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Title: Peter Parley's Own Story - From the Personal Narrative of the Late Samuel G. Goodrich, - ('Peter Parley')
Author: Goodrich, Samuel G. (Samuel Griswold), 1793-1860
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 "Peter Parley's Own Story - From the Personal Narrative of the Late Samuel G. Goodrich, - ('Peter Parley')" ***

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[Illustration: AUNT DELIGHT'S SCHOOL.]

                          PETER PARLEY'S

                            OWN STORY.

              SAMUEL G. GOODRICH_, ("_PETER PARLEY_.")

                        With Illustrations.

                             NEW YORK:
                   PUBLISHED BY SHELDON & COMPANY,
                    335 BROADWAY, COR. WORTH ST,

      Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, by
                    THE HEIRS OF S. G. GOODRICH,
 In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for
                 the Southern District of New York.

            PRINTED BY C. S. WESTCOTT & CO., 79 JOHN ST.



  Birth and Parentage--The Old House--Ridgefield--The
  Meeting-house--Parson Mead--Keeler's Tavern--The
  Cannon-ball--Lieutenant Smith                                      9


  The New House--High Ridge--Nathan Kellogg's Spy-glass--The
  Shovel--The Black Patch in the Road--Distrust of British
  Influence--Old Chich-es-ter--Aunt Delight--Return after Twenty
  Years                                                             16


  Ridgefield Society--Trades and Professions--Chimney-Corner
  Courtships--Domestic Economy--Dram-drinking--Family
  Products--Molly Gregory and Church Music--Travelling
  Artisans--Festival of the Quilts--Clerical Patronage--Raising
  a Church--The Retired Tailor and His Farm                         30


  Habits of the People--Their Costume--Amusements--Festivals--
  Marriages--Funerals--Dancing--Winter Sports--My Two
  Grandmothers--Mechanical Genius--Importance of
  Whittling--Pigeons--Sporting Adventures                           45


  Death of Washington--Jerome Bonaparte and Miss Patterson--Sunday
  Travelling--Oliver Wolcott--Timothy Pickering--American
  Politeness quite natural--Locomotion--Public Conveyances--My
  Father's Chaise                                                   58


  The Upper and Lower Classes of Ridgefield--Master Stebbins
  and his School--What is a Noun?--Deacon Benedict and his Man
  Abijah--My Latin Acquirements--Family Worship--Widow
  Bennett--The Temple of Dagon                                      65


  The Clergy of Fairfield--A Laughing Parson--The Three Deacons     79


  Mat Olmstead, the Town Wit--The Salamander Hat--Solar
  Eclipse--The Old Hen and the Philosopher--Lieutenant
  Smith--Extraordinary Meteor--Fulton and his Steam-boat--Granther
  Baldwin and his Wife--Sarah Bishop and her Cave                   87


  Farewell to Home--Danbury--My New Vocation--My Brother-in-law--
  His Conversations with Lawyer Hatch--Clerical Anecdotes          108


  New Haven--Distinguished Men--Whitney's Cotton-gin--Durham--My
  Grandmother's Indian Puddings--In Search of a Doctor--Return
  to Danbury--The Cold Friday--Factory Workmen--Mathematics        117


  Arrival at Hartford--My Occupation There--Restlessness--My
  Friend George Sheldon                                            129


  War with England--In the Army--My Uncle's Advice--
  Campaigning--On the March--Our Military Costume--My first
  Soldier's Supper                                                 134


  New London--Our Military Reputation--Sent with a Letter--British
  Cannon-balls--Out of Harm's Way--An Alarm--On Guard--Take a
  Prisoner--Strange Emotions--My Left-hand Chum--A Grateful
  Country                                                          138


  Effects of War in New England--Personal Experience--News of
  Peace--Illuminations--Confessions                                145


  Evil Effects of Night Study--Commencement of a Literary
  Career--Thoughts on Dancing--New York--Saratoga--Death of my
  Uncle--Become a Bookseller--Cold Summer--T'other Side of Ohio    149


  Marriage--Walter Scott--Byron--Sidney Smith's Taunt--Publication
  of Original American Works--Mrs. Sigourney                       159


  Domestic Troubles--Sketch of Brainard--Aunt Lucy's
  Back-Parlor--The Fall of Niagara--Death of Brainard              164


  My First Visit to Europe--Hurricane--Arrival at Liverpool--
  London--Travel on the Continent--Return to Bristol--Interview
  with Hannah More--Design in Travelling--Visit to Ireland and
  Scotland                                                         172


  The Edinburgh Lions--Literary Celebrities--Jeffrey in
  the Forum--Sir Walter at the Desk--Riding with Scotch
  Ladies--Beautiful Scenery--A Scotch Mist                         179


  Blackwood--The General Assembly--Sir Walter Scott--Mr. and
  Mrs. Lockhart--Origin of "Tam O'Shanter"--Last Words of Scott    187


  En Route for London--"The Laird o'Cockpen"--Localities of
  Legendary Fame--Difference between English and American
  Scenery                                                          195


  London again--Jacob Perkins and his Steam-gun--Dukes of
  Wellington, Sussex, and York--British Ladies at a Review--House
  of Commons and its Orators--Catalani--Distinguished
  Foreigners--Edward Irving compared to Edmund Kean--Byron lying
  in State                                                         202


  Return to the United States--Boston and its Worthies--Business
  Operations--Ackermann's Forget-Me-Not the Parent of all other
  Annuals--The American Species--Their Decline                     216


  "The Token"--N. P. Willis and Nathaniel Hawthorne--Comparison
  between them--Lady Authors--Publishers' Profits--Authors and
  Publishers                                                       222


  I become an Author--His real Name a profound Secret--How it was
  divulged--Great Success--Illness--The Doctors disagree--English
  Imitations--Conduct of a London Bookseller--Objections to
  Parley's Tales--Mother Goose                                     232


  Children my first Patrons--A Visit to New Orleans--Feelings of
  Humiliation--The Mice eat my Papers--A Wrong Calculation         251


  I make a Speech--Lecture on Ireland--Politics--Personal
  Attacks--Become a Senator--The "Fifteen Gallon Law"--A Pamphlet
  in its Favor--"My Neighbor Smith"--A Political Career
  unprofitable                                                     257


  Am appointed U. S. Consul to Paris--Louis XVIII.--A few Jottings
  upon French Notabilities--Cure for Hydrocephalus--Unsettled
  State of Things in Paris                                         266


  Louis Philippe and the Revolution--List of Grievances--The Mob
  at the Madeleine--Barricades--"Down with Guizot!"--The Fight
  commenced--Flight of the King and Queen--Scene in the Chamber
  of Deputies--Sack of the Tuileries                               274


  After the Revolution--"Funeral of the Victims"--The Constituent
  Assembly--Paris in a State of Siege--Cavaignac--Louis Napoleon
  chosen President                                                 296


  The Author's Duties as Consul--Aspect of Things in Paris--Louis
  Napoleon's Designs--The 2nd of December, 1852--The New Reign
  of Terror complete--Louis Napoleon as Emperor--Out of
  Office--Return to New York--Conclusion                           301


  The Death of Peter Parley                                        313


    AUNT DELIGHT                       (_Frontispiece_)

    MAKING MAPLE SUGAR                               37

    DEACON OLMSTEAD                                  82

    FIRST ADVENTURE ON THE SEA                      119

    THE COLD FRIDAY                                 124

    WHITTLING                                       167




In the western part of the State of Connecticut is a small town named
Ridgefield. This title is descriptive, and indicates the general
form and position of the place. It is, in fact, a collection of
hills, rolled into one general and commanding elevation. On the west
is a ridge of mountains, forming the boundary between the States
of Connecticut and New York; to the south the land spreads out in
wooded undulations to Long Island Sound; east and north, a succession
of hills, some rising up against the sky and others fading away in
the distance, bound the horizon. In this town, in an antiquated and
rather dilapidated house of shingles and clapboards, I was born on
the 19th of August, 1793.

My father, Samuel Goodrich, was minister of the Congregational
Church of that place, and there was no other religious society and
no other clergyman in the town. He was the son of Elizur Goodrich, a
distinguished minister of the same persuasion at Durham, Connecticut.
Two of his brothers were men of eminence--the late Chauncey Goodrich
of Hartford, and Elizur Goodrich of New Haven. My mother was a
daughter of John Ely, a physician of Saybrook, whose name figures,
not unworthily, in the annals of the revolutionary war.

I was the sixth child of a family of ten children, two of whom died
in infancy, and eight of whom lived to be married and settled in
life. My father's annual salary for the first twenty-five years, and
during his ministry at Ridgefield, averaged four hundred dollars
a-year: the last twenty-five years, during which he was settled at
Berlin, near Hartford, his stipend was about five hundred dollars
a-year. He was wholly without patrimony, and owing to peculiar
circumstances, which will be hereafter explained, my mother had not
even the ordinary outfit when they began their married life. Yet they
so brought up their family of eight children, that they all attained
respectable positions in life, and at my father's death he left an
estate of four thousand dollars. These facts throw light upon the
simple annals of a country clergyman in Connecticut, half-a-century
ago; they also bear testimony to the thrifty energy and wise
frugality of my parents, and especially of my mother, who was the
guardian deity of the household.

Ridgefield belongs to the county of Fairfield, and is now a handsome
town, as well on account of its artificial as its natural advantages;
with some two thousand inhabitants. It is fourteen miles from Long
Island Sound, of which its many swelling hills afford charming views.
The main street is a mile in length, and is now embellished with
several handsome houses. About the middle of it there is, or was,
some forty years ago, a white, wooden Meeting-house, which belonged
to my father's congregation. It stood in a small grassy square,
the favorite pasture of numerous flocks of geese, and the frequent
playground of school-boys, especially on Sunday afternoons. Close by
the front door ran the public road, and the pulpit, facing it, looked
out upon it on fair summer Sundays, as I well remember by a somewhat
amusing incident.

In the contiguous town of Lower Salem dwelt an aged minister, by
the name of Mead. He was all his life marked with eccentricity, and
about those days of which I speak, his mind was rendered yet more
erratic by a touch of paralysis. He was, however, still able to
preach, and on a certain Sunday, having exchanged with my father,
he was in the pulpit and engaged in making his opening prayer. He
had already begun his invocation, when David P----, who was the Jehu
of that generation, dashed by the front door upon a horse, a clever
animal, of which he was but too proud--in a full, round trot. The
echo of the clattering hoofs filled the church, which, being of wood,
was sonorous as a drum, and arrested the attention, as well of the
minister as the congregation, even before the rider had reached it.
The minister was fond of horses, almost to frailty; and, from the
first, his practised ear perceived that the sounds came from a beast
of bottom. When the animal shot by the door, he could not restrain
his admiration; which was accordingly thrust into the very marrow
of his prayer "We pray Thee, O Lord, in a particular and peculiar
manner--_that's a real smart critter_--to forgive us our manifold
trespasses, in a particular and peculiar manner," &c.

I have somewhere heard of a traveller on horseback, who, just at
eventide, being uncertain of his road, inquired of a person he
chanced to meet, the way to Barkhamstead.

"You are in Barkhamstead now," was the reply.

"Yes, but where is the centre of the place?"

"It hasn't got any centre."

"Well, but direct me to the tavern."

"There ain't any tavern."

"Yes, but the meeting-house?"

"Why didn't you ask that afore? There it is, over the hill!"

So, in those days, in Connecticut, as doubtless in other parts of
New England, the meeting-house was the great geographical monument,
the acknowledged meridian of every town and village. Even a place
without a centre, or a tavern, had its house of worship; and this was
its point of reckoning. It was, indeed, something more. It was the
town-hall, where all public meetings were held for civil purposes; it
was the temple of religion, the pillar of society, religious, social,
and moral, to the people around. It will not be considered strange,
then, if I look back to the meeting-house of Ridgefield, as not only
a most revered edifice, but as in some sense the starting-point
of my existence. Here, at least, linger many of my most cherished

A few rods to the south of this there was, and still is, a tavern,
kept in my day by Squire Keeler. This institution ranked second only
to the meeting-house; for the tavern of those days was generally
the centre of news, and the gathering-place for balls, musical
entertainments, public shows, &c.; and this particular tavern had
special claims to notice. It was, in the first place, on the great
thoroughfare of the day, between Boston and New York; and had become
a general and favorite stopping-place for travellers. It was,
moreover, kept by a hearty old gentleman, who united in his single
person the varied functions of publican, postmaster, representative,
justice of the peace, and I know not what else. He, besides, had
a thrifty wife, whose praise was in all the land. She loved her
customers, especially members of Congress, governors, and others in
authority who wore powder and white top-boots, and who migrated to
and fro in the lofty leisure of their own coaches. She was, indeed, a
woman of mark; and her life has its moral. She scoured and scrubbed,
and kept things going, until she was seventy years old; at which
time, during an epidemic, she was threatened with an attack. She,
however, declared that she had not time to be sick, and kept on
working; so that the disease passed her by, though it made sad havoc
all around her, especially with more dainty dames who had leisure to
follow the fashion.

Besides all this, there was an historical interest attached
to Keeler's tavern; for, deeply imbedded in the north-eastern
corner-post, there was a cannon-ball, planted there during the famous
fight with the British in 1777. It was one of the chief historical
monuments of the town, and was visited by all curious travellers who
came that way. Little can the present generation imagine with what
glowing interest, what ecstatic wonder, what big, round eyes, the
rising generation of Ridgefield, half a century ago, listened to the
account of the fight, as given by Lieutenant Smith, himself a witness
of the event and a participator in the conflict, sword in hand.

This personage, whom I shall have occasion again to introduce to my
readers, was, in my time, a justice of the peace, town librarian, and
general oracle in such loose matters as geography, history, and law;
then about as uncertain and unsettled in Ridgefield, as is now the
longitude of Lilliput. He had a long, lean face; long, lank, silvery
hair; and an unctuous, whining voice. With these advantages, he spoke
with the authority of a seer, and especially in all things relating
to the revolutionary war.

The agitating scenes of that event, so really great in itself,
so unspeakably important to the country, had transpired some
five-and-twenty years before. The existing generation of middle age
had all witnessed it; nearly all had shared in its vicissitudes. On
every hand there were corporals, serjeants, lieutenants, captains,
and colonels, no strutting fops in militia buckram, raw blue and
buff, all fuss and feathers, but soldiers, men who had seen service
and won laurels in the tented field. Every old man, every old woman,
had stories to tell, radiant with the vivid realities of personal
observation or experience. Some had seen Washington, and some Old
Put; one was at the capture of Ticonderoga under Ethan Allen; another
was at Bennington, and actually heard old Stark say, "Victory this
day, or my wife Molly is a widow!" Some were at the taking of Stony
Point, and others in the sanguinary struggle of Monmouth. One had
witnessed the execution of André, and another had been present at the
capture of Burgoyne. The time which had elapsed since these events
had served only to magnify and glorify these scenes, as well as the
actors, especially in the imagination of the rising generation. If
perchance we could now dig up and galvanize into life a contemporary
of Julius Cæsar, who was present and saw him cross the Rubicon, and
could tell us how he looked and what he said, we should listen with
somewhat of the greedy wonder with which the boys of Ridgefield
listened to Lieutenant Smith, when of a Saturday afternoon, seated
on the stoop of Keeler's tavern, he discoursed upon the discovery
of America by Columbus, Braddock's defeat, and the old French war;
the latter a real epic, embellished with romantic episodes of Indian
massacres and captivities. When he came to the Revolution, and spoke
of the fight at Ridgefield, and punctuated his discourse with a
present cannon-ball, sunk six inches deep in a corner-post of the
very house in which we sat, you may well believe it was something
more than words--it was, indeed, "action, action, glorious action!"
How little can people now-a-days comprehend or appreciate these



My memory goes distinctly back to the year 1797, when I was four
years old. At that time a great event happened--great in the narrow
horizon of childhood: we removed from the Old House to the New House!
This latter, situated on a road tending westward and branching from
the main street, my father had just built; and it then appeared
to me quite a stately mansion and very beautiful, inasmuch as it
was painted red behind and white in front: most of the dwellings
thereabouts being of the dun complexion which pine-boards and
chestnut-shingles assume, from exposure to the weather. Long after,
having been absent twenty years, I revisited this my early home, and
found it shrunk into a very small and ordinary two-story dwelling,
wholly divested of its paint, and scarcely thirty feet square.

This building, apart from all other dwellings, was situated on what
is called High Ridge, a long hill, looking down upon the village,
and commanding an extensive view of the surrounding country. From
our upper windows, this was at once beautiful and diversified. On
the south, as I have said, the hills sloped in a sea of undulations
down to Long Island Sound, a distance of some fourteen miles. This
beautiful sheet of water, like a strip of pale sky, with the island
itself, more deeply tinted, beyond, was visible in fair weather, for
a stretch of sixty miles, to the naked eye. The vessels, even the
smaller ones, sloops, schooners, and fishing-craft, could be seen,
creeping like insects over the surface. With a spy-glass--and my
father had one bequeathed to him by Nathan Kellogg, a sailor, who
made rather a rough voyage of life, but anchored at last in the bosom
of the Church, as this bequest intimates--we could see the masts,
sails, and rigging. It was a poor, dim affair, compared with modern
instruments of the kind; but to me, its revelations of an element
which then seemed as beautiful, as remote, and as mystical as the
heavens, surpassed the wonders of the firmament.

To the west, at a distance of three miles, lay the undulating ridge
of hills, cliffs, and precipices already mentioned, and which bear
the name of West Mountain. They are some five hundred feet in height,
and from our point of view had an imposing appearance. Beyond them,
in the far distance, glimmered the peaks of the highlands along the
Hudson. These two prominent features of the spreading landscape--the
sea and the mountain, ever present, yet ever remote--impressed
themselves on my young imagination with all the enchantment which
distance lends to the view. I have never lost my first love. Never,
even now, do I catch a glimpse of either of these two rivals of
nature, such as I first learned them by heart, but I feel a gush of
emotion as if I had suddenly met with the cherished companions of my
childhood. In after days, even the purple velvet of the Apennines
and the poetic azure of the Mediterranean, have derived additional
beauty to my imagination from mingling with these vivid associations
of my childhood.

It was to the New House, then, thus situated, that we removed, as
I have stated, when I was four years old. On that great occasion,
everything available for draught or burden was put in requisition;
and I was permitted, or required, I forget which, to carry the
_peel_, as it was then called, but which would now bear the title of
"shovel." Birmingham had not then been heard of in those parts, or at
least was a great way off; so this particular utensil had been forged
expressly for my father by David Olmstead, the blacksmith, as was the
custom in those days. I recollect it well, and can state that it was
a sturdy piece of iron, the handle being four feet long, with a knob
at the end. As I carried it along, I doubtless felt a touch of that
consciousness of power which must have filled the breast of Samson
as he bore off the gates of Gaza. I recollect perfectly well to have
perspired under the operation, for the distance of our migration was
half-a-mile, and the season was summer.

One thing more I remember: I was barefoot; and as we went up the
lane which diverged from the main road to the house, we passed over
a patch of earth blackened by cinders, where my feet were hurt by
pieces of melted glass and metal. I inquired what this meant, and was
told that here a house was burned down by the British troops already
mentioned, and then in full retreat, as a signal to the ships that
awaited them in the Sound, where they had landed, and where they
intended to embark.

This detail may seem trifling; but it is not without significance.
It was the custom in those days for boys to go barefoot in the mild
season. I recollect few things in life more delightful than, in the
spring, to cast away my shoes and stockings, and have a glorious
scamper over the fields. Many a time, contrary to the express
injunctions of my mother, have I stolen this bliss; and many a time
have I been punished by a severe cold for my disobedience. Yet the
bliss then seemed a compensation for the retribution. In these
exercises I felt as if stepping on air; as if leaping aloft on wings.
I was so impressed with the exultant emotions thus experienced, that
I repeated them a thousand times in happy dreams; especially in my
younger days. Even now these visions sometimes come to me in sleep,
though with a lurking consciousness that they are but a mockery of
the past; sad monitors of the change which time has wrought upon me.

As to the black patch in the lane, that, too, had its meaning.
The story of a house burned down by a foreign army seized upon my
imagination. Every time I passed the place I ruminated upon it,
and put a hundred questions as to how and when it happened. I was
soon master of the whole story, and of other similar events which
had occurred all over the country. I was thus initiated into the
spirit of that day, and which has never wholly subsided in our
country; inasmuch as the war of the Revolution was alike unjust in
its origin, and cruel as to the manner in which it was waged. It
was, moreover, fought on our own soil; thus making the whole people
share, personally, in its miseries. There was scarcely a family in
Connecticut whom it did not visit, either immediately or remotely,
with the shadows of mourning and desolation. The British nation,
to whom this conflict was a foreign war, are slow to comprehend
the popular dislike of England, here in America. Could they know
the familiar annals of our towns and villages--burn, plundered,
sacked--with all the attendant horrors, for the avowed purpose of
punishing a nation of rebels, and those rebels of their own kith and
kin: could they be made acquainted with the deeds of those twenty
thousand Hessians, sent hither by King George, and who have left
their name in our language as a word signifying brigands, who sell
their blood and commit murder for hire: could they thus read the
history of minds and hearts, influenced at the fountains of life for
several generations, they would perhaps comprehend, if they could not
approve, the habitual distrust of British influence, which lingers
among our people.

About three-fourths of a mile from my father's house, on the winding
road to Lower Salem, which I have already mentioned, and which bore
the name of West Lane, was the school-house where I took my first
lessons, and received the foundations of my very slender education.
I have since been sometimes asked where I graduated: my reply has
always been, "At West Lane." Generally speaking, this has ended
the inquiry; whether, because my questioners have confounded this
venerable institution with "Lane Seminary," or have not thought it
worth while to risk an exposure of their ignorance as to the college
in which I was educated, I am unable to say.

The site of the school-house was a triangular piece of land,
measuring perhaps a rood in extent, and lying, according to the
custom of those days, at the meeting of four roads. The ground
hereabouts--as everywhere else in Ridgefield--was exceedingly stony;
and, in making the pathway, the stones had been thrown out right and
left, and there remained in heaps on either side, from generation
to generation. All around was bleak and desolate. Loose, squat stone
walls, with innumerable breaches, inclosed the adjacent fields. A few
tufts of elder, with here and there a patch of briers and pokeweed,
flourished in the gravelly soil. Not a tree, however, remained; save
an aged chestnut, at the western angel of the space. This, certainly,
had not been spared for shade or ornament, but probably because it
would have cost too much labor to cut it down; for it was of ample
girth. At all events, it was the oasis in our desert during summer;
and in autumn, as the burrs disclosed its fruit, it resembled a
besieged city; the boys, like so many catapults, hurled at it stones
and sticks, until every nut had capitulated.

Two houses only were at hand: one, surrounded by an ample barn, a
teeming orchard, and an enormous wood-pile, belonging to Granther
Baldwin; the other was the property of "Old Chich-es-ter;" an
uncouth, unsocial being, whom everybody, for some reason or other,
seemed to despise and shun. His house was of stone, and of one story.
He had a cow, which every year had a calf. He had a wife--dirty and
uncombed, and vaguely reported to have been brought from the old
country. This is about the whole history of the man, so far as it
is written in the authentic traditions of the parish. His premises,
an acre in extent, consisted of a tongue of land between two of the
converging roads. No boy, that I ever heard of, ventured to cast a
stone, or to make an incursion into this territory, though it lay
close to the school-house. I have often, in passing, peeped timidly
over the walls, and caught glimpses of a stout man with a drab coat,
drab breeches, and drab gaiters, prowling about the house; but never
did I discover him outside of his own dominion. I know it was darkly
intimated he had been tarred and feathered in the revolutionary war;
but as to the rest, he was a perfect myth.

The school-house itself consisted of rough, unpainted clapboards,
upon a wooden frame. It was plastered within, and contained two
apartments, a little entry, taken out of a corner for a wardrobe, and
the school-room proper. The chimney was of stone, and pointed with
mortar, which, by the way, had been dug into a honeycomb by uneasy
and enterprising penknives. The fireplace was six feet wide and four
feet deep. The flue was so ample and so perpendicular, that the rain,
sleet, and snow fell directly to the hearth. In winter, the battle
for life with green fizzling fuel, which was brought in lengths and
cut up by the scholars, was a stern one. Not unfrequently the wood,
gushing with sap as it was, chanced to go out, and as there was no
living without fire, the thermometer being ten or twenty degrees
below zero, the school was dismissed, whereat all the scholars
rejoiced aloud, not having the fear of the schoolmaster before their

It was the custom at this place to have a woman's school in the
summer months, and this was attended only by young children. It was,
in fact, what we now call a primary or infant school. In winter,
a man was employed as teacher, and then the girls and boys of the
neighborhood, up to the age of eighteen, or even twenty, were among
the pupils. It was not uncommon, at this season, to have forty
scholars crowded into this little building.

I was about six years old when I first went to school. My teacher was
Aunt Delight, that is Delight Benedict, a maiden lady of fifty, short
and bent, of sallow complexion and solemn aspect. I remember the
first day with perfect distinctness. I went alone--for I was familiar
with the road, it being that which passed by our old house. I carried
a little basket, with bread and butter within, for my dinner, and
this was covered over with a white cloth. When I had proceeded about
half way, I lifted the cover, and debated whether I would not eat my
dinner then. I believe it was a sense of duty only that prevented
my doing so, for in those happy days I always had a keen appetite.
Bread and butter were then infinitely superior to _pâté de foie gras_
now; but still, thanks to my training, I had also a conscience. As my
mother had given me the food for dinner, I did not think it right to
convert it into lunch, even though I was strongly tempted.

I think we had seventeen scholars--boys and girls--mostly of my own
age. Among them were some of my after-companions. I have since met
several of them--one at Savannah and two at Mobile--respectably
established, and with families around them. Some remain, and are
now among the grey old men of the town: the names of others I have
seen inscribed on the tombstones of their native village. And the
rest--where are they?

The school being assembled, we were all seated upon benches, made
of what were called _slabs_--that is, boards having the exterior or
rounded part of the log on one side: as they were useless for other
purposes, these were converted into school-benches, the rounded part
down. They had each four supports, consisting of straddling wooden
legs set into augur-holes. Our own legs swayed in the air, for they
were too short to touch the floor. Oh, what an awe fell over me,
when we were all seated and silence reigned around!

The children were called up one by one to Aunt Delight, who sat
on a low chair, and required each, as a preliminary, "to make his
manners," which consisted of a small, sudden nod. She then placed
the spelling-book--which was Dilworth's--before the pupil, and with
a buck-handled penknife pointed, one by one, to the letters of the
alphabet, saying, "What's that?" If the child knew his letters, the
"what's that?" very soon ran on thus:--

"What's that?"







"D." &c.

I looked upon these operations with intense curiosity and no small
respect, until my own turn came. I went up to the schoolmistress with
some emotion, and when she said, rather spitefully, as I thought,
"Make your obeisance!" my little intellects all fled away, and I did
nothing. Having waited a second, gazing at me with indignation, she
laid her hand on the top of my head, and gave it a jerk which made my
teeth clash. I believe I bit my tongue a little; at all events, my
sense of dignity was offended, and when she pointed to A, and asked
what it was, it swam before me dim and hazy, and as big as a full
moon. She repeated the question, but I was doggedly silent. Again, a
third time, she said, "What's that?" I replied: "Why don't you tell
me what it is? I didn't come here to learn you your letters." I
have not the slightest remembrance of this, for my brains were all a
wool-gathering; but as Aunt Delight affirmed it to be a fact, and it
passed into a tradition in my family, I put it in.

What immediately followed I do not clearly remember, but one result
is distinctly traced in my memory. In the evening of this eventful
day the schoolmistress paid my parents a visit, and recounted to
their astonished ears this my awful contempt of authority. My father,
after hearing the story, got up and went away; but my mother, who
was a careful disciplinarian, told me not to do so again! I always
had a suspicion that both of them smiled on one side of their faces,
even while they seemed to sympathize with the old lady on the other;
still, I do not affirm it, for I am bound to say of both my parents,
that I never knew them, even in trifles, say one thing while they
meant another.

I believe I achieved the alphabet that summer, but my after progress,
for a long time, I do not remember. Two years later I went to the
winter school at the same place, kept by Lewis Olmstead--a man who
made a business of ploughing, mowing, carting manure, &c., in the
summer, and of teaching school in the winter; with a talent for music
at all seasons, wherefore he became chorister upon occasion, when,
peradventure, Deacon Hawley could not officiate. He was a celebrity
in ciphering, and Squire Seymour declared that he was the greatest
"arithmeticker" in Fairfield county. All I remember of his person
is his hand, which seemed to me as big as Goliath's, judging by the
claps of thunder it made in my ears on one or two occasions.

The next step of my progress which is marked in my memory, is the
spelling of words of two syllables. I did not go very regularly
to school, but by the time I was ten years old I had learned to
write, and had made a little progress in arithmetic. There was not
a grammar, a geography, or a history of any kind in the school.
Reading, writing, and arithmetic were the only things taught, and
these very indifferently--not wholly from the stupidity of the
teacher, but because he had forty scholars, and the custom of the
age required no more than he performed. I did as well as the other
scholars, certainly no better. I had excellent health and joyous
spirits; in leaping, running, and wrestling I had but one superior of
my age, and that was Stephen Olmstead, a snug-built fellow, smaller
than myself, and who, despite our rivalry, was my chosen friend and
companion. I seemed to live for play: alas! how the world has changed
since then!

After I had left my native town for some twenty years, I returned and
paid it a visit. Among the monuments that stood high in my memory
was the West Lane school-house. Unconsciously carrying with me the
measures of childhood, I had supposed it to be thirty feet square;
how had it dwindled when I came to estimate it by the new standards
I had formed! It was in all things the same, yet wholly changed
to me. What I had deemed a respectable edifice, as it now stood
before me was only a weather-beaten little shed, which, upon being
measured, I found to be less than twenty feet square. It happened
to be a warm summer day, and I ventured to enter the place. I found
a girl, some eighteen years old, keeping a ma'am school for about
twenty scholars, some of whom were studying Parley's Geography. The
mistress was the daughter of one of my schoolmates, and some of the
boys and girls were grandchildren of the little brood which gathered
under the wing of Aunt Delight, when I was an abecedarian. None of
them, not even the schoolmistress, had ever heard of me. The name of
my father, as having ministered to the people of Ridgefield in some
bygone age, was faintly traced in their recollection. As to Peter
Parley, whose geography they were learning, they supposed him to be
a decrepit old gentleman hobbling about on a crutch, a long way off,
for whom, nevertheless, they had a certain affection, inasmuch as
he had made geography into a story-book. The frontispiece picture
of the old fellow, with his gouty foot in a chair, threatening the
boys that if they touched his tender toe he would tell them no more
stories, secured their respect, and placed him among the saints in
the calendar of their young hearts. "Well," thought I, "if this goes
on, I may yet rival Mother Goose!"

I hope the reader will not imagine that I am thinking too little of
his amusement and too much of my own, if I stop a few moments to note
the lively recollections I entertain of the joyousness of my early
life, and not of mine only, but that of my playmates and companions.
In looking back to those early days, the whole circle of the seasons
seems to me almost like one unbroken morning of pleasure.

I was of course subjected to the usual crosses incident to my age,
those painful and mysterious visitations sent upon children--the
measles, mumps, whooping-cough, and the like; usually regarded as
retributions for the false step of our mother Eve in the Garden; but
they have almost passed from my memory, as if overflowed and borne
away by the general drift of happiness which filled my bosom. Among
these calamities, one monument alone remains--the small-pox. It was
in the year 1798, as I well remember, that my father's house was
converted into a hospital, or, as it was then called, a "pest-house,"
where, with some dozen other children, I was inoculated for this
disease, then the scourge and terror of the world.

The lane in which our house was situated was fenced up, north and
south, so as to cut off all intercourse with the world around. A flag
was raised, and upon it were inscribed the ominous words, "[Hand
symbol pointing right] SMALL-POX." My uncle and aunt, from New
Haven, arrived with their three children. Half-a-dozen others of the
neighborhood were gathered together, making, with our own children,
somewhat over a dozen subjects for the experiment. When all was
ready, like Noah and his family, we were shut in. Provisions were
deposited in a basket at a point agreed upon, down the lane. Thus
we were cut off from the world, excepting only that Dr. Perry, the
physician, ventured to visit us.

As to myself, the disease passed lightly over, leaving, however, its
indisputable autographs on various parts of my body. Were it not for
these testimonials, I should almost suspect that I had escaped the
disease, for I only remember, among my symptoms and my sufferings,
a little headache, and the privation of salt and butter upon my
hasty-pudding. My restoration to these privileges I distinctly
recollect: doubtless these gave me more pleasure than the clean
bill of health which they implied. Several of the patients suffered
severely, and among them my brother and one of my cousins.

But although there is evidence that I was subject to the usual
drawbacks upon the happiness of childhood, these were so few that
they have passed from my mind; and those early years, as I look
back to them, seem to have flowed on in one bright current of
uninterrupted enjoyment.



Let me now give you a sketch of Ridgefield and of the people, how
they lived, thought, and felt, at the beginning of the present
century. It will give you a good idea of the rustic life of New
England fifty years ago.

From what I have already said, you will easily imagine the prominent
physical characteristics and aspect of my native town: a general mass
of hills, rising up in a crescent of low mountains, and commanding
a wide view on every side. The soil was naturally hard, and thickly
sown with stones of every size. The fields were divided by rude stone
walls, and the surface of most of them was dotted with gathered
heaps of stones and rocks, thus clearing spaces for cultivation, yet
leaving a large portion of the land still encumbered. The climate was
severe, on account of the elevation of the site, yet this was perhaps
fully compensated by its salubrity.

Yet, despite the somewhat forbidding nature of the soil and climate
of Ridgefield, it may be regarded as presenting a favorable example
of New England country life and society at the time I speak of.
The town was originally settled by a sturdy race of men, mostly
the immediate descendants of English emigrants, some from Milford.
Their migration over an intervening space of savage hills, rocks and
ravines, into a territory so uninviting, and their speedy conversion
of this into a thriving and smiling village, bear witness to their
courage and energy.

At the time referred to, the date of my earliest recollection, the
society of Ridgefield was exclusively English. I remember but one
Irishman, one negro, and one Indian in the town. The first had begged
and blarneyed his way from Long Island, where he had been wrecked;
the second was a liberated slave; and the last was the vestige of
a tribe which dwelt of yore in a swampy tract, the name of which I
have forgotten. We had a professional beggar, called Jagger, who had
served in the armies of more than one of the Georges, and insisted
upon crying, "God save the king!" even on the 4th of July, and when
openly threatened by the boys with a gratuitous ride on a rail. We
had one settled pauper, Mrs. Yabacomb, who, for the first dozen years
of my life, was my standard type for the witch of Endor.

Nearly all the inhabitants of Ridgefield were farmers, with the few
mechanics that were necessary to carry on society in a somewhat
primeval state. Even the persons not professionally devoted to
agriculture had each his farm, or at least his garden and home lot,
with his pigs, poultry, and cattle. The population might have been
1200, comprising two hundred families. All could read and write, but
in point of fact, beyond the Almanac and Watts' Psalms and Hymns,
their literary acquirements had little scope. There were, I think,
four newspapers, all weekly, published in the State: one at Hartford,
one at New London, one at New Haven, and one at Litchfield. There
were, however, not more than three subscribers to all these in
our village. We had, however, a public library of some two hundred
volumes, and, what was of equal consequence, the town was on the
road which was then the great thoroughfare, connecting Boston with
New York; and hence we had means of intelligence from travellers
constantly passing through the place, which kept us acquainted with
the march of events.

If Ridgefield was thus rather above the average of Connecticut
villages in civilization, I suppose the circumstances and modes of
life in my father's family were somewhat above those of most people
around us. We had a farm of forty acres, with four cows, two horses,
and some dozen sheep, to which may be added a stock of poultry,
including a flock of geese. My father carried on the farm, besides
preaching two sermons a-week, and visiting the sick, attending
funerals, solemnizing marriages, &c. He laid out the beds and planted
the garden; pruned the fruit-trees, and worked with the men in the
meadow in hay-time. He generally cut the corn-stalks himself, and
always shelled the ears; the latter being done by drawing them
across the handle of the frying-pan, fastened over a wash-tub. I
was sometimes permitted, as an indulgence, to share this favorite
employment with my father. With these and a few other exceptions, our
agricultural operations were carried on by hired help.

It was the custom in New England, at the time I speak of, for
country lawyers, physicians, clergymen, even doctors of divinity, to
partake of these homespun labors. In the library of the Athenæum,
at Hartford, is a collection of almanacs, formerly belonging to
John Cotton Smith--one of the most elegant and accomplished men of
his time--a distinguished Member of Congress, Judge of the Superior
Court, and several years Governor of the State; in looking it over,
I observed such notes as the following, made with his own hand: "Cut
my barley," "began rye harvest," "planted field of potatoes," &c.:
thus showing his personal attention to, if not his participation in,
the affairs of the farm. Nearly all the judges of the Superior Court
occasionally worked in the field, in these hearty old federal times.

But I returned to Ridgefield. The household, as well as political,
economy of those days lay in this,--that every family lived as
much as possible within itself. Money was scarce, wages being
about fifty cents a-day, though these were generally paid in meat,
vegetables, and other articles of use--seldom in money. There was
not a factory of any kind in the place.[1] There was a butcher, but
he only went from house to house to slaughter the cattle and swine
of his neighbors. There was a tanner, but he only dressed other
people's skins. There was a clothier, but he generally fulled and
dressed other people's cloth. All this is typical of the mechanical
operations of the place. Even dyeing blue a portion of the wool, so
as to make linsey-woolsey for short gowns, aprons, and blue-mixed
stockings--vital necessities in those days--was a domestic operation.
During the autumn, a dye-tub in the chimney corner--thus placed so as
to be cherished by the genial heat--was as familiar in all thrifty
houses as the Bible or the back-log. It was covered with a board,
and formed a cosy seat in the wide-mouthed fireplace, especially
of a chill evening. When the night had waned, and the family had
retired, it frequently became the anxious seat of the lover, who was
permitted to carry on his courtship, the object of his addresses
sitting demurely in the opposite corner. Some of the first families
in Connecticut, I suspect, could their full annals be written, would
find their foundations to have been laid in these chimney-corner

Being thus exposed, the dye-tub was the frequent subject of
distressing and exciting accidents. Among the early, indelible
incidents in my memory, one of the most prominent is turning this
over. Nothing so roused the indignation of thrifty housewives,
for, besides the stain left upon the floor by the blue, a most
disagreeable odor was diffused by it.

To this general system of domestic economy our family was not an
exception. Every autumn, it was a matter of course that we had a fat
ox or a fat cow ready for slaughter. One full barrel was salted down;
the hams were cut out, slightly salted, and hung up in the chimney
for a few days, and thus became "dried" or "hung beef," then as
essential as bread. Pork was managed in a similar way, though even on
a larger scale, for two barrels were indispensable. A few pieces, as
the spare-ribs, &c., were distributed to the neighbors, who paid in
kind when they killed their swine.

Mutton and poultry came in their turn, all from our own stock, except
when on Thanksgiving-day some of the magnates gave the parson a
turkey. This, let me observe, in those good old times, was a bird
of mark; no timid, crouching biped, with downcast head and pallid
countenance, but stalking like a lord, and having wattles red as a
"banner bathed in slaughter." His beard was long, shining, and wiry.
There was, in fact, something of the native bird still in him, for
though the race was nearly extinct, a few wild flocks lingered in the
remote woods. Occasionally, in the depth of winter, and towards the
early spring, these stole to the barnyard, and held communion with
their civilized cousins. Severe battles ensued among the leaders for
the favors of the fair, and as the wild cocks always conquered, the
vigor of the race was kept up.

Our bread was made of rye, mixed with Indian meal. Wheat bread
was reserved for the sacrament and company; a proof not of its
superiority, but of its scarcity and consequent estimation. All the
vegetables came from our garden and farm. The fuel was supplied by
our own woods--sweet-scented hickory, snapping chestnut, odoriferous
oak, and reeking, fizzling ash--the hot juice of the latter, by the
way, being a sovereign antidote for the earache. These were laid in
huge piles, all alive with sap, on the tall, gaunt andirons. The
building of a fire, a real architectural achievement, was always
begun by daybreak. There was first a back-log, from fifteen to
four-and-twenty inches in diameter, and five feet long, imbedded in
the ashes; then came a top log, then a fore stick, then a middle
stick, and then a heap of kindlings, reaching from the bowels down to
the bottom. Above all was a pyramid of smaller fragments, artfully
adjusted, with spaces for the blaze. Friction matches had not then
been invented. So, if there were no coals left from the last night's
fire, and none to be borrowed from the neighbors, resort was had to
flint, steel, and tinder-box. Often, when the flint was dull, and
the steel soft, and the tinder damp, the striking of fire was a task
requiring both energy and patience. If the pile on the andirons was
skilfully constructed, the spark being applied, there was soon a
furious stinging smoke; but the forked flame soon began to lick the
sweating sticks above, and by the time the family had arisen, and
assembled in the "keeping-room," there was a roaring blaze, defying
the bitter blasts of winter, which found abundant admittance through
the crannies of the doors and windows. To feed the family fire in
those days, during the severe season, was fully one man's work.

But to go on with our household history. Sugar was partially supplied
by our maple-trees. These were tapped in March, the sap being
collected, and boiled down in the woods. This was wholly a domestic
operation, and one in which all the children rejoiced, each taking
his privilege of tasting, at every stage of the manufacture. The
chief supply of sugar, however, was from the West Indies.

[Illustration: MAKING MAPLE-SUGAR.]

Rum was largely consumed, but our distilleries had scarcely begun.
A half-pint of it was given as a matter of course to every day
laborer, more particularly in the summer season. In all families,
rich or poor, it was offered to male visitors as an essential point
of hospitality, or even good manners. Women--I beg pardon--ladies,
took their schnapps, then named "Hopkins' Elixir," which was the
most delicious and seductive means of getting tipsy that has been
invented. Crying babies were silenced with hot toddy. Every man
imbibed his morning dram, and this was esteemed temperance. There
is a story of a preacher, about those days, who thus lectured his
parish: "I say nothing, my beloved brethren, against taking a
little bitters before breakfast, and after breakfast; especially if
you are used to it. What I contend against is, this dramming,
dramming, dramming, at all hours of the day. There are some men
who take a glass at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, and at four in
the afternoon. I do not purpose to contend against old-established
customs, my brethren, rendered respectable by time and authority; but
this dramming, dramming, is a crying sin in the land."

As to brandy, I scarcely heard of it, so far as I can recollect,
till I was sixteen years old, and, as an apprentice in a country
store, was called upon to sell it. Cider was the universal table
beverage. Brandy and whisky soon after came into use. I remember, in
my boyhood, to have seen a strange zigzag tin tube, denominated a
"still," belonging to one of our neighbors, converting, drop by drop,
certain innocent liquids into "fire-water." But, in the days I speak
of, French brandy was confined to the houses of the rich, and to the

Wine, in our country towns, was then almost exclusively used for the

There was, of course, no baker in Ridgefield; each family not only
made its own bread, cakes, and pies, but its own soap, candles,
butter, cheese, and the like. The manufacture of linen and woollen
cloth was no less a domestic operation. Cotton--that is, raw
cotton--was then wholly unknown among us at the North, except as a
mere curiosity, produced somewhere in the tropics; but whether it
grew on a plant, or an animal, was not clearly settled in the public

We raised our own flax, rotted it, hackled it, dressed it, and spun
it. The little wheel, turned by the foot, had its place, and was as
familiar as if it had been a member of the family. How often have
I seen my mother, and my grandmother, too, sit down to it--though
this, as I remember, was for the purpose of spinning some finer kind
of thread--the burden of the spinning being done by a neighbor of
ours, Sally St. John. By the way, she was a good-hearted, cheerful
old maid, who petted me beyond my deserts. I grieve to say, that I
repaid her partiality by many mischievous pranks; for which I should
have been roundly punished, had not the good creature forgiven and
concealed my offences. I did, indeed, get fillipped for catching her
foot one day in a steel-trap; but I declare that I was innocent of
malice prepense, inasmuch as I had set the trap for a rat, instead
of the said Sally. Nevertheless, the verdict was against me; not
wholly on account of my misdemeanor in this particular instance, but
because, if I did not deserve punishment for that, I had deserved
it, and should deserve it for something else; and so it was safe to
administer it.

The wool was also spun in the family; partly by my sisters, and
partly by Molly Gregory, daughter of our neighbor, the town
carpenter. I remember her well as she sang and spun aloft in the
attic. In those days, church-singing was the only one of the fine
arts which flourished in Ridgefield, except the music of the drum and
fife. The choir was divided into four parts, ranged on three sides of
the meeting-house gallery. The tenor, led by Deacon Hawley, was in
front of the pulpit, the bass to the left, and the treble and counter
to the right; the whole being set in motion by a pitch-pipe, made by
the deacon himself, who was a cabinet-maker. Molly took upon herself
the entire counter, for she had excellent lungs. The fuguing tunes,
which had then run a little mad, were her delight. In her solitary
operations aloft I have often heard her send forth, from the attic
windows, the droning hum of her wheel, with fitful snatches of a
hymn, in which the bass began, the tenor followed, then the treble,
and, finally, the counter--winding up with irresistible pathos. Molly
singing to herself, and all unconscious of eavesdroppers, carried on
all the parts thus:--

    _Bass._     "Long for a cooling--
    _Tenor._    "Long for a cooling--
    _Treble._   "Long for a cooling--
    _Counter._  "Long for a cooling stream at hand,
                 And they must drink or die!"

The knitting of stockings was performed by the women of the family
in the evening, and especially at tea-parties. This was considered a
moral, as well as an economical, employment; for people held, with
Dr. Watts, that

    "Satan finds some mischief still
      For idle hands to do."

Satan, however, dodged the question: for if the hands were occupied
the tongue was loose; and it was said that, in some families, he
kept them well occupied with idle gossip. At all events, pianos,
chess-boards, graces, battledoors and shuttlecocks, with other
safety-valves of the kind, were only known by the hearing of the ear,
as belonging to some such Vanity Fair as New York or Boston.

The weaving of cloth--linen as well as woollen--was performed by an
itinerant workman, who came to the house, put up his loom, and threw
his shuttle, till the season's work was done. The linen was bleached
and made up by the family; the woollen cloth was sent to the fuller
to be dyed and dressed. Twice a-year, that is, in the spring and
autumn, the tailor came to the house and made a stock of clothes for
the male members; this was called "whipping the cat."

Mantuamakers and milliners came, in their turn, to fit out the
female members of the family. There was a similar process as to
boots and shoes. We sent the hides of the cattle--cows and calves we
had killed--to the tanner, and these came back in assorted leather.
Occasionally a little morocco, then wholly a foreign manufacture, was
bought at the store, and made up for the ladies' best shoes. Amby
Benedict, the travelling shoemaker, came with his bench, lapstone,
and awls, and converted some little room into a shop, till the
household was duly shod. He was a merry fellow, and threw in lots of
singing gratis. He played all the popular airs upon his lapstone--as
hurdygurdies and hand-organs do now.

Carpets were then only known in a few families, and were confined
to the keeping-room and parlor. They were all home-made: the warp
consisting of woollen yarn, and the woof of lists and old woollen
cloth, cut into strips, and sewed together at the ends. Coverlids
generally consisted of quilts, made of pieces of waste calico, sewed
together in octagons, and quilted in rectangles, giving the whole a
gay and rich appearance. This process of quilting generally brought
together the women of the neighborhood, married and single; and a
great time they had of it, what with tea, talk, and stitching. In
the evening the men were admitted; so that a quilting was a real
festival, not unfrequently leading to love-making and marriage among
the young people.

This reminds me of a sort of communism or socialism, which prevailed
in our rural districts long before Owen or Fourier was born. At
Ridgefield we used to have "stone bees," when all the men of a
village or hamlet came together with their draught cattle, and
united to clear some patch of earth of stones and rocks. All this
labor was gratuitously rendered, save only that the proprietor of the
land furnished the grog. Such a meeting was always, of course, a very
social and sociable affair.

When the work was done, gymnastic exercises--such as hopping,
wrestling, and foot-racing--took place among the athletic young men.
My father generally attended these celebrations as a looker-on. It
was, indeed, the custom for the clergy of the olden time to mingle
with the people, even in their labors and their pastimes. For
some reason or other, it seemed that things went better when the
parson gave them his countenance. I followed my father's example,
and attended these cheerful and beneficial gatherings. Most of the
boys of the town did the same. I may add that, if I may trust the
traditions of Ridgefield, the cellar of our new house was dug by a
"bee" in a single day, and that was Christmas.

House-raising and barn-raising, the framework being always of wood,
were done in the same way by a neighborly gathering of the people.
I remember an anecdote of a church-raising, which I may as well
relate here. In the eastern part of the State, I think at Lyme, or
Pautipaug, a meeting-house was destroyed by lightning. After a year
or two the society mustered its energies, and raised the frame of
another on the site of the old one. It stood about six months, and
was then blown over. In due time another frame was prepared, and the
neighborhood gathered together to raise it. It was now proposed by
Deacon Hart that they should commence the performances by a prayer
and hymn, it having been suggested that perhaps the want of these
pious preliminaries on former occasions had something to do with
the calamitous results which attended them. When all was ready,
therefore, a prayer was made, and the chorister of the place gave out
two lines of the hymn, thus:--

    "If God to build the house deny,
      The builders work in vain."

This being sung, the chorister completed the verse thus, adapting the
lines to the occasion:--

    "Unless the Lord doth shingle it,
      It will blow down agin!"

I must not fail to give you a portrait of one of our village homes,
of the middle class, at this era. I take as an example that of our
neighbor, J. B., who had been a tailor, but having thriven in his
affairs, and being now some fifty years old, had become a farmer.
It was situated on the road leading to Salem, there being a wide
space in front occupied by the wood-pile, which in these days was
not only a matter of great importance, but of formidable bulk. The
size of the wood-pile was, indeed, in some sort an index to the rank
and condition of the proprietor. The house itself was a low edifice,
forty feet long, and of two stories in front; the rear being what
was called a _breakback_--that is, sloping down to a height of ten
feet; this low part furnishing a shelter for garden tools and various
household instruments. The whole was constructed of wood, the outside
being of the dun complexion assumed by unpainted wood, exposed to
the weather for twenty or thirty years, save only that the roof was
tinged of a reddish brown by a fine moss that found sustenance in the
chestnut shingles.

