that you may make yourself
agreeable to unworthy folk by unworthy means. A late marquis declared
on his dying bed, that a two-legged animal, of human pretensions, who
had acted as his valet, and had aided that hoary reprobate in the
gratification of his peculiar tastes, was "an excellent man." And you
may remember how Burke said, that, as we learn that a certain
Mr. Russell made himself very agreeable to Henry VIII., we may
reasonably suppose that Mr. Russell was himself (in a humble degree)
something like his master. Probably, to most right-minded men, the
fact that a man was agreeable to Henry VIII., or to the marquis in
question, or to Belial, Beelzebub, or Apollyon, would tend to make
that man remarkably disagreeable. And let the reader remember the
guarded way in which the writer laid down his general principle as to
pleasantness of character and demeanor. I said that a sensible man,
seeking by honest means to make himself agreeable, will generally
succeed in making himself agreeable to sensible men. I exclude from
the class of men to be esteemed agreeable those who would disgust all
but fools or blackguards. I exclude parsons who express heretical
views in theology in the presence of a patron known to be a
freethinker. I exclude men who do great folk's dirty work. I exclude
all toad-eaters, sneaks, flatterers, and fawning impostors,--from the
school-boy who thinks to gain his master's favor by voluntarily
bearing tales of his companions, up to the bishop who declared that he
regarded it not merely as a constitutional principle, but as an
ethical fact, that the king could do no wrong, and the other bishop
who declared that the reason why George II. died was that this world
was not good enough for him, and it was necessary to transfer him to
heaven that he might be the right man in the right place. Such persons
may succeed in making themselves agreeable to the man with whom they
desire to ingratiate themselves, provided that man be a fool or a
knave; but they assuredly render themselves disagreeable, not to say
revolting, to all human beings whose good opinion is worth the
possessing. And though any one who is not a fool will generally make
himself agreeable to people of ordinary temper and nervous system, if
he wishes to do so, it is to be remembered that too intrusive attempts
to be agreeable often make a man very disagreeable; and likewise, that
a man is the reverse of agreeable, if you see that he is trying, by
managing and humoring you, to make himself agreeable to you,--I mean,
if you can see that he is smoothing you down, and agreeing with you,
and trying to get you on your blind side, as if he thought you a baby
or a lunatic. And there is all the difference in the world between the
frank, hearty wish in man or woman to be agreeable, and this
diplomatic and indirect way. No man likes to think that he is being
managed as Mr. Rarey might manage an unbroken colt. And though many
human beings must in fact be thus managed,--though a person of wrong
head, or of outrageous vanity, or of invincible prejudices, must be
managed very much as you would manage a lunatic, (being, in fact,
removed from perfect sanity upon these points,) still, they must never
be allowed to discern that they are being managed, or the charm will
fail at once. I confess, for myself, that I am no believer in the
efficacy of diplomacy and indirect ways in dealing with one's
fellow-creatures. I believe that a manly, candid, straight-forward
course is always the best. Treat people in a perfectly frank
manner,--you will be agreeable to most of those to whom you will
desire to be so.

My reader, I am now about to tell you of certain sorts of human beings
who appear to me as worthy of being ranked among disagreeable
people. I do not pretend to give you an exhaustive catalogue of
such. Doubtless you have your own black beasts, your own special
aversions, which have for you a disagreeableness beyond the
understanding or sympathy of others. Nor do I make quite sure that you
will agree with me in all the views which I am going to set forth. It
is not impossible that you may regard as very nice people or even as
quite fascinating and inthralling people, certain people whom I regard
as intensely disagreeable. Let me begin with an order of human beings,
as to which I do not expect every one who reads this page to go along
with me, though I do not know any opinion which I hold more resolutely
than that which I am about to express.

We all understand the kind of thing which is meant by people who talk
of _Muscular Christianity_. It is certainly a noble and excellent
thing to make people discern that a good Christian need not be a muff
(pardon the slang term: there is no other that would bring out my
meaning). It is a fine thing to make it plain that manliness and dash
may co-exist with pure morality and sincere piety. It is a fine thing
to make young fellows comprehend that there is nothing fine and manly
in being bad and nothing unmanly in being good. And in this view it is
impossible to value too highly such characters and such biographies as
those of Hodson of Hodson's Horse and Captain Hedley Vicars. It is a
splendid combination, pluck and daring in their highest degree, with
an unaffected and earnest regard to religion and religious duties,--in
short, muscularity with Christianity. A man consists of body and soul;
and both would be in their ideal perfection, if the soul were
decidedly Christian, and the body decidedly muscular.

But there are folk whose admiration of the muscularity is very great,
but whose regard for the Christianity is very small. They are
captivated by the dash and glitter of physical pluck; they are quite
content to accept it without any Christianity, and even without the
most ordinary morality and decency. They appear, indeed, to think that
the grandeur of the character is increased by the combination of
thorough blackguardism with high physical qualifications: their
gospel, in short, may be said to be that of _Unchristian
Muscularity_. And you will find various books in which the hero is
such a man: and while the writer of the book frankly admits that he is
in strict morality an extremely bad man, the writer still recalls his
doings with such manifest gusto and sympathy, and takes such pains to
make him agreeable on the whole, and relates with such approval the
admiration which empty-headed idiots express for him when he has
jumped his horse over some very perilous fence or thrashed some
insolent farmer, that it is painfully apparent what is the writer's
ideal of a grand and imposing character. You know the kind of man who
is the hero of some novels,--the muscular blackguard,--and you
remember what are his unfailing characteristics. He has a deep
chest. He has huge arms and limbs,--the muscles being knotted. He has
an immense moustache. He has (God knows why) a serene contempt for
ordinary mortals. He is always growing black with fury, and bullying
weak men. On such occasions, his lips may be observed to be twisted
into an evil sneer. He is a seducer and liar: he has ruined various
women, and had special facilities for becoming acquainted with the
rottenness of society: and occasionally he expresses, in language of
the most profane, not to say blasphemous character, a momentary regret
for having done so much harm,--such as the Devil might sentimentally
have expressed, when he had succeeded in misleading our first
parents. Of course, he never pays tradesmen for the things with which
they supply him. He can drink an enormous quantity of wine without his
head becoming affected. He looks down with entire disregard on the
laws of God and man, as made for inferior beings. As for any worthy
moral quality,--as for anything beyond a certain picturesque brutality
and bull-dog disregard of danger, not a trace of such a thing can be
found about him.

We all know, of course, that such a person, though not uncommon in
novels, very rarely occurs in real life; and if he occur at all, it is
with his ideal perfections very much toned down. In actual life, such
a hero would become known in the Insolvent Court, and would frequently
appear before the police magistrates. He would eventually become a
billiard-marker; and might ultimately be hanged, with general
approval. If the man, in his unclipped proportions, did actually
exist, it would be right that a combination should be formed to wipe
him out of creation. He should be put down,--as you would put down a
tiger or a rattlesnake, if found at liberty somewhere in the Midland
Counties. A more hateful character, to all who possess a grain of
moral discernment, could not even be imagined. And it need not be
shown that the conception of such a character is worthy only of a
baby. However many years the man who deliberately and admiringly
delineates such a person may have lived in this world, intellectually
he cannot be more than about seven years old. And none but calves the
most immature can possibly sympathize with him. Yet, if there were
not many silly persons to whom such a character is agreeable, such a
character would not be portrayed. And it seems certain that a single
exhibition of strength or daring will to some minds be the compendium
of all good qualities, or (more accurately speaking) the equivalent
for them. A muscular blackguard clears a high fence: he does precisely
that,--neither more nor less. And upon the strength of that single
achievement, the servants at the house where he is visiting declare
that they would follow him over the world. And you may find various
young women, and various women who wish to pass for young, who would
profess, and perhaps actually feel, a like enthusiasm for the muscular
blackguard. I confess that I cannot find words strong enough to
express my contempt and abhorrence for the theory of life and
character which is assumed by the writers who describe such
blackguards, and by the fools who admire them. And though very far
from saying or thinking that the kind of human being who has been
described is no worse than disagreeable, I assert with entire
confidence that to all right-thinking men he is more disagreeable than
almost any other kind of human being. And I do not know any single
lesson you could instil into a youthful mind which would be so
mischievous as the lesson that the muscular blackguard should be
regarded with any other feeling than that of pure loathing and
disgust. But let us have done with him. I cannot think of the books
which delineate him and ask you to admire him without indignation more
bitter than I wish to feel in writing such a page.

And passing to the consideration of human beings who, though
disagreeable, are good in the main, it may be laid down as a general
principle, that any person, however good, is disagreeable from whom
you feel it a relief to get away. We have all known people, thoroughly
estimable, and whom you could not but respect, in whose presence it
was impossible to feel at ease, and whose absence was felt as the
withdrawal of a sense of constraint of the most oppressive kind. And
this vague, uncomfortable influence, which breathes from some men, is
produced in various ways. Sometimes it is the result of mere stiffness
and awkwardness of manner: and there are men whose stiffness and
awkwardness of manner are such as would freeze the most genial and
silence the frankest. Sometimes it arises from ignorance of social
rules and proprieties; sometimes from incapacity to take, or even to
comprehend, a joke. Sometimes it proceeds from a pettedness of nature,
which keeps you ever in fear that offence may be taken at the most
innocent word or act. Sometimes it comes of a preposterous sense of
his own standing and importance, existing in a man whose standing and
importance are very small. It is quite wonderful what very great folk
very little folk will sometimes fancy themselves to be. The present
writer has had little opportunity of conversing with men of great rank
and power; yet he has conversed with certain men of the very greatest:
and he can say sincerely that he has found head-stewards to be much
more dignified men than dukes; and parsons of no earthly reputation,
and of very limited means, to be infinitely more stuck-up than
archbishops. And though at first the airs of stuck-up small men are
amazingly ridiculous, and so rather amusing, they speedily become so
irritating that the men who exhibit them cannot be classed otherwise
than with the disagreeable of the earth.

Few people are more disagreeable than the man who, while you are
conversing with him, is (you know) taking a mental estimate of you,
more particularly of the soundness of your doctrinal views,--with the
intention of showing you up, if you be wrong, and of inventing or
misrepresenting something to your prejudice, if you be right. Whenever
you find any man trying (in a moral sense) to trot you out, and
examine your paces, and pronounce upon your general soundness, there
are two courses you may follow. The one is, severely to shut him up,
and sternly make him understand that you don't choose to be inspected
by him. Show him that you will not exhibit for his approval your
particular views about the Papacy, or about Moral Inability, or about
Pelagianism or the Patripassian heresy. Indicate that you will not be
pumped: and you may convey, in a kindly and polite way, that you
really don't care a rush what he thinks of you. The other course is,
with deep solemnity and an unchanged countenance, to horrify your
inspector by avowing the most fearful views. Tell him, that, on long
reflection, you are prepared to advocate the revival of Cannibalism.
Say that probably something may be said for Polygamy. Defend the
Thugs, and say something for Mumbo Jumbo. End by saying that no doubt
black is white, and twice ten are fifty. Or a third way of meeting
such a man is suddenly to turn upon him, and ask him to give you a
brief and lucid account of the views he is condemning. Ask him to tell
you what are the theological peculiarities of Bunsen; and what is the
exact teaching of Mr. Maurice. He does not know, you may be tolerably
sure. In the case of the latter eminent man, I never met anybody who
did know: and I have the firmest belief that he does not know himself.
I was told, lately, of an eminent foreigner who came to Britain to
promote a certain public end. For its promotion, the eminent man
wished to conciliate the sympathies of a certain small class of
religionists. He procured an introduction to a leading man among
them,--a good, but very stupid and self-conceited man. This man
entered into talk with the eminent foreigner, and ranged over a
multitude of topics, political and religious. And at an hour's end
the foreigner was astonished by the good, but stupid man suddenly
exclaiming,--"Now, Sir, I have been reckoning you up: you won't do:
you are a"--no matter what. It was something that had nothing earthly
to do with the end to be promoted. The religious demagogue had been
trotting out the foreigner; and he had found him unsound. The
religious demagogue belonged to a petty dissenting sect, no doubt; and
he was trying for his wretched little Shibboleth. But you may have
seen the like, even with leading men in National Churches. And I have
seen a pert little whipper-snapper ask a venerable clergyman what he
thought of a certain outrageous lay-preacher, and receive the
clergyman's reply, that he thought most unfavorably of many of the
lay-preacher's doings, with a self-conceited smirk that seemed to say
to the venerable clergyman, "I have been reckoning _you_ up: you
won't do."

People whom you cannot get to attend to you when you talk to them are
disagreeable. There are men whom you feel it is vain to speak
to,--whether you are mentioning facts or stating arguments. All the
while you are speaking, they are thinking of what they are themselves
to say next. There is a strong current, as it were, setting outward
from their minds; and it prevents what you say from getting in. You
know, if a pipe be full of water, running strongly one way, it is vain
to think to push in a stream running the other way. You cannot get at
their attention. You cannot get at the quick of their mental
sensorium. It is not the dull of hearing whom it is hardest to get to
hear; it is rather the man who is roaring out himself, and so who
cannot attend to anything else. Now this is provoking. It is a
mortifying indication of the little importance that is attached to
what we are saying; and there is something of the irritation that is
produced in the living being by contending with the passive resistance
of inert matter. And there is something provoking even in the outward
signs that the mind is in a non-receptive state. You remember the eye
that is looking beyond you,--the grin that is not at anything funny in
what you say,--the occasional inarticulate sounds that are put in at
the close of your sentences, as if to delude you with a show of
attention. The non-receptive mind is occasionally found in clever
men; but the men who exhibit it are invariably very conceited: they
can think of nothing but themselves. And you may find the last-named
characteristic strongly developed even in men with gray hair, who
ought to have learned better through the experience of a pretty long
life. There are other minds which are very receptive. They seem to
have a strong power of suction. They take in, very decidedly, all
that is said to them. The best mind, of course, is that which combines
both characteristics,--which is strongly receptive when it ought to be
receiving, and which gives out strongly when it ought to be giving
out. The power of receptivity is greatly increased by habit. I
remember feeling awe-stricken by the intense attention with which a
very great judge was wont, in ordinary conversation, to listen to all
that was said to him. It was the habit of the judgment-seat, acquired
through many years of listening, with every faculty awake, to the
arguments addressed to him. But when you began to make some statement
to him, it was positively alarming to see him look you full in the
face, and listen with inconceivable fixedness of attention to all you
said. You could not help feeling that really the small remark you had
to make was not worth that great mind's grasping it so intently, as he
might have grasped an argument by Follett. The mind was intensely
receptive, when it was receiving at all. But I remember, too, that,
when the great judge began to speak, then his mind was (so to speak)
streaming out; and he was particularly impatient of inattention or
interruption, and particularly non-receptive of anything that might be
suggested to him.

It is extremely disagreeable, when a vulgar fellow, whom you hardly
know, addresses you by your surname with great familiarity of
manner. And such a person will take no hint that he is disagreeable,
--however stiff, and however formally polite, you may take
pains to be to him. It is disagreeable, when persons, with whom
you have no desire to be on terms of intimacy, persist in putting many
questions to you as to your private concerns,--such as your annual
income and expenditure, and the like. No doubt, it is both pleasant
and profitable for people who are not rich to compare notes on these
matters with some frank and hearty friend whose means and outgoings
are much the same as their own. I do not think of such a case,--but of
the prying curiosity of persons who have no right to pry, and who,
very generally, while diligently prying into your affairs, take
special care not to take you into their confidence. Such people, too,
while making a pretence of revealing to you all their secrets, will
often tell a very small portion of them, and make various statements
which you at the time are quite aware are not true. There are not many
things more disagreeable than a very stupid and ill-set old woman,
who, quite unaware what her opinion is worth, expresses it with entire
confidence upon many subjects of which she knows nothing whatever, and
as to which she is wholly incapable of judging. And the self-satisfied
and confident air with which she settles the most difficult questions,
and pronounces unfavorable judgment upon people ten thousand times
wiser and better than herself, is an insufferably irritating
phenomenon. It is a singular fact, that the people I have in view
invariably combine extreme ugliness with spitefulness and
self-conceit. Such a person will make particular inquiries of you as
to some near relative of your own,--and will add, with a malicious and
horribly ugly expression of face, that she is glad to hear how _very
much improved_ your relative now is. She will repeat the sentence
several times, laying great emphasis and significance upon the _very
much improved_. Of course, the notion conveyed to any stranger who
may be present is that your relative must in former days have been an
extremely bad fellow. The fact probably is, that he has always, man
and boy, been particularly well-behaved, and that really you were not
aware that he needed any special improvement,--save, indeed, in the
sense that every human being might be and ought to be a great deal
better than he is.

People who are always vaporing about their own importance, and the
value of their own possessions, are disagreeable. We all know such
people: and they are made more irritating by the fact, that their
boasting is almost invariably absurd and false. I do not mean
ethically false, but logically false. For doubtless, in many cases,
human beings honestly think themselves and their possessions as much
better than other men and their possessions as they say they do. If
thirty families compose the best society of a little country-town, you
may be sure that each of the thirty families in its secret soul looks
down upon the other twenty-nine, and fancies that it stands on a
totally different level. And it is a kind arrangement of Providence,
that a man's own children, horses, house, and other possessions, are
so much more interesting to himself than are the children, horses, and
houses of other men, that he can readily persuade himself that they
are as much better in fact as they are more interesting to his
personal feeling. But it is provoking, when a man is always obtruding
on you how highly he estimates his own belongings, and how much better
than yours he thinks them, even when this is done in all honesty and
simplicity; and it is infuriating, when a man keeps constantly telling
you things which he knows are not true, as to the preciousness and
excellence of the gifts with which fortune has endowed him. You feel
angry, when a man who has lately bought a house, one in a square
containing fifty, all as nearly as possible alike, tells you with an
air of confidence that he has got the finest house in Scotland, or in
England, as the case may be. You are irritated by the man who on all
occasions tells you that he drives in his mail-phaeton "five hundred
pounds' worth of horse-flesh." You are well aware that he did not pay
a quarter of that sum for the animals in question: and you assume as
certain that the dealer did not give him that pair of horses for less
than they were worth. It is somewhat irritating, when a man, not
remarkable in any way, begins to tell you that he can hardly go to any
part of the world without being recognized by some one who remembers
his striking aspect or is familiar with his famous name. "It costs me
three hundred a year, having that picture to look at," said
Mr. Windbag, pointing to a picture hanging on a wall in his
library. He goes on to explain that he refused six thousand pounds for
that picture; which at five per cent. would yield the annual income
named. You repeat Windbag's statement to an eminent artist. The
artist knows the picture. He looks at you fixedly, and for all
comment on Windbag's story says, (he is a Scotchman,) "HOOT TOOT!" But
the disposition to vapor is deep-set in human nature. There are not
very many men or women whom I would trust to give an accurate account
of their family, dwelling, influence, and general position, to people
a thousand miles from home, who were not likely ever to be able to
verify the picture drawn.

It is hardly necessary to mention among disagreeable people those
individuals who take pleasure in telling you that you are looking
ill,--that you are falling off physically or mentally. "Surely you
have lost some of your teeth since I saw you last," said a good man to
a man of seventy-five years: "I cannot make out a word you say, you
speak so indistinctly." And so obtuse, and so thoroughly devoid of
gentlemanly feeling, was that good man, that, when admonished that he
ought not to speak in that fashion to a man in advanced years, he
could not for his life see that he had done anything unkind or
unmannerly. "I dare say you are wearied wi' preachin' to-day: you see
you're gettin' frail noo," said a Scotch elder, in my hearing, to a
worthy clergyman. Seldom has it cost me a greater effort than it did
to refrain from turning to the elder, and saying with candor, "What a
boor and what a fool you _must_ be, to say _that!_" It was
as well I did not: the boor would not have known what I meant. He
would not have known the provocation which led me to give him my true
opinion of him. "How very bald you are getting!" said a really
good-natured man to a friend he was meeting for the first time in
several years. Such remarks are for the most part made by men who, in
good faith, have not the least idea that they are making themselves
disagreeable. There is no malicious intention. It is a matter of pure
obtuseness, stupidity, selfishness, and vulgarity. But an obtuse,
stupid, selfish, and vulgar person is disagreeable. And your right
course will be to carefully avoid all intercourse with such a person.

But besides people who blunder into saying unpleasant things, there
are a few who do so of set intention. And such people ought to be
cracked. They can do a great deal of harm,--inflict a great deal of
suffering. I believe that human beings in general are more miserable
than you think. They are very anxious,--very careworn,--stung by a
host of worries,--a good deal disappointed, in many ways. And in the
case of many people, worthy and able, there is a very low estimate of
themselves and their abilities, and a sad tendency to depressed
spirits and gloomy views. And while a kind word said to such is a real
benefit, and a great lightener of the heart, an ingenious malignant
may suggest to such things which are as a stunning blow, and as an
added load on the weary frame and mind. I have seen, with burning
indignation, a malignant beast (I mean man) playing upon that tendency
to a terrible apprehensiveness which is born with many men. I have
seen the beast vaguely suggest evil to the nervous and apprehensive
man. "This cannot end here": "I shall take my own measures now": "A
higher authority shall decide between us": I have heard the beast say,
and then go away. Of course I knew well that the beast could and
would do nothing, and I hastened to say so to the apprehensive
man. But I knew that the poor fellow would go away home, and brood
over the beast's ominous threats, and imagine a hundred terrible
contingencies, and work himself into a fever of anxiety and alarm. And
it is because I know that the vague threatener counted on all that,
and wished it, and enjoyed the thought of the slow torment he was
causing, that I choose to call him a beast rather than a man. Indeed,
there is an order of beings, worse than beasts, to which that being
should rather be referred. You have said or done something which has
given offence to certain of your neighbors. Mr. Snarling comes and
gives you a full and particular account of the indignation they feel,
and of their plans for vengeance. Mr. Snarling is happy to see you
look somewhat annoyed, and he kindly says, "Oh, never mind: this will
blow over, as _other things you have said and done have blown
over."_ Thus he vaguely suggests that you have given great offence
on many occasions, and made many bitter enemies. He adds, in a musing
voice, "Yes, as MANY other things have blown over." Turn the
individual out, and cut his acquaintance. It would be better to have
a upas-tree in your neighborhood. Of all disagreeable men, a man with
his tendencies is the most disagreeable. The bitterest and
longest-lasting east-wind acts less perniciously on body and soul than
does the society of Mr. Snarling.

Suspicious people are disagreeable; also people who are always taking
the pet. Indeed, suspiciousness and pettedness generally go
together. There are many men and women who are always imagining that
some insult is designed by the most innocent words and doings of those
around them, and always suspecting that some evil intention against
their peace is cherished by some one or other. It is most irritating
to have anything to do with such impracticable and silly mortals. But
it is a delightful thing to work along with a man who never takes
offence,--a frank, manly man, who gives credit to others for the same
generosity of nature which he feels within himself, and who, if he
thinks he has reason to complain, speaks out his mind and has things
cleared up at once. A disagreeable person is he who frequently sends
letters to you without paying the postage,--leaving you to pay
twopence for each penny which he has thus saved. The loss of twopence
is no great matter; but there is something irritating in the feeling
that your correspondent has deliberately resolved that he would save
his penny at the cost of your twopence. There is a man, describing
himself as a clergyman of the Church of England, (I cannot think he is
one,) who occasionally sends me an abusive anonymous letter, and who
invariably sends his letters unpaid. I do not mind about the man's
abuse; but I confess I grudge my twopence. I have observed, too, that
the people who send letters unpaid do so habitually. I have known the
same individual send six successive letters unpaid. And it is
probably within the experience of most of my readers, that, out of
(say) a hundred correspondents, ninety-nine invariably pay their
letters properly, while time after time the hundredth sends his with
the abominable big 2 stamped upon it, and your servant walks in and
worries you by the old statement that the postman is waiting. Let me
advise every reader to do what I intend doing for the future: to wit,
to refuse to receive any unpaid letter. You may be quite sure that by
so doing you will not lose any letter that is worth having. A class of
people, very closely analogous to that of the people who do not pay
their letters, is that of such as are constantly borrowing small sums
from their friends, which they never restore. If you should ever be
thrown into the society of such, your right course will be to take
care to have no money in your pocket. People are disagreeable who are
given to talking of the badness of their servants, the undutifulness
of their children, the smokiness of their chimneys, and the deficiency
of their digestive organs. And though, with a true and close friend,
it is a great relief, and a special tie, to have spoken out your heart
about your burdens and sorrows, it is expedient, in conversation with
ordinary acquaintances, to keep these to yourself.

It must be admitted, with great regret, that people who make a
considerable profession of religion have succeeded in making
themselves more thoroughly disagreeable than almost any other human
beings have ever made themselves. You will find people, who claim not
merely to be pious and Christian people, but to be very much more
pious and Christian than others, who are extremely uncharitable,
unamiable, repulsive, stupid, and narrow-minded, and intensely
opinionated and self-satisfied. We know, from a very high authority,
that a Christian ought to be an epistle in commendation of the blessed
faith he holds. But it is beyond question that many people who profess
to be Christians are like grim Gorgons' heads, warning people off from
having anything to do with Christianity. Why should a middle-aged
clergyman walk about the streets with a sullen and malignant scowl
always on his face, which at the best would be a very ugly one? Why
should another walk with his nose in the air, and his eyes rolled up
till they seem likely to roll out? And why should a third be always
dabbled over with a clammy perspiration, and prolong all his vowels to
twice the usual length? It is, indeed, a most woful thing, that people
who evince a spirit in every respect the direct contrary of that of
our Blessed Redeemer should fancy that they are Christians of singular
attainments; and it is more woful still, that many young people should
be scared away into irreligion or unbelief by the wretched delusion,
that these creatures, wickedly caricaturing Christianity, are fairly
representing it. I have beheld more deliberate malice, more lying and
cheating, more backbiting and slandering, denser stupidity, and
greater self-sufficiency, among bad-hearted and wrong-headed
religionists, than among any other order of human beings. I have known
more malignity and slander conveyed in the form of a prayer than
should have consigned any ordinary libeller to the pillory. I have
known a person who made evening prayer a means of infuriating and
stabbing the servants, under the pretext of confessing their
sins. "Thou knowest, Lord, how my servants have been occupied this
day": with these words did the blasphemous mockery of prayer begin one
Sunday evening in a house I could easily indicate: and then the man,
under the pretext of addressing the Almighty, raked up all the
misdoings of the servants (they being present, of course) in a
fashion, which, if he had ventured on it at any other time, would
probably have led some of them to assault him. "I went to Edinburgh,"
said a Highland elder, "and was there a Sabbath. It was an awfu'
sight! There, on the Sabbath-day, you would see people walking along
the street, smiling AS IF THEY WERE PERFECTLY HAPPY!" There was the
_gravamen_ of the poor Highlander's charge. To think of people
being or looking happy on the Lord's day! And, indeed, to think of a
Christian man ever venturing to be happy at all! "Yes, this parish was
highly favored in the days of Mr. Smith and Mr. Brown," said a
spiteful and venomous old woman,--with a glance of deadly malice at a
young lad who was present. That young lad was the son of the clergyman
of the parish,--one of the most diligent and exemplary clergymen in
Britain. Mr. Smith and Mr. Brown were the clergymen who preceded
him. And the spiteful old woman adopted this means of sticking a pin
into the young lad,--conveying the idea that there was a sad falling
off now. I saw and heard her, my reader. Now, when an ordinary
spiteful person says a malicious thing, being quite aware that she is
saying a malicious thing, and that her motive is pure malice, you are
disgusted. But when a spiteful person says a malicious thing, all the
while fancying herself a very pious person, and fancying that in
gratifying her spite she is acting from Christian principle,--I say
the sight is to me one of the most disgusting, perplexing, and
miserable, that ever human eye beheld. I have no fear of the attacks
of enemies on the blessed faith in which I live, and hope to die; but
it is dismal to see how our holy religion is misrepresented before the
world by the vile impostors who pretend to be its friends.

Among the disagreeable people who make a profession of religion,
probably many are purely hypocrites. But we willingly believe that
there are people, in whom Christianity appears in a wretchedly stunted
and distorted form, who yet are right at the root. It does not follow
that a man is a Christian, because he turns up his eyes and drawls out
his words, and, when asked to say grace, offers a prayer of twenty
minutes' duration. But, again, it does not follow that he is
_not_ a Christian, though he may do all these things. The bitter
sectary, who distinctly says that a humble, pious man, just dead, has
"gone to hell," because he died in the bosom of the National Church,
however abhorrent that sectary may be in some respects, may be, in the
main, within the Good Shepherd's fold, wherein he fancies there are
very few but himself. The dissenting teacher, who declared from his
pulpit that the parish clergyman (newly come, and an entire stranger
to him) was "a servant of Satan," may possibly have been a good man,
after all. Grievous defects and errors may exist in a Christian
character, which is a Christian character still. And the Christian,
horribly disagreeable and repulsive now, will some day, we trust, have
all _that_ purged away. But I do not hesitate to say, that any
Christian, by so far as he is disagreeable and repulsive, deviates
from the right thing. Oh, my reader, when my heart is sometimes sore
through what I see of disagreeable traits in Christian character, what
a blessed relief there is in turning to the simple pages, and seeing
for the thousandth time The True Christian Character,--so different!
Yes, thank God, we know where to look, to find what every pious man
should be humbly aiming to be: and when we see That Face, and hear
That Voice, there is something that soothes and cheers among the
wretched imperfections (in one's self as in others) of the
present,--something that warms the heart, and that brings a man to his

The present writer has a relative who is Professor of Theology in a
certain famous University. With that theologian I recently had a
conversation on the matter of which we have just been thinking. The
Professor lamented bitterly the unchristian features of character
which may be found in many people making a great parade of their
Christianity. He mentioned various facts, which had recently come to
his own knowledge, which would sustain stronger expressions of opinion
than any which I have given. But he went on to say, that it would be a
sad thing, if no fools could get to heaven,--nor any unamiable,
narrow-minded, sour, and stupid people. Now, said he, with great
force of reason, religion does not alter idiosyncrasy. When a fool
becomes a Christian, he will be a foolish Christian; a narrow-minded
man will be a narrow-minded Christian; a stupid man, a stupid
Christian. And though a malignant man will have his malignity much
diminished, it by no means follows that it will be completely rooted
out. "When I would do good, evil is present with me." "I find a law in
my members, warring against the law of my mind, and enslaving me to
the law of sin." But you are not to blame Christianity for the
stupidity and unamiability of Christians. If they be disagreeable, it
is not the measure of true religion they have got that makes them
so. In so far as they are disagreeable, they depart from the
standard. You know, you may make water sweet or sour,--you may make it
red, blue, black; and it will be water still, though its purity and
pleasantness are much interfered with. In like manner, Christianity
may coexist with a good deal of acid,--with a great many features of
character very inconsistent with itself. The cup of fair water may
have a bottle of ink emptied into it, or a little verjuice, or even a
little strychnine. And yet, though sadly deteriorated, though
hopelessly disguised, the fair water is there, and not entirely

And it is worth remarking, that you will find many persons who are
very charitable to blackguards, but who have no charity for the
weaknesses of really good people. They will hunt out the act of
thoughtless liberality done by the scapegrace who broke his mother's
heart and squandered his poor sisters' little portions; they will make
much of that liberal act,--such an act as tossing to some poor
Magdalen a purse filled with money which was probably not his own; and
they will insist that there is hope for the blackguard yet. But these
persons will tightly shut their eyes against a great many
substantially good deeds done by a man who thinks Prelacy the
abomination of desolation, or who thinks that stained glass and an
organ are sinful. I grant you that there is a certain fairness in
trying the blackguard and the religionist by different standards.
Where the pretension is higher, the test may justly be more
severe. But I say it is unfair to puzzle out with diligence the one or
two good things in the character of a reckless scamp, and to refuse
moderate attention to the many good points about a weak,
narrow-minded, and uncharitable good person. I ask for charity in the
estimating of all human characters,--even in estimating the character
of the man who would show no charity to another. I confess freely
that in the last-named case the exercise of charity is extremely



"God be praised! the troops are landed, and critically too," Commodore
Hood said, after he had received from Lieutenant-Colonel Dalrymple an
account of his entrance into Boston. The Commodore reflected, with
infinite satisfaction, he wrote, that, in anticipation of a great
emergency, he collected the squadron; that he was enabled to act the
moment he received the first application for aid; and that he was
prepared to throw forward additional force until informed that no more
was wanted: and now, with an officer's pride, he advised George
Grenville, that on the twenty-seventh day from the date at New York of
the order of General Gage for troops, the detachment was landed at
Boston. The two commanders were well satisfied with each other. Hood
characterized Dalrymple as a very excellent officer, quite the
gentleman, knowing the world, having a good address, and with all the
fire, judgment, coolness, integrity, and firmness that a man could
possess. Dalrymple wrote to Hood,--"My good Sir, you may rest
satisfied that the arrival of the squadron was the most seasonable
thing ever known, and that I am in possession of the town; and
therefore nothing can be apprehended. Had we not arrived so
critically, the worst that could be apprehended must have happened."
Both were good officers and honorable men, who believed and acted on
the fabulous relations of the Boston crown officials.

"Our town is now a perfect garrison," the Patriots said, after the
troops were posted, and the rough experiment on their well-ordered
municipal life had fairly begun. It galled them to see a powerful
fleet and a standing army watching all the inlets to the town,--to see
a guard at the only land-avenue leading into the country, companies
patrolling at the ferry-ways, the Common alive with troops and dotted
with tents, marchings and countermarchings through the streets to
relieve the guards, and armed men occupying the halls of justice and
freedom, with sentinels at their doors. Quiet observers of this
strange spectacle, like Andrew Eliot, wondered at the infatuation of
the Ministry, and what the troops were sent to do; while the popular
leaders and the body of the Patriots regarded their presence as
insulting. The crown officials and Loyalist leaders, however, exulted
in this show of force, and ascribed to it a conservative influence and
a benumbing effect. "Our harbor is full of ships, and our town full of
troops," Hutchinson said. "The red-coats make a formidable
appearance, and there is a profound silence among the Sons of
Liberty." The Sons chose to labor and to wait; and the troops could
not attack the liberty of silence.

The House of Representatives, on reviewing the period of the stay of
the troops in Boston, declared that there resulted from their
introduction "a scene of confusion and distress, for the space of
seventeen months, which ended in the blood and slaughter of His
Majesty's good subjects." The popular leaders, who repelled, as
calumny, the Loyalist charge that they were engaged in a scheme of
rebellion, said that to quarter among them in time of peace a standing
army, without the consent of the General Court, was as harrowing to
the feelings of the people, and as contrary to the constitution of
Massachusetts, as it would be harrowing to the people of England, and
contrary to the Bill of Eights and of every principle of civil
government, if soldiers were posted in London without the consent of
Parliament; in a word, that it was as violative of their local
self-government as the Stamp Act or the Revenue Act, and was also an
impeachment of their loyalty. They, therefore, as a matter of right,
were opposed to a continuance of the troops in the town.

The question of removal now became an issue of the gravest political
character, and of the deepest personal interest; and a steady pursuit
of this object, from October, 1768, to March, 1770, gave unity,
directness, and an ever-painful foreboding to the local politics,
until the flow of blood created a delicate and dangerous crisis.

The crown officials and over-zealous Loyalists, during this period,
resisted this demand for a removal of the troops. The officers urged
that a military force was needed to support the King's authority; the
Loyalists said that it was necessary to protect their lives and
property; and the Ministry viewed it as vital to the success of their
measures. Lord Hillsborough,--who was an exponent of the school that
placed little account on public opinion as the basis of law, but
relied on physical force,--in an elaborate confidential letter
addressed to Governor Bernard, urged as a justification of this
policy, that the authority of the civil power was too weak to enforce
obedience to the laws, and preserve that peace and good order which
are essential to the happiness of every State; and he directed the
Governor punctually to observe former instructions, especially those
of the preceding July, and gave now the additional instruction, to
institute inquiries into such unconstitutional acts as had been
committed since, in order that the perpetrators of them might, if
possible, be brought to justice. It is worthy of remark, that there is
nothing more definite in this letter as to what the Ministry
considered to be unconstitutional acts.

As American affairs were pondered, at this period, (October, 1768,) by
Under-Secretary Pownall, a brother of Ex-Governor Pownall, Lord
Barrington, and Lord Hillsborough, in the deep shading of the
misrepresentations of the local officials of Boston, they appeared to
be in a very critical condition. These officials had, however, the
utmost confidence in the exhibition of British power, and in the
wisdom of Francis Bernard. The letters which the Governor now
received, both private and official, from these friends, were, as to
his personal affairs, of the most gratifying character; and their
congratulations on the landing of the troops were as though a crisis
had been fortunately passed. Lord Hillsborough congratulated him,
officially, "on the happy and quiet landing of the troops, and the
unusual approbation which his steady and able conduct had obtained."
Lord Barrington, in a private letter, said,--"There is only one
comfortable circumstance, which is, that the troops are quietly lodged
in Boston. This will for a time preserve the public peace, and secure
the persons of the few who are well affected to the mother-country."
Both these leading politicians--there were none at this time more
powerful in England--expressed similar sentiments in Parliament from
the Ministerial benches: Lord Hillsborough sounding fully the praise
of the Governor, and Lord Barrington, in an imperial strain, terming
the Americans "worse than traitors against the Crown, traitors against
the legislature of Great Britain," and saying that "the use of troops
was to bring rioters to justice."

The sentiment expressed as to the future was equally gratifying to the
Governor. Lord Hillsborough, (November 15, 1768,) in an official
letter, said,--"It will, I apprehend, be a great support and
consolation for you to know that the King places much confidence in
your prudence and caution on the one hand, and entertains no
diffidence in your spirit and resolution on the other, and that His
Majesty will not suffer these sentiments to receive any alterations
from private misrepresentations, if any should come"; and in a private
letter, by the same mail, the Secretary said,--"If I am listened to,
the measure you think the most necessary will be adopted." It is not
easy to see how a Government could express greater confidence in an
agent than the Secretary expressed in Francis Bernard; and the talk in
Ministerial circles now was, as it was confidentially reported to the
Governor, that, as he had nothing to arrange with the faction, and
nothing to fear from the people, he could fully restore the King's

The tone of the Governor's letters and the object of his official
action, by a thorough repudiation of the democratic principle, and a
jealous regard for British dominion, were well calculated to inspire
this confidence; for they came up to the ideal, not merely of the
leaders of the Tory party, or of the Whig party, but of the England of
that day. There was then great confusion in the British factions.
Ex-Governor Pownall, after comparing this confusion to Des Cartes's
chaos of vortices, remarked, (1768,) in a letter addressed to
Dr. Cooper,--"We have but one word,--I will not call it an
idea,--that is, our sovereignty; and it is like some word to a madman,
which, whenever mentioned, throws him into his ravings, and brings on
a paroxysm." The Massachusetts crown officials were continually
pronouncing this word to the Ministry. They constantly set forth the
principle of local self-government, which was tenaciously and
religiously clung to by the Patriots as being the foundation of all
true liberty, as a principle of independence; and they represented the
jealous adherence to the local usages and laws, which faithfully
embodied the popular instincts and doctrine, to be proofs of a decay
of the national authority, and the cloak of long-cherished schemes of
rebellion. And this view was accepted by the leading political men of
England. They held, all of them but a little band of republican-
grounded sympathizers with the Patriots, that the principles
announced by the Patriots went too far, and that, in clinging
to them the Americans were endangering the British empire; and
the only question among the public men of England was, whether the
Crown or the Parliament was the proper instrumentality, as the phrase
was, for reducing the Colonies to obedience. Lord Barrington, in his
speech above cited, laid most stress on the denial of the authority of
Parliament: all who questioned any part of this authority were
regarded as disloyal; and hence Lord Hillsborough's instructions to
Governor Bernard ran,--"If any man or set of men have been daring
enough to declare openly that they will not submit to the authority of
Parliament, it is of great consequence that His Majesty's servants
should know who and what they are."

Another class of British observers, already referred to, of the school
of Sidney and Milton, lovers of civil and religious liberty, saw in
Boston and Massachusetts a state of things far removed from rebellion
and anarchy. They looked upon the spectacle of a people in general
raised by mental and moral culture into fitness for self-government
and an appreciation of the higher aims of life, as a result at which
good men the world over ought to rejoice, a result honorable to the
common humanity. They pronounced the late Parliamentary acts affecting
such a people to be grievances, the course of the Ministry towards
them to be oppressive, and the claims set forth in their proceedings
to be reasonable; they even went so far as to say that the equity was
wholly on the side of the North-Americans. Thus this class, as they
rose above a selfish jealousy of political power, fairly anticipated
the verdict of posterity. Thomas Hollis, the worthy benefactor of
Harvard College, was a type of this republican school. "The people of
Boston and of Massachusetts Bay," he wrote in 1768, "are, I suppose,
take them as a body, the soberest, most knowing, virtuous people, at
this time, upon earth. All of them hold Revolution principles, and
were to a man, till disgusted by the Stamp Act, the stanchest friends
to the House of Hanover and subjects of King George III."

The representations made to the Ministry, at this time, (October,
1768,) by Bernard, Hutchinson, and Gage, were similar in tone. There
was very little government in Boston, according to Gage; there was
nothing able to resist a mob, according to Hutchinson; so much
wickedness and folly were never before combined as in the men who
lately ruled here, according to Bernard. The Commander-in-Chief and
the Governor sent despatches to Lord Hillsborough on the same day
(October 31, 1768). Gage informed the Secretary that the constitution
of the Province leaned so much to the side of democracy that the
Governor had not the power to remedy the disorders that happened in
it; Bernard informed him that indulgence towards the Province, whence
all the mischief had arisen, would ever have the same effect that it
had had hitherto, led on from claim to claim till the King had left
only the name of the government and the Parliament but the shadow of
authority. There was nothing whatever to justify this strain of
remark, but the idea which the people had grasped, that they had a
right to an equal measure of freedom with Englishmen; but such a claim
was counted rebellious. "I told Cushing, the Speaker, some months
ago," the Governor says in this letter, "that they were got to the
edge of rebellion, and advised them not to step over the line." The
reply of the Speaker is not given, but he was constantly disclaiming,
in his letters, any purpose of rebellion. Now that Bernard saw, what
he had desired to see for years, troops in Boston, he was as ill at
ease as before; and at the close of the letter just cited he says,--"I
am now at sea again in the old weather-beaten boat, with the wind
blowing as hard as ever."

The political winds, however, do not seem to have been damaging any
body or thing but the Governor and his cause. During the month of
October the crown officials urged the local authorities to billet the
troops in the town; but this demand was quietly and admirably met by
setting against it the law of the land as interpreted by just men. The
press was now of signal service; and all through this period of
seventeen months, though it severely arraigned the advocates of
arbitrary power, yet it ever urged submission to the law. "It is
always safe to adhere to the law," are the grand words of the "Boston
Gazette," October 17, 1768, "and to keep every man of every
denomination and character within its bounds. Not to do this would be
in the highest degree imprudent. What will it be but to depart from
the straight line, to give up the law and the Constitution, which is
fixed and stable, and is the collected and long-digested sentiment of
the whole, and to substitute in its place the opinion of individuals,
than which nothing can be more uncertain?" These words were penned by
Samuel Adams, and freedom never had a more unselfish advocate; they
fell upon a community that was discussing in every home the gravest of
political questions; and they were responded to with a prudence and
order that were warmly eulogized both in America and England. This
respect for Law, when Liberty was as a live coal from a divine altar,
adhered to so faithfully for years, in spite, too, of goadings by
those who wielded British power, but forgot American right, must be
regarded as remarkable. Until the close of Bernard's administration,
the town, to use contemporary words, was surprisingly quiet; but
during the remainder of the period of the seventeen months, when
selfish importers broke their agreement and set themselves against
what was considered to be the public safety, they provoked
disturbances and even mobs. Still, in an age when, to use Hutchinson's
words, "mobs of a certain sort were constitutional," the wonder is,
not that there were any, but that there were not more of them in
Boston. Besides, the concern of the popular leaders to preserve order
was so deep and their action so prompt, that disturbances were checked
and suppressed without the use of the military on a single occasion;
and hence the injury done both to persons and property was so small,
when compared with the bloodshed and destruction by contemporary
British mobs, that what Colonel Barré said of the June riots in Boston
was true of the outbreaks at the close of this period, namely, that
they but mimicked the mobs of the mother-country.

The patience of the people was severely tried on the evening of the
landing of the troops, as they filed into Faneuil Hall; and it was
still more severely tried, as, on the next day, Sunday, they filed
into the Town-House. The latter building was thus occupied under an
order from Governor Bernard, who, it was said in the journals, had no
authority to give such an order. The legislature and the courts of law
held their sessions here, and, what was not known then elsewhere in
the world, the General Court was public,--that is, the people were
admitted to hear the debates, while in England the public was
excluded; it was an offence to report the debates in Parliament, and a
breach of privilege for a member to print even his own speech. In
consequence of the political advance that had been made here, the
galleries of the Hall of the House of Representatives, in December,
1767, for eighteen days in succession, were thronged with people, who
listened to the discussion when the most remarkable state-paper of the
time was under consideration, namely, the letter which the House
addressed to their agent, Mr. De Berdt. It now provoked the people to
see these halls, all except the chamber in which the Council held its
sessions, occupied by armed men, and the field-pieces of the train
placed in the street, pointing towards the building. The lower floor
was used as an Exchange by the merchants, who were annoyed by being
obliged daily to brush by the red-coats. All this was excessively
irritating, and needed no exaggeration from abroad. Still it is but
just to the men of that day to present all the circumstances under
which they maintained their dignity. "Asiatic despotism," so says a
contemporary London eulogy on their conduct, which was printed in the
Boston journals, "does not present a picture more odious to the eye of
humanity than the sanctuary of justice and law turned into a main
guard." And on comparing the moderation in this town under such an
infliction with a late effusion of blood in St. George's Fields, the
writer says,--"By this wise and excellent conduct you have
disappointed your enemies, and convinced your friends that an entire
reliance is to be placed on the supporters of freedom at Boston, in
every occurrence, however delicate or dangerous."

While the indignation of the Sons of Liberty, under such provocations,
was as deep as Hutchinson says their silence was profound, there was,
in the local press, the severest denunciation of this use of their
forum. The building is called in print this year, (1768,) the
Town-House, the State-House, the Court-House, and the Parliament-
House. It may be properly termed the political focus of the Province,
and it then bore to Massachusetts a similar relation to that
which Faneuil Hall now bears to Boston. The goodly and venerable
structure that still looks down on State Street and the Merchants'
Exchange has little in it to attract the common eye, much less a
classic taste; but there is not on the face of the earth, it has been
said, a temple, however magnificent, about which circles a more
glorious halo. There is much to relieve the remark of Mayor Otis from
exaggeration. Its humble halls, for over a generation, had echoed to
the appeals for the Good Old Cause made by men of whom it was said
Milton was their great forerunner. Here popular leaders with such root
in them had struggled long and well against the encroachments of
Prerogative. Here the state-papers were matured that first
intelligently reconciled the claims of local self-government with what
is due to a protective nationality. Here intrepid representatives of
the people, on the gravest occasion that had arisen in an American
assembly, justly refused to comply with an arbitrary royal
command. Here first in modern times was recognized the vital principle
of publicity in legislation. Here James Otis, as a pioneer patriot,
poured forth his soul when his tongue was as a flame of fire,--John
Adams, on the side of freedom, first showed himself to be a Colossus
in debate,--Joseph Hawley first publicly denied that Parliament had
the right to rule in all cases whatsoever,--and the unequalled
leadership of Samuel Adams culminated, when he felt obliged to strive
for the independence of his country; and, in the fulness of time, the
imperishable scroll of the Declaration, from this balcony, and in a
scene of unsurpassed moral sublimity, was first officially unrolled
before the people of the State of Massachusetts. Thus this relic of a
hero age is fragrant with the renown of

      "The men that glorious law who taught,
       Unshrinking liberty of thought,
    And roused the nations with the truth sublime."

On the 15th of October, General Gage, with a distinguished staff, came
to Boston to provide quarters for the troops, and was received at a
review on the Common with a salute of seventeen guns by the train of
artillery, when, preceded by a brilliant corps of officers, he passed
in a chariot before the column. The same journals (October 20) which
contained a notice of this review had extracts from London papers, by
a fresh arrival, in which it was said,--"The town of Boston meant to
render themselves as independent of the English nation as the crown of
England is of that of Spain"; and that "the nation was treated by them
in terms of stronger menace and insult than sovereign princes ever use
to each other."

The journals now announced that two regiments, augmented to seven
hundred and fifty men each, were to embark at Cork for Boston; and
General Gage informed the local authorities that he expected their
arrival, and asked quarters for them, when the subject was considered
in the Council. This body now complied so far as, in the words printed
at the time, to "advise the Governor to give immediate orders to have
the Manufactory House in Boston, which is the property of the
Province, cleared of those persons who are in the present possession
of it, so that it might be ready to receive those of said regiments
who could not be conveniently accommodated at Castle William." This
building, as already remarked, stood in what is now Hamilton Place,
near the Common, and for twelve years had been hired by Mr. John
Brown, a weaver, who not only carried on his business here, but lived
here with his family; and hence it was his legal habitation, his
castle, "which the wind and the rain might enter, but which the King
could not enter."

Mr. Brown, having before declined to let the troops already in town
occupy the building, now, acting under legal advice, declined to
comply with the present request to leave it; whereupon it was
determined to take forcible possession. Accordingly, on the 17th of
October, at two o'clock in the afternoon, Sheriff Greenleaf,
accompanied by Chief-Justice Hutchinson, went to the Manufactory House
for this purpose, but was denied entrance by Mr. Brown, who had
fastened all the doors. He appeared, however, at a window, when the
Sheriff presented the Governor's order; but Mr. Brown replied, that he
never had had any lawful warning to leave the house, and did not look
upon the power of the Governor and Council as sufficient to dispossess
him; and finally told the Sheriff that he would not surrender his
possession to any till required by the General Court, under whom he
held, or till he was obliged to do it by the law of the Province, or
compelled by force: whereupon the Sheriff and the Chief-Justice

On the nest morning, at ten o'clock, Sheriff Greenleaf, attended by
his deputies, again appeared before the house, and again found the
doors shut. They, however, entered the cellar by a window, that was
partly opened, it is said to let out an inmate,--when, after a
scuffle, Mr. Brown declared that the Sheriff was his prisoner; upon
which the Sheriff informed the commanding officer of the regiment on
the Common of his situation, who sent a guard for his protection.
Sentinels were now placed at the doors, two at the gate of
the yard, and a guard of ten in the cellar; and as the people gathered
fast about the gate, an additional company was ordered from the
Common. Any one was allowed to come out of the house, but no one was
allowed to go in. The press now harped upon the cries of Mr. Brown's
children for bread.

This strange proceeding caused great excitement, and at this stage
there was (October 22) a meeting of the Council to consider the
subject, when seven of the members waited on the Governor to assure
him that nothing could be farther from their intention, when they gave
their advice, than to sanction this use of force; and about seven
o'clock that evening most of the troops were taken away, leaving only
one or two soldiers at a window and a small guard in the cellar. In a
few days afterwards all the guards were removed, and finally Mr. Brown
was left in quiet possession. The whole affair lasted seventeen
days. Shortly after, Mr. Brown prosecuted the Sheriff for trespass,
when the Council declined to be accountable for these official
doings. He soon announced to the public in a card a resumption of his
business. His tombstone bears a eulogy on the bravery which thus long
and successfully resisted an attempt to force a citizen from his legal
habitation. "Happy citizen," the stone reads, "when called singly to
be a barrier to the liberties of a continent!"

Soon after this affair, fifteen members of the Council, and among them
several decided Loyalists, signed an address which was adopted at a
meeting held without a summons from the Governor, and which was
presented (October 27, 1768) directly to General Gage, as "from
members of His Majesty's Council." This address is a candid, truthful,
and strong exposition of the whole series of proceedings connected
with the introduction of the troops. "Your own observation," it says,
"will give you the fullest evidence that the town and the Province are
in a peaceful state; your own inquiry will satisfy you, that, though
there have been disorders in the town of Boston, some of them did not
merit notice, and that such as did have been magnified beyond the
truth." The events of the eighteenth of March and of the tenth of
June were reviewed: the former were pronounced trivial, and such as
could not have been noticed to the disadvantage of the town but by
persons inimical to it; the latter were conceded to be criminal, and
the actors in them guilty of a riot; but, in justice to the town, it
was urged that this riot had its origin in the threats and the armed
force used in the seizure of the sloop Liberty. The General was
informed that the people thought themselves injured, and by men to
whom they had done no injury, and thus was "most unjustly brought into
question the loyalty of as loyal a people as any in His Majesty's
dominions"; and he was assured that it would be a great ease and
satisfaction to the inhabitants, if be would please to order the
troops to Castle William.

In a brief reply to this elaborate address, the next day, General Gage
said that the riots and the resolves of the town had induced His
Majesty to order four regiments to protect his loyal subjects in their
persons and properties, and to assist the civil magistrates in the
execution of the laws; that he trusted the discipline and order of the
troops would render their stay in no shape distressful to His
Majesty's dutiful subjects; and that he hoped the future behavior of
the people would justify the best construction of past actions, and
afford him a sufficient foundation to represent to His Majesty the
propriety of withdrawing the most part of the troops. This was very
paternal, haughty, and very English. However, the activity of the
commander, in bargaining for stores, houses, and other places to be
used as barracks for the soldiers, indicated better behavior in the
future on the part of crown officials than the browbeating of the
local authorities, from the Council down to the Justices, in the vain
attempt to make them do what the law did not require them to do, and
what their feelings, as well as their sense of right, forbade their
doing. In a short time the good people had the satisfaction of seeing
the redcoats move out of Fanueil Hall and the Town-House into quarters
provided by those who sent them into the town, and of reflecting on
the moral victory which their idolized leaders had won in standing
firmly by the law.

It was now in the mouths, not only of the Patriots, but of Loyalists
of the candid type of those who signed the recent address to General
Gage, that, as it was evident things had been grossly misrepresented
to the Ministers, when truth and time should set matters fairly right
before the Government there would be a change of policy; and so Hope,
in her usual bright way, lifted a little the burden from heavy hearts
in the cheering words through the press (October, 1768),--"The pacific
and prudent measures of the town of Boston must evince to the world
that Americans, though represented by their enemies to be in a state
of insurrection, mean nothing more than to support those
constitutional rights to which the laws of God and Nature entitle
them; and when the measure of oppression and mi..st...al iniquity is
full, and the dutiful supplications of an injured people shall have
reached the gracious ear of their sovereign, may at length terminate
in a glorious display of liberty."

The journals, a few days after these events, announced that "the
worshipful the Commissioners of the Customs, having of their own free
will retreated in June to the Castle, designed to make their
re-entrance to the metropolis, so that the town would be again blessed
with the fruits of the benevolence of the Board, as well as an example
of true politeness and breeding"; and soon afterwards this Board again
held its sessions in Boston. It was further announced, that the troops
that had been quartered in the Town-House had moved into a house
lately possessed by James Murray, which was near the church in Brattle
Street, (hence the origin of "Murray's Barracks," which became
historic from their connection with the Boston Massacre,)--that James
Otis, at the session of the Superior Court, in the Town-House, moved
that the Court adjourn to Faneuil Hall, because of the cannon that
remained pointed at the building, as it was derogatory to the honor of
the Court to administer justice at the mouth of the cannon and the
point of the bayonet,--that the Sixty-Fourth and Sixty-Fifth Regiments
had arrived from Cork, and were quartered in the large and commodious
stores on Wheelwright's Wharf,--and that Commodore Hood, the commander
of His Majesty's ships in America, had arrived (November 13) in
town. It is stated that there were now about four thousand troops
here, under the command of General Pomeroy, who was an excellent
officer and became very popular with the citizens.

The town, meanwhile, continued remarkably quiet. There was no call for
popular demonstrations during the winter; and the Patriots confined
their labors to severe animadversions on public measures, and efforts
to tone the people up to a rigid observance of the non-importation
scheme. The crown officials endeavored to enliven the season with
balls and concerts, and at first were mortified that few of the ladles
would attend them; but they persevered, and were more successful.
"Now," Richard Carey writes, (February 7, 1769,) "it is mortifying
to many of the inhabitants that they have obtained their wishes,
and that such numbers of ladies attend. It is a bad thing for
Boston to have so many gay, idle people in it." There is much comment,
in the letters and journals, upon these balls and concerts, and some
of it not very flattering to the ladies who countenanced them.

Meantime there appeared (January 10, 1769) an extra "Boston Post-Boy
and Advertiser," a broadside or half-sheet, printed in pica type, but
only on one side, which, under the heading of "Important Advices,"
spread before the community the King's speech to Parliament. This
state-paper, which was read the world over, represented the people of
Boston as being "in a state of disobedience to all law and government,
and to have proceeded to measures subversive of the Constitution, and
attended with circumstances that might manifest a disposition to throw
off their dependence upon Great Britain"; and it contained a pledge
"to defeat the mischievous designs of those turbulent and seditious
persons who, under false pretences, had but too successfully deluded
numbers," and whose designs, if not defeated, could not fail to
produce the most serious consequences, not only to the Colonies
immediately, but, in the end, to all the dominions of the Crown.

The Patriots remarked, (January 14, 1769,) that the countenances of a
few, who seemed to enjoy a triumph, were now very jocund; but that His
Majesty's loyal subjects were distressed that he had conceived such an
unfavorable sentiment of the temper of the people, who, far from the
remotest disposition to faction or rebellion, were struggling, as they
apprehended, for a constitution which supported the Crown, and for the
rights devised to them by their Charter and confirmed to them by the
declaration of His Majesty's glorious ancestors, William and Mary, at
that important era, the Revolution. These words are from an article
entitled "Journal of the Times," of which notice will be taken
presently; and they came out of what Bernard used to term the cabinet
of the faction. Other words, from Thomas Cushing, who was not an ultra
Whig, run, as to His Majesty,--"He must have been egregiously
misinformed. Nothing could have been farther from the truth than such
advices. I hope time, which scatters and dispels the mists of error
and falsehood, will place us in our true light, and convince the
Administration how much they have been abused by false and malicious
misrepresentations." Official falsehood and malice did their
appointed work, doubtless, in inflaming the British mind; but the root
of the difficulty was the feeling, so general at that time in England,
that every man there had a right to govern every man in America. The
King represented this imperialism.

The King's speech, threatening resolves adopted in Parliament,
startling avowals in the direction of arbitrary power uttered in the
debates, gave fresh significance to the quartering of troops in
Boston, and forced upon the Patriots the conviction that these troops
were not here merely to aid in maintaining a public peace that was not
disturbed, or in collecting revenue that was regularly paid, but were
indicative of a purpose in the Ministry to change their local
government, and subjugate them, as to their domestic affairs, to
foreign-imposed law. "My daily reflections for two years," says John
Adams, who lived near Murray's Barracks, "at the sight of those
soldiers before my door, were serious enough. Their very appearance in
Boston was a strong proof to me that the determination in Great
Britain to subjugate us was too deep and inveterate ever to be altered
by us; for everything we could do was misrepresented, and nothing we
could say was credited." This statement is abundantly confirmed by
contemporary facts. Nothing that the Patriots could say availed to
diminish the alarm which was felt by the British aristocracy at the
obvious tendency of the democratic principle. The progress of events
but revealed new grandeur in the ideas of freedom and equality that
had been here so intelligently grasped, and new capacities in the
republican forms in which they had found expression. This was
growth. The mode prescribed to check this growth was a change in the
local Constitution, and this would be "the introduction of absolute
rule" in Massachusetts.

The voluminous correspondence, at this period, between the members of
the British Cabinet and Governor Bernard shows that this purpose of
changing the Constitution was entertained by the Ministers and was
warmly urged by the local crown officials. Thus, John Pownall, the
Under-Secretary, avowed in a letter addressed to the Governor, that
such a measure was necessary, and that such "had been long his firm
and unalterable opinion upon the fullest consideration of what had
passed in America"; and in the same letter be says that the Government
had under consideration "the forfeiture of the Charter and measures of
local regulation and reform."

The Governor, for years, had urged this in general, and of late had
named the specific measure of so altering the constitution of the
Council, that, instead of being chosen by the Representatives, it
should be appointed by the Crown; and he was vexed because his
superiors did not consider the Charter as at their mercy. "I have
just now heard," he wrote, October 22, 1768, to Lord Barrington, "that
the Charter of this government is still considered as sacred. For,
most assuredly, if the Charter is not so far altered as to put the
appointment of the Council in the King, this government will never
recover itself. When order is restored, it will be at best but a
republic, of which the Governor will be no more than President." A
month later (November 22, 1768) he wrote to John Pownall,--"If the
Convention and the proceedings of the Council about the same time
shall give the Crown a legal right or induce the Parliament to
exercise a legislative power over the Charter, it will be most
indulgently exercised, if it is extended no farther than to make an
alteration in the form of the government, which has always been found
wanting, is now become quite necessary, and will really, by making it
more constitutional, render it more permanent. With this alteration,
I do believe that all the disorders of this government will be
remedied, and the authority of it fully restored. Without it, there
will be a perpetual occasion to resort to expedients, the continual
inefficiency of which will speak in the words of Scripture,--'You are
careful and troubled about many things, but one thing is needful.'"

As week after week passed and no orders came from the Secretary of
State to make arrests of certain individuals who had been conspicuous
in the late town-meetings, and no legislation was entered upon as to
the Charter, the crown officials were greatly agitated; and Bernard
says (December, 1768) that they were "under the apprehension that the
Government of Great Britain might not take the full advantage of what
the late mad and wicked proceedings of The Sons of Liberty [faction]
had put in their hands. They say that the late wild attempt to create
a revolt and take the government of the Province out of the King's
into their own hands affords so fair an opportunity for the supreme
power to reform the constitution of this subordinate government, to
dispel the faction which has harassed this Province for three years
past, and to inflict a proper and not a severe censure upon some of
the heads of it, that, if it is now neglected, they say, it is not
like soon, perhaps ever, to happen again." And the Governor said that
he heard much of this from all the sensible men with whom he
conversed. What a testimonial is this record in favor of republican
Boston and Massachusetts! So complete was the quiet of the town, so
forbearing were the people under the severest provocations, that this
set of politicians were out of all patience, and feared they never
would see another riot out of which to make a case for abolishing the
cherished local government. The Patriots, Bernard says in this letter,
did not experience this agitation. "Those persons," he writes, "who
have reason to expect a severe censure from Great Britain do not
appear to be so anxious for the event as the friends and well-wishers
to the authority of the Government." The Patriots intended no
rebellion, and they experienced no apprehension. They put forth no
absurd claims to meddle with things that were common and national, and
they asked simply to be let alone as to things peculiar and local.

Meantime Governor Bernard was fairly importuned by Government
officials for advice; and again and again he was assured that his
judgment was regarded as valuable. "Mr. Pownall and I," Lord
Hillsborough says, in a private letter, (November 15, 1768,) "have
spent some days in considering with the utmost attention your
correspondence." John Pownall, the Under-Secretary here referred to,
wrote (December 24, 1768,) to Bernard,--"I want to know very much your
real sentiments on the present very critical situation of American
affairs, and the more fully the greater will be the obligations
conferred." There are curious coincidences in history, and one
occurred on the day on which this letter was dated; for Governor
Bernard, with a letter of this same date addressed to Pownall, sent
him a remarkable communication developing the measures which the
Boston crown officials considered to be necessary to maintain the
King's authority.

At this time (December, 1768) there appears to have been but little
difference of opinion among the prominent Loyalists as to the
necessity of an extraordinary exercise of authority in some way, both
as a point of honor and as a measure of precaution for the future. On
this point Hutchinson was as decided as Bernard, though he was
reticent as to the precise shape it ought to take. It would not do, he
said, to leave the Colonies to the loose principle, espoused by so
many, that they were subject to laws that appeared to them equitable,
and no other; nor would it do to drive the Colonies to despair; but if
nothing were done but to pass declaratory acts and resolves, it would
soon be all over with the friends of Government; and so he wrote,
"This is most certainly a crisis."

The remarkable paper just referred to is recorded in Governor
Bernard's Letter-Books, without either address or signature, but in
the form of a letter, dated December 23, 1768, and marked,
"Confidential." It is elaborate and able, but too long for citation
here in full. In it the Governor professes to speak for others as well
as for himself, and to present the reasonings used in Boston on an
important and critical occasion.

The second paragraph embodies the propositions which were recommended
by the Loyalists, and is as follows:--"It is said that the
Town-Meeting, the Convention, and the refusal of the Justices to
billet the soldiers, severally, point out and justify the means
whereby, First, the disturbers of the peace of the government may be
properly censured, Second, the magistracy of the town reformed, and,
Third, the constitution of the government amended: all of them most
desirable ends, and some of them quite necessary to the restoration of
the King's authority. I will consider these separately."

The Governor represented the town-meeting which called the September
Convention as undoubtedly intending to bring about a rebellion,--and
the precise way designed is said to have been, to seize the two
highest officials and the treasury, and then to set up a standard; and
after remarking on the circumstances that defeated this scheme, he
inquires why so notorious an attempt should go unpunished because it
was unsuccessful. He recommends the passage of an Act of Parliament
disqualifying the principal persons engaged in this from holding any
office or sitting in the Assembly; and this was urged as being much
talked of, and as likely in its tendency to have a good influence in
other governments. He presented, as proper to be censured, the
Moderator of the town-meeting, Otis,--the Selectmen, Jackson, Ruddock,
Hancock, Rowe, and Pemberton,--the Town-Clerk, Cooper,--the Speaker of
the Convention, Gushing,--and its Clerk, Adams. "The giving these men
a check," he said, "would make them less capable of doing more
mischief,--would really be salutary to themselves, as well as
advantageous to the Government."