To the left was the garden, which in the productive season was a
wilderness of onions, squashes, cucumbers, beets, parsnips, and
currants, with the never-failing tansy for bitters, horseradish for
seasoning, and fennel for keeping old women awake in church time.

The interior of the house presented a parlor with plain, whitewashed
walls, a home-made carpet upon the floor, calico curtains at the
window, and a mirror three feet by two against the side, with a
mahogany frame: to these must be added eight chairs and a cherry
table, of the manufacture of Deacon Hawley. The "keeping" or
sitting-room had also a carpet, a dozen rush-bottom chairs, a table,
&c. The kitchen was large--fully twenty feet square, with a fireplace
six feet wide and four feet deep. On one side it looked out upon the
garden, the squashes and cucumbers climbing up and forming festoons
over the door; on the other it commanded a view of the orchard,
embracing first a circle of peaches, pears, and plums; and beyond,
a wide-spread clover-field, embowered with apple-trees. Just by was
the well, with its tall sweep, the old oaken bucket dangling from
the pole. The kitchen was, in fact, the most comfortable room in the
house; cool in summer, and perfumed with the breath of the garden and
the orchard: in winter, with its roaring blaze of hickory, it was a
cosy resort, defying the bitterest blasts of the season. Here the
whole family assembled at meals, except when the presence of company
made it proper to serve tea in the parlor.

The bed-rooms were all without carpets, and the furniture was
generally of a simple character. The beds, however, were of ample
size, and well filled with geese feathers, these being deemed
essential for comfortable people. I must say, by the way, that every
decent family had its flock of geese, of course, which was picked
thrice a-year, despite the noisy remonstrances of both goose and
gander. The sheets of the bed, though of home-made linen, were
as white as the driven snow. Indeed, the beds of this era showed
that sleep was a luxury, well understood and duly cherished by all
classes. The cellar, extending under the whole house, was by no means
the least important part of the establishment. In the autumn, it
was supplied with three barrels of beef and as many of pork, twenty
barrels of cider, with numerous bins of potatoes, turnips, beets,
carrots, and cabbages. The garret, which was of huge dimensions, at
the same time displayed a labyrinth of dried pumpkins, peaches, and
apples, hung in festoons upon the rafters, amid bunches of summer
savory, boneset, fennel, and other herbs, the floor being occupied by
heaps of wool, flax, tow, and the like.

The barn corresponded to the house. It was a low brown structure,
having abundance of sheds built on to it, without the least regard
to symmetry. It was well stocked with hay, oats, rye, and buckwheat.
Six cows, one or two horses, three dozen sheep, and an ample supply
of poultry, including two or three broods of turkeys, constituted its
living tenants.

The farm I need not describe in detail, but the orchard must not
be overlooked. This consisted of three acres, covered, as I have
said, with apple-trees, yielding abundantly--as well for the
cider-mill as for the table, including the indispensable winter
apple-sauce--according to their kinds. I think an apple orchard
in the spring is one of the most beautiful objects in the world.
How often have I ventured into Uncle Josey's ample orchard at this
joyous season, and stood entranced among the robins, blackbirds,
woodpeckers, bluebirds, jays, and orioles,--all seeming to me like
playmates, racing, chasing, singing, rollicking, in the exuberance of
their joy, or perchance slily pursuing their courtships, or even more
slily building their nests and rearing their young.

The inmates of the house I need not describe, further than to
say that Uncle Josey himself was a little deaf, and of moderate
abilities; yet he lived to good account, for he reared a large
family, and was gathered to his fathers at a good old age, leaving
behind him a handsome estate, a fair name, and a good example.
His wife, who spent her early life at service in a kitchen, was a
handsome, lively, efficient woman, and a universal favorite in the

This is the homely picture of a Ridgefield farmer's home half a
century ago. There were other establishments more extensive and more
sumptuous in the town, as there were others also of an inferior
grade; but this was a fair sample of the houses, barns, and farms of
the middle class.


[1] I recollect, as an after-thought, one exception. There was a
hatter who supplied the town; but he generally made hats to order,
and usually in exchange for the skins of foxes, rabbits, muskrats,
and other chance peltry. I frequently purchased my powder and shot
from the proceeds of skins which I sold him.



You will now have some ideas of the household industry and
occupations of the country people in Connecticut, at the beginning
of the present century. Their manners, in other respects, had a
corresponding stamp of homeliness and simplicity.

In most families, the first exercise of the morning was reading the
Bible, followed by a prayer, at which all were assembled, including
the servants and helpers of the kitchen and the farm. Then came the
breakfast, which was a substantial meal, always including hot viands,
with vegetables, apple-sauce, pickles, mustard, horseradish, and
various other condiments. Cider was the common drink for laboring
people: even children drank it at will. Tea was common, but not
so general as now. Coffee was almost unknown. Dinner was a still
more hearty and varied repast--characterised by abundance of garden
vegetables; tea was a light supper.

The day began early: the breakfast hour was six in summer and seven
in winter; dinner was at noon--the work-people in the fields being
called to their meals by a conchshell winded by some kitchen Triton.
Tea was usually taken about sundown. In families where all were
laborers, all sat at table, servants as well as masters--the food
being served before sitting down. In families where the masters
and mistresses did not share the labors of the household or the
farm, the meals of the domestics were taken separately. There was,
however, in those days a perfectly good understanding and good
feeling between the masters and servants. The latter were not Irish:
they had not as yet imbibed the plebeian envy of those above them,
which has since so generally embittered and embarrassed American
domestic life. The terms "democrat" and "aristocrat" had not got
into use: these distinctions, and the feelings now implied by them,
had indeed no existence in the hearts of the people. Our servants,
during all my early life, were generally the daughters of respectable
farmers and mechanics in the neighborhood, and, respecting others,
were themselves respected and cherished. They were devoted to the
interests of the family, and were always relied upon and treated as
friends. In health they had the same food, in sickness the same care,
as the masters and mistresses or their children.

At the period of my earliest recollections, men of all classes
were dressed in long, broad-tailed coats, with huge pockets; long
waistcoats, breeches, and hats with low crowns and broad brims: some
so wide as to be supported at the sides with cords. The stockings of
the parson, and a few others, were of silk in summer and worsted in
winter; those of the people were generally of wool. Women dressed in
wide bonnets, sometimes of straw and sometimes of silk; and gowns of
silk, muslin, gingham, &c., generally close and short-waisted, the
breast and shoulders being covered by a full muslin kerchief. Girls
ornamented themselves with a large white vandike. On the whole, the
dress of both men and women has greatly changed; for at Ridgefield,
as at less remote places, the people follow, though at a distance,
the fashions of Paris.

The amusements were then much the same as at present, though some
striking differences may be noted. Books and newspapers were then
scarce, and were read respectfully, and as if they were grave
matters, demanding thought and attention. They were not toys and
pastimes, taken up every day, and by everybody, in the short
intervals of labor, and then hastily dismissed, like waste paper. The
aged sat down when they read, and drew forth their spectacles, and
put them deliberately and reverently upon the nose. Even the young
approached a book with reverence, and a newspaper with awe. How the
world has changed!

The two great festivals were Thanksgiving and "Training-day;" the
latter deriving, from the still lingering spirit of the revolutionary
war, a decidedly martial character. The marching of the troops, and
the discharge of gunpowder, which invariably closed the exercises,
were glorious and inspiring mementoes of heroic achievements upon
many a bloody field. The music of the drum and fife resounded on
every side. A match between two rival drummers always drew an
admiring crowd, and was in fact one of the chief excitements of the
great day.

Tavern-haunting, especially in winter, when there was little to do,
for manufactures had not then sprung up to give profitable occupation
during this inclement season, was common even with respectable
farmers. Marriages were celebrated in the evening, at the house of
the bride, with a general gathering of the neighborhood, and were
usually finished off by dancing. Everybody went, as to a public
exhibition, without invitation. Funerals generally drew large
processions, which proceeded to the grave. Here the minister always
made an address suited to the occasion. If there were anything
remarkable in the history of the deceased, it was turned to religious
account in the next Sunday's sermon. Singing-meetings, to practise
church music, were a great resource for the young in winter. Dances
at private houses were common, and drew no reproaches from the sober
people present. Balls at the taverns were frequented by the young;
the children of deacons and ministers attended, though the parents
did not. The winter brought sleighing, skating, and the usual round
of indoor sports. In general, the intercourse of all classes was
kindly and considerate, no one arrogating superiority, and yet no one
refusing to acknowledge it where it existed. You would hardly have
noticed that there was a higher and a lower class. Such there were,
certainly; for there must always and everywhere be the strong and
the weak, the wise and the foolish. But in our society these existed
without being felt as a privilege to one, which must give offence to

It may serve in some degree to throw light upon the manners
and customs of this period, if I give you a sketch of my two
grandmothers. Both were widows, and were well stricken in years
when they came to visit us at Ridgefield, about the year 1803-4. My
grandmother Ely was a lady of the old school, and sustaining the
character in her upright carriage, her long, tapering waist, and her
high-heeled shoes. The customs of Louis XV.'s time had prevailed in
New York and Boston, and even at this period they still lingered
there in isolated cases. It is curious enough, that at this time
the female attire of a century ago is revived; and every black-eyed,
stately old lady, dressed in black silk, and showing her steel-grey
hair beneath her cap, reminds me of my maternal grandmother.

My other grandmother was in all things the opposite; short, fat,
blue-eyed, and practical; a good example of a hearty country dame. I
scarcely knew which of the two I liked the best. The first sang me
plaintive songs, told me stories of the Revolution--her husband, Col.
Ely, having had a large and painful share in its vicissitudes--she
described Gen. Washington, whom she had seen; and the French
officers, Lafayette, Rochambeau, and others, who had been inmates of
her house. She told me tales of even more ancient date, and recited
poetry, generally ballads, which were suited to my taste. And all
this lore was commended to me by a voice of inimitable tenderness,
and a manner at once lofty and condescending. My other grandmother
was not less kind, but she promoted my happiness and prosperity in
another way. Instead of stories, she gave me bread and butter: in
place of poetry, she fed me with apple-sauce and pie. Never was there
a more hearty old lady: she had a firm conviction that children must
be fed, and what she believed she practised.

I can recollect with great vividness the interest I took in the
domestic events I have described. The operations of the farm had no
great attractions for me. Ploughing, hoeing, digging, seemed to me
mere drudgery, imparting no instruction, and affording no scope for
ingenuity or invention.

Mechanical operations, especially those of the weaver and carpenter,
on the contrary, stimulated my curiosity, and excited my emulation.
Thus I soon became familiar with the carpenter's tools, and made such
windmills, kites, and perpetual motions, as to win the admiration
of my playmates, and excite the respect of my parents; so that they
seriously meditated putting me apprentice to a carpenter. Up to the
age of fourteen, I think this was regarded as my manifest destiny. It
was a day of great endeavors among all inventive geniuses. Fulton was
struggling to develop steam navigation; and other discoverers were
seeking to unfold the wonders of art as well as of nature. It was,
in fact, the very threshold of the era of steam-boats, railroads,
electric telegraphs, and a thousand other useful discoveries, which
have since changed the face of the world. In this age of excitement,
perpetual motion was the great hobby of aspiring mechanics. I
pondered and whittled intensely on this subject before I was ten
years old. Despairing of reaching my object by mechanical means, I
attempted to arrive at it by magnetism, my father having bought me
a pair of horse-shoe magnets in one of his journeys to New Haven. I
should have succeeded, had it not been a principle in the nature of
this curious element, that no substance will intercept the stream of
attraction. I tried to change the poles, and turn the north against
the south; but there, too, nature had headed me, and of course I

A word, by the way, on the matter of whittling. This is generally
represented as a sort of idle, fidgety, frivolous use of the
penknife, and is set down, by foreigners and sketchers of American
manners, as a peculiar characteristic of our people. No portrait of
an American is deemed complete, unless with penknife and shingle in
hand. I feel not the slightest disposition to resent even this, among
the thousand caricatures that pass for traits of American life. For
my own part, I can testify that, during my youthful days, I found
the penknife a source of great amusement, and even of instruction.
Many a long winter evening, many a dull, drizzly day, in spring, and
summer, and autumn--sometimes at the kitchen fireside, sometimes
in the attic, sometimes in a cosy nook of the barn, sometimes in
the shelter of a neighboring stone wall, thatched over with wild
grape-vines--have I spent in great ecstasy, making candle-rods, or
some other simple article of household goods, for my mother; or
in perfecting toys for myself and my young friends; or perhaps in
attempts at more ambitious achievements. This was not mere waste
of time; mere idleness and dissipation. I was amused: that was
something. Some of the pleasantest remembrances of my childhood carry
me back to the scenes I have just indicated; when, in happy solitude,
absorbed in my mechanical devices, I listened to the rain pattering
upon the roof, or the wind roaring down the chimney: thus enjoying a
double bliss, a pleasing occupation, with a conscious delight in my
sense of security from the rage of the elements without.

Nay more; these occupations were instructive: my mind was stimulated
to inquire into the mechanical powers, and my hand was educated to
mechanical dexterity. If you ask me why it is that this important
institution of whittling is indigenous among us, I reply that, in
the first place, our country is full of a great variety of woods,
suited to carpentry, many of them easily wrought, and thus inviting
boyhood to try its hands upon them. In the next place, labor is dear;
and therefore even children are led to supply themselves with toys,
or perchance to furnish some of the simpler articles of use to the
household. This dearness of labor, moreover, furnishes a powerful
stimulant to the production of labor-saving machines; and hence it
is--through all these causes co-operating one with another--that
steam-navigation, the electric telegraph, the steam-reaper, &c.,
&c., are American inventions: hence it is that, whether it be at
the World's Fair at London or Paris, we gain a greater proportion
of prizes for useful inventions than any other people. That is what
comes of whittling!

I must add, that in these early days I was a Nimrod, a mighty hunter;
first with a bow and arrow, and afterwards with the old hereditary
firelock, which snapped six times and went off once. The smaller
kinds of game were abundant. The thickets teemed with quails;[2]
partridges drummed in every wood; the gray squirrel--the most
picturesque animal of our forests--enlivened every hickory copse with
his mocking laugh, his lively gambols, and his long, bushy tail. The
pigeons, in spring and autumn, migrated in countless flocks; and many
lingered in our woods for the season.

Everybody was then a hunter; not, of course, a sportsman: for the
chase was followed more for profit than for pastime. Game was, in
point of fact, a substantial portion of the supply of food at certain
seasons of the year. All were then good shots, and my father was no
exception: he was even beyond his generation in netting pigeons. This
was not deemed a reproach at that time in a clergyman; nor was he the
only parson that indulged in these occupations. One day, as I was
with him on West Mountain, baiting pigeons, we had seduced a flock
of three or four dozen down into the bed where they were feeding;
my father and myself lying concealed in our bush-hut, close by.
Suddenly, whang went a gun into the middle of the flock! Out we ran
in great indignation; for at least a dozen of the birds were bleeding
and fluttering before us. Scarcely had we reached the spot, when we
met Parson M----, of Lower Salem, who had thus unwittingly poached
upon us. The two clergymen had first a squabble, and then a good
laugh; after which they divided the plunder and then parted.

The stories told by Wilson and Audubon as to the amazing quantity
of pigeons in the West, were realized by us in Connecticut
half-a-century ago. I have seen, in the county of Fairfield, a
stream of these noble birds pouring at brief intervals through the
skies, from the rising to the setting sun. Of all the pigeon tribe,
this of our country--the passenger pigeon--is the swiftest and most
beautiful. At the same time, it is unquestionably superior to any
other for the table. All the other species of the eastern, as well as
the western continent, which I have tasted, are soft and flavorless
in comparison.

I can recollect no sports of my youth which equalled in excitement
our pigeon hunts, which generally took place in September and
October. We usually started on horseback before daylight, and made
a rapid progress to some stubble-field on West Mountain. The ride
in the keen, fresh air, especially as the dawn began to break, was
delightful. The gradual encroachment of day upon the night filled my
mind with sublime images: the waking up of a world from sleep, the
joyousness of birds and beasts in the return of morning, and my own
sympathy in this cheerful and grateful homage of the heart to God,
the Giver of good--all contributed to render these adventures most
impressive upon my young heart. My memory is still full of the sights
and sounds of those glorious mornings: the silvery whistle of the
wings of migrating flocks of plover, invisible in the gray mists of
dawn; the faint murmur of the distant mountain torrents; the sonorous
gong of the long-trailing flocks of wild geese, seeming to come from
the unseen depths of the skies--these were among the suggestive
sounds that stole through the dim twilight. As morning advanced,
the scene was inconceivably beautiful: the mountain sides, clothed
in autumnal green, and purple, and gold, rendered more glowing by
the sunrise--with the valleys covered with mists, and spreading
out like lakes of silver; while on every side the ear was saluted
by the mocking screams of the red-headed woodpecker, the cawing of
congresses of crows; and, finally, the rushing sound of the pigeons,
pouring like a tide over the tops of the trees.

By this time of course our nets were ready, and our flyers and
stool-birds on the alert. What moments of ecstasy were these, and
especially when the head of the flock--some red-breasted old father
or grandfather--caught the sight of our pigeons, and turning at the
call, drew the whole train down into our net-bed! I have often seen
a hundred, or two hundred of these splendid birds, come upon us,
with a noise absolutely deafening. Sometimes our bush-hut, where we
lay concealed, was covered all over with pigeons, and we dared not
move a finger, as their red, piercing eyes were upon us. When at
last, with a sudden pull of the rope, the net was sprung, and we went
out to secure our booty--often fifty, and sometimes even a hundred
birds--I felt a fulness of triumph which words are wholly inadequate
to express!

Up to the age of eight years I was never trusted with a gun. Whenever
I went forth as a sportsman on my own account, it was only with a
bow and arrow. My performances as a hunter were very moderate. In
truth, I had a rickety old gun, that had belonged to my grandfather,
and though it perhaps had done good service in the Revolution, or
further back in the times of bears and wolves, it was now very
decrepit, and all around the lock seemed to have the shaking palsy.
Occasionally I met with adventures, half serious and half ludicrous.
Once, in running my hand into a hole in a hollow tree, some twenty
feet from the ground, being in search of a woodpecker, I hauled out
a blacksnake. At another time, in a similar way, I had my fingers
pretty sharply nipped by a screech-owl. My memory supplies me with
numerous instances of this kind.

As to fishing, I never had a passion for it: I was too impatient. I
had no enthusiasm for nibbles, and there were too many of these in
proportion to the bites. I perhaps resembled a man by the name of
Bennett, who joined the Shakers of New Canaan about these days, but
soon left them, declaring that the Spirit was too long in coming--"he
could not wait." Nevertheless, I dreamed away some pleasant hours in
angling in the brooks and ponds of my native town. I well remember,
that on my eighth birthday I went four miles to Burt's mills,
carrying on the old mare two bushels of rye. While my grist was being
ground I angled in the pond, and carried home enough for a generous

Now all these things may seem trifles, yet in a review of my life
I deem them of some significance. This homely familiarity with the
more mechanical arts was a material part of my education: this
communion with nature gave me instructive and important lessons from
nature's open book of knowledge. My technical education, as will
be seen hereafter, was extremely narrow and irregular. This defect
was at least partially supplied by the commonplace incidents I have
mentioned. The teachings, or rather the training of the senses,
in the country--ear and eye, foot and hand, by running, leaping,
climbing over hill and mountain, by occasional labor in the garden
and on the farm, and by the use of tools, and all this in youth--is
sowing seed which is repaid largely and readily to the hand of
after-cultivation, however unskilful it may be. This is not so much
because of the amount of knowledge available in after-life, which
is thus obtained--though this is not to be despised--as it is that
healthful, vigorous, manly habits and associations, physical, moral,
and intellectual, are thus established and developed.


[2] The American quail is a species of partridge, in size between the
European quail and partridge. The _partridge_ of New England is the
_pheasant_ of the South, and the _ruffed grouse_ of the naturalists.



The incidents I have just related occurred about the year 1800--some
a little earlier and some a little later. Among the events of
general interest that happened near this time I remember the death
of Washington, which took place in 1799, and was commemorated all
through the country by the tolling of bells, funeral ceremonies,
orations, sermons, hymns, and dirges, attended by a mournful sense
of his loss, which seemed to cast a pall over the entire heavens.
In Ridgefield the meeting-house was dressed in black, and we had
a discourse pronounced by a Mr. Edmonds, of Newtown. The subject,
indeed, engrossed all minds. Lieutenant Smith came every day to our
house to talk over the event, and to bring us the proceedings in
different parts of the country. Among other papers he brought us a
copy of the _Connecticut Courant_, which gave us the particulars
of the rites and ceremonies which took place in Hartford in
commemoration of the great man's decease. The celebrated hymn,
written for the occasion by Theodore Dwight, sank into my mother's
heart--for she had a constitutional love of things mournful and
poetical--and she often repeated it, so that it became a part of the
cherished lore of my childhood.

I give you these scenes and feelings in some detail, to impress you
with the depth and sincerity of this mourning of the American nation,
in cities and towns, in villages and hamlets, for the death of

I have already said that Ridgefield was on the great thoroughfare
between Boston and New York, for the day of steamers and railroads
had not dawned. Even the mania for turnpikes, which ere long
overspread New England, had not yet arrived. The stage-coaches took
four days to make the trip of two hundred miles between the two
great cities. In winter, during the furious snow-storms, the journey
was often protracted to seven, eight, or ten days. With such public
conveyances, great people--for even then the world was divided into
the great and little, as it is now--travelled in their own carriages.

About this time--it must have been in the summer of 1804--I remember
Jerome Bonaparte coming up to Keeler's tavern with a coach and four,
attended by his young wife, Miss Patterson of Baltimore. It was a
gay establishment, and the honeymoon sat happily on the tall, sallow
stripling and his young bride. You must remember that Napoleon was
then filling the world with his fame: at this moment his feet were on
the threshold of the empire. The arrival of his brother in the United
States of course made a sensation. His marriage, his movements, all
were gossipped over from Maine to Georgia, the extreme points of the
Union. His entrance into Ridgefield produced a flutter of excitement
even there. A crowd gathered around Keeler's tavern to catch a sight
of the strangers, and I was among the rest. I had a good look at
Jerome, who was the chief object of interest, and the image never
faded from my recollection.

Half a century later, I was one evening at the Tuileries, amid the
flush and the fair of Louis Napoleon's new court. Among them I saw
an old man, taller than the mass around--his nose and chin almost
meeting in contact, while his toothless gums were "munching the airy
meal of dotage and decrepitude." I was irresistibly chained to this
object, as if a spectre had risen up through the floor and stood
among the garish throng. My memory travelled back--back among the
winding labyrinths of years. Suddenly I found the clue: the stranger
was Jerome Bonaparte!

Ah, what a history lay between the past and present--a lapse of
nearly fifty years. What a difference between him then and now! Then
he was a gay and gallant bridegroom; now, though he had the title
of king, he was throneless and sceptreless--an Invalid Governor of
Invalids--the puppet and pageant of an adventurer, whose power lay in
the mere magic of a name.

About this time, as I well remember, Oliver Wolcott passed through
our village. He arrived at the tavern late on Saturday evening, but
he called at our house in the morning, his family being connected
with ours. He was a great man then; for not only are the Wolcotts
traditionally and historically a distinguished race in Connecticut,
but he had recently been a member of Washington's cabinet. I mention
him now only for the purpose of noting his deference to public
opinion, characteristic of the eminent men of that day. In the
morning he went to church, but immediately after the sermon he had
his horses brought up, and proceeded on his way. He, however, had
requested my father to state to his people, at the opening of the
afternoon service, that he was travelling on public business, and
though he regretted it, he was obliged to continue his journey on the
Sabbath. This my father did, but Deacon Olmstead, the Jeremiah of the
parish, shook his white locks, and lifted up his voice against such
a desecration of the Lord's day. Some years after, as I remember,
Lieutenant-Governor Treadwell arrived at Keeler's tavern on Saturday
evening, and prepared to prosecute his journey the next morning, his
daughter, who was with him, being ill. This same Deacon Olmstead
called upon him, and said, "Sir, if you thus set the example of
violation of the Sabbath, you must expect to get one vote less at the
next election!" The Governor was so much struck by the appearance of
the deacon, who was the very image of a patriarch or a prophet, that
he deferred his departure till Monday.

Although great people rode in their own carriages, the principal
method of travelling was on horseback. Many of the members of
Congress came to Washington in this way. I have a dim recollection of
seeing one day, when I was trudging along to school, a tall, pale,
gaunt man, approaching on horseback, with his plump saddlebags behind
him. I looked at him keenly, and made my obeisance, as in duty bound.
He lifted his hat, and bowed in return. By a quick instinct, I sat
him down as a man of mark. In the evening, Lieutenant Smith came to
our house and told us that Timothy Pickering had passed through the
town! He had seen him, and talked with him, and was vastly distended
with the portentous news thereby acquired, including the rise and
fall of empires for ages to come, and all of which he duly unfolded
to our family circle.

Before I proceed, let me note, in passing, a point of manners then
universal, but which has now nearly faded away. When travellers met
on the highway, they saluted each other with a certain dignified and
formal courtesy. All children were regularly taught at school to
"make their manners" to strangers; the boys to bow, and the girls to
courtesy. It was something different from the frank, familiar, "How
are you, stranger?" of the Far West; something different from the
"_Bon jour, serviteur_," of the Alps. Our salute was more measured
and formal; respect to age and authority being evidently an element
of this homage, which was sedulously taught to the young.

For children to salute travellers was, in my early days, as well
a duty as a decency. A child who did not "make his manners" to a
stranger on the high-road was deemed a low fellow; a stranger who
refused to acknowledge this civility was esteemed a _sans culotte_,
perhaps a favorer of Jacobinism.

But I must return to locomotion. In Ridgefield, in the year 1800,
there was but a single chaise, and that belonged to Colonel Bradley,
one of the principal citizens of the place. It was without a top,
and had a pair of wide-spreading, asinine ears. That multitudinous
generation of travelling vehicles, so universal and so convenient
now--such as top-wagons, four-wheeled chaises, tilburies, dearborns,
&c., was totally unknown. Even if these things had been invented,
the roads would scarcely have permitted the use of them. Physicians
who had occasion to go from town to town went on horseback; all
clergymen, except perhaps Bishop Seabury, who rode in a coach,
travelled in the same way. My father's people, who lived at a
distance, came to church on horseback; their wives and daughters
being seated on pillions behind them. In a few cases--as in
spring-time, when the mud was bottomless--the farm wagon was used for
transporting the family.

In winter it was otherwise, for we had three or four months of
sleighing. Then the whole country was a railroad, and gay times we
had. Oh! those beautiful winters, which would drive me shivering to
the fireside now: what vivid delight have I had in their slidings and
skatings, their sleddings and sleighings! One thing strikes me now
with wonder, and that is, the general indifference in those days to
the intensity of winter. No doubt, as I have said before, the climate
was then more severe; but, be that as it may, people seemed to suffer
less from it than at the present day. Nobody thought of staying at
home from church because of the extremity of the weather. We had no
thermometers, it is true, to frighten us with the revelation that it
was twenty-five degrees below zero. The habits of the people were
simple and hardy, and there were few defences against the assaults of
the seasons. The houses were not tight; we had no stoves, no Lehigh
or Lackawanna coal; yet we lived, and comfortably, too: nay, we even
changed burly winter into a season of enjoyment.

I have said that, in the year 1800, there was but a single chaise in
Ridgefield; and this was brought, I believe, from New Haven. There
was not, I imagine, a coach, or any kind of pleasure-vehicle--that
crazy old chaise excepted--in the county of Fairfield, out of the
two half-shire towns. Such things, indeed, were known at New York,
Boston, and Philadelphia; for already the government had laid a tax
upon pleasure conveyances: but they were comparatively few in number,
and were mostly imported. In 1798 there was but one public hack in
New Haven, and but one coach; the latter, belonging to Pierpoint
Edwards, was a large, four-wheeled vehicle, for two persons, called a
chariot. In the smaller towns there were no pleasure vehicles in use
throughout New England.

About that time there came to our village a man by the name of Jesse
Skellinger, an Englishman, and chaisemaker by trade. My father
engaged him to build him a chaise. A bench was set up in our barn,
and certain trees of oak and ash were cut in our neighboring woods.
These were sawed and seasoned, and shaped into wheels and shafts.
Thomas Hawley, half blacksmith, and half wheelwright, was duly
initiated, and he cunningly wrought the iron necessary for the work.
In five months the chaise was finished, with a standing top; greatly
to the admiration of our family. What a gaze was there, as this
vehicle went through Ridgefield street upon its first expedition!

This was the beginning of the chaise-manufactory in Ridgefield, which
has since been a source of large revenue to the town. Skellinger
was engaged by Elijah Hawley, who had formerly done something as a
wagon-builder; and thus in due time an establishment was founded,
which for many years was noted for the beauty and excellence of its
pleasure vehicles.



Ridgefield, as well as most other places, had its Up-town and
Down-town; terms which have not unfrequently been the occasion of
serious divisions in the affairs of Church and State. In London this
distinction takes the name of West End and the City. The French
philosophers say that every great capital has similar divisions; West
End being always the residence of the aristocracy, and East End of
the _canaille_.

Ridgefield, being a village, had a right to follow its own whim; and
therefore West Lane, instead of being the aristocratic end of the
place, was really rather the low end. It constituted, in fact, what
was called _Down-town_, in distinction from the more eastern and
northern section, called _Up-town_. In this latter portion, and about
the middle of the main street, was the Up-town school, the leading
seminary of the village; for at this period it had not arrived at the
honors of an academy. At the age of ten years I was sent here, the
institution being then, and for many years after, under the charge
of Master Stebbins. He was a man with a conciliating stoop in the
shoulders, a long body, short legs, and a swaying walk. He was at
this period some fifty years old, his hair being thin and silvery,
and always falling in well-combed rolls over his coat-collar. His
eyes were blue, and his dress invariably of the same color. Breeches
and knee-buckles, blue-mixed stockings, and shoes with bright
buckles, seemed as much a part of the man as his head and shoulders.
On the whole, his appearance was that of the middle-class gentleman
of the olden time; and he was, in fact, what he seemed.

This seminary of learning for the rising aristocracy of Ridgefield
was a wooden edifice, thirty by twenty feet, covered with brown
clapboards, and, except an entry, consisted of a single room. Around,
and against the walls, ran a continuous line of seats, fronted by
a continuous writing-desk. Beneath were depositories for books and
writing materials. The centre was occupied by slab seats, similar
to those of West Lane. The larger scholars were ranged on the outer
sides, at the desks; the smaller fry of abecedarians were seated in
the centre. The master was enshrined on the east side of the room,
and, regular as the sun, he was in his seat at nine o'clock, and the
performances of the school began.

According to the Catechism, which we learned and recited on Saturday,
the chief end of man was to glorify God and keep His commandments;
according to the routine of this school, one would have thought it to
be reading, writing, and arithmetic, to which we may add spelling.
From morning to night, in all weathers, through every season of the
year, these exercises were carried on with the energy, patience, and
perseverance of a manufactory.

Master Stebbins respected his calling: his heart was in his work;
and so, what he pretended to teach, he taught well. When I entered
the school, I found that a huge stride had been achieved in the march
of mind since I left West Lane. Webster's Spelling-book had taken
the place of Dilworth, which was a great improvement. The drill
in spelling was very thorough, and applied every day to the whole
school. I imagine that the exercises might have been amusing to a
stranger, especially as one scholar would sometimes go off in a voice
as grum as that of a bull-frog, while another would follow in tones
as fine and piping as those of a peet-weet. The blunders, too, were
often very ludicrous; even we children would sometimes have tittered,
had not such an enormity been certain to have brought out the birch.
As to rewards and punishments, the system was this: whoever missed,
went down; so that perfection mounted to the top. Here was the
beginning of the up and down of life.

Reading was performed in classes, which generally plodded on without
a hint from the master. Nevertheless, when Zeek Sanford--who was
said to have "a streak of lightning in him"--in his haste to be
smart, read the 37th verse of the 2nd chapter of the Acts,--"Now when
they heard this, they were _pickled_ in their heart,"--the birch
stick on Master Stebbins's table seemed to quiver and peel at the
little end, as if to give warning of the wrath to come. When Orry
Keeler--Orry was a girl, you know, and not a boy--drawled out in
spelling, "k--o--n, _kon_, s--h--u--n--t--s, _shunts_, konshunts,"
the bristles in the master's eyebrows fidgeted like Aunt Delight's
knitting-needles. Occasionally, when the reading was insupportably
bad, he took a book, and himself read as an example.

Master Stebbins was a great man with a slate and pencil, and I have
an idea that we were a generation after his own heart. We certainly
achieved wonders in arithmetic, according to our own conceptions,
some of us going even beyond the Rule of Three, and making forays
into the mysterious regions of Vulgar Fractions.

But, after all, penmanship was Master Stebbins's great
accomplishment. He had no pompous lessons upon single lines and
bifid lines, and the like. The revelations of inspired copy-book
makers had not then been vouchsafed to man. He could not cut an
American eagle with a single flourish of a goose-quill. He was guided
by good taste and native instinct, and wrote a smooth round hand,
like copper-plate. His lessons from A to &, all written by himself,
consisted of pithy proverbs and useful moral lessons. On every page
of our writing-books he wrote the first line himself. The effect was
what might have been expected--with such models, patiently enforced,
nearly all became good writers.

Beyond these simple elements, the Up-town school made few
pretensions. When I was there, two Webster's Grammars and one or two
Dwight's Geographies were in use. The latter was without maps or
illustrations, and was, in fact, little more than an expanded table
of contents, taken from Morse's Universal Geography--the mammoth
monument of American learning and genius of that age and generation.
The grammar was a clever book, but I have an idea that neither Master
Stebbins nor his pupils ever fathomed its depths. They floundered
about in it, as if in a quagmire, and after some time came out pretty
nearly where they went in, though perhaps a little confused by the
din and dusky atmosphere of these labyrinths.

Let me here repeat an anecdote, which I have indeed told before, but
which I had from the lips of its hero, a clergyman, of some note
thirty years ago, and which well illustrates this part of my story.
At a village school, not many miles from Ridgefield, he was put into
Webster's Grammar. Here he read, "_A noun is the name of a thing--as
horse, hair, justice_." Now, in his innocence, he read it thus: "_A
noun is the name of a thing--as horse-hair justice_."

"What, then," said he, ruminating deeply, "is a noun? But first I
must find out what a horse-hair justice is."

Upon this he meditated for some days, but still he was as far as ever
from the solution. Now, his father was a man of authority in those
parts, and, moreover, he was a justice of the peace. Withal, he was
of respectable ancestry, and so there had descended to him a stately
high-backed settee, covered with horse-hair. One day, as the youth
came from school, pondering upon the great grammatical problem, he
entered the front door of the house, and there he saw before him
his father, officiating in his legal capacity, and seated upon the
old horse-hair settee. "I have found it!" said the boy to himself,
greatly delighted--"my father is a horse-hair justice, and therefore
a noun!"

Nevertheless, it must be admitted that the world got on remarkably
well in spite of this narrowness of the country schools. The elements
of an English education were pretty well taught throughout the
village seminaries of Connecticut, and, I may add, of New England.
The teachers were heartily devoted to their profession: they
respected their calling, and were respected and encouraged by the
community. They had this merit, that while they attempted little,
that, at least, was thoroughly performed.

I went steadily to the Up-town school for three winters; being
occupied during the summers upon the farm, and in various minor
duties. I was a great deal on horseback, often carrying messages to
the neighboring towns of Reading, Wilton, Weston, and Lower Salem,
for then the post routes were few, and the mails, which were weekly,
crept like snails over hill and valley. I became a bold rider at an
early age: before I was eight years old I frequently ventured to put
a horse to his speed, and that, too, without a saddle. A person who
has never tried it, can hardly conceive the wild delight of riding
a swift horse, when he lays down his ears, tosses his tail in air,
and stretches himself out in a full race. The intense energy of
the beast's movements, the rush of the air, the swimming backward
of lands, houses, and trees, with the clattering thunder of the
hoofs--all convey to the rider a fierce ecstasy, which, perhaps,
nothing else can give. About this period, however, I received a
lesson, which lasted me a lifetime.

You must know that Deacon Benedict, one of our neighbors, had a
fellow living with him named Abijah. He was an adventurous youth,
and more than once led me into tribulation. I remember that on one
occasion I went with him to shoot a dog that was said to worry the
deacon's sheep. It was night, and dark as Egypt, but Bige said he
could see the creature close to the cow-house, behind the barn. He
banged away, and then jumped over the fence, to pick up the game.
After a time he came back, but said not a word. Next morning it was
found that he had shot the brindled cow; mistaking a white spot in
her forehead for the dog, he had taken a deadly aim, and put the
whole charge into her pate. Fortunately her skull was thick and the
shot small, so the honest creature was only a little cracked. Bige,
however, was terribly scolded by the deacon, who was a justice of the
peace, and had a deep sense of the importance of his duties. I came
in for a share of blame, though I was only a looker-on. Bige said the
deacon called me a "parsnip scrimmage," but more probably it was a
_particeps criminis_.

But to proceed. One day I was taking home from the pasture a
horse that belonged to some clergyman--I believe Dr. Ripley, of
Greensfarms. Just as I came upon the level ground in front of Jerry
Mead's old house, Bige came up behind me on the deacon's mare--an
ambling brute with a bushy tail and shaggy mane. As he approached
he gave a chirrup, and my horse, half in fright and half in fun,
bounded away, like Tam O'Shanter's mare. Away we went, I holding on
as well as I could, for the animal was round as a barrel. He was no
doubt used to a frolic of this sort, although he belonged to a doctor
of divinity, and looked as if he believed in total depravity. When
he finally broke into a gallop he flew like the wind, at the same
time bounding up and down with a tearing energy, quite frightful to
think of. After a short race he went from under me, and I came with a
terrible shock to the ground.

The breath was knocked out of me for some seconds, and as I recovered
it with a gasping effort, my sensations were indescribably agonizing.
Greatly humbled and sorely bruised, I managed to get home, where
the story of my adventure had preceded me. I was severely lectured
by my parents, which, however, I might have forgotten, had not
the concussion made an indelible impression on my memory, thus
perpetuating the wholesome counsel.

When I was about twelve years old, a man by the name of Sackett
was employed to keep a high-school, or, as it was then called, an
academy. Here I went irregularly for a few weeks, and at a public
exhibition I remember to have spoken a piece, upon a stage fitted up
in the meeting-house, entitled "Charles Chatterbox." This was the
substance of my achievements at Sackett's seminary.

The narrowness of my father's income, and the needs of a large
family, induced him to take half-a-dozen pupils to be fitted for
college. This he continued for a series of years. It might seem
natural that I should have shared in these advantages; but, in the
first place, my only and elder brother, Charles A. Goodrich--now
widely known by his numerous useful publications--had been destined
for the clerical profession, partly by his own predilection, partly
by encouragement from a relative, and partly, too, from an idea that
his somewhat delicate constitution forbade a more hardy career. To
this may doubtless be added the natural desire of his parents that
at least one of their sons should follow the honored calling to
which father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had been devoted.
Hence he was put in training for college. The expenses to be thus
incurred were formidable enough to my parents, without adding to
them by attempting anything of the kind for me. And, besides, I
had manifested no love of study, and evidently preferred action to
books. Moreover, it must be remembered, that I was regarded as a born
carpenter, and it would have seemed tempting Providence to have set
me upon any other career. So, with perfect content on my part, from
the age of twelve to fourteen, I was chiefly employed in active
services about the house and farm. I could read, write, and cipher;
this was sufficient for my ambition, and satisfactory to my parents,
in view of the life to which I was apparently destined.

Nevertheless, though my school exercises were such as I have
described, I doubtless gathered some little odds and ends of learning
about those days, beyond the range of my horn-books. I heard a good
deal of conversation from the clergymen who visited us, and, above
all, I listened to the long discourses of Lieutenant Smith upon
matters and things in general. My father, too, had a brother in
Congress, from whom he received letters, documents, and messages, all
of which became subjects of discussion. I remember, further, that out
of some childish imitation, I thumbed over Corderius and Erasmus--the
first Latin books, then constantly in the hands of my father's
pupils. I was so accustomed to hear them recite their lessons in
Virgil, that

    _Tityre, tu patulæ recubans sub tegmine fagi_--


    _Arma_, arms--_virumque_, and the man--_cano_, I sing,

were as familiar to my ears as _hillery, tillery, zachery zan_, and
probably conveyed to my mind about as much meaning. Even the first
lesson in Greek--

    , in--, the beginning--<ên>, was--, the Word--

was also among the cabalistic jingles in my memory. All this may seem
nothing as a matter of education; still, some years after, while
I was an apprentice in Hartford, feeling painfully impressed with
the scantiness of my knowledge, I borrowed some Latin school-books,
under the idea of attempting to master that language. To my
delight and surprise, I found that they seemed familiar to me. Thus
encouraged, I began, and bending steadily over my task at evening,
when my day's duties were over, I made my way nearly through the
Latin Grammar and the first two books of Virgil's _Æneid_. In my
poverty of knowledge, even these acquisitions became useful to me.

From the age of twelve to fifteen, though generally occupied
in the various tasks assigned me, I still found a good deal of
time to ramble over the country. Whole days I spent in the long,
lonesome lanes that wound between Ridgefield and Salem, in the
half-cultivated, half-wooded hills that lay at the foot of West
Mountain, and in the deep recesses of the wild and rugged regions
beyond. I frequently climbed to the tops of the cliffs and ridges
that rose one above another; and having gained the crown of the
mountain, cast long and wistful glances over the blue vale that
stretched out for many miles to the westward. I had always my gun in
hand, and though not insensible to any sport that might fall in my
way, I was more absorbed in the fancies that came thronging to my
imagination. Thus I became familiar with the whole country around,
and especially with the shaded glens and gorges of West Mountain. I
must add that these had, besides their native, savage charms, a sort
of fascination from being the residence of a strange woman, who had
devoted herself to solitude, and was known under the name of "the
Hermitess." This personage I had occasionally seen in our village;
and I frequently met her as she glided through the forests, while I
was pursuing my mountain rambles. I sometimes felt a strange thrill
as she passed; but this only seemed to render the recesses where she
dwelt still more inviting.

I have no doubt that I inherited from my mother a love of the night
side of nature; not a love that begets melancholy, but an appetite
that found pleasure in the shadows, as well as the lights, of life
and imagination. Eminently practical as she was--laborious, skilful,
and successful in the duties which Providence had assigned her, as
the head of a large family, with narrow means--she was still of a
poetic temperament. Her lively fancy was vividly set forth by a pair
of the finest eyes I have ever seen; dark and serious, yet tender and
sentimental. These bespoke, not only the vigor of her conceptions,
but the melancholy tinge that shaded her imagination. Sometimes,
indeed, the well of sadness in her heart became full, and it ran
over in tears. These, however, were like spring showers; brief in
duration, and afterwards brightening to all around. She was not the
only woman who has felt better after a good cry. It was, in fact,
a poetic, not a real sorrow, that thus excited her emotions; for
her prevailing humor abounded in wit and vivacity, not unfrequently
taking the hue of playful satire. Nevertheless, her taste craved
the pathetic, the mournful; not as a bitter medicine, but a spicy
condiment. Her favorite poets were King David and Dr. Watts: she
preferred the dirge-like melody of Windham to all other music. All
the songs she sang were minors.

You will gather, from what I have said, that my father not only
prayed in his family night and morning, but before breakfast, and
immediately after the household was assembled he always read a
chapter in the sacred volume. It is recorded in our family Bible,
that he read it through, in course, thirteen times in the space of
about five-and-twenty years. He was an excellent reader, having
a remarkably clear, frank, hearty voice; so that I was deeply
interested, and thus early became familiar with almost every portion
of the Old and New Testament.

The practice of family worship, as I before stated, was at this time
very general in New England. In Ridgefield, it was not altogether
confined to the strictly religious; to clergymen, deacons, and church
members. It was a custom which decency hardly allowed to be omitted.
No family was thought to go on well without it. There is a good story
which well describes this trait of manners.

Somewhere in Vermont, in this golden age, there was a widow by the
name of Bennett. In consequence of the death of her husband, the
charge of a large farm and an ample household devolved upon her. Her
husband had been a pious man, and all things had prospered with him.
His widow, alike from religious feeling and affectionate regard for
his memory, desired that everything should be conducted as much as
possible as it had been during his lifetime. Especially did she wish
the day to begin and close with family worship.

Now, she had a foreman on the farm by the name of Ward. He was a good
man for work, but he was not a religious man. In vain did the widow,
in admitting his merits at the plough, the scythe, and the flail,
still urge him to crown her wishes, by leading in family prayer. For
a long time the heart of the man was hard, and his ear deaf to her
entreaties. At last, however, wearied with her importunities, he
seemed to change, and, to her great joy, consented to make a trial.

On a bright morning in June--at early sunrise--the family were all
assembled in the parlor, men and maidens, for their devotions. When
all was ready, Ward, in a low, troubled voice, began. He had never
prayed, or at least not in public, but he had heard many prayers,
and possessed a retentive memory. After getting over the first
hesitancy, he soon became fluent, and taking passages here and there
from the various petitions he had heard--Presbyterian, Methodist,
Universalist, and Episcopalian--he went on with great eloquence,
gradually elevating his tone and accelerating his delivery. Ere long
his voice grew portentous, and some of the men and maids, thinking he
was suddenly taken either mad or inspired, stole out on their toes
into the kitchen, where, with gaping mouths, they awaited the result.
The Widow Bennett bore it all for about half an hour; but at last,
as the precious time was passing away, she lost patience, and sprang
to her feet. Placing herself directly in front of the speaker, she
exclaimed, "Ward, what do you mean?"

As if suddenly relieved from a nightmare, he exclaimed, "Oh dear,
ma'am, I'm much obliged to you; for somehow I couldn't wind the thing

I must not pass over another incident having reference to the topic
in question. Under the biblical influence of those days my father's
scholars built a temple of the Philistines, and when it was completed
within and without, all the children round about assembled, as did
the Gazaites of old. The edifice was chiefly of boards, slenderly
constructed, and reached the height of twelve feet; nevertheless,
all of us got upon it, according to the 16th chapter of Judges. The
oldest of the scholars played Samson. When all was ready, he took
hold of the pillars of the temple, one with his right hand and one
with his left. "Let me die with the Philistines!" said he, and
bowing himself, down we came in a heap! Strange to say, nobody but
Samson was hurt, and he only in some skin bruises. If you could see
him now--dignified even to solemnity, and seldom condescending to
any but the gravest matters--you would scarcely believe the story,
even though I write it and verify it. Nevertheless, if he must have
played, he should have taken the part of Samson, for he is one of the
most gifted men I have ever known.



Before I complete my narrative so far as it relates to Ridgefield,
I should state that in the olden time a country minister's home was
a ministers' tavern, and therefore I saw at our house, at different
periods, most of the orthodox or Congregational clergymen belonging
to that part of the State. My father frequently exchanged with
those of the neighboring towns, and sometimes consociations and
associations were held at Ridgefield. Thus, men of the clerical
profession constituted a large portion of the strangers who visited
us. I may add that my lineage was highly ministerial, from an early
period down to my own time. The pulpit of Durham, filled by my
paternal grandfather, continued in the same family one hundred and
twenty-six consecutive years. A short time since we reckoned among
our relations, not going beyond the degree of second cousin, more
than a dozen ministers of the Gospel, and all of the same creed.

As to the clergy of Fairfield county, my boyish impressions of them
were, that they were of the salt of the earth; nor has a larger
experience altered my opinion. If I sometimes indulge a smile at
the recollection of particular traits of character, or more general
points of manner significant of the age, I still regard them with
affection and reverence.

I need not tell you that they were counsellors in religious matters,
in the dark and anxious periods of the spirit, in times of sickness,
at the approach of death. They sanctified the wedding, not refusing
afterward to countenance the festivity which naturally ensued. They
administered baptism, but only upon adults who made a profession,
or upon the children of professors. I may add that, despite their
divinity, they were sociable in their manners and intercourse. The
state of the Church was no doubt first in their minds, but ample room
was left for the good things of life. Those who came to our house
examined my brother in his Greek and Latin, and I went out behind the
barn to gather tansy for their morning bitters. They dearly loved
a joke, and relished anecdotes, especially if they bore a little
hard upon the cloth. The following will suffice as a specimen of the
stories they delighted in.

Once upon a time there was a clergyman--the Rev. Dr. T----, a man
of high character, and distinguished for his dignity of manner.
But it was remarked that frequently as he was ascending the pulpit
stairs he would smile, and sometimes almost titter, as if beset by
an uncontrollable desire to laugh. This excited remark, and at last
scandal. Finally, it was thought necessary for some of his clerical
friends, at a meeting of the Association, to bring up the matter for

The case was stated, the Rev. Dr. T---- being present. "Well,
gentlemen," said he, "the fact charged against me is true, but I beg
you to permit me to offer an explanation. A few months after I was
licensed to preach I was in a country town, and on a Sabbath morning
was about to enter upon the services of the church. At the back of
the pulpit was a window, which looked out upon a field of clover,
then in full bloom, for it was summer. As I rose to commence the
reading of the Scriptures, I cast a glance into the field, and there
I saw a man performing the most extraordinary evolutions--jumping,
whirling, slapping in all directions, and with a ferocious agony
of exertion. At first I thought he was mad; but suddenly the truth
burst upon me--he had buttoned up a bumblebee in his pantaloons! I
am constitutionally nervous, gentlemen, and the shock of this scene
upon my risible sensibilities was so great, that I could hardly
get through the services. Several times I was upon the point of
bursting into a laugh. Even to this day, the remembrance of this
scene, through the temptation of the devil, often comes upon me
as I am ascending the pulpit. This, I admit, is a weakness, but I
trust it will rather excite your sympathy and your prayers than your

It may be amusing, perhaps profitable, to give here a few sketches
of the remarkable characters of Ridgefield, at the opening of the
present century. Some were types of their time; others, however
eccentric, were exemplifications of our race and our society,
influenced by peculiar circumstances, and showing into what fashions
this stuff of humanity may be wrought. They are still prominent in
my recollection, and seem to me an essential part of the social
landscape which encircled my youth.