The Governor represented that to reform the magistracy of the town
would be of great service, for there were among the Justices several
of the supporters of the Sons of Liberty; and their refusal, under
their own hands, to quarter the soldiers in town would justify a
removal. He recommended that this reform should be by Act of
Parliament, and that by beginning in the County of Suffolk a precedent
might be established for a like exercise of authority as to other
places. Such an act, with a royal instruction to the Governor as to
appointments, was looked upon as of such value for the restoration of
authority, that "some were for carrying this remedial measure to all
the commissions of all kinds in the Government"

The Governor represented the fundamental change proposed as to the
Council to be a most desirable object,--"If one was to say," his words
were, "quite necessary to the restoration and firm establishment of
the authority of the Crown, it would not be saying too much." The
justification for this was alleged to be, the sitting of the
Convention and certain proceedings of the Council, which, it was
argued at some length, broke the condition on which the Charter was
granted, and thereby made it liable to forfeiture. It was alleged
that the Council had met separately as a Council without being
assembled by the Governor, that the people had chosen Representatives
also without being summoned by the Governor, and that these
Representatives had met and transacted business, as in an Assembly,
even after they had been required in the King's name to break up their
meeting. Thus both the Council and the people had committed
usurpations on the King's rights; and it would surely be great grace
and favor in the King, if he took no other advantage than to correct
the errors in the original formation of the government and make it
more congenial to the Constitution of the mother-country.

The concluding portion of the paper urges general considerations why
the local government ought to be changed. "It requires no arguments to
show," are its words, "that the inferior governments of a free State
should be as similar to that of the supreme State as can well be. And
it is self-evident that the excellency of the British Constitution
consists in the equal balance of the regal and popular powers. If so,
where the royal scale kicks the beam and the people know their own
superior strength, the authority of Government can never be steady and
durable: it must either be perpetually distracted by disputes with the
Crown, or be quieted by giving up all real power to the demagogues of
the people." And, after other considerations, the paper closes as
follows:--"It is therefore not to be wondered at that the most
sensible men of this Province see how necessary it is for the peace
and good order of this government that the royal scale should have its
own constitutional weights restored to it, and thereby be made much
more equilibrial with the popular one. How this is to be done, whether
by the Parliament or the King's Bench, or by both, is a question for
the Administration to determine; the expedience of the measure is out
of doubt; and if the late proceedings of the Convention, etc., amount
to a forfeiture, a reformation of the constitution of the government,
if it is insisted upon, must and will be assented to."

The Governor, in a letter addressed to John Pownall, which is marked
"Private and Confidential," explains the origin and intention of this
paper,--a paper which has not been referred to by historians:--


                                        "_Boston, Dec. 24, 1768._

"Dear Sir,--The enclosed letter is the result of divers conferences I
have had with some of the chief members of the Government and the
principal gentlemen of the town, in the course of which I have scarce
ever met with a difference to the opinions there laid down. I have
been frequently importuned to write to the Minister upon these
subjects, that the fair opportunity which offers to crush the faction,
reform the government, and restore peace and order may not be lost, I
have, however, declined it, not thinking it decent in me to appear to
dictate to the Minister so far as to prescribe a set of
measures. Besides, I have thought the subject and manner of dictating
it too delicate for a public letter. However, as it appears to me that
the welfare of this Province, the honor of the British Government, and
the future connection between them both depend upon the right
improvement of the time present, I have put the thoughts to writing in
a letter, in which I have avoided all personalities which may discover
the writer, and even the signing and addressing it. If these hints are
like to be of use, communicate them in such a manner that the writer
may not be known, unless it is in confidence. If they come too late,
or disagree with the present system, destroy the paper. All I can say
for them is that they are fully considered and are well intended.

                                  "I am," etc.

This relation shows that the popular leaders were right in their
judgment, that they had broader work before them than to deal with the
special matter of taxation, and that the presence of the troops meant
the beginning of arbitrary government. The duty of the hour was not
shirked. The Patriots could not know the extent of the Governor's
misrepresentations; but they knew from the tone of the Parliamentary
debates, that they were regarded as children, with a valid claim,
perhaps, to be well governed, but not as Englishmen, with coequal
rights to govern themselves, and that the British aristocracy meant to
cover them with its cold shade. And when the Loyalists arraigned the
Charter and town-meetings and juries as difficulties in the way of
good order, Shippen, in the "Gazette," (January 25, 1769,) said,--"The
Province has been, and may be again, quietly and happily governed,
while these terrible difficulties have subsisted in their full
force. They are, indeed, wise checks upon power in favor of the
people. But power vested in some rulers can brook no check. To assert
the most undoubted rights of human nature, and of the British
Constitution, they term faction; and having embarrassed a free
government by their own impolitic measures, they fly to military

It may be asked, What came of the recommendations of Bernard? "I
know," Hutchinson wrote, (May 6, 1769,) "the Ministry, when I wrote
you last, had determined to push it [the alteration of the
Constitution] in Parliament. They laid aside the thought a little
while. The latter end of February they took it up again. I have reason
to think it is laid aside a second time." There was a third time also.
The Patriots for six years endured a steady aggression on their
constitutional rights, which had the single object in view of checking
the republican idea, when the scheme was taken up and pressed to a
consummation. The Parliamentary acts of 1774, as to town-meetings,
trial by jury, and the Council of Massachusetts, aimed a deadly blow
at the local self-government. It was the subjugation that John Adams
judged was symbolized by the military rule of 1768. Not until they saw
this, did the generation of that day feel justified in invoking the
terrible arbiter of war. Nor did they draw the awful sword until the
Thirteen Colonies, in Congress assembled, (1774,) solemnly pledged
each other to stand as one people in defence of the old local
government. This was in the majesty of revolution. It is profanation
to compare with this patience and glory the insurrection begun by
South Carolina. She--the first time such an organization ever did
it--assumed to be a nation; and then madly led off in a suicidal war
on the National Government, although the three branches of it,
Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary, recognized every constitutional
obligation, and had not attempted an invasion of any local right.

A month after the Governor transmitted his plan for an alteration of
the Constitution, he renewed, in an elaborate letter to Lord
Hillsborough, (January 24, 1769,) his old allegation, that the popular
leaders designed by their September town-meeting to inaugurate
insurrection, and by the Convention to make their proposed
insurrection general,--and that the plan was, to remove the King's
Governor and resume the old Charter. "A chief of the faction"
--this was a sample of the evidence--"said that he was always
for gentle measures; for he was only for driving the Governor and
Lieutenant-Governor out of the Province, and taking the government
into their own hands. Judge, my Lord, what must be the measures
proposed by others, when this is called a gentle measure." And he
advised the Minister, that, to aid him in the execution of the orders
he had received, he had formed a Cabinet Council of three principal
officers of the Crown, whose zeal, ability, and fidelity could not be
suspected. On the next day (January 25) the Governor devoted a
despatch to Lord Hillsborough to remarks upon the press, and
especially the "Boston Gazette" and Edes and Gill--"They may be said
to be no more than mercenary printers," are the Governor's
words,--"but they have been and still are the trumpeters of sedition,
and have been made the apparent instruments of raising that flame in
America which has given so much trouble and is still likely to give
more to Great Britain and her Colonies"; and it seemed to the Governor
that "the first step for calling the chiefs of the faction to account
would be by seizing their printers, together with their papers, if it
could be." He would not pronounce any particular piece absolutely
treason, but he sent to his Lordship a complete file of this journal
from the 14th of August, 1767, "when the present troubles began."

The next official action on the Patriot side was taken by the
Selectmen, who, in a touching as well as searching address to the
Governor, (February 18, 1769,) requested him to communicate to them
such representations of facts only as he had judged proper to make to
the Ministry during the past year relative to the town, in order that,
by knowing precisely what had been alleged against its proceedings or
character, the town might have an opportunity to vindicate itself.
After characterizing as truly alarming to a free people the array of
ships of war around it and the troops within it, the address
proceeds,--"Your Excellency can witness for the town that no such aid
is necessary; loyalty to the sovereign, and an inflexible zeal for the
support of His Majesty's authority and the happy Constitution, is its
just character; and we may appeal to an impartial world, that peace
and order were better maintained in the town before it was even
rumored that His Majesty's troops were to be quartered among us than
they have been since"; and the judgment is expressed, that the opinion
entertained abroad as to the condition of things in Boston could have
arisen only from a great misapprehension, by His Majesty's Ministers,
as to the behavior of individuals or the public transactions of the

To this rather troublesome request the Governor returned a very brief
and curt answer,--that he had no reason to think that the public
transactions had been misapprehended by the Government, "or that their
opinions thereon were founded upon any other accounts than those
published by the town itself"; and he coolly added,--"If, therefore,
you can vindicate yourselves from such charges as may arise from your
own publications, you will, in my opinion, have nothing further to

A week later, the Selectmen waited on the Governor with another
address, which assumed that his reply to the former address had
substantially vindicated the town as a corporation, as it had
published nothing but its own transactions in town-meeting legally
assembled. And now the Selectmen averred, that, if the town had
suffered from the disorders of the eighteenth of March and the tenth
of June, "the only disorders that had taken place in the town within
the year past," the Governor's words were full testimony to the point,
that it must be in consequence of some partial or false
representations of those disorders to His Majesty's Ministers; and the
address entreated the Governor to condescend to point out wherein the
town, in its public transactions, had militated with any law or the
British constitution of government, so that either the town might be
made sensible of the illegality of its proceedings, or its innocence
might appear in a still clearer light.

The following sentence constituted the whole of the reply of the royal
representative: for what else could such a double-dealer say?

"Gentlemen,--As in my answer to your former address I confined myself
to you as Selectmen and the town as a Body, I did not mean to refer to
the disorders on the eighteenth of March or of the tenth of June, but
to the transactions in the town-meetings and the proceedings of the
Selectmen in consequence thereof.

                                         "FRA: BERNARD.

"Feb. 24, 1769."

The town next, at the annual March meeting, petitioned the King to
remove the troops. This petition is certainly a striking paper, and
places in a strong light the earnest desire of the popular leaders to
steer clear of everything that might tend to wound British pride or in
any way to inflame the public mind of the mother-country, and to
impress on the Government their deep concern at the twin charges
brought against the town of disorder and disloyalty. While lamenting
the June riot, they averred that it was discountenanced by the body of
the inhabitants and immediately repressed; but with a confidence, they
said, which will ever accompany innocence and truth, they declared
that the courts had never been interrupted, not even that of a single
magistrate,--that not an instance could be produced of so much as an
attempt to rescue any criminal out of the hands of justice,--that
duties required by Acts of Parliament held to be grievous had been
regularly paid,--and that all His Majesty's subjects were disposed
orderly and dutifully to wait for that relief which they hoped from
His Majesty's wisdom and clemency and the justice of Parliament. After
reviewing elaborately the representations that had been made of the
condition of the town, with "the warmest declarations of their
attachment to their constitutional rights," they pronounced those
accounts to be ill-grounded which represented them as held to their
"allegiance and duty to the best of sovereigns only by the bond of
terror and the force of arms." The petition then most earnestly
supplicates His Majesty to remove from the town a military power which
the strictest truth warranted them in declaring unnecessary for the
support of the civil authority among them, and which they could not
but consider as unfavorable to commerce, destructive to morals,
dangerous to law, and tending to overthrow the civil constitution.
"Your Majesty," was the utterance of Boston, and in one of
those town-meetings that were heralded even from the Throne and
Parliament as instrumentalities of rebellion, "possesses a glory
superior to that of any monarch on earth,--the glory of being at the
head of the happiest civil constitution in the world, and under which
human nature appears with the greatest advantage and dignity,--the
glory of reigning over a free people, and of being enthroned in the
hearts of your subjects. Your Majesty, therefore, we are sure, will
frown, not upon those who have the warmest attachment to this
constitution and to their sovereign, but upon such as shall be found
to have attempted by their misrepresentations to diminish the
blessings of your Majesty's reign, in the remotest parts of your

This is not the language of party-adroitness or of a low cunning, but
the calm utterance of truth by American manhood. There is no
indication of the authorship of the petition, but a strong committee
was chosen at the meeting which adopted it, consisting of James Otis,
Samuel Adams, Thomas Cushing, Richard Dana, Joseph Warren, John Adams,
and Samuel Quincy, to consider the subject of vindicating the town
from the misrepresentations to which it had been subjected. This
petition, accompanied by a letter penned by Samuel Adams, was
transmitted (April 8, 1769) to Colonel Barré, with the request that he
would present it, by his own hand, to His Majesty. Both the letter
and the petition requested the transmission to Boston of all Bernard's
letters, a specimen only of which had now been received. "Conscious,"
the letter said, "of their own innocence, it is the earnest desire of
the town that you would employ your great influence to remove from the
mind of our Sovereign, his Ministers, and Parliament, the unfavorable
sentiments that have been formed of their conduct, or at least obtain
from them the knowledge of their accusers and the matters alleged
against them, and an opportunity offered of vindicating themselves."

The letters just referred to as having been received from England
were six in number, five written by Governor Bernard and one by
General Gage, which contained specimens of the characteristic
misrepresentations of political affairs by the crown officials; and,
having been transmitted to the Council, this body felt called upon to
act in the matter, which they did (April 15, 1769) in a spirited
letter addressed to Lord Hillsborough. This letter is occupied mainly
with the various questions touching the introduction and the
quartering of the troops. Again were the disorders of the eighteenth
of March and the tenth of June reviewed and explained; the charge made
by the Governor, that the Council refused to provide quarters for the
troops out of servility to the populace, was pronounced to be without
foundation or coloring of truth; and the Council boldly charged upon
Bernard, that his great aim was the destruction of the constitution to
which, as Englishmen and by the Charter, they were entitled,--"a
constitution," they remark, "dearly purchased by our ancestors and
dear to us, and which we persuade ourselves will be continued to us."
Then, also, they charged that no Council had borne what the present
Council had borne from Bernard; that his whole conduct with regard to
the troops was arbitrary and unbecoming the dignity of his station;
and that his common practice, in case the Council did not come into
his measures, of threatening to lay their conduct before His Majesty,
was absurd and insulting.

The troops, during the progress of the events which have been related,
did not redeem the promise, as to discipline and order, which General
Gage made for them to the Council. After the arrival of the
Sixty-Fourth and Sixty-Fifth Regiments, General Pomeroy continued the
commander through the winter, and down to the month of May; and he
made himself popular with the inhabitants. Still, the four regiments
consisted, to a great degree, of such rough material, that they could
not, in the idleness in which they were kept, be controlled. "The
soldiers," Andrew Eliot writes, January 29, 1769, "were in raptures at
the cheapness of spirituous liquors among us, and in some of their
drunken hours have been insolent to some of the inhabitants"; and he
further remarks that "the officers are the most troublesome, who, many
of them, are as intemperate as the men." Thus, while the temptation
to excess was strong, the restraint of individual position was weak,
and both privates and officers became subjects of legal proceedings as
disturbers of the public peace.

The routine of military discipline grated rudely on old customs.
Citizens who, like their ancestors for a century and a half, had
walked the streets with perfect freedom, were annoyed at being obliged
to answer the challenge of sentinels who were posted at the
Custom-House and other public places, and at the doors of the
officers' lodgings. Then the usual quiet of Sunday was disturbed by
the changes of the guards, with the sounds of fife and drum, and the
tunes of "Nancy Dawson" and "Yankee Doodle"; church-goers were annoyed
by parties of soldiers in the streets, and the whole community
outraged by horse-racing on the Common. Applications for redress had
been ineffectual; and General Pomeroy was excused for not checking
some of these things, on the ground that he was controlled by a
superior officer. His successor, General Mackay, gave great
satisfaction by prohibiting, in general orders, (June 15, 1769,)
horse-racing on the Common on the Lord's day by any under his command,
and also by forbidding soldiers to be in the streets during divine
service, a practice that had been long disagreeable to the people.

In one way and another the troops became sources of irritation. The
Patriots, mainly William Cooper, the town clerk, prepared a chronicle
of this perpetual fret, which contains much curious matter obtained
through access to authentic sources of information, private and
official. This diary was first printed in New York, and reprinted in
the newspapers of Boston and London, under the title of "Journal of
Occurrences." The numbers, continued until after the close of
Bernard's administration, usually occupied three columns of the
"Boston Evening Post," and constituted a piquant record of the matters
connected with the troops and general politics. It attracted much
attention, and the authors of it formed the subject of a standing
toast at the Liberty celebrations. Hutchinson averred that it was
composed with great art and little truth. After this weekly "Journal
of the Times," as it was now called, had been published four months,
Governor Bernard devoted to it an entire official letter addressed to
Lord Hillsborough. He said that this publication was intended "to
raise a general clamor against His Majesty's government in England and
throughout America, as well as in Massachusetts"; and that in this way
the Patriots "flattered themselves that they should get the navy and
army removed, and again have the government and Custom-House in their
own hands." The idea of such disloyal purposes excited the Governor to
the most acrimonious criticism. "It is composed," he informed Lord
Hillsborough, "by Adams and his associates, among which there must be
some one at least of the Council; as everything that is said or done
in Council, which can be made use of, is constantly perverted,
misrepresented, and falsified in this paper. But if the Devil himself
was of the party, as he virtually is, there could not have been got
together a greater collection of impudent, virulent, and seditious
lies, perversions of truth, and misrepresentations, than are to be
found in this publication. Some are entirely invented, and first heard
of from the printed papers; others are founded in fact, but so
perverted as to be the direct contrary of the truth; other part of the
whole consists of reflections of the writer, which pretend to no other
authority but his own word. To set about answering these falsities
would be a work like that of cleansing Augeas's stable, which is to be
done only by bringing in a stream strong enough to sweep away the dirt
and collectors of it all together." Doubtless there were exaggerations
in this journal. It would be strange, if there were not. If
the perversions of truth were greater than the Governor's
misrepresentations of the proceedings of the inhabitants on the
eighteenth of March, or on the tenth of June, or of what was termed
"the September Rebellion," they deserved more than this severe
criticism. But, in the main, the general allegations, as to grievances
suffered by the people from the troops, are borne out by private
letters and official documents; and a plain statement of the course of
Francis Bernard shows that they did not exceed the truth as to him.

The troops continued under the command of General Pomeroy until the
arrival (April 30, 1769) of Hon. Alexander Mackay, Colonel of the
Sixty-Fifth Regiment, a Major-General on the American establishment,
and a member of the British Parliament, when the command of the
troops, so it was announced, in the Eastern District of America,
devolved on him. When General Pomeroy left the town, the press, of
all parties, and even the "Journal of the Times," highly complimented
his conduct both as an officer and a gentleman.

The crown officials found themselves, at this period, in an awkward
situation as to arrests of the popular leaders. They had recommended
to the Government what they termed the slight punishment of
disqualification, by Act of Parliament, from engaging in civil
service; but the Ministry and their supporters determined on the
summary proceeding of prosecutions under existing law for treason,
thinking that few cases would be necessary,--and all agreed that these
should be selected from Boston. On this point of singling out Boston
for punishment, whatever other measures might be proposed, there was
entire unanimity of sentiment. Thus, Lord Camden, on being applied to
by the Prime-Minister for advice, suggested a repeal of the Revenue
Act in favor of other Provinces, but the execution of it with rigor in
Massachusetts, saying,--"There is no pretence for violence anywhere
but at Boston; that is the ringleading Province; and if any country is
to be chastised, the punishment ought to be levelled there." As to the
policy of arrests, in Lord Barrington's judgment, five or six examples
would be sufficient for all the Colonies, and he thought that it was
right they should be made in Boston, the only place where there had
been actual crime; for "they," his words are, "would be enough to
carry terror to the wicked and factious spirits all over the
continent, and would show that the subjects of Great Britain must not
rebel with impunity anywhere." The King and Parliament stood pledged
to make arrests; Lord Hillsborough, in his instructions, had urged
them again and again; the private letters of the officials addressed
to Bernard were refreshingly full and positive as to the advantage
which such exercise of the national authority would be to the King's
cause; the British press continually announced that they were to be
made; and all England was looking to see representative men of
America, who had dared to deny any portion of the authority of
Parliament, occupy lodgings in London Tower. And yet, though it had
been announced in Parliament that the object in sending troops was to
bring rioters to justice, not a man had been put under arrest; and the
only requisition that had been made for eight months upon a military
power which was considered to be invincible was that which produced
the inglorious demonstration at the Manufactory House occupied by John
Brown the weaver. So ridiculous was the figure which the British Lion
cut on the public stage of Boston!

Governor Bernard not unlikely felt more keenly the awkwardness of all
this from having received, as a reward for service, the honor of a
Baronetcy of Great Britain. The "Gazette," in announcing this, (May 1,
1769,) has an ironical article addressing the new Baronet thus:--"Your
promotion, Sir, reflects an honor on the Province itself,--an honor
which has never been conferred upon it since the thrice happy
administration of Sir Edmund Andres, of precious memory, who was also
a Baronet"; and in a candid British judgment to-day, (that of Lord
Mahon,) the honor was "a most ill-timed favor surely, when he had so
grievously failed in gaining the affections or confidence of any order
or rank of men within his Province." The subject occupies a large
space in the private correspondence, and the title was the more
flattering and acceptable to the Governor from being exempted from the
usual concomitant of heavy expense as fees. But whatever other service
he had rendered, he had not rendered what was looked upon as most
vital, the service of making arrests.

At this period the Governor held a consultation with distinguished
political leaders, consisting of the Secretary, Andrew Oliver, who had
been Stamp-Officer, the Judge of Admiralty, Robert Auchmuty, who was
an eminent lawyer, and the Chief Justice, Hutchinson, who was counted
the ablest man of the party, all ultra Loyalists, to consider the
future policy as to arrests,--all doubtless feeling that the
non-action course needed explanation. The details of this consultation
are given at such length, and with such minuteness, by Bernard, in a
letter addressed to Lord Hillsborough, that these learned political
doctors can almost be seen making a diagnosis of the prevalent
treason-disease and discussing proposed prescriptions. They carefully
considered what had been done at the great public meetings, and what
had been printed in the "Boston Gazette," which had been all collected
and duly certified, and had been faithfully transmitted to
Westminster, where distinctions of law were better known than they
were in Boston. But, after legal scrutiny there, no specifications of
acts amounting to treason had been made out as proper bases for
proceedings, and it could not be expected that the local authorities
would be wiser than their superiors; and thus this class of offences
was set aside. To deal with other matters of treason, and especially
with "the Rebellion of September," was found to be involved in
difficulties. The members of the faction were now behaving "very
cautiously and inoffensively," and so nothing could be made out of the
present; and as they would not bear witness against each other as to
the past, it was not easy from old affairs to make out cases of
treason. Former private consultations of a treasonable character, it
was said, lacked connection with overt acts, and the overt acts of a
treasonable character lacked connection with the prior consultations:
as, for instance, they said, the consultation to seize the Castle was
treasonable, but it was not followed by an overt act,--and the overt
act of the tar-barrel signal on the beacon-pole was treasonable, but
it could not be traced to a prior consultation so as to evidence the
intent. So these acute crown officials went on in their deliberations,
and came to the conclusion, which Bernard officially communicated (May
25, 1769) to Lord Hillsborough, in the long letter above referred to,
that they could not fix upon any acts "that amounted to actual
treason, though many of them approached very near to it."

The Governor, meantime, had issued precepts to the towns to return
members of the General Court; this made each locality (May, 1769)
alive with politics; and he stated to Lord Hillsborough, as a further
reason for not polling inquiry into treasonable practices, that he was
anxious not to irritate the people more than he felt obliged to. The
question of the removal of the troops was now discussed in the little
country forums, and the resolves and instructions to the
Representatives, printed in the journals, reëcho, in a spirited manner
and with great ability, the political sentiment which had been
embodied in official papers. They contain earnest protestations of a
determination to maintain His Most Sacred Majesty George the Third,
their rightful sovereign, his crown, dignity, and family; to maintain
their Charter immunities, with all their rights derived from God and
Nature, and to transmit them inviolable to their latest posterity; and
they charge the Representatives not to allow, by vote or resolution, a
right in any power on earth to tax the people to raise a revenue
except in the General Assembly of the Province. All urged action
relative to the troops, and several put this as the earliest duty of
the Assembly, as the presence of the troops tended to awe or control
freedom of debate. These utterances of the towns, which the journals
of May contain, make a glowing record of the spirit of the time.

The Selectmen of Boston, on issuing the usual warrants for an election
of Representatives, requested General Mackay to order the troops out
of town on the day (May 8, 1769) of the town-meeting; but though he
felt obliged to decline to do this, yet, in the spirit in which he
acted during his entire residence here, he kept the troops, on this
day, confined to their barracks. The town, after choosing Otis,
Cushing, Adams, and Hancock as Representatives, adopted a noble letter
of instructions, not only rehearsing the grievances, but asserting
ideas of freedom and equality, as to political rights, that had been
firmly grasped. They arraigned the Act of Parliament of 4th Geo. III.,
extending admiralty jurisdiction and depriving the colonists of native
juries, as a distinction staring them in the face which was made
between the subject in Great Britain and the subject in America,--the
Parliament in one section guarding the people of the realm, and
securing to them trial by jury and the law of the land, and in the
next section depriving Americans of those important rights; and this
distinction was pronounced a brand of disgrace upon every American, a
degradation below the rank of an Englishman. While the instructions
claimed for each subject in America equality of political right with
each subject in England, they claimed also for the General Court the
dignity of a free assembly, and declared the first object of their
labors to be a removal of "those cannon and guards and that clamorous
parade that had been daily about the Court-House since the arrival of
His Majesty's troops."

The country towns, which now responded so nobly to the demand of the
hour, were controlled by freemen. Among these it was rare to find any
who could not read and write; they were mostly independent
freeholders, with person and property guarded, as it used to be said
in the Boston journals of the time, not by one law for the peasant and
another law for the prince, but by equal law for all; they exercised
liberty of thought and political action, and their proceedings, as
they appeared in the public prints, gave great alarm to the Governor.
He now informed Lord Hillsborough that the Sons of Liberty had got as
high as ever; and that out of a party which used to keep the
opposition to Government under, there were reckoned to be not above
ten members returned in a House of above one hundred and twenty.
After giving an account of a meeting of "the factious chiefs" in
Boston, held a few days before the General Court assembled, he
says,--"To see that faction which has occasioned all the troubles in
this Province, and I may add in America too, has quite overturned this
government, now triumphant and driving over every one who has loyalty
and resolution to stand up in defence of the rights of the King and
Parliament, gives me great concern."

This result of the elections, which the crown officials ascribed to a
talent for mischief in the popular leaders, naturally flowed from the
exhibition of arbitrary power. The introduction of the troops was a
suicidal measure to the Loyalists, and in urging their continuance in
the Province the crown officials had been carrying an exhaustive
burden; while, even in every failure to effect their removal, the
Whigs had won a fresh moral victory. There was, in consequence, a more
perfect union of the people than ever. The members returned to the
General Court constituted a line representation of the character,
ability, and patriotism of the Province; many of the names were then
obscure which subsequent large service to country was to make famous
as the names of heroes and sages; and such a body of men was now to
act on the question of a removal of the troops.

It would be travelling a beaten path to relate the proceedings of this
session of the General Court; and only a glance will be necessary to
show its connection with the issue that had so long stirred the public
mind. Immediately on taking the oath of office, at nine o'clock, the
House, through a committee, presented an elaborate and strong protest
to the Governor against the presence of the troops. They averred that
they meant to be loyal; that no law, however grievous, had in the
execution of it been opposed in the Province; but, they said, as they
came as of right to their old Parliament-House, to exercise, as of
right, perfect freedom of debate, they found a standing army in their
metropolis, and a military guard with cannon pointed at their very
doors; and, in the strong way of the old Commonwealth men, they
protested against this presence as "a breach of privilege, and
inconsistent with that dignity and freedom with which they had a right
to deliberate, consult, and determine." The Governor's laconic reply
was,--"I have no authority over His Majesty's ships in this port or
his troops within this town; nor can I give any orders for their
removal." The House, resolving that they proceeded to take part in
the elections of the day from necessity and to conform the Charter,
chose their Clerk, Speaker, and twenty-eight Councillors.

The Governor at ten o'clock received at the Province House a brilliant
array of officials, when an elegant collation was served; at twelve,
escorted by Captain Paddock's company, he repaired to the
Council-Chamber, whence, after approving the choice of Speaker, the
whole Government went in procession to the Old Brick Meeting-House,
where the election sermon was preached; then succeeded an elegant
dinner at Faneuil Hall, which was attended by the field-officers of
the four regiments, and the official dignitaries, including Commodore
Hood and General Mackay, which, as to the Governor, closed the
proceedings of the day.

The House in its choice of Councillors elected several decided
Loyalists, though it did not reelect four of this party who were of
that body the last year, namely, Messrs. Flucker, Ropes, Paine, and
Worthington. The Governor refused his consent to eleven on the
list. On the next day he thus wrote of these events:--


                                         "_Boston, June 1,1769._

"Dear Sir,--There being a snow ready to sail for Glasgow, I take the
opportunity of sending you the printed account of the election and
other proceedings on yesterday and to-day; from which you will
perceive that everything goes as bad as could be expected. The Boston
faction has taken possession of the two Houses in such a manner that
there are not ten men in both who dare contradict them. They have
turned out of the Council four gentlemen of the very first reputation
in the country, and the only men remaining of disposition and ability
to serve the King's cause. I have negatived eleven, among which are
two old Councillors, Brattle and Bowdoin, the managers of all the late
opposition in the Council to the King's government. There is not now
one man in the Council who has either power or spirit to oppose the
faction; and the friends of Government are so thin in the House, that
they won't attempt to make any opposition; so that Otis, Adams, etc.,
are now in full possession of this government, and will treat it
accordingly. This is no more than was expected. I will write more
particularly in a few days.

                         "I am," etc.

The Governor could write thus of his political friends of the Council,
several of whom, six years later, when the attempt was made to change
the Constitution, were thought to have spirit enough to receive
appointments from the Crown,--such, for instance, as Danforth,
Russell, Royal, and Gray,--and hence were called _Mandamus_

A few days after (May 5, 1769) there was a holiday in Boston, the
celebration of the birth-day of the King, which the House, "out of
duty, loyalty, and affection to His Majesty," noticed formally, as
provided by a committee consisting of Otis, Hancock, and Adams. The
Governor received a brilliant party--at the Province House; the three
regiments in town, the Fourteenth, Twenty-Ninth, and Sixty-Fourth,
paraded on the Common; the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company--it
happened to be their anniversary--went through the customary routine,
including the sermon, the dinner at Faneuil Hall, and the exchange of
commissions on the Common; and in the evening there was a ball at
Concert Hall, where, it is said in the Tory paper, there was as
numerous and brilliant an appearance of gentlemen and ladies as was
ever known in town on any former occasion. The Patriot journals give
more space to the celebration, towards evening, in the Representatives'
Hall, where, besides the members, were a great number of merchants
and gentlemen of the first distinction, who, besides toasting, first
the King, Queen, and Royal Family, and second, North America,
drank to "The restoration of harmony between Great Britain
and the Colonies," "Prosperity and perpetuity to the British Empire in
all parts of the world," and "Liberty without licentiousness to all
parts of the world." The House thus testified their loyalty to
country; but, as the Governor refused to remove the troops, they--the
"Boston Gazette" of June 12th said--"had for thirteen days past made a
solemn and expressive pause in public business."

Meantime the Governor received in one day (June 10) communications
which surprised him half out of his wits and wholly out of his office,
and which must have made rather a blue day in his calendar.

The Ministry now vacillated in their high-handed policy, and gave to
General Gage discretionary power as to a continuance of the troops in
Boston; and this officer had come to the sensible conclusion that
troops were worse than needless, for they were an unnecessary
irritation and detrimental to a restoration of the harmony which the
representative men of both parties professed to desire. Accordingly
the Governor received advices that the Commander-in-Chief had ordered
the Sixty-Fourth and Sixty-Fifth Regiments, with the train of
artillery, to Halifax, and that he had directed General Mackay to
confer with his Excellency as to the disposition of the remainder of
the troops, whether His Majesty's service required that any should be
posted longer in Boston, and if so, what the number should be. The
Governor was further requested to give his opinion on this point in

As the Governor had received no intimation of such a change of policy
from his friends in England, he could hardly find words in which to
express his astonishment. He wrote, two days after, that nothing
could be more _mal-à-propos_ to the business of Government or
hard upon him; that it was cruel to have this forced upon him at such
a time and in such a manner; and as the question was put, it was
hardly less than whether he should abdicate government. "If the troops
are removed," he wrote, "the principal officers of the Crown, the
friends of Government, and the importers of goods from England in
defiance of the combination, who are considerable and numerous, must
remove also," which would have been quite an extensive removal. He
wrote to Lord Hillsborough,--"It is impossible to express my surprise
at this proposition, or my embarrassment on account of the requisition
of an answer."

The other communication was a right royal greeting. Up to this time
the letters to the Governor from the members of the Government,
private as well as official, had been to him of the most gratifying
character, to say nothing of the gift of the baronetcy. "I can give
you the pleasure of knowing," Lord Barrington wrote to him, (April 5,
1769,) "that last Sunday the King spoke with the highest approbation
of your conduct and services in his closet to me"; but in a postscript
to this letter were the ominous words,--"I understand you are directed
to come hither; but Lord Hillsborough authorizes me to say, you need
not be in any inconvenient haste to obey that instruction." This
order, in the manuscript, is indorsed, "Received June 10, 1769"; and
being unique, it is here copied from the original, which has
Hillsborough's autograph:--


"Trusty and well-beloved, we greet you well. Whereas we have thought
fit by our royal license under our signet and sign-manual bearing date
the twenty-second day of June, 1768, in the eighth year of our reign,
to permit you to return into this our kingdom of Great Britain: Our
will and pleasure therefore is, that as soon as conveniently may be,
after the receipt hereof, you do repair to this our kingdom in order
to lay before us a state of our province of Massachusetts Bay. And so
we bid you farewell. Given at our court at St. James the twenty-third
day of March, 1769, in the ninth year of our reign.

        "By His Majesty's command,


It was now an active time with the Patriots. Before the Governor had a
chance to talk with General Mackay or to write to General Gage, the
news spread all over the town that the two regiments were ordered off;
and with this there was circulated the story, that Commissioner Temple
had received a letter from George Grenville containing the assurance
that the Governor would be immediately recalled with disgrace, that
three of the Commissioners of the Customs would be turned off
directly, and that next winter the Board would be dissolved; and
Bernard, who tells these incidents, says that the reports exalted the
Sons of Liberty as though the bells had rung for a triumph, while
there was consternation among the crown officials, the importers, and
the friends of Government. Here was thrust upon Bernard, over again,
the question of the introduction of the troops.

The Governor was as much embarrassed by the requisition for an answer
in writing as to the two regiments that were not ordered off as he was
astonished at the order that had been given; and on getting a note
from General Mackay, he gave the verbal answer, that he would write to
General Gage. Meantime, while Bernard was hesitating, the Patriots
were acting, and immediately applied themselves to counteract the
influence which they knew was making to retain the two regiments. One
hundred and forty-two of the citizens petitioned the Selectmen for a
town-meeting, at which it was declared, that the law of the land made
ample provision for the security of life and property, and that the
presence of the troops was an insult. After a week's hesitation, the
Governor wrote to General Gage, who had promised inviolable secrecy,
that to remove a portion of the two regiments would be detrimental to
His Majesty's service; to remove all of these troops would be quite
ruinous to the cause of the Crown; but that one regiment in the town
and one at the Castle might be sufficient. Of course, General Gage, if
he paid any respect to the Governor's advice, could do no less than
order both regiments to remain. Thus was it that the two Sam Adams
Regiments continued in town, designed for evil, but working for the
good of the common cause.

Governor Bernard, during the month of June, and down to the middle of
July, was greatly disturbed by the manly stand of the General Court;
and, because of its refusal to enter upon the public business under
the mouths of British cannon, adjourned it to Cambridge. On the night
after this adjournment, the cannon were removed. These irritating
proceedings made this body still more high-toned. While in this mood,
it received from the Governor two messages, (July 6 and 12,) asking an
appropriation of money to meet the expenses which had been incurred by
the crown officers in quartering troops in Boston. The members nobly
met this demand by returning to the Governor (July 15, 1769) a grandly
worded state-paper, in which, claiming the rights of freeborn
Englishmen, as confirmed by Magna Charta and the Bill of Rights, and
as settled by the Revolution and the British Charter, they expressly
declared that they never would make provision for the purposes
mentioned in the two messages. On the same day, it was represented in
the House that armed soldiers had rescued a prisoner from the hands of
justice, when two constables were ordered to attend on the floor who
were heard on the matter, and a committee was then appointed to
consider it. But Secretary Oliver now appeared with a message from
the Governor to the effect that he was at the Court-House and directed
the immediate attendance of the members. They accordingly, with
Speaker Cushing at their head, repaired to the Governor, who, after a
haughty speech charging them with proclaiming ideas lacking in dignity
to the Crown and inconsistent with the Province continuing a part of
the British Empire, prorogued the Court until the 10th of January.

The press arraigned the arbitrary proceedings of the Governor with
great boldness and a just severity; while it declared that the action
taken by the intrepid House of Representatives, with rare unanimity,
was supported by the almost universal sentiments of the people. The
last act of the Governor, the prorogation of the General Court for six
months, was especially criticized; and after averring that such long
prorogations, in such critical times, could never promote the true
service of His Majesty or the tranquility of his good subjects, it
predicted that impartial history would hang up Governor Bernard as a
warning to his successors who had any sense of character, and perhaps
his future fortune might be such as to teach even the most selfish of
them not to tread in his steps.

On the day this prediction was written, (August 1, 1769,) Sir Francis
Bernard, in the Rippon, was on his way to England. Congratulations
among the people, exultation on the part of the press, the Union Flag
on Liberty Tree, salutes from Hancock's Wharf, and bonfires, in the
evening, on the hills, expressed the general joy. And yet Francis
Bernard was hardly a faithful representative of the proud imperial
power for which he acted. He was a bad Governor, but he was not so bad
as the cause he was obliged to uphold. He was arbitrary, but he was
not so arbitrary as his instructions. He was vacillating, but he was
not so vacillating as the Ministers. When he gave the conciliatory
reply to the June town-meeting, it was judged that he lowered the
national standard, and it seriously damaged him at Court; when he
spoke in the imperial tone that characterized the British rule of that
day, he was rewarded with a baronetcy. The Governor after months of
reflection, in England, on reviewing in an elaborate letter the
political path he had travelled, indicated both his deep chagrin and
his increase of wisdom in the significant words,--"I was obliged to
give up, a victim to the bad policy and irresolution of the supreme

The execution of a bad policy as directed by an irresolute Ministry
was now the lot of Lieutenant-Governor Hutchinson. It was embodied in
the question of the removal of the troops; and this question was not
decided, until, after months of confusion and distress, the blood and
slaughter of His Majesty's good subjects compelled an indignant
American public opinion to command their departure from the town of






At five, P. M., we found ourselves--Iglesias, a party of friends, and
myself--on board the Isaac Newton, a great, ugly, three-tiered box
that walks the North River, like a laboratory of greasy odors.

In this stately cinder-mill were American citizens. Not to
discuss spitting, which is for spittoons, not literature, our
fellow-travellers on the deck of the "floating palace" were
passably endurable people, in looks, style, and language. I dodge
discrimination, and characterize them _en masse_ by negations.
The passengers of the Isaac Newton, on a certain evening of
July, 18--, were not so intrusively green and so gasping as Britons,
not so ill-dressed and pretentious as Gauls, not so ardently futile
and so lubberly as Germans. Such were the negative virtues of our
fellow-citizen travellers; and base would it be to exhibit their
positive vices.

And so no more of passengers or passage. I will not describe our
evening on the river. Alas for the duty of straight-forwardness and
dramatic unity! Episodes seem so often sweeter than plots! The
way-side joys are better than the final successes. The flowers along
the vista, brighter than the victor-wreaths at its close. I may not
dally on my way, turning to the right and the left for beauty and
caricature. I will balance on the strict edge of my narrative, as a
seventh-heavenward Mahometan with wine-forbidden steadiness of poise
treads Al Seràt, his bridge of a sword-blade.

Next morning, at Albany, divergent trains cleft our party into a
better and a worser half. The beautiful girls, our better half, fled
westward to ripen their pallid roses with richer summer-hues in
mosquitoless inland dells. Iglesias and I were still northward bound.

At the Saratoga station we sipped a dreary, faded reminiscence of
former joys and sparkling brilliancy long dead, in cups of
Congress-water, brought by unattractive Ganymedes and sold in the
train,--draughts flat, flabby, and utterly bubbleless, lukewarm
heel-taps with a flavor of savorless salt.

Still northward journeying, and feeling the sea-side moisture
evaporate from our blood under inland suns and sultry inland breezes,
we came to Lake Champlain.

As before banquets, to excite appetite, one takes the gentle oyster,
so we, before the serious pleasure of our journey, tasted the
Adirondack region, paradise of Cockney sportsmen. There through the
forest, the stag of ten trots, coquetting with greenhorns. He likes
the excitement of being shot at and missed. He enjoys the smell of
powder in a battle where he is always safe. He hears Greenhorn
blundering through the woods, stopping to growl at briers, stopping to
revive his courage with the Dutch supplement. The stag of ten awaits
his foe in a glade. The foe arrives, sees the antlered monarch, and
is panic-struck. He watches him prance and strike the ground with his
hoofs. He slowly recovers heart, takes a pull at his flask, rests his
gun upon a log, and begins to study his mark. The stag will not stand
still. Greenhorn is baffled. At last his target turns and carefully
exposes that region of his body where Greenhorn has read lies the
heart. Just about to fire, he catches the eye of the stag winking
futility into his elaborate aim. His blunderbuss jerks upward. A
shower of cut leaves floats through the smoke, from a tree thirty feet
overhead. Then, with a mild-eyed melancholy look of reproachful
contempt, the stag turns away, and wanders off to sleep in quiet
coverts far within the wood. He has fled, while for Greenhorn no
trophy remains. Antlers have nodded to the sportsman; a short tail
has disappeared before his eyes;--he has seen something, but has
nothing to show. Whereupon he buys a couple of pairs of ancient
weather-bleached horns from some colonist, and, nailing them
up at impossible angles on the wall of his city-den, humbugs
brother-Cockneys with tales of _vénerie_, and has for life his
special legend, "How I shot my first deer in the Adirondacks."

The Adirondacks provide a compact, convenient, accessible little
wilderness,--an excellent field for the experiments of tyros. When the
tyro, whether shot, fisherman, or forester, has proved himself fully
there, let him dislodge into some vaster wilderness, away from guides
by the day and superintending hunters, away from the incursions of the
Cockney tribe, and let out the caged savage within him for a tough
struggle with Nature. It needs a struggle tough and resolute to force
that Protean lady to observe at all her challenger.

It is well to go to the Adirondacks. They are shaggy, and shagginess
is a valuable trait. The lakes are very well,--very well indeed. The
objection to the region is not the mountains, which are reasonably
shaggy,--not the lakes and rivers, which are water, a capital element.
The real difficulty is the society: not the autochthonous
society,--they are worthy people, and it is hardly to be mentioned as
a fault that they are not a discriminating race, and will asseverate
that all fish are trout, and the most arrant mutton is venison,--but
the immigrant, colonizing society. Cockneys are to be found at every
turn, flaunting their banners of the awkward squad, proclaiming to the
world with protuberant pride that they are the veritable
backwoodsmen,--rather doing it, rather astonishing the natives, they
think. And so they are. One squad of such neophytes might be
entertaining; but when every square mile echoes with their hails,
lost, poor babes, within a furlong of their camps, and when the woods
become dim and the air civic with their cooking-smokes, and the subtle
odor of fried pork overpowers methylic fragrance among the trees, then
he who loves forests for their solitude leaves these brethren to their
clumsy joys, and wanders elsewhere deeper into sylvan scenes.

Our visit to the Adirondacks was episodic; and as I have forsworn
episodes, I turn away from them with this mild slander, and strike
again our Maine track. With lips impurpled by the earliest
huckleberries, we came out again upon Champlain. We crossed that
water-logged valley in a steamboat, and hastened on, through a
pleasant interlude of our rough journey, across Vermont and New
Hampshire, two States not without interest to their residents, but of
none to this narrative.

By coach and wagon, by highway and by-way, by horse-power and
steam-power, we proceeded, until it chanced, one August afternoon,
that we left railways and their regions at a way-side station, and let
our lingering feet march us along the Valley of the Upper
Connecticut. This lovely river, baptizer of Iglesias's childhood, was
here shallow and musical, half river, half brook; it had passed the
tinkling period, and plashed and rumbled voicefully over rock and

It was a fair and verdant valley where we walked, overlooked by hills
of pleasant pastoral slope. All the land was gay and ripe with yellow
harvest. Strolling along, as if the business of travel were forgotten,
we placidly identified ourselves with the placid scenery. We became
Arcadians both. Such is Arcadia, if I have read aright: a realm where
sunshine never scorches, and yet shade is sweet; where simple
pleasures please; where the blue sky and the bright water and the
green fields satisfy forever.

We were in lightest marching-trim. Iglesias bore an umbrella, our
armor against what heaven could do with assault of sun or shower. I
was weaponed with a staff, should brute or biped uncourteous dispute
our way. We had no impediments of "great trunk, little trunk, bandbox,
and bundle." A thoughtful man hardly feels honest in his life except
as a pedestrian traveller. _"La propriété c'est le vol"_--which
the West more briefly expresses by calling baggage "plunder." What
little plunder our indifferent honesty had packed for this journey we
had left with a certain stage-coachman, perhaps to follow us, perhaps
to become his plunder. We were thus disconnected from any depressing
influence; we had no character to sustain; we were heroes in disguise,
and could make our observations on life and manners, without being
invited to a public hand-shaking, or to exhibit feats in jugglery, for
either of which a traveller with plenteous portmanteaus, hair or
leather, must be prepared in villages thereabouts. Totally
unembarrassed, we lounged along or leaped along, light-hearted. When
the river neared us, or winsome brooklet from the hill-side thwarted
our path, we stooped and lapped from their pools of coolness, or
tasted that most ethereal tipple, the mingled air and water of
electric bubbles, as they slid brightly toward our lips.

The angle of the sun's rays grew less and less, the wheat-fields were
tinged more golden by the clinging beams, our shadows lengthened, as
if exercise of an afternoon were stimulating to such unreal
essences. Finally the blue dells and gorges of a wooded mountain, for
two hours our landmark, rose between us and the sun. But the sun's
Parthian arrows gave him a splendid triumph, more signal for its
evanescence. A storm was inevitable, and sunset prepared a reconciling

Now, as may be supposed, Iglesias has an eye for a sunset. That
summer's crop had been very short, and he had been some time on
starvation-allowance of cloudy magnificence. We therefore halted by
the road-side, and while I committed the glory to memory, Iglesias
entrusted his distincter memorial to a sketch-book.

We were both busy, he repeating forms, noting shades and tints, and I
studying without pictorial intent, when we heard a hail in the road
below our bank. It was New Hampshire, near the Maine line, and near
the spot where nasal organs are fabricated that twang the roughest.

"Say!" shrieked up to us a freckled native, holding fast to the tail
of a calf, the last of a gambolling family he was driving,--"Say!
whodger doon up thurr? Layn aoot taoonshup lains naoou, aancher?
Cauds ur suvvares raoond. Spekkleayshn goan on, ur guess."

We allowed this unmelodious vocalist to respect us by permitting him
to believe us surveyors in another sense than as we were. One would
not be despised as an unpractical citizen, a mere looker at Nature
with no immediate view to profit, even by a freckled calf-driver of
the Upper Connecticut. While we parleyed, the sketch was done, and the
pageant had faded quick before the storm.

Splendor had departed; the world in our neighborhood had fallen into
the unillumined dumps. An ominous mournfulness, far sadder than the
pensiveness of twilight, drew over the sky. Clouds, that donned
brilliancy for the fond parting of mountain-tops and the sun, now grew
cheerless and gray; their gay robes were taken from them, and with
bended heads they fled away from the sorrowful wind. In western glooms
beyond the world a dreary gale had been born, and now came wailing
like one that for all his weariness may not rest, but must go on
harmful journeys and bear evil tidings. With the vanguard gusts came
volleys of rain, malicious assaults, giving themselves the trouble to
tell us in an offensive way what we could discover for ourselves, that
a wetting impended and umbrellas would soon be nought.

While the storm was thus nibbling before it bit, we lengthened our
strides to escape. Water, concentrated in flow of stream or pause of
lake, is charming; not so to the shelterless is water diffused in dash
of deluge. Water, when we choose our method of contact, is a friend;
when it masters us, it is a foe; when it drowns us or ducks us, a very
exasperating foe. Proud pedestrians become very humble personages,
when thoroughly vanquished by a ducking deluge. A wetting takes out
the starch not only from garments, but the wearers of them. Iglesias
and I did not wish to stand all the evening steaming before a
kitchen-fire, inspecting meanwhile culinary details: Phillis in the
kitchen is not always as fresh as Phillis in the field. We therefore
shook ourselves into full speed and bolted into our inn at Colebrook;
and the rain, like a portcullis, dropped solid behind us.

In town, the landlord is utterly merged in his hotel. He is a
sovereign rarely apparent. In the country, the landlord is a
personality. He is greater than the house he keeps. Men arriving
inspect the master of the inn narrowly. If his first glance is at the
pocket, cheer will be bad; if at the eyes or the lips, you need not
take a cigar before supper to keep down your appetite.

Our landlord was of the latter type. He surged out of the little box
where he was dispensing not too fragrant rummers to a circle of
village-politicians, and congratulated us on our arrival before the
storm. He was a discriminating person. He detected us at once, saw we
were not tramps or footpads, and led us to the parlor, a room
attractively furnished with a map of the United States and an oblong
music-book open at "Old Hundred." Our host further felicitated us
that we had not stopped at a certain tavern below, where, as he

"They cut a chunk er beef and drop 't into a pot to bile, and bile her
three days, and then don't have noth'n' else for three weeks."

He put his head out of the door and called,--

"George, go aoot and split up that 'ere wood as fine as chaowder:
these men 'll want their supper right off."

Drawing in his head, he continued to us confidentially,--

"That 'ere George is jes' like a bird: he goes off at one snappin'."

Our host then rolled out toward the bar-room, to discuss with his
cronies who we might be. From the window we perceived the birdlike
George fly and alight near the specified wood, which he proceeded to
bechowder. He brought in the result of his handiwork, as smiling as a
basket of chips. Neat-handed Phillis at the door received the chowder,
and by its aid excited a sound and a smell, both prophetic of
supper. And we, willing to repose after a sixteen-mile afternoon-walk,
lounged upon sofa or tilted in rocking-chair, taking the available
mental food, namely, "Godey's Lady's Book" and the Almanac.



Next morning it poured. The cinders before the blacksmith's shop
opposite had yielded their black dye to the dismal puddles. The
village cocks were sadly draggled and discouraged, and cowered under
any shelter, shivering within their drowned plumage. Who on such a
morn would stir? Who but the Patriot? Hardly had we breakfasted, when
he, the Patriot, waited upon us. It was a Presidential campaign. They
were starving in his village for stump-speeches. Would the talking man
of our _duo_ go over and feed their ears with a fiery harangue?
Patriot was determined to be first with us; others were coming with
similar invitations; he was the early bird. Ah, those portmanteaus!
they had arrived, and betrayed us.

We would not be snapped up. We would wriggle away. We were very sorry,
but we must start at once to pursue our journey.

"But it pours," said Patriot.

"Patriot," replied our talking member, "man is flesh; and flesh,
however sweet or savory it may be, does not melt in water."

Thus fairly committed to start, we immediately opened negotiations for
a carriage. "No go," was the first response of the coachman. Our
willy was met by his nilly. But we pointed out to him that we could
not stay there all a dismal day,--that we must, would, could, should
go. At last we got within coachee's outworks. His nilly broke down
into shilly-shally. He began to state his objections; then we knew he
was ready to yield. We combated him, clinking the supposed gold of
coppers in our pockets, or carelessly chucking a tempting half-dollar
at some fly on the ceiling. So presently we prevailed, and he retired
to make ready.

By-and-by a degraded family-carriage came to the door. It came by some
feeble inertia left latent in it by some former motive-power, rather
than was dragged up by its more degraded nags. A very unwholesome
coach. No doubt a successful quack-doctor had used it in his
prosperous days for his wife and progeny; no doubt it had subsequently
become the property of a second-class undertaker, and had conveyed
many a quartette of cheap clergymen to the funerals of poor relations
whose leaking sands of life left no gold-dust behind. Such was our
carriage for a rainy day.

The nags were of the huckleberry or flea-bitten variety,--a freckled
white. Perhaps the quack had fed them with his refuse pills. These
knobby-legged unfortunates we of course named Xanthus and Balius, not
of podargous or swift-footed, but podagrous or gouty race. Xanthus,
like his Achillean namesake, (_vide_ Pope's Homer,)

    "Seemed sensible of woe and dropped his head,--
    Trembling he stood before the (seedy) wain."

Balius was in equally deplorable mood. Both seemed more sensible to
"Whoa" than to "Hadaap." Podagrous beasts, yet not stiffened to
immobility. Gayer steeds would have sundered the shackling drag.
These would never, by any gamesome caracoling, endanger the
coherency of pole with body, of axle with wheel. From end to end the
equipage was congruous. Every part of the machine was its weakest
part, and that fact gave promise of strength: an invalid never dies.
Moreover, the coach suited the day: the rusty was in harmony with
the dismal. It suited the damp unpainted houses and the tumble-down
blacksmith's-shop. We contented ourselves with this artistic
propriety. We entered, treading cautiously. The machine, with gentle
spasms, got itself in motion, and steered due east for Lake Umbagog.
The smiling landlord, the disappointed Patriot, and the birdlike
George waved us farewell.

Coachee was in the sulks. The rain, beat upon him, and we by
purse-power had compelled him to encounter discomfort. His
self-respect must be restored by superiority over somebody. He had
been beaten and must beat. He did so. His horses took the lash until
he felt at peace with himself. Then half-turning toward us, he made
his first remark.

"Them two hosses is gorming."

"Yes," we replied, "they do seem rather so."

This was of course profound hypocrisy; but "gorming" meant some bad
quality, and any might be safely predicated of our huckleberry
pair. Who will admit that he does not know all that is to be known in
horse-matters? We therefore asked no questions, but waited patiently
for information.

Delay pays demurrage to the wisely patient. Coachee relapsed into the
sulks. The driving rain resolved itself into a dim chaos of
mist. Xanthus and Balius plodded on, but often paused and gasped, or,
turning their heads as if they missed something, strayed from the
track and drew us against the dripping bushes. After one such
excursion, which had nearly been the ruin of us, and which by calling
out coachee's scourging powers had put him thoroughly in good-humor,
he turned to us and said, superlatively,--

"Them's the gormingest hosses I ever see. When I drew 'em in the
four-hoss coach for wheelers, they could keep a straight tail. Now
they act like they was drunk. They's gorming,--_they won't do
nothin' without a leader_."

To gorm, then, is to err when there is no leader. Alas, how mankind

By sunless noon we were well among the mountains. We came to the last
New-Hampshire house, miles from its neighbors. But it was a
self-sufficing house, an epitome of humanity. Grandmamma, bald under
her cap, was seated by the stove dandling grandchild, bald under its
cap. Each was highly entertained with the other. Grandpapa was sandy
with grandboy's gingerbread-crumbs. The intervening ages were well
represented by wiry men and shrill women. The house, also, without
being tavern or shop, was an amateur bazaar of _vivers_ and
goods. Anything one was likely to want could be had there,--even a
melodeon and those inevitable Patent-Office Reports. Here we
descended, lunched, and providently bought a general assortment,
namely, a large plain cake, five pounds of cheese, a ball of twine,
and two pairs of brown ribbed woollen socks, native manufacture. My
pair of these indestructibles will outlast my last legs and go as an
heirloom after me.

The weather now, as we drove on, seemed to think that Iglesias
deserved better of it. Rain-globes strung upon branches, each globe
the possible home of a sparkle, had waited long enough unillumined.
Sunlight suddenly discovered this desponding patience and rewarded
it. Every drop selected its own ray from the liberal bundle, and,
crowding itself full of radiance, became a mirror of sky and cloud and
forest. Also, by the searching sunbeams' store of regal purple, ripe
raspberries were betrayed. On these, magnified by their convex lenses
of water, we pounced. Showers shook playfully upon us from the vines,
while we revelled in fruitiness. We ran before our gormers, they
gormed by us while we plucked, we ran by, plucked again, and again
were gormingly overtaken and overtook. Thus we ate our way luxuriously
through the Dixville Notch, a capital cleft in a northern spur of the
White Mountains.

Picturesque is a curiously convenient, undiscriminating epithet. I use
it here. The Dixville Notch is, briefly, picturesque,--a fine gorge
between a crumbling conical crag and a scarped precipice,--a pass
easily defensible, except at the season when raspberries would
distract sentinels.

Now we came upon our proper field of action. We entered the State of
Maine at Township Letter B. A sharper harshness of articulation in
stray passengers told us that we were approaching the vocal influence
of the name Androscoggin. People talked as if, instead of ivory ring
or coral rattle to develop their infantile teeth, they had bitten upon
pine knots. Voices were resinous and astringent. An opera, with a
chorus drummed up in those regions, could dispense with violins.

Toward evening we struck the river, and found it rasping and crackling
over rocks as an Androscoggin should. We passed the last hamlet, then
the last house but one, and finally drew up at the last and
northernmost house, near the lumbermen's dam below Lake Umbagog. The
damster, a stalwart brown chieftain of the backwoodsman race, received
us with hearty hospitality. Xanthus and Balius stumbled away on their
homeward journey. And after them the crazy coach went moaning: it was
not strong enough to creak or rattle.

Next day was rainy. It had, however, misty intervals. In these we
threw a fly for trout and caught a chub in Androscoggin. Or, crouched
on the bank of a frog-pond, we tickled frogs with straws. Yes, and
fun of the freshest we found it. Certain animals, and especially
frogs, were created, shaped, and educated to do the grotesque, that
men might study them, laugh, and grow fat. It was a droll moment with
Nature, when she entertained herself and prepared entertainment for us
by devising the frog, that burlesque of bird, beast, and man, and
taught him how to move and how to speak and sing. Iglesias and I did
not disdain batrachian studies, and set no limit to our merriment at
their quaint, solemn, half-human pranks. One question still is
unresolved,--Why do frogs stay and be tickled? They snap snappishly
at the titillating straw; they snatch at it with their weird little
hands; they parry it skilfully. They hardly can enjoy being tickled,
and yet they endure, paying a dear price for the society of their
betters. Frogs the frisky, frogs the spotted, were our comedy that
day. Whenever the rain ceased, we rushed forth and tickled them, and
thus vicariously tickled ourselves into more than patience, into
jollity. So the day passed quickly.



While we were not tickling frogs, we were talking lumber with the
Umbagog damster. I had already coasted Maine, piloted by Iglesias, and
knew the fisherman-life; now, under the same experienced guidance, I
was to study inland scenes, and take lumbermen for my heroes.

Maine has two classes of warriors among its sons,--fighters of forest
and fighters of sea. Braves must join one or the other army. The two
are close allies. Only by the aid of the woodmen can the watermen
build their engines of victory. The seamen in return purvey the
needful luxuries for lumber-camps. Foresters float down timber that
seamen may build snips and go to the saccharine islands of the South
for molasses: for without molasses no lumberman could be happy in the
unsweetened wilderness. Pork lubricates his joints; molasses gives
tenacity to his muscles.

Lumbering develops such men as Pindar saw when he pictured Jason, his
forest hero. Life is a hearty and vigorous movement to them, not a
drooping slouch. Summer is their season of preparation; winter, of
the campaign; spring, of victory. All over the north of the State,
whatever is not lake or river is forest. In summer, the Viewer, like
a military engineer, marks out the region, and the spots of future
attack. He views the woods; and wherever a monarch tree crowns the
leafy level, he finds his way, and blazes a path. Not all trees are
worthy of the axe. Miles of lesser timber remain untouched. A Maine
forest after a lumber-campaign is like France after a _coup
d'état:_ the _bourgeoisie_ are prosperous as ever, but the
great men are all gone.

While the viewer views, his followers are on commissariat and
quartermaster's service. They are bringing up their provisions and
fortifying their camp. They build their log-station, pile up barrels
of pork, beans, and molasses, like mortars and Paixhans in an arsenal,
and are ready for a winter of stout toil and solid jollity.

Stout is the toil, and the life seemingly dreary, to those who cower
by ingle-nooks or stand over registers. But there is stirring
excitement in this bloodless war, and around plenteous camp-fires
vigor of merriment and hearty comradry. Men who wield axes and breathe
hard have lungs. Blood aërated by the air that sings through the
pine-woods tingles in every fibre. Tingling blood makes life
joyous. Joy can hardly look without a smile or speak without a
laugh. And merry is the evergreen-wood in electric winter.

Snows fall level in the sheltered, still forest. Road-making is
practicable. The region is already channelled with watery ways. An
imperial pine, with its myriads of feet of future lumber, is worth
another path cut through the bush to the frozen riverside. Down goes
his Majesty Pinus I., three half-centuries old, having reigned fifty
years high above all his race. A little fellow with a little weapon
has dethroned the quiet old king. Pinus I was very strong at bottom,
but the little revolutionist was stronger at top. Brains without much
trouble had their will of stolid matter. The tree fallen, its branches
are lopped, its purple trunk is shortened into lengths. The teamster
arrives with oxen in full steam, and rimy with frozen breath about
their indignant nostrils. As he comes and goes, he talks to his team
for company; his conversation is monotonous as the talk of lovers, but
it has a cheerful ring through the solitude. The logs are chained and
dragged creaking along over the snow to the river-side. There the
subdivisions of Pinus the Great become a basis for a mighty
snow-mound. But the mild March winds blow from seaward. Spring
bourgeons. One day the ice has gone. The river flows visible; and now
that its days of higher beauty and grace have come, it climbs high up
its banks to show that it is ready for new usefulness. It would be
dreary for the great logs to see new verdure springing all around
them, while they lay idly rotting or sprouting with uncouth funguses,
not unsuspect of poison. But they will not be wasted. Lumbermen, foes
to idleness and inutility, swarm again about their winter's
trophies. They imprint certain cabalistic tokens of ownership on the
logs,--crosses, xs, stars, crescents, alphabetical letters,--marks
respected all along the rivers and lakes down to the boom where the
sticks are garnered for market. The marked logs are tumbled into the
brimming stream, and so ends their forest-life.

Now comes "the great spring drive." Maine waters in spring flow under
an illimitable raft. Every camp contributes its myriads of brown
cylinders to the millions that go bobbing down rivers with
jaw-breaking names. And when the river broadens to a lake, where these
impetuous voyagers might be stranded or miss their way and linger,
they are herded into vast rafts, and towed down by boats, or by
steam-tugs, if the lake is large as Moosehead. At the lake-foot the
rafts break up and the logs travel again dispersedly down stream, or
through the "thoro'fare" connecting the members of a chain of
lakes. The hero of this epoch is the Head-Driver. The head-driver of a
timber-drive leads a disorderly army, that will not obey the word of
command. Every log acts as an individual, according to certain
imperious laws of matter, and every log is therefore at loggerheads
with every other log. The marshal must be in the thick of the fight,
keeping his forces well in hand, hurrying stragglers, thrusting off
the stranded, leading his phalanxes wisely round curves and angles,
lest they be jammed and fill the river with a solid mass. As the great
sticks come dashing along, turning porpoise-like somersets or leaping
up twice their length in the air, he must be everywhere, livelier than
a monkey in a mimosa, a wonder of acrobatic agility in biggest
boots. _He_ made the proverb, "As easy as falling off a log."

Hardly less important is the Damster. To him it falls to conserve the
waters at a proper level. At his dam, generally below a lake, the logs
collect and lie crowded. The river, with its obstacles of rock and
rapid, would anticipate wreck for these timbers of future
ships. Therefore, when the spring drive is ready, and the head-driver
is armed with his jackboots and his iron-pointed sceptre, the damster
opens his sluices and lets another river flow through atop of the
rock-shattered river below. The logs of each proprietor, detected by
their marks, pay toll as they pass the gates and rush bumptiously down
the flood.

Far down, at some water-power nearest the reach of tide, a boom checks
the march of this formidable body. The owners step forward and claim
their slicks. Dowse takes all marked with three crosses and a
dash. Sowse selects whatever bears two crescents and a star. Rowse
pokes about for his stock, inscribed clip, dash, star, dash, clip.
Nobody has counterfeited these hieroglyphs. The tale is complete. The
logs go to the saw-mill. Sawdust floats seaward. The lumbermen
junket. So ends the log-book.

"Maine," said our host, the Damster of Umbagog, "was made for
lumbering-work. We never could have got the trees out, without these
lakes and dams."

[To be continued.]



    The trumpet, now on every gale,
    For triumph or in funeral-wail,
    One lesson bloweth loud and clear
    Above war's clangor to my ear.