I begin with the three deacons of my father's parish. First was
Deacon Olmstead, full threescore years and ten at the opening
of the present century. His infancy touched upon the verge of
Puritanism--the days of Increase and Cotton Mather. The spirit of the
Puritans lived in his heart, while the semblance of the patriarchs
lingered in his form. He was fully six feet high, with broad
shoulders, powerful limbs, and the august step of a giant. His hair
was white, and rolled in thin curls upon his shoulders; he was still
erect, though he carried a long cane, like that of father Abraham in
the old pictures, representing him at the head of his kindred and his
camels, going from the land of Haran to the land of Canaan. Indeed,
he was my personification of the great progenitor of the Hebrews;
and when my father read from the twelfth chapter of Genesis, how he
and Lot and their kindred journeyed forth, I half fancied it must be
Deacon Olmstead under another name.

[Illustration: DEACON OLMSTEAD.]

Deacon Olmstead was in all things a noble specimen of humanity--an
honor to human nature, a shining light in the church. I have spoken
of him as having something grand about him, yet I remember how kindly
he condescended to take me, a child, on his knee, and how gently his
great brawny fingers encircled my infant hand. I have said he was
wise; yet his book-learning was small, though it might have been as
great as that of Abraham, or Isaac, or Jacob. He knew, indeed, the
Bible by heart, and that is a great teacher. He had also lived long,
and profited by observation and experience. Above all, he was calm,
just, sincere, and it is wonderful how these lamps light up the
path of life. I have said he was proud, yet it was only toward the
seductions of the world: to these he was hard and stern: to his God
he was simple, obedient, and docile as a child: toward his kindred
and his neighbor, toward the poor, toward the suffering, though not
so soft, he was sympathetic as a sister of charity.

I must now present a somewhat different portrait--that of Deacon
John Benedict. He was a worthy old man, and enjoyed many claims
to respect. He was not only a deacon, but a justice of the peace;
moreover, he was the father of Aunt Delight, of whom I desire
ever to speak with reverence. She, not being a beauty, was never
married, and hence, having no children of her own, she combed and
crammed the heads of other people's children. In this way she was
eminently useful in her day and generation. The Deacon respected
the law, especially as it was administered in his own person. He
was severe upon those who violated the statutes of the State, but
one who violated the statutes of Deacon John Benedict committed the
unpardonable sin. He was the entire police of the meeting-house on
Sunday, and not a boy or girl, or even a bumblebee, could offend
without condign punishment.

Nevertheless, the Deacon is said, in one case--rather before my
time--to have met his match. There was in the village a small, smart,
nervous woman, with a vigorous clack, which, once set going, was hard
to stop. One day she was at church, and having carried her dinner of
mince-pie in a little cross-handled basket, she set it down under the
seat. In the midst of sermon-time a small dog came into the pew, and
getting behind her petticoats, began to devour the pie. She heard
what was going on, and gave him a kick. Upon this the dog backed out
with a yelp, taking with him the dinner-basket, hung about his neck,
across the pew into the broad aisle.

"Oh dear!" said the woman, in a shrill voice, "the dog's got my
dinner! There! I've spoken loud in meeting-time! What will Deacon
Benedict say? Why! I'm talking all the time. There it goes agin!
What shall I du?"

"Hold your tongue!" said the Deacon, who was in his official seat,
fronting the explosion. These words operated like a charm, and the
nervous lady was silent. The next day Deacon John appeared at the
house of the offender, carrying a calf-bound volume in his hand. The
woman gave one glance at the book, and one at the Deacon. That was
enough: it spoke volumes, and the man of the law returned home, and
never mentioned the subject afterward.

Deacon Hawley was very unlike either of his two associates whom I
have described. He was younger, and of a peculiarly mild and amiable
temper. His countenance wore a tranquil and smooth expression. His
hair was fine and silky, and lay, as if oiled, close to his head. He
had a soft voice, and an ear for music. He was a cabinet-maker by
trade, a chorister by choice, and a deacon by the vote of the church.
In each of these things he found his place, as if designed for it by

In worldly affairs as well as spiritual, Deacon Hawley's path was
straight and even: he was successful in business, beloved in society,
honored in the church. Exceedingly frugal by habit and disposition,
he still loved to give in charity, though he did not talk of it.
When he was old, his family being well provided for, he spent much
of his time in casting about to find opportunities of doing good.
Once he learned that a widow, who had been in good circumstances, was
struggling with poverty. He was afraid to offer money as charity, for
fear of wounding her pride--the more sensitive, perhaps, because of
her change of condition. He therefore intimated that he owed a debt
of fifty dollars to her late husband, and wished to pay it to her.

"And how was that?" said the lady, somewhat startled.

"I will tell you," said the Deacon. "About five-and-twenty years
ago, soon after you were married, I made some furniture for your
husband--to the amount of two hundred dollars. I have been looking
over the account, and find that I rather overcharged him in the price
of some chairs--that is, I could have afforded them at somewhat less.
I have added up the interest, and here, madam, is the money."

The widow listened, and as she suspected the truth, the tears came to
her eyes. The Deacon did not pause to reply, but laid the money on
the table and departed.

The term _deacon_ is associated in many minds with a sort of
affectation, a cant in conversation, and an I-am-holier-than-thou
air and manner. I remember Deacon C----, who deemed it proper to
become scriptural, and talk as much as possible like Isaiah. He was
in partnership with his son Laertes, and they sold crockery and
furniture. One day a female customer came, and the old gentleman
being engaged, went to call his son, who was in the loft above.
Placing himself at the foot of the stairs, he said, attuning his
voice to the occasion, "La-ar-tes, descend--a lady waits!" Deacon
C---- sought to signalize himself by a special respect to the ways
of Providence; so he refused to be insured against fire, declaring
that if the Lord wished to burn down his house or his barn he should
submit without a murmur. He pretended to consider thunder, and
lightning, and conflagrations as special acts of the Almighty, and it
was distrusting Providence to attempt to avert their effects. Deacon
Hawley had none of these follies or frailties. Though a deacon,
he was still a man; though aspiring to heaven, he lived cheerily
on earth; though a Christian, he was a father, a neighbor, and,
according to his rank in life, a gentleman, having in all things the
feelings and manners appropriate to each of those relations.



Another celebrity in Ridgefield, whom I must not forget, was Matthew
Olmstead, or Mat Olmstead, as he was usually called; he was a day
laborer, and though his specialty was the laying of stone fences, he
was equally adroit at hoeing corn, mowing, and farm-work in general.
He was rather short and thick-set, with a long nose, a little bulbous
in his latter days; with a ruddy complexion, and a mouth shutting
like a pair of nippers, the lips having an oblique dip to the left,
giving a keen and mischievous expression to his face: qualified,
however, by more of mirth than malice. This feature was indicative
of his mind and character; for he was sharp in speech, and affected
a crisp, biting brevity, called dry wit. He had also a turn for
practical jokes, and a great many of these were told of him; to
which, perhaps, he had no historical claim. The following is one
of them, and is illustrative of his manner, even if it originated

On a cold, stormy day in December, a man chanced to come into the
bar-room of Keeler's tavern, where Mat Olmstead and several of his
companions were lounging. The stranger had on a new hat of the latest
fashion, and still shining with the gloss of the iron. He seemed
conscious of his dignity, and carried his head in such a manner as to
invite attention to it. Mat's knowing eye immediately detected the
weakness of the stranger; so he approached him, and said,--

"What a very nice hat you've got on! Pray who made it?"

"Oh, it came from New York," was the reply.

"Well, let me take it," said Mat.

The stranger took it off his head, gingerly, and handed it to him.

"It is a wonderful nice hat," said Matthew; "and I see it's a real

"Salamander?" said the other. "What's that?"

"Why, a real salamander hat won't burn!"

"No? I never heard of that before: I don't believe it's one of that

"Sartain sure; I'll bet you a mug of flip of it."

"Well, I'll stand you!"

"Done: now I'll just put it under the fore-stick?"


It being thus arranged, Mat put the hat under the fore-stick into a
glowing mass of coals. In an instant it took fire, collapsed, and
rolled into a black, crumpled mass of cinders.

"I du declare," said Mat Olmstead, affecting great astonishment, "it
ain't a salamander hat arter all! Well, I'll pay the flip!"

Yet wit is not always wisdom. Keen as this man was as to things
immediately before him, he was of narrow understanding. He seemed not
to possess the faculty of reasoning beyond his senses. He never would
admit that the sun was fixed, and that the world turned round.

I remember, that when the great solar eclipse of 1806 was
approaching, he with two other men were at work in one of our fields,
not far from the house. The eclipse was to begin at ten or eleven
o'clock, and my father invited the workmen to come up and observe it
through some pieces of smoked glass. They came, though Mat ridiculed
the idea of an eclipse--not but the thing might happen; but it was
idle to suppose it could be foretold. While they were waiting and
watching, my father explained the cause and nature of the phenomenon.

Mat laughed with that low, scoffing chuckle, with which a woodcock,
safe in his den, replies to the bark of a besieging dog.

"So you don't believe this?" said my father.

"No," said Mat, shaking his head; "I don't believe a word of it. You
say, Parson Goodrich, that the sun is fixed, and don't move?"

"Yes, I say so."

"Well: didn't you preach last Sunday out of the 10th chapter of


"And didn't you tell us that Joshua commanded the sun and moon to
stand still?"


"Well: what was the use of telling the sun to stand still if it never

This was a dead shot, especially at a parson, and in the presence of
an audience inclined, from the fellowship of ignorance, to receive
the argument. Being thus successful, Mat went on,--

"Now, Parson Goodrich, let's try it again. If you turn a thing that's
got water in it bottom up, the water'll run out, won't it?"

"No doubt."

"If the world turns round, then, your well will be turned bottom up,
and the water'll run out!"

At this point my father applied his eye to the sun, through a
piece of smoked glass. The eclipse had begun: a small piece was
evidently cut off from the rim. My father stated the fact, and the
company around looked through the glass, and saw that it was so. Mat
Olmstead, however, sturdily refused to try it, and bore on his face
an air of supreme contempt; as much as to say "You don't humbug me!"

But ignorance and denial of the works of God do not interrupt
their march. By slow and invisible degrees, a shade crept over the
landscape. There was no cloud in the sky; but a chill stole through
the atmosphere, and a strange dimness fell over the world. It was
mid-day, yet it seemed like the approach of night. All nature seemed
chilled and awed by the strange phenomenon. The birds, with startled
looks and ominous notes, left their busy cares and gathered in the
thick branches of the trees, where they seemed to hold counsel one
with another. The hens, with slow and hesitating steps, set their
faces toward their roosts. One old hen, with a brood of chickens,
walked along with a tall, halting tread, and sought shelter upon
the barn-floor, where she gathered her young ones under her wings,
continuing to made a low sound, as if saying, "Hush, my babes, lie
still and slumber."

I well remember this phenomenon--the first of the kind I had ever
witnessed. Though occupied by this seeming conflict of the heavenly
bodies, I recollect to have paid some attention to the effect of the
scene upon others. Mat Olmstead said not a word; the other workmen
were overwhelmed with emotions of awe.

At length, the eclipse began to pass away, and nature slowly returned
to her equanimity. The birds came forth, and sang a jubilee, as if
relieved from some impending calamity. The hum of life again filled
the air; the old hen with her brood gaily resumed her rambles, and
made the leaves and gravel fly with her invigorated scratchings. The
workmen, too, having taken a glass of grog, returned thoughtfully to
their labors.

"After all," said one of the men, as they passed along to the field,
"I guess the parson was right about the sun and the moon."

"Well, perhaps he was," said Mat; "but then Joshua was wrong."

       *       *       *       *       *

This incident of the total eclipse was, many years later, turned to
account in Parley's Magazine, in the following dialogue between Peter
Parley and his children:

    _Parley._ Come, John, you promised to write something for this
    number of the Magazine; is it ready?

    _John._ Well--* * *--not exactly.

    _Jane._ Oh, Mr. Parley--'tis ready--he read it all to me, and
    it's real good, if anybody could understand it.

    _P._ Bring it here, John. (_John comes up gingerly, and gives
    Mr. Parley a piece of paper._)

    _John._ There 'tis--but you mustn't read it aloud.

    _All the children._ Yes, yes, read it! Read it! Go ahead!

    _P._ Well, I'll read it--it looks pretty good. Now let all be
    perfectly still. (_Parley reads._)

The Old Hen and the Philosopher: a Fable.



"Craw * * * craw * * * craw! What's the matter with my eyes? It looks
very dark, for a clear summer's day. I must be getting old, for it
ain't more than ten o'clock, and it seems exactly like sundown. Craw
* * * craw * * * craw! Why, it's getting cold. It seems as chill as
evening. Cut, cut, cudawcut! What can be the matter? Why, the sun is
going to bed before it's fairly got up. Cur--r-r-r-r-r! Well, after
all, it may be only a fit of the vapors--or my gizzard may be put out
of order by that toad I ate yesterday. I thought, then, I should pay
dear for it. Cur--r-r-r-r-r? Here chicks--come under my wings! I'm
going to take a nap. Come along--Nip, Dip, Pip, Rip--come into your
featherbed, my little dearies! There! Don't stick your noses out--be
still now--I'm going to sing a song.

    Hush, my chickies--don't you peep--
    Hush, my children--go to sleep!
    Now the night is dark and thick--
    Go to sleep each little chick!
    *       *       *       *       *

Fiddle-de-dee--I can't sleep, and the chickens are as lively as
bed-bugs. Cut--cut--cu--daw--cut! What on airth is the matter! The
sun has got put out, right up there in the sky, just like a candle.
Well--never did I see or hear of such a thing afore! And now it's
night in the middle of the day! What will come next? Why, I expect I
shall walk on my head, and fly with my claws! It ain't half fair, to
shave an old hen and chickens out of their dinner and supper in this
way. However, it's too dark for decent people to be abroad. So, my
chicks, we must get into the coop and go to rest. Cur--r-r-r-r--it's
very queer indeed. How thankful I am that I don't make day and
night, and get the world into such a scrape as this. Come in! Come
in, chicks! It ain't our affair. Come along--there--you rowdies! You
ain't sleepy, and I don't wonder at it. But hens and chickens must go
to bed when the lamp is put out. Cur--r-r-r-r-r."



Here is a leaf, which we call a blade of grass. There are myriads
like it in this field; it seems a trifle; it seems insignificant.
But let me look at it with my glass. How wonderful is its texture!
It seems woven like network, and nothing can exceed the beauty of
its structure. And yet every blade of grass is like this. It exceeds
all human art in the delicacy of its fabric, yet it grows here out
of the ground. _Grows!_ What does that mean? What makes it grow? Has
it life? It must have life, or it could not grow. And what is that
life? It cannot think; it cannot walk; who makes it grow then? Who
made this blade of grass? It was not man; it is not the beast of
the field. It is God who made it! And is God here in the field, all
around me--in every blade of grass, in every leaf, and stem, and

It must be so, indeed. How full of instruction is every thing around
us, if we use the powers we possess!

       *       *       *       *       *

_Moral._ Some people believe, that birds and beasts have minds and
souls as well as human beings; but we see that the most stupendous
wonder of nature excited in one of the most intelligent and civilized
of birds, only a queer sort of surprise, expressed in the words
cut--cut--cu--dawcut! At the same time it appears that a single
blade of grass opens to the philosopher a sublime strain of thought,
teaching the profound lesson that God is everywhere!

Is there not a gulf as wide as eternity, between the human soul and
animal instinct?

       *       *       *       *       *

    _All the children._ Bravo, bravo--John!

    _Parley._ Well, John--that'll do for a boy. I shan't insert it as
    my own, you know; people will say, it's good for John Smith, only
    fourteen years old; but for Peter Parley--why, it's too ridiculous,
    altogether. At any rate--John--the moral is good--and if people do
    laugh at the article, you just say to 'em--_keep your tongue between
    your teeth, till you do better, and you won't speak for a year_!
    There's nothing like showing a proper spirit upon occasions of

       *       *       *       *       *

To return to Mat Olmstead. Notwithstanding his habitual incredulity,
he had still his weak side, for he was a firm believer in ghosts: not
ghosts in general, but in two that he had seen himself. These were
of enormous size, white, and winged like angels. He had seen them
one dark night as he was going to his house, which was situated in
a lonesome lane that diverged from the high road. It was very late,
and Mat had spent the evening at the tavern, like Tam O'Shanter;
like him, he "was na fou, but just had plenty." Well, Mat Olmstead's
two angels turned out to be a couple of white geese, which he had
startled into flight as he stumbled upon them quietly snoozing in the
joint of a rail fence!

It has often appeared to me that Mat Olmstead was a type, a
representative of a class of men not very rare in this world of
ours. It is not at all uncommon to find people, and those who are
called strong-minded, who are habitual unbelievers in things possible
and probable--nay, in things well established by testimony--while
they readily become the dupes of the most absurd illusions and
impositions. Dr. Johnson, it is stated, did not believe in the
great earthquake of Lisbon in 1755, until six months after it had
happened, while he readily accepted the egregious deception of the
Cock Lane Ghost. In our day we see people, and sharp ones, too, who
reject the plainest teachings of common sense, sanctioned by the good
and wise of centuries, and follow with implicit faith some goose
of the imagination, like Joe Smith or Brigham Young. These are Mat
Olmsteads, a little intoxicated by their own imaginations, and in
their night of ignorance and folly they fall down and worship the
grossest and goosiest of illusions.

I now turn to a different character, Lieutenant, or, as we all called
him, _Leftenant_ Smith, who has been already introduced to you. He
was a man of extensive reading and large information; he was also
some sixty years old, and had stored in his memory the results of his
own observation and experience. He read the newspapers and conversed
with travellers, affected philosophy, and deemed himself the great
intelligencer of the town: he dearly loved to dispense his learning,
asking only in return attentive listeners; and he liked discussion,
provided the talk was all left to himself. He was equal to all
questions: with my father, he dilated upon such high matters as the
purchase of Louisiana; Lewis and Clarke's exploring expedition; the
death of Hamilton in the duel with Aaron Burr; the attack of the
Leopard on the Chesapeake; Fulton's attempts at steam navigation, and
the other agitating topics of those times, as they came one after

I have an impression now that Lieut. Smith, after all, was not very
profound; but to me he was a miracle of learning. I listened to his
discussions with very little interest, but his narratives engaged my
whole attention. These were always descriptive of actual events, for
he would have disdained fiction: from them I derived a satisfaction
that I never found in fables. The travels of Mungo Park, his strange
adventures and melancholy death, which about those days transpired
through the newspapers, and all of which Lieut. Smith had at his
tongue's end, excited my interest and my imagination, even beyond the
romances of Sinbad the Sailor and Robinson Crusoe.

In the year 1807 an event occurred, not only startling in itself,
but giving exercise to all the philosophical powers of Lieut. Smith.
On the morning of the 14th of December, about daybreak, I had
arisen, and was occupied in building a fire, this being my daily
duty; suddenly the room was filled with light, and, looking up, I
saw through the window a ball of fire, nearly the size of the moon,
passing across the heavens from north-west to south-east. It was
at an immense height, and of intense brilliancy. Having passed the
zenith, it swiftly descended toward the earth: while still at a great
elevation it burst, with three successive explosions, into fiery
fragments. The report was like three claps of rattling thunder in
quick succession.

My father, who saw the light and heard the sounds, declared it to
be a meteor of extraordinary magnitude. It was noticed all over the
town, and caused great excitement. On the following day the news
came that huge fragments of stone had fallen in the adjacent town
of Weston, some eight or ten miles south-east of Ridgefield. It
appeared that the people in the neighborhood heard the rushing of the
stones through the air, as well as the shock when they struck the
earth. One, weighing two hundred pounds, fell on a rock, which it
splintered; its huge fragments ploughing up the ground around to the
extent of a hundred feet. This meteor was estimated to be half-a-mile
in diameter, and to have travelled through the heavens at the rate of
two or three hundred miles a minute.

On this extraordinary occasion the Lieutenant came to our house,
according to his wont, and for several successive evenings discoursed
to us upon the subject. I must endeavor to give you a specimen of his

"I have examined the subject, sir," said he, addressing my father,
"and am inclined to the opinion that these phenomena are animals
revolving in the orbits of space between the heavenly bodies.
Occasionally, one of them comes too near the earth, and rushing
through our atmosphere with immense velocity, takes fire and

"This is rather a new theory, is it not?" said my father. "It
appears that these meteoric stones, in whatever country they fall,
are composed of the same ingredients: mostly silex, iron, and nickel:
these substances would make rather a hard character, if endowed with
animal life, and especially with the capacity of rushing through
space at the rate of two or three hundred miles a minute, and then

"These substances I consider only as the shell of the animal, sir."

"You regard the creature as a huge shell-fish, then?"

"Not necessarily a fish; for the whole order of nature, called
_Crustacea_, has the bones on the outside. In this case of meteors,
I suppose them to be covered with some softer substance; for it
frequently happens that a jelly-like matter comes down with meteoric
stones. This resembles coagulated blood; and thus what is called
bloody rain or snow has often fallen over great spaces of country.
Now, when the chemists analyze these things--the stones, which I
consider the bones; and the jelly, which I consider the fat; and
the rain, which I consider the blood--they find them all to consist
of the same elements; that is, silex, iron, nickel, &c. None but my
animal theory will harmonise all these phenomena, sir."

"But," interposed my father, "consider the enormous size of your
aërial monsters. I recollect to have read only a short time since,
that in the year 1803, about one o'clock in the afternoon, the
inhabitants of several towns of Normandy, in France, heard noises in
the sky, like the peals of cannon and musketry, with a long-continued
roll of drums. Looking upward, they saw something like a small cloud
at an immense elevation, which soon seemed to explode, sending its
vapor in all directions. At last a hissing noise was heard, and then
stones fell, spreading over a country three miles wide by eight
miles long. No less than two thousand pieces were collected, weighing
from one ounce to seventeen pounds. That must have been rather a
large animal, eight miles long and three miles wide!"

"What is that, sir, in comparison with the earth, which Kepler, the
greatest philosopher that ever lived, conceived to be a huge beast?"

"Yes; but did he prove it?"

"He gave good reasons for it, sir. He found very striking analogies
between the earth and animal existences: such as the tides,
indicating its breathing through vast internal lungs; earthquakes,
resembling eructations from the stomach; and volcanoes, suggestive of
boils, pimples, and other cutaneous eruptions."

"I think I have seen your theory set to verse."

Saying this, my father rose, and bringing a book, read as follows,--

    "To me things are not as to vulgar eyes--
    I would all nature's works anatomize:
    This world a living monster seems to me,
    Rolling and sporting in the aërial sea:
    The soil encompasses her rocks and stones,
    As flesh in animals encircles bones.
    I see vast ocean, like a heart in play,
    Pant systole and diastole every day.
    The world's great lungs, monsoons and trade-winds show--
    From east to west, from west to east they blow.
    The hills are pimples, which earth's face defile,
    And burning Etna an eruptive boil.
    On her high mountains living forests grow,
    And downy grass o'erspreads the vales below:
    From her vast body perspirations rise,
    Condense in clouds and float beneath the skies."

My father having closed the book, the profound Lieutenant, who did
not conceive it possible that a thing so serious could be made the
subject of a joke, said,--

"A happy illustration of my philosophy, sir, though I cannot commend
the form in which it is put. If a man has anything worth saying,
sir, he should use prose. Poetry is only proper when one wishes to
embellish folly or dignify trifles. In this case it is otherwise, I
admit; and I am happy to find so powerful a supporter of my animal
theory of meteors. I shall consider the subject, and present it for
the consideration of the philosophic world."

One prominent characteristic of this philosopher was, that when a
great event came about, he fancied that he had foreseen and predicted
it from the beginning. Now, about this time Fulton actually succeeded
in his long-sought application of steam to navigation. The general
opinion of the country had been, all along, that he was a monomaniac,
attempting an impossibility. He was the standing theme of cheap
newspaper wit, and a God-send to orators who were hard run for a
joke. Lieutenant Smith, who was only an echo of what passed around
him during the period of Fulton's labors, joined in the current
contempt; but when the news came, in October, 1807, that he had
actually succeeded--that one of his boats had steamed at the rate of
five miles an hour against the current of the Hudson river--then,
still an echo of the public voice, did he greatly jubilate.

"I told you so! I told you so!" was his first exclamation, as he
entered the house, swelling with the account.

"Well, and what is it?" said my father.

"Fulton has made his boat go, sir! I told you how it would be, sir.
It opens a new era in the history of navigation. We shall go to
Europe in ten days, sir."

Now, you will readily understand, that in these sketches I do not
pretend to report with literal precision the profound discourses of
our Ridgefield _savant_; I remember only the general outlines, the
rest being easily suggested. My desire is to present the portrait
of one of the notables of our village--one whom I remember with
pleasure, and whom I conceive to be a representative of the amiable,
and perhaps useful race of fussy philosophers to be found in most
country villages.

From the town oracle I turn to the town miser. Granther Baldwin, as
I remember him, was threescore years and ten--perhaps a little more.
He was a man of middle size, thin, wiry, and bloodless, and having
his body bent forward at a sharp angle with his hips, while his head
was thrown back over his shoulders, giving his person the general
form of a reversed letter Z. His complexion was brown and stony; his
eye grey and twinkling, with a nose and chin almost meeting like a
pair of forceps. His hair, standing out with an irritable friz, was
of a rusty gray. He always walked and rode with restless rapidity.
At church, he wriggled in his seat, tasted fennel, and bobbed his
head up and down and around. He could not afford tobacco, so he
chewed, with a constant activity, either an oak chip or the roots
of elecampane, which was indigenous in the lane near his house.
On Sundays he was decent in his attire, but on week-days he was a
beggarly curiosity. It was said that he once exchanged hats with a
scarecrow, and cheated scandalously in the bargain. His boots--a
withered wreck of an old pair of whitetops--dangled over his shrunken
calves and a coat in tatters fluttered from his body. He rode a
rat-tailed, ambling mare, which always went like the wind, shaking
the old gentleman merrily from right to left, and making his bones,
boots, and rags rustle like his own bush-harrow. Familiar as he was,
the school-boys were never tired of him, and when he passed, "There
goes Granther Baldwin!" was the invariable ejaculation.

I must add, in order to complete the picture, that in contrast
to his leanness and activity, his wife was very fat, and, either
from indolence or lethargy, dozed away half her life in the
chimney-corner. She spent a large part of her life in cheating her
husband out of fourpence-ha'pennies, of which more than a peck were
found secreted in an old chest at her death.

It was the boast of this man that he had risen from poverty to
wealth, and he loved to describe the process of his advancement. He
always worked in the cornfield till it was so dark that he could
see his hoe strike fire. When in the heat of summer he was obliged
occasionally to let his cattle breathe, he sat on a sharp stone, lest
he should rest too long. He paid half-a-dollar to the parson for
marrying him, which he always regretted, as one of his neighbors got
the job done for a pint of mustard-seed. On fast-days he made his
cattle go without food as well as himself. He systematically stooped
to save a crooked pin or a rusty nail, as it would cost more to make
it than to pick it up. Such were his boasts--or at least, such were
the things traditionally imputed to him.

He was withal a man of keen faculties; sagacious in the purchase
of land, as well as in the rotation of crops. He was literally
honest, and never cheated any one out of a farthing, according to
his arithmetic, though he had sometimes an odd way of reckoning. It
is said that in his day the law imposed a fine of one dollar for
profane swearing. During this period, Granther Baldwin employed a
carpenter who was notoriously addicted to this vice. Granther kept a
strict account of every instance of transgression, and when the job
was done, and the time came to settle the account, he said to the

"You've worked with me thirty days, I think, Mr. Kellogg?"

"Yes, Granther," was the reply.

"At a dollar a-day: that makes thirty dollars, I think?"

"Yes, Granther."

"Mr. Kellogg, I am sorry to observe that you have a very bad habit of
taking the Lord's name in vain."

"Yes, Granther."

"Well, you know that's agin the law."

"Yes, Granther."

"And there's a fine of one dollar for each offence."

"Yes, Granther."

"Well--here's the account I've kept, and I find you've broken the law
twenty-five times; that is, sixteen times in April, and nine in May.
At a dollar a time, that makes twenty-five dollars--don't it?"

"Yes, Granther."

"So, then, twenty-five from thirty leaves five; it appears,
therefore, that there is a balance of five dollars due to you. How'll
you take it, Mr. Kellogg? In cash, or in my way--say in 'taters,
pork, and other things?"

At this point the carpenter's brow lowered, but with a prodigious
effort at composure he replied,--

"Well, Granther, you may keep the five dollars, and I'll take it out
in _my_ way--that is, in swearing!"

Upon this he hurled at the old gentleman a volley of oaths, too
numerous and too profane to repeat.

One sketch more, and my gallery of eccentricities is finished. Men
hermits have been frequently heard of, but a woman hermit is of rare
occurrence. Nevertheless, Ridgefield could boast of one of these
among its curiosities. Sarah Bishop was, at the period of my boyhood,
a thin, ghostly old woman, bent and wrinkled, but still possessing a
good deal of activity. She lived in a cave, formed by nature, in a
mass of projecting rocks that overhung a deep valley or gorge in West
Mountain, about four miles from our house.

The rock, bare and desolate, was her home, except that occasionally
she strayed to the neighborhood villages; seldom being absent more
than one or two days at a time. She never begged, but received such
articles as were given to her. She was of a highly religious turn
of mind, and at long intervals came to our church, and partook of
the sacrament. She sometimes visited our family--the only one thus
favored in the town--and occasionally remained overnight. She never
would eat with us at the table, nor engage in general conversation.
Upon her early history she was invariably silent; indeed, she spoke
of her affairs with great reluctance. She neither seemed to have
sympathy for others, nor to ask it in return. If there was any
exception, it was only in respect to the religious exercises of the
family: she listened intently to the reading of the Bible, and joined
with apparent devotion in the morning and evening prayer.

My excursions frequently brought me within the wild precincts of
her solitary den. Several times I have paid a visit to the spot,
and in two instances found her at home. A place more desolate, in
its general outline, more absolutely given up to the wildness of
nature, it is impossible to conceive. Her cave was a hollow in the
rock, about six feet square. Except a few rags and an old basin, it
was without furniture; her bed being the floor of the cave, and her
pillow a projecting point of the rock. It was entered by a natural
door about three feet wide and four feet high, and was closed in
severe weather only by pieces of bark. At a distance of a few feet
was a cleft, where she kept a supply of roots and nuts, which she
gathered, and the food that was given her. She was reputed to have
a secret depository, where she kept a quantity of antique dresses;
several of them of rich silks, and apparently suited to fashionable
life: though I think this was an exaggeration. At a little distance
down the ledge there was a fine spring of water, near which she was
often found in fair weather.

There was no attempt, either in or around the spot, to bestow upon
it an air of convenience or comfort. A small space of cleared ground
was occupied by a few thriftless peachtrees, and in summer a patch
of starveling beans, cucumbers, and potatoes. Up two or three of the
adjacent forest-trees there clambered luxuriant grape-vines, highly
productive in their season. With the exception of these feeble marks
of cultivation, all was left ghastly and savage as nature made it.
The trees, standing upon the tops of the cliff, and exposed to the
shock of the tempest, were bent and stooping towards the valley:
their limbs contorted, and their roots clinging, as with an agonized
grasp, into the rifts of the rocks upon which they stood. Many
of them were hoary with age, and hollow with decay; others were
stripped of their leaves by the blasts; and others still, grooved
and splintered by the lightning. The valley below, enriched with
the decay of centuries, and fed with moisture from the surrounding
hills, was a wild paradise of towering oaks, and other giants of the
vegetable kingdom, with a rank undergrowth of tangled shrubs. In
the distance, to the east, the gathered streams spread out into a
beautiful expanse of water called Long Pond.

A place at once so secluded and so wild was, of course, the chosen
haunt of birds, beasts and reptiles. The eagle built her nest and
reared her young in the clefts of the rocks; foxes found shelter in
the caverns; and serpents revelled alike in the dry hollows of the
cliffs and the dark recesses of the valley. The hermitess had made
companionship with these brute tenants of the wood. The birds had
become so familiar with her, that they seemed to heed her almost as
little as if she had been a stone. The fox fearlessly pursued his
hunt and his gambols in her presence. The rattlesnake hushed his
monitory signal as he approached her. Such things, at least, were
entertained by the popular belief. It was said, indeed, that she had
domesticated a particular rattlesnake, and that he paid her daily
visits. She was accustomed--so said the legend--to bring him milk
from the villages, which he devoured with great relish.

It will not surprise you that a subject like this should have given
rise to one of my first poetical efforts; the first verses, in fact,
that I ever published. I gave them to Brainard, then editor of the
Mirror, at Hartford; and he inserted them, probably about the year

The facts in respect to this Nun of the Mountain were, indeed,
strange enough, without any embellishment of fancy. During the winter
she was confined for several months to her cell. At that period she
lived upon roots and nuts, which she had laid in for the season.
She had no fire; and, deserted even by her brute companions, she
was absolutely alone. She appeared to have no sense of solitude, no
weariness at the slow lapse of days and months. When spring returned,
she came down from her mountain a mere shadow; each year her form
more bent, her limbs more thin and wasted, her hair more blanched,
her eye more colorless. At last, life seemed ebbing away, like the
faint light of a lamp sinking into the socket. The final winter came;
it passed, and she was not seen in the villages around. Some of the
inhabitants went to the mountain, and found her standing erect, her
feet sunk in the frozen marsh of the valley. In this situation, being
unable to extricate herself, she had yielded her breath to Him who
gave it!

The early history of this strange personage was involved in some
mystery. So much as this, however, was ascertained, that she was
of good family, and lived on Long Island. During the Revolutionary
war, in one of the numerous forays of the British soldiers, her
father's house was burned, and she was infamously treated. Desolate
in fortune, blighted at heart, she fled from human society, and
for a long time concealed her sorrows in the cavern which she had
accidentally found. Her grief--softened by time, perhaps alleviated
by a veil of insanity--was at length so far mitigated, that, although
she did not seek human society, she could endure it. She continued to
occupy her cave till the year 1810 or 1811, when she departed in the
manner I have described; and we may hope, for a brighter and happier



In the autumn of the year 1808, a sudden change took place in my
prospects. My eldest sister had married a gentleman by the name of
Cooke, in the adjacent town of Danbury. He was a tradesman, and
being in want of a clerk, offered me the place. It was considered a
desirable situation by my parents, and, overlooking my mechanical
aptitudes, they accepted it at once, and at the age of fifteen I
found myself installed in a country store.

This arrangement gratified my love of change; and at the same time,
as Danbury was a much more considerable town than Ridgefield,
going to live there naturally suggested the idea of advancement,
especially as I was to exchange my uncertain prospects for a positive
profession. However, I little comprehended what it meant to say,
"Farewell to home:" I have since learned its significance. In thus
bidding adieu to the paternal roof, we part with youth for ever.
We part with the spring-tide of life, which strews every path with
flowers, fills the air with poetry, and the heart with rejoicing. We
part with that genial spirit which endows familiar objects--brooks,
lawns, play-grounds, hill-sides--with its own sweet illusions; we bid
adieu to this and its fairy companionships. Even if, in after life,
we return to the scenes of our childhood, they have lost the bloom
of youth, and in its place we see the wrinkles of that age which has
graven its hard lines upon our hearts.

Farewell to home implies something even yet more serious: we
relinquish, and often with exultation, the tender care of parents, in
order to take upon ourselves the responsibilities of independence.
What seeming infatuation it is, that renders us thus impatient of the
guidance of those who gave us being, and makes us at the same time
anxious to spread our untried sails upon an untried sea, to go upon
a voyage which involves all the chances, evil as well as good, of
existence! And yet it is not infatuation--it is instinct. We cannot
always be young; we cannot all remain under the paternal roof. The
old birds push the young ones from the nest, and force them to a
trial of their wings. It is the system of nature that impels us to go
forth and try our fortunes, and it is a kind Providence, after all,
which endues us with courage for the outset of our uncertain career.

I was not long in discovering that my new vocation was very different
from what I had expected, and very different from my accustomed way
of life. My habits had been active, my employments chiefly in the
open air. I was accustomed to be frequently on horseback, and to make
excursions to the neighboring towns. I had also enjoyed much personal
liberty, which I failed not to use in rambling over the fields and
forests. All this was now changed. My duties lay exclusively in
the store, and this seemed now my prison. From morning to night I
remained there, and, as our business was not large, I had many hours
upon my hands with nothing to do but to consider the weariness of my
situation. My brother-in-law was always present, and being a man of
severe aspect and watchful eyes, I felt a sort of restraint, which,
for a time, was agonizing. I had, consequently, pretty sharp attacks
of homesickness; a disease which, though not dangerous, is one of the
most distressing to which suffering humanity is exposed.

This state of misery continued for some weeks, during which time
I revolved various plans of escape from my confinement: such as
stealing away at night, making my way to Norwalk, getting on board
a sloop, and going as cabin-boy to the West Indies. I believe that
a small impulse would have set me upon some such mad expedition. By
degrees, however, I became habituated to my occupation, and as my
situation was eligible in other respects, I found myself ere long
reconciled to it.

The father and mother of my brother-in-law were aged people, living
with him in the same house, and as one family. They were persons of
great amiability and excellence of character: the former, Colonel
Cooke, was eighty years of age, but he had still the perfect exercise
of his faculties, and though he had ceased all business, he was
cheerful, and took a lively interest in passing events. Never have
I seen a more pleasing spectacle than this reverend couple, at the
age of fourscore, both smoking their pipes in the evening, with two
generations of their descendants around them.

My brother-in-law was a man of decided character, and his portrait
deserves a place in these annals. He had graduated at Yale College,
and had been qualified for the bar; but his health was feeble, and
therefore, chiefly for occupation, he succeeded to the store which
his father had kept before him. Being in easy circumstances, he made
no great efforts in business. Though, as I have said, he was of
stern aspect, and his manners were somewhat cold and distant, his
character was that of a just and kind man. In business he treated
people respectfully, but he never solicited custom: he showed, but
never recommended his goods. If his advice were asked, he offered it
without regard to his own interest. He gave me no instructions, but
left me to the influence of his example. He was of a religious turn
of mind, not merely performing the accustomed duties of a Christian,
but making devotional books a large part of his study. Perhaps he was
conscious of failing health, and already heard the monitory voice of
that disease which was ere long to terminate his career.

Nevertheless, he was not insensible to the pleasures of cultivated
society, and however grave he might be in his general air and manner,
he was particularly gratified with the visits of a man, in all things
his opposite, Moses Hatch, then a leading lawyer in Danbury.

This person was a frequent visitor to the store, and the long winter
which commenced soon after I entered upon my apprenticeship was not a
little enlivened by his conversations with my master. It frequently
happened during the deep snows, that the day passed without a single
customer, and on these occasions Lawyer Hatch was pretty sure to
pay us a visit. It was curious to see these two men, so opposite
in character, attracted to each other as if by contradiction.
My brother-in-law evidently found a pleasant relaxation in the
conversation of his neighbor, embellished with elegant wit and varied
learning, while the latter derived equal gratification from the
serious, manly intellect of his friend. In general the former was the
talker, and the latter the listener; yet sometimes the conversation
became discussion, and a keen trial of wit _versus_ logic ensued. The
lawyer always contended for victory; my brother-in-law for the truth.

The precise form of these conversations has vanished from my mind,
but some of the topics remain. I recollect long talks about the
embargo, non-intercourse, and other Jeffersonian measures, which
were treated with unsparing ridicule and reproach; anecdotes and
incidents of Napoleon, who excited mingled admiration and terror;
with observations upon public men, as well in Europe as America. I
remember also a very keen discussion upon Berkeley's theory of the
ideality of nature, mental and material, which so far excited my
curiosity, that, finding the "Minute Philosopher" by that author,
in the family library, I read it through with great interest
and attention. The frequent references to Shakespeare in these
conversations led me to look into his works, and, incited by the
recommendations of my sister, I read them through, somewhat doggedly,
seeking even to penetrate the more difficult and obscure passages.

It frequently happened that my master, owing to the influence of
disease, was affected with depression of spirits; and the lawyer's
best wit and choicest stories were expended without even exciting
a smile. Not discouraged, but rather stimulated by such adversity,
he usually went on, and was pretty sure at last to strike the vein,
as Moses did the water in the rock, and a gush of uncontrollable
laughter was the result. I remember in one instance, Mr. Cooke sat
for a long time, looking moodily into the fire, while Squire Hatch
went on telling stories, chiefly about clergymen, of which he had a
great assortment. I will endeavor to give you a sketch of the scene.

"I know not why it is so," said the lawyer; "but the fact is
undeniable, that the most amusing anecdotes are about clergymen.
The reason perhaps is, that incongruity is the source of humorous
associations; and this is evidently the most frequent and striking
in a profession which sets apart its members as above the mass of
mankind, in a certain gravity of character and demeanor, of which the
black coat is the emblem. A spot upon this strikes every eye, while a
brown coat, being the color of dirt, hides rather than reveals what
is upon its surface. Thus it is, as we all know, that what would be
insipid as coming from a layman, is very laughable if it happens to
a parson. I have heard that on a certain occasion, as the Rev. J----
M---- was about to read a hymn, he saw a little boy sitting behind
the chorister in the gallery, who had intensely red hair. The day
was cold, and the little rogue was pretending to warm his hands by
holding them close to the chorister's head. This so disconcerted the
minister, that it was some minutes before he could go on with the

The only effect of this was, that my master drew down one corner of
his mouth.

"I have heard of another clergyman," said the lawyer, "who suffered
in a similar way. One day, in the very midst of his sermon, he saw
Deacon B---- fast asleep, his head leaning back on the rail of the
pew, and his mouth wide open. A young fellow in the gallery above,
directly over him, took a quid of tobacco from his mouth, and taking
a careful aim, let it drop plump into the deacon's mouth. The latter
started from his sleep, and went through a terrible paroxysm of
fright and choking before he recovered."

Mr. Cooke bit his lip, but was silent. Lawyer Hatch, although he
pretended to be all the while looking into the fire, got a quick
side-glance at the face of his auditor, and continued,--

"You know the Rev. Dr. B----, sir? Well, one day he told me, that as
he was on his way to New Haven he came to the house of one of his
former parishioners, who, some years before, had removed to that
place. As he was about to pass it, he remembered that this person had
died recently, and he thought it meet and proper to stop and condole
with the widow. She met him very cheerfully, and they had some
pleasant chat together.

"'Madam,' said he, after a time, 'it is a painful subject--but you
have recently met with a severe loss.'

"She instantly applied her apron to her eyes, and said,--

"'Oh yes, doctor; there's no telling how I feel.'

"'It is indeed a great bereavement you have suffered.'

"'Yes, doctor; very great, indeed.'

"'I hope you bear it with submission?'

"'I try tu; but oh, doctor, I sometimes feel in my heart--Goosy,
goosy gander, where shall I wander?'"

The lawyer glanced at the object of his attack, and seeming to see a
small breach in the wall, he thought it time to bring up his heavy
guns. He went on,--

"There's another story about this same Dr. B----, which is amusing.
Some years ago he lost his wife, and after a time he began to look
out for another. At last he fixed his mind upon a respectable lady
in a neighboring town, and commenced paying her his addresses.
This naturally absorbed much of his time and attention, and his
parish became dissatisfied. The deacons of the church held several
conferences on the subject, and it was finally agreed that Deacon
Becket, who had the grace of smooth speech, should give the Reverend
Doctor a hint of what they deemed his fearful backsliding.
Accordingly, the next Sabbath morning, on going to church, the deacon
overtook the parson, and the following dialogue ensued,--

"'Good morning, Dr. B----.'

"'Good morning, Deacon Becket.'

"'Well, Doctor, I'm glad to meet you; for I wanted to say to you as
how I thought of changing my pew!'

"'Indeed! And why so?'

"'Well, I'll tell you. I sit, as you know, clear over the backside of
the meeting-house; and between me and the pulpit there's Judy Vickar,
Molly Warren, Experience Pettibone, and half-a-dozen old maids, who
sit with their mouths wide open, and they catch all the best of your
sarmon; and when it gets to me, it's plaguy poor stuff!'"

My brother-in-law could hold out no longer: his face was agitated for
a moment with nervous spasms; and then, bending forward, he burst
into a round, hearty laugh. The lawyer--who made it a point never to
smile at his own jokes--still had a look upon his face as much as to
say, "Well, sir, I thought I should get my case."

It may be easily imagined that I was greatly interested by these
conversations and discussions; and always felt not a little annoyed,
if perchance, as sometimes happened, I was called away in the midst
of a good story, or a keen debate, to supply a customer with a
gallon of treacle, or a paper of pins. I know not if this disgusted
me with my trade; but it is very certain that I conceived for it a
great dislike, nearly from the beginning. Never, so far as I can
recollect, did I for one moment enter heartily into its spirit. I
was always, while I continued in it, a mere servile laborer; doing
my duty, perhaps, yet with a languid and reluctant heart. However,
I got through the winter; and when the summer came, Mr. Cooke
nearly gave up personal attention to business in consequence of ill
health; and we had a new clerk, who was older than myself, and took
the responsible charge of the establishment. He was an excellent
merchant, and to me was a kind and indulgent friend. He afterwards
settled in Troy, where he is still living, in the enjoyment of an
ample fortune, and in excellent reputation as a father, friend,
Christian, and neighbor; the natural fruit of good sense, good
temper, and good conduct.



In the summer of 1809 I made a short tour with my brother-in-law and
my sister, for the health of the former. This, to me, was a grand
expedition; for among other places we visited was New Haven, then a
sort of Jerusalem in my imagination; a holy place containing Yale
College, of which Dr. Dwight was president. Besides all this, one of
my uncles and some of my cousins lived there; and, better still, my
brother was there, and then a member of the college. Ah, how my heart
beat when we set out! Such was the vividness of my perceptions, that
I could fill a book with recollections of that short, simple journey;
the whole circuit not exceeding one hundred and twenty miles.

I was duly impressed with the beauty of New Haven; for then, as
now, it was celebrated for a rare union of rural freshness and city
elegance. I have recently, in passing through it, had a transient
view of its appearance; and may safely affirm that, after pretty
large observation in the Old World as well as in the New, I know of
no town or city more inviting; especially to one whose judgment is
cultivated by observation and study, and whose feelings are chastened
by reflection and experience. There is something of the activity and
bustle of commerce in a part of the town, and at one point, all the
spasm of a railway station. In other portions of the place, and over
three-fourths of its area, there is the quietude and repose proper
to a seat of learning. Here the houses seem suited to the city, each
with a garden breathing the perfumes of the country.

At the period of the visit I am describing, New Haven had not
one-half its present population; and many of the institutions which
now adorn it did not exist. The College, however, was then as now, a
leading literary institution in the country. To me it was an object
of special reverence, as my grandfather and his five sons had all
graduated there. My brother and two of my cousins were at this time
among its inmates. Of course, I looked with intense curiosity at the
several buildings that belonged to it. Many things here excited my
admiration. I looked with particular interest--I may add, with some
degree of envy--at the students, who seemed to me the privileged
sons of the earth. Several were pointed out as promising to be the
master-spirits of their age and generation; in some cases, I have
since seen these anticipations fulfilled.

Next to the College I visited the Bay, and for the first time
actually stood upon the shore of that living sea which, through my
whole childhood, had spread its blue bosom before me in the distant
horizon. A party of three or four of us took a boat, and went down
toward the entrance of the Bay, landing on the eastern side. From
this point the view was enchanting; it was a soft summer afternoon,
and the sea only breathed upon by light puffs of wind that came
from the west. I looked long, and with a species of entrancement,
at its heaving and swelling surface: I ran my eye far away, till
it met the line where sky and wave are blended together: I followed
the lulling surf as it broke, curling and winding, among the mimic
bays of the rocky shore. It was a spectacle, not only full of beauty
in itself, but to me it was a revelation and a fulfilment of the
thousand half-formed fancies which had been struggling in my longing
bosom from very childhood.


Our party was so occupied with our contemplations, that we had
scarcely noticed a thunder-storm, which now approached and menaced
us from the west. We set out to return, but before we had got half
across the Bay it broke full upon us. The change in the aspect of
the sea was fearful: all its gentleness was gone; and now, black and
scowling, it seemed as if agitated by a demon, threatening everything
with destruction that came within its scope. By a severe struggle we
succeeded in reaching Long Walk, though not without risk.

While staying at New Haven, I met many distinguished men; as the
house of my uncle, Elizur Goodrich, was frequented by all the
celebrities of the place. Among these was Eli Whitney, the inventor
of the cotton-gin, a machine for combing out the seeds from the
cotton in its raw state, to which America may almost be said to owe
her cotton trade. Whitney's first gin was made in 1793, at which time
almost the whole of our raw material was imported. The results of
his invention may be estimated by the fact, that while in 1789 only
one million pounds of cotton were produced in the United States, the
product of the year 1855 exceeded fourteen hundred millions!

We saw the original model of Mr. Whitney's gin at his gun-factory,
which was situated in a wild, romantic spot, near the foot of East
Rock, and about two miles distant from New Haven.

Having spent about a week at New Haven, we proceeded to Durham, an
old-fashioned, sleepy town, of a thousand inhabitants. It is chiefly
remarkable for the distinguished men it has produced--the Chaunceys,
celebrated in the annals of New England, and, I may add, in those
of the country at large; the Wadsworths, no less noted in various
commanding stations, military and civil, public and private; the
Lymans, renowned in the battlefield, the college, the pulpit, and the
senate; the Austins--father and son--to whose talent and enterprise
Texas owes her position as a member of the Union.

To this list of remarkable names, I trust I may add that of the
Goodriches, without the imputation of egotism, for historical
justice demands it. At the time I visited the place, nearly all the
family had long since left it. My grandfather, Dr. Goodrich, died in
1797, but my grandmother was living, as well as her daughter, Mrs.
Smith, wife of Rev. David Smith, the clergyman of the place, who had
succeeded to my grandfather's pulpit.

I trust I have all due respect for my paternal grandmother, who has
already, by the way, been introduced to your notice. She was now
quite lame, but active, energetic, and alive to everything that was
passing. She welcomed me heartily, and took the best care of me in
the world, lavishing upon me, without stint, all the treasures of her
abundant larder. As to her Indian puddings--alas, I shall never see
their like again! A comfortable old body she was in all things, and,
as I have before remarked, took a special interest in the welfare of
the generation of descendants rising up around her. When she saw me
eating with a good appetite, her benignant grandmotherly face beamed
like a lantern.