    The blood that flows in bounding veins,
    The blood that ebbs with lingering pains,
    Springs living from the self-same heart:
    Courage and patience act one part.

    Doers and sufferers of God's will
    Tread in each other's footprints still;
    Soldier or saint hath equal mind,
    When vows of truth the spirit bind.

    Two portraits light my chamber-wall,
    Hero and martyr to recall;
    Lines of a single face they keep,
    To make beholders glow or weep.

    With gleaming hilt, girt for the fray
    Freedom demands, he cannot stay:
    Forward his motion, keen his glance:
    'Tis victory painted in a trance.

    But, lo! he turns, he folds his hands;
    With farther, softening gaze he stands;
    His sword is hidden from his eyes;
    His head is bent for sacrifice.

    Through looks that match each varied thought
    Of holy work or offering brought,
    Upon the sunbeam's shifting scroll
    Shines out alike the steady soul.

    Young leader! quick to win a name
    Coeval with thy country's fame,
    For either fortune thou wast born,--
    The crown of laurel or of thorn.




Among the natives captured by the Spaniards in the neighboring islands
and upon the Terra Firma, as the South-American coast was
called,--were numerous representatives of Carib tribes, who had been
released by Papal dispensation from the difficulties and anxieties of
freedom in consequence of their reputation for cannibalism. This
vicious taste was held to absolve the Spaniards from all the
considerations of policy and mercy which the Dominicans pressed upon
them in the case of the more graceful and amiable Haitians. But we do
not find that Las Casas himself made any exception of them in his
pleadings for the Indians;[1] for, though he does not mention
cannibalism in the list of imputed crimes which the Spaniards held as
justification in making war upon the natives to enslave them, he
vindicates them from other charges, such as that of sacrificing
infants to their idols. The Spaniards were touched with compassion at
seeing so many innocent beings perish before arriving at years of
discretion, and without having received baptism. They argued that such
a practice, which was worse than a crime, because it was a theological
blunder, could not be carried on in a state of slavery. "This style
of reasoning," says Las Casas, "proves absolutely nothing; for God
knows better than men what ought to be the future destiny of children
who die in the immense countries where the Christian religion is
unknown. His mercy is infinitely greater than the collective charity
of mankind; and in the interim He permits things to follow their
ordinary course, without charging anybody to interfere and prevent
their consequences by means of war."[2]

The first possessors of Hayti were startled at the multitude of human
bones which were found in some of the caverns of the island, for they
were considered as confirming the reports of cannibalism which had
reached them. These ossuaries were accidental; perhaps natives seeking
shelter from the hurricane or earthquake were overwhelmed in these
retreats, or blocked up and left to perish. We have no reason to
believe that the caves had been used for centuries. And even the
Caribs did not keep the bones which they picked, to rise up in
judgment against them at last, clattering indictments of the number of
their feasts. Nor do they seem to have shared the taste of the old
Scandinavian and the modern Georgian or Alabamian, who have been known
to turn drinking-cups and carve ornaments out of the skeletons of
their enemies.

But they liked the taste of human flesh. The difference between them
and the Spaniard was merely that the latter devoured men's flesh in
the shape of cotton, sugar, gold. And the native discrimination was
not altogether unpraiseworthy, if the later French missionaries can be
exonerated from national prejudice, when they declare that the Caribs
said Spaniards were meagre and indigestible, while a Frenchman made a
succulent and peptic meal. But if he was a person of a religious
habit, priest or monk, woe to the incautious Carib who might dine upon
him! a mistake in the article of mushrooms were not more fatal. Du
Tertre relates that a French priest was killed and smoke-dried by the
Caribs, and then devoured with satisfaction. But many who dined upon
the unfortunate man, whom the Church had ordained to feed her sheep
less literally, died suddenly: others were afflicted with
extraordinary diseases. Afterwards they avoided Christians as an
article of food, being content with slaying them as often as possible,
but leaving them untouched.

The Caribs were very impracticable in a state of slavery. Their
stubborn and rigid nature could not become accommodated to a routine
of labor. They fled to the mountains, and began marooning;[3] but they
carried with them the scar of the hot iron upon the thigh, which
labelled them as natives in a state of war, and therefore reclaimable
as slaves. The Dominicans made a vain attempt to limit this branding
to the few genuine Caribs who were reduced to slavery; but the custom
was universal of marking Indians to compel them to pass for Caribs,
after which they were sold and transferred with avidity, the
authorities having no power to enforce the legal discrimination. The
very existence of this custom offered a premium to cruelty, by
furnishing the colonists with a technical permission to enslave.

But the supply could not keep up with the insatiable demand. The great
expeditions which were organized to sweep the Terra Firma and the
adjacent islands of their population found the warlike Caribs
difficult to procure.[4] The supply of laborers was failing just at
the period when the colonists began to see that the gold of Hayti was
scattered broadcast through her fertile soil, which became transmuted
into crops at the touch of the spade and hoe. Plantations of cacao,
ginger, cotton, indigo, and tobacco were established; and in 1506 the
sugar-cane, which was not indigenous, as some have affirmed, was
introduced from the Canaries. Vellosa, a physician in the town of San
Domingo, was the first to cultivate it on a large scale, and to
express the juice by means of the cylinder-mill, which he invented.[5]
The Government, seeing the advantages to be derived from this single
article, offered to lend five hundred gold piastres to every colonist
who would fit up a sugar-plantation. Thus stimulated, the cultivation
of the cane throve so, that as early as 1518 the island possessed
forty sugar-works with mills worked by horse-power or water. But the
plantations were less merciful to the Indians than the mines, and in
1503 there began to be a scarcity of human labor.

At this date we first hear that negroes had been introduced into the
colony. But their introduction into Spain and Europe took place early
in the fifteenth century. "Ortiz de Zuñigo, as Humboldt reports, with
his usual exactness, says distinctly that 'blacks had been already
brought to Seville in the reign of Henry III of Castile,' consequently
before 1406. 'The Catalans and the Normans frequented the western
coast of Africa as far as the Tropic of Cancer at least forty-five
years before the epoch at which Don Henry the Navigator commenced his
series of discoveries beyond Cape Nun.'"[6]

But the practice of buying and selling slaves in Europe can be traced
as far back as the tenth century, when fairs were established in all
the great cities. Prisoners of war, representing different nations at
different times, according to the direction which the love of piracy
and conquest took, were exposed at those great periodical sales of
merchandise to the buyers who flocked from every land. The Northern
cities around the Baltic have the distinction of displaying these
human goods quite as early as Venice or any commercial centre of the
South: the municipal privileges and freedom of those famous cities
were thus nourished partly by a traffic in mankind, for whose sake
privilege and right are alone worth having. Seven thousand Danish
slaves were exposed at one fair held in the city of Mecklenburg at the
end of the twelfth century. They had the liberty of being ransomed,
but only distinguished captives could be saved in that way from being
sold. The price ranged from one to three marks. It is difficult to
tell from this how valuable a man was considered, for the relation of
the mark to other merchandise, or, in other words, the value of the
currency, cannot be represented by modern sums, which are only
technically equivalent,--as a mark, for instance, was then held equal
to eight ounces of silver.[7] That was not exorbitant, however, for
those times, and shows that men were frequently exposed for sale. The
merchants of Bristol used to sell a great many captives into Ireland;
but it is recorded that the Irish were the first Christian people who
agreed at length to put a stop to this traffic by refusing to have any
more captives brought into their country. The Church had long before
forbidden it; and there are no grounds for supposing that any other
motive than humanity induced the Irish people to show this superiority
to the conventions of the age.[8]

From the essay by Schoelcher, entitled "The Slave-Trade and its
Origin," which has been prepared with considerable research, we gather
that the first negroes seen in Portugal were carried there in
1441. Antonio Gonzales was the name of the man who first excited his
countrymen by offering for sale this human booty which he had
seized. All classes of people felt a mania like that which turns the
tides of emigration to Australia and California. Nothing was desired
but the means of equipping vessels for the coast of Guinea. Previously
to this a few Guanches from the Canaries had been exposed for sale in
the markets of Lisbon and Seville, and there were many Moorish slaves
in Spain, taken in the wars which preceded the expulsion of that
nation. But now there was a rapid accumulation of this species of
property, fed by the inexhaustible soil of Africa, whence so many
millions of men have been reaped and ploughed into the soils of other

In 1443, an expedition of six caravels, commanded by a gentleman of
the Portuguese court, went down the coast on one of these ventures,
ostensibly geographical, but really mercenary, which then excited the
popular enterprise. It managed to attack some island and to make a
great number of prisoners. The same year a citizen of Lisbon fitted
out a vessel at his own expense, went beyond the Senegal, where he
seized a great many natives, discovered Cape Verde, and was driven
back to Lisbon by a storm.

Prince Henry built the fort of Mina upon the Gold Coast, and made it a
depot for articles of Spanish use, which he bartered for slaves. He
introduced there, and upon the island of Arguin, near Cape Blanco, the
cultivation of corn and sugar; the whole coast was formally occupied
by the Portuguese, whose king took the title of Lord of Guinea. Sugar
went successively to Spain, Madeira, the Azores, and the West Indies,
in the company of negro slaves. It was carried to Hayti just as the
colonists discovered that negroes were unfit for mining. Charlevoix
says that the magnificent palaces of Madrid and Toledo, the work of
Charles V., were entirely built by the revenue from the entry-tax on
sugar from Hayti.

At first, all prisoners taken in war, or in attacks deliberately made
to bring on fighting, were sold, whatever their nation or color. This
was due to the Catholic theory that all unbaptized people were
infidels. But gradually the same religious influence, moved by some
scruples of humanity, made a distinction between negroes and all other
people, allowing only the former to become objects of traffic, because
they were black as well as heathen. Thus early did physiology come to
the aid of religion, notifying the Church of certain physical
peculiarities which seemed to be the trade-marks of the Creator, and
perpetual guaranties, like the color of woods, the odor of gums, the
breadth and bone of draught-cattle, of their availability for the
market. What renown has graced the names of Portuguese adventurers,
and how illustrious does this epoch of the little country's life
appear in history! Rivers, bays, and stormy headlands, long reaches of
gold coast and ivory coast, and countries of palm-oil, and strange
interiors stocked with new forms of existence, and the great route to
India itself, became the charter to a brilliant fame of this mercenary
heroism. Man went as far as he was impelled to go. While the stimulus
continued, and the outlay was more than equalled by the income and the
glory, unexplored regions yielded up their secrets, and the Continent
of Africa was established by this insignificant nation to be for
centuries the vast slave-nursery of the world.

When the habit of selling men began to be restricted to the selling of
negroes, companies were formed to organize this business and to have
it carried on with economy. The Portuguese had a monopoly of the trade
for a long time. They went up and down the African coast, picking
quarrels with the natives when the latter did not quarrel enough among
themselves to create a suitable supply of captives. Slaves were in
great demand in Spain, and quite numerous at Seville. The percentage
which the Portuguese exacted induced the Spaniards at length to enter
into the traffic, which they did, according to Zuñigo, in 1474.

At that time negroes were confined, like Jews, to a particular quarter
of a Spanish city. They had their places of worship, their own
regulations and police. "A _Cédula_ [order] of November 8, 1474,
appoints a negro named Juan de Valladolid mayoral of the blacks and
mulattoes, free and slaves, in Seville. He had authority to decide in
quarrels and regular processes of law, and also to legalize marriages,
because, says the _Cédula_, 'it is within our knowledge that you
are acquainted with the laws and ordinances.' He became so famous that
people called him _El Conde Negro_, The Black Count, and his name
was bestowed upon one of the streets of the negro quarter."

Thus men were born in Europe into a condition of slavery before
1500. In that year the introduction of negroes into Hayti was
authorized, provided they were born in Spain in the houses of
Christian masters. Negroes who had been bred in Morisco[9] families
were not allowed to be carried thither, from a well-grounded fear that
the Moorish hatred had sunk too deeply into a kindred blood.

A great many slaves were immediately transported to Hayti; for in
1503, "Ovando, the Governor-General of the Indies, who had received
the instructions of 1500, asked the court 'not to send any more
negroes to Española, because they often escaped to the Indians, taught
them bad habits, and could never be retaken.'"

Schoelcher seems to think that these first slaves were so difficult to
manage because they had been reared in a civilized country; and he
notices that Cardinal Ximenes, who was well acquainted with the
Spanish negro, constantly refused to authorize a direct slave-trade
with Hayti, because it would introduce into the colony so many
enterprising and prolific people, who would revolt when they became
too numerous, and bring the Spaniards themselves under the yoke. This
was an early presentiment of the fortune of Hayti, but it was not
justly derived from an acquaintance with the Spanish-bred negro alone;
for the negroes who were afterwards transported to the colony directly
from Africa had the same unaccommodating temper, which frequently
disconcerted the Cardinal's theory that an African should be born and
bred in a Christian city to render him unfit for slavery. This
unclerical native prejudice against working for white men is so
universal, and has been so consistently maintained for three hundred
years, as to present a queer contradiction to those divine marks which
set him apart for that condition. The Cardinal attributed, in fact, to
intercourse with the spirit of his countrymen that disposition of the
negro which seems to be derived from intercourse with the spirit of
his Creator.

No sooner did the negro enter the climate of Hayti, and feel that more
truculent and desolating one of the Spanish temper, than he began to
revolt, to take to the mountains, to defend his life, to organize
leagues with Caribs and other natives. The colonists were often slain
in conflicts with them. The first negro insurrection in Hayti occurred
in November, 1522. It began with twenty Jolof negroes belonging to
Diego Columbus; others joined them; they slew and burned as they went,
took negroes and Indians along with them, robbed the houses, and were
falling back upon the mountains with the intent to hold them
permanently against the colony. Oviedo is enthusiastic over the action
of two Spanish cavaliers, who charged the blacks lance in rest, went
through them several times with a handful of followers, and broke up
their menacing attitude. They were then easily hunted down, and in six
or seven days most of them were hanging to the trees as warnings. The
rest delivered themselves up. In 1551, Charles V. forbade negroes,
both free and slave, from carrying any kind of weapon. It was
necessary subsequently to renew this ordinance, because the slaves
continued to be as dexterous with the _machete_ or the sabre as
with the hoe.

Humboldt and others have alluded to a striking prediction made by
Girolamo Benzoni, an Italian traveller who visited the islands and
Terra Firma early in the sixteenth century, and witnessed the
condition and temper of the blacks. It is of the clearest kind. He
says,[10] after speaking of marooning in Hayti,--_"Vi sono molti
Spagnuoli che tengono per cosa certa che quest' Isola in breve tempo
sarà posseduta da questi Mori. Et per tanto gli governatori tengono
grandissima vigilanza"_ etc.: "There are many Spaniards who hold it
for certain that in a brief time this island will fall into the hands
of the Africans. On this account the governors use the greatest
vigilance." He goes on to remark the fewness of the Spaniards, and
afterwards gives his own opinion to confirm the Spanish anticipation.
Nothing postponed the fulfilment of this natural expectation till the
close of the eighteenth century, but the sudden decay into which the
island fell under Spanish rule, when it became no longer an object to
import the blacks. Many Spaniards left the island before 1550, from
an apprehension that the negroes would destroy the colony. Some
authorities even place the number of Spaniards remaining at that time
as low as eleven hundred.

The common opinion that Las Casas asked permission for the colonists
to draw negroes from Africa, in order to assuage the sufferings of the
Indians, does not appear to be well-founded. For negroes were drawn
from Guinea as early as 1511, and his proposition was made in 1517.
The Spaniards were already introducing these substitutes for the
native labor, regardless of the ordinance which restricted the
possession of negroes in Hayti to those born in Spain. It is not
improbable that Las Casas desired to regulate a traffic which had
already commenced, by inducing the Government to countenance it. His
object was undoubtedly to make it easier for the colonists to procure
the blacks; but it must have occurred to him that his plan would
diminish, as far as possible, the miseries of an irregular transfer of
the unfortunate men from Africa. (See Bridge's _Jamaica, Appendix,
Historical Notes on Slavery._ The Spaniards had even less scruple
about their treatment of the negroes than of the Indians, alleging in
justification that their own countrymen sold them to the traders on
the Guinea coast!)

The horrors of a middle passage in those days of small vessels and
tedious voyages would have been great, if the number of slaves to be
transported had not been limited by law. There is no direct evidence,
however, that Las Casas made his proposition out of any regard for the
negro. Charles V. resolved to allow a thousand negroes to each of the
four islands, Hayti, Ferdinanda, Cuba, and Jamaica. The privilege of
importing them was bestowed upon one of his Flemish favorites; but he
soon sold it to some Genoese merchants, who held each negro at such a
high price that only the wealthiest colonists could procure
them. Herrera regrets that in this way the prudent calculation of Las
Casas was defeated.

This was the first license to trade in slaves. It limited the number
to four thousand, but it was a fatal precedent, which was followed by
French, Spanish, and Dutch, long after the decay of the Spanish part
of Hayti, till all the islands, and many parts of Central America,
were filled with negroes.

It is pleasanter to dwell upon those points in which the brave and
humane Las Casas surpassed his age, and prophesied against it, than
upon those which he held in common with it, as he acquiesced in its
instinctive life. At first it seems unaccountable that the argument
which he framed with such jealous care to protect his Indians and
recommend them to the mercy of Government was not felt by him to apply
to the negroes with equal force. Slavery uses the same pretexts in
every age and against whatsoever race it wishes to oppress. The
Indians were represented by the colonists as predestined by their
natural dispositions, and by their virtues as well as by their vices,
to be held in tutelage by a superior race: their vices were excuses
for colonial cruelty, their virtues made it worth while to keep the
cruelty in vigorous exercise. In refuting this interested party, Las
Casa anticipates the spirit and reasoning of later time. He was the
first to utter anti-slavery principles in the Western hemisphere. We
have improved upon his knowledge, but have not advanced beyond his
essential spirit, for equity and iniquity always have the same leading
points to make through their advocates. When we see that such a man
as Las Casas was unconscious of the breadth of his own philanthropy,
we wonder less at the liability of noble men to admit some average
folly of their age. This is the ridiculous and astonishing feature of
their costume, the exceptional bad taste which their spiritual
posterity learn to disavow.

The memory of Las Casas ought to be cherished by every true democrat
of these later times, for he announced, in his quality of Protector of
the Indian, the principles which protect the rights of all men against
oppressive authority. He was eager to convince a despotic court that
it had no legal or spiritual right to enslave Indians, or to deprive
them of their goods and territory. In framing his argument, he applied
doctrines of the universal liberty of men, which are fatal to courts
themselves; for they transfer authority to the people, who have the
best of reasons for desiring to be governed well. It is astonishing
that the republicanism of Las Casas has not been more carefully noted
and admired; for his writings show plainly, without forced
construction or after-thought of the enlightened reader, that he was
in advance of Spain and Europe as far as the American theory itself
is. Our Declaration of the Rights of Man shows nothing which the first
Western Abolitionist had not proclaimed in the councils and
conferences of Seville.

It is worth while to show this as fully as the purpose of this article
will admit. One would expect to find that he counselled kings to
administer their government with equal regard to the little and the
great, the poor and the rich, the powerful and the miserable; for this
the Catholic Church has always done, and has held a lofty theory
before earthly thrones, not-withstanding its own ambitious
derelictions. But Las Casas tells the Supreme Council of the Indies
that no charge, no servitude, no labor can be imposed upon a people
without its previous and voluntary consent; for man shares, by his
origin, in the common liberty of all beings, so that every
subordination of men to princes, and every burden imposed upon
material things, should be inaugurated by a voluntary pact between the
governing and the governed; the election of kings, princes, and
magistrates, and the authority with which they are invested to rule
and to tax, anciently owed their origin to a free determination of
people who desired to establish thereby their own happiness; the free
will of the nation is the only efficient cause, the only immediate
principle and veritable source of the power of kings, and therefore
the transmission of such power is only a representative act of a
nation giving free expression to its own opinion. For a nation would
not have recourse to such a form of government, except in accordance
with its human instinct, to secure the advantage of all; nor does it,
in thus delegating power, renounce its liberty, or have the intention
of submitting to the domination of another, or of conceding his right
to impose burdens and contributions without the consent of those who
have to bear them, or to command anything that is contrary to the
general interest. When a nation thus delegates a portion of its power
to the sovereign, it is not done by subscribing any written contract
or transaction, because primitive right presides, and there are
natural reserves not expressed by men, such as that of preserving
intact their individual independence, that of their property, and the
right of never submitting to a privation of good or an establishment
of taxes without a previous consent. People existed before kings and
magistrates. Then they were free, and governed themselves according to
their untrammelled intent. In process of time people make kings, but
the good of the people is the final cause of their existence. Men do
not make kings to be rendered miserable by their rule, but to derive
from them all the good possible. Liberty is the greatest good which a
people can enjoy: its rights are violated every time that a king,
without consulting his people, decrees that which wounds the general
interest; for, as the intention of subjects was not to grant a prince
the ability to injure, all such acts ought to be considered unjust and
altogether null. "Liberty is inalienable, and its price is above that
of all the goods of this world."[11]

Las Casas follows the fashion of his time in resting all his glorious
axioms upon the authority of men and councils. He quotes Aristotle,
Seneca, Thomas Aquinas, the different Popes, the Canons, and the
Scriptures; but it is astonishing to find how democratic they all are
to the enthusiastic Bishop, or rather, how the best minds of all ages
have admitted the immutable principles of human nature into their
theology and metaphysics. When will the Catholic Church, which has
nourished and protected so many noble spirits, express in her average
sentiment and policy their generous interpretations of her religion,
and their imputations to her of being an embodiment of the universal
religion of mankind?

Men complained of Las Casas for being severe and unsparing in his
speech. In this respect, of calling the vices and enormities of
Slavery by their simple names, and of fastening the guilt of special
transactions not vaguely upon human nature, but directly upon the
perpetrators who disgraced the nature which they shared, he also
anticipated the privilege and ill-repute of American Abolitionists. He
told what he saw, or what was guarantied to him by competent
witnesses. His cheek grew red when it was smitten by some fierce
outrage upon humanity, and men could plainly read the marks which it
left there. Nor did they easily fade away; he held his branded cheek
in the full view of men, that they might be compelled to interpret the
disgrace to which they were so indifferent. Men dislike to hear the
outcries of a sensitive spirit, and dread to have their heathenism
called by Christian names. How much better it would be, they think, if
philanthropy never made an attack upon the representatives of cruelty!
they would soon become converted, if they were politely let alone. No
doubt, all that the supporters of any tyranny desire is to be let
alone. They delight in abstract delineations of the vices of their
system, which flourishes and develops while moral indignation is
struggling to avoid attacking it where only it is dangerous, in the
persons of its advocates. If there were nothing but metaphysical
wickedness in the world, how effective it would be never to allude to
a wicked man! If Slavery itself were the pale, thin ghost of an
abstraction, how bloodless this war would be! Fine words, genteel
deprecation, and magnanimous generality are the tricks of
villany. Indignant Mercy works with other tools; she leaps with the
directness of lightning, and the same unsparing sincerity, to the spot
to which she is attracted. What rogue ever felt the clutch of a stern
phrase at his throat, with a good opinion of it? Shall we throttle the
rascal in broad day, or grope in the dark after the impersonal weasand
of his crime?

And those amiable people who think to regenerate the world by
radiating amenity are the choice accomplices of the villains. They
keep everything quiet, hush up incipient disturbances, and mislead the
police. No Pharisee shall be called a Devil's child, if they can help
it: they say "Fie!" to the scourge of knotted cord in the temple, or
eagerly explain that it was used only upon the cattle, who cannot, of
course, rebel. "These people who give the fine name of prudence to
their timidity, and whose discretion is always favorable to

"I have decided to write this history," says Las Casas, in his "Memoir
upon the Cruelty of the Spaniards," "by the advice of many pious and
God-fearing persons, who think that its publication will cause a
desire to spring up in many Christian hearts to bring a prompt remedy
to these evils, as enormous as they are multiplied." He designates
the guilty governors, captains, courtiers, and connects them directly
with their crimes. He does not say that they were gentlemen or
Christians: "these brigands," "executioners," "barbarians," are his
more appropriate phrases. If he had addressed them as gentlemen, the
terrible scenes would have instantly ceased, and the system of
_Repartimientos_ would have been abandoned by men who were only
waiting to be converted by politeness! He calls that plan of
allotting the natives, and reducing them to Spanish overseership,
"atrocious." Yet for some time it was technically legal: it was
equivalent to what we call constitutional. So that it was by no means
so bad as the anarchical attack which Las Casas made upon it! He tells
where an infamous overseer was still living in Spain,--or at least, he
says, "his family was living in Seville when I last heard about him."
What a disgraceful attack upon an individual! how it must have hurt
the feelings of a respectable family!--"How malignant!" cried the
_hidalgos_; "How coarse!" the women; and "How ill-judged!" the
clergy. He speaks of Cortés with contempt: why should he not? for he
was only the burglar of a kingdom. But we read these sincere pages of
Las Casas with satisfaction. The polished contemporaries of
Abolitionists turn over the pages of antique denunciation, and their
lymph really quickens in their veins as they read the prophetic
vehemence of an Isaiah, the personality of a Nathan, the unmeasured
vernacular of Luther, the satire and invective of all good upbraiders
of past generations, until they reach their own, which yet waits for a
future generation to make scripture and history of its speech and
deeds. Time is the genial critic that effaces the contemporary glosses
of interested men. It rots away the ugly scaffolding up which the bold
words climbed, and men see the beautiful and tenacious arch which only
genius is daring enough and capable to build. It is delightful to
walk across the solid structure, with gratitude and taste in a
glow. We love to read indictments of an exploded crime which we have
learned to despise, or which we are committing in a novel form.

Charlevoix takes up this complaint of the imprudence of Las Casas,
and, to illustrate it, thinks that he could not have anticipated the
bad effects of the publication of his "Memoir upon the Cruelty of the
Spaniards," for it appeared during the war with the revolted
Netherlands, and was translated into Dutch by a Frenchman. "Nothing,"
he says, "so animated those people to persist in their rebellion, as
the fear, that, if they entered into any accommodation with Spain,
they would be served as the natives had been in the American
Provinces, who were never so badly oppressed as when they felt most
secure upon the faith of a treaty or convention." If the book of Las
Casas really lent courage and motive to that noble resistance, as it
undoubtedly did by confirming the mistrust of Spanish rule in the Low
Countries, the honorable distinction should be preserved by history.

While a bad institution is still vigorous and aggressive, the divine
rage of conscientious men is not so exhilarating. A different style of
thought, like that which prevailed among the French missionaries to
the Indies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, is more
acceptable to colonial susceptibility. A South-side religion is a
favorable exposure for delicate and precarious products like indigo,
sugar, coffee, and cotton. Las Casas had not learned to wield his
enthusiastic pen in defence of the negro; but when the islands became
well stocked with slaves, later Catholics eagerly reproduced the
arguments of the Spanish _encomiendas_, and vindicated afresh the
providential character of Slavery. "I acknowledge," says one, "and
adore with all humility the profound and inconceivable secrets of God;
for I do not know what the unfortunate nation has committed to deserve
that this particular and hereditary curse of servitude should be
attached to them, as well as ugliness and blackness." "It is truly
with these unfortunates that the poet's saying is verified,--

    "'Dimidium mentis Jupiter illis aufert,'--

"as I have remarked a thousand times that God deprives slaves of half
their judgment, lest, recognizing their miserable condition, they
should be thrown into despair. For though they are very adroit in many
things which they do, they are so stupid that they have no more sense
of being enslaved than if they had never enjoyed liberty. Every land
becomes their country, provided they find enough to eat and drink,
which is very different from the state of mind of the daughters of
Zion, who cried, on finding themselves in a foreign country,--
'_Quomodo cantabimus canticum Domini in terra aliena?_'"[13]

Another missionary, in describing his method of administering baptism,
says: "After the customary words, I add, 'And thee, accursed spirit, I
forbid in the name of Jesus Christ ever to dare to violate this sacred
sign which I have just made upon the forehead of this creature, whom
He has bought with His blood.' The negro, who comprehends nothing of
what I say or do, makes great eyes at me, and appears confounded; but
to reassure him, I address to him through an interpreter these words
of the Saviour to St. Peter: 'What I do thou knowest not now; but thou
shalt know hereafter.'"

He complains that they do not appear to value the mystery of the
Trinity as a necessary means of salvation: the negro does not
understand what he is made to repeat, any more than a parrot. And here
the knowledge of the most able theologian will go a very little
ways. "Still, a missionary ought to think twice before leaving a man,
of whatever kind, to perish without baptism; and if he has scruples
upon this point, these words of the Psalmist will reassure his mind:
'_Homines et jumenta salvabis, Domine_': 'Thou, Lord, shall save both
man and cattle!'"[14]

Father Labat is scandalized because the English planters refused to
have their slaves baptized. Their clergymen told him, in excuse, that
it was unworthy of a Christian to hold in slavery his brother in
Christ. "But may we not say that it is still more unworthy of a
Christian not to procure for souls bought by the blood of Jesus Christ
the knowledge of a God to whom they are responsible for all that they
do?" This idea, that the negroes had been first bought by Christ, must
have been consoling and authoritative to a planter. The missionary has
not advanced upon the Spanish theory, that baptism introduced the
natives into a higher life.[15] "However," says Labat, "this notion of
the English does not affect them, whenever they can get hold of our
negroes. They know very well that they are Christians, they cannot
doubt that they have been made by baptism their brothers in Christ,
yet that does not prevent them from holding them in slavery, and
treating them like those whom they do not regard as their
brothers."[16] This English antipathy to baptizing slaves, for fear of
recognizing them as men by virtue of that rite, appears to have
existed in the early days of the North-American Colonies. Bishop
Berkeley, in his "Proposal for the Better Supplying of Churches in our
Foreign Plantations," etc., alludes to the little interest which was
shown in the conversion of negroes, "who, to the infamy of England and
scandal of the world, continue heathen under Christian masters and in
Christian countries; which could never be, if our planters were
rightly instructed and made sensible that they disappointed their own
baptism by denying it to those who belong to them." This receives an
explanation in a sermon preached by the Bishop in London, where he
speaks of the irrational contempt felt for the blacks in the
Plantation of Rhode Island, "as creatures of another species, who had
no right to be instructed or admitted to the sacraments. To this may
be added an erroneous notion that the being baptized is inconsistent
with a state of slavery. To undeceive them in this particular, which
had too much weight, it seemed a proper step, if the opinion of his
Majesty's attorney and solicitor-general could be procured. This
opinion they charitably sent over, signed with their own hands; which
was accordingly printed in Rhode Island, and dispersed throughout the
Plantation. I heartily wish it may produce the intended effect."[17]

In a speech upon West-Indian affairs, which Lord Brougham delivered in
the House of Commons in 1823, there is some account of the religious
instruction of the slaves as conducted by the curates. He alludes in
particular to the testimony of a worthy curate, who stated that he had
been twenty or thirty years among the negroes, "and that no single
instance of conversion to Christianity had taken place during that
time,--all his efforts to gain new proselytes among the negroes had
been in vain; all of a sudden, however, light had broken in upon their
darkness so suddenly that between five and six thousand negroes had
been baptized in a few days. I confess I was at first much surprised
at this statement. I knew not how to comprehend it; but all of a
sudden light broke in upon my darkness also. I found that there was a
clue to this most surprising story, and that these wonderful
conversions were brought about, not by a miracle, as the good man
seems himself to have really imagined, and would almost make us
believe, but by a premium of a dollar a head paid to this worthy
curate for each slave that he baptized!"

We return to Las Casas once more, to state precisely his complicity in
the introduction of the race whose sorrows have been so fearfully
avenged by Nature in every part of the New World. Many of the writers
who have treated of these transactions, as Robertson, for instance,
have accused Las Casas, on the strength of a passage in Herrera, of
having originated the idea that the blacks could be profitably
substituted for the Indians. It is supposed, that, in his eagerness to
save the Indians from destruction, he sought also to save colonial
interests, by procuring still a supply of labor from a hardier and
less interesting race. Thus his indignation at the rapid extinction of
the Indians appears sentimental; to indulge his fancy for an amiable
race, he was willing to subject another, with which he had no graceful
associations, to the same liabilities. We have seen, however, that
the practice of carrying negroes to Hayti was already established,
seven years before Las Casas suggests his policy. The passage from
Herrera has been misunderstood, as Llorente, Schoelcher, the Abbé
Grégoire, and others, conclusively show. That historian says that Las
Casa, disheartened by the difficulties which he met from the colonists
and their political and ecclesiastical friends at home, had recourse
to a new expedient, to solicit leave for the Spaniards to trade in
negroes, "in order that their labor on the plantations and in the
mines might render that of the natives less severe." This proposition,
made in 1517, has been wrongly supposed to signalize the first
introduction of blacks into America. Nor was Las Casas the first to
make this proposition; for another passage of Herrera discloses that
three priests of St. Jerome, who had been despatched to the colony by
Cardinal Ximenes, for the experiment of managing it by a Board instead
of by a Governor, recommended in 1516 that negroes should be sent out
to stock the plantations, in order to diminish the forced labor of the
natives. This was a concession by the Jeromites to the public opinion
which Las Casas had created.[18] Negroes already existed there; the
priests perceived their value, and that the introduction of a greater
number would both improve the colony and diminish the anti-slavery
agitation of the Dominicans. The next year this project was taken up
by Las Casas, borrowed from the Jeromites as the only alternative to
preserve a colony, to relieve the natives, and to keep the people
interested in the wholesome reforms which he was continually urging
upon the colonial administration.

He had no opportunity to become acquainted with the evils of negro
slavery, but it is strange that he did not anticipate them. It was
taken for granted by him that the blacks were enslaved in Africa, and
he accepted too readily the popular idea that their lot was improved
by transferring them from barbarous to Christian masters. Their number
was so small in Hayti, and the island fell so suddenly into decay,
that no formidable oppression of them occurred during his lifetime to
replace his recollections of the horrors of Indian servitude. His plan
did not take root, but it was remembered. Thus the single error of a
noble man, committed in the fulness of his Christian aspirations, and
at the very moment when he was representing to a generation of hard
and avaricious men the divine charity, betrayed their victims to all
the nations that sought wealth and luxury in the West, and pointed out
how they were to be obtained. His compromise has the fatal history of
all compromises which secure to the present a brief advantage, whose
fearful accumulation of interest the future must disgrace, exhaust,
and cripple itself to pay.

In 1519 the colony had already begun to decay, though all the external
marks of luxury and splendor were still maintained. That was the date
of a famous insurrection of the remnant of Indians, who occupied the
mountains, and defended themselves for thirteen years against all the
efforts of the Spaniards to reduce them. It was hardly worth while to
undertake their subjection. Adventurers and emigrants were already
leaving San Domingo to its fate, attracted to different spots of the
Terra Firma, to Mexico and Peru, by the reported treasures. That
portion of the colony which had engaged in agriculture found Indians
scarce and negroes expensive. There was no longer any object in
fitting out expeditions to reinforce the colony, and repair the waste
which it was beginning to suffer from desertion and disease. The war
with the natives was ignominiously ended by Charles V. in 1533, who
found that the colony was growing too poor to pay for it. He
despatched a letter to the cacique who had organized this desperate
and prolonged resistance, flattered him by the designation of Dom
Henri[19] and profuse expressions of admiration, sent a Spanish
general to treat with him, and to assign him a district to inhabit
with his followers. Dom Henri thankfully accepted this pacification,
and soon after received Las Casas himself, who had been commissioned
to assure the sole surviving cacique and representative of two million
natives that Spain was their friend! At last the Protector of the
Indians has the satisfaction of meeting them with authoritative
messages of peace. And this was the first salutation of Dom Henri,
after his forty years' experience of Spanish probity, and thirteen
years of struggle for existence: "During all this war, I have not
failed a day to offer up my prayers, I have fasted strictly every
Friday, I have watched with care over the morals and the conduct of my
subjects, I have taken measures everywhere to prevent all profligate
intercourse between the sexes";[20] thus nobly trying to recommend
himself to the good Bishop, who had always believed in their capacity
for temporal and spiritual elevation. He retired to a place named
Boya, a dozen leagues from the capital. All the Indians who could
prove their descent from the original inhabitants of the island were
allowed to follow him. A few of them still remained in 1750; their
number was only four thousand when Dom Henri led them away from
Spanish rule to die out undisturbed.[21]

After its passionate and blood-thirsty life, the colony was sinking to
sleep, not from satiety nor exhaustion, for the same race was holding
its orgies in other countries, but from inability to gather fuel for
its excesses. A long list of insignificant governors is the history of
the island for another century. They did nothing to improve the
condition of the inhabitants, whose distress was sometimes severe; but
they continued to embellish the capital, which Oviedo described to
Charles V. as rivalling in solidity and beauty any city in Spain. He
wrote in 1538, and possessed a beautiful residence in the plain of
St. John. The private houses were built substantially, in several
stories, of stone, embowered in charming gardens; the public edifices,
including the cathedral, displayed all the strength and rich
ornamentation which had been common for a hundred years in the Spanish
cities. There were several well-endowed convents, and a fine
hospital. When Sir Francis Drake took possession of San Domingo in
1586, he attempted to induce the inhabitants, who had fled into the
country, to pay an enormous ransom for their city, by threatening to
destroy a number of fine houses every day till it was paid. He
undertook the task, but found that his soldiers were scarcely able to
demolish more than one a day, and he eventually left the city not
materially damaged.

Antonio Herrera, in his "Description of the West Indies," gives the
number of inhabitants of the city in 1530 as six hundred, and says
that there were fourteen thousand Castilians, many of them nobles, who
carried on the different interests of the colony. He has a list of
seventeen towns, with brief descriptions of them.

It appears by this that the island had speedily recovered from the ill
reports of the early emigrants, many of whom returned to Spain broken
in purse and person, with excesses of passion and climate chronicled
in their livid faces[22]. There was a period when everybody who could
get away from the colony left it in disgust, and with the expectation
that it would soon become extinct. It was to prevent such a
catastrophe, which would have effectually terminated the explorations
of Columbus, that he proposed to the Government, in 1496, to commute
the punishments of all criminals and large debtors who were at the
time in prison to a perpetual banishment to the island, persons
convicted of treason or heresy being alone excepted. The advice was
instantly adopted, without a thought of the consequences of
reinforcing the malignant ambition of the colony with such
elements. Persons capitally convicted were to serve two years without
wages; all others were to serve on the same terms for one year; and
they went about with the ingenious clog of a threat of arrest for the
old crimes in case they returned to Europe.

The Government improved upon the hint of Columbus by decreeing that
all the courts in Spain should condemn to the mines a portion of the
criminals who would in the course of nature have gone to the
galleys.[23] Thus a new country, which invited the benign organization
of law and religion, and held out to pure spirits an opportunity
richer than all its crops and mines, was poisoned in its cradle. What
wonder that its vigor became the aimless gestures of madness, that a
bloated habit simulated health, and that decrepitude suddenly fell
upon the uneasy life?

At the same time it was expressly forbidden to all commanders of
caravels to receive on board any person who was not a born subject of
the crown of Castile. This was conceived in the exclusive colonial
policy of the time. It was a grotesque idea to preserve nationality by
insisting that even criminals must respect the Spanish birthright.
History counts the fitful pulses of this bluest blood of Europe,
and hesitates to declare that such emigrants misrepresented
the mother-country.

But after the middle of the sixteenth century, the inhabitants were
pillaged by the public enemies of the mother-country, and by private
adventurers of all lands. And yet, in 1587, the year after Drake's
expedition, their fleet carried home 48 quintals of cassia, 50 of
sarsaparilla, 134 of logwood, 893 chests of sugar, each weighing 200
pounds, and 350,444 hides of every kind. There is no account of
indigo, and the cultivation of cotton had not commenced. Coffee was
first introduced at Martinique during the reign of Louis XIV., who
died in 1715. Its cultivation was not commenced in Jamaica till

The negroes whom Hawkins procured on his first voyage to Africa were
carried by him to San Domingo. This was in 1563, the date of England's
first venture in the slave-trade. The English had sent vessels to the
African coast as early as 1551, on private account, for gold and
ivory; but as they had no West-Indian colony, and the trade in slaves
was a monopoly, they had no object to increase the risks of a voyage
which infringed upon the Portuguese right to Africa by carrying
negroes away. Vessels were fitted out in 1552 and 1553 to trade for
ivory and pepper; in the two following years the English interest in
Africa increased, and a negro was occasionally carried away and
brought to England.[25] This appears to have been the first
circumstance which attracted the attention of Queen Elizabeth, and
drew remonstrances from her before it became clear that a good deal of
money could be made out of such transactions. She blamed Captain
Hawkins, who had succeeded by treachery and violence in getting hold
of three hundred negroes whom he carried to San Domingo, and disposed
of in the ports of Isabella, Puerto-de-Plata, and Monte Christi. Her
virtue was proof against this first speculation, although it was an
exceedingly good one, for Hawkins filled his three vessels with hides,
ginger, and a quantity of pearls, and freighted two more with hides
and other articles which he sent to Spain. It was after his third
voyage, in 1567, when he sold his negroes in Havana at a profit
greater than he could derive from the decaying San Domingo, that the
Queen forgot her scruples, and gave Hawkins a crest symbolical of his
wicked success: "a demi-Moor, in his proper color, bound with a cord,"
made plain John a knight.[26]

But the Portuguese jealously watched their privilege to export men
from Africa, so that only about forty thousand negroes were brought
yearly by lawful and contraband channels to the different
islands. Cuba obtained most of these. The greater part of the
Portuguese trade took the direction of Brazil, for the sugar-cane had
been carried from Madeira to Rio Janeiro in 1531. Formidable rivalry
in selfishness was thus sown in every direction by the early splendor
of San Domingo. When the Genoese merchants bought the original
privilege to transport four thousand, they held the price of negroes
at two hundred ducats. Their monopoly ceased in 1539, when a great
market for slaves was opened at Lisbon; Spain could buy them there at
a price varying from ten to fifty ducats a head, but their price
delivered in good condition at San Domingo, including the inevitable
percentage of loss, made them almost as expensive as before.

The capital was shattered by an earthquake in 1684. The people melted
away, and fine houses, which were deserted by their owners, remained
tenantless, and went to ruin. Valverde,[27] a Creole of the island, is
the chronicler of its condition in the middle of the eighteenth
century. He observes that the Spanish Creoles were living in such
poverty that mass was said before daylight, so that mutual scandal at
dilapidated toilets might not interfere with the enjoyment of
religion. The leprosy was common, and two lazarettos were filled with
its victims. The negro blood had found its way into almost every
family; a female slave received her freedom as a legacy of piety or of
lust. She could also purchase it for two hundred and fifty dollars;
and if she was with child, an additional twelve dollars and fifty
cents would purchase for the new-comer all the glories and immunities
of Creole society. These were to doze and smoke in hammocks, and to
cultivate listlessly about twenty-two dilapidated sugar-plantations
and a little coffee. The trade in cattle with the French part of the
island absorbed all the business and enterprise that remained. Still
Valverde will not admit that the Spanish Creole was indolent: it is in
consequence of a deficiency of negroes, he explains, that they cannot
labor more!

A great injury was inflicted upon the colony by the exclusive
commercial spirit of the mother-country. Spain was the first European
government which undertook to interfere with the natural courses of
trade, on the pretence of protecting isolated interests. In the
eleventh century a great commercial competition existed between some
Italian, French, and Spanish cities. To favor the last, when they were
already enjoying their just share of trade, the King of Aragon
prohibited, in 1227, "all foreign vessels from loading for Ceuta,
Alexandria, or other important ports, if a Catalan ship was able and
willing to take the cargo"; the commerce of Barcelona was in
consequence of this navigation act seriously damaged.[28] Spain
treated her colonies afterward in the same spirit; and other
countries, France in particular, pursued this narrow and destructive
policy, wherever colonial success excited commercial jealousy and

"The commerce of the colony was all confined to the unwise arrangement
of a Government counting-house, called the _Casa de la Contratacion_,
(House of Trade,) through which all exports were sent out to the
colonies and all remittances made in return. By this order of things,
the want of free competition blasted all enterprise, and the
exorbitant rates of an exclusive traffic paralyzed industry.
The cultivation of the vine, the olive, and other staple productions
of Spain, was prohibited. All commerce between the colonies was
forbidden; and not only could no foreigner traffic with them, but
death and confiscation of property were decreed to the colonist who
should traffic with a foreigner,--slave-vessels alone being

Thus the policy which ought to have favored the island first settled
by Spaniards, against the attractions of Peru, Mexico, and Cuba,
towards which the mother-colony was rapidly emptying her streams of
life, was not forthcoming. These Spaniards, who were enslaved by the
tenacious fancy that El Dorado still glittered for them in some
distant place, needed to be attached to the soil by generous
advantages, such as premiums for introducing and sustaining the
cultivation of new productions, immunity from imposts either by
Government or by the middle-men of a company, and liberty to exchange
hides, tallow, and crops of every kind with the French, Dutch, and
English, in every port of the island, to convert a precarious illicit
trade with those nations into a natural intercourse, so that different
articles of food, which were often scarce, and sometimes failed
entirely, might be regularly supplied, until by such fostering care
the colony should grow strong enough to protect itself against its own
and foreign adventurers. But if all these measures had been accordant
with the ideas of that age, they would have been defeated by its

Other people now appear upon the scene, to put the finishing touch to
this decay, while they freshen the old crimes and assume the tradition
of excess and horror which is the island's history.

[To be continued.]


1. Herrera says, however, that Las Casas declared them to be
legitimately enslaved, the natives of Trinity Island in
particular. Schoelcher (_Colonies Étrangèrés et Haiti_,
Tom. II. p. 59) notices that all the royal edicts in favor of the
people of America, miserably obeyed as they were, related only to
Indians who were supposed to be in a state of peace with Spain; the
Caribs were distinctly excepted. It was convenient to call a great
many Indians Caribs; numerous tribes who were peaceful enough when let
alone, and victims rather than perpetrators of cannibalism, became
slaves by scientific adjudication. "These races," said Cardinal
Ximenes, "are fit for nothing but labor."

2. _Fifth Memoir: Upon the Liberty of the Indians._
Llorente, Tom. II. p. 11.

3. _Cimarron_ was Spanish, meaning _wild:_ applied
to animals, and subsequently to escaped slaves, who lived by hunting
and stealing.

4. "Gimlamo Benzoni, of Milan, who, at the age of
twenty-two, visited Terra Firma, took part in some expeditions in 1542
to the coasts of Bordones, Cariaco, and Paria, to carry off the
unfortunate natives. He relates with simplicity, and often with a
sensibility not common in the historians of that time, the examples of
cruelty of which he was a witness. He saw the slaves dragged to New
Cadiz, to be marked on the forehead and on the arms, and for the
payment of the _quint_ to the officers of the crown. From this
port the Indians were sent to the island of Hayti, after having often
changed masters, not by way of sale, but because the soldiers played
for them at dice."--Humboldt, _Personal Narrative_, Vol. I. p.

5. Schoelcher, _Hayti_, Vol. II. p. 78. The Arabs introduced the
cane, which had been cultivated in the East from the remotest
times, into Sicily in the ninth century, whence it found its
way into Spain, and was taken to the Canaries: Madeira sent sugar to
Antwerp in 1500. See Bridge, _Annals of Jamaica_, Vol.I. p.594,
who, however, makes the mistake of saying that a variety of the
sugar-cane was indigenous to the Antilles. See Humboldt, _Personal
Narrative_, Vol. II. p. 28, who says that negroes were employed in
the cultivation of the sugar-cane in the Canaries from its

6. Schoelcher, _La Traile et son Origine_, in
_Colonies Etrengères_, Tom. I. p. 364.

7. Upon the subject of changes in the value of money, and
some comparisons between the past and present, see Hallam's _Europe,
during the Middle Ages_, Vol. II. pp. 427--432, and _Supplement_,
p. 406. Dealing in money, banking, bills of exchange, have a very
early date in Europe. The Bank of Venice was founded in 1401.
Florentines dealt in money as early as 1251, and their system
of exchange was in use throughout the North early in the
fifteenth century.--McCullagh's _Industrial History of Free
Nations_ Vol. II. p. 94.

8. See in Hallam's _Supplement to Europe during the Middle
Ages_, p. l33, and in Motley's _Dutch Republic_, Vol. I. pp.
32, 33, various causes mentioned for voluntary and compulsory
servitude in the early European times. See also Summer's _White
Slavery_, p. 11.

9. Moors, living In Spain as subjects, and nominally

10. _La Historia sel Mondo Nuovo_, Venetia, 1565, Book
II. p.65, a duodecimo filled with curious plates representing the
habits of the natives and the Spanish dealings with them. Benozi
elsewhere has a good deal to say about the cruelty exercised towards
the negroes. For a failure to perform a daily stint in the mines, a
negro was usually buried up to his chin, and left to be tormented by
the insects. Wire whips were used in flogging, and hot pitch was
applied to the wounds.

11. _Fifth Memoir: Upon the Liberty of the Indians who
have been reduced to the Condition of Slavery_; Morente,
Tom. II. pp. 34, 35. _Sixth Memoir: Upon the Question whether Kings
have the Power to alienate their Subjects, their Towns and
Jurisdiction_, pp. 64 et seq. _Letter of Las Casas to Miranda,
resident in England with Philip, in 1555_.--The Sixth Memoir is a
remarkable production. Its closing words are these: "The dignity of a
king does not consist in usurping rights of which he is only the
administrator. Invested with all the necessary power to govern well
and to make his kingdom happy, let him fulfil that fine destiny, and
the respect of the people will be his reward."

12. "Ces hommes qui donnent le beau nom de prudence à leur
timidité, et dont la discrétion est toujours favorable à
l'injustice."--Hilliard d'Aubertueil, _Considérations sur l'Ètat
Présent de la Colonie Françoise de St. Domingue_, 1776.

13. _Histoire Générale des Isles de St. Christophe_, etc., 1654,
par Du Tertre.

14. From a letter by the Jesuit father Le Pers, quoted by
Charlevoix, _Histoire de St. Domingue_, Tom. IV. p. 369. Amsterdam,

15. Upon the reputed effects of baptism, and some anecdotes
connected with the administration of this rite, see Humboldt's
_Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain_, London, 1811,
Vol. I. p. 165, note.

16. _Nouveau Voyage aux Isles de l'Amerique_, A la
Haye, 1724, Tom. V. p. 42. Father Labat is delighted because the Dutch
asked him to confess their slaves; and he records that many masters
take great pains to have their Catholic slaves say their prayers
morning and evening, and approach the sacrament; nor do they undertake
to indoctrinate them with Calvinism.

17. _A Sermon preached before the Incorporated Society for
the Propogation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, at their Anniversary
Meeting in the Parish Church of St. Mary-le-Bow, on Friday,
February 18, 1731_.

18. Oviedo says nothing about this Jeromite proposition, but
records the arrival of this priestly commission, (_Hist. Ind._,
Book IV. ch. 3,) and that one object of it was to provide for the
Indians,--"_buen tractamiento é conserveçion de los indios_." He
says that all the remedial measures which it undertook increased the
misery and loss of the natives. He was not humane. It seemed absurd
to him that the Indians should kill themselves on the slightest
pretext, or run to the mountains; and he can find no reason for it,
except that their chief purpose in life (and one which they had always
cherished, before the Christians came among them) was to eat, drink,
"_folgar, é luxuriar, é idolatrar, é exercer otras muchas suçiedades

19. The priests gave him the name of Henri, when they
baptized him, long previous to his revolt. He was called Henriquillo
by way of Catholic endearment. But the consecrating water could not
wash out of his remembrance that his father and grandfather had been
burnt alive by order of a Spanish governor. What, indeed, can quench
such fires? Yet this dusky Hannibal loved the exercises and pure
restraints of the religion which had laid waste his family.

20. Oviedo, _Hist. Ind._, Book V. ch. 11, who gives the
cacique little credit for some of his prohibitions, but on the whole
praises him, and, after mentioning that he lived little more than a
year from the time of this pacification, and died like a Christian,
commends his soul to God. Oviedo hated the Indians, and wrote about
colonial affairs coldly and in the Spanish interests.

21. _Histoire Politique et Statistique._ Par Placide Justin.

22. "The Indies are not for every one! How many heedless
persons quit Spain, expecting that in the Indies a dinner costs
nothing, and that there is nobody there in want of one; that as they
do not drink wine in every house, why, they give it away! Many,
Father, have been seen to go to the Indies, and to have returned from
them as miserable as when they left their country, having gained from
the journey nought but perpetual pains in the arms and legs, which
refuse in their treatment to yield to sarsaparilla and _palo
santo_, [_lignum vitae_,] and which neither quicksilver nor
sweats will eject from their constitution." From a Spanish novel by
Yanez y Rivera, "_Alonzo, el Donado Hablador_": "Alonzo, the
Talkative Lay-Brother," written in 1624. New York, 1844.

23. Charlevoix, _Histoire de St. Domingue_, 1733,
Tom.I. p.185, who notices the admission of Herrera that the Admiral
made a great mistake, since malefactors should not be selected for the
founders of republics. No, neither in Virginia nor in any virgin

24. Some slips of Mocha fell into the hands of Europeans
first by being carried to Batavia. It was then transplanted to
Amsterdam in the end of the sixteenth century; and a present of some
shrubs was made to Louis XIV., at the Peace of Utrecht. They
flourished in his garden, and three shrubs were taken thence and
shipped to Martinique in the care of a Captain de Cheu. The voyage was
so prolonged that two of them died for want of moisture, and the
captain saved the third by devoting to it his own ration of water.

25. Hüne, _Geschichte des Sclavenhandels_, I. 300.

26. When John's son, Richard, was fitting out a vessel for a
voyage into the South Sea, ostensibly to explore, his mother-in-law
had the naming of it at his request; and she called it "The
Repentance." Sir Richard was puzzled at this; but his mother would
give him no other satisfaction "then that repentance was the safest
ship we could sayle in to purchase the haven of Heaven." The Queen
changed the name to "Daintie."--_Observations of Sir Richard
Hawkins, Knight, in his Voyage into the South Sea,_ A. D. 1593.

27. _Idea del Valor,_ etc., Madrid, 1785: _An Idea of
the Value of the Spanish Island,_ etc. By A.S. Valverde.

28. McCullagh's _Industrial History of Free Nations; the
Dutch_, Vol. II. p. 51.

29. _The History and Present Condition of St.
Domingo_, by J. Brown, M. D., 1837, p. 40. Even this exception in
favor of slave-traders appears afterwards to have been withdrawn; for
Charlevoix relates (_Histoire de St. Domingue_, Tom. III. p. 36)
that the Governor of San Domingo got Tortuga away from the French, in
1654, by means of two negroes whom he had purchased cheap from some
Dutchmen, and who showed him a path by which he drew up two cannon to
command the fort. He was recalled, and beheaded at Seville, because he
had bought negroes of foreigners.


I was born in a small town of Virginia. My father was a physician,
more respected than employed; for it was generally supposed, and
justly, that he was more devoted to chemical experiment and
philosophical speculation than to the ordinary routine of his
profession. It was quite natural, that, in course of time, another
physician should come to dash by, with fine turnout, my father's
humble gig; and such, indeed, was the result. It was equally natural,
that, as the dear old man looked his own fate straight in the eyes,
and saw his patients falling away one by one, he should adjourn
practical success to his only son,--myself. Quiet, but unremitting,
were his efforts to make me avoid the rock on which his worldly
fortunes had been wrecked. In vain: to me there was a light in his eye
which lured me on to those visionary shores from which he warned me;
and whilst he was holding out the labors and duties of a regular and
steadfast practitioner as merciful and honorable among the highest,
there was an undertone in his voice, of which he was unconscious,
which told me plainly that the knowledge he most valued in himself was
that apparently most unproductive. My mother had died several years
before; my father's affection, pride, and hope rested utterly upon
me. I knew not then how sad it was to disappoint him. Often, when he
returned to his office, hoping to find me studying the "Materia
Medica," I was discovered poring over some old volumes on the "Human
Humors, or the Planetary Sympathies of the Viscera." A sincere grief
filled his eyes at such times, but I could not help feeling that it
was mingled with respect. The heaviest cross I had to bear was that
the curious old volumes which attracted me were gradually abstracted
from the library.

One day, walking with my father on the outskirts of the town, we found
a merry throng gathered about the car of a travelling daguerrotypist.
Having nothing more entertaining on hand, we entered the car
and sat, whilst the village belles, and the newly affianced,
and the young brides came for their miniatures. This was interesting;
but when they were gone, my father and the artist entered upon a
conversation which was far more absorbing to me, and indeed colored
the whole of my subsequent life. My father made inquiries concerning
the materials used in daguerrotyping, and the progress of the art; and
the artist, finding him an intelligent man, entered with spirit upon
his relation.

"It is, indeed, wonderful," he said, "that more has not been
accomplished through this discovery; and I can attribute this to
nothing but the lack amongst our poor fraternity of the capital
necessary for carrying on and out the many experiments suggested to us
daily in the course of our operations."

"About what point," asked my father, "do these suggestions usually

"That which chiefly excites our speculation is the unfathomed mystery
of the nitrate of silver. The story of this wonderful agent is not
half unfolded; and every artist knows that its power is limited only
by the imperfection of the materials with which it has to act. Its
sensitiveness approaches that of thought itself. I have a very small
quantity of highest quality which I use on rare occasions and
generally for experiments. A few days ago I caught with it this first
flash of sunrise,--see, is it not perfect?"

The picture which he showed us was, indeed, beautiful. A wave of light
bursting upon the plate to a foamy whiteness, almost beyond the power
of the eye to bear. But that which excited me most was the photograph
of a star, which he had fixed after highly magnifying it. What a
fascination there was about that little point of fire!

It turned out to be the star under which I was born: its fatal
influences were already upon me: I returned home to pass a night
sleepless, indeed, but not without dreams.

Why is it that a new idea, taking possession of the young, raising
some new object for their pursuit, does, in the proportion of its
power, foreclose even the most accustomed confidences? My father was
precisely the one man living who would have sympathized in the purpose
which from the time of this visit sucked into its whirl all my desires
and powers; but that purpose seemed at once to turn my heart to
stone. For a week I was acting a part before the kindest and simplest
of men; and I deliberately went forward to reach my object over his
happiness and even life.

When the daguerrotypist left town, I easily found the direction he had
taken; and, after waiting several days to prevent any suspicious
coincidence in the time of our departure, I one night, soon after
midnight, crept from my bed and followed him. I overtook him at a
village some twenty miles distant, where he was remaining a day or
two, and easily procured an engagement with him, since I desired
nothing but to serve him and be taught the mechanical details of his
art. My father had no clue whatever to my direction, for he had not
dreamed of anything unusual in my thoughts or plans. He was now
entirely alone. But I knew that I was helpless against the phantom
which was leading me forth; it also contained a stimulant which was
able to bear me safely through seasons of self-reproach and

For about six months I got along with the artist very well. My desire
to learn made me attentive, prompt, and respectful. But at the end of
that time I had learned all that he could teach me, and, as I had
engaged with him for an ulterior object, the business began to lose
its interest for me, and the inconveniences of wandering about in a
car, hitherto unthought of, were now felt. The relations between my
master and myself had been so agreeable that for a long time this
change in my feelings was not alluded to in words. He was a thrifty
Yankee, and with a Yankee's sense of justice; so he offered me a fair
proportion of the profits. But at the end of the year he told me that
he thought I was "too much of a Virginian" ever to follow this
occupation, and that, having seen my father and known his position, he
was surprised that he had ever favored such a pursuit for me. This
was, indeed, the falsehood I had told him.

It was in a Canadian village that I parted with this gentlemanly and
generous New-Englander. When I left him, I was not penniless, but a
bitter sense of my loneliness was upon me, and a consciousness of the
uncandid and cruel turn I had done my father brought me almost to the
verge of suicide. On Sunday morning I entered a church in Toronto, and
tears flowed down my face as I heard the minister read the parable of
the Prodigal Son. It seemed to me as a voice from home, and I
determined to go to my father. Without hesitating, or stopping an
hour, I took all the money I had to pay my way, and in about six days
afterward, sitting beside the driver on the stage-coach, looked from a
hill upon the house in which I was born. A pang shot through my heart
at that instant. Until that moment I had dreamed of my father's
seeing me whilst I was yet a great way off, of resting my weary head
upon his warm, infolding heart. But now the dream faded, and a pain
as of an undying worm gnawed already on my soul. I paused at the gate,
nearly paralyzed by fear. Was he dead? No; I felt this was not the
case; but I felt that something worse than this was about to befall
me. I gained strength to enter the hall, and sat down there. I heard
several voices. I went on to the well-known chamber. A physician and a
nurse were there. Standing in the door a moment, I heard my father say
in a whisper, "If he ever comes back, let him have all; tell him his
father loved him to the last; but do not tell him more, do not make
_him_ suffer,--mark you!" A moment more, and I was kneeling by
his dying bed. "My father, my father, I have murdered you!" After some
moments it was impressed upon the old man that his penitent son was by
his side. I almost looked for the curse that I deserved; but a
peaceful light was on his face as he said,--"I'm sorry I hid the books
from you, child. I meant well,--I meant well,--I erred. If I can help
you from up there, I will." Life departed with these words.

It will not be wondered that I became a recluse. The recluse is
usually one cast up from such bleak experiences of sin and grief that
he fears to launch upon life again, and only seeks to hide him in any
cavern that may be found along the shore that has received him. Thus
it was with me, at least. I dreaded to look one of my townsmen in the
face,--they knew all: and many years after, when the harsh judgments
which would have received me were softened by my lonely penance and
sadness, and proffers came from society, my solitude had become sacred
to me; and that old star which the daguerrotypist had shown me still

My father had left me enough property to enable me to carry forward
the investigations and experiments to which all voices seemed to call
me. I had an upper room prepared with a skylight and all other
appliances. I purchased an excellent instrument, and some very strong
diameters for magnifying photographs. The trials I had made convinced
me that the minuteness and extent of objects photographed were limited
only by the comparative coarseness of the materials _through_ and
_on_ which the object passed. So I was very particular in
selecting lenses. Further trials, however, led me to believe that the
plate was still more important. Obtaining a steel of perfect grain, I
spent days in giving it the highest polish it would bear, and kept it
ready for any important office. By means of a long and bright tin
reflector, (the best,) my artificial light was ready, in case I should
desire to photograph at night; and, indeed, it was the hope of making
some astronomic discovery that was leading me on.

Calm and clear was the night on which I brought these my treasures
forth. Jupiter was blazing in the heavens, and challenged Art to seize
his majestic lineaments. It turned out a point of fire much like that
which my master had exhibited to me. I mixed a finer nitrate,
repolished my plate, and was this time rewarded by seeing, under all
the diameters which I had, the satellites also. Very much thrilled
even with this degree of success, and taking the picture on paper, I
put my plate away, and set myself to study what I should do next. It
had not yet occurred to me to inquire of myself what definite thing I
really was after. My deepest hope was in the undefinableness of its
object: I knew only that a clear idea (and Plato says all clear ideas
are true) of the subtile susceptibilities of nitrate of silver,
_limited only by materials_, had engendered within me, through
much pondering, an embryo idea, to the development of which my life
was intuitively consecrated. I would not define it to myself, because
I felt (intuitively, also) that it was something illimitable,
therefore indefinable.

I began to experiment now with lenses, placing various kinds and
powers one above another. It occurred to me that I had hitherto
brought their power to bear only upon _whole_, objects. But what
would be the result of magnifying an object daguerrotyped until it
covered the disc of the reflector, then photographing it, and
afterward magnifying a central segment of the picture to its utmost,
and again renewing the experiment on this? An infinite series of
analyses might be carried into the heart of an image; and might not
something therein, invisible not only to the naked eye, but to the
strongest magnifier, be revealed? Following this reflection, I took a
common stereoscopic view and subjected it to my lenses. It was an
ordinary view of a Swiss hamlet, the chief object of which was an inn
with a sign over the door surmounted by a bush. The only objects upon
the sign discernible with a common convex eye-glass were a mug of beer
on one side and a wine-bottle on the other. Their position indicated
that something else was on the sign: the stronger diameters presently
brought out "CARL ELZNERS"; the strongest I had were exhausted in
bringing out "GARTEN UND GASTHAUS." When this, the utmost dimension,
was reached, I photographed it. Then, taking ordinary magnifiers, I
began upon that part of the sign where, if anything remained unevoked,
it would be found. The reader will observe, that, each time that the
result of one enlargement was made the subject for another, the loss
was in the field or range which must be paid for intensity and
minuteness. Thus, in the end, there might appear but one letter of a
long sentence, or a part of a letter. In this case, however, the
result was better than I had expected: I read distinctly, "--EIN,
WEI--"; and Luther's popular lines, "_Wer liebt nicht wein,
weib_," etc., were brought to my mind at once. Thus I had the sign
in full: the powerful agent of the sun on earth had fixed Carl Elzner
and his Protestant beer-garden on the stereoscopic view forever,
whether the dull eyes of men could read them or not.