As to my uncle and aunt Smith, I may remark that they were plain,
pious people, the former worthily filling the pulpit of my
grandfather, and enjoying a high degree of respect, alike from his
position and character. Besides attending to his parochial duties,
he prepared young men for college. Among his pupils were several
persons who attained distinction. As a man, he was distinguished
for his cheerful, frank, friendly manners: as a preacher, he was
practical, sincere, and successful. I must mention a story of him,
among my pulpit anecdotes. As sometimes happens, in a congregation
of farmers during midsummer, it once chanced that a large number of
his people, even the deacons in the sacramental seat, fell asleep in
the very midst of the sermon. The minister looked around, and just at
this moment, the only person who seemed quite awake was his eldest
son, David, sitting in the pew by the side of the pulpit. Pausing a
moment, and looking down upon his son, he exclaimed, in a powerful

"David, wake up!"

In a moment the whole congregation roused themselves, and long did
they remember the rebuke.

During our stay at Durham, my brother-in-law was so ill as to need
the advice of a skilful physician. Accordingly, I was dispatched on
horseback to Middletown, a distance of eight or ten miles, for Dr.
O----, then famous in all the country round about. On my way I met a
man of weather-beaten complexion and threadbare garments, mounted on
a lean and jaded mare. Beneath him was a pair of plump saddlebags.
He had all the marks of a doctor, for then men of his profession
traversed the country on horseback, carrying with them a collection
of pills, powders, and elixirs, equivalent to an apothecary's shop.
Instinct told me that he was my man. As I was about to pass him
I drew in my breath, to ask if he were Dr. O----, but a sudden
bashfulness seized me: the propitious moment passed, and I went on.

On arriving at the house of Dr. O----, I learned that he had gone
to the village in the south-western part of the town, six or eight
miles off. "There!" said I to myself, "I knew it was he: if I had
only spoken to him!" However, reflection was vain. I followed to the
designated spot, and there I found that he had left about half an
hour before, for another village in the central part of the town. I
gave chase, but he was too quick for me, so that I was obliged to
return to Durham without him. "Ah!" I thought, "how much trouble a
little courage would have saved me!" In fact, I took the incident
to heart, and have often practised to advantage upon the lesson it
suggested; which is, Never to let a doctor, or anything else, slip,
for the want of asking an opportune question.

At length we departed from Durham, and took our way homeward, through
a series of small towns, arriving at last at Woodbury. The week of
our sojourn here flew on golden wings with me. The village itself
was after my own heart. It lies in a small tranquil valley, its
western boundary consisting of a succession of gentle acclivities,
covered with forests; that on the east is formed of basaltic ledges,
broken into wild and picturesque forms, rising sharp and hard against
the horizon. Through the valley, in long serpentine sweeps, flows
a stream, clear and bright, now dashing and now sauntering; here
presenting a rapid, and there a glassy pool. In ancient times it
was bordered by cities of the beaver; it was now the haunt of a few
isolated and persecuted muskrats. In the spring and autumn, the wild
ducks, in their migrations, often stooped to its bosom for a night's
lodging. At all seasons it was renowned for its trout. In former
ages, when the rivers, protected by the deep forests, ran full to the
brim, and when the larger streams were filled to repletion with shad
and salmon, this was sometimes visited by enterprising individuals
of their race, which shot up cataracts, and leaped over obstructing
rocks, roots, and mounds, impelled by instinct to seek places remote
from the sea, where they might deposit their spawn in safety. In
those days, I imagine, the accidents and incidents of shad and salmon
life often rivalled the adventurous annals of Marco Polo or Robinson

There was about this little village a singular union of refinement
and rusticity, of cultivated plain and steepling rock, of blooming
meadow and dusky forest. The long, wide street, saving the highway
and a few stray paths here and there, was a bright, grassy lawn,
decorated with abundance of sugar-maples, which appeared to have
found their Paradise. Such is the shape of the encircling hills
and ledges that the site of the village seemed a sort of secluded
Happy Valley, where everything turns to poetry and romance. And this
aptitude is abundantly encouraged by history; for here was once the
favored home of a tribe of Indians. All around--the rivers, the
hills, the forests--are still rife with legends and remembrances
of the olden time. A rocky mound, rising above the river on one
side, and dark forests on the other, bears the name of "Pomperaug's
Castle;" a little to the north, near a bridle-path that traversed the
meadows, was a heap of stones, called "Pomperaug's Grave." To the
east I found a wild ledge, called "Bethel Rock." And each of these
objects has its story.

It was a great time, that happy week--for let it be remembered that
for a whole year I had been imprisoned in a country store. What
melody was there in the forest echoes then! Ah! I have since heard
Catalani, and Garcia, and Pasta, and Sontag, and Grisi; I have even
heard "the Swedish Nightingale;" nay, in France and Italy--the very
home of music and song--I have listened to the true nightingale,
which has given to Jenny Lind her sweetest and most appropriate
epithet; but never, in one or all, have I heard such music as filled
my ears that incense-breathing morn, when I made a foray into the
wilds of Woodbury!

We returned to Danbury after a tour of some five or six weeks. The
succeeding autumn and winter presented no peculiar incident--with a
single exception. There was, if I rightly remember, in the month of
February, a certain "cold Friday," which passed down to succeeding
generations as among the marvels of the time. It had snowed heavily
for three days, and the ground was covered three feet deep. A driving
wind from the north-east then set in, and growing colder and colder,
it became at last so severe as to force everybody to shelter. This
continued for two days, the whole air being filled with sleet, so
that the sun, without a cloud in the sky, shone dim and grey as
through a fog. The third day the wind increased, both in force and
intensity of cold. Horses, cattle, fowls, sheep, perished in their
coverings. The roads were blocked up with enormous drifts; the mails
were stopped, travelling was suspended; the world, indeed, seemed
paralyzed, and the circulation of life to be arrested.

[Illustration: THE COLD FRIDAY.]

On the morning of this third day, which was the ominous and famous
Friday, word was brought to my sister that a poor family, about two
miles off, to whom she had long been a kind friend, was in danger
of starvation. She knew no fear, and tolerated no weakness. A thing
that ought to be done, was to be done. Therefore, a sack was filled
with bread, meat, candles, and a pint of rum: this was lashed around
my waist. The horse was brought to the door--I mounted and set off.
I knew the animal well, and we had enjoyed many a scamper together.
He was, indeed, after my own heart--clean limbed, with full, knowing
eyes, and small, pointed sensitive ears. He had a cheerful walk, a
fleet, skimming trot, a swift gallop, and all these paces we had
often tried. I think he knew who was on his back; but when we got to
the turning of the road, which brought his nostrils into the very
tunnel of the gale, he snorted, whirled backward, and seemed resolved
to return. I, however, brought him steady to his work, gave him sharp
advice in the ribs, and showed him that I was resolved to be master.
Hesitating a moment, as if in doubt whether I could be in earnest, he
started forward; yet so keen was the blast, that he turned aside his
head, and screamed as if his nostrils were pierced with hot iron. On
he went, however, in some instances up to the saddle in the drift,
yet clearing it at full bounds.

In a few minutes we were at the door of the miserable hut, now half
buried in a snow-drift. I was just in time. The wretched inmates--a
mother and three small children--without fire, without food, without
help or hope, were in bed, poorly clothed, and only keeping life
in their bodies by a mutual cherishing of warmth, like pigs or
puppies in a similar extremity. The scene within was dismal in the
extreme. The fireplace was choked with snow, which had fallen down
the chimney: the ill-adjusted doors and windows admitted alike
the drift and the blast, both of which swept across the room in
cutting currents. As I entered, the pale, haggard mother comprehend
at a glance that relief had come, burst into a flood of tears. I
had no time for words. I threw them the sack, remounted my horse,
and, the wind at my back, I flew home. One of my ears was a little
frost-bitten, and occasionally, for years after, a tingling and
itching sensation there reminded me of my ride; which, after all,
left an agreeable remembrance upon my mind.

Danbury is a handsome town, chiefly built on a long, wide street,
crossed near the northern extremity by a small river, a branch of
the Housatonic, which, having numerous rapids, affords abundance of
mill-sites in its course. At this crossing there were two extensive
hat-factories, famous over the whole country.

Nearly all the workmen in these establishments, of whom there were
several hundred at the time I am describing, were foreigners, mostly
English and Irish. A large part of the business of our store was
the furnishing of rum to these poor wretches, who bought one or
two quarts on Saturday night and drank till Monday, and frequently
till Tuesday. A factory workman of those days was thought to be
born to toil, and to get drunk. Philanthropy itself had not then
lifted its eye or its hopes above this hideous malaria of custom. It
is a modern discovery that manufacturing towns may rise up, where
comfort, education, morals, and religion, in their best and happiest
exercise, may be possessed by the toiling masses.

A few words more, and I have done with Danbury. The health of my
brother-in-law gradually failed, and at last, as winter approached,
he took to his room, and finally to his bed. By almost insensible
degrees, and with singular tranquillity of mind and body, he
approached his end. It was a trait of his character to believe
nothing, to do nothing, by halves. Having founded his faith on
Christ, Christianity was now, in its duties, its promises, and its
anticipations, as real as life itself. He was afflicted with no
doubts, no fears. With his mind in full vigor, his strong intellect
vividly awake, he was ready to enter into the presence of his God.
The hour came. He had taken leave of his friends, and then, feeling
a sense of repose, he asked to be left alone. They all departed save
one, who sat apart, listening to every breath. In a few moments she
came and found him asleep, but it was the sleep that knows no waking!

I continued in the store alone for several months, selling out the
goods, and closing up the affairs of the estate. I had now a good
deal of time to myself, and thumbed over several books, completing my
reading of Shakspeare, to which I have already alluded. It happened
that we had a neighbor over the way, a good-natured, chatty old
gentleman, by the name of Ebenezer White. He had been a teacher,
and had a great taste for mathematics. In those days it was the
custom for the newspapers to publish mathematical questions, and
to invite their solution. Master White was sure to give the answer
first. In fact, his genius for mathematics was so large, that it
left rather a moderate space in his brain for common sense. He was,
however, full of good feeling, and was now entirely at leisure.
Indeed, time hung heavy on his hands, so he made me frequent visits,
and in fact lounged away an hour or two of almost every day at the
store. I became at last interested in mathematics, and under his
good-natured and gratuitous lessons I learned something of geometry
and trigonometry, and thus passed on to surveying and navigation.
This was the first drop of real science that I ever tasted--I might
almost say the last, for though I have since skimmed a good many
books, I feel that I have really mastered almost nothing.



I now enter upon a new era in my life. Early in the summer of 1811, I
took leave of Danbury, and went to Hartford. On my arrival there, I
was installed in the dry-goods store of C. B. K----, my father having
made the arrangement some weeks before.

My master had no aptitude for business, and spent much of his time
away, leaving the affairs of the shop to an old clerk, by the name
of Jones, and to me. Things went rather badly, and he sought to mend
his fortune by speculation in Merino sheep--then the rage of the
day. A ram sold for a thousand dollars, and a ewe for a hundred.
Fortunes were made and lost in a day during this mania. My master,
after buying a flock and driving it to Vermont, where he spent three
months, came back pretty well shorn--that is, three thousand dollars
out of pocket! This soon brought his affairs to a crisis, and so in
the autumn I was transferred to the dry-goods store of J. B. H----.

My new employer had neither wife nor child to take up his time, so
he devoted himself sedulously to business. He was, indeed, made for
it--elastic in his frame, quick-minded, of even temper, and assiduous
politeness. He was already well established, and things marched
along as if by rail. For a time we had another clerk, but he was
soon dismissed, and I was the only assistant; my master, however,
seldom leaving the shop during business hours. Had the capacity for
trade been in me, I might now have learned my business. I think I
may say that I fulfilled my duty, at least in form. I was regular
in my hours, kept the books duly journalized and posted. I never
consciously wronged arithmetic to the amount of a farthing. I duly
performed my task at the counter. Yet, in all this I was a slave:
my heart was not in my work. My mind was away; I dreamed of other
things; I thought of other pursuits.

And yet I scarcely knew all this. I had certainly no definite plan
for the future. A thousand things floated before my imagination.
Every book I read drew me aside into its own vortex. Poetry made me
poetical; politics made me political; travels made me truant. I was
restless, for I was in a wrong position; yet I asked no advice, for
I did not know that I needed it. My head and heart were a hive of
thoughts and feelings, without the regulating and sedative supremacy
of a clear and controlling intelligence.

I was then eighteen years of age. I had been sufficiently educated
for my station. My parents had now removed from Ridgefield to Berlin,
a distance of but eleven miles from my present residence, so that I
had easy and frequent communication with them. My uncle, Chauncey
Goodrich, then a Senator of the United States, lived in an almost
contiguous street, and while in the city, always treated me with the
kindness and consideration which my relationship to him naturally
dictated. In general, then, my situation was eligible enough; and yet
I was unhappy.

The truth is, I had now been able to sit in judgment upon myself--to
review my acquirements, to analyze my capacities, to estimate my
character, to compare myself with others, and to see a little into
the future. The decision was painful to my ambition. I had all along,
unconsciously, cherished a vague idea of some sort of eminence, and
this, unhappily, had nothing to do with selling goods or making
money. I had lived in the midst of relations, friends, and alliances,
all of which had cultivated in me trains of thought alien to my
present employment. My connections were respectable--some of them
eminent, but none of them rich. All had acquired their positions
without wealth, and I think it was rather their habit to speak of it
as a very secondary affair. Brought up under such influences, how
could I give up my heart to trade? It was clear, indeed, that I had
missed my vocation.

Full of this conviction, I besought my parents to allow me to quit
the store, and attempt to make my way through college. Whether for
good or ill, I know not, but they decided against the change, and
certainly on substantial grounds. Their circumstances did not permit
them to offer me any considerable aid, and without it they feared
that I should meet with insuperable difficulties. I returned to the
store disheartened at first, but after a time my courage revived,
and I resolved to re-educate myself. I borrowed some Latin books,
and with the aid of George Sheldon, an assistant in a publisher's
establishment, and at this time my bosom friend, I passed through the
Latin Grammar, and penetrated a little way into Virgil. This was done
at night, for during the day I was fully occupied.

At the same time I began, with such light and strength as I
possessed, to train my mind, to discipline my thoughts, then as
untamed as the birds of the wilderness. _I sought to think_--to think
steadily, to acquire the power of forcing my understanding up to a
point, and make it stand there and do its work. I attempted to gain
the habit of speaking methodically, logically, and with accumulating
power, directed to a particular object. I did all this as well by
study as by practice. I read Locke on the Understanding and Watts
on the Mind. I attempted composition, and aided myself by Blair's

This was a task; for not only was my time chiefly occupied by my
daily duties, but it was a contest against habit--it was myself
against myself; and in this I was almost unaided and alone. I
was to lay aside the slipshod practice of satisfying myself with
impressions, feelings, guesses; in short, of dodging mental labor by
jumping at conclusions. I was, indeed, to learn the greatest of all
arts, that of reasoning--of discovering the truth; and I was to do
this alone, and in the face of difficulties, partly founded in my
mental constitution, and partly also in my training.

I did not at first comprehend the extent of my undertaking. By
degrees I began to appreciate it: I saw and felt, at last, that it
was an enormous task, and even after I had resolved upon it, again
and again my courage gave way, and I ceased my efforts in despair.
Still I returned to the work by spasms. I found, for instance, that
my geography was all wrong: Asia stood up edgewise in my imagination,
just as I had seen it on an old smoky map in Lieutenant Smith's
study; Africa was in the south-east corner of creation, and Europe
was somewhere in the north-east. In fact, my map of the world was
very Chinese in its projection. I knew better, but still I had
thus conceived it, and the obstinate bump of locality insisted upon
presenting its outlines to my mind according to this arrangement. I
had similar jumbles of conception and habit as to other things. This
would not do; so I re-learned the elements of geography; I revised
my history, my chronology, my natural history, in all of which I had
caught casual glimpses of knowledge. What I read I read earnestly. I
determined to pass no word without ascertaining its meaning, and I
persevered in this, doggedly, for five-and-twenty years.

My friend Sheldon was of inestimable service to me in my studies.
Possessing advantages over me in age, experience, and education, he
made many rough places smooth to my stumbling feet. Especially when,
during my early efforts in thinking, my mind was assailed with doubts
as to the truth of the Christian religion, his clear intelligence and
sincere faith did much to help me through my difficulties.



During my residence at Hartford war was declared against Great
Britain. For some time Connecticut held aloof from all participation
in the struggle. But when, in 1813, our own territory was threatened,
all feeling vanished before the instinct of self-preservation, and
the strong feeling of animosity which then raged against England.
Anticipating this state of things, the state government had made
preparations for the emergency.

As it was midsummer--a period when the husbandmen could ill afford to
leave their farms--orders were sent by Governor Smith to dispatch at
once the companies of militia from the larger towns to the defence of
New London and the neighboring country. At that time I belonged to
an artillery company, and this was among those ordered to the coast.
I received a summons at four o'clock in the afternoon to be ready to
march next day at sunrise. I went at once to consult my uncle--who,
by the way, was at that time not only mayor of the city, but
Lieutenant-Governor of the State. He had a short time before promised
to make me one of his aids, and perhaps thought I should expect him
now to fulfill his engagement. He soon set that matter at rest.

"You must, of course, go," said he. "We old federalists cannot
shelter our nephews when there is a question of defending our own

"Ought I not to consult my parents?" said I.

"I will go down and see them to-morrow," he replied.

"Certainly, then, I shall go. I wish to go. My only feeling is, that
my mother may have some anxiety."

"I will see her to-morrow. You may be at ease on that subject. Be
ready to march at sunrise, according to your orders. I will come and
see you before you start."

The next morning, while it was yet dark, he came, gave me some
letters of introduction, and also supplied me with ten dollars--a
welcome addition to my light purse. After a little advice he
said,--"I have only one thing to add: If you come to a fight, _don't
run away till the rest do_. Goodby!"

The next morning, June 7, 1813, about sunrise, the whole company,
nearly sixty in number, mounted in wagons, departed. At sunset we
were on the heights two miles back of New London. No provision had
been made for us, and so we went supperless to bed in a large empty
barn. I scarcely closed my eyes, partly because it was my first
experiment in sleeping on the floor, and partly because of the
terrific snoring of a fellow-soldier by my side. Never have I heard
such a succession of choking, suffocating, strangling sounds, as
issued from his throat. I expected that he would die, and, indeed,
once or twice I thought he was dead. Strange to say, he got up the
next morning in excellent condition, and seemed, indeed, to feel
better for the exercise. This man became quite a character before the
campaign was over: he got the title, of Æolus, and as he could not
be tolerated in the barracks, he was provided with a tent at a good
distance, where he blew his blast without restraint. At the close of
the campaign he was the fattest man in the company.

I was glad to see the daylight. The weather was fine, and as the
sun came up we saw the British fleet--some half-dozen large ships
of war--lying off the mouth of the Thames. They seemed very near
at hand, and for the first time I realized my situation--that of
a soldier who was likely soon to be engaged in battle. I said
nothing of my emotions: indeed, words were unnecessary. I watched
the countenances of my companions as they first caught a view of
the black and portentous squadron, and I read in almost every
face a reflection of my own feelings. We were, however, not all
sentimentalists. There were among us, as doubtless in all such
companies, a supply of witty, reckless Gallios, who gave a cheerful
turn to our thoughts. We soon dispersed among the inhabitants,
scattered over the neighboring hills and valleys, for breakfast. Like
hungry wolves we fell upon the lean larders, and left famine behind.
Of course every one offered to pay, but not one person would accept
a farthing: we were, indeed, received as protectors and deliverers.
It was something, after all, to be soldiers! With our stomachs
fortified, and our consciousness flattered, we came cheerfully

At ten o'clock we were mustered, and began our march all in our best
trim: cocked hats, long-tailed blue coats, with red facings, white
pantaloons, and shining cutlasses at our sides. Our glittering cannon
moved along with the solemnity of elephants. It was, in fact, a fine
company--all young men, and many from the best families in Hartford.
As we entered New London the streets presented some confusion, for
the people were still removing back into the country, as an attack
was daily expected. A few military companies were also gathering into
the town. We were, however, not wholly overlooked: women put their
heads out of the windows and smiled their gratitude as we passed
along. Men stopped and surveyed us with evident signs of approbation.
It was a glorious thing to belong to such a company! At last we
came to a halt in one of the public squares. Then there was racing
and chasing of aids-de-camp for four mortal hours, during which our
martial pride drooped a little in the broiling sun. At four o'clock
in the afternoon we were transported across the Thames to the village
of Groton, and took up our quarters in a large house on the bank of
the river, vacated for our use. Two immense kettles--the one filled
with junks of salt beef, and the other with unwashed potatoes--were
swung upon the kitchen trammels, and at six o'clock in the evening we
were permitted each to fish out his dinner from the seething mass.
That was my first soldier's supper; and, after all, it was a welcome



New London is situated on the western bank of the river Thames, three
miles from its mouth. It has now ten or twelve thousand inhabitants,
but at the time I am speaking of there were not more than four
thousand. The entrance to the river is broad, and affords a fine
harbor. This is defended by Fort Trumbull on the western side of the
river, half a mile below the city. It contained a garrison of six or
seven hundred soldiers during the war of 1812.

Opposite to New London is the village of Groton, the main street
running along the river bank; on an eminence some hundred rods
from the river, and commanding a view of the surrounding country,
including the harbor and the islands which lie scattered near it
in the Sound, is the site of Fort Griswold. The old fort is now
in ruins, but in my time it was in tolerable repair. Our company,
as well as other portions of the militia, labored upon it, and
strengthened it, as well by completing its works as by erecting a
small redoubt upon the south-eastern side. To the defence of the
latter, in case of attack, the Hartford company was assigned.

The officers of our company were rigid disciplinarians, and
accordingly we were drilled for about four hours each day. We soon
gained much reputation for our martial exercises and our tidy
appearance. Many people came over from New London to witness our
performances, among whom were often persons of distinction. On
Sundays we marched two miles to church, and being in our best guise,
caused quite a sensation. Men and women, boys and girls, streamed
along at our flanks, often in a broiling sun, yet always with
admiring looks.

After a morning drill we were generally at leisure for the rest of
the day, taking our turns, however, on guard, and in other occasional
duties. Most of the soldiers gave up their rations of mess beef and
potatoes, and lived on their own resources. We formed ourselves into
a general club for a supply of fresh fish. Every day three of us went
out fishing, and generally returned with a half-bushel basket full of
various kinds, among which the blackfish or tataug, now so greatly
esteemed, was always abundant. I was employed by the captain to keep
his journal of our proceedings, and sometimes I was dispatched to New
London, or to some one of the officers along the line, with a letter
or a parcel.

I remember that on one occasion H. A----, my special companion, and
myself, were sent with a letter to an officer who commanded a small
picket on the eastern shore, near the mouth of the river; that is,
at Point Groton. It was a distance of some three miles. The weather
was pleasant, and our route lay along the shore of the stream,
which opens into a wide bay as it meets the Sound. As we approached
the southern point of the shore we found ourselves quite near to
the British squadron. One of the vessels, which we knew as the
"Acasta"--for we had learned all their names--was under full sail in
a light wind, and coming up toward the shore. She was already so near
that we could see the men, and note every movement on the deck. While
we were admiring the beautiful appearance of the ship, we suddenly
saw several white puffs issue from her sides and uncoil themselves
into volumes of smoke. Then came a deafening roar; a moment after,
and in the very midst of it, there were wild howls in the air above
our heads. At a little distance beyond the ground was ploughed up,
scattering the soil around, and the top of one of the forest trees,
of which a few were scattered here and there, was cut asunder and
fell almost at our feet.

We understood the joke in an instant, and so did the lieutenant
who commanded the picket. He was the object of the attack, and the
broadside of the "Acasta," sending its shot over our heads, had
hurled one or two balls crashing through the roof of the little
fish-hut which he and his men occupied. In less than five minutes
they were seen trotting off at a round pace, with their cannon
jerking right and left over the rough ground behind them. Several
other shots were fired, but the party escaped in safety. My companion
and myself ensconced ourselves behind the rocks, and though it
was grave sport we enjoyed it exceedingly. We could trace the
cannon-balls as they flew by, looking like globes of mist twinkling
through the air. Several of them passed close over our heads, and
grooved the earth in long trenches at our sides. The noise they
made as they rose high in the air was a strange mixture, between
a howl and a scream. After having thus showed her teeth and made
a great noise the frigate returned to her anchorage, and all was
quiet. I hope I shall not degrade myself as a soldier in your eyes
by confessing that this was the only battle in which I was engaged
during this glorious war!

I must, however, mention one circumstance which tried the souls of
our company. On a certain Saturday a large accession to the British
force arrived in the bay, the whole number of vessels of all kinds
amounted to fourteen. This looked very much like an attack, and
accordingly there was a feverish anxiety among the inhabitants of New
London and the vicinity, and a general bustle in the army from Groton
Point to Allyn's Mountain. A large body of militia was set to work
upon Fort Griswold. Our company was drilled in the little redoubt
which we were to defend, and every preparation was made to give the
enemy a warm reception. The general idea was, that a landing of
British troops would be made on the eastern side, and that we should
take the brunt of the first attack.

The sun set in clouds, and as the evening advanced bursts of thunder,
attended by flashes of lightning, muttered along the distant horizon.
Our company was admonished to sleep on their arms. Everything wore a
rather ominous appearance. There were no signs of cowardice in the
men, but they looked thoughtful; and when the wit of the company
let off some of his best jokes--which would ordinarily have set the
whole corps in a roar--he was answered by a dead silence. It chanced
that I was that night on guard. My turn came at ten o'clock. Taking
my gun, I paced the bank of the river in front of our barracks. I
had received orders to let nothing pass by land or water. It was
intensely dark, but at frequent intervals thin flashes of lightning
sprang up against the distant sky behind dark rolling masses of

Gradually the lights in the streets and windows of New London,
stretching in a long line on the opposite side of the river, were
extinguished one by one; a few remaining, however, as sentinels,
indicating anxiety and watchfulness. The sounds on all sides were at
last hushed, "and left the world to darkness and to me." More than
half of my two-hours' watch had passed when I heard the dip of oars
and the flapping of waves against the prow of a boat. I looked in
the direction of the sounds, and at last descried the dusky outline
of a small craft stealing down the river. I cried out,--"Boat ahoy!
who goes there?" My voice echoed portentously in the silence, but
no answer was given, and the low, black, raking apparition glided
on its way. Again I challenged, but there was still no reply. On
went the ghost! I cocked my gun. The click sounded ominously on the
still night air. I began to consider the horror of shooting some
fellow-being in the dark. I called a third time, and not without
avail. The rudder was turned, the boat whirled on her heel, and a
man came ashore. According to my orders I marshalled him to the
guard-room, and gave notice of what had happened to the captain.
The man was only a fisherman going home, but he was detained till
morning. So, you see, I can boast that I made one prisoner. My watch
was soon over, and returning to my station I laid down to sleep.

All was soon quiet, and I was buried in profound repose, when
suddenly there was a cry in the main barrack-room overhead,--"Alarm!

"Alarm! alarm!" was echoed by twenty voices, attended by quick,
shuffling sounds, and followed by a hurried rush of men down the
staircase. A moment after the guard in front discharged his musket,
and was answered by a long line of reports up and down the river,
from the various sentinels, extending for half-a-dozen miles. Then
came the roll of drums and the mustering of the men. Several of our
company had been out to see what was going on: they came back saying
that the enemy was approaching! J. M---- distinctly heard the roar of
cannon, and positively saw the flash of muskets. B. W---- found out
that the attack had already begun upon our southern pickets. Nobody
doubted that our time had come!

In a very few minutes our company was drawn up in line, and the
roll was called. It was still dark, but the faint flash gave us
now and then a glimpse of each other's faces. I think we were a
ghostly-looking set, but it was, perhaps, owing to the blueish
complexion of the light. J. S----, of West Hartford, who marched
at my left shoulder--usually the lightest-hearted fellow in the
company--whispered to me,--"Goodrich, I'd give fifty dollars to be
at West Division!" For myself, I felt rather serious, and asked
a certain anxious feeling in my stomach,--"What's to be done?"
Johnson, our captain, was a man of nerve and ready speech. When the
roll was finished, he said in a clear, hearty tone,--"All right, my
good fellows! Every man at his post!" These few words--which were,
however, more politic than true, for one fellow was taken with sudden
colic, and could not be got out--were electrical. We were ready to
take our places in the redoubt.

Messengers were now sent to the two neighboring posts to inquire into
the state of facts. Word was brought that the first alarm came from
our barracks! The matter was inquired into, and it turned out that
the whole affair was originated by a corporal of ours, who, in a fit
of nightmare, jumped up and cried,--"Alarm! alarm!"

Our martial ardor soon reconciled itself to this rather ludicrous
denouement, though several persons, who had been somewhat chapfallen,
became suddenly inflated with courage, which signalized itself with
outbursts of "Hang the British!" "They're a pack of sneaking cowards,
after all!" and the like. The next morning was fresh and fair. The
skirmishing thunder-gusts of the night had cleared the air, and even
distant objects seemed near at hand. Before us lay the whole British
fleet, still and harmless, in the glassy bay. My lefthand chum, J.
S----, who, in the dark hour, would have given fifty dollars to be
at West Division, was now himself again. "Come on here, you black
old Ramilies!" said he, dashing the doubled fist of his right hand
into the palm of his left: "Come on here, you black-hearted British
bull-dogs, and we'll do your business for you!"

Our period of service was brief. In about six weeks from the time
of our departure we were dismissed, and returned to our homes. Thus
closed my military career, so far as relates to active service.
The remembrances of my first and last campaign are, on the whole,
pleasant. There were feelings of fraternity established between the
members of the company which have continued to this day. My country
has not been unmindful of my services; for I have received two
land-warrants, giving me a title to some hundred and sixty acres,
with the fresh virgin soil of the Far West upon them. Say not that
republics are ungrateful!



I remember perfectly well the universal state of anxiety and
depression which prevailed in New England during the latter part of
the war. The acts of government, the movements of fleets and armies,
furnish no idea of the condition of society in its daily life.
Let me give you a few items as indications of the embarrassments,
vexations, and privations which the war had brought unto every man's
house and home. Such a thing as silver or gold money was almost
unknown. The chief circulation consisted of bills of suspended banks,
or what were called "facilities;" that is, bank notes, authorized
by the legislature of Connecticut, redeemable in three years after
the war. These were at fifteen to twenty-five per cent. discount
compared with specie. Banks issued notes of fifty, twenty-five, and
twelve-and-a-half cents. Barbers issued bills payable in shaving,
and various institutions adopted a similar course. The whole mass
acquired the title of "rag-money," "shin-plasters," &c.: a large
portion of it was notoriously worthless, either as being counterfeit,
or issued by irresponsible parties, yet it generally passed without

I had personal experience of the universal depression. In the summer
of 1814 I was out of my time, and cast about for some employment.
I went to New York for this object, but found not the slightest
encouragement. After some reflection I established a manufactory of
pocket-books, in connection with one of my friends, who furnished
the capital. The greatest difficulty was to find the materials. I
made expeditions to Boston, Charlestown, Providence, &c., and was
not able to obtain over fifty pieces of morocco fit for the purpose.
In December I went to New York, and was more successful. I made a
considerable purchase, and dispatched my goods by the carrier. Pretty
well content with my success, I had gone in the evening to a concert
at the City Hotel. While listening to the music there was a murmur
in the streets. Soon the door of the concert-room was thrown open,
and in rushed a man all breathless with excitement. He mounted on a
table, and swinging a white handkerchief aloft, cried out,--

"Peace! peace! peace!"

The music ceased: the hall was speedily vacated. I rushed into the
street, and oh, what a scene!

It was on the evening of Saturday, the 11th of February, 1815, that
the news of the treaty of peace reached New York. In half-an-hour
after Broadway was one living sea of shouting, rejoicing people.
"Peace! peace! peace!" was the deep, harmonious, universal anthem.
The whole spectacle was enlivened by a sudden inspiration. Somebody
came with a torch: the bright idea passed into a thousand brains. In
a few minutes thousands and tens of thousands of people were marching
about with candles, lamps, torches, making the jubilant street appear
like a gay and gorgeous procession. The whole night Broadway sang its
song of peace. We were all democrats--all federalists! Old enemies
rushed into each other's arms: every house was in a revel: every
heart seemed melted by a joy which banished all evil thought and
feeling. Nobody asked, that happy night, what were the terms of the
treaty: we had got peace--that was enough! I moved about for hours
in the ebbing and flowing tide of people, not being aware that I
had opened my lips. The next morning I found that I was hoarse from
having joined in the exulting cry of "Peace! peace!"

The next day, Sunday, all the churches sent up hymns of thanksgiving
for the joyous tidings. I set out in the stage-coach on Monday
morning for Connecticut. All along the road the people saluted us
with swinging of hats and cries of rejoicing. At one place, in a
rather lonesome part of the road, a schoolmaster came with the whole
school at his heels to ask us if the news was true. We told him it
was; whereupon he tied his bandanna pocket-handkerchief to a broom,
swung it aloft, and the whole school hosannaed, "Peace! peace!" At
all our stopping-places the people were gathered to rejoice in the
good tidings. At one little tavern I looked into a room, by chance,
the door being open, and there I saw the good-wife, with a chubby
boy in her lap--both in a perfect gale of merriment--the child
crying out, "Peath! peath!" Oh, ye makers of war, reflect upon this
heartfelt verdict of the people in behalf of peace!

We arrived at New Haven in the evening, and found it illuminated:
the next day I reached Hartford, and there also was a grand
illumination. The news spread over the country, carrying with it a
wave of shouts and rejoicings. Boston became clamorous with pealing
bells; the schools had a jubilee; the blockaded shipping, rotting at
the dilapidated wharves, got out their dusty buntings, and these,
ragged and forlorn, now flapped merrily in the breeze. At night the
city flamed far and wide--from Beacon street down the Bay, telling
the glorious tale even unto Cape Cod. So spread the news over the
country, everywhere, carrying joy to every heart--with, perhaps, a
single exception. At Washington, the authors of the war peeped into
the dispatches, and found that the treaty had no stipulations against
the Orders in Council, Paper Blockades, and Impressments, which were
the pretexts for the war. All that could be maintained was, that we
had made war, charging the enemy with very gross enormities, and we
had made peace, saying not one word about them!

So the war was ended.

Let us be frank, and confess the truth: the war, in the aspects in
which history thus presents it, was disgraceful to the authors of it:
it was, in many respects, disastrous to the country; and yet it has
left us some wholesome lessons. It has shown the danger and folly
of plunging a great country into a national conflict for narrow and
selfish purposes, because, under such circumstances, the people will
be divided, and it will be a partisan, and not a patriotic war; it
has put on record another instance in which war has been declared
in boasting, and ended precisely where it began, after years of
violence, sorrow, and bloodshed. It has shown, also--in connection
with subsequent events--the superiority of peace to war, even in
obtaining the ends of justice; for let it be remembered that Daniel
Webster extorted from Great Britain, by the force of argument, that
which the sword could not achieve.



I have told you that my apprenticeship terminated in the summer of
1814. Previous to that time I had made some advances in the study
of the French language, under M. Value, or, to give him his title,
the Count Value. This person had spent his early life in Paris, but
afterward migrated to St. Domingo, where he owned a large estate.
In the insurrection of 1794 he escaped only with his life. With
admirable cheerfulness and serenity he devoted himself to teaching
French and dancing, as means of support. He settled for a time at New
Haven, where, at the age of seventy, he was captivated by a tall,
red-haired schoolmistress of twenty, whom he married.

The Count finally established himself at Hartford, and I became one
of his pupils. I pursued my studies with considerable assiduity, and
to practise myself in French, I translated Chateaubriand's René.
One of my friends had just established a newspaper at Middletown,
and my translation was published there. About this time my health
was feeble, and my eyes became seriously affected in consequence
of my night studies. Unaware of the danger, I persevered, and thus
laid the foundation of a nervous weakness and irritability of my
eyes, which has since been to me a rock ahead in the whole voyage of
life. From that time I have never been able to read or write without
pain. As if by a kind of fatality, I seemed to be afterwards drawn
into a literary career, for which I was doubly disqualified--first
by an imperfect education, and next by defective eyesight. Oh! what
penalties have I paid for thus persisting in a course which seems to
have been forbidden to me by Providence. After a long and laborious
life, I feel a profound consciousness that I have done nothing well;
at the same time, days, months, nay years, have I struggled with the
constant apprehension that I should terminate my career in blindness!
How little do we know, especially in the outset of our existence,
what is before us! It is well that we do not know, for the prospect
would often overwhelm us.

In the autumn of 1814, as already stated, I established, in company
with a friend, a pocket-book factory at Hartford; but the peace put a
speedy termination to that enterprise. We came out of it with a small
loss, and my kind-hearted partner pocketed this, "for he had money,
and I had none." He forgave me, and would have done the same had the
deficit been more considerable, for he was a true friend.

Early in the following spring, I made an arrangement to go to Paris
as a clerk in the branch of the importing house of Richards, Taylor
& Wilder, of New York. About a month afterwards the news came that
Napoleon had suddenly returned from Elba, and as business was
prostrated by that event, my engagement failed. For nearly a year,
my health continued indifferent, and my eyes in such a state that
I was incapable of undertaking any serious business. I spent my
time partly at Berlin, and partly at Hartford. I read a little, and
practised my French with Value and his scholars. I also felt the need
of disciplining my hands and feet, which about these days seemed to
me to have acquired a most absurd development, giving me a feeling
of great embarrassment when I entered into company. I therefore
took lessons in dancing, and, whether I profited by it or not as to
manners, I am persuaded that this portion of my education was highly
beneficial to me in other points of view.

As many good people have a prejudice against dancing, I am disposed
to write down my experience on the subject. In the winter, our
good old teacher had weekly cotillion parties, for the purpose of
improving his scholars. The young men invited the young women, and
took them to these gatherings, and after the exercises conducted
them home again. I know this will sound strange to those who only
understand metropolitan manners at the present day; but I never
knew an instance, in my own experience or observation, in which the
strictest propriety was departed from. These parties took place in
the evening: they began at eight o'clock, and continued till ten or
eleven--sometimes till twelve. The company consisted entirely of
young persons, from fifteen to twenty years of age: they included
the children of the respectable inhabitants, with a number of young
ladies from the boarding-schools. Some of these I have since seen
the wives of bishops, senators, and governors of States--filling
the first stations to which women can aspire in this country, and
I am satisfied that these Hartford parties, under the auspices of
our amiable and respected old teacher, were every way refining and
elevating: not only did they impart ease of manner, but, as I think,
purity of sentiment.

In the spring of 1815 I paid a visit to New York, and having letters
of introduction to Oliver Wolcott and Archibald Gracie, I called on
these gentlemen. My lodgings were at the City Hotel, situated on the
western side of Broadway, between Thames and Cedar Streets, the space
being now occupied by warehouses. It was then the chief hotel of New
York, and was kept by a model landlord, named Jennings, with a model
bar-keeper by the name of Willard. The latter was said never to sleep
night or day, for at all hours he was at his post, and never forgot a
customer, even after an absence of twenty years.

It was late in the spring, and Mr. Gracie called for me and took me
to his country seat, occupying a little promontory on the western
side of Hurlgate, a charming spot. Contiguous to it were the summer
residences of many of the leading citizens of New York.

Here I spent a fortnight very agreeably. Mr. Gracie was at
this period distinguished alike on account of his wealth, his
intelligence, and his amiable and honorable character. Never have
I witnessed anything more charming--more affectionate, dignified,
and graceful, than the intercourse of the family with one another.
Not many years after, Mr. Gracie lost his entire fortune by the
vicissitudes of commerce, but his character was beyond the reach of
accident. He is still remembered with affectionate respect by all
those whose memories reach back to the times in which he flourished,
and when it might be said, without disparagement to any other man,
that he was the first merchant in New York.

Early in the ensuing summer, my uncle, Chauncey Goodrich, being in
bad health, paid a visit to Saratoga and Ballston for the benefit of
the waters, and I accompanied him. We soon returned, however, for
it was now apparent that he had a disease of the heart, which was
rapidly tending to a fatal result. Experiencing great suffering at
intervals, he gradually yielded to the progress of his malady, and
at last, on the 18th of August, 1815, while walking the room, and
engaged in cheerful conversation, he faltered, sank into a chair, and
instantly expired. "His death," says the historian, "was a shock to
the whole community. Party distinctions were forgotten, under a sense
of the general calamity; and in the simple but expressive language
which was used at his funeral, 'all united in a tribute of respect to
the man who had so long been dear to us, and done us so much good.'"
To me, the loss was irreparable; leaving, however, in my heart a
feeling of gratitude that I had witnessed an example of the highest
intellectual power united with the greatest moral excellence, and
that, too, in one whose relationship to me enforced and commended its
teachings to my special observance. Alas, how little have I done in
life that is worthy of such inspiration!

Not long after this, my friend George Sheldon, who had established
himself as a bookseller and publisher, invited me to become his
partner, and this I did early in the year 1816. We pursued the
business for nearly two years, during which time we published,
among other works, Scott's Family Bible, in five volumes quarto--a
considerable enterprise for that period in a place like Hartford. In
the autumn of 1817 I had gone to Berlin, for the purpose of making a
short excursion for the benefit of my health, when a messenger came
from Hartford, saying that my partner was very ill, and wished me
to return. I immediately complied, and on entering the room of my
friend I found him in a high fever, his mind already wandering in
painful dreams. As I came to his bedside he said,--"Oh, take away
these horrid knives, they cut me to the heart!" I stooped over him
and said,--

"There are no knives here; you are only dreaming."

"Oh, is it you?" said he. "I am glad you have come. Do stay with me,
and speak to me, so as to keep off these dreadful fancies."

I did stay by him for four days and nights; but his doom was sealed.
His mind continued in a state of wild delirium till a few minutes
before his death. I stood gazing at his face, when a sudden change
came over him: the agitated and disturbed look of insanity had
passed--a quiet pallor had come over his countenance, leaving it
calm and peaceful. He opened his eyes, and, as if waking from sleep,
looked on me with an aspect of recognition. His lips moved, and he
pronounced the name of his wife: she came, with all the feelings of
youth and love--ay, and of hope, too, in her heart. She bent over
him: he raised his feeble and emaciated arms and clasped her to his
heart: he gave her one kiss, and passed to another life!

The summer of 1816 was probably the coldest that has been known in
this century. In New England--from Connecticut to Maine--there were
severe frosts in every month. The crop of Indian corn was almost
entirely cut off: of potatoes, hay, oats, &c., there was not,
probably, more than half the usual supply. The means of averting
the effects of such a calamity--now afforded by railroads, steam
navigation, canals, and other facilities of intercommunication--did
not then exist. The following winter was severe, and the ensuing
spring backward. At this time I made a journey into New Hampshire,
passing along the Connecticut river, in the region of Hanover. It was
then June, and the hills were almost as barren as in November. I saw
a man at Orford who had been forty miles for a half-bushel of Indian
corn, and paid two dollars for it!

Along the seaboard it was not difficult to obtain a supply of food,
although every article was dear. In the interior it was otherwise:
the cattle died for want of fodder, and many of the inhabitants
nearly perished from starvation. The desolating effects of the war
still lingered over the country, and at last a kind of despair seized
upon some of the people. In the pressure of adversity many persons
lost their judgment, and thousands feared or felt that New England
was destined, henceforth, to become a part of the frigid zone. At the
same time, Ohio--with its rich soil, its mild climate, its inviting
prairies--was opened fully upon the alarmed and anxious vision. As
was natural under the circumstances, a sort of stampede took place
from cold, desolate, worn-out New England, to this land of promise.

I remember very well the tide of emigration through Connecticut
on its way to the West, during the summer of 1817. Some persons
went in covered wagons--frequently a family consisting of father,
mother, and nine small children, with one at the breast--some on
foot, and some crowded together under the cover, with kettle,
gridirons, feather-beds, crockery, and the family Bible, Watts's
Psalms and Hymns, and Webster's Spelling book--the lares and penates
of the household. Others started in ox-carts, and trudged on at
the rate of ten miles a-day. In several instances I saw families
on foot--the father and boys taking turns in dragging along an
improvised hand-wagon, loaded with the wreck of the household
goods--occasionally giving the mother and baby a ride. Many of
these persons were in a state of poverty, and begged their way as
they went. Some died before they reached the expected Canaan; many
perished after their arrival, from fatigue and privation; and others
from the fever and ague, which was then certain to attack the new

It was, I think, in 1818, that I published a small tract, entitled,
"T'other Side of Ohio," that is, the other view, in contrast to
the popular notion that it was the paradise of the world. It was
written by Dr. Hand, a talented young physician of Berlin, who had
made a visit to the West about this time. It consisted mainly of
vivid but painful pictures of the accidents and incidents attending
this wholesale migration. The roads over the Alleghanies, between
Philadelphia and Pittsburg, were then rude, steep, and dangerous, and
some of the more precipitous slopes were consequently strewn with the
carcases of wagons, carts, horses, oxen, which had made ship-wreck
in their perilous descents. The scenes on the road--of families
gathered at night in miserable sheds, called taverns--mothers frying,
children crying, fathers swearing, were a mingled comedy and tragedy
of errors. Even when they arrived at their new homes, along the banks
of the Muskingum, or the Scioto, frequently the whole family--father,
mother, children--speedily exchanged the fresh complexion and
elastic step of their first abodes, for the sunken cheek and languid
movement, which mark the victim of intermittent fever.

The instances of homesickness, described by this vivid sketcher, were
touching. Not even the captive Israelites, who hung their harps upon
the willows along the banks of the Euphrates, wept more bitter tears,
or looked back with more longing to their native homes, than did
these exiles from New England; mourning the land they had left, with
its roads, schools, meeting-houses; its hope, health, and happiness!
Two instances, related by the traveller, I must mention. He was one
day riding in the woods, apart from the settlements, when he met a
youth some eighteen years of age, in a hunting-frock, and with a
fowling-piece in his hand. The two fell into conversation.

"Where are you from?" said the youth, at last.

"From Connecticut," was the reply.

"That is near the old Bay State?"


"And have you been there?"

"To Massachusetts? Yes, many a time."

"Let me take your hand, stranger. My mother was from the Bay State,
and brought me here when I was an infant. I have heard her speak of
it. Oh, it must be a lovely land! I wish I could see a meeting-house
and a school-house, for she is always talking about them. And the
sea--the sea--oh, if I could see that! Did you ever see it, stranger?"

"Yes, often."

"What, the real, salt sea--the ocean--with the ships upon it?"


"Well," said the youth, scarcely able to suppress his emotion, "if I
could see the old Bay State and the ocean, I should be willing then
to die!"

In another instance the traveller met, somewhere in the valley of the
Scioto, a man from Hartford, by the name of Bull. He was a severe
democrat, and feeling sorely oppressed with the idea that he was no
better off in Connecticut under federalism than the Hebrews in Egypt,
joined the throng and migrated to Ohio. He was a man of substance,
but his wealth was of little avail in a new country, where all the
comforts and luxuries of civilization were unknown.

"When I left Connecticut," said he, "I was wretched from thinking of
the sins of federalism. After I had got across Byram river, which
divides that State from New York, I knelt down and thanked the Lord
for that He had brought me and mine out of such a priest-ridden land.
But I've been well punished, and I'm now preparing to return; when I
again cross Byram river, I shall thank God that He has permitted me
to get back again!"



Early in the year 1818 I was married to the daughter of Stephen Rowe
Bradley, of Westminster, Vermont. Thus established in life, I pursued
the business of bookseller and publisher at Hartford for four years.
My vocation gave me the command of books, but I was able to read
very little--my eyes continuing to be so weak that I could hardly do
justice to my affairs. However, I dipped into a good many books, and
acquired a considerable knowledge of authors and their works.

During the period in which Scott had been enchanting the world with
his poetry--that is, from 1805 to 1815--I had shared in the general
intoxication. The Lady of the Lake delighted me beyond expression,
and even now, it seems to me the most pleasing and perfect of
metrical romances. These productions seized powerfully upon the
popular mind, partly on account of the romance of their revelations,
and partly also because of the simplicity of the style, and the easy
flow of the versification. Everybody could read and comprehend them.
One of my younger sisters committed the whole of the Lady of the Lake
to memory, and was accustomed of an evening to sit at her sewing,
while she recited it to an admiring circle of listeners. All young
poets were inoculated with the octo-syllabic verse, and newspapers,
magazines, and even volumes, teemed with imitations and variations
inspired by the "Wizard Harp of the North." Not only did Scott
himself continue to pour out volume after volume, but others produced
set poems in his style, some of them so close in their imitation
as to be supposed the works of Scott himself, trying the effect of
a disguise. At last, however, the market was overstocked, and the
general appetite began to pall with a surfeit, when a sudden change
took place in the public taste.

It was just at this point that Byron produced his first canto of
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. Scott speedily appreciated the eclipse
to which his poetical career was doomed by the rising genius of
Byron. He now turned his attention to prose fiction, and in July,
1814, completed and published Waverley, which had been begun some
eight or ten years before. Guy Mannering came out the next year,
and was received with a certain degree of eagerness. The Antiquary,
Black Dwarf, Old Mortality, Rob Roy, and the Heart of Mid-Lothian,
followed in quick succession. I suspect that never, in any age, have
the productions of any author created in the world so wide and deep
an enthusiasm. This emotion reached its height upon the appearance
of Ivanhoe in 1819, which, I think, proved the most popular of these
marvellous productions.

At this period, although there was a good deal of mystery as to
their authorship, the public generally referred them to Scott. He
was called the "Great Unknown"--a title which served to create even
an adventitious interest in his career. The appearance of a new tale
from his pen caused a greater sensation in the United States than did
some of the battles of Napoleon, which decided the fate of thrones
and empires. Everybody read these works; everybody--the refined
and the simple--shared in the delightful dreams which seemed to
transport them to remote ages and distant climes, and made them live
and breathe in the presence of the stern Covenanters of Scotland,
the gallant bowmen of Sherwood Forest, or even the Crusaders in
Palestine, where Coeur de Lion and Saladin were seen struggling for
the mastery! I can testify to my own share in this intoxication. I
was not able, on account of my eyes, to read these works myself, but
I found friends to read them to me. To one good old maid--Heaven
bless her!--I was indebted for the perusal of no less than seven of
these tales.