Thrilled and animated by this success, I hastened to apply the same
plan of magnifying segment by segment to my photograph of
Jupiter. But, alas, although something suggestive did appear, or so I
fancied, the image grew dimmer with each analysis, until, under the
higher powers, it disappeared, and the grainings of the card
superseded the planet. Had I not proved that my principle was good in
the case of the Swiss sign-board, I should now have given it up as the
whim of an over-excited brain. But now I thought only of the assertion
of the daguerrotypist, that "the nitrate was limited in sensitiveness
only by the imperfection of the materials," (i. e. plates, glass,
reflectors, etc.,) and I had heard the same repeated by the paper
which had finally replaced the picture it held. I now determined to
risk on the experiment the elegant steel plate on whose polish I had
spent so much pains and time. I took the portrait of Jupiter thereon,
and fixed it forever. This time I could not be mistaken in supposing
that as the field of vision shrank some strange forms appeared; but I
could be certain of none which were essentially different from those
revealed by the largest telescopes. My narrowing and intensifying
process then began to warn me of another failure: when I had reached
the last point at which the image could be held at all, the grain of
the steel plate was like great ropes, and it was only after resting my
eyes for some time, then suddenly turning them upon it, that I could
see any picture at all. For an instant it would look like an
exceedingly delicate lichen,--then nothing was visible but huge bars
of steel.

Ah, with what despair did I see the grand secret which had so long
hovered before me and led my whole life now threatening to elude and
abandon me forever! "But," I cried, "it shall not go so easily, by
Heaven! If there be a genius in the casket, unsealed it shall be!"

I resolved to give up steel for some metal or substance of finer
grain. I almost impoverished myself in purchasing plates of the finer
metals, before it occurred to me to try glass, and had to laugh at my
own stupidity when I discovered that in the last analysis glass showed
much smoother than any of the rest. I immediately obtained a great
many specimens of glass, and spent much time in subjecting them to my
lenses only to see how much fibrous appearance, or unevenness, could
be brought before the eye from a smooth surface. I found one excellent
specimen, and gave myself up to grinding it to the utmost extent
consistent with its strength.

I felt now that I was about to make a final test. It would be not only
a test of my new plate, but of my own sanity, which I had at various
times doubted. I felt, that, unless my idea should be proved true, I
could no longer trust my reason, which had at every step beckoned me
on to the next. I had studied medicine enough in my father's office
long ago to know that either sanity or insanity may come as a reality
from a mind's determined verdict on itself. When, therefore, I again
sat down to analyze my daguerrotype of the planet, it was with the awe
and fear which might beset one standing on a ledge between a frightful
chasm and a transcendent height, and not knowing which was to receive

From the first burst of the sunlight over the world, I sat at my
task. Each instrument, each lens I used, I spent an hour or hours
over, giving it the finest polish or nicety of adjustment to which it
could be brought. Into that day I had distilled my past; into it I was
willing to distil the eternity that was before me. With each now
application, the field of the planet shrank a thousand leagues, but
each time the light deepened. According to my principle, there was no
doubt that some object would be revealed before the space became too
limited, provided nothing interfered with the distinctness of the
picture. At length I calculated that I was selecting about twenty
square miles from about seven hundred. Forms were distinct, but they
were rigid, and painfully reminded me of the astronomic maps. About
five removes from this, I judged that the space I was looking at must
be about ten feet square. I was sure that the objects really occupying
those ten feet must be in my picture, if I could evoke them.

On this I placed a mild power, and was startled at finding something
new. The picture which had been so full of rigid and sharp outlines
now became a confusion of ever-changing forms. Now it was light,--now
shadow; angles faded into curves; but out of the swarming mass of
shapes I could not, after hours of watching, obtain one that seemed
like any form of life or art that I had ever seen.

Had I, then, come to the end of my line? My eyes so pained me, and had
been so tried, that I strove to persuade myself that the evanescent
forms resulting from my unsatisfactory experiment must be optical
illusions. I determined to let matters rest as they were until the
next day, when my brain would be less heated and my eye calmer and

They will never let a man alone,--they, the herd, who cry "Madman!"
when any worker and his work which they cannot comprehend rise before
them. In the great moment when, after years of climbing, I stood
victorious on the summit, they claimed that I had fallen to the
chasm's depths, and confined me here at Staunton as a hopeless
lunatic. This heart of mine, burning with the grandest discovery ever
made, must throb itself away in a cell, because it could not contain
its high knowledge, but went forth among men once more to mingle ideal
rays with their sunshine, and make every wind, as it passed over the
earth, waft a higher secret than was ever before attained. A lunatic!
I! But next me in array are the prisons of the only sane ones of
history, the cells dug by Inquisitorial Ignorance in every age for its
wisest men. Now I understand them; walls cannot impede the hands we
stretch out to each other across oceans and centuries. One day the
purblind world will invoke in its prayers the holy army of the martyrs
of Thought.

Yes, I was mad,--mad to think that the world's horny eyes could not
receive the severe light of knowledge,--mad as was he who ran through
the streets and cried, "_Eureka!_" The head and front of my
madness have this extent,--no more. And for this I must write the
rest of my story here amid iron gratings, through which, however,
thank God, my familiars, the stars, and the red, blue, and golden
planets, glance kindly, saying, "Courage, brother! soon thou shaft
rise to us, to whom thou belongest!" Yet I will write it: one day men
will read, and say, "Come, let us garnish the sepulchre of one immured
because his stupid age could not understand!" and then, doubtless,
they will go forth to stone the seer on whose tongue lies the noblest
secret of the Universe for that day.

When I left the last experiment mentioned in these pages, in order to
recover steadiness of brain and nerve, and to relieve my overtaxed
eyes, I had no hope of reaching success in any other way than that
pointed out in the principle which I was pressing,--a principle whose
importance is proved in the familiar experiments on stereoscopic
views, whereby things entirely invisible to the naked eye are
disclosed by lenses. But that night I dreamed out the success which
had eluded my waking hours. I have nothing to say here about the
phenomenon of dreaming: I state only the fact. In my dream there
appeared to me my father, bearing in his left hand a plate of glass,
and in his right a phial of bright blue liquid which he seemed to be
pouring on the polished surface. The phial was of singular shape,
having a long slender neck rising from a round globe. When I awoke, I
found myself standing in the middle of the floor with hands stretched
out appealingly to the vacant air.

Acknowledging, as I did, nothing but purely scientific
methods,--convinced that nothing could be reached but through all the
intervening steps fixed by Nature between Reason and Truth,--I should,
at any other than such a weary time, have forgotten the vision in an
hour. But now it took a deeper hold on my imagination. That my father
should be associated in my dream with these experiments was natural;
the glass plate which he had held was the same I was using; as for the
phial, might it not be some old compound that I had known him or the
daguerrotypist use, now casually spun out of the past and woven in
with my present pursuits? Nevertheless, I was glad to shove aside this
rationalistic interpretation: on the verge of drowning, I magnified
the straw to a lifeboat, and caught at it. I pardoned myself for going
to the shelves which still held my father's medicines, and examining
each of the phials there. But when I turned away without finding one
which at all answered to my dream, I felt mean and miserable; deeply
disappointed at not having found the phial, I was ashamed at my
retrogression to ages which dealt with incantations, and luck, and
other impostures. I was shamed to the conclusion that the phial with
its blue liquid was something I had read of in the curious old books
which my father had hidden away from me, and which, strange to say, I
had never been able to find since his death.

Whilst I was meditating thus, there was a knock at my door, and a
drayman entered with a chest, which he said had belonged to my father,
and had been by him deposited several years before with a friend who
lived a few miles from our village. I could scarcely close and bolt
the door after the man had departed; _as he brought in the chest, I
had seen through the lid the phial with the blue liquid_. So
certain was I of this, that before I opened it I went and withdrew my
glass plate, repolished it, and made all ready for a final
experiment. Opening the chest, I found the old books which had been
abstracted, and a small medicine-box, in which was the phial seen in
my dream.

But now the question arose, How was the blue fluid to be applied? I
had not looked closely at the plate which my father held to see
whether it was already prepared for an impression; and so I was at a
loss to know whether this new fluid was to prepare the glass with a
more perfect polish, or to mingle with the subtile nitrate
itself. Unfortunately I tried the last first, and there was no result
at all,--except the destruction of a third of the precious
fluid. Cleaning the plate perfectly, I burnt into it, drop by drop,
the whole of the contents of the phial. As I drained the last drop
from it, it reddened on the glass as if it were the last drop of my
heart's blood poured out.

At the first glance on the star-picture thus taken, I knew that I was
successful. Jupiter shone like the nucleus of a comet, even before a
second power was upon it. As picture after picture was formed, belts
of the most exquisite hues surrounded the luminous planet, which
seemed rolling up to me, hurled from lens to lens, as if wrested from
its orbit by a commanding force. Plainer and plainer grew its surface;
mountain-ranges, without crags or chasms, smooth and undulating,
emerged; it was zoned with a central sunlit sea. On each scene of the
panorama I lingered, and each was retained as well as the poor
materials would allow. I was cautious enough to take two pictures of
each distinct phase,--one to keep, if this happy voyage should be my
last, and the other of course as the subject from which a centre
should be selected for a new expansion.

At last there stood plainly before my eye a tower!--a tower, slender
and high, with curved dome, the work of Art! A cry burst from my
lips,--I fainted with joy. Afraid to touch the instrument with my
trembling hand, I walked the floor, imploring back my nervous
self-possession. Fixing the tower by photograph, I took the centre of
its dome as the next point for expansion. Slowly, slowly, as if the
fate of a solar system depended on each turn of the screw, I drew on
the final view. An instant of gray confusion,--another of tremulous
crystallization,--and, scarcely in contact with the tower's dome, as
if about to float from it, hovered an aerial ship, with two round
balls suspended above it. Again one little point was taken, for I felt
that this was not the culmination of my vision; and now two figures
appeared, manifestly human, but their features and dress as yet

Another turn, and I looked upon the face of a glorious man!

Another, and the illusion, Space, shrank away beneath my feet, my eye
soared over her abysses, and gazed into the eye of an immortal.

But now,--oh, horror!--turning back to earth, I remembered that I had
not analyzed the precious liquid which could so link world with
world. Seized with a sudden agony, I tried to strain one least drop
more; but, alas! the power had perished from the earth!

For this loss I deserve all that has happened to me. My haste to
fulfil my life's object proved me the victim of a mental lust, and I
saw why the highest truth is not revealed: simply, it awaits those who
can receive and not be intoxicated by it. And now the planet which I
had disobeyed for another avenges itself,--seeing, naturally, in
strange results, whose methods are untraceable, nothing but
monomania. The photographs, in which the pollens of two planet-flowers
mingle, lie in my attic, dust-eaten:--"Above all, the patient must not
see anything of _that_ kind," has been the order ever since I
published a card announcing my discovery to my fellow-citizens.

But they were gentle; they did not take away all. The old books are
with me, each a benison from a brother. The best works of ancient
times are, I think, best understood when read by prison-light.

Hist! some visitor comes! Many come from curiosity to see one who
thinks he descried a man in a planet "Distinguished man of science
from Boston to see me,"--ah, indeed! Celebrated paper on tadpoles, I
suppose! But now that I look closer, I like my Boston man-of-science's
eye, and his voice is good. I have not yet exhausted the fingers of
one hand in counting up all the sane people who have visited me since
I have been immured.

How do I test them?

As now I test you.

Here my treasure of treasures I open. It is the old suppressed volume
of John de Sacro Bosco, inscribed to that Castilian Alphonso who dared
to have the tables of Ptolemy corrected. (Had he not been a king, he
had been mad: such men as Bosco were mad after Alphonso died.) And
thus to my curious scientific visitor I read what I ask may go into
his report along with the description of my case.

"John de Sacro Bosco sendeth this book to Alphonso de Castile. A. D.

"They alone are kings who know."

"Ken and Can are twins."

"God will not be hurried."

"Sacred are the fools: God understandeth them."

"Impatient, I cried, 'I will clear the stair that leadeth to God!'
Now sit I at His feet, lame and weak, and men scoff at knowledge,
--'Aha, this cometh of ascending stairways!'"

"The silk-worm span its way up to wings. I am ashamed and dumb, who
would soar ere I had toiled.

"When riseth an Ideal in the concave of some vaulting heart or brain,
it is a new heaven and signeth a new earth."

"Each clear Idea that ascendeth the vault of Pure Reason is a
Bethlehem star; be sure a Messias is born for it on the Earth; the new
sign lit up in the heaven of Vision is a new power set in motion among
men; and, do what the Herods will, Earth's incense, myrrh, yea, even
its gold, must gather to the feet of the Omnipotent Child,--the IDEA."



    As they who watch by sick-beds find relief
    Unwittingly from the great stress of grief
    And anxious care in fantasies outwrought
    From the hearth's embers flickering low, or caught
    From whispering wind, or tread of passing feet,
    Or vagrant memory calling up some sweet
    Snatch of old song or romance, whence or why
    They scarcely know or ask,--so, thou and I,
    Nursed in the faith that Truth alone is strong
    In the endurance which outwearies Wrong,
    With meek persistence baffling brutal force,
    And trusting God against the universe,--
    We, doomed to watch a strife we may not share
    With other weapons than the patriot's prayer,
    Yet owning, with full hearts and moistened eyes,
    The awful beauty of self-sacrifice,
    And wrung by keenest sympathy for all
    Who give their loved ones for the living wall
    'Twixt law and treason,--in this evil day
    May haply find, through automatic play
    Of pen and pencil, solace to our pain,
    And hearten others with the strength we gain.
    I know it has been said our times require
    No play of art, nor dalliance with the lyre,
    No weak essay with Fancy's chloroform
    To calm the hot, mad pulses of the storm,
    But the stern war-blast rather, such as sets
    The battle's teeth of serried bayonets,
    And pictures grim as Vernet's. Yet with these
    Some softer tints may blend, and milder keys
    Believe the storm-stunned ear. Let us keep sweet,
    If so we may, our hearts, even while we eat
    The bitter harvest of our own device
    And half a century's moral cowardice.
    As Nürnberg sang while Wittenberg defied,
    And Kranach painted by his Luther's side,
    And through the war-march of the Puritan
    The silver stream of Marvell's music ran,
    So let the household melodies be sung,
    The pleasant pictures on the wall be hung,--
    So let us hold against the hosts of Night
    And Slavery all our vantage-ground of Light.
    Let Treason boast its savagery, and shake
    From its flag-folds its symbol rattlesnake,
    Nurse its fine arts, lay human skins in tan,
    And carve its pipe-bowls from the bones of man,
    And make the tale of Fijian banquets dull
    By drinking whiskey from a loyal skull,--
    But let us guard, till this sad war shall cease,
    (God grant it soon!) the graceful arts of peace:
    No foes are conquered who the victors teach
    Their vandal manners and barbaric speech.

    And while, with hearts of thankfulness, we bear
    Of the great common burden our full share,
    Let none upbraid us that the waves entice
    Thy sea-dipped pencil, or some quaint device,
    Rhythmic and sweet, beguiles my pen away
    From the sharp strifes and sorrows of to-day.
    Thus, while the east-wind keen from Labrador
    Sings in the leafless elms, and from the shore
    Of the great sea comes the monotonous roar
    Of the long-breaking surf, and all the sky
    Is gray with cloud, home-bound and dull, I try
    To time a simple legend to the sounds
    Of winds in the woods, and waves on pebbled bounds,--
    A song of breeze and billow, such as might
    Be sung by tired sea-painters, who at night
    Look from their hemlock camps, by quiet cove
    Or beach, moon-lighted, on the waves they love.
    (So hast thou looked, when level sunset lay
    On the calm bosom of some Eastern bay,
    And all the spray-moist rocks and waves that rolled
    Up the white sand-slopes flashed with ruddy gold.)
    Something it has--a flavor of the sea,
    And the sea's freedom--which reminds of thee.
    Its faded picture, dimly smiling down
    From the blurred fresco of the ancient town,
    I have not touched with warmer tints in vain,
    If, in this dark, sad year, it steals one thought from pain.


  Her fingers shame the ivory keys
    They dance so light along;
  The bloom upon her parted lips
    Is sweeter than the song.

  O perfumed suitor, spare thy smiles!
    Her thoughts are not of thee:
  She better loves the salted wind,
    The voices of the sea.

  Her heart is like an outbound ship
    That at its anchor swings;
  The murmur of the stranded shell
    Is in the song she sings.

  She sings, and, smiling, hears her praise,
    But dreams the while of one
  Who watches from his sea-blown deck
    The icebergs in the sun.

  She questions all the winds that blow,
    And every fog-wreath dim,
  And bids the sea-birds flying north
    Bear messages to him.

  She speeds them with the thanks of men
    He perilled life to save,
  And grateful prayers like holy oil
    To smooth for him the wave.

  Brown Viking of the fishing-smack!
    Fair toast of all the town!--
  The skipper's jerkin ill beseems
    The lady's silken gown!

  But ne'er shall Amy Wentworth wear
    For him the blush of shame
  Who dares to set his manly gifts
    Against her ancient name.

  The stream is brightest at its spring,
    And blood is not like wine;
  Nor honored less than he who heirs
    Is he who founds a line.

  Full lightly shall the prize be won,
    If love be Fortune's spur;
  And never maiden stoops to him
    Who lifts himself to her.

  Her home is brave in Jaffrey Street,
    With stately stair-ways worn
  By feet of old Colonial knights
    And ladies gentle-born.

  Still green about its ample porch
    The English ivy twines,
  Trained back to show in English oak
    The herald's carven signs.

  And on her, from the wainscot old,
    Ancestral faces frown,--
  And this has worn the soldier's sword,
    And that the judge's gown.

  But, strong of will and proud as they,
    She walks the gallery-floor
  As if she trod her sailor's deck
    By stormy Labrador!

  The sweet-brier blooms on Kittery-side,
    And green are Elliot's bowers;
  Her garden is the pebbled beach,
    The mosses are her flowers.

  She looks across the harbor-bar
    To see the white gulls fly,
  His greeting from the Northern sea
    Is in their clanging cry.

  She hums a song, and dreams that he,
    As in its romance old,
  Shall homeward ride with silken sails
    And masts of beaten gold!

  Oh, rank is good, and gold is fair,
    And high and low mate ill;
  But love has never known a law
    Beyond its own sweet will!


Henry David Thoreau was the last male descendant of a French ancestor
who came to this country from the Isle of Guernsey. His character
exhibited occasional traits drawn from this blood in singular
combination with a very strong Saxon genius.

He was born in Concord, Massachusetts, on the 12th of July, 1817. He
was graduated at Harvard College in 1837, but without any literary
distinction. An iconoclast in literature, he seldom thanked colleges
for their service to him, holding them in small esteem, whilst yet his
debt to them was important. After leaving the University, he joined
his brother in teaching a private school, which he soon renounced. His
father was a manufacturer of lead-pencils, and Henry applied himself
for a time to this craft, believing he could make a better pencil than
was then in use. After completing his experiments, he exhibited his
work to chemists and artists in Boston, and having obtained their
certificates to its excellence and to its equality with the best
London manufacture, he returned home contented. His friends
congratulated him that he had now opened his way to fortune. But he
replied, that he should never make another pencil. "Why should I? I
would not do again what I have done once." He resumed his endless
walks and miscellaneous studies, making every day some new
acquaintance with Nature, though as yet never speaking of zoology or
botany, since, though very studious of natural facts, he was incurious
of technical and textual science.

At this time, a strong, healthy youth, fresh from college, whilst all
his companions were choosing their profession, or eager to begin some
lucrative employment, it was inevitable that his thoughts should be
exercised on the same question, and it required rare decision to
refuse all the accustomed paths, and keep his solitary freedom at the
cost of disappointing the natural expectations of his family and
friends: all the more difficult that he had a perfect probity, was
exact in securing his own independence, and in holding every man to
the like duty. But Thoreau never faltered. He was a born
protestant. He declined to give up his large ambition of knowledge and
action for any narrow craft or profession, aiming at a much more
comprehensive calling, the art of living well. If he slighted and
defied the opinions of others, it was only that he was more intent to
reconcile his practice with his own belief. Never idle or
self-indulgent, he preferred, when he wanted money, earning it by some
piece of manual labor agreeable to him, as building a boat or a fence,
planting, grafting, surveying, or other short work, to any long
engagements. With his hardy habits and few wants, his skill in
wood-craft, and his powerful arithmetic, he was very competent to live
in any part of the world. It would cost him less time to supply his
wants than another. He was therefore secure of his leisure.

A natural skill for mensuration, growing out of his mathematical
knowledge, and his habit of ascertaining the measures and distances of
objects which interested him, the size of trees, the depth and extent
of ponds and rivers, the height of mountains, and the air-line
distance of his favorite summits,--this, and his intimate knowledge of
the territory about Concord, made him drift into the profession of
land-surveyor. It had the advantage for him that it led him
continually into new and secluded grounds, and helped his studies of
Nature. His accuracy and skill in this work were readily appreciated,
and he found all the employment he wanted.

He could easily solve the problems of the surveyor, but he was daily
beset with graver questions, which he manfully confronted. He
interrogated every custom, and wished to settle all his practice on an
ideal foundation. He was a protestant _à l'outrance_, and few
lives contain so many renunciations. He was bred to no profession; he
never married; he lived alone; be never went to church; he never
voted; he refused to pay a tax to the State; he ate no flesh, he drank
no wine, he never knew the use of tobacco; and, though a naturalist,
he used neither trap nor gun. He chose, wisely, no doubt, for himself,
to be the bachelor of thought and Nature. He had no talent for wealth,
and knew how to be poor without the least hint of squalor or
inelegance. Perhaps he fell into his way of living without forecasting
it much, but approved it with later wisdom. "I am often reminded," he
wrote in his journal, "that, if I had bestowed on me the wealth of
Croesus, my aims must be still the same, and my means essentially the
same." He had no temptations to fight against,--no appetites, no
passions, no taste for elegant trifles. A fine house, dress, the
manners and talk of highly cultivated people were all thrown away on
him. He much preferred a good Indian, and considered these
refinements as impediments to conversation, wishing to meet his
companion on the simplest terms. He declined invitations to
dinner-parties, because there each was in every one's way, and he
could not meet the individuals to any purpose. "They make their
pride," he said, "in making their dinner cost much; I make my pride in
making my dinner cost little." When asked at table what dish he
preferred, he answered, "The nearest." He did not like the taste of
wine, and never had a vice in his life. He said,--"I have a faint
recollection of pleasure derived from smoking dried lily-stems, before
I was a man. I had commonly a supply of these. I have never smoked
anything more noxious."

He chose to be rich by making his wants few, and supplying them
himself. In his travels, he used the railroad only to get over so
much country as was unimportant to the present purpose, walking
hundreds of miles, avoiding taverns, buying a lodging in farmers' and
fishermen's houses, as cheaper, and more agreeable to him, and because
there he could better find the men and the information he wanted.

There was somewhat military in big nature not to be subdued, always
manly and able, but rarely tender, as if he did not feel himself
except in opposition. He wanted a fallacy to expose, a blunder to
pillory, I may say required a little sense of victory, a roll of the
drum, to call his powers into full exercise. It cost him nothing to
say No; indeed, he found it much easier than to say Yes. It seemed as
if his first instinct on hearing a proposition was to controvert it,
so impatient was he of the limitations of our daily thought. This
habit, of course, is a little chilling to the social affections; and
though the companion would in the end acquit him of any malice or
untruth, yet it mars conversation. Hence, no equal companion stood in
affectionate relations with one so pure and guileless. "I love Henry,"
said one of his friends, "but I cannot like him; and as for taking his
arm, I should as soon think of taking the arm of an elm-tree."

Yet, hermit and stoic as he was, he was really fond of sympathy, and
threw himself heartily and childlike into the company of young people
whom he loved, and whom he delighted to entertain, as he only could,
with the varied and endless anecdotes of his experiences by field and
river. And he was always ready to lead a huckleberry-party or a search
for chestnuts or grapes. Talking, one day, of a public discourse,
Henry remarked, that whatever succeeded with the audience was bad. I
said, "Who would not like to write something which all can read, like
'Robinson Crusoe'? and who does not see with regret that his page is
not solid with a right materialistic treatment, which delights
everybody?" Henry objected, of course, and vaunted the better lectures
which reached only a few persons. But, at supper, a young girl,
understanding that he was to lecture at the Lyceum, sharply asked him,
"whether his lecture would be a nice, interesting story, such as she
wished to hear, or whether it was one of those old philosophical
things that she did not care about." Henry turned to her, and
bethought himself, and, I saw, was trying to believe that he had
matter that might fit her and her brother, who were to sit up and go
to the lecture, if it was a good one for them.

He was a speaker and actor of the truth,--born such,--and was ever
running into dramatic situations from this cause. In any circumstance,
it interested all bystanders to know what part Henry would take, and
what he would say; and he did not disappoint expectation, but used an
original judgment on each emergency. In 1845 he built himself a small
framed house on the shores of Walden Pond, and lived there two years
alone, a life of labor and study. This action was quite native and
fit for him. No one who knew him would tax him with affectation. He
was more unlike his neighbors in his thought than in his action. As
soon as he had exhausted the advantages of that solitude, he abandoned
it. In 1847, not approving some uses to which the public expenditure
was applied, he refused to pay his town tax, and was put in jail. A
friend paid the tax for him, and he was released. The like annoyance
was threatened the next year. But, as his friends paid the tax,
notwithstanding his protest, I believe he ceased to resist. No
opposition or ridicule had any weight with him. He coldly and fully
stated his opinion without affecting to believe that it was the
opinion of the company. It was of no consequence, if every one present
held the opposite opinion. On one occasion he went to the University
Library to procure some books. The librarian refused to lend
them. Mr. Thoreau repaired to the President, who stated to him the
rules and usages, which permitted the loan of books to resident
graduates, to clergymen who were alumni, and to some others resident
within a circle of ten miles' radius from the College. Mr. Thoreau
explained to the President that the railroad had destroyed the old
scale of distances,--that the library was useless, yes, and President
and College useless, on the terms of his rules,--that the one benefit
he owed to the College was its library,--that, at this moment, not
only his want of books was imperative, but he wanted a large number of
books, and assured him that he, Thoreau, and not the librarian, was
the proper custodian of these. In short, the President found the
petitioner so formidable, and the rules getting to look so ridiculous,
that he ended by giving him a privilege which in his hands proved
unlimited thereafter.

No truer American existed than Thoreau. His preference of his country
and condition was genuine, and his aversation from English and
European manners and tastes almost reached contempt. He listened
impatiently to news or _bon mots_ gleaned from London circles;
and though he tried to be civil, these anecdotes fatigued him. The men
were all imitating each other, and on a small mould. Why can they not
live as far apart as possible, and each be a man by himself? What he
sought was the most energetic nature; and he wished to go to Oregon,
not to London. "In every part of Great Britain," he wrote in his
diary, "are discovered traces of the Romans, their funereal urns,
their camps, their roads, their dwellings. But New England, at least,
is not based on any Roman ruins. We have not to lay the foundations of
our houses on the ashes of a former civilization."

But, idealist as he was, standing for abolition of slavery, abolition
of tariffs, almost for abolition of government, it is needless to say
he found himself not only unrepresented in actual politics, but almost
equally opposed to every class of reformers. Yet he paid the tribute
of his uniform respect to the Anti-Slavery party. One man, whose
personal acquaintance he had formed, he honored with exceptional
regard. Before the first friendly word had been spoken for Captain
John Brown, he sent notices to most houses in Concord, that he would
speak in a public hall on the condition and character of John Brown,
on Sunday evening, and invited all people to come. The Republican
Committee, the Abolitionist Committee, sent him word that it was
premature and not advisable. He replied,--"I did not send to you for
advice, but to announce that I am to speak." The hall was filled at
an early hour by people of all parties, and his earnest eulogy of the
hero was heard by all respectfully, by many with a sympathy that
surprised themselves.

It was said of Plotinus that he was ashamed of his body, and it is
very likely he had good reason for it,--that his body was a bad
servant, and he had not skill in dealing with the material world, as
happens often to men of abstract intellect. But Mr. Thoreau was
equipped with a most adapted and serviceable body. He was of short
stature, firmly built, of light complexion, with strong, serious blue
eyes, and a grave aspect,--his face covered in the late years with a
becoming beard. His senses were acute, his frame well-knit and hardy,
his hands strong and skilful in the use of tools. And there was a
wonderful fitness of body and mind. He could pace sixteen rods more
accurately than another man could measure them with rod and chain. He
could find his path in the woods at night, he said, better by his feet
than his eyes. He could estimate the measure of a tree very well by
his eye; he could estimate the weight of a calf or a pig, like a
dealer. From a box containing a bushel or more of loose pencils, he
could take up with his hands fast enough just a dozen pencils at every
grasp. He was a good swimmer, runner, skater, boatman, and would
probably outwalk most countrymen in a day's journey. And the relation
of body to mind was still finer than we have indicated. He said he
wanted every stride his legs made. The length of his walk uniformly
made the length of his writing. If shut up in the house, he did not
write at all.

He had a strong common sense, like that which Rose Flammock, the
weaver's daughter, in Scott's romance, commends in her father, as
resembling a yardstick, which, whilst it measures dowlas and diaper,
can equally well measure tapestry and cloth of gold. He had always a
new resource. When I was planting forest-trees, and had procured half
a peck of acorns, he said that only a small portion of them would be
sound, and proceeded to examine them, and select the sound ones. But
finding this took time, he said, "I think, if you put them all into
water, the good ones will sink"; which experiment we tried with
success. He could plan a garden, or a house, or a barn; would have
been competent to lead a "Pacific Exploring Expedition"; could give
judicious counsel in the gravest private or public affairs.

He lived for the day, not cumbered and mortified by his memory. If he
brought you yesterday a new proposition, he would bring you to-day
another not less revolutionary. A very industrious man, and setting,
like all highly organized men, a high value on his time, he seemed the
only man of leisure in town, always ready for any excursion that
promised well, or for conversation prolonged into late hours. His
trenchant sense was never stopped by his rules of daily prudence, but
was always up to the new occasion. He liked and used the simplest
food, yet, when some one urged a vegetable diet, Thoreau thought all
diets a very small matter, saying that "the man who shoots the buffalo
lives better than the man who boards at the Graham House." He
said,--"You can sleep near the railroad, and never be disturbed:
Nature knows very well what sounds are worth attending to, and has
made up her mind not to hear the railroad-whistle. But things respect
the devout mind, and a mental ecstasy was never interrupted." He
noted, what repeatedly befell him, that, after receiving from a
distance a rare plant, he would presently find the same in his own
haunts. And those pieces of luck which happen only to good players
happened to him. One day, walking with a stranger, who inquired where
Indian arrow-heads could be found, he replied, "Everywhere," and,
stooping forward, picked one on the instant from the ground. At Mount
Washington, in Tuckerman's Ravine, Thoreau had a bad fall, and
sprained his foot. As he was in the act of getting up from his fall,
he saw for the first time the leaves of the _Arnica mollis_.

His robust common sense, armed with stout hands, keen perceptions, and
strong will, cannot yet account for the superiority which shone in his
simple and hidden life. I must add the cardinal fact, that there was
an excellent wisdom in him, proper to a rare class of men, which
showed him the material world as a means and symbol. This discovery,
which sometimes yields to poets a certain casual and interrupted
light, serving for the ornament of their writing, was in him an
unsleeping insight; and whatever faults or obstructions of temperament
might cloud it, he was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. In his
youth, he said, one day, "The other world is all my art: my pencils
will draw no other; my jack-knife will cut nothing else; I do not use
it as a means." This was the muse and genius that ruled his opinions,
conversation, studies, work, and course of life. This made him a
searching judge of men. At first glance he measured his companion,
and, though insensible to some fine traits of culture, could very well
report his weight and calibre. And this made the impression of genius
which his conversation sometimes gave.

He understood the matter in hand at a glance, and saw the limitations
and poverty of those he talked with, so that nothing seemed concealed
from such terrible eyes. I have repeatedly known young men of
sensibility converted in a moment to the belief that this was the man
they were in search of, the man of men, who could tell them all they
should do. His own dealing with them was never affectionate, but
superior, didactic,--scorning their petty ways,--very slowly
conceding, or not conceding at all, the promise of his society at
their houses, or even at his own. "Would he not walk with them?" He
did not know. There was nothing so important to him as his walk; he
had no walks to throw away on company. Visits were offered him from
respectful parties, but he declined them. Admiring friends offered to
carry him at their own cost to the Yellow-Stone River,--to the West
Indies,--to South America. But though nothing could be more grave or
considered than his refusals, they remind one in quite new relations
of that fop Brummel's reply to the gentleman who offered him his
carriage in a shower, "But where will _you_ ride, then?"--and
what accusing silences, and what searching and irresistible speeches,
battering down all defences, his companions can remember!