Of course, there were many editions of these works in the United
States, and among others, I published an edition, I think, in eight
volumes, octavo--including those which had appeared at that time.

About this time I began to think of trying to bring out original
American works. It must be remembered that I am speaking of a
period prior to 1820. At that date, Bryant, Irving, and Cooper, the
founders of our modern literature, had just commenced their literary
career. Neither of them had acquired a positive reputation. Halleck,
Percival, Brainard, Longfellow, Willis, were at school--at least, all
were unknown. The general impression was that we had not, and could
not have, a literature. It was the precise point at which Sydney
Smith had uttered that bitter taunt in the Edinburgh Review--"Who
reads an American book?" It proved to be that "darkest hour just
before the dawn." The successful booksellers of the country were for
the most part the mere reproducers and sellers of English books. It
was positively injurious to the commercial credit of a bookseller to
undertake American works, unless they might be Morse's Geographies,
classical books, school-books, devotional books, or other utilitarian

Nevertheless, about this time, I published an edition of Trumbull's
poems, in two volumes, octavo, and paid him a thousand dollars and
a hundred copies of the work, for the copyright. I was seriously
counselled against this by several booksellers--and, in fact,
Trumbull had sought a publisher in vain for several years previous.
There was an association of designers and engravers at Hartford,
called the "Graphic Company," and as I desired to patronize the
liberal arts there, I employed them to execute the embellishments.
For so considerable an enterprise, I took the precaution to get a
subscription, in which I was tolerably successful. The work was at
last produced, but it did not come up to the public expectation, or
the patriotic zeal had cooled, and more than half the subscribers
declined taking the work. I did not press it, but putting a good face
upon the affair, I let it pass, and--while the public supposed I had
made money by my enterprise, and even the author looked askance at me
in the jealous apprehension that I had made too good a bargain out of
him--I quietly pocketed a loss of about a thousand dollars. This was
my first serious adventure in patronizing American literature.

About the same period I turned my attention to books for education
and books for children, being strongly impressed with the idea that
there was here a large field for improvement. I wrote, myself,
a small arithmetic, and half-a-dozen toy-books, and published
them anonymously. I also employed several persons to write school
histories, and educational manuals of chemistry, natural philosophy,
&c., upon plans which I prescribed--all of which I published; but
none of these were very successful at that time. Some of them,
passing into other hands, are now among the most popular and
profitable school-books in the country.

It was before this period that Miss Huntly, now Mrs. Sigourney,
was induced to leave her home in Norwich, and make Hartford her
residence. This occurred about the year 1814. Ere long she was the
presiding genius of our social circle. I shall not write her history,
nor dilate upon her literary career, yet I may speak of her influence
in this new relation--a part of which fell upon myself. Mingling in
the gayeties of our social gatherings, and in no respect clouding
their festivity, she led us all toward intellectual pursuits and
amusements. We had even a literary coterie under her inspiration,
its first meetings being held at Mr. Wadsworth's. I believe one
of my earliest attempts at composition was made here. The ripples
thus begun, extended over the whole surface of our young society,
producing a lasting and refining effect. It could not but be
beneficial thus to mingle in intercourse with one who has the faculty
of seeing poetry in all things and good everywhere. Few persons
living have exercised a wider influence than Mrs. Sigourney. No one
that I now know can look back upon a long and earnest career of such
unblemished beneficence.



In 1821, clouds and darkness began to gather around my path. By a
fall from a horse, I was put upon crutches for more than a year, and
a cane for the rest of my life. Ere long death entered my door, and
my home was desolate. I was once more alone--save only that a child
was left me, to grow to womanhood, and to die a youthful mother,
loving and beloved. My affairs became embarrassed, my health failed,
and my only hope of renovation was in a change of scene.

Before I give you a sketch of my experience and observations
abroad, I must present the portrait of my friend Brainard. He came
to Hartford in February, 1822, to take the editorial charge of the
Connecticut Mirror. He was now twenty-six years old, and had gained
some reputation for wit and poetical talent. One day a young man,
small in stature, with a curious mixture of ease and awkwardness,
of humor and humility, came into my office, and introduced himself
as Mr. Brainard. I gave him a hearty welcome, for I had heard very
pleasant accounts of him. As was natural, I made a complimentary
allusion to his poems, which I had seen and admired. A smile,
yet shaded with something of melancholy, came over his face as he

"Don't expect too much of me; I never succeeded in anything yet. I
never could draw a mug of cider without spilling more than half of

I afterwards found that much truth was thus spoken in jest. This was,
in point of fact, precisely Brainard's appreciation of himself. All
his life, feeling that he could do something, he still entertained
a mournful and disheartening conviction that, on the whole, he was
doomed to failure and disappointment. There was sad prophecy in this
presentment--a prophecy which he at once made and fulfilled.

We soon became friends, and, at last, intimates. I was now boarding
at "Ripley's"--a good old-fashioned tavern, over which presided
Major Ripley, respected for revolutionary services, an amiable
character, and a long Continental queue. In the administration
of the establishment he was ably supported by his daughter, Aunt
Lucy--the very genius of tavern courtesy, cookery, and comfort.
Here Brainard joined me, and we took rooms side by side. Thus, for
more than a year, we were together, as intimate as brothers. He
was of a child-like disposition, and craved constant sympathy. He
soon got into the habit of depending upon me in many things, and at
last--especially in dull weather, or when he was sad, or something
went wrong with him--he would creep into my bed, as if it were his
right. At that period of gloom in my own fortunes, this was as well a
solace to me as to him. After my return from Europe we resumed these
relations, and for some months more we were thus together.

I cannot do better than sketch a single incident, which will give
you some insight into Brainard's character. The scene opens in
Miss Lucy's little back-parlor--a small, cosy, carpeted room, with
two cushioned rocking-chairs, and a bright hickory fire. It is a
chill November night, about seven o'clock of a Friday evening. The
Mirror--Brainard's paper--is to appear the next morning. The week
has thus far passed, and he has not written for it a line. How the
days have gone he can hardly tell. He has read a little--dipped
into Byron, pored over the last Waverly novel, and been to see his
friends; at all events, he has got rid of the time. He has not felt
competent to bend down to his work, and has put it off till the last
moment. No further delay is possible. He is now not well; he has a
severe cold.

Miss Lucy, who takes a motherly interest in him, tells him not to go
out, and his own inclinations suggest the charms of a quiet evening
in the rocking chair, by a good fire--especially in comparison with
going to his comfortless office, and drudging for the press. He
lingers till eight, and then suddenly rousing himself, by a desperate
effort, throws on his cloak and sallies forth. As was not uncommon, I
go with him. A dim fire is kindled in the small Franklin stove in his
office, and we sit down. Brainard, as was his wont, especially when
he was in trouble, falls into a curious train of reflections, half
comic and half serious.

"Would to Heaven," he says, "I were a slave! I think a slave, with
a good master, has a good time of it. The responsibility of taking
care of himself--the most terrible burden of life--is put on his
master's shoulders. Madame Roland, with a slight alteration, would
have uttered a profound truth. She should have said--'Oh, Liberty,
Liberty, thou art a humbug!' After all, liberty is the greatest
possible slavery, for it puts upon a man the responsibility of taking
care of himself. If he goes wrong, why, he's condemned! If a slave
sins, he's only flogged, and gets over it, and there's an end of it.
Now, if I could only be flogged, and settle the matter that way, I
should be perfectly happy. But here comes my tormentor."

The door is now opened, a boy with a touselled head and inky
countenance enters, saying curtly--"Copy, Mr. Brainard!"

"Come in fifteen minutes!" says the editor, with a droll mixture of
fun and despair.

[Illustration: WHITTLING.]

Brainard makes a few observations, and sits down at his little narrow
pine table--hacked along edges with many a restless penknife. He
seems to notice the marks, and pausing a moment, says,--

"This table reminds me of one of my brother William's stories.
There was an old man in Groton, who had but one child, and she was
a daughter. When she was about eighteen, several young men came to
see her. At last she picked out one of them, and desired to marry
him. He seemed a fit match enough, but the father positively refused
his consent. For a long time he persisted, and would give no reason
for his conduct. At last he took his daughter aside, and said--'Now,
Sarah, I think pretty well of this young man in general, but I've
observed that he's given to whittling. There's no harm in that, but
the point is this: he whittles and whittles, and never makes nothing!
Now, I tell you, I'll never give my only daughter to such a feller as
that!' Whenever Bill told this story, he used to insinuate that this
whittling chap, who never made anything, was me! At any rate, I think
it would have suited me exactly."

Some time passed in similar talk, when, at last, Brainard turned
suddenly, took up his pen, and began to write. I sat apart, and left
him to his work. Some twenty minutes passed, when, with a smile on
his face, he got up, approached the fire, and taking the candle to
light his paper, read as follows:--


    "The thoughts are strange that crowd into my brain,
    While I look upwards to thee. It would seem
    As if God pour'd thee from his 'hollow hand,'
    And hung his bow upon thy awful front;
    And spoke in that loud voice that seem'd to him
    Who dwelt in Patmos for his Saviour's sake,
    'The sound of many waters;' and had bade
    Thy flood to chronicle the ages back,
    And notch his cent'ries in the eternal rocks!"

He had hardly done reading when the boy came. Brainard handed him the
lines--on a small scrap of coarse paper--and told him to come again
in half-an-hour. Before this time had elapsed, he had finished and
read me the following stanza:--

    "Deep calleth unto deep. And what are we
    That hear the question of that voice sublime?
    Oh! what are all the notes that ever rung
    From war's vain trumpet by thy thundering side?
    Yea, what is all the riot man can make,
    In his short life, to thy unceasing roar?
    And yet, bold babbler, what art thou to Him
    Who drown'd a world, and heap'd the waters far
    Above its loftiest mountains? A light wave,
    That breathes and whispers of its Maker's might."

These lines having been furnished, Brainard left his office, and we
returned to Miss Lucy's parlor. He seemed utterly unconscious of
what he had done. I praised the verses, but he thought I only spoke
warmly from friendly interest. The lines went forth, and produced a
sensation of delight over the whole country. Almost every exchange
paper that came to the office had extracted them. Even then he would
scarcely believe that he had done anything very clever. And thus,
under these precise circumstances, were composed the most suggestive
and sublime stanzas upon Niagara that were ever penned. Brainard had
never, as he told me, been within less than five hundred miles of the
cataract, nor do I believe that, when he went to the office, he had
meditated upon the subject.

The reader will see, from the circumstances I have mentioned, that
I know the history of most of Brainard's pieces, as they came
out, from time to time, in his newspaper. Nearly all of them were
occasional--that is, suggested by passing events, or incidents in the
poet's experience.

Early in the year 1825 I persuaded Brainard to make a collection of
his poems, and have them published. At first his lip curled at the
idea, as being too pretentious. He insisted that he had done nothing
to justify the publication of a volume. Gradually he began to think
of it, and, at length, I induced him to sign a contract authorizing
me to make arrangements for the work. He set about the preparation,
and at length--after much lagging and many lapses--the pieces were
selected and arranged. When all was ready, I persuaded him to go to
New York with me to settle the matter with a publisher.

One anecdote, in addition to those already before the public, and I
shall close this sketch. Brainard's talent for repartee was of the
first order. On one occasion, Nathan Smith, an eminent lawyer, was
at Ripley's tavern, in the midst of a circle of judges and lawyers
attending the court. He was an Episcopalian, and at this time was
considered by his political adversaries--unjustly, no doubt--as the
paid agent of that persuasion, now clamoring for a sum of money from
the State, to lay the foundation of a "Bishops' Fund." He was thus
regarded somewhat in the same light as O'Connell, who, while he was
the great patriot leader of Irish independence, was, at the same
time, liberally supported by the "rint." By accident, Brainard came
in, and Smith, noticing a little feathery attempt at whiskers down
his cheeks, rallied him upon it.

"It will never do," said he; "you cannot raise it, Brainard. Come,
here's sixpence--take that, and go to the barber's and get it shaved
off! It will smooth your cheek, and ease your conscience."

Brainard drew himself up, and said with great dignity--as Smith held
out the sixpence on the point of his forefinger--"No, sir, you had
better keep it for the Bishops' Fund!"

In Brainard's editorial career--though he was negligent, dilatory,
sometimes almost imbecile, from a sort of constitutional
inertness--still a train of inextinguishable light remains to gleam
along his path. Many a busy, toiling editor has filled his daily
columns for years, without leaving a living page behind him; while
Brainard, with all his failings and irregularities, has left a
collection of gems which will be cherished to immortality. And among
all that he wrote idly and recklessly, as it might seem--there is not
a line that, "dying, he could wish to blot." His love of parents,
of home, of kindred, was beautiful indeed; his love of nature, and
especially of the scenes of his childhood, was the affection of one
never weaned from the remembrance of his mother's breast. He was true
in friendship, chivalrous in all that belonged to personal honor.
I never heard him utter a malignant thought--I never knew him to
pursue an unjust design. At the early age of eight-and-twenty, with
a submissive spirit, he resigned himself to death, and in pious,
gentle, cheerful faith, he departed on the 26th of September, 1828.



It was on the 16th of November, 1823, that I set sail in the
"Canada," Captain Macy, on my first visit to Europe. I have now
before me four volumes of notes made during my tour; which I might,
perhaps, have ventured to publish when they were fresh; but since
that period the world has been inundated with tales of travels, I
shall therefore only indulge in a rapid outline of my adventures, and
a few sketches of men and things, which may perchance be of interest
to the reader.

Our voyage was, as usual at that season of the year, tempestuous.
As we approached the British Islands we were beset by a regular
hurricane. On the 5th of December, the Captain kindly informed us
that we were almost precisely in the situation of the "Albion," the
day before she was wrecked on the rocky headland of Kinsale, at the
south-east extremity of Ireland; an event which had spread a general
gloom throughout the United States. As night set in we were struck
by a squall, and with difficulty the vessel was brought round, so
as to lie to. The storm was fearful; and the frequent concussions
of the waves upon the ship, sounding like reports of artillery,
made her reel and stagger like a drunken man. The morning came at
last, and the weather was fair, but our deck was swept of its boats,
bulwarks, and hen-coops. Our old cow in her hovel, the covering of
the steerage, and that of the companion-way, were saved. The next
morning we took a pilot, and on the 8th of December entered the dock
at Liverpool.

I had suffered fearfully by sea-sickness, and had scarcely strength
to walk ashore. I felt such horror--such disgust of the sea--that
I could easily have pledged myself never to venture upon it again.
However, this all passed away like a dream: my strength revived;
and even my constitution, shattered by long suffering, seemed to
be renovated. With the return of health and spirits, my journey to
London was delightful. Though it was December, the landscape was
intensely green, while the atmosphere was dark as twilight. And
this was England! Oh, what emotions filled my breast as I looked on
Kenilworth, Warwick, and Lichfield, and at last on London!

I remained in the latter place about a month, and then went to
Paris. In April I visited Switzerland and a portion of Germany, and
followed the Rhine to Cologne. Thence I travelled through Flanders
and Holland, and taking a sloop at Rotterdam, swung down the
Maese, and in May reached London again. I soon after departed for
Bristol, taking Salisbury and Stonehenge on my way. Having reached
that city, and seen its sights, I hired a post-coach, and went to
Barley-wood, some ten miles distant. Hannah More was still living
there! The house was a small thatched edifice--half cottage and half
villa--tidily kept, and garnished with vines and trellises. Its site
was on a gentle hill, sloping to the south-east, and commanding
a charming view over the undulating country around, including the
adjacent village of Wrington, with a wide valley sloping to the
Bristol Channel; the latter sparkling in the distance, and bounded
by the Welsh mountains in the far horizon. Behind the house, and
on the crown of the hill, was a small copse, threaded with neat
gravel walks, and at particular points embellished with objects of
interest. In one place there was a little rustic temple, with this
motto--"_Audi, Hospes, contemnere opes_;" in another, there was a
stone monument, erected to the memory of Bishop Porteus, who had been
a particular friend of the proprietor of the place. A little further
on I found another monument, with this inscription: "_To John Locke,
born in this village, this monument is erected by Mrs. Montague, and
presented to Hannah More._" From this sequestered spot an artificial
opening was cut through the foliage of the trees, giving a view of
the house--about a mile distant--in which Locke was born!

Mrs. More was now seventy-nine years of age, and was very infirm,
having kept her room for two years. She received me with great
cordiality, and mentioned several Americans who had visited her, and
others, with whom she had held correspondence. Her mind and feelings
were alive to every subject that was suggested. She spoke very
freely of her writings and her career. I told her of the interest I
had taken, when a child, in the story of the Shepherd of Salisbury
Plain; upon which she recounted its history, remarking that the
character of the hero was modelled from life, though the incidents
were fictitious. Her tract, called Village Politics, by Will Chip,
was written at the request of the British Ministry, and two million
copies were sold the first year, She showed me copies of Coelebs
in Search of a Wife--the most successful of her works--in French
and German; and a copy of one of her Sacred Dramas, Moses in the
Bulrushes, on palm-leaves, in the Cingalese tongue; it having been
translated into that language by the Missionary School at Ceylon.
She showed me also the knife with which the leaf had been prepared,
and the scratches made in it to receive the ink. She expressed a
warm interest in America, and stated that Wilberforce had always
exerted himself to establish and maintain good relations between
Great Britain and our country. I suggested to her that, in the
United States, the general impression--that of the great mass of
the people--was that the English were unfriendly to us. She said
it was not so. I replied that the Americans all read the English
newspapers, and generally the products of the British press; that
feelings of dislike, disgust, animosity, certainly pervaded most of
these publications; and it was natural to suppose that these were
the reflections of public opinion in Great Britain: at all events,
our people regarded them as such, and hence inferred that England
was our enemy. She expressed great regret at this state of things,
and said all good people should strive to keep peace between the two
countries: to all which I warmly assented.

My interview with this excellent lady was, on the whole, most
gratifying. Regarding her as one of the greatest benefactors of the
age--as, indeed, one of the most remarkable women that had ever
lived--I looked upon her not only with veneration, but affection.
Besides, I felt that I owed her a special debt; and my visit to her
was almost like a pilgrimage to the shrine of a divinity. When I
left America, I had it in mind to render my travels subservient to
a desire I had long entertained of making an improvement in books
for the young. I had sought in London, France, and Germany, for
works that might aid my design. It is true I had little success; for
while scientific and classical education was sedulously encouraged
on the Continent, as well as in England, it seemed to be thought
that Dilworth and Mother Goose had done all that could be done. In
this interview with Mrs. More I had the subject still in mind; and
discerning by what she had accomplished the vast field that was
open, and actually inviting cultivation, I began from this time to
think of attempting to realize the project I had formed. It is true
that, in some respects, the example I had just contemplated differed
from my own scheme. Hannah More had written chiefly for the grown-up
masses; whereas my plan was to begin further back--with the children.
Her means, however, seemed adapted to my purpose: her success, to
encourage my attempt. She had discovered that truth could be made
attractive to simple minds. Fiction was, indeed, often her vehicle;
but it was not her end. The great charm of these works, which had
captivated the million, was their verisimilitude. Was there not,
then, a natural relish for truth in all minds; or, at least, was
there not a way of presenting it, which made it even more interesting
than romance? Did not children love truth? If so, was it necessary to
feed them on fiction? Could not History, Natural History, Geography,
Biography, become the elements of juvenile works, in place of fairies
and giants, and mere monsters of the imagination? These were the
inquiries that from this time filled my mind.

Taking leave of Barley-wood and its interesting occupant, I traversed
Wales, and embarking at Holyhead, passed over to Ireland. Having
seen Dublin, with the extraordinary contrasts of sumptuousness in
some of its streets and edifices, with the fearful squalidness and
poverty in others, I passed on to the North; and after visiting the
Giant's Causeway returned to Belfast, and embarked in a steamboat
for Greenock. Thence I proceeded toward Dumbarton, and in the early
evening, as I approached the town in a small steamer, I realized in
the distance before me the scene of the song,--

    "The sun has gone down o'er the lofty Ben Lomond,
    And left the red clouds to preside o'er the scene."

On the morrow I went to Loch Lomond, crossing the lake in a
steamboat; thence on foot to Callender; and spent two days around
Loch Katrine, amid the scenery of the Lady of the Lake. With a copy
of that poem in my hand, which I had bought of a countryman on the
borders of Loch Lomond, I easily traced out the principal landmarks
of the story: "Ellen's Isle," nearly in the middle of the lake;
on the northern shore, "the Silver Strand," where the maiden met
Fitz-James; far to the east, Benain, rearing its "forehead fair"
to the sky; to the south, the rocky pyramid called "Roderick's
Watchtower;" and still beyond, the "Goblin's Cave." Leaving the lake,
I passed through the Trosachs, a wild, rocky glen, and the scene of
the most startling events in the poem. At last I came to Coilantogle
Ford, where the deadly struggle took place between the two heroes of
the poem--Roderick and Fitz-James. Finally, I went to the borders of
Loch Achray, a placid sheet of water, beautiful by nature, but still
more enchanting through the delightful associations of poetic art.

    "The minstrel came once more to view
    The eastern ridge of Benvenue,
    For, ere he parted, he would say
    Farewell to lovely Loch Achray.
    Where shall he find, in foreign land,
    So lone a lake, so sweet a strand!"
    *       *       *       *       *

But I must forbear. I have pledged myself not to weary my reader with
descriptions of scenery, and especially with that which is familiar
to every one. I will try not to sin again: at least till I get out of
Scotland. Having spent two days in this region of poetry and romance,
I left for Glasgow, and at last reached Edinburgh.



Edinburgh was then decidedly the literary metropolis of the three
kingdoms; not through the amount of its productions, but their
superiority. I had several letters of introduction; among them one to
Blackwood; another to Constable; another to Miss Y----. The latter
proved fortunate. Her father was a Writer to the Signet; an elderly
gentleman of excellent position, and exceedingly fond of showing off
"Auld Reekie." Well, indeed, might he be; for of all the cities I
have seen, it is, in many respects, the most interesting. I am told
it is gloomy in winter; but now it was summer. And in these high
latitudes, nature makes ample amends in this season for the gloom and
inclemency of the winter.

The day after delivering my letters, Mr. Y---- called on me, and
showed me the lions of the town. Many of them--all, indeed--were
interesting; but I pass them by, and shall only linger a short
time at the Court of Sessions, which is the supreme civil court
of Scotland. This, with the High Court of Justiciary--the supreme
criminal court--forms the College of Justice, and constitutes the
supreme tribunal of Scotland. Their sessions are held in the old
Parliament House, situated in the centre of the Old Town.

We entered a large Gothic hall, opening, as I observed, into various
contiguous apartments. Here I saw a considerable number of persons,
mostly lawyers and their clients; some sauntering, some meditating,
some gathered in groups and conversing together. There was a large
number of people distributed through the several apartments, and in
the grand hall there was a pervading hum of voices, which rose and
rumbled, and died away amid the groinings of the roof above.

Among the persons in this hall, a man some thirty years of age, tall
and handsome, dressed in a gown, but without the wig, attracted my
particular attention. He was walking apart, and there was a certain
look of coldness and haughtiness about him. Nevertheless, for some
undefinable reason, he excited in me a lively curiosity.

"Who is that gentleman?" said I, to my guide.

"That large, noble-looking person, with a gown and wig? That is
Cranstoun, one of our first lawyers, and the brother-in-law of Dugald

"No: that person beyond, and to the left? He is without a wig."

"Oh, that's Cockburn; a fiery Whig, and one of the keenest fellows we
have at the bar."

"Yes: but I mean that younger person near the corner."

"Oh, that small, red-faced, freckled man? Why, that's Moncrief; a
very sound lawyer. His father, Sir Harry Moncrief, is one of the most
celebrated divines in Scotland."

"No, no; it is that tall, handsome, proud-looking person, walking by

"Oh, I see: that's Lockhart, Sir Walter Scott's son-in-law. Would you
like to know him?"


And so I was introduced to a man who, at that time, was hardly less
an object of interest to me than Scott himself. Though a lawyer by
profession, he had devoted himself to literature, and was now in the
very height of his career. Peter's Letters to his Kinsfolk, Valerius,
and other works, had given him a prominent rank as a man of talent;
and, besides, in 1820, he had married the eldest daughter of the
"Great Unknown." My conversation with him was brief at this time, but
I afterwards became well acquainted with him.

My guide now led me into one of the side-rooms, where I saw a judge
and jury, and a lawyer addressing them. The latter was a very small
man, without gown or wig, apparently about forty years of age, though
he might be somewhat older. He was of dark complexion, with an eye
of intense blackness, and almost painfully-piercing expression. His
motions were quick and energetic, his voice sharp and penetrating;
his general aspect exciting curiosity rather than affection. He was
speaking energetically, and as we approached the bar my conductor
said to me, in a whisper, "Jeffrey!"

We paused, and listened intently. The case in itself seemed dry
enough: something, I believe, about a _stoppage in transitu_. But
Jeffrey's pleading was admirable; clear, progressive, logical.
Occasionally, in fixing upon a weak point of his adversary, he
displayed a leopard-like spring of energy, altogether startling. He
seized upon a certain point in the history of the case, and insisted
that the property in question rested at that period in the hands of
the defendant's agent, for at least a fortnight. This he claimed to
be fatal to his adversary's plea. Having stated the facts, with a
clearness which seemed to prove them, he said, turning with startling
quickness upon his antagonist,--"Now, I ask my learned brother to
tell me, what was the state of the soul during that fortnight?" To a
jury of Scotch Presbyterians, familiar with theological metaphysics,
this allusion was exceedingly pertinent and effective.

We passed into another room. Three full-wigged judges were seated
upon a lofty bench, and beneath them, at a little table in front, was
a large man, bent down and writing laboriously. As I approached, I
caught a side-view of his face. There was no mistaking him: it was
Sir Walter himself!

Was it not curious to see the most renowned personage in the three
kingdoms sitting at the very feet of these men: they the court, and
he the clerk? They were indeed all "lords," and their individual
names were suggestive to the ear: one was Robertson, son of the
historian of Charles V.; another was Gillies, brother of the renowned
Grecian scholar of that name; another, Mackenzie, son of the author
of the Man of Feeling. These are high titles; but what were they to
the author of Waverley?

Mr. Y---- introduced me to him at once, breaking in upon his
occupation with easy familiarity. As he arose from his seat, I was
surprised at his robust, vigorous frame. He was very nearly six feet
in height, full-chested, and of a farmer-like aspect. His complexion
seemed to have been originally sandy, but now his hair was grey. He
had the rough, freckled, weather-beaten skin of a man who is much in
the open air; his eye was small and grey, and peering out keenly and
inquisitively from beneath a heavy brow, edged with something like
grey, twisted bristles: the whole expression of his face, however,
was exceedingly agreeable.

He greeted me kindly, the tone of his voice being hearty, yet with a
very decided Scotch accent. A few commonplace remarks, and one or two
inquiries as to my acquaintance with American literary men, was all
that passed between us on this occasion; but subsequently, as will be
seen, I was more highly favored.

One morning I found a note at my hotel, from Miss Y----, inviting
me to breakfast. I went at ten, and we had a pleasant chat. She
then proposed a ride, to which I acceded. She was already in her
riding-habit; so without delay we went forth, calling first upon Mrs.
Russell. She led us into another room, and there, on the floor, in
a romp with her two boys, was Francis Jeffrey! Think of the first
lawyer in Scotland, the lawgiver of the great republic of letters
throughout Christendom, having a rough-and-tumble on the floor, as
if he were himself a boy! Let others think as they will, I loved him
from that moment; and ever after, as I read his criticisms, cutting
and scorching as they often were, I fancied that I could still see
a kind and genial spirit shining through them all. At least it is
certain that, behind his editorial causticity, there was in private
life a fund of gentleness and geniality which endeared him to all who
enjoyed his intimacy. I was now introduced to him, and he seemed a
totally different being from the fierce and fiery gladiator of the
legal arena, where I had before seen him. His manners were gentle and
gentlemanly: polite to the ladies and gracious to me.

We found Mrs. Russell in a riding-dress, and prepared to accompany
us in our excursion. Taking leave of Mr. Jeffrey, we went to the
stable, and having mounted, walked our steeds gently out of the town
by Holyrood, and to the east of Arthur's seat, leaving Portobello
on the left. We rode steadily, noting a few objects as we passed,
until at last, reaching an elevated mound, we paused, and the ladies
directed my attention to the scenes around. We were some two miles
south of the town, upon one of the slopes of the Braid Hills. What a
view was before us! The city, a vast smoking hive, to the north; and
to the right, Arthur's Seat, bald and blue, seeming to rise up and
almost peep into its streets and chimneys. Over and beyond all was
the sea. The whole area between the point where we stood and that
vast azure line, blending with the sky, was a series of abrupt hills
and dimpling valleys, threaded by a network of highways and byways;
honeycombed in spots by cities and villages, and elsewhere sprinkled
with country seats.

It is an unrivalled scene of varied beauty and interest. The natural
site of Edinburgh is remarkable, consisting of three rocky ledges,
steepling over deep ravines. These have all been modified by art; in
one place a lake has been dried up, and is now covered with roads,
bridges, tenements, gardens, and lawns. The sides of the cliffs are
in some instances covered with masses of buildings, occasionally
rising tier above tier--in one place presenting a line of houses a
dozen stories in height! The city is divided by a deep chasm into
two distinct parts: the Old Town, dark and smoky, and justifying the
popular appellation of "Auld Reekie;" the other, the New Town, with
the fresh architecture and the rich and elaborate embellishments of a
modern city. Nearly from the centre of the Old Town rises the Castle,
three hundred and eighty feet above the level of the sea; on one side
looking down almost perpendicularly, two hundred feet into the vale
beneath; on the other, holding communication with the streets by
means of a winding pathway. In the new town is Calton Hill, rich with
monuments of art and memorials of history. From these two commanding
positions the views are unrivalled.

But I forget that I have taken you to the Braid Hills. My amiable
guides directed my attention to various objects--some far and some
near, and all with names familiar to history, or song, or romance.
Yonder mass of dun and dismal ruins was Craigmillar Castle, once
the residence of Queen Mary. Nearly in the same direction, and
not remote, is the cliff, above whose bosky sides peer out the
massive ruins of Roslin Castle; further south are glimpses of
Dalkieth Palace, the sumptuous seat of the Duke of Buccleuch; there
is the busy little village of Lasswade, which takes the name of
"Gandercleugh" in the Tales of my Landlord; yonder winds the Esk,
and there the Galawater--both familiar in many a song; and there is
the scenery of the Gentle Shepherd, presenting the very spot where
that inimitable colloquy took place between Peggy and her companion

    "Gae farer up the burn to Habbie's How
    Where a' the sweets o' spring an' summer grow:
    Between twa birks, out o'er a little linn,
    The water fa's and makes a singan din:
    A pool, breast deep, beneath as clear as glass,
    Kisses wi' easy whirls the bordering grass.
    We'll end our washing while the morning's cool,
    And when the day grows hot we'll to the pool,
    There wash oursels--it's healthful now in May,
    An' sweetly caller on sae warm a day."

While we were surveying these scenes the rain began to fall in a
fine, insinuating mizzle; soon large drops pattered through the
fog, and at last there was a drenching shower. I supposed the ladies
would seek some shelter; not they: accustomed to all the humors
of this drizzly climate, and of course defying them. They pulled
off their green veils, and stuffed them into their saddle-pockets:
then chirruping to their steeds, they sped along the road, as if
mounted on broomsticks. I was soon wet through, and so, doubtless,
were they. However, they took to it as ducks to a pond. On we went,
the water--accelerated by our speed--spouting in torrents from our
stirrups. In all my days I had never such an adventure. And the
coolness with which the ladies took it, that was the most remarkable.
Indeed, it was provoking; for as they would not accept sympathy, of
course they could not give it, though my reeking condition would have
touched any other heart than theirs. On we went, till at last, coming
to the top of the hill, we suddenly cropped out into the sunshine,
the shower still scudding along the valley beneath us. We continued
our ride, getting once more soaked on our way, and again drying in
the sun. At last we reached home, having made a circuit of fifteen
miles. Scarcely a word was said of the rain. I saw the ladies to
their residences, and was thankful when I found myself once more in
my hotel.

As a just moral of this adventure, I suggest to any American, who may
ride with Scotch ladies around Edinburgh, not to go forth in his best
dress-coat, and pantaloons without straps.



I delivered my letter of introduction to Blackwood, and he treated
me very kindly. I found him an exceedingly intelligent and agreeable
gentleman. The Magazine which bears his name was then in its glory,
and of course a part of its radiance shone on him. He was a man of
excellent judgment in literary matters, and his taste, no doubt,
contributed largely to the success of the Magazine.

Of course I was gratified at receiving from him a note, inviting
me to dine with him the next day. His house was on the south of
the old town, nearly two miles distant. The persons present were
such as I should myself have selected: among them Lockhart and
James Ballantyne. I sat next the latter, and found him exceedingly
agreeable and gentlemanlike. He was a rather large man, handsome,
smooth in person and manner, and very well dressed. It must be
remembered, that at this time Scott did not acknowledge that he was
the author of the Waverley novels, nor did his friends. Perhaps the
mystery was even promoted by them; for, no doubt, it added to the
interest excited by his works. However, the veil was not closely
preserved in the circle of intimacy. Ballantyne said to me, in
the course of a conversation which turned upon the popularity of
authors, as indicated by the sale of their works,--"We have now in
course of preparation forty thousand volumes of Scott's poems and the
works of the author of Waverley:" evidently intimating the identity
of their authorship.

The next day I went to St. Giles's Church, to see the General
Assembly, then holding its annual session there. This body
consisted of nearly four hundred members, chosen by different
parishes, boroughs, and universities. The sessions are attended by
a Commissioner appointed by the Crown, but he is seated outside of
the area assigned to the Assembly, and has no vote, and no right of
debate. He sits under a canopy, with the insignia of royalty, and a
train of gaily-dressed pages. He opens the sessions in the name of
the King, the Head of the Church: the Moderator then opens it in the
name of the Lord Jesus Christ, _the only true Head of the Church_! It
appears that the Scotch, in bargaining for a union with England, took
good care to provide for their religious independence, and this they
still jealously preserve.

The aspect of the Assembly was similar to that of the House of
Commons, though somewhat graver. I observed that the debates were
often stormy, with scraping of the floor, laughing aloud, and cries
of "Hear, hear!" The members were, in fact, quite disorderly, showing
at least as little regard for decorum as ordinary legislatures. Sir
Walter Scott once remarked, in my hearing, that it had never yet been
decided how many more than six members could speak at once!

The persons here pointed out to me as celebrities were Dr. Chalmers,
the famous pulpit orator; Dr. Cook, the ecclesiastical historian; and
Dr. Baird, principal of the University. The first of these was now at
the height of his fame. He had already begun those reforms which,
some years later, resulted in a disruption of the Scottish Church.

A few days after the dinner at Mr. Blackwood's I dined with Mr.
Lockhart. Besides the host and hostess, there were present Sir Walter
Scott, his son, Charles Scott, Mr. Blackwood, and three or four
other persons. At dinner I sat next Sir Walter. Everything went off
pleasantly, with the usual ease, hospitality, and heartiness of an
English dinner.

After the ladies had retired the conversation became general and
animated. Byron was the engrossing topic. Sir Walter spoke of him
with the deepest feeling of admiration and regret. A few weeks
before, on the receipt of the news of his death, he had written
an obituary notice of him, in which he compared him to the sun,
withdrawn from the heavens at the very moment when every telescope
was levelled to discover either his glory or his spots.

Lockhart and Blackwood both told stories, and we passed a pleasant
half hour. The wine was at last rather low, and our host ordered the
servant to bring more. Upon which Scott said, "No, no, Lokert"--such
was his pronunciation of his son-in-law's name--"we have had enough:
let us go and see the ladies." And so we gathered to the parlor.

Mrs. Lockhart spoke with great interest of Washington Irving, who had
visited the family at Abbotsford. She said that he slept in a room
which looked out on the Tweed. In the morning, when he came down to
breakfast, he was very pale, and being asked the reason, confessed
that he had not been able to sleep. The sight of the Tweed from his
window, and the consciousness of being at Abbotsford, so filled his
imagination, so excited his feelings, as to deprive him of slumber.

Our lively hostess was requested to give us some music, and instantly
complied--the harp being her instrument. She sang Scotch airs, and
played several pibrochs, all with taste and feeling. Her range of
tunes seemed inexhaustible. Her father sat by, and entered heartily
into the performances. He beat time vigorously with his lame leg, and
frequently helped out a chorus, the heartiness of his tones making
up for some delinquencies in tune and time. Often he made remarks
upon the songs, and told anecdotes respecting them. When a certain
pibroch had been played, he said it reminded him of the first time he
ever saw Miss Edgeworth. There had come to Abbotsford a wild Gaelic
peasant from the neighborhood of Staffa, and it was proposed to him
to sing a a pibroch common in that region. He had consented, but
required the whole party present to sit in a circle on the floor,
while he should sing the song, and perform a certain pantomimic
accompaniment, in the centre. All was accordingly arranged in the
great hall, and the performer had just begun his wild chant, when
in walked a small but stately lady, and announced herself as Miss

Mrs. Lockhart asked me about the American Indians, expressing great
curiosity concerning them. I told the story of one who was tempted to
go into the rapids of the Niagara river, just above the Falls, for
a bottle of rum. This he took with him, and having swam out to the
point agreed upon, he turned back and attempted to regain the land.
For a long time the result was doubtful: he struggled powerfully, but
in vain; inch by inch he receded from the shore; and at last, finding
his doom sealed, he raised himself above the water, wrenched the
cork from the bottle, and putting the latter to his lips, yielded to
the current, and thus went down to his doom.

Sir Walter then said that he had read an account of an Indian, who
was in a boat, approaching a cataract; by some accident it was drawn
into the current, and the savage saw that his escape was impossible.
Upon this he arose, wrapped his robe of skins around him, seated
himself erect, and, with an air of imperturbable gravity, went over
the falls.

"The most remarkable thing about the American Indians," said
Blackwood, "is their being able to follow in the trail of their
enemies, by their footprints left in the leaves, upon the grass, and
even upon the moss of the rocks. The accounts given of this seem
hardly credible."

"I can readily believe it, however," said Sir Walter. "You must
remember that this is a part of their education. I have learned
at Abbotsford to discriminate between the hoof-marks of all our
neighbors' horses, and I taught the same thing to Mrs. Lockhart. It
is, after all, not so difficult as you might think. Every horse's
foot has some peculiarity, either of size, shoeing, or manner of
striking the earth. I was once walking with Southey--a mile or more
from home--across the fields. At last we came to a bridle-path
leading towards Abbotsford, and here I noticed fresh hoof-prints. Of
this I said nothing; but pausing, and looking up with an inspired
expression, I said to Southey,--'I have a gift of second sight: we
shall have a stranger to dinner!'

"'And what may be his name?' was the reply.

"'Scott,' said I.

"'Ah, it is some relation of yours,' he said; 'you have invited him,
and you would pass off, as an example of your Scottish gift of
prophecy, a matter previously agreed upon!'

"'Not at all,' said I. 'I assure you that, till this moment, I never
thought of such a thing.'

"When we got home, I was told that Mr. Scott, a farmer living some
three or four miles distant, and a relative of mine, was waiting to
see me. Southey looked astounded. The man remained to dinner, and he
was asked if he had given any intimation of his coming. He replied
in the negative: that, indeed, he had no idea of visiting Abbotsford
when he left home. After enjoying Southey's wonder for some time,
I told him that I saw the tracks of Mr. Scott's horse in the
bridle-path, and inferring that he was going to Abbotsford, easily
foresaw that we should have him to dinner."

Presently the conversation turned upon Burns. Scott knew him well.
He said that Tam O'Shanter was written to please a stonecutter,
who had executed a monument for the poet's father, on condition
that he should write him a witch-story in verse. He stated that
Burns was accustomed in his correspondence, more especially with
ladies, to write an elaborate letter, and then send a copy of it to
several persons; modifying local and personal passages to suit each
individual. He said that of some of these letters he had three or
four copies, thus addressed to different persons, and all in the
poet's handwriting.

The evening passed in pleasant conversation, varied by the music
of Mrs. Lockhart's voice and harp; and some amusing imitations by
a gentleman of the party, till twelve o'clock. It will readily be
supposed that my eye often turned upon the chief figure in this
interesting group. I could not for a moment forget his presence;
though nothing could be more unpretending and modest than his whole
air and bearing.

The general effect of his face was that of calm dignity; and
now, in the presence of children and friends, lighted by genial
emotions, it was one of the pleasantest countenances I have ever
seen. When standing or walking, his manly form, added to an aspect
of benevolence, completed the image; at once exciting affection and
commanding respect.

His manners were quiet, unpretending, absolutely without
self-assertion. He appeared to be happy, and desirous of making
others so. He was the only person present who seemed unconscious that
he was the author of Waverley. His intercourse with his daughter was
most charming. She seemed quite devoted to him; watching his lips
when he was speaking, and seeking in everything to anticipate and
fulfil his wishes. When she was singing, his eye dwelt upon her; his
ear catching and seeming to relish every tone. Frequently, when she
was silent, his eye rested upon her, and the lines came to my mind,--

    "Some feelings are to mortals given,
    With less of earth in them than heaven:
    And if there be a human tear
    From passion's dross refined and clear,
    A tear so limpid and so meek
    It would not stain an angel's cheek:
    'Tis that which pious fathers shed
    Upon a duteous daughter's head!"

Eight years later, when I was again in London, Scott was on his
death-bed at Abbotsford. Overburdened with the struggle to extricate
himself from the wreck of his fortunes, his brain had given way,
and the mighty intellect was in ruins. On the morning of the 17th he
woke from a paralytic slumber; his eye clear and calm, every trace of
delirium having passed away. Lockhart came to his bedside. "My dear,"
he said, "I may have but a moment to speak to you. Be a good man: be
virtuous; be religious: be a good man. Nothing else will give you any
comfort when you are called upon to lie here!"

These were almost the last words he spoke; he soon fell into a
stupor, which became the sleep of death. So he died, with all his
children around him. "It was a beautiful day," says his biographer;
"so warm, that every window was wide open; and so perfectly still,
that the sound of all others most delicious to his ear--the gentle
ripple of the Tweed over its pebbles--was distinctly audible, as we
knelt around the bed; and his eldest son kissed and closed his eyes!"



Early in June I set out for London. My route led me through the
village of Dalkeith, and the possessions of the Duke of Buccleuch,
which extended for thirty miles on both sides of the road. We were
constantly meeting objects which revived historical or poetic
reminiscences. Among these was Cockpen, the scene of the celebrated
ballad; and as I rode by the whole romance passed before my mind. I
fancied that I could even trace the pathway along which the old laird
proceeded upon his courtship, as well as the residence of

    "The penniless lass wi' a lang pedigree;"

who was so daft as to reject his offer, although

    "His wig was well powthered and as gude as new;
    His waistcoat was red, and his coat it was blue;
    A ring on his finger, a sword and cocked hat--
    And wha could refuse the laird wi' a' that?"

We crossed the Galawater and the Ettrick, and travelled along the
banks of the Tweed. We passed Abbotsford on our left; and further
on saw the Eildon Hills, "cleft in three" by the wondrous wizard,
Michael Scott; as duly chronicled in the Lay of the Last Minstrel.
We proceeded along the banks of the Teviot, a small limpid stream,
where barefooted lassies were washing, as in the days of Allan
Ramsay. We saw Netherby Hall, and a little beyond Cannobie Lea,
the scenes of the song Young Lochinvar. All these, and many more
localities of legendary fame, were passed in the course of a
forenoon's progress in the stage-coach.

One day's journey brought me to Carlisle: thence I travelled through
the lake district, looking with delight upon Windermere, Rydal,
Grassmere, Helvellyn, Derwentwater, and Skiddaw. Then turning
eastward, I passed over a hilly and picturesque country, to the
ancient and renowned city of York. Having lingered, half entranced,
amid its antiquities, and looked almost with worship upon its
cathedral--the most beautiful I have ever seen--I departed, and soon
found myself once more in London.

As I shall not return to the subject again, I must say a few words
as to the impression England makes upon the mind of an American
traveller. I have visited this country several times within the last
thirty years, and I shall group my impressions in one general view.
The whole may be summed up in a single sentence, which is, that
England is incomparably the most beautiful country in the world! I do
not speak of it in winter, when encumbered with fogs; when there is

    "No sun, no moon, no morn, no noon,
      No dusk, no dawn--no proper time of day;
    No sky, no earthly view, no distance looking blue;
      No road, no street, no t'other side the way!"

I take her, as I do any other beauty who sits for her portrait,
in her best attire; that is, in summer. The sun rises here as high
in June as it does in America. Vegetation is just about as far
advanced. The meadows, the wheat-fields, the orchards, the forests
are in their glory. There is one difference, however, between the two
countries; the sun in England is not so hot, the air is not so highly
perfumed, the buzz of the insects is not so intense. Everything is
more tranquil. With us, all nature, during summer, appears to be in
haste: as if its time was short; as if it feared the coming frost.
In England, on the contrary, there seems to be a confidence in the
seasons, as if there were time for the ripening harvests; as if the
wheat might swell out its fat sides, the hop amplify its many-plaited
flowers, the oats multiply and increase their tassels; each and all
attaining their perfection at leisure. In the United States, the
period of growth of most vegetables is compressed into ten weeks; in
Great Britain, it extends to sixteen.

If we select the middle of June as a point of comparison, we shall
see that in America there is a spirit, vigor, energy in the climate,
as indicated by vegetable and animal life, unknown in Europe. The air
is clearer, the landscape is more distinct, the bloom more vivid,
the odors more pungent. A clover-field in America, in full bloom,
is by many shades more ruddy than the same thing in England: its
breath even is sweeter: the music of the bees stealing its honey is
of a higher key. A summer forest with us is of a livelier green than
in any part of Great Britain; the incense breathed upon the heart,
morning and evening, is, I think, more full and fragrant. And yet, if
we take the summer through, this season is pleasanter in England than
with us. It is longer, its excitements are more tranquil, and, being
spread over a larger space, the heart has more leisure to appreciate
them, than in the haste and hurry of our American climate.

There is one fact worthy of notice, which illustrates this
peculiarity of the English summer: the trees there are all of a more
sturdy, or, as we say, _stubbed_ form and character. The oaks, the
elms, the walnuts, beeches, are shorter and thicker, as well in the
trunks as the branches, than ours. The leaves are thicker, the twigs
larger in circumference. I have noticed particularly the recent
growths of apple-trees, and they are at once shorter and stouter than
in America. This quality in the trees gives a peculiarity to the
landscape: the forest is more solid and less graceful than ours. If
you will look at an English painting of trees, you notice the fact
I state, and perceive the effect it gives, especially to scenes of
which trees constitute a prevailing element. All over Europe, in
fact, the leaves of the trees have a less feathery appearance than in
America; and in general the forms of the branches are less arching,
and, of course, less beautiful. Hence it will be perceived that
European pictures of trees differ in this respect from American ones:
the foliage in the former being more solid, and the sweep of the
branches more angular.

But it is in respect to the effects of human art and industry that
the English landscape has the chief advantage over ours. England
is an old country, and shows on its face the influences of fifteen
centuries of cultivation. It is, with the exception of Belgium, the
most thickly-settled country of Europe.

It is under a garden-like cultivation; the ploughing is straight
and even, as if regulated by machinery; the boundaries of estates
consist, for the most part, of stone mason-work, the intermediate
divisions being hedges, neatly trimmed, and forming a beautiful
contrast to our stiff stone walls and rail fences. In looking from
the top of a hill over a large extent of country, it is impossible
not to feel a glow of delight at the splendor of the scene: the
richness of the soil, its careful and skilful cultivation, its green,
tidy boundaries chequering the scene, its teeming crops, its fat
herds, its numberless and full-fleeced sheep.

Nor must the dwellings be overlooked. I pass by the cities and the
manufacturing villages, which, in most parts, are visible in every
extended landscape; sometimes, as in the region of Manchester,
spreading out for miles, and sending up wreaths of smoke from a
thousand tall, tapering chimneys. I am speaking now of the country;
and here are such residences as are unknown to us. An English castle
would swallow up a dozen of our wood or brick villas. The adjacent
estate often includes a thousand acres; and these, be it remembered,
are kept almost as much for ornament as use. Think of a dwelling
that might gratify the pride of a prince, surrounded by several
square miles of wooded park, and shaven lawn, and winding stream,
and swelling hill; and all having been for a hundred, perhaps five
hundred years, subjected to every improvement which the highest art
could suggest! There is certainly a union of unrivalled beauty and
magnificence in the lordly estates of England. We have nothing in
America which at all resembles them.

And then there is every grade of imitation of these high examples
scattered over the whole country. The greater part of the surface
of England belongs to wealthy proprietors, and these have alike the
desire and the ability to give an aspect of neatness, finish, and
elegance, not only to their dwellings and the immediate grounds,
but to their entire estates. The prevailing standard of taste thus
leads to a universal beautifying of the surface of the country.
Even the cottager feels the influence of this omnipresent spirit:
the brown thatch over his dwelling, and the hedge before his door,
must be neatly trimmed: the green ivy must clamber up and festoon
his windows; and the little yard in front must bloom with roses and
lilies, and other gentle flowers, in their season.

So much for the common aspect of England as the traveller passes over
it. The seeker after the picturesque may find abundant gratification
in Devonshire, Derbyshire, Westmoreland, though Wales and Scotland,
and parts of Ireland, are still more renowned for their beauty. So
far as combinations of nature are concerned, nothing in the world can
surpass some of our own scenery; as along the upper waters of the
Housatonic and the Connecticut, or among the islands of Lake George,
and a thousand other places: but these lack the embellishments of art
and the associations of romance or song, which belong to the rival
beauties of British landscapes.