Mr. Thoreau dedicated his genius with such entire love to the fields,
hills, and waters of his native town, that he made them known and
interesting to all reading Americans, and to people over the sea. The
river on whose banks he was born and died he knew from its springs to
its confluence with the Merrimack. He had made summer and winter
observations on it for many years, and at every hour of the day and
the night. The result of the recent survey of the Water Commissioners
appointed by the State of Massachusetts he had reached by his private
experiments, several years earlier. Every fact which occurs in the
bed, on the banks, or in the air over it; the fishes, and their
spawning and nests, their manners, their food; the shad-flies which
fill the air on a certain evening once a year, and which are snapped
at by the fishes so ravenously that many of these die of repletion;
the conical heaps of small stones on the river-shallows, one of which
heaps will sometimes overfill a cart,--these heaps the huge nests of
small fishes; the birds which frequent the stream, heron, duck,
sheldrake, loon, osprey; the snake, muskrat, otter, woodchuck, and
fox, on the banks; the turtle, frog, hyla, and cricket, which make the
banks vocal,--were all known to him, and, as it were, townsmen and
fellow-creatures; so that he felt an absurdity or violence in any
narrative of one of these by itself apart, and still more of its
dimensions on an inch-rule, or in the exhibition of its skeleton, or
the specimen of a squirrel or a bird in brandy. He liked to speak of
the manners of the river, as itself a lawful creature, yet with
exactness, and always to an observed fact. As he knew the river, so
the ponds in this region.

One of the weapons he used, more important than microscope or
alcohol-receiver to other investigators, was a whim which grew on him
by indulgence, yet appeared in gravest statement, namely, of extolling
his own town and neighborhood as the most favored centre for natural
observation. He remarked that the Flora of Massachusetts embraced
almost all the important plants of America,--most of the oaks, most
of the willows, the best pines, the ash, the maple, the beech, the
nuts. He returned Kane's "Arctic Voyage" to a friend of whom he had
borrowed it, with the remark, that "most of the phenomena noted might
be observed in Concord." He seemed a little envious of the Pole, for
the coincident sunrise and sunset, or five minutes' day after six
months: a splendid fact, which Annursnuc had never afforded him. He
found red snow in one of his walks, and told me that he expected to
find yet the _Victoria regia_ in Concord. He was the attorney of
the indigenous plants, and owned to a preference of the weeds to the
imported plants, as of the Indian to the civilized man,--and noticed,
with pleasure, that the willow bean-poles of his neighbor had grown
more than his beans. "See these weeds," he said, "which have been
hoed at by a million farmers all spring and summer, and yet have
prevailed, and just now come out triumphant over all lanes, pastures,
fields, and gardens, such is their vigor. We have insulted them with
low names, too,--as Pigweed, Wormwood, Chickweed, Shad-Blossom." He
says, "They have brave names, too,--Ambrosia, Stellaria, Amelanchia,
Amaranth, etc."

I think his fancy for referring everything to the meridian of Concord
did not grow out of any ignorance or depreciation of other longitudes
or latitudes, but was rather a playful expression of his conviction of
the indifferency of all places, and that the best place for each is
where he stands. He expressed it once in this wise:--"I think nothing
is to be hoped from you, if this bit of mould under your feet is not
sweeter to you to eat than any other in this world, or in any world."

The other weapon with which he conquered all obstacles in science was
patience. He knew how to sit immovable, a part of the rock he rested
on, until the bird, the reptile, the fish, which had retired from him,
should come back, and resume its habits, nay, moved by curiosity,
should come to him and watch him.

It was a pleasure and a privilege to walk with him. He knew the
country like a fox or a bird, and passed through it as freely by paths
of his own. He knew every track in the snow or on the ground, and what
creature had taken this path before him. One must submit abjectly to
such a guide, and the reward was great. Under his arm he carried an
old music-book to press plants; in his pocket, his diary and pencil, a
spy-glass for birds, microscope, jack-knife, and twine. He wore straw
hat, stout shoes, strong gray trousers, to brave shrub-oaks and
smilax, and to climb a tree for a hawk's or a squirrel's nest. He
waded into the pool for the water-plants, and his strong legs were no
insignificant part of his armor. On the day I speak of he looked for
the Menyanthes, detected it across the wide pool, and, on examination
of the florets, decided that it had been in flower five days. He drew
out of his breast-pocket his diary, and read the names of all the
plants that should bloom on this day, whereof he kept account as a
banker when his notes fall due. The Cypripedium not due till
to-morrow. He thought, that, if waked up from a trance, in this swamp,
he could tell by the plants what time of the year it was within two
days. The redstart was flying about, and presently the fine grosbeaks,
whose brilliant scarlet makes the rash gazer wipe his eye, and whose
fine clear note Thoreau compared to that of a tanager which has got
rid of its hoarseness. Presently he heard a note which he called that
of the night-warbler, a bird he had never identified, had been in
search of twelve years, which always, when he saw it, was in the act
of diving down into a tree or bush, and which it was vain to seek; the
only bird that sings indifferently by night and by day. I told him he
must beware of finding and booking it, lest life should have nothing
more to show him. He said, "What you seek in vain for, half your life,
one day you come full upon all the family at dinner. You seek it like
a dream, and as soon as you find it you become its prey."

His interest in the flower or the bird lay very deep in his mind, was
connected with Nature,--and the meaning of Nature was never attempted
to be defined by him. He would not offer a memoir of his observations
to the Natural History Society. "Why should I? To detach the
description from its connections in my mind would make it no longer
true or valuable to me: and they do not wish what belongs to it." His
power of observation seemed to indicate additional senses. He saw as
with microscope, heard as with ear-trumpet, and his memory was a
photographic register of all he saw and heard. And yet none knew
better than he that it is not the fact that imports, but the
impression or effect of the fact on your mind. Every fact lay in glory
in his mind, a type of the order and beauty of the whole.

His determination on Natural History was organic. He confessed that he
sometimes felt like a hound or a panther, and, if born among Indians,
would have been a fell hunter. But, restrained by his Massachusetts
culture, he played out the game in this mild form of botany and
ichthyology. His intimacy with animals suggested what Thomas Fuller
records of Butler the apiologist, that "either he had told the bees
things or the bees had told him." Snakes coiled round his leg; the
fishes swam into his hand, and he took them out of the water; he
pulled the woodchuck out of its hole by the tail, and took the foxes
under his protection from the hunters. Our naturalist had perfect
magnanimity; he had no secrets: he would carry you to the heron's
haunt, or even to his most prized botanical swamp,--possibly knowing
that you could never find it again, yet willing to take his risks.

No college ever offered him a diploma, or a professor's chair; no
academy made him its corresponding secretary, its discoverer, or even
its member. Whether these learned bodies feared the satire of his
presence. Yet so much knowledge of Nature's secret and genius few
others possessed, none in a more large and religious synthesis. For
not a particle of respect had he to the opinions of any man or body of
men, but homage solely to the truth itself; and as he discovered
everywhere among doctors some leaning of courtesy, it discredited
them. He grew to be revered and admired by his townsmen, who had at
first known him only as an oddity. The farmers who employed him as a
surveyor soon discovered his rare accuracy and skill, his knowledge of
their lands, of trees, of birds, of Indian remains, and the like,
which enabled him to tell every farmer more than he knew before of his
own farm; so that he began to feel a little as if Mr. Thoreau had
better rights in his land than he. They felt, too, the superiority of
character which addressed all men with a native authority.

Indian relics abound in Concord,--arrow-heads, stone chisels, pestles,
and fragments of pottery; and on the river-bank, large heaps of
clam-shells and ashes mark spots which the savages frequented. These,
and every circumstance touching the Indian, were important in his
eyes. His visits to Maine were chiefly for love of the Indian. He had
the satisfaction of seeing the manufacture of the bark-canoe, as well
as of trying his hand in its management on the rapids. He was
inquisitive about the making of the stone arrow-head, and in his last
days charged a youth setting out for the Rocky Mountains to find an
Indian who could tell him that: "It was well worth a visit to
California to learn it." Occasionally, a small party of Penobscot
Indians would visit Concord, and pitch their tents for a few weeks in
summer on the river-bank. He failed not to make acquaintance with the
best of them; though he well knew that asking questions of Indians is
like catechizing beavers and rabbits. In his last visit to Maine he
had great satisfaction from Joseph Polis, an intelligent Indian of
Oldtown, who was his guide for some weeks.

He was equally interested in every natural fact. The depth of his
perception found likeness of law throughout Nature, and I know not any
genius who so swiftly inferred universal law from the single fact. He
was no pedant of a department. His eye was open to beauty, and his
ear to music. He found these, not in rare conditions, but wheresoever
he went. He thought the best of music was in single strains; and he
found poetic suggestion in the humming of the telegraph-wire.

His poetry might be bad or good; he no doubt wanted a lyric facility
and technical skill; but he had the source of poetry in his spiritual
perception. He was a good reader and critic, and his judgment on
poetry was to the ground of it. He could not be deceived as to the
presence or absence of the poetic element in any composition, and his
thirst for this made him negligent and perhaps scornful of superficial
graces. He would pass by many delicate rhythms, but he would have
detected every live stanza or line in a volume, and knew very well
where to find an equal poetic charm in prose. He was so enamored of
the spiritual beauty that he held all actual written poems in very
light esteem in the comparison. He admired Aeschylus and Pindar; but,
when some one was commending them, he said that "Aeschylus and the
Greeks, in describing Apollo and Orpheus, had given no song, or no
good one. They ought not to have moved trees, but to have chanted to
the gods such a hymn as would have sung all their old ideas out of
their heads, and new ones in." His own verses are often rude and
defective. The gold does not yet run pure, is drossy and crude. The
thyme and marjoram are not yet honey. But if he want lyric fineness
and technical merits, if he have not the poetic temperament, he never
lacks the causal thought, that his genius was better than his
talent. He knew the worth of the Imagination for the uplifting and
consolation of human life, and liked to throw every thought into a
symbol. The fact you tell is of no value, but only the impression.
For this reason his presence was poetic, always piqued the curiosity
to know more deeply the secrets of his mind. He had many reserves, an
unwillingness to exhibit to profane eyes what was still sacred in his
own, and knew well how to throw a poetic veil over his experience.
All readers of "Walden" will remember his mythical record of his

"I long ago lost a hound, a bay horse, and a turtle-dove, and am still
on their trail. Many are the travellers I have spoken concerning them,
describing their tracks, and what calls they answered to. I have met
one or two who had heard the hound, and the tramp of the horse, and
even seen the dove disappear behind a cloud; and they seemed as
anxious to recover them as if they had lost them themselves."
[_Walden_, p. 20.]

His riddles were worth the reading, and I confide, that, if at any
time I do not understand the expression, it is yet just. Such was the
wealth of his truth that it was not worth his while to use words in
vain. His poem entitled "Sympathy" reveals the tenderness under that
triple steel of stoicism, and the intellectual subtilty it could
animate. His classic poem on "Smoke" suggests Simonides, but is better
than any poem of Simonides. His biography is in his verses. His
habitual thought makes all his poetry a hymn to the Cause of causes,

    "I hearing get, who had but ears,
     And sight, who had but eyes before;
     I moments live, who lived but years,
     And truth discern, who knew but learning's lore."

And still more in these religious lines:--

    "Now chiefly is my natal hour,
     And only now my prime of life;
     I will not doubt the love untold,
     Which not my worth or want hath bought,
     Which wooed me young, and wooes me old,
     And to this evening hath me brought."

Whilst he used in his writings a certain petulance of remark in
reference to churches or churchmen, he was a person of a rare, tender,
and absolute religion, a person incapable of any profanation, by act
or by thought. Of course, the same isolation which belonged to his
original thinking and living detached him from the social religious
forms. This is neither to be censured nor regretted. Aristotle long
ago explained it, when he said, "One who surpasses his fellow-citizens
in virtue is no longer a part of the city. Their law is not for him,
since he is a law to himself."

Thoreau was sincerity itself, and might fortify the convictions of
prophets in the ethical laws by his holy living. It was an affirmative
experience which refused to be set aside. A truth-speaker he, capable
of the most deep and strict conversation; a physician to the wounds of
any soul; a friend, knowing not only the secret of friendship, but
almost worshipped by those few persons who resorted to him as their
confessor and prophet, and knew the deep value of his mind and great
heart. He thought that without religion or devotion of some kind
nothing great was ever accomplished: and he thought that the bigoted
sectarian had better bear this in mind.

His virtues, of course, sometimes ran into extremes. It was easy to
trace to the inexorable demand on all for exact truth that austerity
which made this willing hermit more solitary even than he
wished. Himself of a perfect probity, he required not less of
others. He had a disgust at crime, and no worldly success would cover
it. He detected paltering as readily in dignified and prosperous
persons as in beggars, and with equal scorn. Such dangerous frankness
was in his dealing that his admirers called him "that terrible
Thoreau," as if he spoke when silent, and was still present when he
had departed. I think the severity of his ideal interfered to deprive
him of a healthy sufficiency of human society.

The habit of a realist to find things the reverse of their appearance
inclined him to put every statement in a paradox. A certain habit of
antagonism defaced his earlier writings,--a trick of rhetoric not
quite outgrown in his later, of substituting for the obvious word and
thought its diametrical opposite. He praised wild mountains and winter
forests for their domestic air, in snow and ice he would find
sultriness, and commended the wilderness for resembling Rome and
Paris. "It was so dry, that you might call it wet."

The tendency to magnify the moment, to read all the laws of Nature in
the one object or one combination under your eye, is of course comic
to those who do not share the philosopher's perception of identity. To
him there was no such thing as size. The pond was a small ocean; the
Atlantic, a large Walden Pond. He referred every minute fact to
cosmical laws. Though he meant to be just, he seemed haunted by a
certain chronic assumption that the science of the day pretended
completeness, and he had just found out that the _savans_ had
neglected to discriminate a particular botanical variety, had failed
to describe the seeds or count the sepals. "That is to say," we
replied, "the blockheads were not born in Concord; but who said they
were? It was their unspeakable misfortune to be born in London, or
Paris, or Rome; but, poor fellows, they did what they could,
considering that they never saw Bateman's Pond, or Nine-Acre Corner,
or Becky-Stow's Swamp. Besides, what were you sent into the world for,
but to add this observation?"

Had his genius been only contemplative, he had been fitted to his
life, but with his energy and practical ability he seemed born for
great enterprise and for command; and I so much regret the loss of his
rare powers of action, that I cannot help counting it a fault in him
that he had no ambition. Wanting this, instead of engineering for all
America, he was the captain of a huckleberry-party. Pounding beans is
good to the end of pounding empires one of these days; but if, at the
end of years, it is still only beans!

But these foibles, real or apparent, were fast vanishing in the
incessant growth of a spirit so robust and wise, and which effaced its
defeats with new triumphs. His study of Nature was a perpetual
ornament to him, and inspired his friends with curiosity to see the
world through his eyes, and to hear his adventures. They possessed
every kind of interest.

He had many elegances of his own, whilst he scoffed at conventional
elegance. Thus, he could not bear to hear the sound of his own steps,
the grit of gravel; and therefore never willingly walked in the road,
but in the grass, on mountains and in woods. His senses were acute,
and he remarked that by night every dwelling-house gives out bad air,
like a slaughter-house. He liked the pure fragrance of melilot. He
honored certain plants with special regard, and, over all, the
pond-lily,--then, the gentian, and the _Mikania scondens_, and
"life-everlasting," and a bass-tree which he visited every year, when
it bloomed, in the middle of July. He thought the scent a more
oracular inquisition than the sight,--more oracular and
trustworthy. The scent, of course, reveals what is concealed from the
other senses. By it he detected earthiness. He delighted in echoes,
and said they were almost the only kind of kindred voices that he
heard. He loved Nature so well, was so happy in her solitude, that he
became very jealous of cities, and the sad work which their
refinements and artifices made with man and his dwelling.

The axe was always destroying his forest. "Thank God," he said, "they
cannot cut down the clouds!" "All kinds of figures are drawn on the
blue ground with this fibrous white paint."

I subjoin a few sentences taken from his unpublished manuscripts, not
only as records of his thought and feeling, but for their power of
description and literary excellence.

"Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout
in the milk."

"The chub is a soft fish, and tastes like boiled brown paper salted."

"The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon,
or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and at length the
middle-aged man concludes to build a wood-shed with them."

"The locust z-ing."

"Devil's-needles zigzagging along the Nut-Meadow brook."

"Sugar is not so sweet to the palate as sound to the healthy ear."

"I put on some hemlock-boughs, and the rich salt crackling of their
leaves was like mustard to the ear, the crackling of uncountable
regiments. Dead trees love the fire."

"The bluebird carries the sky on his back."

"The tanager flies through the green foliage as if it would ignite the

"If I wish for a horse-hair for my compass-sight, I must go to the
stable; but the hair-bird, with her sharp eyes, goes to the road."

"Immortal water, alive even to the superficies."

"Fire is the most tolerable third party."

"Nature made ferns for pure leaves, to show what she could do in that

"No tree has so fair a bole and so handsome an instep as the beech."

"How did these beautiful rainbow-tints get into the shell of the
fresh-water clam, buried in the mud at the bottom of our dark river?"

"Hard are the times when the infant's shoes are second-foot."

"We are strictly confined to our men to whom we give liberty."

"Nothing is so much to be feared as fear. Atheism may comparatively be
popular with God himself."

"Of what significance the things you can forget? A little thought is
sexton to all the world."

"How can we expect a harvest of thought who have not had a seed-time
of character?"

"Only he can be trusted with gifts who can present a face of bronze to

"I ask to be melted. You can only ask of the metals that they be
tender to the fire that melts them. To nought else can they be

There is a flower known to botanists, one of the same genus with our
summer plant called "Life-Everlasting," a _Gnaphalium_ like that,
which grows on the most inaccessible cliffs of the Tyrolese mountains,
where the chamois dare hardly venture, and which the hunter, tempted
by its beauty, and by his love, (for it is immensely valued by the
Swiss maidens,) climbs the cliffs to gather, and is sometimes found
dead at the foot, with the flower in his hand. It is called by
botanists the _Gnaphalium leontopodium_, but by the Swiss
_Edelweisse_, which signifies _Noble Purity_. Thoreau seemed
to me living in the hope to gather this plant, which belonged to him
of right. The scale on which his studies proceeded was so large as to
require longevity, and we were the less prepared for his sudden
disappearance. The country knows not yet, or in the least part, how
great a son it has lost. It seems an injury that he should leave in
the midst his broken task, which none else can finish,--a kind of
indignity to so noble a soul, that it should depart out of Nature
before yet he has been really shown to his peers for what be is. But
he, at least, is content. His soul was made for the noblest society;
he had in a short life exhausted the capabilities of this world;
wherever there is knowledge, wherever there is virtue, wherever there
is beauty, he will find a home.


  At daybreak, in the fresh light, joyfully
    The fishermen drew in their laden net;
  The shore shone rosy purple, and the sea
                     Was streaked with violet,

  And, pink with sunrise, many a shadowy sail
    Lay southward, lighting up the sleeping bay,
  And in the west the white moon, still and pale,
                     Faded before the day.

  Silence was everywhere. The rising tide
    Slowly filled every cove and inlet small:
  A musical low whisper, multiplied,
                     You heard, and that was all.

  No clouds at dawn,--but, as the sun climbed higher,
    White columns, thunderous, splendid, up the sky
  Floated and stood, heaped in the sun's clear fire,
                     A stately company.

  Stealing along the coast from cape to cape,
    The weird mirage crept tremulously on,
  In many a magic change and wondrous shape,
                     Throbbing beneath the sun.

  At noon the wind rose,--swept the glassy sea
    To sudden ripple,--thrust against the clouds
  A strenuous shoulder,--gathering steadily,
                     Drove them before in crowds,

  Till all the west was dark, and inky black
    The level ruffled water underneath,
  And up the wind-cloud tossed, a ghostly rack,
                     In many a ragged wreath.

  Then sudden roared the thunder, a great peal
    Magnificent, that broke and rolled away;
  And down the wind plunged, like a furious keel
                     Cleaving the sea to spray,

  And brought the rain, sweeping o'er land and sea.
    And then was tumult! Lightning, sharp and keen,
  Thunder, wind, rain,--a mighty jubilee
                     The heaven and earth between!

  And loud the ocean sang,--a chorus grand,--
    A solemn music sung in undertone
  Of waves that broke about, on either hand,
                     The little island lone,

  Where, joyful in His tempest as His calm,
    Held in the hollow of that hand of His,
  I joined with heart and soul in God's great psalm,
                     Thrilled with a nameless bliss.

  Soon lulled the wind,-the summer storm soon died;
    The shattered clouds went eastward, drifting slow;
  From the low sun the rain-fringe swept aside,
                     Bright in his rosy glow,

  And wide a splendor streamed through all the sky
    O'er land and sea one soft, delicious blush,
  That touched the gray rocks lightly, tenderly,
                     A transitory flush.

  Warm, odorous gusts came off the distant land,
    With spice of pine-woods, breath of hay new-mown,
  O'er miles of waves and sea-scents cool and bland,
                     Full in our faces blown.

  Slow faded the sweet light, and peacefully
    The quiet stars came out, one after one,--
  The holy twilight deepened silently,
                     The summer day was done.

  Such unalloyed delight its hours had given,
    Musing, this thought rose in my grateful mind,
  That God, who watches all things, up in heaven,
                     With patient eyes and kind,

  Saw and was pleased, perhaps, one child of His
    Dared to be happy like the little birds,
  Because He gave His children days like this,
                     Rejoicing beyond words,--

  Dared, lifting up to Him untroubled eyes
    In gratitude that worship is, and prayer,
  Sing and be glad with ever new surprise
                     He made His world so fair!


_Ravenshoe_. By HENRY KINGSLEY, Author of "Geoffry Hamlyn."
Boston: Ticknor & Fields.

This novel belongs to that class which has been most in favor of late
years, in which the incidents and characters are drawn from the daily
life that is going on around us, and the sources of interest are
sought in the acts, struggles, and sufferings of the world that lies
at our feet, discarding the idealizing charm which arises from
distance in space or remoteness in time. The novels of Disraeli,
Bulwer, Dickens, Thackeray, Trollope, Miss Bronté, Mrs. Gaskell, Miss
Muloch, and Miss Evans, differing as they do so widely in style,
treatment, and spirit, all come under this general division.
Fictitious compositions of this class have difficulties
peculiar to themselves, but success, when attained, is proportionally
great; and from the sympathetic element in man they can secure the
interest of their readers, though their plots may be improbable and
their characters unnatural. The scene of "Ravenshoe" is laid in
England, the time is the present, and the men and women are such as
may be seen at a flower-show at Chiswick or on the race-course at
Epsom on a Derby day. The plot is ingenious, thickly strewn with
sudden and startling incidents, though very improbable; but the story
flows on in so rapid and animated a current that the reader can never
pause long enough for criticism, and it is not till he lays the volume
down, and recalls the ground he has been over, that he has leisure to
remark that the close has been reached by such stepping-stones as are
never laid down in the path of real life.

The characters are various, drawn with the greatest spirit, but not
all of them natural. Lord Saltire, for instance, is a portrait with
which the author has evidently taken much pains; but the elements we
see in him are such as never were, never could be, combined in any
living and breathing man. Father Mackworth is elaborately drawn, but
the sketch wants vitality and unity. Adelaide and Ellen present
essentially the same type, modified by difference of position and
circumstances, and, in the latter, by the infusion of a fanatical
religious element. Charles Ravenshoe, the hero, is well conceived and
consistently carried; and the same may be said of Cuthbert. But the
best character in the book is old Lady Ascot. She is quite original,
and yet quite natural; and we guess that some of her peculiarities are
drawn from life.

The descriptions of scenery are admirable,--so admirable that we
pardon the author for introducing them a little too frequently. He is
evidently one of those few men who love Nature with a manly and
healthy love,--by whom the outward world is not sought as a shelter
against invading cares, or as balm for a wounded spirit, but who find
in the sunshine, the play of the breeze, and the dance of the waves, a
cheerful, enduring, and satisfying companionship. The scenery is
English, and South English too: the author's pictures are drawn from
memory, and not from imagination. And the whole tone and spirit of the
book are thoroughly English. It represents the best aspects of English
life, character, and manners as they are to-day. Whatever is most
generous, heroic, tender, and true in the men and women of England is
here to be seen, and not drawn in colors any more flattering than it
is the right of fiction to use. We think the author carries us too
much into the stable and the kennel; but this, we need not say, is
also English.

But we have yet to mention what we consider the highest charm of this
charming book, and that is the combination which we find in it of
healthiness of tone and earnestness of purpose. A healthier book we
have never read. Earnestness of purpose is apt to be attended with
something of excess or extravagance; but in "Ravenshoe" there is
nothing morbid, nothing cynical, nothing querulous, nothing ascetic.
The doctrine of the book is a reasonable enjoyment of all that is good
in the world, with a firm purpose of improving the world in all
possible ways. It is one of the many books which have appeared in
England of late years which show the influence of the life and labors
of the late Dr. Arnold. It is as inspiriting in its influence as a
gallop over one of the breezy downs of Mr. Kingsley's own Devonshire.

It is, in short, a delightful book, in which all defects of structure
and form are atoned for by a wonderful amount of energy, geniality,
freshness, poetical feeling, and moral elevation. And furthermore, we
think, no one can read it without saying to himself that he would like
to see and know the writer. Long may he live to write new novels!

_Vanity Fair._ Volumes I.-V. New York: Louis H. Stephens,
Publisher for the Proprietors.

The American is often considered to be by nature unadapted for
jollity, if not positively averse to it. This supposition is not
without some reasonable foundation, and the stranger may be readily
excused for adopting it as an axiomatic truth. Busy calculation and
restless labor appear at first to be the grand elements of American
life; mirth is apparently excluded, as the superfluous members of his
equations are eliminated by the algebraist. Fun is not practical
enough for the American, and subserves none of his profitable
projects; it provokes to idle laughter, and militates against the
unresting career of industry which he has prescribed, and his
utilitarian spirit thinks it were as well abolished. His recreations
are akin to his toil. If he give to study such hours as business
spares, fates first claim his attention, and then philosophy or
ethics: he cannot resign himself to lighter topics. When he reads in
his Horace, "_Dulce est desipere in loco_," he grants the
proposition, with the commentary that he, at least, has very rarely
been "_in loco_." He reads tragedies, and perhaps writes one; but
he does not affect comedies, and he could have no sympathy with an
uproarious burlesque or side-shaking Christmas pantomime. His brethren
who seek the theatre for amusement are of similar opinion, and so are
they who stand behind the foot-lights. Therefore it is, that, for
every passable comedian, America can produce a whole batch of very
fair tragic actors.

This serious character the American is apt to wear abroad as well as
at home. When he travels, he is wont to be in a hurry, and to examine
curious cities as if he were making sharp bargains against time. In
spite of the wonderful power of adaptation which makes him of all men
the best cosmopolitan, he never is quite perfect in his assumption of
another nationality, and he generally falls short of a thorough
appreciation of its mirthful principle. If he emigrate to France, he
soon feasts upon frogs as freely and speaks with as accurate an accent
as the Parisian, but he cannot quite assume the gay _insouciance_
of the French; if to England, he adores method, learns to grumble and
imbibe old ale, yet does not become accustomed to the free, blunt
raillery,--the "chaff,"--with which Britons disport themselves; if to
China, he lives upon curries and inscribes his name with a
camel's-hair pencil, but all Oriental _bizarrerie_ fails to
thoroughly amuse him. Wherever he may go, he settles at once and
easily into the outward life of the people among whom he is,--while he
always reserves within himself a cold, stern individuality; he often
is angered when he should be amused, and retorts with resentment when
he should reply in repartee. Still, the American is not sombre to the
core. He has a kind of grim merriment bestowed somewhere in the
recesses of his being. It is quaint and severe, however, and abounding
in dry conceits. It inclines more to the nature of sarcasm than of
flashing wit or genial humor. There is apt to be the bitterness about
it which would provoke a heavy blow, unless it had been itself so
weighty in attack as to crush what might have sprung into
resistance. It passes from badinage into personalities and
recriminations. In these respects it is consonant with the general
bearing of the American character. The levity of wit and the
pleasantry of humor appear at first purposeless; they are immaterial,
and, even when most palpably present, seem, like Macbeth's
encountering witches, to make of themselves air, into which they
vanish. But sarcasm, and the direct application of ridicule, effect
something at once; their course may be swift and cloudy, like that of
the bullet, but it has a definite end in view; they are discharged and
sweep away invisibly, or like a dark speck at most, but the crash and
shiver of the distant target show that the shot has told. They are
practical, and the American understands them; as for mere wit and
humor, he will perhaps investigate them when there shall come to him
that season of leisure which he mythically proposes to enjoy when
there shall be no more work to do, and into which he is usually
ushered by one busier even than himself, and less tolerant of idleness
and folly,--Death, the great Chamberlain of Eternal Halls.

There is another characteristic of American wit and humor: they are
evanescent and keen, escaping adroitly from the snares of the
printer. America cannot boast of her satirists or humorists as forming
a class like the great English and European groups, and yet her
literature is enriched with many volumes wherein may be found the most
brilliant wit and the most genial, genuine humor. Seldom, however, are
these the main features of the books in which they occur; they are not
bound in the great, all-important chain, but are woven into the little
threads which underlie it; the obtuse or careless reader may easily
overlook them, passing on to the end without suspecting the treasures
which he has missed; and the foreigner, who does not look for such
qualities among a people so perversely practical as Americans, will be
apt entirely to ignore their possible existence. Again, if the
writers are first-class men, their birth is the most purely American
characteristic they possess. Their cast of thought and culture denotes
that they belong to other times and lands as well as to this. They
would have been at home among the _literati_ of Queen Anne's
day,--for their fellowship has been with such in spirit, if not in the
flesh. Therefore the prejudiced, and they whose perceptions are not
quick to recognize the finer traits which indicate the real character
of men and of their works, are wont to say that here is nothing new,
nothing indigenous to the soil, only an outgrowth of the Old
World,--merely exotics, which would soon perish from the pains of
transplanting, if they were not carefully fostered.

As a bit of drift-wood warns the most unpractised eye of the direction
which a current takes, so the light, ephemeral _brochures_ of any
epoch give a plain hint of the tendency of its thought. The librarian
and historian know the value of newspapers and pamphlets, for in them
can be found what big books and voluminous records do not
contain. From pasquinades, caricatures, and bits of comedy or satire
can be drawn an idea of the popular humor of any era, which the works
of great authors fail to convey. They are spontaneous and unstudied,
regardless alike of reputation already established, which must be
maintained, and of that which may yet be won; for they come from
unknown sources, and exist solely for their own sakes and by their own
vitality. They are, therefore, trustworthy assistants to him who
studies the spirit of any people or generation.

In this respect American humor has been ill represented. Comic
publications have appeared only at rare intervals, and comic journals
have soon degenerated into stupidity or coarseness. Yet this has not
been for lack of material, but of a proper editorial faculty, and from
the want of a habitude or a willingness on the part of those who
conceive clever things to note them down and give them out in black
and white. When "Vanity Fair" first appeared, we thought we saw in it
the germ of a journal which might be an exponent of our national
spirit of mirthfulness, and we took occasion to say so briefly. We
have not been disappointed. The five volumes which have already been
published in weekly numbers have been true to the honest purpose which
the conductors proposed to themselves and the public in their
prospectus, and are fair representatives of the wit and humor which
are in their essence allied to the merriment and the satire of
Hawthorne and Lowell, Holmes and Saxe, although, of course, they are
not yet developed with like delicacy and brilliance. There is in
these pages a vast deal of genuine, hearty fun, and of sharp, stinging
sarcasm; there are also hundreds of cleverly drawn and cleanly cut
illustrations. Better than these, there is a fearlessness of
consequences and of persons, when a wrong is to be combated, an error
to be set right. And this Touchstone has been impartial as well as
sturdy in his castigation; he has not been blind to the faults of his
friends, or slow in bidding them imitate the excellences of his
enemies; he had "a whip of scorpions" for the late Administration,
when others, whose intuitions were less quick, saw nothing to
chastise, and he has not hesitated to rebuke the official misdemeanors
of these days, because officers have _per contra_ done other
portions of their duties well. According to his creed, a wrong cannot
be palliated into a right, but must be reformed thereto; he has no
tolerance for that evil whose cure is obvious and possible, and he
treats boldly and severely the subjects of which the timid scarcely
dare to speak.

It cannot, of course, be claimed for "Vanity Fair" that it is all
clever. The brightest wit must say some dull things, and a comic
journal can hardly help letting some dreary attempts at mirth slip
into its columns. We could point out paragraphs in this serial which
are most chaotic and unmeaning, and some, indeed, which fall below its
own excellent standard of refinement; but we do not remember ever to
have met in its pages a _double-entendre_ or a foulness of
speech. We must advise its conductor (who, we may say in passing, is a
gentleman whose writings have not infrequently appeared in the
"Atlantic") never to allow his paper to descend to the level of the
_ignoble vulgus_; and we are glad that in wishing "Vanity Fair"
long life and prosperity we have to censure it only for some slight
violations of good taste, not for any offence against modesty or
decorum. It deserves admission to the library and the drawing-room.



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