I confine these remarks to a single topic, the aspect of England as
it meets the eye of an American traveller. The English do not and
cannot enjoy the spectacle as an American does; for they are born
to it, and have no experience which teaches them to estimate it by
common and inferior standards. Having said so much on this subject,
I shall not venture to speak of English society: of the lights and
shadows of life beneath the myriad roofs of towns and cities. The
subject would be too extensive; and besides, it has been abundantly
treated by others. I only say, in passing, that the English people
are the best studied at home. John Bull, out of his own house,
is generally a rough customer: here, by his fireside, with wife,
children, and friends, he is generous, genial, gentlemanly. There is
no hospitality like that of an Englishman, when you have crossed his
threshold. Everywhere else he will annoy you. He will poke his elbow
into your sides in a crowded thoroughfare; he will rebuff you if,
sitting at his side in a railway-carriage, you ask a question by way
of provoking a little conversation: he carries at his back a load of
prejudices, like the bundle of Christian in the Pilgrim's Progress;
and, instead of seeking to get rid of them, he is always striving to
increase his collection. If he becomes a diplomat, his great business
is to meddle in everybody's affairs; if an editor, he is only happy
in proportion as he can say annoying and irritating things. And yet,
catch this same John Bull at home, and his crusty, crocodile armor
falls off, and he is the very best fellow in the world: liberal,
hearty, sincere,--the perfection of a gentleman.



London, when I first knew it, was not what it is now. Its population
has at least doubled since 1824. At that time Charing Cross was a
filthy, triangular thoroughfare, a stand for hackney-coaches, a
grand panorama of show-bills pasted over the surrounding walls,
with the King's Mews in the immediate vicinity: this whole area is
now the site of Trafalgar Square. This is an index of other and
similar changes that have taken place all over the city. At the
present day, London not only surpasses in its extent, its wealth, its
accumulations of all that belongs to art, the extent of its commerce,
the vastness of its influence, all the cities that now exist, but all
that the world has before known.

King George IV. was then on the throne, and though he was shy of
showing himself in public, I chanced to see him several times, and
once to advantage, at Ascot Races. For more than an hour his majesty
stood in the pavilion, surrounded by the Duke of Wellington, the
Duke of York, the Marquis of Anglesea, and other persons of note.
But for the star on his left breast, and the respect paid to him, he
might have passed as only an over-dressed and rather sour old rake. I
noticed that his coat sat very close and smooth, and was told that
he was trussed and braced by stays. It was said to be the labor of
at least two hours to prepare him for a public exhibition. He was a
dandy to the last. The wrinkles of his coat, after it was on, were
cut out by the tailor, and carefully drawn up with the needle. He
had the gout, and walked badly. I imagine there were few among the
thousands gathered to the spectacle who were really less happy than
his majesty--the monarch of the three kingdoms.

I saw the Duke of Wellington not only on this, but on many subsequent
occasions. I think the portraits give a false idea of his personal
appearance. He was really a rather small, thin, insignificant-looking
man, unless you saw him on horseback. He then seemed rather stately,
and in a military dress, riding always with inimitable ease, he
sustained the image of the great general. At other times I never
could discover in his appearance anything but the features and aspect
of an ordinary, and certainly not prepossessing, old man. I say this
with great respect for his character, which, as a personification of
solid sense, indomitable purpose, steady loyalty, and unflinching
devotion to a sense of public duty, I conceive to be one of the
finest in British history.

At this period our countryman, Jacob Perkins, was astonishing London
with his steam-gun. He was certainly a man of extraordinary genius,
and was the originator of numerous useful inventions. At the time
of which I write, he fancied that he had discovered a new mode of
generating steam, by which he was not only to save a vast amount of
fuel, but to obtain a marvellous increase of power. So confident was
he of success, that he told me he felt certain of being able, in a
few months, to go from London to Liverpool with the steam produced
by a gallon of oil. Such was his fertility of invention, that while
pursuing one discovery others came into his mind, and, seizing upon
his attention, kept him in a whirl of experiments, in which many
things were begun, and comparatively nothing completed.

Though the steam-gun never reached any practical result, it was for
some time the admiration of London. I was present at an exhibition
of its wonderful performances in the presence of the Duke of Sussex,
the Duke of Wellington, and other persons of note. The purpose of the
machine was to discharge bullets by steam, instead of gunpowder, and
with great rapidity--at least a hundred a minute. The balls were put
in a sort of tunnel, and by working a crank back and forward, they
were let into the chamber of the barrel one by one, and expelled by
the steam. The noise of each explosion was like that of a musket; and
when the discharges were rapid, there was a ripping uproar, quite
shocking to tender nerves. The balls--carried about a hundred feet
across the smithy--struck upon an iron target, and were flattened to
the thickness of a shilling piece.

The whole performance was indeed quite formidable, and the
Duke of Sussex seemed greatly excited. I stood close to him;
and when the bullets flew pretty thick, and the discharge came
to its climax, I heard him say to the Duke of Wellington, in
an under-tone,--"Wonderful, wonderful--wonderful! wonderful,
wonderful--wonderful! wonderful, wonderful--wonderful!" and so he
went on, without variation. It was, in fact, a very good commentary
upon the performance.

Having spoken of the Duke of Sussex, I must say a few words of his
brother, the Duke of York, whom I had seen at Ascot. He was there
interested in the race, for he had entered a horse by the name of
Moses, for one of the prizes. Some person reflected upon him for
this. His ready reply was, that he was devoted to _Moses and the
profits_. Despite his disgrace in the Flanders campaign, and his
notorious profligacy, he was still a favorite among the British
people. There was about him a certain native honorableness and
goodness of heart, which always existed, even in the midst of his
worst career.

I saw the Duke on another occasion, at a cavalry review on Hounslow
Heath. The Duke of Wellington was among the spectators. He was now
in military dress, and mounted on a fine chestnut-colored horse. His
motions were quick, and frequently seemed to indicate impatience.
Several ladies and gentlemen on horseback were admitted to the
review, and within the circle of the sentries stationed to exclude
the crowd. I obtained admission by paying five shillings; for I
learned that in England money is quite as mighty as in America.
The privileged group of fair ladies and brave men, gathered upon a
grassy knoll to observe the evolutions of the soldiers, presented
an assemblage such as the aristocracy of England alone can furnish.
Those who imagine that this is an effeminate generation, should learn
that both the men and women belonging to the British nobility, taken
together, are without doubt the finest race in the world. One thing
is certain, these ladies could stand fire; for although the horses
leaped and pranced at the discharges of the troops, their fair riders
seemed as much at ease as if upon their own feet. Their horsemanship
was indeed admirable, and suggested those habits of exercise and
training, to which their full rounded forms and blooming countenances
gave ample testimony.

The performances consisted of various marches and
counter-marches--sometimes slow, and sometimes quick--across the
extended plain. The evolutions of the flying-artillery excited
universal admiration. When the whole body--about four thousand
horse--rushed in a furious gallop over the ground, the clash of
arms, the thunder of hoofs, the universal shudder of the earth--all
together created more thrilling emotions in my mind, than any other
military parade I ever beheld. I have seen eighty thousand infantry
in the field; but they did not impress my imagination as forcibly as
these few regiments of cavalry at Hounslow Heath. One incident gave
painful effect to the spectacle. As the whole body were sweeping
across the field, a single trooper was pitched from his horse and
fell to the ground. A hundred hoofs passed over him, and trampled
him into the sod. On swept the gallant host, as heedless of their
fallen companion as if only a feather had dropped from of their caps.
The conflict of cavalry in real battle, must be the most fearful
exhibition which the dread drama of war can furnish. On this occasion
both the King and the Duke of York were present; so that it was one
off universal interest. About fifty ladies on horseback rode back and
forth over the field, on the flanks of the troops, imitating their

I have been often at the House of Commons; but I shall now only speak
of a debate, in July, 1824, upon the petition, I believe, of the
City of London, for a recognition of the independence of some of the
South American States. Canning was then Secretary of Foreign Affairs,
and took the brunt of the battle made upon the Ministry. Sir James
Mackintosh led, and Brougham followed him, on the same side.

I shall not attempt to give you a sketch of the speeches: a mere
description of the appearance and manner of the prominent orators
will suffice. Sir James, then nearly sixty years old, was a man
rather above the ordinary size; and with a fine, philanthropic face.
His accent was decidedly Scotch, and his voice shrill and dry. He
spoke slowly, often hesitated, and was entirely destitute of what
we call eloquence. There was no easy flow of sentences, no gush of
feeling, no apparent attempt to address the heart or the imagination.
His speech was a rigid lecture, rather abstract and philosophical;
evidently addressed to the stern intellect of stern men. He had a
good deal of gesture, and once or twice was boisterous in tone and
manner. His matter was logical; and occasionally he illustrated his
propositions by historical facts, happily narrated. On the whole he
made the impression upon my mind that he was a very philosophical,
but not very practical, statesman.

Brougham's face and figure are familiar to every one; and making
allowance for added years, there is little change in his appearance
since the time of which I speak. He had abundance of words, as
well as ideas. In his speech on the occasion I describe, he piled
thought upon thought, laced sentence within sentence, mingled satire
and philosophy, fact and argument, history and anecdote, as if he
had been a cornucopia, and was anxious to disburden himself of his
abundance. In all this there were several hard hits, and Canning
evidently felt them. As he rose to reply, I took careful note of
his appearance; for he was then, I imagine, the most conspicuous of
the British Statesmen. He was a handsome man, with a bald, shining
head, and a figure slightly stooping in the shoulders. His face was
round, his eye large and full, his lips a little voluptuous: the
whole bearing a lively and refined expression. In other respects,
his appearance was not remarkable. His voice was musical; and he
spoke with more ease and fluency than most other orators of the House
of Commons; yet even he hesitated, paused, and repeated his words,
not only in the beginning, but sometimes in the very midst of his
argument. He, however, riveted the attention of the Members; and his
observations frequently brought out the ejaculation of "hear, hear,"
from both sides of the House. Brougham and Mackintosh watched him
with vigilant attention; now giving nods of assent, and now signs of

Of course, I visited the House of Lords, paying two shillings and
sixpence for admittance. The general aspect of the assembly was
eminently grave and dignified. Lord Eldon was the Chancellor--a
large, heavy, iron-looking man--the personification of bigoted
Conservatism. He was so opposed to reforms, that he shed tears when
the punishment of death was abolished for stealing five shillings
in a dwelling-house! When I saw him, his head was covered with the
official wig: his face sufficed, however, to satisfy any one that his
obstinacy of character was innate.

While I was here, a Committee from the House of Commons was
announced; they had brought up a message to the Lords. The
Chancellor, taking the seals in his hands, approached the Committee,
bowing three times, and they doing the same. Then they separated,
each moving backward, and bowing. To persons used to such a ceremony,
this might be sublime; to me it was ludicrous: and all the more
so, on account of the ponderous starchness of the chief performer
in the solemn farce. There was a somewhat animated debate while
I was present, in which Lords Liverpool, Lauderdale, Harrowby and
Grey participated; yet nothing was said or done that would justify
particular notice at this late day.

A great event happened in the musical world while I was in
London--the appearance of Catalani at the Italian Opera, after
several years of absence. The opera was _Le Nozze di Figaro_. I had
never before seen an opera; and could not, even by the enchantments
of music, have my habits of thought and my common sense so
completely overturned and bewitched, as to see the whole business of
life--intrigue, courtship, marriage, cursing, shaving, preaching,
praying, loving, hating--done by singing, instead of talking, and yet
feel that it was all right and proper. It requires both a musical ear
and early training fully to appreciate and feel the opera.

Madame Catalani was a large handsome woman; a little masculine
and past forty. She was not only a very clever actress, but was
deemed to have every musical merit--volume, compass, clearness of
tone, surpassing powers of execution. Her whole style was dramatic;
bending even the music to the sentiments of the character and
the song. I could appreciate, uninstructed as I was, her amazing
powers; though, to say the truth, I was quite as much astonished as
pleased. Pasta and Garcia, both of whom I afterwards heard, gave me
infinitely greater pleasure; chiefly because their voices possessed
that melody of tone which excites sympathy in every heart; even
the most untutored. Madame Catalani gave the opera a sort of epic
grandeur--an almost tragic vehemence of expression; Pasta and Garcia
rendered it the interpreter of those soft and tender emotions, for
the expression of which God seems to have given music to mankind. It
was, no doubt, a great thing to hear the greatest cantatrice of the
age; but I remember Madame Catalani as a prodigy, rather than as an
enchantress. On the occasion I am describing, she sang, by request,
"Rule Britannia" between the acts; which drew forth immense applause,
in which I heartily joined: not that I liked the words, but that I
felt the music.

It was about this time that a great attraction was announced at one
of the theatres; nothing less than the King and Queen of the Sandwich
Islands, who had graciously condescended to honor the performance
with their presence. They had come to visit England, and pay their
homage to George the Fourth; hence the Government deemed it necessary
to receive them with hospitality, and pay them such attentions
as were due to their rank and royal blood. The king's name was
Kamehamaha; but he had also the sub-title or surname of Rhio-Rhio:
which, being interpreted, meant Dog of Dogs. Canning's wit got the
better of his reverence, and so he profanely suggested that, if his
majesty was a Dog of Dogs, what must the queen be? However, there was
an old man about the court, who had acquired the title of Poodle,
and he was selected as a fit person to attend upon their majesties.
They had their lodgings at the Adelphi Hotel, and might be seen at
all hours of the day, looking at the puppet-shows in the streets with
intense delight. Of all the institutions of Great Britain, Punch and
Judy evidently made the strongest and most favorable impression upon
the royal party.

They were, I believe, received at a private interview by the King at
Windsor: everything calculated to gratify them was done. I saw them
at the theatre, dressed in a European costume, with the addition
of some barbarous finery. The king was an enormous man--six feet
three or four inches; the queen was short, but otherwise of ample
dimensions. Besides these persons, the party comprised five or six
other members of the king's household. They had all large, round,
flat faces, of a coarse, though good-humored expression. Their
complexion was a ruddy brown, not very unlike the American Indians;
their general aspect, however, was very different. They looked with
a kind of vacant wonder at the play, evidently not comprehending it;
the farce, on the contrary, seemed greatly to delight them. It is sad
to relate that this amiable couple never returned to their country;
both died in England--victims either to the climate, or to the change
in their habits of living.

Among the prominent objects of interest in London at this period was
Edward Irving, then preaching at the Caledonian Chapel, Cross Street,
Hatton Garden. He was now in the full flush of his fame; and such was
the eagerness to hear him, that it was difficult to get admission.
People of all ranks--literary men, philosophers, statesmen,
noblemen, persons of the highest name and influence, with a full and
diversified representation of the fair sex--crowded to his church. I
was so fortunate as to get a seat in the pew of a friend, a privilege
which I appreciated all the more when I counted twenty coroneted
coaches standing at the door, some of those who came in them not
being able to obtain even an entrance into the building. The interior
was crowded to excess; the aisles were full; and even fine ladies
seemed happy to get seats upon the pulpit stairway. Persons of the
highest title were scattered here and there, and cabinet ministers
were squeezed in with the mass of common humanity.

Mr. Irving's appearance was very remarkable. He was over six feet
in height, very broad-shouldered, with long, black hair hanging in
heavy, twisted ringlets down upon his shoulders. His complexion was
pallid, yet swarthy; the whole expression of his face, owing chiefly
to an unfortunate squint, was half-sinister and half-sanctified,
creating in the minds of the beholder a painful doubt whether he was
a great saint or a great sinner.

There was a strange mixture of saintliness and dandyism in the whole
appearance of this man. His prayer was affected--strange, quaint,
peculiar in its phraseology, yet solemn and striking. His reading of
the psalm was peculiar, and a fancy crossed my mind that I had heard
something like it, but certainly not in a church. I was seeking to
trace out a resemblance between this strange parson and some star
of Drury Lane or Covent Garden. Suddenly I found the clue: Edward
Irving in the pulpit was imitating Edmund Kean upon the stage! And
he succeeded admirably--his tall and commanding person giving him an
immense advantage over the little, insignificant, yet inspired actor.
He had the tones of the latter, his gestures, his looks even, as I
had often seen him in Richard the Third and Shylock. He had evidently
taken lessons of the renowned tragedian, but whether in public or
private is not for me to say.

In spite of the evident affectation, the solemn dandyism, the
dramatic artifices of the performer--for, after all, I could only
consider the preacher as an actor--the sermon was very impressive.
The phraseology was rich, flowing, redundant, abounding in
illustration, and seemed to me carefully modelled after that of
Jeremy Taylor. Some of the pictures presented to the imagination
were startling, and once or twice it seemed as if the whole audience
was heaving and swelling with intense emotion, like a sea rolling
beneath the impulses of a tempest. Considered as a display of
oratorical art, it was certainly equal to anything I have ever heard
from the pulpit; yet it did not appear to me calculated to have any
permanent effect in enforcing Christian truth upon the conscience.
The preacher seemed too much a player, and too little an apostle.
The after-thought was, that the whole effect was the result of stage
trick, and not of sober truth.

The character and career of Edward Irving present a strange series of
incongruities. He was born in Scotland in 1792; he became a preacher,
and acquired speedy notoriety, as much by his peculiarities as his
merits. He attracted the attention of Dr. Chalmers, and through his
influence was for a time assistant-minister in the parish of St.
John's, at Glasgow. From this place he was called to the Caledonian
Chapel, where I heard him. His fame continued to increase; and having
published a volume of discourses, under the quaint title, For the
Oracles of God, four Orations: for Judgment to come, an Argument in
Nine Parts: three large editions of the work were sold in the space
of six months. Wherever he preached crowds of eager listeners flocked
to hear him. His eccentricities increased with his fame. He drew
out his discourses to an enormous length, and on several occasions
protracted the services to four hours! He soon became mystical,
and took to studying unfulfilled prophecy as the true key to the
interpretation of the Scriptures. From this extravagance he passed
to the doctrine that Christians, by the power of faith, can attain
to the working of miracles, and speaking with unknown tongues, as
in the primitive ages. Such at last were his vagaries, that he was
cut off from communion with the Scottish Church; in consequence, he
became the founder of a sect which continues to the present time in
England, bearing the title of "Irvingites." Worn out with anxiety
and incessant labors, he died at Glasgow, while on a journey for his
health, in 1834, at the early age of forty-two.

One more event I must notice--the arrival in London of the remains
of Lord Byron, and their lying in state previous to interment.
His body had been preserved in spirits, and was thus brought from
Greece, attended by five persons of his lordship's suite. Having been
transferred to the coffin, it lay in state at the house of Sir Edward
Knatchbull, where such were the crowds that rushed to behold the
spectacle, that it was necessary to defend the coffin with a stout
wooden railing. When I arrived at the place the lid was closed. I
was told, however, that the countenance, though the finer lines had
collapsed, was so little changed as to be easily recognised by his
acquaintances. The general muscular form of the body was perfectly

The aspect of the scene, even as I witnessed it, was altogether
very impressive. The coffin was covered with a pall, enriched by
escutcheons wrought in gold. On the top was a lid, set round with
black plumes. Upon it were these words,--


At the head of the coffin was an urn containing the ashes of his
brain and heart: this being also covered with a rich pall, wrought
with figures in gold. The windows were closed, and the darkened room
was feebly illumined by numerous wax tapers.

And this was all that remained of Byron! What a lesson upon the pride
of genius, the vanity of rank, the fatuity of fame,--all levelled in
the dust, and, despite the garnished pall and magnificent coffin,
their possessor bound to pass through the same process of corruption
as the body of a common beggar!



Having made a hurried excursion to Paris and back to London, I
departed for Liverpool, and thence embarked for the United States,
arriving there in October, 1824. I remained at Hartford till
October, 1826, and then removed to Boston, with the intention of
publishing original works, and at the same time of trying my hand at
authorship--the latter part of my plan, however, known only to myself.

At that time Boston was recognized as the literary metropolis of the
Union--the admitted Athens of America. Edward Everett had established
the North-American Review, and though he had now just left the
editorial chair, his spirit dwelt in it, and his fame lingered around
it. R. H. Dana, Edward T. Channing, George Bancroft, and others,
were among the rising lights of the literary horizon. Society was
strongly impressed with literary tastes, and genius was respected
and cherished. The day had not yet come when it was glory enough for
a college professor to marry a hundred thousand dollars of stocks,
or when it was the chief end of a lawyer to become the attorney of
an insurance company, or a bank, or a manufacturing corporation. A
Boston imprint on a book was equal to a certificate of good paper,
good print, good binding, and good matter. And while such was the
state of things at Boston, at New York the Harpers, who till recently
had been mere printers in Dover street, had scarcely entered upon
their career as publishers; and the other shining lights in the
trade, at the present time, were either unborn, or in the nursery, or
at school.

What a revolution do these simple items suggest, wrought in the space
of thirty years! The sceptre has departed from Judah: New York is now
the acknowledged metropolis of American literature, as well as of art
and commerce. Nevertheless, if we look at Boston literature at the
present time, as reflected in its publishing lists, we shall see that
the light of other days has not degenerated; for since the period
of which I speak, Prescott, Longfellow, Hawthorne, Whipple, Holmes,
Lowell, Hilliard, have joined the Boston constellation of letters.

It cannot interest the reader to hear in detail my business
operations in Boston at this period. It will be sufficient to say
that, among other works, I published an edition of the novels of
Charles Brockden Brown, with a life of the author, furnished by
his widow, she having a share of the edition. I also published an
edition of Hannah More's works, and of Mrs. Opie's works: these
being, I believe, the first complete collections of the writings of
these authors. In 1827 I published Sketches by N. P. Willis, his
first adventure in responsible authorship. The next year I issued
the Commonplace Book of Prose, the first work of the now celebrated
Dr. Cheever. This was speedily followed by the Commonplace Book of
Poetry, and Studies in Poetry, by the same author.

In 1828 I published a first, and soon after a second, volume of
the Legendary, designed as a periodical, and intended to consist
of original pieces in prose and verse, principally illustrative of
American history, scenery, and manners. This was edited by N. P.
Willis, and was, I believe, his first editorial engagement. Among
the contributors were Halleck, Miss Sedgwick, Miss Francis, Mrs.
Sigourney, Willis, Pierpont, and other popular writers of that day.
It was kindly treated by the press, which generously published,
without charge, the best pieces in full, saving the reading million
the trouble of buying the book and paying for the chaff, which
was naturally found with the wheat. Despite this courtesy, the
work proved a miserable failure. The time had not come for such a
publication. At the present day, with the present accessories and the
present public spirit, I doubt not that such an enterprise would be
eminently successful.

The first work of the Annual kind, entitled the Forget-Me-Not, was
issued by the Ackermanns of London, in the winter of 1823, while I
was in that city. It was successfully imitated by Carey and Lea at
Philadelphia, in a work entitled the Atlantic Souvenir, and which was
sustained with great spirit for several years. In 1828 I commenced
and published the first volume of the Token, which I continued for
fifteen years; editing it myself, with the exception of the volume
for 1829, which came out under the auspices of Mr. Willis. In 1836,
the Atlantic Souvenir ceased; and after that time, by arrangement
with the publishers, its title was added to that of the Token.

The success of this species of publication stimulated new
enterprises of the kind, and a rage for them spread over Europe
and America. The efforts of the first artists and the best writers
were at length drawn into them; and for nearly twenty years
every autumn produced an abundant harvest of Diadems, Bijous,
Amaranths, Bouquets, Hyacinths, Amulets, Talismans, Forget-Me-Nots,
&c. Under these seductive titles they became messengers of love,
tokens of friendship, signs and symbols of affection, and luxury
and refinement; and thus they stole alike into the palace and the
cottage, the library, the parlor, and the boudoir. The public taste
grew by feeding on these luscious gifts, and soon craved even more
gorgeous works of the kind; whence came Heath's Book of Beauty,
Lady Blessington's Flowers of Loveliness, Bulwer's Pilgrims of the
Rhine, Butler's Leaflets of Memory, Christmas with the Poets, and
many others of similar design and execution. Many of the engravings
of these works cost 500 dollars each, and many a piece of poetry 50
dollars a page. On several of these works the public spent 50,000
dollars a-year!

At last the race of Annuals drew near the end of its career, yet not
without having produced a certain revolution in the public taste.
Their existence had sprung, at least in part, from steel-engraving,
which had been invented and introduced by our countryman, Jacob
Perkins. This enabled the artist to produce works of greater delicacy
than had ever before been achieved; steel also gave the large number
of impressions which the extensive sales of the Annuals demanded, and
which could not have been obtained from copper. These works scattered
gems of art far and wide, making the reading mass familiar with fine
specimens of engraving; and not only cultivating an appetite for this
species of luxury, but exalting the general standard of taste all
over the civilized world.

And thus, though the Annuals, by name, have perished, they have
left a strong necessity in the public mind for books enriched by
all the embellishments of art. Hence we have illustrated editions
of Byron, Rogers, Thomson, Cowper, Campbell, and others; including
our own poets, Bryant, Halleck, Sigourney, Longfellow, Read, &c.
Wood-engraving, which since then has risen into such importance, has
lent its potent aid in making books one of the chief luxuries of
society, from the nursery to the parlor.

In comparison with many of these works, the Token was a very modest
affair. The first year I offered prizes for the best pieces in
prose and poetry. The highest for prose was awarded to the author
of Some Passages in the Life of an Old Maid. A mysterious man, in
a mysterious way, presented himself for the money, and, giving due
evidence of his authority to receive it, it was paid to him; but who
the author really was never transpired, though I had, and still have,
my confident guess upon the subject. Even the subsequent volumes,
though they obtained favor in their day, did not approach the
splendor of the modern works of a similar kind. Nevertheless, some of
the engravings, from the designs of Allston, Leslie, Newton, Cole,
Inman, Chapman, Fisher, Brown, Alexander, Healy, and others, were
very clever, even compared with the finest works of the present day.

The literary contributions were, I believe, equal, on the whole, to
any of the Annuals, American or European. Here were inserted some
of the earliest productions of Willis, Hawthorne, Miss Francis (now
Mrs. Child), Miss Sedgwick, Mrs. Hale, Pierpont, Greenwood, and
Longfellow. Several of these authors first made acquaintance with
the public through the pages of this work. It is a curious fact that
the latter, Longfellow, wrote prose, and at that period had shown
neither a strong bias nor a particular talent for poetry.

The Token was continued annually till 1842, when it finally ceased.
The day of Annuals had, indeed, passed before this was given up;
and the last two or three years it had only lingered out a poor and
fading existence. As a matter of business, it scarcely paid its
expenses, and was a serious drawback upon my time and resources for
fifteen years; a punishment, no doubt, fairly due to an obstinate
pride, which made me reluctant to abandon a work with which my name
and feelings had become somewhat identified.



I may here say, with propriety, a few words more as to the
contributors for the Token. The most prominent writer for it was N.
P. Willis; his articles were the most read, the most admired, the
most abused, and the most advantageous to the work. I published his
first book; and his two first editorial engagements were with me:
hence the early portion of his literary career fell under my special

He had begun to write verses very early; and while in College, before
he was eighteen, he had acquired an extended reputation, under the
signature of "Roy." In 1827, when he was just twenty years old, I
published his volume, entitled Sketches. It elicited quite a shower
of criticism, in which praise and blame were about equally dispensed:
at the same time the work sold with a readiness quite unusual for a
book of poetry at that period. It is not calculated to establish the
infallibility of critics, to look over these notices at the present
day: many of the pieces which were then condemned have now taken
their places among the acknowledged gems of our literature; and
others, which excited praise at the time, have faded from the public

One thing is certain, everybody thought Willis worth criticising.
He has been, I suspect, more written about than any other literary
man in the history of American literature. Some of the attacks upon
him proceeded, no doubt, from a conviction that he was a man of
extraordinary gifts, and yet of extraordinary affectations; and the
lash was applied in kindness, as that of a schoolmaster to a beloved
pupil's back; some of them were dictated by envy; for we have had
no other example of literary success so early, so general, and so
flattering. That Mr. Willis made mistakes in literature and life,
at the outset, may be admitted by his best friends; for it must be
remembered that, before he was five-and-twenty, he was more read than
any other American poet of his time; and besides, being possessed
of an easy and captivating address, he became the pet of society,
and especially of the fairer portion of it. Since that period, his
life, on the whole, has been one of serious, useful, and successful
labor. His reputation as a poet has hardly advanced, and probably
the public generally regard some of his early verses as his best.
As an essayist, however, he stands in the first rank; distinguished
for a keen sagacity in analyzing society, a fine perception of the
beauties of nature, and an extraordinary talent for endowing trifles
with interest and meaning. As a traveller, he is among the most
entertaining, sagacious, and instructive.

His style is certainly peculiar, and is deemed affected, tending to
an excess of refinement, and displaying an undue hankering for grace
and melody; sometimes sacrificing sense to sound. This might once
have been a just criticism, but the candid reader of his works now
before the public will deem it hypercritical. His style is suited to
his thought; it is flexible, graceful, musical, and is adapted to
the playful wit, the piquant sentiment, the artistic descriptions of
sea, earth, and sky, of which they are the vehicle. In the seeming
exhaustlessness of his resources, in his prolonged freshness, in his
constantly-increasing strength, Mr. Willis has refuted all the early
prophets, who regarded him only as a precocity, destined to shine a
few brief years and fade away.

As to his personal character, I need only say, that from the
beginning he had a larger circle of steadfast friends than almost any
man within my knowledge. There has been something in his works which
has made women generally both his literary and personal admirers. For
so many favors he has given the world an ample return; for, with all
his imputed literary faults--some real and some imaginary--I regard
him as having contributed more to the amusement of society than
almost any other of our living authors.

It is not easy to conceive of a stronger contrast than is presented
by comparing Nathaniel Hawthorne with N. P. Willis. The former was
for a time one of the principal writers for the Token, and his
admirable sketches were published side by side with those of the
latter. Yet it is curious to remark, that everything Willis wrote
attracted immediate attention, and excited ready praise, while the
productions of Hawthorne were almost entirely unnoticed.

The personal appearance and demeanor of these two gifted young men,
at the early period of which I speak, was also in striking contrast.
Willis was slender, his hair sunny and silken, his cheeks ruddy,
his aspect cheerful and confident. He met society with a ready and
welcome hand, and was received readily and with welcome. Hawthorne,
on the contrary, was of a rather sturdy form, his hair dark and
bushy, his eyes steel-grey, his brow thick, his mouth sarcastic, his
complexion stony, his whole aspect cold, moody, distrustful. He stood
aloof, and surveyed the world from shy and sheltered positions.

There was a corresponding difference in the writings of these two
persons. Willis was all sunshine and summer, the other chill, dark,
and wintry; the one was full of love and hope, the other of doubt
and distrust; the one sought the open daylight--sunshine, flowers,
music--and found them everywhere; the other plunged into the dim
caverns of the mind, and studied the grisly spectres of jealousy,
remorse, despair.

I had seen some anonymous publication which seemed to me to indicate
extraordinary powers. I inquired of the publishers as to the
writer, and through them a correspondence ensued between me and "N.
Hawthorne." This name I considered a disguise, and it was not till
after many letters had passed that I met the author, and found it
to be his true title, representing a very substantial personage. At
this period he was unsettled as to his views: he had tried his hand
in literature, and considered himself to have met with a fatal rebuff
from the reading world. His mind vacillated between various projects,
verging, I think, toward a mercantile profession. I combated his
despondence, and assured him of triumph, if he would persevere in a
literary career.

He wrote numerous articles, which appeared in the Token: occasionally
an astute critic seemed to see through them, and to discover the mind
that was in them; but in general they passed without notice. Such
articles as "Sights from a Steeple," "Sketches beneath an Umbrella,"
the "Wives of the Dead," the "Prophetic Pictures," now universally
acknowledged to be productions of extraordinary depth, meaning, and
power,--extorted hardly a word of either praise or blame, while
columns were given to pieces since totally forgotten. I felt annoyed,
almost angry, indeed, at this. I wrote several articles in the
papers, directing attention to these productions, and finding no echo
of my views, I recollect to have asked John Pickering, a gentleman in
whose critical powers I had great confidence, to read some of them,
and give me his opinion of them. He did as I requested; his answer
was that they displayed a wonderful beauty of style, with a sort of
second-sight, which revealed, beyond the outward forms of life and
being, a sort of spirit-world, somewhat as a lake reflects the earth
around it and the sky above it; yet he deemed them too mystical to
be popular. He was right, no doubt, at that period; but, ere long,
a large portion of the reading world obtained a new sense--how, or
where, or whence, is not easily determined--which led them to study
the mystical, to dive beneath and beyond the senses. Hawthorne was,
in fact, a kind of Wordsworth in prose: less kindly, less genial
toward mankind, but deeper and more philosophical. His fate was
similar: at first he was neglected, at last he had worshippers.

In 1837 I recommended Mr. Hawthorne to publish a volume, comprising
his various pieces, which had appeared in the Token and elsewhere. He
consented, but as I had ceased to be a publisher, it was difficult
to find any one who would undertake to bring out the work. I applied
to the agent of the Stationers' Company, but he refused; until at
last I relinquished my copyrights on such of the tales as I had
published to Mr. Hawthorne, and joined a friend of his in a bond to
indemnify them against loss; and thus the work was published by the
Stationers' Company, under the title of Twice-Told Tales, and for the
author's benefit. It was deemed a failure for more than a year, when
a breeze seemed to rise and fill its sails, and with it the author
was carried on to fame and fortune.

Among the most successful of the writers for the Token was Miss
Francis, now Mrs. Child. I have not seen her for many years, but
I have many pleasant remembrances of her lively conversation, her
saucy wit, her strong good sense, and her most agreeable person and
presence. To Rev. F. W. P. Greenwood I was indebted not only for
some of the best contributions, but for excellent counsel and advice
in my literary affairs. He was a man of genius, gentle manners, and
apostolic dignity of life and character.

To Mr. Pierpont I was indebted for encouragement and sympathy in my
whole career, and for some of the best poems which appeared in the
work I am noticing. I remember once to have met him, and to have
asked him to give me a contribution for the Token. He stopped and
said, reflectingly, "I had a dream not long ago, which I have thought
to put into verse. I will try, and if I am successful you shall have
it." A few days after he gave me the lines, now in all the gem-books,

    "Was it the chime of a tiny bell
      That came so sweet to my dreaming ear--
    Like the silvery tones of a fairy's shell,
      That he winds on the beach so mellow and clear,
    When the winds and the waves lie together asleep,
    And the moon and the fairy are watching the deep--
    She dispensing her silvery light,
    And he his notes, as silvery quite,
    While the boatman listens and ships his oar,
    To catch the music that comes from the shore?
      Hark! the notes on my ear that play
      Are set to words; as they float, they say,
        'Passing away, passing away!'"

Next to Willis, Mrs. Sigourney was my most successful and liberal
contributor: to her I am indebted for a large part of the success of
my editorial labors in the matter now referred to. To Miss Sedgwick,
also, the Token owes a large share of its credit with the public. To
B. B. Thacher, also among the good and the departed; to Mrs. Osgood,
to John Neale, A. H. Everett, Mr. Longfellow, H. T. Tuckerman, Epes
and John Sargent, Miss Leslie, J. T. Fields, O. W. Holmes--to all
these, and to many others, I owe the kind remembrance which belongs
to good deeds, kindly and graciously bestowed.

It is not to be supposed that in a long career, both as bookseller
and editor, I should have escaped altogether the annoyances and
vexations which naturally attach to these vocations. The relation of
author and publisher is generally regarded as that of the cat and
the dog, both greedy of the bone, and inherently jealous of each
other. The authors have hitherto written the accounts of the wrangles
between these two parties, and the publishers have been traditionally
gibbeted as a set of mean, mercenary wretches, coining the heart's
blood of genius for their own selfish profits. Great minds, even in
modern times, have not been above this historical prejudice. The poet
Campbell is said to have been an admirer of Napoleon because he shot
a bookseller.

Nevertheless, speaking from my own experience, I suspect, if the
truth were told, that, even in cases where the world has been taught
to bestow all its sympathy in behalf of the author, it would appear
that while there were claws on one side there were teeth on the
other. My belief is, that where there have been quarrels there have
generally been mutual provocations. I know of nothing more vexatious,
more wearisome, more calculated to beget impatience, than the
egotisms, the exactions, the unreasonableness of authors, in cases I
have witnessed. That there may be examples of meanness, stupidity,
and selfishness in publishers, is indisputable. But, in general, I am
satisfied that an author who will do justice to a publisher will have
justice in return.

I could give some curious instances of this. A schoolmaster came
to me once with a marvellously clever grammar; it was sure to
overturn all others. He had figured out his views in a neat hand,
like copper-plate. He estimated that there were always a million
of children at school who would need his grammar; providing for
books worn out, and a supply for new comers, half-a-million would
be wanted every year. At one cent a copy for the author--which he
insisted was exceedingly moderate--this would produce to him five
thousand dollars a year; but if I would publish the work, he would
condescend to take half that sum annually, during the extent of the
copyright--twenty-eight years! I declined, and he seriously believed
me a heartless blockhead. He obtained a publisher at last, but the
work never reached a second edition. Every publisher is laden with
similar experiences.

I once employed a young man to block out some little books to be
published under the nominal authorship of Solomon Bell: these I
remodelled, and one or two volumes were issued. Some over-astute
critic announced them as veritable _Peter Parleys_, and they had a
sudden sale. The young man who had assisted me, and who was under
the most solemn obligations to keep the matter secret, thought he
had an opportunity to make his fortune; so he publicly claimed the
authorship, and accused me of duplicity! The result was that the
books fell dead from that hour; the series was stopped; and his
unprinted manuscripts, for which I had paid him, became utterly
worthless. A portion I burnt, and a portion still remain amidst the
rubbish of other days.

In other instances I was attacked in the papers, editorially and
personally, by individuals who were living upon the employment I gave
them. I was in daily intercourse with persons of this character, who,
while flattering me to my face, I knew to be hawking at me in print.
These I regarded and treated as trifles at the time; they are less
than trifles now. One thing may be remarked, that, in general, such
difficulties come from poor and unsuccessful writers. They have been
taught that publishers and booksellers are vampires, and naturally
feed upon the vitals of genius; assuming--honestly, no doubt--that
they are of this latter class, they feel no great scruple in taking
vengeance upon those whom they regard as their natural enemies.

My editorial experience also furnished me with some amusing
anecdotes. An editor of a periodical once sent me an article for the
Token, entitled La Longue-vue; the pith of the story consisted in a
romantic youth's falling in love with a young lady, two miles off,
through a telescope! I ventured to reject it; and the Token for that
year was duly damned in the columns of the offended author.

In judging of publishers one thing should be considered, and
that is, that two-thirds of the original works issued by them are
unprofitable. An eminent London publisher once told me, that he
calculated that out of ten publications four involved a positive, and
often a heavy, loss; three barely paid the cost of paper, print, and
advertising; and three paid a profit. Nothing is more common than
for a publisher to pay money to an author, every farthing of which
is lost. Self-preservation, therefore, compels the publisher to look
carefully to his operations. One thing is certain, he is generally
the very best judge as to the value of a book, in a marketable point
of view: if he rejects it, it is solely because he thinks it will not
pay, not because he despises genius.

Happily, at the present day, the relations between these two
parties--authors and publishers--are on a better footing than in
former times. Indeed, a great change has taken place in the relative
positions of the two classes. Nothing is now more marketable than
good writing, whatever may be its form--poetry or prose, fact or
fiction, reason or romance. Starving, neglected, abused genius, is a
myth of bygone times. If an author is poorly paid, it is because he
writes poorly. I do not think, indeed, that authors are adequately
paid, for authorship does not stand on a level with other professions
as to pecuniary recompense, but it is certain that a clever,
industrious, and judicious writer may make his talent the means of



Though I was busily engaged in publishing various works, I found
time to make my long-meditated experiment in the writing of books
for children. The first attempt was made in 1827, and bore the
title of the Tales of Peter Parley about America. No persons but my
wife and one of my sisters were admitted to the secret: for, in the
first place, I hesitated to believe that I was qualified to appear
before the public as an author; and, in the next place, nursery
literature had not then acquired the respect in the eyes of the world
it now enjoys. It is since that period that persons of acknowledged
genius--Scott, Dickens, Lamartine, Mary Howitt, in Europe; and
Todd, Gallaudet, Abbott, Miss Sedgwick, Mrs. Child, and others, in
America--have stooped to the composition of books for children and

I published my little book, and let it make its way. It came before
the world untrumpeted, and for some months seemed not to attract
the slightest attention. Suddenly I began to see notices of it in
the papers all over the country, and in a year from the date of
its publication it had become a favorite. In 1828 I published
the Tales of Peter Parley about Europe; in 1829, Parley's Winter
Evening Tales; in 1830, Parley's Juvenile Tales, and Parley's Asia,
Africa, Sun, Moon, and Stars. About this time the public guessed
my secret. Mrs. Sarah J. Hale, to whom I am indebted for many kind
offices in my literary career, first discovered and divulged it; yet
I could have wished she had not done me this questionable favor.
Though the authorship of the Parley books has been to me a source of
some gratification, you will see, in the sequel, that it has also
subjected me to endless vexations.

I shall not enter into the details of my proceedings at this busy
and absorbed period of my life. I had now obtained a humble position
in literature, and was successful in such unambitious works as I
attempted. I gave myself up almost wholly for about four years--that
is, from 1828 to 1832--to authorship, generally writing fourteen
hours a-day.--A part of the time I was entirely unable to read, and
could write but little, on account of the weakness of my eyes. In my
larger publications I employed persons to block out work for me: this
was read to me, and then I put it into style, generally writing by
dictation, my wife being my amanuensis. Thus embarrassed, I still, by
dint of incessant toil, produced five or six volumes a-year, most of
them small, but some of larger compass.

In the midst of these labors--that is, in the spring of 1832--I was
suddenly attacked with symptoms which seemed to indicate a disease of
the heart, rapidly advancing to a fatal termination. In the course
of a fortnight I was so reduced as not to be able to mount a pair of
stairs without help, and a short walk produced palpitation of the
heart, so violent, in several instances, as almost to deprive me of
consciousness. There seemed no hope but in turning my back upon my
business, and seeking a total change of scene and climate. In May I
embarked for England, and after a few weeks reached Paris. I here
applied to Baron Larroque, who, assisted by L'Herminier--both eminent
in the treatment of diseases of the heart--subjected me to various
experiments, but without the slightest advantage. At this period I
was obliged to be carried upstairs, and never ventured to walk or
ride alone, being constantly subject to nervous spasms, which often
brought me to the verge of suffocation.

Despairing of relief here, I proceeded to London, and was carefully
examined by Sir Benjamin Brodie. He declared that I had no organic
disease; that my difficulty was nervous irritability; and that
whereas the French physicians had interdicted wine, and required me
to live on a light vegetable diet, I must feed well upon good roast
beef, and take two generous glasses of port with my dinner! Thus
encouraged, I passed on to Edinburgh, where I consulted Abercrombie,
then at the height of his fame. He confirmed the views of Dr. Brodie,
in the main; and, regarding the irregularity of my vital organs
as merely functional, still told me that, without shortening my
life, it would probably never be wholly removed. He told me of an
instance in which a patient of his, who, having been called upon to
testify before the committee of the House of Commons, in the trial
of Warren Hastings, from mere embarrassment had been seized with
palpitation of the heart, which, however, continued till his death,
many years after. Even this sombre view of my case was then a relief.
Four-and-twenty years have passed since that period, and thus far my
experience has verified Dr. Abercombie's prediction. These nervous
attacks pursue me to this day: yet I have become familiar with them;
and, regarding them only as troublesome visitors, I receive them
patiently and bow them out as gently as I can.

After an absence of six months I returned to Boston, and, by the
advice of my physician, took up my residence in the country. I
built a house at Jamaica Plain, four miles from the city, and here
I continued for more than twenty years. My health was partially
restored, and I resumed my literary labors, which I continued
steadily, from 1833 to 1850, with a few episodes of lecturing and
legislating, three voyages to Europe, and an extensive tour to the
South. It would be tedious and unprofitable, were I even to enumerate
my various works, produced from the beginning to the present time. I
may sum up the whole in a single sentence: I am the author and editor
of about one hundred and seventy volumes, and of these seven millions
have been sold!

I have said, that however the authorship of Parley's Tales has made
me many friends, it has also subjected me to many annoyances. When
I was in London, in 1832, I learned that Mr. Tegg, a prominent
publisher there, had commenced the republication of Parley's Tales.
I called upon him, and found that he had one of them actually in the
press. The result of our interview was a contract, in which I engaged
to prepare several of these works, which he agreed to publish,
allowing me a small consideration. Four of these works I prepared
on the spot, and after my return to America prepared and forwarded
ten others. Some time after, I learned that the books, or at least
a portion of them, had been published in London, and were very
successful. I wrote several letters to Mr. Tegg on the subject, but
could get no reply.

Ten years passed away, and being in pressing need of all that I might
fairly claim as my due, I went to London, and asked him to render me
an account of his proceedings under the contract. I had previously
learned, on inquiry, that he had indeed published four or five of
the works, as we had agreed, but, taking advantage of these, which
passed readily into extensive circulation, he proceed to set aside
the contract, and to get up a series of publications upon the model
of those I had prepared for him, giving them in the title-pages the
name of Parley, and passing them off, by every artifice in his power,
as the genuine works of that author. He had thus published over a
dozen volumes, which he was circulating as Peter Parley's Library.
The speculation, as I was told, had succeeded admirably; and I was
assured that many thousand pounds of profit had been realized thereby.

To my request for an account of his stewardship the publisher
replied, in general terms, that I was misinformed as to the success
of the works in question; that, in fact, they had been a very
indifferent speculation; that he found the original works were not
adapted to his purpose, and he had consequently got up others; that
he had created, by advertising and other means, an interest in these
works, and had thus greatly benefited the name and fame of Parley;
and, all things considered, he thought he had done more for me than
I had for him: therefore, in his view, if we considered the account
balanced, we should not be very far from a fair adjustment.

To this answer I made a suitable reply, but without obtaining
the slightest satisfaction. The contract I had made was a hasty
memorandum, and judicially, perhaps, of no binding effect on him. And
besides, I had no money to expend in litigation. A little reflection
satisfied me that I was totally at his mercy: a fact of which his
calm and collected manner assured me he was even more conscious than
myself. The discussion was not prolonged. At the second interview
he cut the whole matter short, by saying,--"Sir, I do not owe you a
farthing: neither justice nor law requires me to pay you anything.
Still, I am an old man, and have seen a good deal of life, and have
learned to consider the feelings of others as well as my own. I will
pay you four hundred pounds, and we will be quits! If we cannot do
this, we can do nothing." In view of the whole case, this was as
much as I expected, and so I accepted the proposition. I earnestly
remonstrated with him against the enormity of making me responsible
for works I never wrote, but as to all actual claims on the ground of
the contract I gave him a receipt in full, and we parted.

It is not to be supposed that the annoyances arising from the
falsification of the name of Parley, which I have just pointed out,
have been the only obstacles which have roughened the current of my
literary life. Not only the faults and imperfections of execution in
my juvenile works--and no one knows them so well as myself--have been
urged against them, but the whole theory on which they are founded
has been often and elaborately impugned.

It is quite true, that when I wrote the first half-dozen of Parley's
Tales I had formed no philosophy upon the subject: I simply used my
experience with children in addressing them. I followed no models, I
put on no harness of the schools, I pored over no learned examples.
I imagined myself on the floor with a group of boys and girls, and
I wrote to them as I would have spoken to them. At a later period
I had reflected on the subject, and embodied in a few simple lines
the leading principle of what seemed to me the true art of teaching
children,--and that is, to consider that their first ideas are simple
and single, and formed of images of things palpable to the senses;
and hence that these images are to form the staple of lessons to be
communicated to them.


    I saw a child, some four years old,
      Along a meadow stray;
    Alone she went, uncheck'd, untold,
      Her home not far away.

    She gazed around on earth and sky,
      Now paused, and now proceeded;
    Hill, valley, wood, she passed them by
      Unmarked, perchance unheeded.

    And now gay groups of roses bright
      In circling thickets bound her--
    Yet on she went with footsteps light,
      Still gazing all around her.

    And now she paused, and now she stooped,
      And plucked a little flower;
    A simple daisy 'twas, that drooped
      Within a rosy bower.

    The child did kiss the little gem,
      And to her bosom press'd it;
    And there she placed the fragile stem,
      And with soft words caressed it.

    I love to read a lesson true
      From nature's open book--
    And oft I learn a lesson new
      From childhood's careless look.

    Children are simple, loving, true--
      'Tis God that made them so;
    And would you teach them?--be so, too,
      And stoop to what they know.

    Begin with simple lessons, things
      On which they love to look;
    Flowers, pebbles, insects, birds on wings--
      These are God's spelling-book!

    And children know His A B C,
      As bees where flowers are set;
    Wouldst thou a skilful teacher be?
      Learn then this alphabet.

    From leaf, from page to page,
      Guide thou thy pupil's look;
    And when he says, with aspect sage,
      "Who made this wondrous book?"

    Point thou with reverend gaze to heaven,
      And kneel in earnest prayer
    That lessons thou hast humbly given
      May lead thy pupil there!

From this commencement I proceeded, and came to the conclusion that
in feeding the mind of children with facts, we follow the evident
philosophy of nature and Providence; inasmuch as these had created
all children to be ardent lovers of things they could see and
hear, and feel and know. Thus I sought to teach them history, and
biography, and geography, and all in the way in which nature would
teach them,--that is, by a large use of the senses, and especially
by the eye. I selected as subjects for my books things capable of
sensible representation, such as familiar animals, birds, trees;
and of these I gave pictures, as a starting-point. The first line I
wrote was, "Here I am; my name is Peter Parley;" and before I went
further, gave an engraving representing my hero, as I wished him to
be conceived by my pupils. Before I began to talk of a lion, I gave
a picture of a lion; my object being, as you will perceive, to have
the child start with a distinct image of what I was about to give an
account of. Thus I secured his interest in the subject, and thus I
was able to lead his understanding forward in the path of knowledge.

These views, of course, led me in a direction exactly opposite to
the old theories in respect to nursery-books, in two respects. In
the first place, it was thought that education should, at the very
threshold, seek to spiritualize the mind, and lift it above sensible
ideas, and to teach it to live in the world of imagination. A cow
was very well to give milk, but when she got into a book she must
jump over the moon; a little girl going to see her grandmother was
well enough as a matter of fact, but to be suited to the purposes of
instruction she must end her career by being eaten up by a wolf. My
plan was, in short, deemed too utilitarian, too materialistic, and
hence it was condemned by many persons, and among them the larger
portion of those who had formed their tastes upon the old classics,
from Homer down to Mother Goose!

This was one objection; another, was that I aimed at making education
easy--thus bringing up the child in habits of receiving knowledge
only as made into pap, and of course putting it out of his power
to relish and digest the stronger meat, even when his constitution
demanded it.

On these grounds, and still others, my little books met with
opposition, sometimes even in grave Quarterlies, and often in those
sanctified publications, entitled "Journals of Education." In
England, at the period that the name of Parley was most current--both
in the genuine as well as the false editions--the feeling against my
juvenile works was so strong among the conservatives, that an attempt
was made to put them down by reviving the old nursery-books. In order
to do this, a publisher in London reproduced these works, employing
the best artists to illustrate them, and bringing them out in all
the captivating luxuries of modern typography. Nay, such was the
reverence at the time for the old favorites of the nursery, that a
gentleman of the name of Halliwell expended a vast amount of patient
research and antiquarian lore in hunting up and setting before the
world the history of these performances, from "Hey diddle diddle" to

    "A farmer went trotting upon his grey mare--
        Bumpety, bumpety, bump!"

To all this I made no direct reply; I ventured, however, to suggest
my views in the following article inserted in Merry's Museum for
August, 1846.



    _Timothy._ Mother! mother! do stop a minute, and hear me say my

    _Mother._ Your poetry, my son? Who told you how to make poetry?

    _T._ Oh, I don't know; but hear what I have made up.

    _M._ Well, go on.

    _T._ Now don't you laugh; it's all mine. I didn't get a bit of
    it out of a book. Here it is!

        "Higglety, pigglety, pop!
        The dog has eat the mop;
          The pig's in a hurry,
          The cat's in a flurry--
        Higglety, pigglety--pop!"

    _M._ Well, go on.

    _T._ Why, that's all. Don't you think it pretty good?

    _M._ Really, my son, I don't see much sense in it.

    _T._ _Sense?_ Who ever thought of _sense_, in poetry? Why,
    mother, you gave me a book the other day, and it was all
    poetry, and I don't think there was a bit of sense in the whole
    of it. Hear me read. [_Reads._]

            "Hub a dub!
            Three men in a tub--
        And how do you think they got there?
            The butcher,
            The baker,
            The candlestick maker,
        They all jumped out of a rotten potato:
        'Twas enough to make a man stare."

    And here's another.

        "A cat came fiddling out of a barn,
        With a pair of bagpipes under her arm;
        She could sing nothing but fiddle cum fee--
        The mouse has married the humblebee--
        Pipe, cat--dance, mouse--
        We'll have a wedding at our good house!"

    And here's another.

          "Hey, diddle, diddle,
          The cat and the fiddle,
        The cow jumped over the moon--
          The little dog laughed
          To see the craft,
        And the dish ran after the spoon."

    Now, mother, the book is full of such things as these, and I
    don't see any meaning in them.

    _M._ Well, my son, I think as you do; they are really very

    _T._ Absurd? Why, then, do you give me such things to read?

    _M._ Let me ask you a question. Do you not love to read these
    rhymes, even though they are silly?

    _T._ Yes, dearly.

    _M._ Well, you have just learned to read, and I thought these
    jingles, silly as they are, might induce you to study your
    book, and make you familiar with reading.

    _T._ I don't understand you, mother; but no matter.

        "Higglety, pigglety, pop!
        The dog has eat the mop;
        The pig's in a hurry--"

    _M._ Stop, stop, my son. I choose you should understand me.

    _T._ But, mother, what's the use of understanding you?

        "Higglety, pigglety, pop!"

    _M._ Timothy!

    _T._ Ma'am?

    _M._ Listen to me, or you will have cause to repent it. Listen
    to what I say? I gave you the book to amuse you, and improve
    you in reading, not to form your taste in poetry.

    _T._ Well, mother, pray forgive me. I did not mean to offend
    you. But I really do love poetry, because it is so silly!

        "Higglety, pigglety, pop!"

    _M._ Don't say that again, Timothy!

    _T._ Well, I won't; but I'll say something out of this pretty
    book you gave me.

            "Doodledy, doodledy, dan!
        I'll have a piper to be my good man--
        And if I get less meat, I shall get game--
            Doodledy, doodledy, dan!"

    _M._ That's enough, my son.

    _T._ But, dear mother, do hear me read another.

            "We're all in the dumps,
            For diamonds are trumps--
        The kittens are gone to St. Paul's--
            The babies are bit,
            The moon's in a fit--
        And the houses are built without walls."

    _M._ I do not wish to hear any more.

    _T._ One more; one more, dear mother!

        "Round about--round about--
          Maggoty pie--
        My father loves good ale,
          And so do I."

    Don't you like that, mother?

    _M._ No; it is too coarse, and unfit to be read or spoken.

    _T._ But it is here in this pretty book you gave me, and I like
    it very much, mother. And here is a poem, which I think very

        "One-ery, two-ery,
        Ziccary zan,
        Hollow bone, crack a bone--
        Ninery ten:
        Spittery spat,
        It must be done,
        Twiddledum, twiddledum,
        Hink, spink, the puddings--"

    _M._ Stop, stop, my son. Are you not ashamed to say such things?

    _T._ Ashamed? No, mother. Why should I be? It's all printed
    here as plain as day. Ought I to be ashamed to say any thing
    that I find in a pretty book you have given me? Just hear the
    rest of this.

        "Hink, spink, the puddings--"

    _M._ Give me the book, Timothy. I see that I have made a
    mistake; it is not a proper book for you.

    _T._ Well, you may take the book; but I can say the rhymes, for
    I have learned them all by heart.

        "Hink, spink, the puddings--"

    _M._ Timothy, how dare you!

    _T._ Well, mother, I won't say it, if you don't wish me to. But
    mayn't I say--

        "Higglety, pigglety, pop!"

    _M._ I had rather you would not.

    _T._ And "Doodledy, doodledy, dan"--mayn't I say that?

    _M._ No.

    _T._ Nor "Hey, diddle, diddle?"

    _M._ I do not wish you to say any of those silly things.

    _T._ Dear me, what shall I do?

    _M._ I had rather you would learn some good, sensible things.

    _T._ Such as what?

    _M._ Watts's Hymns, and Original Hymns.

    _T._ Do you call them sensible things? I hate 'em.

        "Doodledy, doodledy, dan!"

    _M._ [_Aside._] Dear, dear, what shall I do? The boy has got
    his head turned with these silly rhymes. It was really a very
    unwise thing to put a book into his hands, so full of nonsense
    and vulgarity. These foolish rhymes stick like burs in his
    mind, and the coarsest and vilest seem to be best remembered. I
    must remedy this mistake; but I see it will take all my wit to
    do it. [_Aloud._] Timothy, you must give me up this book, and I
    will get you another.

    _T._ Well, mother, I am sorry to part with it; but I don't care
    so much about it, as I know all the best of it by heart.

        "Hink, spink, the puddings stink"--

    _M._ Timothy, you'll have a box on the ear, if you repeat that!

    _T._ Well, I suppose I can say,

        "Round about--round about--
          Maggoty pie--"

    _M._ You go to bed!

    _T._ Well, if I must, I must. Good-night, mother!

        "Higglety, pigglety, pop!
        The dog has eat the mop;
        The cat's in a flurry,
        The cow's in a hurry,
        Higglety, pigglety, pop!"

    Good-night, mother!

I trust, that no one will gather from this that I condemn rhymes for
children. I know that there is a certain music in them that delights
the ear of childhood. Nor am I insensible to the fact that in Mother
Goose's Melodies, there is frequently a sort of humor in the odd
jingle of sound and sense. There is, furthermore, in many of them,
an historical significance, which may please the profound student
who puzzles it out; but what I affirm is, that many of these pieces
are coarse, vulgar, offensive, and it is precisely these portions
that are apt to stick to the minds of children. And besides, if, as
is common, such a book is the first that a child becomes acquainted
with, it is likely to give him a low idea of the purpose and meaning
of books, and to beget a taste for mere jingles.

With these views, I sought to prepare lessons which combined the
various elements suited to children--a few of them even including
frequent, repetitious rhymes--yet at the same time presenting
rational ideas and gentle kindly sentiments. Will you excuse me for
giving you one example--my design being to show you how this may be
done, and how even a very unpromising subject is capable of being
thus made attractive to children.


    Oh, gentle stranger, stop,
    And hear poor little Hop
    Just sing a simple song,
    Which is not very long--
          Hip, hip, hop.

    I am an honest toad,
    Living here by the road;
    Beneath a stone I dwell,
    In a snug little cell,
          Hip, hip, hop.

    It may seem a sad lot
    To live in such a spot--
    But what I say is true--
    I have fun as well as you!
          Hip, hip, hop.

    Just listen to my song--
    I sleep all winter long,
    But in spring I peep out,
    And then I jump about--
          Hip, hip, hop.

    When the rain patters down,
    I let it wash my crown,
    And now and then I sip
    A drop with my lip:
          Hip, hip, hop.

    When the bright sun is set,
    And the grass with dew is wet,
    I sally from my cot,
    To see what's to be got,
          Hip, hip, hop.

    And now I wink my eye,
    And now I catch a fly,
    And now I take a peep,
    And now and then I sleep:
          Hip, hip, hop.

    And this is all I do--
    And yet they say it's true,
    That the toady's face is sad,
    And his bite is very bad!
          Hip, hip, hop.

    Oh, naughty folks they be,
    That tell such tales of me,
    For I'm an honest toad,
    Just living by the road:
          Hip, hip, hop!

These were my ideas in regard to first books--toy-books--those which
are put into the hands of children to teach them the art of reading.
As to books of amusement and instruction, to follow these, I gave
them Parley's tales of travels, of history, of nature and art,
together with works designed to cultivate a love of truth, charity,
piety, and virtue, and I sought to make these so attractive as to
displace the bad books to which I have already alluded--the old
monstrosities, Puss in Boots, Jack the Giant-killer, and others of
that class. A principal part of my machinery was the character of
Peter Parley--a kind-hearted old man, who had seen much of the world,
and, not presuming to undertake to instruct older people, loved to
sit down and tell his stories to children. Beyond these juvenile
works, I prepared a graduated series upon the same general plan,
reaching up to books for the adult library.

It is true that occasionally I wrote and published a book aside
from this, my true vocation: thus I edited the Token, and published
two or three volumes of poetry. But, out of all my works, about a
hundred and twenty are professedly juvenile; and forty are for my
early readers advanced to maturity. It is true that I have written
openly, avowedly, to attract and to please children; yet it has
been my design at the same time to enlarge the circle of knowledge,
to invigorate the understanding, to strengthen the moral nerve, to
purify and exalt the imagination. Such have been my aims: how far I
have succeeded, I must leave to the judgment of others. One thing I
may perhaps claim, and that is, my example and my success have led
others, of higher gifts than my own, to enter the ample and noble
field of juvenile instruction by means of books; many of them have no
doubt surpassed me, and others will still follow surpassing them. I
look upon the art of writing for children and youth, advanced as it
has been of late years, still as but just begun.



If thus I met with opposition, I had also my success, nay, I must
say, my triumphs. My first patrons were the children themselves, then
the mothers, and then, of course, the fathers. In the early part
of the year 1846 I made a trip from Boston to the South, returning
by the way of the Mississippi and the Ohio. I received many a kind
welcome under the name of the fictitious hero whom I had made to
tell my stories. Sometimes, it is true, I underwent rather sharp
cross-questioning, and frequently was made to feel that I held my
honors by a rather questionable title. I, who had undertaken to teach
truth, was forced to confess that fiction lay at the foundation of my
scheme! My innocent young readers, however, did not suspect me: they
had taken all I had said as positively true, and I was, of course,
Peter Parley himself.

"Did you really write that book about Africa?" said a black-eyed,
dark-haired girl of some eight years old, at Mobile.

I replied in the affirmative.

"And did you really get into prison there!"

"No; I was never in Africa."

"Never in Africa?"


"Well, then, why did you say you had been there?"

On another occasion--I think at Savannah--a gentleman called upon
me, introducing his two grandchildren, who were anxious to see
Peter Parley. The girl rushed up to me, and kissed me at once. We
were immediately the best friends in the world. The boy, on the
contrary, held himself aloof, and ran his eye over me, up and down,
from top to toe. He then walked round, surveying me with the most
scrutinizing gaze. After this he sat down, and during the interview
took no further notice of me. At parting he gave me a keen look, but
said nothing. The next day the gentleman called and told me that his
grandson, as they were on their way home, said to him,--

"Grandfather, I wouldn't have anything to do with that man; he ain't
Peter Parley."

"How do you know that?" said the grandfather.

"Because," said the boy, "he hasn't got his foot bound up, and he
don't walk with a crutch!"

On my arrival at New Orleans I was kindly received, and had the
honors of a public welcome. The proceedings were gratifying to
me; and, even if they stood alone, would make amends for much
misunderstanding and opposition.

Hitherto I have spoken chiefly of the books I have written
for children, the design of which was as much to amuse as to
instruct them. These comprise the entire series called Parley's
Tales, with many others, bearing Parley's name. As to works for
education--school-books, including readers, histories, geographies,
&c., books for popular reading, and a wilderness of prose and poetry
admitting of no classification--it is unnecessary to recount them.
This is the closing chapter of my literary history, and I have little
indeed to say, and that is a confession.

In looking at the long list of my publications, in reflecting upon
the large numbers that have been sold, I feel far more of humiliation
than of triumph. If I have sometimes taken to heart the soothing
flatteries of the public, it has ever been speedily succeeded by
the conviction that my life has been, on the whole, a series of
mistakes, and especially in that portion of it which has been devoted
to authorship. I have written too much, and have done nothing really
well. I know, better than any one can tell me, that there is nothing
in this long catalogue that will give me a permanent place in
literature. A few things may struggle upon the surface for a time,
but--like the last leaves of a tree in autumn, forced at length to
quit their hold and drop into the stream--even these will disappear,
and my name and all I have done will be forgotten.

A recent event, half-ludicrous and half-melancholy, has led me
into this train of reflection. On going to Europe in 1851 I sent
my books and papers to a friend, to be kept till my return. Among
them was a large box of business documents--letters, accounts,
receipts, bills paid, notes liquidated--comprising the transactions
of several years, long since passed away. Shortly after my return
to New York, in preparing to establish myself and family, I caused
these things to be sent to me. On opening the particular box just
mentioned, I found it a complete mass of shavings, shreds, fragments.
My friend had put it carefully away in the upper loft of his barn,
and there it became converted into a universal mouse-nest! The
history of whole generations of the mischievous little rogues was
still visible; beds, galleries, play-grounds, birth-places, and even
graves, were in a state of excellent preservation. Several wasted
and shrivelled forms of various sizes--the limbs curled up, the eyes
extinct, the teeth disclosed, the long, slender tails straight and
stiffened--testified to the joys and sorrows of the races that had
flourished there.

On exploring this mass of ruins, I discovered here and there a file
of letters eaten through, the hollow cavity evidently having been
the happy and innocent cradle of childhood to these destroyers.
Sometimes I found a bed lined with paid bills, and sometimes the
pathway of a gallery paved with liquidated accounts. What a mass of
thoughts, of feelings, cares, anxieties, were thus made the plunder
of these thoughtless creatures! In examining the papers I found, for
instance, letters from N. P. Willis, written five-and-twenty years
ago, with only "Dear Sir" at the beginning, and "Yours truly" at
the end. I found epistles of nearly equal antiquity from many other
friends--sometimes only the heart eaten out, and sometimes the whole
body gone.

For all purposes of record, these papers were destroyed. I was alone,
for my family had not yet returned from Europe: it was the beginning
of November, and I began to light my fire with these relics. For
two whole days I pored over them, buried in the reflections which
the reading of the fragments suggested. Absorbed in this dreary
occupation, I forgot the world without, and was only conscious of
bygone scenes which came up in review before me. It was as if I had
been in the tomb, and was reckoning with the past. How little was
there in all that I was thus called to remember, save of care, and
struggle, and anxiety; and how were all the thoughts, and feelings,
and experiences, which seemed mountains in their day, levelled down
to the merest grains of dust! A note of hand--perchance of a thousand
dollars--what a history rose up in recollection as I looked over
its scarcely legible fragments!--what clouds of anxiety had its
approaching day of maturity cast over my mind! How had I been, with
a trembling heart, to some bank-president--he a god, and I a craven
worshipper--making my offering of some other note for a discount,
which might deliver me from the wrath to come! With what anxiety have
I watched the lips of the oracle, for my fate was in his hands! A
simple monosyllable--yes or no--might save or ruin me. What a history
was in that bit of paper!--and yet it was destined only to serve as
stuffing for the beds of vermin.

I ought, no doubt, to have smiled at all this; but I confess it made
me serious. Nor was it the most humiliating part of my reflections. I
have been too familiar with care, conflict, disappointment, to mourn
over them very deeply, now that they were passed. The seeming fatuity
of such a mass of labors as these papers indicated, compared with
their poor results, however it might humble, could not distress me.
But there were many things suggested by these letters, all in rags
as they were, that caused positive humiliation. They revived in my
mind the vexations, misunderstandings, controversies of other days;
and now, reviewed in the calm light of time, I could discover the
mistakes of judgment, of temper, of policy, that I had made. I turned
back to my letter-book; I reviewed my correspondence; and I came to
the conclusion that in almost every difficulty which had arisen in my
path, even if others were wrong, I was not altogether right: in most
cases, prudence, conciliation, condescension, might have averted
these evils. Thus the thorns which had wounded me and others too, as
it seemed, had generally sprung up from the seeds I had sown, or had
thriven upon the culture my own hands had unwisely bestowed.

At first I felt disturbed at the ruin which had been wrought in these
files of papers. Hesitating and doubtful, I consigned them one by one
to the flames. At last the work was complete; all had perished, and
the feathery ashes had leaped up in the strong draught of the chimney
and disappeared for ever. I felt a relief at last; I smiled at what
had happened; I warmed my chill fingers over the embers; I felt that
a load was off my shoulders. "At least," said I in my heart, "these
things are now passed; my reckoning is completed, the account is
balanced, the responsibilities of those bygone days are liquidated;
let me burden my bosom with them no more!" Alas, how fallacious my
calculation! A few months only had passed, when I was called to
contend with a formidable claim which came up from the midst of
transactions to which these extinct papers referred, and against
which they constituted my defence. As it chanced, I was able to meet
and repel it by documents which survived; but the event caused me
deep reflection. I could not but remark that, however we may seek to
cover our lives with forgetfulness, their records still exist, and
these may come up against us when we have no vouchers to meet the
charges which are thus presented. Who, then, will be our helper?



The first public speech I ever made was at St. Albans, in England,
in the year 1832, at a grand celebration of the passing of the
Reform Bill; having accompanied thither Sir Francis Vincent, the
representative in Parliament of that ancient borough. More than
three thousand people, men, women, and children, gathered from the
town and the vicinity, were feasted at a long table, set out in the
principal street of the place. After this feast there were various
sports, such as donkey-races, climbing a greased pole, and the like.
At six o'clock, about one hundred and fifty of the gentry and leading
tradesmen and mechanics sat down to a dinner, Sir Francis presiding.
The President of the United States was toasted, and I was called
upon to respond. Entirely taken by surprise, for not a word had been
said to me upon the subject, I made a speech. I could never recall
what I said: all I remember is a whirl of thoughts and emotions as I
rose, occasional cries of "Hear, hear!" as I went on, and a generous
clapping of hands as I concluded. Whether this last was because I
really made a good hit, or from another principle--

    "The best of Graham's speeches was _his last_"--

I am totally unable to say.

My next public appearance was in a lecture at the Tremont Temple,
in Boston; my subject being "Ireland and the Irish." Although my
discourse was written, and pretty well committed to memory, yet for
several days before the time appointed for its delivery arrived, when
I thought of my engagement, my heart failed me. When the hour came
I went to the door of the room, but on seeing the throng of persons
collected I felt that my senses were deserting me: turning on my
heel, I went out, and going to an apothecary's, fortified myself with
some peppermint lozenges. When I got back, the house was waiting
with impatience. I was immediately introduced to the audience by Dr.
Walter Channing, and stepping upon the platform, began. After the
first sentence, I was perfectly at my ease. I afterwards delivered
this lecture more than forty times.

In the autumn of 1836 there was a large evening party at Jamaica
Plain, at the house of Mrs. G----, the lady-patroness of the village.
Among the notable men present was Daniel Webster, whom I had
frequently seen, but to whom I was now introduced for the first time.
He spoke to me of many things, and at last of politics, suggesting
that the impending presidential election involved most important
questions, and he deemed it the duty of every man to reflect upon the
subject, and to exert his influence as his conscience might dictate.

Since my residence in Massachusetts, a period of nearly eight years,
I had been engrossed in my business, and had never even voted. Just
at this time I was appointed, without any suggestion of my own, one
of the delegates to the Whig Convention to nominate a person to
represent us, the Ninth Congressional District, in Congress. This
was to take place at Medway, at the upper end of the district. I
went accordingly, and on the first ballot was the highest candidate,
save one--Mr. Hastings, of Mendon. I declined, of course, and he was
unanimously nominated.

The canvass that ensued was a very animated one, Mr. Van Buren being
the democratic candidate for the presidency. He was considered as
the heir-apparent of the policy of Gen. Jackson, and had, indeed,
promised, if elected, to walk in the footsteps of his illustrious
predecessor. Without the personal popularity of that remarkable
man, he became the target for all the hostility which his measures
had excited. He was, however, elected, but to be overwhelmed with a
whirlwind of discontent and opposition four years after.

The candidate for Congress in our district, in opposition to
Mr. Hastings, was Alexander H. Everett, who had been hitherto a
conspicuous Whig, and who had signalized himself by the ability and
bitterness of his attacks on General Jackson and his administration.
He had singled out Mr. Van Buren, for especial vehemence of reproach,
because, being Secretary of State at the time, Mr. Everett was
superseded as Minister to Spain without the customary courtesy of
an official note advising him of the appointment of his successor.
To the amazement of the public in general, and his friends in
particular, on the 8th of January, 1836, Mr. Everett delivered an
oration before the democracy of Salem, in which--ignoring the most
prominent portion of his political life--he came out with the
warmest eulogies upon General Jackson and his administration! About
the first of May, the precise period when it was necessary, in order
to render him eligible to Congress in the Ninth District, he took up
his residence within its precincts, and, as was easily foreseen, was
the democratic candidate for Congress.

The Whig District Committee, of which I was one, and Charles Bowen
(Mr. Everett's publisher), another, issued a pamphlet, collating and
contrasting Mr. Everett's two opinions of General Jackson's policy,
and especially of Mr. Van Buren--the one flatly contradicting the
other, and, in point of date, being but two or three years apart.
This was circulated over the towns of the district. It was a terrible
document, and Mr. Everett felt its force. One of them was left at
his own door in the general distribution. This he took as a personal
insult, and meeting Bowen, knocked him over the head with his
umbrella. Bowen clutched him by the throat, and would have strangled
him but for the timely interference of a bystander.

I had been among Mr. Everett's personal friends, but he now made me
the object of special attack. In a paper, which then circulated a
good deal in the district, I was severely lashed under the name of
Peter Parley, not because I was a candidate for office, but because
I was chairman of the Whig District Committee. I recollect that one
day some rather scandalous thing came out against me in the editorial
columns of this journal, and feeling very indignant, I went to see
the editor. I did not know him personally, but from occasionally
reading his paper I had got the idea that he was a very monster
of violence. He was not at the office, but such was my irritation
and impatience that I went to his house. I rang, and a beautiful
black-eyed girl, some eight years old, came to the door. I asked if
Mr. H---- was in? "Mother," said the child, in a voice of silver, "is
father at home?" At this moment another child, and still younger, its
bullet-pate head all over curls, came to the door. Then a mild and
handsome woman came, and to my inquiry she said that her husband was
out, but would return in a few moments.

My rage was quelled in an instant. "So," said I to myself, "these
children call that man father, and this woman calls him husband.
After all, he cannot be such a monster as I have fancied him, with
such a home." I turned on my heel and went away, my ill-humor having
totally subsided. Some two years after I told him this anecdote,
and we had a good-humored laugh over it. Both of us had learned to
discriminate between political controversy and personal animosity.

The attacks made upon me during this canvass had an effect different
from what was intended. I was compelled to take an active part in
the election, and deeming the success of my party essential to my
own defence, I naturally made more vigorous efforts for that object.
Mr. Everett was defeated by a large majority, and the Whig candidate
triumphed. At the same time I was chosen a member of the legislature
for Roxbury-Jamaica Plain, where I resided, being a parish of that
town. The next year I was a candidate for the Senate, in competition
with Mr. Everett, and was elected. In this manner I was forced into
politics, and was indebted mainly to opposition for my success.

During the ensuing session of the legislature, the winter of
1837-8, the famous "Fifteen-Gallon Law" was passed--that is, a law
prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors in less quantities than
fifteen gallons. The county I represented was largely in favor of the
measure, and I voted for it, though I was by no means insensible to
the agitation it was certain to produce. I had determined not to be
a candidate for re-election, and therefore considered myself free to
engage in the discussion which preceded the next election, and which,
of course, mainly turned upon this law. Among other things, I wrote a
little pamphlet, entitled Five Letters to my Neighbor Smith, touching
the Fifteen-Gallon Jug, the main design of which was to persuade
the people of Massachusetts to make the experiment, and see whether
such a restraint upon the sale of intoxicating drinks would not be
beneficial. This was published anonymously, and my intention was to
have the authorship remain unknown. It, however, had an enormous
sale--a hundred thousand copies--in the course of a few months, and
curiosity soon found me out.

Now in the village of Jamaica Plain I had a neighbor, though not
by the name of Smith--a rich liquor-dealer, who did his business
in Boston--a very respectable man, but a vehement opposer of the
"Fifteen-Gallon Law." As the election approached, the citizens of the
state were drawn out in two parties--those in favor of prohibition
on the one side, and the men in favor of free liquor on the other.
My neighbor was the wealthiest, the most respectable, and the most
influential of the latter. He insisted, that by "My Neighbor Smith"
I meant him; and though I had said nothing disagreeable of that
personage, but on the contrary, had drawn his portrait in very
amiable colors, he held that it was a malicious personal attack. In
vain did I deny the charge, and point to the fact that the residence,
character, and qualities of my fictitious hero were inapplicable
to him. Anxious to be persecuted, he insisted upon it that he was

At the county convention, which took place some two months prior to
this election, I declined being a candidate. The members present,
however, clearly discerning the gathering storm, refused to release
me, and I was forced to accept the nomination. The election was to
take place on Monday, in November. On the Saturday previous there was
issued in Boston a pamphlet, entitled the Cracked Jug, a personal and
political attack upon me, written with great malice and some ability.
It was scattered, like snow-flakes, all over the country; and was, I
suspect, the Sunday reading of all the tipplers and taverners of the
country. The bar-room critics esteemed it superior to anything which
had appeared since the Letters of Junius, and, of course, considered
me annihilated.

On Monday, election-day, my family were insulted in the streets of
Jamaica Plain, and as I went into the Town Hall to cast my vote I
heard abundance of gibes cast at me from beneath lowering beavers.
The result was, that there was no choice of senators in the county.
The election, when the people had thus failed to fill their places,
fell upon the legislature, and I was chosen. The storm gradually
passed away. The "Fifteen-Gallon Law" was repealed, but it nearly
overturned the Whig party in the state, which, being in the majority,
was made responsible for it. I deemed it necessary to reply to my
Neighbor Smith's Cracked Jug, and he rejoined. What seemed at the
time a deadly personal struggle, was, ere long, forgotten; neither
party, I believe, carrying, in his character or his feelings, any
of the scars inflicted during the battle. Both had, in some sort,
triumphed; both, in some sort, been beaten; both could, therefore,
afford to return to the amicable relations of village neighborhood.

In the autumn of 1840 the Whigs nominated William Henry Harrison as
the candidate for the presidency, in opposition to Mr. Van Buren. He
had held various civil and military trusts, in which he had displayed
courage, wisdom, and patriotism. His personal character was eminently
winning to the people, being marked with benevolence and simplicity.
He had long retired from public life, and for several years had lived
as a farmer on the "North Bend" of the Ohio, near Cincinnati. The
Democrats ridiculed him as drinking hard cider and living in a log
cabin. The masses, resenting this as coming from those who, having
the Government spoils, were rioting in the White House on champagne,
took these gibes, and displayed them as their mottoes and symbols
upon their banners. They gathered in barns, as was meet for the
friends of the farmer of North Bend, using songs and speeches as
flails, threshing his enemies with a will. The spirit spread over
mountain and valley, and in every part of the country men were seen
leaving their customary employments to assemble in multitudinous
conventions. Many of these gatherings numbered twenty thousand

During this animated canvass I was not a candidate for office, yet I
took part in the great movement, and made about a hundred speeches in
Massachusetts and Connecticut. Everybody, then, could make a speech,
and everybody could sing a song. Orators sprang up like mushrooms,
and the gift of tongues was not more universal than the gift of

From this period I have taken no active part in politics. In
reviewing the past, while duly appreciating the honor conferred by
the confidence bestowed upon me by the citizens who gave me their
suffrages, I still regard my political career as an unprofitable,
nay, an unhappy episode, alien to my literary position and pursuits,
and every way injurious to my interests and my peace of mind. It gave
me painful glimpses into the littleness, the selfishness, the utter
quackery of a large portion of those politicians who lead, or seem
to lead, the van of parties; and who, pretending to be guided by
patriotism, are usually only using principles and platforms as means
to carry them into office. As some compensation for this, it has also
led me to a conviction that the great mass of the people are governed
by patriotic motives, though even with these I have often noted
curious instances in which the public interests were forgotten in a
desire to achieve some selfish end.



In the autumn of 1846, I went with my family to Paris, partly for
literary purposes, and partly also to give my children advantages of
education, which, in consequence of my absorbing cares for a series
of years, they had been denied. Here they remained for nearly two
years, while I returned home to attend to my affairs, spending the
winters, however, with them.

Toward the close of 1849 I removed to New York, to execute certain
literary engagements. These completed, I went, in December 1850, to
Washington, taking my family with me. Here we remained for three
months, when, having received the appointment of United States Consul
to Paris, I returned to New York, and, after due preparation, sailed
on the 5th of April, 1851, to enter upon the official duties which
thus devolved upon me.

About the middle of April, 1851, I arrived in Paris, and soon after
took charge of the Consulate there. I have frequently been in this
gay city, and I now propose to gather up my recollections of it, and
select therefrom a few items which may fill up the blank that yet
remains in my story.

I first visited Paris in January, 1824, as I have told you. At the
time I first arrived here, this city was very different from what it
now is. Louis XVIII. was upon the throne, and had occupied it for
nine years. During this period he had done almost nothing to repair
the state of waste and dilapidation in which the Allies had left it.
These had taken down the statue of Napoleon on the column of the
Place Vendôme, and left its pedestal vacant; the king had followed up
the reform and erased the offensive name of the exiled Emperor from
the public monuments, and put his own, Louis XVIII., in their place;
he had caused a few churches to be repaired, and some pictures of the
Virgin to be painted and placed in their niches. But ghastly mounds
of rubbish, the wrecks of demolished edifices; scattered heaps of
stones at the foot of half-built walls of buildings,--destined never
to be completed,--these and other unsightly objects were visible on
every hand, marking the recent history of Napoleon, overthrown in
the midst of his mighty projects, and leaving his name and his works
to be desecrated alike by a foreign foe and a more bitter domestic

The king, Louis XVIII., was a man of good sense and liberal mind,
for one of his race; but he was wholly unfit to administer the
government. He was a sort of monster of obesity, and, at the time I
speak of, having lost the use of his lower limbs, he could not walk,
and was trundled about the palace of the Tuileries in a wheelchair.
I have often seen him let down in this, through the arch in the
south-eastern angle of the palace, into his coach; and on returning
from his ride, again taken up; and all this more like a helpless
barrel of beef than a sovereign. Had the Allies intended to make
Legitimacy at once odious and ridiculous, they could not better have
contrived it than by squatting down this obese imbecile extinguisher
upon the throne of France, as the successor of Napoleon!

The Parisians are, however, a philosophic race: as they could not
help themselves, they did not spend their lives like children, in
profitless poutings. They had their jokes, and among these, they were
accustomed to call Louis Dix-huit, "_Louis des huîtres_"--a tolerable
pun, which was equivalent to giving him the familiar title of "Oyster
Louis." Deeming it their birthright to have three or four hours of
pleasure every day, whoever may be in power, they still frequented
the promenades, the boulevards, and the theatres.

I cannot, perhaps, do better than transcribe a few passages from the
hasty jottings I made at the time:--

"February 14.--Went to a meeting of the Société Philomatique,
composed of members of the Institute; saw Fourier, the famous
geometrician and physician: Thénard, a famous chemist, associated
with Gay-Lussac: Poisson, one of the first mathematicians in Europe;
and Géoffroy St. Hilaire, a zoologist, second only to Cuvier.

"The proceedings were conducted with order and simplicity, forming a
striking contrast to the pompous declamation I heard in London, at
the Society of Arts, upon hatching eggs.

"February 16.--Went to a meeting of the Institute, held in the Hôtel
Mazarin: one hundred and fifty members present; Arago president. He
is tall, broad-shouldered, and imposing in appearance, with a dark,
swarthy complexion, and a black, piercing eye. Lamarck, the famous
writer on natural history--old, infirm, blind--was led in by another
member, a distinguished entomologist, whose name I have forgotten:
Fontaine, the architect; tall, homely, and aged: Gay-Lussac, a
renowned chemist, under forty, active, fiery in debate: Cuvier,
rather a large man, red face, eyes small, very near-sighted; eyes
near together and oddly appearing and disappearing; features acute,
hair grey, long, and careless: he spoke several times, and with great
pertinency and effect; Lacroix, the mathematician: Laplace, the most
famous living astronomer; tall, thin, and sharp-featured--reminded me
of the portraits of Voltaire; he is about seventy-five, feeble, yet
has all his mental faculties.

"The principal discussion related to gasometers, the police of Paris
having asked the opinion of the Institute as to the safety of certain
new kinds, lately introduced. The subject excited great interest,
and the debate was quite animated. Thénard, Gay-Lussac, Girard,
Laplace, Cuvier, and others, engaged in the debate. Nearly all
expressed themselves with great ease and even volubility. They were
occasionally vehement, and when excited several spoke at once, and
the president was obliged often to ring his bell to preserve order.

"It was strange and striking to see so many old men, just on the
borders of the grave, still retaining such ardor for science as to
appear at a club like this, and enter with passion into all the
questions that came up. Such a spectacle is not to be seen elsewhere
on the earth. The charms of science generally fade to the eye of
threescore and ten: few passions except piety and avarice survive
threescore. It is evident, in studying this Association, that the
highest and most ardent exercises of the mind are here stimulated
by the desire of glory, which is the reward of success. One thing
struck me forcibly in this assembly, and that was, the utter absence
of all French foppery in dress among the members. Their attire was
plain black, and generally as simple as that of so many New England

"In the evening went to the Théâtre Français, to see Talma in the
celebrated tragedy of 'Sylla,' by Jouy. Do not well understand the
French, but could see that the acting is very masterly. In the
passionate parts there was a display of vigor, but at other times
the performance was quiet and natural, without any of the stage
exaggeration I am accustomed to. Most of the scenes were such as
might actually take place under the circumstances indicated in the
play. Talma is said to resemble Napoleon in person: he certainly
looked very much like his portraits. His hair was evidently arranged
to favor the idea of resemblance to the Emperor. He is a very
handsome man, and comes up to my idea of a great actor.

"February 20.--Went to see a new comedy by Casimir Delavigne,
'L'Ecole des Vieillards.' Talma and Mademoiselle Mars played the two
principal parts. The piece consisted of a succession of rather long
dialogues, without any change of scenery. Talma is inimitable in the
character of a refined but somewhat imbecile man, who has passed
the prime of life; and Mademoiselle Mars is, beyond comparison, the
most graceful and pleasing of actresses. I am struck with the strict
propriety, the refinement even, of the manners of the audience.

"February 21st.--Went to the Hospital of La Charité. Saw Laennec,
with his pupils, visiting the patients. He makes great use of the
stethoscope, which is a wooden tube applied to the body, and put to
the ear; by the sound, the state of the lungs and the vital organs
is ascertained. It is like a telescope, by which the interior of the
body is perceived, only that the ear is used instead of the eye. It
is deemed a great improvement. Laennec is the inventor, and has high
reputation in the treatment of diseases of the chest. He has learned
to ascertain the condition of the lungs by thumping on the breast and
back of the patient, and putting the ear to the body at the same time.

"The whole hospital was neat and clean; bedsteads of iron. French
medical practice very light; few medicines given; nursing is a great
part of the treatment.

"Same day, went to Hôtel Dieu, a medical and surgical hospital.
Saw Dupuytren and his pupils visiting the patients. He holds the
very first rank as a surgeon. His operations are surprisingly bold
and skilful. Edward C----, of Philadelphia, who is here studying
medicine, told me a good anecdote of him. He has a notion that he
can instantly detect hydrocephalus in a patient from the manner in
which he carries his head. One day, while he was in the midst of his
scholars at the hospital, he saw a common sort of man standing at
a distance, among several persons who had come for medical advice.
Dupuytren's eye fell upon him, and he said to his pupils,--'Do you
see yonder that fellow that has his hand to his face, and carries
his head almost on his shoulder? Now, take notice: that man has
hydrocephalus. Come here, my good fellow!'

"The man thus called came up. 'Well,' said Dupuytren, 'I know what
ails you; but come, tell us about it yourself. What is the matter
with you?'

"'I've got the toothache!' was the reply.

"'Take that,' said Dupuytren, giving him a box on the ear; 'and go to
the proper department and have it pulled out!'"

I was again in Paris in the summer of 1832. Great changes had
taken place since 1824. Louis XVIII. was dead; Charles X. had
succeeded; and, after a brief reign, had been driven away by the
revolution of the "Three Glorious Days." Louis Philippe was now on
the throne. On the 29th of July, and the two following days, we saw
the celebration of the event which had thus changed the dynasty of
France. It consisted of a grand fête, in the Champs Elysées, closed
by a most imposing military spectacle, in which eighty thousand
troops, extending from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place Vendôme,
marched before the admiring throng. Louis Philippe was himself on
horseback as commander-in-chief, and such was his popularity among
the masses, that, in many instances, I saw men in blouses rush up and
grasp his hand, and insist upon shaking it. Sixteen years after I saw
him hustled into a cab, and flying from the mob for his life--his
family scattered, and he but too happy to get safe to England in the
disguise of a sailor!

As I have said, I established my family in Paris in 1846; that winter
and the following I was also there. I remember that on a certain
Monday in February, 1848, I went up to see our countrywoman, the
Marchioness Lavalette, to arrange with her about an introduction she
had promised me to Guizot. She was not at home, but as I was coming
down the hill from the Place St. George, I met her in her carriage.
She asked me to walk back to her house, and I did so. I observed that
she was much agitated, and asked her the cause. "We are going to have
trouble!" said she. "I have just been to the Chambers: the ministry
have determined to stop the meeting of the Liberals to-morrow; the
proclamation is already being printed."

"Well, and what then?" said I.

"Another 'Three Glorious Days!'"

To this I replied that I conceived her fears groundless, that Louis
Philippe appeared to me strong in the confidence of the people; that
he was noted for his prudence and sagacity; that Guizot, his prime
minister, was a man of great ability; that the whole cabinet, indeed,
were distinguished for their judgment and capacity. The lady shook
her head and rejoined,--

"I know Paris better than you do. We are on the eve of an earthquake!"

Soon after this I took my leave. What speedily ensued may best be
told in another chapter, by a few extracts from a letter I addressed
to a friend in Boston at the time.



                                    PARIS, March 14th, 1848.

It may be well to state a few particulars as to the political
condition of France at the moment of the revolt.

Louis Philippe commenced his career under fair auspices, and for a
time everything promised a happy fulfilment of what seemed his duty
and his destiny. But by degrees a great change came over the monarch;
the possession of power seduced his heart, and turned his head;
and forgetting his pledges, and blind to his true interest, he set
himself to building up a dynasty that should hand down his name and
fame to posterity.

It seemed, at a superficial glance, that he might realize his dream.
He had acquired the reputation of being the most sagacious monarch
of his time. He had improved and embellished the capital; on all
sides his "image and superscription" were seen in connection with
works of beauty and utility. France was happier than the adjacent
countries. The famine and the pestilence, that had recently desolated
neighboring states, had trod more lightly here. The king was blessed
with a large family. These had all reached maturity, and were
allied to kings and queens, princes and princesses. The upholders
of the Crown in the parliament were men whose names alone were a
tower of strength. Peace reigned at home, and the army abroad had
just succeeded in achieving a signal triumph over an enemy that had
baffled them for years.

Such was the outward seeming of affairs: but there were threatening
fires within which might at any moment produce a conflagration.
Many thinking people were profoundly disgusted with the retrograde
tendency of the Government. Although the march of despotism had been
cautious and stealthy, the people generally began to feel the tyranny
to which they had become subjected.

Among these grievances were the constant increase of the national
debt, and consequent increase of taxation, with the restraints put
upon the liberty of the press and of speech. By a law of some years'
standing the people were prohibited from holding stated meetings of
more than twenty persons without license; and _reform banquets_,
or meetings for the discussion of public affairs--of which about
seventy had been held in different parts of the kingdom within the
last year--were now pronounced illegal by the ministry. Finally,
a determination to suppress one of them, about to be held in the
twelfth ward of Paris, was solemnly announced by the Ministry in the
Chamber of Deputies.

It is material to bear in mind, that there are always in this
metropolis at least one hundred thousand workmen who live from day
to day upon their labor, and who, upon the slightest check to trade,
are plunged into poverty, if not starvation. At the moment of which
we are speaking, this immense body of men, with their families, were
suffering sorely from the stagnation of business in the capital.
There were not less than two hundred thousand persons who, for the
space of three months, had hardly been able to obtain sufficient
food to appease the cravings of hunger. How easy to stir up these
people to rebellion!--how natural for them to turn their indignation
against the king and his government! The "Opposition" members seized
the occasion now afforded them to excite these discontented masses
against the ministry; and the latter, by their rashness, did more
than their enemies to prepare the mind and set the match to the train.

The crisis was now at hand. The "Opposition" deputies declared their
intention to attend the proposed meeting; and in spite of the threats
of the ministry, the preparations for the banquet went vigorously on.
A place was selected in the Champs Elysées, and a building was in
progress of erection for the celebration. The programme of the same
was announced; the toast for the occasion was published; the orator,
O. Barrot, selected. The day was fixed: an ominous day for tyranny,
an auspicious one for human freedom. It was the 22d of February, the
birthday of Washington! Whether it has received a new title to its
place in the calendar of liberty, must be left for the decision of

The evening of the 21st came, and then proclamations were issued,
by the co-operation of the ministry and the police prohibiting the
banquet. This act, though it had been threatened, still fell like a
thunderbolt upon the people. It was known that an immense military
force had been quietly assembled in Paris and the vicinity--eighty
thousand troops, with artillery and ample munitions--and that the
garrisons around the Tuileries had been victualled as if for a
siege. But it had not been believed that an attempt to stifle the
voice of the people, so bold as this, would really be made. Yet such
was the fact. The leaders of the "Opposition" receded from their
ground; and it was announced, in the papers of the 22d, that the
banquet, being forbidden by the Government, would not take place.

The morning of this day was dark and drizzly. I had anticipated some
manifestation of uneasiness, and at half-past nine o'clock went
forth. Groups of people were reading the proclamations posted up at
the corners of the streets, but all was tranquil. I walked along the
Boulevards for a mile yet saw no symptoms of the coming storm.

The designated place of meeting for the banquet was the square of
the Madeleine. This is at the western extremity of the Boulevards,
and near the great central square called the Place de la Concorde, a
point communicating directly with the Chamber of Deputies, the Champs
Elysées, the gardens of the Tuileries, &c. At eleven o'clock, A.M., a
dark mass was seen moving along the Boulevards towards the proposed
place of meeting. This consisted of thousands of workmen from the
faubourgs. In a few moments the entire square of the Madeleine was
filled with these persons, dressed almost exclusively in their
characteristic costume, which consists of a blue tunic, called
_blouse_--a garment which is made very much in the fashion of our
farmers' frocks.

The opening scene of the drama had now begun. The mass rushed and
eddied around the Madeleine, which, by the way, is the finest church
and the finest edifice in Paris. Such was the threatening aspect of
the scene, that the shops were all suddenly shut, and the people
around began to supply themselves, with bread and other food, for
"three days." In a few moments the avalanche took its course down
the Rue Royale, swept across the Place de la Concorde, traversed
the bridge over the Seine, and collected, in swelling and heaving
masses, in the place, or square, before the Chamber of Deputies.
This building is defended in front by a high iron railing. The gate
of this was soon forced, and some hundreds of the people rushed up
the long flight of steps, and, pausing beneath the portico, struck
up the song of the "Marseillaise"--a song, by the way, interdicted
by law on account of its exciting character. The crowd here rapidly
increased: shouts, songs, cries filled the air. East and west, along
the quays, and through the streets behind the Chamber, came long
lines of students from the various schools. Standing upon one of
the pillars of the bridge, I commanded a view of the whole scene.
It was one to fill the heart with the liveliest emotions. A hundred
thousand people were now collected, seeming like an agitated sea,
and sending forth a murmur resembling the voice of many waters.
From the southern gate of the Tuileries now issued two bodies of
troops--one, on horseback, coming along the northern quay. These were
the Municipal Guard, a magnificent corps, richly caparisoned, and
nobly mounted. Being picked men, and well paid, they were the chief
reliance of the Government, and for that very reason were hated by
the people. The other body of troops were infantry of the line, and,
crossing the Pont Royal, came along the southern bank of the river.
Both detachments approached the multitude, and crowding upon them
with a slow advance, succeeded at last in clearing the space before
the Chamber.

The greater part of the throng recrossed the bridge, and spread
themselves over the Place de la Concorde. This square, perhaps the
most beautiful in the world, is about five acres in extent. This vast
area was now crowded with an excited populace, mainly of the working
classes. Their number constantly augmented, and bodies of troops,
foot and horse, arrived from various quarters, till the square was
literally covered. The number of persons here collected in one mass
was over one hundred thousand.

At the commencement, the mob amused themselves with songs and shouts;
but in clearing the space before the Chamber, and driving the people
across the bridge, the guards had displayed great rudeness. They
pressed upon the masses, and one woman was crushed to death beneath
the hoofs of the horses. Pebbles now began to be hurled at the troops
from the square. Dashing in among the people, sword in hand, the
cavalry drove them away; but as they cleared one spot, another was
immediately filled. The effect of this was to chafe and irritate the
mob, who now began to seize sticks and stones, and hurl them in good
earnest at their assailants.

While this petty war was going on, some thousands of the rioters
dispersed themselves through the Champs Elysées, and began to
build barricades across the main avenue. The chairs, amounting to
many hundreds, were immediately disposed in three lines across the
street. Benches, trellises, boxes, fences--every movable thing
within reach--were soon added to the barricades. An omnibus passing
by was captured, detached from the horses, and tumbled into one of
the lines. The flag was taken from the Panorama near by, and a vast
procession paraded through the grounds, singing the "Marseillaise,"
the "Parisienne," and other patriotic airs.

Meanwhile, a small detachment of foot guards advanced to the scene
of action; but they were pelted with stones, and took shelter in
their guard-house. This was assailed with a shower of missiles, which
rattled like hail upon its roof. The windows were dashed in, and a
heap of brush near by was laid to the wall, and set on fire. A body
of horse guards soon arrived, and dispersed the rioters; but the
latter crossed to the northern side of the Champs Elysées, attacked
another guard-house, and set it on fire. A company of the line came
to the spot, but the mob cheered them, and they remained inactive.
The revel proceeded, and, in the face of the soldiers, the people fed
the fire with fuel from the surrounding trees and fences, sang their
songs, cracked their jokes, and cried "Down with Guizot!" "Vive la
Réforme!" &c. In these scenes the boys took the lead, performing the
most desperate feats, and inspiring the rest by their intrepidity. A
remarkable air of fun and frolic characterized the mob--jokes flew as
freely on all sides as stones and sticks.

Such was the course of events the first day, so far as they fell
under my own observation. It appears from the papers that similar
proceedings, though in some cases of a more serious character, took
place elsewhere. Great masses of people gathered at various points.
They made hostile demonstrations before the Office of Foreign
Affairs, crying out, "Down with Guizot!" Some person called for
the minister. "He is not here," said one; "he is with the Countess
Lieven,"--a remark which the _habitués_ of Paris will understand as
conveying a keen satire. At other points a spirit of insubordination
was manifested. Bakers' shops were broken open, armories forced,
and barricades begun. Everywhere the hymn of the "Marseillaise" and
"Mourir pour la Patrie" were sung--often by hundreds of voices, and
with thrilling effect. The rappel for calling out the National Guard
was beaten in several quarters. As night closed in, heavy masses of
soldiery, horse and foot, with trains of artillery, were seen at
various points. The Place du Carrousel was full of troops, and at
evening they were reviewed by the King and the Dukes of Nemours and
Montpensier. Six thousand soldiers were disposed along the boulevards
from the Madeleine to the Porte St. Martin. Patrols were seen in
different quarters during the whole night. About twelve tranquillity
reigned over the city, disturbed only in a few remote and obscure
places by the building of barricades, the arrest of rioters, and one
or two combats, in which several persons were killed. Such was the
first day's work--the prelude to the drama about to follow.

Wednesday, the 23d, was fair, with dashes of rain at intervals, as
in our April. I was early abroad, and soon noticed that companies of
National Guards were on duty. Only regular troops had been called
out the day before--a fact which showed the distrust of the National
Guards entertained by the king. This was remarked by the latter, and
was doubtless one of the causes which hastened the destruction of the

At nine o'clock I passed up the Boulevards. Most of the shops were
shut, and an air of uneasiness prevailed among the people. At the
Porte St. Denis there was a great throng, and a considerable mass
of troops. Barricades were soon after erected in the streets of St.
Denis, Cléry, St. Eustache, Cadran, &c. Several fusilades took place
between the people at these points and the soldiers, and a number of
persons were killed.

Some contests occurred in other quarters during the morning. At two
o'clock the Boulevards, the Rues St. Denis, St. Martin, Montmartre,
St. Honoré--in short, all the great thoroughfares--were literally
crammed with people. Bodies of horse and foot, either stationary or
patrolling, were everywhere to be seen. It was about this time that
some officers of the National Guard ordered their men to fire, but
they refused. In one instance four hundred National Guards were seen
marching, in uniform, but without arms. It became evident that the
soldiers generally were taking part with the people. This news was
carried to the palace, and Count Molé was called in to form a new
ministry. He undertook the task, and orders were immediately given to
spread the intelligence of this through the city.

Meanwhile the riot and revel went on in various quarters. The police
were active, and hundreds of persons were arrested and lodged in
prison. Skirmishes took place, here and there, between the soldiers
and the people; long processions were seen, attended by persons who
sang choruses, and shouted "Down with Guizot!" "Vive la Réforme!"

About four o'clock the news of the downfall of the Guizot ministry
was spread along the Boulevards. The joyful intelligence ran over
the city with the speed of light. It was everywhere received with
acclamations. The people and the troops, a short time before looking
at each other in deadly hostility, were seen shaking hands, and
expressing congratulations. An immense population--men, women, and
children--poured into the Boulevards, to share in the jubilation.
Large parties of the National Guard paraded the streets, the officers
and men shouting "Vive la Réforme!" and the crowd cheering loudly.
Bands of five hundred to fifteen hundred men and boys went about
making noisy demonstrations of joy. On being met by the troops, they
divided to let them pass, and immediately resumed their cries and
their songs.

Toward half-past six o'clock in the evening an illumination
was spoken of, and many persons lighted up spontaneously. The
illumination soon became more general, and the populace, in large
numbers, went through the streets, calling, "Light up!" Numerous
bands, alone or following detachments of the National Guards, went
about, shouting "Vive le Roi!" "Vive la Réforme!" and singing the
"Marseillaise." At many points, where barricades had been erected,
and the people were resisting the troops, they ceased when they heard
the news of the resignations, and the troops retired. "It is all
over!" was the general cry; and a feeling of relief seemed to pervade
every bosom.

There can be no doubt that, but for a fatal occurrence which soon
after took place, the further progress of the revolt might have
been stayed. Many wise people now say, indeed, that the revolution
was all planned beforehand; they had foreseen and predicted it: and
from the beginning of the outbreak everything tended to this point.
The fact is unquestionably otherwise. The "Opposition," with their
various clubs and societies distributed through all classes in Paris,
and holding constant communication with the workmen or blousemen,
no doubt stood ready to take advantage of any violence on the part
of the Government which might justify resistance; but they had not
anticipated such a contingency on the present occasion. It is not
probable that the Molé ministry, had it been consummated, would have
satisfied the people; but the king had yielded; Guizot, the special
object of hatred, had fallen, and it was supposed that further
concessions would be made, as concession had begun. But accident,
which often rules the fate of empires and dynasties, now stepped
in to govern the course of events, and give them a character which
should astonish the world.

In the course of the evening a large mass of people had collected
on the Boulevard, in the region of Guizot's office--the Hôtel des
Affaires Etrangères. The troops here had unfortunately threatened
the people, by rushing at them with fixed bayonets, after the
announcement of the resignation of the ministry, and when a good
feeling prevailed among all classes. This irritated the mob, and
was partly, no doubt, the occasion of the large gathering in this
quarter. For some reason, not well explained, a great many troops had
also assembled here and in the vicinity. At ten o'clock, the street
from the Madeleine to the Rue de la Paix was thronged with soldiers
and people. There was, however, no riot and no symptom of disorder.

At this moment a collection of persons, mostly young men, about
sixty in number, came along the Boulevard, on the side opposite to
the soldiers and the Foreign Office. It is said that the colonel
anticipated some attack, though nothing of the kind was threatened.
It appears that the soldiers stood ready to fire, when one of their
muskets went off, and wounded the commander's horse in the leg. He
mistook this for a shot from the crowd, and gave instant orders to
fire. A fusilade immediately followed. Twenty persons fell dead,
and forty were wounded. The scene which ensued baffles description.
The immense masses dispersed in terror, and carried panic in all
directions. The groans of the dying and the screams of the wounded
filled the air. Shops and houses around were turned into hospitals.
"We are betrayed! we are betrayed!"--"Revenge! revenge!" was the cry
of the masses.

From this moment the doom of the monarchy was sealed. The leaders
of the clubs, no doubt, took their measures for revolution. An
immense waggon was soon brought to the scene of the massacre; the
dead bodies were laid on it, and flaring torches were lighted over
it. The ghastly spectacle was paraded through the streets, and the
mute lips of the corpses doubtless spoke more effectively than those
of the living. Large masses of people, pale with excitement and
uttering execrations upon the murderers, followed in the train of the
waggon, as it passed through the more populous streets of the city,
and especially in those quarters inhabited by the lower classes.
The effect was such as might have been anticipated. At midnight the
barricades were begun, and at sunrise the streets of Paris displayed
a network of fortifications from the Place St. George to the church
of Notre Dame, which set the troops at defiance. More than a thousand
barricades, some of them ten feet in height, were thrown up during
that memorable night; yet such were the suddenness and silence of
the operations, that most of the inhabitants of the city slept in
security, fondly dreaming that the tempest had passed, and that the
morning would greet them in peace.

On Thursday, the decisive day, the weather was still mild and without
rain, though the sky was dimmed with clouds. At eleven in the morning
I sallied forth. I cannot express my astonishment at the scene. The
whole Boulevard was a spectacle of desolation. From the Rue de la
Paix to the Rue Montmartre--the finest part of Paris, the glory of
the city--every tree was cut down, all the public monuments reduced
to heaps of ruins, the pavements torn up, and the entire wreck
tumbled into a succession of barricades. Every street leading into
this portion of the Boulevard was strongly barricaded. Such giant
operations seemed like the work of enchantment.

But my wonder had only begun. At the point where the Rue Montmartre
crosses the Boulevard, the entire pavement was torn up, and something
like a square breastwork was formed, in which a cannon was planted.
The whole space around was crowded with the populace. As I stood
for a moment surveying the scene, a young man, about twenty, passed
through the crowd, and stepping upon the carriage of the cannon,
cried out, "Down with Louis Philippe!" The energy with which this
was spoken sent a thrill through every bosom; and the remarkable
appearance of the youth gave additional effect to his words. He was
short, broad-shouldered, and full-chested. His face was pale, his
cheek spotted with blood, and his head, without hat or cap, was
bound with a handkerchief. His features were keen, and his deep-set
eye was lit with a spark that seemed borrowed from a tiger. As he
left the throng he came near me, and I said, inquiringly, "Down with
Louis Philippe?" "Yes!" was his reply. "And what then?" said I. "A
republic!" was his answer; and he passed on, giving the watchword of
"Down with Louis Philippe!" to the masses he encountered. This was
the first instance in which I heard the overthrow of the king and the
adoption of a republic proposed.

In pursuing my walk, I noticed that the population were now
abundantly supplied with weapons. On the two first days they were
unarmed; but after the slaughter at the Foreign Office they went to
all the houses and demanded weapons. These were given, for refusal
would have been vain. An evidence of the consideration of the
populace, even in their hour of wrath, is furnished by the fact, that
in all cases where the arms had been surrendered, they wrote on the
doors in chalk, "_Armes données_"--Arms given up; so as to prevent
the annoyance of a second call.

It might seem a fearful thing to behold a mob, such as that of Paris,
brandishing guns, fowling-pieces, swords, cutlasses, hatchets, and
axes; but I must say that I felt not the slightest fear in passing
among their thickest masses. Some of them, who had doubtless never
handled arms before, seemed a little jaunty and jubilant. The
_gamins_--the leaders in riots, rows, and rebellions--were swarming
on all sides, and seemed to feel a head taller in the possession
of their weapons. I saw several of these unwashed imps strutting
about with red sashes around the waist, supporting pistols, dirks,
cutlasses, &c.; yet I must state that over the whole scene there was
an air of good-breeding, which seemed a guarantee against insult or
violence. I may also remark here, that during the whole three days I
did not observe a scuffle or wrangle among the people; I did not hear
an insulting word, nor did I see a menace offered, save in conflicts
between the soldiers and the populace. I can add, that I did not see
a drunken person during the whole period, with the single exception
which I shall hereafter mention.

I took a wide circuit in the region of the Rue Montmartre, the
Bourse, the Rue Vivienne, St. Honoré, and the Palais Royal.
Everywhere there were enormous barricades and crowds of armed people.
Soon after--that is, about twelve o'clock--I passed the southern
quadrangle of the Palais Royal, which, lately the residence of the
brother of the King of Naples, was now attacked and taken by the
populace. The beautiful suite of rooms was richly furnished, and
decorated with costly pictures, statues, bronzes, and other specimens
of art. These were unsparingly tumbled into the square and the
street, and consigned to the flames. At the distance of one hundred
and fifty feet from the front of the Palais Royal was the Château
d'Eau, a massive stone building occupied as a barrack, and at this
moment garrisoned by one hundred and eighty municipal guards. In
most parts of the city, seeing that the troops fraternized with the
people, the Government had given them orders not to fire. These
guards, however, attacked the insurgents in and about the Palais
Royal. Their fire was returned, and a desperate conflict ensued. The
battle lasted for more than an hour, the people rushing in the very
face of the muskets, of the guard, as they blazed from the grated
windows. At last the barrack was set on fire, and the guard yielded,
though not till many of their number had fallen, and the rest were
nearly dead with suffocation. The Château d'Eau is now a mere ruin,
its mottled walls giving evidence of the shower of bullets that had
been poured upon it.

No sooner had the Château d'Eau surrendered, than the flushed victors
took their course towards the Tuileries, which was near at hand;
shouting, singing, roaring, they came like a surge, bearing all
before them. The Place du Carrousel was filled with troops; but not a
sword was unsheathed--not a bayonet pointed--not a musket or a cannon
fired. There stood, idle and motionless, the mighty armament which
the king had appointed for his defence. How vain had his calculations
proved! for, alas! they were founded in a radical error. The
soldiers would not massacre their brethren, to sustain a throne which
they now despised.

But we must now enter the Tuileries. For several days previous to
the events we have described, some anxiety had been entertained by
persons in and about the palace. The king, however, had no fears.
He appeared in unusual spirits; and, if any intimation of danger
was given, he turned it aside with a sneer or a joke. Even so late
as Wednesday, after he had called upon Count Molé to form a new
ministry, he remarked that he was so "firmly seated in the saddle,
that nothing could throw him off."

Molé soon found it impossible, with the materials at hand, to
construct a ministry. Thiers was then called in; and, after a
long course of higgling and chaffering on the part of the king,
it was agreed that he and Barrot should undertake to carry on the
Government. This was announced by them in person, as they rode
through the streets on Thursday morning. These concessions, however,
came too late. The cry for a republic was bursting from the lips of
the million. The abdication of the king was decreed, and a raging
multitude were demanding this at the very gates of the palace.
Overborne by the crisis, the king agreed to abdicate in favor of
the Duke de Nemours. Some better tidings were brought him, and he
retracted what he had just done. A moment after it became certain
that the insurgents would shortly burst into the palace. In great
trepidation, the king agreed to resign the crown in favor of his
grandson, the young Count de Paris; yet, still clinging to the hope,
he shuffled and hesitated before he would put his name to the act of
abdication. This, however, was at last done, and the king and queen,
dressed in black, and accompanied by a few individuals who remained
faithful in this trying moment, passed from the Tuileries to the
Place de la Concorde, through the subterranean passage constructed
many years previously for the walks of the infant King of Rome. They
here entered a small, one-horse vehicle, and, after a rapid and
successful flight, landed safely at Dover, in England.

Meanwhile, the mob had seized the royal carriages, fourteen in
number, and made a bonfire of them, near the celebrated arch in the
Place du Carrousel. Soon after, they forced the railing at several
points, and came rushing across the square toward the palace.
Scarcely had the various members of the royal family time to escape
on one side of the building, when the mob broke in at the other.

I have not time to follow the adventures of these several
individuals. We cannot but sympathize with them in their misfortunes;
but we may remark, that the fall of the Orleans dynasty was not
broken by a single act of courage or dignity on the part of any one
of the family. Their flight seemed a vulgar scramble for mere life.
Even the king was reduced to the most common place disguises--the
shaving of his whiskers, the change of his dress, the adopting an
"alias!" I may add here, that they have all escaped; and while
everybody seems glad of this, there is no one behind who mourns their
loss. None are more loud in denouncing the besotted confidence of the
king than his two hundred and twenty-five purchased deputies, who
were so loyal in the days of prosperity.

A short time after the king and queen had passed the Place de la
Concorde I chanced to be there. In a few moments Odillon Barrot
appeared from the gate of the Tuileries, and, followed by a long
train of persons, proceeded to the Chamber of Deputies. It was now
understood that the king had abdicated, and that Thiers and Barrot
were to propose the Count de Paris as king, under the regency of his
mother, the Duchess of Orleans. The most profound emotion seemed
to occupy the immense multitude. All were hushed into silence by
the rapid succession of astonishing events. After a short space
the Duchess of Orleans, with her two sons, the Count de Paris and
the Duke de Chartres, were seen on foot coming toward the Chamber,
encircled by a strong escort. She was dressed in deep mourning, her
face bent to the ground. She moved across the bridge, and passing to
the rear of the building, entered it through the gardens. Shortly
after this the Duke de Nemours, attended by several gentlemen on
horseback, rode up, and also entered the building.

The scene that ensued within is said to have presented an
extraordinary mixture of the solemn and the ludicrous. The duchess
being present, Barrot proceeded to state the abdication of the king,
and to propose the regency. It was then that Lamartine seemed to
shake off the poet and philosopher, and suddenly to become a man of
action. Seizing the critical moment, he declared his conviction that
the days of monarchy were numbered; that the proposed regency was
not suited to the crisis; and that a republic alone would meet the
emergency and the wishes of France. These opinions, happily expressed
and strenuously enforced, became decisive in their effect.

Several other speeches were made, and a scene of great confusion
followed. A considerable number of the mob had broken into the room,
and occupied the galleries and the floor. One of them brought his
firelock to his shoulder, and took aim at M. Sauzet, the president.
Entirely losing his self-possession, he abdicated with great speed,
and disappeared. In the midst of the hubbub a Provisional Government
was announced, and the leading members were named. Some of the more
obnoxious deputies were aimed at by the muskets of the mob, and
skulking behind benches and pillars, they oozed out at back-doors
and windows. A blouseman came up to the Duke de Nemours, who drew
his sword. The man took it from him, broke it over his knee, and
counselled his highness to depart. This he did forthwith, having
borrowed a coat and hat for the purpose of disguise. A call was made
for the members of the Provisional Government to proceed to the
Hôtel de Ville. The assembly broke up, and the curtain fell upon the
last sitting of the Chamber of Deputies--the closing scene of Louis
Philippe's government.

It was about three o'clock in the afternoon that I retraced my steps
toward the Tuileries. The Place de la Concorde was crowded with
soldiers, and fifty cannon were ranged in front of the gardens.
Yet this mighty force seemed struck with paralysis. Long lines of
infantry stood mute and motionless, and heavy masses of cavalry
seemed converted into so many statues. Immediately before the eyes of
those soldiers was the palace of the Tuileries in full possession of
the mob, but not a muscle moved for their expulsion!

Passing into the gardens, I noticed that thousands of persons were
spread over their surface, and a rattling discharge of fire-arms
was heard on all sides. Looking about for the cause of this, I
perceived that hundreds of men and boys were amusing themselves with
shooting sparrows and pigeons, which had hitherto found a secure
resting-place in this favorite resort of leisure and luxury. Others
were discharging their muskets for the mere fun of making a noise.
Proceeding through the gardens, I came at last to the palace. It
had now been, for more than an hour, in full possession of the
insurgents. All description fails to depict a scene like this. The
whole front of the Tuileries, one-eighth of a mile in length, seemed
gushing at doors, windows, balconies, and galleries, with living
multitudes--a mighty beehive of men, in the very act of swarming. A
confused hubbub filled the air, and bewildered the senses with its
chaotic sounds.

At the moment I arrived the throne of the king was borne away by a
jubilant band of revellers; and, after being paraded through the
streets, was burned at the Place de la Bastille.

I entered the palace, and passed through the long suites of
apartments devoted to occasions of ceremony. A year before I had
seen these gorgeous halls filled with the flush and the fair--kings,
princes, and nobles--gathered to this focal point of luxury,
refinement, and taste from every quarter of the world. How little
did Louis Philippe, at that moment, dream of "coming events!" How
little did the stately queen--a proud obelisk of silk, and lace,
and diamonds--foresee the change that was at hand! I recollected
well the effect of this scene upon my own mind, and felt the full
force of the contrast which the present moment offered. In the very
room where I had seen the pensive and pensile Princess de Joinville
and the Duchess de Montpensier--the latter then fresh from the
hymeneal altar, her raven hair studded with diamonds like evening
stars--whirling in the mazy dance, I now beheld a band of creatures
like Calibans, gambolling to the song of the "Marseillaise!"

On every side my eye fell upon scenes of destruction. Passing to
the other end of the palace, I beheld a mob in the chambers of the
princesses. Some rolled themselves in the downy beds, others anointed
their shaggy heads with choice pomatum, exclaiming, "Dieu! how sweet
it smells!" One of the _gamins_, grimed with gunpowder, blood, and
dirt, seized a tooth-brush, and placing himself before a mirror,
seemed delighted at the manifest improvement which he produced upon
his ivory.

On leaving the palace, I saw numbers of the men drinking wine from
bottles taken from the well-stocked cellars. None of them were
positively drunk. To use the words of "Tam O'Shanter," "They were na
fou, but just had plenty"--perhaps a little more. They flourished
their guns and pistols, brandished their swords, and performed
various antics, but they offered no insult to any one. They seemed
in excellent humor, and made more than an ordinary display of French
_politesse_. They complimented the women, of whom there was no lack;
and one of them, resembling a figure of Pan, seized a maiden by the
waist, and both rigadooned merrily over the floor.

Leaving this scene of wreck, confusion, and uproar, I proceeded
toward the gate of the gardens leading into the Rue de Rivoli. I
was surprised to find here a couple of ruthless-looking blousemen,
armed with pistols, keeping guard. On inquiry, I found that the mob
themselves had instituted a sort of government. One fellow, in the
midst of the devastation in the palace, seeing a man put something
into his pocket, wrote on the wall, "Death to thieves!" The Draconian
code was immediately adopted by the people, and became the law of
Paris. Five persons, taken in acts of robbery, were shot down by the
people, and their bodies exposed in the streets, with the label of
"Thief" on their breast. Thus order and law seemed to spring up from
the instincts of society, in the midst of uproar and confusion, as
crystals are seen shooting from the chaos of the elements.

Three days had now passed, and the revolution was accomplished.
The people soon returned to their wonted habits; the Provisional
Government proceeded in its duties; the barricades disappeared; and
in a single week the more obtrusive traces of the storm that had
passed had vanished from the streets and squares of Paris.



It is not my design to enter into the history of the revolution
in detail, but I may sketch a few of the prominent events which
followed. For this purpose, I make an extract from an account I have
elsewhere given:--

For several weeks and months Paris was a scene of extraordinary
excitement. The Provisional Government had announced that they would
provide the people with labor. Consequently, deputations of tailors,
hatters, engravers, musicians, paviors, cabinet-makers, seamstresses,
and a multitude of other trades and vocations, flocked in long
lines to the Hôtel de Ville to solicit the favor of the Government.
Vast crowds of people perpetually haunted this place, and, in one
instance, a raging multitude came thundering at the doors, demanding
that the blood-red flag of the former revolution should be the
banner of the new republic! It was on this occasion that Lamartine
addressed the people, and with such eloquence as to allay the storm
which threatened again to deluge France in blood. The members of
the Government were so besieged and pressed by business, that for
several weeks they slept in the Hôtel de Ville. They proceeded with
a bold hand to announce and establish the republic. In order to
make a favorable impression upon the people, they decreed a gorgeous
ceremony at the foot of the column of July, on Sunday, February 27th,
by which they solemnly inaugurated the new republic. All the members
of the Provisional Government were present on horseback; there were
sixty thousand troops and two hundred thousand people to witness the

Another still more imposing celebration took place on the 4th of
March. This was called the "Funeral of the Victims." After religious
ceremonies at the Madeleine, the members of the Government, with a
long train of public officers and an immense _cortège_ of military,
proceeded to the July column, conducting a superb funeral-car, drawn
by eight cream-colored horses. This contained most of the bodies of
those slain in the revolution--about two hundred and fifty. These
were deposited in the vault of the column, with the victims of the
revolution of 1830.

Nothing can adequately portray this spectacle. A tri-colored flag was
stretched on each side of the Boulevards, from the Madeleine to the
July column--a distance of three miles. As this consisted of three
strips of cloth, the length of the whole was eighteen miles! The
solemn movement of the funeral procession, the dirge-like music, the
march of nearly a hundred thousand soldiers, and the sympathizing
presence of three hundred thousand souls, rendered it a scene never
surpassed and rarely equalled, either by the magnificence of the
panorama or the solemn and touching sentiments excited.

Still other spectacles succeeded; and in the summer four hundred
thousand people assembled in the Champs Elysées to witness the
Presentation of Flags to the assembled National Guards, eighty
thousand being present. Such scenes can only be witnessed in Paris.

Events proceeded with strange rapidity. A Constituent Assembly was
called by the Provisional Government to form a constitution. The
members were elected by ballot, the suffrage being universal--that
is, open to all Frenchmen over twenty-one. The election took place
in April, and on the 4th of May the first session was held, being
officially announced to the assembled people from the steps of the
Chamber of Deputies. On the 15th of May a conspiracy was disclosed,
the leaders of which were Raspail, Barbès, Sobrier, Caussidière,
Blanqui, Flotte, Albert, and Louis Blanc--the two last having been
members of the Provisional Government. Caussidière was prefect of

The Assembly proceeded in the work of framing a constitution,
administering the government in the mean time. On the 24th of June a
terrific insurrection broke out, promoted by the leaders of various
factions, all desiring the overthrow of the republic which had been
inaugurated. Cavaignac, who was minister of war, was appointed
dictator, and Paris was declared in a state of siege. The insurgents
confined their operations chiefly to the faubourgs of St. Jacques
and St. Antoine. They got possession of these, and formed skilful
and able plans of operation, which had for their ultimate object the
surrounding of the city and getting possession of certain important
points, including the Chamber--thus securing the government in their
own hands.

Cavaignac proceeded to attack the barricades, thus clearing the
streets one by one. The fighting was terrible. For four days the
battle continued, the sound of cannon frequently filling the ears of
the people all over the city. Night and day the inhabitants were
shut up in their houses, ignorant of all, save that the conflict was
raging. The women found employment in scraping lint for the wounded.
All Paris was a camp. The windows were closed; the soldiers and
sentinels passed their watchwords; litters, carrying the dead and
wounded, were borne along the streets; the tramp of marching columns
and the thunder of rushing cavalry broke upon the ear!

At last the conflict was over; the insurgents were beaten--Cavaignac
triumphed. But the victory was dearly purchased. Between two and
three thousand persons were killed, and among them no less than seven
general officers had fallen. The insurgents fought like tigers. Many
women were in the ranks, using the musket, carrying the banners,
rearing barricades, and cheering the fight. Boys and girls mingled
in the conflict. The National Guards who combated them had equal
courage and superior discipline. One of the Garde Mobile--Hyacinthe
Martin, a youth of fourteen--took four standards from the tops of
the barricades. His gallantry excited great interest, and Cavaignac
decorated him with the cross of the Legion of Honor. He became a hero
of the day; but--sad to relate!--being invited to fêtes, banquets,
and repasts, his head was turned, and he was soon a ruined profligate.

The leaders in this terrific insurrection were never detected. It
is certain that the movement was headed by able men, and directed
by skilful engineers. The masses who fought were roused to fury by
poverty and distress--by disappointment at finding the national
workshops discontinued, and by stimulating excitements furnished by
Socialist clubs and newspapers. It is computed that forty thousand
insurgents were in arms, and eighty thousand government soldiers were
brought against them. It may be considered that this struggle was
the remote but inevitable result of the course of the Provisional
Government in adopting the doctrine of obligation, on the part of the
State, to supply work and wages to the people, and in establishing
national workshops in pursuance of this idea. Still, it may be said,
on the other hand, that nothing but such a step could have enabled
the Provisional Government to maintain itself during three months,
and give being to an organized Assembly from which a legitimate
government could proceed.

The Constitution was finished in the autumn, and promulgated on
the 19th of November, 1848. On the 10th of December following, the
election of President took place, and it appeared that Louis Napoleon
Bonaparte had five million out of seven million votes. He was duly
inaugurated about a week after the election, and entered upon the
high duties which thus devolved upon him.



I now come to the period of 1851, when I entered upon the consulate.
Of the space during which I was permitted to hold this office I have
no very remarkable personal incidents to relate. The certifying of
invoices, and the legalizing of deeds and powers of attorney, are
the chief technical duties of the American Consul at Paris. If he
desires to enlarge the circle of his operations, however, he can
find various ways of doing it. As, for instance, in supplying the
wants of distressed Poles, Hungarians, Italians, and others, who
are martyrs to liberty, and suppose the American heart and purse
always open to those who are thus afflicted; in answering questions
from notaries, merchants, lawyers, as to the laws of the different
American States upon marriage, inheritance, and the like; in advising
emigrants whether to settle in Iowa, or Illinois, or Missouri, or
Texas; in listening to inquiries made by deserted wives as to where
their errant husbands may be found, who left France ten, or twenty,
or thirty years ago, and went to America, by which is generally
understood St. Domingo or Martinique. A considerable business may
be done in lending money to foreigners, who pretend to have been
naturalized in the United States, and are, therefore, entitled to
consideration and sympathy: it being, of course, well understood that
money lent to such persons will never be repaid. Some time and cash
may also be invested in listening to the stories and contributing
to the wants of promising young American artists, who are striving
to get to Italy to pursue their studies--such persons usually being
graduates of the London school of artful dodgers. Some waste leisure
and a good deal of postage may be disposed of in correspondence with
ingenious Americans, inventors and discoverers: as, for instance,
with a man in Arkansas or Minnesota, who informs you that he has
contrived a new and infallible method of heating and ventilating
European cities, and wishes it brought to the notice of the
authorities there, it being deemed the duty of the American Consul
to give attention to such matters. These monotonies are occasionally
diversified by a letter from some unfortunate fellow-countryman
who is detained at Mazas or Clichy, and begs to be extricated; or
some couple who wish to be put under the bonds of wedlock; or some
enterprising wife, all the way from Tennessee, in chase of a runaway
husband; or some inexperienced but indignant youth who has been
fleeced by his landlord.

Such are the duties which devolve upon the American Consul at Paris,
the incidents alluded to having come under my notice while I was
there in that capacity. I must now speak of certain public events
which transpired at that period, and which will ever be regarded as
among the most remarkable in modern history.

I have told you how Louis Napoleon, in consequence of the Revolution
of 1848, became President of the Republic. When I arrived in Paris,
in April, 1851, he was officiating in that capacity, his residence
being the little palace of the Elysée Bourbon, situated between the
Faubourg St. Honoré and the Champs Elysées. The National Assembly,
consisting of seven hundred and fifty members, held their sessions at
the building called the Chamber of Deputies. The Government had been
in operation somewhat over two years.

To the casual observer, the external aspect of things was not very
different from what it had been under the monarchy of Louis Philippe.
It is true that the palace of the Tuileries was vacant; no royal
coaches were seen dashing through the avenues; the public monuments
everywhere proclaimed "liberty, equality, fraternity." But still,
the streets were filled with soldiers as before. Armed sentinels
were stationed at the entrances of all the public buildings. The
barracks were, as usual, swarming with soldiers, and large masses
of horse and foot were training at the Champ de Mars and at Satory.
Martial reviews and exercises were, indeed, the chief amusement of
the metropolis. The President's house was a palace, and all around it
was bristling with bayonets. It was obvious that, whatever name the
Government might bear, military force lay at the bottom of it; and
if to-day this might be its defence, to-morrow it might also be its

It is now ascertained that Louis Napoleon, from the beginning, had
his mind fixed upon the restoration of the Empire. In accepting the
presidency of the Republic, and even in swearing fidelity to the
Constitution, he considered himself only as mounting the steps of the
Imperial throne.

In order to prepare the nation for the revolution which he
meditated, Louis Napoleon caused agitating and alarming rumors
to be circulated of a terrible plot, planned by the Democrats,
Republicans, and Socialists of France, the object of which was
to overturn the whole fabric of society, to destroy religion, to
sweep away the obligations of marriage, to strip the rich of their
property, and make a general distribution of it among the masses.
Other conspiracies, having similar designs, were said to exist in
all the surrounding countries of Europe, and the time was now near
at hand when the fearful explosion would take place. The police of
France, subject to the control and direction of the President, were
instructed to discover evidences of this infernal plot, and they
were so successful, that the public mind was filled with a vague but
anxious apprehension that society was reposing upon a volcano, which
might soon burst forth and overwhelm the whole country in chaos.

The National Assembly acted in a manner to favor these schemes of
the Presidents. They were divided into four or five factions, and
spent their time chiefly in angry disputes and selfish intrigues.
A portion of them were monarchists; and, though they had acquired
their seats by pledges of devotion to the republic, they were
now plotting its overthrow; a part being for the restoration of
the Orleanists, and a part for the Bourbons. Another faction was
for Louis Napoleon, and actively promoted his schemes. By the
Constitution he was ineligible for a second term, and his friends
were seeking the means of overcoming the difficulty, and giving him
a re-election, by fair means or foul. The Liberals were divided into
several shades of opinion--some being Republicans, after the model of
General Cavaignac; some being Democrats, like Victor Hugo; and some
Socialists, after the fashion of Pierre Leroux. In such a state of
things there was a vast deal of idle debate, while the substantial
interests of the country seemed, if not totally forgotten, at
least secondary to the interests of parties, and the passions and
prejudices of individuals.

I remember that on a certain Monday evening, the 1st of December,
1852, I was present at the Elysée, and was then first introduced
to Louis Napoleon. I found him to be an ordinary-looking person,
rather under size, but well formed, and with a dull expression of
countenance. The room was tolerably full, the company consisting, as
is usual in such cases, of diplomats, military officers, and court
officials, with a sprinkling of citizens, in black coats. I was
forcibly struck by the preponderance of soldiers in the assembly,
and I said several times to my companions that it seemed more like a
camp than a palace. The whole scene was dull; the President himself
appeared preoccupied, and was not master of his usual urbanity;
General Magnan walked from room to room with a ruminating air,
occasionally sending his keen glances around, as if searching for
something which he could not find. There was no music--no dancing.
That gayety which almost always pervades a festive party in Paris
was wholly wanting. There was no ringing laughter--no merry hum of
conversation. I noticed all this, but I did not suspect the cause.
At eleven o'clock the assembly broke up, and the guests departed. At
twelve, the conspirators, gathered for their several tasks, commenced
their operations.

About four in the morning the leading members of the Assembly
were seized in their beds, and hurried to prison. Troops were
distributed at various points, so as to secure the city. When the
light of day came, proclamations were posted at the corners of the
streets, announcing to the citizens that the National Assembly was
dissolved; that universal suffrage was decreed; that the Republic
was established! Such was the general unpopularity of the Assembly,
that the first impression of the people was that of delight at its
overthrow. Throughout the first day the streets of Paris were like a
swarming hive, filled with masses of people, yet, for the most part,
in good-humor. The second day they had reflected, and began to frown,
but yet there was no general spirit of revolt. A few barricades were
attempted, but the operators were easily dispersed. The third day
came; and although there was some agitation among the masses, there
was evidently no preparation, no combination for general resistance.
As late as ten o'clock in the forenoon I met one of the Republicans
whom I knew, and asked him what was to be done. His reply was,--

"We can do nothing; our leaders are in prison; we are bound hand
and foot. I am ready to give my life at the barricades, if with the
chance of benefit; but I do not like to throw it away. We can do

Soon after this I perceived heavy columns of troops--some four
thousand men--marching through the Rue de la Paix, and then
proceeding along the Boulevards towards the Port St. Denis. These
were soon followed by a body of about a thousand horse. I was told
that similar bodies were moving to the same point through other
avenues of the city. In a short time the whole Boulevard, from the
Rue de la Paix to the Place de la Bastille, an extent of two miles,
was filled with troops. My office was on the Boulevard des Italiens,
and was now fronted by a dense body of lancers, each man with his
cocked pistol in his hand. Except the murmur of the horses' hoofs,
there was a general stillness over the city. The side-walks were
filled with people; and though there was no visible cause for alarm,
yet there was still a vague apprehension which cast pallor and gloom
upon the faces of all.

Suddenly a few shots were heard in the direction of the Boulevard
Montmartre, and then a confused hum, and soon a furious clatter of
hoofs. A moment after, the whole body of horse started into a gallop,
and rushed by as if in flight; presently they halted, however,
wheeled slowly, and gradually moved back, taking up their former
position. The men looked keenly at the houses on either side, and
pointed their pistols threateningly at all whom they saw at the
windows. It afterward appeared, that when the troops had been drawn
out in line and stationed along the Boulevard, some half-dozen shots
were fired into them from the tops of buildings and from windows:
this created a sudden panic; the troops ran, and, crowding upon
others, caused the sudden movement I have described. In a few moments
the heavy, sickening sound of muskets came from the Porte St. Denis.
Volley succeeded volley, and after some time the people were seen
rushing madly along the pavements of the Boulevard, as if to escape.
The gate of our hôtel was now closed, and, at the earnest request of
the throng that had gathered for shelter in the court of the hôtel, I
put out the "Stars and Stripes"--the first and last time that I ever
deemed it necessary. The dull roar of muskets, with the occasional
boom of cannon, continued at intervals for nearly half-an-hour.
Silence at last succeeded, and the people ventured into the streets.

About four in the afternoon I walked for a mile along the Boulevard.
The pavements were strewn with the fragments of shattered windows,
broken cornices, and shivered doorways. Many of the buildings,
especially those on the southern side of the street, were thickly
spattered with bullet-marks, especially around the windows. One
edifice was riddled through and through with cannon-shot. Frequent
spots of blood stained the sidewalk, and along the Boulevard
Montmartre, particularly around the doorways, there were pools like
those of the shambles; it being evident that the reckless soldiers
had shot down in heaps the fugitives who, taken by surprise, strove
to obtain shelter at the entrances of the hôtels upon the street.

The morning came, and the triumph of the Reign of Terror was
complete. What was enacted in Paris was imitated all over France.
Nearly every department was declared in a state of siege; revolt was
punished with death, and doubt or hesitation with imprisonment. Forty
thousand persons were hurried to the dungeons, without even the form
or pretence of trial. All over the country the press was silenced,
as it had been in Paris; save only a few obsequious prints, which
published what was dictated to them. These declared that all this
bloodshed and violence were the necessary result of the Socialist
conspiracy, which threatened to overturn society; happily, as they
contended, Louis Napoleon, like a beneficent Providence, had crushed
the monster, and he now asked the people to ratify what he had done,
by making him President for ten years. In the midst of agitation,
delusion, and panic, the vote was taken, and Louis Napoleon was
elected by a vote of eight millions of suffrages! The nominal
Republic thus established soon gave way to the Empire; the President
reached the Imperial throne, and now stands before the world as
Napoleon III.!

Since his acquisition of a throne Louis Napoleon has conducted the
government with ability, and he has certainly been seconded by
fortune. He married a lady who has shed lustre upon her high position
by her gentle virtues and gracious manners. He engaged in the Eastern
War, and triumphed. He has greatly improved and embellished the
capital, and made Paris the most charming city in the world: nowhere
else does life seem to flow on so cheerfully and so tranquilly
as here. He has gradually softened the rigors of his government;
and though some noble spirits still pine in exile, he has taken
frequent advantage of opportunity to diminish the number. The people
of France, at the present time, appear to be satisfied with the
government, and, no doubt, a large majority, could the question be
proposed to them, would vote for its continuance.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the summer of 1853, I was politely advised from the State
Department that President Pierce had appointed my successor in the
consulate. Thus, having held the place a little over two years,
on the 1st of August, 1853, I was restored to the privileges of
private-citizen life. As I had various engagements which forbade me
immediately to leave France, I hired a small house at Courbevoie,
which I made my residence till my departure for America.

In the autumn of 1854 I set out with my family for a short tour in
Italy. In all my wanderings I had never visited this famous country;
and as I was not likely ever to have another opportunity, I felt it
to be a kind of duty to avail myself of a few unappropriated weeks to
accomplish this object. After visiting Florence, Rome, and Naples, we
returned to Paris. Tarrying there for a short time, for the purpose
of seeing the International Exhibition of 1855, we finally left
Europe in October, and in the next month found a new home in New York.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have now come to my farewell. Leave-takings are in general somewhat
melancholy, and it is best to make them as brief as possible. Mine
shall consist of a single train of thought, and that suggestive of
cheerful rather than mournful feelings. Like a traveller approaching
the end of his journey, I naturally cast a look backward, and
surveying the monuments which rise up in the distance, seek to
estimate the nature and tendency of the march of events which I have
witnessed, and in which I have participated.

One general remark appears to me applicable to the half century over
which my observation has extended; which is, that everywhere there
has been improvement. I know of no department of human knowledge,
no sphere of human inquiry, no race of men, no region of the earth,
where there has been retrogression. On the whole, the age has been
alike fruitful in discovery, and in the practical, beneficial
results of discovery. Science has advanced with giant strides; and
it is the distinguishing characteristic of modern science that it
is not the mere toy of the philosopher, nor the hidden mystery of
the laboratory, but the hard-working servant of the manufactory, the
workshop, and the kitchen.

On every hand are the evidences of improvement. What advances have
been made in agriculture; in the analysis of soils, the preparation
of manures, the improvement of implements, from the spade to the
steam-reaper; in the manufacture of textile fabrics by the inventions
of Jacquard and others in weaving, and innumerable devices in
spinning; in the working of iron--cutting, melting, moulding,
rolling, shaping it like dough, whereby it is applied to a thousand
new uses; in commerce and navigation, by improved models of ships,
improved chronometers, barometers, and quadrants--in chain-pumps
and wheel-rudders; in printing, by the use of the steam-press,
throwing off a hundred thousand impressions instead of two thousand
in a day; in microscopes, which have revealed new worlds in the
infinity of littleness, as well as in telescopes, which have unfolded
immeasurable depths of space before hidden from the view. How has
travelling been changed, from jolting along at the rate of six miles
an hour over rough roads in a stage-coach, to putting one's self
comfortably to bed in a steamboat and going fifteen miles an hour; or
sitting down in a railway-carriage to read a novel, and before you
have finished it to find yourself two hundred miles away!

And in the moral world, the last fifty years appear to me to have
shown an improvement, if not as marked, yet as certain and positive,
as in the material world. Everywhere, as I believe, the standard of
humanity is more elevated than before. If in some things, with the
increase of wealth and luxury, we have degenerated, on the whole
there has been an immense advance, as well in technical morals as in
those large humanities which aim at the good of all mankind.

In looking at the political condition of our country, there are
no doubt threatening clouds in the sky and mutterings of ominous
thunders in the distance. I have, however, known such things before;
I have seen the country shaken to its centre by the fierce collision
of parties, and the open assaults of the spirit of disunion. But
these dangers passed away. Within my memory, the states of the Union
have been doubled in number, and the territory of the Union has been
trebled in extent. This I have seen; and as such has been the fact,
so may be, and so I trust will be, the future. Farewell!



    _From the London Welcome Guest._

Friend of my youth! Delightful instructor of my early days! Thou
kindly soul, who labored so patiently to expand my unopened mind,
and inspire it with a becoming interest in the world in which it
had but lately awakened! Benevolent traveller, who led my innocence
gently by the hand through all the countries of the earth, and
chatted intelligibly with me of their strangely varying customs,
their wonderful histories, their diverse climates, and productions,
and capacities! Thou that, in the first budding of my young ideas,
pointed out to me the glories of the starry night, and the marvels of
the vasty deep; that couldst sympathize with my untaught childhood,
and adapt thy immeasurable learning to its little wants, and
powers, and likings, and intertwine thy omniscient narrative with
absorbing adventures that enthralled its whole soul, and thrilled
its wondering bosom, and upraised the hairs that as yet but thinly
covered its tender pate! May my right hand forget its cunning, thou
large-hearted benefactor, if I permit thee to pass away into Hades
all unheralded! That stingy paragraph in a print that is read to-day
and handed into oblivion to-morrow, is no meed worthy of thee, Peter
Parley. Thou meritest a more bounteous memorial. Thy name is known
far and wide; and countless eyes, as they read in these pages that
thou hast entered the Land of Shadows, shall be dimmed with grateful

If it may be allowed a copy of the WELCOME GUEST to journey beyond
the postal arrangements of this world, and to meet the disembodied
eyes of the other one, I wish that the concession may be made to this
current number, and that it may be placed in Peter Parley's hands, as
he sits in honor amid his new fellows. Then shall his gentle shade
rejoice to know that we, his children, who used to gather around his
knees, so to say, when he was still in the flesh, many long years
since, are not ungrateful for his care of us, but cherish a most fond
remembrance of it!

It was but last May the hand that had written so pleasantly and so
usefully grew chill, and the pen fell from its unnerved grasp. No
fresh travels of Peter Parley shall we have reported to us. Whatever
his journeyings may not be--however weirdly novel, and thrilling,
and strange--we cannot hope for any record of them. No sojourner in
that land has ever yet returned to give us his account of it. No
pencillings by the way, no fine descriptions of landscape or people,
no notes of its ways and manners, ever reach us from the other side
of the dividing river. So Peter Parley will observe and record for us
never again.

Which of Peter Parley's numerous writings did you give the preference
to, my reader? There was a capital story about a sailor boy in the
_Tales of the Sea_, if you remember. To me that young Crusoe endeared
the whole volume. I confess the facts with which every page was
stored have escaped me somewhat; but oh! how well I recollect the
sailor boy!

Do you remember that picture which served as the frontispiece of the
_Tales of the Stars_? There was old Peter himself, with a crowd of
us--his curly-headed darlings--all round him. The stars, if my memory
serves me, are shining with unwonted brightness upon the interesting
group, and upon a celestial globe which occupies the left side of the
scene. If my memory serves me, I say; but ay me! the lapse of many
years has much impaired it, I fear, and the vision I call before me
of that primeval period, is somewhat a broken and fragmentary one.

I cannot stay to mention all the members of the library with which
Peter Parley and our governess, acting with a sweet consent, supplied
us. There were some pleasant passages in the _Tales of Animals_. I
still vividly remember the panther and the lion, which appeared upon
that stage. I cannot say why I remember them above all others, any
more than I can say why many things connected with my early youth
have remained in my memory, whilst a thousand other incidents of
equal importance have vanished utterly from it. All I know is, that I
especially remember the panther and the lion in Mr. Parley's famous
zoological work.

But, in my opinion, Peter Parley's most triumphant effusion--his
_chef d'oeuvre_--the work on which his fame will undoubtedly rest
in the judgment of an admiring posterity of infants--the _ne plus
ultra_ of his great powers, in which the astonishing grace of his
style reaches its highest perfection, and his knowledge is surpassed
only by the facility and the kindliness with which he imparts it--his
crowning effort is--need I name it? Shall I not be accused of
penning truisms? Of course I mean his _Travels through Europe, Asia,
Africa, and America_.

Let that be a red-lettered day in my calendar when I entered upon
those travels. Blessed be the dear maternal hand that gave them to
me! Once more, standing by _her_ side--the kind hand the while, I
doubt not, smoothing my roughened locks, the gentle tongue patiently
helping my tardy utterance--I spell out the opening chapters. Gather
round me now, O pleasant company, into which I was then introduced.
Be seated again at thy round table, O Parley! with those delightful
guests around thee, and let me listen to thy wonderful stories.
Be present with me, ye shades. If, O Pluto! thou hast them in thy
keeping, I pray thee to grant them a brief furlough, that I may know
them once more.

Come, O Jenkins! bravest of men; come in that pea-green jacket, in
which thou presentest thyself to the astonished Parley at the end of
the travels in Europe. 'Tis a bleak night, and Parley, resting by
his blazing fire from all his Continental labors, thinks, good soul!
of his absent friends, and of course of thee, Jenkins. Presently a
knock is heard at the door, and Parley, answering it--he kept no
lounging John Thomases in his unostentatious establishment--beholds
a pea-green jacket. Enters the jacket, and shakes itself. Wonders
the simple Parley, not having the remotest idea, you know, who this
intruding garment is. Can it be?--yes of course, it is--Jenkins.
Is not that a grand _denouement_? I say the recognition of Orestes
by Electra, in the Greek play, so much bragged about by the
Scholiasts and that lot, is not fit to hold a candle to it, to speak
metaphorically. Is it not Jenkins that I see in Asia, defending
himself stoutly, in the midst of an arid plain, against a mounted
Arab? The child of the desert is urging his barb straight upon the
brave fellow. Hard by may be seen a small fire of sticks, which our
hungry but injudicious friend has kindled, with a view to cooking him
a mutton chop, or some such dainty. My wishes are for thy welfare,
Jenkins! My blessings on thy valor, incomparable man!

That is Leo, I think, that I see in such a heartrending condition on
board, or rather on the boards of yonder wreck, while the omnipresent
genius of Peter Parley is being tossed in wave-blankets some little
way off. Yes, I know him; that _is_ Leo. Parley, the chivalrous
Parley, saves his life upon that occasion, and earns his lasting
gratitude. I doubt whether Leo's character will bear investigation;
he comes to great grief in the end. But I like him for his grateful
services to his deliverer; and I like him for the mysterious air
there is about him, and for his thrilling adventures. He wanders
all over the world in a black mantle, nobody knows why; at least
I do not, and have no desire to know. I suppose he found a secret
satisfaction in roaming everywhere inside that cloak, and that is
enough for me. There are three pictures in the whole work that I feel
an intense interest in; and one has to do with Leo. It is when he
escapes from that prison built into the lake; just as the prisoner
of Chillon would have been overjoyed to escape, had he had the knack
and vigor of our hero. The particular scene of the act which the
delightful artist (what was _his_ name? which are his pictures in the
National Gallery?) has been good enough to delineate, is our Jack
Shepherd holding on to his prison-window by the only remaining bar.
Of course he is accompanied by the cloak, which the breezes of the
night are swelling into a globular form. Some dozen feet below the
cloak, sparkles in the moonlight the water, into which the fugitive
proposes to drop, as soon as the artist has done with him. 'Tis a
dismal prospect for thee, Leo. May the daughters of the lake bear
up thy chin! I have a fond belief that he is not to be drowned at
present. We are only in Asia now, and we shall want him many a time
yet in the other two quarters.

Who is that sailor I see crouching on that bank? Above his head is a
most truculent-looking tiger; below him is an infuriated crocodile.
Do you talk to me of dramatic effect, Aristarchus, in those tomes
you are always maudling over? I defy you and your tribe, sirrah, to
produce me a situation so breath-stopping, so blood-chilling, so
every way effective, as the opening scene of Asia. That is a good
hit in the Winter's Tale, by a play-wright called Shakspeare, when
"exit Antigonus, pursued by a bear." But can it be compared--I appeal
to all unprejudiced infants--with that first chapter of our Second
Expedition? Was ever a mortal in so dire an extremity? Scylla and
Charybdis, to my mind, are a joke to it. But Parley rescues him, and
without any of your _Dei ex machina_; though, if there ever was a
knot that seemed to require a Deity's fingers for its unravelling,
this surely was it. Of course, he rescues him; for it is not Parley's
way, whatever other people may do, to hurl his valiant souls
prematurely into Hades, and make them a prey to dogs and vultures.

I have said that there were three pictures in the Travels that
especially entranced me, and I have mentioned one of them. Now for
the other two. The first represents the famous Parley himself, the
English Herodotus, playing with a spider in that unwholesome dungeon
at Tripoli. Poor Parley! He had his little troubles now and then.
There can be no doubt that he is in a tremendous scrape at this
time. But his genial temper is unruffled; he makes friends at once
with his tiny fellow-tenant, and I dare say is, even now, meditating
some Tales of Insects for your and my benefit. He reminds me rather
of Goldsmith, making observations for his History of the Earth and
Animated Nature. There is the same innocence, the same benignity,
the same childish look of innocence about him. I have no doubt the
spider is become much attached to him. I lisp out my good wishes
for thee, thou even-minded captive. I place my small palm upon thy
unkempt head, and bless thee. We are not kept long in suspense about
him. A night soon arrives when Leo's cloak insinuates itself into
his cell, and a voice is heard in its folds saying, "Follow me," and
Parley follows, even as St. Peter followed the angel, and they reach
a wharf, and fire a pistol, and a boat pulls in to the shore, and
they embark in it, and Parley is once more a free man, and addresses
himself afresh to his travels.

My last wood-cut portrays this indefatigable wanderer a second time
oppressed by the hard fates. He is in America this time, and by some
misfortune (a great good fortune to me and to you, my young brethren
and sisters of the nursery) has been made the prey of an Indian
tribe. _Me miserum!_ The savages have tied him to a tree. There are
those hands that have guided that immortal pen through Europe, Asia,
and Africa, corded stringently to a _triste lignum_ in America! There
he stands, denuded of his raiment, and with a writhing expression all
over him; for the sportive innocents of the tribe are amusing their
leisure hours by shooting their youthful arrows at him. Yes; they are
making a target of poor P. P. O! my fellow-students, think what this
great heart suffers for us! During all that agony he is gathering
information for our benefit, is writing for us another incomparable
chapter, is taking stock of yonder wigwams.

But the page is growing indistinct before me, and I hear voices
saluting me from the nursery, not as a child, but as a veteran. Can
it be? No; impossible! And Peter Parley and his brave company recede
mournfully to their land, wherever it is, and my hair is a trifle
grey, or that mirror lies.

Farewell, my good Peter. Fare ye well, my stout Jenkins, my
mysterious Leo, and all ye other fine fellows. I rejoice to have met
you once more, and to have spent a pleasant hour with you, and talked
over our old companionship.


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious typographical errors have been repaired.

_Underscores_ surround italicized text.

P. 73: Words surrounded  are transliterated from the
Greek script.

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About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.